Friday, September 21, 2012

Charlotte's birth story

Friday September 7 started out like every other day since I was on leave: breakfast, a little TV cuddle time with Harley, then a workout. I decided to take Harley out for a walk instead of hitting the gym, spice things up a bit, he gets exercise and so do I. I was planning on a 4 mile loop around the neighborhood but quickly reduced that to 2 miles after H got hot and tired. We were out for about 40 minutes and he was exhausted. I still had some energy so I headed off to the gym to continue my workout in the nice air conditioned facilities. You know what they say...walk walk walk!

That evening we headed out to Coronado to meet up with some friends of ours who were in town for a Navy event. They planned a little bonfire and invited us to join. I was excited to get out of the house and socialize! I even brought along my alcohol free beer to enjoy while relaxing by the fire. We arrived at the event at 6pm and I immediately noticed a little change. I started to feel some light cramps, similar to a period cramp. Not painful, but noticeable. I didn't want to read too much into it, but I did mention it to Matt, my intuition just told me something about these were different and this could be it. I started to monitor the contractions as I was sitting around the bonfire. I downloaded a really cool contractions app on my iPhone that helped me track how far apart they were, how long they were, and the intensity. From the get go mine were 3 minutes apart. They started out at 30 seconds long, but no matter what they were always 3 minutes apart. By 9pm we decided to call the Midwife and our Doula and give them a heads up that we were in early labor.  They said to call back when they were 5-1-1, 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long, for 1 hour. 

By 10pm we decided it was time to go home. If this was the real thing we needed to try and get some sleep before it escalated and we needed to go to the birthing center. When we got home I immediately hopped in the tub. It helped a little, but not really. I tried the shower next. That felt really nice, but the contractions kept coming and they were getting stronger. I tried to lay down and get some sleep and that lasted all of 5 minutes. I could not fall asleep if I wanted to. Plus, my water broke as soon as I laid down. I ended up on the floor of our bedroom, breathing through the contractions as Matt got some sleep. 

At 12am we called our Doula to come over. Matt was able to get a little more sleep while her and I worked through the contractions downstairs. She was a great support to me. I needed someone that had been through this and could reassure me that things were going well and I was doing a great job. Plus, she would be able to tell us when we were far enough along to head to the birthing center. 

By 2am Matt was up and sat with me, rubbing my back and motivating me as the contractions got stronger and stronger. And closer and closer together. At one point they were right on top of each other, a really strong one followed by a shorter one that wasn't quite as strong, with a one minute break in between. It was intense. I was basically dreaming of an epidural at that point. I was so glad I wasn't in a hospital because I would have been begging for one. Somehow I just got through it. It wasn't easy, but with the encouragement from Matt and our Doula, time flew by and before I knew it it was time to go to the birthing center. 

We were going to leave at 3am, but after packing up the car and feeding Harley, time got away from us. I wish we could have left a tad earlier, because as we were leaving I was feeling the urge to push. Ugh oh. That was the longest car ride of my life. The contractions were so strong I can't even describe it, and I was breathing super fast to try and keep myself from pushing the baby out. But that urge to push is SOOOO intense. It is really hard to fight that. Almost impossible. Your body is ready and telling you it's time. Even though the contractions were insane, they were at least 3-5 minutes apart, so I only had about 3 contractions in the car. And by that point I was screaming, literally. Matt was trying to calm me and I turned to him and yelled "NO, you don't understand, this kid may be born in the car if we don't get there fast!!" 

We arrived at the birthing center at 4am. They tried to check me, but quickly realized I was ready to go. We got upstairs to the room and they started to fill the tub. The room was dimly lit, quiet and soothing. It was the calm, relaxing environment we envisioned our daughter coming in to. As soon as I got in the tub I felt so much better, I was ready for her to be here! When the next contraction hit I asked if I could push, they said "do what your body tells you" and so I did. I turned over on my hands and knees (the most comfortable position for me during labor) and started pushing. BAM, out came her head. Everyone was really surprised! The midwife was prepping stuff in the other room and came rushing in. I quickly turned over, her head underwater the entire time, and waited for the next contraction. When it came, I pushed, and out came her shoulders. Then the midwife said "pull out your baby" and I did! I pulled her out and onto my chest! Matt was crying and I was in awe. I could not believe what just happened, what we just experienced, and that our little girl was finally here!

Charlotte Grace Clute
Saturday September 8, 2012 @ 4:30am. 7lbs 5ozs, 19.5 inches long. 





Charlotte stayed with me, on my chest, for a long time. She barely even cried and started nursing immediately. When it was time for me to get out of the tub and into bed Matt finally got to hold his little girl. 




We spent the next few hours relaxing and being well cared for by the amazing staff at the birth center as well as our Doula. Typically you are able to go home 4-6 hours after giving birth, but we stayed a little longer. I ended up getting two IV bags of fluids after getting lightheaded when I was walking around. I felt like a new person after that! And during that time we were able to bond and enjoy our little Charlotte until it was time to go home. 

My Mom took the first flight she could and arrived at 8am. It was a bummer she couldn't be there for the birth, but I am so glad she was able to come and see us so soon! 



And I seriously have the most amazing husband ever!! He got me the most beautiful necklace to celebrate the birth of our little girl....



It is a sapphire, Charlotte's birth stone, surrounded by diamonds. It has a vintage feel (like my engagement ring) and it also reminds me of the Titanic necklace. It is perfect and I love it!! Charlotte and I are two very lucky girls to have such an amazing guy in our life. 

Eventually it was time to go home. Yep, they were letting us take this baby home. We were now responsible for another human being! First things first, getting Miss Charlotte dressed in her very first outfit! I ordered this adorable onesie from Etsy that had her name monogrammed on it. It came with an adorable hat too....but that was too big for her head, so we went with the cute bow.




all dressed and ready to go home!
And once we arrived home it was time to introduce Harley to Charlotte....

He was such a good boy! He came over, sniffed her and then wanted to be petted. He monitors her when she cries, and likes to sit next to me when I nurse her, he is a fabulous big brother!

The whole experience was unbelievable. It went exactly as we had hoped, a beautiful baby girl, delivered naturally, zero complications, in a relaxed environment. It was the best day of our lives and we could not be happier!! We are so in love with our little Charlotte!!


The Clute Family!!

2 comments:

Samantha said...

Thanks for sharing, Shannon! I'm so glad her birth was exactly what you had hoped for. You're such a rockstar - no meds or epidural, holy cow!! I also can't believe you got to pull her out, and not to mention in the water! Such a unique, and beautiful story. Can't wait to meet her!!!! <3 Auntie Samyjo

Meredith said...

Such a great birth story !! So glad to hear it, and so happy everything went as you'd hoped. You did an amazing job! We can't wait to meet Charlotte in July!!