Read Part I here.
After Nemo went to sleep I continued to have back contractions, but I still didn't think I was actually in labor. Even when I didn't know which way was up because I was in so much pain, I didn't think I was in labor.
Soon after midnight I went to lie down on the couch, because I was having a hard time being quiet and I didn't want to wake Nemo. The contractions came every 6-12 minutes all night long, so I didn't sleep all night. I may have dozed off during some of the longer intervals, but nothing substantial.
At around 7am Nemo stumbled out of the bedroom and was surprised to see me on the couch, almost incoherent from tiredness and pain. I starting going on and on about how I should go into work because I wasn't in labor, but it just hurt so bad and I didn't want to!
At which point Nemo suggested that I call the midwife. When I explained the situation she said it sounded like I was in early labor, but I shouldn't come in quite yet. I almost burst into tears. EARLY labor? This had been going on for almost as long as some of my friend's "long" labors, and I was only in EARLY labor? But, this tipped the scales for me and I decided to call work to say I wouldn't be coming in. People in early labor don't go to work, do they?
As I was officially in labor, Nemo got into full support person mode. He tried to make me eat (I had some fruit but couldn't stomach much else), he made me guzzle fluids, he walked with me in the yard, he got me down on the birthing ball, and most importantly he took over timing duties. I was way too out of it to count to one, let alone time contractions. I was completely in his very capable hands.
It was around 11:30am when he announced it was time to go to the hospital. I didn't argue. Luckily it was only 10 minutes away so I only had two contractions in the car. I do remember saying, "If they check me and I am only at 2 centimeters I am going to be super pissed".
Guess what I was when they checked me in triage? That's right, two centimeters. Fifteen hours of contractions and 2 centimeters. I was fit to be tied. I also refused to be sent home. They let me stay in triage for a while. I got in the hot tub, which was nice in a way, but I was really only comfortable on all fours so it was kind of hard on the knees. We walked on the secluded L&D terrace for a while, but that got to be too much for me and we retreated back to the triage room. When they checked me again I was at 3 centimeters. THANK GOODNESS.
When we got to the L&D room they hooked me up. I was GBS positive so I had to be on a penicillin drip. I only wanted intermittent monitoring of "Spud", but he was so active that he kept slipping off the monitor so they would have to chase him around which took forever.
Apparently I was being loud. I am not a loud person, and I didn't think I was going to be a loud laborer, but surprise--I totally was. It wasn't even the contractions that hurt, it was my back and pelvis that were killing me. While in triage the midwife on call, Carolyn, had used this cool little hand-held ultrasound device to check "Spud" and sure enough, he was in the posterior position, or face up. I had kind of suspected this in the weeks leading up to labor because of where I could feel him moving.
So anyway, I was only comfortable on all fours or walking around, but because of the IV and fetal monitoring I could only do that about 15 minutes out of ever hour. For the rest of the time I was trapped in the bed. The next best thing was lying on my side and rocking on my hip, and I would grab onto the bed rail and ROCK like the dickens whenever I had a contraction. Nemo later told me he had been afraid I was going to break the bed, that's how hard I was rocking.
Nemo was there with me the whole time; the man did not rest for a second. He coached me through every contraction, and when it was over he would hold my water bottle and make me drink while telling me how awesome I was doing and how proud he was of me. I get teary whenever I think about how wonderful, supportive, and comforting he was.
At some point the shifts changed and a different midwife came to check on me. Her name was Emily, and we had met her before--she had been on call when I had my first miscarriage. She had been so kind and compassionate then, and we had never forgotten her. It was so appropriate that she would be the one to deliver Spud.
Emily was concerned about how the noises I was making were "scary", i.e. the pain sounded worse than what she would like. Nemo explained about my back, and she buckled down and showed us several moves for relieving the pain. My favorite was having the two of them press my hips together when I had a contraction.
By 7:00pm I was only at 7 centimeters. At 10:00pm I was at 8.5 or 9. It's like I was trying to set the record for longest transition. At one point I looked at the clock and seeing it was almost midnight I moaned to Nemo, "Today isn't going to be his birthday!" I couldn't believe how long I had been in labor and I was terrified that I was going to see another shift of nurses and midwives come in and STILL not have Spud in my arms.
The story continues at Part III