Because of the lack of hospital facilities (and Doctors...) where we live, J and I headed to PEI on December 24th, where we would stay until Baby N was born (and then for a while afterwards as well). I had been dilated a little over 1 cm for about a week, and on Monday morning (January 2nd), I woke up around 5am to discover something that felt strangely similar to peeing the bed! We woke up my mom, and decided to head to Summerside hospital right away, as it's about an hour from my parent's house.
FYI...it's very difficult to decide what to wear to the hospital when your waters are continually breaking. I think I changed my pants 3 times before realizing that everything I put on was going to get soaked, and I finally just decided on black pants because at it's harder to see when they're wet!!!!
So we got to the hospital at about 7am, went through assessment (where they told me that yes, my membranes had in fact ruptured, and no, I hadn't just peed myself...) and got put into our (ginormous) room that would be our home for the next few days. At this point I was still not having any "real" contractions...just very mild, irregular ones that were really nothing more than cramping. So for the next 8 hours, I bounced on a yoga ball, read magazines, made friends with the nurses (they had the pain meds. I wanted them to like me.), and walked the halls with my mom. Now, if you know my mom, you know that she does not saunter. She speed-walks EVERYWHERE. We had the nurses laughing, because they said they'd never seen a pregnant woman walk so fast (what can I say...I wanted that baby out!) By 3:30pm, I still hadn't started contracting regularly (or painfully), so we decided to let them start pitocin to get my contractions going, because it had been so long since my water broke. They hooked me up to "The Drug Machine", and as luck would have it, before the pitocin even kicked in I started having contractions on my own. They were still very mild, so my doctor recommended that if I wanted the epidural, I should get it right then instead of waiting, and I decided that sounded like an excellent idea (I repeat, there are NO TROPHIES for handed out for doing childbirth naturally!). Now. I have friends who have opted against an epidural because they hate needles...and I'm not a big fan of them either...so believe me when I say that the epidural hurt less than when the put in my IV.
So. Thinking that I was only at 3cm and had many hours of contractions ahead of me...very very PAINFUL contractions...made me feel pretty scared. Oh, and also, once you have an epidural, if it doesn't "take"? You can't have any other drugs (a little detail no one mentioned to me beforehand)! Thankfully, the epidural started to spread soon after that, making me feel less and less pain with each one, and by around 6:30pm I couldn't feel anything or either side (siiiiigh....so happy!). There I was, ready to relax for the next few hours in my completely "epiduralled" state of being, when my doctor came back in, checked me, and announced that I was 10cm and ready to push.
Wait....what??! (I'm glad J didn't take a picture at THAT moment, because my jaw was probably hanging open!)
Reason #625 that Epidurals are awesome? You can push, and feel NO pain! I could still semi-walk, wiggle my toes, and lift my legs. I could feel when I was having a contraction and needed to push, but had no pain at all. A-MAZE-ZA-ZING!!!
I pushed for just under 30 minutes...and at 7:20pm my whole world got a whole lot brighter.