And then Wednesday morning rolled around. I was surprised to wake up to contractions. Contractions? Me? Could it be true? It was around 4am, so it actually took me the better part of an hour to realize what was actually going on. By that point I was wide awake and watched a few episodes of 30 Rock to pass the time. Eventually I crawled back into bed and told Josh I'd been having contractions for the last two hours, and that they were coming every ten minutes.
I fell back asleep and stayed that way until 8. Weird.
But they kept right on coming - regularly, but not super strong or long or painful. I told Josh I wanted to get out of the house and stay on my feet to keep things moving. No use walking in circles around the living room - too boring and not nearly distracting enough. So we took Riley out around the neighborhood. And then I convinced Josh that a shopping trip would be a nice way to pass the time. He thought I was crazy. But we went anyway.
Target was the first store to provide some much-needed distraction. We bought cleaning supplies, hospital snacks, and Christmas presents. And the contractions kept coming... and started to get closer and closer.
Josh: How long now?
Me: That one lasted 30 seconds.
Josh: Time between them?
Me: Um... 3 minutes.
Josh: 3 minutes? I don't mean to be dramatic here, but shouldn't we do something about that?
Me: They're not lasting for a full minute yet. We're still good.
Josh: [worried/annoyed/unbelieving look]
Then I told him I wanted to go out to lunch. You know, to pass more time. So we headed to Panera.
Worker: What would you like today?
Me (mid-contraction): Cheese broccoli soup [breathe breathe breathe] in a [breathe breathe] regular bowl with a baguette. And a [breathe breathe breathe] oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.
It wasn't until we spent 20 minutes at Barnes & Noble that he finally convinced me to go home and pack up for our hospital trip. I just didn't want to go in too early and get sent home. That would have been depressing. But eventually I gave in, and by 3:30 we were getting checked in.
I was 4cm, 90% effaced.
By 6, my epidural was in place and I was blissfully unaware of any more contractions. I read. I watched TV, chatted with the nurse, and ate ice chips. I even took a couple of naps. It was wonderful. I know there are lots of opinions on this subject, but let me just say this:
EPIDURALS ARE AWESOME.
My parents showed up around 10 and kept us company during the labor progression. Every once in awhile I'd glance at the monitor and see contraction after contraction in the shape of regular bell curves. And I didn't feel a thing.
I woke up from nap #2 around 1 am, and was given the go-ahead to start pushing at 1:15. While not painful, they were still a lot of work! But well worth every moment. She was "sunny side up" so the doctor worked to flip her around, little bit by little bit. As she was emerging, we discovered that her umbilical cord was wrapped around her little neck twice. Thankfully they got her untangled quickly and the rest of her little body came right out. It was 2:30 am.
She was beautiful and healthy and pink and blessed with a great set of lungs. They put her right on my chest, and then quickly tucked her right into my hospital gown.
Her daddy go to hold her soon after that.
She's so beautiful, we whispered to each other. We marveled at her perfectly formed hands and soft, sweet cheeks. A line from a hymn soon came to mind:
Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me
bless His holy name.
bless His holy name.
We know we've been blessed beyond measure. We're praising God for this little miracle.