Don't get scared off by the title of this post. I'm not going to share all the personal details of Stephen's birth, but I am however going to document that day so that in 10 or 15 years from now, I can remember the important details of such a special day. I actually found myself saying to Billy today that I wish I could go back and relive every minute of January 4th. It was such a scary day for us, but also such an awesome day and it amazes me every day since then, how every single piece of the puzzle fell exactly in place that day to get us where we are today. God and our guardians angels were truly looking out for all three of us that day.
I went to work on Monday, January 3rd like every other day and worked a full 9 hour day, but knew that I had a doctor's appointment Tuesday morning at 8:30 am at the hospital in the antenatal testing center. I wasn't sure exactly what our appointment was going to entail, but I ended up taking some of my work home with me, my blackberry charger, and some important paperwork, because I thought there could be a slight chance that based on what happened at my appointment, I could maybe be put on bed rest or maybe they would decide to set an induction date or a c-section date and I wouldn't get a chance to go back to the office. And Billy and I had decided Monday night that at our appointment on Tuesday, we were going to insist that the doctors set a date for me to be induced. I seriously couldn't take waiting any longer to find out what was going to happen to Stephen. Mentally, I had had it. And we both agreed that Bill would make my wishes known to the doctors the next day.
Well, at around 4 am Tuesday morning, I woke up trying to roll over/change positions in bed. When I woke up, I felt a strong cramping sensation and sat up on the edge of the bed for awhile until it passed. About 10 minutes later, I got another one. Bill was also awake at this point, but neither of us thought there was any chance that they were real contractions. I sat in bed for awhile watching the clock and writing down the times each one came for about 45 minutes until we decided I would call the doctors office. Unfortunately, the doctor on call that morning didn't have any real definitive advice. He said I could either go to the hospital or wait until 8:30 and go to my appointment. Not really what I wanted to hear. So we decided that we would grab our showers, finished packing a few things, and then head to hospital. If it was false contractions, Bill would bring me back home and then we would go to work or whatever. In the middle of all of this, my darling husband also decided to become domestic and ran the dishwasher and threw a load of laundry in the washing machine!
It was about 6 am when we left the house with the dog and headed for the hospital. On our way we stopped at 7-11 too to try to buy a lottery ticket, but the machine was broken. I thought, this can't be a good omen for the day.
Bill made it to the hospital in record time, only running one red light! And we managed to drop the dog off at Bill's parents house on the way. Once we checked in and made it to triage, it finally hit me that we were at the hospital to have our baby and it was the first of a few times I would lose it that day. There they confirmed that I was in fact having contractions and we found out that not only was Kelly Gallo (the nurse coordinator and our champion) working a 12 hour shift that day, but the doctor on call was Dr. Al-Khoutly (I knew that Dr. Khoury was out of the country). We had met Dr. AK once before in the office and both Bill and I really liked her. I instantly felt better and could relax knowing that our awesome team was in place and we (Stephen and I) would be well cared for.
At around 8 am, Dr. AK came to check to see if I was dilated at all. What no one tells you is how incredibly insanely painful that is!!! 100 times worse than contractions. At that point I was only 1 cm dilated. But Dr. AK decided that it would be best to admit me rather than send me home and wait for me to dilate under the circumstances. So Kelly hooked us up with an awesome labor & delivery nurse, Mary Ruth, and we were carted with all our gazillion bags to labor & delivery where I would get my epidural (pretty quickly) and spend the next 9 hours.
Pretty soon after receiving my epidural, the troops arrived; my parents and sister and brother-in-law from PA (we called them on the way to the hospital and they all flew down to VA) and Bill's parents. They came and went throughout the day as Dr. AK would come to check my progress. By early afternoon, the pitocin started working and I was up to 3 cm. The anesthesiologist did an awesome job with the epidural, because I was fairly numb, but could still feel each contraction a fair amount. Which is exactly how I wanted it.
At some point in the afternoon, they upped my pitocin a few more times to get me to dilate (hopefully to 10 cm) and the contractions got really really strong again. I fought through it for awhile but then caved and asked for some more "juice" in my epidural. When Dr. AK came to check me again sometime between 4:30 and 5 pm, I was miraculously dilated to 10 cm! My L&D nurses, Mary Ruth and Nancy did an amazing job! But now I was faced with the reality that Stephen was really coming, and I was going to have to start pushing....and I had absolutely no ides what to do. I wasn't prepared at all. I hadn't take one class or read one book about labor after finding out about Stephen. And so I lost it again. Oh and I forgot to mention that I really lost it earlier in the day when the neonatologist came to chat with us about our wishes for Stephen's care and providing him with comfort care if they couldn't get him to breath.
But Mary Ruth was so awesome and coached me and Bill through the whole thing. I don't know what I would have done that day if it wasn't for Mary Ruth, Nancy, and Dr. AK. But I'll share more about what happened next in Part 2. Stay tuned!