Anyway, after I finished my exercise I was absolutely and completely exhausted! I thought about throwing in the towel and just making my 2 year old watch movies on the couch with me for the rest of the day, but remember, it was my birthday and I didn't want to just sit around doing nothing. So instead we got showered and dressed and took ourselves to lunch at Corner Bakery.
By the time we finished lunch I was feeling even more exhausted than before and felt myself literally waddling to my car in the parking lot. But again, I ignored the feeling to go home and rest and took my daughter shopping at Old Navy. After a half hour or so of chasing her all over the store it was time to head home for her...or rather, our naps.
Still exhausted from my long walk that morning, I pushed through the rest of the afternoon until my husband got home from work and we enjoyed a nice quiet dinner together at Cheesecake Factory. Little did we know, it would be our last night out together, alone, for a long time!
After a long day of celebrating, we went to bed as usual. However, something woke me up a little after midnight. Contractions? Say what? At first I was a little unsure what was going on because 1) I was induced for my first delivery so I didn't actually know what it felt like to go into labor naturally and 2) I had just had a horrible stomach bug kick my trash a couple weeks earlier, sending my body into a wild wave of contractions only to end up with my face in the toilet for the next 2 days with the flu.
So here I was lying awake at midnight on a Saturday night looking at the clock and wondering if I should just try to ignore them and go to sleep, or if I should try and time them and see what we were dealing with. Well, after a big glass of water and some breathing techniques, they weren't going away. I text my mother to let her know what was going on and she told me to time them and call my doctor in the morning. Well, I spent the rest of the night wide awake timing the contractions that started at 18 minutes apart and worked their way to 12 minutes apart by the time my alarm for church went off at 7am.
Still kind of playing dumb, I decided to hold off calling my doctor and went about my morning. It was a special Sunday because my nephew, Gunnar, was going to be blessed at church that morning so even though I was feeling pretty rotten, I decided to go to church anyway. Boy was that a crazy sacrament meeting! I can remember grabbing my husband's thigh about every 8 minutes (I know, because I started timing them again after the sacrament was passed) and thinking to myself "Oh my gosh, I'm in labor in the chapel and my water is gonna break and it's gonna be everywhere and people are gonna stare at me, and I'm gonna look like an idiot and...!" I'm pretty sure my husband thought I was just being overly dramatic (because I usually am), because he didn't really seem too concerned at this point.
After the sacrament service was over we said hello to a few family and friends and then I told Matt it was time to get me home to call the doctor. As soon as I phoned in and shared what had been going on over the last few hours the doctor recommended I come in and "at least get checked out to see if I had progressed." At this point I was starting to have more intense contractions, the kind you can't walk or talk through and I think my husband finally caught on that this was really happening! Buuut, of course I kept trying to ignore them and tell myself it wasn't a big deal, so I went ahead and made the salad I had been asked to bring to the luncheon for Gunnar's Blessing after church. I know, I'm crazy!
Luckily we had Matt's cousin's over that Sunday so they were able to take the salad and Blair along with them to the luncheon at my in-laws while we drove across the street to Foothill Presbyterian Hospital. We arrived at the hospital at about 12:30pm and within a few minutes I was changed into a gown and a nurse was in to check me. "You're at a 5 already!" she said looking as surprised as I was. "Looks like you'll be staying to have a baby today." Say whaaaaat? My husband and I both looked at each other in shock and thought no way, how can that be? I'm already at a 5? Secretly I was thinking HOORAY! THANK GOODNESS! With my first birth I was induced and just getting to a 5 was torture! So to already be half-way there was amazing!
From there the nurses asked me what my birth plan was and I told them that honestly I didn't know at this point because I was 8 days early and had an ultrasound scheduled for the next morning to find out how big the baby was going to be. I explained that my first daughter was born with a broken shoulder and that the doctors were concerned that if this were to be a large baby, they would recommend a c-section to avoid any shoulder trauma from occurring again. I told the nurses that if it was possible, I would like a last minute ultrasound to determine the size of the baby. The contractions were coming too quickly thought and labor was progressing fast, so the nurses gave me a shot to stop my contractions (I didn't even know they could do that!) and we got the ultrasound done. Baby boy was measuring in at just under 8lbs. Thank goodness because all the ultrasounds before were telling me I was going to have a 10 pound baby.
From there the nurses contacted the doctor on call, who by the way happened to be one of the only doctors I had not yet met at the practice I had been going to throughout my pregnancy. But I tell you what, that turned out to be the biggest blessing of it all! Of the 3 doctors I had seen already, all 3 recommended I do a c-section. However, this doctor on call told me that he thought I could do this vaginally if that's what I wanted. And after much prayer and deliberation with my husband, that's what I wanted. So, now it was time to get these contractions started back up again!
According to my nurses I had two options to get things going again. I could have a pitocin drip or they could try stimulating my cervix with a pelvic exam. Because my birth plan was to go med-free with no epidural, I knew I didn't want pitocin. If you've had it, you know why. If you haven't, just trust me, the stuff is awful! So I went with the pelvic exam. After a few uncomfortable pokes and figure eights, I waited just 5 minutes before the contractions started coming again. Only this time they were back with a vengeance. Luckily, my parents had showed up by this time and my mom and my husband were able to coach me through the next hour and a half as I labored from a 6 to a 10.
Those few centimeters were absolute torture without an epidural, but I don't regret it one bit. Compare my hour and a half of hard labor with this baby to my first labor with my daughter which lasted for hours all through the night and the epidural only worked on half of my body because of my scoliosis. Now that was torture!!!
And let me mention that one of the biggest differences for me in this birth was that I was able to move around and labor in whatever position felt comfortable for me. I found that for the first little bit that kneeling down on my knees, bent over on my arms was a really great position to be in. And then as I moved closer to a 10 and the pain was absolutely unbearable I just wanted to lay on my back and shake my arms and hands in the air, almost as if I was shaking the pain out through my arms. Weird, I know, but that's how my body dealt with the pain.
Once I was at a 10 I was MORE than ready to push. It was just like everyone says, you feel like you need to go poop. Sorry, but you do! And it's awful! All you want at that point is to GET! THAT! BABY! OUT! Thank goodness my doctor, Dr. Alvarez-Mott, came walking through the door and said "Okay, let's push!" He was the most calm and collected doctor I'd ever met. And thank goodness because I was a hot mess, all screaming and yelling. But thankfully the pushing only lasted 30 minutes (another reason I am all about going natural-so you can actually feel what you're suppose to be doing with your muscles down there) and my AMAZING mother and husband were able to coach me through the whole thing. I remember squeezing their hands soooo tight that afterwards my poor mother showed me her hand all bruised with broken blood vessels. Aren't mothers the best?
After a few hours of labor and 30 minutes of pushing, my beautiful son, Van Robert Laidlaw, was welcomed into this world on March 30, 2014 at 5:43pm, weighing 7lb. 13oz. and 20.5 inches long. I did it! We did it! He was here and I was alive! What an amazing experience it all was and how grateful I am for all of the incredible nurses, doctors, staff and my family that surrounded me throughout the entire experience. I am so in love with my beautiful son and feel incredibly grateful that I was able to have an all natural birth and bring a healthy baby boy (with no shoulder trauma) into this world!