Well, it has been a while, so I'll try to type it out as I remember it happening.
November 3, 2001
It had been a long day, even though it was Saturday, as I had attended a conference. I though about going to bed early, but I decided to wait for my husband to come home from work. I went to lay down for bed at about 9:30 at night and felt what seemed like a huge kick. My husband and I both heard an audible "pop." he said, "What was that?" And I replied, "I'm not sure, it felt like the baby kicked really hard." I was only 36 weeks, so I didn't think that my water had broken.
I got up to go to the bathroom, and I peed, and that was normal, but then there seemed to be fluid coming out. When I stood up and walked back tot he bed, it became more obvious, with fluid running down my legs. I told my husband that I was pretty sure my water had broken, and his face turned white. We didn't have a hospital bag packed or anything, so I grabbed a towel and held it between my legs, and we tried to throw some stuff into a bag really fast. I called my best friend Kim, and told her that my water was broken, but it might take a while, so she should probably try to go back to sleep. She said no, she wanted to come to the hospital too.
My parents were in the Maldive Islands, which is in the Indian Ocean, on a dive trip. I didn't know how to contact them. I also tried my sister, who was at a convention and was staying at a hotel in San Jose or San Fransisco. This bummed me out a little, that none of my family would be there. I rememebered, or my husband Justin did, to grab our phone book so we could call work and other important people. I called my aunt, who did her best to get into contact with my parents, and finally was able to, a few hours after the baby was born.
We ended up getting to the hospital around 11:00 or a little later. I wasn't feeling any contractions at this point. My birth plan was pretty much shot as they hooked my up to an IV right away with antibiotics because I was early, and said with an early and small baby, they didn't want me to walk too much because of the possibility of a prolasped cord. They did let me walk a little, but I was tired, and mostly wanted to rest. They hooked me up to the monitors and told me I was having contractions, but I still couldn't feel them. They checked me and I was a fingertip dilated but almost completely effaced.
I started having some feeling like menstrual cramps, but they weren't bad at all, and I told Justin that I thought I was maybe feeling contractions. Then they told me that if I didn't start contracting more pretty soon, they would want to use pitocin. I really didn't want pit, and I guess my body didn't either because about 10 minutes later, I was really conctracting well! They didn't do a lot of internal checks, because my water had already broken.
I was handling contractions well, and the anesthesiologist came in and described the epidural, etc. to me and I said no drugs. But soon the contractions seemed like they had no breaks between them and my body was shaking uncontrollably and it was really hard. My husband and I were not as prepared as we could have been (we didn't even get to go to the last childbirth class because it wasn't for a few more days) and he was not handling me being in pain well. At this point, although I had earlier been unsure whether I even wanted my mom there (she is a midwife) I was sad that she wasn't. I asked them to check me, so they checked me again and said I was 2-3 cm. I thought to myself, "OMG, I have like 12 more hours of this, and I can't do it!"
At that point, I asked for an epidural, and poor dh, so overwhelmed by my pain and the shaking did not even once try to talk me out of it. I wasn't mad at him, but I am a little disappointed in myself for not holding out, and i wish he had tried to encourage me to do without.
At about 3:30 AM I had the walking epidural, but even after the medication was supposed to "take" I still had no relief, and I hadn't walked, or gotten out of bed anyway, so I caved in and got the full epidural. I felt nothing at all below my breasts, which was an awfully strange sensation. I couldn't feel my legs or move them without help.
At about 5:30, they checked me and said I was 7! I was completely shocked, and that is when I got disappointed that I hadn't managed to hold out on the drugs because I appeared to be going pretty fast after all. My husband and friend took turns sleeping, and they told me i should sleep as well, but i was too excited, being 7 cm.
I had a lot of itching as a side effect from the epidural, so I asked my husband when he awoke to get lotion out of my bag so I could rub it on my arms and chest. Then I realized it was scented and I worried about it bothering the baby when she tried to nurse, so I asked a nurse for a washcloth to get the lotion off. She thought I was being silly, but gave me one anyway.
At some point, I would guess around 7 or 7:30 they told me that I was complete and could start pushing. I was really surprised, and thought that pushing would take a long time, so my friend went to get food for herself and my husband. When I started to push, I told them that I need to use the bathroom, and they said that it was the baby. So I explained that my bladder was full, and they catherized me. I didn't feel this at all, but they said that my bladder was very full and would have made pushing difficult.
I pushed for about an hour. My doctor arrived maybe 30 minutes in and told me I was pushing well. She was surprised at how quickly I had progressed. She also thought the baby was posterior, but turned during one of my pushes. I asked for a mirror to help inspire me, and remember her crowning, but not th rest of the pushing. Melanie was born at 8:30 am, with a hand up near her face. I had no tears at all, but a slightly retained placenta that was removed manually. I don't remember them doing this as I was just holding and staring at my baby. She was 5 pounds, 4 oz, and seemed alert. She was very pink and screamed loudly at birth.
She had a little trouble latching on at first, but quickly started gaining and by 2 months had doubled her birth weight. She is still nursing today, at 32 months! I hope to be able to tandem nurse when this new one comes along.