Never has a post been more overdue than this one...but I guess that might just be the theme of little Miss Charlotte's arrival into this world.
Charlotte was due on Tuesday, September 21. The day came and went. Because family was in town that would make heading to the hospital (and leaving Grace behind) that much easier, we decided to induce on Saturday, September 25.
The night before the inducement, Court, Grace, my mom and I decided to have one last hoorah and headed out to splurge on a wonderful dinner at our favorite spot in Yakima, Gasperetti's. And splurge we did!! We had their famous onion rings, salads, a yummy scallop with sweet potato puree that was divine, a splendid bottle of wine (of which I partook, of course!) and dessert! It was an amazing meal! Grace was an angel. I remember looking at her, photographing her with my mind because it was the last time it would be just the three of us. It was one of those meals you just never forget.
Check-in at the hospital was the next morning at 6:15 am. Living an hour away that meant leaving the house at 5:15 am which meant waking up at 4:15 am to shower and get things in order before we found ourselves in the midst of a hurricane caused by the chaos of two children.
It was bittersweet leaving the house. On one hand, we would be welcoming Charlotte into the world in a matter of hours. We were so excited to meet her, to have her be apart of our little family, to see what she looked like and even more excited to see who she would become. On the other hand, we were bringing our child into the world before she was ready. I kept hoping that my water would break on the way to the hospital so I would have a sure sign we were doing the right thing but no such luck.
We arrived at the hospital on time but I wasn't hooked up to the Pitocin or the monitors until about 8 am. At 8:30 am, my doctor broke the bag of waters. By noon, I was having hard contractions but only dilated to 2. I was frustrated at my progress, or lack there of. By 12:30 pm, I couldn't take it anymore and called for the epidural. At 1, I was feeling good...couldn't feel my legs but feeling good nonetheless. I rested and waited and after a few hours, I was still dilated to 2...maybe 3. Then, the epidural stopped working on the left side of my body. The contractions at this point were intense - coming in painful waves of three with a minute or two in between. I couldn't understand why I was feeling them only on the left side of my body. All I knew was that this had to stop! We called for the anesthesiologist who messed around with the epidural in my back - trying to get it to work - all while I was still feeling the contractions. His maneuvering didn't help. Finally, we decided to remove the epidural and re-administer it in a different location in my back. That did the trick! Finally, I was pain free...but not for long.
No more than an hour later, I felt a lot of pressure and was having to yoga breathe through my contractions. While the epidural was still working, they had CRANKED the Pitocin way up to get things moving. I was now dilated to 7 (from 2 to 7 in just an hour!!) and the doctor was on his way! (You can imagine what kind of contractions that took!) We were going to have a baby and soon!
I think I began pushing at a little after 5 pm although I'm a bit hazy. I know the Boise State game was on TV, that it had started at 5 pm and that we hadn't had the chance to watch very much of it before I began pushing. I pushed for about an hour to an hour and a half and then all of a sudden, there she was! At 6:51 pm, a black-haired, blue-eyed beauty was placed on my chest. It was surreal. I kept expecting to see a face like Grace's but it wasn't Grace's. It was purely Charlotte's. It was magical and love at first sight. She didn't cry. She was calm. She just cooed and whimpered like a lost little puppy.
Charlotte and I stayed that way for a very long time. The nurses were short on supply (lots of deliveries that evening as well) and it took a while to get someone in to do all the tests, measuring, etc.
Finally, they did the weigh-in. For 9 months, I had expected Charlotte to be huge and while she was a healthy 8.3 lbs, I couldn't believe how little she was! So petite and dainty! How had I gotten SOO big when such a small little baby was tucked away inside?
A few pictures of Charlotte right after delivery and clean-up.
I had to stay in the hospital for two nights. Court stayed with me through it all. He was so patient and calm throughout this entire process. He bantered with the nurses, walked the halls with me while my contractions were gearing up and eased all my stress and worry when the pushing seemed like it was taking longer than expected. My biggest anxiety about inducing (and thinking I had a bigger baby in there) was the chance of a c-section. Luckily, I had Court there with me to talk me through it all.
While Grace was definitely interested in Charlotte, she was much more interested in Charlotte's binky!
The binky in Grace's mouth shown below is the one given to Charlotte at the hospital. The amazing thing - Charlotte refused the binky from the get-go and has yet to take it since. I am freaking out that she won't take the binky. A binky is a very powerful, amazing weapon...I mean tool...that we parents have to use against...I mean use to aid our babies in satisfying their overwhelming need to suck. Since Charlotte is refusing the binky, guess who and what she has been sucking on - around the clock - practically non-stop?
All in all, it was a text book delivery. I can't even begin to relay the difference between delivering a 9.3 lb baby and an 8.3 lb baby. The difference is beyond dramatic and the recovery?? Insanely more easy with a 8.3 lb baby. Women who never experience birthing a 9 pounder have NO IDEA what those women who do go through. There aren't words - well there are but I'm not ready to go there in graphic detail right now. (Your welcome!)
While I am confident we did the right thing by bringing Charlotte into the world on September 25, I will - for the rest of my life - wonder when she would have arrived had we left her to her own devices. In my heart of hearts, I think she would have stayed put until the beginning of October...but we'll never know. What I do know is that September 25 will forever be one of the most memorable days of my life. Welcome to the world darling Baby Charlotte!