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Charlie’s Birth Story

March 19, 2019

Our Charlie was due to arrive March 9th.

Starting around 20 weeks of pregnancy, I started to get very painful contractions that came about every 2-5 minutes, so by the end of February I was completely freaking out. I was convinced that I wouldn’t know when it was go-time until it was too late.

It was hard to be relaxed this time around when my husband works in office a good drive away and I have a 4-year-old who needs to be picked up from school or watched at home. It’s so deeply ingrained in me to plan every little detail, so not having an exact birth time is always so hard for me to swallow.

Finally one of my OBs said she wanted to send me in for an ultrasound to check on his size. I learned he was estimating 8 lbs — already larger than Fox when he was born a week late! 

I called my OB letting them know his size and that I was still experiencing a lot of pain. Soon after, I got a callback asking me if I’d like to go in to have Charlie on March 7th at 7:45 am.

I was floored and so excited! 

As I said earlier, Fox was late and my water broke naturally, so after I agreed and set the appointment I began to panic that inducing was the wrong route to head down. I had an appointment on the 6th so I decided to ask more questions then.

At my appointment she checked my progress, which I was certain hadn’t budged, except it did and my OB looked shocked. She said my water bag was bulging, I was dilated to a 3 and 60% effaced.

She wasn’t sure I’d even make it to my induction.

From there I drove to my grandma’s house for lunch and to relax a bit. Contractions started to hit hard almost right away and I saw quite a bit of blood. When they got so painful I couldn’t talk through them, I texted Tyler to come home from work and get me. 

Here’s where everything gets messy.

Tyler texts me as he’s walking out the door of work to let me know Fox’s school called and he puked during nap time. My mom offered to leave work and pick him up so we can get to the hospital.

A few minutes later I walk in the door to my house and up the stairs to get my bags when I realize my elderly cat has vomited all over the bedding we just washed a couple days prior. Tyler walks in shortly after and goes to put the bedding in the washing machine, when Peter (the geriatric feline) has another “episode” all over Fox’s bed. All in all, this took about 45 minutes to deal with as the contractions grew worse and worse.

We live across the street from my mom, so I had Tyler drive me over before we left so I could give Fox a squeeze. By the time I got back in the car I wasn’t sure I could handle the pain of driving over potholes with contractions, but I gritted my teeth and we got to the same hospital I was born at 31 years ago.

We get in the room and a midwife comes in to check me. She was really flat and rude with me from the start and I felt very uncomfortable. She told me she was sending me home because I wasn’t in active labor. We were now 10 hours away from my scheduled induction time and I was not leaving that hospital without a baby in my arms.

I don’t usually advocate for myself but I was already nearing the point of needing pain management and I fought to stay there. While she called the OB for a second opinion, the shift ended and a new midwife came on. From that point forward, everyone we encountered at the hospital was so sweet, caring, and overwhelmingly helpful. They agreed I should stay and we worked together to figure out how to proceed.

It turns out that I actually was in labor, so it didn’t take much to get him ready to show his little face.

One of my fondest memories from Fox’s birth was watching Jeopardy with Tyler while we waited for me to progress, so we wanted to do that this time around too. This time around there was a category called “Cold Play” (Fox was born to a Coldplay song), an answer featuring the name Millard (Charlie was born at Millard Fillmore), and question featured the word “Gooey” (Fox’s nickname since the day he was born). As the show continued we were jaws dropped just thinking about how this was all meant to happen then and there and we were in good hands.

The timing was perfect.

I received an epidural that never seemed to kick in on my left side and by the time I was ready to push I could feel absolutely everything. I kept telling the sweet nurse that I was scared while she tried to coach me through it.

I had control of a button that administered more pain medicine to me whenever I wanted it with Fox, so I felt nothing. But I also think it led to some pretty bad birth injuries that made healing very painful, a long 6-week road to recovery post-birth, and injuries that are sending me to a physical therapist soon to deal with 4 years later. Although approaching labor with Charlie feeling every bit of pain coursing through my body, I was immediately back on my feet and pain free within 2 days postpartum. 

It came time to push but the doctor wasn’t there (that makes 2/2 births that played out this way!) and I truly did not think I could hold him in. When the doctor arrived I was immediately told to push and 2 pushes later Charlie was out.

Charles “Charlie” Thorne McElhaney came into this world on March 7th, 2019 weighing in at 8 pounds 2 ounces and measuring 19 1/2 inches long.

I bawled like a baby when they put him on my chest.

There were no tears shed when Fox was born, but I think this time around I saw Fox in Charlie’s little face and it hit me that I had two perfect little boys and our family was complete.

The wonderful staff gave our family 3 hours to bond and it was a truly peaceful and beautiful experience. 

I plan to write so much more about all of the recent changes in our family. Perhaps transitioning to two children, breastfeeding after formula feeding, and my favorite baby gear?

If you have any other ideas, please let me know in the comments below!

Click here for Fox’s Birth Story

Sarabeth, The February Fox

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