I have mentioned before how I was SO very glad to be able to stay at home during this pregnancy. With all the other girls, we traveled away from our home, two of those times internationally, and that just meant a lot of sitting around and waiting--doing fun stuff, yes, but away from normal routine and normal life. I enjoyed and appreciated being able to stay home and keep house, prepare food, clean, and generally just get things ready for the baby.
Because I suspected that baby girl would be arriving late, I had various events scheduled right up until the evening of my due date. And the day after, my mother-in-law, Ann, was arriving from Minnesota. It wasn't until Thursday evening, July 26, that I went to bed feeling satisfied that all of my to-do's were done: bathrooms shining, front glass wiped and polished, kitchen floors cleaned, frig and freezer stocked, and my mother-in-law safely arrived. I even dusted my blinds that night after the girls went to bed! John thought I was crazy but I just wanted to get it done! (The funny part is that I haven't done it for months!!! Nothing like a baby coming to give me a little motivation!)
Anyway, I went to bed that evening and woke up a couple times with uncomfortable contractions, but nothing regular. Around 3:30 I was lying there, half awake, when suddenly I felt a "pop" and my water broke! This had never happened to me before so I wasn't sure if I really believed that was what had happened, but indeed, it was. This kicked me into high gear. I woke John, got up, finished packing the hospital bag, started setting things by the door, put the clothes I had been wearing in the wash, just generally bustling around getting things ready. However, by about 5 we realized that I really wasn't having any contractions, and without contractions it was pointless to go to the hospital. So, we tried to lie down and rest again. John fell asleep but I was too keyed up. Eventually I got up, took a shower, did my hair--the whole 9 yards. By 7am I was ready for whatever might happen!
But nothing happened. I had an occasional contraction, but nothing regular. The contractions I was having were stronger than the ones I had had until that point, but still, not frequent enough to be considered in labor. So, we waited. I was starting to feel tired after being up since 3:30, so I laid down to rest and we decided there was no point in doing any timing yet, we might as well pass the time some other way. So, we watched a movie: While You Were Sleeping, which is one of my favorite romantic comedies. John (who dislikes re-watching movies) gamely watched it with me and rubbed my feet, too, dear husband! After the movie, when STILL nothing was happening, we decided to change our game plan and go out and do something. We went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and though I had a few hard contractions while we were there, again, they were random--12 minutes apart, 20 minutes apart, 18 minutes apart. We then walked around the mall a bit to try to get things going. We thought walking would be helpful, and since it's been SO hot outside, the mall seemed like a good choice. Unfortunately it was busy and somewhat noisy and I was really feeling tired by that point, so we didn't stay too long.
We arrived home around 5 and I took a short nap, waking up at 5:30 and realizing that I hadn't had any contractions for at least 45 minutes. I had just said to John, "Well, maybe today isn't the day after all," when at 5:40 I had a MONSTER contraction that lasted more than 2 minutes and was as strong as late-stage labor contractions. I was crying by the end of it! We decided to start timing again (using a handy tool online where you just push the space bar at the start and peak of a contraction and it does all the math for you) and it wasn't long before the contractions started coming closer and closer together. By 6:30 John said, well, let's time another half hour and then we can maybe head to the hospital. By 6:45 it was evident that we were heading for the hospital sooner rather than later. John started to load the car and get other things ready. I kept timing contractions and they were progressively closer and longer--90 seconds, 100 seconds long was becoming typical. By the time we headed out the door it was 7:15 and I was in serious, hard, very strong labor. In the car I had at least six major, monster contractions that did not give me a break between--they were right on top of each other, one starting within seconds of the last one peaking. Oh my! That was quite the car ride! Good thing the hospital is only 15 minutes away!
We arrived at the emergency room and told them "Labor and Delivery: Fourth child and contractions 2 minutes apart" and they had a wheelchair for me right away. As they wheeled me upstairs I noted the time: 7:40pm. We got to the labor and delivery area and essentially began to prep for the birth. I was so relieved and thankful that at first check, I was "a loose 8, pretty much a 9." By the time the nurse finished asking me all the questions they ask you on admittance, my doctor was there and it was time to push! That took a little longer than I expected, probably because I thought with my fourth child that it would go quicker, but Charis was situated face up and apparently that is a little harder. But, Dr. G and the nurses all coached me, and John gave me sips of ice water between contractions, and after about 30 minutes of pushing she was born, at 8:41pm! Just exactly an hour after we got to the hospital!
Here's some of the pictures of those first few moments: They practice "kangaroo care" here where they gave me Charis almost right away, only wiping her off a little first. We got to cuddle skin to skin for a long time--it's good for the baby and great for the mama too!
I hope you enjoyed the birth story and the ridiculous amount of pictures! Welcome with us Charis Janelle!