I was 37 weeks along and had been dilated to a 3 and almost 100% effaced for a week. Experienced and timed contractions for a week. Had a backache for a week. Was in anxious limbo for a week. Friday came and was different. I was nauseous and the contractions were more even (though not painful). Jack and I ate lunch at The Bread Bowl (when you are in labor you get to pick wherever you want to eat). I had a banana and nutella sandwich, to the amusement of my husband and the owner. It was one of the best things I had ever tasted. Anything would have tasted good though because I knew my girl was coming soon. We had planned on seeing a movie and I told Jack to be prepared to leave it early just in case; and we were ready, the trunk had our hospital bags in and everything hubby needed for work.
I was uncomfortable through the movie but not overly so. At home that evening I experienced an 8-minute long contraction (again, not painful). My phone and it's stopwatch feature had become a permanent fixture in my hand that week and I started timing for the upteenth time. 6 minutes apart, then 7, then 5, then 6. It didn't matter, I knew something was different and that we should go. I waited an hour and then shouted up the stairs to where Jack was working. "Babe, it's time go. She is going to come tonight." He asked if I was positive because he knew how much I wanted to avoid a false labor at the hospital. I told him I was and he changed and gathered our last-minute things. The ride to the hospital was surreal. I knew that the next time I would travel the road by our house it would be with our daughter and everything would be different.
The nurse looked skeptical when I strolled in and told her I was in labor. By the time I had changed into a gown, laid in a bed in triage, and was hooked up to fetal monitors, the pains were stronger. The nurse checked me and said I was now dilated to a 5. I started bleeding a lot and everyone had to reassure my husband that it was fine. The nurse asked if I would like her to call the anesthesiologist for the epidural. I told her no. I wanted to experience the feeling before going numb. They then moved me to labor and delivery, but I don't remember that part at all. The contractions got closer together, about every 30 seconds, and became so intense that it was impossible not to make noise. Soon after the hard contractions hit I had started shaking uncontrollably, and couldn't stop (until after she was born). The pain was like menstrual cramps times ten, with a thousand-pounds of pressure on my lower spine. I found that it helped me to hold my breath a little through each one, and also Jack found a spot on my back to press hard with his knuckles that lessened the pain. This went on for a couple of hours, and by the time the nurse's anesthetist arrived, I was at an 8.
It was one of the hardest things I've done, having to sit up, curl over, and hold still to open up a spot for the needle. He numbed me with smaller shots and then put the epidural tube in. I felt a pressure and then a burning go down my back, nothing too bad....then pure bliss. The doctor then came in and broke my water with what looked like a large crochet hook. Soon after the epidural I felt the pain lessen in my right side, twenty minutes later my left side. He had done a good job because I could still move (though sluggishly) and experience a little pressure, but could now relax and anticipate our big night. We were told to take it easy and get some sleep because it would be a long wait now, especially with this being our first. Husband made a McDonald's run to make sure he wouldn't get hungry later. While he was gone, the baby got harder to monitor and her heart rate was dipping with contractions so they put me on oxygen. When D got back and saw the mask on my face he freaked out a little. Later he told me that he had been driving back and thinking about what if something happened to me. Needless to say, the oxygen mask wasn't the best thing to see upon stepping into the room. Everything was fine though, and the oxygen helped babygirl.
The nurse came back in to check on things and was shocked to find that I was dilated to a full 10 and ready to push. She told the doctor (ours was out of town so we got Dr Cloward from his office- she was fantastic). Before I knew it or had a chance to prepare much in my mind, I was gripping my legs and pushing. The setting was not at all how I had pictured. It was very intimate, with Jack holding one foot, a nurse on the other, and Dr Cloward ready to bring her out. I pushed as hard as I could and within a few sets of 3, she was out. It was an out of body experience, having our baby daughter set on my chest, all slimy and skinny. I couldn't believe I had made her. Jack cut the cord, and she snuggled in under my gown for some skin-to-skin contact. She didn't cry, just looked straight at me with her big, navy blue eyes. As unreal as this was, I felt that she knew me and recognized my voice.
Our little Olivia weighed in at 7lbs 5oz and 18" with dark, long, curly hair. She has my nose, Jack's lips, and my under-eye creases. I have never seen anything more beautiful in my whole life and am constantly amazed at this body that Heavenly Father created that is able to make and give birth to something as perfect as my baby girl. I can't stop smelling her sweet head and touching her soft skin. I feel so blessed to be able to take care of her every need...Needless to say, we are completely in love and in awe of her every minute of the day.