I went into labor at home midnight. I ended up in the shower. I left the shower door and the bathroom door open, so I could yell and wake my husband. The part where I was alone in the shower, wriggling my hips, inside my own head, not timing anything or worrying about anything was by far the best, easiest part. I can totally understand why my mom wanted to (and did) have her kids at home.
Eventually, I realized my contractions were probably really kind of close together. I don't remember by now if I woke my husband or if he woke up. Shortly after he got out of bed, the smoke detector went off -- from the steam.
He timed some contractions, called the hospital, we got dressed and were on our way.
I made it to 7 1/2 centimeters before arriving at the hospital at 4:30 am. And then things slowed down. I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want to talk. I kind of shut down a bit, I think. Sometime before seven, I got the laughing gas and that really helped.
Eventually, I requested that my water be broken, "time to get this show on the road". I was still like 95% fine at this point. It wasn't the best thing that had ever happened, but I was able to make jokes. I was really very acutely aware of the people in the room -- my husband staring at me, the nurses, etc.
I started pushing around 11, and it was AWFUL. I was expecting to feel both progress and pain. Instead it felt wrong. Dangerous. We had seen on an ultrasound nearly three weeks earlier that they were estimating (then) a ten pound baby. I hadn't believed it at the time, but now I did. I'm pretty sure this is when I started insisting it wasn't going to happen and I would need a c-section.
I was ready to give up and got an epidural by one, then took a two hour break, then pushed until probably 6. I got far enough with the pushing to be told her hair color and to be asked later by one of the residents if I had needed a stitch.
Then the dominate theory is the baby kicked me just so. I felt like I couldn't breathe (I was yawning and gasping but my oxygen level was normal), there was a pressure in my chest, my heart rate went into the 180s, and I had a hard spot at the top of my abdomen. Chest x-ray, EKG, ultrasound, etc.
The pain and spot of concern was too high up for the epidural, so then I got general anesthesia and she was born at 6:30 pm. I woke up around 8:30. Nothing was broken or punctured or ruptured, so that is why we think it was a foot hitting something just so.
Basically, I had the baby every way you can have one.
Ten pounds, nine ounces. Twenty-one and a quarter inches long. Born looking like she was a month old, but also just exactly right.
I ended up needing three units of blood after all of that. Then I developed a post-partum infection and got readmitted and then after all of that I also had a minor hemorrhage when she was three weeks old.
For all my complications, I felt so much better than I had any right to.
That is to say nothing of how hard we ALL had to work to make breastfeeding happen.