Because of Charlotte's 2 vessel cord, my pregnancy was watched pretty closely. Frequent ultrasounds and a lot of discussion about potential risks, delivery options, things to look out for towards the end of the pregnancy. It was pretty stressful, but I was determined to keep a positive outlook. As we got closer to 37 weeks, my OB talked to me about induction. My midwife and I had already discussed this as a possibility, and I had said I was against it. I had read about 2 vessel cord babies not tolerating delivery as well....and that was under normal circumstances. Add pitocin and strong contractions to it, and you might as well be prepared for a c-section (at least that's how my mind read into it all). Despite all of this, my OB was able to talk me into an induction at 39 weeks - if we made it that far. She said that because of her 2 vessel cord, she didn't want to risk going to 40 weeks because these babies do tend to stop growing towards the end and because of the possible risk of complications.
Well, from the beginning I think Charlotte had decided to defy the odds. She gained weight well and never had any issues with growth restriction in the womb. And then...as I neared 38 weeks and was sure I would go into labor at any moment...she continued to stay put. I was beyond shocked. With Ayden, I made it to 38 weeks and 6 days. Collen - 38 weeks and 4 days. With Charlotte, I was positive she would show up even earlier. The Saturday before my scheduled induction, I woke up with contractions. They stayed pretty steady for most of the morning but then dropped off in the afternoon....then just fizzled out. I really, really didn't want to do the induction, and I kept holding out hope that she would come on her on. All I've ever know of labor and delivery has been going into labor on my own....I didn't like the idea of it not being "natural."
Well, Tuesday came, and we went in for the induction bright and early - 6:30am. No more contractions...not even very many braxton hicks. I had only dilated 2cm at 39 weeks....with Collen at 38, I was already 5cm!! For a 2 vessel cord baby, she definitely didn't seem to be in a hurry to make her debut. Ready or not, though, she was coming!
Me before going in for the induction
So, we got into the room....I got changed into the lovely hospital gown....climbed into the bed and waited for it all to start. Being the 3rd time around, I felt like an old hat at all of this. Jeremy got comfortable in his chair....and I turned on Good Morning America just like I always do every morning. The nurses came in...did their assessments...got the meds ordered and I got hooked up to the Pitocin. From that point, it was a waiting game. My midwife came in and hung out for a while....then went to the office to do some appointments. Around 10, she came back and checked me. I told Jeremy, "I bet you anything I'm only at a 3." Sure enough - 3 cm. Ugh...I was so disappointed. I was ready to meet this little girl!! And being my 3rd, I thought it would just breeze by. My midwife assured me, though, that once it picked up, it would probably go a lot quicker.
At this point, I was still against the epidural. I was already concerned about the Pitocin affecting her heart rate; I didn't want to add anything to the mix that could cause anything to happen. As the contractions got stronger, I continued to handle them pretty well. UNTIL.....they moved to my back. I was talking to my midwife, and mid-conversation, a contraction hit right in back....and it didn't stop. I was trying to be polite and continue talking....staying in the conversation.....but then it just didn't stop. It went on for a good 3 minutes straight. I could handle the pain as long as it was across my abdomen, but once it hit my back....I couldn't breathe. I had already let them give me IV pain meds, which were fine with normal contractions. Had they stayed across my belly, I could have gone through with just the IV meds. However, once the back labor hit.....I knew I wouldn't be able to tough it out. I felt like such a wimp, but I needed relief to the pain that didn't seem to have an end in sight at this point. So, I got the epidural, and the Dr. who did it did the best job I've ever had with an epidural. I was not completely numb. I could move my legs. I could feel the contractions - just less intense. I could even feel my bladder - which is a crucial part the story later.
So, we got to noon....still not a whole lot of progress. I think I was hanging out around 6cm. I was able to rest a little bit and I had to move to another room. In that transition, the contractions got stronger, and it was time to start focusing on delivery. My mom stayed in the room for a little while until I asked her to leave. I told her that once things got serious, I would need it to just be me and Jeremy - she was more than okay with that. Plus, it was her job to go get Collen. Our hospital has this wonderful channel with ambient music/nature sounds. I would not allow anyone to change the channel....this became my focal point. Thank you to whomever put this channel on their lineup - it was wonderful! Normally, I would have thought it was cheesy, but anyway....back to the story....
....around 2, my midwife came in again and checked me. I had made it to 8cm. At this point, I figured we probably had another 2-3 hours to go. Everything had seemed to progress more slowly than I thought it would. While she was there, I decided to let her know that my bladder felt very full (fun stuff...I know...). They were amazed that I could even feel my bladder. So, we took care of that, and my midwife seemed to think that with my bladder emptied, we would see a baby very soon. So, she went out to check on a few things, and I sent Jeremy out to tell my mom to go get Collen so he could be at the hospital once Charlotte was born. I still thought we had a good 2 hours to go. Well, this left me in the room alone. And of course, this is when things stepped into high gear. I started feeling a lot of pressure....the tell-tale pressure that a baby would be appearing very soon. However, I felt silly calling everyone back in once they had just left. Surely....I wasn't already at 10 and ready to go. I had just been checked! So, I waited and breathed through very, very strong, hard contractions...and what I now know what Charlotte pushing down as hard as she could. Finally, everyone came back in, and I told them that I thought it was time. Literally, in a matter of 20 minutes things escalated quickly. 20 minutes was quick compared to dragging through the first part of the day. My midwife checked me again and waited through a contraction. I was still at 8cm, but once the contraction hit, she felt me go from 8 to 10 and ready to go! Everyone started scrambling. The table wasn't set up for birth....my midwife had to rush to get dressed....it got crazy quick! While everyone was scrambling, I was trying to hold myself together and hold this baby in long enough for them to get everything set up. Luckily, I had done this before and had an idea of how to control myself a little bit. In less than 5 minutes, we were ready to go. This was at 3:15. My midwife gave me the go ahead to push....and push I did! Within 2 pushes, her head was out, and then with one more....Charlotte was here and born at 3:21.
She was by far the easiest of the deliveries - as she should have been. She is also our smallest baby, so having 2 bigger babies before her definitely helped this one be a lot easier. As I've mentioned before, I tend to have dramatic deliveries - the babies are fine; it's usually me who has freak bleeding that leads to being rushed out - or having a doctor rushed in - to do some emergency work on me. This time - drama free. Not a tear....not a scratch....easy, easy delivery. My midwife was incredibly relieved - as were we all! I've never felt so good immediately following a delivery.
Charlotte checked out great - 7lbs 5oz, 20 inches long. Beautiful fair skin and a head full of dark hair. She has long fingers and toes and dainty little features that distinguish her as a sweet little girl. I was able to nurse her right away, and she is a champion nurser! Much better than Collen was - strong and efficient.
We were told we could go home the next day, but we decided to just wait and see how Charlotte did. Collen was coombs positive - meaning my blood type and his conflicted with each other, which led to him being very jaundiced. We waited for word on Charlotte's blood type before making a decision about going home. Luckily, she is coombs negative and actually has the same blood type as me. So, we went home the next day! Crazy....I know...but we were ready to get home to Collen and get back into a routine as soon as possible.
Since being home, it has taken me a while to get back into the swing of things. My hips have been out of whack since pregnancy, and they are finally (just today) starting to feel back to normal again - or at least close to normal. I'm still weaker than I'd like to be - I can't pick Collen up as easily as I could before, but I'm hoping my "mommy muscles" kick back in soon. I have to remind myself daily that I gave birth a week ago....just a week. I can't expect myself to jump right back in to being supermom. I'll get there, though. Charlotte still became jaundiced, so we had to work on that early on by supplementing formula until my milk came in. Luckily, it came in more quickly this time around. With Collen it took 5 days; with Charlotte, it was in by the evening of the 3rd day. She continues to be a great eater - although she has decided she likes to use me as a pacifier as well. I have moments when I have to give her over to either Jeremy or my mom because as long as I'm holding her, she thinks she is supposed to be eating. Whew....
She's only a little over a week old, but I feel like I already know her so well. I can read her cues, and I already know what the "burp me" frown looks like. Charlotte is such a good baby! She rarely fusses - only when she is getting very hungry or if she needs some help with a burp or gas bubble. Right now, she alternates her awake and asleep days. Yesterday was a sleepy day; today was an awake day. At night, she sleeps in 3 hour stretches. I have to wake her up to eat and then she goes right back to sleep. Easy, easy baby. I know it's still the honeymoon period right now, so I'm hoping she continues to be this easy. If not, though, that'll be okay, too. Collen was a very restless baby, and I survived long nights with him. I can do it with her, too, if I have to.
I look forward to updating you all on Charlotte as she grows and we learn more and more about her. I never, ever thought I'd have a little girl. I always thought I was destined to have boys...then God surprised us with Charlotte. I look at her with so much adoration, and I can't even imagine not having her in our lives. She fits perfectly, and we just love her to pieces. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes...and for keeping up with our little family. :)