I am writing this 10 months later, so I'll try to put down everything as I remember it.
I went in for my 39 week check up on July 23. I was up most of the night before having contractions. They were not incredibly painful, and they were never closer together than 8 minutes. Because I had been having contractions, I had the PA check my cervix. She told me that I was dilated a fingertip, maybe.
That evening, I had a considerable amount of bleeding. I assumed it was normal after being checked and it would go away fairly quickly. M and I ate dinner, watched a movie, and hoped for a good night's sleep.
Around 2:00 a.m. I woke up to go to the bathroom. I was still bleeding, and more than I thought I should be. We called the nurse on-call line, and they advised us to go the emergency room to rule out any problems. We didn't have a hospital bag packed, so we quickly threw some things together, and took off to the hospital. We assumed we would be home later that morning.
We arrived at the ER around 3:00 a.m. In triage, they checked me over, and ruled out any serious problems. They decided that they would send us home. While we were there, they monitored the baby's heartbeat. In the 2 hours that they were monitoring me, the baby had 3 significant heart decelerations. After the third deceleration, the OB came in and said, "The baby seems somewhat distressed, you are 39 weeks and dilated 2 cm, we are just going to induce you."
What did he just say!!?!?!?!?!?
The baby was distressed? They assured us that decelerations may not be cause for concern, but induction was the safest route. I was dilated 2 cm? I had only been a fingertip 15 hours earlier. They wanted to induce? Twenty minutes before that, they were going to send us home! It took us a few minutes to collect ourselves and realize that we were going to have a baby that day.
They moved us from triage to a birthing suite and started an IV. I began pitocin at 8:20 a.m. The contractions were not that bad in the beginning. The hardest part was that every time I sat down, the baby's heartbeat would decelerate. They assumed that the cord was in a place that did not allow me to sit. I stood in the middle of the birthing suite holding onto the IV stand and swaying for 2 - 3 hours. I was determined to avoid a C-section at all cost, and I knew if the baby's heart continued to decelerate they would opt for a C-section. I decided I would give birth standing up if I had to!
Around 1:00 p.m., I finally sat down and the baby did not have a deceleration. The contractions were getting more and more intense. At 3:00, they checked me and I was 5 - 6 cm. I was having a harder time relaxing between the contractions at that point. I did not want to get an epidural that early, but M thought that it would be for the best. I eventually agreed with him. The epidural was HEAVEN. M sat down and tried to rest for a little while. I tried to rest too.
After a little while, I began feeling more and more discomfort on my right side. The epidural had been placed incorrectly in my spine and was only working on my left side. I was having full blown contractions, but only on my right side! This was by far the most painful part. M was there, holding my hand through it all. He tried to help in any way he could. The anesthesiologist came in about 45 minutes later and corrected the epidural. At this point, it was about 5:30.
An hour later, they came and checked me again. I was at 10 cm. They decided to let me labor until about 7:00 and then I would start pushing. M and I waited, and waited, and waited. It was 7:20, and we still hadn't seen a nurse or the OB. We were getting pretty impatient. Then the baby had a very serious heart deceleration. That got the doctor's attention, and they got me to start pushing right away. A nurse stayed with us and helped guide me through the pushing stage.
I caught on to how to push pretty quickly. M was so helpful. He didn't really want to get right in there (if you know what I mean), but he was able to be really supportive without seeing anything he didn't want to see. Waiting for each contraction in order to push seemed to take years. The OB came in at 8:05 to prep the room for delivery.
Finally, at 8:18 p.m. on July 24, 2010, our baby was born. The hospital staff knew that we did not know the gender. As soon as Evie was born, they held her up and told M to tell me whether we had a boy or girl. He looked at me and said, "We have a daughter." It was one of the sweetest moments of my life.
The next several hours are a blur. She was not breathing as well as they would have liked, and ultimately they decided to send her to the NICU. I was beside myself. They took me up to see her before they settled us into our postpartum room for the night. I went back to the NICU around 1:00 a.m to help them feed her. She was hooked up to too many tubes to allow me to try to breast feed.
By the next morning, all of the issues had subsided. They helped me try to nurse her for the first time. She was released from the NICU and brought to our postpartum room around noon. Family and friends were in and out all afternoon. We left the hospital the following night to bring her home, and the real journey began.
I replay that day in mind so often. Having Evie was the greatest experience of my life.