It all started around 12:30 in the afternoon. I had just spent a delightful morning interacting with the crazy people of Walmart (see previous post) and was settling down for my lunch/nap when I felt the first contraction. Actually, I didn't know if it was a contraction or if Juliette was just moving around in an uncomfortable way, so I waited to see if there was any sort of pattern to what I was feeling. If you've never been in labor before, contractions (for me, anyway) feel kind of like period cramps, except instead of being a dull ache that hangs around all the time, it comes on gradually and increases in intensity before tapering off again. And of course, they happen at regular intervals. After I felt it again roughly 20 minutes later, I texted Jacob to let him know I MIGHT be in labor. Not to leave work yet, but just to be on alert.
By 2:30, my contractions were the same low level of intensity, but were now 2 minutes apart. I called my OB's office, and the nurse COMPLETELY freaked out. I tried to tell her that I think that's just how my body does early labor (my contractions were 2 minutes apart with Jenna for a while too), but she told me I should come in anyway. I started preparing to go to the hospital (making all the necessary calls, getting my things together, etc.) but I was suuuuuper slow about it because I was afraid of going in too early...I really didn't want to get there just to be sent home after they checked me.
By 4:30, our friend Joel was over to watch Jenna, Jacob was home from work, and we were on our way to the hospital! For the most part, we held off letting people know because I really wasn't sure if I was actually in labor and I didn't want to have to send out a second "JK NEVERMIND!" text later on.
Apparently, October 12 was a popular day for giving birth, because there was no room left in triage for me and we were put straight into a room (score!) I still felt really silly being there because I rated my contractions as being a 1 or a 2 on the pain scale and when the nurse examined me, I was 4.5 cm dilated, which wasn't that different from my last OB appointment. (By the way, can we talk about that pain scale for a second?? I hate being asked to rate my pain because it's so relative! In the grand scheme of things, a 10 is probably like...getting your arm sawed off and I've never felt anything like that, so how can I judge where I'm at??)
Anyway, our nurse was so great, and reassured me that as I was 40 weeks, having regular contractions, and dilated halfway, she would make me sign an AMA if I wanted to leave now and I should really stay. I agreed, but asked for my water to be broken just to make sure things kept rolling along. I still felt like it couldn't be real that I was actually in labor, so at one point I asked, "Just to be clear...I'm definitely going to have this baby in the next 24 hours?" She laughed and said, "You're probably going to have the baby in the next 6 hours." Huge relief. That finally gave me the confidence to tell my mom to go ahead and book a flight, and to have Jacob spread the word that it was go time!
Oh, also our nurse was amazing because as soon as I said I wanted to stay, she made sure to get my IV drip and paperwork going RIGHT away so I would be ready to get my epidural at the first hint of any increased discomfort. God bless you, Amber. It worked out perfectly too. She came in to check on me maybe 20 minutes after having my water broken and asked how I was doing. This is pretty much how it went down:
Nurse: "How are you doing? Do you think you're ready for your epidural yet?"
Me: "Umm I don't know. My contractions are a little more intense, but I don't think I'm in active labor yet."
Nurse: (gives me a look) You're 6-7 cm dilated. You're in active labor.
Me: Oh ok well...yeah let's go ahead and get the epidural then.
By the time the epidural was put in and working like a charm, I had only had about 3 or 4 actually painful contractions. Then all we had to do was wait! I mean really, could it have been any easier?? That was around 7:00 and we were getting kind of hungry, so Jacob and I ordered some food from Cheesecake Factory to eat when everything was said and done. Then we just hung out, chatted and periodically checked the Cubs score (they won, by the way. Maybe Juliette will be a lucky charm for them!)
Shortly after 9:00, the whole labor and delivery entourage came in. I was at 10 cm so they had me push through a contraction and there was her head! The OB told me to wait until the next contraction, but then she looked up kind of unsurely and said, "Unless...you want to push now?" I shrugged and said something like, "Might as well" or "Sure, I could push." Maybe 30 seconds later at 9:07 PM, she was born at 20 inches, 6 lb. 15 oz., and with an APGAR score of 9 and 9 because we're high achievers like that.
They saw a little bit of meconium in the amniotic fluid earlier on, so I was preparing myself for them to take her away to examine for a while before I could see her (that happened with Jenna and it was really hard for me) BUT they made it a point to hold her up and let me see her right when she was born. I totally lost it and started crying. Honestly, I probably cried more than Juliette did.
|What a big baby. Me, I mean...not the actual baby.|
Wait, yes I can. The next day when Jenna came and our whole family was together for the first time. THAT was better than anything else I could possibly imagine.
|There I go, crying again!|
Welcome to the world, Juliette Elize!! We love you a whole lot!