Joel and I got to UMC hospital at 4:30 in the morning. We went up to the labor and delivery unit to get checked in. After filling out the paperwork we went into the triage area so they could test me to make sure that my water had broken. I was sure that it had, but they had to do the tests anyway. We were the only ones in the triage area. They did their tests and determined that my water had broken so they immediately took me to a room. I was only dialated to a 1 at this point, but since my water had already broken, I didn't have to wait there. I was a little disappointed that I was only dialated to a 1, but I was 90% effaced and they told me that was really good. Joel and I got the nicest room on the floor. The view from the room was incredible. They started an IV and got me hooked up to the monitor for the baby. By the time I was all hooked up and settled in, it already after 7:30am. The nurse that started the 7:00am shift was with me through the birth and she was fabulous. I could not have asked for a better nurse. I had to get an antibiotic due to the fact that I tested positive for the group B strep. After they had started the antibiotic, they gave me something called cytotec to soften my cervix. They didn't want to give me Pitocin to induce labor until my contractions were more regular. Once they give you that, you have to wait 4 hours until they can check you again and determine if you are ready for the Pitocin. They told me I might have to have the cytotec more than once. The cytotec does not cause contractions but they do give you extreme cramping. During the 4 hours I was waiting, my contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I didn't think the contractions were that bad, but the pressure from the baby's head moving down was really intense. I decided that I would get the epidural at this point. I was really uncomfortable and ready for some relief. I had done some walking before I got the epidural and had enjoyed that, but wanted to be able to relax a little bit. I had been up since 5:00am the day before and was really tired. After I got the epidural I felt a lot better. It worked a lot more on the right side than the left, but I was happy for the relief it provided. I relaxed during this time, but was not able to sleep. I was only allowed to have ice chips and popsicles until the baby was born. They had orange, grape, and cherry. I had one of each. I started to get really hungry and it was beginning to make me nauseous so they gave me some medication for that. At the end of the 4 hours they checked me and decided that I was ready for the Pitocin. About an hour into the pitocin I was starting to get uncomfortable again so I got a boost of the epidural. I was dialated to a 4 1/2 at this point. The boost really kicked in and made my legs completely numb. Before the boost they didn't feel very numb at all. I could still feel the pressure from the baby during each contraction, but it wasn't very bad. About an 1 1/2 hours later, I started to feel really uncomfortable again and asked for another boost of the epidural. The nurse checked me first and at this point I was dialated to a 9 1/2so they couldn't give me another boost. She told me that I only had about 1/2 hour before I was ready to start pushing. They started setting the room up for the delivery at this point. I was now extremely uncomfortable and started crying. I apologized for crying and Joel told me it was ok to cry. He was massaging my back and trying his best to make me as comfortable as possible. About 1/2 hour later when I was dialated to a 10, I was ready to push. My legs were not numb at all at this point and I could feel my contractions so it made it easier for me to help out. I was able to feel when a contraction was starting so I could tell the nurse when I was ready to push instead of her having to tell me. I also was able to lift my legs up on my own. Joel still held one and the nurse held the other during the pushing. It made it a lot easier to be able to feel myself pushing instead of hoping I was doing it because I was numb and couldn't feel anything. During the contractions, it felt really good to push because it would stop the pressure. This was the most exhausting thing I have ever done though. At one point I told Joel I didn't think I was able to do it anymore but everyone was very encouraging and were telling me they knew I could do it and how great I was doing. Because we were at a teaching hospital, there were more people in the room than normal. There was the nurse, the resident doctor that had been with me throughout the day, the resident doctor that was delivering me, the attending doctor, and a medical student. After each time of pushing, I would collapse back on the bed and try and relax and breath as much as possible before it was time to start again. The delivering doctor was so encouraging and even commented on how nice my freshly pedicured toes looked. The nurse would feed me ice chips and put a cool cloth on my forehead while Joel massaged my back and encouraged me during the breaks from the pushing. After 1 1/2 hours of pushing, the baby was born. They immediately put him on my chest and wiped him down there. Joel was able to cut the cord. It was such an amazing and emotional time. He was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.
After this,they took him over to the incubation area that was in the room and finished cleaning him off, weighed and measured him, and did the newborn tests. During this time, I delivered the placenta, got checked out and cleaned up a little myself. The delivering doctor thanked me for being so nice during the delivery. I thanked her for being so incredible. Between her and the nurse, I had the best people delivering that I could have asked for. They really took their time, used a lot of mineral oil, massaged, and encouraged me during the delivery. I didn't have any tearing or need an episiotomy. They told me how incredible this was for a first baby. I was really happy. Joel and the nurse gave him his first bath and dressed him. They brought him back to me after this so I could feed him for the first time. It was really nice that they do all of this in the room now instead of bringing them to the nursery so I could watch them. After things had settled down a little bit, Joel said that he thought the baby looked like an Elijah. We hadn't named him yet and really hadn't talked about names very much at all. Elijah had been my favorite name of all the ones I had thought about. We decided that his name would be Elijah Joel Nielsen. The entire experience was so amazing and I couldn't have asked for it to go any better. Everything progressed really smoothly throughout the day and the delivery went great. Elijah was healthy and very alert right from the beginning. He looked absolutely perfect and everyone in the room commented on what a beautiful baby he was and how they don't usually look that good right after they are born. We are so blessed and extremely happy. Elijah is a wonderful addition to the family and we couldn't love him more.