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Saturday February 6th:
We woke up that morning and I decided I wanted to spend the day making sure the house was clean, taking the dogs for a long walk, and I wanted to go out to dinner with a few friends before baby arrived. I didn’t feel any different but we always spend Sunday’s relaxing and this was the last Saturday before our due date to take advantage of having David’s help. I was starving for lunch so I ate a big lunch but by dinnertime I could only eat a couple of bites before I just couldn’t eat anymore. We went over to our friend’s house after eating and around 11:30pm I told David I was ready to go home because I was exhausted. We got home, went to bed around midnight.
Sunday February 7th:
An hour after going to bed I woke up with some cramping and nausea. Earlier in the evening I had noticed the first (very small amount) blood after peeing. I tried to lie back down and started feeling what I assumed were contractions but I wasn’t sure because they felt nothing like the Braxton Hick’s I had always felt. At 3am I finally woke up David and asked him to hand me the iPod off the dock so I could start using the contraction timer because I felt like they were getting regular. They were coming 7-10 minutes apart and each one of them lasted over a minute—usually about 80 seconds. I kept timing them and around 5:30am they started to taper off of the 7-10 minute mark and by 6am I was having them less than a few an hour. I was very tired and uncomfortable throughout the day so I pretty much lied around and soaked in the tub. I made sure to take a few short walks with the dogs too while my contractions were inconsistent. I also ate very lightly (wheat toast with jam, a couple bites of vegetable soup, more toast with jam) and drank a ton so David went to the commissary to get me some sport drinks to go with my water.
Around 5pm my contractions finally started getting consistent again—around 7-10 minutes apart—and I eventually decided to soak in the tub. I got back out and we already had made up our mind that we were going to be heading into the hospital at some point that night, at least to get checked out but we wanted to wait until my contractions were 5 minutes apart before we left. Once I got out of the bathtub they were ranging between 5-8 minutes apart but I told David that I wanted to go sooner rather than later because my contractions were getting stronger even though they weren’t getting much closer. We timed the next 4 and they were close to the 5-minute mark so we dropped the key off at a friend’s house so she could let the dogs out while I was laboring and headed to the hospital.
We arrived to the hospital just before 10pm and they immediately set me up to monitor baby’s heart rate and contractions. David really liked watching my contractions on the monitor and seeing what they “rated” and watching them taper off. Everything was looking good and they did the internal exam. We were shocked to learn I was already 7cm dilated! The midwife told us that we did an awesome job laboring at home, especially for our first pregnancy, and we had to agree. I was so proud of myself for being so far dilated, which I thought was funny. We were the only ones in the delivery ward that night and she asked if we wanted the purple labor room or the yellow labor room and I chose the yellow because that’s the one I had toured and I knew I liked the feel.
We settled in and they set me up to the wireless monitors so I could still walk around during labor. Even though I had made sure to stay super hydrated all day, I was having a tough time drinking enough during labor without feeling nauseated so the midwife told me she wanted to give me IV fluids because the baby’s heart rate was going a bit higher than she wanted. David said I ended up getting about half a bag of it and she eventually took it off because the baby had calmed down and I was able to move around again.
Around 1:30am the midwife checked me again and I had only progressed to 8 centimeters so she decided to break my water while making sure to mention that the last 2 centimeters are always the strongest/most difficult. Within 10 minutes of my water breaking, the contractions got extremely intense. Sometime after that I got nauseated and started dry heaving/puking (nothing to puke up though) which she said was a good sign (sure didn’t seem like it at the time though, ugh!) I started to get the urge to push and she told me I could push lightly but not too hard. The doctor came in and I started pushing. Once I started pushing, instead of screaming I found myself biting David’s shoulder/bicep to get through the pain. I felt bad for him but I figured I was feeling pain, he could feel a little too! He didn’t mind though and I even managed not to leave a mark on him. After a few rounds of pushing, they asked me if I wanted to feel her head and I told them no, I could feel it just fine where I was. David told me she had hair…dark hair! A round or two of pushing later, I asked them if I could feel her head because I wanted to make sure I was actually making progress! It felt so weird and I was worried what shape it’d be once she was out. I am not sure exactly how long I was pushing for but it couldn’t have been for more than 20-30 minutes.
At 3:33am, Arden Elise was born! She came out healthy, beautiful and perfect! We were both very surprised she was almost completely clean and not covered in “newborn goo” like we were expecting. She was 8lbs 2oz & 20.5”. David was a wonderful partner throughout the entire process and I don't know if I could have done it without him. I was so proud of him and so proud of myself being able to have the natural childbirth I wanted. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect pregnancy, labor, and baby! I'm very fortunate and very grateful for all of it.