I suppose it's about time that I refer to my child using his actual name. We hadn't officially decided on a name and wanted to wait until we "met" him to make the final call, which was why "Baby Pep" was a nice stand-in, but let it be known, that this kid does have a name. Anyway, I digress.
This is such a difficult post to start because delivering a baby is hands-down the most intense thing I've ever experienced. It is truly an impossible task to try and sum it up in words, but I want to record it while the memory is fresh in my mind.
On Charlie's due date, Saturday, December 20, my mom and sister arrived in the evening to stay with us for about a week to meet the new addition and just generally help Chuck and I acclimate to life as parents. Clearly, Charlie was not in a big hurry to make his way into the world so we spent our days baking Christmas cookies, taking long walks into my little town's downtown area and watching Christmas movies. On Tuesday, December 23 I had an appointment at my midwife's office. Since Chuck had to work that day (and after my fender-bender just days before, I wasn't exactly excited to hop back behind the wheel), my Mom and sister drove me to my appointment. We had a non-stress test done which Charlie kicked butt at. Then the midwife came in to discuss next steps. I took her up on her offer to strip my membranes to hopefully get things moving along and anxiously anticipated the contractions she said I would likely feel in a couple hours.
For the rest of the day I didn't have a single contraction, but lost a part of my mucous plug later that night much to my excitement. Chuck and I borrowed my Mom's car later that day to run some errands. Somehow the universe decided that within 1 week of totaling my car, our second car should puncture a tire. So after we stopped by the collision center to clean out and say our goodbyes to my vehicle, we dropped off car #2 overnight for new tires and prayed that it would be done by the time I went into labor.
On Christmas Eve, I hung out with my Mom and sister most of the day while Chuck helped his Mom run some errands and then hung out with his family for most of the evening while my ladies and I headed to a Christmas Eve Service at church. Chuck's mom was nice enough to insist on loaning us her car for the evening "just in case" so when Chuck came home shortly after the service, we decided it probably wouldn't be the worst idea to install one of our car seats in the back should the need for a speedy departure arrive. In hindsight, it seems like all of this craziness should have been our forewarning that things were about to start happening.
Chuck and I spent a couple hours that night in bed watching Top Chef and when I decided at 12:00 am that I should really get some sleep, Chuck went out into the living room to finish watching a movie he had started earlier that day and promptly passed out. Nearly two hours later I awoke to a huge gush of fluid. I knew instantly that my water had broken and ran into the bathroom to try and clean myself up a bit. I quickly put on a maxi pad and went out to the couch to wake Chuck up and let him know what had happened. I called my midwife to let her know my water had broken, but I wasn't having any contractions. She recommended that if my contractions hadn't strengthened to come in around 8:00 am. My Mom heard all the commotion and came down to see what was going on. We all decided to go back to sleep since we wouldn't be getting any for awhile.
I lay in bed for about an hour waiting for my contractions to kick in, but was much too anxious to get any sleep. Around 3:30 am I finally got out of bed, told Chuck to stay sleeping and started primping and packing the last minute items in our hospital bags. I made myself breakfast and my Mom came down again and ate with me while we discussed when I should leave for the hospital. My contractions had begun, but were really light and I started timing them on my phone to see if there was any regularity to them. After we ate breakfast, she went back upstairs to try and sleep and I laid on the couch next to our Christmas tree hoping a change in location might help me catch some shut-eye. After two hours of laying on the couch with no hope of sleep in sight, I gave up and called the birthing center at 6:30 am to let them know we'd be heading in soon. The nurse on-call informed me that all three rooms in the birthing center were full so I'd have to go to triage and wait until our room was ready. I made myself a little more to eat knowing that I would need plenty of sustenance to keep up my strength.
At 7:00 am I woke Chuck up and my sister came down stairs asking if we could open presents because it was, after all, Christmas morning. Because my contractions still weren't bad, we sat around the table together and exchanged gifts while I continued timing my contractions. It was a really peaceful, calm way to spend our morning together, but I was growing increasingly ready to get the show on the road, so by 8:00 am we were on the road headed to the hospital. At 8:45 am we checked in and were brought up to triage. The nurse hooked me up to monitor my contractions and baby's heart rate. My contractions were still unimpressive and inconsistent, but because my water had broken, I was admitted, received my IV port and was encouraged to walk around to get my contractions picking up.
Chuck and I walked around the labor and delivery wing for about an hour and by the end, my contractions had picked up to about 3 minutes apart, lasting about 30 seconds. They had grown increasingly uncomfortable, but I was still able to walk slowly through them. After an hour of walking, Chuck and I were ready for a break so we headed back to our little corner in the triage area around 12:00 pm. We ate some Clif bars we had packed and I laid back down on the bed to receive my first dose of antibiotics for my Group B strep. Unfortunately, all the walking we had done was completely wasted because as soon as I laid back down my contractions slowed to about every 10 minutes. As soon as my 30 minutes of antibiotics was done, we resumed walking for another hour and by the end my contractions had grown increasingly uncomfortable. By this point our room was finally ready so we brought in our bags, ordered some lunch and our midwife encouraged us to try and rest while we could. She checked my cervix and I was still only about 2-3 cm dilated and about 85% effaced. While not exactly the progress I was hoping for, it was something. So at 2:00 pm, I laid down to try and rest and prepare for the hours to come.
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