I think this is one of the greatest stories of my life - I will never tire of telling it. Note - there might be some things that offend and disgust as it is a birth story.
At 39 weeks (it was a Wednesday), I had a doctor's appointment. While sitting in the office, I started having light contractions, nothing too bad, just a bit of tightening. I was checked and was a whole 1cm dilated. Oh well, I went home, the contractions kept up for a bit, but were gone by the time I went to bed.
Thursday, I felt kinda crappy. I had a few contractions during the day - nothing with any regularity - I took a nap. When I woke up, the contractions were more obvious, but still nothing to write home about. I went to bed.
Friday morning I woke up to stronger, more regular contractions at 5am. I got out of bed, and sat on the couch timing them. Once I reach the 1 minute contractions, 5 minutes apart, for 1 hour, my husband was out of bed and I called L&D. They told me that I could come in whenever, especially since they weren't that strong. I took a shower, but unfortunately they started to disappear after my shower. I still went to the hospital though, found out I had dilated up to 1.5cm (woo....). They kept me on a monitor for about an hour and my doc came in an did a non-stress test, including ultrasound which made me so happy since we hadn't had one since 18 weeks. After that, they sent me home, but my doctor was pretty sure I was going to deliver over the weekend.
During the time in the hospital, I had called my mom and she and my dad had gotten out of work and began driving the 5 hours it takes to get here. They decided to continue coming as they had about 12 days off from that point, so they figured I would deliver sometime in that window. Having my mom at the house before the baby was born was one of the greatest ideas ever, as she cleaned my house from top to bottom so I wouldn't have to worry about it once the baby was here.
Over the weekend I would have these sporadic bouts of contractions and they were getting more and more painful, but the minute I laid down, they would go away. I began researching online and found out I was in prodromal labor. What I was reading was both bad and good. Bad: Prodromal labor can last for WEEKS. Luckily, I was in week 39, so I figured it couldn't go on for too long. Good: Most people who have prodromal labor have very quick transitions and births. I spent the weekend walking with my mom and my husband - we hit up a bunch of malls in the area and walked the neighborhood a bunch too.
On Wednesday, I had another doctor's appointment. The nurse called me up and said "You are not supposed to be here - you were supposed to have had that baby by now!" Yeah, I KNOW! Granted I was at 40 weeks at this point, so there was no issue having gone this long at all. I was checked and was happy to hear that I had dilated to 3cm over the week. The doc decided to strip my membranes (ow) and hoped that would get things moving along. My mom came to the appointment with me and she got to hear the heartbeat for the first time - it was awesome. Just in case, my doctor scheduled an induction for the following Tuesday if I managed to go that long. I was so hoping that would not be the case.
Wednesday evening we went walking again, but had to cut it short because the contractions were getting stronger, however they weren't regular at all - I was having them between 2-10 mins. It was annoying. At this point, I had gotten it in my head that the contractions would go away - which of course they did when we got home and I sat down. I relaxed for a bit, and then right before I planned on going to bed, my right arm fell asleep. And I mean fell asleep, to the point of shaking my arm to get blood flowing back into it. I got the feeling back and went to bed. About an hour later around midnight, however, I wake up to my arm being asleep again, but with the worst pain in my arm as well (it was so odd for it to be numb and in pain). I spent 20 minutes trying to get the feeling back but I couldn't. I woke my husband and my parents up in hysterics (I was thinking worst case scenario - blood clot, etc.). My husband calls L&D, and they instruct me that I should go to the ER as it is a medical issue. They did ask if I had felt the baby moving, which I hadn't for two reasons. One, I wasn't really paying much attention and two, the baby was always quiet at night. So they say they will send someone down to check once I get there.
We get to the ER. The nurses are surprised when L&D tells them to keep me (as most people at 40 weeks go straight up). An L&D nurse comes in, checks for the heartbeat, all is well with the baby. My arm had started feeling better at this point, and I get diagnosed with carpal tunnel and the resident makes the worst splint in the history of splints. It was so bad a nurse came in after the fact and gave me a wrist brace and said just put this on when you get home. So we leave - it's about 3am. As we are walking out, the contractions start again, but I thought nothing of it, as they've been doing this for days.
However, by the time we get home, the contractions are much stronger. I couldn't even lay in bed because I was in so much pain - I didn't want to keep my husband up because he had to work in the morning. I went out into the living room and sat with my mom and timed them. I offhandedly mentioned that these ones felt different (much lower in my abdomen) and reminded me of the contractions I had prior to the miscarriage. It was at that point that my mom knew I was in active labor, but she didn't mention it to me. I had a feeling, but I wanted to let my husband sleep some more. By 4:30, they are unbearable and my mom says that we need to go. I wake my husband up, who later tells me he was pissed because he thought it was going to be another false alarm.
We get to hospital by 5am. I walk up to the ER window and the nurses are confused to see me again, but I explain that now I am in labor. There was another couple waiting to head up for a C-section, so we all went up together. I had to stop a couple of times to let the contractions pass, and the other guy we were walking with mentions to his wife "Aren't you glad you don't have to go through that?" I would have punched him if I could. We get upstairs and the other couple gets whisked away. A nurse comes up to me and says "Mrs. Miceli? You aren't supposed to be up here - you have a medical issue." The ER nurse that escorted us up says "No, she already went home for the other issue. She's in labor now, so she's staying up here." All the while, I'm having monster contractions in the hallway. Turns out, they didn't have a room ready (it was a busy week for babies) and the put me in a little triage room for a bit. I get hooked up to a monitor and checked by a nurse. Lo and behold, I am at least 6cm and in active labor! At that point, they begin to rush around, making me sign consent forms with my braced hand (my husband is literally sitting next to me - he can sign it all...). They ask me what I want to do about pain management and I consent to drugs. My mom says to me "If you are already 6cm, you've gone through most of the worst, you probably won't need the epidural." I say "I still want it available if needed!"
A room was finally made available about 6am and they move me down there. The doctor on call tells me that my doctor will be in at 7am, so if I wait (yeah, right) he will be in to deliver, but she was there if I went earlier. At this point, it was a flurry of activity and all I vaguely remember was that the pain was changing and I couldn't get comfortable at all. And I really wanted to push. So the nurse checks me again and I am at 10cm and the amniotic sac is bulging. They decide to break my water to make sure I am actually at 10cm. I was. And so at about 6:30am I start pushing. I was exhausted at this point, because I hadn't slept since the night before. My mom and husband were there telling me that I'm doing great and that I'm almost there, but I accused them of lying to me to make me feel better. I can only get about 1 and a half good pushes out per contraction, but it apparently didn't matter too much because at 6:53am, with no drugs or interventions, my baby girl was born!
My husband had already decided that he did not want to cut the cord, so they asked my mom if she wanted to. She declined at first, but at the nurse's insistence, she ended up cutting it. I'm pretty sure that just capped off one of the most amazing experiences of her life. She got put on my chest for skin to skin as the on call doc delivers the afterbirth. My doctor walks in as this is happening. My husband, the smartass that he is, says "Nice of you to show up!' My doctor, who has the greatest bedside manner in history responds "Bite me!" I get stitched up (2nd degree tear) and start to attempt to breastfeed my little girl. My mom calls my dad to come to the hospital (he was shocked when she said it's a girl, since we had just left not 3 hours before). He comes to my room and the nurse is kind of shocked that I would allow my dad in while breastfeeding (seriously, at this point, there is no modesty...). He and my mom stay for a little bit, but leave to let me and my husband bond with our little one.
Unfortunately, Kaley was a little cool and needed to be sent to the nursery for some incubator time to get her temperature up. At the same time, this was a good thing because my husband could go get some breakfast (I got a tray while I was breastfeeding) and I could get a shower and get cleaned up. He came back as our room was ready and I walked down the hall of my own accord (no wheelchairs for me!). On the way we got to hit the button that played a lullaby in the hospital so that everyone knew a baby had been born, and I high fived my doctor as I passed him. We got settled into our room, and I sent my husband down to the nursery to find out when she could come to our room. A few minutes later, he walks into the room pushing the cart and there she was - just so very beautiful and ours to enjoy.