Whew! This birth went sooooo much easier and faster than Marli's! I'm so amazed at what my body was able to do. Here's how it all went down:
I had been dilated to about a 3 for a week and I was about 70% effaced at my last appointment. So, I knew that my body was getting ready. Pepper was due on the 9th, and right on time at 1am on Wednesday the 9th, my contractions started. I had gone to sleep at 11pm. So much for getting a good night's rest before labor started! I had been having contractions for the past 3 weeks, but they weren't painful at all, just tightening and some pressure down on my cervix. The one that woke me up at 1am was definitely different! I felt it all in my lower back and I actually had to breathe through it and force myself to think through the pain. They were coming every 10 minutes, so I just went into the living room and started sitting and rolling on my birthing ball and tried to take my mind off of it. At about 3:30, I texted my mother to let her know that the contractions were 10 minutes apart and painful. She didn't respond (of course, it's the middle of the night!). I called her at 4:30 (she gets up at that time anyway to go to the gym...I know, crazy) to let her know that we were heading to the hospital soon. She said she'd meet us there. Ibis called his mom to come stay with Marli and I called the hospital to let them know what was going on. Since they were 8 minutes apart and I was attempting a trial of labor and a VBAC, they said I should definitely come on in.
So, we got to the hospital at about 5:30 and got all checked in. They said I could do 20 minutes on the monitors and 40 minutes off to walk around, use the ball, or hop in the shower to ease the pain. So, we walked around the halls for a bit and then I used the ball for a while. This was such a different experience because with Marli, I never felt a contraction. My water broke 2 weeks early and then nothing happened for 3-4 hours, so they hooked me up to pitocin and then they started. It was so nice to be able to walk around and get into any position I wanted. They couldn't give me pitocin anyway with Penelope because of my previous C-Section scar. Fine by me! My body was doing what it needed to do anyway!
They hooked me back up to check me and make sure Pepper was doing fine. Her heartbeat never dipped or showed any sign of distress throughout the entire thing. Awesome! My blood pressure remained around 120/60 (just like normal!). Things were looking so great! Around 8am, I had a monster contraction and I felt *pop* *pop* and a gush of water. Then, the contractions just started coming like crazy and SUPER strong. Ouch. I remained lying on my side in the bed not hooked up to anything, but not really able to move much due to the pain. My mom was next to me and Ibis was in front of me sitting and holding my head and upper body, as I was practically in his lap. They both were rubbing my back and shoulders and helping me through the pain.
One funny thing that everyone was telling me to do in the weeks leading up to the birth was that I should sing through the contractions. Yeah, right! That is the last thing I'd be able to do. However, I did do my breathing to songs. I could only think of a few and one was the March of the Torreadors from the opera Carmen. I'd also do Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Someone to Watch Over Me. I'd breathe in rhythm to that playing in my head and it helped a bit. lol! Hey, whatever works, right?
I have to say that I had the BEST nurse ever. She really was more like a doula or a midwife. Her name is Betsy and she was helping me through the contractions and had such a soothing voice. My fear was that there would be nurses like last time who would make comments like, "if you don't have to be in pain, then why would you choose this? Just get the epidural." Ugh! I don't like to be pressured or told what to do. It's MY birth plan and I'll stick to it or change it as I see fit without pressure from you! Betsy was actually the opposite of all of them and encouraging me to stick to my plan of all natural. No one even breathed the word epidural. So nice. However, I started to cry out for one and my mom made me look her in the eye when I wasn't having a contraction and tell her that I seriously wanted one. She made me do that about 4 times before she realized I was truly serious. lol!
So, after about 10 hours of labor, Betsy asked that if she checked me and I was far enough along, would it change my mind. I said it wouldn't. Well, I was about 8cm and the baby was totally coming down. Betsy said that before they did an epidural, they'd have to get an entire bag of fluid in me and then the anesthesiologist could do the epidural. So, after another hour into it, I finally got the epidural. However, I was progressed so far and my body was moving pretty quickly, that I could still feel quite a bit of the contractions and all the pressure. But, I was able to relaxed a little bit and allow Pepper to come down and get into position. She was facing sideways, so she wasn't quite in the right position, but by the time I progressed to 10cm, she flipped facedown. At about 1pm (12 hours after labor started) I was ready to push. They had me start pushing and Pepper was bungee jumping up and down. We could see the head and then it would disappear and she kept doing that. lol! Finally, at 1:52, she came all the way out! What a relief! I am so glad that I was able to experience a vaginal birth. What a difference from a c-section. My doctor, Dr. Khan, looked at me and said she was so proud of me and that I did such a good job. She also mentioned that she is very happy that I wanted to do a VBAC and that she knew I could do it. It was so awesome to hear that from her and know that she believed in me and wasn't going into this just to "see" if I could do it, but that she actually "knew" I could. We were able to go home Thursday night. So nice to get home so soon after giving birth. I'm in pain, but it's so worth it and Penelope is just perfect. She's a great little baby and so precious.
A friend from high school on Facebook wrote a cute little poem about Penelope:
Prompt Penelope was always on time,
To be early or late gave a shiver.
And on the ninth of November,
Penelope remembered to remind her mom to deliver!