I went to bed Saturday night, February 22nd, feeling so uncomfortable that I had to sleep sitting up to avoid getting nauseous all night. I had called my doctor's office earlier and asked about induction, explaining my severe discomfort and nausea and nearly begging for some relief. I was told that we could discuss it at my next appointment, which was scheduled for my due date, Tuesday, February 25th. To say I was disappointed would be the biggest understatement I've ever made. I cried, I whined, and generally kept a bad attitude throughout that day.
After finally figuring out the most comfortable way to prop myself up using as many pillows as I could find in our house, I fell asleep around 9:30 or 10pm on Saturday night. At 1am Sunday morning, I was awakened by a pretty strong contraction. After 16 days of contractions, I knew something was different this time b/c they hadn't yet been strong enough to wake me up. I breathed through it, and when it passed, I got up to use the restroom. Before flushing, I noticed a spot of blood in the toilet. After that, sleep wasn't even anywhere on my agenda.
My contractions came like clockwork every 5-6 minutes for an hour. I had been writing them on a piece of paper since the first one woke me up b/c I just had a feeling it would be wise to do so. After that first hour, I used the restroom again, and again there was a small amount of blood. I continued breathing through another hour of contractions, which had started getting stronger and got to be about 3-4 minutes apart. Again, I had been having contractions every single day for the previous 16 days, but the longest they remained consistent was maybe an hour. At this point I was 2 hours in and they were only getting stronger and closer together. I finally admitted this could be the real deal and decided to make a call to the hospital to see if I should continue to labor at home or if I should wake up my family and start our trek to the family birth center. This was at 3am.
After speaking with the nurse on duty, and being advised to come in to at least be monitored for a bit, I woke up my family and we grabbed our packed bags and loaded up into the car. There was some delay b/c Trin had unpacked her hospital bag (much to my irritation) so she had to re-pack and Justin had trouble finding the thing we use to transfer footage from the SD cards onto our pc. The hospital is only a 15 minute drive from our house, but we didn't get there until 3:45am. They checked me into room 2 and put me on the monitors. After about half an hour of increasingly intense contractions, the nurses hadn't told me if I would be admitted or released yet, but I knew in my heart of hearts that our baby girl was coming that day, so we began the round of phone calls to the VIPs we wanted in the room with us.
First call was to my besty. Second was my Dad. Third was the photographer we hired to take birth photos. Fourth was Justin's Dad. My besty & father-in-law only had to travel about 20 minutes to reach the hospital. My Dad and his girlfriend had a 2+ hour drive, and as luck would have it, the photographer was chaperoning a church function up at a cabin near the lake so her drive would be slowed down by icy road conditions. (Of course, that would be the day our girl would decide it was time to make her big debut!)
As the calls were being made, the contractions were becoming so intense I wanted to crawl out of my skin. I couldn't stand laying in the bed, but couldn't handle being upright. The pain was enough to make me cry out and it was very rapidly getting worse. Eventually the contractions began coming on top of one another, which left very little opportunity for me to relax in between to keep up my strength and mental faculties. Much of what happened in the room around me from here on out is still a blur. At one point, the nurse determined that my water had been leaking so they were most definitely going to admit me. She called the midwife on duty that day, who happened to be the very same woman who delivered my daughter 11 years earlier. The pain was becoming so unbearable so quickly that I begged and pleaded for an epidural. I won't hesitate to admit, I was a huge baby once they reached a certain pain threshold. I was sobbing, begging for rest, saying I couldn't do it. It wasn't my most shining moment, to say the least.
At roughly 4:25am or so, the nurse did an exam and determined I was still only dilated 3cm (4cm if she "stretched" me out a bit), which is where I had been stuck for the past 2 weeks. I was, however, almost fully effaced and Presley had dropped quite a bit. I don't know the exact timing, but about an hour later, when the nurse came in to tell me the anesthesiologist was on the way, I told her I had a lot of pressure and felt like I needed to poop. (For those who haven't had babies, the urge to poop is actually the urge to push. Both actions use the same set of muscles, so there's very little difference between the two sensations.) The nurse was incredulous, but I think my cries were enough to spur her into action. She checked my cervix again and was stunned to discover that I was completely dilated and ready to push. She rushed to get my antibiotics started (I was GBS positive so was required to get a full round of antibiotic during labor), and since it was too late for the epidural, she had to shoo away the anesthesiologist while also getting the midwife in place. I think there were another round of frantic calls made at this time as my hubs and besty tried to get the rest of the VIPs to the hospital quickly. We all assumed there was tons of time, but Presley had other ideas.
My besty was there, but my Dad and his girlfriend, Justin's Dad, and the photographer had yet to arrive. Things progressed much more rapidly than anyone expected, but there was one saving grace: Presley was sunny-side up. Babies who are in this position are head-down as they should be, but they're facing upward instead of facing the floor, which presents a bit of a struggle for a Mom trying to push a head through a pelvis. When the baby is facing downward, the shape of their heads fit the pelvis in a way that makes pushing them out a much more natural process. When facing the opposite direction, their heads don't quite fit the mold as well and they tend to take a lot more effort to get them out, and sometimes they need to use suction or forceps to help deliver these little stinkers. Many sunny-side up babies turn naturally during labor. Presley was NOT one of these babies, but thankfully the midwife never used suction or forceps.
For 2 long, exhausting hours I pushed. I cried and begged for rest, but couldn't bring myself to deny the urge to push when it hit me. And let me just say, that urge hit me HARD!! As she started crowning, I don't know that I did more than take a few quick breaths between pushes because the urge to keep pushing was almost constant. Trying to motivate me to keep going, the midwife told me when our baby's head was out and offered me the chance to reach down and touch it. This was a perfect motivation with my first daughter, but the pain was so mind-numbing this time, I cried and said I couldn't stand to move that much. That's when my besty grabbed my hand and put it down so I could feel the top of my little girl's noggin. That was all I needed to return to pushing with every last ounce of strength I could muster. At 7:20am, the photographer arrived and not a moment too soon because Presley Maye came into the world at 7:27am.
As soon as her shoulders cleared my pelvis, her little arms went out as if she was saying "hold me"! I reached down and with the help of the midwife, pulled her up to me and held her, crying my eyes out. It was such a huge rush of emotion that hit me when that precious baby girl rested her head on my chest. I felt relief from the pain, relief that she was healthy and in my arms, and sadness that her Grandma wasn't there to share that moment with us. I was so overwhelmed, I couldn't do anything except cry.
She's been in the world a week now and I can't recall what life was like before she came. We're all head over heels in love with the newest member of the Sams fam. She's a content baby and only really fusses when she's gassy or hungry. She sleeps well, feeds well, and has melted us all into big balls of mush. Big sister loves to hold her, Daddy is as proud as can be, and I can't help but smile at how full my heart feels. It's like one more piece of our puzzle has locked into place.