ELP finally decided to make an appearance this morning just before 10. My contractions got serious (not extreme, but somewhat painful and to me obviously not my usual practice contractions) around 3 PM yesterday, and they were 3-5 min apart by 6, so we went in around 7 PM. They slowed down a bit when we relaxed in bed (not that I had been crazily running around in circles before that or anything), maybe to 8 min apart, but were still painful. There were a lot of people laboring here at the time, and my nurse really felt that the contractions were going to go away. She told me to go home and eat dinner (which I already told her I had eaten) and drink a bunch of water (though I had been drinking reasonably all day) and to lie down awhile and rest and they would go away. She said something about how the baby would come on her own time. And I'm thinking--yep, and her time is now. But I knew it would be awhile and I didn't have a choice, so I went home. I ate some pie, milk, and water, which was a bad idea because then I started throwing up. I was actually throwing up a lot yesterday and this morning. I think it was the surge of all the different hormones (I think estrogen or one like that makes me nauseous) as opposed to the surge of mainly Pitocin only last time when we didn't really get strong labor started on our own.
So then during the night the contractions were getting worse, but still 8-10 min apart. So I would start to fall asleep then wake up when the next one came. But she said not to walk around or try to speed them up. But by 4:30 AM this morning, it was blatantly obvious to me that they were not going away until the baby came. So I called again, and the same nurse talked to me and told me to take a warm bath and drink water to make the contractions go away (even though I tried to explain that it's hard to drink water when you keep throwing it up, and I told her that the contractions were not going to go away), and that I could come in but she'd probably just send me home. Then around 5 the contractions were still 7 or 8 minutes apart, but they were severely painful and I decided this is ridiculous and I called to say I was coming in. The nurse was like, ok but we might just send you home.
Then when we got in, I was happy that I had another nurse! But she consulted with the first one and decided I should probably be sent home. She checked me and said I was still 1 cm and 50% effaced like I had been yesterday, so this wasn't real labor and I wasn't making progress. Let me tell you--maybe you shouldn't expect to make a whole lot of progress when people tell you to try to rest, lay down, and eat and drink a bunch of stuff! So she was like, well you can walk around for 1 hour and then I'll check you, and if there is no progress we will send you home. At this point I asked for about the third time what kind of pain medicine I could get, since I had been up all night doing this and it was getting ridiculous. I had hoped to be pain medicine free this labor (last time I hardly had a choice, as it looked like perhaps the only way to help get the baby out faster and avoid a c-section), but I was getting really frustrated because they wouldn't just admit me to the stupid hospital and let me labor in peace, and it had been so long (probably in small part because they asked me not to walk around or anything). She told me again that there was no pain medicine, and I explained there was no way I could go home in this condition. I was in severe pain, very tired, and kept throwing up! She said if they sent me home, they would give me morphine and a sleeping pill, and that if I went into "real labor" I would wake up anyway. Not sure if that made me feel better or more frustrated. So we walked around for maybe 30 minutes, in much more severe pain during the contractions and some pain even between contractions, and threw up on the floor once, and I again went up to her and asked if there were any medicines we could take. I tried to explain how much pain it was by saying it didn't hurt this bad the last time until we were really far along. She said she could check me out then (instead of in another 30 min). That time, we were at 4 cm. She seemed a bit surprised. Obviously then she said she could keep me, and went about ordering an epidural.
Finally at 7:30 AM they started putting in my IV antibiotics! I was group B strep positive, so the guideline is to have 4 hours of antibiotics before the birth. At this point I knew there was little chance of that, and I was kind of annoyed they wouldn't admit me earlier and just start on the antibiotics. I mean, how many people have severe contractions for more than 12 hours on a second pregnancy, and turn out to not be in labor? It can't be that common . . . Not that it's a huge deal, just very slightly raises both of our risk of getting group B strep, and makes it so ELP had to get extra blood tests.
Maybe around 8:30 I finally got the epidural. I considered not doing it, because I think the strongest contractions were over, but I couldn't be sure, and I wasn't getting much (or any) rest between the contractions I was having. They never seemed all that regular (like exactly 2 min apart or something that the first nurse seemed to imply was a requirement for real labor). Anyway the epidural takes around an hour for them to get around to doing it, so it's not like you can just change your mind in an instant and get one. So I went with it and obviously felt much better. This one was a little less strong than the one I got with LP, which was really nice because I could still feel what was going on. LP's one had been with a doctor who hardly explained anything, while this one was with a specialized nurse, who was very helpful and made sure to get me to understand what was going on--no point to having extra doctor's training if you don't get to use it to make sure your patients do what they are supposed to . . . but I guess it's more important in special cases . . .
After the epidural, we were all very happy. The pushing was really easy. Too bad my sister and father had turned around from driving here when we were sent home from the hospital the first time, and then we decided not to tell them to come in for sure again until we got admitted again, which turned out to be really late in the game. So they missed the birth, but were here pretty soon afterwards. And I even got my regular OB doctor because she was on call this weekend! Mom and LP were in the room too, and she kept him distracted during the scary parts, although it was pretty calm for a birth, because she came out in just a few pushes. She was a lot bigger than we thought, but was still looking a lot thinner than LP because she was half a pound less and 2 inches longer. LP is adorable--keeps asking to hold ELP and kisses her!
Update: I forgot the best part--once the head and shoulders were delivered, the doctor told me to pull the rest of the baby out! It was really fun, and I got to pull her right out and put her on my belly! I have a great picture of it!