I emailed this to many of you, but thought there might be more that would want to read about Jackson's birth. It's quite long, so if you're not interested, that's fine! Hope you enjoy! :)
I had a doctor's appointment on Monday morning, the 22nd (two days after my due date). They did a non-stress test, ultrasound, and got seen by the doc (the extra tests since I was just past my due date). The tests looked good, and they estimated him to weigh 8lbs 6oz by the ultrasound (boy were they WRONG!!). When the doctor saw me, she asked to strip my membranes, and I said ok. OUCH! Almost right away I started cramping, which is natural when they do that. I was quite crampy all day, and when I woke up from a short nap around 3p.m. they were coming and going. I didn't really have time to time them, though, while taking care of Kathryn, so I just tried to relax thru them. Johnny wanted tacos for dinner that night, but I was pretty sure I'd be in full-force labor soon and didn't want that to be my last meal before that (yuck!), so we opted for Chick-Fil-A with the Whiteds instead! :) I was definitely having contractions then, but again couldn't really time them being out and all. We got home and got Kathryn to bed, and I just had to breathe thru the contractions when they came. I could tell they were regular, so after we got her down, we went downstairs to watch a movie and lay down and time them. From 8:30-9:30 they were 5 mins apart and lasting about a minute each. However, whenever I got up and moved around, they'd get much closer together. I was pretty sure that it was gonna happen that night. We started making phone calls and putting the troops on alert. I then went upstairs and got in the tub to relax a little bit and get some relief (i could no longer talk thru the contractions). Then we laid down in bed for about 45 minutes to try to get some rest. Although it was restful, I definitely couldn't go to sleep, and when we realized they were coming about every 3 minutes, we decided to go ahead and call Johnny's aunt and head for the hospital. I didn't want to wait too late and have a miserable ride there, but also didn't want to get there and still have a long ways to go in labor. KK got to our house at about 11:00 Monday night, and we went into the hospital.
I was 5 cm when they admitted me, which was Johnny's guess when we wagered on the way to the hospital. Not quite as far as I had hoped, but we were still pleased. Our doula met us in triage, and stayed with us through the night. They admitted us and up we went to labor. They said I could get an epidural at any time since I was far enough along. I was really unsure of what to do, since I knew we'd be missing a night's sleep being in labor through the night and into the early morning. Even though our goal was to try to go without pain meds, I seriously contemplated going ahead and getting it, just so that I knew I could sleep for a while, and then wake up further into labor. I was scared of being so tired by the end that I wouldn't be able to do it any longer, and didn't want to get so far without one and then get it at the end. It was a goal of ours to try to go natural for as long as possible, but we still held out for being able to get one if that's what we thought was best. I kept debating about it, but my doula was great in encouraging me to not try to plan ahead (what, me not plan?!?) and to take the contractions one at a time. She said you can't think about what it will be like in the future, just focus on what's right now (a great life lesson in general, I'm realizing!). Anyway, for the most part, with lots of help from Johnny and Erin (the doula), I was able to handle the contractions through breathing and various positions. Occasionally I'd let one get ahead of me, and they'd remind me that that one was over, and to stay on top of the next one. I was even able to rest occasionally between them...it was getting so late, and I was so tired! I didn't change positions much, because whenever I moved, I would almost always have a really strong contraction, and usually several right on top of each other. Finally, I was about at the end of my rope. I asked to be checked, because I just had to know how far along I was. I was about ready to ask for the epidural, because I was DONE. They checked and I was 8-9 cm! That was both encouraging (because I was close to the end) and discouraging, because I just wanted it to be OVER!! I knew it was almost done, but of course you have no guarantee how much longer it'd be. The doctor went ahead and broke my water at that point as well. The pain started getting really intense at that point, because he was descending (and posterior, we later found out!). This is when the pain was almost overwhelming. I flipped over on my hands and knees draped over the bed to help him get lower and one of the nurses massaged my back while Johnny and Erin talked me thru each contraction. After a while of this, I got back on the bed, pretty much sitting up like in a recliner. I was starting to get freaked out by now, but pretty much knew it was too late for any kind of pain relief. I had gotten this far, and knew it was only a matter of time. But there were definitely moments when I told them (many times!) that they just needed to get the baby out NOW. I never cussed out loud, but in my head was a different story! :)
Finally, I started bearing down some just to help him get lower. I felt the urge, and they said to go with it to help his descent. After about 15 minutes of that, I felt lots of pressure, and told them I was ready to push. I was almost mad at this point because I just wanted him OUT and to be DONE with this! The pain was more than I ever thought possible! I was proud of myself for making it that far, but also felt weak because I couldn't handle it, in a way. Of course, I did handle it by doing it, but I didn't want to be in that position once I was there! Finally around 4a.m. I started pushing for real. It felt totally different than it did with Kathryn, in that I could really feel the progress of the pushing. Once I got his head out, I couldn't stop and the rest of his body came out pretty much immediately. I think usually you're supposed to stop once the head is out, but I just couldn't! They put him right up on me as soon as he came out...he was perfect! We loved him right away!!! Johnny was able to cut the cord (way to go!). When I heard them say something about 9 I was shocked. "He's 9 pounds?!?" I asked. Yup! I couldn't believe it. He didn't look that big to me at first, but I think part of the reason why is because he was so long too (22inches). It was so sweet to watch him across the room...Johnny was right there with him while they cleaned him up, and he was so quiet just looking at his daddy. I have to admit I was a bit jealous of the time they were getting, while I was getting worked on and in pain! But it was such a neat thing to watch. When they finished me up, they brought him back to me, and I was able to breastfeed. He then nursed on and off for the next hour and a half! It was so nice to have some sweet, quiet time in the room with him as a family while waiting to go up to our room. We got to our room around 6:45 and let them take him to the nursery for a real bath while we slept for a very short time (we had been up for over 24 hours by this point!).