We had our routine appointment for a fetal assessment on December 24th at 8:15am. Because of the holidays, the nurse told us to go early and bring a book because they would be busy. So we left our house between 7 and 7:30 to be there shortly before 8am. As we left the house I said to John "We better throw a house key in the mail box for my mom and them just in case" We laughed about the chances being slim that we'd be staying and how we were being extra cautious with the house key. Anyway..away we went with our hospital bags in the car. John was thisclose to not bringing the cameras since we both really didn't think anything of this appointment other than it being 100% routine. Luckily we did bring them with. We got to our appointment and the place was DEAD. Seriously, we were there before the techs that administer the appoinments. We waited a few minutes for them to show up and we got right in (I have no idea why that other nurse was so insistant on them being crazy busy). At first they hooked me up to the fetal monitor to check the baby's heart rate and to see if my uterus was registering any contractions at all at this point. We had to be monitored for 20 minutes. Everything was completely fine at this point as well. Baby's heart beat was between 140 and 160 BPM and there were no signs of contractions. I lay there listening to the sweet sound of our baby's heartbeat and planning my Christmas Eve in my head...with family coming and all. The I had to move to the other side of the room for the ultrasound. They hooked me up, we again told them we didn't want to know the sex so they would not accidentally blurt it out or at least tell us when to look away from the screen. There was no way we were getting all the way to the end of the pregnancy only to find out the sex that way. She checked things out and then she asked the other tech to come have a second look. I could see a look of concern so I immediately started to panic. My heart was racing and my stomach in knots. The other tech came over and started looking and they told me they didn't see a lot of fluid. There are 4 quadrants they measure fluid levels and then they take a total volume number. They looked and looked some more and then they told me that normal fluid levels are between 8 and 17 and mine were only 3.1. They asked if my water had broke or if I thought I was leaking fluid over any amount of time. To my knowledge - NO. They said baby looked fine now but that they would likely be inducing me right away. They took me right over to labour and delivery. I was so scared and I really don't know why. I mean, part of me was excited to know that we'd have our baby soon but the other part was scared. This wasn't how I imagined it! I was supposed to labour at home. Not be induced. Not have any issues at all! I could tell John was a little nervous but he was also excited! He knew this was it! I kept asking if the baby was okay and everyone I asked reassured me s/he was but that we'd have to induce right away to ensure a safe delivery. By 10:30 I had been checked three times for dilation/effacement/etc. They then administered a dose of prostin gel. I had to wait an hour and be monitored and then I'd have to wait 6 hours but would be able to walk around the hospital - they would not let me go home for that 6 hours. They wanted me close by and I had to check in every hour and a half to be checked and monitored for the baby's heart beat and contractions. We also decided to call our families and let them know. By 11:30 we decided to go walk around to try and start things on their own. No way was I going on Pitocin if it was not absolutely necessary. We walked and decided to get a little lunch. Although I was pretty nervous so it was hard to eat - I was reminded I'd need strength so I forced some food down! We walked and then the contractions started coming. At first it felt like really bad cramps. But then quickly got worse. When we went back and the nurse asked how I was feeling I told her I had some cramping and once she hooked me up to the monitor she told me they were more than cramps-they were contractions. We walked and walked some more and they quickly intensified! Every time they checked me there was little to no progress. Finally the 6 hours had passed and I was told that there was no way they would be administering a second dose of prostin gel since my contractions were too close together and too strong. They told me to grab our bags because we'd be staying the night. John ran down to get our bags from the car and the nurse, Mary said she was going to move us to a bigger and nicer birthing suite. She did and the room was 10 times the size and way nicer. We went walking again. At around 7 ish my mom, Donald and Lauren showed up. By this time the contractions were coming every minute and a half to 2 minutes and lasting about a minute! They were intense. We breathed through them like we had practiced in Pre-Natal class and John was an AWESOME coach. I couldn't concentrate with my family there and so they went home. I just couldn't focus on my breathing or working through the contractions. We went back to our room and I tried the birthing ball for a while. John rubbed my back and helped me through each and every contraction. He massaged my hands to try and help me relax and he kept encouranging me and telling me how great I was doing. I know this may sound very bizarre to some but at the end of the contractions we'd have a little kiss. It was another way I distracted myself and got through them together. I was also told to rock my hips back and forth to encourage baby to move down into my pelvis. I did this many many times. Through contractions as well.
Once shift change occured we got a new nurse who was young but very very nice. Her name was Allison. We had the same doctor though which was nice and the same resident who was very very nice - her name was Ali I think-haha! Dr. Thomas was the doctor who would be delivering our baby along with the resident - Ali. Dr. Thomas was a very good doctor but I felt she was a little stern and lacked some bedside manner. While she was nice enough, it was the nurses and the resident who made me feel much more relaxed and calm and explained everything as we went along. Both Ali and Allison told me they would be there until 8am on Christmas day and they wanted this baby to come on their shift. I laughed and told them not to hold their breath since I was not making any progress. I had a few doctors/residents come in to discuss pain relief. I kept telling them I was fine at that time. Finally by 11:00pm the doctor came in to check me again. I was only 3cm's dilated and about 75% effaced. I could have cried. How discouraging!! They told me they would then have to start the pitocin to get things going quickly. They said the anestisiologist was due to come in soon and if I was going to consider pain relief that it would be the time to do it. I knew once the pitocin started things would get much more intense and I realized then it would be the best option for me. I gave in and told her I would have the epidural. I wasn't as scared for the epidural as I thought I would be. The anestesiologist was very nice and explained everything to me step by step. It was nothing going in-honestly the IV they put in first hurt more than the actual epidural. It did feel a little weird though. It took about 20 minutes for it to take effect. I could still feel contractions in one side of my body pretty intensely so they 'topped me up'. Having my legs and feet be numb was definitely weird! Very weird! Allison, my nurse, had to stay with us around the clock since a) I was induced and b) I had an epidural. The doctor also broke my water and they found there was meconium in my fluid. I was seriously in tears at this point. I just wanted this baby to be healthy. I wanted to have him/her as soon as possible. Finally, I was able to catch some sleep. At 2:30 they checked me again. I was at a 4 and I have no idea about effacement because I stopped listening - I was beyond disappointed and discouraged. How could things be so slow moving. The mention of C-section was tossed around since I was not progressing, there was meconium and we'd have to get things going very soon if the pitocin didn't do it quick enough. I quickly told them that was to be a last resort. They agreed to let me sleep a little more and check me in a few hours. At 4:30 Dr. Thomas, Ali and Allison were all there to wake me up and check me again! This time I was THRILLED to hear I was a full 10 and it was time to push. WOW! I went from a 4 to a 10 in a matter of 2 hours. This was crazy! How things had changed so fast! I asked them to help me understand how to push and they did. Then before I knew it I was pushing. That part happened extremely fast. I remember right before I was shaking like a leaf. I seriously could not stop shaking. John was excited but I could see he was a little nervous!! I started pushing and I remember being so phsyically exhausted with the initial pushes. I was scared feeling this tired in only the beginning since I knew it could potentially take hours. All of a sudden I got a burst of adrenaline and energy and thought "That's it, I'm doing this! I am pushing as hard as I can and doing this right now". I only had to push for 45 minutes which was pretty good in my opinion. The resident warned me that because there was meconium in the fluid that neo-natal were standing by to check the baby out. She said not to panic if I don't hear the baby cry because with the meconium they don't want him to cry until the get it suctioned out and cleaned up. John held my leg during the whole process and was very encouraging - they all were. At 5:30 am on December 25th, 2010 (Christmas Day) - Forrest Shaw Walker was born and the world immediately became a much better place!!! He was 7 lbs 0 oz and 21 inches long of pure perfection!!! I'll never ever forget the moment I heard John say "Ainslie, it's a boy". It was absolutely one of the most emotional moments of my life right after holding my sweet baby for the first time and looking into his beautiful eyes. It was emotional for the both of us!! I'll never forget his words and his voice as he told me. It was truly an incredible moment! John cut the cord and then neo-natal whisked him away to the warmer for a very brief time. Neo - Natal checked him out and all was fine. John couldn't take his eyes off him and then they brought my sweet, beautiful son over to me and he laid on my chest. I cannot explain the emotions I felt. It was by far the best moment of my life. We did skin to skin immediately.
After he was born we called our families. My mom, Donald, Lauren, Dad, and Ivy were all in the area waiting for the news that it was time to come because he was about to be born. We didn't have time to call them before the pushing started and to be honest, I'm glad it worked out that way. We were able to get some time just us and do skin to skin and also, I wasn't thinking about them all waiting for us in the waiting room...I was just thinking about bringing baby into the world! John called his family for the emotional news! Of course they were all ecstatic and were on their way up that afternoon to see the newest Walker boy!! Janet, Rick, Kyle and Jaime all arrived that evening.