Here is a more detailed account of my labor and delivery, for those who are interested:
I woke up around 5:15 a.m. with what I was pretty sure were contractions. I waited for an hour or two to make sure they were regular and not going to stop before I woke Doug up. The contractions stayed at around 7 minutes apart for the whole morning and we just waited around the house for them to get stronger and closer together. Around lunchtime, while we were watching a movie, they suddenly got further apart and more sporadic. I was worried that the contractions were stopping and that it wasn't truly labor. However, I got up from the couch a few minutes later to go to the restroom and my water broke!
There was no doubt that that's what had happened because it was quite a big gush! I called my doctor's office and was told to go on to the hospital. So, we finished the movie we'd been watching, grabbed our bag, and left. Once I got to the hospital, the contractions became more intense and frequent. Doug was with me and my good friend Ellen. As the labor went on, the contractions got harder and harder to deal with and after I'd been having them for 13 hours, I decided I wanted an epidural. It wasn't what we'd planned on, but I felt like I'd put up a good effort and was confident in my decision.
After the epidural, I was in much less pain, naturally. I could still feel a lot of pressure though, so I knew when I was having a contraction. I was at 6 cm when I got the epidural and within the next few hours I rapidly finished dilating to 10 cm. It was finally time to start pushing. The doctor told me what I needed to do and we got all set up and ready. Pushing is really hard work! I didn't get to do it for very long though. Once I started pushing, Lila started showing signs of distress and we had to make some quick decisions about what to do next.
First, her heartrate dropped during the pushing. That is actually normal, but the part that was worrisome was that the heartrate did not come back up to normal once the pushing stopped. I had to take a break and lay on my side for a while before her heartrate came back up. Once it did come back up, it was actually too high. They think this was because I had a fever (had an infection in my uterus and spiked a fever just before pushing started) and it was stressing out her system. The doctor said that I probably had another hour to hour and a half of pushing left and she didn't think Lila could tolerate that.
So, we decided to do an emergency c-section. They prepped me and prepped Doug and whisked me away to the operating room. Since I already had an epidural (and i was even more glad at this point), all they had to do was turn up the amount of pain medication and wait for it to take effect. Once I couldn't feel pain in my abdomen anymore, they brought Doug back into the room and started the procedure. To be honest, it was the most terrifying thing I've ever been through! I was worried about the baby and I was freaked out by what was being done to my body.
I couldn't feel pain, but I could feel pressure and tugging. Even though I was draped and couldn't see what was taking place, I knew that I was feeling myself being cut open and my insides pushed around and a baby pulled out! On top of that, I was having tremors from the anesthesia (that's normal) and it was very disconcerting. Anyway, terrifying as it was, everything went smoothly and my baby girl came out at 10:51 p.m. Healthy and beautiful. The cord was wrapped around her neck, so that was probably the reason for the initial drop in heart rate during pushing.
After the doctors cleaned her up and checked her out, Daddy got to hold her and then they brought her and laid her on my chest. It was such an overwhelming moment that I don't even remember what I was feeling. After just a few minutes, they took her away to the nursery (daddy went with her) to check her out some more and clean her up while they closed me up. It felt like a lifetime that they spent sewing me up, but once they were done I was taken to the recovery room and we were all brought back together. The anesthesia started to wear off and the exhaustion set in. It was quite an ordeal!