My little Oliver's labor and delivery story is much better than Miss A's story. Meaning it was far shorter and far less painful than my experience with Miss A. Unfortunately, with all birth stories it was still very painful and I never want to go through it again! (You can read The Birth Story of Amelia June if you missed it.)
My body started to make some progress around the end of week 36 in my pregnancy. I started feeling slight cramping as if I were about to start my period. This lasted for a couple days and triggered my curiosity. I thought my son would be born shortly after those aches and pains began. I went in for my regular prenatal 36 week check up and nothing was happening down there. No dilation yet. Another week went by with no labor symptoms. Around 38 weeks, I started feeling Braxton Hicks contractions. I thought those were the real deal because the contractions were every 5-10 minutes for several hours. However, when I changed positions or walked around the contractions would disappear. That is how I knew it was false labor. I ended up figuring out how I could trigger Braxton Hicks contractions. I simply bounced on a birthing ball for an hour or longer while watching TV. I sat in various yoga positions (Malasana, Baddha Konasana, and other poses meant to induce labor) and just stretched while sitting on the floor with my legs in the splits. I was able to make my body have false labor contractions.
A couple days later on New Year's Eve, I had my 39 week appointment and discovered that despite the disappointment of false labor contractions, they were helping my body dilate faster. I was then dilated to 3cm. The doctor asked me if I wanted my membrane stripped and I said yes. She told me that there was a 50% chance I would go into labor if I had that process done. It was not painful and only felt like a normal cervical check. As soon as I left my appointment, real labor contractions began. It was 11:00am and the contractions started out faint but consistent. I decided to go shopping and run as many errands as possible to distract myself. Miss A and I went to Target for some last minute baby supplies. We walked around for a good hour or longer. Then we went to Field's Fabrics to buy some clearanced fabrics to make baby blankets. After that we did a little grocery shopping at Save A Lot. It was at that last store that I started to get nervous because the contractions were starting to feel stronger. They had consistently been 3-5 minutes apart since they started at 11am.
Around 3:00pm, I called my husband home from work. He was supposed to be home already but ended up being forced to stay late. While I waited for him to get home, I bounced on the birthing ball in attempt to ensure my baby was getting into the correct position for delivery. The contractions ended up being fairly painful around 5:30pm and we decided it was time to drive through the winter storm (30 minutes) to the hospital. The car ride there was not so calm and peaceful. Every contraction sent me breathing deeply in tears and yanking off my seat belt to relieve some pain. Sitting in a car is NOT a good labor position in case you were wondering.
We arrived at the hospital and I realized I forgot my purse... It didn't matter though. Everyone who saw me entering the emergency room was super happy, saying "YAY! A NEW YEAR'S BABY!" I smiled as best as I could. After all the complaining about NOT wanting a baby born on a holiday, it really was pretty exciting. Luckily, I had my doctor's appointment that morning so when the triage nurse did a cervical check, I was dilated to 4cm and they could prove that my cervix was indeed dilating. They gave me the epidural as fast as possible. I probably had the epidural around 7:30pm. My contractions were painful but much more tolerable compared to the ones I felt with Miss A. I could focus and actually breathe the pain away with the nurses. My nurse was so helpful and cheery. Everyone at Metro Health hospital was excited about having a chance to care for the New Year's Baby and for the opportunity to deliver the first baby in the county instead of it being born at Spectrum Hospital like usual.
My cervix dilated pretty fast and I was ready to possibly deliver before or around midnight. The only problem was that my baby had his head turned to the side. The nurse kept moving me in funny positions (with one leg propped up really high, etc) to get him to turn. Unfortunately, he was being stubborn and did not want to be born in 2013.
I reached the pushing stage around 1:30am or so. I don't really remember because the epidural started to wear off and I started feeling intense pressure. This part absolutely sucked! I honestly did not feel like I could push the baby out! I was in so much pain, far worse than the contractions I previously felt (yet far less painful compared to any part of Miss A's labor and delivery). I ended up coming down with a fever of 103 degrees. While pushing, I was fiercely shaking, completely frozen with chills, and extremely thirsty. Since I was at the pushing stage, I was not able to get a drink of water or a blanket because the baby could have been born at any moment. It was MISERABLE! Nobody could tell me why I had a fever. They were just as confused as I was.
Oliver took his time and ended up being born at 2:11am. He was the first baby born at Metro Health and the second baby born in Kent County (WZZM 13 News Link) for 2014. He was born famous! He ended up being born with a slight fever because of my fever. He also had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck at the end and came out in shock. It took him a tiny bit longer to start breathing but he ended up being just fine. I did not panic because I just knew everything was going to be alright. I didn't get to hold him until 20 minutes after he was born because the nurses wanted to make sure he was okay. I was sweating profusely with a raging headache so I did not mind. Initially, they were going to give him to me right away but because of our circumstances I waited.
After a few hours, Oliver's fever had subsided. He was (and is still) very healthy and ended up weighing 7lb 6oz and measuring 21" long. My fever subsided sometime the next day. All in all, the experience was much more pleasant than my experience with Miss A. I was even rational this time and let the nurses keep him in the nursery at night! I didn't do that with Miss A for some reason... They just kept bringing him back so I could nurse him throughout the night. That definitely helped me recover a little bit faster. I recommend that all mothers use the nursery at the hospital because you only get that luxury for those first two nights. (Then you enter hell...) :P
Now we are lucky to have a healthy and beautiful family of four to live and grow with for the rest of our lives. I am sure it will be truly wonderful. When I am not sleep deprived, I sense the full beauty of it!! We are blessed.