Come 4 am, I had had contractions for a solid hour, 5 minutes apart, lasting at least 1 minute. Hello, first time baby = we don't know any better-that means go time! We took the birthing class at the hospital we delivered at, and that's what our instructor said to do. So, I got up, showered, shaved my legs, curled my hair and put on some makeup through contractions (I know, ridiculous). I had vacuumed Friday because I was certain "no baby of mine was coming home to a house without carpet lines", so Daniel did some light clean up so that we weren't coming home from the hospital with a newborn to a messy house.
We got to the hospital right at shift change, about 6:45. We were put in triage and I was "checked"- 90% effaced and 2 cm. I has been 2cm and 80% at my doctor's appointment that week. I had an hour to make cervical change and if so, we'd be admitted. After an hour, I had made it to a 3 and was fully effaced, so the nurse exclaimed, "we are having a baby today" and that she was going to let the OB on call know and prep our room.
I was in tears from excitement. I couldn't believe the day had come and was so grateful my body decided to do this without having to be induced. I called my Mom and let her know her grandbaby was coming today and that we'd call back later with updates.
The nurse quickly returned, obviously frustrated. The OB wanted me to make more progress than what I had done and then she'd decide after if it was time to admit us. I had another hour to make cervical progress. We walked the halls for a good hour and a half and my contractions got far more intense (so I thought at the time, how ignorant I was!) and were 4 minutes apart. We went back in to the room to be rechecked, and I thought surely things had moved along. No. No change. We had to go home. We got in the car and I called my mom in tears. All of my excitement had turned into fear, because I didn't know when we were supposed to come back if my contractions were already 4 minutes apart. In my hormonal state I completely took us being sent home as personal, so I started crying even harder because I thought the people at the hospital just didn't like me and didn't want to help me. I mean, what? Am I too ugly? Too fat? You think my baby is going to be ugly?
By this time it was about 11:30 and we went and ate some Planet Sub for lunch. We returned home, having decided we would return to the hospital at 3pm for another check (as our nurse suggested) as long as my contractions didn't stop. I did everything they told me- relaxed, changed positions often, walked, got on my exercise ball, etc. My contractions stayed at 4 minutes, with a 3-minute one peppered in every once in a while. They were getting more intense, so off the hospital we went at 3.
Triage. No change.
We were assigned an -ahem- rather inexperienced nurse who couldn't attach my monitors to find Lillie Kate's heartbeat or my contractions. She seemed to also be rather confused as to the anatomy of my nether regions, because she was stabbing my crotch in the wrong places trying to find "where to check me" if you catch my drift. She said I was still where I was this morning and had an hour to make cervical change again.
So, off we go through the halls. By this time, my contractions were 3 minutes apart and I couldn't walk, talk, or do anything through them. Sounds good, right?
No. We get back to be checked again before shift change at 6:45 and I was apparently "less dilated and effaced" than I had been that morning and at my doctor's appointment that week. I didn't know that was possible, but whatever. Because they couldn't get the monitor to pick up my contractions, neither her or the night nurse coming on believed me when I was having contractions and they sent us home again. They gave me some pill that was supposed to "calm down my uterus so that I could get some sleep", which I didn't want to take but by that time, if I could really sleep, I didn't care. I could deal with what the next day brought when it came. Contractions kept coming closer and closer together, and by the time we were home at 9pm, they were 2 minutes apart, growing constant with no breaks, and I was in back labor.
Okay, I always thought back labor sounded easier than having normal labor pains up front.
There are no words to describe back labor. None. I had no breaks in between contractions, just constant pain. I tried all of the things they told me to do to cope with the pain, but I felt like someone had sledge-hammered my entire pelvis and any time I moved it, it was breaking all over again. I showered, completely over having makeup or curled hair for my baby girl.
I remember being at my lowest point, sitting on the toilet because I couldn't figure out what else to do, bawling, begging Daniel to just help me. I felt like destitute. I felt like I was in need and no one wanted to help and my poor husband was almost in tears from helplessness. Finally Daniel called the OB, and she called back saying we were welcome to come back in but if I didn't make more change in an hour she'd be sending us back home. This is getting personal and if she delivers my baby, she is getting pooped on. I will make it happen.
So, we made it back to the hospital and there is some freak woman in triage who was throwing a fit because she was 20 weeks, had an ear infection, her baby was completely fine and she wanted to be admitted so she could get IV pain meds.
For an ear infection, people.
Obviously this is not going to happen for her. So, she requested to see every single nurse, charge nurse, the on call OB-evvvvveryone- to chew them out and call them names I won't repeat (okay, so I may have liked her calling the OB xyz since this doctor obviously hated us and wouldn't let us stay. I'm human, get over it). Since she was doing this, no nurses were available to hook me up and check to see if my cervix was on board.
So, imagine this lady yelling over an ear ache, whilst Daniel and I are on the other side of the curtain moaning, crying, breathing, and making noises I didn't know I could make from pain. Finally, someone came in for us. I remember telling the nurse that she'd have to hook these monitors up on me while I was standing because I couldn't move my pelvis enough to get in the bed. I looked up once she was done and my contractions were constant. No waves. Me: Wow! This baby must be coming asap! Because, you know, I always hear babies come when your contractions are that close together.
I somehow made it into the bed to get checked and I was barely a 4. As in, maybe 3.5.
That's it. Throw me down the stairs and kill me because I am done with life. I just knew we were on our way back home again. Then, some blessed, blessed woman took pity on us, said we had had enough and she was sneaking us into a room so I could get some Demerol and rest. Every time a nurse came into my room, she had to tell them not to tell the OB I was there so that I didn't get kicked out. I didn't think the Demerol did anything, but I think I was in and out of it. I had been in the room for maybe 20 minutes and, at 11:30, my water broke. Hallelujah! Can't send me home now, suckas.
The pain got slightly worse, but I think I was in so much pain at that point that I couldn't distinguish a difference. My epidural was in by 12 and working by 12:15 and Helloooooo sweet relief. I must have had the most perfect epidural of all time, because I could move everything, lift my legs and butt, but felt no pain. The relief was so great that I was super loopy (or maybe it was the Demerol)- doing the "hump day" Geico commercial, telling Daniel his sister was swimming with sharks and we needed to save her, quoting Cinderella and begging my nurse to curl my hair. I was terrified of the catheter and kept bugging the nurse to ask if she had taped it "real gooood" to my leg or if it had been ripped out. I am still scrubbing tape residue off my leg 4 weeks later.
We got some rest for about an hour or so, but Daniel's snoring woke me up and I remember thinking, if I am not sleeping, neither is he. I tried yelling to wake him up for 10 minutes, but it didn't work and I finally had to get my nurse to come in and wake him up for me. He jumped up to my side, concerned the baby was coming.
I need you to get me my makeup and hold up my compact so I can put it on.
At 2:45 am.
Despite my begging for someone to curl my hair, it didn't happen. We hung out until about 7 when shift change happened and I was rechecked and at 9cm. The monitor was only picking up contractions every 7-8 minutes and they were very weak, so they were concerned I'd need some pitocin. I didn't- somehow everything was doing what it needed to be doing. The OB kept saying she just didn't understand what my body was doing. Me neither, lady, but get ready to get pooped on (Actually, I really liked her and she was super sweet during delivery) (and I didn't poop or fart during delivery. Three cheers for me).
The nurse prepped everything around 7:45 for me to "practice" push while she stretched out my perineum, and Lillian was crowning after 2 pushes. The OB and some other nurses rushed to set everything up, and I only had to push through 2 more contractions, but since they were so far apart we had to wait for them.
And then it happened. Sunday, October 20th, at 8:23 in the morning. She was born, and we saw her.
Her hair, her face, her arms, tummy, and legs. She cried right away, and stopped as soon as she was on my chest. She was perfect. We held her and we bawled our eyes out, and I thought My Lord, sweet Savior. He has redeemed our brokenness and walked us through it all. He used our trials to teach us so much, and we finally were able to see, touch, smell the dream of our daughter. He watched and formed this little girl for all this time, gave her Daniel's eyes and my nose and lips. He provided for her and protected her from so much already. So undeserving, I thought, of such joy and love for this little girl, to get to be her Mommy and enjoy all the ups and downs of parenting. To get to wake up in the middle of the night to feed her, to lose sleeping worrying about her skinned knee or her knowledge of Christ and His Resurrection. To get to see parts of ourselves in her and know she is ours for always.
Lillie Kate, our sweet girl, you are a dream. Such a sweet baby you are. We are absolutely in love with you and are so grateful you are ours. We pray for you every single day that you will grow up healthy and happy, that we will be a close family, and that above all you will find your identity in Christ. Life will be hard for you, no doubt in that, but we will be there for you every step of the way.
We love you, sweet girl!