- 7 p.m. I get checked out in an exam room and admitted to the hospital (three centimeters, 100% effaced, and according to my doctor, water on the verge of breaking).
- 8 p.m. I am moved into our labor & delivery room, which is outfitted with a TV, stereo system, and husband bed (a convertible chair--not Dave's coziest sleeping arrangements ever!); I endure the contractions and put off the epidural for a while--not because I don't want it (I do), but because the nurses warn me that it will confine me to my bed for the duration, and we all know how much I like to walk these days!!
- 10 p.m. I get the epidural; I love the anesthesiologist, the nurse who assists her, and of course the epidural itself! I tell Dave, "You've got to get yourself one of these!" and he just laughs at me.
- 11 p.m. My OB comes to visit and break my water. I am feeling no pain and I'm still pretty much enamored of everyone and everything around me. The doctor tells me to sleep...so I make Dave read to me from the pages of Us Weekly, mostly stories about the US women's Olympic gymnastics team and also how the stars of the new 90210 TV series are way too skinny. Oh, and about Shannen Doherty (see below).
- 1 a.m. I finally go to sleep, after thinking "How can I go to sleep knowing I'm about to have a baby?" for two hours straight. And by thinking, I mean thinking aloud, to Dave, and thus not letting him sleep either. But at least I was cheerful!
- 7 a.m. After a night of mildly interrupted sleep, I wake up fully dilated. My new nurse (7 a.m. marked the shift change at the hospital) says we'll wait until I feel the urge to push.
- 8 a.m. No urge to push.
- 9:30 a.m. Still no urge, but they ask if I want to try anyway.
- 10 a.m. Sure, why not try? I'm getting bored just lying here on my left side.
- 10:05 a.m. The baby's not quite in the right position (he's face up instead of face down). "You can push this baby out, but it's going to take a lot of work," my lovely nurse tells me. "And while most first babies take two and a half hours to push out, he might take three and a half." The new on-call doctor (also lovely) adds, "We'll go for an hour and see how you do. If he's not moving, we'll have to explore other options." ("Other options" is code for a C-section--this much I know.)
- 10:10 a.m. The baby is definitely moving. It is so strange to feel the baby but no pain.
- 10:30 a.m. The pushing is exhausting, but he's still moving. I've never wanted water more, but have to settle for Chiclet-sized ice chips.
- 10:45 a.m. Dave and my labor nurse start a conversation about, among other things, bad pushers who can't hold the push to the count of ten. I keep having to interrupt to say, "I feel like pushing now!" It might be the baby moving down my birth canal, but it seems to me that they are taking their sweet time in responding.
- 11 a.m. Lovely Nurse calls Lovely Doctor back into the room. They tell me that the pushing has paid off, that amazingly my baby is still making his way out, even at this awkward angle. The doctor tells me that she wants to use vacuum assistance to deliver the baby, and I readily give my consent.
- 11:15 a.m. Three hearty push sessions later, William Paul Noon comes into the world...in the correct, face-down position! (I see a great career as a contortionist in William's future.) Lovely Nurse exclaims, "8 pounds, 6 ounces! Wow, that's a big baby!" Dave and I shake our heads at each other--she has no idea that we were expecting a true giant. The cord has loosely wrapped itself around the baby's neck during delivery, so the nurses and pediatrician tend to him while I let the doctor take care of me. I keep begging everyone for water.
Overall, my entire labor and delivery process was incredibly satisfying. Every single nurse and doctor we interacted with over the course of the sixteen hours was supportive, nurturing, and (most importantly?) entertaining.
We stayed in the birthing center to recover for 48 hours; that part was not as satisfying. Roughly twenty strangers would enter the room at all hours of the night, unannounced, to take my temperature and the baby's. We had to take William into the nursery at night so they could read his vitals, and the whole process seemed both impersonal and invasive. But hey, those two days only made me appreciate my experience in L & D that much more, and we were so glad to be home on Tuesday morning.
Since then, we've taken Will to the pediatrician in a car, to the grocery store in a stroller, and all around the condo in our arms. Each night has been easier than the night before, and the baby's been a complete joy so far (knocking on wood vigorously and with feeling). He has already received some visitors, and while I can't say for sure, I'm guessing William can't wait to meet the rest of his family and friends as soon as possible.
Thanks to everyone who called, emailed and texted their well wishes and congratulations. You only added to the feeling of celebration, and we were buoyed by every message (even if we now have zero time to call anyone back).