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My baby arrived on December 10th, at 11:34 am! 10 days early. The day before (which happened to be my mother's birthday) I'd woken up at about 9 when my sister (who was going to be my birth coach) called to see if anything had "happened" yet. I told her it hadn't and got up to go to work... and felt sort of wet. I decided it was just an extra lot of mucus plug and went to work. Well it happened a couple of more times and after going to the bathroom and discovering I was still "leaking" when I stood up, I decided my water might have broken, so I went home from work. I went to the doctor to get checked if my water had in fact broken, and they confirmed it, so I went home and packed (yes I hadn't packed my bags yet! my sister was a lot more ready than me) and made my way back to the hospital again at a more leisurely pace than I think they were hoping for. My sister met me there and we checked in. I'd originally been considering doing it under an assumed name (to avoid my estranged husband somehow finding out and showing up) but I decided he probably wouldn't be expecting it this early anyway, and just gave the desk orders not to let anybody else in besides my parents.
At this point I was still not having contractions (or at least, not what they considered "labor" as they weren't painful, I just felt mildly uncomfortable at times) so my sister and I sat around bored for quite some time. Luckily I was allowed to order food finally (I had been quite concerned about this as in my birth classes they'd said they don't let you eat here once you are in labor, but I guess they do if you aren't technically in labor). I did spontaneously get calls from several people at this time, and told them I was in the hospital (and an especially nasty text message from my husband, which I ignored). Occasionally we got up and strolled around the hall but walking was pretty uncomfortable at this point. My parents showed up at about 9 p.m. but nothing had happened yet. My father got me out walking around the halls again (exercise is his cure-all) but nothing happened so eventually they headed out to spend the night at my apartment. I did get my first glimpse of my son when (TMI alert!) I lost some more mucus with my constant leaking and there was a tiny, dark curly hair in it, which was his!.
As the night wore on we discussed the options. Normally they do not let you go more than 24 hrs at this hospital after water breaks before inducing labor. I had been hoping for a more natural labor (ha ha as we will see later) but it was beginning to seem kind of pointless to just sit around since I still wasn't having contractions. I decided tentatively to see about being induced if nothing had happened by 3 am.
Around 1 am I started to have regular contractions about 5 minutes apart, and by the time 3 am rolled around there was no need for induction. By about 4 am, I was in a lot of pain. The nurse checked and I was only at 4 cm. I continued laboring with help of shower, birthing ball, etc. After another 1-2 hours they checked again and I was STILL at 4 cm. By this time I was writhing in pain each time and my back was killing me, I decided I couldn't go for another 6 hrs of this plus pushing, which is what the nurse predicted (which turned out to be fairly accurate). I had some narcotics to take the edge off, which helped considerably. By another 3 hrs (they were administered each hour) they were no longer taking the edge off and I was screaming in pain almost constantly, with many contractions coming with no pause in between. My back and the pressure in my pelvis were competing with the contractions for overall pain, which was FAR more than I had ever anticipated. It was all I could do to keep breathing. With difficulty amidst the contractions, they checked my dilation again and I was at 8 cm. I decided to get an epidural, the pain was too excruciating. I have NO regrets about this! I don't know how I managed to sit still for it, but finally some relief at about 9 am. By 10 or 10:30 am I was dilated to 10 cm and shortly thereafter ready to start pushing. The pushing stage lasted only about an hour but didn't feel that long, despite the epidural I didn't have any trouble pushing. Plus it was rewarding to see his head start to emerge (I had a mirror).
Towards the end his heart rate started to drop a lot with each contraction, and the top of his head was swollen where it was pushing out, to the point where the Dr. recommended an episiotomy (another thing I'd wanted to avoid). It's amazing how your priorities change when in labor as compared to when you are thinking about your birth plan. All I cared about was him coming out okay. I had the episiotomy and out he popped and was put onto my chest under my gown. He felt warm and floppy and extremely soft, and I don't remember saying anything just crying. Somewhere in between the Dr. delivered the placenta and sewed me up but I wasn't really paying attention to any of that, just to my son. Then my parents who had arrived while I was in labor came in, and after a while he was weighed and measured. He was 7 lbs 8.4 ounces.
In the afternoon my parents and sister went home and I was moved to recovery, to spend the next couple of days trying to nurse, eat, and sleep. He developed jaundice but not enough to need treatment luckily, and was very sleepy at first and slow to figure out nursing, but finally I got him nursing on the morning of the next day. The nurse ended up giving him a drop of formula and putting some on my nipple to get him to suck, which worked, thank god, as we were getting really concerned about him not eating. He hasn't needed any since, although it took several days (and we are still working on it) to get the latch right... the first couple of days I was so happy to get him nursing that my nipples suffered from poor positioning, but they are recovered now and he seems to be getting plenty of milk. I was released from the hospital finally on Friday afternoon, they kept me longer because of a delay getting him circumcised, and then my blood pressure, which had been fine all along, suddenly went up. My mother took me home and stayed for a few days to help out, until the winter storm made her return home.
I'm still debating posting a picture as I really don't want any online stalkers (esp. my husband) to figure out I am on here, but maybe I will temporarily in the private area. He is the cutest and more adorable baby ever and seems to grow more so by the day!