Went to the loo at 10:30pm and had a bloody show, and half an hour later the contractions were pretty obviously regular at 7mins apart. I went to go sleep, but the pain was pretty bad to stay still through, so I ended up spending the night pacing in the lounge. The pains were bad, but not unbearable, however standing and walking made them much easier to deal with. By 3am the pains were quite bad and about 4mins apart, so I went and had a shower thinking I'd call the hospital soon and then wake my husband to head in. The ride to the hospital was unbearable - the first and second contraction in the car were very painful, but they intensified dramatically. By the time we got the hospital at 4:30am they were still 3 minutes apart but I couldn't even walk through them - all I could do was lean against the walls and try to breathe.
As I was overdue I had to be CTG monitored for 30minutes (hospital policy) and the pain while lying on my back was out of this world - turns out my perfectly positioned anterior baby (checked by Ob 12 hours earlier) had decided at some stage to turn posterior, hence the sudden increase in pain and back ache during the labour. By the time I lay on my back for 30 minutes I was incoherent with pain, and I was given some morphine. I think at this stage I was maybe only 2cm dilated?
I got some 'rest' between contractions which the morphine dulled down a bit, but after an hour or so the pain was back, and nothing seemed to ease it. Contractions were staying at 3 mins apart, and eventually, I went against every desire I had to avoid it and asked for an epidural. Unfortunately this was at 'change over' and 'grand rounds' so I still had to wait an hour and a half before I could get the epi! It was the longest, most painful 1.5 hours of my life at this stage. I spent it on the gas, and to be honest, I don't know if the gas did anything for me.
Eventually had the epi in, and it was such a relief I was SO happy I decided to get it. The Ob checked me - 6cm and fully effaced, so they decided to break the waters. Within an hour the pain was insane again, despite the epi, and then it suddenly felt like I needed to poo really badly - all of a sudden it was time to push!
I pushed and pushed for an hour, and could feel nothing was happening except the pain got worse and worse. The baby started to distress, and they had to get the Ob again. Baby had jammed it's head at a funny angle against my pelvis, so the forceps were brought out, and they were the most painful experience of my labour. I then needed an episiotomy (about 2inches!!), and suddenly they were telling me to push again and I could feel my baby coming out - according to my husband who was watching, the doc almost dropped the bub!!
We had an amazingly beautiful little girl, and I cried and cried when they put her on my chest for skin to skin.
We called her Evelyn Lily, and she is perfect - a head full of blond hair and absolutely perfect in every way.
It turns out my pain during the end of labour/birth was so severe because the epidural worked for the initial dose, but due to an equipment malfunction I never got anything beyond that, so I essentially had no pain relief at all for the final 3 hours (which makes me kinda proud and thinking I could have done it without the epi, but that hour of relief until the pushing started was SO worth it), thus the endorphins to help deal with pain had also 'failed' because of the initial epidural dose. The doctor also apologised because due to the epidural she didn't give me any local for the forceps etc and was a bit rougher (for speed) than she needed to be - so double whammy on the pain!! Thankfully I got a local for the stitches!
That said, as much as it was painful and not something I want to repeat, I have the most amazing little baby and wouldn't change it for the world.
Good luck to all you ladies who read this - I don't want to scare you or freak you out, but I guess all of us go in with preconceptions and ideas and definite "I don't want that" on our birth plans. I changed mine on the day, as birth didn't go how I planned at all, but every second was worth it.
PS Ev was 3.8kg (8lbs 6oz), 53cm long, 33.5cm head circumference.