Charlotte was born on November 6th at 12:59pm. As much as I love the tidiness of whole numbers, there’s something I deeply love about the fact that she arrived one minute short of a whole number. She was anxiously awaited for, just like the ticking of a clock about to hit a new hour. The excitement we felt on that day was nothing short of magical. She is an amazing little human, and I am so glad to know her.
This is probably the blog I should have wrote first! But something about our story feels so big, and yet it feels like I can tell it a hundred times over. I hope you feel cozy when you read this, just as I feel when I sit and write it. I imagine us all in the comfort of my living room, telling the story of Charlotte. One that is as ordinary as any baby being born, and one that is so extraordinary in that she is mine – my baby. I’ll try not to make it too long, but it will be what it is! I more so just want to update you all – my support team – as I long to do in this space we have created together.
I was induced on November 5th, my due date, after a visit to my midwife. She discovered that I had high blood pressure and asked me to go to the hospital to get monitored just to be safe. It was the first and only complication I would have during my pregnancy. After meeting my midwife at the hospital and being monitored, it was decided that I would stay and have a baby. What a tremendous sentence to say so casually! I would have a baby! The idea still seemed so far off to me.
The next couple of hours were filled with walking, laughing, family, tears, and excitement. I wish there was another word that could describe the enormity of how I felt but I’m not sure there ever will be. I walked through contractions with Ian, visited with my family that stayed close to our side all night long, tossed and turned per nurses instructions due to Charlie’s fluctuating heart rate, and waited. Mostly waited.
The next morning, my midwife came back to check on me. I had progressed a lot and spent the next couple hours trying to rest as much as I could through my expanding belly working to get my baby out. I was visited by my family, prayed over, reassured, and loved. I will never forget the support that Ian and I received during those last hours. Finally, around midmorning, we decided to have a baby. I pushed for an hour, the hardest and longest hour of my life. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. We had medical support near by since Charlotte’s heart rate continued to increase during delivery. And again, as simply as it sounds, she emerged and made the world a little brighter.
Due to the trauma that labor brings to a baby, she was a little purple upon her arrival. Those first few seconds are a blur… a rush of relief and fear. “She doesn’t have good form,” I heard the midwife say as she placed a limp baby onto my chest. And suddenly like it came all at once and was somehow always there, I was her mother. I started saying her name over and over, and in seconds she cried out to me. We spoke in that moment, and she was forever bonded to me. She was mine.
That is the long and short of it, really. There will never be enough words for her story. The days that followed were not what was expected. I injured my pelvis during delivery and discovered that I could not walk. For a week while I healed, I relied on the support of my husband and family. My independence went out the door the second I could not put on my own pants, and I discovered the importance of having support and humility. I needed help, and I am so grateful beyond words for my village of people that held me up that week, and continue to do so.
Charlotte is the light of our lives. Ian and I are blessed with an angel here on earth, and I can’t wait to continue to get to know this little soul that was given to me. It is real and surreal all in the same minute. We are tired, we fight, and we cry. Being a parent is really hard. I miss my independence, my solitude, my sleep, my friends, my work life, and many other things. However in this change, I have received so much more. Laughter, love bigger than life, a miracle of God, a deeper relationship with Ian, the support of my family. And such joy. I am learning new lessons every minute. And I am feeling both joy and sorrow that is watching your baby grow up and knowing that it won’t ever stop. I could say a hundred things about parenting Charlotte, but this blog would grow longer still than it already is.
She is joy. She is love. She is bravery and beauty and grace. She is my sweet baby. I love her. So here’s to Charlotte Rae, our saving grace. May she know peace, and may you as well.
Until next time.