It's been 20 years, but the details are still pretty clear in my head.
In January of 1990, we lived about 20 miles outside Modesto California. January is a very foggy month, so my greatest fear was that it would be too foggy to make it to the hospital in time for the birth of our second child. Our oldest was 29 months old. He was convinced that he was getting a baby sister. The baby sister was going to be named Alyssa in memory of Hubby's mother Alice who died from cancer in 1982. I really wanted a girl, but I also wanted my son to have a brother. My due date was January 15th, but since I was HUGE, I was really hoping the baby would decide to come early.
On January 10th, a friend invited Hubby and I to go out "dancing". We were in our early 20's and although we didn't really dance much we did enjoy going out and watching other people dance. We left little Marvin with my Mom for the evening and told her we would call her if anything happened. Around 11pm, I started having some light contractions. We were only a few miles from the hospital and it was definitely starting to get foggy. We called my Mom and told her that we were going to go over to the hospital to be checked, we didn't want to drive all the way home in the fog and then have to turn around and drive back in again.
We got to the hospital a little after midnight and went up to labor and delivery. The floor was totally empty and we could tell that the nurses were annoyed that we had decided to disturb their quiet night. We ended up with a nurse who was heavily made up, wearing lots of perfume and had long acrylic nails. I'm allergic to perfume, so I already knew it was going to be difficult working with her. She told Hubby that I was still smiling way too much to REALLY be in labor. They hooked me up to the machines and put me in bed and soon the contractions starting showing fairly strong on the monitor. Our nurse decided she should check my cervix for dialation. As she poked around with her long fingernails, I felt a distinct POP and then some fluid.....she had ruptured my water with her nails. When I mentioned the POP, she denied that my water had broken, but a few minutes later she sent in a different nurse with a test strip to see if my water was "leaking" and of course it was. The nurse with the long nails never came back in the room.
For the next several hours we sat around & dozed off & on. The contractions were there, but they weren't overly intense. If the nurse hadn't broken my water, we would have been sent home by this point.
Around 7 am, my OB arrived to check on me. He wasn't impressed with my contractions and suggested finishing the job of breaking my water. I agreed & he used a tool that looked like a giant crochet hook to scrape around inside of me....it was 20 years ago, but still stands out as one of the more painful aspects. The remaining amniotic fluid came rushing out and the contractions instantly got much stronger. Since my water was broken, I couldn't leave the labor room, but as soon as the Dr left, I got up out of the bed and walked around the room. For the next few hours they left us alone, so Hubby and I "danced" and paced the room. My contractions were mostly in my back & as long as I kept moving they were manageable, until suddenly they weren't. I was having intense pain in my lower back and nothing I did helped. I decided that Hubby needed to rub my back, but the rubbing wasn't HARD enough, so I had him press with all his might into my lower back. Under normal conditions this would have hurt, but it proved to be just what I needed to deal with the contractions. Contractions were coming about every 2 to 3 minutes with only about 30 seconds break in between, so Hubby would press and rub as hard as he could during the peak of the contraction, then rest for a few seconds before the next contraction. We did that for about an hour.
The next time the nurse came in to check me, she said it was time to get the Dr. The Dr arrived at about 1130 and after checking me said it was time to push. He made me lie on the bed, but allowed me to do whatever I wanted with my legs and feet. With the next contraction I curled forward and PUSHED as hard as I could. Pushing made the pain so much more bearable. I had forgot about the ring of fire, but with my second push, I felt it and then felt my baby's head come out. The Dr told me to STOP pushing.....that has to be one of the most difficult things to do once you have reached this stage of labor. The cord was wrapped around the baby's neck. The Dr wiggled the cord off the baby's neck, then told me to push one more time REALLY hard. I gathered every ounce of strength I could & pushed with all my might. The shoulders had been the worst with my first and once again, the shoulders were much more difficult than the head. Out popped the baby!!!!
The Dr held him up and said "It's a boy!!" I was excited, but I was also a bit frightened. He was very bluish grey. I felt myself about to panic when suddenly he started to cry very loudly and instantly turned a BRIGHT shade of red all over. It was probably only about 5 seconds before he took his first breath and started screaming, but to me it was a mini eternity. He was HUGE and had deep ridges on his forehead that we later learned were caused from him being born face up. The face up presentation also caused the severe back labor. Looking back, I think that if the nurse hadn't broke my water during my initial check, he probably wouldn't have been born for a few more days and by then he probably would have turned on his own to be facing the right way.
Mason was born at 1150 AM Pacific Time on Thursday January 11, 1990. He weighed 8 lbs 13 oz and was 22 inches long.