Over the next few hours the pain intensified dramatically. It felt like someone was reaching in and twisting my insides like a wet rag. The contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes now, often with a smaller "aftershock" after each big contraction. This was the worst part. With no chance to rest in between, I felt like I had no control over what was happening. I could see my contractions on a monitor, and they were peaking at 60. I asked the nurse how much worse they were going to get and she said "well the scale goes up to 130".
That was the point when I decided to accept their offer for an epidural. I was at 4 cm and it was about 1am. The epidural was surprisingly painless. I started to feel relief about 15 minutes later, and then for the next hour I felt nothing. It was wonderful! But then the pain started to come back and for the next few hours I felt each contraction, only on a smaller scale. This went on all night, and I was not able to sleep at all through the pain. Adam fell asleep sitting up in a chair.
The Dr. came in at 5am to check me, and I was surprised to find I was 10 cm dilated and ready to go! The baby, however, was not quite low enough, so the Dr. went ahead and broke my water and let me wait another hour before starting to push. I finally started pushing just after 6:30am. It was hard, but painless, thanks to the epidural.
I pushed for about 30 minutes. The Dr. kept telling me I was making good progress, but I didn't believe her because I couldn't feel anything. Finally she had me stop and said "he's coming out on the next push!" I was stunned that it went so fast, because they told me most first-time moms take about 2 hours to push. Finally he came out, and I could feel it. Not painful, but just a weird feeling. They immediately put baby Ryan on my chest and I got to hold him for a good 30 minutes while they stitched me up. Unfortunately I got a 3rd degree tear, which has been extremely painful to recover from.
The first thing I remember them saying when he came out was how big he was. Everyone sounded surprised at his size. After I held him for a while they weighed him and cleaned him off and then brought him right back to his mommy. Ryan James Nullmeyer was born April 29, 2010 at 7:09am, weighing 8 lbs, 6 oz., 20.5 inches long and absolutely perfect!