It took 3 tries to get the epidural catheter in right. That was not a fun experience! John started to turn pale after the 2nd try. Later he told me I was squeezing his hand so hard his fingers went numb. Once the epidural was started though...bliss. I couldn't feel a thing. The nurse would say "you're having a really big contraction right now," and I was like "could have fooled me!" By this time it was about 5:45 am, and John and I were able to get about an hour's sleep.
At 8 am they had to give me another dose of pennicilin, and it turned out that my IV was blocked so the nurse squirted some saline directly in. It hurt so much--I found myself thinking "oh, that's what 10 feels like!" and starting to cry like a baby.
Around an hour after the epidural, I started to feel the contractions again. Eventually they gave me another bolus of meds and it went away again, but after an hour or so it wore off again. This time they decided to check me before giving me any more, and now I was all the way dilated, so they didn't. It was about 11 am by then.
Around noon I felt the urge to push and so started the really tough part. I also felt the urge to vomit, so I was retching into a plastic tray in between. Not a pretty sight or a pleasant experience. The doctors started arguing about whether the baby was face up or face down (the team included my OB/GYN, a resident, a med student and two nurses). John said he was face up when he was born. I believe that makes it harder.
Finally, they pulled him free. Nothing feels as good as the sudden relief of pain. When Genevieve was born they put her right on my chest after birth, but this time there had been meconium in the amniotic fluid, so they whisked him off to the bassinet to clear out his mouth before he could suck it into his lungs. They worked on him and cleaned him up while the doctors finished up with me. I was dying to see him, but all I could see were two little hands waving in the air. When they finally brought him over, he was swaddled up tight. And he was gorgeous.