Baby Charlotte's Birth Story

A. Liz Adventures
I was up in the wee hours of Wednesday, April 13th -- another night of very little sleep. I was 41 weeks pregnant (again...!) and my mind was racing. An idea crept into my mind that I just couldn't shake ... I wanted a date night. Bad. And soon. I told myself that when it was an acceptable hour that morning, I would reach out to a neighborhood sitter and see if we could get her to come over for a quick dinner date that evening. Something just told me not to put it off.

I also put out a request in our neighborhood moms group to borrow someone's trampoline that day and try to bounce the baby downward. :) Someone responded that we could use their backyard trampoline, and Camille and I spent some time bouncing that Wednesday morning!

Luckily, I was able to secure a sitter for that evening, and Ian and I ate at Bricktops -- the last nice place we ate before our first daughter Camille made her arrival. We ordered the deviled eggs again and I had a delicious mocktail with my meal. 

I went to bed that evening and woke up feeling rested but having a contraction (this had been the case for the past several evenings -- waking up to a mild contraction was nothing new). It just felt like my belly muscles were really tight, but it was painless. I took note of the time -- 2:15am -- and the next contraction came five minutes later. At that point, I opened the contraction timer app on my phone and noticed that the next one was also five minutes later, all lasting for about a minute long. Classic labor symptoms. I just knew that it was "it." After having a long, painful, pitocin-fueled induction with Camille, I was SO excited to go into labor on my own this time.

I snuck out of bed and headed to the den where I sat on the yoga ball, monitored contractions, and put in a call to my OB's office to tell them I thought I was in labor. The nurse I spoke to let me know that when I was panting and puffing through contractions, it was time to head in (I'm less than 10 minutes from the hospital).

Around 3am I called my mom and she climbed out of bed and hit the highway to drive up to our home. She lives about an hour and fifteen minutes away.

Right after 4am, Ian walked into the kitchen, looking very confused (I had decided to just let him sleep). He saw me setting out Camille's Cheerios and cereal bowl to make it a little easier on my mom, and he said, "Hey ... what's going on?" He seemed truly perplexed.

I said "Babe, we are going to have a baby today."

Not long after this, he drew a warm bath for me, and I spent about 30 minutes laboring in the warm water which felt really nice. Contractions were definitely starting to get uncomfortable.

Mom arrived at 5am, and by this time, I definitely could not talk through contractions. I was getting ready to head to the hospital -- applying some makeup and curling my hair, which my mom could not believe I was doing, but I knew we had a long day ahead and it was one small thing that made me feel "like me" and helped to get my mind off of the discomfort. It was a welcome distraction.

By the time I wrapped up getting ready, contractions were as close as two minutes apart (!!!) and I was getting through each one by bending over with my head and arms on the bed in silence or by kneeling on the cushion of the big chair in our room, facing the back of the chair. My mom was really concerned at the closeness of the contractions. Ian and I left the house and reached the hospital right around 6am.

The lady at the front hospital desk was asking me some questions, but I was having to be silent and let Ian answer for me whenever contractions would hit. We went to the elevator, were taken to triage, and filled out the appropriate paperwork.

When the nurse checked my progress, I was already 6cm dilated ... she said, "Girl, you have been doing some WORK!" Darn right.

At that point, I had to decide whether to get an epidural or not. Part of me thought -- you're already at 6cm - you can do this. And the other part of me won out. :) I so enjoyed my labor with Camille when I had an epidural, so I decided to repeat this with our second baby.

The anesthesiologist had me in a blissful state by -- I think? -- 7am. The nurses we had were fantastic.

They checked me again every hour or so, and I jumped from 6cm to 8cm to 9.5cm. By 10:30, they were bringing in my midwife and said we would start pushing soon. When it was go time, I pushed through the first contraction, then stopped when the contraction stopped. During this time, we could actually see the baby's head (I opted to use a mirror again for the delivery). During the second contraction, I pushed again and the baby's head came all the way down and then we had to pause -- the head stayed there, and that was the most uncomfortable moment. Luckily, the third contraction came not long afterwards ... I pushed, and the baby was here!

Ian was the one that told me, "It's a girl!"

Charlotte Smithwick was born at 10:45am and weighed 8lb, 3oz (Camille was 8.2) and was 20.25" long (same as Camille). Ian and I have always loved the name Charlotte, and it has special meaning to us since it's where we met. Smithwick is Ian's middle name and it is the last name of his paternal grandmother. We called her the next day, April 15th (her birthday), to let her know that Charlotte shared a name with her and she was nearly moved to tears. She said it was the best birthday gift she'd ever received.

We had some visitors during our two night stay in the hospital including my parents, my mother in law, my sister, and some girlfriends. 

Charlotte was snuggly from the start and just such a sweet baby. Nursing has been going really smoothly, and she and I passed all of our tests (including the glucose tests since I had gestational diabetes this pregnancy). 

She wore the same coming-home outfit that our first daughter did -- a pink gown and a white lace bonnet made with love by my mother.

And thus began our story as a family of four.

We love you so so much, Baby Charlotte.


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