The morning of Wednesday July 20th Toby and I set off to go see my OB. My appointment was at 10:00 am. Once we got back to see her she checked my cervix and said that I was still at 5 cm. She then proceeded to strip my membranes, which wasn't nearly as uncomfortable as I would have expected. She said that she thought I would almost certainly be in labor within the next few days, but set an induction for August 1st (today!) just in case.
We left and went to my parents house, where Ian had spent the night before. Toby and I spent some time playing with Ian, and then Toby left for work early. I hung out at my Mom's house for the rest of the evening just in case I were to go into labor.
I had such high hopes for the membrane stripping, I was really banking on it working. But for the first couple of hours I just felt tired. Really, really tired. I tried napping, but I just couldn't. Then a terrible headache came over me and I was in a very negative mood. After a couple of hours with no signs of contractions, I started to feel very discouraged. So I sat down at the computer and played Zuma and sulked for a while. Then...it happened. I started feeling contractions. And whaddaya know, they were regular!
My mood lifted. So I went outside and watched Ian and Aiden play in the pool. I relaxed and kicked my feet up on the back deck. I told my parents that I thought that it was going to happen. I felt a peace come over me. The weather was beautiful, the sun had gone down just enough so that it wasn't too bright, and I was totally content. I watched Ian play, knowing in my heart that it was that last time I would see him as my one and only baby. It was such a strange moment for me. I could feel my heart both swelling with joy, and breaking apart as I watched him laugh and giggle while running around the back yard in the nude.
I called and warned Toby that he should keep his phone nearby. I told him that I thought I was in labor but that I was okay for the time being. My parents and I took off and went to get some fast food. My step-dad picked up his favorite pizza, because it was his birthday. I had Wendy's. Once we got back to the house I decided that it was time to go to the hospital. I had my Mom snap a picture of Ian and I together before we left. I couldn't believe he was about to become a big brother. So my Mom and I went to my house to grab some things that I would need. After arriving I realized I had left my keys. So we had to wait for Toby to come home and then we all left together. By this time the contractions were starting to become pretty painful and were about 5 minutes apart.
We arrived at the hospital and they checked my cervix. I was still at 5 cm. After two hours of monitoring, and lots and lots of very painful contractions, I was still 5 cm. So they told me that I was most likely in false labor and to go home until the contractions either got closer together, more painful, or my water broke. By this time the contractions were almost unbearable and I was exhausted. I told them that I would not be back until my water broke because I knew they weren't going to get worse. I have never had contractions so painful, even during my entire labor and delivery with Ian. I went home crying with a chip on my shoulder. I was angry and in lots of pain. I spent a few minutes crying just because I felt very helpless. We left the hospital at 2:00 am, July 21st.
We got home and I took a long hot shower and then tried to lay in bed. I tried to sleep, but it was too painful. I tried to focus on the television...but I can't tell you for the life of me what I was watching. After about an hour and a half I became very restless. I started pacing back and forth from my bedroom to the bathroom. I kept trying to go the bathroom, because I felt like I had to. Around 4:30 am, I had reached the end of my rope. The contractions were not getting any weaker, but they weren't getting any closer together. They were about 4-5 minutes apart. Toby was asleep so I called my Mom. I cried hysterically. I just wanted the pain to stop. I decided to go to her house and attempt to take a soak in the hot bath tub. I woke Toby up and off we went.
We arrived at my Mothers house around 5 am. I drew a hot bath and tried to relax. I stayed as calm as possible. I tried different positions. I told myself that if things didn't get better soon that I was going back to the hospital to beg them to make the contractions stop if they weren't real. My head was racing, and I felt an agonizing feeling that the pain would never end. I got on my hands and knees in the tub and it hurt a little less. But eventually, that started to hurt just as badly. So I got out of the tub and went into the living room.
That's when I hit "the wall". The icantfuckingdothisanylongerorimgoingtodie wall. Yeah. I was on my knees, leaning on to the couch, having my mom rub my lower back through my contractions. Through each contraction I started biting on to the pillow as hard as I could and muttering "I can't do this any more, I can't take this any more" over and over again. I couldn't stop crying. Then, I got up to go to the bathroom again. I was standing over the toilet, looking down, wondering how I was going to be able to sit through the pain. I bent my knees to sit and suddenly it was like a water balloon exploded. My water broke ev-er-y-where. The "burst" was so loud that I didn't have to announce what happened. Everyone knew. My first thought was "what do I do? Do I put my pants back on?". So I put my pants on and we were out the door.
As soon as my water broke the contractions were 1 minute (or less!) apart. I never understood what people meant when they said that they had the urge to push during labor. I thought that meant that they simply knew that it was time to push. Ha. No. What it meant was that you had to push right then and there. No options, and no control. The first contraction that came while I was in the car was the very worst. The urge came over me so unexpectedly, I didn't have time to brace myself. Before I knew it my body was pushing. HARD. I pushed out another big gush of fluid.
And then I felt it.
The "ring of fire".
This was something else that I never experienced with Ian. That's when I got scared. The only thing that I know about this is that when you feel the "ring of fire" it means that your baby's head is trying to come out. I was terrified. I told my Mom and Toby that I couldn't stop pushing, but I was too afraid to tell them about the burning. I don't know if I was afraid that saying it out loud would make it more real, or if I was just afraid that they would know how close I was to giving birth.
Between my Mother's house and the hospital I had between 8-10 contractions. The drive that normally would have taken us 20 minutes was made in less than 10. I pushed through 2 more of those contractions but was able to control myself through most of them. I was screaming hysterically though.
We pulled up to the hospital at 7:09. Toby grabbed a wheel chair and pushed me to the elevators, and we went up to L&D on the 3rd floor. As soon as got the nurses desk I told them that my water had broken and that I couldn't fight the urge to push any longer. They rushed me into Labor Room One (where I delivered Ian) and tried to get me to stand to put on the gown, but I couldn't because I was in the middle of a strong contraction. The nurse must have sensed that we didn't have much time left because she then basically threw me into the bed.
From there, it's a bit of a blur. I know that someone changed me into a gown, and put and IV in my arm. I remember looking up at an older nurse who had just checked my cervix. I remember her saying "She's fully dilated". That's when I panicked a little. I started telling her "I can't do this. I can't do this. My son took so long to deliver, I can't do this without drugs". She told me that she would be here very soon, it wouldn't take long, and that I had already been through the hardest part without the medication.
Then my legs were in the stirrups. They kept telling me not to push, that the doctor wasn't there yet. I kept telling them that I couldn't wait any longer. That's when a woman came into the room and put on a gown. She was smiling, and she made me feel calmer. There was just something about her. She came over, and they all told me to push. I pushed twice through the first contraction. It burned. Then the second contraction came. I pushed hard twice, and then they told me to slow down. I pushed more softly twice, and then she was born.
They pulled her out and put her up on me while they cleaned her. I saw all of her beautiful dark hair. I automatically was in love. The whole thing felt so much different than last time. It all just felt so much more real. I don't know if it was because it was my second time, or if it was because it all happened to fast and without any drugs. They told me that she was a girl. I was relived. I had not even stopped to think that she might be a boy.
They put her on the scale and told us that she was 8lbs and 3oz. They worked out getting my placenta out, which was actually pretty painful. So they gave me some pain meds through my IV. I kept bleeding. We could all tell that the doctors and nurses were getting nervous. A nurse came over and jabbed me in the leg with some pitocin and something to make me stop bleeding. Things got better from there. I felt great after having her in general though!
That's when my Mom walked into the room and saw me in the stirrups. She looked and me and said "She's pushing already?!". I couldn't even speak. I just pointed towards Vanessa-Kate, who was under the warmer with her Daddy. She couldn't believe it either. Vanessa-Kate was born just 16 minutes after she dropped me off at the front door. We all knew that she was coming soon, but not that soon.
All of our family and friends visited soon afterwards. They were all on their way to the hospital when they got word that she had already been born. My Grandma, Toby's Mom, brothers, brothers girlfriend were the first people there after my Mom. My Step-Dad brought Ian soon afterwards. He looked 2 feet taller than when I left him.
I'm so glad that we chose not to have an elective c-section. I think that I firmly proved that I couldn't give birth without issues. I labored at home, by myself, the majority of the time. I delivered her, completely med-free in just two contractions, and had NO tearing. I cannot tell you what an amazing experience it was. While I was terrified, I am so very glad that things went as smoothly as they did. Giving birth naturally made me feel like I could do anything. There is no experience as rewarding.
Mostly, I'm just glad to have a beautiful and healthy baby girl to add to our family.