(Miserable despite the smile. One of my favorite maternity photos by Cindy Isom Photography)
With this being my first pregnancy, I was anxious about the unknown: What do I do if my water breaks? How long will my labor last? I was not nervous about the pain. I knew I had a high pain tolerance, but I also wasn't opposed to an epidural if it looked like labor was going to last awhile.
I had been dilated about 1 cm at my last two visits, so I expected to be there still. "Well, McKenna," my doctor said, "You are at about a 3." ("Woohoo!" I thought). "I'm going to be out of town next week, and chances are you will have this baby while I'm gone." (My mental celebration screeched to a halt.) "If you'd like, we could induce you on Wednesday."(That was just a few days away! My mind reeled with all of the unfinished projects I had left to finish).
After talking to my husband, we decided to go for it. This would give me an extra week with my precious baby girl before I had to go back to school (making my maternity leave 5 weeks instead of the 4 that I had thought that I would have). With his family in Orlando, we thought it would also be nice to know the exact timing so they could be there. They quickly arrived and helped put the finishing touches on the nursery on Tuesday night. Michael and I woke up bright and early on Wednesday morning to arrive at the hospital by 6 am. When we got there, all of the lights were off, the doors were locked, and no one was around. A nurse walked up and scanned in for the doors to open, so we followed her in. We made our way to the deserted New Life Center. We had not taken any classes and were unfamiliar with the hospital (which I was starting to feel uneasy about at this point. Oh well!) We walked up to the nurses' desk and said, "Um, we're here to have a baby?"
They got me started on a few of the induction meds, but there were several patients delivering ahead of me, so they didn't break my water until about 1 that afternoon. In the meantime, Michael and I enjoyed watching several episodes of Friends. I was glad we had brought all 10 seasons on dvd with us. :-) Family popped in and out in between card games in the lobby. I was uncomfortable because I had to lay flat (which I thought meant on my back), and because my IV was not taped down very well, but my contractions were not bothering me at all. The nurses were standing around the nurses' station watching massive contractions come over my monitor and "drawing straws" over who had to come check on me. One nurse hesitantly peeked her head into my room and was amazed when I told her that I didn't even know that I was having contractions. Ha!
That all changed after they broke my water, though. The contractions began to get more intense, and after a few rounds of visitors through the pain, I told my sister to tell everyone that I had said no more visitors! I found out that through the whole day, from 6 am-2 pm, I had only dilated 3 more centimeters, putting me at a 6. That did not bode well to me for the last 4 centimeters, so I asked for the epidural. Only 15 minutes later, though, I was complete and ready to push (one of the younger nurses looked really concerned that I was about to deliver without the epidural), so Michael turned off Friends (haha!) and once the doctor arrived, just a few pushes later, Hunter was here!
She had the sweetest, fattest little face and a good set of lungs! No one could figure out who she looked like those first few days. She was already her own person: perfectly-formed, precious, and deeply loved.
I can not believe her first two years of life have flown by so quickly! We love you so much, our beautiful, spunky, Elizabeth Hunter!