Eight days. Never before has eight days seemed so long. Well, to be honest, it felt more like 16 days. You see, my second child was born 8 days early so I thought that I'd have my third early as well. At the very least I was hopeful. In reality, once the due date passed I had a certain sense of peace about it all (internal peace, not that I didn't get super annoyed with the endless "are you still pregnant?" question). However, I was still really hoping to avoid being induced. At my 40 week appointment the doctor scheduled a fluid check and a non-stress test for 40w5d and scheduled an induction for 41 weeks. At that appointment we learned that my fluids were high. Not crazy high, not a super huge concern, but still outside the normal range. Still wanting to avoid induction, I asked to push back the induction until Monday, October 22 (11 days past the due date and the feast of St. John Paul II), so we scheduled another round of non-stress tests and a fluid check for that Friday, starting at 8am. The plan was for me to go to the ultrasound by myself on Friday. But I woke up and told Anthony, "I think I had some contractions last night," to which he responded, "either that or you were having some weird dreams and breathing funny." We chatted for a minute and decided, based on my last labor and delivery, that me going anywhere by myself if I was contracting was a bad idea. (Last labor and delivery was 5.5 hours and we spent a mere 10 minutes in the hospital once we were admitted before I gave birth in a room...with only Anthony in it.) So we loaded up the kids and went to the doctor. Originally I was scheduled for the ultrasound at 8am, and then was supposed to come back at 2pm for the non-stress test. When I told them that I was contracting they squeezed me in for everything. My fluids were still high, so I signed all the paperwork to be induced Monday if it came to that. I started timing contractions on the way to the doctor and they were about 10-15 minutes apart and maybe 30 seconds long. By time they finished the non-stress test (an hour or so later), my contractions were 7 minutes apart and 45 seconds long. The OB I saw that day told me to go home and wait a few hours, have lunch, and go to the hospital once the contractions were 5 or 6 minutes apart, but told me he was confident that the on-call OB would be delivering this baby by dinner time. While I was hopeful, I tried to contain my excitement because (1) contractions hurt and (2) I'd already been waiting for what felt like forever just to go into labor and if this fizzled out I didn't want to be totally defeated. So we went home. Anthony got a few things ready just in case and told me he wanted to go to Jimmy John's before we went to the hospital because hospital food can stink and he wanted good food once I'd delivered. (Both of our other girls were born late at night when everything was closed so we didn't get much!) I decided to change my clothes and he came to check on me and my contractions were 4 minutes apart (a mere two hours after my appointment started), but I told him that we'd have time to go to Jimmy John's. He firmly told me no and rushed the girls off to our teammate's apartment so we could head straight to the hospital. We ended up parking further away than we wanted and had to go down two flights of stairs to get out of the parking structure. Anthony opened up the trunk of the van to get the hospital bag and then set his skateboard on the ground and told me to hop on, he'd get me to the hospital in no time. I didn't take him up on the offer, but did insist that we stop on the way in for my classic "I'm still pregnant and my belly is huge" picture that I've taken with each of my other kids. We walked in to the front desk and I said, while wearing my "Yes, I'm still pregnant" shirt, "Hi, I'm here to have a baby." And then another contraction came and I huddled over the desk while fuddling with my wallet to retrieve my ID and insurance card. The kind lady called a nurse to come get me, told me to sign (what did I sign? No idea, but it got me in the door!) and that my husband could take care of the rest. The nurse took me back and checked me, I was contracting 4ish minutes apart and was 4cm dilated and 80% effaced (I had been 3cm and 70% at the doctor's office 2.5 hours prior). Not going to lie, that was pretty defeating. When I got to the hospital for our second child's birth I was already at 7cm. However, given my history of fast labors, they called my on-call doc and admitted me. We got to our room and I was still walking around, contracting, but cracking jokes. About 45 minutes later, though, my comedy was gone and I was getting tired. I started asking my husband to inquire about options because I didn't know how much I had in me and he knew it was time to get serious. My doctor checked me and I was at 7cm, 100% effaced. Okay, great, but 7cm is still a long way from 10cm. We talked about breaking my water and I hesitated. With our first child, I was stuck at 8cm, so we broke my water and I stayed at 8cm for another 5 hours in transition. It. Was. Awful. Clearly I didn't want to repeat that experience, but the OB assured me that I wouldn't spend long in transition and it was a statistically good way to speed up labor. I agreed and he broke my water. As I waited for the next contraction, I started to tell my husband that the next contractions would "be a biiiiiiiiii *grunt*". Then I had three contractions on top of each other. At this point I was all for some pain meds. The doc said he'd need to check me again, oh wait, here comes another contraction...*aghhhhhh* *effffff* okay, so anyway, we'll check you again and if you're at an 8 or 9 we can give you meds, if not, then you won't have time. *checks* "Nope, no time" *nurses scramble, doc scrambles* "You need to push. You're there. 10. Let's go. You shouldn't have to push for long." *me, internally* WHAT?! I was at a 7 like 5 minutes ago. Four contractions ago. Are you kidding me?! "Anthony, ask him what station I'm at." "What?" "WHAT STATION????" Anthony, confused, "...she wants to know what station she's at?" "She's there. Amanda, do you feel like you need to push?" "...no..." "Well, it is time, on your next contraction, push." My head was still spinning. I kept replaying his "you won't be in transition long" bit in my head and laughing. NO KIDDING. THAT WAS LIKE 10, MAYBE 15 MINUTES IN TRANSITION. AND NOW I HAVE TO PUSH?!?! Pushed once. Explained that I didn't push my second kid, she shot out like a canon and I needed some coaching. Pushed twice. Everyone at once - three nurses and the doctor - try to coach me after the contraction passed. I shushed them all. One nurse kept talking. I, rather curtly, told her to stop talking. She quietly said, "I've got some advice when you're ready to hear it." ...silence...collecting myself...okay, fine. Go. Whatever she told me the other nurse negated and said, "she's not doing that, what she needs to do is curl herself into her belly instead of arching her back." Me, internally, "okay, I can do that." Pushed a third time. Her head felt SO GOSH DARN CLOSE. And then I ran out of steam and she went back inside. Had I not been in labor, I would have cried and burst into tears. I was so close, I could feel it. The doctor tried to explain to me how she was a little stuck on something but I blocked it out. All I knew was that I was close and now...well, now I had to basically start over. At least there was a long enough break between contractions for me to collect myself enough to push again. Pushed a fourth time with every flipping ounce of my being, while also yelling, "GET HER OUT OF ME" at least twice. And then he handed her to me. Honestly, I was still a little bewildered and my brain was back at "I need to push now?! Already?!" so it took me a few minutes to adjust to the fact that it was over and she was snuggling up to me, all glorious 8lbs and 5.6 ounces of her (my biggest baby yet). And because my mama raised me right, I also apologized to the nurse that I'd snapped at within a few minutes of giving birth. So, 15ish minutes of transition, 15 minutes of pushing and there she was. From the time I started timing contractions to birth: 5.5 hours, a tie with my second birth. It was fast and glorious and induction-less. I may have also told her that her little "fake out" of almost coming out and then going back in was super uncool, but I also thanked her a bunch of times for finally coming out of me, even if she did come out slightly sideways and with her hand over her face. Anthony said it looked cute, I said that it certainly didn't feel cute, but at least she's here and the newborn snuggles are so, so sweet.
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