For the other parts:
Audra's birth story, Part 1- Where Stacy's Water Breaks
Audra's birth story, Part 2- In Which We Go to the Hospital
Audra's birth story, Part 3- In Which Stacy Rambles on about the Hospital
Now for Part 4. If you're still with me.
Let's see... where were we? Oh yeah. The doctor was coming back at 6:00 to check me.
He didn't come. Not by 6:00. Or 6:30.
The birthing ball came in, and I spent some time sitting on that, hanging onto the end of the hospital bed. It was while I was on the birthing ball that Annoyance #2 occurred. When Amy came, she thoughtfully brought dinner for Mark and herself, and they began eating it while I was in this stage of labor. It was Jack in the Box.
Now. Fast food generally grosses me out. I make it a habit not to eat it, ever. But let me just say, smelling Jack in the Box is one thing. Smelling Jack in the Box while laboring is a whole OTHER thing. So there Mark and Amy sat, scarfing down their burgers as quickly as they could, until I gave them the heads up that another contraction was on its way. Burgers laid quickly aside, both of them would rush to my side, and with them came The Smell.
At first I didn't say anything, because, well, you know-- I was glad they were eating. One needs to eat. I just wished they'd eat it ELSEWHERE. But after a few contractions with The Smell, I couldn't help myself, and told them they really needed to hurry along and finish those burgers because I might vomit if I had to smell that smell every time they came near me. But then, even when they'd finished up their dinner, they were still smelling like it. So then I asked them to please go wash their hands, brush their teeth, whatever needed to happen to omit The Smell. I know Amy was rubbing lotion on her hands at one point.
Finally, sometime after 6:30 the nurse checked me. I was stressed about this check. I was quite sure I would burst into tears if I was still a 2 or a 3. She checked me, pronounced me a 4, and I was a happy camper.
Mark and I headed out to pace the hospital hallways again. This time it wasn't so fun. For each contraction I was either down on my knees- on all fours, or, if a little kitchenette room happened to be nearby, I was leaning over the sink, focusing on breathing through my contractions. [By this time we'd added the glorious water bottle into our system. Now: the breathing, pressure on my lower back, the cool, wet rag, AND frequent gulps of water.] We did this for maybe half an hour until I decided I'd had enough of contracting in public. There's nothing like being down on all fours, trying to focus on your breathing, when a gaggle of hospital orderlies pass, chatting and laughing about who-knows-what, but definitely interrupting my concentration.
So we went back to the room, and I walked around in there. Sometime around then this picture was taken. I'm not sure what was going on, here. Other than the obvious fact that I am beautifully modeling the hospital gown, which can be worn in two different ways, pictured here:
After this picture was taken, I took yet another bath (which was not nearly so relaxing). It was in the tub that my contractions started to feel a bit unbearable. A few times I'd start to cry or say, "I can't do this." And my wonderful laboring partners would reassure me that I could, that I was, and that I was doing great. They'd remind me to breathe and I would and then we'd have some down time for about two minutes.
Once out of the tub, I changed up my positions. I walked or stood, then during a contraction I leaned over the counter or sink, mostly. (Not because I needed to puke, but because it just happened to be the right height.) And then eventually I crawled onto the bed on all fours. Finally I was on my knees on the bed, holding onto the top of the (raised) bed, feeling like I was going to die.
The nurse checked me again shortly after I was doing that, and I was a 9. Let me just tell you, never was I more relieved to hear that number. [I'd been afraid she was going to say a 5 or a 6, and I was hoping for a 7, but a 9? Oh my goodness. I love 9.]
It was at that point that I gave myself permission to lie down on the bed and cry. I'm relatively sure I was bawling things like, "I'm a nine. I'm almost done. We're almost done. I get to meet my baby soon!" And from then on out I laid there on my side and hung onto the railing and tried not to die.
And then of course the extra nurses come in, bearing tables and trays of tools for the doctor, and I love that part, because it means the end is near.
[Part 5 (last one!) coming tomorrow.]