Charlotte Leigh’s Birth Story

Dominic, our first born, was born two weeks late. Charlotte came two days early. Dom came under threat of induction. Charlee came by request of induction. A boy. A girl. Two very different birth stories. Two very exciting and thrilling deliveries. (You can read about Dom’s birth story here.)

Before I delve completely into the day we delivered our sweet girl, I feel like I need to explain a few things.

So here goes: Dominic, for whatever reason, found entering this world something he’d rather delay. Apparently mommy made life inside much more comfortable. So comfortable that we were forced to change our birthing option from a birth center to a hospital. We went from a midwife with whom we had developed a relationship to a doctor we had met a mere 24 hours prior. We went from a cozy birth center to a hospital we had briefly visited a scant two days earlier. On top of the emotional roller coaster of waiting on a baby that wouldn’t come and drawing the irrational conclusion that I would be pregnant forever, we had already been informed that statistically first time pregnant women who made it past their 41st week overwhelmingly ended up in an operating room requiring a C-Section. Fact or fiction, this is NOT the news you want to hear especially when you are hoping to naturally birth your child. With a deadline of 5am on Thursday, January 20th, we entered the hospital 2 hours early in what the nurse determined was progressive labor. No induction was needed. I was allowed to labor naturally on my own and 18+ hours later, our son was born without the use of labor inducing drugs, without an epidural, and through the birth canal.

My birth experience with Dominic was beautiful but very emotionally trying. I knew that the next time around had to be different. I started by making a decision that is opposite of what most people make who have had a bumpy hospital experience. I decided that a birth center birth was not for me. I know many people who have welcomed their children into the world through the use of a midwife and/or a birth center including my sister in law who has birthed 4 beautiful babies with the support of a midwife in the home setting.To this day I truly admire her and am inspired by her incredible birth stories. I also have a friend who just successfully birthed a gorgeous sweet girl at a birth center. And her birth story is also quite beautiful.

But my story is not their story. I had to take a hard look at me and what would be best for me. And that did not include a home birth or a midwife or a birth center.

For me, I needed a doctor I trusted and a hospital that would honor my needs and requests.

And I found that trusted physician in Dr Kelli Watkins and I found that hospital that would care for me at Texas Health Presbyterian of Plano. {Yes, this is a shameless plug for an awesome doctor and an incredible health facility.}

Well, thanks for sticking around for the explanations. Here’s the wonderful story of Charlotte Leigh’s amazing, beautiful, and rocket paced birth story.

When I found out I was pregnant with our second child, there was no question in my mind that we would deliver naturally. I had successfully delivered Dominic without the use of an epidural and only a dose of a pain medication that helped me sleep for a few hours before things got exciting. My doctor had praised my desire to deliver naturally and expressed nothing but full confidence that I could indeed deliver naturally and quickly this second time. My pregnancy progressed exceptionally well except for the morning sickness that seemed to last all day for months! (I was pretty sure there was a girl bun in the oven, so we were not surprised when the tech announced, ‘it’s a girl’ at our 20 week appointment).

As we approached Charlotte’s due date I kept hoping for a story that included my water breaking in the middle of the night or in the middle of the aisle in a grocery store. We’d rush to the hospital and just a few hours later, our sweet baby girl would make her entrance. We hit 38 weeks and I joked that she should come 2 weeks early since her brother came two weeks late to help even the score for mommy. But alas, thirty-eight weeks came and went. As did 39 weeks. All this time, memories from our last weeks of pregnancy with Dominic began to creep up: all the extra doctor’s appointments, the stress tests, the sweeping of the membranes, the natural remedies to get things going, talk of transfer and threat of c-section. I just knew I couldn’t go through that again. Something inside me just knew that the resilience that I demonstrated (or perhaps faked) that first time would not be present this go around.

So at 39 weeks 4 days, my husband and I sat in our Dr’s office and began to discuss the possibility of induction. The me 2 years ago would have been appalled at the me of a few weeks ago. But I trusted my doctor’s expert opinion that my daughter was healthy and capable of taking on the world now. (I must point out that she never once mentioned induction. We brought it up). Wasting no time, we scheduled induction for the very next day.

We arrived at the hospital at 7AM on Thursday, March 28th excited and feeling much more prepared for the journey ahead of us than our first time. We were greeted by an amazing nurse named Raquel. Her nickname, Rocky, assured us we had a champion in our corner and that today was going to be a memorable day ending in victory.

The first few hours were spent taking care of miscellaneous hospital information, checking vital signs, inserting IV’s and beginning the administration of antibiotics. (I’m GBS +).

My doctor arrived shortly after 9 and started the process with breaking my water. Well, we thought my water had broken. Those women who’ve gone through labor know what that feels like. The gush. But there was no gush! My Dr was pretty confident that it was broken as she said she could feel our little girl’s hair. (Hair! That was a musical statement to my ears!! The heartburn would be worth it!) But again there was very little fluid to confirm the breaking of my water.

With the assumption that my water had indeed broken, we started walking around the room in hopes of getting things started. And then there was a gush! And a little later, another gush. Oh and a little bit later another gush. We jokingly said that must be why I carried our daughter so high, there was so much amniotic fluid she was floating way up there.

After a few hours we drew a rather odd conclusion: breaking my water did not help get my labor going. In fact, our nurse described my labor as hypotonic. Quick google search confirms what I thought. I just wasn’t progressing for a possible multiplicity of reasons. So…now what? When we spoke with our doctor the day before, I had expressed a hope to still try for a natural delivery if at all possible. I wondered if there was a middle ground option that might not include the use of an epidural or other pain medications. She assured me that we could start with smaller doses of pitocin to help ease me into the contractions. (Contractions brought on by pitocin have been known to come faster and, as a result, appear and feel more painful than natural labor). I told her I was game! So when labor seemed non-existent, we moved into stage two of “Operation Get This Baby Here”. We started at a 2. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the use of pitocin, that’s really nothing since you can go all the way up to 30. But it did help regulate my contractions to where they were coming more frequently. After some time, it was still quite obvious that my labor was not where it needed to be to get me dilated to a 10. So, we asked when they would increase the amount. Rocky informed us that they typically increase it every 30 minutes. We did the math and we’d been at a 2 dosage for over an hour. So at our request they started increasing at regular intervals and my labor began progressing. (This was about 2pm and when I feel the labor clock truly started).  My amazing husband coached me and walked me through every single contraction. And we kept our cool. I kept progressing slowly but steadily.

6pm rolled around and I was dilated to a 7. Good progress but still not that magical number of 10.  Rocky told me not to worry. She assured me that I could go from 0 to 60 at any time. And then she left the room.

After what seemed like only a matter of seconds, I entered that stage called transition. Which means…I went from 0 to 60.

Now let me tell you a secret. Occasionally, Rocky would ask me to rate my pain on a scale of 1-10. As the day progressed and the contractions intensified, my pain number increased as well. I had told myself that as long as I could say a number lower than 10 that I was okay. I could do this. And when I got to a place where I really wanted to say 10, that I HAD to be in transition. That place where you can’t take the pain anymore. That place where you lose your head momentarily. And then all of a sudden, there’s a baby.

This happened in what felt like 5 minutes from the time I had last been checked. I was only a 7. A good number but not a ‘pushing’ number. But the pressure was there. The pain was DEFINITELY there. I looked at Marshall and told him, ‘Get Rocky, get Dr Watkins. I gotta push.”

Within minutes, the room was bustling with people. Everyone sensed we were getting nearer to that delivery moment but I don’t think anyone truly knew how incredibly close we were.

Throughout the day, our nurse had encouraged different positions to help get our baby in the most optimal position for delivery. As people started entering the room, Rocky had me on my knees leaning against the top part of the bed that was in an upright position (basically envision the bed in an L shape and I’m leaning my arms over the top of the bed).

I remember freaking out and apologizing. I said something like, “Oh my goodness. I just freaked out. I’m sorry!” To which one of the nurses replied, “You’re in labor. Anyone would be freaking out right now.”

After that, the pain became so intense, I couldn’t talk anymore. I could hear people talking around me. We were nearing 7 o’clock and sadly a shift change meaning my power house nurse Rocky would not reap the benefits of seeing our baby girl. I could hear her talking to the new nurse coming on shift. She was passing on the vital information she needed to help me through the next stage of labor.

In the moments that followed,I kept saying, “ I really gotta push. I know I’m not supposed to but I gotta.” Everyone kept encouraging me to hold off but before I knew it, the baby crowned. Then I felt what I believed was her complete body shooting out of me like a rocket. And then they asked me if I was ready to turn around so they could check me (Yep. To see how dilated I was). I nodded with relief unable to speak. As I turned over, they became aware of what I already knew, Charlee was here! My Dr was not quite fully dressed for delivery and as I turned over they saw that the cord was wrapped around her neck. Rocky jumped in and quickly unwrapped it. My husband says I had to push once more but I don’t remember it. Our baby girl practically delivered herself! I was never told to push. I never officially reached the magical number 10. One minute I’m a 7 and roughly 1 hour later at 7:05 pm my baby girl was born weighing 7lb 5oz, measuring 19.5 inches long. My Dr joked that she had missed many a delivery due to a quick baby but that she had never missed a delivery while standing in the room! They laid her on my chest immediately and all I could see was her dark thick beautiful brown hair. She was here!

Looking at her sweet sleeping form nearly a month later, I am so thankful. Thankful for a doctor who believed in me and helped me have the birth experience I had longed to have. Thankful for a nurse who was in my corner from the moment we met. Thankful for an incredible husband who coached me through every painful contraction. And I am thankful for a baby who shot into this world like a rocket. Our sweet baby girl has captured our hearts and we will never be the same.

Holding my sweet baby girl for the first time
Holding my sweet baby girl for the first time
Dominic meeting his baby sister for the first time.
Dominic meeting his baby sister for the first time.

 

Daddy's girl
Daddy’s girl
Our baby girl at one month old
Our baby girl at one month old

 

 

 

Patty Parker

My name is Patty Parker. I write about finding beauty in the every day.

3 thoughts on “Charlotte Leigh’s Birth Story

  1. What a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing Patty. My Amy was textbook all the way no drugs. My David was here in about four hours – no drugs. Water broke in the am with Brent, nothing happened until that evening when my doctor told me to come on in that night because he wanted to play golf the next day 😉 Brent was here in 2 hours – again no drugs- as soon as my contractions started. Babies have their own time table. Blessings on the Parker family.

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