As Emily's due date approaches and I am filled with wonder about how her arrival is going to take place, I have realized that I do not have a concrete account for night/day/night arrival story of Caroline... or if I do, I have forgotten about it. :) So this may not be fun for anyone to read but me, and one day for Caroline.
Daddy and I were living in Macon, Georgia where he was a 4th year medical student at Mercer University and I was teaching gifted classes 1st-5th grade in Houston County. I stopped working the Friday before your due date- I was swollen and VERY ready to pop! My due date was November 18th which fell on a Tuesday. Daddy and I were very anxious for you to get here and tried everything we could think of to get you here! On my due date we went out to dinner, walked through Target, walked through a sporting goods store, and went through Starbucks. Walking and caffeine seemed to be the theme that night. I had become aware and cognizant of what my contractions felt like a few days prior after I had done a non-stress test at my doctors appointment. Well, all that walking helped!! I started feeling contractions at Dick's Sporting goods, so we went home and hung out on the couch...I decided I wanted to time the contractions. And what do you know??? They were 5-7 minutes apart like clockwork!! Nothing painful or even strong, but definitely contractions. So we started timing them around 9:30 that evening and continued....all through the night....I kept looking at daddy and asking him "what should we do?? is this real? it doesn't hurt, but they are consistent." We showered, went to bed- well daddy did. I watched the clock for hours, and dozed off for a few minutes until one of the contractions woke me up- still not painful, but strong enough to wake me. I woke daddy and we just looked at each other. Granted my husband was practically a doctor and had rotated through OB already, we decided we should call OB assessment and see what they said...knowing full well they wouldn't be able to tell us anything over the phone, we just needed reassurance. We decided to get up after that call- around 4:00 a.m. and got ready, grabbed our bags, and crossed our fingers that this wasn't a "false alarm". We would feel so silly! We decided not to call any family until we were at the hospital with some confirmation. This was by far the coldest night we had experienced in a long time...it was freezing!
At 4:45 a.m. we drove calmly to the hospital- all of 10 minutes away, parked and then decided we should give our parents a heads up...my parents were in Rome about 3 hours away, and Brad's were in Milledgeville, just 1 hour away. I told my mom that we were simply going into assessment and would call with an update. And that I did! After going into the assessment area and being checked by a nurse she confirmed that I was about 2 1/2 cm dilated and 100% effaced, contracting every 5 minutes. They decided they would move me to a room and get me started- I was a little bit in shock and not believing that we were actually about to start the long awaited process! We called and told our parents...even though it was most likely going to be a long progression. And that it was!! We told the doctors and nurses that we wanted things to happen as natural as possible- as far as progression was concerned...not the pain tolerance. It was daylight before we knew it and we had a few hours to get situated, stare at one another and realize what was happening. The doctors decided to go ahead and break my water for me since it hadn't broken naturally. After this I wanted to just be up and walking around as much as possible to really get the labor process started- I didn't want to get a lot of pitocin to speed things up...I wanted her to come when she was ready. Our family started to arrive around 10 a.m. I think...of course this could be fairly a blurry synopsis on my part. Bless everyones hearts- they all waited on pins and needles all day long in the awful hospital waiting area. We were only allowed 2 visitors back at a time and it was a long day. Grammie, Grandpa, Nana, Papa, Uncle Ben, Aunt Sarah, Aunt Niki, Uncle Chris, and Aunt Cara were all there ready for the show to begin! We walked the halls, went out and talked with other families that we knew were having babies at the same time, enjoyed visits from friends and did all we could to get Caroline started on her debut.
Contractions finally started getting stronger and the walking was not so fun anymore- probably around 2:00 pm. We headed back to our room and I wanted my epidural. I think I was about 6-7 cm dilated. We knew a particular anesthesiologist that we wanted to come perform it for us, but he was not able to come as quick as I decided I wanted it, so the doctor on call came about 45 minutes later. I was ready. The actual epidural wasn't too bad- I was terrified of it, but the pain was much more intolerable. Right after the epidural we had a slight scare- Caroline's heartbeat disappeared from the monitor and we weren't sure what was happening. The nurses went into "panic mode" and they proceeded to do all the things they needed in order to find out what the problem was. We were a very nervous and I remember to this day how white your daddy turned. Evidently after epidurals the mommy may experience a drop in blood pressure, affecting baby, and this is not as serious as it seemed to us at that moment. But no one had warned us or told us about it. Probably took all of 5-10 minutes to get things back to normal and alright. A lot of prayers were sent up for sweet Caroline at that minute! She was fine though and the day continued- after the epidural started I was all smiles- the pain was gone! It was fabulous- I was never the one who thought about attempting the natural, drug free birth- me + pain didn't = fun in my mind whatsoever.
My contractions were not as strong as they should've been and I was not progressing very fast. The nurses finally started upping my pitocin level to see if things would get moving. Slowly, slowly, slowly I crept up to about 9 cm by about 7 p.m. I was so tired and ready to meet my sweet baby, but things were taking forever!! My contractions were not very strong so they kept waiting...I guess they were considering a c-section if things didn't continue to progress. My OB doctor on call was Dr. Barnes. The midwife, Jeri Willeby was the one taking care of me that night though. She was amazing and really worked with us to see if we could have Caroline naturally instead of sending us to the OR for a c-section. Finally Geri asked if I wanted to start to push...she evidently thought I was ready or close enough to go ahead and try. We hadn't seen our family in awhile and I know they were all wondering what was going on since I had asked them to leave about an hour before so I could get some rest. No one ever made it back to see me though before I started pushing. We pushed and pushed, for a total of about 1.5 hours...but in the middle of the process my epidural wore off and I was not going any further until they upped it. So we waited- mid-push for the Anesthesiologist to come down and fix me up. We probably had to wait 15 minutes- which felt like ETERNITY!! But he made it, and we started again. We were so excited to be in the final stages, but I was so tired. Daddy was such an amazing encouragement. Finally, Caroline made her debut and entered our family at 8:50 p.m. on Wednesday, November 19th, 2008.
She was perfect!!! We were absolutely in awe....a priceless moment that will be forever ingrained in our minds. Caroline weighed 8lb 14 oz and was 22 inches long. She was a big girl!! I got to nurse immediately and we spent a few minutes just admiring God's miracle. Then Caroline and daddy were off to the nursery to get cleaned up and fixed up. Daddy went out, told the family, and led them to the nursery window to watch Caroline get all fixed up. It was like the paparazzi was there- cameras flashing, videos rolling, everyone in awe of our sweet Caroline! After getting all fixed up myself, I was moved to another room and anxiously awaited to get my sweet girl back in my arms. It was around 11 I think before we were finally reunited. Our family was so sweet to be by our sides the whole time- and to run and get us McDonald's at nearly midnight. I was starving and ready to eat since I had gone without during the previous day. The hustle and bustle eventually died down and it was just me and daddy and our sweet baby girl. We were in awe...no words to say. I just remember repeating over and over again- "She is so beautiful! Look at her! She is ours." Funny how I still find myself saying those things today. Probably always will.
Daddy took over and changed every diaper in while we were in the hospital and was able to catch a few hours of sleep here and there. I on the other hand was wide awake- pain meds and all- I wasn't going to take my eyes off Caroline. I watched her the whole first night...she was a truly amazing. The next day family and friends began to arrive and we got to show off our sweet daughter. It was fun to introduce you and you were sweet as could be. Hungry....but sweet as could be. I am probably leaving some people off this list, but these were a few of your visitors- Kristina and Shaefer Spires, Hannah and Baron Mullis, Matt and Allison Barton, Adam and Suzanne Land, Uncle Stanley Hobbs, Misty Kitchens, Kim Griffin, Lee and Brooke McGill, Kevin and Jamie Franks, various medical students that we knew, and right now that is all my crazy mind can come up with! I am sure I am forgetting someone- but please don't be offended if I left your name off the list- should have recorded it better I guess. We were overwhelmed with hospitality and so thankful for all of our family and friends that made Caroline's arrival such a celebration!
We got to go home on Friday the 21st of November. We were so nervous driving home with such precious cargo in our backseat! We got home to a quiet, clean, fully stocked house on Forest Pine Drive. Aunt Cara had decorated signs and put fun banners everywhere welcoming you home. Family was around and we continued living on cloud 9 all together. It was perfect...even after the LONG labor, the extremely painful recovery, and all the unknowns I had conquered that day...it was perfect. And that is the story of Caroline. There are a lot of details I left out that you can ask me about one day if you are curious to know more, but this is the short version. Yes, I know this is a book, but it could be longer! :)
Next story to be told will be for little sister Emily. We can't wait! It is going to be different because we are in Arkansas now- away from all our friends and family. I am nervous to be quite honest. We still feel like newcomers to the town, haven't visited the OB area at the hospital, and we have a 1 year old that will need lots of supervision and care during this next birth story. We are so blessed to have a sweet friend, Rachel, who has offered to be our "life saver" if we were to go into labor in the middle of the night or at anytime really. She is my one "God sent" friend who is going to be on call for my call in the next few weeks. She has offered to help with Caroline until our family arrives from Georgia. Right now we have a scheduled date of Feb. 26th on the calendar, but who knows if that will really take place. I pray it does simply for everyones piece of mind. :) We are SO excited and can't believe we are only 5 weeks away from another special day that will go down in our history books forever!