Monday, March 31, 2014

Let's play... Ellie or Charlie?

 We have some baby picture twins on our hands! Can you tell apart the Ellie and Charlie photos?

(Pics 1, 3 and 5 are Charlie... 2, 4 and 6 are Ellie.) 

Charlie's big debut

Have to share the story of Charlie's arrival while it's still fresh in my mind. Two weeks ago today I went in for a checkup with the doctor. I was cranky, exhausted from lugging around my massive belly, and uncomfortable. I expected the doc to give me a sympathetic look and send me off with a "let's wait and see what happens."
But instead Brian and I found out I was already dilated to 4 cm and the doctor was ready to sign off on speeding up the delivery process a bit. The ultrasound that morning showed Charlie was already measuring 9 lbs, 6 oz and since I wanted to try to avoid a c-section, the doctor didn't want the baby getting any bigger. (I was also fine with that... and I was hoping the ultrasound size estimate was on the large side, like it was when Katie was born smaller than anticipated.)
A couple hours later, Brian and I were checked into Rockford Memorial. I was a ball of nerves. There are definitely pros and cons to having been through labor before... I knew it was a big job ahead, and more than likely Charlie was a bigger baby than I'd ever delivered.
My water was broken, which helped speed up contractions. (Side note: as evidence of how tight the quarters were in my belly, when they broke my water not much came out. The medical staff found out later that was because a huge pocket of it was plugged up near the top of my belly by Charlie's body. It doused the floor and some of the doctors and nurses later in the evening after Charlie came out. Oops!)
I got an epidural somewhere around 6 p.m. and they inserted an internal monitor to track Charlie's heartbeat and my contractions. The contractions, though they felt plenty strong to me before getting the epidural, weren't moving things along very well so I got some pitocin. However, they soon had to back off the pitocin because Charlie's heart rate was dropping from the strong contractions. They put me on oxygen to help improve oxygen to the baby. We waited a bit longer and finally I was at 10 cm.
The doctor came in and asked me to do a test push on the next contraction. After one round of pushing, at 8:25 p.m., she called for the labor bed to be broken down. Charlie was coming.
Now the scary part. I pushed so incredibly hard, eyes shut and all of my energy into it. Brian was so supportive, and the nurses surrounding me kept saying what a good job I was doing. The head was out after the second round of pushing. I didn't know what was going on, but Brian told me later they had to cut the umbilical cord from around Charlie's neck. They wanted to get the rest of him out pronto.
I still wasn't really sure what was happening, but kept pushing beyond belief when told to. In those find rounds of pushing (just lasting a few minutes more), the doctor had to do some wrangling to free Charlie. He had shoulder distotia, and Brian told me later how scary it was to watch them sweep one shoulder out and press his head down to free the other shoulder.
At 8:33 p.m. Charlie was born. They rushed him across the room to the newborn bed and I waited to hear his cry. I kept waiting and asking why he wasn't crying. Brian told me everything was fine, but unfortunately he's a terrible liar and I could see the fear in his eyes. He watched them work on Charlie's limp, purple body for what felt like an eternity. I guess it was just moments or minutes. FINALLY, we heard Charlie crying and I dissolved.

Our little prince was fine, though his face and shoulders were bruised from the rough delivery. I certainly was worse for the wear, too. But as soon as I got to hold Charlie in my arms, nothing else mattered. He was perfect. I once again got to experience the limitless mother's love. I couldn't imagine loving anything more than this little person who was finally in my arms after 40 weeks of waiting.
The nurses immediately started guessing his weight. At RMH they wait an hour after birth to do weight and other measurements on the baby, instead giving that time for skin-to-skin contact with the mom. I was NOT complaining. When I finally did give Charlie back to the nurse, we found out he weighed 9 lbs, 15.6 oz. He was 21 inches long. Our little man was not so little!
What a perfect bundle, though. Thankfully his bruising disappeared in the first few days and he seems to bear no scars from what could have been a much more traumatic birth. We are so blessed to have this healthy, happy St. Paddy's Day baby boy.