My due date wasn't until Oct 13, but I woke up from a nap on the afternoon of Sep 26 (at 37 weeks 4 days) with what felt like menstrual cramps. I laid there for a little bit and had the sneaking suspicion that they were coming at regular intervals, so I downloaded a contraction timer on my phone and started counting them. They were 10 minutes apart and relatively painless. I told DH but we both shrugged it off as probably false labor.
Well, within about an hour and a half the contractions had already gone to 5-6 minutes apart and I couldn't talk through them. DH called the doula to let her know I was probably in labor but we still weren't sure (hah!). I ended up laboring all around the house for 10 hours, sporadically attempting to nibble at a sandwich DH made me, and mostly just wanting to hang out in the shower as it was the only thing that made the contractions any easier. In between contractions, DH ran around and started throwing together a hospital bag and writing up a birth plan, neither of which we had done yet!
Finally at around 2:30 in the morning they were 2.5 minutes part and lasting for 1.5 minutes each and I couldn't take it anymore. We called our doula and the hospital and hightailed it over there almost as soon as the doula showed up. When we got there I managed to walk up to L&D under my own power because sitting down through the contractions I was having was just about the worst thing ever. When I got up there they checked me and I was 4cm dilated and 100% effaced so they called me a "keeper." I let them put a heplock in because we didn't know my GBS status (I was supposed to get the results at my next OB appt) and we thought I might need antibiotics.
I was feeling nauseous and hadn't been able to really eat or drink anything, and at one point pacing the halls I threw up (while my unflappable doula held up a barf bag for me). I was super dehydrated, so I let them give me IV fluids, which was a great idea. It spaced my contractions apart a little and made them a lot more bearable. The OB on call rustled up my GBS status (negative, yay!), so they mostly just let me do my own thing. I would walk around or rest as needed, and every hour or so they would check me with the monitor.
The hospital had a shift change while I was there so I got a new OB and new nurse. My contractions were getting crazy intense. My doula helped me breathe through them - big breath in, let it out long and slow making whatever crazy low mooing noise that decided to come out of me. She called it my "labor song."
Standing up was the only thing that helped at all besides the breathing.
I was doing a pretty good job keeping on top of the contractions instead of letting them keep on top of me, but DAMN they were awful. And I was so tired - I had been up since Sunday morning and now it was Monday morning! The new OB checked me again and I had gone to 8cm. Nice! Except that an hour and a half of sucky labor later, I was still only 8cm. I suggested rupturing my membranes and he agreed.
Man, if I thought labor was bad before, after the AROM it was horrendous. The contractions just clobbered me. I was standing over the back of a chair on top of a chux pad with every bodily fluid possible coming out of me, literally screaming, bellowing, and writhing through every contraction with only about 30 seconds break in between. I started making pushing noises so they checked me again and said I was "only" 9cm and couldn't push. Yeah right, like I could stop if I tried!
At this point I was totally out of my mind with pain and started begging for an epidural. I knew it would take them 20 minutes to set it up and 30 min to start working, and the thought of going for a whole nother hour of this agony was just more than I could humanly bear. I had been in labor 21 hours at this point.
Well, after a few minutes of my pitiful begging I started yelling that I could feel a head, so they finally told me I was "allowed" to push. Thanks guys.
Apparently I'm a champion pusher, because suddenly they were telling me to stop again because the doctor wasn't ready, and magically there was an OB in the room with a million nurses trying to prep him as fast as possible while I ignored them all and pushed as hard as I could.
My sweet little baby came out only 12 minutes after I started pushing. When her head came out the OB told me to stop pushing (again! what is it with these people!) so he could suction her mouth, but her whole body was in the birth canal and it was unbearable and I think I screamed "no, you have to get this baby out NOW!" and suddenly she was out and DH choked out that we had a little girl, and they pulled her up onto me and all three of us were crying.
DH and my doula were both totally amazing throughout the whole thing and I don't think I could have done it without either one of them there.
Here's pictures of our sweet little bean who is one week old today:http://www.flickr.com/photos/geek_pa...355800/detail/