We checked into the hospital, and settled into our room. The nurse came and asked the 100 questions they have to ask. Aaron had to answer what he could as I breathed through contractions. Then she checked me, and told me the bad news. "You're at a 2 1/2, maybe a 3. I'm going to call you a 3" Ummm excuse me? No change? I've been laboring all freaking day and no change? EFF! Thinking back on it now, I figure I was probably having so many contractions with so little progress because of having my membranes stripped. That makes you have contractions, even if they aren't progressive ones. I think I would have gone into active labor that night without it, but it would have taken longer for the contractions to get so close, and I would have actually had progress at that point.
I was trying to have a natural labor. My thinking is that every labor is different, and everyone's pain level is different, how can you know it's something you can't handle if you don't try? I was open minded to the fact that I might end up needing an epidural if things were progressing slowly, but I was going to try and see how it goes. I wanted to see how much I could take. Also, if you know me, I'm a cheapskate. Epidurals cost almost 2 grand! I was definitely going to try and save that money if I could.
The nurse mentioned sending me home, but said she had to go talk to the doctor on call first, which happened to be my doctor. I did not like the thought of going home at this point. If contractions 3 minutes apart are not close enough to go to the hospital, then how was I supposed to know when to go? I labored for an hour or two on the exercise ball they provide. I wish I had brought my own, their's sucked. The doctor came in to talk to me and said I was having too many contractions to send me home at this point. Yes! He also told me that he had a medical conference to attend the next morning, so he probably wouldn't be the one to actually deliver the baby, and the doctor that would was the one doctor I didn't want to. Shucks. I knew he'd do fine, he just kind of gives me the creeps. He reminds me of the doctors on shows like Grey's Anatomy that look like they worry more about their appearance than their patients. Not the kind of person I want staring at my dirty bits. ;)
The nurse came back and checked me, I was at a 4. At least that was some progress. They unhooked me from the monitors, and I was able to wander the halls to try and get things going. While this sounds like a good idea, it's not so easy to go through a contraction while standing in the middle of a hallway, especially with random people standing around watching you. Also not helpful was the lady who was in labor and pushing and screaming as I walked by. Not exactly calming. I switched between walking the halls and bouncing on the ball in my room. It was hard to find something comfortable though since I was having back labor. I was cold and I just wanted to lay down and cuddle up in a blanket, but that didn't help either. The nurse checked me again at about 5 and I was at a 5. Man, things were going slow. She also mentioned that I had a slight fever of 37.4 degrees Celsius (they were only telling me in Celsius, but that's about 99.2 Fahrenheit) when I got to the hospital, it was now up to 37.6. If you get above 38 (100.4 F) degrees it means you have some sort of infection and they have to put you on antibiotics. Now it made sense why I had been cold and shivering all night. They were going to have to keep an eye on my temperature and make sure it didn't keep climbing.
I was having a hard time dealing with my contractions as they got stronger, and I got more tired. I knew I needed to get some rest or I wouldn't have energy to push. The contractions were so close together, and didn't stop hurting in between there was no way I could sleep. I knew it was going to hurt when I went into this, but I expected to have a minute of not hurting to catch my breath and prepare for the next contraction. That was not the case for me. Aaron kept telling me it was okay to get the epidural, which didn't help me to stay strong and do it without. I had a stretch of about 15 minutes of just saying "Ow" over and over and not being able to concentrate on my breathing, and just being so tired I didn't care anymore. I gave in and asked for the epidural. I was scared to get it mostly because the idea of having a huge needle stuck into my spine did not sound fun. I don't remember it hurting much at all though, it just felt weird. He bumped a nerve which sent a "zing" down my right leg making it kick. Felt like I got shocked. I could feel the medicine go through the tube that was taped to me, and into my back. It was all pretty strange. The relief was almost instant though. I never completely lost feeling in my legs, they just felt a little heavy.
I now had one nurse and 2 students check on me every time. I had to be a guinea pig for the students to practice on. How fun! Welcome to the show. They checked me at about 6 and I was at a 6. I tried to sleep, but those beds are very uncomfortable, and the nurses kept coming in every 15 minutes to take my temperature. Every time they came in they told me to get some rest. Thanks for the tip, now if you leave me alone maybe I could! I got maybe 30-45 minutes of sleep in all. They checked me again at 7, and I was still a 6. At 8 I was at a 7, and they broke my water to try and get things going faster. Apparently that didn't work, cause an hour later I was still at a 7. They asked if they could do a Pitocin drip, I said I wanted to wait another hour to see if things started to progress on it's own. That was a good choice, because by 10 I was 8 1/2. Wahoo! Almost there! When they took my temperature this time I was 37.8, so they took it again in the other ear since it was close to being too high. That ear was 38 degrees. dun dun dun. Time for antibiotics. They also had to put me on oxygen, but neither of us can remember why. Being on that oxygen was awful. It wasn't just a slow trickle of air, it was being blasted in my face. I've always had a hard time breathing when going for a ride with Aaron on his motorcycle, makes me feel a little sick. That's how it felt, it made it harder to breathe right, not easier.
They had a NICU nurse come talk to us. Since I had an infection, that meant Lucy might have one too. She would have to go to the NICU to get checked right after birth. It turned out to be a good thing that they were going to be there ready when she was born.
At 11:30 I could tell I was at a 10 because I started to feel a lot of pressure with every contraction. They came in to check me at noon, and sure enough, 10! They had me do some practice pushes with each contraction, then had me labor down for 30 minutes. That was a VERY long 30 minutes. The pressure was so intense with every contraction. I desperately wanted to push and get her out already. I was able to really start pushing at a little after 1. With every contraction they have you take a deep breath in and hold it, push for a count of 10, exhale, and repeat that 3 times. I got very lightheaded and felt like I was going to pass out every time. I had to keep stopping and breath like normal for a minute. I was so dizzy. Probably from not eating or having much to drink since midnight. Nazi labor nurses! ;) We changed it to pushing just till the count 6 each time. I had a mirror, and I could see her head when I pushed. So much hair! That made me very happy. I pushed till 2:30, then they paged the doctor. He didn't come, and no one could find him. I was worried one of the nurses would have to catch her. He finally got there around 2:40, and I pushed for 2 more cycles of 3, plus one extra little push, and finally she was here!