Well, our sweet baby arrived this past Friday morning. And, as you may have noticed from the title of this post, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that baby Kate was actually a boy! Little Charlie-man was with us for just about thirty minutes before going home to Jesus. He entered this world fast and furious, just like his big sister Evie. Luckily we were able to make it to the hospital this time. So here is Charlie's birth story.
I had been having contractions for about 10 days, just like with Evie. Thursday night when I went to bed, however, I felt a little different. The baby had dropped significantly and I felt like the contractions were maybe a little more effective in opening my cervix each time. I told Josh before I went to bed and it was kind of like, we'll see ...
I woke up around 2 am still having contractions. I walked into another room and sat down to time them. About six contractions in 30 minutes. So I went back to our room and woke Josh up. He asked me what we needed to do. I said maybe just give me another hour and we'll see. In the meantime, I was praying so, so hard that the Lord would show me just when we needed to go. We were expecting to deliver a breech baby and I was pretty sure I couldn't do that on my own in a wheelchair (see Evie's birth story for reference). So as I laid in bed praying and trying so hard to read my body a contraction came that told me ... yeah, it's time. Josh must have sensed something because he immediately turned to me and said, what's up? I said, I think we need to go.
It was about 3 am at this point. We loaded the kids up and called our families and headed to the hospital. I was still contracting but very controlled. I felt like we had made the right decision to head there at that time. I walked myself up to the L&D floor, checked in, and was admitted to triage where they would check my dilation and monitor the baby.
Josh and the kids met me up there and soon after our families came too. I was dilated to about 4 or 5 cm, which made me feel so thankful that we were at the hospital. I knew we had made the right choice.
The doctors and nurses were all filled in on our baby's special circumstances. We discussed delivery options and palliative care for the baby after birth. Labor was progressing but I was still able to talk and be normal. They also talked about me getting an epidural, something I was really praying about as well. Because of the manipulation needed for a vaginal breech delivery, two doctors and the nurse highly recommended the pain medication. I took this as a "in the multitude of counselors there is safety" type sign from the Lord and decided I would go ahead with that plan, and was really ok with that decision. Little did I know there would be absolutely no time to actually carry out that plan.
Right before they were going to wheel me down to a labor room I had a pretty intense contraction. Once in the other room I had to transfer to another bed. In one painful move I transferred to that bed and immediately had to grab onto it backwards because a transitional contraction came suddenly. I told them if I was supposed to be getting pain meds it needed to happen right then! Josh told the nurse things were happening fast and she started scrambling for more help and an IV. One contraction later and I could feel the baby's bottom coming out. I totally yelled, "The baby's coming!! I need help NOW!!"
I think about a dozen people rushed into the room at that point. I had to flip over onto my back and scoot to the end of the bed, all of these moves quite complicated by the fact that a folded in half baby was coming out of me, full speed ahead. I was literally screaming because of the pain and the intensity of the moment. Everyone was trying to instruct me on what to do and I was trying to listen. Again, just so intense.
Josh came up behind my shoulders and started coaching me, midwife style haha. I was so grateful for him doing that. The nurses were telling me to grab behind my legs and push and I remember not being able to find where my legs were lol. Anyway.
At one point I asked if I could take a break and the doctor said yes, I could stop pushing. She needed a minute to get the baby in the proper position. The next contraction I was instructed to push, push, push! Over my cries of I can't do this, I heard the team say, you're done! Baby's out! And this was just one hour after arriving at the hospital and 10 minutes after getting into that second room. Crazy.
Immediately they put the baby on my chest and I cried and sobbed and was so thankful for that little body to be outside of mine and able to be hugged and kissed!
Because of the lack of amniotic fluid throughout my pregnancy, there was some question if the gender they had initially identified was correct. So after kissing on this baby and saying, hi sweet girl! I finally asked, it is a girl, right? A nurse came up and checked and said, no it's actually a boy!
Josh and I laughed and I looked at him and we quickly decided on a name we had previously discussed. Charles Alan ... baby Charlie ... after Josh's grandfather who passed away when he was in high school, and my dad, a wonderfully devoted dad and papa. We liked the strong tribute to two great men.
They took Charlie and washed him off while the dcotor gave me some attention. The breech delivery caused my cervix to lacerate and so they had to treat that issue. I was able to get Charlie back and Josh went and got the kids. We shared a few sweet minutes, just the five of us, before the rest of our family came to join.
When Charlie came back to me after making the rounds to family and friends I noticed his skin was cool. We told the nurses we thought he had passed away. So I don't know exactly when he passed, but I do think he was being loved on by one of our loved ones when he did.
We spent more time with him and our families. We got breakfast and coffee and, although we were tearful, we still marveled over the sweet new arrival.
Josh and I were alone with Charlie until we were discharged around 7 pm. Even though he had been gone for some time, actually leaving him at the hospital was just so, so hard. And the ride home without the baby we had just delivered ... heartbreaking. Familiar ground that we never, ever wanted to walk again.
These days have been difficult. We miss our little man terribly and all he would have brought to our family. But life keeps going and we are trying our best to do the same.
We are thankful to the Lord for holding two of our beloved children. Thankful for the promise that we will see them again. But still we mourn the emptiness.
Please continue to lift us up in prayer. We need it very much. Your support is so appreciated.