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birth story

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note: I have been working on this post for two months now. My goal was to have it completed by the end of my maternity leave. Mission accomplished!

We woke up Saturday (11/13/10) morning and headed out for breakfast at Cracker Barrel. I enjoyed their seasonal cinnamon butter pancakes and we enjoyed a conversation with a waiter who told us all about his five children at home and how much love he has for each one of them. It was very endearing! We headed back home and I cleaned the house from top to bottom like I do (almost) every weekend. I took breaks between rooms to rest my back so I didn't strain it. I even cleaned a bit more detailed thinking that it might be one of the last times I could really do it before the baby came. After I cleaned and relaxed a while, Matt and I headed out for dinner at Outback. (We don't always eat out twice a day like that, but, as mentioned here, we were savoring our time before the baby came.) We enjoyed a great dinner and headed home. I normally do laundry on Sunday, but I started a load once we got home. After watching some television, I was super tired so I headed to bed around 9 pm and Matt followed soon after.

I woke up around 10:50 pm to use the bathroom - nothing out of the ordinary. As I was walking back to the bedroom, I felt something dripping and my first thought was that I was still peeing so I sat back down and realized I had no control over the trickle coming out. I sat there for about 5 minutes scared to death trying to wrap my brain around what was happening and I just kept thinking over and over again that I am only 36 weeks along and it is too early. The trickle didn't stop, so I grabbed bunch of toilet paper and headed toward the bedroom to wake Matt. I had to shake his leg a little and I leaned forward and told him that my water broke. He woke up but thought I was joking. When he looked down and realized that I wasn't joking, he shot up and immediately went downstairs to grab our cellphones. I went back to the bathroom and called my doctors office and then my mom. As instructed by the on-call physician, we packed up and headed to the hospital. I was not prepared so my packing was hurried and lacking - let's just say it was a good thing we lived within miles of the hospital.

We checked in at the hospital at 11:45 pm. I was wheeled upstairs to Labor & Delivery and placed in a triage room. Before I could even sit on the bed, a nurse came in and informed me that I was going to a full room because, and I quote, "you have passed the wet pants test". Did I mention that the steady trickle of fluid didn't stop for hours and hours?

We got to the room. I got into a gown. They inserted the IV tube (after two failed attempts and a new nurse, the third time was a charm - both nurses were quick to tell me what good veins I had.. imagine that). They hooked me up to the pulse oximeter, blood pressure cuff, and fetal monitors. We were instructed on how to use the television remote. When we were finally alone, Matt and I just looked at each other in scared disbelief that this was it and this baby would be delivered within the next 24 hours... no matter what... whether we were ready or not... no doubt about it... we were in shock. Was this really happening or was this just a dream?!? (warning: Once in my hospital room, I lost all sense of time because the clock in the room had not been adjusted from daylight savings time and I was confused the entire time about what the actual time was. I was too tired to try to figure out the real time.)

My mother-in-law arrived in the next hour or so. I spoke with my mom on the phone some and she relayed all information to my dad. I dilated to 4 cm naturally, but they started Pitocin because it was my first pregnancy. I was a little apprehensive about this until the nurse explained that it was standard procedure, especially since my water had broken. I spoke with the anesthesiologist about my options and the risks of an Epidural. I knew early on that natural wasn't the way for me and I would have an Epidural. I was totally caught off guard when I was informed that a catheter was necessary once the Epidural was administered. I had no clue and this really freaked me out. I almost changed my mind about it, but decided it was best in the long run. I felt some pain with the early contractions - basically like super strong menstrual cramps, but not intolerable. I was given Demerol to tide me over until the Epidural. That was a great feeling until I got nauseous. I was given Phenergan to ease the queasiness caused by the Demerol.

After a while of dozing off and drinking water and breathing through the contractions, it was time for the Epidural. My nurse was great holding me steady and talking me through the process. I am terrified of needles so it was a little scary for me. During the process, I felt super sharp pressure pains on my right side, which I verbalized to the Anesthesiologist. Whatever he did would later cause my right leg to stay numb for hours longer than anything else. Once the Epidural kicked in, I never felt another contraction.

I just took it easy watching the contractions on the monitor and chatting with Matt and my mother-in-law. I stayed 4 cm dilated for a number of hours with no progression, but jumped up to 10 cm pretty quickly. Around noon the nurse announced it was time to push. They called the physician who came quite a while later. I pushed for approximately one hour. The whole time I was thinking there is no way this baby is coming out and was fully expecting the physician to announce that an emergency C-section was needed because my pushing skills were lacking. Everyone told me I was doing great, but it just lasted a lot longer and was a lot harder than I ever imagined. They make it look so easy on television. I never imagined that the pushing lasted that long. At this point, I cannot imagine a natural childbirth.

At 1:20 pm, Will came out, let out a few cries, calmed down and took in the world with his eyes wide open. Matt got to cut the cord, not once, but twice. While I was being stitched up, Will was examined and cleaned up. Matt came back and forth between us taking photos of him and telling me how precious he was. When it was time, it was wonderful to finally hold him in my arms. As tired as I was, I couldn't have been happier. Even though he was born four weeks early, he was perfectly healthy and that was all that mattered. We were in love with him instantly!

The biggest surprise about this experience was how Matt reacted and how enthusiastic and supportive he became in the delivery room. It was a side of him I had never seen and I was pleasantly surprised. My friends joke that they were bummed they never got to see me super pregnant - to the waddling, really uncomfortable, ready to get it over with stage. Overall, Will's birth was a wonderful experience all around and I wouldn't change anything about it!

Let me know if you have any questions!


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