(P.S. This is going to be a very long read.)
Now, I did do a welcome post here, but apparently it's not enough for a birth story. Considering so many of my friends have been asking for details, I thought I'd might as well do a post so that I can direct them here for all the gory details and also preserve these to read when I am old and senile :).
My official due date was November 5th, 2012. I got up around 1AM that day, feeling a little weird - like IT was going to happen. Vish was ready to jump into the car and take us to the hospital but I dismissed the feeling, convincing myself that it was only because I knew it was my due date! I slept soundly for another 6 hours. Vish very reluctantly left for office (after asking me atleast 10 times that I was sure nothing was happening) - he had taken anticipatory leave already and hated the idea of going to work when he needn't have :D.
At around 9AM, I felt as if my water was breaking. I had a regular prenatal appointment scheduled for 4PM that day and was wondering if I should hang on till then. Now, the doctor had warned us that it is not always a la Hollywood water breaking with a flowing puddle in the middle of a mall! Even a leak could mean the water bag has ruptured. And not to mention dad and mom were dead sure that I need to go straight to the hospital :D. So, hesitatingly, I called the nurse at the clinic and asked her what I should do. She very casually remarked, "you could come in now, I'll prepone your appointment." Then the tough part, calling Vish back after having pushed him off! Poor guy came rushing home and we were off to the doctor's by 10. We waited for our turn, what seemed like forever. One look by the doc, and he was like, "Congratulations, the baby is coming, please rush to the hospital". Both of us took a minute to recover from the shock those words caused. So, this was it! IT was happening. We took our last car ride, as a couple, to the hospital, completed all check-in formalities, and by 1130AM, I was on the I/V, hooked onto monitors and what not, in the hospital bed. My first ever "hospital admission".
My birth plan was discussed, which had only two major components: A. I wanted a safe delivery. The baby's safety and well being would be the number 1 priority in any decision that the hospital team would need to take at any time. B. Pain Management: I wasn't going to kid myself. With no experience of any real physical pain, I was absolutely certain that there would be a time I wouldn't be able to take it, so why not ask for it upfront. I had already researched a lot on the subject and spoken to the doctors, and had decided that at the time the contractions become "really" painful, I'd go for an epidural. The heads up was given to the anesthesiologist.
The doctor wanted to wait for the contractions to start naturally, but nothing happened. At 1 PM, a team of 5 doctors and nurses came in to tell me that they noticed the fetal heart rate had suddenly dropped. I was told I would be under observation, and if this happened once more, I would have to go for a C section. But looked like, Manya was just being restless and feisty! At about 3PM, I was put on pitocin to induce labor. The contractions came slow. Like dull cramps. And then they increased in strength and frequency. By 7:30 PM, I was ready for epidural. and by 10 PM I was comfortably falling asleep - in fact I didn't even come to know when the nurse came for the hourly dilation check. By 12, Vish was also nodding off. I was only 5 cms dilated by then (the birth happens at 10).
I cannot tell you how sudden the progression was from then on. At 1:30AM, we were woken up by a flurry of activity in the room - the nurse told me I was 9.5, and we need to start practicing pushing. The second, "Oh My God It's happening" moment in 24 hours. In another half an hour, I was 10 - the doctor came in and told us he could see the baby's head and hair and it might just deliver itself :D. I pushed and I pushed. The epidural was stopped for about 10 minutes so that I could feel some sensation and push correctly. It was torturous. Having survived on two cups of grape juice the whole day, I was losing strength and consciousness. Everything seemed a blur.
At 2:30AM, the doctor declared show time; given my almost unconscious state, he decided on episiotomy, and since the epidural effect was wearing off, I was given a local anesthesia prior to the incision. I don't remember the sequence of events very clearly from then on - I have vague memories of shivering constantly, of Vish telling me I am doing great (yeah right!), of the nurse shouting, of the doctor prodding, till suddenly everything was silenced by a loud cry.