On Monday, January 21 I was 39 weeks, 3 days pregnant. Trevor and I headed to Mankato for our 39 week checkup. I was 3-4cm dilated and baby was not palpable (fully engaged) which Dr. Carlson considered to be good progress. She asked if I wanted her to strip my membranes and I said sure, figuring it couldn't hurt but honestly not having much faith. Dr. Carlson told me it typically get labor going within 48 hours for 50% of women.
We headed home, ate lunch and I walked a mile on the treadmill with Rowdy. I laid down for a bit while Trevor worked on the basement then I helped a little by painting some of the trim. We had spaghetti for supper. Throughout painting and eating I was having some contractions. I didn't know if they were Braxton Hicks contractions or real ones. Everyone said over and over "you'll know" which was incredibly annoying because I kept thinking "really? and if I don't??" Many women said the real thing felt like really bad menstrual cramps, but I realized that's relative. I don't get menstrual cramps, so my Braxton Hicks felt like "bad menstrual cramps" to me. Anyway, I took a bath Monday night thinking that might stop them if it were BH contractions and, if not, a little relaxation wouldn't hurt! Unfortunately, they stopped during the bath. I went to bed around 9:30.
I woke up to go to the bathroom a couple times...around 11 something and 1 something. I thought maybe I felt a little funny at 1, but went back to sleep. I woke up again at 2:30 feeling crampy which, of course, got me a little anxious. I realized it was happening in waves and more uncomfortable than the BH I had been having so I decided to try to time them while playing games of Bejeweled in between. I couldn't exactly figure out a clear end to each contraction, but I could tell they were averaging 6-8 minutes apart. About 3:15-3:30 I felt a pinch with one of them then the tiniest trickle, so I got up to go to the bathroom. I wanted to make sure my bladder was always empty so I could be more confident if it was water breaking or pee! I laid back down and kept timing a bit. I was pretty sure that was a slight water break/leak and Trevor doesn't wake up easily so I thought I should get him up to give him some time before I figured we would be leaving. Our instructions were to head out when contractions were coming every 5 minutes for an hour. I woke Trevor up and said, "you should probably get up now," and he said, "why? is it 6:30?" I replied with something like, "no, but I'm having contractions." Trevor perked up a little, still sleepy, but committed to waking up. I showed him my contraction timer and he tried to make sense of it, but I quickly needed it back to time another. After that, I got up to go to the bathroom and when I did I leaked a little more that dripped down my leg and I was about as sure as one could be that wasn't pee. By then, the contractions were getting more intense but still manageable for sure.
I called labor and delivery and they told me to head over. That was the right answer because I was going to go anyway :) Trevor was still a bit fuzzy so he just asked what I needed him to do. I said to start the car and put our hospital bags loaded, so he did. We both kind of walked around the house frantically for a minute, Rowdy was a little confused. Shortly after 4am (Tuesday, January 22 now) we headed for Mankato to the hospital. When we left, the contractions weren't quite 5 minutes apart yet, but with the water break we were still in good shape to go. By the time we were outside Owatonna, they were 3-4 minutes apart, totally skipped the 5 minutes apart for an hour part! I would tell Trevor when I was having a contraction so he would be quiet, but I didn't want to specifically tell him how many minutes apart they were because I didn't want him to worry about it, just drive! Honestly, I was getting nervous for how fast the contractions switched to 3-4 minutes apart. Occasionally I even had a couple that were 2.5 minutes apart and they were definitely getting more intense. I was really nervous I would miss the epidural window (decided for sure at that point I wanted one!) and a tad nervous she would just decide she was coming before we got to the hospital.
We made it to the hospital a little after 5am-Trevor dropped me off and parked the car. The woman at the desk had me sign something in the middle of a contraction (to her credit, they were coming so frequently there was hardly a time I wasn't having a contraction). I'm still not positive what it was, something about releasing records to insurance I think. They had me sit down while someone from labor and delivery came to get me. Slowest-wheelchair-ride-ever. I immediately told her, "for the record, I want the epidural, not sure who I'm supposed to tell!" Once in my room, they quickly got me hooked up to the monitors and said something like, "wow, those are close together-you're not getting much of a break!" The nurse said she had to swab me to test if the fluid I felt was amniotic fluid or not then checked my cervix. I was a stretchy 5cm dilated at that point. If it was amniotic fluid, they could get me started on fluids to prepare for the epidural. If it wasn't, they'd have to monitor my contractions for an hour to see if it was epidural time or not. Thankfully, it didn't take long to confirm the swab was amniotic fluid so she got me going on my IV fluids to prep for the epidural. The contractions were starting to get pretty intense and still very close together, but I had to get through at least half a bag or fluids before the anesthesiologist could come. Luckily, the nurse called the doctor on call to get the orders for the epidural so we could be ready for it ASAP. I was really having to breathe through the contractions and grab the rails of the bed to get by. I was so excited to see the anesthesiologist! He went through all the risks of the procedure and how it worked and all I heard was "blah blah blah I'm wasting time." I was like "yep, yep, sure, fine, let's do this!" I had to get through a contraction that had started then he prepped my back. Another one started so he had to wait again. After that one, he quickly got it in and said I should feel some relief soon and much more as it kicked in. I think I got through 3 more contractions then they started to feel better but I quickly realized there was a patch on my lower left abdomen that still felt completely normal (aka painful). I told the nurses and after a couple more contractions they called the anesthesiologist back. He gave me a boost which helped a lot and pretty quickly! Trevor could tell the difference in my demeanor. I could feel very mild pressure in my lower right abdomen during the peak of a contraction, so I wold excitedly ask the nurses "am I having a contraction??" since they could see them on the monitor. Whenever I would ask they would confirm that I was right at the peak of one which was awesome because I could just barely feel it. They let me hang out and enjoy the epidural for a bit and told me Dr. Carlson would be in to check on me when she came in for the day. I didn't sleep, but I was certainly able to relax and rest a little-woo hoo!
When Dr. Carlson came in to check me she said I was 9.8cm dilated (you can push at 10, so very close!). They said I would likely feel the urge to push and the nurses would help me through it when I got that feeling. Dr. Carlson told me it's very common for first time moms to push for 2 hours and the nurses would call her when we were getting close to actual delivery time. When Dr. Carlson checked me, Trevor got to take a peek and could see baby's head about the size of a silver dollar. I never felt the urge to push, but after a while the nurses said they wanted to start with some practice pushes. They explained they would have me do 3 pushes per contraction, deep breath in, breathe out, deep breath in, hold it while pushing for 10 seconds, breathe out, quick deep breath in, hold it while pushing for 10 seconds, breathe out, quick deep breath in, hold it while pushing for 10 seconds, breathe out, then relax. They said if I needed a break we could skip a contraction. Once they could see a contraction building on the monitor, they got me ready, grabbing my knees, then it was go time. We did one contraction worth of pushing (3 pushes) and one of the nurses said to the other they thought they should call Dr. Carlson to come sooner than later, so she did just that. The next contraction came quickly and they had me do the 3 pushes again. After that second set of pushes, they told me they were going to have me take a break and skip the next contraction and I got the feeling baby was coming sooner than later. After that second set of pushes (6 total pushes) they had Trevor peek again and she was definitely crowning and ready to come! After the skipped contraction, Dr. Carlson was on her way and they got me ready for pushing again. One of the nurses was getting everything prepped for the doctor and the other was helping me. She called for the other nurse and I could really tell by the look on her face it was go time. The next contraction built up and it was push time-I pushed once and baby came out completely! I looked down and all I could think was, "holy crap, there's a baby on my bed!" About 20 seconds later, Dr. Carlson walked in and heard baby crying already. The look on her face was priceless-she definitely didn't expect things to go that quickly for me! She sat right down and they handed baby too me, all bloody and yucky still, but perfect as could be. (Oh, at some point late in the game they put the oxygen mask on me just to be on the safe side, and I don't have a clue when they took it off, no biggie.) The nurses wiped her up while she was on my chest, no name yet-we wanted a good look at her, and Dr. Carlson stitched me up (I had a 2nd degree tear, not bad). Out came the placenta while I was busy making googly eyes at baby. I did feel a big relief when baby came out and again when the placenta came out, like when you finally get out a really big poop! They let me hold her for a while, Trevor and I got a good look at her and decided on Myra (Trevor randomly threw that name out there a while back and we were pretty sure that's the name we'd pick but wanted to meet her first). Her middle name is Taylor, which was my grandma's maiden name. They let me hold her for a while then we gave breast feeding a shot which wasn't too productive but we tried. Then it was Trevor's turn. They said they'd let him hold her for a while then they would do her measurements/birth stats. He said he could hold forever so they should probably just get the stats done now :) She was 7 pounds, 11.4 ounces - 21.5" long at birth.
If I think of more details that are relevant to her actual birth story, I will come back and add them, but I think that's all the important details ;) Oh, and our kid rocks.