Charlotte’s Birth Story

I’ll be celebrating my first Mother’s Day on Sunday and I thought it would be the perfect time to share how our sweet, beautiful baby girl came into the world. It’s been almost two months since that long awaited day so the details may be fuzzy. I’m grateful to have had the time to process everything.

Our girl was quite comfy and wasn’t in a rush to make her appearance. For some reason during most of my pregnancy I had a feeling she would come early, so I was surprised when my due date came and went. At my forty week OB appointment on Wednesday, March 11th (Charlotte’s Due Date) we scheduled an induction for Monday, March 16th at 7:30pm. That’s when it all got verrrryyyy real, but I thought for sure she would come on her own before then. I tried just about all the “natural induction” tricks – I even ate spicy food (I hate spicy). I was desperate to meet her and no longer be pregnant, but she was stubborn from the start. Where could she have gotten that trait??

By the time Monday came I was equally excited, nervous, anxious, ready. My mind was racing on our fifteen minute drive to the hospital. We got checked in and they wheeled me up to my labor room. So surreal! It was baby time! But little did I know at the time, it wouldn’t be that easy…

The nurse put in the IV which was terrible and then placed the foley bulb to get things moving. The bulb fell out at 4cm early Tuesday morning and then the doctor broke my water. It was at that moment I wondered if it was too late to turn things around – so painful. I showered and had my last meal for a while. Had I known it would be quite some time before I was able to eat again I would have gone much harder on the hospital breakfast menu.

Things were starting to get uncomfortable. Around 11am on Tuesday I got an epidural. I thought the whole process was going to be much quicker – I was wrong. It felt like it was really only taking to my left side and I was feeling pain from contractions. I had Eric watch the monitor and warn me when one was coming and when it was over. The nurses helped me with lots of position changes to get the epidural to both sides and encourage dilation. I tried anything they suggested, but the progress continued to stall. Luckily baby girl was nice and cozy, not bothered by any of it.

It was a lot of waiting and rechecking by the doctor. I started to feel helpless until I finally dilated to 5cm around 11pm Tuesday night. It felt promising and since baby was doing well I decided to wait a little longer.

During all this time it seemed like I was in and out of consciousness. I couldn’t really sleep and I felt so uncomfortable. I wanted so badly to be able to eat and move on my own, but of course at that point neither of those things were possible. I did finally have some chicken broth and an Italian Ice that night. It was the best thing I’ve ever tasted! Well not really, but my expectations were low.

Each time the doctor came in and informed us things still looked the same as before it was deflating. I remember talking to Eric after the 5cm check. If there wasn’t any progress next time I was going to ask to go another route. Around 3am she came back for her check. Nothing had really changed. Baby girl was still doing fine, so it was all my decision. Did I want to continue waiting or do a c-section? The doctor was amazing and never made me feel like I had to go one way or another.

I had given it my all. I was exhausted, starving, and getting more discouraged at my body for not cooperating. I decided it was time to meet our baby girl.

During pregnancy I had dreams on two separate occasions about giving birth via c-section. They were odd and I didn’t give it much thought beyond that because I just assumed my labor and delivery would proceed “as normal.” I suppose it was God’s way of mentally preparing me for this moment.

Once I told the doctor they changed gears so fast I didn’t have time to freak out. Nurses were in our room getting ready and Eric quickly packed up our stuff. They prepped me for surgery and sent Eric to get dressed for it. I’m grateful he was able to be by my side. I was laying on the operation table and felt like my back was going to break since my arms were so stretched out.

I was weak and exhausted from the long process leading up to it, but it was almost time! I was scared, but felt comforted by the nurse next to me and Eric holding my hand. My hand became numb from squeezing so hard. Later in the surgery my blood pressure dropped and I felt sick. Terrible timing… I was given medicine to help the nausea that could cause temporary memory loss. I’m not sure if it was the meds or sleep deprivation, but the procedure is fuzzy. I remember staring at the ceiling and drape waiting for it to be over. It felt like forever!

3:52am Charlotte was finally here!

She came out crying and I felt so relieved. For some reason I was concerned about her having ten fingers and ten toes. She did and was perfect. I didn’t hold her in the OR because I was too scared to drop her, but Eric showed me her pretty face. I couldn’t wait to snuggle her and stare at her sweet face.

The nurses moved me to the recovery bed and laid Charlotte next to me – proud mama. We spent two hours in recovery getting fluids and making sure mom and baby were well. We tried breastfeeding for the first time. It was a lot to take in. I was being monitored, so I couldn’t move much otherwise the machine would beep, but I didn’t care. We were in awe and overjoyed.

Eric was such an incredible partner and teammate through the entire process. He stayed by my side and I felt comforted just having his presence. I probably snapped at him a time or two (honestly I don’t remember), but he took it all in stride. I’m sure it was difficult for him to watch his wife in pain and not being able to control anything. We weren’t allowed any visitors due to COVID-19, so he was the sole support and had to carry it all. I couldn’t have gotten through it without him.

We saw so many different nurses during our stay. Each one was caring and helpful. I was thrilled when we actually had day and night nurses that returned to care for us at their next respective shifts. We were well taken care of and after going through so much it was nice to see familiar faces. Since we weren’t allowed any visitors the nurses were really all we had. They were our angels – watching Charlotte for a few extra hours in the night so we could get a bit of sleep, comforting me, making sure we were stable and I was taking my medicine. I will be forever grateful for the difference they made.

By Friday we were SO ready to go home. I had a mental breakdown and sobbed when I thought we had to stay another night due to Charlotte’s weight loss. Poor baby had been through a lot and had a ton of fluids in her little body thanks to my induction and procedure. Luckily we were able to get her weight back into a comfortable range for the Nurse Practitioner and were given the green light to discharge. I was thrilled! But also terrified. In the hospital you have lots of experienced support. At home it would just be us. But I was ready to take on that challenge and get back to normal… whatever that looked like.

It was time to go home and begin our new lives as parents to the cutest newborn baby!

Welcome to the crazy world, Charlotte.

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