|After feeling the first contractions|
By the time they got to my house, about ten minutes later, I was getting contractions every 5-6 minutes and they were quickly becoming more and more painful. Throughout pregnancy I never thought too much about how painful labor could/would be, so it was kind of a rude awakening.
We anxiously awaited Aaron to come home (it takes him an hour from work), while I packed the last minute necessities I thought I would need for the hospital. One thing was clear: the minute he got home, we were leaving for the hospital.
By the time he arrived, around 5:40am, my contractions were 4.5 minutes apart. My step-dad was out of town on business but was scheduled to be back in Idyllwild around noon. We didn't want to leave four dogs at home alone for all that time, so we decided my sister would stay at our house with them until a little bit later. So we jumped in my mom's car, and she drove us down to the desert. It would take us a little over an hour to get to JFK Memorial Hospital, so in the meantime, Aaron helped me breathe though each contraction in the backseat while we drove through the Garner Valley as the sun rose around us. If it wasn't for my sailor's mouth it would have been a beautiful moment.
My contractions were so strong, that as we started to descend down the hill, I felt nauseous. With not enough time for a warning, I rolled down the window and threw up on the car behind us. Lovely.
Once we got down to the desert, we pulled over again where I threw up several times in a parking lot. I barely got out of the car in time, and ended up running across the parking lot to some bushes, barefoot, with traces of puke in my hair. I had only one thing on my mind that held me together and gave me some hope of relief--epidural.
When we got to the hospital we checked in and they gave me a room where I changed into a gown and waited for a nurse to check my progress.
The day before at my doctor's appointment I was dilated a tight 2 cm, and wasn't surprised when they told me I was still 2 cm. Because my contractions were so painful and we lived far away, I knew there was no chance in hell we were going home to wait for me to dilate more. So I was offered the option of getting Pitocin to help along the labor process. Since I was already in labor, the Pitocin would help to encourage the process, which meant more intense contractions. By this time, right around 10 or 10:30, I told the nurses I wanted an epidural. I kept repeating that I wanted the epidural, so they got the point that I wasn't messing around, and right around 11:30 I FINALLY got one. It was a process to get the anesthesiologist prepared and during the process, I had two contraction which made it almost impossible not to move despite his instructions to keep still and breathe through it.
It kicked in almost immediately and I cannot explain to you the relief I felt.
A little while later my sister showed up and shortly after that my doctor arrived. We all made bets on what time baby would come, as my doctor said she would definitely be here by dinner time. I guessed 4:10 pm (12 hours after my first contraction this morning), and everyone else guessed later times (5:30, 6:40, 7:30). The nurse inserted a catheter and the doctor broke my water. I was having contractions less than four minutes apart, but thanks to the epidural, they were pain-free though I could start to feel the tightening and pressure increase as time continued. At 3 pm I told the nurse I wanted my doctor to check me because the pressure was intensifying. I was shocked however, when after she checked me, my doctor said, "Okay, you're ready. It's time to start pushing."
Throughout the whole time I was at the hospital, I was shaking. I think it was just from the shock my body was in. Now I was shaking because I was so excited--This was the moment I had been waiting for!!
I did about 15 minutes of (what I refer to as) practice pushing with the nurse before the doctor came in and we moved into the delivery room. I was told to push when I felt pressure, so while everyone was getting ready, I pushed through each contraction.
Then it was time.
The doctor and nurses pushed my legs up and everyone yelled at me to "Push! Push hard mama!" My mom, sister and Aaron all stood at the head of my bed with cameras ready, helping me push as well. At one point, the doctor said she could see her head, and I lost it. Tears were streaming down my face and she brought my hand down to touch the tip of her head. This is it, I thought, this is it!
I pushed as hard as I could for the next five minutes, and finally as her head emerged, I felt the rest of her spill out. I couldn't help but cry as the nurse yelled out "16:02!"
"Girl?!?" I called out as they wrapped her in towels, and they all confirmed that yes, she was a beautiful baby girl.
The next minutes and hours that followed were surreal--I couldn't believe that we were parents and were blessed with a beautiful, healthy, baby girl. It was the happiest moment of my life.