With my first labor, the doctors had strongly encouraged me not to come in until a certain point. I think they've seen their fare share of anxious mothers-to-be arrive too early on in their labor. After five hours of laboring at home with Nolan, when I arrived I was between 2-3 centimeters dilated. Luckily, they admitted me. This time, I did not want to tote Nolan to the hospital in the middle of the night, only to not be admitted. However, this time my doctor had told me not to wait too long. Second labors progress quicker, and I was not planning on missing my window to receive the epidural. No sirree. The epidural is a gift from the heavens if you ask me.
So I figured it was time to pull the trigger. I was probably dilated to a few centimeters, the pain was intense, and I was ready for that sweet epidural followed by a restful nap. It was now a little after
1:00 am and drizzling outside. I roused Jonny, who kicked into gear. He loaded our last things and Nolan into the car, and I got settled in the front seat. Away we went. As my first contraction began, Nolan had his eyes on me from the back seat. As a mama's boy, he is not a fan of seeing me in pain. I avoided his stare and talked to him between contractions. We let him know that it was time for the "doctor to take the baby out," just as we had been talking about with him for months. He quietly sucked his thumb, and took in the view from the back seat.
We pulled up to the hospital entrance where I was loaded into a wheelchair. Rolling, rolling, rolling, I headed up to labor and delivery while Jon parked the car and gathered our things. Our wonderful nurse was waiting for our arrival, and had me set up and ready in my bed within a few quick moments. It was almost exactly 2:00 am. Thankfully, the contractions had subsided a bit so I had a bit of a breather as I was made comfortable in our room. The nurse let me know that contractions often get "doctor shy" when you arrive, but that they would be back. I made clear, after already making clear when we phoned in, that I would be wanting the epidural and needing the anesthesiologist. There is often only one anesthesiologist on at our hospital, and if they are with another patient, in a surgery, etc. then you are out of luck. Seriously. As the nurse went through her checklist of questions, "Allergies? Taking any medications? Date of Birth?" Jon and Nolan popped into the room.
Nolan. Maybe I should touch on him for a moment. Have I ever in my wildest dreams planned on bringing my 2 1/2 year old to labor and delivery with me? Nope. Was Jon confident that he could come with us and it would be fine? Yep. Did I think that my parents would arrive before we went to the hospital? Yep. Did we want to wake our friends in the middle of the night, and hand them off a two year old? Nope. Our hospital is small and approachable, and the labor and delivery department has only a few rooms. Jon had convinced me enough that it would be "just fine," so I went with it. To be honest, I was just so thankful Jon was at home with us and not working overnight.
It was time for the moment of truth. The nurse was going to check me to see where I was at in my labor. Jon was out of the room with Nolan when the nurse gave me the news. 7 centimeters. "What!" Jon shot back into the room. "7 Centimeters? What are you talking about? Can I still have the epidural?" We could not believe that I had already progressed that far. On top of that, the baby's head was very low. Like way low. Like don't sneeze.
"Yes, yes, you should still be able to have the epidural. But first we need the lab here to do blood work. And you need to have a full IV bag. And then he will be able to come up." Add all of this hospital speak up and you're looking at about an hours time frame. At this point, the contractions were back like clockwork and they were back with a vengeance. An hour more of this pain was not going to be easy to manage. Nolan was now nestled in the corner of the room in a bassinet (which was actually for the new baby, and we had thrown into the car at the last minute in case we needed a makeshift place for Nolan to rest), behind a chair out of eye shot of me. He rocked himself in the bassinet, with his feet pressed up against the wall, thumb in mouth, not saying a peep.