It’s hard to believe that one month ago today our sweet Charlotte Rose made her grand debut.
Technically, my labor began on Monday morning with mild contractions beginning on my morning walk with Roscoe. Nothing painful but I knew that I was most likely in the beginning stages of labor. The contractions continued on and off throughout the afternoon so when Marty got home from work we decided to walk to the library (about three miles roundtrip) to try to move them a little closer together (we were ready to meet our little one!!) The walk to the library was fine but, on the way back, I knew that I’d likely be heading to the hospital within the next few hours.
We got home, enjoyed dinner together and I called my parents to let them know what was going on. I said not to rush over just yet because there was a chance I wouldn’t be admitted (which is common if you aren’t in active labor – not yet 5cm or your water hasn’t broken.) After packing my hospital bag (I’m that much of a procrastinator) and showering we finally ended up heading over to the hospital around eleven o’clock.
I changed into a gown and was checked by a triage nurse but was only at 3cm dilated and 70% effaced (which I had been for the previous two weeks.) The nurse said I had two options: 1) head home for some rest and return once contractions became more intense or 2) walk the labor/delivery hallways for an hour to see if I’d dilate to 5cm. Being that we had already packed our bags (and were more than ready to meet our baby) we chose the latter.
I was given some cozy booties and off we went to walk laps around the labor/delivery hallways. And then it began…
Within fifteen minutes my contractions started to intensify. They were a minute a part and would last for thirty-five seconds. By the time we were a half hour into the walk the contractions had become so intense that I had to stop and hunch over to feel mild relief. We continued on and with each contraction I had to have Marty apply pressure to my tailbone. Oh the joys of back labor.
I truthfully wasn’t sure how I could manage another half hour of walking but I knew we had to in order to get admitted.
Finally the clock hit one o’clock and we headed back to triage for another check: 3cm dilated and 70% effaced. WHAT?! All of that pain and no progress? The nurse gave us two more options: 1) head home and continue to labor there until I was ‘hunched over in excruciating pain unable to really breathe’ (her words) or 2) have the on-call doctor induce labor to get things really going. I considered the second option but really didn’t want to be induced for fear of causing more trauma to myself and the baby.
We headed home and I immediately hopped in the bathtub. It felt like I was in there for a good forty minutes but only twelve minutes had passed. I couldn’t stand the pain. I got out and labored on my hands and knees trying to flip her around and off my spine. That didn’t help either. At this point, I’m weeping because of the pain and Marty continued to place pressure on my back.
Over the next couple of hours I went back and forth from the bed to the bathroom trying to figure out where I was most comfortable. One thing I realized is that there is no such thing as comfortable when you are experiencing back labor.
Finally, around five-forty I couldn’t take it anymore. I told Marty I needed to head back to the hospital; I had to have dilated to 5cm!
We arrived back at the hospital around six, had the triage nurse perform another quick check and found out that I was 5cm! Whoo-hoo. Bring on the epidural!
The next hour and half is a bit foggy because of the continual pain and lack of sleep; however, I will say that after the epidural – everything changed!
I received my epidural around seven forty-five and, although I could still feel some pressure of the contractions, my pain was almost instantly taken away. Thank you modern medicine.
My parents and sister arrived soon after the epidural to keep me company. I was completely comfortable (no lie) but we had several hours of waiting ahead of us…
Around noon my water still hadn’t broken. We opted to have my doctor break it for me in order to get things moving.
Slowly but surely I started to progress about 1/2cm each half hour. Around three thirty my nurse checked and stated that I had finally reached 10cm. Time to start pushing!
Now, don’t get me wrong, pushing was hard work and physically exhausting but it wasn’t an agonizing pain like depicted in pop culture. I could feel the contractions ever so slightly – the perfect amount to know when to push but not intense – like mini cramps. The most pain I felt was actually in my ribs! When you hold your breath to push you enter a crunch position and after a significant period of continual crunches, it makes sense that your belly/ribs get a little sore!
At 4:50PM our lives were forever changed. We heard the first cries. Our sweet girl had arrived. I couldn’t believe that I had actually done it and she was here. Nothing can prepare you for that moment, having your child who was just inside of you seconds ago, now looking up at you.They immediately put her on my chest and I was so overcome with emotion. She had my lips, cheeks and a full head of dark brown hair like her daddy. She was perfect in every way.
Marty and I are absolutely smitten with our baby girl.