False alarm after irritating false alarm left me highly skeptical when some mild contractions started up just before midnight on Wednesday. Ignore them, I said to myself. Nothing to get excited about. I tried to go back to sleep but they were just uncomfortable enough to keep me grudgingly awake.
At 1 a.m., one came on that was actually painful. In a fit of optimism, I woke up Jeff and told him it was probably nothing and to go back to sleep, but maybe, just maybe, this was the start of labor. He popped up and started packing toothbrushes while I sat and hoped for more pain. About an hour and a half later, contractions got going in earnest and I got my wish: painpainpainpainpain
. Called the doctor, woke up Jeff's parents (who have been staying with us, patiently awaiting the big day, for almost a month), kissed the kids goodbye in their sleep and headed for the hospital.
During the twenty-minute car ride, contractions went from 8 minutes to 3 minutes apart, and from yeeowch
. Got triaged (which took a ridiculously long time given the circumstances--why do they make women in obvious labor--not to mention agony--go through this process?), got to the L&D room and waited with growing impatience as a novice nurse tried to get an IV started. A blown valve, a call for assistance and another six or eight miserable contractions later, a new nurse managed to hit a vein. (At this point, I was enjoying "camelback" contractions, if I remember the nurse's description correctly: sets of two, no break between, followed by a brief downtime and then another set of two. This seemed somehow unfair.)
Finally, an order for drugs was placed, and within a few contractions, the fentanyl was taking much of the edge off. The anesthesiologist was called, and when he arrived the only hitch was timing the epidural placement between the contractions, which were coming so fast and furious that he finally opted to start as one was tailing off and continue come hell or high water. Fortunately, he was quite expert and I received a most outstanding epidural: within two contractions, nearly all pain was gone, but I could feel pressure just fine and could even have walked if necessary.
The nurse told me to get some rest and left the room for a moment, at which point my water broke with a rather spectacular popping sound. She returned a moment later, checked and, somewhat to her surprise, found me complete. (For the record, I was not surprised, as I had been telling her for some time that I felt like this was going really fast.) OB was paged--coincidentally enough, my very own OB happened to be the one on call. One minor episiotomy and four pushes later, our little boy was born.
8 lbs 3 oz