At 2:00 pm we pulled up to the small front entrance of the hospital. We left our bags and gear in the car and parked in a thirty minute zone. Jon's thought was why bring anything in if we weren't going to be staying for too long. My thought was these contractions are becoming really uncomfortable. As we walked up to the welcome kiosk at the front of the hospital I was struck by another contraction. A, "I need to sit down and grip something" kind of contraction. Jon landed me in a wheelchair that was convenient to the front door. Our small town little hospital didn't have anyone staffed at the kiosk, so I shouted at Jon to dial "0" to find out where we needed to go. Luckily it was a quiet day at the hospital and we were the only two people standing in the little lobby. I heard Jon tell the operator in a very slow and calm voice (which probably added to my frustration and pain), "Hi, my wife and I are here and she may be going into labor". May. A woman in the middle of a painful contraction, clenching a pillow and seated in a wheelchair does not want to be told that she may be going into labor. I very politely and gently (although that may not be Jon's interpretation of my outburst shouted at Jon that "I AM in labor".
Maybe it was something about the tone of my voice or the apparent strength of my last contraction, but Jon urgently pushed me across the lobby and into the elevator. We were on our way up to the labor and delivery ward. And I was about to get sick. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I have a propensity to get sick too easily. Be it on planes, in cars, on boats, in elevators, or after a few too many glasses of champagne, I am no stranger to a little vomit. Staring at the elevator doors in front of me as we headed up to the second floor, my head was spinning. Wait! Hadn't I read that many women get sick before delivering?
The nurses told us that we were a sight to behold as we rolled through the large labor and delivery doors. Jon pushing me. Me gripping a pillow. And yes, I was again in the midst of another painful contraction (I'm telling you, a two minute break between each wave of pain was not enough time). They're accustomed to seeing hospital staff escorting new arrivals into the ward, not father-to-be's managing a wheelchair and an unhappy wife. We were immediately whisked into a delivery room. While we were completely out of our element, clearly the nurses had seen this all before. Lynda, our nurse, got me into the bathroom and undressed immediately. We'd been on hospital grounds for all of four minutes and modesty was already thrown out the window. With Lynda's encouragement I gripped the bathroom counter and focused on my breathing as another one hit and I quickly undressed.
I got propped up in bed just as another one hit. As Lynda worked on getting me strapped up, I focused on managing my pain. It was a matter of minutes before the on call doctor, Dr. Thompson strolled into the room in a dirty t-shirt, shorts and flip flops. That's Tahoe for you. He proceeded to check my progress (I'll refrain from the details on how fun that was). 2 - 2.5 cm dilated and about 60% effaced. Whoa, whoa, whoa. 6.5 hours of labor and I was at just over 2 cm! This was going to be a long day. Dr. Thompson, casually mentioned that we should get me all hooked up and checked in. I believe at this moment Jon uttered something along the lines of "What? We're staying? This is really it?" and I uttered something along the lines of "Well if you weren't going to admit us we'd be sitting in the truck bed in the parking lot until you did." The doctor explained that because I was ten days early my body was doing a lot of work to soften up the cervix, hence my contractions only being two minutes apart.
The next hour and a half went something like this:
Yes, prettttttyyyyyy glamorous.
Jon and I worked through my contraction pains. I wanted to see how much pain I could endure. I've always thought that I have a pretty good pain tolerance but I'll admit that labor put me to the test. Between each contraction I was feeling very weak. There was no strength to my grip. I was expecting a long labor, which could mean up to about eighteen more hours of contractions before delivery. The doctor's estimation was that I would deliver the following morning, and Nolan would have a birthday of July 12th. At this point I figured I was hovering somewhere around 3 cm. With all of these factors in mind I decided it was time to call in the big guns. The epidural.