The doctor came in, listened to the baby's heartbeat, then did a quick "sweep" to see if it might help move things along. She said if it worked something would happen in the next 48 hours, but she didn't seem or sound very convinced that anything would happen.
When she left and I got dressed, I thought I felt something trickling. I went to the restroom, then went to the front desk to make my 40 week appointment. I excused myself mid-sentence and went back to the restroom. We were standing at the front desk to finish the appointment scheduling when I felt a pop, followed by a warm trickle. I turned bright red, felt my panic button turn on, then interrupted the receptionists and said, "Um, excuse but I, uh...um...I think my water just broke? Maybe?"
The poor girls' faces registered shock (which, really? I mean, you do work in an OB-GYN office...) and they told me they'd call the doctor while I ran back for the restroom. Someone was in the restroom. So I stood there awkwardly. Then someone came and got me and brought me into a room and the doctor came in and started to explain some test she would do to check that it was amniotic fluid and I sat back on the table and suddenly, with a gush, everything was sopping wet.
"Um, I'm going to say that your water just broke!" she said professionally.
"Uh...haha....uh...yeah...ya think?" I said less professionally. And not with any attitude so much as with panic, while glancing at my toddler who was staring at the table in wide-eyed shock.
"Mama! What did you DO?" she asked. While I stared at her blankly, trying to think of how to explain to a 3-year-old that Mama's water broke, the doctor told me to head straight to the hospital. Soaking wet. I asked her for a towel or something to mop up with while more water gushed out of me and she said, "Oh sweetie, I don't have anything!" (Which, again...really?! I mean, this has to have happened to someone before!)
She left and I took a deep breath and explained to Sweet Pea that it was time for mama to push out the baby and that we needed to go to the hospital. My heart was all a-flutter and I was convinced I was going to start having contractions immediately. My doctor's office is 20 minutes from home, 30+ from the hospital. I called Hubby, who was with a client 45 minutes away, then called my mom who was out shopping about 40 minutes from my house. So then we walked (me, soaking wet...so embarassing!) to the car and I called a friend who lives right around the corner and dropped Sweet Pea off with her husband and daughter.
I'll never forget pulling my little girl out of the car and explaining to her that she was going to play with her friend while I went to the hospital to have the baby. Sweet Pea said, "But mama! If you leave me I will cry!" which, obviously, made me cry, so I pulled her in for a huge hug and said, "Sweetie, Mama needs you to be a big girl and be so brave." My funny, Merida-dress-up-dress-clad girl squeezed me back tight and went happily off to play with two of her favorite people, while I ran back to the car and drove home, blatantly breaking all cellphone-use laws and figuring I'd get off just fine if an officer pulled me over. He could just look down at the soaking wet chucks pads on my carseat and then escort me to the hospital.
Thankfully, no heavy contractions had started by the time I got home. I felt instantly braver as soon as I saw my husband. I dripped my way into the house and showered and did my hair and tried to bring my heart rate to normal while Hubby made sandwiches and did the random stuff I called out for, like putting the washing machine load into the dryer.
Because clearly, that was desperately important.
Don't ask about the rationale of a woman in labor.
By the time we got to the car we were all, "Let's do this!" and the contractions were starting to really kick in. We got to the hospital by 2:15 (my water broke about 12:45) and spent an uncomfortable half-hour getting checked in and rocking through contractions in the waiting room. We finally got back to a room and our sweet nurse got us settled and asked me approximately one million questions while I paused every so often to breathe through contractions.
The next few hours were just a blur of contractions, trying different techniques to get through them, and me just breathing loudly and squeezing Hubby's hand. My mom arrived around 4:30. There was one heart-stopping moment when the baby's heart rate dropped very low very suddenly, but my nurse gave me some oxygen and it came back up. At six the nurse checked and I was a little disappointed that I was only 4 cm. She asked if I wanted an epidural and since I still felt like I had good energy and the pain wasn't overwhelming, I said I wanted to wait. She came back in a few minutes later though and told me that the anesthesiologist was going into a C-section and that if I didn't get one now it might be quite awhile.
What I think she knew was that the baby was coming pretty quickly. I don't know how she knew, but she knew! I hesitantly agreed to the epidural and got a little emotional; I was afraid the epidural would slow things down and that if I ended up needing a C-section it would be all my fault because I got an epidural too early.
By 7 the epidural was in and I was pretty relaxed, although I was surprised that I was still feeling quite a bit and had total control of my legs. (That was NOT the case with Sweet Pea; I felt nothing but some pressure after my epidural with her.) At 7:15 I was relaxed enough to update my Facebook (hah!) that we were at the hospital, but by 7:30 I was pretty uncomfortable and feeling a lot of pressure. The nurse checked again and I was probably around 6 cm.
The next half-hour wasn't too pleasant, but I wasn't nauseated and so thankful for that that I didn't even care. The pressure was intense by 8 and my body was pushing on its own, so the nurse checked again and I was 9.5 cm! I was in total shock. She started getting everything set for me to push and called the doctor and I couldn't believe it was actually happening. Finally, finally, finally, the moment to meet the baby was coming.
At my first push I impressed both the doctor and the nurse. I was not playing around; I wanted this baby OUT and out FAST. I pushed through 2.5 contractions and he was born in less than 5 minutes. They placed him on my heart and I was so completely overwhelmed with love and relief and happiness and was so glad that they left him close to me and didn't need to whisk him away for anything. I got to hold him right on my skin and marvel at him while they checked him over and took care of me.
That brand-new mother moment is the greatest high in the entire world. It's like nothing else in the world exists but your new sweet baby. I felt so proud and so glad to get to share it again with my husband, the best birth coach in the world, and my mom, the best birth support ever. I needed them both.
Everything went so perfectly. It's amazing how you spend so many months feeling anxious over all the what-ifs of birth, and how you have no control over how any of it will go. I couldn't have imagined the first part and it makes for a pretty funny story, and the second part went so smoothly that I couldn't have asked for more.
It goes in the record book as another of the most precious days of my life. Welcome, Wilder!