Charlotte's Birth Story
Updated: Nov 7, 2019
Where to begin…
Oh Charlotte, you made me work hard for you. You were worth every challenging moment and I fell in love with you the moment you were placed on my chest.
It all began on Sunday, August 20th, 9:30 pm. I was lying in bed and felt my first contraction. This feeling was not painful in the least now that I know the real deal but at the time, it was very clear that this was what I was looking for to bring me a step closer to you.
Earlier in the week, I was starting to feel quite anxious. I had mixed feelings. I was quite comfortable having you grow in my belly. I didn’t know if I was quite ready to have that all change. I was eager to meet you, see you, and know every little thing about what your dad and I had made.
I set up a date for me and Daddy to go out to dinner that Saturday evening. One last hurrah just the two of us to feel all the feels of what was going on and what was soon to change our lives forever. We enjoyed a glass of wine over at Inspire Moore Winery and caught up with the crew before heading over for dinner to enjoy an amazing meal per usual. During dinner and on the ride home, I felt weird. I can’t even explain it. My mind immediately kept thinking, this is it or at least that this was my body’s way to prep for baby. I felt pressure and subtle cramps but I didn’t share it with anyone and these feelings waned throughout the night. We woke up to a gorgeous summer day and headed out to the lake. We enjoyed a day with both the Decker’s and Parker’s at Carly and Dan’s rental place on Conesus Lake. I did some good lounging and caught up with family. My thoughts kept trying to capture the idea that this may be my last lake moment without you. The whole week was like this…. this could be the last moment before this place will be filled with your light.
We finally got home after a late dinner that evening and I was exhausted. For a number of evenings now, I would lie in bed for hours and wonder if it could be it. My braxton-hicks contractions were steadily increasing each night. There was so much excitement behind it all that I would lose a bit of sleep and just daydream about you and our new life ahead.
SUNDAY 9:30 pm
You announced to me that it was time BUT you were going to take your time. My first contraction. It wasn’t painful but noticeable. It was clear to me that it was a contraction and I was absolutely convinced that this would be it and you were to be born sometime Monday evening. Mind you, we were upon an epic eclipse! How suiting for you to be a moonbeam baby. I stayed up most of the night with my contractions only because of excitement. The contractions weren’t very painful at all even though they were coming consistently at about 10 minutes apart.
I eventually got up early in the morning to prep. I took a nice shower. I rolled out my yoga mat and moved through a meditation dance with my body one last time. This was exactly how I envisioned it going down. Zack woke up for work and I finally told him. He was full of emotion, excited and anxious, and didn’t know if he should head into work for the day. I told him that I was fine and I would call him if my contractions were getting closer together. He didn’t like that idea one bit so we called Grandma DD and she was more than happy to pick me up for the day so I could be with her and relax by the pool. So that’s what we did. DD picked me up later that morning with the hospital bag packed in the car.
I had made sure to record my contractions throughout the night to see what changes if any occurred. I took a small break to get over to DD’s and then we began again 1:25 pm at 10 minutes apart. We enjoyed our day of chatting, pool lounging, swimming and even spent the day outdoors to experience the shift of the eclipse. As the afternoon rolled around, it was time to change gears and decide what our next step would be since things weren’t really progressing. My contractions were bouncing around from about 7-10 minutes apart. Still progress I felt. I took a shower which felt so nice to bring relief to the contractions that had slightly increased since the night before. Again, they weren’t painful but it was now understanding the continuous rhythm that would take my attention for a moment then pass. They made me start to wonder what I was in for. Daddy came to DD’s after a stressful day of work. He was curious about how it was all going on my end. We sat on either couch in the kitchen and caught up.
At 5:15 pm my contractions had become only 5 minutes apart. Reactions all around. I was feeling each contraction more deeply and Daddy was ready to hop in the car and go. DD thought it was time to get ready for the hospital. I wanted to stay put! I needed to be convinced. I called the midwives and talked to Danielle. She told me to hang on tight and wait to see if they dropped down to 4 minutes apart for about an hour. I even was able to give her a giggle on the phone which made it clear to her it was not quite time.
DD made me a sandwich and Pops came home. We all rested in the living room watching a show to gauge where this was all going. I was officially feeling stressed. All I wanted was you and I didn’t appreciate what was starting to feel like the tease. I was tired of recording my contractions so at 8:30 pm we called it quits for the time being. Zack was completely uncomfortable with the waiting as they were close together but as they started to spread farther apart again he knew that I wanted to be back home and rest. So we did.
There was never a break in contractions and in some weird way, I am thankful there never was until your arrival. I wanted this process to continue on, maybe faster than it did but at least progress in its. Throughout the night the contractions were steady but far apart and now more intense than the night before.
Tuesday I surrendered. I called the midwives in the morning and they told me to stop recording my contractions unless I felt that they were getting very close together. They told me, “you will know.” That brought me relief if anything. I learned my lesson. Monday was consumed by counting and Tuesday, I would let go. Tuesday was Daddy and my second anniversary. We didn’t have anything special planned since we had a nice dinner that past Saturday but we figured we could make a nice dinner at home. I don’t remember doing much that day and think it was finally when I felt it was ok to relax and just be. I did meet up with a student at the yoga studio and officially put up my yoga sign to announce to my students that I would not be teaching until further notice. I was ready to be ready for you.
Aunt Kenz made it back home from her week away on the Jersey Shore with family. She was ready to come to visit and catch up. I didn’t even know how to capture the last few days for her but I did the best I could as we walked around the field. The walk was a challenge but it felt peaceful and even special to have my missing piece back in its place before your arrival. I felt fine knowing you could have come while Kenz was gone but I know now, my subconscious mind knew better than that. I needed her close. After our walk, Kenz and I hopped on the couch to finish chatting since it had started raining outside. I would have to interrupt our conversation to work through a contraction here and there. Kenzie's eyes were telling. Things were getting more intense.
Kenzie left that evening and Dad and my fancy anniversary dinner quickly became Aaron’s chicken tenders and a buffalo wrap. Still, I thought they were amazing. Before dinner was ready I was helping to prep it all with Dad and literally having to stop everything I was doing to move through a contraction. I was hiding them at this point because I simply did not want to be pushed to go anywhere until I knew “it was time.” I took a shower and felt their intensity. My mind began racing with thoughts again. We ate dinner and I revealed the increasing feelings that had been going on for the past hour or two. My contractions were about 7 minutes apart before dinner and heading closer together as we paid close attention after dinner was finished.
I called the Midwives and spoke to Joe. She welcomed me to come in as I was ready. I wanted to take my time. I made some tea and packed up some additional items in the hospital bag. We gave mom the go-ahead to meet us at the hospital and we got in the car. We waited for over a half-hour at the hospital before they would check us in at about 10:30 pm. DD had Uncle Morgan drop her off since she had enjoyed a drink or two, she didn’t expect to be getting ready for your arrival on that night. They took daddy and me back and hooked me up to a machine to listen to your heartbeat and track my contractions. I was sharing the room with a dramatic screaming lady who made the experience feel off. Something wasn’t quite right. The doctor took me off the machine and explained that my contractions were becoming farther and farther apart again. She checked me and said I had dilated 1 cm. There was a little bleeding and I felt in quite a bit of pain. The midwife offered drugs (percocet or morphine to help me to sleep). She didn’t want me too tired for your delivery. I refused. There was no way I wanted you to have to consume any of this and I wasn’t tired enough to take that route yet. She reiterated that I was most likely experiencing prodromal labor and could walk the halls to see if things would start to pick up again but advised I go home. I wanted to go home. So we did at about 1 am.
On the way home I cried. I felt like I was in more pain than when we had arrived at the hospital and I felt distressed. Daddy was super supportive and was saddened by what I was going through. I knew I had to put up with anything that came my way and was starting to become discouraged. I just wanted you.
Grandma and Grandpa were at our place back home since we thought it would have been the night of your arrival ad we needed someone to watch the animals. I was embarrassed to come home. Everyone thought you would have been here by now. I felt bad that they had even stayed since, at this point, there was no reason too. I spent the entire night yelping at each contraction and then would fall back asleep. I wasn’t as exhausted as I should have been but I was now officially in pain and more emotionally exhausted than anything.
Wednesday morning arrived and I had no relief. My contractions were painful and began to pick up. It became noticeable at 7 am that the speed was gaining on me. Daddy woke up and we discussed what we should do. Daddy was smart and decided he needed to take the day off. I hopped in the shower. I took the steamiest shower until the hot water ran out. Daddy came in with concern since he could hear me move through contractions from the other room and they were happening often. I let Daddy call the midwives that morning, it was Julana. She said I was free to come in whenever I was ready. Was I ready? I was not ready to be told that you weren’t on your way again. We decided to get ready and go to DD’s so we would at least be closer when I felt it was time.
At DD’s house, I immediately wanted to get back into the water. She brought me up to her shower. It was pretty known at this point that this had become quite the process and everyone wanted to just see you already. I found peace in these moments in the shower between the contractions since I had time to just be alone. Daddy and DD talked downstairs and were there if I needed them. I laid on the ground of the shower and just felt the water pour down on me hot and then cold, back and forth. When I came out, I took my time to get ready but knew that we needed to leave sooner than later for the hospital. DD and Dad were waiting for my go-ahead and were relieved that I was ready to head out soon after. The contractions had been steady at 4-5 minutes for over an hour. The drive to the hospital was a challenge but I took an ice pack before I left which was super helpful to distract me as I placed it on my low belly during each contraction. We arrived at the hospital and checked in at 10:30 am. Exactly twelve hours later but this would be my final check-in before you would be here. Julana and Danielle were the angels from above who would be my midwives for the day. We underwent the same process as the night before to find out if I could get my own room to labor in. Julana uttered the best words I had heard yet, “you are in active labor now, you are 3cm dilated and we can set you up in your laboring room.” That is all I needed to hear. I felt pure joy, I almost cried.
It didn’t take long for us to settle into our room. I felt like it was business time. I looked at the clock and had felt like you had to be here before 4 pm. I had until 6 pm before the midwives had to switch shifts. I really didn’t want that to happen during my labor. I immediately had Daddy and DD set up my essential oils in the tub. I asked them to get my diffuser running while I went, you guessed it, back into the water. I soaked in the tub and just relaxed. My contractions were intense but manageable and the water felt so nice.
A couple of hours went by and Julana helped me in the tub to learn a new position, I got down on my hands and knees and then would slightly sink back into child’s pose with each contraction then come back up onto all four. Julana eased me through this time as she was hitting some acupressure points on my low back as I worked to move you down. I will never forget it. This is where I was to feel you moving inside of me one last time. As I contracted, it was as if your hands tickled my low belly and I felt you literally move down within a few breaths. This changed the labor process for me. I now understood that this pain was not just to get around in order to have you. I was literally moving you from one world into another. Julana thought it might be time to check me so I came out of the water. I was cold and ready for a change. I was now dialed 7 cm. Everything now felt like it was moving along according to plan. I did my best to avoid the clock. My midwives and nurse Katie were the very best. My atmosphere was everything I could have hoped for with peaceful music, dim lighting, essential oils wafting through the air, and I was watching myself progress through this pain to get closer to you.
Julana and Danielle had been in and out of the room all day but within the hour or so after I had been checked at 7 cm, I had them check me again. I consciously knew there hadn’t been much improvement but now I felt a bit of helplessness. How do I move this along? How do I move you down? How do I keep hanging on with this pain? When will this end? I hadn’t progressed at all or maybe they gave me one more cm to just please me. I don’t remember as this is when it all became foggy. It was clear that with all hands on deck at this point that I was distressed. I wasn’t hysterical and the room remained calm but I did not know where to go from here. I now know that this was literally the transition phase, that time where you want to run out of your skin, where you feel like maybe you weren’t as strong as you believed yourself to be.
I was guided into a number of positions at this point and they all kept me distracted changing from one to another but nothing was the relief I was looking for. The bed was my least favorite, the ball felt as if there was nothing happening, the bathroom toilet was at least where I felt I wouldn’t poop myself. At this point, I had brought tears to Daddy and DD’s eyes. It hurt me to see them have to watch me and not be able to do much. They were doing plenty by just being there. It was special having DD there. Her strength is something I needed. I conveyed to Julana that I didn’t know what to do. I remember looking her in the eyes and asking “is this how it is supposed to go?” I just needed to know that everything was OK because this seemed twisted to me. If everything was alright, why did it seem so complicated? Her reassurance was everything.
From this point forward I believe I took on the animal qualities inside every woman. I unleashed the beast. The whole day I learned to use my voice to help ease through the contractions. Julana and Danielle taught me to bring my voice real low and Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… I did my best but some of the more powerful contractions would make me squeal. That’s when it would hurt Daddy. This was all a lot. There was a lot of emotion in the room but we all knew, everything was OK. Julana checked me again and there I was waiting at 8cm. Charlotte, enough already. Julana let me know that she and Danielle would be changing shifts at 6 pm and it was 5 pm at the time.
Your Dad was a presence that I could not do without. He looked me in the eyes as I hovered by the toilet and reminded me that I could do this. Me saying it and him reiterating it. He would do anything for me, anything he could to help and I truly needed him. I decided to go back into the shower to drown out the pain. The midwives recommended lunges, so I did. I was literally lunging in the shower, holding on to the railings and taking on a true warrior beast moan through each contraction. I would do ANYTHING to move you through. Danielle guided me out of the shower and I tried squatting. I was pushing into Danielle to bring myself to 10, please 10 cm!! I didn’t even truly understand what happened once I got to 10 cm but knew it was at least the next step. They kept asking if I felt the need to push. I don’t know that I felt the need to push and honestly, I don’t know that I ever had a natural urge to push beyond the extreme feeling of pressure down there.
At some point in this haze Julana had me lay down and checked me. 10 cm I was, YAY! It was more relief to hear I was 10 cm than when I was claimed to have begun active labor. Now I was told I could get ready to push! I never thought I would ever end up pushing you out on the bed. I didn’t think I would like this position nor would it work for me but now I was willing to do anything as long as it would finally lead me to you. I was on my side with one knee crunched in. Danielle started to walk me through my contractions on how I would push.
I didn’t realize that pushing would feel like a choreographed dance I needed to learn. Contraction, breathe in, squeeze leg in toward my chest while flexing, hold the breath, sink my sit bone’s down and slowly ooozzzzeeee out with an exhale, repeat. Some breath’s I would entirely waist with trying to push my leg out instead of in or I would immediately blow my breath out. I began to heat up quickly. This became cardio work real quick. Who knew that this process wouldn’t have come so naturally unless explained? Once I could sync up with the process that would work you down, I really felt...game on. Pushing maybe was slightly easier than the days worth of contractions. The pain was there yet different and now you were closer than ever before which gave much more incentive to push through, quite literally.
I had Dad by my side. I wanted to look over to him and express to him “ this is it, I’m OK, this is OK, we are almost there” but I couldn’t. I needed my laser-like focus to make it all happen. You needed every bit of me at this time. Danielle stayed as Julana whispered that she had to head out and Jenny stepped in. That means we hit 6 pm. I couldn’t even care at this point as I was waiting for your head to present itself. I felt safe with Danielle still there and Katie the nurse assisting in every step.
I felt the feminine power as everyone was rooting me on with their kind words of empowerment. I had no doubt at this point that I could do this but still, my thoughts ran wild, when, when, when. Katie jumbled to get a mirror out and placed it where I could finally see your hair surface. I wasn’t quite satisfied honestly, I needed more of you. I moved through another contraction or two until I could feel the ring of fire and what a perfectly described feeling that was. I was directed to change my long exhale to more of a pumping exhale. I nailed it as I watched every inch of your head come out. I had to stop as we approached about halfway to build up stamina again. It wasn’t long at all before I was ready to go again and there you were. I looked in the mirror and could see your head, this was you! I was mystified. At this point, I was told just a few more pushes.
I eagerly put everything I had into those pushes and it may have only been a couple of minutes before you went from head out to a quick blur of your whole body being pulled out by Danielle with Jenny’s assistance. It all happened so fast and the next moment you were on my chest. It was 6:30 pm. You weighed 6 lbs 15 oz and were 21 inches long. I have never ever felt what was to follow. I didn’t cry nor pick you up. I laid there with your body against mine. I felt your presence and the immediate attachment that you were mine. I brought my gaze to daddy who was filled with tears. Within seconds you opened your bright eyes and looked into your daddy’s eyes. You knew. You are loved.
Every bit of the pain I had diminished and there you were. The music turned over from my meditation drones to familiar tunes from my upbringing. We spent the next hour understanding we had learned a new level of love. You have taught me the greatest of lessons even before you had your words. Patience mama.
Thank you for being the very best thing me and Daddy have ever made.