(as I was writing this...it got too long, again. Don't kill me--there will be a 3rd part, I promise it'll come quick!)
As we were gathering all of our stuff for the hospital this time, I was certain with the way my contractions were coming that this was it. Except, we got into the car when we were driving-- I noticed the time, and noticed that I hadn't had a single contraction since the time we left the house. In too long.
That's bad news for a woman who thinks they're in labor. Or, was in labor since 3am. What a cruel trick. On the way to the hospital I may have had only one (or two) good contractions. I sobbed. I sobbed big, huge, tears...but we kept driving there anyway.
When we got out, I told Declan I wanted to walk first before I went in. We did a few painful walks up and down the sidewalk. It was kind of a gloomy, dark morning. The contractions began to pick back up again, so we headed up to L&D.
They took me into triage and monitored me for a little bit. I remember giving Declan this nervous look because I was already humiliated that I could tell my contractions slowed down since earlier that morning. I already knew my fate. The nurse checked my cervix and I was dilated to 4 (she said it was a "good 3 but easily stretched to a 4"), and that my cervix was soft. If I could have disappeared from there, I would have. I felt myself shrinking into my skin--embarrassed because I knew now in my gut that this wasn't active labor yet, or it wouldn't have slowed down so much.
The nurses in my L&D are freaking fabulous, though. They never, ever, ever make you feel dumb--at all. They will tell you stories of women who have gone in 9238209x before it's the real thing to make you feel better about yourself. Who cares if they're true or not--but they were sweet to me nonetheless.
They did confirm that probably all the action from 3am-7am is what dilated my cervix those extra cm's...and they told Declan and I to take a walk to see if we could get labor going and make any progress. We walked around the floor for an hour, and yes, I contracted--but it wasn't the same pain. I came back in to the room to get checked again, but there was no change. The doctor came in, was nice, but basically said--"Look, this isn't it yet. It's close. We could see you later tonight having this baby, or in a week. I wish I knew." She was also pretty adamant about not inducing me (which I'm grateful for), since according to their dates, I was only 38 weeks 4 days.
The truth is, this was just so much different than last time for so many reasons. I felt a few hours of early contractions with Emeline--went into L&D, walked a bit, progressed enough to be considered in labor, they kept me (probably because I was 40w 1 day according to them)--and I had a baby. I didn't really experience this much labor at home before.
My pep talk from the doctor and nurse was basically this: Come back when the contractions are long lasting (1-2 min in length) and 5-7 minutes apart consistently. You'll know.
On the way home, I was feeling pretty defeated. I felt like my body let me down pulling all this false labor crap (which really, it's not false at all--just pre stuff), and I honestly told the nurse at the check-out desk to "expect me to just have a baby in an ambulance because I'll never trust myself to come back". Which in a way, is how I felt. I just didn't know anymore.
We contemplated going to my parents and picking up Emeline at this time, because I was all I'll never have this baby anyway, blah blah. My mom & I were texting and she said she still felt like she should keep her, and she really believed I'd be having this baby today. Declan & I talked about it--and just decided we'd let her nap there and then assess after naptime based on how I was feeling. So, we went and had an early lunch at the diner.
The lunch was kind of miserable. I was in pain. I felt like I'd been kicked in the uterus and vagina all night (sorry, not sorry--it's true!) because of all the contracting that night/morning. I also started feeling some stronger contractions again--but still very spaced out.
As soon as we got home, I curled up on the couch with a blanket and fell asleep instantly from exhaustion. I got about a good 45 minute nap in before I woke up to the most painful, intense contraction yet.
I continued to lay there....and about 12 minutes later...it came again. And again. And again. Every few contractions, the distance in time apart was getting shorter, but the duration of the contractions were consistently 1-2 minutes.
I labored at home from 1pm-5:30pm, in the most pain I've ever, hands down, been in-in my life. Every single contraction was excrutiating by this point. My husband was by my side, rubbing my back, helping me through them---I mean, I was to the point where I was moaning. I had no other choice. I literally felt so helpless, but yet tried so hard to remain in control at the same time. I tried different positions, the bath, holding onto Declan, laying on my side, the birthing ball....and there was absolutely nothing that even a tiny bit made any of it bearable anymore.
The pain I felt in my rectal area was BEYOND WORDS. I honestly thought the baby was going to just bust out of me (sorry, it's true), or that my body was going to snap in half. I noticed that my contractions were ranging from 3-5 minutes apart, but 2 minutes in duration, and I told Declan with somewhat confidence (I was just burnt out from my 2 other experiences), it's TIME.
In the car on the way there, I called my doctor. She remembered me from earlier (obviously) and I quickly said between a contraction, "It's for real this time, I'm coming in."--and she just said, "ok! see you soon."
There was NO stopping of contractions on the way to the hospital this time. They just kept coming, intenser and intenser--so much so that I was just praying I had enough time for some pain relief because I was so close to breaking down. I'd been strong for too long and I knew I needed a break--especially with my lack of sleep from the past few days.
They got me right into a room (no triage this time) at about 6:15pm, and immediately checked out. I was a good 5cm, but got a "holy crap the baby is insanely low" comment/gasp from the nurse. Hence, why all the insane rectal pressure--she was jammed in there rearin' to go. They told me she'd already done about 3/4 of the work for me when it came time to push. Nice.
The next 30-45 minutes were kind of a blur. I was in so much pain and I know from my history how fast I was probably dilating--hence why things were getting even more intense fast. I know I got my IV put in, bags of fluid in me, and they ordered my epidural. The doctor also came in at some point, but because of my pain level she was afraid to check me yet for fear of breaking my water prior to me getting the epidural. So she said she'd wait until after it was put in to find out where I stand.
During this time, I pretty much lost control mentally of the contractions. I had held it together up until then. But now? I couldn't breathe or moan through them, instead, the tears just came, with every one, and I held on tensely (which I know isn't good for the pain) to Declan with every one. I was THAT girl. Crying. Trying to hold it in, but not doing a very good job. The nurses and my husband kept reassuring me that soon, so soon, I would have some relief.
To just take it one contraction at a time...
To be honest? I wanted to punch them all. But I held on. We were getting so close to meeting our sweet baby...
(swear...I am typing furiously to finish this...)