Saturday, June 28, 2014

HOLY COW? NOPE, NOT THIS TIME - Charlie's Birth Story

This little girl decided to throw us a curve ball.

July 1st. That was the date. The date we had scheduled for her arrival. We knew this would be her birthday for the past four months. Apparently no one told Charlie.

For so long I had been focused on three main objectives for Spring: 1) Brian's surprise birthday party on June 14th. 2) Our annual yard sale on June 21st & 28th. 3) Charlie's birth on July 1st.  Brian's birthday party was a year in the making. I had no idea that we would be expecting a baby three weeks later; if I had, I would have picked a different date. But contracts had been signed and out-of-town guests had made plans. It was a success and I gave Charlie an imaginary high-five for staying put. The yard sale dates were set by the city, so there was no changing them. After Brian's party we had a week to prepare everything we had thrown (literally) in the basement. June 21st came and I sat in front of a fan collecting money for our unwanted items. Whew. One more week to go.

Nope. Didn't happen. The girl who was due on July 7th and scheduled to arrive on July 1st decided she was done waiting for us. She decided it was her time to shine, two weeks early.

At 38 weeks, on Tuesday, June 24th I woke up around 5:45 a.m. just like any other day (Brian would beg to differ on the "like any other day" part). Except on this day when I stood up out of bed I realized something was definitely different: my water had broke. Say what? Are you sure? No, seriously - I wasn't sure. My water never broke when I was pregnant with the boys. Christopher was induced and Carter was a planned cesarean. This was a completely new experience for me. I had no idea if what I was experiencing was the real deal.

I'll try to explain this without grossing out PopPop: When my water broke it wasn't like what you see in the movies. I know for some women this is true. They get a big gush and there's a puddle on the floor. Not for me. I honestly thought I peed myself. And for those of you who haven't been pregnant, let me be the first to tell you: pregnant women have no control of their bladder. Sometimes. Anyway, I honestly wasn't sure if I didn't make it to the bathroom in time or if we needed to head to the hospital. But after sitting down and standing up several more times, I realized - yup, that's not pee.

Now, this was a week earlier than planned mind you. And our last pregnancy went on as scheduled. So... I had yet to pack my hospital bag. Yup. Me. The planner. The one that freaks out if you want to go out for drinks and I haven't had it on the calendar for a month. Yeah, I wasn't ready. But let's be honest, I had a lot going on the few weeks before, it was on my to-do list for that week.  Since I wasn't experiencing any contractions we decided to take our time that morning. I didn't eat anything, I knew I shouldn't before surgery. But I did pack my bag and we made Carter breakfast. I called my mom and said, "Surprise! Time for you and Christopher to start driving this way!" We put Susie in her kennel and took Carter to daycare.

It was about five minutes from the hospital when I felt the first contraction. What the crap? I wasn't supposed to feel contractions. I had this delivery planned! I was supposed to get an epidural and be wheeled into the operating room without feeling a thing. Yeah, that didn't happen. We checked into the maternity welcome center at Mercy Hospital and by the time I was finally put in a bed the contractions we really setting in. They were completely erratic. I had no idea when the next one would show up and if it would be less painful or more painful than the last.

Dr. Snowden had another surgery scheduled for the morning so we were set for noon. By 10 a.m. I was ready for the happy drugs. The anesthesiologist wanted to wait on the epidural since we knew we were having a cesarean. I just had to make it until 11:30 a.m. Totally doable. But not fun. Not fun at all. By the time the anesthesiologist showed up for my epidural I was more than ready. What I was not ready for was how painful the process turned out to be.

With Carter, it was a smooth epidural. I don't remember feeling any pain at all. This time was a little different. Probably due to the fact that the anesthesiologist was talking on his phone while he inserted the needle. I'm no doctor but damn, something didn't go right. I felt like someone took a sledge hammer to my spinal cord and I felt it radiate down to my toes. The nurse was pressing as hard as she could on my shoulders to keep me from flying off the bed. I'm pretty sure Brian lost all feeling in his hands because I was squeezing so hard. Once I gave the doc a heads-up that my right side was in excruciating pain, he adjusted the needle and I was fine.

Sooner than later Dr. Snowden showed up and was ready to go. I was wheeled into the OR and the blue curtain went up. Everything was a little fuzzy at that point as I knew it would be. It took a little longer this time since I had two previous surgeries. One thing I do remember clearly - "My Sharona" by The Knack, was on the radio. What does this mean? I have no idea. Perhaps nothing. But maybe Charlie just found her nickname.

With the song stuck in my head, I finally heard the sound I had been waiting nine and a half months to hear. Her cry. Most people can't wait to see their baby. Kiss their toes, snuggle their cheeks. While I want all of these, the thing I long for most is their cry. It's a sound like no other. The first time you hear it, you know it's your baby. There's something in this universe that instantly imprints that sound in your heart. You could hear a thousand different cries and be able to pick out your child's without a shadow of a doubt. I love it.

And there she was. Our baby. Our girl. Our screamer. Yes, from the moment she arrived she made her voice known. I may be little, I may be the youngest, I may be a girl, but I am loud and I am strong.

The next was a whirlwind as I remembered from the previous two that it would be. Weight: 7 lbs. 6 oz. "You've got a runt!," Dr. Snowden said. "I thought you only had big babies." Me too, I thought. Height: 21 inches. Yeah, that's more like it. I didn't get her Apgar scores, but I didn't need them. I could tell just by looking at her that she was perfect. Tiny. But perfect.

Brian laughed and giggled as he did when our boys were born. It was a reassuring sound. He brought her over to me so I could give her a kiss and whisper words of reassurance that everything was okay. Charlie calmed and looked about with eyes made of glass.

About the time we got back to recovery, Gaga had showed up with the boys. She had picked Carter up from Ms. Cathy's house and they came to the room ready to meet the newest addition. Christopher was quiet as expected. A grin on his face but no words to express how he was feeling. Happy? Scared? Lonely? Relieved? I'm not sure. Carter on the other hand was as loud as ever bouncing off the walls wanting to hold Charlie immediately. He had to wait. Charlie was getting checked out by the nurse and would soon need a bath. Carter could barely sit still.

Charlie was not a fan of her first bath. She had an ear piercing scream. Up until they put her hair under the faucet. Yeah, she's a typically girl: loves to get her hair done. Once she was swaddled Carter was ready and waiting with open arms. He looked down at his little sister and I think, fell in love. He also didn't want to give her up. He didn't want anyone else to have a turn, she now belonged to him. After convincing Carter that he would be able to hold Charlie again, he was willing to pass her on to Gaga and Christopher.

After a short stay in recovery we all headed up to my new room for the next five days. We spent the time with visiting friends and cuddling our Charlie. Gaga brought the boys every day to visit their sister and I watched as they both experienced something completely new. Of course they had no idea of the changes that would take place when we brought her home. For that matter, neither did Brian or I.

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