I don't have the classic picture of my final moments of pregnancy in a hospital gown looking nervous as I get ready to have a baby because there wasn't time. So this picture from the day before will have to do! Don't I look just so happy and comfortable? HA. HA.
I was insistent that the baby (remember we didn't know the gender!) was going to come before Leap Day. The idea of my baby possibly not having a real birthday except for every four years drove me nuts, so we got our bums walking on Saturday! I was experiencing discomfort and tightening every ten or so minutes most of our walk, but the contractions would taper off quickly when we slowed down. We returned home and put Barrett to bed. I felt frustrated as I really thought the baby would come that weekend and I was feeling so worn out and OVER pregnancy. You know you're done being pregnant when you are praying to go into labor.
I woke up in the morning after a blessedly good night of sleep, but I quickly started to feel crampy. As soon as I felt that, I knew that it was looking good that I was going to go in labor. The feeling felt so familiar to my labor with Barrett. I woke up Brendan and told him he should probably get his bag together and shower soon. I wanted to get walking so the contractions would become more regular and Barrett was antsy to go outside (always).
On our walk around the neighborhood, my contractions quickly regulated to about 6 minutes apart and I started having to slow way down and focus on my breathing. I would count leaves on the plants or flowers on the petals to maintain my concentration and breathing through the contractions. I was worried they were going to stop when we got home, but my hips were hurting and I was worn out again so there really was no choice but to head back. Barrett had a light lunch and I was able to give him a kiss before he went down for nap.
My contractions were becoming stronger and closer together, about 4 minutes apart. I was so sure that my water breaking was the sign I should wait for to go to the hospital, but I was losing focus during contractions worrying about how fast they were coming.
I called over to Labor & Delivery and I asked the classic questions, "How do I know when to come to the hospital? How far apart should my contractions be apart?" LOL. Its amazing how much reassurance I needed to decide if I was in true labor or not. HA. I was.
We decided it was time to head to the hospital as it was still a 15 minute drive away. My gosh, there is nothing longer for a woman in active labor than the drive to the hospital. But we made it! I got to the check-in desk and breathed through saying my name. The nurse laughed and said, Well, you didn't sound like this when you called." I remember saying, "I'm good at being calm on the phone."
After we got into the room, things started moving in a blur. The nurse handed me my gown to change into, but the contractions kept coming and I couldn't find a break to stand up and get changed. It took both Bren and the nurse to get me undressed, then re-dressed. I was terribly lucky because my nurse was the same one who had run my non-stress test two weeks previous. It was so nice to see a familiar face as I realized just how soon this baby was coming.
As I answered the check-in questions as best I could through my breathing, I got my IV in for antibiotics. Once that was in place, my nurse-friend checked my progress. I was dilated to a 7! I couldn't believe it. I realized that I had a decision to make about getting an epidural or not, and I needed to make it fast. My labor was growing more intense by the minute and I couldn't imagine sitting still or hunching over for an epidural. I looked to Brendan and the nurse for reassurance that I could do this on my own. Bren said he would support my decision either way and my nurse promised that she wouldn't leave me until the baby came. With their support, I opted to continue laboring naturally.
Within minutes of being at the hospital, my contractions began to run into one another with very little break, if any, between them. I was laboring in a kneeling position, hanging onto the head rest area of the bed when my water broke. The pressure immediately became unbearably intense and my nurse left to go get the on call doctor, as it was clear mine wasn't going to make it in time.
After 10 minutes of pushing (and screaming, yikes!) Matilda Kate was born without complication after being at the hospital for just about an hour and a half.