(The last picture I took of my baby bump.)
On July 7th, I had a doctor's appointment to check my progress and there wasn't really any. He could feel her head and said everything looked good, but it didn't seem like she'd be coming anytime soon. He even went so far as to talk about setting up a day for me to get induced worst case scenario. I went home in a bit of a panic because I didn't want to get induced. I wanted my baby girl to come whenever she was ready. I didn't want to force anything. But I figured, my due date wasn't until the 11th so there was still time before I had to worry about getting labor rolling.
My hubby and I enjoyed that day together, our four year wedding anniversary, by just taking it easy and getting ice cream (because pregnant Megan during over 100 degree weather reeeeeally likes ice cream) and we agreed to go out to Cracker Barrel for dinner the next day.
On the 8th, I started to experience period like cramps, but I just assumed it was Braxton Hicks contractions and didn't take them too seriously. I remember telling Jake, during our dinner at Cracker Barrel, every time I felt a contraction. They were a little painful but not too bad. I was able to keep up conversations during dinner, and if I hadn't have told Jake they were happening, I doubt he would have even known.
So I went to bed that night, not thinking anything of the contraction pains. We had stayed up rather late visiting (and playing nintendo 64) and by the time we finally went to bed, I didn't feel tired so I spent another hour messing around on my phone. So I didn't go to sleep until 1am.
Well at three in the morning, my eyes shot open as I experienced a reeaally bad cramp. I once again didn't think anything of it because I would feel a similar pain every night, and it always just meant that my bladder was insanely full, and that I just needed to go to the bathroom. So I waddled to the bathroom and was shocked when I saw that I had lost my plug.
A quick google search said that didn't necessarily mean that labor would happen anytime soon (which was a relief) so I climbed back in bed only to experience that intense pain again less than ten minutes later. I started keeping a log in my phone of every time the pain struck and how bad it felt when it hit because I wanted to convince myself these somehow weren't labor pains.
Here's a transcription of what I wrote:
3:13am - passed plug, cramping feels like a constant dull ache
3:21am - really rough cramp wanted to cry
3:28am - want to cry
3:33 - oh man these are only going to get worse??
3:38am - definite cramping but not as bad as the last two
3:40am - okay maybe last one wasn't a contraction because this definitely hurt. Feel like baby is trying to rip through lower abdomen
3:44am - can barely even think
3:48am - ouch this hurts too bad gonna take a shower to try to calm down
(Took a long shower to distract myself. Had maybe 5 - 8 contractions during.)
4:21am - feeling pretty good right now. Cramping has finally let up. Feel like I can relax. Hopefully I can sleep.
4:30am - cramping. Definitely hurt but I didn't have to get out of bed and walk around with this one. Feeling okay again. Glad the constant pain is calming down. I was going insane.
4:36am - oh man this hurts so bad...don't know what to do
4:44am - I hope it doesn't get much more painful than this. Don't know if I could take it.
4:48am - this suck so bad
4:54am - :(
Yeah after the frowny face I knew I couldn't deny it anymore. These weren't Braxton Hicks contractions. These were the real thing. I woke up my husband in tears because I hurt so bad and honestly I was so scared to deliver a baby.
I kept procrastinating going to the hospital. I mean, I suffered in pain alone for two hours before letting my husband know what's going on because I knew the second I told him, he'd force us to go to the hospital (rightfully so).
So nearly an hour after waking Jake, I finally had my hospital bag completely packed, and I was ready to go to the hospital.
But I was so nervous.
And I was so sure they were going to send us home. I kept thinking, "This can't already be it could it?"
We walked in the hospital and a sweet nurse checked to see if I was dilated.
I was at a one. This is when I was more sure than ever that they were going to send us home, tell us we came too early. And honestly, I was looking forward to more time with my husband, in the comfort of our home, cuddling and enjoying that last chapter of our lives just a tiny bit longer. The nurse said to wait an hour and they'd check me again to see if I had progressed.
An hour later, I was at a two and this was enough for them to let me stay. I got moved into another room, and I had the world's sweetest nurses come in to take care of me.
I'm not good with needles and the idea of getting an epidural freaked me out so I wanted to try to have a natural birth. So these two amazing nurses held my hand and talked me through each contraction, helping me to focus on my breathing to get through the pain because holy goodness, contractions are pretty unbearable.
I did really well at first, I could breathe through each contraction, knowing when it had peaked and was going to subside. I kept reminding myself over and over that the pain would only last for that day, that I was strong, and I could get through it. The nurses were angels and would tickle my arm or play with my hair to distract me from the pain. They were so kind and loving toward a complete stranger on such a scary and vulnerable day, and I could never thank them enough for their kindness and support.
I was so proud of myself and rode the waves of pain for over six hours (eight if you include the two hours I endured at home), but when afternoon came and they checked to see how far I was dilated and I was only at a four...
I completely lost it.
My contractions were intense. I'm not sure what's normal but mine were two minutes long and coming every four minutes meaning that I was only getting little two minute windows of relief in between.
I couldn't take it anymore. I had been strong for as long as I could, and I just had this feeling in my gut that I was doing more harm than good by trying to fight getting an epidural. I was in so much pain that my body couldn't relax to do what it needed to do to get the baby here.
I broke down in tears and begged for an epidural. Those nurses were such angels and passed zero judgement, instantly supporting my decision and got a doctor in to give me the shot.
I was so worried at this point that I wouldn't be able to get an epidural, or that if I did I would get hurt, because my contractions were so intense and so frequent but everything went unbelievably smoothly and the difference was almost instant.
Suddenly I felt so calm and relaxed. It felt like a whole new experience. I was smiling and joking around and suddenly alert. (Before I kept my eyes closed most the time because I knew another bout of pain was just around the corner).
Time was flying by and before I knew it, an hour had passed and the nurses needed to roll me over on to my other side. Jake took this opportunity to go grab our hospital bags because we hadn't even brought our camera into the hospital yet. I laid there, feeling so peaceful, excited that I felt calm enough to take a nap because mind you, I was going off of two hours of sleep at this point. Right as I started to doze, the nurses popped back into the room and said they just wanted to check me to see how far I had progressed.
I about died when they told me I was at a ten.
Already?? But I was just at a four a little over an hour ago?
I guess I was right in thinking that I needed an epidural to help get the ball rolling.
It all happened so fast.
Next thing I knew, there were tons more nurses in the room and they put my legs in the air, talking me through the breathing steps I needed to do for each push to help the baby get out of me.
Jake still wasn't back yet by this point.
Turns out he had grabbed our bags and was visiting with our family in the waiting room, letting them know how I was doing, thinking there was no need to rush because I was only at a four.
He was probably so shocked when he walked in the room to see a room full of nurses and me in the pushing position.
He instantly came to my side and it was go time.
I forgot to tell you the best part! Sometime after the epidural we started playing music from my phone. So while I was pushing, all my favorite songs kept coming on. I can't even fully describe why this was such a neat experience for me but it totally made my day. Plus all the nurses and even my doctor kept commenting on how much they loved my music and were shocked by my playlist. Guess they aren't used to a 26 year old who has Neil Diamond, Dean Martin, and the Andrew Sisters as her artists of choice ha ha that music seriously made me so happy though.
Pushing was an absolute breeze. Maybe the nurses are all sweethearts and say this to everyone but they kept commenting on how amazed they were with how well I could push. They kept saying how I was a pro at having babies, how I'd had such a short labor and how the pushing seemed effortless.
I don't know how long it took to push her out, but I somehow lucked out and my epidural took away all the pain yet I could feel exactly when I needed to push even before the nurses said anything, and I could feel her moving out of me.
Right as Neil Diamond was singing one of my favorites, Sweet Caroline, I met eyes with my sweet Madison Jane.
My first thought was, "Holy goodness this baby looks exactly like me," and my second thought was how blessed I was because she looked absolutely beautiful, healthy, and perfect.
I wanted to hold her right away, and I got to for a few moments before a nurse swept her up to go get her clean and weighed and whatnot.
Then sadly there was a slight confusion as to whether or not I could hold her while my doctor stitched me back up after a bad tear (which took over 40 minutes oy vey) so she got lots of snuggles from her daddy while I got to just stare at my beautiful little family.
Jake was instantly so in love and it was the sweetest thing I had ever seen in my life, to see the look on his face while he held her. I had never witnessed anything so beautiful and touching. I sure married a good one I tell ya what.
The rest of the day was a complete blur of showing her off to family and dealing with the recovery room. (That part of my birth experience wasn't as pleasant ha ha tiny cramped room, nurses all hours of the night with odd requests, way over 24 hours of no sleep, no tv or internet.) But my labor and delivery was one of the most beautiful moments of my life and something I never want to forget. I can't believe how smoothly and perfect everything went and how blessed I am to have this beautiful little baby.
I mean, is she not the most adorable thing you've ever seen??
I love this little one more than words can express, and I feel so lucky she chose me to be her mama.
A little view of the tiny cramped room we spent the night in. Madison was such an angel the whole night. She barely even made a peep.
We sure love you miss Madison Jane!