I woke up at 4 am on the morning of April 26, 2012 (39 weeks pregnant) with what I thought were contractions. I laid in bed and tried timing them, but they didn’t seem consistent enough to be the real thing. I was in pretty bad pain, though, and kept getting out of bed and walking around. I knew I had my weekly doctor’s appointment that morning at 9:30, so I just figured I would ask about the pain when I got there. I got up and started getting ready around 8. The pain kept coming in waves and I told Jud that I wasn’t sure if this was labor or not. I really didn’t think it was—but at the same time, I packed my hospital bag as I got ready.
It was pouring rain as Jud and I both left the house—he was on his way to get our carseat installation inspected. Luckily I only had to drive 2 minutes away. By the time I got to the doctor’s office I was feeling very emotional. When the nurse took me back, she asked me how I was doing and I burst into tears. I explained that I had been having a lot of pain that just wouldn’t go away. She sort of laughed and said okay, let’s get you checked out. The OB came in and checked me. “Yup…3-4 cm. I’m sending you over to Labor and Delivery. You are in early labor.” I was SO surprised to hear that! I don’t know why I was so surprised. I just burst into tears and couldn’t stop crying. The doctor and nurse looked amused. haha. They told me to head on over to the hospital right away. I was in such shock that I got in my car and drove home instead. Jud got home shortly after me and I also called my mom to come over. They just sat there talking to me as I sat in the living room on a birthing ball. In-between contractions, I kept asking “Do you think I should go now?” I was really in pain, so we finally decided to go to the hospital around 11:30. My goal was a med-free labor; I was terrified by the idea of an epidural and really squeamish about the thought of a catheter.
When we got to the hospital, the OB had called ahead, so I was admitted right away. We got taken back to the room and put on a monitor to check my contractions and baby’s heartbeat. They also started an IV. The nurse told me I could unhook from the monitors every 30 minutes to go walk around. Dr. Nanna, the OB on call, came in and checked me—4 cm. I decided to walk around a bit and try to breathe through the contractions. Every 30 minutes I would go back to the monitors. This continued for several hours. The contractions were becoming more and more painful and I was starting to cry every time I had one. The nurse finally checked me again and I was 6 cm. At this point we had to talk about pain relief. It was now around 6 pm and I had been in labor for 14 hours—and it was looking like I had hours ahead of me. It was a really hard decision to make. I was losing control with my pain and getting hysterical every time I had a contraction. I finally decided to get the epidural because I knew I couldn’t go on.
It was around 6:30 pm when the anesthesiologist came in to do the epi. The worst part was the numbing needle—I definitely felt it pop into my back and I jumped because it hurt. I still think about that horrible popping. Ugh. Once the epidural was in, I had a panic attack. The feeling was weird and not really that pleasant—I felt like I couldn’t raise my body up at all. My blood pressure also dropped really low for a minute. Luckily, after the initial large dose, I was a little less numb and felt better. The doctor came in to check me again a few minutes later, and I was still 6 cm. She broke my water (I didn’t feel a thing).
Once I got used to the feeling of the epidural, it was great. At this point it was just a waiting game. I know it was several hours, but they have already started to blend together in my mind. I texted some of my friends updates, and my mom, dad, Jud, and sis all ate some pizza. I begged my mom for a couple bites. A few hours later I was 8 cm. My sister brought frozen yogurt and the nurse told me I could have some. The nurse was having me switch from side to side, and I started feeling the epi on my right side more. On my left side I could feel some faint pressure, down low. I could feel enough to know that it would have hurt like a bitch without the epi.
Around 9:30 the nurse checked me and told me I was 10 cm—ready to start pushing! I got scared again and started crying. Even though I had the epidural, I could tell when I was having contractions and they did mildly hurt, so that helped me push. It was slow going. After about an hour I was feeling hopeless, hot, tired, and sick. I threw up—almost all over my sister. I was embarrassed and cried (and now I will never eat watermelon frozen yogurt again!). I wondered if the baby would be born by midnight, and the nurse told me it would be close. Another hour of pushing, at least. Everyone tells you that once you are in labor you won’t care or be embarrassed. That wasn’t true for me. I really think my pushing was inhibited because I felt a little embarrassed and scared.
Our nurse was great and ended up grabbing a sheet for me to pull against, over the squat bar. That was the best way to push, and I really felt like I was making progress then. I started getting a bit discouraged again though, and I thought the nurse said “Do you want to meet him??” You know…motivational-like. So I said Yes!!! She then walked away into the closet and I was like hmmmm what? Where is she going? She walks back out with a GIANT mirror—Seriously, those things are huge and on wheels. Aahhh. She had actually said “Do you want a mirror?” Oops. It ended up being a big help though. There was no hiding anything from anyone at that point, but I was numb and exhausted and just wanted the baby out. Sometime after 11, the nurse called the OB in for delivery. Even hearing her say that, I was in disbelief. I couldn’t believe he was about to be born. After 20 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing, David Judson came out in a huge splash of fluid at 11:40 pm, 7 lb 4 oz. It was the most incredible moment of my life.