Lately I've had Charlotte's birthday on my mind because it's quickly creeping up on us at the end of May. I absolutely cannot believe that my itty bitty little newborn is already almost ONE. I also recently heard a mom talking about her first born's birth and she said, "Wait, I can't remember what time she was born. Maybe I'll remember later." I don't want to forget! I want to write down every detail. I've already got it written down in a journal here at home but I don't think I went into as much detail as I want to here. Don't worry though! We won't be getting TMI in this post :) I'm just recording my feelings and memories.
So it all started on the morning of May 29th. It was a Thursday. It was also a holy day (which, in the Catholic Church means that, like Sundays, we are required to go to Mass. It was the feast day of the Ascension of Christ!) Anyway, at this point I wasn't working any longer because my hips couldn't take sitting at a desk all day with so much of my belly weight on top of them. I was 4 days passed my due date and I was READY.
So I woke up and kissed Tom before he left for work around 7:15. Literally 15 minutes later I started getting weird contractions. They were really mild, barely noticeable, but nevertheless they were different than any of the Braxton Hicks contractions that I had been getting for months before that. They started out at 10 minutes apart but then they would jump all over the place. It would be every 10 minutes, then every 6 minutes, then every 12 minutes, then every 4 minutes. It was crazy! I called the midwife's office and left a message telling them what was going on. I went to a group of midwives so I left a message and whoever was on call called me back promptly to talk about everything. I can't remember which midwife I spoke with on the phone but I told her about my weird contractions. She told me it was probably real labor but that I should get in a warm bath and drink a lot of water to see if they went away. If they didn't go away and/or they became more regular I should call her back and let her know.
I sent Tom a text and let him know exactly what was going on. I later learned that he was really skeptical because I had already gone to the hospital with pre-term labor symptoms once around 30 weeks, which ended up going away thankfully, then swearing I was in labor multiple other times closer to my due date. Haha I was a crazy pregnant lady. Anyway, I got in the bath, drank crazy amounts of water but not only did the contractions not go away, they did become more regular. At this point they were about 7 minutes apart regularly.
After an hour in the tub I called the midwife back and told her what was goin' down and she said that if it kept up until 10am to call Tom, have him come home and then when the contractions were 4 minutes apart to come in to the hospital. At this point I was absolutely certain that this was labor and it was baby day. (And here I go crying as I type this. It makes me want to have another right now!)
I called Tom and said, "Guess whaaaat? I think it's time for you to come home! This is it." Or something like that. He kept saying, "Are you sure? Are you sure? Okay I'm leaving in 10 minutes." He had to get some things quickly done since he wouldn't be back to work for at least another week or so. While he was on his way home I decided to do my makeup and curl my hair because...I didn't have anything else to do and YOLO. Hahaha little did I know that was the last time I "wouldn't have anything to do" for a looooong time.) ;) I called the midwife and told her I was coming to the hospital in a little while. She told me to eat something light beforehand.
Tom got home and we were so excited!! I was over the moon and felt ready to tackle labor head on. My contractions at this point were definitely 4-5 minutes apart and getting uncomfortable. I was okay through them but they were just...difficult. Tom and I ate some eggs and toast and got the last minutes items put into our hospital bags. I had mine packed for 3 weeks at this point but Tom started to pack his right on this spot. Haha guys are so lucky...
We were walking out the door of our apartment and I turned back, looked around and said, "Next time we walk through this door it'll be with our sweet baby girl!" I was about to cry. Hormones...lol. We drove to the hospital and my contractions were the same as before. Manageable but annoying.
Funny thing. When I last spoke to one of the midwives on the phone she said that another midwife named Paula was on call that afternoon and that she would meet us there at the hospital around noon. When we walked into the hospital we got on the elevator and I was having a contraction. I'm one of those people who doesn't show pain unless I think I'm about to die (which will be interesting later in this story...). Anyway, there was a woman in the elevator next to us and I had a feeling that it was Paula. I had never seen her before though at any of my appointments (I always saw different midwives) but I had this strange feeling it was her. I said, "Are you Paula?" She said, "Yeah! Are you Hannah?" And I nodded. She said, "Holy cow! You said your contractions were 4 minutes apart right?? I didn't think you were you because this whole time in the elevator you've been perfectly fine!" I laughed and told her that I was just uncomfortable and that I wasn't really in too much pain. She was really impressed!
We checked into triage (basically the holding area where they check you to make sure you're actually in labor before they admit you) and they strapped the monitors onto my belly. There was the contraction monitor and the baby's heartbeat monitor. It was really cool to see the contractions on the machine next to us and to hear her heartbeat. We were just with nurses then because Paula was tending to other laboring mamas and delivering other babies like a champ! Anyway, the nurse checked me for dilation and I was SIX centimeters dilated!! I should have been immobile, screaming, all of that. But I wasn't! My water had not yet broken and they told me that when that happens your contractions aren't as painful. That will prove to be true later in the story. lol.
The nurses were getting our insurance information and all that stuff and there was a knock at the door. My sister Tara came in! She's the oldest in our family and there is an 18 year difference between us. She has two kids of her own who I looooove. Anyway, she worked at another hospital close to ours so she came over to visit and it was really nice to see her :) I think she said something like, "Is your hair curled?? And I hope your mascara is waterproof!" Haha it was true though. I don't even know why I put makeup on but again...YOLO.
They established that I truly was in real labor (like I knew all along) but the hospital was absolutely slammed with laboring women that day so they needed to put me in a different triage room because there weren't any delivery rooms open at that moment so they had to wait for another one to open up. They did some more checking and prodding and monitoring then told me to walk up and down the hallways to keep my labor progressing. (Sitting or laying down can sometimes slow the process down). We walked and walked and walked and that's when my mom got there. I was so happy to have her with us! She was like my security blanket, my doula, my advocate. She had done this more than a few times herself so if anything was askew or if the nurses weren't up to par she would be the one to know it and remedy that situation. Moms just know everything! She walked with us which was so nice! I remember there were lots of huge picture frames on the walls of the hallway filled with crazy birth stories of premature babies and multiples who were born at that hospital. It was so fascinating to read all those stories. My contractions were a little stronger and more uncomfortable but I was still okay. I was still talking and laughing and everything was good!
We went back to the triage room because I had walked for an hour. We waited there for a little bit while the nurse who was assigned to me was off making sure my delivery room was being readied. My contractions got harder and harder but I was still okay. Still laughing, talking, and taking selfies with my mom ;)
The delivery room was finally ready for us! I was then at 7 centimeters dilated but still not in screaming pain so I walked to the delivery room. I was having to stop and breathe through my contractions and timed it perfectly so that I left the triage room at the end of one contraction and made it to the delivery room at the start of another. Hahaha I felt like a champion at this point. I thought, "I got this!"
This is when everything really started to pick up. We got settled into the delivery room and everything was progressing rapidly; it felt like it anyway. I remember the nurse came in and turned on the TV to some nature sounds music...thing and I was not having it. My mother always taught me to be polite so I waited until the nurse left the room again, grabbed the remote, turned it off and said something like, "Freakin nature's so annoying." I was getting testy to say the least. Haha! So then the nurse came back in and decided that I should be on a yoga ball. I did what she said and sat on it while Tom rubbed my back. I was sitting up near the side of the bed and my legs were underneath it (the bed). The nurse then decided that the bed needed to be lower so she pressed the button and started lowering it...with my legs underneath. "Ow. Ow. OW!" I yelled. "Oh sorry I didn't see your legs there!" Oh really. Thanks. Haha me writing this is all in good fun. I look back on it now and laugh but in the moment I was P.O'd!! lol.
This part is all kind of a blur. It was full of contractions and crying and yelling. I started doing those humming/groaning/moo-ing things (Yes moo-ing. Like a cow.) whenever I'd get a contraction and Paula told me I needed to transfer that energy into breathing. That was easier said than done for sure! I seriously and legitimately thought I was going to die. I didn't voice my concern about death for fear that they'd actually tell me, "Yeah, actually this isn't going well." In reality things were perfectly fine. I had just never experienced pain on that level and I thought something was seriously wrong. I just kept moo-ing. Haha so embarassing...
The last I had heard the nurse said I was 8 centimeters dilated but when 5 o'clock rolled around it hit me. The urge to push. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Or boulders. Or a skyscraper falling over on top of me. I couldn't have stopped it if I wanted to. I said, "Looks like I'm a 10!" when the contraction ended. It promptly came back again 2 seconds later. This was it! I was pushing! Charlotte was on her way! I tried to be excited but my energy was focused on other things...Haha!
I was going strong. It honestly felt like I had been pushing for 5 minutes, not 45 minutes. My water even broke finally! That's when Paula said it. "She's posterior." Usually babies are born with their face down to the floor, but Charlotte's face was to the ceiling, or "sunny side up" as they say. This makes delivery muuuch slower, more painful, and more risky. Paula told me that she needed to manually turn Charlotte as she was coming down the birth canal. Just use your imagination. Yeah. Then she said, "It's going to be really painful." Oh no. She said it. I have a strict "Don't tell me" rule when it comes to impending pain. Just do it. If you're going to rip my Bandaid off just do it - don't tell me. If you're going to draw my blood don't say, "1..2..3..." just do it. When you're going to put your hands inside of my body for the love of Pete do. not. tell. me. Just do it. Haha the next 30 minutes consisted of me yelling, "Nooo! No! NO!" at Paula. She tried reasoning with me but...you can't reason with a woman in labor. "NO! STOP!" I didn't really mean it. I wanted her to fix Charlotte's position but I needed something to yell so I took it all out on Paula. She understood exactly that because she had done this so many times. She knew I wanted her to keep going. She knew I just needed to yell at her. Between contractions I also remember looking over at my mom who had her iPhone out and pointed straight at me. When she saw I was looking at her she tried to lower it and act natural, like she hadn't been filming or anything and it was so hilarious! I couldn't laugh at the time because another contraction started but I made a mental note to laugh about it with her later. Haha I love you, Mom!
Tom: "Hannah! I can see her! She has dark brown hair just like you said she would! She's coming!"
That was the sweetest, most beautiful thing I'd ever heard him say. He was absolutely ecstatic.
Charlotte Magdalena Naegele was born and laid on my stomach. I will never forget seeing her squished, little face and wrinkly, little body for the very first time. It was like a train came zooming in at full speed and crashed into my heart. All I could think to say was, "Hi Baby! Hi Baby! Hi Baby!" over and over and over. She was here. She was mine. She was ours. She was perfect. I do have to say that I didn't forget about the pain of everything that had just happened when I saw her like everyone says you do. Oh, it was still there alright. Haha! But I was just more focused on her. They let her cry for a moment on my stomach and they wiped her off a bit. But the cutest part was when she pooped all over me. Haha! But it's amazing what you end up not caring about when your baby is born. Tom was kissing my forehead and kissing my lips and crying, "You did it! You did it, Babe! I'm so proud of you..." Those words meant/mean everything to me. He was such a beaming daddy! They asked him if he wanted to cut the cord and he said, "Sure!" He cut it and they immediately whisked her off to the warming table across the room to really clean her off and wrap her up. After what seemed like a million years they finally brought her back over to me and laid her down skin to skin on my chest to snuggle with her mommy for the very first time :) It was like heaven.
She was 7 lbs. 10.5 oz. and 20 inches long. She was perfect...
To be honest I'm still kind of upset that we didn't get any pictures of Charlotte with me in the hospital. That was just kind of the last thing I was thinking about. I felt disgusting so pointing a camera at myself holding her didn't even cross my mind. But now it makes me really sad. Oh well. Next time!
Oh and PS - if you're thinking, "So when did she get the epidural again?" I didn't! I can't believe it but I didn't. It was amazing. I do remember telling one of the midwives at an appointment that I wanted to try to go all natural. I guess she wrote that down and passed it along because no one in that hospital ever mentioned an epidural that day. It was awesome. And guess what? I forgot epidurals even existed. Not once during my 11 hour labor did I think about one. I'm honestly not sure how that even happened but it did! It must have been my guardian angel looking out for my "birth plan" wishes. I'm so glad I experienced everything full-on. It was incredible and I had no idea my body could do that. Like I said earlier, I thought I was dying. I wasn't. I was just fully living and giving life. It was...indescribable. 10 months later and I still feel so proud of myself. Yeah, that's right - I'm tooting my own horn! ;)
If you're actually still here reading this then thank you! Haha I hope you enjoyed my story of Charlotte's birth. It was an amazing experience. I don't think I go a day without thinking about it. It was a crazy day but the best day of my life :)
Let me know in the comments if you experienced a similar labor or if you just feel like sharing yours! I've always had a fascination with birth stories so I'd love to hear!
I hope you have a wonderful day :)
My name is Hannah and I'm a lucky wife to Tom, and mama bear to two sweet girls - Charlotte & Rosalie. Coffee, lipstick, sunshine, and dresses are some of my favorite things! I love to blog about God, motherhood, "wifeyhood", food, health and much more.
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