I'll back up 30something hours.
I'd had so much pre-labor for the last 3 weeks of my pregnancy, by the time real-deal contractions started late Saturday afternoon, I was purposely ignoring any and all symptoms. They always came to "close but no cigar". After a while I recognized that these contractions were continually coming and decided to risk disappointment to time them. For a few hours they were 3-5 minutes apart, but not very painful. I would say more "uncomfortable". Still, never having birthed a human before, I didn't know what to do or what these regular contractions meant. I called my doctor's office and the doctor on call told me I'd better come in.
Jeff and I flipped -- TO THE HOSPITAL!
Two hours later, we were back at home. The contractions weren't strong enough to dilate me much. I was so mad I made cinnamon rolls.
We continued tracking the dumb contractions over the next day. I was going to go to church but my parents said, "What?? Do you want your water to break while you lead the Sacrament hymn??" Point taken.
The contractions were definitely getting worse as the day went on, but after Saturday night's fruitless hospital party, I was not going to be sent home twice. I was waiting for something fool proof. Good thing that at about 10:30, in the middle of watching The Blind Side, POP! went my water!
Then we really flipped. I was relieved that this was clear cut, we WERE going to have that baby, and we hopped in the car again with stacks of towels. I texted to family, "My water broke; here we go!" My little brother texted back a line from Home Alone, "This is it, don't get scared now." It cracked me up. That was the last time I laughed or smiled for a while -- by the time we were on Crown Valley Parkway the contractions had KICKED INTO HIGH GEAR. Jeff took the toll road, and since there was no traffic on a Sunday night, we made it to the hospital in about 15 minutes. Whenever we would come up behind a slow car on Newport Blvd, a street with a light every 4 feet, I was yelling, "GOAROUNDGOAROUNDGOAROUND!!!"
We got to the valet at the front of the hospital since the contractions were murdering me. Wouldn't you know it, there was NOBODY at the valet desk. We ditched the car and Jeff helped me hobble inside at a quick pace. (He later went back and gave the keys to the Valet.)
We got to labor and delivery and at the nurse's station Jeff explained what was going on. I was able to squeak out, "Can I officially request my epidural NOW?" The nurses chuckled, "No sweetie, we have to check you first and get your labs. Now are you sure your water broke?" Flames, flames on the side of my head, heaving breaths....
So after I was able to convince them that my water had ruptured, and they found me to be dilated to a 4, they sent off blood work to the lab so I could get my much requested epidural. So began the worst hour+ of my life. The contractions were pulling my body in 50 different directions, and there was nothing I could really do to alleviate them. I was having "labor shakes", throwing up, I had a 30 second break in between contractions, I was sobbing, begging Jeff for a tranquilizer, basically the hottest of all the messes. So much for my dignity and composure. I think I was 30 times worse than any overly dramatizing actress in any made for tv movie. But do you know what? It hurt that bad.
After a little bit of heckling from my main stud man Jeff, my fantastic nurse went to go get the lab results herself in the name of speed. I was dilated to a 7 when Dr. Leighton Smith, Anesthesiologist EXTRAORDINAIRE, most blessed man, came breezing through the door. I let out a "THANK GOODNESS!" He said, "You must be in labor!" He gave his disclaimer spiel and I said, "Sounds great, shoot me up!" Even though I was in the middle of a contraction and shaking, he plugged me in and 2 contractions later, I was 3 sheets to the wind, lovin life, and high as a kite. Could not feel a thing.
About 20 minutes after the epidural of epidurals, baby's heart rate was dropping. As the nurse went about trying to see why, she suddenly gasped, "Oh! It's because you're fully dilated and he's right there ready to come!" OK!
They had us rest for about an hour (since anyone within 2 miles of my room would have known I'd blown out all my energy). I knew that unless the baby took until the next morning to come, I would not be seeing my OBGYN for the delivery. But the on-call Dr. Howe came in, and we immediately felt great about her. She took charge, was very personable, all flags forward.
I'd always thought that pushing sounded like the most evil part of labor. Because of the epidural, it didn't hurt, it was just odd to push a muscle you can't feel. I started pushing at 3:05 a.m.. After what only seemed like 10 minutes (it was really 50), more people came into the room and things started happening very fast. They were detaching the end of my bed, moving things here and there, getting into position, plugging things in, putting on caps, it felt like an Indy 500 team changing tires. I could tell by the sudden jaw drop on Jeff's face that we were close, and then suddenly there was a blanket on my chest and...
I couldn't stop saying, "Oh my gosh!" Jeff and I kept looking at each other with the truest expression of "WHOAH!" He was here! Love, love, love. There wasn't anything to compare.
And ever since then he's been the sweetest one. My heart regularly swells looking at him, but the swell stays a while. I love my little family in a way that I could never really describe.