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My due date was January 20th and we all were pretty sure that was going to hold true. I knew the date of my LMP and things weren't moving that quickly. My pregnancy was super easy - no morning sickness, I actually lost weight, no swelling anywhere... It was great! Then the Saturday before Christmas I had some bleeding. My doctor hadn't done any checks for dilation or anything yet so he had me go in for some monitoring. I was 1-2 cm but still very anterior (I swear he was in up to his elbow!) and I was having some very small contractions. I was a day away from 36 weeks though so he wasn't going to do much about it! The next Friday he gave me a full 2 cm and told me "Well, it could be tonight it could be two weeks from now! Call me if you think you're in labor!" At my 38 week appointment, on January 11th, I'd been having some small contractions that I could feel, nothing worth getting excited about but they got me to nearly 3 cm! Again, could be tonight, could be 2 weeks - call me... Fast forward 8 hours! We decided to give some Old Wives' Tales a try - We had Mexican for lunch, mall walked - that started some cramping, came home and DTD. Still some slight cramping, nothing exciting. I called my mom to update her on our appointment. Talked to my sister since she was going to a conference the next day. Had some spicy wings for dinner. Eventually I realized that the cramping had a pattern!!! I started timing at about 9:15 and at 10:15 that night they were about 2-5 min. apart and I was pretty uncomfortable. Not painful, just not fun. I called my doctor and I had a contraction while on the phone so he had us come on in and bring our stuff! Yay!! We got to the hospital at about 11 and he checked me, no big change from the morning but lots of contractions so he had us stay since he felt we'd just be back the next day anyway. We also decided if there wasn't any change in the morning we'd "give nature a push" and use pitocin to get things going a little more. I was nervous about that, I know the stats and was afraid of the intensity that I'd experience. Well, I got very little sleep until sometime in the middle of the night, probably around 3 was when I finally fell asleep. When my new nurse came in at 7 that morning my contractions had stopped at some point. When she said that I knew we were in for the pitocin. I put on my brave face for DH and inside was pretty terrified of the possibilities! I wanted to use the jacuzzi, I wanted to be able to move around... not happening... maybe next time. Fortunately I was allowed to eat breakfast because we weren't certain we were inducing yet when the meal was served. I think the nurse checked me again in the morning and I was a little past 3 cm - nothing huge so we were going for the induction to get things going again. The pitocin was hooked up at 10. I started feeling it almost right away. It wasn't too much to handle at that point so I thought I'd tough it out a while. I asked the nurse what my doctor's typical pain management plan was and she told me he administers nubain at about 4 cm and the epidural at 5 cm. At about 12:30 the contractions were on top of each other, DH says my eyes were rolling back in my head and I was breaking his hand so he got the nurse and I got the nubain! It allowed me to sleep and the contractions slowed a little bit, but I was still squeezing his hand pretty hard! It lasted until about 1:30 when I needed more. The anesthesiologist was paged and at about 2 I got the epidural. DH made the mistake of asking how long it would take to set in so the dr had to answer! He kept telling me to give it 10 minutes and I kept telling him I was CERTAIN I did NOT have 10 minutes. I couldn't sit well to get the epi and almost pulled DH's shirt down off of him because the contractions were coming so fast during the procedure!! After I was laid back down and the epi was in place, my face and arms started to go numb. It only lasted a few minutes but we got a scare when the bloodpressure cuff inflated and my hand got all contorted! Fortunately it wore off before I started to push. At about 2:30 I told my nurse I was pretty sure I needed to push so she got my dr and sure enough it was time! For a first timer I went from 5 to 10 cm in about 30 min! Suddenly the room was transformed, all these tables of equipment were rolled in and I wanted to push so bad! My doctor had a student with him at the time and the student was locked out of the floor (they have key passes on all exterior doors of our l&d)! She needed to get in because she was going to actually do the delivery - her first! So, she finally got in and ready and my doctor got me to the crowing stage - ouch - and the student doctor moved in. She was great! After about a half hour of pushing, Kaija Jane was born at 3:09 p.m. She was immediately put up on my chest and DH and I could not stop crying! He sent text messages to a bunch of people right away to tell them she was here. My best friend called back right away thinking it had probably been a little while - I was actually still being stitched up while I was talking to her! My doctor asked if I was on the phone, I replied "I think so..."!! DH also called my parents almost right away since they were on they way out from Michigan. I talked to my mom with Kaija still on my chest as well. DH was crying so much he couldn't officially cut the cord, but he got to cut it down shorter on the warming bed when they took her stats. I was still talking to my mom when they were weighing and measuring her. She was 7 lb 7.2 oz and 19 1/2 in. long with and 11 in. head. (The next baby if DH starts calling people even and hour after the baby is born, I might smack him! I didn't really realize what was going on and sort of feel like I missed some things immediately after the birth.) Kaija didn't nurse for a full 24 hours, but she hasn't looked back since then! It was a great experience and turned out much better than my worst fears! I was really excited to share the experience with a new doctor. She even told us if she could give us half her med school tuition just for that experience she would! (If only!!)