(This post, fittingly, courtesy of Sara)
On Saturday, two days after my due date, I started to get contractions early in the morning. I wasn’t able to sleep since they were coming every 5 to 30 minutes but I was happy things were happening. I was also very pleased to feel the contractions in my abdomen since I had back labour with Kate. The contractions continued throughout the day Saturday but were not strong or consistent. On Sunday the contractions picked up a bit but weren’t too painful. The day was normal for the most part. We went to church, had lunch, I attempted to take a nap and in the evening we went to the park. My contractions slowly got closer together and by the time we were leaving the park around 7:30pm, I needed to stop and concentrate while I was experiencing a contraction.
I told Shawn to go to sleep around 11pm. My contractions were about 7-10 minutes apart but still very manageable. I figured one of us should get some sleep. Around 3am the pain of the contractions increased substantially. I still felt I could deal with the pain but after about 30 minutes I decided I needed Shawn’s help. So I woke him up and he let me grip his hands (I’m pretty sure his fingers were purple) during a contraction while I slowly breathed and slightly bounced on a birthing ball. Shawn decided it was time to call the midwife unit when the contractions were between 4-6 minutes apart. A little after 4am we decided to head to the hospital. We dropped Kate off at a friend’s house and arrived at 5am. In the car my contractions were about 3 minutes apart but I still felt like I was dealing well with things. Once we arrived the midwife evaluated me. I was nervous at this point that I wouldn’t be dilated much but she said I was 5cm and the head was low. I was slightly discouraged at this point but looking forward to getting into the pool.
Once the pool was filled I was told I could get in. At this point, the contractions were coming even closer together and I just couldn’t imagine how I would stand up and step into the tub. About 6am I got in the water. I was hoping for instant relief. I didn’t get that. The water did seem to take a slight edge off and once I found a comfortable position, I was happy that I had decided to get in. I was mentally still trying to deal with the possibility that I had a number of hours more of labor. The midwife and Shawn chatted quite a bit and I just closed my eyes and concentrated on my breathing. Shawn helped me breathe through contractions and gently would remind me to breathe slowly. At one point when the midwife had left the room I got a very strong urge to push. I was shocked and started splashing around in the water and shouting “I have to push! I have to push!” I’m sure I was quite a sight. Shawn just said okay and to breathe and the midwife quickly came back into the room. With a little urging on her part I was able to turn into a good position and regained some control of my breathing. I was urged to push when I felt the need to. About 15 minutes later, at 6:45am on September 5th, Charlotte Joy was born! Shawn got to pick her up out of the water and place her on my chest. She came out with a little cry and immediately settled while she laid on me. A little after 7am, Shawn and I sat on the bed with our little girl just in awe. I couldn’t believe she was already here! Charlotte Joy was a healthy 7lbs 7ozs and 20.5 inches long.
On her name: Charlotte means “free woman”; “Joy” needs no explanation. It is our prayer that Charlotte Joy would know the freedom found only in Jesus Christ, and that the Lord would be her delight.