On December 10, my doctor told me I was dilated to a 3. (WOO!) But I was still feeling normal and didn't feel like the baby was coming any time soon. He did mention that my blood pressure was a tiny bit high enough that he was going to induce me on my 39 week mark. (This was also a bonus because he was going out of town over my actual due date.)
On December 11, I'd been having contractions all day, but they were random and they didn't hurt, so I was just trying to ignore them and relax. The main reason I was trying to ignore them was because that night was supposed to be our last date night out without a baby. But they started hurting right before dinner, even though they were still random and far apart. So I downloaded a contraction tracking app on the way to dinner so I could have a record to know what to do! But I knew that the hospital was a ways away - maybe even the next day.
When we got home, I decided we better take our 38 week pregnancy picture (just in case). But I wasn't going to the hospital. The baby wasn't coming yet...
We then decided to make some cookies to take my mind off the contractions. We did. And the contractions got stronger and quite close together all of a sudden. My tracker app was showing they were generally about 6 or 7 minutes apart. But there were times when they were 3 minutes apart. At this point I started to wonder if we needed to get ready to leave for the hospital, but I wasn't convinced quite yet.
After the cookies were done at about 10 P.M., I decided I'd just go to bed and see if relaxing helped slow the contractions down. Then I would know that I was right and the baby wasn't coming yet. (I have to mention that my true reasoning for putting off going to the hospital for so long was because I did NOT want to get sent home! The hospital is a good 20-25 minutes away, so coming home was not an option for me.)
Off to bed we went. Steve was soon snoozing away and I was at least relaxed. My contractions did slow down to about one every 20-30 minutes. And I only know this because I frantically looked at the clock whenever I felt one.
Suddenly at midnight I sat straight up in bed with an enormous contraction! Without waiting for another to come along, I woke up Steve and we got to packing the last minute things in our hospital bag. Contractions were coming along at a steady 4-5 minutes as we were getting everything ready.
We got to the hospital at 1 A.M. and they checked me. I was still only dilated to a 3 at this point, and my doctor wanted me to walk for an hour to make sure I was progressing. After walking around that hospital floor for the longest hour of my life (as contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes) I was dilated to a 4! We fist pumped all the way to the delivery room because we weren't going home!!!
I decided to get the epidural much sooner than I anticipated - because ummm...OW. Contractions hurt, guys! ;) Although, I felt like I was handling them pretty well. The
After the epidural was going, it was neat to focus on my contractions and the baby's heart rate. I thought that this would be the longest part - waiting for the baby to descend. However, every time a nurse came in to check my progression, I was more and more dilated. They kept commenting incredulously, "This is your first baby??" Yes! My baby knows what's going on, yo!
At about 10 A.M. they started talking about pushing and making sure the doctor was on his way. The nurse said, "If you can, try to take a 10 or 15 minute power nap so you can be relaxed and rested when we start pushing." HA. That's funny. I just sat there and listened to the baby's heart rate.
I was also a little nervous about pushing because you hear all those stories of women that push for hours before the baby comes, or they push for hours and then end up needing a C-section. Nothing against C-sections -- that just seems like a lot of work, and then suddenly you need a C-section.
However, I got lucky once again and this baby knew what to do. We probably pushed for about 15 minutes before she started coming. I actually had to sit and wait for a moment for the doctor to get ready to deliver her. After he was ready, a couple more pushes and our little bug was here!
Bubba was born on December 12 at 10:50 A.M. She was 6 pounds 13 ounces, and she was 19 inches long. I got to do skin-to-skin with her right after she was born and she was so sweet. She even reached out and touched my face a couple times. My first thought was, My body just pushed this enormous baby out of me! I know she's not enormous, but when you compare her to the opening she came through, she's enormous. The body and this miracle of life still amazes me. There are moments I still can't believe my body helped host this sweet little one, helped her grow, and then bring her into the world.
For most women, that first moment with their little one is the most precious and emotional. Like I said, I was still amazed at what my body had just done.
THIS was my favorite moment...
Seeing him be such a proud papa and look at her with such love was unbelievable. I love this guy!
The part of this whole experience that seemed the longest and most drawn out was the next 48 hours in the hospital. I mean, it was clean, the staff were all amazing and friendly, we could bring in whatever food we wanted, etc. But I just wanted to be at home in my own bed.
Here we are finally getting ready to go home!
She is so teeny tiny in that giant carseat!!
We got home and were reminded of what amazing neighbors we have. We have been so blessed in our neighborhood. They've all shown so much love and care as they've brought us dinners, offered to help watch her if I needed a nap, and just plain shown such interest in our lives. I love our ward and neighborhood more than I thought possible!
And here is our sweet little Christmas present waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve. :)
Overall, the experience was was great and was smooth sailing. So for all the horror stories you hear about labor and giving birth, know that there is probably a normal, run-of-the-mill story like mine where things go well and just as great as anyone could hope for.
We love our little girl and all that she has helped us learn in the short time she's been here so far. She has been such a challenge and such a blessing. We can't wait to keep learning as she grows and shows more of her personality!