It took me some time to write this, but here it is :) It's long, but I am glad I have it written down so I can share with Chloe some day.
It was November 27th; my mother in law was in town staying with us because our precious little one was due in 2 days. We had all been up laughing and chatting away and making sure that we got every bit of our Christmas decor up and the house spot clean because I had been having the "nesting" feeling all day (and was in no way going to have a baby while the house was not prepared for her arrival.) We finally went to bed around 1:00 am and about 2 hours later I woke up to having sharp cramps and pains in my stomach and back. I knew they were contractions because I had already gone into pre-term labor about a month earlier and they felt the same way. The contractions were super strong and were 7 minutes apart. I got up, drank some water and tried to go back to sleep, figuring this was another false alarm and that they would go away in about 30 minutes or so. However, they started getting stronger and as I was lying there trying to sleep, I found myself just staring at the clock and counting down the minutes between each contraction. 30 minutes go by and now the contractions are 5 minutes apart and still pretty strong. I wake James up and told him to help me time them to make sure that I wasn't just hallucinating due to my lack of sleep. Nope, they were definitely getting closer! After about another 30 minutes, the contractions were now 3 minutes apart. We decide, "ok, let's go in. They will probably go away once we get there, but let’s just go to be safe." I take my time and took a shower, put some regular clothes on and tried to look halfway decent. All while stopping every few minutes to deal with the pain. We wake James' mom up to let her know she should start getting ready and I called my mom who lives about 2 hours away letting her know we were heading in and to get ready to make a drive down if they admit me. We end up leaving the house at around 5:30 am to go to the hospital.
Once we get to the hospital, it was pretty quiet. We got seen relatively fast and although my contractions were strong and constant, I was still only 2 cm dilated. The nurse asked me to walk around the hospital or walk across the street to get something to eat and come back within another 1 1/2 hours. So we walked around the hospital and went to get breakfast at Einsteins Bagels. I had to stop about every three minutes because the contractions were the strongest I had ever felt. I couldn't finish my bagel, I think it was a mix of nervousness and not wanting to eat because the pain. We finally came back to the hospital, but by then it seemed like every pregnant woman in San Diego had gone into labor, and it was ridiculously busy. We had to wait another 1 1/2 hours to be seen. James and I actually fell asleep since we had so little sleep that night. When I woke up I realized I wasn't feeling the contractions anymore and thought for sure they would send me home again. Finally, around 9:30 am, a nurse came into the checking room and told me that I was 4 cm and it turns out the contractions didn't stop, I was even having some right on top of the other, I just must have a high tolerance for pain and couldn't feel them anymore. They decided they were going to admit me and said I will have this baby today! James and I just starting crying, we were so happy! My mom and James’ mom were both there and they started crying too! I think it was a "Omg, it is actually happening this time and it’s for real. We will be meeting this tiny person that we have been preparing 9 long months for!" kind of cry. It was endearing and a super special moment for the moms and I.
We called the rest of the immediate family to let them know we were getting admitted. They all came down to be with us during the long labor process. The room they put me in was perfect and HUGE so it fit all of us (about 20 people). I couldn't feel the contractions at all, but I could see when they were happening on the machine, still really consistent. The midwife came in and told me that if I wanted, she could make this baby happen by the time she got off around 8:00pm, of course I was all for that. She hooked me up to pitocin, which is supposed to make the contractions stronger and closer, however, I never felt a difference. I still was happy and smiling and talking with everyone and hadn't felt a thing since we were admitted. The only thing that I could feel was the IV that had been inserted incorrectly and the killer pain in my hand. I finally got the nurse to switch the iv to the other arm and it felt 1000 times better. I am not sure what time later, but the midwife came back in to check me and told me that I am 5cm and she broke my water immediately. I didn't even get time to brace myself, then all of a sudden a GUSH of water came seeping out of my body and soaked the whole bed. It was crazy. I started to actually feel the contractions after that, but they still weren't as painful as they were earlier that morning.
I had let the nurses and midwife know that I had planned to get an epidural if I was in too much pain, but I wanted to see how long I could take the pain first. They suggested that I at least get the epidural placed, and then I could just hit the button to inject the medicine if I needed it. I agreed and the anesthesiologist came in pretty soon after that. When they sat me up, I finally started feeling the harsh pain from the contractions, and my body started shaking with each contraction. It made me so nervous because they told me I had to sit really still for the epidural. The anesthesiologist had trouble placing the epidural and I could feel everything, even though they gave me a local anesthetic that was supposed to numb that area of my back. She had to take out the tubing and replace it lower. It was tiring and painful, but finally it was in. They had to give me the medicine just to test it to make sure it worked. It worked all right; it numbed me up all the way to my chest! At one point later on, I was trying to cough, but I had no control over my diaphragm that would normally help me cough harder (due to the epidural meds) and so I started choking, but I couldn't really sit up either because of how far the epidural had affected me and I had to have people help prop me up so I wouldn't choke. My leg also fell off the bed at one point and I had no idea and when I realized it, I couldn't move it back up, James had to pick it up and put it back on the bed. I thought that was pretty funny. Around 5:30 in the evening they checked me again and I was only at 6 cm. I figured I was in for a long labor.
Around 6:30 I had everyone go take a break, get some dinner and told them to come back later. James and I tried to rest, but about 10 minutes after everyone left, I felt like I had to use the bathroom, like I had to go #2. And if you have ever given labor before, you know what that means. My epidural had worn off by that time and although I could feel pressure, the pain wasn't anything I couldn't bare. I told the nurse that I feel like I have to go to the bathroom and I think the time to push is coming soon. She pretty much ignored me and told me that she would come back and check me in two hours. She left the room and I was telling my mother in law that I really have to use the bathroom and I need to use it NOW. She noticed that I was saying that every time a contraction was happening, so she went to the nurses station and pretty much MADE the nurse come in to check me. When the nurse unwillingly checked me, she said "wow, it's time you are 9 1/2 cm" and started rushing around like crazy. James woke up and we started calling everyone to come back because it was time!
The nurse took away my epidural button, so I didn't really get the choice of having the pain medicine or not for the actual delivery, so I ended up feeling EVERYTHING. I pushed for a little under 45 minutes. I could feel every time I needed to push and eventually stopped listening to the nurse who was pretty much conflicting everything the midwife was telling me. They were not on the same page with each other which made it worse and at one point I yelled at them both "One of you at a time!" I pushed 4 times for 10 seconds each during each contraction. I looked into James eyes pretty much the whole time. There were so many things going on in my head. The pain and pressure, the love I felt for my husband and the bond that we share. The anticipation of Chloe whom we were going to meet literally just minutes away. I never got mad at James or blamed him, I kept telling him how much I loved him. He was telling me how good I was doing, he loved me and he was helping me stay focused. He would count to ten for each push and really encouraged me. The midwife even let me feel Chloe's head. Something I thought I would have never wanted to do. It was right there and it really helped me get through the last few pushes. I started tearing up when I felt her head and knew that it was going to be just any minute now. Oh and let me tell you, it DOES feel like a RING OF FIRE! In fact, I kept saying "Ring of fire, Ring of fire!" James told me later that at one point I told him I wanted to cuss so bad. He said "go ahead, you’re allowed to right now" and all I could say was "Mother of... Pearl!" hahahaha. I don't know where that came from, but it cracks me up every time I think of it. We were only allowed to have 4 people in the room while I was actually pushing, so the rest of the family stood in the hallway with the door slightly opened so they could hear everything that was going on. The nurse told us that wasn't allowed, but they did it anyway and I was glad they did. I really felt like everyone was there with us, experiencing the moments that have changed our lives forever. Chloe was born at 7:12 pm. The first thing I said was "Oh my, she is real! and She is mine!" And we all were just crying with the biggest grins on our faces! It was perfect and I couldn't imagine that moment being any better than welcoming Chloe with ridiculous amounts of love from all of our family.