Monday, August 26, 2013

Charlie: A Birth Story


So I lied. While I was pregnant I really didn't want to share a birth story- I felt like it was too personal in a way, an overshare- something I should keep closer to home, more for the baby book and not for everyone else. But it just feels weird not to share my experience of how Charlie came into the world, especially after sharing Henry's. I tried to jump right into a "first week at home" post, but I kept feeling like something was missing in the chronology. And it was. So yes, I lied. And here is our sweet Charlie's story.

The second time doing anything is always a little easier in a way, or at least when you're talking about a c-section. The first time for me, with Henry, was an emergency surgery, something that was so far from any plan I had in my head, anything we'd even considered, that a lot of my experience was scary, at least in the beginning. But the thing about childbirth, no matter how you do it, is that you get this amazing prize at the end, and it makes anything you go through to get there insignificant. But this time, the second time around, there was no emergency. There were no two days of natural labor. There were no vitals dropping and being hurriedly wheeled in the operating room and getting a spinal between contractions. There was no crying, no shaking, no being terrified that something really, really bad was happening. There was none of that.

This time, Hank and I woke up in the morning, drove to the hospital, and had our baby. We knew what day. We even knew what time. And as unnatural as that would have sounded to us before, it felt perfectly right to us this time around.

The night before I wasn't sure how I would sleep, knowing that in less than 12 hours I'd be holding our little boy in my arms. And like most women almost 40 weeks pregnant I didn't sleep much, waking up every few hours to go to the bathroom. I did manage to get some rest though, and when my alarm went off at 5am I got out of bed quickly, full of excitement and nerves and noticing the tiniest touch of adrenaline that was starting to creep into my system.

My parents and sister had spent the night, so they stayed with Henry as Hank and I made our way to the hospital. We arrived at 6:45am as directed, two hours before my 8:45am surgery. We checked in and were pretty quickly brought back to my room, where our nurse came in and had me sign some papers, then inserted my IV and started fluids. And speaking of the IV, with Henry it took 6 different nurses a total of one hour to get the IV in my hand but this time we were one and done...THANK GOD. I absolutely hate getting my blood drawn or IVs put in (the placement at the thin skin of the hand totally creeps me out) and inevitably someone will always say "but you have so many tattoos!" Let me set the record straight here, people- they are totally different things; different pains, different needles, different everything. So I was pleasantly surprised it took the nurse one second to get it over with. Thank goodness.

I had three things I was totally freaked out about going into the c-section, outside of the surgery itself- getting the IV in my hand, having the catheter put in, and the spinal. So as soon as the IV was in I felt a huge relief that one of the three was checked off the list. I also made sure to ask to have the catheter put in after the spinal so I wouldn't feel it, so I mentally checked that one off too, even though it hadn't been done yet.

The two hours went by so, so quickly and before we knew it Hank was in his scrubs and they were wheeling me down to the operating room. They have the husband wait outside while they do the spinal, so Hank sat outside in a chair while the anesthesiologist did his thing. You should know that I was terrified of this part. Even thinking about it days before the operation I would get queasy, and I told the anesthesiologist this and he assured me it would feel like a bee sting, at worst. When I had gotten the spinal for Henry (I never got an epidural) I had already been in labor and in so much pain, that I don't remember what it even felt like. But this time going in completely fresh and coherent was a whole new ball game. I was part nervous, part terrified. The shots they did first actually hurt worse than the spinal, and when he was done I was SO surprised that it didn't hurt at all.

Hank came back in at this point and I made the huge mistake (seriously, never do this), of looking over at all of the tools on the table. Holy shit. At this same time the spinal was starting to do it's thing, and I started to lose feeling in my feet and then my legs. Telling your lower half to move, and then not being able to move isn't a pleasant feeling, and because you're numb to your chest it feels like it's hard to breathe. The best way I can describe the sensation is that it's almost like drowning in yourself. But if you just don't think about it, it's no big deal...just don't do what I did and check out all of the horribly scary-looking surgical tools and then focus on the fact that your chest feels like it has a huge weight on top of it. Mistake. But I got it together and started to relax, did some deep breathing and before Hank and I knew it they were operating on the other side of the sheet.

Time seemed to go slow here, and for awhile I just closed my eyes. During a c-section you can't feel a thing, except for a lot of pressure. I knew we were getting close to Charlie making his entrance as the pressure starting getting a little more forceful, and suddenly I felt them tugging and pulling...and then, in an instant, heard that sweet, sweet sound of our baby's first cry. Truly, there is no better sound in the world. Hank and I just looked at each other, tears in our eyes, and within a moment they had him on the other side of the curtain to show him to me. It was beautiful.

They then brought him over to the table to check him out and do all of the weighing and measuring, then back over to me so I could love on him for a minute before he and Hank went back to the recovery room to wait for me to finish getting sewn up. Right after having Henry I had been shaking insanely hard to the point of my arms being out of my own control, but this time I didn't have that shakiness at all, thank goodness. So my doctor quickly finished up, then they wheeled me back to the room where Charlie was placed right on my bare chest and started to nurse. Like Henry he took right to it, and right there...that was bliss.

Charles Stephen was born at 9:13 that Friday morning, and we spent the rest of the day in the happiest cloud of smiles and laughter and some tears too, especially when my family brought Henry in to meet Charlie for the first time. We'd been talking to him the entire pregnancy about being a big brother and what that meant, but still- you never know how an almost-three-year old will react. When he walked in though, the proud smile on his face killed me. He was so incredibly excited. Henry came right up to the bed and said "Hello, Charlie! I'm your big brother Henry." In that moment my heart might have stopped from happiness; it was really one of the sweetest moments of my life.

To be perfectly honest, it's still a bit weird to me to have had my babies this way. I'm someone who doesn't even take headache medicine or drink caffeine, so the idea of having a plethora of strange drugs pumped through my body, a spinal block in my back, and an IV drip going for a full day makes me incredibly uncomfortable. But when all of my plans shifted so rapidly when I had Henry, and then I realized the best option for baby number two would be the same route, I accepted the fact that sometimes, we do what we have to do. I've never felt like this way of birthing is lesser-than, or that I missed out on anything. I've always felt a strong sense of pride that I was able to safely have my first baby, and now my second, whatever way it had to happen. So when I type all of this out, and it's missing so much of what I thought I would have included had you asked me years back to describe my ideal birth, it just reminds me that childbirth, like much of life, is unpredictable. And really, that it's best to focus on that happy ending, no matter which way it comes.


Happy birthday, Charlie boy. We love you!


61 comments:

  1. thank you for sharing this. a beautiful perspective and you're right, in the end the prize is the same. and the hard work of being a parent is all the same, too. you're amazing.

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    1. Aww Kacie, thank you! YOU'RE amazing! <3

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  2. Your lie is forgiven! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. beautiful story. thank you for sharing it. love to you and your family during your babymooning!

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    1. Thanks so much! I also love that you called it babymooning- such a fun way to look at it.

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  4. I'm due with my first in Dec. I'm terrified of the IV in my hand. I've heard so many horror stories. Makes me more nervous than the birth itself. So glad you shared this story with us. Congratulations again!

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    1. I'm so glad I'm not alone in what I always feel like is a totally irrational fear of the IV! The hand is just such a delicate area that it totally grosses me out.

      And thank you for reading/commenting...and for the congrats! :)

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  5. As a mom who also had an emergency c-section I sometimes get so nervous about having a repeat this time around mainly because like you said since you're not actually in labor you're fully aware of everything and the pain from the needles. I'm glad it went well for you the second time around though. Congrats again! :)

    J.

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    1. Right?! That was my biggest fear- being SO aware of it all. Sending you a huge hug and lots of healthy wishes for your second delivery!

      xo

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  6. Oh my goodness! That is too sweet about Henry. I've never met him, but I feel like I have from all the little stories you tell about him and the things he says, and I can totally imagine him coming into the room with that proud big brother mentality. He is going to be such a big help to you with little Charlie. Congratulations, mama of two!

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    1. Aw Kassie that is so sweet of you to say! :) Thanks lady.

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  7. I am so glad you changed you mind. This story was beautiful! Congratulations to you, Hank and Henry on receiving the most perfect gift!

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    1. I'm so glad too! I would have been sad if I didn't have it to look back on. :)

      Thank you for the congrats too, Donna! <3

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  8. Congratulations Dani and thank you for sharing your birth story. xo, a

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    1. You're so welcome! :) And thank you Anna!

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  9. Absolutely gorgeous, congratulations! I've rarely met a woman who's had the birth they'd imagined. Funny how it feels so important before the event, but becomes part of the fabric of experience afterwards. Pretty humbling.

    I agree that the moment your older child meets his little brother is one to cherish. Nothing sweeter - here are my two meeting each other for the first time:
    http://www.flickr.com/x/t/0097009/photos/oysterpots/4850894746/

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    1. Oh my gosh SOOO sweet!

      Thanks for sharing Lottie. <3

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  10. Ps you have SO much fun ahead of you!

    Lottie x
    http://oyster-pearl.blogspot.co.uk

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  11. I can't tell you how happy I am for you. He looks like a perfect cutie pie and I am very excited to see Henry and him together! Aaaw!

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  12. Oh my god! This story was so emotional and beautiful! Thank you for sharing this with us. And congratulations!!

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    1. You are welcome...and thank YOU for the congrats! I'm so excited. :)

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  13. it's strange to follow the story from here... and the baby is finally here! congratulations! love from France! ;)

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    1. Thanks Marie! Love right back to you IN France! <3

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  14. Aww how lovely to read such a positive C-section story.
    I too had an elective C- section with my one and only son (Maxi 10!)as it was predicted that he would be big and I have a small pelvis etc and after hearing horror stories from my Grandma who had a 13lb baby who passed at birth and a cousin who's big baby had their clavicle broken I gladly asked for a C-Section.
    I laughed through out and max was born 3 weeks early weighing 10.7lb and I was cleaning and mopping floors 4 days later! Many gratulations and much love to you all.

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    1. I feel like women don't share their c-section stories enough! I don't know if I've ever even read one online. Thanks for the congrats, lady! xo

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  15. i have a handful of tattoos, but when it comes to getting IVs it churns my stomach so badly. i know what you mean about needles and the thin skin. :)

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  16. thank you for sharing and congratulations!

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    1. You're so welcome, and thank you too Toria! :)

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  17. beautiful! thank you so much for sharing. i'm in the same boat as you - first was emergency c-section and now #2 is on the way and we will be scheduling another section. i am so scared of the spinal (i mean, i was before but going in "fresh" without any other distractions or pain?!) and it was nice to hear your experience. i definitely teared up @ hearing charlie's first cry - best sound ever and i can't wait to hear it again!

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    1. Oh Kristen I am SO excited for you. It is super weird to go in fresh, but it's also so much cooler being in control and not having it be this emergency situation. Sending you a ton of happy, healthy, birthing vibes!

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  18. When I first read that you were planning a c-section for your birth while I was still pregnant with my first, admittedly I thought that was a bit of the "easy way out". Now that I've had my baby and I've been through the birth experience I totally get it - how painful it can be and how easily things can go wrong, and I almost want to apologize for judging you then, which is I suppose one of the initial reasons why you didn't want justify your decision or to share your birth story. But I'm so glad you did. My birth didn't end up in a cesarean however with my next baby I want to have one/kind of have to have one because beyond the fact that I had an agonizing 30 hr labor, I also got "Hamman's syndrome" from pushing so hard and the doctors said it would be too dangerous for me to have another vaginal birth. I'm glad that you had a better c-section experience with less fear and aftereffects this time around. Charlie is a beautiful little boy. If you care to read my birth story it can be found here: http://thelittlekicks.com/blog/2013/07/17/the-birth-story/

    All the best, Vanessa x

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    1. Thanks so much Vanessa! <3 I will check out yours too. :)

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  19. So glad you decided to share with us, thank you!! What a beautiful entrance into this world.. And I love Henry's reaction :)

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  20. Welcome to the world, Charlie!

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  21. maybe it's all the pregnancy hormones but damn, that really just made me cry. i thought about a scheduled c-section the first time around but ended up not doing it. when baby charlotte arrives in december i'll be having her a home! total other end of the spectrum. it doesn't really matter how a baby arrives, just that it does and it's happy and healthy :) happy birthday, charlie!

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  22. I read all this so teary eyed! So happy for you three!!

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  23. I'm so glad you changed your mind! What a beautiful story! My husband and I are trying now. I have a small frame and he was a nearly 10 lb baby, so it was wonderful to hear a c-section birth story, just in case. So happy for you and your adorable family!

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  24. Awww..thanks for sharing lady! Sweet tears over here for you and your beautiful family! xo

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  25. Thank you for sharing Charlie's birth story. I am so happy for you and your family that this c-section went so much better. Congratulations on your beautiful baby and becoming a mother of two!

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  26. Trish from the NetherlandsAugust 26, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I will have a planned c-section in september and sharing your experience helps me calme my nerves a little bit (OMG that catheter!). I wish you and your familiy all the love and happiness in the world.

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  27. ahhh so very precious! welcome charlie!!

    xo
    jenna
    mama daze blog

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  28. I really, really love this. I can't even tell you how much. I ended up having to have a c-section with my sweet boy about 4 months ago, and I have been struggling with feelings of failure and, to be honest, anger with my doctor since then. I felt like I should have been able to do better, should have insisted on the plan I wanted, should have refused to do something that I was so strongly against. I read all of these birth stories bloggers write with their natural births and it makes me so incredibly sad that I didn't get that beautiful experience I wanted. But to hear your story and see the accepting attitude you have toward something that is so out of our control brings me a bit more closure somehow. Thank you so much for sharing Charlie's story!

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  29. Thanks so much for sharing, its so incredible for your to share this! :) He is a little dream. Congratulations.
    Rosie x | Every Word Handwritten

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  30. This is so beautiful! I'm so glad it was more, smooth sailing, this time! It melts my heart to see your instagram pictures of Henry and Charlie! They seem like the best of friends already! :)

    x Sara from tinysugarbee.blogspot.com

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  31. So happy that Charlie has been welcomed into the world!

    The Rambling Fangirl

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  32. Thanks for sharing! I left a comment some posts ago kind of asking for the birth story, hahah! {:

    About the whole birth thing: I don't know how people discuss that with such aggressiveness, as to me is a completely personal choice. Not everybody wants to have natural birth, you know? It's important to know pros and cons about all kinds of births, but in the end is a choice that should be respected and that's all. People have to get over it. I like the debate when it's a very relevant issue - in Brazil, my country, it's actually pretty standard to have surgery and not even think about natural birth. It's a pretty interesting scenario: basically doctors are paid the same amount of money for all kinds of births and, because the natural one can take hours, they recommend the C-section anyway so they can make more money during the day. Crazy, right?

    Anyway, congrats to you and your family! Your baby is just lovely and I can't wait to read more about Charlie! <333

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  33. Congrats Dani to you and yours. Hoping everyone is healthy and happy :)

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  34. Congratulations! He's beautiful.

    I always get the "but you have so many tattoos" thing whenever I'm nervous at the dentist or whatever too. But tattoos are easy and predictable! A c-section and IVs are NOT the same. haha

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  35. I get so annoyed when people make the hospital needle vs. tattoo needle remark. It's almost as bad as when people randomly grab your arms to "see". Ugh.

    Lovely story!

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  36. Thanks for sharing charlie's story. Beautiful <3

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  37. I totally looked at the shoe organizer of tools/rags and thought, that's so nothing gets left inside of me when they're done. Eek! I'm getting my third csec in March and I don't think it ever gets that much easier. I had a horrible first IV experience and had an aweful time healing with my second csec, but babies are totally worth it. Love your boy names and so happy for you!

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  38. Thank you for sharing...and I totally agree with you on the scary feeling of a spinal. It took me a bit to calm down after losing sensation...ugh, so glad I never have to do that again (we had twins and are done). It's true though-no matter what we go through it all vanishes as soon as we hear that first cry. So happy for you!

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  39. Dani, I love that you shared Charlie's story. It is beautiful and he is the most handsome little man. And I really respect your decision to choose to have a C-section. I don't see how having the baby naturally or C-section are any different from each other. The mama was able to help create a baby and grow that baby in her body and that is freaking amazing now matter how that mama chooses(or has to)deliver. Women are amazing.

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  40. Congratulations to you all and I'm so glad you shared Charlie's story. It sounds so much better for you this time round to be prepared, I would be just the same. x

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  41. Dani, thank you for adding a positive C-section story to the Internet. It was really difficult for me to find anything encouraging or positive when I was faced with the decision a few years ago. Here's my daughter's birth story (for reference):
    http://littlegraypixel.blogspot.com/2011/05/your-birth-story-alexa.html

    Charlie is beautiful. Congrats, mama!

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  42. The shakes were probably the worst part of my emergency c-section after 14 hours of labour. I couldn't control my arms or my head. The nurses said it was exhaustion. perhaps. either way, I was fit and ready to be a mother to Georgie, no matter how he came into this world. Your post brought tears to my eyes as it reminded me so much of my experience and how I will cherish those moments forever.

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  43. I went back and read your first birth story, and was really surprised because my birth went the same way. I tried for natural, although I gave up and got the epidural at 7cm because I was throwing up and shaking with each contraction. I dilated to 10cm and pushed, but she was turned wrong on her way out and they couldn't get her to turn and come down. I wonder if your story is what would have happened to me if I had kept laboring naturally, too. I told myself that if I hadn't chosen the epidural I could have labored in different positions and that would have worked. But.. maybe not. My C-section seemed to take a long time and they struggled to get her out because she was so far down. She wasn't breathing for a minute and had to go to the NICU for 4 hours. Now I am afraid to have another child because I don't want another C-section. But, your story is inspiring, so who knows.

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  44. Thank you for this! It seems like very few of the birth stories I've come across have included emergency c-sections and planned c-sections for the second. I had to have an emergency c-section for my son and I'm definitely leaning towards the idea of a planned one for our second child. It's so reassuring to hear your story. As disappointing as it felt initially to know that my body just wasn't able to labor and deliver my son naturally, I wasn't upset once he was born via c-section because he was there and safe and that was all that mattered. And after all the pain and fear of that labor, going through the familiar experience of the c-section might be better.

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