Last Monday was the start of week 38 in my pregnancy. We had a follow up ultrasound on Wednesday to make sure that Scarlett's abdomen was measuring okay (it was measuring 6 weeks behind at our previous ultrasound). I had mentally prepared myself that Tuesday might be my last day pregnant, just in case they said we needed to induce or something. Fortunately, everything looked great, her abdomen was back on track and she was weighing in at approximately 7 lbs. I'll admit, I left the appointment a bit bummed that we were back to waiting for her to arrive, but happy that she was healthy.
Friday the 16th I went to another doctor's appointment. I was 38 weeks 4 days and my doctor decided to do her first internal exam on me. I was super excited to find out that I was already 3cm dilated, over 50% effaced and at a -1 station (the baby had dropped). We discussed scheduling an induction for the following week, mainly out of convenience; I wanted to be home for Christmas and my doctor was going out of town for two weeks. She told me to call on Monday and schedule it. She also did a membrane sweep on me, which is basically just brushing the bag of water away from the wall of the uterus. She told me that it would give me a lot of braxton hicks contractions and possibly send me into labor within 48 hours, but that it only works if your body is ready for labor.
Sure enough as soon as I left, I started having more braxton hicks contractions. I decided to make a quick stop at Target to pick up some of the last few baby items that we needed. As I walked around Target I started having sharp shooting pains in my cervix, as well as the contractions. I started timing the contractions all night, as they were coming about 10 minutes apart, but they stopped around 2 am, so I went to bed.
The next morning I was pretty convinced that the membrane sweep hadn't done anything for me, but I was ready to meet baby, so I bounced on a medicine ball, went for a jog and cleaned the house. I only ran half a mile at a 4.3 pace, but it was enough to make me feel like the baby was practically falling out of me. Mike thought I was a crazy lady, considering I haven't even been to the gym in months. The rest of the day was spent lounging around, baking cookies and then getting ready for a Christmas party that evening. Now that I know it was my last day pregnant, I am so glad that we had a lazy Saturday.
That evening I was again having pretty frequent contractions, but they were the same painless contractions that I'd been having since 16 weeks into my pregnancy. The only difference was that they were more timeable, but barely noticeable (just the hardening of the belly, no pain). I mentioned to my friends at the Christmas party that I had been having them all day and they said they thought I was going to have that baby soon. On the drive home I told Mike that I really wished my water would just break so that I'd know FOR SURE that I was going into labor.
I texted my birth photographer and my sister that night and told them that I had about 18-19 contractions in 2 hours. I just wanted to alert them in case something happened during the night.
My sister said: "Are you in pain? Maybe you should call the doc!?! I have my phone by my pillow, call me whenever!"
and I said: "don't get too excited, I don't think this is it just yet...I'm going to bed, I can't sleep through labor, right? :P"
THE PART YOU REALLY WANT TO READ:
Sometime around 3 am on December the 18th, Addie was coughing and crying, so we brought her into bed with us. She kept kicking Mike, so he went downstairs to sleep in her bed. She continued to cough and kick all night. At 8:30 am I was awoken to what I thought was her kicking me in the crotch. I looked over at Addie and realized that she wasn't in the right position to kick me in the crotch. I didn't really think much of it and laid back down. Then I heard a faint "pop" sound and excitedly thought to myself, maybe my water just broke!?! I got up out of bed expecting to feel a gush, like so many people have told me about (my water has never broken on its own), but there was nothing. No gush. I went to the bathroom and there was a small round circle of water on my underwear (which honestly isn't that abnormal in the final days of pregnancy, LOL), so I thought "bummer, my water definitely didn't break".
At that point Portia came up with the Ipad, so Addie, P and I laid in the bed watching cartoons together, while Mike hung out downstairs.
A little after 9am I felt my first contraction. My first painful contraction. It caught me a bit off guard, because I hadn't felt any painful contractions with Addie. My fear this pregnancy was that I wouldn't know I was in labor, that I wouldn't feel the contractions, so being able to feel it was exciting.
[A little back story, I went to be induced with Addie, ended up already in labor, was at a 4ish when we arrived (unknowingly having contractions) and didn't get the epi till after 5/6cm, but I had not had ONE painful contraction... so I was convinced that I couldn't feel the contractions.]
I checked my phone to see the time and it was 9:02am. I kept laying there, hopeful that another one would come. 9:11 I had another one. Nine minutes apart. This one was even more painful and I couldn't talk through it. Portia noticed that I was in pain and asked me if she should go tell daddy. I told her I was fine and would go tell him. I jumped out of bed and ran down to tell him that I thought I was in labor. Standing over him I started having another one. I was visibly in pain and could not talk through it. He realized pretty quickly that this was WAY different than anything we had experienced before. We decided to get showered, eat breakfast, pack our bag and head to the hospital when contractions were 5-7 minutes apart.
I texted my sister at 9:22am:
"I think I'm in labor"
She called me (or maybe I called her?) and I told her not to rush, it wasn't a big deal, take her time. (HAHAHAHAAA!!! TAKE YOUR TIME!?!). Fortunately, she was not as dumb as me and said "I'll be there in 2 minutes".
When Kate & Chase arrived I was in the shower. The shower was taking me FOREVER. Why you ask? Because every few minutes I was writhing in pain from a contraction. Yes, at this point, just 20 some minutes after my first contraction, they were as close as 3-4 minutes apart. Somewhere in there I realized my water had broken, but there was never a gush. Just a small stream of liquid, a bit of blood and INTENSE contractions that literally felt like my body was trying to push the baby out of my crotch (hey, funny enough, that's exactly what was happening!).
By this point Mike was frantically yelling at me to hurry up. I was stubbornly yelling at him in between each contraction to "find my camera, grab my jeans, get my comfy pants, I need a magazine, find my cell phone, etc. etc. etc." I didn't know it at the time, but my sister and brother in law were seriously thinking we were going to have this baby at home. Apparently I was the ONLY person who did not realize how close to delivery I was.
Finally after about 10 contractions 3-4 minutes apart and more cuss words that I can count, Mike shoved me in the car. It was 9:45am.
As he drove, I screamed. He looked at the clock everytime it started. I hadn't practiced for this kind of pain, have never been to a Lamaze class or practiced breathing techniques, so instead of "heheho" breathing, I was yelling "ahhhhhhh shit shit shit, eff you, I'm going to die, mother effer, oh my God, I need an EPIDURAL NOW!!!! SHIT!!!!" which apparently isn't the best way to work through a contraction, LOL.
Somehow in between contractions I had time to text my birth photographer. My last text was at 10:04am right before we got to the hospital. I told her I'd text her after I got checked, to see what I was at. Mentally I thought I was maybe 5-7cm. I thought for sure I'd be able to get an epidural...
By the time we got to the hospital my contractions were 1-2 minutes apart and I was in the worst effing pain of my life. The 20 minute car ride was pure torture. Tears were streaming down my face, the cramps were penetrating throughout my whole body. I had absolutely no control of the pain. It was like nothing I can even describe. The worst pain of my life.
Mike flew into the main entrace of Tacoma General Hospital going about 60mph. He threw the keys at the valet guy, the receptionist heard me screaming, grabbed a wheelchair and apparently wheeled me to the elevator. I remember passing the people in the waiting room and hearing one woman say "oh my gosh!" as I screamed, cursed and cried while being wheeled in.
We entered labor and delivery, but I was completely incoherent. The nurses asked us questions, but there was no time. All of a sudden I was on a table and there were a ton of people around me. Someone checked me and I heard "she's complete!" Mike said "what does that mean!?!" and he said "10cm, she needs to push!" another person said "the doctor isn't here!" and a guy (who we later learned was a resident) took off his jacket and said "well... no pressure!"
At this point I was completely hysterical, screaming for an epidural, totally uncomposed. I screamed that I couldn't do it, that I didn't know how to push or breathe and I screamed that I wanted to die. The resident and Mike tried to get my attention.They held my hands and told me to breathe through the contraction and not to scream or curse (haha I was still cursing like a sailor!). The resident told me that I had to do it, that "the head was right there!". Somewhere deep inside me I remember realizing that if I didn't push, then the pain wouldn't be over. All I wanted was for the pain to be over, so I pushed. I pushed harder than I can even explain. I didn't care if I was taking a humungous crap all over the table (Mike told me, much to my surprise that that didn't happen!) I just pushed and breathed and PUSHED!
One push got the head out. There was no time to celebrate, I still felt the pain.
The next push was like three pushes in one, where I never stopped pushing, but had to breathe through it. Her whole body came out on that push.
I remember people saying that I had done it and that I was their new hero! All of the nurses kept telling me how amazing I was. One said "See you can do it!! You have bragging rights for life!"
The rest of those minutes were a blur, but I remember someone calling out that she was born at 10:22am. She weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was 20 inches long. She was perfect.
And just like that, the pain was gone... just as quick as it came.
(This is the song I wanted to listen to while giving birth... I just love it.)