**WARNING - This is a birthing story. Don't read it if you don't want to hear about dilating and epidurals ande placenta!**
When I went to the doctor on Thursday February 23 the doctor said I looked ready to go. He said he thought I would either go into labor on my own within the day, but in case I didn't we set up for me to check into the hospital so he could break my water since I was ready to go the next day. I waited and waited all afternoon with contractions that wouldn't get normal or close enough. Makes for a cozy day :) Monica and Johnny came down from Cedar that night so that they would watch the girls if/when I went to the hospital. I didn't sleep much during the night and finally around 5:30am they started to get regular enough to get ready to go in. I woke up Marcus right before 6 and told him to get ready. Not 2 minutes later the hospital called and told me to come in, they had a bed ready for me so they could break my water and get me going. At least I knew I wouldn't be sent home! We headed to the hospital and got put in a room and hooked up for monitoring. Anyone with kids know that the best way to get them better is to take them to the doctor, it miraculously makes all symptoms disappear. Apparently this baby wanted to get an early start on that and so my labor sort of calmed right down as soon as we got to the hospital. Luckily I didn't have to go home since they had called me in anyway. After the doctor broke my water things started back up and I got cozy for a fun morning of laboring. While waiting to progress the nurse came in and told me there was a guy training to be an EMT and as part of their training they have to sit in on a birth and would I mind if he sat in during mine. I told her that was fine. After two-ish hours or so my contractions starting hurting more so I called the nurse and told her to send down the anesthesiologist. They checked my progress while they waited for him to come down and I was at a 4. The anesthesiologist got my epidural all set up and I laid back down knowing a baby was coming soon. As I waited for the epi to work I started having more and more pain. The nurse came in to check on me about 10 - 15 minutes after they epi was started. She looked at me and knew something was wrong since I was laying in my bed with tears streaming down my face grimacing in pain. I told her that I was not getting numb, but feeling more pain than before. Clearly I wasn't alive during medieval times, but I felt like I was being tortured on the stretching rack. She called the anesthesiologist back down to try and figure out what was wrong. One of the nurses also showed Marcus how to help with the pain some by pressing on pressure points just below my knees. He came back down and gave me something through the epi line that was stronger. (I don't remember what it was, I wasn't really paying attention to medicine names at this point.) As we waited to see if that would help alleviate the pain they checked me again and I had jumped up to an 8, it had been maybe 40 minutes since they had last checked. Anyway, I was still feeling everything and in pretty serious pain so the anesthesiologist decided to re-insert the epidural. My doctor was called, and arrived while the epi was being re-done. While "sitting like a cat" and with a nurse and Marcus pressing on my knees I told the anesthesiologist that I really didn't think I would be able to sit still. He said that was fine, he had braced himself against my back with his arm and that if I moved he'd move with me. While sitting up I started to feel the urge to push which I immediately screamed to the nurses who were looking mildly concerned by now. They laid me back down and rechecked my dilating, which was now at a 10. The doctor stepped out into the hall to call his office and let them know he would be staying to deliver. While he was on his 30 second call the baby decided she was ready to come then. I started screaming, loudly, and he promptly hung up the phone and rang back in. During the previous two labors I either had to watch the computer monitor and/or be told by the nurses/doctor when to push because I couldn't tell when I was having a contraction. With this one I didn't have that so much, I couldn't stop pushing. With the epi not working I felt every moment of the baby coming out and just screaming like a little girl. Since I had progressed so quickly I hadn't had a chance to stretch really. The doctor gave me some local anesthetic to try and help with that, but like the epidural the local also didn't work. I was in so much pain trying to push the head and shoulders through that I was starting to panic and was taking really fast, shallow breaths. So I had one of the nurses yelling at me to "breathe, breathe, breathe deep through your nose" while I was screaming like a little girl and yelling "it hurts! it hurts!" The poor EMT was probably thinking "man, I sure chose the wrong birth to sit in on" while Marcus' hand was being punctured by my fingernails and he was thinking "this sure isn't like the other births!" I thought I was going to pass out due to my rapid breathing, but the nurse helped me stay conscious with her yelled commands to take a breath every few seconds. I can't imagine being unconscious and birthing work very well together. Finally the baby came out and they put her right on me. I was so dizzy and shaking so hard that I had to ask them to take her off. I was afraid she would fall off of me. When baby and placenta were all out (and btw, the doctor informed me it was a fabulous looking placenta! yea me!) the doctor started to stitch me up and I about jumped off the bed. He couldn't believe I still had any feeling. I assured him I surely did, so he used some more local anesthetic. As he started stitching again I again about jumped off the table. Finally after my third set of local it was numb enough that I didn't care anymore. He got me all cleaned up and handed me back the baby.
After recovering for an hour or two they decided to move me up to the mom and baby unit. The nurse asked if I thought I could stand and get in a wheel chair. I had never lost any feeling in my legs and said I was pretty sure I could get in the chair fine. They had Marcus put his arms around me just in case, but I didn't even need him. They wheeled me upstairs and I climbed from the chair to the bed again with basically no help. As the L&D nurse passed me off the the M&B nurse she told her that she had no idea how I could stand, let alone feel my legs with the amount of medicine they had given me. She said I shouldn't even be able to move them. While talking to me mom later that afternoon I told her that on a pain scale from 1 to 10 it had been a 41! I'm sure there are things that hurt more, like being shot or actually having a limb ripped off, but it was the most pain I'd ever been in. I did NOT care for it! I had a nice rest in the mom and baby unit. With the exception of the super intense pain it was like a mini vacation. Marcus brought the girls to visit both days. We all had dinner together on my bed one night. It was like a picnic, but with no grass and more squishy. Oddly enough, even though it was by far the most painful birth, wouldn't it happen that the baby I felt completely is almost a full pound bigger than the other two girls, it was also by far the easiest recovery. I had very little pain and was up and about much quicker. I sure wouldn't have chosen for my birth to go like that, but it did and I can now say I have birthed a baby naturally. I can also say it is a darn good thing we are made to forget with time because I would never want to get pregnant again if it didn't fade. I did end up with another beautiful girl who I love to pieces though, so it was all worth it!