This post is a complement to my previous (picture heavy) post. I didn't know if I'd get a chance to describe Charlie's birth day in detail here, but I've found a pocket of time, so I thought I'd take advantage. There are so many people in my life who followed this pregnancy with interest and prayers that I thought I'd close this chapter with a bit of a birth summary. Nothing graphic, just a description of our thoughts and experiences. Read on if this is your thing, if not, skip right on by...
Charlie's birth day started in much the same way as Henry's. I was 10 days post due and had an appointment scheduled with my doctor, and from there, an induction. If you've been following the blog at all, you know that this was not my preference. I wanted to go into labor on my own...without an induction. But, it wasn't meant to be. I agreed with my doctor that 10 days post due is a good time to induce for the health of everyone involved. (John says that my doctor is a good balance for me. We are both pretty stubborn about what we want, but we tend to pull each other to a nice middle ground when all is said and done. I think he's right.)
This is what I looked like before we walked out the door. So, I guess this is me at my biggest...
I met with my doctor and after a quick check she deemed me 6 (almost 7)cm and sent me over to the birth center. She left the room telling me that this was a big baby and that if we had any trouble she was going to likely have to do a c-section. Just what I wanted to hear. Now, not only was I faced with an induction, but I had a bit of guilt over the fact that I'd let the baby get too big and now may have pushed myself towards a c-section. Great.
Our walk from the doctor's office to the birthing center was familiar. The same walk we'd taken with Henry. This time I was less nervous...just a bit more sad. My idea of a spontaneous labor didn't come to be. Bummer. I told John on our walk that this wasn't the way having babies was supposed to be. He agreed, but we pressed on anyways. In the end we'd have our baby and that was all that mattered.
After we checked into the birthing center I met my nurses, and got changed and hooked up to my iv. I prayed beforehand that my nurses would be a good fit for me (not sure what that would even look like, but God would know I was sure). Turns out they were a complete delight. I told them about my previous birth experience...5cm dilated, broken water, LOTS of pitocin, insanely quick onset of painful contractions that lasted close to 5 hours, 2 1/2 hours of pushing, blah, blah, blah. They were determined to give me a different experience this time. They were great.
So, as was the case with Henry...my doctor broke my water...nothing, they started pitocin...nothing, they increased the pitocin...nothing, same exact situation. Not exactly what
I was hoping for. BUT, this time my nurses and I had a plan. I knew if I was to be induced I would accept an epidural as early as possible. I could not mentally or physically sustain a pitocin induced labor naturally (even though I gave it my best with Henry). So, we filled out all the epidural paperwork and had everything ready so when my contractions got intense, we'd pull the trigger and call the anesthesiologist. This worked like a charm and my epidural was perfect...just numb enough to dull all of the pain, but not so numb that I couldn't move my legs.
Once I got the epidural I think John relaxed a bit, knowing my pain was under control, and he set out to occupy himself (and our family and friends) by starting a twitter account for Baby Wiebe. Thank goodness the hospital had wifi this time around (not so with Henry's birth). He had a good time posting about my progress, his various thoughts about what we were watching on TV at the time, and, of course, the Dodgers. I had a good time reading his tweets after Charlie was born, John's writing always makes me laugh!
So, after the epidural my nurse kept us informed of my progress (which seemed to happen on much the same time table as my progress with Henry, oddly enough). At 7pm I met my new nurse, and she was fantastic. I filled her in on what was happening from my perspective and told her about my pushing fears and she said she would do her best to not let that happen again. She popped in and out of the room and checked me periodically to monitor my progress.
Once I got to 9cm she came in and told me that she had a plan for me. I love plans. She said that once I got to 10cm we were going to wait to start pushing until I truly needed to. She said I should rotate from side to side every 15 minutes or so to try and allow the baby to descend on it's own. Obviously the epidural gave us the freedom to wait a bit, which really worked in my favor. By doing this, I would avoid tiring myself out from pushing too early, and since we knew I had a big baby and that my doctor was concerned about a need for a c-section, we thought this was the best course of action.
After a while of side swapping, we tried a few practice pushes and decided that it wouldn't be too much longer before I was ready for the real thing, the baby was moving well on it's own, which was great! At this point my doctor had to handle an OB situation in the ER, so I was emphatically told to stop pushing (again, the epidural allowed me to wait, a natural birthing mother probably wouldn't have been able to do so). Waiting was fine with me, I wasn't quite ready to push anyways.
Fast forward a good hour and wouldn't you know it, it was time to push...there was no stopping it at the point. Luckily my doctor made it back from the ER just in time! The nurses got everything set up, my doctor walked in, got suited up and just like that, we were ready to have our baby. I
probably pushed for a total of 10 or 15 minutes (through a total of maybe 4 contractions) and Charlie was born!
He definitely wasn't an easy catch for my doctor. Once his head was out his shoulders got stuck (my doctor said something about shoulder distocia), and John said that even though his head was out, they marveled at the fact that his feet were still kicking me in the ribs. My doctor had to twist and turn and generally be pretty rough with him in order to pry him loose. (John said he couldn't watch this part). And, once the shoulders were out his hips were a pretty tight squeeze as well. But despite all that, my doctor was a champ and got him out using nothing but her own 2 hands (and a firm handle on the various medical maneuvers needed).
As soon as Charlie emerged John whispered to me that it was a boy, and I immediately felt full. I was glad that Henry had a brother, and that John and I had another son! The doctor immediately started commenting on how big Charlie was. She passed him to the nurse and told everyone to make guesses as to his weight (no one guessed 11 lbs.) Once on the scale we all marveled at our big boy! None of us could believe his size. I thought this baby was going to be bigger than Henry, but certainly not this much bigger! I was proud of myself for my efforts (and oh so thankful for my wise nurse who helped me use that epidural to my fullest advantage! I think I would have pushed for far too long without it).
Oddly enough, even though Charlie was 2 1/2 lbs. heavier than Henry, I felt about 1000x's better after this experience than my last. Many prayers answered on that to be sure! In fact, I couldn't stop smiling...
After Charlie was born my doctor told me that I did so well I should have 10 more kids, to which I responded, "Uh, I don't think so." So then she said, "Ok...how about 7 then?" She's funny. She also wanted me to take a picture of her (she's barely 5 feet tall, in fact she might not even be 5 feet tall), with big Charlie, and his 6'5" dad. Quite a size discrepancy. We didn't get that picture, but maybe at my 6-week postpartum check we can take one.
After some extensive repair work I fed Charlie for the first time (he ate like you'd expect an 11lb. 6oz. baby to eat...heartily!) and then we invited our parents in to meet their new grandson. Smiles all around to be sure!
After the grandparents left I sort of declined a bit...
My blood pressure plummeted and I felt pretty horrible, but after 3 hours or so, I was feeling better. Probably just a result of the rapidly shifting hormones after delivery.
Charlie was quite popular with all of the nurses and even a few doctors too. Everyone wanted to pop into our room to see our big boy. Some of the nurses who helped with Henry's delivery remembered us and stopped by to visit both Henry and Charlie, which was certainly fun. Since I was feeling so well we enjoyed the festive atmosphere.
The next day Henry got to meet his little brother and boy was that a treat to watch. He liked to give Charlie kisses and look at his little toes, which was so sweet. He also was concerned about where "the baby" (he hasn't even attempted to say Charlie yet) ate and slept. Overall a successful first encounter I'd say...
I couldn't be happier about the fact that Henry has a little brother (of course, If we had had a girl I would be thrilled as well!) I love having a sister so close in age to me, so I'm just elated that Henry will get to experience that same joy as well. I pray that these boys will be friends, confidants, and encouragers of one another.
I'm also thrilled that I get to raise 2 boys with John! He is such a great dad to Henry and I love knowing that Charlie will get to be raised by him as well. I know John is already dreaming of the day when he can take his 2 boys to the Dodger game and teach them the finer points of his complex (at least to me) scoring system. He is already wondering if he will get to coach both boys on his varsity basketball team at once and whether or not his boys will combine forces to make a doubles tennis team to be reckoned with. He is looking forward to playing doubles matches with his boys and Grandpa Bob as well as coaching many seasons of youth sports teams for his sons. One of the best parts about parenting with John is that I get to watch him share his passions and interests with Henry (and now Charlie) in such a pure and joyful way. The world would be a better place if every little boy(& girl) had a father who delighted in them so fully!
So, in summary, my labor and delivery went much the same way as it did with Henry, only this time, my experience was completely transformed! My nurses were such great listeners and were incredibly helpful. With their help I was able to manage everything so much more effectively than last time. Without their care things could have really gone bad quickly, but thankfully everything went smoothly and even though I delivered a big boy, I feel strong and healthy and am already healing so much faster than I did with Henry (which I attribute to many things: prayers, aerobics, 2nd birth, and wise counsel, among them). So, I didn't get the spontaneous labor and natural birth that I was hoping for, but I got a second chance at making Henry's birth experience better, and for that, I'm thankful.