I guess it all started on Sunday night (June 28). I was up all night, with significantly stronger contractions than I had ever had, and they were coming every 3-4 min., lasting 60-75 seconds long. I kept debating whether to wake Jon to head into the hospital, but kept worrying that we would just get there and be sent away with news that I still wasn't dilated. So after a very sleepless night (I only got about 2 hours of actual sleep), things died off in the early hours of the morning. We got up bright and early to call the hospital for confirmation of induction and were told to be there at 7:30am. So we packed everything up and headed to the hospital. After monitoring the baby for an hour and waiting for my doctor to arrive, they finally gave me the induction gel at about 9am. Then they sent us home and said to come back if anything happened, or if there was no effect, then to come back just after 2pm so they could gel me again.
So we drove home, ate some lunch and I tried desperately to get a bit of sleep, in preparation for pending labour. 2:00pm came and nothing had happened so we went back to the hospital for round #2 of the gel. After inducing me the second time (at around 3pm), they again, sent us home and said to come back at 8pm for round #3 OR if I went into labour in the meanwhile. We left the hospital, picked up some supper and while we were driving home, the contractions started up. And they were strong! By the time we got home, things were definitely progressing and the contractions were coming every 2-4 min., lasting over a minute each time. And more importantly, they were getting more and more unbearable. I tried to eat as much as I could but by 5:00pm, I was already in HARD labour. Jon kept asking if we should go to the hospital but after being told ALL DAY, that I was still only 1cm dilated, I wanted to be able to labour at home as long as possible.
Well... that plan went out the window fairly quickly, as the contractions were just too much to handle by 6pm.
We arrived back at the hospital by 6:15pm and were promptly admitted. Much to my dismay, they found that I was still only about 1-2cm dilated. So I spent the next few hours switching back and forth between the hot shower, and rocking my hips back and forth, hunched over my bed. By 10:30pm (and feeling utterly EXHAUSTED by this point), my doctor informed me that they were going to have to do an epidural because my body just wasn't progressing (I was still only 1-2cm) and things needed to get moving. I had really, REALLY wanted to avoid an epidural, but by that stage, I was desperate for some relief and knew that my doctor knew what was best for me.
So by about 11pm, the epidural was in and, my oh my... what sweet, sweet relief! I know some of you are probably "anti-epidural" but from my experience, EVERYONE should get one :) It was incredible! I was even able to sleep a bit over the next hours as the pain was virtually gone. Once the epidural had been given, I started to progress really quickly. I went from 1cm to 4, in an hour, and then the last 6cm only took another 2-3 hours. By 3:00am, it was time to push.
The next sucky part of the labour was that Callie didn't seem to want to come out with the coaxing of my pushing alone, and they had to use the vacuum. The resident was doing the delivery with my doctor standing by, and the vacuum kept popping off when he would start to pull. I found this TERRIBLY disconcerting because every time it popped off, I thought that her head had finally come out, and was totally demoralized when they informed me that it was just the vacuum coming loose. Finally my doctor took over and by 3:55am, Callie was in my arms.
Words cannot describe what the moment felt like. I've heard a lot of people say that its like an 'out-of-body-experience' and I would completely agree. I wanted so desperately to soak in the moment but it was just so surreal. I felt like I was watching someone else's experience, rather than experiencing it myself.
They laid her on my chest right away and let her stay there for a good 15 min. or so while they assessed my injuries. I was then informed that I had 3rd & 4th degree tearing (which I did in fact feel-- the epidural isn't able to numb all the outer tissue so I still felt the whole delivery) and that they were going to have to bring in the obstetrician to repair the damage, as my doctor just didn't feel he would do a sufficient job. Thankfully, I was very focused on Callie as they sewed me up, and I tried to keep my eyes fixed on her as they cleaned her & weighed her.
So there you have it. The full scoop on my labour & delivery (well... pretty much :)). I saw my doctor last week and he's very happy with Callie's growth & progress and was pleased to see that my healing was going well too. Unfortunately though, he figures I still have another 6-8 weeks of recovery before I will be "100%" again. But I can say in total honesty, that each day gets a little bit easier and I'm feeling WAY better this week, than even last. So I feel fairly optimistic that things will feel normal again someday :)
And as for life with Callie, things are going great! She's such a joy and is truly an exceptionally good baby. She slept through the night at 12 days old, and only gets up 1-2 times a night to feed now. I really can't complain. When she's awake, she's very alert and has even given us a few big smiles (even though we know they're probably just due to passing gas :)). Life just feels so right with her around and its hard to even remember life before her. We are loving our Callie-bear :)