Charlotte’s Birth Story
Friday, July 15, the wound from my recent appendectomy (CLICK HERE to read the full story of my open appendectomy while 36 weeks pregnant) looked a little concerning.
Because of all of the previous complications I’d had since my surgery, and the fact that I was less than a week from my due date, a nurse friend of ours recommended that I go in to at least get it checked out.
I was being seen by a group of midwives, as I also had with my first pregnancy, but because of Judah’s shoulder dystocia*, I had to give birth in Labor & Delivery instead of the Birthing Center.
*If you’d like to read Judah’s full birth story, CLICK HERE
I had just had an appointment that morning with a midwife, and everything with my pregnancy was looking wonderfully.
Additionally, for the past month, whenever I went to the hospital for appendectomy related reasons, I was automatically seen by the midwives and obstetricians also, just to be safe.
There was a lot of waiting around while doctors, nurses, surgeons, and midwives came in to see me.
It was determined that my wound was healing fine and there was no infection.
I thought that meant I would be able to go home.
Boy, was I wrong.
My blood pressure was kind of high, which it always was for me during pregnancy.
Being in pain from recovering from surgery probably had an effect on it as well.
Becuase of my elevated BP, they also tested my platelets to be sure I didn’t have preeclampsia.
When the midwife that I had seen that morning, Christine, heard that I was in L&D she came in to check on me. She told the others that were in the room that her appointment with me earlier that day was no cause for concern.
A perinatologist (high-risk pregnancy doctor), whom I had never seen before, was working and came in to check my charts.
(My pregnancy was not high-risk, she was just part of the OB staff working that night.)
As soon as she started talking I could tell she wasn’t going to be my best friend. She wouldn’t listen to me when I told her my blood pressure was in the normal range for me during pregnancy, and she didn’t deem it necessary to go through my charts to see if I was right.
To be fair, her specialty is high-risk pregnancies, and part of her job is to be overly cautious of what could go wrong during pregnancy.
One of the midwives was standing next to her when she was talking to me and was absolutely silent through it all.
The perinatologist told me that my blood pressure was high enough to be seriously concerned, there was slight protein in my urine, and my platelets were low, which usually means preeclampsia.
She wanted to admit me and induce me.
I had a hard time believing I had preeclampsia because I felt absolutely perfect (I mean, except for the gaping wound in my abdomen, but that was unrelated) and my urine and blood pressure had tested just fine that very morning.
I asked the midwife standing next to her what she thought, and I don’t know if she was new or not but she wouldn’t give her opinion, just said something to the effect of “Dr. So-and-so knows her stuff.”
I very specifically asked the doctor, “So you’re telling me, based on those 3 things, that I for sure have preeclampsia?”
The doctor said yes, that I did have preeclampsia.
Everyone left the room so my husband and I could talk.
We talked and we prayed.
We both are against pumping unnecessary chemicals into my body while pregnant, and an induction in a hospital meant lots of chemicals.
We aren’t against necessary inductions though.
We decided that since the perinatologist confirmed that I had preeclampsia, we would go ahead with the induction.
I cried and cried.
After everything I had gone through in the last month, I still wasn’t able to give birth to my baby naturally.
I was devastated but not stupid. I’m not a medical professional, and yes, it’s important to be educated on matters of your health, but ultimately, if I felt like they were doing what was best for my baby, I would go along with it.
They wanted me to be admitted right then but I said no and went home to shower, pack a bag (2nd child problems…no hospital bag packed at 39 weeks!), and eat one last real meal before days of hospital food.
We left, and let me tell you, I took my sweet time packing a bag for me and one for Judah to take to the sitter’s house.
Originally he was only going to be there for a couple of hours.
Now we had no idea what to expect.
I took a long hot shower at home and got a chicken Caesar salad at La Bella’s in Chula Vista.
I was finally admitted at around 12:30 am Friday night/Saturday morning, July 16 and my body was absolutely not ready to deliver this baby.
I was not dilated at all.
Due dates are simply an estimation.
Judah came 7 days after his estimated due date (you can read his full birth story here,) so I wouldn’t have been too surprised if Charlie girl planned on copying her big brother’s fashionably late entrance into this world.
They started me on Cervidil as soon as I got settled in my room and the IV was ready.
The midwife told me that it should start working within 12 hours, and if not they would give it another 12 hours to hopefully make some progress.
As much as I didn’t want to be induced, part of me was glad that I knew I’d be meeting my baby girl very soon.
Hopefully tomorrow sometime!
Surprise, surprise, 24 hours later, I had made very little progress.
My body just wasn’t ready.
Saturday night they inserted a foley bulb (read what that means here.) which falls out when dilation reaches 3 or 4 cm.
Hours and hours went by. Nurses kept checking. Nope. Still there.
Finally, it fell out late Sunday morning.
They let me labor on my own for awhile hoping for progress.
The opposite happened and I went from 4cm back down to 3cm.
At around 3:00 pm, they told me they thought Pitocin was really the only option at this point.
I told them I thought a better option was discharging me and letting me go home and wait until my body was actually ready to deliver the baby, but of course that wasn’t an option.
They started me on Pitocin at 4:00 pm Sunday, July 17. I don’t remember the dose they started me on, but it took awhile and lots of dosage adjustments before anything memorable happened.
At some point, while I was on Pitocin, a nurse came in with a big smile and said,
“Your tests came back negative for preeclampsia!”
I. Was. Furious.
The perinatologist had lied straight to my face on Friday night.
If I had not been lied to, I could be at home with my son getting ready for Sunday evening church service.
Not stuck in the hospital wheeling an IV stand around every time I wanted to move.
By the way, my incision wound from my appendectomy was still healing and still needed to be packed twice daily.
I knew my body and I knew I didn’t have preeclampsia, but I trusted the doctor who knew nothing about me and lied to me for reasons I have no idea.
Why couldn’t she have said,
“I think you may have preeclampsia, but we have to wait until all the tests come back to find out for sure.”
Even if I had still agreed to the induction based on her concerns of possibly having preeclampsia, I would have felt better about that than being blatantly lied to.
I was so exhausted and emotional from the past almost 2 days of forcing my body into labor when it clearly wasn’t ready.
My angry tears quickly turned to tears of defeat.
There was nothing I could do at this point except force this baby out, and hopefully soon.
As the evening wore on, my contractions picked up.
In case you didn’t know, Pitocin-induced contractions are like, 500x worse than natural ones.
Oh my, the pain.
It was also difficult for me to find comfortable positions to labor in because I was afraid the packed bandages would come out.
My doula with this labor (the hospital that I delivered both of my babies in had the most amazing volunteer doula program!) was very good at her job, but she was 6 months pregnant herself, so after coaching me for the last several hours, I could tell she was wearing herself out.
It was dark by now, and my contractions were more frequent and more painful.
Both my husband and my doula had fallen asleep, so I was trying to be very quiet through my contractions.
I probably would have been extra loud if it was just my husband in the room snoring.
I had compassion on my pregnant doula, so he got lucky! 🙂
My water broke probably around 11:00 pm and I woke up my husband which also woke up my doula.
She apologized profusely for falling asleep.
I assured her it was fine and that I would have woken her if I felt I needed to.
My husband also apologized for falling asleep, but he just got a glare in return.
He was the one who did this to me!
Why should he get to sleep while I did all the work?
I’m pretty sure the pregnancy hormones are strongest during labor.
After my water broke, things definitely started moving faster.
My midwife, Jacqueline, came to check my progress and things were looking good but we still had a long way to go.
The contractions were awful.
I regretted ever saying labor was painful when I had Judah because this was SO MUCH worse!
With my first, laboring on my hands and knees was the most comfortable position.
This time, due to my incision, it hurt too badly to be in any position except for leaning on my left side, which wasn’t exactly conducive to a comfortable labor.
I had to wear the pink and blue bands with the monitor to keep an eye on baby, and the dumb things kept sliding (you’d think a better monitoring system would be in place in this day and age!) and every time a nurse would have to come in and fix it, she would hurt my incision with the band and I would wince and say “ouch” and then apologize that I made them feel bad for hurting me.
I’m telling you, my hormones were everywhere!
They laughed at me and told me I didn’t need to apologize for anything during labor.
I was blessed with amazing nurses during my stay!
Every contraction was more painful than the last, and I didn’t think I could do it.
I was crying.
I was screaming.
I was yelling like an Amazon woman.
I told my midwife and the nurse I didn’t think I could do this without medication, even though I really really wanted to. I don’t know if it’s because they knew how badly I didn’t want pain meds, or if it was too late for that by this point, but they both kind of ignored me and told me how strong I was.
The contractions were getting worse each time, which amazed me because I thought there was no way it could possibly get any worse.
I regretted ever complaining about the pain of labor when I delivered Judah, that was a piece of cake compared to this.
Jacqueline came in and checked me again and I was at a 6.
I started bawling again (I’m unsure if I had ever stopped, really.)
All of that agony and I was only at a 6?
I couldn’t imagine much more of this.
Everyone was trying to console and encourage me.
It helped a little, but the induction process had started about 48 hours ago.
I’d been on Pitocin for 10 hours by now.
I just wanted to be done.
I craved the sweet peaceful calm after the storm when my new baby was in my arms for the first time.
About 10 minutes from the time I was at a 6, I felt the urge to push.
I told Jacqueline that I needed to push.
She told me to try to fight the urge to because it hadn’t been enough time.
She was so sweet, calm and softspoken.
I really liked her.
Her demeanor really helped keep the atmosphere in the room calm in spite of my emotions taking a roller coaster ride.
But she was wrong about this.
In the last 10 minutes, my body decided that it was time.
I told her I couldn’t fight the urge and that I was going to push.
I also nicely reminded the whole room that I had done this before, not too long ago, and the feeling was unmistakable.
She told me that if I was ready, then she was ready, and got the room ready for a baby!
As the nurses shuffled around completing their routine that they had done countless times before, I suddenly got excited.
I remembered this part of Judah’s birth!
Turning the scale on, getting the tray of tools ready, getting blankets and new sheets in place, dimming the lights.
My baby girl was coming!
The pushing stage with this labor was vastly different than with my last.
No more than 15 minutes, but probably more like 10 minutes, and she was born!
My perfect little baby who took her time joining the rest of us.
As soon as she was born I asked if she was still a girl.
As Jacqueline handed her to me, I did a double take.
She was BLONDE!
Yep, she was mine, the attached cord was proof!
Charlotte Eileen Lucas was born Monday, July 18 at 2:28 am.
She was 7lb 15oz and 21 inches long.
She was born with talons and scratched up her face about 2.5 seconds after she was born.
She is the first granddaughter on both sides.
She was named after special ladies from both sides of her family.
Charlotte after her Great-Grandma Charlotte Hoffman on her daddy’s side who to this day touches the throne of God with her prayers daily.
Eileen was her Grandma Ehiguese’s middle name.
Her grandma who she’ll never know in this life, but will learn about her through my memories.
I’ve lost count of how many times people have remarked on how much she resembles my mom.
How neat of God to do that for us!
My little blonde hair, blue-eyed baby, who looks nothing like me, is one of my greatest joys in this life.
She’s a little firecracker, but she’s oh so loving.
Labor was less than ideal, but I got my beautiful, healthy little girl at the end of it.
She is so worth it!
I’m so thankful for the prayers that went up for me during the induction!
I’m also so grateful for everyone that watched Judah while we were in the hospital.
Living in a state with no family nearby, we sure were blessed with the best church family