Monday morning I woke up and told Dan that I didn't think that Charlotte was going to arrive that week. I was only 37 weeks and I knew that it was wishful thinking that she would come that early. So I started my work day and didn't think anymore about it. I knew that baby girl would get here when she was ready and the longer she stayed in me the better it would be for her. I could wait until she was ready. As I have mentioned before, pregnancy was teaching me patience which is something I need to work on.
Throughout the day Monday I got several calls and text messages from people I don't normally talk to saying that they were thinking of me this week. When I told Dan he said that he had gotten the same messages from people. Kind of strange. At my doctor's appointment that afternoon I went in with no expectations. My doctor was great but never gave me any idea of when I would go into labor. When I had my exam that day she perked up and said, "You guys might have a baby this week!" I was 3 cm and 70%. Dan and I were kind of shocked but so ready. I was also measuring at 40 weeks. That week I had started retaining so much fluid I could hardly wear my shoes and forget even trying to put on my wedding band. We left our appointment excited and not sure what to do while we waited. That week we walked the entire mall one night, walked Target, ate spicy food...did anything to help progress me. I continued to work so that it would keep my mind off of thinking my water could break any second.
My poor feet!
Dan worked from home towards the end of the week which was nice to spend some extra time together. Thursday I started having contractions. I had been having a lot of contractions throughout my pregnancy and I would time them. These felt like my normal contractions but were about 2-3 minutes apart. They didn't hurt at all so I just ignored them. After about 2-1/2 hours I decided that I should probably call my doctor. I still didn't know if I was in labor because I didn't hurt. My doctor said that I should go to the hospital to get checked out. Dan and I packed our car with our bags that had been packed for weeks and drove to the hospital. It was very surreal thinking that this could be it, Charlotte's birth day. We decided not to call anyone because it could just be a false alarm.
Last bump picture before heading to the hospital!
We get to the hospital, get checked in and I tell the nurse as we are walking to the room that I'm not sure if I was in labor because my contractions didn't hurt and her response was "yeah, you probably aren't." Her comment totally burst my bubble but whatever, we were there and it wasn't her call if I was in labor or not. She checked me and I was at 4-1/2 cm and 90%. She told me that my doctor would probably send me home because my contractions had slowed down at that point. Dan and I were bummed but knew that Charlotte would come when she was ready. A few minutes later my doctor walked in a checked me and I was at 5 cm. She told me that while she was there she could break my water or we could wait but it would probably break that night or the next day on it's own. Dan and I looked at each other and decided to just go for it. We were ready to meet our Charlotte!
My doctor broke my water and I couldn't stop laughing. Thank God it didn't happen at the mall or Target during our walks. It would have been a hazard to everyone around! There must have been gallons of water that came out of me. No wonder my feet had been so swollen! Dan and I called our parents and told them that it was go time. When I called my mom and dad I started crying because it hit me that my life would never be the same after this day. All of the anticipation building up to this moment and it was finally here. The nurse gave me pitocin to speed up the contractions and about an hour later I got an epidural. The contractions were pretty intense but compared to the pain I had been in those last few weeks of pregnancy, it wasn't too bad. My epidural immediately took effect to my right size but not my left. They had to put me in all sorts of positions to get it to take to my left side. I expected with an epidural to not feel anything and I could definitely still feel the pressure and the contractions. It wasn't intense pain but a lot of pressure that was very uncomfortable.
I progressed very quickly and within a couple of hours I was at 10 cm. It was around 8 pm at this point. I pictured labor like the movies and it was not like that at all. There was time in between contractions where my nurse and I talked about her kids or pinterest. My nurse, Jennifer was incredible. She was so cool and kept us calm. It was such an exciting moment thinking that we were within hours of meeting Charlotte. Dan was an awesome coach. He helped me through each contraction and was so encouraging. He kept his calm and when I was tired he would give me the energy to keep going.
At 10:06 pm on December 15 we met our daughter. They pulled her out and laid her on my chest and I lost it. It was an incredible moment and I couldn't stop crying. I couldn't believe that I had delivered this little baby and that she was ours to keep. She let out a loud cry and I held her in my arms. When my doctor pulled her out she said "this is a big baby!" We all wanted to know what Charlotte weighed. When they told me her weight of 7 lbs 15 oz I said "That's it?!" and she said that if I had gone full term she would have been close to 10 pounds. Thank goodness she was right under 8 lbs and perfectly healthy.