It was Friday, March 16th, and I was getting restless. I had been out to lunch with my aunt and cousin that afternoon just talking about how I was trying to keep myself entertained so I wouldn’t sit at home “waiting” for Caroline to make her way into the world.
As soon as Jeff got home from work that night, he took me out to dinner to get my mind off of everything at The Cheesecake Factory since I had been hinting for weeks that I was dying to go. We sat outside, enjoyed the gorgeous weather on the patio as I sipped a virgin mojito, and spent time catching up, just the two of us.
During dinner, I started having weird “pains”, and poor Jeff kept telling me I was making these funny faces, to which of course he got concerned. I told him I’m sure they were simply more rounds of Braxton-Hicks contractions and told him I wasn’t leaving until I had my fair share of cheesecake ;).
Afterwards, I felt a little bit better so we stopped by Meg and Aaron’s house to see them since they were home for the evening, but of course the “pains” started coming back shortly thereafter so we started monitoring how frequently they were occurring. After an hour or so of entertaining ourselves with me doing squats, and us laughing uncontrollably, Jeff decided it was time to go home. On the drive, we called the moms for advice, to which they said ever-so-kindly “call the doctor”.
Once we got home, I called the on-call service and informed her of my symptoms and my contraction patterns, and she recommended we head to the hospital so they could have a little look-see about my “progress”.
That was it…we gathered our hospital bags and drove there within 20 minutes, got checked in around 10PM, and then we were taken to triage for them to hook up the contraction monitors. Unfortunately, I was still 3cm dilated, but had steady contractions, so the on-call doctor and nurses decided they wanted me to stay for an hour to see what, if anything, changed. As soon as we were given this news, I asked Mom to pray with Jeff and me because I was adamant I was not going home that night.
Funny how prayer works, because as soon as that hour was over, my contractions were getting more intense and the on-call doctor said she was heading in from her house, and they were to go ahead and admit us! So right about midnight, we were ushered into the labor and delivery room where we would spend our time until Caroline was born.
The next few hours all seem to be a big blur to me… we sat there, surrounded with my parents and Meg and Aaron, and kept asking the nurses when the “show” would get going-she assured us it wouldn’t happen for at least another 12 hours, so everyone except Mom and Jeff went home to get some sleep. Around 4:30AM, I decided to give in and get my epidural. I was getting uncomfortable by this point as I was 5cm dilated and wanted some relief. For everyone in fear of this stage of the game, I am here to tell you that my experience with the epidural was wonderful-a bit of a painful pinch, but not unbearable, as I knew I would feel better soon. Afterwards, they broke my water and then the real fun started.
Early Saturday morning, our friends and family started arriving at the hospital, all decked out in green might I add since CC was coming on a very special holiday indeed! It was so reassuring to see each of them, there supporting us and so over the moon to finally meet Caroline.
Lucky for me, I progressed fairly quickly…after the epidural, I went from 6 to 8 within an hour and then went from 8cm to fully dilated in 2 hours. By 10:30AM, it was go time. We ushered all the friends and family out of the room except for Mom and Jeff as the nurses and doctor came in for the pushing. In all honesty, this is where I struggled… I pushed for a solid 1.5 hours with just a small amount of progress down the birth canal-not to mention I had to wear an oxygen mask which was annoying to say the least. Everyone kept telling me they could see her head, but that she wasn’t descending as much as they would like. So with that, my doctor made the call to let me rest for 30 minutes…looking back, I know this was my saving grace. I asked God to help get me through and give me the strength to push just a few more times. When they came back in, I pushed 4 more times and then I heard the sweetest sound in the world-I heard my baby’s very first cry.
The next few minutes were spent with my doc and nurses doing the “necessary” deeds to get me on the mend, and then I was able to hold her. I remember looking at Mom and Jeff and seeing them both smile with such pride and admiration. They were both such calming factors throughout my labor and I could not have done it without them. They both watched her come into this world first-hand and they said it was absolutely incredible to watch that new life arriving.
Once we had a few minutes to ouselves, we were able to usher in our families in so they could meet Caroline…everyone just going on and on about how beautiful she was, how perfect she was with 10 tiny fingers and toes, and trying to figure out if she is a spitting image of Jeff or a mini version of me.
This was without a doubt the day my life forever changed…this was the day the word “mom” became real. I got to hear that sweet cry, I got to kiss those fluffy cheeks, and I was finally able to hold my baby. God is too good!!
The next 2 days were spent recuperating at the hospital and learning all about our newborn! Yes, I absolutely wish I could’ve taken one of those nurses home with us…they were incredible and helped us so much! Then on Monday afternoon, it was time to leave. We loaded up our stuff, made sure Caroline was all snuggled in her carseat, and then made our way back to home sweet home!