The Short Version
On Thursday morning, I woke up to discover that my water broke. After consulting with my doctor's office, they said I needed to head to the hospital immediately. We called Dad and Marvis to let them know it was time, and we got to the hospital at about 9 a.m. I got my first ever wheelchair ride from the emergency room check-in to the labor and delivery ward. Dad and Marvis arrived at around noon. We had really nice nurses and it was kind of a comedy routine. There were six babies being born that day in the hospital, and the OB/GYN doctor was really getting worked hard. After a lot of pain and a lot of work, Vinny was born. The nurses delivered him because the doctor was busy with another birth, but we did see him afterwards.
The Longer Version
On Thursday morning, I woke up to discover that my water broke. Jeff called Dad and Marvis to alert them to the possibility that my water had broken. They were minutes away from leaving for work, with Dad leaving for a meeting in Indianapolis, so it was good timing. I drank a glass of milk and called the doctor, but it was still too early so they paged the on-call doctor for me. While I waited for that doctor to return my call, I drank a glass of milk and e-mailed my boss with some results from a supercomputer run that had run overnight, the news that my water had broken, and apologies for not being able to contribute more to the report that was due that day. I sent a message to my sisters alerting them to the water breaking too. I also called our secretary but it was too early so I left her a message that my water had broken.
Eventually I gave up on the on-call doctor so I called the now-open doctor's office, and they told me I'd better go to the hospital immediately. I asked them if it would be okay to take a shower first, and they said no, absolutely not, get to the hospital immediately. Jeff drove us to the emergency room. I was still wearing my nightgown, over which I had thrown a t-shirt, and I was wearing shoes and socks. My water was still leaking as I was standing there waiting to get checked in. I asked them if I could have a tissue to wipe up the water going down my leg. They gave me a tissue but as I leaned over to wipe my leg, even more water gushed out and I made a big puddle on the emergency room floor. I was so embarrassed. Eventually someone from the Labor and Delivery department came and gave me a wheelchair ride to the right floor. At that point I was feeling some cramps, kind of like uncomfortable period cramps, and losing this water (which felt kind of like peeing except that I had no control over it).
They had me change into a hospital gown, and put me in a hospital bed with lots of absorbent padding, and I signed a bunch of consent forms for various things that might happen. The nurses were really nice and they had good senses of humor, meaning that they laughed at my jokes. ;) Naah, they also were very nice and had good attitudes of their own.
The woman doing my IV hit the jackpot or the fountain of youth or something and I bled a lot. Luckily I did not once look over there as she was doing it because I can't stand the sight of blood. I hate needles enough as it is, which is why I refused to look in the first place, but Jeff tells me that it was pretty gory. My fear of needles is also what made me want to avoid getting an epidural, if possible.
Jeff was by my side the whole time, and Dad and Marvis arrived after noon. The contractions were getting more and more painful. Jeff helped me concentrate on my breathing, and Dad and Marvis rubbed me and wiped me with wet washcloths. But it got so painful that I was pushing my nose into the side of the hospital bed really hard, and deeply considering biting the handles on the bed too. Finally I asked for an epidural. Actually, I believe what happened was somebody brought it up and I said, "Can I have one please god." So I got an epidural. It was creepy because I had to sit with my back slumped forward in a particular way, and I told Jeff that I don't want to know how big the needle that they stuck in between a particular place in my spine was but I think it had to be huge. After the epidural took effect, I was back to a much more mild level of pain and I could once again converse and ride through the contractions. The OB/GYN on duty that day, who was not my regular doctor but a member of his practice, came in and checked on me. The problem was that all day my cervix was effaced but not at all dilated. So I was having these contractions but pretty much for nothing. He checked my cervix and it was still not dilated. I was cheerful enough by that point to joke around again, so when he mentioned that I'd had an epidural I said, "Yeah, I did and it feels great. I don't know what the f*** I was thinking before!" He got such a kick out of that comment that when he went back to the office he told everybody there what I had said.
They kept raising my pitocin level and eventually I did start dilating. And I soon got to the point where I was fully dilated, and couldn't hardly stop myself from pushing. Well, I could, but it meant that I had to tense up during the contractions, which made them hurt a lot, even in the epidural state. I told the nurses that I really needed to push. They wanted me to wait because the doctor was in another delivery. Eventually after they saw that I was fully dilated they let me push.
Pushing was very painful, even halfway numbed by meds. I can't imagine how unbearable it would have been for me without the epidural. Jeff was on my right, and Marvis was on my left, and they helped me push by counting and holding me up for the pushes. Dad cheered me on from the side. It was the most difficult thing I've ever done, and at times it felt hopeless. As I pushed him out, it got more and more painful, probably because I was tearing. But once his head came out, it was pretty simple from there. I felt distinct relief when his chin came out. Then I pushed out the first shoulder and it was pretty much over. He cried immediately when he came out. The nurses wrapped him in a towel and put him on my belly for me to see.
The doctor wasn't there when the baby arrived, but after a while he came in, collected the cord blood, and sewed me up. I had a fairly superficial although very long tear that he fixed up.
I can't describe my feelings when I saw Vinny for the first time. I know that every family member there had tears in their eyes when he came out, but when I saw that beautiful baby for the first time it was amazing. He looked so sweet and he was so calm. His eyes were just so deep. He looked at me and I looked at him. Then he glanced over at Jeff, then back at me, then back at Jeff, then back at me. After that, the nurses took him away and fixed him up while the doctor stitched me up, but I got him back within the hour.
I'll tell you more about him, and maybe even post a picture or two in a later entry.