Since it was practically the middle of the night when we were driving to the hospital, there was no one of the road. We also had to go into the Emergency Room entrance since the main hospital wasn't opened yet. I had to fill out all the paperwork while having contractions - not fun! At one point I had to take a break from standing at the counter filling out paperwork and sit down to breathe through a contraction. We were the only ones in the waiting room at the time though - so we got help the minute we walked in the door. It was cool to get to fill out paperwork for the first time on behalf of Lucy - it started to really feel real at that point. As we walked past the security guard he said "Congratulations" - kind of funny since I was probably wincing through contractions at that point. I remember asking Jason "What % chance do you think we have to staying here?" And he said "50/50" which was NOT the response I wanted. I was like "I think my contractions are strong enough to stay" and he was like "I hope so!" Sure enough, when we got to the labor and delivery area, they took me to a room and told me they would have a nurse check me out to see if I was far enough along to be admitted to the hospital. When they left, I was a little upset and thought to myself - "Of course I'm ready to be admitted to the hospital - why else would I be here?" The nurse checked me out (also not comfortable...I've come to believe that the while checking of the cervix thing is great preparation for childbirth - haha) and told me I was 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced (I think I'm remembering that right...) they then called the doctor to see if I could stay and he directed us to walk around the hospital for about 2 hours to see if that would cause the labor to progress.
At this point, Jason and were both extremely exhausted - especially me (I might add) since I was the one going through contractions this whole time!) but we were both determined to stay in the hospital too - I couldn't imagine anything else more disheartening than having to be sent home. Luckily I had brought some tennis shoes with me and we started our two hours of walking around the labor and delivery wing. I would tell Jason if I felt a contraction coming and we would both stand along the wall, I would lean into him and breathe through the contractions. He would often ask if it was easing off and I would either nod my head or not. He was a great companion during the whole thing - I really couldn't have done it without him. Plus, at about this point I started to get REALLY emotional and would half cry and ask him to pray for me, or tell him that I was nervous. Like I wrote in my other post - praying was also what got me through the whole fear of the unknown and the discomfort of the contractions. I am so thankful that I can pray to Jesus anytime and that he comforted me during the entire 13 hours of labor!
Walking did progress the labor and the contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I remember taking a break to eat a Zone bar and although it tasted good it def. made me feel queasy and I promised myself I wouldn't try to eat anything else. Jason took a little cat nap hear and there since he was so tired. At around 7:00am they checked me again to see if walking had done anything, and sure enough our efforts had paid off! I was about 3 cm dilated and 100% effaced, plus the doctor said the baby was very low - I was going to be able to stay at the hospital!!!!
When the new shift of nurses came in, the conversation came up about the fact that I would probably have the baby that day, and that if they needed to, they would progress the labor with pitocin. That was the one thing I was sure about - I didn't want pitocin to speed up my labor! So I asked if they could progress the labor by breaking my water instead. The next thing I knew, my doctor was in my room (at this point it was after 8:00am) and she had a crochet hook thing to break my water. It felt SOOOO weird - it didn't hurt, but it felt like she was popping a giant water balloon inside of me. She said that it was hard to break it since the baby's head was so low, that she had to go around the head to pop it. Once she did, some water gushed out of me, which was also a super weird feeling. They told me that the baby's head acted like a cork, which would cause the water to stay inside of me and gush out periodically as I moved around, sure enough, through the rest of the labor, water would sporadically come out - it felt SOOO weird! During the time I also told them that I wanted an epidural but that I could probably last a little longer. Well a "little" longer apparently was interpreted to be like 2 hours since I asked for it around 7:00am and didn't get it until after 9:00am. They put an IV in my arm (another first for me), and took some blood (apparently had to be done before I could get the epidural). I remember during those two hours of waiting I kept asking Jason what was taking so long. He asked the nurses and they told him they had to do my blood work first. It ended up being a good thing that I was left to labor for two more hours after they broke my water before my epidural, because it allowed the labor to continue to progress pretty quickly. I was sitting in bed at this point, and my contractions were stronger than they had been but weren't really increasing in frequency. I remember Jason and my nurse trying to convince me to get out of the bed to get the labor to go faster and I was like - it is going plenty fast and hard enough! I don't want it to go any faster, until I have an epidural - lol! However, I will say that although the contractions were really painful, and I wanted each one to be over as soon as it began, they weren't like the unbearable pain I had been expecting them to be. They were bearable, I just remember thinking "I'm so tired, how am I going to be able to push unless I have a break before then?"
The anestisiologist arrived 9:00 and I was nervous about how it would feel, but honestly, was mainly excited about the prospect of the contraction pain going away! I had a death grip on both of Jason's hands during the entire process, and it went very well. The anesthisiologist explained to me that since according to my nurse that my labor was progressing quickly and I was "going to have a baby by lunchtime" he was just going to give me a single larger dose of the epidural instead of hook me up to a flow of the drug that I could press a button to increase anytime I wanted to (like they use for longer labors). At that point, I really didn't care and was just happy that the epidural worked on me - it hadn't really been 100% effective for some of my friends. With the epidural, I couldn't feel the contractions anymore really, but I could still kind of feel (and even wiggle) my toes. At that point, I finally got to lay down in the bed and relax, and even got to experience something else new - a catheter (TMI?) Luckily, I couldn't feel that either!
Only labor shot - after the epidural!
So from about 9:30-12:00 I just relaxed in bed and watched the news. The epidural did work on my right side a little bit better than my left at first, but the anestesiologist helped fix that. During the epidural, I was able to relax and watch some TV. It felt wonderful to just take a break from the contractions! My back did start to hurt pretty bad during the end of the epidural, but I really couldn't complain given the fact that my body was experiencing such strong contractions. It was weird to think about what was happening to my body and not being able to feel it. I just kept checking the baby's heart rate to make sure she was okay. I was so blessed with the fact that my body did everything it was supposed to and progressed just fine through the contractions to 10 cm without pitocin! Praise God! Because I had just had a single dose of the epidural (which the doc told me would last a little over 2 hours) he did come back to give me another dose.
I will mention that at about 8:00am I emailed my work (this must have been right before I got my epidural) to tell them that I was in labor and would probably have a baby that day! Also, we had called my parents when we went to the hospital (around 5:00am) to tell my mom to go ahead and drive to Augusta. It was a good thing we called when we did, because by the time she packed her bags for the whole week, got the kids ready for the day and arranged childcare for the week, she got stuck in Monday morning Atlanta traffic! During the entire labor, I kept asking Jason where my mom was in her travels. Turned out that she barely made it in time for the pushing- which started at around noon - and that was after driving 100mph on I-20!!!!
At around 11:30, I started to feel a lot of pressure and felt like the baby was about to come out- little did I know, it would take a LOT more work than that for the baby to come out! The nurse had positioned me sitting up in bed during the last hour or so to let gravity help with the labor. At this point, I knew that the pushing was coming soon and that I would feel some of that - the anesthesiologist had told me that in order for me to be able to push effectively, I would feel some of the pressure of the pushing. I was pretty nervous about this - since it was just so hard for me to fathom pushing a baby out of me! The whole time I was on the epidural, I was praying for the baby to be healthy, and for the pushing to go well (and prior to the epidural, my prayer had been for the epidural to work!).
Finally around noon, they called me doctor, and my mom arrived! I was so happy to see her and happy that she would get to experience Lucy's birth. It was weird because my mom and Jason were just so excited when we were getting ready to push, and I was so nervous, scared, freaked out of my mind! Thank goodness for prayers that calmed me down!
The pushing was harder than I thought it was going to be. I think that some of my epidural had worn off since they had thought my labor was going to be faster than it was, but needless to say I definitely felt pain during the pushing- worse pain than the contractions. The pushing just felt like pushing, but in between the pushing, the pressure is what was painful. I know that I probably didn't experience anything like those who do a natural labor, but what I felt during this part of the process def. convinced me to never have a baby naturally! I pushed for about 30 minutes, then my doctor told me that the baby was bigger than they thought she was going to be! That made me a little nervous, because I was afraid that if she didn't fit, they would have to do a C-section on me. But instead, my doctor did an episiotomy on me. I didn't feel it, since I was pushing Lucy out at the time, but I def. felt the pain of the stitching up afterwards.
The pushing was very much like running a marathon. The hardest part about it was that I had to push as hard as I could even though I was super tired from all the contractions and from not sleeping much in the last 36 hours!!!! They kept all yelling at me - "Push harder Laura! You can do it! We can see her hair! She is almost here!" over and over again, I pushed and pushed - it seemed like they kept telling me she was almost here, I would push as hard as I could, and she wouldn't come out! That is when my doctor stepped in, cut me, and she was born with the next push! I remember that in between the pushes was just as painful as the pushes themselves, and I was motivated by almost being done!
With that last push, her head and body came out and they placed her on my chest. It was the most amazing experience of my life! I looked at her and said "Is she breathing?!?" They all laughed because she was crying and Jason said "Of course she's breathing, or else she couldn't cry!" I looked at her face and saw that she was completely perfect and healthy in every way and felt so relieved. They then took her to do her tests and clean her up. Then I had to endure the stiching up (not fun). I also had a death grip on Jason at this point. I remember all the adrenalin had caused my teeth to chatter uncontrollably, and Jason kept asking if I was cold. But I wasn't cold at all, I was just overcome with the adrenalin/emotion of everything. The doctor said that was normal.
After all her testing was complete, I got to hold her, all clean and alert and I fed her for the first time and she was a pro already! I just couldn't believe (and still can't believe) the miracle of life that I had just been able to experience. Every single part of the process was more than worth it for my beautiful baby girl. We love her so much and are so thankful to God for leading us through a healthy pregnancy and healthy delivery. Thanks be to God! :)
Here are some pics from her birth day! June 25, 2012