Brace yourself, it's gonna be a long one...
It all started Thursday evening at about 5:30 when I started having regular contractions. I'd been having contractions off and on all week - even timed them for awhile Wednesday morning but they just went away. Thursday night they were 2-5 minutes apart for over an hour and a half and getting more painful so we packed up and headed to the hospital. My parents met us there to take Jack to their house. When we got all checked in at about 7:45pm I was still only 3cm dilated (same as my check-up on Tuesday), but was indeed having regular contractions every 2-3 minutes at this point. They were somewhat painful, but really not that bad. After this continued for several hours with no change, my doctor came in and said I had a few options: 1. Go home and wait it out or 2. Have him break my water and get this party started. Initially Jason and I were thinking 'we're not leaving here without a baby in our arms - let's do it!' but the more I thought about it I decided that wasn't what I wanted. I had my heart set on a VBAC and this would reduce my chances of success. I didn't want to look back and always wonder 'what if??' So, we were discharged from the hospital around 1:00am and headed home for the night.
We got decent sleep that night, sleeping in with Jack still at Grandma & Grandpa's house. At 9:00am, shortly after we got up, I was going to the bathroom and felt a pop. When I stood up there was a steady stream coming from me. Well that seemed to stop too - this was nothing like the gusher I experienced with Jack. SO, I decided not to freak out and went about eating breakfast. By 9:30am contractions had started and they were very quickly get stronger and closer together. Jason timed them for me and they were happening every 2-3 minutes. Pretty quickly I couldn't even walk around during the contractions, so we quickly packed up the car (again!) and headed to the hospital. I thought I was dying on the way to the hospital, and not sure I would have managed if it weren't for my cool-headed husband reminding me to breathe and think about something else. He told me later "there was one point when I thought you were going to jump out of the car." All I can say is, thank goodness rush hour traffic was over!
We got the the hospital at 11:00am and by some stroke of luck there was an orderly with a wheelchair helping a new mom and her baby into her car. He said he'd take me up to Labor & Delivery and Jason rushed to park the car with my last instruction to him "JUST RUN!" When I got wheeled up to the desk, the nice lady asked me if she could help me and my response was a resounding "I need my epidural!!" She got me checked in as quickly as she could, but really didn't I just tell them my baby's pediatrician's name LAST NIGHT??? Jason was there before I knew it and just in time for me to say "I'm gonna vomit." The words weren't even out of my mouth when I lost my breakfast all over the floor. Sorry Labor & Delivery front desk lady!
After that they quickly wheeled me into a room, got me into a gown and checked my cervix. 4cm. WHAT?? I know it had only been about 1.5 hours at that point, but holy cow those puppies were powerful - what a letdown to be only 4cm. Regardless I knew I needed my epidural immediately because I couldn't tolerate it much longer. After lots more check-in questions, no less then 5 attempts at getting an IV in my arm and some monitoring of the baby and my contractions, they finally got the epidural in at about 11:30am. At noon my contractions were about a minute apart, but I was still 4cm dilated and 90% effaced. At 1:30pm they decided to start Pitocin (very slowly because of my desire for a VBAC) and an hour later I was STILL 4cm. Grandma and Grandpa brought Jack up for a quick visit at about 4:00 while I was resting comfortably with my epidural, so that was nice. They checked me a few times throughout the day (4:45pm and 5:45pm) and I was still at 4cm. Apparently my cervix was not interested in dilating any further. Luckily, baby was doing just fine through all of this, so that was a big relief (recall that Jack's heart rate kept dropping during my labor with him).
After that last check, it was decided I was c-section-bound - there wasn't much else they could do. SO preparations began and we were off to the operating room. The walk to the OR is only a couple minutes, but I still managed to vomit on the way there. I started to get pretty sleepy, but was able to stay alert during most of the surgery. After what seemed like forever, they said, OK baby's coming out! Then they said "Oh, lots of dark hair!!" Then they said "Baby's out - Dad take a picture of the clock" (it was 6:50pm). So he obliged and then we were both saying "What is it?? What is it??" And they said "Dad, tell her!" So he looked over the sheet and said "It's another boy!!" and we both promptly began crying and crying. He was finally here!!
The next minute (or maybe it was less, who knows) seemed like an eternity because Charlie wasn't making any noise. I said over and over again "Why isn't he crying? Why isn't he crying?" Finally after lots of jostling they got him to make a quick cry and assured me he was fine, just being lazy. What a relief! His APGAR scores were 5 (eek!) and 8 (much better!).
While they stitched me up, the nurses got Charlie all cleaned up while Jason took lots of pictures and we both just continued to cry. They weighed him in at 9lbs, 4.5 oz and then handed him to Jason to hold. At one point during the surgery I thought I was going to vomit again so I dry heaved into a kidney dish for awhile. I also got the severe shakes, which didn't stop for about 45 minutes after surgery was over (this is common with c-sections). Man, I just don't do pain medicine well!
So that's how our precious little Charlie Nicholas came into this world. He arrived on his due date, and while it was not as we planned, he is healthy and that is what matters most!
About his name: Charlie is his given name (not Charles). Charles is a prevalent name in both our families (Jason's paternal grandpa's first name, my dad's middle name and my paternal grandpa's middle name), but the name is not really after any of those - it's just a name that both Jason and I love. Nicholas is Jason's middle name, so Charlie has part of his daddy in his name.