Just as I finished doing the bedtime routine with Emily on Sunday night at 9:10PM and went to leave her room, my water broke. I looked over at Emily and saw her big eyes looking at me, so I calmly said "goodnight sweetie", then ran for the bathroom. I at first headed for the guest bathroom, but remembered that my mother-in-law would be spending the night and using the bathroom so I didn't want to make a mess in there! I changed course and headed to my bathroom and quickly diapered myself in a towel so that I could waddle downstairs and tell Will to start calling everyone. Then I went back upstairs to take a shower. I had one contraction while I was shaving my leg that was uncomfortable enough to make me stop for a bit, but otherwise I was just feeling little squeezes.
My mother-in-law arrived to watch our daughter, and my mom and sister arrived to head to the hospital with us. We left the house at about 10:15PM.
On the way to the hospital I had 2 contractions that required a bit of breathing and concentration. Mostly I was uncomfortable because Charlotte was kicking up a storm, I felt like I needed to pee, and I could feel some gas bubbling around in my stomach. There was just entirely too much going on in my pelvis!
When we got to the hospital, I tried to head to the bathroom to relieve some pressure but the check-in lady saw me and stopped me. She said I'd have to give a urine sample as soon as I got to L&D so I should just check in first. Of course it took over 10 minutes! I only had a couple mild contractions but I REALLY wanted to pee!
I finally got to L&D, got a chance to pee, and was settled in at around 11:15PM. I was checked and told I was 4cm. I was having contractions about every 10 min, and a couple periods of discomfort in between each contraction that I still thought were due to Charlotte moving so much combined with gas pains, but once I was on the monitor it turned out they were contractions too.
Over the next hour the contractions picked up to the point where I was losing control. I had gone natural with Emily and hoped to do so again, but I was having difficulty relaxing and breathing through and ended up doing a lot of yelling instead! I was feeling them mostly in my back, so I tried leaning forward but that felt terrible. I went back to a sitting up/semi-reclined position, but that wasn't very good for the baby heartrate monitor so the nurse had me turn sideways a bit. As with my labor with Emily, moving brought on contractions, so as I rolled one came on and I kind of got stuck in a half on my back/half on my left side position where I remained for awhile. This position was unfortunately not a very good one, but I didn't want to move an inch because I wanted as long between contractions as possible!
The contractions at this point felt like my contractions I was having at 7-8cm with my first labor! When I was checked at 12:30, I was a whopping 5cm. The idea of spending the next 5 hours in pain this bad was NOT appealing to me, so I asked for an epidural. My mom said "But Sara, you're in transition!", to which I replied "I am NOT in transition, transition is going from 8-10cm and I am only at FIVE! I want an epidural NOW!"
The nurse started my IV and told me that once the whole bag of saline was in, she'd call the anesthesiologist. I was NOT happy, and with each contraction was yelling at my mom, the nurse, and random other nurses who came in the room to squeeze the IV bag and get it in there quicker! Everyone thought this was amusing, but I know for a fact that they can do this to get fluids in quickly in an emergency and I was furious that no one was listening to me! I've never seen liquid move more slowly!
The nurse finally said she'd call for him when the bag was only half empty, and when we got there 10 minutes later she checked me and I was 7cm. The fact that I had dilated 2 cm in 10 minutes was lost on me, I had my eyes set on an epidural and I was getting one!
The anesthesiologist finally got there around 12:45AM (I know, that was pretty dang fast but it didn't feel like it!). Once the epidural was in (which wasn't painful at all) I laid back and all of a sudden felt the baby drop into the birth canal. The nurse checked me, and I just had a lip of cervix left. It took about 2 more contractions for me to start to feel the numbness creeping in, and my left side was going numb before my right. I was worried because I have heard of epidurals that only ever take on one side, but the anesthesiologist said it is normal to go numb on one side first and it didn't mean I'd NEVER go numb on the other side.
My body was starting to push on its own, and I had to puff through each contraction because the doctor wasn't there yet. I heard the nurse ask the anesthesiologist if he wanted to catch the baby, and he said "I prefer to wait until the mother cat has licked off the afterbirth". I was focused pretty inward, getting ready to push, but even so that comment made me pause and think "What did he just say?!?!"
The doctor arrived at about 1:15AM and I started to push. Pushing with an epidural is much harder than pushing without! I could feel the muscles that were doing the pushing, but I couldn't feel the results, if that makes any sense, and I definitely couldn't push as hard. I seemed to do ok though, because 3 contractions later, she was out!
I always used to think a fast labor was a good thing but you know what? I actually preferred my 11.5 hour labor with Emily to this 4 hour labor! With Emily's labor it was gradual enough that I was able to stay on top of the contractions whereas this one went from zero to sixty before I knew it and I got scared and unable to relax.
If I had asked for the epidural 1-2 contractions later, it probably would've been too late to get one. I ALMOST wish that had been the case, but now I have experienced labor both ways. I was definitely more comfortable with the epidural, and I think it allowed me to be more patient about pushing so I didn't tear as much, but at the same time I definitely didn't get the same burst of post-labor endorphins this time that I had with my natural birth.
Either way, Charlotte is here, and I'm glad to be through labor! I'm super-glad that both times my water broke it was in the privacy of my own home. It's nice to not be a ticking time bomb anymore!