Some things that happened in the weeks before Roland's birth:
I switched OBs. At 35 weeks pregnant we made an appointment with my new OB due to some conflicting views as well as other concerns we had about my health. In hindsight, that was one of the best decisions we made this pregnancy.
I had a doctor's appointment on Superbowl Sunday (long story) and was 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced. The week before I had been 3 cm and 75% effaced. The doctor told us both times "I'll see you at your next appointment, but probably sooner."
... On Tuesday, February 4th:
I woke up around 3 am to go bathroom and when I came back to bed I was wide awake. I laid there and watched something on Netflix like I usually do on sleepless nights and waited for sleep to come. Gabe woke up at 4 am with an upset stomach that kept him awake until around 5. At 5:37 am I felt a "pop" and thought "Well, that was a strange kick." But then when I felt a trickle of fluid I realized that maybe my water could be breaking. I stood up and felt a gush and then shook Gabe and said "Gabe, my water just broke." "What?" he said half awake. He got out of bed and threw some pants on while I changed into yet another pair of sweatpants. We got our bags and headed out. There was a light drizzle as we drove to the hospital and as I looked at the bright lights and reflective road lines I couldn't help but smile that our little boy would decide to come during Gabe and I's favorite weather. As we pulled up to the ER entrance I felt my first real contraction.
We went to the ER and they called someone from Labor and Delivery (L&D) to come take us back. As they brought a wheel chair for me to sit in the nurse said "Here you go Mom." And that was when exactly what was happening hit me. We were about to officially become parents. When we got to L&D I was weighed and sent to a triage room. The nurse came in to check whether or not my water had truly broken because my belly was still squishy enough to raise suspicion, and it was my first child (lesson learned: almost no one listens to you when you're having your first child). When she went to gather some of the fluid she moved Roland's head aside (he was in position and ready to be born) and the rest of my amniotic fluid came rushing out. She looked at us and said "Let's get you to a room." I was given a hospital gown and went to change in the bathroom, where I had to have Gabe come help me because I couldn't quite tie the gown in all the right places. While I was trying to change the insurance guy came in to get my info, but he ended up getting Gabe to sign everything.
We were moved to a much bigger room and settled in. Not soon after my mom showed up (she lives five hours away and had just got into town, perfect timing, right?). Because I gave birth at a teaching hospital I was asked if I would be willing to have nursing students assist. I had no problem with it, especially because I have a few nurses in my family, besides I was a bit distracted by contractions. Gabe disagreed after he saw the student nurse attempt an IV placement and he could tell the first stick didn't even hit the vein and it started bleeding all over, the student tried again and it didn't work, finally the teaching nurse stepped in and placed the IV.
Initially, I had decided that I wanted to try and go through labor without an epidural simply because I wanted to see if I could. But, if not, no big deal. When the contractions became more intense I asked for one. However, my previous OB's office had not transferred my records over and before I could get an epidural they had to do some blood work and run a few other tests. In the meantime, I was given a low dose IV injection of Stadol, which was great. It took the edge off my contractions but I was still completely lucid and able to feel everything.
As the contractions progressed I tried to do some yoga poses while Gabe was next to me holding my hand, making inside jokes and being my cheerleader through contractions. My mom sat in a chair watching and once in a while asking the nurses for things like ice chips and juice to try and keep my blood sugar stable. Most of the staff was wonderful, but the main nurse was unnecessarily abrasive. During a particularly painful contraction she told me "You need to stay still or you're going to step on the baby." as I changed positions to ease pain.
Contractions came closer together, but because of how quickly labor progressed Gabe, the nurse and I didn't realize how soon Roland would be arriving. When I had a 4 1/2 minute contraction, with a 30 second break before my next contraction my mom went into the hall, found my nurse, and made her come check me to see how far I was dilated. When the nurse came in I told her I really wanted to push (and maybe had already started to). "Not yet, Dr. Allerkamp is on his way, you need to stop being so dramatic." The nurse was pretty annoyed about everything until she checked me. All of a sudden she started barking out orders and calling for my doctor. No epidural.
Finally all the equipment was brought in, and Dr. Allerkamp showed up out of breath (he had run all the way from the clinic next door when they called him). The bright lights were turned on, the bed was lifted up and everyone was rushing around to put on protective clothing. Birth is a messy ordeal. With Gabe holding one leg and and the nurse holding the other one I began pushing. The nurse kept telling me to relax and readjust my legs. At this point I let down all pretenses, looked at Gabe and quietly said "I don't want to do this." I thought for sure that pushing would be more painful than contractions and after hearing horror stories of pushing for hours I was scared because of how weak I felt.
When the nurse tried yet again to have my readjust my legs, my doctor cut off the nurse saying "Stop, she's doing fine." then he said "Heather I want you to listen to me, you're doing really good, I just want you to bear down, he's so close." I was able to concentrate on delivery and after fifteen minutes of pushing, little Roland was born at 9:01 am, weighing 6 pounds 6 ounces, and 19 1/2 inches long.
A little blurry, but the first picture of Ro
Because Ro came so quickly, combined with the fact that I hadn't had anything to eat since the night before my body had a difficult time handling the birth. I started shaking, was sick and swelled up during labor. It took me the next few days to get over feeling completely out of it.