Three days before my due date, James and I decided to go to the movies, figuring it would be one of the last times before the baby arrived. When we got to the theater, I noticed my panties were wet. I thought my water had broken, but it was just mucus, so we decided to stay at the movies. I was excited because I knew I was finally on my way to having my baby.
At midnight, I started having contractions that felt like very strong cramps. They came every hour or so but I was able to sleep through the night. At 5:30 AM, they were stronger and coming closer together so I ran a bath to help with the pain. I listened to my CDs and did my breathing exercises. When James woke up around 7 AM, I told him I thought I was in labor so we started timing the contractions. They were five-to-ten minutes apart. We went for a walk around the neighborhood, and when we got back home, the contractions were about five-to-six minutes apart. I called labor and delivery and they told me to come in to be assessed. I was really excited because I was so ready to meet my baby! When we got to labor and delivery, they hooked me up to the monitor and watched the contractions for an hour. They told me they weren’t strong enough or close enough together for me to be in active labor so they sent me home. We went shopping and I continued to have painful contractions for the rest of the night. They were bearable, although I was unable to eat or sleep that night. The next day, the contractions seemed to have slowed down, but I was still in a lot of pain.
On Monday, my doctor stripped my membranes and told me that I’d probably go into labor within the next two days. Immediately afterward, I was in continuous pain with contractions coming very irregularly. I was in agony, I couldn’t eat or sleep, and I was throwing up and feeling awful. I called labor and delivery again and they told me that this was normal and they wouldn’t admit me until the contractions were closer. They told me to take a Tylenol and relax. I was so upset by then, and by that night, I didn’t know what to do. I took two more baths and bounced on my birthing ball, but nothing helped the pain.
I couldn’t take it anymore, and woke James around 5 AM and told him that I needed to go to labor and delivery. When I called them, they told me that they didn’t have any beds for me and they probably wouldn’t admit me anyway because I wasn’t in active labor. But they told me that I could go to Irvine Regional Hospital. I was really hesitant to go because I had pre-registered at the other hospital. But I was in so much pain, I had no other choice. I drove myself to the hospital because James had to get Skyler, my stepdaughter, off to his sister’s house. I told him to go to work just in case I was sent home again.
When I got to the hospital, James called me and said he was on his way because he was worried. I really expected to be sent home, but I had a different experience at this hospital. A doctor came in right away and assessed me. She told me that they were going to keep me there and I was going to have the baby that day. That was such a relief! I was so tired from not sleeping and I was so weak from not eating. They put an IV in my arm and continued to monitor me. I was two centimeters dilated and the baby was at a –2 station. They broke my water around 9 AM, which brought the contractions on stronger and closer together. An hour later, at three centimeters, they gave me my epidural. For the first time in four days, I wasn’t in pain. I called my friends, my family, and my doula. I was able to rest and relax, but I didn’t nap because I was too excited.
I was dilated to four centimeters around noon. They checked me every hour and I hadn’t progressed at all. The doctor said the cord might be wrapped around the baby’s arm or leg causing her not to come down. My doula arrived at 6 PM and stayed with us. The doctor told me that we needed to consider other options since I wasn’t progressing. James and I discussed having a C-section and he was supportive of whatever I decided to do. Since I hadn’t progressed any further in six hours, we decided to go for the C-section.
I was prepped for surgery and was nervous because I had never had surgery before. I was worried that I’d feel the pain because I felt the epidural wearing off. But the anesthesiologist assured me I would only feel tugging and pressure. I called my friend and she calmed my nerves and then I was ready.
The whole procedure took a few minutes. Everyone was commenting on how big the baby was. They told me there was no other way she would have come out. Her head was 13¾ centimeters! And she weighed nine pounds, nine ounces, and was 21 inches long. Once they took her out, she cried immediately. I cried because I couldn’t believe that she was finally here. Olivia Pearl was born at 7:57 PM on Tuesday, December 12, 2006. She is one amazing, beautiful baby. And I feel truly blessed.