Charlotte "Charley" Kate
Man, where do I start?! I guess I'll give a quick update on how we're doing and then if you're interested you can move on to the birth story. ;)
Everything is going well. We are definitely in a time of adjustment! It usually takes me about a week to adjust both physically and emotionally so I'm working through all of that, but thanks to my parents and Billy, I'm makin' it! The kids are adjusting well and are loving having a new baby sister! I am seeing how this is affecting each of them. They are needing lots of one on one and subconsciously needing affirmation. It's been hard on Jack for me not to be able to hold him, but thankfully he's happy for my mom to scoop him up. I see absolutely NO resentment from him to the baby. In fact he wants to kiss her all the time! I'm so very thankful for that! So, we're trukin' along and getting used to our "little" family of 6! :)
Now for the story.
Y'all, this was the craziest birth ever!!!!!! On Wednesday I was having Braxton Hicks all day long and had a really strong suspicion that "today is the day!" When Billy got home from work I told him and he said that he thought the same thing. Somewhere around 9 I noticed a pattern w/ the contractions. They were happening every 4-5 minutes and getting kind of crampy. The last two false starts felt exactly the same so I was hesitant to call my midwife. I called my Mom to let her know that I was pretty sure that tonight was the night, but had no idea when things would pick up, I just wanted to give her a heads up. Then I called Thalia (my midwife) to give her a heads up too. At 11:00 I sat down to update my blog and as soon as I pressed the publish button I had a for real contraction! It hurt and I knew things weren't going to slow down from there. Fifteen minutes later I had Billy call Thalia and tell her to come, then he called my folks. Everyone was on their way and we were finally going to have this baby!!! My parents got here at 11:30 and I was in full blown active labor! I could tell I was going into transition and was pretty sure the midwives weren't going to make it. How on earth could it be going so fast?!!? This was one of the things I had talked w/ Thalia about quite a bit and she assured me that a fast labor means that everything is ok. I kept telling myself that b/c it was definitely going fast!!!
W/ all my other babies I have labored laying down. I have never walked around or stood up, just laid...on my back. Crazy....no one does this, I know! But this time I was up the whole time. When I hit serious transition I could no longer stand b/c of the pain so I finally headed to the bed and laid on my side. Billy was kneeling on the floor talking me through the contractions. It's amazing how important it is for someone to remind me to breath. My first reaction to pain is to hold my breath! I knew I was starting to hyperventilate (which I did during transition w/ Suzannah) because my hands were getting tingly so he really helped me slow things down. On my 3rd contraction I could feel my body moving the baby way down way fast and I told him that I was about to need to push. He immediately called Thalia, it was 12:00. She stayed on the phone w/ him the rest of the time. Sure enough, the very next contraction was a pushing contraction! My water broke and it was black! Billy told Thalia. I pushed a couple more times b/f her head came out. Thalia told Billy to feel for a cord around her neck. I heard him tell her that there was a cord around her neck! Then my body pushed the rest of her out b/f Billy could remove the cord from her neck. I say "my body" b/c w/ my other 3 I had to work so hard to push them out. This time my body took over and lunged w/o my say so. When she came out she started crying immediately and really set Thalia at ease. Hearing her cry so hard comforted her b/c of the meconium water. She was perfect! Her nose was seriously smooshed crooked (just like Suzannah's was) but other than that, absolutely perfect. Mom and Billy wrapped her in a clean towel and laid her on my stomach. She just cried and cried. I attempted to nurse her but she wasn't interested. She was still crying. It worried me that she wouldn't nurse, but it was actually good that she was crying to clear out her little lungs. Billy and my Mom did a great job! They were both scared to death, but kept in total control and did great. Most people (myself included) would have passed out as soon as they realized there was a chord around the babies neck, but Billy kept cool and did what he had to do. I am so thankful that he was able to do that and that my Mom was there to help. They did an awesome job!!!! During this time my Dad was outside w/ Jack waiting for the midwives to arrive. He could hear me out there (I've never claimed to be a silent pusher!!!) but then things got silent. He came in afraid of what he might find. To his relief everything was fine and sweet baby Charlotte was here. Jack didn't know what to think of the whole thing. He was overwhelmed. Later we found out that the reason he was awake...he had woken up a little b/f 11 and was awake till 4:30...later on Thursday we took him into the Dr. b/c there was fluid in his ear. Turns out he had a double ear infection and one of them ruptured! I felt awful!!!! He's so stinkin tough. Anyway, back to the baby. Dianne got there closely followed by Thalia. Charley Kate weighed 8 lbs 6 oz just like her brother, but was an inch shorter. We were all emotionally drained but were so thankful for her safe arrival. It was all so fast and surreal. I had a hard time coming to grips w/ what all had taken place and really needed a good cry and time to process it all. Plus I needed some time to bond w/ this baby girl! Thank you to all of you for your encouragement and prayers.
I wanted to share why we named her what we did. We chose Charlotte b/c it means Free. For a little over a year now we have really been learning about and embracing our freedom in Christ. It is a beautiful and amazing gift that until recently we hadn't known how to receive. We hope that her name will be a constant reminder of this amazing freedom we've been given. We have chosen to call her Charley in memory of Billy's wonderful Dad, Charles Robert Neal, who passed away 11 years ago. Kate is a name that I've always loved. It means purest.
She is such a good baby. She is the sleepiest little thing, but I know all too well, that can and probably will change. ;) For now we are soaking in all the snuggle time w/ our sweet, warm and soft blessing.