Parts of the birth are graphic - just a warning!
On January 15th at 5:38am I woke up to a "cramp". A mild, menstrual-like cramp. About 8 minutes later, another... and so on for about 1 hour. Then I wanted to get up and walk around. So I gently woke Neil and let him know the contractions MAY be starting. With surprisingly little panic, we both were up and making sure our bags were packed and we could be ready to go. Things SLOWLY progressed... until at about 2:00pm the contractions were 4-6 minutes apart and while I could deal with the pain, I had to stop and concentrate on breathing to do so. So, we called the hospital to see if we should come in. They said sure, but that the unit was FULL and they may have to send us home. We were there by 2:30pm and settled into as assessment suite.
It was labour starting and contractions were looking good. But I was only 2-3cm dilated ( I was 1.5-2cm the week before, in the doctor's office). And so after a shot of morphine and gravol., we were sent home. This? Repetitive... but I want the full story in one place! And it's my blog... so HA!
At 11:30pm we called and gave our status again. And they said more waiting at home - until there were 2-3 contractions in a 10 minute period and I couldn't breathe through the pain. Well, that time hit at about 1:20am on January 26th. I wanted to wait more - I didn't want to be sent home AGAIN. It was a strange mix of pride and fear of the disappointment of having to go home a second time. But Neil called the labour unit at the hospital and they said to come in. We were off!
The pain by then? Intense. Neil says he can't believe the wimpering sounds I made. And the strangest thing, I remember it hurt. I remember where the pains were. I remember what I did to make it through. But I can't really remember what the pain felt like. It's just a distant memory now... Motherhood hormones? They are amazing.
We make it to the hospital around 2am (again near shift change - a theme for this delivery). The nurse - I can't remember her name, assessed me. I was at 4cm (FINALLY) and was in active labour. They HAD to keep me! It took me 20+ hours to go from 2cm to 4cm. Ouch... The nurse noticed I was having a hard time with the pain, and an epidural was offered. I GRATEFULLY accepted. I was admitted, taken to our delivery room and settled in. By then? It was shift change and we had a new nurse. Mercy. She was a kind woman, with an ideal name for her chosen profession. She had been working on the unit since 1980. She had seen it ALL. And there was comfort in that. When Mercy went on break, another nurse took over. Corvette. Yes, her name was Corvette - but she went by Cora. She told the story, her mom wanted kids. Her dad wanted cars. The compromise? Kids with car names *grin* If she was a boy she would have been Harley.
The epidural... AH! The epidural. It made the labour bearable. The anesthesiologist, Dr Dupuis ,was a very kind and competent man. He came in, as quickly inserted the needle. And within about 10 minutes I could breathe, I could relax. And I realized that I had been tightening my uterus/cervix to deal with the pain. Which isn't conducive to dilating. Smart, maybe I am not. Once I was able to relax, I could feel the difference. This was about 3am, by the time the epidural was in.
Mercy found Neil a reclining chair, for him to put his feet up in and rest. It was peach Naugahyde from likely the dawn of time. The arm to recline it had broken off. It took all of Neil's strength to get it to lay back. It was, in a word, frightening! But it was our only option. Mercy didn't even know this, but if you pushed back hard enough, the recliner laid all the way down. We meant to get a picture, but forgot. Neil was given a pillow and that is where he crashed, as we waited for my body to dilate. And we were both able to get some sleep. Neil more than I, since nurses were always around and assessing. I was frankly amazed and how well he sleep in the torture chair.
At 445am, Dr Dupuis came in and gave me a top up on the epidural. By then, I was pretty numb and barely felt any contractions. At 5am I was assessed... and was 10cm! It took 20 hours to go from 2 to 4cm and 3 hours to go from 4 to 6cm. On average, a woman dilates 1cm per hour, on an epidural. I thought we had plenty of time before the pushing started. I was wrong! But this meant that soon, I would have a baby, right?! Wrong again...
But Maddy is fussing and it's time I gave her a meal and checked her diaper. Part 2 (aka the pushing part) on the way, soon.