On Tuesday night I'd had a bit of a fitful night of sleep - every little baby kick and trip to the bathroom turned into an anxious time of wakefulness - making lists of things I hadn't done and needed to do if/when/before I was actually in labor. Morning came on Wednesday and things proceded as usual. Wednesdays are the days when Santa comes to babysit the boys so I can volunteer in Elise's class and get some errands run. I was thankful to have one more day in Elise's wonderful classroom and also eager to get a few more pre-baby tasks accomplished - including a gigantic pantry-filling trip to the commissary. My conversations with bank tellers, store clerks, and friends along the way included the usual: "No baby yet." "At this rate, she won't come until June." "Well, I hope she waits until we have a name picked out." - etc... oh, the irony!
Josh and I headed to bed around 9:30 since we were too worn out to get any more tasks done. I almost remarked that he should have his clinic schedule opened up for Thursday and Friday since it seemed like the baby's arrival was not imminent...I guess one of us must have fallen asleep before I got to mention it! Anyway, a little after midnight I woke up with some discomfort and tossed around for a few minutes to try to get comfortable. I looked at the clock to see how long I'd been asleep and drifted back to sleep. When I awoke a few minutes later with a similar sort of discomfort, I figured I should check the clock again in case it was in fact a contraction (Since I'm now 4 for 4 with having NO noticeable contractions until the day I deliver). It had been eight minutes. Well, back to "sleep" to see what would happen next...8 minutes later...you get the idea. I think by the fourth time, I convinced myself that I'd better get up and pack the kids bags for their middle-of-the-night sleepover party and my own bag for the hospital. (All I'd managed to get into my bag the night before was Season 2 of Downton Abbey...you know, the important stuff!)...8 minutes, 8 minutes, 5 minutes...over the next hour while I gathered socks, play clothes, toothbrushes, etc... By 1:30 (what I could now confirm as) my contractions were coming every 3 - 5 minutes so I figured things were sure enough that I should wake Josh up and get the next part of the "plan" into motion. I was still a little worried it might be false labor, and asked if we could stay at home until I had more "information" but Josh encouraged me to pick up the pace of our departure. (He's so wise!) We called our friend Bethany, who was going to keep the kids for the rest of night (of course the baby WOULD come when her husband was out of town!). She was so sweet and hopped out of bed to make spaces for Elise, Caleb and Lucas on the floor of her living room. Josh and I finished packing the kids, cameras, school lunch, etc...and by 2:45 we were on our way down the hill to the hospital. At 3 a.m. we arrived at Bethany's house, took a few minutes to settle the kids in, and continued our (thankfully) short trip to the multi-service ward at U.S. Naval Hospital Sigonella.
Between our "expectant mother" parking spot and the ward on the 3rd floor we had to stop twice for contractions - I guess I was smiling as we walked through the doors because I remember the nurse, Melissa, commenting that I was far too cheery to be in labor in the middle of the night. I said to her, what I often say to other friends who "think" I'm calm, cool, and collected, that (good or bad) this smile hides a LOT of inner angst. Anyway, I was very glad when she concluded that I was 6 cm dilated and called our OB and Nurse Anesthetist to ask them to join us at the hospital. I am always a bit hesitant to get an epidural because I secretly think it makes me seem weak, but then once I have it I realize how much more I am able to enjoy the rest of the laboring and birthing experience. (even if I am a wimp!) I had Elise sans meds so at least I can feel like I haven't missed out on anything!
By 4:30 a.m. I was feeling a bit more comfortable and just after 5 my water broke. We called in Melissa, our nurse, who called in Celina, our OB, and a few minutes later I was holding a brand new baby girl in my arms - a bundle of blessings and someone new to love. We were so thankful for a beautiful, healthy baby and for all the wonderful care we received on her birth-day!
|Baby Girl Arthur (as she was named until about 30 minutes before we were discharged from the hospital!) - two minutes old.|
|Caleb had been praying for a baby sister for at least the last year - he was very proud to have her in his arms.|
|Josh brought all the kids over to the hospital before taking Elise to school. There were lots of ooohs and aaahs, questions and cuddles as they met their new baby sister.|
|The new and improved "Team Arthur"|
|Josh doesn't really know what to do with babies.|
|Lucas was very enthusiastic about "mine new baby!"|
|Welcome to the world Eden Joy. We love you!|