The beginning of actual labor started on December 21st around 11:30 pm while we were getting ready for bed. I had started to have contractions that were more regular than before, although they were more bothersome than painful at that point. I figured it would just be a long night of false labor as that had been the case during the previous few weeks. I tried as best I could to fall asleep but the contractions were just enough to keep me awake. Finally at 3 am I decided to take a Unisom to see if I could get some rest. I was somewhat successful until about 9 am when the contractions started to get more painful than they had been. I got up, ate breakfast, took a bath, tried to watch a movie, and anything else I could think of to distract myself. I still wasn't convinced at this point that it was the real thing.
At 1 pm I was starting to feel really worn out from not sleeping during the night and then feeling nauseated enough to not want to eat. I talked to Skyler and we had agreed that if I was still contracting at 5 pm we would make our way over to the hospital to see what, if anything, was happening. We timed contractions for about 2 hours until I decided I wanted to go then. We got our bags together and said a quick prayer before leaving the apartment.
We got checked in to the hospital and in a room by 3:45 and the nurse came in to check to see if I had changed from the last doctors appointment. She hooked me up to the monitor which gave us our first look at what was really happening. I had dilated to a 3+ and was contracting every 3-4 minutes which was more than I had expected. I then began my hour observation to see how my labor was progressing.
In the mean time my boss had come to check on me and see if I was ready to start my maternity leave. I felt the contractions occurring more frequently and getting stronger as I was talking. My contractions were still a little irregular and would come and go with some feeling like they were on top of each other. I wasn't quite sure if they were enough to be actual labor but my boss kept saying I was having a baby that night and wouldn't be sent home. After the hour had concluded she went and got the nurse to check me. I was a 4 and 90 percent effaced and very relieved. As soon as the nurse told me she would be calling the doctor I begged for an epidural. She came in a few minutes later and started my IV. I thought I'd never make it through labor if I didn't get the epidural soon and felt like the wait was an eternity although it was probably just five minutes. The anesthesiologist came in, set up quickly, and the procedure was over before I knew it.
Once the epidural kicked in I felt so much more comfortable than I had been. I was able to rest and even sleep a little in between checks. Doctor Wolsey came in to see how I was progressing and to break my water. At that point I was a 5 and it was amazing to see several hard contractions on the monitor and not feel any pain. From that point on labor went pretty quickly. I went from a 5 at 5:30 pm to complete at 10:00 with some resting and descending at the end. At 10:00 the doctor came back and said it was time to start pushing. The nurse got things ready and then 15 minutes later I started pushing.
I couldn't quite tell if I was contracting so she coached me when to start for about three contractions. At that point she told me to stop pushing which worried me until she said if I did she would be delivering the baby herself. I waited for about 5 minutes for the doctor to come in and get dressed. I then started to push again. I knew that most first time moms can normally push for a couple of hours so I was prepped for at least 3 hours of pushing. The nurse had placed a mirror in front of me so I could see what kind of progress I was making between each push. After about 25 minutes total and a couple more pushes I watched her come out and waited for a cry. I started to get nervous for a couple of seconds until I watched them take her over to the warmer and saw her start to turn pink. She never actually made any big cries so they had to pat her back and suction her mouth to get her lungs clear.
After a few minutes they wrapped her and I got my first chance to hold her. I still felt like the whole thing could have been a dream and just kept staring at her. I couldn't believe she was finally here where I could see her open her eyes and look up at me. I couldn't believe how quickly I felt so much love for her. I didn't want to let her go until it was finally time to transfer down to the mother baby floor. I handed her over to Skyler while I got changed and moved to a new bed. Then Skyler and Annika went went to the nursery for her exam while I tried to rest.
A few minutes later they brought her into my room wrapped up in a Christmas stocking. I held her for a few minutes until they took her to the nursery to rest for the night. I tried the best I could to fall asleep but was so excited and my emotions were so high that I only slept off and on. I couldn't wait until I could wake up and spend more time getting to know her and hold her. I'm so appreciative that she got here safely and the blessing she has been to our family already