I promise I will not share any graphic details but I do want to record my labor and delivery experience and since I am a terrible journal writer this may be my only chance. And it is long :)
When I reached 36 weeks and started having weekly checkups, week after week I left sorely disappointed that my body was showing no signs of preparing for labor. At my 38 week appointment, I still had not dilated nor felt a a single contraction. I didn't want my baby to come early but I was anxious to know that the process was moving along.
One Wednesday, Sep 28, 2 days before I reached 39 weeks, I began feeling contractions at work. They were not consistent but I was excited/nervous that my body had started to prepare for my baby to come. By late evening, the contractions had started to speed up, coming about every 10 minutes apart. I started to feel anxious because I really did not want my baby to come early. My doctor was out of town until the following Monday and I still hadn't finished my last day at work. I knew I wasn't coming back after I had my baby and so I wanted to make sure I had tied up any loose ends.
Because the contractions were still so far apart, Blakely and I tried to get some sleep not knowing what the night would bring. Shortly after midnight, my contractions picked up to about 7 minutes apart. With Blakely's phone I kept track of how long they lasted and how far apart. The contractions were painful and long enough that I didn't get any sleep; just laid in bed waiting for the next one to come. At four o clock I woke Blakely up and told him what I had been feeling all night. My doctor had told me not to go to the hospital until contractions were 5 minutes apart for an hour but surely having contractions 7-10 minutes apart for 8+ hours had to count for something! Right?
After debating for half an hour about what to do, I finally decided to call the doctor on call. He sleepily answered my call and affirmed that yes, it was too early to go into the hospital. I felt certain though that my contractions would start speeding up so I made Blakely stay up with me. While I straightened my hair and put on my makeup, I made Blakely shave. I knew whenever this baby came, there was going to be lots of pictures and I wanted us to look somewhat alive even if we hadn't slept!
When six a.m. rolled around, I contacted work to let them know I wouldn't be making it to work and that hopefully I would be heading to the hospital at any moment. Blakely sent a few emails to let his coworkers know he would be working at home. And then we waited....and waited. By ten o clock the contractions had almost stopped altogether and Blakely decided he should head into work. After trying to take a nap, I decided to head into work as well and make sure I had cleared everything up. I was somewhat embarrassed about heading back to work after making everyone believe that I was headed into active labor but everyone was super kind and encouraging. Not knowing what turn my body would take, I completed all my last minute projects and turned in my work keys in case I was unable to make it back to work the next day. I said my goodbyes but still planned on returning on Friday for my final work day.
When I got home that evening Blakely and I did not want to spend our evening waiting to see if my contractions would start again so we called our friends Stephanie and Cameron, to get out of the house with us. We went for ice cream and a little shopping but I found myself extremely distracted knowing that I could be a mother by the next day!
The rest of the night played out as a repeat of the night before. We both settled into bed, not knowing what the night would bring but immediately the contractions returned. Throughout the night the contractions started speeding up from 10 minutes apart to 8 to 7 to 6. I tried to get some sleep in between but I was only able to relax for a few moments before the pain would return. At six o clock the contractions were 5 minutes apart. I got Blakely up and told him it was time.
We gathered all of our things by the door including the car seat and sat on the couch to help us pass the time until the magical hour of 5 minute contractions completed. The contractions continued for 50 minutes and then all of the sudden they were 7 minutes apart. 9 minutes apart. 12 minutes apart. I was devastated. At this point in time I could care less that my doctor wasn't around; there was no way I could handle another sleepless painful night.
After Blakely returned to work after our second false alarm, I decided to go into the doctors office to be checked and see how much progress my body had made after two nights of continual contractions. The doctor filling in for my doctor was very sweet and made me feel completely validated for wanting to come in for an unscheduled visit. She informed me that I had dilated two centimeters and that whenever the contractions returned I should head to the hospital . She was the doctor on call at the hospital that weekend and she felt confident that I would have my baby before the weekend was over.
I felt extremely relieved that there was an end in sight. I reached home about 1 o'clock. I had only been home for about a half an hour when the contractions returned. This time with an intensity I hadn't experienced yet before, reconfirming my desire to receive an epidural. I waited a half an hour before trying to contact Blakely because I didn't want him to have to leave work for another false alarm but by two o'clock I couldn't handle being by myself anymore.
Even though I was still in a lot of pain, by the time we reached the hospital, I felt a sense of relief because I knew that before the night was through I would have my baby. When I was checked in I had dilated to a 4 and my contractions were about 4 minutes apart. I was anxious to receive my epidural but I had to wait another hour and a half to finish the monitoring and check in process. Any fear I had of my labor experience was laid to rest when I met the the labor and delivery nurse who would be taking care of me. With 35 years of experience, she patiently explained every step of the process and answered our hundreds of questions.
Blakely played the part of supportive husband perfectly; sacrificing his hand for me to squeeze everytime I had a contraction, voicing my concerns to the nurse, cheering me on when I needed extra encouragement, and appropriately adding comedic relief.
Receiving the epidural was everything I hoped it would be.Within minutes my pain had subsided and I was able to relax for the first time in days. Instead of painfully waiting, dreading the beginning of the next contraction, I was able to wait in anxious excitement for our baby to arrive. Blakely and I had planned on having hours of waiting in the hospital and came prepared with Blakely's laptop to watch movies and catch up on our favorite shows but within minutes, I was able to fall asleep.
The rest of the night is somewhat of a blur. After sleeping for 2 hours, the nurse woke me up at 8:00 to check my status. While I was sleeping, my body was hard at work and I was fully dilated to 10 centimeters. She left to grab the doctor and told me my baby would be here within the hour. I hardly had time to process before she returned and had me start pushing. Half and hour of pushing and our sweet, healthy baby arrived. With the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice, he came out BYU blue but any fear quickly subsided as we heard his first screaming cry.
Charlie Crawford Cragun: 7 pounds, 10 ounces, 19 1/2 inches long and completely perfect. Charlie is the first boy name Blakely and I liked when we first got married but I had dismissed it from our list until a couple of days before he arrived. His middle name comes from his Grandpa, Blakely's Dad. We like the triple "C".
Blakely and I were sincerely concerned we would have an ugly baby. We knew we would love him no matter what but we had a nagging fear that our baby was going to be funny looking. Our fears were quickly put to rest when studly Charlie arrived. I don't know how we pulled it off but we couldn't have hand picked a cuter new born.
Motherhood as been everything I hoped for and more. What an incredible blessing to have such a pure and innocent spirit in our home who is so close to our Heavenly Father. He has already brought more joy into our lives than we could possibly imagine. I can't wait to watch what kind of person this little boys turns into.