It's hard to imagine that our sweet little Charlie is 3 weeks old already! And what is even more difficult to imagine is that she could have still been baking in mama's tummy until now had she not decided to come early like big sister did.
I wanted to make sure I got this story written out sooner than later, while things were still fresh in my memory of how the day went down. So, here it is, the story of Charlie Dawn Lowe.
I had been expecting to go into labor early, just like I did with Palmer (you can read her story here). My whole last week of work (my 35th week of pregnancy) I was constantly thinking about it. I kept wondering when this little bean was going to join us. My last shift at work was Friday September 25th, and I was hoping I would have a little while longer before baby arrived to get a few things done - get the nursery set up more, get myself organized, spend those last few much needed moments with Palmer as the only child before her life was going to change in a major way. Every day after that last day of work, I wondered. I wondered if today was going to be the day. But, every day came and went and no baby yet. Then I got myself thinking that these next few weeks could get to be pretty long if I was just waiting and waiting.
My last week of work, my mom was here watching Palmer. Then the weekend, Mitch was home from being away at work. Then Sunday night, my in-laws were back in town. Every one (but me) was wanting to make sure someone was around for me "just in case" the time came. I started to get pretty frustrated with everyone thinking I needed a baby sitter, but I tried to carry on with my days like normal.
In the early morning of Wednesday September 30th, I had myself awake for a good part of the night. I woke up thinking that for sure, today was going to be the day. I was up tossing and turning from 3am-6am, wondering what to expect from the day. Palmer and I did the usual morning cuddles in my bed. Made our way downstairs for breakfast around 8, had a fingernail painting party, then made our way downtown to pick up some paint to do some touch ups in the living room. On our way home, we stopped at the park. This was the day Palmer didn't want to leave. I'm certain it took us 25 minutes to leave the park.
After lunch, Mitchell's parents came over so they could do some work around the house. While Nan and Palmer played for awhile, I did a deep cleaning of the master bathroom (nesting much?) It was just before 3pm when I was checking my e-mail on the computer and I felt and heard a funny "pop." I have to admit, I wasn't quite sure what it was at first. But, when I stood up and I could feel what I was sure was Niagara Falls, there was no doubt anymore that we were having a baby that day. Although my water broke with Palmer too, I was sleeping when it happened and have no recollection of a "popping" noise or feeling.
So, I went and told my mother-in-law that today was the day. I made my phone call to Mitchell (who had to make a 2 hour drive to get here), my mom (who drove 4 hours) and my father-in-law to come back to take me to the hospital.
At this point, I was having no contractions, no pain, no worries at all. We arrived to labor and delivery, got registered and admitted and waited for the doctor. When the nurse came back from me having left my sample in the bathroom, she told me that my fluid tested negative as amniotic fluid. I was so confused. She proceeded to tell me that sometimes, baby will kick just right and urine can leak. All I could do was laugh. Are you kidding me?? I just had a waterfall of fluid gush from me, and you are telling me it might just be urine! So they had to get an order from the doctor to do another test which included a swab. And sure enough, it was positive (duh!)
It was around 5 when Mitch arrived, and I let out a huge sigh of relief. The one thing I was worried about was that he wouldn't make it there on time to see baby be born. Not too long after he got there, I could really start to feel the contractions. They were getting more intense and closer together. At my previous doctor's appointment, they had ordered for me to have an ultrasound because she wasn't sure if baby was breech or not so after being at the hospital for awhile, they decided that they couldn't tell either if baby was breech and ordered a STAT ultrasound. Let me tell you, I work in the hospital and I know this was certainly not performed STAT! Just before leaving, I measured at 2cm dilated. It was about 6:30 when I finally left from LDR to the ultrasound, feeling super uncomfortable and having pretty intense contractions. We were happy to find out quite quickly though that baby was head down.
Upon arriving back to LDR, the nurses decided it was time for me to move into a labor room. By now, I was very uncomfortable and the contractions were getting a little more difficult to get through, but I held on without medication. At 7pm, the new nurse came in to introduce herself and asked me if I knew what the plan was. She said the doctor had ordered for a oxytocin drip to be started if I wasn't progressing quickly enough. That was NOT something I wanted at all. I knew being on the drip was more painful and more intense and I did not want that. So, she decided that if my 8:30 I hadn't progressed much more than a couple cm, we would talk about the drip further.
I felt the contractions were much more intense than before. I was sure I was progressing faster than that and was certain I wasn't going to need a drip to move things along. I think it was about 7:30 when she checked me again and I measured 6-7cm. Good news!! I was so happy to hear that.
I couldn't tell you what time it was by this point, but things were getting beyond painful. I remember pain from last time and I was sure this time was worse. Maybe because things were moving along so much more quickly, but it was to the point where I didn't think I could take it anymore. This was the point I asked for pain medication. My nurse, kind as she was, strongly recommended I not have any. She explained to me that being this far along, having pain meds now would make both me and baby sleep, and because baby was already potentially going to the NICU for being born at 36 week 3 days, we didn't need another reason to send baby there. I broke down. I began to cry. I didn't know if I could do it. I think this was when I grabbed on to Mitchell's hand and I don't remember letting go.
Then, there it was. The urge to push. I feel like it came on so quickly. I remember watching the nurse push the button to call for other nurses. The NICU team came, a respiratory tech, and another nurse. The doctor wasn't there yet. I kept telling them I needed to push and they kept telling me not yet, not yet. I could have sworn I couldn't not push. I remember saying "I have to. I have to push." They told me not to push yet because there was still cervix there and I could tear it, but I'm sure they were waiting for the doctor to arrive.
I'm sure the minute the doctor arrived, I began to push. 3 pushes and I heard Mitchell say "It's a girl!"
Our sweet little Charlie girl was here. Perfectly healthy. Perfectly beautiful. Weighing 5lbs 9oz and measured 18 3/4 inches long. I was in love all over again.
She didn't need too much assessment and I got to hold her on my chest almost immediately. She latched on and started nursing right away (much different story than with Palmer) and I didn't have to spend anytime away from her like I did with Palmer.
I was so excited to see Palmer with Charlie for the first time. The look she gave Charlie was just the sweetest; made my heart melt. I had tears of absolute pure joy and happiness. It was the beginning of one of the best relationships they will ever have and the perfect ending to a perfect day.