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While we were originally aiming for a 10-10-10 baby, there was no indication that our bundle of joy would be arriving anytime soon. When my sister-in-law went into labor five days early on 10-10-10, I was convinced I would probably be waiting for my induction date the following Thursday.
Little did I know that at 4 a.m. the next morning I would wake up feeling funny. I thought my water broke, but my pajamas were only a bit wet, not soaked, and there was no “gush.” I changed, figured it was nothing, and tried to go back to bed. An hour later I woke up again feeling funny, but again no big gush. At this point, I couldn’t go back to sleep and before I knew it, I felt like I was having some cramping. I began paying attention to the slight cramps and realized they were about 9-13 minutes apart. For nine months, I was concerned about not knowing when it was “time.” All I will say is that there is no mistaking when the time comes. The labor contractions feel VERY different than Braxton-Hicks; when it’s time to start paying attention, you will know.
Just before 6am, I felt a huge gush—my water broke! I ran into the bathroom and it ran down my leg and didn’t stop.
I WAS OFFICIALLY IN LABOR!
My husband and I got to the hospital just after 7 a.m. Within about 45 minutes I was wheeled up through the private elevators we all saw on the Prentice Hospital tour and taken into my labor and delivery room. It was here that my husband relaxed and I labored for most of the day. The first thing they did was give me drugs in my IV line to get my contractions going. A short time after, I started to have more regular contractions.
The contractions were manageable, I breathed through them and felt alright. At around 1 p.m. my contractions started to become more regular and were airing on the side of painful. By the time my parents arrived from Michigan at 2 p.m., I was incredibly uncomfortable. My nurse, Nikki, told me that I had to wait until my contractions were closer together and more regular before I could get an epidural. When I couldn’t take it anymore I simply said, “Nikki, this pain is not in the plan. I don’t want to get into different positions to help me through it, I can’t walk around anymore– GIVE ME THE DRUGS!” Within three minutes, she came back and said ok and the anesthesiologist came in to start the epidural at 3 p.m.
Many people asked if the spinal hurt. I will say that whoever did my epidural deserves a HUGE prize. At this point, the contractions were so bad that I barely even felt the spinal. Once I had the epidural in my system it was like having two delicious glasses of wine. An aura of calm fell over me and I felt amazing. I couldn’t feel my lower half, but I also didn’t feel any contractions either.
I am VERY fortunate that my own doctor was on call at the hospital that week—probably one of very few things that made me happy to deliver after my due date. At 6:30pm she came in. I was SO excited to see her and even more so that she was going to be delivering my daughter. My doctor asked me how dilated I was, but I didn’t know since no one had checked me. Everyone was in near shock when my doctor checked me and announced, “You are fully dilated; 10 cm PLUS one. It’s time to start pushing.”
Since I was comfortable and unable to feel anything, my doctor did her rounds and let the contractions continue to push the baby down. She came back around 8:30pm and announced that it was go-time. Both my doctor and labor nurse, Mary-Kate, told me how to push and what they wanted me to do. My husband and the med student, also named Daniel, were going to help by holding my legs and counting. With the four of them in place I started the process of pushing. My epidural was still in full effect and I was barely able to feel anything. I was convinced that the pushing was not doing anything. The medical professionals all informed me otherwise.
I pushed in total for about an hour and a half. Right before the “last push,” my doctor gave some final instructions, everyone got suited up and I gave my final push.
OUR BABY GIRL WAS HERE!!
Due to the color of my water when it broke, the doctors informed me beforehand that my baby likely had swallowed some meconium. My doctor and labor nurse, Mary-Kate prepared me by informing me that a team of pediatricians were going to take her immediately and suck the meconium out. Right before my final push, the number of people in the room increased from about four to forty. When she came out, she was somewhat limp and not crying. Apparently, this is a normal situation, however as the new mom, it was a bit scary. Immediately they took her to the giraffe warming station and within about 3-5 minutes (which seemed like an hour), I heard my baby cry for the first time.
When they FINALLY set her on my chest, I said hi to my beautiful 6 lb., 9 oz. daughter, Jordyn Claire. The feeling at the time simply can’t be described. I tear up thinking about what I felt at that moment, with her lying on my chest looking up at me. It was hard to believe even then that I carried her around for nine months, and there she was lying on my chest staring at me.