Around 1 o'clock Sunday afternoon the contractions started coming in a more consistent pattern (every 6-4 minutes) and were getting longer (lasting anywhere from 45 seconds to a minute and a half). Looking back I realize that they weren't getting stronger yet, I was just getting tired and I wasn't dealing with the pain as well. We decided to go walk a few laps around the neighborhood to see if we could get things moving along and just that bit of walking definitely helped. When we got home I called Labor and Delivery to see if they thought it was time we start thinking about heading that way. They suggested that we come in and get things checked out so off we went! The monitors showed that I was having contractions but they weren't coming at regular enough intervals and I wasn't dilated enough to need to be admitted. Mildly disappointed but not surprised we headed over to my mom's for dinner. We had quite a few good laughs about what I call 'my obligatory first time mom false alarm'. More than once I mentioned how much I hoped my water would break so I wouldn't have to worry about heading into the hospital just to get sent home again. At least if your water breaks you know something is about to happen! Well, it turns out I got exactly what I asked for!
Around 7:30pm I looked at Matt and said 'we need to go home now'. We had been laughing about something and I thought 'oh no, not only did I just take us into the hospital for a false alarm but now I'm peeing my pants when I laugh'. A bit embarrassed, I didn't share this with anyone but just said I was getting tired and wanted to head home. On the ride home I had a contraction that was much much stronger than any I had felt up to the point- strong enough that I made Matt pull over and stop the car. This had me secretly hoping that something was starting. Well, by the time we got home it was very obvious that this was not just another embarassing pregnant moment. I told Matt I thought my water had broken but of course neither of us wanted to jump the gun and head back to the hospital if this wasn't the case. I walked around for a few minutes and once I was absolutely certain that something was going on I called L&D again and they said to come back in.
I don't think I've ever been quite so excited and relieved as when the nurse said that my water had definitely broken and she was going to get our admitting papers started. WOOHOO, we were here to stay!!!! Matt called my mom and she headed over and a short time later my sister Caroline arrived. Thankfully, the contractions picked up in intensity and established a regular pattern on their own and I didn't need any Pitocin to help things move along. There was about a thirty minute stretch where the time between contractions lengthened and then BOOM, three incredibly intense contractions came one right after another. This was my breaking point- it was time for some drugs! I decided to get a dose of Fentinol (sp?) which doesn't stop the pain but helps take the edge off. The first dose typically lasts about 45 minutes so I decided to get the first dose and once I felt the need for a second dose to call the anesthesiologist and have him head in and get ready for the epidural. Since it was late Sunday night the anesthesiologist wasn't in house and had to be called in so they told me to plan to have to wait about 30 minutes for him to get there. So, I worked through the first dose, got the second and then called for the epidural.
Once the epidural was in it quickly became obvious that it was only working on my right side- I still felt every little bit of the contractions on my left side. They had me lay on my left side to see if that would help the medicine naturally work down into my left side. Eventually it did but I was still left with that they call a 'window' on my left side where the epidural didn't take effect. A few hours later that also went away and the pain was much, much better.
I got the epidural around 1am and I was dilated to about 5cm and by 5am she said I was 10cm and fully effaced but the baby hadn't yet completely dropped- it was time to call the Dr.! At 6am Dr. Keith called the nurse and told her to have me start doing some practice pushes and he would be there around 6:30. At that point she checked me again and said 'no practice pushes for you, I don't feel like delivering a baby this morning!'. When Dr. Keith got their at 6:30 he was surprised to see that the baby was crowning so hurried off to change into his scrubs and while the nurses quickly got the room and bed ready for delivery apparently all I could think of to ask the nurse was if the baby had hair! At this point she could easily assure me that yes, our baby had a lot of hair! Once everyone and everything was ready, all it took was two and a half contractions to get Grayson out. Later that day the nurse told me that on average, first time moms push for around two and half hours- boy did I get lucky!!!
The three of us just got home this afternoon and have settled in nicely. We are all sleeping and resting much better than we did in the hospital. While our experience was absolutely great, there really is no place like home! The dogs and Grayson are getting along very well and Tate seems to have taken it upon himself to monitor every little sound that comes from Grayson.
Below I've posted some more pictures of our time with our little man so far.
He's started grabbing onto his ear when he sucks his thumb.
Getting ready to go home!
Tate just jumped up and curled around Grayson. I think Tate's in love too!