On Jan 19th around 8:30am is when I had been having braxton-hicks for most of the day and for a few days before. I wanted to be checked because I couldn't tell if I was having real contractions or just practice ones. So I told Ben that I was heading over to the hospital to get checked, he said that he would keep his phone close and I was okay with that cause I knew that he would need some time to relax before the big day. I went in and they said they would keep me on the monitors for about 20-30mins so I called Ben and he came right over on his Bike. It turned out that I wasn't having strong enough contractions, and I wasn't dilated enough to keep me there. So we went home and I started working on James' paperwork for getting his passport (which is a HUGE process here).
I felt the contractions begin to hurt more around 3:00pm that same day so I began to use the contraction timer on my phone. The contractions got to be about 5 min apart and around 6:30pm I felt a pretty strong one that told me, "ITS ABOUT TIME TO GO".
I called the MSU (doctors on base) and they had me come in to be checked.
So I started texting and emailing as many people as I could to let them know that we were most likely in labor, I went to the bedroom to get the iTouch and when I turned around I tripped on the laundry basket and fell! It was so stupid! I actually landed in the basket and did not hurt my belly at all, but I did hit my upper back on the end of the bed...I just laid there and thought, "REALLY, that just happened??" Then I waited for another contraction before getting up to find my phone. Ben had gone downstairs to take cupcake out and put a few things in the car so I was alone when I fell. But I was ok.
Then I made sure I had my wallet, charger, and keys and we went on our way to the hospital. I was the only woman in their labor and delivery (out of 47 other women who were pregnant at the same time and due within a month of me!). So that meant that we would be able to stay and not get sent to an Italian hospital.
They checked me and I was at a 4cm and the contractions were strong enough that I was in active labor. We had everything packed in the car so that was nice, Ben could just go right down and get everything while the doctors got me all set up with an IV. They also hooked me up to wireless monitors, I was sooo happy for that! I was able to walk around and sit on the ball, or be in whatever position I wanted to on the bed.
I was admitted to the hospital around 7:00pm and they told me our doctor would be Dr. Vroon. At first I wasn't very happy about that because I didn't like him too much during the one appointment I had with him. But he ended up being a perfect match for our labor and delivery and our family. He came in around 8:30pm and checked my cervix, I was at a 5cm and 50% effaced, James was at a -2.
Ben and I worked together to keep my pain under control, he was SO amazing during the whole process! We came prepared with towels and a way to heat water really fast. He would squeeze the water out and then immediately open the towel and place in right on my belly. That helped ease the pain soooo much! We got a call from Kayley and John and Kayley was able to talk me through some of my contractions. It was so helpful! She helped me keep positive thoughts in, and things like "pain" or "hurt" out.
Around 11:00pm the doc came in again and found that I was at a 7cm, still 50% effaced and James had come down to a -1.
I just continued to use the deep breathing Kayley said to do, the hot towels, and the thought control over the next 3-4 hours. Honestly I can barely remember those hours, I kept my eyes closed most of that time and I moved to different positions but the time went by really fast.
At 1:00am the doc came in and I was still at a 7cm, so he broke my water.
Around 2:00am the doc came in again and I was STILL at a 7cm. So at that point I began to doubt myself. It was really difficult to keep positive thoughts in and negative ones out! I began watching the clock now instead of keeping my eyes closed, but I still tried to stay focused and positive. At 2:30am I decided that an epidural was best, I called Ben to come right next to me and I told him how I felt before voicing it to the whole room. He agreed, and said our code phrase, "you'll poop on my face if you don't get one?" HAHA and I said "yes, I will".
We told the nurses and they got the anesthesia doctor there by 2:45! I was really impressed, and totally happy to see him. I was a little nervous about the needle, and pain, and that I could possibly be paralyzed from it, but mostly I just wanted the pain to stop and to hopefully sleep a little. It was very painful to get the epidural, WAY more painful than the contractions, but it only lasted like 20 sec. So I really didn't care. The epidural was placed and flowing by 3:00am. It was a little weird to not feel the contractions anymore, and my legs felt so tingly and weird! I'm such a worry wart when it comes to things being "off" with my body so I kept asking the nurses if something was wrong, they assured me it was all OK and I finally drifted off to sleep. I slept for about 1.5 hours and Ben was able to sleep until about 6:00am. I woke him to just talk to me for a little because my brain was racing with the energy from the sleep I got. He had worked SO hard to keep those towels hot and coming. His hands were still all pale and raisiny looking (from his forearm to fingertips!). He told me that he was glad I got the epidural because he could tell that I was really tired too. We just enjoyed each other's company for a little and then he wanted to sleep some more.
I asked for come Jello because I was starving and they gave me one =]
Then the next couple hours seemed to just crawl by...since I wasn't able to move. I just tried to keep busy by writing family on Facebook a little to keep everyone updated and keep me distracted, but it felt like I was never going to get to the point of pushing.
The doctor came in to check me again at 8:00am and I was dilated to a 9cm, 70% effaced and James was at a 0 (I think). So things were moving along finally. I woke Ben up again and within the next 30min things started to get exciting. I dilated fully by 8:45am(I think) and the nurses did some pushing with me, the doc came in and got set up, along with a bunch of other nurses and techs (I didn't pay any attention to anyone other than the doc, nurse Julie, and Ben). I loved that I could have a mirror and watch James crown, I also felt his head and I was soo excited and a little nervous to meet him! I pushed until 9:34am when James arrived. =] They placed him directly on my chest and he just cried! I was so happy to hear him cry! I cried, and Ben cried, it was the best moment of my life and my whole family was crying. ;)
He stayed on my chest for about 15min(I think) and then they took him to the warmer and did his Apgar test (he scored a 9). I couldn't really see over to James but I could see Ben right there with him, when they were done measuring and all that, Ben was able to hold him and he said "Honey he is 8lbs 10oz"...I said, "WHAT??" everyone looked at me. I was so surprised he was that big! haha. He was 20.5 inches long.
Then Ben just stood there holding him, and I sobbed (a happy sob). Ben was streaming tears also. It was the moment I had been waiting for my whole life. To see my husband holding our first child in his arms.
I have more to tell, but I wanted to get at least the biggest part of the story out for everyone.