I'm much too excited to sleep right now. So I am going to give all the details about Fletcher's birth now, otherwise it could be weeks before I have the time.
I had been having contractions all last week, intermittently throughout the day. So when I woke up with a few on Saturday, I didn't think it was a big deal. Atom complained about my long razor-sharp toenails and told me to "get thee to a pedicure!" Happily I obliged and had all my claws grinded to reasonable lengths and painted a lovely shade of green. When I got home, I put my pretty little feet up and started reading. Just as I started to relax, I started feeling contractions regularly and these were a bit more intense than any I had before. So around 5 o'clock I had Atom start timing my contractions.
After an hour and a half of contractions that were five minutes apart, we decided to call the doc and see what he wanted us to do. He told us to come on down to the hospital and find out if we're in labor. So we packed up the Xterra and headed over to Fair Oaks Hospital. We left everything in the car to bring up later when I would be put in a labor and delivery room. Well, I never made it there. They examined me when I first arrived and I was still at 1 centimeter! They had me walk around the maternity ward for over an hour to see if we could get things moving. So at 9 o'clock they checked again, and I was still at 1 centimeter. The doc told me not to be discouraged and that I'd still probably have a baby within 24 hours, but I should go home and get some rest. They even gave me two Ambien to help me sleep. I was seeing double and slurring my speech half-way home, but managed to eat some dinner and then tried a warm bath. The warm bath wasn't helping and I figured I'd just try to sleep. I think I was sleeping in between contractions, but by 3 am they were too strong to sleep through. So back to the hospital we went.
We were put back in the triage room and they checked my progress. I was STILL at 1 centimeter. Dr Hodges decided that they were going to admit me and give me something to take the edge off and give me a few hours. Whatever they gave me helped me relax and I got some really great rest. Unfortunately, my contractions slowed down. So at 6 am, they decided to go ahead and break my water and just go for it. Well that got my contractions moving again and holy mackerel they were intense. I got my epidural soon after and then I was sitting pretty and pain free. I was really nervous about having a needle put into my spine, but let me tell you it was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. It didn't hurt at all! Once the epidural kicked in, they hit me up with some Pitocin to get my cervix a-movin'. The doc came back a few hours later and I was finally progressed to 4 centimeters. He said I would probably dilate at the rate of one centimeter per hour and that was just about right. At 5 o'clock I was at 9 centimeters and opening more with each contraction. So we decided it was time to push this baby out!
After some brief explaining of how to push, the nurse told us to expect to push for one to two hours as a first time mom. Apparently I took this as a challenge to break some records! After 20 minutes of pushing, baby was already crowning! It only took me a total of about 40 minutes to push baby out. I felt like a super star. It was absolutely painless and I had minimal tearing (only one little suture - whew). So at 5:44 pm, Fletcher made his way into our life.
Giving birth was an amazing and empowering experience. I had no idea what to expect from this experience, but I can honestly say that I would do it all over again. It was so easy, it must be nature's way of tricking me into having another. Fletcher is truly a blessing in our life and we can't wait to share our blessing with all of you.