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Well, I have finally made my way through all these wonderful stories, so it's time for me to share my story of Aaron's birth.

My due date, Jan. 21st, had come and gone without any sign of labor. I decided to begin my 6-month maternity leave anyway, as I was feeling exhausted of working. I did a lot of walking at my husband's school, and ate spicy dinners. On Jan. 25th, my DH and I got up to go out to breakfast. I suddenly felt a gush of water, and asked him if he'd mind skipping going out to breakfast. I called my OB's office, and they asked me to come into the hospital to be checked. I called my doula (Mari), and told her that I would let her know when I actually started labor.

My favorite OB was on call for the weekend. She checked me - yes, my water was broken, and it was clear. She was totally on board with my birth plan, and said that as soon as they did a few quick checks, they would have me start walking around to try and get labor going. The first "quick check" they did was of my blood pressure. While they were checking it, I glanced up at the reader. It said 190/110. I laughed, and said that must be wrong - I had eaten a hoagie for dinner the night before (with extra hot peppers, of course) and all that salt must have caused my b/p to go up! They said I was probably nervous, but that they should check my urine for protiens anyway.

As soon as I went to pee in the cup, you could tell something was wrong. +2 protiens. They checked my blood pressure again, and it had gone even higher. At this point, my intervention-free hospital birth was pretty much out the window.

At 9:00, they started a dose of magnesium sulfate. This controls the b/p so as to prevent seizures. But, it meant I was confined to the bed for the duration of labor + 24 hours after, since it makes you really loopy. By 10:00 contractions hadn't started yet, so they started me on a pitocin drip. I had my DH call Mari and ask her to come, since I figured the pitocin would make me progress quickly; and also call my parents.

Mari got there around 11:00. We played scrabble and watched Jerry McGuire. By 12:00, I had to stop what I was doing to focus on the contractions, because they were getting intense, but was still able to carry on outside of them. I was checked, and only dilated to 4.

At 2:00, I was getting sick of the contractions. I said I needed an epidural. Mari told me that I was doing so well, and that I was managing contractions now that would have floored me a few hours ago. She said to try it for another 30 minutes, and then we'd get the epidural. I agreed, but said that I was just tired and wanted to sleep. She made me a herbal heat pack, and put it on my lower back. The warmth felt so good, and the scent of the lavender put me to sleep for about an hour. When I awoke, I was checked again, and had dilated to 6.

Several hours later, I was still only at 6, and having a lot of trouble with the contractions again. Evidently, my OB said something at this point about C/S, which I don't remember. They kept increasing the pitocin, and the contractions kept getting more and more intense.

Around 10:00 p.m., I requested an epidural again. Mari made the same plea to wait 30 minutes, and if I still wanted it, we'd call the nurse. I agreed. 2 contractions later, I started crying. I said that I knew I had promised to wait, but I just couldn't, it was too bad. I just kept crying, saying I was letting everyone down who was trying to support my natural labor, and letting the baby down by putting the drugs in its system, but I just couldn't do it. They calmed me down, and called the nurse. The contractions I had waiting for the anesthesiologist were absolutely the worst of them. DH and Mari kept telling me that I was so strong, that I was doing the right thing, that everyone still respected me and that the baby would be fine. They turned down the pit so the anesthesiolgist could insert the epidural. She had a bit of trouble (evidently I have tight epidural space) but got it in, and I had relief.

I then went to sleep for a few hours. I woke up because I needed to throw up. The magnesium sulfate makes you SO hot, and they ahd the heat turned down as far as it would go - I was sweating in a hospital gown, and everyone else was wearing sweaters! A few minutes after I threw up I felt like I needed to push (yes, even with the epidural). I asked Mari to get the nurse. She checked me, and said I was 10 cm. She called my OB, and we did some practice pushes iwth the nurse. This was at about 2:00 a.m.

I am evidently not a great pusher. We practiced with my legs up, on my side, and in every position that was safe considering the pitocin/mag sulfate. I just wasn't really productive. Finally, a nurse suggested that even though I didn't want to, I hold my breath. That helped, and I started getting somewhere.

At 5:00 a.m., I could finally see the head in the mirror they brought me! My OB said that she knew I could do it, but if I wanted a little help iwth the vacuum, that she could do that. I agreed, just at this point wanting the baby OUT! The pain from that was intense, but quick. At 5:22 a.m., my little guy was born. He had the sweetest, most angelic look imaginable. My DH cried. I held him on my chest until the OB cut the cord (my DH is too squeamish). Then, they took him to be weighed (I could still see him) while I was stiched up - I had a second degree tear. My DH stayed with me, and Mari went to take pictures of the baby. After that, they brought him back to me. He latched right on, and nursed for a bit. Then we went up ot the maternity ward togther.

He stayed with us all day. Unfortunately, since I had to stay in bed, he couldn't room-in with me our first night. But, the nurses brought him to me every 2 hours to nurse overnight. THe next night he stayed with me. I was so ready to get out of that hospital it was incredible. My DH had to go to work, and was picking me up at noon. By 11:30, I was showered and dressed with mine and baby's coats on, ready to go.

It wasn't the birth I had planned for, or expected. But my son is so wonderful, and so healthy, that I couldnt' ask for anything more.
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