So the midwife had just announced that I was 6-7 centimeters dilated and completely effaced. It was the real deal. Everyone at the office was tickled that someone had practically made it to transition without even realizing that she was in labor. I wasn't so much tickled as shocked. I was not planning on having a baby that day. I had laundry in the washer! I had things to do! But baby had other plans.
At the time I wasn't too concerned about that fact that I was 6 centimeters dilated and Nemo was 70 miles away. When I was in labor with CJ it took almost 12 hours to get from 6 centimeters to a baby in my arms, so I thought it was likely I had some time. Still, I thought it would be best to spring into action.
I collected CJ from a storage cabinet full of medical supplies where he had been making a den and we went out to the parking lot, making several phone calls on the way. First I called Nemo to tell him that it was the real deal. Then I called my mom, who didn't pick up. Then I called my sister to fill her in. Then I called my mother-in-law and we agreed to meet back at the house so I could pack a few things before heading to the hospital.
I beat her there and started trying organize all of the stuff I wanted to take with me to the hospital while CJ took the opportunity to touch everything in the house that had previously been deemed off-limits. What can I say, I was a little distracted. The contractions were picking up, a little painful but still very manageable. I had one where I thought it would feel better if I got on my hands and knees and swayed a little (it did feel amazing), and as it was passing I looked up and saw CJ was imitating me—deep breathing and all. Cutest thing ever.
When my mother in law arrived there was some confusion as we decided what to take to the hospital and what to leave behind, because there were so many bags she didn't see how we were going to get them all into the hospital, what with CJ and me being in labor and everything. Eventually I decided on just the plastic tote full of labor aids. More necessary to a laboring woman than, say, a hair dryer. The last bit of confusion was that I couldn't find my coat anywhere--and I had just taken it off a few minutes before! I looked for it frantically for a half a minute and then decided I really didn't care. We needed to get to the hospital--now! It was the first time I really felt any urgency to get there, so I'm guessing I was hitting transition right about then.
We got to the hospital at about 10:00am. My mother-in-law dropped me off at the front doors and while she was parking the car I headed up to the Birth Center--walking through two contractions on the way. I felt another one coming on just as I got to the nurses' station and I grabbed the edge of the desk, squatted down, and breathed through it. When I stood up again one of the nurses asked me if I needed a wheelchair. It was crazy, but I really didn't. The contractions required my full attention but in between I felt completely normal.
They didn't even ask my name--the midwife at the office had called ahead so I guess they were on the lookout for someone in confirmed active labor. I guess I fit the bill. I got to my room (in this hospital there is only one room for labor, delivery, and recovery, which is a pretty sweet setup), took off my shoes, and laid down on my right side because that's what felt the most comfortable. Meanwhile, nurses were scrambling around with forms for me to sign and trying to insert an IV of penicillin (I was GBS negative but as I was positive when I was pregnant with CJ it was possible that the bacteria was lurking somewhere in my system and I didn't want to take any chances).
My mother-in-law came in to be with me until Nemo got there. She brought CJ in briefly and he gave me a very sweet kiss and even though I loved seeing him I asked her to take him out to wait with her sister because I didn't want him to be scared. I was getting to the point where deep breathing had become more like loud vocalizations.
The midwife on call, Gail, came in at some point but she didn't want to "check" me lest she accidentally break my bag of waters and have the baby come before Nemo arrived, so she just stood quietly near the foot of the bed and every so often told me not panic. Panic? Who's panicking? Ok, I was. Just a little. I just wanted Nemo to get there already.
Finally, my mother-in-law, who had been looking out the window every few seconds, announced that she could see Nemo pulling into the parking lot. He got up to the room at about 11:00am. My mother-in-law took her leave and Nemo went into support person mode. Did I want a snack (no thanks, I, like, just had breakfast). Did I want him to turn on the labor playlist? (no thanks, concentrating). So he ended up just holding my hand and coaching my breathing.
Soon after Nemo arrived Gail checked me and said I was completely dilated and the baby was at zero station. She didn't say it was time to start pushing though, so I didn't. I never had the urge to push with CJ because I was so fatigued and numb from 30 hours of back labor, so the L&D nurse had coached me through the pushing process. Because of this I couldn't recognize when pushing needed to happen. That's my theory, anyway. After about a half-hour Gail asked me why I wasn't pushing. I think she thought I had been traumatized or something, but in reality I just didn't know that it was time. I muttered some excuse, and Gail replied by telling me that if I would just do it already, I could probably have a baby in one push. That was a lot to take in--I was still reeling at the idea of being labor that day. The possibility of having a baby in the next few minutes? Blew me away.
I thought about it for moment or two, then I told Gail, ok, I'll do it (as if I had any choice). I had been pretty sure that Gail had been making up the whole "one push" thing (I mean, come one, that only happens in the movies, right?), but it turns out she was correct. After a few little experimental pushes and one really big one, Baby Girl came into the outside world, still in her amniotic sac! She was born at 11:37am, just under forty minutes after Nemo arrived at the hospital. Talk about cutting it close.
The midwife put her right on my chest after she was born and we got to hang out for over an hour before she was measured and got eye drops and whatnot. She weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces and was 22 inches long. Big girl!
She came with a great head of hair, a terrible case of gas, and a general unwillingness to sleep anywhere but on someone else. We love her!