Charlotte "Charlie" Lena (named after my mother's father and D's nan) arrived Saturday March 16th at 4:15pm, weighing 8lbs 4ozs and 20.5 inches long.
My labour at home was relatively easy...or at least not as horrifying as I thought it would be. My contractions started being noticeable at 9pm while my sister and I were watching a movie but I didn't want to say anything in case I was wrong. By 2:30 am, after changing positions, taking a hot shower/bath, and tracking my contractions I figured I should say something to my husband and sister. I wasn't sure what to do as I was told the rule to go to the hospital is 4-1-1 (contractions every 4 minutes, lasting 1 minute long and consistent for at least an hour) and that in active labour the contraction pains are apparently so bad that you can't talk through them. Well mine were more like 2.5 to 3 minutes apart - 45 seconds long - and consistent for a few hours, and I didn't feel like I couldn't talk through them. Yes it hurt but not as much as I had assumed.
I called St. B maternity triage and gave them this information and they advised that I wait until the contractions are at least 60 seconds in length or my water broke. So I was at the hospital at 6 am, hoping that they wouldn't check and see that I wasn't even close and send me home but when I was admitted into triage it turned out I was fully effaced and 6 cm dilated so I was most definitely staying. I got stuck in triage for 2 hours because they could find a vein in my hands to put the IV in. By the time they walked me to my private room and checked again I had progressed to 8.5 cm dilated...at this point my back was killing me and I definitely had no desire to talk through a contraction.
I opted for the epidural, even though at that point I only had 2 cms to go and then push which I assumed would be only 2-3 more hours, thankfully I didn't listen to this 'rational' part of my brain because it turned out that Charlie was facing left and I was going to experience the dreaded back labour. This tends to take longer and hurt more! My contractions started slowing down around 11:30 and I had to be given a drip to help 'induce' me, I started pushing at 2:30 and when my delivering doctor showed up at 3:30 she attempted to manually turn Charlie which was a 'wonderful' feeling even with the epidural, not to mention the back pain that snuck past the drugs. At 4pm she told us she needed to use the vacuum which meant a trip to the OR. Well 15 minutes later, with a heavier dose of epidural which numbed my legs and took away the back pain, a failed vacuum attempt, the use of forceps, an episiodomy that left me with multiple stitches (the Dr didn't tell me how many), and two hemorrhoids because I pushed so hard, Charlie entered the world.
It was so sweet. D cried and fell in love immediately. I did too.
Even though it would be considered a traumatic birth for baby and mom, I personally didn't think it went that bad. I guess I had worked myself up into thinking labour was the worst thing ever but managing to go 8.5cm with no drugs and then having the epidural look after the rest it was definitely doable!
Charlie did have a bit more tough of a time though and slept a lot (we had to force her awake at feedings). She didn't take to my breast so we had to finger tube feed her, basically she wouldn't open her mouth enough to fit a nipple in. My sister was nice enough to pump milk for me, as I wasn't producing enough to feed her the first 3 days by myself, although I did give her what I could pump myself first. On the fourth evening my milk had come in strong (my breasts are a lot bigger then I expected them to get) and I was able to transfer her to my breast with the help of a nipple shield so that she could maintain a latch. We are at 3 weeks today and still using the shield although I'm working on getting her to hold a latch with out it, so far we got her on for approximately 3 minutes.
So now we are settling in at home, getting to know each other and loving parenthood. I am so lucky to have such a good baby, who really only cries when she's hungry and lets me sleep well at night. Knocking on wood it stays that way for a long time!