I went to sleep on November 20th having a few contractions off and on. A few of them woke me up, but were relatively painless and rather far apart.
Then around 6am I woke up to short contractions. So, I downloaded one of those contraction counter apps. The contractions only lasted 20 to 40 seconds but were coming every 3 minutes. I stayed in bed until about the 5th contraction before deciding to get up and see if walking made them stop.
I texted Chris to give him a heads up that I was having regular contractions and it might end up being the real thing.
Aria was still asleep so I brushed my teeth, got dressed, ate a banana, and took care of the dogs. I kept walking laps around the house and timing my contractions. Still 3 minutes apart and still really short.
Around 730am they started to last closer to a minute.
I gathered up my things to bring to the hospital because I never did pack my hospital bag. More walking, more breathing.
By 8am I texted Chris that he should probably come home and that we should probably head to the hospital. Aria woke up a bit after that, so I got her ready and dressed. She followed me around while I walked my laps around the house.
Chris arrived home and we made our way to the hospital. I got to triage around 9am. The contractions were getting to the 'ouch' point. Just keep breathing, just keep breathing. They hooked me up to those belly wraps that I despise to monitor contractions and the baby's heartbeat. I remember loathing them when I was laboring with Aria, and they were no more fun the second time around. When they checked me I was at 5cm dilation, so I earned my passage over to a delivery room.
It was about 10am when I got to my room. Aria and Chris were still waiting in the lobby to see if I was going to be admitted, but eventually they were allowed to come find me.
My nurse asked if I planned on getting an epidural and I said 'yes, absolutely yes.' I got my IV placed, and it only took two tries. They needed to do some labs before I could get the epidural, which seemed to take ages. Everything seemed to take so much longer this time around.
Aria was only staying at the hospital for a quick visit, so after a bit I told Chris to take her home for breakfast before leaving her with great grandma. I figured it would be best to send her home while the pain was still manageable.
While Chris was gone they finally got the okay for the epidural, and he made it back to the room just before the fun went down. Around 1230pm.
But, something went awry with the epidural. I was concentrating on remaining still and breathing through contractions so I don't really remember what he said. Something about it being wet and to tell him if my toes were tingling, my lips felt numb, or I was getting a headache. None of those things were going on, so I didn't think anything more of it.
As with Aria the epidural only dulled things. I still felt discomfort with my contractions, but at least it was lessened.
After the epidural the nurse checked me and I was almost 8cm but my water was still unbroken. She told me that my OB was at a C-section currently, but that she would be in to break my water afterward. She also said that when my water was broken the baby would probably be coming shortly thereafter.
Then it was just Chris and me in the room. We were talking and I was breathing through my contractions. Then I felt a little gush. Chris called the nurse in to see if my water had broken, but it hadn't.
About 40 minutes after I got my epidural I felt a pop and my pain shot from an easy 4 on the pain scale to a 10. The contractions were miserable. Chris called the nurse in again but she was with another patient who was getting their epidural and would be in to see me soon. 15 minutes of rather unpleasant contractions and a different nurse came in since mine was still with the other patient. She went to check me but apparently my water was hanging out...not broken yet. Sorry for that image. I'd been involuntarily pushing for those 15 minutes and baby boy was just about ready to burst onto the scene.
There was a flurry of activity to get ready for the baby to be born, and my OB almost didn't make it in time. They were actually ready just in time for my contraction to end so we had to wait for the next one. Hurry up and wait. But, it came and they told me to go ahead and push. Three pushes later and he was here...along with a large gush of fluid from my water breaking at the same time. Chris told me after the fact that he just missed being doused by it. Pleasant, ha.
Our little Lincoln was born on November 21st at 1:33pm weighing 7 lbs 1 oz and measuring 20.5 inches.
They placed him on my chest and he was just so beautiful. With Aria she was on my chest for what felt like a minute or two before she had to be rushed off to the NICU. But, Lincoln just stayed right there so I could stare at him in awe and hold his tiny hand. I loved every second of it. And, then it was daddy's turn to hold his son and I loved every second of that too.
We eventually made the move over to the mother & child side of the birth center. And, Chris went to pick up Aria so she could meet her baby brother. When she arrived Lincoln was snuggled in his bed and she didn't so much as say hi to mama before making a beeline to see her new brother. She's been a great big sister ever since.
Unfortunately I woke up the next morning with a killer headache. Lincoln was off to the nursery to see the pediatrician, and I was laying in bed crying from the pain. The nurse brought me in some pain killers, but it never did more than take the edge off. By that night another nurse thought it could be a spinal headache and called in anesthesia to check it out.
To be continued in 'part two'.