Before I get into the real story of Charlie's birth I want to note a few extra people that attended the birth.
First, we had Amy Coontz as our doula again. I cannot say enough wonderful things about Amy as a doula. Chris and I both agree it was the best decision we made when it comes to a "birth plan". Amy was there for me to vent in the days leading up to delivery. She let me make all the decisions the morning I was in labor cause I changed my mind a few times about where Chris and I were going and when we'd leave. She helped me focus and kept me comfortable during the very short but intense labor. And what Chris loved the most was she took all the pressure off him. He didn't have to remember how to help me breath or relax he got to relax and enjoy the process of his child being born.
Second, we had Meggan Boston of Mebs Photography photograph the labor and delivery. I was really interested in seeing the atmosphere and emotion that comes along with giving birth. If you've ever had a child you know that during labor you become incredibly internally focused. And so since it is 99.99% likely that this is our last child, I wanted to tastefully capture this moment of our lives. And I'm so glad I did. Meggan very quickly got us "part 1" the labor and delivery pictures and I love every one of them it was really hard to narrow it down to just a few to share on the blog. I am so grateful for her willingness to do this for us.
I have no idea when Charlie's labor really started but I was a hot mess all week. On April 1st, I really thought it was go time. I had consistent contractions 5 minutes apart for an hour. I called the team and told them I was having light contractions and we'd probably have a baby sometime that night. Then the contractions never got stronger, and after about an hour they stopped all together. And I was pissed! I have never cried wolf on labor before!
The rest of the week I stressed out every time Chris left the house. I was constantly worried about what I would do if I went into labor while Chris was at work or school. Anytime I went somewhere I had to figure if I knew how to get to the hospital from there. I was terrified of my water breaking and having to load up the kids and drive myself in active labor to the hospital.
Wednesday Chris's car broke. He got stranded at the grocery store and I had to go pick him up. It was too late to call the dealership and get it towed and fixed so we had to wait until Thursday morning. I was a hot mess Thursday morning. I was just positive that I was going to go into labor while Chris was stranded at the dealership with no way to get to me. Luckily his car got fixed by about 11 and while he should have gone to work he went ahead and took the whole day off because "he felt like he needed to be with me". When he told me that I got annoyed and really wanted him to just go to work because I wasn't going to ever have this baby. I was a bit hormonal. But thankfully he stayed with us all day and for the first time in weeks I wasn't anxious anymore and I was really relaxed because if I went into labor Chris was there and everything was going to be ok. I think I really needed that day to relax cause the next morning it was go time.
I woke up around 6 while Chris was in the shower and wasn't feeling fantastic. I thought I was just anxious about my OB appointment at 9:30. I knew Dr. Butcher was going to strip my membranes because we had talked about that the week before. I had googled what that was last night and knew it was going to be ridiculously painful for me. And so when Chris got out of the shower I told him I wasn't feeling good and asked if he could come to the doctor with me for my appointment. At about 6:30 I called Annie and asked if I could bring the kids over there after she got home from dropping her kids off at school because I did not want Sarah and Cody to be there when I got my membranes stripped.
At 7, I really wasn't feeling good and decided we should take the kids to Chris's parents house in case my water accidently broke during my appointment or in case stripping my membranes immediately triggered labor. Yeah, I still didn't realize at this point I was already in labor. I also called Amy and told her we were planning on going to the appointment at 9:30 and other various signs I was having that labor might be in the near future.
At 7:15, I finally figured out what Chris claims he already knew and hollered to Chris "we need to go straight to the hospital! Call your folks and tell them the new plans!" I also called Amy and told her it was go time we were heading to the hospital. And called Meggan and told her it was time to go to the hospital. We also briefly sat the kids on the couch to try to finally tell them we were having a baby. The conversation went like this:
Me: Kids, we have something exciting to tell you. We're going to go to the hospital and get a baby.
Cody: I want new airplanes!
Sarah: Is it going to be the Elsa baby I want?
Me: No, it's going to be a real baby. --contraction hits-- Never mind just get in the car!
So then we hopped in the car for the longest and most painful ride in my life! I really don't remember the drive to the hospital when I had Cody in the car being as painful as this one! First because Cody was at 2 in the morning and the roads were clear so we could take the high way. The drive with Charlie we'd be facing rush hour so we had to take bumpy back roads that were only 2 lanes.
It was so stressful! I could see how stressed out Chris was. He was very anxious and for good reason. Cody was taking non stop in the back giving us a play by play on what all we were seeing and each time we'd pass a school or another big building he'd say, "that's not the hospital". Sarah for the first time in her life was dead silent. I think she was having flashbacks. I was begging Chris to slow down every time we hit bumps or a curve cause it hurt like a son of a gun, and was doing my best to yoga breathe. I was sincerely saying in my head, "inhale....exhale...." in my best hippie-yoga-teacher voice.
We got to the hospital around 8:10. Met Vickie outside so she could hop in and park the car for us, and then Amy and Meggan met us in the lobby.
We headed upstairs to check in where the lady at the desk asks, "Do you have an induction scheduled?" We say no, and then she says, "what brings you in?" Ummmm, contractions! Contractions bring me in to the hospital. They didn't seem to concerned and kept telling us to take a seat. Of course, now that I see this picture of me looking all calm with my hands in my pockets I guess that's why they might not have believed I was in active labor.
Trying to check in.
8:15, still at the check in desk telling them for about the 3rd or 4th time I'm not going to have a seat. And in this picture I'm having a contraction.
I love this picture because the look on Chris's face says to me, "oh crap, if they do not hurry up my wife is going to have the baby right here in the lobby." He also looks a little excited.
They did eventually come and get me and take me back to triage to do the initial assessment. At Baptist Women's they only let the woman come back at first, Chris was not allowed to come. I have no idea why that's their policy but I was not in the mood. So I was being a bit of a drama queen. I kept telling them, "I need my husband! I had my last baby in the car! I don't want to be without my husband. I don't want to be alone." When they didn't seem to care about that information and they put my in a triage room alone I started yelling, "I DON'T WANT TO BE ALONE!" It annoyed them enough that they brought Chris back. I'm trying to answer their admit questions, and they finally do my initial exam only to discover I'm at 9cm and a +1 station. Yeah, I'm about to drop this kid out. Then all of a sudden they decide we need to get moving and my bed starts rolling down the hall.
(So for those of you playing along at home, that means that I went through transition, the worst and most painful part of labor, in the car, in rush hour traffic.)
I get into the labor and delivery room and I still need to get Amy and Meggan back there. So I keep saying, I brought a doula and a photographer, I need my doula and photographer. And they keep saying they need to finish my admit. And they want me to get in the bed. And I don't like to labor in bed. I like to stand as long as humanly possible because it feels better to me. So since I was being belligerent and just kept asking for my doula and photographer they brought back Amy. That was pretty helpful.
But I still wanted my photographer so I was continuing to be slightly belligerent. The wonderful nurse put my IV in while I was standing (still refusing to get in bed). The other nurse kept telling me I couldn't have my photographer till we were done with the admit questions so I told her to hurry up then. And then with my next really hard contraction, I dropped into a squat and yelled, "A have birth photographer I need her in here cause I'm about to have this baby!" Nothing freaks a nurse out more then squatting when you're in labor. They started moving real fast and kept telling me that for the safety of me and my baby I needed to get in bed! They also went ahead and got Meggan.
Since I had everyone I needed, I got in bed.
I remember thinking how horrible this labor was and how I never wanted to do it again. But Amy was great and kept giving me something to focus on through the contractions.
Chris held an ice pack to my neck. I get really hot during labor.
I'm not sure how long we were in the labor and delivery room before Charlie was born. On one had it felt like forever, but on the other it went by so fast.
I love how everyone is laughing but me in this picture. Birth is all fun and games for the people not having a contraction.
Actually, I think they are laughing cause at one point I said, "focus Amy" and did the little hand sign with your two fingers pointing at your eyes. I was really just needing to tell myself to focus but didn't want to sound crazy talking to myself so I directed it at Amy.
Seriously, Amy Coontz is the world's most amazing doula. If you are having a baby and you live in Memphis, look her up! Or click on the link: Your Birth Your Way
Once my water broke I felt so much better and got a short break from contractions. Amy hollered out "her water just broke" and I heard them say the doctor was just getting out of surgery and would be here in 5 minutes. Chris and Amy started joking about which one of them was going to deliver the baby this time. And Chris actually took off his watch and ring and washed his hands.
It's almost baby time so the hard contractions are starting in this picture.
"I give up Amy. I can't do this anymore."
Let's talk about pushing since I really didn't remember how hard it was. With Sarah, I had gotten a dose of staydol (sp?). So basically I was high. I remember the nurse explaining to me with staydol everything will still hurt but you just won't care. And that's pretty much true. With Cody, I didn't push at all. I actually was coached through each contraction how to breath it out and not push. So it's been a long time since I had to push, and the first time I had to push without drugs. And I really had no clue how hard it was.
I only had to push 3 times Chris says. But I remember being so frustrated after each push. I felt like it wasn't working and I was never going to get this kid out.
I think I was telling Chris here that it wasn't working and I couldn't do it. I love how positive and proud he looks. He apparently had seen things I hadn't and knew it was working.
On the second push I was so mad that I felt like it wasn't doing anything that I screamed. I'm more then a little embarrassed about that because it's just unnecessary. But I was pissed. I wanted this thing out. I remember hearing someone say when I screamed, "that's not helping anything."
On the next round of pushing I bore down, apparently hulk-ified and turned purple and got Charlie out.
Last push, hulk Natalie
It's a boy!
We waited to find out what we were having so we got to hear those exciting words just moments after he was born. He was a beautiful big boy. He was 9lbs 8 oz, a pound and a half bigger than Cody. He was completely filled out and didn't have a cone head at all. He was beautiful.
Charles Franklin Schwartz
April 4, 2014
9 lbs, 8 oz, 21 inches long