For days, I had been having contractions, which I now know was false labor. But it seemed that every second of every day, I could have gone into labor at any time. So when my 40 week appointment rolled around, I was hoping for some good news, i.e. “You need to get to the hospital right away!”
But that was just wishful thinking. We found out at my 40 week appointment that I had basically made no progress toward labor since I had seen the doctor the week prior, and believe me, I had tried EVERYTHING at this point to jump start labor. On top of finding out that no progress had been made, we were also told that my doctor would wait until the following Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, to induce me. It was all I could do not cry in front of my doctor (believe me, plenty of tears were shed in the waiting room, the elevator, the entire car ride home, etc. etc.).
Sensing my disappointment, my doctor said she would do what she could at that appointment to “speed things along.”
The following day, I was instructed to call in to schedule my induction for that following Wednesday, however, I had been having true contractions for hours. At this point, they were six minutes apart, and when I told my doctor this, she told me to head to Triage.
Looking back, I should have known this wasn’t “it.” I was able to fix my hair, put on make up and cute clothes and take my time getting to the hospital. While in the waiting room, I was terrified of the other girl in the wheelchair, wincing in pain and moaning.
We found out in Triage that I had only progressed to about 2.5 centimeters. The nurses had me walk around for an hour and a half to see if I made any further progress while I was there. However, an hour and a half later, I was only sent home. To lift my spirits, Ryan had the great idea to get a burger and fries at Five Guys. It quickly became apparent that Charlotte was jealous she was missing all of the fun because my contractions became exponentially worse at Five Guys, and I’m pretty sure my contorted facial expressions were making everyone else there very uncomfortable. But at that point, I didn’t care — I was going to get my burgers and fries, dang it.
That night, Ryan and I barely slept as we breathed through and timed contractions together. By 6:30 a.m., the contractions were pretty unbearable. Though I didn’t want to, fearing the same outcome as the night prior, I called the doctor because I just couldn’t stand the pain anymore.
A mere 11 hours after we had left, we were back in Triage, and I was “that girl” in the waiting room, sitting in the wheelchair and loudly breathing/moaning every two to three minutes. Once there, we found that I was dilated to FIVE centimeters — it was time to be admitted!
Shortly after I arrived in my room, I was given an epidural. Aaaaand it was amazing.
The doctor on staff from my office was my second favorite in the practice (hooray!), and he was determined to have Charlotte out in the world by the time his shift ended. So he also ordered me on Pitocin, and by 3 p.m. that day, it was time to start pushing.
The experience was like nothing I had ever imagined. It was very calm, surprisingly easy for childbirth and the doctor was hardly ever in the room. Even the head nurse was pretty hands off. For most of the time, it was myself, Ryan and a med student working and pushing through each contraction. Near the end though, we hit a standstill. Nothing I was doing was helping Charlotte along, and the doctor recommended a small episiotomy. Once that was done, Charlotte literally slid right out into the world and very quickly into my arms.
There isn’t a way to describe the feelings pulsing through those first moments of meeting your child, but I can say that it was love at first sight on my part. She was (and is) so perfect to me, and I just craved being around her as soon as we first met.
We love you so much already, Charlotte Ruth. We treasure the day you were born, and we can’t wait to tell you all about it someday.