The morning of Oct. 4th I woke up, went to the bathroom, and there it was- I had lost my mucus plug. I coincidentally had my weekly doctors appt a few hours later and instantly knew I was probably having this baby within the next 2 days. At my doctors appt, I was already 4cm dilated, 70% effaced and my doctor swept my membranes before I even knew what was happening. I started cramping and spotting and my mom and I decided to go out to lunch and do some last minute shopping 'cause this baby was on her way!
Around 4pm I was very much aware of my being in early labor. The contractions were steady and consistent.. getting stronger and stronger and making me more and more uncomfortable. D and I knew throughout the pregnancy that we would try to labor at home for as long as possible, so I sent him an "I'm totally in labor right now" text and he left work to meet us back at home.
I changed into my "labor outfit"- a leopard print tube dress, we finished packing last minute hospital bag supplies and relaxed in the living room. I thought I would want to be completely focused on the task at hand once the time came but in early labor all I wanted to do was try to distract myself from everything going on. I wrote a little pre-game post here on the blog, made jokes with D and my mom, and we even put a movie in. As the contractions got stronger D rubbed my back and the vibe in the nest got much more serious as things seemed to quickly progress. At one point D and I even took a shower with candles lit to try to relax as much as possible.
My mom was very supportive but also respectful of our space and just floated in the background taking pictures and video to document the experience. By 9pm my contractions felt so strong (and were only 3-5 minutes apart) I was sure that I had to have dilated more and we decided to head to the hospital.
They put us in the tiny monitoring room for about an hour before they told us we'd officially be staying.
As it turned out, I was still only 4cm dilated but I tried to stay positive and just kept thinking "that's one more contraction closer to the baby" every time I had one. A phrase that was drilled into my head by our Lamaze teacher, and as it turns out, the one and only thought that made every shooting pain tolerable. As far as the pain, I was never against having an epidural, but I knew that I wanted to wait until I was in the thick of it before automatically deciding "I'm going in there and getting that epidural as soon as I can get it!" I figured I'd give my body a fair chance at braving it completely on it's own. I ended up lasting until about 2 or 3 in the morning when it hit me. I had approached the gates of hell and knew that I had to make "the decision" soon whether or not I was strong enough to enter. About an hour into those "oh my god what have I gotten myself into?!?!" contractions I realized I had hit my wall. The best way to describe me in those moments would be that I was a wild animal, literally trying to crawl out of my own skin. Before then I was cool calm and collected, in pain but able to get through it, and boy did I seem like a trooper to D, mom, and even the nurses! Suddenly I was moving all over the place, clawing at D and the bed rails/sheets/pillows, yelling out animalistic moans and I think more than a few swear words escaped these lips. I didn't care who was around or how I was being perceived.
When I think about it now I wasn't really even aware of anything else around me during that time. I went into complete foggy dream mode. I still didn't know if I should jump on the epidural, so I asked the nurse if the anesthesiologist was in house and she said that he wasn't and that if they called him now it would still be an hour before he was here and the drugs were in. This is when I really started to panic thinking how the heck am I gonna make it through another hour? Then, the nurse came back in the room and said that he WAS at the hospital and I said "epidural? yes please!" I thought that the epidural would hurt but honestly, I felt nothing but the tiny shot he gave me to numb the area.
Next thing I know, my legs are tingling and my next contraction was far less painful than the last. I was in heaven. Over the next 4-5 hours we all tried to get some sleep.
I had to wear an annoying oxygen mask and the monitors on my stomach were really uncomfortable so to say I got any real sleep would be a joke. Around 7:00am is when the fun really started. I started to feel pressure down below as if I had to ::ahem:: go to the bathroom. We called in the nurse and as she checked my dilation WOOSH! My water broke. Nope, it still hadn't on it's own at this point and she accidentally broke it. After cleaning up my bed a bit she finally filled me in that I was indeed 10cm and my urge to push was totally legit but she had to call in my doctor. We waited.. 5 minutes.. 10 minutes.. 15 minutes.. no nurse, no doctor. When she finally came back I told her I seriously needed to start pushing and then a woman on the intercom informed us that my other doctor (the one I preferred) was on the phone. The nurse went to answer the call and I knew something was up. Basically the in-house doctor had left for an emergency delivery at another hospital and there I was- 10cm, ready to push with no doc on hand. When the nurse came back she said the other doctor was on her way and that she was waiting for that call before telling us anything because she didn't want to worry us. Sheesh! So now we're waiting some more. Just for fun, I ask the nurse how long she thinks it will be before Rowan is here and she says "Mmmm I'd say about 2 hours. Normally first time moms take a while to push." My response? "Oh hell no! Could you please get me the bed bar and a bed sheet?" I had learned the perfect way to push from the doula who would co-teach some of our Lamaze classes and I was confident that I would have Rowan out a lot faster than "usual." Once everything was set up she said I could go ahead and try pushing because the doctor would be there any minute. With each contraction I pushed three times for ten seconds. I could feel our baby moving down with each push and I pretty much knew that I was kicking ass. I was born to push a baby out! The nurse quickly realized this as well and luckily my doctor showed up right on time. I started to get so excited and focused! I even asked if I could feel Ro's head as she was starting to come out. It was the most amazing and motivating feeling! I pushed maybe 5 sets of 3 over the course of about 25 minutes (it would've been shorter if the doctor had been there from the start. My estimate: 10 minutes tops) and after an overwhelming relief of pressure, there she was!
(and 11 days early!)
The epidural worked like a charm because I literally felt no pain throughout the process, just pressure. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice and she was even holding it with one hand, but obviously the psychic was wrong and there was no c-section for me! Rowan immediately started crying and was placed right onto my chest, skin to skin, baby and mother.
I looked up and D was crying to hard it sounded like he was laughing. It was the cutest thing I'd ever seen besides D and Ro themselves. I was crying, my mom was crying, I'm pretty sure the nurses were tearing up, it was just a big emotional monumental moment. The overwhelming joy and love that I felt for her was intense and I couldn't have held her closer to me. The entire experience was so surreal and amazing. It was basically my dream labor, my dream delivery, my dream baby, and my dream experience.
Later that night a few friends stopped by the hospital to congratulate us and meet our baby bird. D ended up changing the first diaper out of the two of us (besides the nurses). We only stayed the one night and were home before noon the next morning.
I couldn't be more thankful for D and my mom's support, the amazing nurses at the hospital, and even Ro for going easy on her mama. It was quite the adventure, and one that we'll cherish always.