At 6:30 am on May 12, 2012, in complete denial that I could be pregnant even though at this point my cycle was 4 days late, I took a home pregnancy test. I didn't even have to wait any length of time, it was an instant positive. Once I saw the positive result, I started to shake really bad and was flooded with so many emotions, I just couldn't believe it. We were so excited and so happy to be expecting our first child.
The first trimester was difficult, I had really bad morning sickness, horrible headaches and in general just felt awful. I was couch bound until I was about 12 weeks and then at 13 weeks we had a threatened miscarriage scare. Which was hands down the scariest day of my life.
The second trimester was absolutely wonderful. I still had headaches off and on and started having heartburn/acid reflux but I felt so good compared to the first 13 weeks. At our 19 week ultrasound we found out we were having a little girl and more importantly found out our little one was perfect in every way.
The third trimester was wonderful as well even with the constant heartburn/acid reflux. Around 31 weeks I developed PUPPP, which was hell but it thankfully only lasted 2 weeks. The rest of the pregnancy was not bad at all. I had a lot of hip and pelvis discomfort but I was still sleeping well and still felt surprisingly great right up to labor starting. I never felt huge or really uncomfortable, even at the very end of pregnancy.
We had what would be our last prenatal appointment on January 14th at 38 weeks 1 day. They decided to check me and found out I was 1 cm dilated and 75% effaced. They had checked me two weeks prior during my Strep B test and there was no cervical change, so to me this was exciting news even if they kept telling me it could mean nothing and to not get excited.
Then 6 days later, at 3:15 am on January 20th, after only three hours of sleep, I woke up feeling a strange sensation that started in my lower back and wrapped around my belly. The sensation wasn't painful at first, just mildly uncomfortable. I had been feeling really off for the past two days. I could not get enough sleep and napped off and on all day. Both my husband and I had a feeling that things were going to start happening. My husband even went as far as to let everyone at work know what to do on Friday if he wasn't there on Monday.
Right away I started to notice that the sensations seemed to be following a pattern and I started to time them. Right off the bat they were coming every 3 to 5 minutes and lasting anywhere from 30 seconds to 60 seconds with little variation. They were not painful at all, so I had trouble wrapping my mind around that this could be it and that what I was feeling were contractions. I just hung out in the baby nursery until I woke up my husband at 5:30 am, which is when things started to feel different, still not super painful but definitely more uncomfortable.
We took our time getting ready to head to the hospital. We both got showers, got ready and finished packing the hospital bag. During this time, things were getting a lot more intense. I had to start swaying through them and it was at this point that I really considered them to feel painful. Around 7:30 am I called our doctors office and they told me to go ahead and head into the hospital to get checked out.
At around 9:00 am I got checked for the first time and I was 80% effaced but only 2 centimeters dilated. At this point they were unsure if I was in false labor or early labor, so we decided to stay for a while so I could be monitored. At this point I was already having pretty intense back labor and my contractions were still somewhat regular. At around 1:30 pm I got checked again and found out there had been no cervical change. They gave us the option to either stay and continue to be monitored or we could go home. Once again we decided to stay for at least few more hours and we started walking around a lot to try and get thing moving along. Walking at this point felt the best. It was absolutely awful having to lay in the bed through even the early back labor when things were a lot more manageable than they were later on. Unfortunately, when they checked me again around 4:00 pm there still had been no change, despite the fact that I was still having intense back labor and was having trouble talking through the contractions at this point.
We decided to just go home and labor in our own surroundings. I was running on 3 hours of sleep and hadn't eaten since dinner the day before. So, I was already exhausted and now starving. They wouldn't let me eat anything while I was being monitored just in case things progressed into active labor and I could be admitted. But, they told me to go ahead and eat something light once I got home. So, we stopped at the store on our way home and Jack got me apple juice and Jello, the only two things that sounded even remotely good.
Before we left they gave me an Ambien so I could try and get some rest between the contractions so if this was the real deal, I would have energy later on. I don't remember sleeping much but I felt really out of it from the Ambien, which at least made the contractions somewhat easier to deal with.
The entire period of time between 4:30 pm when we got home on January 20th and 6:00 am on January 21st, is honestly a complete blur. Not long after I got home, I got in the tub to see if that would help but I couldn't get comfortable and felt trapped which made it a lot more difficult to deal with the contractions. Around 6:00 pm our friends and their kids stopped over with a back massager to see if that would help with the back labor. My friend massaged my back through a few contractions while her adorable daughter rubbed my arm and hair. It was such a sweet gesture and I'm glad I remember them being there, even if it's a really blurry memory. They left after a short while so I could try and get more rest.
For the next 11 or so hours, I was in torturous pain that was eased by nothing. I was in a really strange state of consciousness where I would fall 'asleep' for the 3 to 5 minutes between contractions, feel the contraction coming on and have to immediately get up and lean against the wall while Jack rubbed my back. At one point he fell asleep on the couch, which was good because I needed one of us to be somewhat rested and I basically wondered around the entire house contracting and resting when I could. I tried every single position I could think of and absolutely nothing helped. It was absolutely horrible. I felt trapped in a body that I was sure still wasn't progressing even though at this point I was having to be very vocal to get through the contractions.
By the time I decided I had to go back to hospital and called my doctor, I had not had any real rest in 27 hours and had only eaten a tiny bit of Jello. At that point I was really struggling to talk because of the intensity of the pain and when I called my doctor, they told us to go back in. We got to the hospital roughly around 6:00 am and I got checked shortly after and I was 4 centimeters! I remember feeling so relieved that all that pain had a purpose and we were finally considered to be in active labor.
So, I got admitted and probably about an hour later I asked for something to relieve some of the pain. They gave me a shot of something and it honestly did absolutely nothing but make me feel completely out of it. About an hour later I started to feel really defeated. I had already been in labor for 28 hours, with no relief, very little rest and no food and so I caved and asked for the epidural which I didn't get until two hours later.
During my wait for the epidural, things continued to get more and more intense. I hit that wall of feeling like I couldn't possibly go on anymore every time a contraction hit. I remember saying I couldn't do it anymore over and over again every time I felt a contraction building. I got my epidural at 9:11 am, it was such a relief but I could still feel the contractions down my right hip and butt cheek. They ended up checking me shortly after I got the epidural and I found out I was 9 centimeters.
I was so irritated because once they told me that, I knew that right before I got it I was going through transition and I totally could have handled the rest of labor and delivery without it. Which I might as well have because it only worked for 4 hours, but my body definitely appreciated the short break.
At 2:00 pm I started to feel a lot more pressure and the urge to push. They checked me and I had a slight lip of my cervix left, so I couldn't push yet which was the worst feeling in the world. They also decided at this point to give me a little bit of Pitocin because the epidural had thrown my contractions out of rhythm. Let me just say that Pitocin is awful and I knew from the very beginning I wanted to avoid it.
I labored for another hour all the while having an intense urge to push that I had to keep blowing away. It is such an intense feeling to go against your body's instincts to push. Finally, at 3:13 pm they checked me and the lip was gone and I was allowed to push. The first contraction I pushed on the doctor told me I was a great pusher which gave me a lot of confidence but at that point, I felt so determined to just get her out of me because I was so exhausted and so ready to meet her.
I pushed for exactly an hour and one minute and on January 21st at 4:14 pm Tegan Lili entered the world. Her actual delivery was the most amazing experience of my life. It was extremely painful but also extremely empowering. I can't even explain the intensity of love I felt as her head delivered and then with the next contraction, the rest of her tiny body. In that moment I loved her so fiercely and I couldn't wait to see her, touch her, smell her and tell her how much I adored her. Unfortunately, our little peanut had meconium in her fluid (my water never actually broke or at least when it did, she was already engaged in my pelvis and she stopped it from coming out) when she was born so they whisked her away to get her all suctioned out and cleaned up so I didn't get to actually hold her for about an hour. It was so hard to not be able to have her right away, I wanted her so bad but I was really just relieved that she was okay.
Despite being in labor for 36 hours and ultimately pushing for 1 hour, she did amazing the entire time. Her heart rate never dropped and she was never in any sort of distress. The only thing that I would have changed was not the length of labor but getting the epidural. I planned and prepared myself for a natural, medication free birth and I wish they would have checked me before giving me the epidural so I wouldn't have gotten it. I was so convinced that I wasn't progressing because of the 27 hours of labor it took to progress 2 centimeters, that I gave up and got it. I should have listened to my husband, who was absolutely my rock throughout the entire experience, when he kept telling me he thought I could do it.
I still feel satisfied with our birth experience and am really just so happy that Tegan is healthy and perfect in every way. I love her more than words could ever say, she is the absolute best thing I have ever done and I feel so honored to be her mama.