birth story -- part 1

This picture was taken just a few hours after she was born.
And this picture was taken the day we came home from the hospital.
At about 5:30 AM on Mon Nov 9, I started having nice even contractions that were tolerable but significantly different from the Braxton-Hicks ones I had been having. I am excited because we had an appointment for a scheduled induction for that evening at 10 PM and I really wanted to avoid inducing if possible and was agonizing over keeping the appointment or rescheduling it to give Zoe some extra time to start things on her own.

My first thought? We should go out to breakfast. Today might be a big day and we will need to fuel up... so off to Charlies, my favorite little diner in the Farmers Market for pancakes and hashbrowns. I had an appointment with my OB at 9:45 AM - from now on I am going to call him Dr. Awesome. Anyway, Dr. Awesome tells me that I should keep the appointment since it helps labor and delivery to know I am coming, since I AM definitely going to the hospital today. I am dialated to 3 cm. Mark goes to sleep so he can be rested for the big event and Eva and I promise to wake him up with plenty of time to shower and get bags ready before we have to go to the hospital.
By noon, my contractions are every 1/2 hour and Eva and I are walking up and down my streets trying to get things going a little faster so that we aren't going too slow by 10. For the most part, I can keep walking when a contraction hits, albeit slower and more steadily. By 3 PM, I have to stop walking and hold onto Eva's shoulder and contractions are 15 minutes apart.
We have worked out a system where I rate the pain on the contraction as C for comfortable, B for better and A for ahhhhouch. We both realized we might need something after that... At 5:53 PM I was sitting in my rocking chair with my shiatsu chair topper and a heat pack so relaxed that I was almost asleep when the biggest contraction so far hit. Maybe it was the context, but it was unbearable. That's when I uttered the first of only TWO cuss words during the whole labor & delivery. (I know, amazing right?) I walked directly into the computer and told Eva, "Blankety-Blank-Blank -- I'm getting the epidural." And I threw out my entire birth "plan" just like that. After that, it was very hard to figure out what position, technique, and rythm was going to help me cope. I did eventually settle in to taking loud, long breaths and tapping something (my leg, face, object nearby). When I became so demanding of Eva's support that contractions became hard to time, we woke Mark up. I'm guessing they were 5 minutes apart or less for about 1/2 hour. We called the doctor, who said, "go have your baby."
The drive to the hospital was not too bad. Just knowing that we were going made the contractions easier to cope with. When we got there, everything changed.

It took over an hour for "Mean Nurse" to check us into the hospital, botch an IV several times (during contractions), and hook us up to all the gear and monitors. When she checked my cervix, I was still dialated to 3 cm! All that work and nothing was different. I couldn't believe it. So, when they asked me whether I wanted my epidural now or later, I said "now." Thinking it would be a long while to dialate the rest of the way and I was coping okay, but just barely. It took another hour for the epidural to be administered. The nurse checked me right after they got the thing in and I was already at 6 cm. Wow! If I had known it was that close to fully dialated, I probably would have declined and said, "I got this far, I can do it without." Boy am I glad they checked after. I needed, needed, needed that rest to prepare for what was to come. The instant the medicine hit my spine -- I smiled and thought "I'm going to be able to enjoy having the baby today." I know this exactly because I actually wrote down my thoughts... I'm so glad I did because that really cracked me up later to read. Ahhhh, to be so naive now.

.... to be continued.