Charlotte was due on Thursday, January 24th and was so excited to enter the world she arrived a full week early on the 17th.
I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy, feeling pretty good with some bouts of exhaustion early on. Towards the end I was a little slower in my tasks but never really felt “pregnant” as some women do. I thought the pregnancy finally caught up with me on Tuesday, January 15 because I could not get comfortable. I’ve been experiencing those ‘braxton hicks’ contractions that felt more like Charlotte was bracing her feet against my ribcage and stretching more than anything else off and on for about a week.
The next day, Wednesday, I felt my very first “real” contraction about 4pm ish. I was sitting at my desk tying up some loose ends for work when I felt a pain in my lower back that wrapped around my sides into my lower abdomen. I wrote it off as I wasn’t due for another week.
That evening, I decided that we may as well put the car seat in the car. No use in waiting until the last minute.
Overnight, combined with my general lack of being able to get comfortable and the contractions not hurting so much as just making their presence known every few hours, I finally fell asleep.
Months earlier, after watching reruns of A Baby Story and realizing that most of these women have complicated deliveries because they arrive at the hospital too early, forcing doctors to lose their own patience thereby forcing babies to come out before they are really ready, I made Charles promise me that no matter how much I begged and pleaded, that we are not go to the hospital until my contractions are 5 minutes apart, 5 minutes long, for 1 full hour per the doctor.
He made good on that promise. And I wouldn’t change a thing.
I woke up about 4:30 am on Thursday, January 17th with the worst cramps I’ve ever experienced in my life. By 8:30am, they were about 20 minutes apart and I logged on to my computer to let my boss know that I will be available but taking it easy; he half teased me about today being the day. PFFFT. I wasn’t due for another week.
Bunch of details of how the labor pains came in waves, with my whole body shaking, blah blah blah, you don’t want to know the gory details, believe me. 🙂
About 3ish in the afternoon (Charles has the actual time because he was keeping track of my labor pain), it was finally time to go to the hospital. Charles was awesome. He did his best to sure every bump in the road didn’t sent me into a blackout of pain and we got there in 15 minutes.
Charles convinced the maternity staff to send someone to the parking lot right away with the wheelchair. The nurse came and they both helped me into it, the whole time the nurse trying to reassure me that first time deliveries can take a long time and they will have me comfortable in seconds flat once we get inside. She kept trying to tell me this as I cursed and hollered the entire ride from the lot to the second floor, shushing me best she could but damn! the least they could do is ensure that the floors were level in the hospital, but no. I swear I felt each and every pebble in the lot and crumb on the floor in the hospital, lol.
We get to the “room before you give birth room” which you are supposed to be in UNTIL you are fully ready to deliver. The staff walked in there with an air of “meh, first time mom, we’re gonna be here all night/day/tomorrow/ let’s get her drugged up asap” calmness that made no sense to me as I managed enough stamina to hoist myself out of the wheelchair so I could put the hospital gown on. Nothing was making much sense to me at that point. All I was focusing on was timing the jump onto the bed right hoping that when I landed I wouldn’t slide off and hit the floor. These nurses went into combat mode all of a sudden. While I was changing, the head nurse checked how dilated I was and told me to take off the panties and get back IN the wheelchair because we now get to go on another ride to the third floor because the baby is on her way. Did I mention how nothing was making sense to me?? I almost argued with them about taking taking off my underwear because for the LIFE of me I could not understand why I had to. They just were trying to convince me to get onto that bed and OH WAIT what do you mean I have to take off my underwear?!?? WHY WOULD I HAVE TO DO THAT?!?!?
Back into wheelchair I go, again they try to help me focus on NOT hollering because I had absolutely no self control and I’m sure I am going to hell for the curses that I flung at those around me.
Charlotte was ready NOW. There would be no time for any pain relief. No IV. No monitoring. Nothing. Which is exactly what we wanted. Hell, my body went through almost 24 hours of intensifying pain leading up to this point, it will endure more.
I don’t remember how I got onto the new bed. I remember Charles to my left, a few nurses to my right and my midwife directly in front of me. Charles kept me hydrated as I panted through learning how to push. He held my hand and encouraged me as he moved my hair out of my face. I thought for certain I was about to break in two and he kept me centered and calm no matter how nervous he may have been at the time. The nurses and midwife kept on with their conversation that had nothing to do with what was happening right in front of them as if this was old hat to them. Then the magic happened. Once I got the hang of pushing, Charlotte arrived.
She was born at 4:28 pm as the sun shone upon the three of us from the crack in the window blinds. The midwife laid the baby on my chest as Charles cut her cord and we became a family.