My contractions started late Wednesday (2/29/12 - very glad I did not have a leap year baby!) evening around 10/11 pm. Brett had already gone to bed and I was just watching TV. They were very similar to the braxton hicks that I had been having for a while, but they were 15-20 minutes apart. They weren't that painful so I was able to sleep.
Thursday they continued about 10-15 minutes apart but they would stop for a while, especially if I was moving around. I began to wonder if labor really was beginning! I didn't tell Brett that I was having contractions since I didn't know if they would continue. Late Thursday afternoon they began to increase in pain and were anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes apart. My friend Lindsey invited me to Bunco at her house, but I declined because of the contractions, not sure if they would get even closer together or not.
Once Brett got home I told him about the contractions. They continued to increase in pain and were about 4-8 minutes apart. With every few hours they would get closer together. After about 10 pm they picked up immensely. I began to have to focus during them as they were a bit painful. At this point the pain was only in my back. Before bed Brett packed his bag (mine was already packed) and we got everything together if we had to head to the hospital in the middle of the night. I was unable to sleep through the contractions so for several hours I moved around the house trying to find a comfortable position, but not really being successful.
Around 4 am I woke Brett up as the pain was quite strong and my contractions were about 2-4 minutes apart, lasting from 45-60 seconds and had been that way for about 90 minutes. Our Bradley classes taught us that when contractions were 3 minutes apart lasting about a minute long and had been that way for an hour to go to the hospital. So we did! We got our stuff loaded in the car and headed out. Before we left I asked Brett to change his pants...he was wearing "swishy" pants and I knew they would get on my nerves! Thankfully he was happy to make his in-labor wife happy. :) He also made me a smoothie. I knew I needed something in my stomach but nothing solid sounded good.
We got to the hospital and Brett dropped me off at the front. I tried to check in, but registration was 30 minutes away from opening (at 5:30am). So we had to make our way to the ER to register there. They got me checked in and then a L&D nurse came down to get me. They got me into a room in triage and went through the questions and paperwork they needed to. They did an exam to determine my progress. I was 3 cm dilated. I was hoping for more! They decided to call the midwife on call (Damara) and see what she wanted to do. Damara advised them to have me walk for an hour to see if it helped my labor along. So we walked the L&D unit as my contractions continued in the same pattern & intensity. After an hour I was still 3 cm so they sent us home. I was a bit disappointed.
We headed home, got something to eat and put a movie (Harry Potter) in. I was pretty exhausted since I hadn't slept all night. I was able to get some rest during the movie, but I was still woken up by contractions about every 10-20 minutes. Around 11 we headed to the doctor for my previously scheduled appointment. We had an ultrasound done to check the amniotic fluid (since I had measured at 44 at my last appointment) and have a non stress test. Everything checked out okay, and I was still 3 cm. :( We decided to have Damara strip my membranes to see if things moved along. WOW, that was painful! We made another appointment for the following Tuesday, but I really doubted that I would make it. At least I hoped not! I knew I was in labor and couldn't fathom it lasting that long! I asked Damara when we should head back to the hospital and her suggestion was when I couldn't handle the contractions anymore.
We went back home and I continued to labor. The contractions were quite strong in the afternoon. Also, there were tornado warnings for our area, but I could have cared less as the contractions required everything I had to get through them. Brett was great about helping me through them and helping me switch positions (from the rocking chair to the exercise ball mostly). When he would fall asleep I typically let him sleep until I began to really need his help. Around 2 am (on Saturday 3/3/12) I couldn't take it anymore. The contractions were so intense and they were starting to bring tears to my eyes. I woke Brett up and told him it was time to go back to the hospital. I wasn't surprised that we headed to the hospital in the middle of the night (both times) as for the previous few weeks the braxton hicks usually came in the evenings,.
We went to the ER entrance and got checked in. Getting checked in was torturous. The woman doing it was so slow and asking a lot of questions (when I should have already been in the system) and I had to have Brett answer some of them because the contractions were so painful. Finally I got taken up to triage in L&D. They checked me and I was 4, maybe 5 cm. I was not happy! All that labor and only 1 more cm!? They called the midwife on call (Alison) and she decided that I should stay. Which was good because I had no plans in leaving! I hated being in the bed during contractions. Laying on your back in bed is the worst thing for back labor! But the nurse (Kelly) and Brett were great at helping me through the contractions. I couldn't have done it by myself!
After waiting a little I got moved into a (huge) labor & delivery room that had a tub for laboring in. As I was getting settled in my contractions continued. They drew blood for labs and got an IV started. I was positive for Group B Strep so I had to have an initial round of antibiotics and then again every 4 hours until she was born. During my first dose they had me hooked up to the monitors for Peyton's heart rate and the contractions. After about 30 minutes I was free to move around. But every hour for 15 minutes I was monitored again. But thankfully the nurse did it where ever I was in the room.
I labored for several hours (maybe 5ish? I didn't have a clock in sight so it was hard for me to tell what happened when. After she was born I had to ask what time it was, I had no idea!!) trying whatever felt somewhat comfortable. I tried the tub, but it was hard to get in a position that was helpful for my back labor. Then it got hot in the bathroom so I had to get out. I mostly labored on the ball or in the rocking chair. The rocking chair squeaked SO loudly, but it was a comfortable position so I just had to power through the annoyance! After a while my contractions were pretty terrible. So terrible that at every one I would start crying and shaking uncontrollably. I would just look at Brett and cry cry cry. I then started telling him I couldn't do it anymore. I was so exhausted. Contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart and I was so tired that in the 60-90 second break I had I would fall asleep and be woken up by a contraction, not even realizing I fell asleep. I just felt terrible and didn't know how I would continue on with how painful contractions were and how spent I was.
Brett & I finally decided (it felt like I had to convince him though!) to see where I was and then go from there on making a decision for pain relief. They came and checked me and I was 6 cm. SIX. I was so bummed. But I knew that I had to get pain relief. If I made it to 10 without it, I didn't see how I would have the strength to push. So we weighed our options and decided an epidural was best for both Peyton and I. Once I decided on that I had to stay in bed. Thankfully it wasn't too long before the anesthesiologist was in there and getting to work. Brett had to leave for the epidural, but thankfully my contractions toned down and I was able to make it through that process. The numbing shot was a bit painful and it was an odd feeling as the catheter went in, but oh what sweet relief it gave me! My back felt so much better and I was finally able to rest! I think I got a couple hours of sleep, but off an on as nurses came in and that dang blood pressure cuff went off every 15 minutes. But I was mostly able to sleep through it as I hadn't slept for days!
After a few hours they checked me again and I was 7 cm. Well, that's progress but geez, it was taking forever!! Alison gave me a couple options of what we could do to help speed it up (break water, pitocin, etc) and I decided to have her break my water. I wanted to try non-medication methods first. Well, after a while that didn't help much (I can't remember how much progress). So Alison suggested we do Pitocin. After contemplating, I decided to have them start Pitocin, but on the lowest dose possible (it was my choice, but that was what Alison was recommending). I really dislike Pitocin so I did not want very much at all!
After a while (sorry, I have no idea what time this was!), I was 9 cm. Whoo hoo! Almost there! At this point I think they upped the Pitocin a little. I then got to 9.5. The nurse (Ashley) suggested I try pushing a couple times to see if the lip of cervix would go away or not. I then asked her to stop the Pitocin as the epidural had pretty much worn off (those lovely contractions were coming back full force!) so she did. I FINALLY got to 10 cm, BUT the epidural had worn off completely (I could have walked) and the contractions were worse than before (thank you Pitocin!). It was so hard to get through these contractions now, especially since they made me turn on the side that they hurt the worst (Peyton didn't like me being on my other side). I was pleading for it to be over with! But of course no one could help. And the epidural was still dripping, but for some reason it just wasn't working. :( And the nurse had told me several times she was going to call Alison, but after what seemed like forever she still wasn't there! I kept asking Brett "Where is she!?" She finally arrived and I was so happy to see her! Oddly enough once they put my legs up in the leg holder thingamajigs the contractions were much less painful. That would have been nice to know earlier!
I don't know how long I pushed, but it was less than an hour. I started pushing shortly after shift change (@ 7pm) and she arrived at 8:04 pm. It was hard work and I felt like I was getting nowhere since I couldn't tell how much progress I was making (maybe I should have had them put a mirror up when they asked?) despite Brett & Alison telling me I was a good pusher. I remember asking several times if we were close. Alison told me that once she put on her scrub coverings we were close. When she finally put them on and they put the baby blanket on my chest I got nervous! My baby girl was almost here! At one point Alison told me to reach down and feel my baby's head (and all of her hair). I was hesitant (don't know why now) but I did. Oh my, one of the best things ever! Her lil head was so soft, and that hair! I wanted to see her so bad! After some more pushing, Peyton was born at 8:04 pm. It was instant love for us all! I was so relieved that it was over (and that the intense contractions were gone!!) and excited that we finally got to meet our sweet girl!
She was perfect! I remember noticing her fingernails were already needing to be cut (8 days overdue will do that I guess!) and thinking to ask if she was indeed a girl (but we figured that out soon enough). After Peyton got cleaned up (still on my chest) we started our Kangaroo Care/skin to skin. One of the best hours of my life! Once the placenta was delivered the pain really was gone (praise God!) and Alison started stitching me up (I had a small tear). Alison didn't realize at first that I was no longer numb, but the pain from the stitches was nothing compared to what I felt earlier, and I was holding my sweet Peyton, so I could have cared less! The nurses kept commenting on how big Peyton was, but none of us had any idea how big until they weighed her...9 lbs 10.8 oz. Holy moly! My only thought was did I seriously give birth to that! haha From what I heard her birth weight was the talk of the nursery!
|Daddy giving Peyton her first bath|
|My two loves!|
|First picture as a family of 3!|
|Me and my sweet baby girl!|
Born 3.3.12 @ 8:04 pm
9 lbs 10.8 oz, 22 in