I woke up at around 1am on the morning of the 11th (2 days after my latest due date) with contractions that were pretty regular (2-3 minutes apart) but only lasting about 20-30 seconds long. They were painful enough to wake me up and I definitely couldn't go back to sleep. And painful enough for me to call Kevin home from work. In the two hours it took him to get home, I prepared the last few things we needed to take with us to the hospital, Anslie's overnight bag, and I showered. I honestly had no idea if I was really in labor because as I was up and moving around, although the pain never lessened, the length and distance between contractions was constantly changing. It was so frustrating! Mostly because I had gone into false labor twice before this and it was like someone was dangling a carrot in front of my nose; a very painful, exhausting, and emotionally draining carrot.
I called my sister, Tera, who was going to try to get here from Colorado in time for the baby's birth and put her on alert. Even if this was another false labor, with my state being what it was (my checkup the day before showed that I was dilated to 3 cm but my cervix could be stretched to 5 1/2 cm and was 90-100% effaced) I could go into real labor at any moment.
By 6:45am, almost 6 hours after waking up with contractions - contractions that sucked my breath away and that I really had to concentrate to get through the pain - my progress stopped. I was devastated! I know that might sound a little funny, but I was so DONE being pregnant, with all of the aches, pains, and other discomforts that come with it. I just wanted this baby OUT! I sat on the living room floor and sobbed while Kevin tried to comfort me because I felt like I had been tortured for hours without anything to show for it. I was drained. So I went upstairs and took a nap for a couple of hours.
At 10am I was again awakened with some serious contractions, contractions that were still very irregular and hard to "diagnose" as real labor. I went downstairs and Kevin got us some lunch while I worked through each painful crest, debating whether or not to run for the hospital. We had tickets to a VIP party at Sea World that night that Kevin and I were dying to take Anslie to so we decided to pack up and head for San Diego. If my labor stopped we would beat rush hour traffic and spend the evening at Sea World. If not, we would be close to the hospital I was to deliver at.
We were getting in the car to head out when my mom called (who is an RN who has worked in Labor and Delivery, the Newborn Nursery, and is also a Lactation Consultant). I let her know what was going on and my frustrations with not knowing for sure if I was really in labor. I worked through a couple contractions with her on the phone and upon confirmation of the length of the contraction, the level of pain, and the fact that there was some spotting, my mom told us to GET TO THE HOSPITAL! It was finally time!
When we checked into triage at 2:30pm we discovered that I was dilated to a 6 and that I was 100% effaced. The baby was still at a -2 station (so there was still some time before he would arrive) but it was the perfect time for us to get to the hospital!
From there on out I labored...and boy did I labor! I was thrilled to not have to be put on pitocin and I was given a heplock instead of an IV. The doctors and nursing staff were awesome about letting me do my thing. Everyone expected the labor and delivery to be very quick and.....it wasn't. The nurses had the room prepared for delivery by 5pm and it was another 7 hours before the baby was born!
I lived on cranberry juice and this fabulous crushed ice throughout the entire delivery and hospital stay. I still crave it!
Dilated to a 7 at 5pm and the room was prepped for baby
By the time I hit transitional labor I had been laboring for 19 hours, running on about 2 hours of sleep. I was exhausted! I made the decision to have my water broken at that point because we were all hoping that it would get me through to 10 cm and pushing within the hour. And it didn't. It just amped up the pain to the point I was no longer in control. It was just too much and after threatening my nurse and punching Kevin in the head, screaming profanities, and asking to die, it was clear that I needed an epidural. I wanted Zac to be born in a calm and loving environment and I was in a state of panic.
After 2 hours with an epidural and plenty of time to gather myself together, we hit 10 cm and were ready to push!
The anesthesiologist gave me a mild dose of medication so that the edge was taken off the contractions, but I could still feel when they were coming, I could feel the pressure and the urge to push, and the tugging, stretching, and movement from the baby's progress.
After 22 hours of labor and an hour of pushing, our not so little baby was born! My OB took a guess at his weight about a week before I delivered and he said there was no way Zac was going to be more than 8lbs. Ha! The OB who delivered me commented on the fact that no one anticipated him being as big as he was. Zac's shoulders got stuck and it took the doctor + three nurses to wrestle him out (another reason I was happy that I got the epidural after all). I did tear a bit (2nd degree downward and into the labia)and it took the doc about an hour to stitch me up, but other than that, things were perfect!
The awesome thing about Zac's delivery was that I was able to hold him immediately after birth, skin to skin, for over an hour before the nursing staff took him to do measurements and tests. I didn't have that experience with Anslie because she was showing signs of respiratory distress after birth. That hour of bonding time really makes a difference! I was able to get Zac latched on for breast feeding on the first try and all has been smooth sailing ever since!
Zachary is absolutely gorgeous and I can't get over his hair and size, just like everyone else! He is a darling baby and we fell in love the minute we set eyes on him.
First bath at the hospital
We are so grateful to my sister, Tera, who missed the birth but made it for the crucial period postpartum to take care of my little family while I could not. She and her family made such great sacrifices to be there for us. We are so thankful for all of our friends and family who offer support and love! You are all awesome! Thanks to Catherine and John for taking care of my sweet baby girl while Kevin and I were at the hospital! It was such a comfort knowing that she was in good hands. And to Amberlyn and Eric for watching our pooch while we were away. There was comfort in that as well, knowing that things at home were being taken care of for us. Stay tuned for part II (not sure what the title will be yet, but this story is far from over!)
Loading Zac up for the car ride home
First bath at home
Introducing Anslie to her new baby brother
Anslie's cousin, Brynna, is a pro at holding babies!