We had a huge [by Southern standards] snow & ice storm that week, and my office was closed Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I slept in a little, woke up around 9:30am, and was hanging out with the dogs while eating my breakfast and relaxing. I felt just sort of "off" all morning. I thought maybe the Braxton Hicks contractions were throwing me off, or maybe since I just woke up I didn't eat enough and my stomach still felt empty.
Over the next couple of hours, that feeling didn't go away, and I decided maybe a shower would help. I was also planning to make a trip to Walmart afterwards to get some dog food and other necessities. By the time I got out of the shower, I was feeling really crampy and decided I just wanted to lay down and take a nap. I woke up around 1:15 and when I didn't feel much better I just stayed in bed and watched TV. Well, by 2pm these pains were coming much more frequently and I thought maybe I should take out my phone and use my Contraction Tracker app. I still wasn't sure if this was labor, but I wanted to start timing to see if maybe this was contractions. They were all over the place, 4 minutes then 8 minutes then 2 minutes then 11 minutes then 6 minutes...Which threw me off because in child birth class they made me think that contractions would be at more regular intervals. I watched TV and tracked them until a little after 3pm and I decided I needed to call my doctor's office. I spoke to the on-call nurse [offices were closed because of the storm] and she said it sounded like the beginnings of labor and to keep tracking for another hour and call her back if there were any changes or if they were more consistent and frequent. As we hung up the phone she said "Well honey, it's Valentine's day AND a full moon tonight, and you know we believe in those types of things! I think you may be having this baby before the end of the weekend." Over the next hour I kept tracking and they were still at all different intervals, but those intervals were all 6 minutes or less. I called Jake around 4 and told him to try to finish up working, make sure everything was ready for work tomorrow, and come home because we might need to go to the hospital. He finished up quickly and got home around 5pm. At this point I was finally mostly convinced I was having real contractions [you have to understand that I didn't want to be that first time mom who shows up at the hospital for false alarms that are just gas pains, and I really didn't think she would come that early]. Jake showered and we were going to quick install the car seat, which was on our to-do list for the weekend and we hadn't gotten to it yet, but by the time he got out of the shower the contractions were more frequent and getting much more painful. We quick finished packing Jake's and the baby's hospital bags, got my bag, and grabbed the uninstalled car seat to head to the hospital. We knew that all the security guards at the hospital were certified to install car seats so they could help Jake if he needed it before we came home.
Still tracking, the contractions finally became regular intervals of 3 minutes apart while we were on our way up the interstate to the hospital. I was in a lot of pain by this point...there may have been some yelling, cursing [which I kept apologizing to Jake for because I felt like I shouldn't be cursing because our baby was causing the pain...haha!] and hitting the inside of the car door. My sweet, sweet husband was trying to help me and told me to remember the breathing techniques from child birth class....to which I told him "I love you and I know you don't want to see me in pain, but please stop now!" We made it to the hospital in about 35 minutes. I don't want to know how fast Jake was driving because it's a 40 minute drive without road construction delays or traffic. We were headed there during rush hour on a Friday....
We got to the hospital at 6:35pm and I could barely walk or stand during contractions. I kept telling people I was in labor and just wanted an epidural. We were standing at the nurses station checking in at the maternity ward, and I just remember being aggravated because I had pre-registered and I didn't understand why the girl kept asking me all of these questions like my name, birth date, social security number, address, etc. After what seemed like an eternity they got me into a room, took a urine sample, and started hooking up the contraction and fetal heart rate monitors to my belly. I kept asking for an epidural, and once the nurse saw that I was having real contractions she checked to see how dilated I was, to which we found out I was already at 9cm. That was the first total shock moment for everyone because we realized this baby was going to be born soon...At some point the OB showed up--not my normal doctor but a different one from my practice whom I had met before and I remember being relieved that it was her because I liked her a lot. They broke my water since it still hadn't. I am forever grateful to the wonderful anesthesiologist because I was told it was up to his discretion for whether or not he would give me the epidural since my urine test results weren't back yet. Bless that man because he said he understood that sometimes we just needed to do these things, and he turned me on my side while I was laying down and gave me the epidural. That took about 15 minutes to totally kick in. The baby wasn't handling the epidural well and her heart rate started to drop. The gave me an oxygen mask because it was the quickest way to get her more oxygen, and they had me turn to the side. Those tricks seemed to work because her heart rate went back up to normal. They checked me and I was 10cm so we were ready to start pushing. The next contraction came and I pushed three times, and then baby's heart rate started dropping again. We agreed to let them use the vaccuum to try to help her out quicker, and got ready to push for the next contraction. They tried the vaccuum but it popped off right away, and while I was pushing 3 more times my nurse asked me to try to get a forth push because the baby would be out. I did, and she was!
Ryleigh Marie was born at 8:14pm on Valentine's day :) Jake and I were both in such shock that she had arrived so quickly, and we were both just in awe looking at her. It was so surreal. They laid her on my belly to clean her off and we were both holding her, then Jake went over with the nurses to weigh, measure, and be with her while they were doing all of their testing and getting her under the heat lamp. Her temperature was low, and kept hovering at 97 degrees, so she got an extra long stay under the heat lamps until her temp was finally up to 98 degrees. Jake stayed with her for that and then they brought her over to me to do skin-to-skin on my chest. All we could do was kiss her and stare at her, and couldn't believe that she was finally here!