As you know if you've been reading, I was in early labor for like a week before things really got going. I was dilated to 2 cm and 50% effaced last Wednesday; had a lot of cramp-like contractions and other symptoms all day Thursday and Friday; had dilated to 3 cm and 60% effaced by Friday. Over the weekend I had pretty consistent contractions but they never got closer together than 10-15 minutes. I was told to go to labor and delivery if they ever got to 5 minutes apart or closer for longer than an hour. So, Tuesday night right as I was about to doze off, I noticed that not only did they pick up in intensity, they seemed to be more frequent. I got up and started timing them, and sure enough they were every 4-5 minutes and getting more intense. After about an hour and a half of consistent contractions, I woke Brian up and told him "it's time." :) I called my sweet friend Michelle, who got up out of her warm bed on that cold night and came right over to stay with the kids. (thank you again!! Bless you!!) We got to labor and delivery around 1:30 a.m. My contractions were still consistent, but I was still dilated to about 3-4 cm and about 60% effaced. Plus, Rosemary was at a +2 station, which means she was still really high up. I figured we were settled in for a long, slow day of laboring. I started praying and asking God to help my labor pick up on its own. Since I had made the decision to come to labor and delivery 2 weeks before her due date, I really didn't want to have to have a lot of help and end up feeling like I had pushed things along before she was really ready to be born. I placed the whole thing in His hands and asked that it would be obvious to me that HE was progressing her labor instead of some medication or other artificial thing. Praise the Lord, the next time they checked me, before they started any pitocin or broke my water, I was dilated 5 cm, she had dropped to +1 and moved more into position, and I was significantly more effaced. I felt like that was God's way of reassuring me that it really was her God-ordained birthday, not just the day I decided I had had enough. :) That was probably around 5:30 a.m., and things progressed rather quickly from there. At 6 a.m. Dr. Kakani broke my water, I started on the pitocin, and got my epidural. Dr. Kakani guessed that she would deliver the baby during her lunch break. Two hours later the nurse checked me and I was 6 cm and Rosemary was at 0 station. She bumped up the pitocin and walked out. I figured we would see her again in an hour or two, but almost immediately she came back in with an oxygen mask for me, saying something about abnormalities and fetal heart rate deceleration. Apparently Rosemary was not reacting well to the quick progression of things. Within that 15 minute time span I was already 7 cm dilated and almost fully effaced, and Rosemary had moved to -1 station. They were amazed at how quickly Rosemary was "moving down the pipe". They said it was somewhat common for a fourth baby to do that, but were concerned her heart rate deceleration might be related to the umbilical cord tightening around her, so they put something in the uterus that would cause the cord to release her and loosen its grip. Almost immediately her heart rate picked back up. That was at 9 a.m. that I was 7 cm. By 9:30 a.m. I was feeling tremendous pressure. The nurse checked me and I was 9 1/2 cm and Rosemary was crowning! We had to wait for Dr. Kakani to get there for me to push, but when she walked in and they put my feet in the stirrups, she touched Rosemary's head and said, "We can get her out with one push." :) It actually took two pushes to get her head out, and one more push to get the rest of her out. Three quick, fairly painless pushes. It felt like an instant from the time they said I was 7 cm and the time she was resting on my chest. It took me a minute to process that the baby was actually outside of my body!
She didn't cry very much at first, which scared me. She was just quietly whimpering. The nurses let me hold her for a minute or two, then took her to the warmer to check her out. It seemed like it was taking them a lifetime to bring her back, and I kept asking, "Is she okay? Are you sure? How's her breathing?" because I rarely heard anything more than a whimper from her. They told me they were having to suck a lot of fluid out of her lungs, only because she descended so fast and didn't get "squeezed" very good. :) After they suctioned her really good, everything seemed fine. They assured me that she was breathing fine on her own and there was no cause for concern. Hallelujah! What a miracle. What a blessing. And what a relief to a Momma. :)
She came back to me and I was able to nurse her for the first time. I was thankful for how easily and effortlessly she seemed to latch on and suck. I was able to really look at her and realized that she wasn't being quiet because she couldn't cry, she was being quiet because she was content. She was very alert for probably two hours after her birth, she just wasn't fussy. I really could not have asked for a better outcome. She was pink and happy and contented. My heart overflowed with joy and thankfulness and relief. She was perfect.