This is super long, but I don't want to forget these details! On December 2, 2012 I woke up with contractions at around 6 am. I was not sure if it was the real deal, but I knew they felt different than the braxton hicks I had been getting. I started timing them and they were anywhere from 5 to 11 minutes a part. I decided to go up to the loft to watch tv because I knew I would not be able to sleep. After about 10 minutes of that and the contractions starting in my back, I decided I could not concentrate on tv and that I should take a shower. I woke Jeff up and told him I was taking a shower and he said "Oh, I should get up!" He knew this was probably it as I don't typically just get up at 6 am and shower for no reason :) I showered and had two contractions just while taking a shower. They were getting to the point where I couldn't talk or do anything while they were occurring. I dried and straightened my hair, finished my bag and called the doctor at 8am to ask if she thought I should head to the hospital. She called back shortly and said sounds like it might be it.
I was really afraid it was just really early labor and they would send me home. I kept saying, "oh I just don't want to be the person that gets sent away!" It was a rainy day (whichi is rare for LA!), but because it was a Sunday morning we made it to Santa Monica in record time and had no traffic at all. I remember getting out of the car at valet and thinking "wow this is really happening". After we got up to the L&D floor I was having a contraction and tried to keep walking and Jeff said "it's okay to stop". I don't know why I didn't think of that! We got checked in at 9:10 a.m. and put in a labor and delivery room. They gave me a hospital gown, hooked me up to the fetal monitor and then checked me and said I was dilated between a 3 and a 4. Jeff then asked the (amazing) nurse we had if he should go get our bags from the car in valet and she said, "probably, but let me verify from the doctor". Right then I said "Um I think my water broke". She checked me and sure enough it did! It was close to 10:00 a.m. around then and she said, you are definitely staying! The room was really big and nice and had a nice view of Santa Monica.
I was planning on holding off on my epidural for awhile so I could walk around and help the baby drop. The nurse said based on her 30 years experience, walking doesn't really help the baby drop, rather "contractions and pushing" does. They also wanted me to stay in bed with the fetal monitor on (mostly because of being there a few days before for the protein). So I decided I wouldn't wait too long, because there was no point since I had to stay in bed anyway. The contractions were getting more intense and laying down really made the back contractions worse, so around 11:30 I got the epidural and I was dilated at around a 5. The anesthesiologist was so great. I was really scared of the epidural (I mean, lets be real, a tetnus shot brings me MAJOR anxiety). The doctor and the nurse got me through it and it was really no big deal. I just kept my eyes shut and didn't move a muscle the entire time. Jeff actually watched- he's crazy like that. The nurse made him sit down on a stool a few feet back and told him not to get up, as they don't want someone passing out and hitting the floor. Nice. I guess the needle was realllly big! She sat on the bed with me and held my legs and soon after I was feeling good! The nurse said I was progressing right on target and that she guessed I would have the baby by 5:00! Jeff and I relaxed per the nurses orders for the next few hours. I tried to nap, and even had my phone confiscated from me by Jeff because I kept texting people and not rest. I am not even sure if I ever slept - I don't think I did. I was so glad it was a Sunday because we were able to watch football! It's funny because I had been joking through out my pregnancy that I hoped she came on a Saturday or Sunday because daytime tv was so boring and football would keep me entertained. She cooperated :) Unfortunately the chargers game was blacked out (b/c we suck) but we watched a few other good games.
I got to a 9.5 by around 5:00 pm and they gave me a little pitocin to get me to a 10 because I had sorta stalled. I got to a 10 around 5:30ish and it was time to push! I pushed through two sets of contractions and the nurse had me stop. I can't believe how tiring just that was and she said it could take 2 hours. Wow. After not eating and drinking all day, I was so thirsty, starving and already exhausted. The nurse then said that Giuliana's heart rate had dropped and so they wanted to stop for a bit for it to even out. Well, it went way up (which is normal to overcompensate) but then never really went back to where it had been all day. We waited around an hour and the doctor came in and said we could try one more pushing session to see if she started to drop (she was at a plus 2 station so need to drop a bit more). The nurse said during the last time, she wasn't moving down at all and the doctor said that was all she needed to hear, and that she recommended a c-section. I looked at Jeff and we both said, "whatever you think". I was scared, but also relieved that I didn't have to push for two hours. Our doctor left to change clothes, they got Jeff his scrubs, and started prepping me. The anesthesiologist returned to changed my epidural meds. I remember I kept thinking, I can still feel stuff, what if it doesn't work. I was so scared that I would feel the surgery! It wasn't rushed, but all seemed to happen so fast. As I was being wheeled out of the Labor and Deliver room the tv remote, which is hooked to the wall fell and landed right on my head. Apparently no one saw (not even the nurses' assistant pushing me) because no one said a word. I was just thinking "really?".
I got into the OR and it all was surreal. I kept wondering when Jeff was going to come in. I kept thinking, "what if they forget about him?" I think I asked 5 times where he was. They strapped my arms down and thank goodness the anesthesiologist was so kind. He was an older man, and just knew the right things to say. He sat by my head the entire time and was so sweet. Finally, Jeff came in and I kept wiggling my hands so he would hold my hand. He couldn't reach it and the anesthesiologist saw and moved his stool so that he could hold my hand :) At one point I was convinced something was wrong because I heard the doctor say "That is weird..." I asked Jeff if everything was okay and he kept saying yes. In what seemed like forever, finally the doctor said, you are going to feel a lot of pressure. It felt like my ribs were being crushed and then the anesthesiologist asked if I wanted to watch. He had a strong accent and I really didn't know what he said, so I said "yes?" He then ripped the curtain down in one swift motion and I saw them pulling her out (I didn't see my insides or anything, just her being lifted up). It was breathtaking and suddenly I was like, "Oh, yes! This is why I am here!" I was speechless.
The nurses and doctors all exclaimed "she's is perfect! And so big!" Everyone kept talking about her size, so I was thinking she was like 10 pounds! She was crying in seconds, and I was so relieved she sounded good! They also told me her umbilical cord was wrapped around her leg two times, which is why her heart was dropping when I was pushing. Poor girl was bungee jumping in there being pushed and pulled back up. I am just so thankful I didn't push for 2 hours before she decided it was time for the c section, because there was no way she was coming out the regular way. Right after they lifted her out, the nurses called for Jeff and he walked about 10 feet away from me and took pictures of her getting cleaned up, and he cut the umbilical cord. He came around the curtain a few times and gave me thumbs up and told me she was perfect. A few minutes later she was swaddled and snug and he held her on my chest while they sewed me up. The anesthesiologist took our first photo as a family of three and soon we were wheeled off, me carrying my baby girl, into the recovery area. The nurse had actually put her in the little crib to wheel her into recovery and the anesthesiologist said "No, that's not how we do it here! Mom carries her baby!" So they placed her in my arms and wheeled us together :). In recovery we had our "skin to skin" time where she started nursing right away like a champ! I was shaking uncontroably for about an hour, which I guess is totally normal from the hormonse and the epidural. It was a weird feeling for sure. Right when we got into recovery we were able to turn our phones on and Jeff called the family to tell everyone our perfect Giuliana was born at 7:34 p.m., 8.2 pounds and 19.25 inches long. The nursery nurse then gave Giuliana her first bath, with Jeff assisting and taking pictures, while I watched and waited for my numbness to wear off. At this point I was beyond tired and was fighting falling asleep. I wanted to watch her bath but I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open! Around 10:00 we were moved to our post partum room. What a day!