I love reading all these stories, so although ours is pretty different, here it is. =)
My husband is really, really far away for work and we knew several months in advance that he wouldn't be able to be here to welcome this baby. My in-laws came down for a week to help with our older two girls, and we were all getting a little nervous as their trip ticked by and nothing was happening in the birth department. I tried everything I could think of, from running stairs at the beach to eating pineapple until my mouth was raw. I was betting on the full moon, but nothing. My mother in law had three scheduled c-sections and it wasn't helping her anxiety that I kept saying the baby would come when the baby wanted to come. =)
I had my 39 week midwife appointment and all was well. I was at a 1 and very posterior, the cervix was actually tucked behind the baby's head. She stripped the membrane because to be honest, my in-laws were scheduled to leave in three days and I was starting to get nervous about school carpool and farming my girls out to very willing and generous friends instead of allowing them to stay in their own home, and about somehow getting myself the 30 some-odd miles up to the hospital.
Around 9:45pm I was timing contractions, but they were too short to really count. My in-laws were staying at a hotel and the big girls were in bed, so I'm sure I looked like a crazy lady dancing around my living room all by myself until about midnight when the ctx were going a good minute each. I ended up having to call the front desk of my in-laws' hotel because they weren't answering their cell phones to have them come back. My mil drove me up to the hospital, asking about five million questions all the way, and I would answer when I could, or just shake my head if I couldn't talk at the moment. Given that there had a been a full moon the day before, the labor deck (this is what they call labor and delivery at a Naval Hospital) was a madhouse! And, I was still really posterior and working on a 2, so they sent a very unhappy me back home. I wanted to go wait at a friends' house that was located close to the hospital so we wouldn't have to go all the way back to my house, but my mil had left her things at my house and I was too distraught about the entire situation to press my case.
When we arrived back here, my mil went upstairs to sleep and I tried to lay down but it wasn't but maybe two or three ctx until I needed to vocalize through them. This wouldn't have been a problem, except my very tenderhearted six year old was in my bed and woke up worried about me. She wanted to rub my belly to make it stop hurting, which made me feel so guilty that she should have to take care of ME. I told her it was perfectly normal and I was going to be okay and she went back to sleep. I left the room so as to not disturb her and walked around my block for a couple of hours, holding onto trees or mailboxes...I'm sure I was quite a sight - lucky it was 4am! I tried to sit in my husband's truck for a while because it smelled like him, but that just made me sad that I was doing this all by myself.
You can truly never, ever underestimate the power of a good support person/people during labor! Oh my WORD that is the truth.
Anyway, I pulled myself together as best I could and we headed back to the hospital around 7am, mostly because my oldest daughter looked scared to see me in pain and I couldn't bear the look on her face. We arrived on base RIGHT at rush hour and the gate guard just waved us through because it was quite clear what was happening. My mil dropped me off at the entrance and went to park the car, and on my shuffling way to the elevator I stopped first a fireman and then this poor young Marine by having them apply counterpressure to my lower back. I probably scarred that 20-year old Marine for life, poor guy.
The nurse who checked me told me that I wasn't dilated enough to be admitted, and after walking around my neighborhood all night then enduring a half-hour car trip during which my traumatized mil kept saying "oh my god oh my god" during my loud contractions and with my husband stinking FAR away...I wish I could say I was stoic strong mama and held it together but I didn't. I started crying and saying there was no way I could do it without my husband there. I remember being scared and lonely and sad...not exactly the all-powerful earth mother vibe I had been going for. =/ The upside to my little freakout was that I worked myself through the 4's and could be admitted.
Then there was a lot of stuff I know y'all don't want to hear about, so I'll skip all of that and just suffice it to say my world was a much more peaceful place, and when my mil called the one guy who could call the far-away guy who could radio the comm guy who could find my husband and tell him to find a phone, I was able to talk to him in a normal voice and not put him through having to hear me sad/scared/lonely while he couldn't do anything to fix it.
At around 3:30, there was no more cervix and my baby was at zero station. The FABULOUS resident who was attending to me had me do a trial push to see what would happen and apparently that was pretty effective because all of a sudden there were a couple of nurses in the room and my resident's attending doctor came in. It was all very peaceful and happy, I remember and maybe four minutes of pushing, my big girl was born and placed right on my chest. Despite all the scary stories and warnings about this or that medication, she came flying out with little surprised cries, was placed on my chest where she pinked up right away and maybe a minute or two after being born, she latched like a boss and went to town. The nurses covered her up with some warmed blankets and waited for all the measuring stuff until she had finished her meal. My mil called the guy who called the...you know...and my husband was on the phone with us in three minutes!
My mil left to go get my girls to come meet their sister and while she was gone, the fundus was still two inches above my belly button and I had more bleeding than normal, so my resident (thankfully she is a small-framed woman, not the tall guy with big huge man hands I saw the next day!) had to actually use her hand to remove clots from the bottom half of my uterus while a large nurse pressed hard on the fundus to get it to go down. That was horribly painful and I'm happy no one was there to witness it. They got the situation resolved before my big girls arrived and I was able to avoid a blood transfusion, thankfully.
That was May 9! It's been two weeks and five days! My in-laws had to leave the day after we got back from the hospital, and until my mom arrived for her week stay (she just left Saturday), we've been doing life as normal. The big girls love 'their' baby and my husband has been able to hang out with her via Skype several times. We can't wait until he's home and we can all be together.
Congratulations! I'm sure it was hard to go through the experience without your DH, but it sounds like you did great. I'm still laughing at the thought of that poor Marine though!
Jen - Partner to Joe, Craig, & Jordan , mama to DS1 (7/13/99), DS2 (10/27/01), and DS3 (6/13/06), and DS4 born 12/13/12! Attachment Parent, co-sleeper, baby-wearer, Sudbury School founder & educator, PhD Candidate doing birth research, cloth diaper lover, GF (again), etc!