Woke up soaked at midnight, and assumed my water had broken. My mother had decided to stay an extra night "just in case," which was awesome. I was especially glad for the support when the number my husband had given me to reach him at work (3rd shift) was just ringing and ringing. After 45 minutes, I gave up calling and drove to the very large facility where he works, having no idea which door to try or what to do if I actually got in. Thankfully, an angel with a headset was making a quick jaunt out to his car. Flagged him down, and he was able to get my husband out to me. Switched cars right as contractions kicked in. 1 at 15 minutes, 1 at 6 minutes, and then steady at 3 minutes. I seriously wondered what would have happened had I waited been expecting the 5 minutes contractions for an hour. We had a half hour drive to the hospital.
Went up to Labor and Delivery still at 3 minutes and found out I was 4 cm dilated... but that my water hadn't actually broken (I'm still skeptical). Started getting ill (which I was totally more embarrassed about doing in front of my husband than the whole delivering a baby thing), and asked for an epidural so I wouldn't be upchucking out of pain through the blessed event (I'm totally emetaphobic, so I couldn't think of anything worse than puking through the birth of my baby).
While the anesthesiologist was finishing up, I felt the urge to push. 6 pushes, and there was Zia, without the benefit of the epidural. The placenta was a bit more troublesome, and the doctor (crankiest dude I have ever met) actually had to go in and retrieve it. 2 stitches were from that, not the actual birth. That's really where I would have appreciated a doula or someone acting as my advocate. It didn't seem right, but I was too engrossed in baby and really wasn't informed of what was happening until it was half over. I'm not sure what my options were, but it just felt wrong.
The nurses have been amazing, though, and have not only honored, but encouraged my desires to breastfeed (Zia latched immediately!), have tons of skin time, and delay bathing to let the vernix do its thing a bit longer.
Zia has a beautiful temperament, completely different from her brother at birth. Jerome did everything at full blast from the first minutes, and Zia is quite content to soak it all in no matter what is happening. In fact, the births of my son and daughter could not have been more different. I'm thankful to have both perspectives: long, medicated labor (after wanting natural birth) with 3 hours of pushing and rapid, unintentionally natural (epidural kicked in for the placenta retrieval, but not the delivery) with only a few pushes. More than that, though, I'm thankful for a lovely, healthy little lady.