The anesthesiologist arrived next (HALLELUJAH) with my epidural. I told him I loved him at least twice during the 15 minutes it took to get me set up. The worst part of the epi was the uncomfortable position you have to get into during insertion... You have to hunch over, rounding your back and stay completely still - very uncomfortable when you still have a giant belly! I didn't feel any pain or discomfort with the actual epi going in... just a mild pinch from the freezing needle before they started the "installation" :p The epi took about 10-15 mins to fully kick in, although my contractions gradually got less and less painful within 5 mins or so. After 15 mins, I could still feel a little pain in my right side during a contraction so my nurse had me switch and lay on my right side to balance the epi out. That worked - apparently it can pool on one side.
At 4:30 the resident (we have a teaching hospital) arrived to check my cervix - 6cm dilated. They also broke my water with what looked like a crochet needle. I didn't feel anything except the warmth of the fluid. Right away they noticed meconium in my fluid. I knew that this was fairly common for overdue babes so it only worried me a little - I was hoping this was the only "hiccup" we'd have. What it changed for my delivery was that (1) they would avoid stimulating baby immediately to avoid her respiring fluid, (2) she wouldn't be placed on my chest immediately post-delivery because (3) the NICU team would be present and would take her to the other side of the room to clear her airway and assess her.
Then came the next "hiccup"... baby's heart rate dropped dramatically. I was switched to lying on my side, put on oxygen and the nurse checked my cervix. Apparently I had dilated fully and the baby had "dropped" very quickly - the nurse could show my hubby and Mom the top of her head! Thankfully, within a minute or two her rate was back up and she was doing ok. This "lit a fire under my ass", you could say, that motivated me to push my ass off once I was ready to go. The docs actually said they'd never seen someone so eager to push... I just wanted her out and safe!
Sorry for the suspense but this post is insanely long and there's a baby sucking on my chest looking for a boob - I'll finish my labour story tomorrow! :)