I'm sleep deprived and may well get some times/stats wrong here. Correct me if you spot any errors (those of you who would know)
contractions started around 2am Saturday Dec 31st 2005
started timing contractions around 4am
14 contractions in 30 minutes
to hospital on advice of Jana (our friend and doula)
admitted around 5:45am to the last available room with 3cm dilation and full effacement, baby at -1 station
Laura labored without medication under increasingly longer and stronger contractions which rushed her to 7cm dilation by 9:30am. Doctor expected we would be pushing within an hour or so at that (very rapid!) rate of dilation.
During this period, we learned that the baby was tollerant of very few positions and her heart rate would plummet in most positions. Laura's bag of waters was ruptured so that they could apply a scalp monitor to her in order to have close continuous monitoring of this issue. We were advised at multiple points that a C-section might be required.
by 10:00am, the contractions were much, much worse but examinaion showed that we were still at 7cm. With the unusually rapid progression through labor, Lara had not had much time to acclimate to the contractions' severity. Also, C-sections can be done in much less time with a spinal tube already in place. We opted for an epidural.
the epidural was perfect. Laura could feel her legs, move them somewhat (once the initial boulus had worn off a bit), feel when contractions were occuring (but not feel their pain), feel when to push, and that she was pushing. The pain relief was uniform and very welcome.
a couple of hours after the epidural, we were still stalled at 7cm, and her contractions were actually slowing down. We opted for pitocin to get things moving again.
by 2:00 pm, we were close enough to 10cm that they had Laura do a couple of practice pushes to see if she would be able to push at that dilation and through the epidural. She could, so we started pushing.
All through this, we were still seeing concerning heart rate decelerations. Once Laura had pushed for a while, we were advised that a C-section was no longer likely, but that forceps or vaccume extraction might be required to accelerate delivery if things worsened. At the very end, they were ready to try these options, but Laura asked for a couple more pushes and threw every once of her reserve into the effort and delivered our daughter with a total of 75 minutes of pushing.
During delivery, we learned that the umbilical cord had been wrapped around her neck twice. Whenever a position change or pushing pressed her chin down toward her chest, the cord would be compressed cutting off her umbilical blood supply. This explained the decells we were worrying about all through labor. Laura cut the cord (yes, I'm squeamish).
She was born 4:21pm Sat Dec 31st 2005 7 pounds, 5.6 ounces, 19 inches long, 13.5 inches head circumference (and zero cone-head due to Laura's much relaxin-relaxed pelvis!), and 13.25 inches chest circumference. We had not yet picked her name.