It was Friday, August 8th. Matt and I had dinner plans with a few friends and I was craving the meal! The braxton hicks contractions had been getting to me all day but I wanted to tough it out and be social for the evening. Throughout dinner, I was getting irregular contractions but I kept my mouth shut as I really wanted to enjoy the meal.
We came home around 11pm and the pain immediately started to increase. I wasn't sure if I was in labor or not but I didn't sleep much as the contractions continued through the night. Finally, at 7am we decided to head to the hospital. Unfortunately, I was only 2cm dilated and the midwives said go home. This was discouraging but we took their advice. We went home and I was actually able to rest for a few hours as the contractions slowed down. It was as if Madelyn knew I needed that break to prepare for the long night ahead!
When I woke up, the pain immediately returned. The contractions continued throughout the day, very slowly getting closer and more painful. We decided to take several walks around the neighborhood, pausing at each pain so I could breath and lean on him. When I think about it now, it was the day that I have most lived in the moment. I wasn't thinking about anything but Madelyn and getting through the contractions one at a time. We had prepared for a natural childbirth in many ways (mostly through hypnobirthing techniques) but we found that as each contraction passed, Matt and I needed to figure out what worked for us and what didn't- I needed to lean on him, sway back and forth and be as quiet as possible. Although we were having intense contractions, we still wondered, "Is this really it?" We were so nervous!
At about 6pm, my mom and dad brought dinner. We knew it was going to be another long night. I had been eating popsicles all day but managed to get some dinner in between contractions too. My dad fell asleep in the chair as my mom helped me through the pain. Matt turned on some Jack Johnson as we hung out in the living room - wondering when we should make the trip to the hospital. I was talking with the midwife occasionally on the phone, keeping them up to date. Finally at about 8pm, we all decided we needed to go.
In the 10 minutes it took to get to the hospital, I had two extremely uncomfortable contractions. I was sitting in the front seat, on my knees, facing backwards, with a seat belt on - not at all ideal! Thankfully, when we arrived, we learned that I was 5cm dilated! We were so excited to know that we were not leaving that hospital without Madelyn. Matt called everyone with updates. We settled into the room, continued to watch the Summer Olympics on TV, as I walked around, rocking back and forth, leaning on Matt through each contraction.
Sue, our midwife, checked in often. I continued to progress and Madelyn's heartbeat sounded great with each monitoring. Finally, at about 1:30am it was time to start pushing. I have never worked so hard in my life! My friend Anita and Matt were an amazing support team. I had spent all day focusing on getting through each contraction that I completely forgot Madelyn had to eventually get "pushed" out. I worked for almost 2 hours, summoning all the energy that I had left. I was exhausted, hot, and so badly wanted to meet Madelyn. Matt kept saying, "You're almost there." I wanted to believe him but it felt like forever! All of a sudden, Sue said, "One more!" and plopped Madelyn on my belly! Madelyn nursed almost immediately as the nurse cleaned her up. All I could do was stare.
Words cannot describe that moment. Amazing... exhilarating...pure joy.