When I wrote my last post and I wondered if my life would change tomorrow or next month, I didn't actually think the answer would be tomorrow.
Babies. They're kind of charge of things, huh? I haven't really figured out much in the few days I've been a momma except that one truth.
I had a doctor's appointment that Friday morning and my doctor told me since I was full-term, they'd welcome me with open arms anytime I went into labor. After dance trance the Tuesday before, I had started having Braxton Hicks and felt like maybe I had felt him move down lower.. but still, none of these things really made me think that I'd be meeting my baby boy that very night. She told me I was 2.5 cm dilated and 90% effaced, which I didn't take too much stock in - I've known friends who have walked around dilated for weeks and nothing happened. I went home and went about my day, cleaning the house, getting a manicure and working on a project for the nursery. All the while my BH contractions continued, and I started to notice that they felt a little bit different throughout the day - more like a cramp than the hardening of my stomach that they had been the last 2 days. Matt was on his way back from Wilmington from a golf trip and I was updating him by text about my contractions. I was just starting to think that maybe something could be happening, and his persistent questioning - how long were they? how far apart? - made me realize that maybe I should pay a little more attention to them.
I downloaded an app around 4:00 that afternoon and the whole time I worked on a project for the nursery, was clicking "start" and "stop" on the contraction timer. By the time Matt got home, we decided maybe it was a good idea to install the car seat. Just in case. At this point, my contractions were all over the place from 15 minutes apart to 8 minutes apart. I really didn't want to go to the hospital only to be sent home for false labor, so we just went on with our night. Matt went out to pick up dinner, we ate and started to get ready for bed - all the while I was clicking "start" and "stop" on my app and watching the time start to even out to a consistent ten minutes apart. Then 8, then 7 minutes apart. Right after we laid down to go to sleep, I reported to Matt that they were about five minutes apart.
"We're going to the hospital."
It was 10:30 when we got in the car and as we sped through the dark along Silas Creek Parkway, I watched the app tell me that my contractions were getting closer and closer together and it suddenly hit me that we were probably going to have a baby that night. I felt scared and nervous about labor, but so excited that we were going to meet our little boy soon. We pulled into the parking lot of the hospital and we were in maternity triage before I knew it. There my contractions started to increase in their intensity and I suddenly understood what people meant when they said "when you can't talk through them anymore, they're real." Oh THAT. Yea. After a few checks, they decided I was well on my way but not quite ready to get admitted...and I was banished to an hour long walking of the hallways to see if things would progress.
That was a long hour, in a long hallway. Walking slowly, bending over to catch my breath when a contraction hit, trying to remembering the deep breathing I had learned (from, um, some YouTube videos...), telling myself it would pass.... feeling very jealous of my pain-free husband who was walking alongside me, texting updates to our family. I kept asking him how much time had passed. I knew I need to keep moving to make my labor progress, but as we walked by open rooms on the labor floor the open beds beckoned me and I just wanted so badly to go crawl into one.
I would say I was excited when we got back to the room and I had progressed another 3 cm but at that point the intensity of the contractions had made me start to block out everything that was going around me. We walked to the labor & delivery room and I vaguely remember being told my nurse would be Tony - and having a moment of panic that my L&D nurse would be a male (sorry gender equality) (and it turned out to be a female Toni, who turned out to be super awesome). The next thing I knew my angel in blue scrubs arrived (the anesthesiologist) and I was getting my epidural. After the few hours of feeling contractions without a spinal block, my hat goes off to the women of the world who do this au natural. Wow. And my other hat goes off to the inventor of the epidural. That stuff works good.
The rest of the night went quickly, but I felt much more present without the pain of the contractions. I could still feel them, but with the pain subsided I just started to feel really excited that soon I'd be meeting my little guy. Matt and I watched the clock as my contractions built and Matt watched the heart rate monitor of our little boy. We tried to guess what time he'd be born. My guess was 2:52 and Matt's was 2:40. Both of those times rolled by, and no baby yet. A little after 3, my nurse came back and told me it was time to do a practice push. I started to feel a little nervous again about what would happen, but she and Matt coached me through my first push. At 3:12, the doctor came in and told me it was go time. Two contractions and six minutes later, I heard my baby boy cry for the first time. I was in shock for a few minutes - I thought I'd have much longer to wait (and push more) before meeting him, but here he was - perfect, blonde, healthy, squirmy and already sucking his thumb!
And just like that, my life was forever changed.