September started off as an awful month for me. For starters, the Florida summer heat wave only continued and increased drastically. I literally felt like Annie and Nina from Father of the Bride 2.
Yup. That was me and my poor husband ended up catering to all of my needs. I had been swelling up like a balloon and I was past the point of exhaustion. I thought that it was all due to being 8 months pregnant, but really there was more to it than I realized. At my 36 week appointment, my doctor noticed that I was showing a some signs of pre-eclampsia and sent me off to get lab work and tests done. The rest of the week was a struggle. I could barely move or get anything done at work or at home. On Friday, September 18, I was 37 weeks.
Saturday, September 19: I just wanted to sit on the couch and do absolutely nothing. I had a couple of contractions but didn't think anything of it because they didn't really hurt. That evening, we met my sister-in-law and her husband for cheesecake to go over puppy-sitting logistics for when I went into labor. As we were leaving, my brother-in-law joked, "We'll be good just as long as you don't go into labor tomorrow."
Sunday, September 20: A whole different story. I woke up to another contraction that actually hurt. We skipped church that morning because I was not feeling well at all. The rest of the morning, I had a few contractions on and off, but since my due date wasn't for another few weeks, I didn't think anything of it. That is until I started consulting Google. The signs that I had definitely showed that I would go into labor soon. However, I told myself that "soon" meant within the next couple of weeks. No big deal right?
6 PM: I felt well enough to go to church that night, so Dan and I got ready and left. I felt another contraction during the service and started getting a little nervous. I told myself again that it was just Braxton Hicks and it wasn't a big deal. After the service, my church threw a little party for our Pastor. Here's where things got interesting.
7 PM: During the party, I felt very fatigued. We waited until the majority of people got their food before falling in line. Right before I got to the desserts, I felt a gush of water run down my legs. Inwardly, I freaked out. Outwardly, I didn't want to make a scene, so I shoved my plate into Dan's hands and hurriedly rushed to the restroom. I literally had NO idea if this meant that my water broke or if I was just going crazy. After my initial shock at the fact that my water broke, AT CHURCH, my next thought was "well, I better eat if this is the real thing." There was no way I was going to starve during labor! I went back to Dan who asked if everything was okay. Since we were among other people, I just told him that everything was fine. I could tell he didn't really believe me, but he didn't make a big deal about it. After we finished and headed out, we stopped to talk to our friends, Anthony and Alaina. As I was talking to Alaina, my water broke AGAIN. I inwardly freaked out again, excused myself and went to the restroom. I literally thought I was going crazy. After the longest five minutes of my life, Dan met me and we went to the car and left church. I told him that I thought that my water broke. As expected, he said, "Are you serious?" And then I started having another contraction. On our way home, I consulted Dr. Google (thank goodness for modern technology). I said to Dan, "I think we have to go to the hospital."
One problem. We had NOTHING ready. Neither of us had our bags packed. We hadn't installed the car seat because our main car was in the shop for air conditioning problems. My parents were still on an airplane traveling back from their trip. We didn't have our "puppy-sitting" instructions written down for my sister-in-law. I started packing my bag as Dan ran around getting everything else ready. He decided that he didn't need to pack a bag and instead grabbed just his toothbrush and contact solution.
9:20 PM: We headed to the hospital. I had been to the OB Triage twice already for different things. Three times had to be a charm right? I told Dan, "Seriously, this better be for real, because I really don't feel like spending six hours here just to be sent home." I started to pray for two things: that the Triage would be empty so that I could get in and out quickly and that if this were for real that I would have a quick labor.
9:45 PM: When we got to the hospital, we started to head up to the Triage, but were stopped by the desk worker. We were told on our hospital tour that if we thought we were in labor we didn't have to stop at the desk and check in. Apparently, I didn't look pregnant enough. Haha! The Triage was empty (thank you, Lord!) and we got checked in immediately. After a couple minutes, the doctor checked me out. He looked at the nurses and said, "She's looking suspicious." He did another test and said, "Yup. She's staying." Then he said to us, "You're having a baby tonight." I was 2 centimeters dilated.
I looked at Dan and we were both thinking the same thing. "Is this for real?"
One more problem. The doctor took a look at my blood pressure numbers and didn't look happy. He confirmed my suspicions. I had pre-eclampsia. The good thing was that the cure for pre-eclampsia during pregnancy is delivery.
10:30 PM: We were taken to the Labor and Delivery Room. I was hooked up to what seemed like a million gadgets. The nurse asked me if I wanted an epidural. I didn't want one at that point because I wanted to see if I could deliver naturally. She then said that because my water broke I had to deliver within 24 hours otherwise I'd have the risk of infection, so they wanted to put me on Pitocin to regulate my contractions. I had heard horror stories of Pitocin and asked if it was necessary. The nurse said that it really was up to me, but if they didn't put me on Pitocin, I could be there a long time. Despite my fears, I felt peace about getting put on Pitocin. Dan asked the nurse how long she thought it'd be before we'd see any major progress. She said since it was our first, it would probably be about mid-morning before we got any real action.
11:00 PM: My blood pressure was still higher than normal, so the nurse came back in and put me on Magnesium to keep my blood pressure steady and to keep me from going into shock or worse. The nurse warned me that I may feel dizzy, light-headed, or nauseated. Praise the Lord, I felt somewhat okay. She also warned me that the Magnesium may counteract the Pitocin because the Magnesium was supposed to relax my muscles, whereas the Pitocin was supposed to help me contract.
Monday Morning, September 21:
2:30 AM: The contractions were starting to become insane. I couldn't handle it anymore. I called the nurse and asked for an epidural. An hour before she put me on some pain meds through the IV and that was not working anymore. With the Pitocin and Magnesium working against me, I was ready for some anesthesia. Talk about instant relief! The nurse checked me and I was 5 cm dilated. She said that was probably why I was in so much pain.
4:30 AM: I started to feel the epidural wear off on my right side. It was a very odd feeling. I was given a stronger dose of the epidural medicine, which helped for a little bit.
5:15 AM: The contractions started increasing in intensity. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting any pain relief. I called the nurse and let her know what was going on. She decided to check me.
"Hm," she said. "We're going to have to call the doctor."
"How many centimeters am I?"
"Ten. You're ready to go. Girl, you went fast!"
TEN CENTIMETERS, y'all. Ten centimeters in about seven hours. That is amazing. I silently sent up a prayer of thanks to the Lord. The nurse had me do a practice push then had me stop because any more pushing, we would be having a baby without the doctor. I started shaking uncontrollably due to my adrenaline rushing. It was the weirdest feeling ever.
5:45 AM: The nurse told me to practice pushing during the next contraction. I pushed twice before she told me to stop. Elli was really low and the nurse could feel the top of her head. My doctor ran in, threw his gown on, and got in position. Three contractions later...
5:52 AM: Elli was born! I cannot tell you how many emotions I felt after that point. She came out pink and screaming. We did skin-to-skin and she looked right up at us. Our hearts melted into a puddle of mush. It was the most amazing feeling to hold Elli for the first time.
It's been two weeks since Elli's birth and she has already been such a sweet blessing in our lives. I cannot fathom life without her. We love our little girl so much and are ready for new adventures as a family of three!