So, I woke up at 12:48 to a contraction. It's actually a pretty common occurrence around these parts (or, at least it had been at this point). I laid in bed for an hour (also normal for my middle of the night awakenings) before getting up and heading to the living room.
By now it's roughly 2am and I was timing the contractions. During the first hour, they were 10 minutes apart. When I was in the living room, they quickly progressed to 7 minutes apart then down to every 5 minutes. At 3:30am, I realized this wasn't a false labor episode and I needed help getting through the contractions. I went and got Nick and he did a fantastic job. The contractions at this point were down to every 4 minutes, and lasting ~90 seconds each. We waited the requisite hour before calling L&D and when we did, they said "Since it's her first baby, it will still be awhile, have her get in the shower and labor for another hour, then call back"
So I went to get in the shower. Nick continued to time the contractions which were less than 3 minutes apart at this point and finally at 5 am, we called back (30 minutes after first call) and they said to come in. My parents were staying with us, too, so they drove separately to the hospital at the same time.
Once we arrived, it was 2 contractions before I could make the short walk from the elevator to the admitting desk at L&D. Luckily, there was an awesome hospital employee that took down my MR number and got the paperwork started for me. Once in triage, they checked me right away and I was measuring 5 cm. OK, good. But they were really getting tough. I kept waffling about asking for the epidural, as they were really getting to be unbearable and my initial "goal" was to wait until ~ 5 or 6 cm prior to getting an epidural, should I choose to ask for it at the time.
I was then moved to a room (time is slipping away now, I have no clue what time it was when I got to the room, but we arrived at the hospital at about 5:30). Once in the room, I'm working through the contractions and I decided to ask for the epidural. I was in so much pain and starting to get frantic. Nick was SO great, just rubbing my back and holding my hand held fan (A MUST!!). He kept telling me I could do it, and that's exactly what I needed to hear.
Then I realized between me getting a bit frantic, saying "I can't do this, it's not going to happen" and I suddenly got the urge to push. I asked to be checked again, even though it had only been about an hour since my last exam. The midwife was asking me if I wanted to be checked to avoid an epidural, and I said I just felt that I needed to be checked, and if it was to avoid the epi, so be it.
She checked me. 9.5 cm with a tiny paper thin lip to the cervix left. She said "Feel free to push".
That was honestly what I had hoped happened, as I really didn't *want* an epidural, but I wanted to leave my options open as you really can't plan labor.
So, I started to push at 7:30 am. Holy hell that was hard. With every push, it was 2 steps forward, one step backward. They kept making me change position in order to get more movement. I liked the squat bar best. Towards the end, they gave me oxygen, because I was getting tired and apparently the baby's heartbeat was dropping with each contraction/push. They made me roll on my side, which was awful, but they told me "YOU HAVE TO GET THIS BABY OUT NOW".
I really didn't realize the severity of the situation, but I pushed with all my might. I could feel the tearing (small tears, but when you feel your urethra tearing, you pay attention). And the midwife was yelling "Push through it!!"
Moments later, her head was out, her cord was wrapped around her neck and they unwrapped it and she was here. Amazing.
I've always heard of the postpartum 'down there' care, but no one told me how sore my entire body would be! I even have to watch how hard I exert myself because just going to the bathroom (walking there and back) would put me out of breath because of how fatigued all of my muscles were. But, of course, in the end, it's oh, so worth it.
Breastfeeding is going well (started within 20 minutes of delivery) and she's super healthy. It's amazing to think of how far we've come and how long we've waited for her. Now that she's here, I hardly remember how it was without her.