On Tuesday, August 16, I was irritated. I was 40 weeks, 3 days pregnant, still feeling amazing, and seriously doubting if I was ever going to go into labor. It's amazing what was going through my mind... I was truly starting to question if I was even pregnant, or if this was just a huge practical joke and I had just put on some weight and appeared to be pregnant. That Monday, my boss had continued to be the best ever, and told me to have my cell phone close, but don't worry about logging in to work or doing anything work-related. So, I spent most of Tuesday watching The People's Court, Maury Povich, and cuddling with my dog.
Mr. D arrived home from work around 5:00, and we started dinner. Tacos. Never thought tacos would be my last dinner, but it ended up to be. For some reason, when we were doing our weekly grocery shopping the past Sunday, they were out of our regular taco seasoning (we pre-plan all of our dinners for the week... I know, it's a bit OCD, but it keeps us organized). So, we bought a new taco seasoning that ended up being SUPER spicy - which I didn't mind, but did it contribute to putting me into labor? Not sure. Anyway, around 6:30, a huge storm rolled through the Twin Cities area. Lots of rain, some thunder, lightning, and dark clouds. It passed within an hour or so. On top of the spicy tacos, could the storm have started labor? Again, not sure, but looking back, both serve as old wives' tales things that trigger contractions.
At 8:30 p.m, I felt a contraction. I was laying on one couch, and Mr. D on the other as we watched Teen Mom on MTV (yeah, I know... lame, but I am addicted). It was not my first contraction ever, so I really didn't pay a ton of attention to it - sure, it kind of hurt, but I had Braxton Hicks contractions since 20 weeks and real contractions since about week 34, so it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. By 9:00, I had consistently had contractions 4-7 minutes apart, lasting about a minute. Mr. D and I decided to go to bed and watch TV. I continued to have contractions until 11:00 - again, consistently timed and one minute in length. Mr. D, as sweet as he is, had to get up for work in the morning, so fell asleep around 11:00. Both of us were completely unfazed at this point... I truly thought they would go away and we'd be sticking with the original plan of induction on Sunday, August 21. Funny enough, it never really crossed my mind up until that point that I could really be in labor.
I tried to fall asleep around 11:30, but woke up every 5 minutes with a contraction. By midnight, they were more and more painful. I could always breathe through them, but my stomach was as hard as a rock and crunching into a ball laying in bed seemed to be the best position to get through the pain. I woke up Mr. D at 12:30, thinking, this has GOT to be labor. We called Labor & Delivery, and the kind nurse told me we should pack up and go into the hospital, especially since at this point I was overdue. I can't believe I did this, but I actually told her that I was going to wait awhile to see if the contractions would go away. I remember the nurse saying, "Are you SURE? From what you are telling me, you need to go in to the hospital because you are in labor." But I think I was in denial... I truly thought the contractions would stop, and I had a huge fear of going to the hospital and being told to go back home. I thanked her for her help and told her I would call her back if I decided to go in. Mr. D fell back asleep, and I continued laboring for the next 45 minutes (at this point, I was walking around the house, hunched over every time a contraction would start). I finally woke him up at 1:15 and said, "It's time."
Mr. D shot out of bed quicker than I had ever seen and started packing the last-minute items into our hospital bags. In the meantime, I showered, knowing that I wanted to do my hair and shave my legs, armpits, and you-know-where before the big show began. I can't believe I showered and shaved without falling over in pain, but somehow I did. I even got out of the shower, blow-dried my hair, and straightened it (I have pretty thick, long hair, and the drying-and-straightening process takes about 30 minutes). As I was using my blow dryer and straightener, I had to put each down about every 3 minutes so that I could walk fast back to my bed and sit down as a contraction would start. It felt like a TON of pressure and I felt like the baby was coming out as the contractions continued. I wasn't crying, but the pain was pretty bad... I am surprised I never shed tears with the amount of pain I was experiencing.
After my hair was as good as it was going to be and Mr. D had everything in the car, it was time to go. Except... our dog. The plan was for my in-laws, who live about 15 minutes away, to come to our house and get him whenever it was time. But, since it didn't seem that I was going into labor before our scheduled induction, they had went out of town to Wisconsin for one night. So - we called my parents, who live about 5 miles from the hospital and asked them to please meet us there.
The ride to the hospital was the longest ever. We left our house at about 2:00 a.m., and I contracted once every 3-4 minutes. And they were PAINFUL. My dog was sitting on Mr. D's lap and just staring at me... he totally knew I was in pain and didn't know how to make me feel better. We called Labor & Delivery again and told them that we were on our way. My Dad met us at the hospital, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and took our dog. Mr. D and I went through the Emergency entrance and went up to the Family Birth Center. We were escorted into an exam room and I was placed on two monitors - one to monitor baby's heartbeat (which, thankfully, throughout the entire labor and delivery process remained completely normal) and one to monitor my contractions.
I was given a cervical exam at about 2:30 a.m. I was thinking I was at LEAST 3 centimeters dilated, after all of the laboring I did at home. But, no... I wasn't dilated at ALL. I was so pissed at my body. There was NO WAY I could be in this much pain and have this many consistent contractions and NOT be in labor. The nurse had me stay on the exam table for an hour and continue to contract. She thought that I would progress and they would be able to admit me. Their "policy" is to only admit women who are at least 2, if not 3, centimeters dilated. At 3:30, when I was checked again and still at a ZERO, I just about started crying. The nurse could tell that I was definitely in labor, but not sure why I wasn't progressing. So, I was told to walk around the Family Birth Center for the next HOUR and come back to get checked again.
Mr. D and I slowly walked the most painful walk and longest period of my life... I was contracting every 2-4 minutes and they were STRONG. I almost threw up at least 10 times, and gripped the side of the wall every time I had a contraction. Poor Mr. D didn't know what to do, but was such a trooper... rubbing my back and literally holding me up when I thought I was going to collapse. As we were walking, I felt a wet glob fall down my right leg... totally thought it was KY jelly they used during the exam, but nope... it was my mucous plug. I thought I was going to die from the pain and thought for SURE I had progressed.
Around 4:45 a.m., the nurse checked me again and I was still not dilated at all. She actually asked if I had any procedures done to my cervix to hold it together, as she couldn't quite believe that nothing had happened either.
At 5:30, a Doctor from the group's practice came in. She checked me, and I had FINALLY dilated to a ONE (I wanted to scream, 'WTF?? ARE YOU SERIOUS???'). The decision was made to admit me... THANK THE LORD. The Doctor thought for sure that I would just progress from here and the baby would be here in no time.
I was officially laying in a labor room at 6:00 a.m. and was asked if I would like pain medication. "Hell, yes," I said, "Give me anything you got."
I was given an IV and some mild pain medicine right away, and the nurses said that, in looking at how quickly I was contracting (which usually means that I would be progressing quickly), they would recommend an Epidural sooner than later. So, at 8:05 a.m., I was given an Epidural. And it did not hurt a BIT... I had heard so many horror stories, but it seriously felt like a mosquito bite. Within 10 minutes, I was floating on cloud nine... no pain whatsoever. It was lovely. I couldn't feel anything from my belly button down to my toes, but I could care less. The medicines did make me sleepy, though, and I slept for the most of the day. I kept getting woken up by Doctors and Nurses who would come in to check me, but I was exhausted and couldn't have cared less.
They kept saying that I was progressing really slowly, but that the baby would be born anytime... certainly sometime that morning or early afternoon. But that didn't exactly happen...
Part Two of Max's Birth Story coming in the next couple days!