I'm always interested in other people's birth stories just because no two are alike. I knew going in that no matter what, I could not predict how things would go. My birth plan was for everyone to come out happy and healthy and for me to be in as little pain as possible.
Let's start from the beginning...
Graham was due April 8th and, as I had mentioned in my bumpdate post (two days prior to his arrival), I was still only barley dilated, but my doctor assured me I was "not going to make it to my due date."
Wednesday, March 30th was the day my kiddos took the STAAR test (our state's standardized test). For four hours I had to actively monitor the test, so I used this time as a chance to walk Graham out. About two hours into the test I started feeling mild contractions that were every 3-5 minutes apart. I decided to start timing them and, sure enough, for the remainder of the day my contractions continued to be five minutes (or less) apart.
After all the kids were done testing I let the other teachers know that I was having contractions, but I wasn't going home quite yet because they weren't painful at all. We had a doctor's appointment later that evening anyways, so I wasn't too worried. Also, I had already taken Thursday, March 31st and Friday, April 1st off just because I wanted to finish up some last minute things before G arrived, so everything was already prepared for my sub.
We go to our appointment Wednesday afternoon and things had hardly progressed. I was not even 2 centimeters dilated, but G was still extremely low. My doctor told me she was on call Friday-Sunday and that she was sure I wasn't making it to April 8th.
Thursday I slept in and vegged most of the morning. I knew he could come any day, so I was truly soaking in all the relaxing I could. I stayed in bed until 9:00am and, looking back, that was officially my last morning without a precious baby.
Right before noon, I went to the bathroom and, BAM, there was my mucus plug. Let's just say there is NO mistaking that thing. From what Google told me, losing your plug was not a sure sign of labor, so there was still no clue when I would have him. I wasn't too stressed and went about my day the way I had intended. The contractions from Wednesday had subsided overnight, so I didn't think I was going to go into labor.
Around 3:00pm I started having contractions again and this time I noticed they were slightly uncomfortable. Not painful, just different than Braxton Hicks. I timed them throughout the day, but still was in denial.
I prepped dinner and waited for Chris to get home around 6:00pm. At that point the contractions were still steady and were even more uncomfortable. I knew things needed to get a lot more painful before it was the real deal, so we just continued with our night.
We finished up dinner around 8:00pm and had been timing the contractions throughout dinner. At this point I'd been having contractions 3-5 minutes apart for over five hours, so I figured something was up. Chris was still definitely in denial :)
Something in me told me to let my mom know that she needed to come up that night. My parents live about 5 hours away and I didn't want her to miss anything if tonight was the night, so I called her and told her to come. My dad was traveling for work and I told him to just stay put until we knew for sure what was happening. My mom was already pretty much packed and ready to go, so she hit the road around 10:00pm. I felt terrible to have her drive so late at night, but she insisted she come.
After dinner things started getting more intense. The contractions were bearable, but getting worse each hour. I finally told Chris he needed to pack a bag because there was no way I was making it through the night. He, of course, was still in denial and got me some water and helped me get into bed to rest. All the times before this method to stop contractions had worked, but these contractions were not letting up!
At 11:30pm I made the call and told him we had to go in. The contractions were painful, not unbearable, but I'd been having them for hours at this point, so it was better to be safe than sorry.
We made our way to the hospital, got checked into triage, and waited for the nurse.
Around 11:50pm the nurse checked me and said I was a 2. Whomp whomp. BUT, I was having steady contractions and she was sure I was in early labor! She said I could have this baby in a few hours or days, but there was no sure way to tell. She said we could stay and I could labor at the hospital, or we could go back home (only like 7 minutes away) and I could labor there until the contractions became so intense that I couldn't walk or talk through them. She suggested I take some Tylenol and try to get some sleep, so that's the option we went with.
We got back home around 12:30am and Chris instantly went to sleep. I wanted one of us to not be delirious, so Chris happily obliged. I couldn't sleep because of the pain, so I took the Tylenol and tried to sleep on the couch.
I swear the Tylenol suggestion was a sick joke because it wasn't 30 minutes after I took it that the contractions amped up! Holy ouch! They hurt so bad I couldn't even stay lying down. I had to get up and pace around our house.
To pass time, I called my mom, who was still driving, and made sure she was awake and alert. I texted my cousin who is a nurse and was working night shift. I tried to watch TV, but I had to keep pacing around the house. Each contraction became more and more intense.
At 3:00am my mom got to our house. She came right in and rubbed my back and helped me get through the contractions.
Finally, at 4:00am, I couldn't take it any longer and I went to wake up Chris. I told him I couldn't take it anymore and that it was go time. Now, this is the funny part. He says, "Okay honey...okay. Do you think you could try to wait one more hour to just make sure it is the real thing?" Having been someone who has never had a child, there was a lot of second guessing going on. I didn't want to go in and get turned away again, but at the same time I could not deny the pain. I told him I would try, but there were no guarantees.
As I was walking out of our bedroom another contraction hit and I flipped on the lights and exclaimed, "Nope. You gotta get up! I can't take this!" Chris happily hopped up, got dressed, loaded our bags again, and off we went.
When we arrived this time we were instantly admitted and there was officially no turning back! It was 4:45am and we were officially going to become parents soon! At this point I hadn't slept in about 20 hours, so things become fuzzy.
Once we were all settled, the nurse checked me and I was 4 centimeters dilated. They asked me what I wanted to do for pain management and I think my glare said enough. They said the anesthesiologist was on his way to give another epidural, so I could get mine when he was done with that one.
At 5:50am the anesthesiologist came in and got me all fixed up. The epidural was a lot less painful than I was anticipating, which was a nice surprise. At one point, I see Chris squatting down and I know he is about to pass out. I ask him if he is okay and the nurse spots him and shouts to another nurse to come get him and get him some juice and make sure he doesn't pass out!! He does not do needles and he said he got light headed when the doctor kept explaining what he was doing on my back. It is funny because I told him he didn't have to be in there for that part, but he didn't want to leave me...and he ended up almost being the one in a bed next to me, hah!
Once I got the epidural I was able to relax and doze in and out for a few hours. There was definitely no sleeping because I could still feel the pressure of the contractions, but it was nice to not be in pain.
Around 9:00am my doctor came in and broke my water. She checked me first and said I was at a 5...then broke my water and said, "well, now you're a 7!" Instantly I felt the most intense pressure of my life. Baby boy's head was no longer cushioned by that water and it was extremely painful having him push down on my cervix/pelvis with each contraction. I'd say the time after my water broke to when I gave birth was the most painful. I was literally gripping the rails and breathing long breaths in and out. It hurt so stinkin' bad.
At one point I was still in so much pain the nurse had the anesthesiologist come back in and give me a boost of meds. That extra boost took some of the edge off, but I was still in a lot of pain. I was so exhausted and kept falling asleep in between contractions.
I realized in between one contraction that we had still not settled on a middle name, so I asked Chris to just pick one. We were stuck between Ray or Ross. Chris's family tradition is for all the boys to have R middle names. Ray is Chris's dad's middle name, his mom's dad's middle name, and his uncle's middle name, so Ray is really meaningful. Ross is Chris's middle name, so that got thrown in the mix. Chris decided on Ray and we were both so emotional knowing our little guy now had a full name.
Around 10:30am my nurse came in and said it was time to do some practice pushes. We did three sets of practicing and then all of a sudden my doctor appeared and everyone started prepping for his arrival.
Finally, after 25 minutes of pushing, Graham Ray Tucker made his way into the world at 11:15am on Friday, April 1st. I'll never forget seeing him for the first time. My heart was so full and then I looked at Chris, who was sobbing, and all the emotions hit. At this point I'd been awake for 27 hours, so I really don't remember much, but having G on my chest with my husband by my side is something indescribable.
We feel so blessed to have our boy here with us. We are so in love and appreciate all the calls, texts, and emails from everyone.
Now, back to newborn snuggles!