How it started: On the 18th, I started having contractions at 4 a.m. My husband was getting ready for work, and they just kept coming. They weren’t really all that painful, but they were close together. Really close. At 7, I finally called my doctor’s exchange, and she suspected false labor. By 8 a.m. they had slowed and almost stopped, but for 4 hours, they were about 2 or 3 minutes apart. Throughout the day, I had a few more, but heeded my doctor, just hanging out and seeing what happened. Since I had just been to her office the day before (and even though I didn’t see her, the nurse said I was only at 1 or 2 and no further along) I was content to wait until my next appointment to see what was happening.
Then it happened. At 9 p.m. I had this horrible popping sound/feeling — where I didn’t have any joints. I guess the look on my face said it all, my husband had to help me out of the chair, and I figured maybe my mucous plug had gone, given the greenness of the toilet tissue (sorry). Anyway, as soon as I stood up, I had to sit back down, sure enough, my water had actually broken. The contractions started almost immediately and went from 5 minutes apart down to 3 minutes apart in a big hurry. They hurt. A lot. I thanked the Lord that my daughter was already in bed. We called the doctor’s office. By 10 p.m. we were trying to make a decision as to what to do about our daughter, and shortly after 11, we had someone at our house to just make sure she was alright, and let her sleep. I was in the car, and I was in pain. In the meantime, I had gotten my husband to pack the car while I showered. It helped the contractions for a few minutes while he was busy. The 40 or so mile drive to the hospital went fairly quickly, mostly with my eyes slammed shut and rambling for the radio to be turned to something playing music, and not talk. My husband drove as fast as was probably safe, and luckily, we never got pulled over. I think it would have been pretty obvious what was happening had we actually been pulled over, the contractions were that close together.
At this point, I was still hoping for a VBAC. I told my husband that if I wasn’t any further along than say a 4, I was taking the drugs. Even though I wanted a natural birth, I knew something was wrong with this picture. You don’t just go into labor and WHAM the contractions are 3 minutes apart. I was right. By the time we were in the car, they were 2 minutes apart (top to bottom) and lasting a minute fifteen, so I had approximately 45 seconds to catch my breath each time before another one would hit. We got to the hospital and by 11:40 the nurse was there and had me measured at a 6 and the baby at a -2 station. Not good. They suspected I was mildly dehydrated and thought they’d get an IV in–I didn’t want that, but they said they could probably slow the contractions down if they got it in quickly enough. Sounded good to me.
They tried getting the IV in. Repeatedly. I never got a picture, but my hand has finally faded with the bruising. They tried for over an hour and blew the vein over and over trying to get it in. Something about collapsing. All I know is that those 45 seconds seemed awfully close together. They were getting harder to manage. I asked about pain relief. I only had 2 options. I asked for the first one, that would take the edge off. For whatever reason, the nurse didn’t go ahead and just put the order in and do it, and just a few minutes later, I was beyond dealing with the pain. I’d been in labor or awake for almost 24 hours, I was tired, and my husband gave me that look. Even though I didn’t really want to have the epidural, I knew that the screaming was reaching the hallway. I hated myself for losing control, but it was obvious my body was having none of it. At 2:30 the epidural was in, and they measured me at 7/8 and 100% effaced, but baby still at -2. I may have made progress, but the baby wasn’t moving. Five hours of contractions every 2 minutes and no baby movement was not a good sign. At 4 a.m. the baby was at 0 station and at 5:30 at +1 — I really felt like I needed to push but the nurse said it was too early so I labored down. By 6:30 a.m. I knew my doctor was on call and they had me pushing.