Charlotte’s Birth Story
Our Sweet Charlotte’s Birth Story
Last Wednesday was just like any other Wednesday. We got up early to get Cam off to her school. No issues with drop off. I headed home to take a relaxing bubble bath and nap for a few hours before picking her up again. I was feeling a few contractions but they were irregular. No problems taking a nap. When I got back to her school to pick her up she saw me and immediately grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. She wanted me to carry her and kept her head on my shoulder the whole time. Her teachers said she had a great day and one of the teachers warned me that Cameron’s attached behavior could mean the baby is on the way. I giggled at the thought. The entire rest of the day Cameron was attached to me and whiney. When it came time for bed she fought us- this was the first time it had ever happened in her “new” big girl bed. We didn’t think much of it and brought her back downstairs to lie on the couch with us while we watched the season premier of our favorite show, Modern Family. Cam fell asleep next to me. Brian snapped some pictures of us. Little did we know these were my final “pregnant” pictures.
The next day, Thursday, I was scheduled to work. Cameron and I hung out at home for much of the day except for a short trip to the store. Brian called several times to check in and make sure a baby wasn’t on the way. I felt confident that even though I was supposedly 3-4 cm that I had at least another week. My contractions when I had them gave a little more discomfort but they were so irregular and inconsistent that I thought nothing of them. Brian came home and I headed to work. Our usual routine on these nights.
When I got to work I saw that our unit was very busy. I was assigned to a labor patient who was nearing delivery. I introduced myself to her and after talking for a few minutes found out that their first born, a girl, was born only 10 days after Cameron at the same hospital. And they were here now having their second. Wouldn’t it be funny, I thought, if I delivered in the next few days too. Her delivery was very intense and strenuous. I was responsible for helping her with a lot of positions changes to facilitate descent of the baby. I held her legs and pushed with her for nearly an hour. Finally, her 9 lb 13 ounce baby boy was born. After delivery, I noticed while walking out of the room to get some things that I was a bit uncomfortable. I had some back pain and some cramping. I couldn’t walk very fast either. I didn’t think much of it and kept going.
The discomfort didn’t stop and soon I was able to feel the cramping turn to contractions. Though they were not real intense, they were starting to occur more frequently. I also noticed that I wasn’t able to think quickly. My brain felt distracted. I was having trouble focusing on my job. After I recovered this patient and helped her over to the post-partum unit I decided I would have a friend check me to see if my cervix had changed from the 3-4 cm I was on Tuesday. Her eyes said it all when she looked at me after checking. Then she said, “Uhh Becca, you’re more like 4-5 cm, well no, I’d say 5.5 cm now and the baby’s head is really low.” My heart started pounding. Oh gosh, is it happening? Is this labor? I’m a labor and delivery nurse. I’m supposed to know what labor feels like but this didn’t feel like it. I was uncomfortable but I wasn’t dying. This was around 10pm. I decided I would keep working and start walking and see how things progressed. If the pain and contractions stopped I would just go home when I was scheduled to get off, at 1 am.
Well the contractions didn’t stop. They just got more intense. And more regular. They still weren’t so bad that I couldn’t work but I could tell something was changing. About 20 minutes before I was scheduled to get off work, I decided I would do a non-stress test on Charlotte and see how close my contractions were. Charlotte looked great as usual and the contractions were 5 minutes apart. I wasn’t impressed. I had a feeling that if I let them admit me to the hospital that the contractions would just stop, I would be given sleeping aids and would be induced in the morning by my doctor. Not something I wanted to do. So since they were 5 minutes apart, I decided I would leave and come back when they got more painful and closer together. On my way to grab my bags and leave, another nurse friend suggested that I at least be checked again to see if my cervix had changed in the last 3 hrs. I figured it couldn’t hurt. She checked me and said, “Becca I don’t think you are going anywhere tonight. You’re having a baby!” I was 6-6.5 cm dilated at this point. “Are you sure?” I said. “I am not hurting like I should at 6 cm and my contractions are not very close together.” Then I began to look at the situation from another perspective. Ok so here I was, starting at 4 cm and now at least 6 cm, second baby, in early labor. If early labor has me at 6 cm, what will active labor put me at? Will I make it to the hospital in time? Will I miss my opportunity for an epidural? Will I be delivering my own baby??? All normal fears I know but enough to convince me that staying was the best choice. I clocked out and started walking some more. I climbed the stairs over and over hoping to help my labor along without having to receive medication to do so. Finally around 2:30 am I felt tired and decided I would shower and admit myself to my room. One of my best friends, Dusky, was my nurse and had everything all ready for me. After a nice warm shower she placed the monitors on me and then checked me. I was still 6-6.5 cm but now contracting every 2-4 minutes. The pain was increasing too. She called the doctor and he ordered an epidural for me and then pitocin to speed the process along. At this point, I was okay with that. I was comfortable, with my night shift nurses. The baby was safe. I was safe. And I was going to get an epidural. The thought of missing out on that made me shudder.
I called Brian and he began to get things together to come up to the hospital. He called our moms and let them know the situation. Both wanted to wait until things got closer so Brian got Cameron out of bed and headed up to the hospital with her. Poor sweet tired baby girl arrived and was so confused. She was very happy to see me but had no idea what I was doing in that bed, with an IV, and why she was up there in the middle of the night.
Soon after they arrived the anesthesiologist came in to place my epidural.
The best part of the epidural was that my favorite anesthesiologist was on call that night. Her epidurals are nearly always successful and she is fast. Brian and Cameron went for a walk during the procedure. When they came back she was finished and I felt great. She got it first try and it started working soon after. Dusky positioned me in bed to help Charlotte turn (she was face up at this point) and we put Cameron next to me in an attempt to help her relax and go to sleep.
Cam & me. She wasn’t in the mood for pictures. Poor sleepy girl.
Snuggling Cam in the last few hours that she’s our only child.
By this time, it was probably 4 am. The pitocin was infusing, the epidural in place, contractions booming away. I was quite comfortable and tried to get a few minutes of rest. Not much time went by before my parents and Brian’s mom arrived. They stayed in the room and visited for a while. Cameron enjoyed having them there and we saw a burst of energy and knew this would mean a crash for her later. Dusky mentioned that the doctor called saying he was on his way and would break my water. When he arrived and they checked me, my cervix had thinned out and the baby had come down even more but I still wasn’t much more dilated than 6-7 cm. He kicked my family out, ruptured membranes and stated he expected to see significant change in the next 90 minutes. If not, he warned, it could mean I have stalled and would require a cesarean section. While I didn’t appreciate the threat he made, I knew it would never come to that. I could feel in my gut that Charlotte’s birth was right around the corner. It was just before 6 am that he broke my water. I told Charlotte to hurry up so I could deliver on the night shift with my friends. Like the good little girl she is, she did just that. In just minutes after he broke my water I felt pressure. Each contraction brought a little more though no pain (a sign of a great epidural). Only minutes later I felt the urge to push. Dusky checked me and I was completely dilated and the baby was so low that she could almost see hair. Every contraction brought more of an urge to push. She quickly had the rest of the nurses contact my doctor with the update. They weren’t able to reach him initially but kept trying. I wasn’t worried. I knew if needed, my co-workers could deliver her safely. They were finally able to reach him and he said he was on his way. Not sure where he was but I guess we caught him off guard with changing so quickly. He arrived and they prepped me for delivery. By this time, the urge to push was almost unbearable. I was so glad I didn’t have to feel the pain associated with it.
Pushing didn’t take long. Just about 5 pushes and they were saying, “Here’s her head!”
Just 1 minute before Charlotte’s birth. We were having a great time. She was almost here! I was telling Brian, “Get the camera she’s almost here!” Poor guy he looked stunned. This happened a lot faster than it did last time. We caught him off guard.
And just a minute later, at 6:31 am, Charlotte Hanna Edge made her way into the world. And she instantly cried. What a beautiful sound. I got to meet the baby I’ve bonded with inside me over the last 9 months. She was immediately placed on my chest. One word for this feeling. Love.
After a few minutes with me they took her to the warmer to dry her off more and weigh her. She was 7 lbs 8 ounces. Though she didn’t look or feel that big. And interestingly enough, the nursery believes that the L&D scale is off because later that night she was 7 lbs 1 ounce on their scale and they said there’s no way she lost that much in less than 12 hrs. So her actual birth weight, we’re not sure about but it’s likely somewhere between 7 lbs 1 ounce and 7 lbs 8 ounces.
Her Apgar score was 9 at 1 minute and 10 at 5 minutes. This is just about as good as it gets. She immediately latched on for breastfeeding and has done amazing well since then. She’s such an amazing little girl.
She really looked a lot like Cameron at birth. Since then she has changed a bit and has her own little features but there’s no denying these two really resemble each other.
Her birth was so special and so wonderful. I could not have prayed for a better experience or a better outcome. We are so thankful that our little one arrived safely.
And this is the story about how she came to us. Next post will be about her meeting with big sister. 🙂