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On early Wednesday morning, January 16th 2008, I woke up to make one of many middle of the night trips to the bathroom. It was 3am and I noticed half awake that I appeared to lost my mucus plug - a thick clear substance. I said a little yeay for being one step closer to labor but thinking it could still be a week or more away, and went back to bed.
At 4am I felt a unmistakable gush and I flew out of bed and to the restroom. After about 20 mins of debating I was sure - my water had broken! I got back in bed and gently woke up Brian. "Bri?" I said. "I lost my plug an hour ago and I'm pretty sure my water just broke." "Ok, let's go" he mumbled and started to get out of bed. Then I started getting really nervous. I called my Dr who told me to head on into the hospital. I called my sister in FL b/c I had to tell SOMEONE. We got packed up and left.
We arrived at the hospital at 6am and they took me right up to Labor and Delivery. I had not yet had a single contraction, and was still leaking fluid. The nurse checked me to make sure it was my water, and told me my DR should be in around 8 - they were in the midst of a shift change. In the meantime my Dr had spoken to a resident and instructed her to insert a foley catheter to try to get me dialating - at the time I was only a fingertip dilated. After a long uncomfortable attempt, she just couldn't get it in place saying my cervix was too closed and that we'd have to wait for my Dr. Bri called Bev and Wes and let them know we were set in for the long haul.
At 8am Dr. Siegel showed up and things got rolling. She was able to get the Foley Catheter in place and filled up to dilate me to a 3 over the next few hours. They started me on Pitocin. I started feeling contractions within 30 mins. By 10:00 I was in a good amount of discomfort with contractions about 3-4 minutes apart. My in-laws showed up and Brian got something to eat. My Dr came in to check on me as well and said the anesthesiologists was on the floor and if I wanted an epidural I could get it now. I worried that it was too soon and could hinder my progress. She explained to me that since I wasn't making progress on my own - it was all via induction - that the Epi wouldn't make much of a difference, so I said sure, better sooner than later.
So at 11 we got the epidural put in place - it wasn't that painful at all, I expected it to be much worse. It took the edge off of the contractions and pretty much numbed me from the inside out - I could still feel my skin and move my legs throughout the duration.
At 11:40 the Foley balloon popped out, but by 2PM I was still only dilated to a 4 and my cervix was not effacing at all. My Dr. described it as "4 and long" and we all made football jokes and references after that.
At 3:30 she checked me and I was dilated to a 5 and 50% effaced - a little bit of progress. She said 2 more hours and she'll check me again - at 5:30 there was no progress. My Dr explained to me that I was having steady contractions every 2 minutes but if my body wont respond we may have to consider a c-section. But since the baby appeared to be doing really well they would give it more time. In the mean time she put in an internal contraction monitor for more accurate readings.
By now I was starting to get pretty uncomfortable, tired, and hungry. We tried sitting up right for a few hours, changing positions, you name it. At 6:45 my Dr checked me again.. I was dilated to only a 6 but I was mostly fully effaced. It was enough progress for her to warrant more time to progress on my own. She did something during the exam the baby didn't like. The heart rate dropped and they put me on oxygen and had me turn over several times.
The next hour and a half things started to melt together, I was in an immense amount of pain through my hips - the only way to describe it is that it felt like my femurs were being pushed out of my hips. The heartrate stabilized and there were no more scares - which was good because she told me flat out if that happened again they were going to do a c-section. I could feel the contractions full on, was getting hot flashes, and felt totally miserable - I wanted to give up, consent to a C, anything to get the baby out safely while I still had energy to get through what was yet to come.
At 8:15 my Dr checked me and said "Ok, you're ready to push"....WHAT??? They say those will be the most beautiful words you will hear in labor but for me I was a bit shocked thinking..I'm really going to have to push this baby out? No easy C haha...I said OK and they started getting setup. They nurse and DR talked me through the pushing process and she warned me it could take up to 2-3 hours for a first time mom to push the baby out. I asked my InLaws to wait outside.
After watching me push through 3 sets of contractions my Dr had an "oh wow" look on her face and setup a mirror so I could see - the top of the baby's head was visible!!! Brian coached me through counting out the pushes and holding my leg for me...he was great. My Dr got finalized and ready to catch the baby. After 1/2 hour of pushing the baby was crowning, the ring of fire was intense, I started yelling when she told me to stop pushing with the baby's head halfway out. 3 more pushes and she was out.
The Dr held the baby up to Brian and said "It's a.." and Brian says "GIRL!!!" She put the baby on my chest and Brian cut the cord. The baby wasn't really crying yet and she looked a little purple but her eyes were open and she was ok. The nurse took her to the baby area of the room and she started crying right away.
Little Madison was here! I couldn't believe I had done it. 17 hours of labor was over, this amazing little person came out of me at 7lbs 10oz, 21 inches long!!! How she fit inside me is still a wonder to me today.
This is where most birth stories end, but I wanted to include some details. Delivering the afterbirth was not painful as I had imagined. I got to see the placenta and it was cool seeing what has sustained my baby - it was pretty big. While the epidural helps with contraction pain, you do pretty much feel everything down there - at least I did. Before I started pushing I asked about cutting and my dr said not unless absolutely necessary - and it wasnt. She did massage while I was pushing and it worked - I had no tears or cuts and required no stitches. Just bruising and 'skid marks' as they put it. My recovery has been awesome and a week later I feel almost back to normal.
Madison is a good baby, she loves to eat and poop and sleeps fairly well. She's a miracle and a godsend to us, we are now a family. Because of my by-the-books easy pregnancy I expected a bombshell at the end - something to go wrong - but all my anxiety and fears were for naught. We couldn't ask or hope for more. We love her so much and enjoy every second of her amazing life.