There are so many things I want to write about, but first I think I'll just start off with the story. Later I'll write a post with a bunch of shout-outs to the things/people who saved me. Then I'll write all the really mushy feeling stuff about what it's like being a brand new mom for me.
Here goes, the story!
So, the whole of my labor from when I could really feel the contractions to when Elly came out was about 24 hours. The good thing is that I only pushed for about half an hour. Overall the recovery went really well. I "delivered" the placenta I think maybe ten minutes after Elly came out. I barely had any tearing and heavy bleeding only lasted a week... maybe two. The worst part was that I totally threw out my back and I could barely sit and get up without someone helping me for the week after. Sitting was SO uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. That made nursing so much harder (another story all together). But, I got better and now it's still sore if I sit for too long, but I'm grateful for not having any other things the past couple months to worry about.
2-6pm: Earlier that day I had gone to my doctor without feeling like I was having any contractions whatsoever--all I could feel was this sort of pressure in my lower abdomen--though definitely not regular like contractions. He was worried about wanting to induce me which got me worried until he checked me (btw, pelvic exams are the WORST!!!). He felt his way up there and said, "well, you're two centimeters dilated, so I don't think we'll have to worry about inducing you." What a relief!
So, until that evening I had to put my hands on my stomach to feel if it was tightening up with a contraction or not which totally got me in the wrong mindset. I felt like this was going to go SO WELL and would be so fast because I was already two centimeters without feeling much of anything.
12-2am: I got to the hospital around midnight and the nurse said she thought I was still about 2 centimeters. I was so confused and disappointed! I was sure I must have been a 5 by now since ten hours ago I was a 2. Well, because my contractions were still pretty regular and we lived a good distance they let me stay and I think it must have been 1.5-2 hours later I reached 4 centimeters. That meant at 2am I was in a lot more pain, but feeling alright.
2-4am: Well, shortly after that my contractions were coming in at 2 minutes apart and quite a bit stronger. I was so tired, though, so I didn't want to walk around that much. Also by then my contractions had all moved to my lower back, also making the pain worse. By I think about 3am my contractions were 1-2 minutes apart and for the most part I was on the bed making my mom and Mark push really hard on my back to try and lessen the pain. I don't think it worked physically, but I think mentally it was nice thinking that SOMEthing was being done for the pain.
WRONG! 4 centimeters still. I cried. Just cried. It wasn't even so much that I felt like I couldn't take the pain any longer, but it was the not knowing when it was going to be over that was so stressful. I mean, don't get me wrong, I was in pain, but the not knowing was the worst for me.
I felt like I tried everything--walking (my least favorite), the birthing ball, the Jacuzzi, kneeling on all fours while swaying or arching my back, squatting, and I don't even know what else. The nurses came in thinking I was on pitocin my contractions were so close. I remember reading stuff about how you should try and take a break in between contractions--even sleep for a couple minutes. Well, when your contractions are that close together there is no way you are sleeping! There is no break!
I remember my mom telling me to just breath out as low as I could to try to bring everything down (Elly was riding high right up until the moment I had her). It's funny now to think about what I must have looked/sounded like--hobbling with my legs spread in a squat, wearing my hospital gown, and moaning in the lowest voice possible "uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh" over and over and over again. Yeah, it's pretty funny to think about now.
8-11am: Well, at about 8am with contractions still coming at 1-1.5 minutes apart I had them examine me again. I was 5 centimeters. Again came the gush of tears. How could I only be 5 centimeters after all this time?! The nurse gave me a couple different options. First was the epidural and second was a morphine like drug that would wear off in about 45 minutes but would let me sleep. I cried and thought it over for a while and then decided to do the morphine drug (can't remember the name of it) around 9am. I was so tired after staying up all night I thought if I could get just a little bit of sleep I would feel so much better. I had it administered to me twice because sleeping--even for just a half hour each time, felt so good. But, the pain was still so severe and contractions were still close together and I was still exhausted.
11-12:30am: After having it given to me twice I had them check be again at about 11:30am. Again, only 5 centimeters. This time there was no hesitation--"just given me the freakin' epidural!!" I think I might of cried a little bit, but at this point I was mostly angry--angry at this stupid pain and for going through the morphine thing when I could have had the epidural sooner. I was angry, but I don't think anyone could tell the difference between my moans. Well, by the time the anesthesiologist came it was about 12pm. I was even more angry that he wasn't there the second I asked for him. It took about a half hour (maybe less? It seemed like too long either way) to get me all hooked up. He put in the needle wrong the first time which SUPER freaked me out because I started bleeding and feeling dizzy. This only last a few seconds, though as he quickly fixed it and got it right the second time (I guess the first time was just a test anyway...). I didn't doubt my decision (after he got it right) because I knew if I didn't get some rest there was no way I would have enough energy to push.
12:30-5pm: RIGHT! I was right... or, at least as far as I can tell. After getting the epidural I slept for 4 hours straight. I could still feel some discomfort in my lower back, but nothing like before. Sweet, sweet sleep never felt so good! I woke up around 4:30pm and asked to be examined AGAIN without high hopes, but with a much more positive attitude.
Lo and behold I had dilated to 8 centimeters and was almost completely effaced!!! This time I almost cried for joy! Plus the epidural wasn't as immobilizing as I thought it would be. I mean, I couldn't walk, sure, but I could shift around in my bed a little bit. By the time I woke up I could move my legs quite a bit and could start to feel the pain more. They up'ed the dosage but it didn't really make a difference. It didn't matter, though, because it was still better than before.
5-6:15pm: A little after 5pm I started feeling like I wanted to push, but the nurse said I should wait until I was further dilated and completely effaced. I started doing the pushing technique I had been practicing just lying down until about 5:45 when I told them again I really wanted to push. The nurse checked me again and said I was no different but I could start pushing if I really wanted to. I decided I did and within a few minutes she said she could feel Elly's head. Our doctor came shortly afterwards and I kept pushing, making I'm sure the weirdest and most horrible faces Mark had ever seen. Sweet guy didn't even mention it, but I know I must have looked SO WEIRD.
6:15pm: Then, at 6:15 Eleanor Mei Ackerman came into the world crying and beautiful. The most beautiful thing I've ever seen. They put her on my chest right away and I'll never forget the feeling of her cries stopping as she heard the sound of my voice and felt me softly shaking and shushing her. She just looked right up at me, totally calmed down with the sweetest disposition I've ever witnessed. She is one special girl... that's one of the many things I thought to myself then and continue to think every day.
Mark, my mom, and I were all so full of tears. I couldn't believe this little baby had been inside of me this whole time! It was truly incredible.
And now I'm a mom! The mother of a beautiful miracle. I am so blessed.