OK, I'm going to try to recall all the amazing things that happened the day Olivia was born. Keep in mind much of it is a blur and also keep in mind it may be a bit graphic so you may want to skip this post unless you're, well, me in a couple of months or years ;)
In the wee hours of the morning on the 28th of December I sat up in bed like a shot. I felt something a little weird that made me wonder if my water was breaking. No gush, no whoosh of water, just something different enough to get me wondering. So I went to the bathroom and upon further review decided that no, this was just some other lovely part of being pregnant, but not the breaking of water. So back to sleep I go. When we woke up for real I was still experiencing this strange new feeling, so decided to call the hospital to find out if it could possibly be water breaking. They really couldn't tell me much, just that if I wanted to know I would have to come in. I got the feeling that once again it wasn't my water. But, just to get another opinion, I called my OB office. The sweet lady on the phone basically told me that I would know and that this was probably indeed something different, called, (earmuffs) the mucus plug coming out. (lovely, I know.) Keep in mind we are 11 days from due date, so imagine my delight in thinking I might get to experience this for almost 2 more weeks! Anyway, about our business we went. All the while Jeff is being great by encouraging me that things are normal and that there is nothing to worry about.
I had been wanting to put the carseat in the car for several days, so that afternoon we decided to get it done. Jeff expertly installed the car seat base while I tried to get the nifty mirror adjusted so we could see the baby from the rear view. I sat down in the front seat to adjust the rear view and check the angles, which just weren't working, in case you wanted to know. Then I stood up from the car and Jeff said "um, I think your water broke." What? I was so embarrassed! I thought I must have wet my pants or something because once again I didn't feel a rush of water at all. But hello, I was WET! YIKES! Jeff decided to call the other swim coach to let her know we were going to the hospital to see if I needed to check in. This was about 2:30 in the afternoon. So, with a VERY skeptical mind, I rushed around trying to finish packing my overnight bag, remember what things I might need, getting Cade (who was playing video games) and hop in the car. On the ride there I kept thinking "they are just going to send us home, there is no way I'm going to go into labor, that was not my water breaking." Oh, and I was also thinking, "wait! I didn't get to fix my hair or makeup!" Yep, I was worried about how I would look in pictures after the baby was born. Nice. Vain, much? (As it turns out, I don't think any amount of makeup or curling irons could have made a difference after that long night!)
So we arrive at the hospital and I tell the nice women at the info desk that "we're here to see if my water broke." Haha, I wonder if they were rolling their eyes in their minds. So up to the birth center triage we go. A sweet nurse takes care of us while we wonder and wait for the test. And as you should have guessed, my water DID break! We learned it could take many hours from that point, so Jeff decided to take Cade back home where he could comfortably enjoy his video games instead of being bored in the hospital. In the meantime they moved me to the birthing room and a new nurse took over. (I loved ALL of our nurses. I wish I could remember their names. They were really all wonderful!)
Jeff got back with some dinner for himself from Subway and shortly thereafter I was given Pitocen to start the contractions. And let me tell you, those contractions came on pretty fast and pretty hard. OUCH. They were about 3-5 minutes apart and getting stronger each time. I was becoming miserable! I asked the nurse when I could get the epidural and she said basically any time I wanted it. I think it was somewhere around 8-9:30 that I got the epidural. Of course the anesthesiologist was with another patient when I wanted it, (tell him to hurry!, I said) so they gave me some sort of pain meds in the meantime. The didn't make the contractions hurt less, but they helped me not focus on them as much in between. I felt a little loopy at first, I think. When the anesthesiologist came in he asked if I had any questions. I was already crying from the pain, but I was super nervous about the whole process, so I bawled out "am I going to get paralyzed?" (don't ask me why I thought that, but it was my biggest fear about the epidural.) He was pretty much all business and he answered "no, only about 1 in 400,000 have something like that happen." Really? You want to tell me that? Because of course I'M going to be the 400 thousandth!!! In any case, away we went with the epidural plan. First the numbing shot, then the insertion of the port (I think that's what it was called) that would allow the blessed pain numbing meds to me. It took a bit for it to take effect, but when it did, ah, heaven. Let's just say I have a low pain tolerance! I was still emotionally worked up and so the sweet nurse asked what was making me cry. Basically, I had NO idea what I was doing. She said "OK, let's walk through it." So she told me what to expect as far as pushing, counting, resting, etc. It felt good to have an idea of what I was supposed to do!
Soon the numbness was too much. I've heard there are some women who are only numb at the abdomen area, but my whole lower body was numb, especially my left side. I really hated that feeling. I could still move my right leg a bit, but it was as if my left leg was dead weight. Don't get me wrong, though, I'll take dead weight over pain. I watched the monitor to figure out when I was having contractions, but soon I could feel the pressure myself, and would tell the nurse and Jeff when I needed to push so the could hold my legs. I started pushing at 10:14pm and it was rough! Jeff was an awesome coach and counter. He was really encouraging and sweet. Pushing didn't hurt because of the epidural, but it was really difficult. Sometimes my face would hurt and that's when the nurse told me I wasn't doing it quite right. She would also tell me when I was, which was helpful. After about 25 minutes she called in the doctor. I was so happy to have run into her in the hall when I was checking in and she was my actual OB! I had a 1 in 5 chance of having her deliver the baby since I go to a group practice, and I was really hoping it would be her because I really liked her, and it was! So in she came and we pushed for 20 more minutes until Olivia was born at 11:00pm. I found out later the doc had to intervene a bit because I just couldn't get poor little girl out and her blood pressure was starting to drop. I'm glad I didn't know that at the time!
I saw Olivia as she was lifted up toward me and they handed her to me and I just kept saying "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh" through tears, looking back and forth from Jeff to Olivia. I honestly can't remember much after that. They took her back to get her pinked up, weight her and measure her (7 lb, 9 oz, 20 inches long), dried her off, then brought her back to nurse. She did great! Then off she went with Jeff for her bath and I have no idea what I did. The next 36 hours are a blur of nurses pushing on my belly and making me want to punch them in the face, nursing, crying, trying to sleep, eating, crying, bawling (me, not Olivia, although she did her share, too) and so on. I'm really thankful for all the nurses we had, each and every one of them was so sweet. I sometimes can't believe we did it. It seems like a million years ago, and yet it was only 2 months ago. What a little miracle!
I'm sure I'm forgetting quite a few details, but hopefully I remember the best and most important parts. And each day since then has been quite an adventure with our love for our daughter growing exponentially!