Contractions started at 9:30 on a Thursday night.
Andrew and I went to bed and tried to get some sleep, but despite how tired I was, excitement that this could be it kept me awake. By 11:30 the contractions were to the point where we needed to start timing them, and after an hour of tracking, we decided to call the hospital and check in.
The doctor I spoke to asked some questions about what I was experiencing and told us to come on down. We got up, snuggled the dog, made a smoothie, and hit the road. I could tell Andrew was excited because he was driving fast, despite it being very early stages of labor. When I arrived I was already 6-7 cm dilated so they hooked me up to a machine to check on the baby; his heart rate was just slightly below baseline but consistent so they got me a room and hooked me up to monitors to make sure he was ok. The baby's vitals came back up to a normal baseline - still on the low side, but in a healthy range.
Going into the hospital, I thought I could tough it out without pain meds because I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and all the descriptions of labor made it sound like it would feel like awful menstrual cramps. Well, they got it partially right. For all you wondering what contractions really feel like, imagine the worst menstrual cramps you have ever had - the kind that make you nauseated with pain. Then multiply it by ten. Now add in stabby gas pain. Voila: contractions!
After a few hours with no change in dilation, they broke my water manually to help labor along. Whoa what a lot of water! I decided to get the narcotic to help with the pain of the contractions. I still felt the pain, but also a little bit like a 16 year old girl who had a couple of wine coolers in her. What a relief!
Once my water broke, contractions where much stronger than they had been before and I thought about getting the epidural so I asked them if that was an option. The nurse said yes, just as soon as they get my baby's heart rate back up, because it had started to dip again. Then it went way down. The nurse and doctor asked me to try different positions to see if that would help raise the baby's vitals, but no matter what position I was in the heart rate wasn't coming back up. When it got down to about half the rate of a normal baby, things got really serious.
The doctor told me I would be having a c-section because the baby had to come out immediately, I was only 8 cm dilated and I needed to be at 10 to start pushing. I was stunned. I looked over and Andrew was already being helped into scrubs. There I was on my hands and knees on the bed, naked butt in the hair, and at least five medical professionals surrounding me, telling me to hold onto the sides of the bed. They literally ran me down the hall. I remember thinking as I was being raced to surgery that I was not scared, and I thought about how worried Andrew must be.
When we arrived in surgery, I was introduced to the anesthesiologists and then told I had to be put under because there was no time to wait for a local anesthetic to kick in. This was entirely fine by me. In fact, I was relieved that I didn't have to be awake while operated on. It was so bright in the room and I closed my eyes to try to relax. They asked me to count to ten, and I felt them prepping my belly. I smelled the anesthetic gas and remember thinking I had better keep my eyes open as long as I can so they don't cut into me while I am still awake. When I woke up I was back in the delivery room and Andrew was standing next to me holding Elliot.
We welcomed Elliot James into the world at 8:41am on April 18, 2014. He weighed 7 lbs 12 oz and measured 21" long. Perfectly healthy in every way.