Okay. So...wow. So much has happened these past five and a half weeks...
I suppose I must go back even further, though, to capture the whole essence of the last few weeks of pregnancy and such. :)
By mid-November, I was ready. I was 37 weeks preggo, thus considered "full term," and prepared to pop any day. Every week, my doc would add such hopeful comments such as, "well, we'll see you next week, if you're still pregnant!" Hahaha. And the next week, I most certainly would be (but only for a few weeks straight. You understand...). I would come back from each appointment a little more distraught than the last, anxious to meet this little person who had been growing in my belly for nine long months. I was beginning to feel like I'd be pregnant FOREVER. Nights were hard to sleep through, and contractions were constantly coming and going.
Ryan's aunt Thuyanh arrived December 1st to stay with us for the entire coming week, in anticipation that Cali would arrive by her due date, the 7th. Monday afternoon, Dec. 3rd, I had an appointment with my doctor, in which I found out that in terms of dilation and effacement I had not only not made progress, but seemed to be regressing! I was so discouraged and thought this baby would never come. Of course, that thought is just absurd. Babies have to be born sometime. I knew this, of course. I have taken Human Anatomy. ;) After a good long cry (during which, I must say, Ryan was very comforting), we all took advantage of the time we had together to go out and buy a few last items we wanted, but other than that, we waited around. Looooong days, let me tell you, but only because each day I hoped it was "the day." Well, Thursday, the 6th, crept along, and I was seriously wondering how late from her due date this child would be. We went to Braum's because I was in serious need of a milkshake, which I decided to make yucky by adding a little castor oil. If you don't know what that means, it is probably best you don't ask...
We watched "Amazing Grace" (good movie, by the way) that night, and a little bit after it was over, my contractions started getting stronger and closer together, but I didn't want to get everyone all excited, go to the hospital, and be sent home (again). Yes, we had previously made a trip to the Labor and Delivery, a few weeks earlier. And it was quite uneventful (obviously). So this time, I just decided to wait it out. So here we were, the eve of December 7th. I managed to take a nap, and got to spend some time with Ryan beforehand. He didn't know how bad the contractions were getting, and I intended to keep it that way until I knew if they were leading up to anything. I woke up after said nap with more intense contractions, but let Ryan keep sleeping for another hour and a half, at which time I decided we should probably go to the hospital in case things speed up suddenly. Ryan jumps out of bed when I tell him, and he wakes up aunt Thuyahn. It may have seemed odd to them, but I was just taking my sweet time getting ready, even though my bag had been packed for two months, haha. I'm telling you...I was READY. Now that I think about it, I should have put my contacts in. I don't know why I was convinced that I could not go through labor with contacts on my eyeballs. Such a mystery, it is. I later found out it would have been completely acceptable.
We arrived at the hospital at 7am. By this day, I was pretty familiar with that part of the hospital, haha. The nurse checked me; just a mere 1cm and 80% effaced. Bah, I thought to myself. All those contractions and only 1cm?!? But alas...it was truly going somewhere. At about 8am, my doctor arrived, and I had progressed to 2cm and 100%. So they decided to keep me there. At 9:30, the contractions were still only 4 to 5 minutes apart, and had been that way for a looooong time, so they put me on a slow drip pitocin (makes contractions more intense to speed things up), but since it was just a little bit, it was manageable. However, Cali decided to switch her position, so I was in back labor for several hours. This means the baby is facing outwards instead of inwards, so the pressure is mostly on the nerves and everything in the poor woman's back (and I empathize with any woman who has experienced such pain).
At 11:30am the doctor breaks my water. Boy, do things speed up after that happens. By noon, after twelve hours of labor thus far, Cali was still facing the wrong direction, and I decided to let go of my ideas of a real woman's labor and told the nurse I wanted the epidural. I had been a very good girl, breathing through those beautiful contractions, and keeping my cool. Now, I knew it would be a while before I got the silly thing in my back, so I went ahead and asked for it before things got even more intense. Ryan held my hands while the anesthesiologist inserted the needle in my back. Let me tell you, I HATE needles. However, I had wonderful contractions to keep me distracted, and in case that wasn't enough, I sat there, hunched over, talking some smack about guinea pigs, and how the Dzaks have one. The hospital staff was quite entertained. Well, getting that long needle in my back had some spectacular results. I felt no more contractions after getting the epidural.
Ryan, aunt Thuyanh and I proceeded to watch some Brian Regan on DVD, but we didn't make it very far into the show before I was 10cm and the nurses started bringing in all sorts of tables and frightening accessories. Haha. Moments before, one nurse told us it would be "soon." We figured she meant perhaps 4 more hours or so. NO, she meant SOON, as in, within the next five minutes. Definitely caught us by surprise. Then came the pushing, during which I looked up at aunt Thuyanh and said, "hey, is that Mickey Mouse on your sweatshirt?" After probably 10 minutes of the lovely (and did I mention, fun?) activity of pushing, Cali was born at 2:37pm. 7lbs, 19.5 inches, and absolutely perfect. Ryan was such a trooper during the whole labor and delivery. He da man! I couldn't have done nearly as well without him, and aunt Thuyanh was a tremendous help as well.
Sunday evening, we are discharged from the hospital. After going through the monumental event of giving life to a child, we were by no means aware of what was going on with the weather outside. Ryan and a friend, Adam, taught that ice on the windshield who's boss, and we made it home. As luck would have it, the next morning...our power went out. So no heat, and a newborn baby. Those two elements are truly not compatible with one another. My mother was with us at the time (for the week), and we thought through what options we had. Electric heaters were out, of course. Couldn't get a propane tank; nowhere to put it. And we certainly couldn't stay warm with the candles we had around the house! Thankfully, we have such amazing friends who we can count on to help us in times of need.
We packed all of the things we would need for a couple days (which is no easy task for new parents who are not yet sure what all is absolutely necessary for travel with a brand new baby) and take off into the mass chaos awaiting on the treacherous roads. It was like experiencing the Tulsa version of the Chronicles of Narnia, or something. Icicles galore, even on each blade of grass! Every stop light along the way out. Traffic backed up to China. Tree branches toppling left and right, an occasional power line on someone's house (okay, I'm stretching that one a bit, although I'm sure it really happened, just not within eyesight of where we were...).
An hour later, we made it the 15 miles to our friends' house. But of course...their power had JUST gone out minutes before we arrived, but we weren't going back home after that whole ordeal of driving over there. Besides, it was nice to be with other company, and come to find out, they had a gas powered fireplace, so we ended up sleeping next to their fireplace that night. :) Despite the fact that I was terribly sore and still unsure of what I thought of the whole delivery experience, we had a splendid time with our friends. I am glad we stayed there. Their power returned the next day, but ours didn't, so we stayed another night.
WOW, I'm tiring very quickly at this point, and will have to continue this later. You can safely assume that I did not type this with one single hand.