When Things Happen Quickly | Charlotte’s Birth Story
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I so hoped that I would be writing this update now or at the latest sometime this week. It has been no secret that the pregnancy that just ended was a challenging one.
As difficult as it was, the end of it was such a wonderful blessing and that’s the story that I want to share with you today. This is the birth story of our third child, Charlotte Joan Keys.
Before I launch into the crazy story of how our little girl made her entrance into the world, I want to talk a bit about the days and weeks leading up to it.
This was my third baby and pregnancy. My body had been giving me hints that labour was in the near future for quite some time. In fact, you can read about how we were a bit concerned about pre-term labour in this post –> 36 Week Pregnancy Update: Signs of Early Labour
Less than a week before Charlotte was born, she had engaged. I knew she was super low because of the pressure I was feeling. I was also having to get up to use the bathroom at least 3 times a night and I just felt so done.
However, I really didn’t want to have Charlotte the weekend that she was born because of several reasons. My midwife wasn’t on call, my childcare was out of town, and it was Annie’s birthday.
Guess what? She came regardless all three of the reasons mentioned above became completely irrelevant.
The Day Before
The day before she was born was Annie’s 2nd birthday. We had a wonderful day celebrating her. We mostly stayed home and the only trip we made out was to Kmart so that Annie could choose a toy with some birthday money she had been gifted.
While we were standing in one of the aisles I had a really painful contraction. Enough so that I had to stop and breathe through it. It made me very aware that things might be starting soon so I spent the rest of the day taking it very easy. I really wanted Annie to have her birthday to herself.
Thankfully, my in-laws were back in town by that evening, so 2 out of the 3 reasons I didn’t want the baby to come just yet had resolved themselves.
That night I slept fairly well. I’m not entirely sure what time it was that I woke up, but I’m guessing it was around 4:30 am. I’m actually not even sure what woke me, but I got up to use the bathroom (because if I didn’t then I would for sure need to shortly anyway).
And that’s when I knew things were getting started because I had a bloody show. I never had that with Annie as my waters breaking was my first sign, but that is how things started with Jack’s labour.
I went back to bed and I was able to still sleep on and off until morning. During those hours I’m fairly sure that my waters broke, but they didn’t gush as they did with my other two babies so I wasn’t 100%. I did have a few contractions. They were strong enough to wake me, but not painful enough that I had to get up or anything.
The Next Morning
Around 6:30 am I told Shane that I was pretty sure it was baby day but that I was in the very early stages of labour. I also called my Mum just before 7 am. She made me promise to call early as in the past my labours had progressed quickly and she didn’t want to miss out.
I got up and started cleaning the house. It was a tip after Annie’s birthday and I could not relax with it being so messy. The kids were up and running around asking all sorts of questions.
Initially, I suggested that Shane’s parents pick the children up on their way to church that morning (10 am), but my contractions were coming more frequently and I was struggling with all the noise in the house, so I asked him to drop them off a.s.a.p.
He left with the kids around 8:30 am and my contractions weren’t bad at all. In fact, they had even slowed down. I took a moment to rest while I waiting for my Mum and sister to arrive. They weren’t far away and came at about 9 am.
I had also called the midwife early in the morning. I called early because I knew it was someone that I didn’t know, so I wanted to introduce myself before things got really intense.
My stomach dropped when the midwife that picked up the phone was the very midwife that I had a terrible experience with last time around. I was so disappointed.
However, I figured that there was nothing I could do about it and just purposed that I wasn’t going to let it change my attitude.
That was when the waiting game began. I had never been in labour during the day and this labour had been different to my other two so far. I had no idea how long it would take or what it would be like. So, we settled in to just having a relaxing day and enjoying each other’s company.
My contractions didn’t stop but they were never regular or consistent. I would have lots close together and then they would space out again. It worried me a little bit, but I also have never had very consistent contractions in any of my labours, so it wasn’t super concerning.
I used the birthing ball to bounce on a little bit and just changed positions whenever I got uncomfortable or felt like I needed to.
I did have to go and use the bathroom practically every time I had a contraction which made me think that she was getting lower.
In fact, I even remember realising that her butt was much closer to my belly button than it had been that morning. She was definitely getting lower as the day got on.
I would say it was around 12 pm that the contractions started to have more ‘bite’ to them. They actually hurt and I had to focus on breathing through them, as my instinct was to actually hold my breath.
I sent a video message through to some friends at 12:15 pm letting them know how things were progressing and that the contractions were picking up a bit.
Still, nothing was super regular. It was around that time that my Mum and I placed our ‘bets’ on when the baby would arrive. She guessed 5 pm and I guessed 6.
Things Get Intense
I was sitting at the dining room table next to my Mum when things got intense really, really fast. Everyone was just doing their thing. I vaguely remember Shane having some lunch, but it was very calm overall.
Then, somewhere between 1 and 1:15 pm I had a contraction that got everyone up and moving. I remember it feeling like I had just hit a brick wall. I even remember saying something like “this one is gonna hurt”. While the other contractions had slowly built in intensity, this one started with full force.
Not only was it strong and intense, but it lasted for over a minute. I had to sway and moan and breathe through it and I realised that I was making the same kind of noise that I usually do when I’m in transition. I was feeling pressure and once the contraction finally came to an end I felt just the slightest amount of nausea.
We all looked at each other and agreed that it was time to get to the hospital.
It was 1:15 pm when Shane called the midwife to let her know we were on our way. I had originally planned to let the hospital know about an hour ahead of when we’d be there because it takes about 45 minutes to fill up the birthing tub. However, I knew we needed to get there right away.
According to the medical note,s we arrived at the hospital at 1:30 pm. I had about 3 contractions in the time that it took us to get from home to the hospital room. (We only live about 2 minutes away)
I didn’t even know that they were filling up the tub for me, but somehow the message had been passed on that a water birth is what I was after.
My midwife hadn’t arrived yet, but the hospital midwives did a wonderful job of getting us settled and monitoring the baby. I remember them declaring that I was in “good labour”.
And then I heard one of the midwives say that my midwife (not the one on call) was going to be arriving in 5-10 minutes. Guys, I was THRILLED! She had left a message with the staff to call her if I called. She came in on her weekend off just to deliver my baby. I honestly couldn’t have been more grateful.
The Birthing Pool
Anyway, the pool had filled up just enough for me to get in by the time I felt like the baby was about to start crowning. I didn’t feel like pushing, but I could feel things starting to stretch.
My midwife hadn’t arrived when I got into the pool at 1:48 pm and I continued to have very intense contractions. With each one I could feel her moving down and that I was starting to feel a little bit of an urge to push.
At 1:55 pm my midwife arrived. She had rushed to get there and I was definitely at the point where I knew the baby was about to arrive. The midwife checked me after I had a contraction and then I had one super long contraction that went on for what felt like an age. It was during that contraction that the baby’s head was born.
I didn’t really push. She just came out all on her own.
Then there was a long pause that really only lasted about a minute until I had one final contraction and delivered her body.
I was able to pull her up through my legs and then lay her on my chest.
Our sweet little Charlotte Joan was born at 2:04 pm on the 14th October 2018 weighing just 5lbs 15oz. I was so grateful that she came out crying and very alert. Annie had required some assistance immediately following birth because her heart rate dipped. Because of that, I was definitely a bit anxious about a repeat experience.
Thankfully, that was not the case at all.
The birth was SO fast. My active labour was all of 45 minutes long and I delivered Charlotte just 34 minutes after we arrived at the hospital.
Everyone laughed at me when I said out loud, “That was nice!” as soon as she was out.
After Charlotte was born we remained in the pool for some time just having skin to skin. We were all shocked that she had a head full of dark hair. Both of my older kids were born with little hair and are both very blonde.
Eventually, I asked if I could move to the bed so I could get comfortable.
One of the requests that I had was that I be the one to cut the cord. I’m not sure why I felt so strongly about it. Perhaps it was because of how difficult the pregnancy was and also because Charlotte is likely to be our last baby.
After the cord was cut Shane took Charlotte for some skin to skin while I got out of the pool. I was able to deliver the placenta and then got into bed.
The next hour or so was spent having some skin-to-skin time and breastfeeding. It was absolutely lovely.
My midwife checked me over and I had no tearing, not even a graze. I was amazed and very grateful because I knew that recovery would be so much easier.
I took a shower and at 5 pm we arrived home. Because it was my third baby and a very seamless delivery, I was given the option of going home if I wanted to. My parents were taking our older two children for a couple of nights, so the thought of sleeping in my own bed in a quiet house was much more appealing than staying at the hospital.
It felt so surreal going home. I kept thinking I was going to wake up at any moment and still be pregnant. Surely it wasn’t all real?!
But, it was and it was wonderful.
My in-laws brought the older children home and they got to meet their little sister for the first time. It was everything I had dreamed about and more.
We are so grateful for the safe arrival of our baby girl and I feel so content with our family. The labour and delivery went better than I ever could have imagined. It really was a dream!
Until next time!