This post is going to be emotional to write, because it seems so unreal that I am already sharing this. How in the world are we already at the one month mark? It seems unfair and sad in a way because as many of us know all too well… time is such a thief. So while in a way I feel sad that we are already at this first milestone, it’s a time where I find great joy. The last month has been so incredible. Magical. Dreamy, in a way. I’ve waited so long to be able to share these moments again, and the fact that it’s here and it’s tangible seems just so surreal. I have so much to share, so BUCKLE UP KIDS! It’s going to be a lengthy one! (If you’re here for just the photos, keep scrolling!!)
Charli’s Birth Saga
The literal marathon to Charli Drew’s entrance into this world was one I never expected. The trials of getting her here started weeks before her arrival. And by weeks, I mean we were I think 30 weeks gestation when we first realized she was in the dreaded breech position. Breech was something I never really paid attention two with Skylar or Zakaree. I don’t know if it’s because I was so much younger and so naive to things. But I literally never questioned their positions when it seems that I spent the whole last trimester worrying about this little girls.
Even though she was breech at 30 weeks, my midwives were not all that worried because there was still plenty of time for her to flip into vertex (head down/birthing) position. I had a 4D ultrasound with her at 32+2 and she was still breech at that time. When my 34 week appointment came she was still breech. By my 35th week appointment, she was head down!! YAY! Everything seemed great. All the yoga ball moves and weird positions I did to get her to move into the right direction worked and I felt so relieved. Until….
I went in for my last growth scan at 36 weeks and she was breech again. I felt so discouraged but prepared to do whatever I needed to get her into head down position and ready for birth. While many people might not relate to this, I wanted to avoid having a c-section at all costs. NOT because there was anything wrong with delivering that way…. I was just honestly deathly afraid of having one because 1) I had never had a major surgery before. 2) It required a spinal and due to a traumatic experience with my epidural with my first birth, I was not wanting anything to go near or in my spine. I just couldn’t fathom that. 3) The recovery time would be much harder and something I wasn’t wanting to experience. 4) I knew what to expect in general with a vaginal birth. Knowing nothing about a c-section (personally) was just so scary for me. So all of that combined with the idea I had in my head of what it would be like to have KJ helping me labor, I just really wanted to do it the way I wanted to… if I could do it.
So bound and determined, I was going to get her head down. For me there was no other choice. I couldn’t mentally wrap my head around having a c-section because I was just so scared and I am not afraid to admit that. And truthfully, I think it’s okay for me to desire something to be a certain way. Especially when it comes to my body and how intense birth is in general.
And I am not kidding you fam… every. other. week we would go in to have a scan and she would be breech. Then head down (yay!). Then breech again (womp womp). Then head down (thank heck!). Then breech. The mental game of the back and forth was worse than any symptoms I experienced throughout my entire pregnancy.
At my week 36 appointment when she was determined breech again, we elected to go ahead and try the ECV, which is a manual maneuver of my doctors turning her into head down position while still inside me. Which was said to be a good option because by 37 weeks (when the procedure would be scheduled for) the chances of her moving OUT of vertex position due to the lack of wiggle room by that stage, would be low. While it was mentally hard to accept that, I was still willing to try anything I could to avoid a c-section because that was still more scarier to me than having someone move my baby from the outside.
We got to the hospital, got hooked up for the ECV. Was ready to go. And they scanned me one more time before starting to make sure she was breech and what do you know…. SHE WAS HEAD DOWN.
While I was relieved and thrilled she was head down, I felt so embarrassed for wasting their time and schedules. Not that I had any control over any of it… but I still felt awful that literally every time we checked on her she was the opposite of what we knew. So KJ and I checked out of the hospital, went to breakfast and basked in the fact that we were 37 weeks and she was head down and there was a very unlikely chance she would move back into breech this far into the game. Seriously… she couldn’t have had much more room to move right?
Week 38. Sunday December 19th I was re-organizing our kitchen cabinets and I thought my water might have broken. I called the on-call nurses and after some time and the fact I had already been having consistent contractions for at least a week at that point, they decided to have me come in and be evaluated. While I was really skeptical about it being truly my water broken (because my luck isn’t that good), KJ was ready and excited. We got to the hospital, they tested to see if it was my water that had broken, and while we were waiting for the results, we decide to do another scan to see what Miss Charli was up to.
You guessed it……. she was BREECH AGAIN! Week 38 and she had flipped once again and I was a wreck about it. My water had indeed NOT broken, which was kind of good because had she been head down and my water had truly broken, I would have had a c-section that night and I was not mentally prepared for that.
Monday December 20th I spent the entire day weeping and hysterical because I was mentally checked out from all the back and forth. There was no control over anything and I was exhausted from all of it. Not physically. But I just couldn’t figure out why this back and forth kept happening and I was just devastated. I kept asking myself what am I don’t wrong? I knew it wasn’t really me. I wasn’t doing anything to bring this on. And that kind of frustrated me more because there was nothing for me to work on or fix.
So with the realization of the vaginal birth I so desperately wanted to experience with my husband slipping further and further away, I spent all of Tuesday December 21st researching all about c-sections and recoveries, and what to expect at our specific hospital, and mentally pushed myself to be okay with having one. My vision of our birth had to change. There was no choice. So I could either wallow about it or I could change my mindset and allow myself to still have a beautiful memory of her coming earthside. Even if this was all so hard getting here.
Wednesday December 22nd I had a regular scheduled weekly prenatal appointment. I had my questions written down of what to ask regarding their policies with a c-section. Like what my husband is and is not allowed to do while in the OR. I was saying my goodbyes to KJ and he half-jokingly said “what if they induce you today?” I said “no way. I’m not 39 weeks yet so I don’t see that happening. But I feel like maybe she might be head down. I don’t know. I had some weird pain last night so I feel like she might be.” I didn’t give it much thought cause we just checked her 3 days ago, so she probably wasn’t head down this far along.
I checked in with my doctor and she said let’s do a scan. I didn’t get my hopes up because I literally just wasn’t counting on her being head down. My incredibly beautiful soul of a doctor put that scanner on me and said “holy bleep. She’s head down!! This far along she’s considered unstable, so I’m sending you over to be induced I’ll be right back.”
I was in complete shock. I was NOT expecting to hear those words. My heart dropped to my butt and I excitedly texted KJ immediately:
I called my sister. I drove home trying to calm my nerves because after all the crazy prep I’ve done, this was it! It was go time! I was going in with a head down baby and was going to have her the way I wanted. The way I knew how. I found such comfort knowing I knew what to do to get her here and I was READY.
I went home. My sister met me to grab Sky and Zak. I nervously prepped the last minute things I needed, said my goodbyes and hugged my older babies a little tighter and longer, took one last photo as a family of 4 and then we headed for the hospital to bring our sweet girl here. We stopped for Wendy’s on the way in to satisfy my last pregnant craving of cheese fries and a grilled chicken sandwich with a strawberry lemonade. And then at 2pm we walked onto the delivery floor and got settled.
The marathon was not even close to over. Induction started around 5pm on December 22nd. I was already having contractions, and the induction made them more consistent. I labored fairly easily all night with mild pain, breathing steadily and concentrating hard. They were painful enough I couldn’t sleep, but not so painful it was unmanageable.
The night came and went and we decided on December 23rd that the induction method I chose was not moving things along the way we wanted, so I started on Pitocin. My contractions picked up as they upped the doses and I continued to labor consistently throughout the entire day, hopeful for her to be here that day. My water had not broken at this point and when they did my first check, I received the news that while I was 5cm, I was not even close to delivering. I mentally started hitting a wall because it was over 24 hours without sleep at that point and I was exhausted.
My contractions started intensifying pretty badly and at my second check around 8pm, there still was not a whole lot of progress. They said that because I was maxed out on Pitocin and not close to being able to deliver, AND they couldn’t break my water safely because she was still so high up, unless my water breaks on its own in the next 3ish hours, they were going to send me home since there was no reason to keep me there without progress. I hit that mental wall like a ton of bricks at that point. I was absolutely devastated. HOW in the world was I supposed to get to that level of pain, stop, go home to my poor kids who thought they would see me next with a baby in my arms, and then somehow muster up the energy and mental capacity to come back and start that pain all over again?
I had about 15 minutes of hysterical crying. They left me and KJ to talk about that realization and I just was so upset. I felt defeated. Embarrassed. So awful. KJ started packing up the room and then I looked at him with a new wave of determination that out of no where washed over me and I said “I’m not going home. I’m going to break my water. My water will break. I am not leaving. I am manifesting that my water is going to break.”
So with each painful contraction I started using gravity, squatting and bearing down to get her to move down and hopefully rupture my water. THIRTY MINUTES after my team left the room, my water broke. I told KJ to call our nurse and midwife in. They checked and low and behold… IT WORKED!!! So at that point we were not leaving. But they did let me stop Pitocin at midnight to catch a break, sleep a bit and then at 3am on December 24th we started Pitocin again.
Somehow, with starting Pitocin again, my contractions were more irregular and less intense. I was so confused. They checked me again early that morning and there was still very little progress and my cervix was just not coming down. We maxed Pitocin again and I was just starting to get over the whole process so fast. Nothing was happening no matter what we tried. When they came in about 3 hours later they checked me again and they said when they touched her head, Charli just kind of floated away. Which was weird… because didn’t my water break? How was that possible? What was she floating in? Because it wasn’t my waters.
By 10:30am I was so ready to have her, and we had exhausted our Pitocin and we didn’t really have many more options due to the position of cervix and the lack of engagement from her. I was nearing 48 hours of labor and I was gassing out fast. They offered to do some internal monitor placement and it was at that point that the words I never thought would ever come out of my mouth… came out.
I asked for a c-section. We had discussed it. And now that it was really one of the only last options and I was very tired of laboring at that point, I advocated that I wanted it and we went ahead and got the ball rolling. KJ got changed into scrubs, I put my hairnet and gripper socks on. We took a selfie and I looked at the clock at 11:45am. I said “how funny would it be if she was born at 12:34?” A number I had been seeing all year that followed me everywhere, which if you’re into numerology at all, it signifies that one is on the right path in life and that a new chapter is about to start. So kind of funny for me to think about. We walked back to the OR and I kissed KJ one last time before being brought into the most sterile and cold room I’ve ever been in. The next time I’d see him we would be moments away from having our baby.
I braved the spinal (one of my biggest fears) and they laid me back and everything moved so fast. We had Christmas music playing and some of the most enthusiastic and incredible people ever helping us deliver her. As they were prepping me, I asked what time it was. I told them, too, how funny it would be if she was born at 12:34. It seemed liked forever til KJ was brought in, but once he was sitting right beside me I felt so much relief. The sensation of having a c-section is something I will never be able to accurately describe. It wasn’t painful. Just wildly uncomfortable.
I stared at KJ waiting for something to happen, not knowing what was going on. And then all of a sudden, he sees her and I hear her and I lose it. Her first cries were such a sigh of relief. A victory. SHE WAS FINALLY HERE!!!! And at 12:34pm and 56 seconds none the less!!!!! Probably one of the most craziest parts of the entire process!!
The second I laid my eyes on her I was even more hysterical. She looks so much like her daddy, which is one thing I wished for so hard. I wanted our baby to look just like him. And she does, and GOSH, is she just so wonderful.
I won’t go into recovery, because it’s not all that exciting. But I am happy to report that it’s gone much better than I ever anticipated. We also found out that there was nearly a 0% chance of her coming out vaginally AND that she actually was in a second water sac that ruptured on the table which explains why she was still floating (haha!), so I am glad that I took the time ahead of time to mentally prepare for a c-section because it made the entire process so much easier in the end, and I am 100% at peace with how we had her. It was meant to be, and she’s here and healthy, and we are beyond thankful for all the team members who helped me bring her earthside safely with love, care and compassion.
While it wasn’t the birth story I had envisioned for 9 months, it was still just as beautiful and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Having all those intimate moments during labor with KJ was something I was worried I’d miss out on, but we got the best of both worlds. He still held my hand through each painful contraction, rubbed my back, hugged me when I was feeling discouraged and told me he loved me when I needed to hear it most. And then I got to focus on his face and reaction the first time he saw our daughter, and that will never be something I will ever forget. He still got to cut the cord. He still got to hold her right away. And it was all still a beautiful journey.
It’s hard to believe that her birth saga was already a whopping month ago. While we didn’t get to spend Christmas at home with the older kiddos, it was still a beautiful holiday. We FaceTimed with them as they opened all their gifts and then got to relax just the three of us together quietly watching A Christmas Story. Making our way home to Sky and Zak was one of the best moments in the last 4 weeks though. Seeing their faces light up when seeing her for the first time will always be one of the most cherished memories for me. I knew they would be amazing big siblings, but over the last month I have really enjoyed seeing it play out right in front of my eyes. Skylar is a little mother hen. She loves to help and jumps right in and it pulls at my heart strings. Zakaree adores his baby sister and has adjusted better than I anticipated. He asks every day after school on the drive home “how is my baby today?” and it melts me soul. He’s worked hard on being gentle with her and loves jumping in to help!
Ranch has been the hardest one to adjust. He’s not a fan of the baby but he’s coming around! Charli Drew herself has been just wonderful. The only hard part has been a few nights of not a lot of sleep, but she’s already allowed us a bunch of nights with some great stretches and we are grateful! Healing wise, I feel great. I’ve been able to help with her more than I thought I’d be able to which is a blessing. I hate feeling dependent on others.
One of the best parts about the last month? The fact KJ got the entire month off, too. It’s been so much fun and we have really found a good routine for what works at night and throughout each day. Seeing him with her makes me into a puddle. He has been the most supportive, loving, gentle and helpful partner I could ever have asked for. I truly am so thankful and do not know what I would do without him. I feel so fortunate to get to do this journey with him and can’t wait to see what the next 11 months brings us!
Charli Drew — you are one loved little girl. You are perfect all around. Your cries are precious. I love doing bath time with you. I’m so sad you’re already fitting into those clothes that were swimming on you just 4 short weeks ago, but am thankful that that means you’re growing and healthy. You’re a welcomed light in our lives baby girl, and I am so happy we have you. Happy One Month Birthday goose. Mommy, daddy, sissy and brubba love you!!!!!! ❤️
What she loves: Baths, being held & snuggled, eating on time every 2 hours and when mommy and daddy talk to her!
What she hates: getting dressed, diaper changes, pooping and not being held and snuggled, though she is coming around to self soothing a little more!