Well here I am, the mother to a beautiful healthy 1 month old :) I figured it's about time to update on the details of my labor and delivery!
I saw Dr. Deprez on 12/14, the day before my due date. I was 3cm dilated and still not really effaced. Everything was still looking good with the baby and me. I stopped working on my due date (12/15), I just felt that I couldn't concentrate on much else and I am not in a profession where I should be distracted. I did continue taking "call" from home. I traditionally help my mom out a lot with Christmas shopping and other preparations so because I was still feeling well I decided that I was going to help her shop. Also, I figured the walking would be good to bring on labor. We went out Wednesday 12/15 for a few hours, I was having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions but when I went to bed that night all my signs of labor went away. When I woke up Thursday 12/16 I had a tremendous amount of energy (in restrospect I was definitely nesting!). I scrubbed the kitchen sink, cleaned the house and then called my mom and told her I wanted to get out and shop with her again. We shopped from 11am-8pm and I didn't have a single contraction all day. As mom said, it was the "calm before the storm." When I got home that night I was watching TV with Paul. Around 9:30 I started having some mild contractions so I started timing them. They were about 10-15 minutes apart. I took a warm bath (on the advice of my friend Sue)- I really think this moved things along! I tried to go to bed figuring if this was real labor I wouldn't be able to sleep. Sure enough, I couldn't sleep. I got up around 11:30 and timed my contractions some more. Around midnight I decided that this was real labor and I should probably take a shower now before the contractions were too bad. Paul woke up when he heard the shower running and finished packing our bags and the car. I was also having some pretty bad gastrointestinal cramps which made it difficult to definitively time my contractions. Around 3am I called Dr. Deprez after my contractions were 5minutes apart for an hour. He told us to head to the hospital. Right before we left I had an overwhelming sense of urgency to get to the hospital. During the ride my contractions increased to 2-3 minutes apart and were pretty intense. We arrived to the hospital and like something out of a movie Paul parked in the ambulance bay. The ER staff yelled at him that he couldn't park there and he responded by yelling his wife was in labor and he needed a wheelchair....it's kind of funny looking back. In fact, he was never able to move the car. Right before Madelyn was born we sent my sister out to at least get our camera and move the car to the parking garage.
We got up to the labor and delivery unit and I checked in. In triage the nurses joked with me that all the other mother's who were 3cm on their last OB appointment got sent home for not being far enough along. Something inside me told me that wasn't going to happen to me. They checked me and I was 5cm dilated. They also checked an ultrasound and saw that the baby was face up, " sunny side up" as they put it. The nurse asked if my back was hurting and I responded "yes!" She told me that this presentation was the cause for "back labor" and that I could expect a long, hard labor (she was right about the hard part, not so much the long). At that point I told the nurse I wanted an epidural, they called anesthesiology and started an IV. Within a few minutes of my exam I started having even more intense contractions. I also started shaking uncontrollably, I knew in the back of my mind that this could mean I was going through the "transition" stage of labor and could be progressing to 7-8 cm. My mom arrived right around that time and I heard her say to Paul "there is no way she is only 5cm!" Sure enough they checked my and I had dilated to 8cm from 5cm in a matter of 10-15 minutes. At that point they rushed me into the delivery room. Because of the speed of my progression the baby's heartbeat started to slow down. Several nurses rushed into the room, I was told to get on my left side and they put an oxygen mask on me. Simultaneously they broke my water and put an internal fetal monitor on the baby's scalp. Her heart rate recovered quickly but it sure was scary! Within a half and hour of getting into the delivery room I was fully dilated and having urges to push. My OB had not even arrived at the hospital and the staff were continuously paging him to tell him to get there urgently, nobody (including my OB) expected that I would progress so quickly. It soon became apparent that I wouldn't be able to get an epidural. The nurses told me I had to be able to sit up and "not push"--neither of those things were a reality for me. I was begging for pain relief but my nurse got in my face and told me I could do it and that she had delivered 3 children naturally (I forgot to ask her if she had back labor though, ha!) Just in the nick of time my OB arrived and was very surprised to hear the staff urgently telling him to get in his scrubs. Because the baby was face up I had to push a little longer than I would have normally. After an hour of pushing and some other unpleasant details that I don't need to share, Madelyn Jane was born.
Paul saw her first so the look on his face is something I will never forget-pure love and joy. Tears welled and he exclaimed, "there she is!" I said "give me my baby, give me my baby!" and they put her up on my chest. Seeing our baby for the first time was by far the single most wonderful moment of my life. My mother who was quietly in the room with us the whole time called our family members in the waiting room and the whole room was able to hear Madelyn's first cries. She came out pink and screaming, Apgars were 9 & 9. She was born at 7:07am, weighing 7 lbs 5 oz, 20 inches long.
So here we are a month later and Madelyn is doing great. She is happy and healthy and is truly a good baby. The journey to motherhood was a blessed time for us but I am sure that motherhood has more joy than I can even imagine in store for me!