First off-thank you sooo much girls for all y'all's participation. Seriously made my week. Now, onto our third and final installment...(you'll have to excuse me the added detail compared to the last two. It was my most recent birth and hence the most fresh in my mind).
I woke up on October 28th at about 7, 7:30ish with contractions every 10 minutes or so. I had been contracting off and on for about two weeks, so I wasn't convinced it was labor yet and figured I'd wait and see how things went throughout the day. The contractions were painful-ish all day, but weren't progressing very quickly and I just went about my day. Mid-day, I decided I was in actual labor, but I have a tendency to putter during labor (as my previous posts attested to) and I went about all business as usual. Anyway, about 5:00ish that evening, I started seriously timing my contractions and realized they were speeding up fairly quickly. I started packing up the kids to go with my mom to her house and getting stuff for the hospital and by the time I left for the hospital that evening, my contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart and were hurting a lot. They continued to get much more intense on the drive down to the hospital (a little over an hour away), but actually spread out in time to about 6 minutes apart. I was paranoid about going into the hospital and having contractions that far apart (heaven forbid they mistake me for an antsy first time mom ;), so I convinced my husband to pick up some dinner for himself and fill up the car with gas before we parked at the hospital. I considered stopping at the mall to walk around for a bit...thank heavens we didn't or I definitely would've had a baby somewhere between Famous Footwear and The Gap. When we parked they were still 6 minutes apart. My doctor suspects at that point in time, I was probably dilated to 5-ish cm. Because I wanted to give my contractions a chance to speed up, I had Spencer park in the parking garage (rather than do valet parking at the front of the hospital) and walk to the hospital with me (it's about a 5 minute walk while not in labor). As soon as we started walking (especially with those pesky two flights of stairs ), my contractions sped up like crazy. When I checked in at labor and delivery, it was 8:32pm and my contractions hurt like h**l, but I was surprisingly managing them really well. I had studied up on the Bradley method while pregnant and the method of relaxing your body while it worked through the contractions was working really well for me. Also, I think in large part, my management of the pain was because I seriously thought I had like 6 hours of labor ahead of me (like I did with my previous daughter), so I kept on comparing them to how much more intense they'd be getting, if that makes any sense. Anyway, they put me in triage and the nurse checked me and lo and behold, I was fully dilated. So, I had dilated from a 5ish all the way to a 10 in the time it took me to walk from the car to labor and delivery. That was a very. long. painful. walk. Right after she checked me in triage, I started to feel a little pushy. They immediately moved me over to a delivery room and called my doctor, who arrived all out of breath about 10 minutes later. While we waited for my doctor, I was practically giddy at the thought that I was that close to being done. I seriously had planned on going for so much longer. The nurses couldn't believe how well I was coping, including the fact I was laughing and making jokes in the moments between contractions. I just couldn't get over the fact that I would be having the baby in a few minutes versus a lot of hours, like I had planned on. Anyway, after the doctor got there, I couldn't hold back any longer and two contractions later, we had a baby. I was lucky and didn't have anything more than a little skid mark. My daughter was officially born at 9:31pm, so about an hour after we got to the hospital and about 14 hours after I woke up with contractions that morning. The pushing was by far the most painful part for me. The contractions were very intense, but I just focused on breathing and relaxing my way through them and I somehow was able to stay on top of them pretty well. The pushing...well, let's just say I was glad it only lasted for like five minutes, although I was at least crowning for nearly all of it, so that probably didn't help things any. After birth, however, I just felt so fabulous. I couldn't even believe how great I felt, both physically and emotionally. It was such a high and it was so nice not to have to deal with everything that comes with an epidural and tearing and all that.
Since the little one descended so quickly, there was loads of mucus still in her lungs when she was born (because it didn't have a chance to get squeezed out in the birth canal), so after the first initial holding and cord-cutting, the nurses and pediatrician started to suck out the mucus and fluid. That took about 30-45 min because they were having a hard time keeping her blood-oxygen levels up. They suspected that part of the problem was how upset she was, so they had me nurse her skin to skin. That calmed her right down and helped loads with her blood-oxygen levels. Other than that, however, she was just fine at birth, alert and active, although very blue. She was a perfect little 6lb 12 oz, 19 3/4 inch bundle of perfect.
My third birth was my ideal birth. Really, truly fabulous. It was totally worth the pain in the butt of traveling over an hour to each doctor visit and then the hospital to have my natural VBAC. I realize that it's not an option, or even a desire for everyone to go natural, or even vaginal, but for me, it was absolutely perfect. I could honestly have 5 more just like her, especially considering she really was a good little baby (as long as she was being held, anyway ;). Honestly, I can't wait to try it again.