Good things come to those who WAIT… (Charlie’s Big Debut!)

Dear Charlie,

YOU ARE HERE! As I type this you’re 5 days old, asleep in a cradle right next to me. 🙂 Although your birth was overall much smoother than my last birth experience, it still had its ups & downs. If I’ve learned nothing else about pregnancy/birth/motherhood so far it’s this: nothing EVER goes according to “plan” ….

Thursday night, the grandparents arrived. Dad & I didn’t sleep much. I told him it felt like the night before Christmas, and he was like “sure, except the stakes are MUCH higher!” When I put Alex to bed for the last time as an only child that night, admittedly I got a little emotional…. mostly from knowing I was about to turn his world upside down. The next morning we were up early and spent our time relaxing with the family before we had to leave for the hospital. Here’s our last family picture with you as an “inside” baby!

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The doctors asked us to be at the hospital by 9:30 Friday morning (2 hours before our scheduled c-section time), and we actually ended up there about 45 minutes earlier than that since there was no traffic on the roads. They checked us in, we filled out paperwork and received a pleasant surprise: the hospital’s visitor policy wasn’t as restricted as we originally thought it would be! Although there was a 3 person limit on the number of visitors we could have in our room after you were born (and none could be younger than 16 meaning Alex would not be able to come visit), we were at least allowed to rotate different visitors in & out so all four grandparents could be there. Uncle Jeff & Kayla were in town for a concert, so they got to visit as well. This was a huge improvement over the visitor policy in place when Alex was born!

Anyway, they took us back to a small mini-room which was essentially just a hospital bed behind a curtain. They hooked me up to monitors for a little while to make sure you were still doing okay in there, then the nurse told us to wait and they’d come get us when it was time. All around us we could hear other c-section families coming back with their new babies crying. After about an hour the nurse came back again and told us that an emergency c-section had come in, which bumped us back a spot. After the emergency c-section there was one more in front of us, then our turn. However, I think that this also bumped us back to after their lunch break because from that point we were waiting for a LONG time. The nurse kept coming back & swearing that it would be any time now, and frankly I was getting pretty frustrated…. mostly because I hadn’t been allowed to eat or drink anything since midnight, but also because the longer I had to wait the more I was getting into my own head about it all. The nerves & anticipation were building up big time! We tried to rest and Dad kept me in good spirits…

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FINALLY they came to take me back to the operating room around 2:00 or so, but Dad had to stay behind until I’d been fully prepped and laid out on the operating table. I’m not sure why that is, but in the mean time he got suited up in his scrubs.

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Once I was in the operating room, they put the spinal block in to numb me from the chest down. This is the part I was most nervous about as I heard it would hurt and of course it can go drastically wrong if the anesthesiologist doesn’t do their job properly. Thankfully it didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would and I was numb within about 5 minutes. The spinal block is weird in that although it blocks your pain receptors, you can still feel touch/pressure… so despite reassurances from the doctors, I spent quite a bit of the time leading up to the beginning of the surgery wondering if I was truly numbed enough to withstand what was about to happen because I could feel the doctors’ touch while they were prepping me for surgery. It was a good 20 minutes or so before they finally let Dad into the room, much of which I was just lying on the operating table thinking about that & worrying about how the surgery would go plus all of the things that could go wrong while everyone else bustled around me preparing… and all of a sudden I just lost it and started crying. I was scared out of my mind and I wanted Dad there next to me. The nurses of course were asking if I was okay so I explained what I was feeling, which they assured me was totally normal and that they’d get Dad back there as quick as they could. He was there holding my hand less than five minutes later. I felt much better after that. 🙂 It’s just kind of a scary place to be in by yourself.

After he got there they put the sheet up so we couldn’t see anything. I wasn’t really lucid for the c-section with Alex, but Dad tells me that the sheet was much taller this time so he couldn’t see anything at all without physically ducking his head around the side of the curtain. We were sitting there talking and after awhile I noticed there was a lot of pulling going on around my stomach & chest. I said to Dad, “Wait, did they start already?” Dad laughed and was like “yes, they started a couple minutes ago!” From that point on I got quiet and spent my time looking at Dad & squeezing his hand for reassurance. Within just a few minutes you were out! The table where they checked you & cleaned you up was right behind Dad’s head, so I was already facing that direction when I heard you cry for the first time and then saw you being carried over there (just a few feet away from us). Again, I wasn’t as drugged up and therefore much more lucid this time around… I got to truly experience and take in so much more of the process than I did during Alex’s birth, so this was my first time actually seeing a baby be removed from my belly like that. Dad was watching me so he caught my expression when I heard that first cry and caught that first glimpse of you. He said it was a really interesting mixture of shock, awe, fear and joy. 🙂 Another bonus that we didn’t get with our last birth was the ability to have a camera in the operating room with us. Dad took this picture of my face about 5 seconds after I saw you for the first time. I was still watching you as you were being checked and cleaned:

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And so you were born on Friday, January 23, 2015 at 2:39pm (about 3 hours after your scheduled time, haha). You clocked in at 8lbs 14oz and are 21 inches long. It was fascinating watching the doctors check you out and getting a good glimpse of what you looked like straight out of the womb like that. Everything looked perfect and you got a clean bill of health!

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A side story… Before you were born, both Dad & I had what is a very common fear for parents about to welcome second siblings into the world. How could we ever love anyone else as much as we love our first child? That heart-bursting, unconditional, fierce kind of love that only parents can truly understand? At the time, it seems like there’s no way that kind of love can occur more than once. We both felt really sorry for you & guilty about this, because we feared our relationship with you would never quite hold a candle to what we had with Alex. While we were watching them clean you up, I turned to Dad and we had the following conversation. I didn’t have to clarify further, he knew exactly what I was talking about:

Me: We shouldn’t have worried.
Dad (grinning BIG time): Yeah, we shouldn’t have.

🙂 Anyway, it didn’t take long for them to finish up with that and hand you over to Dad to hold while they closed me up. That’s when I got to truly meet you for the first time.

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When it was all over they put you on my chest and wheeled us back to the recovery room. There we got a few minutes of snuggle time before the grandmas descended upon us (the grandpas were back at home taking care of Alex).

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However, not long after that things started to go poorly for me. I was supposed to be able to finally eat and drink some crackers/juice at this point, but the anesthesia made me feel extremely nauseous. I took 2 bites of crackers and almost immediately threw it up. They tried giving me the standard nausea medication, Zofran, but it did not work for some reason. So they bumped me up to something stronger, which worked but I still couldn’t eat or drink anything and it made me extremely tired. 😦 And that was pretty much how I stayed the rest of the day, until about 2am the next morning when I was finally able to hold down some crackers & ginger ale. I couldn’t even hold you during that time because the pressure of your weight on my abdomen made me vomit within minutes. It was so, so frustrating not being able to help care for you that first night. Luckily, Dad took care of everything and it gave the grandmas as well as Uncle Jeff & Kayla (who were leaving later that night) a chance to meet you while I slept off the nausea.

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The next morning I was doing MUCH better, and was able to get up and move around the room by lunch time. The grandpas got to come meet you, and of course they were just as smitten with you as the rest of us were!

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That day there were many people in & out of the room checking in on us, the most important of which were my OB & your pediatrician. They both agreed that we were recovering very well & if things continued to go that way, there was no reason we couldn’t go home the next day! This was music to our ears as Dad & I were both anxious to be back in the comfort of home, and to introduce you to Alex.  Thankfully the rest of the day and that second night went very smoothly. You were already eating, sleeping and pooping like a champ. 😉 Other than being a little fussy right after your circumcision (understandable of course!), you hardly ever cried… and that is actually still the case, you generally don’t cry unless you’re hungry or sometimes during diaper changes.

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The next morning we spent getting ready to leave the hospital. We were discharged and out the door right around lunch time.

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As soon as we got home Alex was waiting at the door for us. He was SO excited to meet you! It was pretty clear to all of us, he loved you from the moment he saw you. 🙂 He didn’t want to share you with anyone else but me & Dad, LOL. Watching the two of you interact is one of the most heartwarming things I’ve ever experienced.

Even now (when I thought the novelty might have worn off), Alex spends much of his time trying to hug & kiss you. He asks to hold you quite a bit and wants to know where you are almost as soon as he wakes up every morning. He tries to share his toys, books and food (yikes!) with you. I think he really likes being a big brother! It’s going to be so much fun watching the two of you grow up together and your bond get closer once you’re big enough to really play together. It’s truly been my greatest joy as a parent so far, giving you two this gift of each other. 🙂

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These first few days at home have gone fairly smoothly. You are a very good baby as I mentioned before– not too fussy (yet?) and doing pretty well adjusting to life on the “outside” so far. Dad & I have nicknamed you “Squeaker” because you make the funniest squeaking noises when you sleep! I’ll see if I can get it on video at some point. You sleep as well as I’d expect a newborn to during the night, only waking to eat and have a quick diaper change. During the day you are very peaceful and alert.IMG_20150127_140940

While it is true that Alex made me a mother… you, my sweet little Charlie, have made us a family. 🙂 Already we can’t imagine our lives without you. We all love you so very much!

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All my love,
Mom

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