After several hours, I'm only 3 cm dilated.
Friday night @ 9:00 PM the doctors put a folley bulb in place to try and help me dilate more and as natural as possible. Once in place, the bulb is inflated to 5 cm. The idea is once it falls out, you're 5 cm dilated. Easy - right? The bulb didn't hurt but was awkward. I'm still restricted to the bed. Contractions get a little stronger but aren't difficult. The bulb pops out on it's own when I go to the bathroom around 3:00 AM.
We continue to stare at the heart rate monitor... praying that you're okay.
I'm somewhat stalled at 5 cm, so Saturday morning the doctor decided to break my water to help encourage things along. It wasn't a huge gush as many exclaim it to be. But then again - my water was low to begin with.
Saturday early afternoon I'm 7 cm dilated and 90% effaced. At this point I was feeling a lot of pressure and thought I had to be close. NOPE! Still a long ways to go. I try to sleep between contractions. Your father stays awake and stares at the heart rate monitor.
For a brief period I was allowed to get up from the bed and sit on an exercise ball. It definitely seemed to help to rock and have your father put pressure on my back. They put a mat down (which reminded me of a puppy pee pad) to keep the ball clean. (Embarrassing note - I peed myself here multiple times. I couldn't control it.) After a few hours of laboring "naturally", I stood up from the ball to get back in bed (another deceleration of your heartrate) and the nurse noticed a spot of muconium on the mat. This caused a great deal of concern to the medical staff. She called the doctor who proceeded to tell us that there is now a concern over the muconium blocking the baby's airway and possibly choking. We needed to administer pitocin and get you out ASAP. I of course am scared out of my mind, agree to whatever she says, all in hope that you'll be okay. Birth plan be damned - you had to be healthy.
The pitocin kicks in and the contractions severely intensify. I try to labor through it as best I can but I was hyperventilating and felt like my heart was about to pop out of my chest. There are several points throughout this where I'm convinced it's go time, it has to be, check me - I have to be 10 cm now. But nope. Still only 7.5 cm, or 8, or 8.5...
While sitting on the exercise ball, the doctor on staff comes running in and tells me to get back in bed immediately. Again, your heart rate and dropped. Now I'm confined to bed to deal with my contractions which were already excruciating.
I eventually break down and tell the nurse to administer an epidural. Well it's not that easy. I had to be on an IV with fluids for 1 hour before I could get the epidural. I freak out even more, as I already felt like I was at my breaking point. I lay there and try to breath and count the seconds as they pass, trying to get to the epidural quicker.
Around 7 pm, the anesthesiologist enters the room and asks me to sit up and sit perfectly perfectly still as he gives me a "light" dose of the epidural. Sit completely still for a minute and a half. My contractions were one minute apart. It was incredibly difficult to not move (I'm pretty sure I did a little). Within minutes, I feel a sense of relief and my legs feel slightly numb. The contractions are still there, but no longer insanely painful. I take this chance to sleep, & your father watches the Orioles game.
Around 10 PM I wake up to the doctor wanting to check me. She states that I'm 10 cm dilated, and we can start pushing soon. The doctor advises me that they will call the NICU staff to have them on hand due to the muconium issue. She assures me though that whenever they have to call them, the baby is born screaming. And if the baby is screaming at birth - there is no blockage. They get the room all together and at 10:20 PM I start pushing. The doctor said I was a great pusher. Now I don't know if she says that to everyone, or if I genuinely was (and my squats weren't for nothing). As you're crowning, and in between contractions, Dr. Abello comments on how much hair you have. She asks your father "do you want me to braid it while we wait?" (we only pushed during contractions). He responds with "I don't think we'll have time for that, but how a bout a mo-hawk?". The doctor gives you a quick mo-hawk and we continue pushing.
At 10:47 PM on July 20th you are born screaming. The NICU staff takes you immediately (my wish was to have you placed on my chest - but again, muconium...). Dr Abello claims, "oh my god, she's huge! I'd guess 8 (lbs) 6 (oz)." The NICU checks you out and everything is fine. Your weight clocks in at 9 lbs 2 oz. As they are cleaning you up, your father stayed by my side, as he was used to doing. He hadn't left me for the past two days. I tell him " go over there and be with your daughter!" It already killed me to not have you placed on my chest immediately and that my face wasn't the first one you'd ever see, so I wanted at least your father to be with you. (I still had to deliver the placenta and be stitched up. 2nd degree tear of my nether regions. Thanks kid ;) !)
After the nurses are certain that you're okay, they put you on my chest with your head in the nape of my neck. It was surreal - I couldn't see you based on your position, nor could I move too well due to the stitching going on from my tear along with the epidural inhibiting movement of my legs. But I had you in my arms. This moving, screaming, warm little being laying on my chest was mine. The peanut that I have had with me for the last 9.5 months in my belly, was now outside, and in my arms.