So because we had to check in so early, we stayed the prior night a few blocks from the hospital, at the Ronald McDonald House. There was such a good spirit of giving there. It was neat to be a recipient of that. On the way to the hospital that morning, we stopped outside for a quick picture with Ronald.
We showed up at the 4th floor "Women's Care Center" and then were shown to a little room where we would be spending the next few hours, getting the amnio and waiting for the results. Heath snapped a quick picture of me before I changed into the lovely gowns they provide. This is officially my last picture ever being pregnant. A bit sad to think about.
After the amnio, which was very very uncomfortable, we had to wait about 4 hours before the lab results came back saying that the lungs were mature enough. I was shown into a labor room to get officially checked in. However, after being dropped off in the room, an hour went by and I still hadn't been seen. I think they forgot about me. Anyway, I called the nurse and suggested that we get things going. Finally, a nurse came in and started talking about putting some gel on my cervix to soften it up for six hours or so. I assured her that if the doctor just came in and broke my water, I would have the baby in a few hours. This seemed to perplex her until I shared with her my history of having babies.
Finally, the doctor came in and checked me. She seemed confident that the baby was low enough to safely break my water. Right around 2pm, she broke my water and left, saying she'd check on me in a few hours. Immediately, contractions started for me. In fact, they started and didn't ever stop. They were every minute apart, lasting about 90 seconds, and they were strong!
Fifteen minutes later, the doctor came back in. "Are you feeling these contractions?" she asked, amazed. Oh yes. I certainly am! She checked me again and I was one more centimeter dilated than I was 15 minutes before. We started to think that maybe the baby would be here within the hour.
My contractions continued to be strong and close together for the next three hours. I didn't get more than about 60 seconds of relief between the contractions. I did what I normally do, and stayed quiet, with my eyes closed, and calmly breathed through the contractions. However, by 5pm, three hours after my water broke, my contractions were so strong, and I felt a change in them. I knew that it was time to have the baby. The doctor came in to check me and announced "You are 6 cm dilated."
I seriously about died when I heard that. It was the most disappointing, frustrating, and disturbing news I had ever received. I wanted to rip her head off. I was sure she wasn't measuring me correctly. I opened my eyes, looked at her, and said with all the forcefulness I could muster "These are NOT 6 cm contractions!" The doctor just got up and walked away, knowing not to mess with me. Heath and Jennifer were right there, and although I feel like I had yelled that at the doctor, they said I said it with such a pathetic and quiet voice, that it was barely above a whisper, and had been the first thing they heard me say in the 3 hours I was laboring.
As the doctor was leaving, I heard her say "I'll be back to check on her in a few hours." I knew I couldn't possibly last a few more hours with contractions like this. If you remember, I have had all my other babies naturally, and I knew exactly how intense the contractions got right before I needed to start pushing. I knew for a fact that I was experiencing the same intensity at that moment, and I couldn't possibly keep control for a few more hours. I told the nurse I wanted an epidural. She said the anesthesiologist was close by, and she would go get her. I said "HURRY!"
Thankfully, within minutes, she came in and started to go over the paperwork. I interrupted her during my 30 second break between contractions, told her I understood the risks associated with an epidural, and could I just sign the paper and have her get started. She agreed. I signed. She went to work. It took about 15 minutes for her to do the epidural, and during that time, I was praying that each contraction would be my last. Seriously, it was more intense than I've ever felt before.
When she was done, I laid back down and told the nurse I was ready to have the baby. The contractions had eased, but I could still feel my legs, and feel everything inside me, as the doctor checked me. Yup. I was complete. I could start pushing. Three contractions later, the baby practically flew out of me. The cord was wrapped around his body a few times, and because of that, he was kind of held up inside my womb. This prevented him from pressing down on my cervix and dilating me. So that explains why I was feeling "10 cm contractions" when I was only 6 cm dilated. If the cord hadn't been holding him up, I would have been delivering him at that time. Make sense?
Anyway, he was born about 10 minutes after I got the epidural, but I'm so glad I got that relief those last few minutes. I don't think I could have taken another minute. He was quickly taken across the room, where the team of NICU people checked him over. Kimble Paul Nunnelly was born at 5:46pm (3 hours and 45 minutes after my labor started) weighing in at 6 lbs 5 oz, 19 1/2 inches long.
About 15 minutes later, they were ready to take him to the NICU. They brought him over for me to hold for a few minutes. I kissed him and touched him and tried to absorb every detail about him in those 2 minutes.
Then he was taken away. Heath stayed with him and took lots of pictures during the next two hours, as they cleaned him up, weighed him, started IVs and umbilical lines and medicine to keep the PDA open in his heart, and did an Echocardiogram.
Two hours after I had him, during which time I got cleaned up, changed, and had switched rooms to the recovery room, I was able to walk down the hallway and into the NICU to visit with him. I was not allowed to hold him, but I sat next to him, held his hand, stroked his head, and kissed him over and over again.
That is the birth story of the day Kimble was born, and the day that changed our life forever.