I grabbed a towel to put on the car seat, because at this point I was gushing fluid with every contraction. On the way to the hospital Nick called my mom and let her know we were going to the hospital. I looked at the clock in the car: 1:40 am.
When we pulled into the hospital Nick asked me if I wanted him to drop me off at the emergency room doors. I said no, because there was plenty of parking relatively close, and I didn't want him to leave my side. I NEEDED him. Nick grabbed the bag and we walked from the car. The midwife had called ahead to let them know I was coming and to set up Room 8 (the room with the giant labor tub). The lady in the emergency room called up to maternity to send a nurse down. The nurse asked me if I wanted a wheelchair, but after the misery of riding in the car, sitting in a chair did NOT sound appealing. So we walked. Down the neverending hall, around the corner, and up the neverending elevator ride, contracting all the way.
"They're coming too close together! I'm not getting a break in between!"
We get down to Room 8 and the nurse that walked us up says to another nurse, "Well, we had 5 contractions on the way up..." And the second nurse's eyes got all wide. They had me change into a hospital gown and get on the bed. She checks me, and announces "She's 8 centimeters." A third nurse showed up at some point. They put the monitors on my belly, and one nurse went to put the heplock in my left wrist. She said something to another nurse about a blown vein, and when I looked down I saw a big bubble behind where she had stuck the needle. The other nurse said "yeah, that looks blown." I'm pretty sure it hurt, but this part of the story is vague recollections through a haze of pain. I do remember Nick looked pretty pissed off about that. A different nurse sucessfully put it in my right wrist.
For what seemed like forever, they kept me in bed trying to get a good reading on Oliver from the monitors, but the way I had to sit in bed was apparently keeping that from happening. I was later told that the nurse in charge of getting the reading was starting to get upset about it, but was told by another not to argue with the woman in labor! The midwife came in and got updated on what was going on and said I could get in the tub as soon as they got a reading, so I decided that I could get on all fours in the bed so maybe they could get their reading and let me get up! I was ready to get in the tub!
I didn't believe it when people told me that I would lose all modesty during labor, but I did. There I was, on my hands and knees on the hospital bed, my ass on display for all to see, and I didn't care one little bit. In fact, I was only barely aware of anyone else in the room.
Someone called out through all the background noise that she got a good reading, and Oliver was handling the contractions well. Before I got in the tub, she checked me again, and announced "She's complete!" (This means 10 centimeters dilated, fully effaced... basically, baby's coming as soon as he drops low enough to give me the urge to push!) It did kind of bug me that everyone kept talking about me like I wasn't there, but I realized later that everything was moving very quickly, and they didn't have time to stop and talk to me every step of the way.
Now, I could get in the tub! Nick grabbed my maternity band (thing that's supposed to help keep your pants up during pregnancy) that I was going to wear as a tube top in the tub. I changed, and Nick and a nurse helped me into the tub.
Part 3 (the conclusion, hopefully) coming tomorrow.