To be quite honest, the process of birthing wasn't as traumatic as I thought, nor as stressful, I'll have to admit.
From the onset of the first contraction at 11:53 pm on Monday, I had a feeling this was not going to be a dry run. I called my doctor at 12:30 am, and then again one hour later, and we all agreed to meet up at the hospital. I had my contractions more and more regularly (Rob timed everything), and up until around 4:30, I was able to tolerate the discomfort. By around 5 am, that discomfort turned to pain, and I had to hold (more like mangle) Rob's hand with each contraction and breathe deeply. When my doctor saw that I was in pain, she asked if I wanted my epidural already, since the anesthesiologist that she liked had just arrived and would be ready to give that to me. From the Triage Room, I was then moved to Birthing Room 3, where I had a few more contractions before Dr. Gui (okay, he's AWESOME!!!) came in to prepare me for my epidural. Once the last contraction had passed, I was put into position, shaped like a C with my back to the edge of the bed. At 6:15, the epidural catheter was in and I was in a goooooooood place. I was texting people, keeping everyone abreast of what was going on. The next contraction came and went, and I didn't feel a thing. Except for one episode where I started to see stars because my blood pressure dropped (I had to be given a drug to raise my pressure again), life was fantastic. Ah, back to normalcy. I was able to grab an hour's worth of sleep while holding Rob's hand as he lay his head on a pillow by my legs. I would need the rest for the hard work that was to come.
At around 11-something (I wasn't looking at the clock, but our birthing video had the Mavericks-Spurs game score on... I'll have to check that) I was fully dilated, and with each contraction I was instructed to push. My singing support was going to come in handy! I was told to take a deep breath, hold, and push. Man, my head felt like it was about to explode! But with each push, Nicole came further down the birth canal, closer to the bigger world. Rob caught the whole thing on video (but from a very discreet angle).
Closer and closer to her popping out, her head would be crowning, but she wouldn't pop. My doctor had to, unfortunately, cut my perineum just enough for her to squeeze through. I had no idea she did that. Again, I had an awesome anesthesiologist. My pediatrician (as in, MY pediatrician who's now Nicole's) was there as well, one of the biggest cheerleaders in the room. One more big push, everyone said... two nurses on my belly ready to bear down on me, to aid my pushing the baby out. And push we all did, and then, after much pushing from my and the nurses, out she popped! 12:12 pm, Spurs and Mavs were tied at 96-96. I could feel her body slipping out of me quickly, but no pain. Once she was out, she cried SOOOOOOOOOO LOUD!!! Lungs were working! And at first sight, I fell in love, she was the most gorgeous thing I'd ever seen. Measurements were then taken of her, footprints for the official documents and her baby book were stamped, and she was brought to the huggery to be cleaned up. I stayed in the delivery room an extra couple of hours for the doctor to clean up my insides of blood clots and remains of membrane from my water bag, and stitch me up where I was cut. After the doctor left, Rob and I started making phone calls to family in the US to deliver the news. At a little past 2:30, we headed upstairs to our private room. The baby was clean, dry and sound asleep. At last, we could settle in.
Now it's time for me to get some sleep... I was able to get a few hours of rest earlier tonight... was trying to breastfeed but haven't been very successful (not to worry, I'm giving myself time before I throw in the towel). I should be able to express soon. Maybe in a few days, I'll be able to give my milk away. I'll be able to feed the world!
5:30 am, May 17. Time for this mommy to call it a night. Nicole's still sleeping peacefully... I'd better take advantage of that.