When I left off with my overdue baby blog, we were just heading to the hospital. I had been having fairly strong contractions (or so I thought) for about 24 hours as we headed in for my scheduled induction date of June 10th at 7 p.m. We checked into room 610 on 6/10 which I thought just maybe was a sign the little one would come still that evening. Ha!
I was a week past my due date. I thought maybe the contractions had done something to progress my body, but alas when I was checked upon admission, I was still at a zero. My nurse started the Cervidil at 8 p.m. She put in my IV and started fluids. Luke found the stash of free popsicles and Italian Ices. I ate a couple of those as we watched the Food Network. Luke is 6′ 7″, but much to our surprise he fit on the pull-out bed. We both settled in for the night. Luke slept on and off. And, despite the Ambien, it was difficult to sleep due to the contractions.
Shortly after 6 a.m. on Tuesday, June 11, I was checked again. I asked if there was any progress and she said “Uuuum… you’re maybe at a 1”. She also declared that I had a “cervix of steel,” which I didn’t find to be too flattering at that point. It was then that I was sure I would have 24 plus hours of labor and then a C-section. So much for positivity, right?
At 7 a.m., they started me on a Pitocin drip, and that’s when the real fun started! Yee-ouch! Those are not fun contractions. I would squeeze my eyes tight, brace myself on the bed railing and try to breathe and picture my happy place each time I got one of those gut-wrenching things. Although, early on in my pregnancy, I read a book on Hypnobirthing and it spoke of the Rainbow visualization technique. I remembered that visualization technique, and it was somewhat helpful until I was able to get the epidural.
Finally at 8:30, it seemed like things were looking up. I was dilated to a 2 or 3, they said. So, my doctor broke my water. That was uncomfortable, but I was ready for anything just to get my lovely baby into this world! After that, the doctor said I could get something for the pain. When asked what I wanted, I just nodded my head. I didn’t care what it was:) The doc ordered the epidural which was administered at 9. The shot for the numbing was not pleasant, but within minutes of getting the epidural, Luke was watching my contractions on the monitor and I wasn’t even noticing they were happening. My nurse said “I hope you have this baby before my shift is over at 7. I want to meet her.” Sister – so… do.. I!
The epidural allowed me to take about a 20-30 minute nap, which I truly needed. But, at 11, I started having major pressure that was almost worse than the contractions. I felt like I was going to explode! Luke called for my nurse and she came to check on me. She told me that’s what it feels like when the baby is gearing up to come out. I was at a 7 and was told to hold it all in because I needed to dilate some more. Luke called her again at noon because I just could NOT hold it any longer. I was at 9.5, so Nurse Steph called my doctor to give her a heads-up.
At 12:50, I was complete, so Steph let me start to push. After about 10 minutes, Dr. Tran arrived. Steph and Luke took their positions, each at one of my legs and we were ready to roll. I pushed for three counts of 10 during each contraction. In between pushing, I was joking around and just so happy to finally be getting to the end of labor. I almost treated pushing as an athletic challenge. The doctor and nurses kept exclaiming how great I was doing, which only made me try harder. They were even amazed that this was my first baby. Although, maybe they say that to everyone to encourage them:) Either way, the positive reinforcement worked on me.
At 1:10, the troops were called in, including the NICU staff since there was some meconium when the doctor broke my water. At that point, the baby’s head was out and Luke and the doctor could tell right away that she had a lot of hair… and a great set of lungs, as she was crying (great news). Once her shoulders were coming out, they let me push after the contraction and that was the one time I let out a bit of a yelp. She was finally out! It took about 30 pushes and our little girl who we waited so impatiently for was finally in our world. I got to hold her right away and I said “Welcome to the world, Charlotte Layna.” In unison, the entire room went “awww!”. The name that we kept secret for so long was finally in use. Then, Luke cut the cord and fired away with the camera.
The NICU cleared her, and she got weighed and measured. She weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces and was 20 inches long. And, that hair that she had so much of? It was red – just like Daddy’s:) I got to nurse her shortly after she was born. And, then we enjoyed our first moments as a family of three.
Although the first part of labor seemed to take forever, in the end, I barely remember it. It’s true that once you look into those gorgeous newborn eyes, you absolutely forget the pain. Sure, I KNOW I got stitches and I KNOW that I pulled some of my hair out during the Pitocin portion of the process, but I don’t remember the pain. I only remember holding our little Charlotte for the first time. She was mucky and beautiful and full of life. And, she was a creation of our own (and God’s). And, I must say that I was so touched by how amazing my husband was throughout pregnancy and my labor. He was so supportive! He kept me well hydrated, talked me through the contractions, helped me push and of course, brought his special sense of humor to the event. I knew I loved him, but this experience truly cemented the respect and admiration I have for him as a man (and now a daddy!).
I’ve been so busy loving her and watching her grow in the last month that I’m just now getting to write this birth story. Luke and I waited for more than six years of marriage to welcome our first kiddo, but this little angel was more than worth the wait! We’d never experienced such joy until June 11, 2013 at 1:21 p.m.