Charlotte’s Birth Story

I’m making myself sit down and write this before I forget too many details, although all I want to do right now is fall asleep with this little mouse on my chest.

Charlotte’s birth story has little to do with the physical aspect of how she was born, although that went extrememly well and was just as amazing the second time around as it was the first. I am so blessed that I’ve had two births that were uncomplicated, not too painful, and quick (I pushed 5 times). Oh, and note to those going for the medicated births like me- this time, I got the epidural before the pitocin, and yeah, huge difference! But really, the labor and delivery part was pretty standard…mild contractions all day Saturday, went to hospital Saturday night when they got closer together, labored all night without much progress, doctor broke my water in the morning, got epidural and pitocin which sped things up considerably, and she was born at 11:30. Bonus: I didn’t puke at all this time like I did with Grayson!

The story of last week has much more to do with the people who helped welcome our little girl into the world. Our little family is so blessed to be so loved and taken care of.

  • Ryan, who stayed awake almost all night for me (I know he was scared what I would do if he fell asleep- ha!) and then was so proud to announce “It’s a Girl!” to me and then later, our family. He did say Charlotte had her legs crossed when she came out, so it took him a second to tell what she was- ha! Saturday I had bought him a blue shirt and a pink shirt- one of which to change into to tell our family. When he went to the waiting room wearing his pink shirt he said the excitement and screaming was like The Price is Right.
Proud Daddy in his pink shirt

  • My doctor, who I absolutely love, was not on-call last weekend but came in anyway to deliver Charlotte. She came to the hospital at 6 am, talked to me and broke my water, went to church, then came back just in time for delivery (less than 10 minutes after she got back- she walked in the room and I said, “Let’s do this!”). I am so thankful that she was the one to deliver both my kiddos.
After tiny Grayson, I couldn’t believe how big she was!

First bath fun- ha! And this is pretty much how she still feels about baths

  • My mom, who drove me to the hospital and stayed with us until 3 am. She went home to get a little sleep and check on Grayson and then was back in time for the birth. She has been SO helpful and my emotional rock the past 2 weeks.

  • My great friend J, who was my impromptu doula/birth coach. She stayed with me all night and helped me with reading the monitors, positions to speed things up, and just being a wonderful support. I was so grateful she was there, and we had a lot of fun too!

  • Another great friend, K, who gave me the gift of a supplemental newborn screen kit that tests for many more disorders than the standard state test. Although it doesn’t screen for Mito, it will give me great peace of mind to rule out all these other things. We should have the results in a few days.

  • Charlotte’s nurse in the hospital, who just happened to be my friend L’s aunt. She saw on my record that I have a son with Leigh’s Disease and said that her great nephew has Leigh’s (L’s son). It was a crazy coincidence that ended up being a huge blessing- she took extra special care of us for two days.

  • Rebecca, who flew in for the weekend to love on Grayson and Charlotte and to take newborn pics.
The shirt says it all!

  • All the friends and family who came to visit us in the hospital, brought meals and generous gifts, and just generally have loved us and our new daughter these past few weeks. We love you all!

One funny story- a few hours before Charlotte was born, Ryan, J and I all made our predictions about boy/girl, birth time, and weight. Here are our guesses:

    Um…so Charlotte’s PARENTS were totally off on everything, but J guessed the gender, and was 1 ounce off on birth weight and 2 minutes off on birth time- ha! Amazing.
    Charlotte’s birthday was just wondeful- I woudn’t change anything, and we are just so grateful for our TWO beautiful children. We are so, so blessed!



The Monday Snapshot: Big Boy Swing

I had been searching for quite a while for a special needs swing for Grayson, in anticipation of him reaching 25 pounds and finally outgrowing the infant swing (he’s 26 now and the swing was creeakking and moving slower and slower every time he was in it). Swinging definitely soothes him, so it was crucial we found him something, especially for the 100 degree+ summers we have here, where going to the park isn’t an option most afternoons.
In my mind, what I wanted was a giant infant swing, which apparently doesn’t exist. My parents found this swing online and ordered it for Grayson for Christmas. My dad put it together this weekend. It’s enormous, but SO AWESOME! Grayson LOVES it- he stays in it for 45 minutes to an hour each time he’s in it. And my dad has ordered a motor and is going to rig it so we don’t have to constantly push him!


 And of course, little sister has to join in on the swinging fun too!

5 Days

My sweet Charlotte is 5 days old today. I promise I will write her birth story soon, when I get the chance between feedings, laundry, diapers, and all the emotions that come with having a 5 day old.

Oh the emotions. There are the typical weepy, overwhelmed, exhausted feelings- sure, I expected those. But there are the ones I didn’t expect, the ones that have made me deal with what happened two years ago, when Grayson was a newborn.

Charlotte had a checkup yesterday with the pediatrician, to check her weight and just make sure everything is ok- it is. The nurse took her temperature and I asked what it was. When she said “98” I started bawling, and couldn’t stop. I was having a major flashback of Grayson’s first checkup when his temperature was 94.9 and at first the nurse thought something was wrong with her thermometer.

I’ve been crying about it off and on ever since. Charlotte wakes to eat, is breastfeeding like a champ, is peeing and pooping regularly, and is basically doing everything a healthy newborn should do.  This has made me incredibly happy, amazed, and relieved, but also so, so sad.

I’m sad because I never really realized how not okay Grayson was from the very beginning. He didn’t eat because he couldn’t, not because I wasn’t making milk. He was so weak and little and his brain never told his body to wake up to eat. And he wasn’t eating enough to wet his diapers, so he got dehydrated and cold.

I am so sad for that little baby, the one who no one knew was fighting an awful disease from the time he was born.

So today, while I’m celebrating and relishing the beauty and miracle of this newborn…

I’m also grieving for this one.

Maternity Pics!

  My wonderful friend Erin (who has taken Grayson’s pictures a few times) was so sweet to take my pictures this week. I just wanted to document this special time (and the fact that my belly is SO much bigger this pregnancy- ha!). It was FREEZING on Monday when we took them, which I think is obvious in my face in a few of these, but she did a great job and had such creative ideas for the pics!

Quick Update

Thanks to all who checked in with us and prayed about Grayson’s genetics appointment this morning. Unfortunately, the testing did not give Grayson a genetic diagnosis of Leighs, which is very disappointing. However, like I said before, this is what I was expecting to hear, so it wasn’t devastating. We are now at the end of the road as far as genetic testing goes, at least until the science gets more advanced. I am really at peace with this; it’s been a long two years of searching for answers, and it will be nice not to have to wait for and wonder about results anymore. And Grayson does have a clinical diagnosis (the geneticist said he is textbook Leighs/Mito) and I am hopeful he will be able to have access to the clinical trial drug for his disease sometime soon. Currently the drug is only available to those with a genetic diagnosis, which is the main reason we wanted that diagnosis today.

In other, happier, news, I had an OB appointment today and I am at 3 cm already! Without being TMI, my body is screaming that I am READY for this baby to come OUT. My doctor thinks Baby C  will make his/her appearance either this weekend or early next week! (And some are confused about the “C”- both our girl and boy name start with C).

So it was a big day around these parts- I will keep you posted!

Full Term

As of yesterday, I am 37 weeks. My sweet friend J texted me yesterday while we were on the way to church- “Happy Full Term Day!” She’s great. And I can’t believe I’m here. I can’t believe there’s an actual, fully formed little baby moving around inside me, and now we are just waiting for him/her to decide to come on out and meet us.

I am ready. Last week, I was so stressed and was feeling pretty horrible, and I wanted to evict this little one for physical reasons. Now, I’m just excited. Bring on the craziness!

I do want to stay pregnant at least through Thursday. If you could keep Thursday in your thoughts and prayers, that would be much appreciated. We are meeting with a geneticist to hopefully find out that Grayson has a genetic confirmation of his diagnosis of Leighs. Right now, he has a clinical diagnosis, but if we get genetic confirmation, there’s a good chance he will be able to get on a clinical trial for a drug that could really help him. I’m not hugely optimistic this will happen Thursday (the genetic diagnosis), but remain hopeful.

I’ve read several bloggers’ musings on birth this week, specifically how their first birth experiences were completely against what they wanted and had planned, and how those experiences left significant emotional scars. Fortunately, I had a very good experience with Grayson’s birth and am actually very much looking forward to giving birth again. However, I do have several aspects that I hope go differently. Last time, my water broke so I was induced when I got to the hospital. I’m hoping I can experience more “natural” contractions this time, and hopefully labor some at home, although I will still get an epidural at some point. If possible, I want to do delayed cord clamping and skin to skin right away.

Breastfeeding is my biggest anxiety-inducer. I do have emotional scars from last time, and there’s the point that we won’t know if this baby is healthy or not when s/he is born. I am planning on giving it my best shot, working with a lactation consultant, and watching wet diapers like a hawk. Beyond that, there’s not much I can do. If it works it works, and if not, well, formula will be just.fine.

But for now, we wait. And pack the house for movers next week. And do laundry, clean up vomit, and fit in a few last therapy sessions and doctors appoinments. And I’m trying to enjoy these last few days or weeks of pregnancy, because I know I will miss it when it’s over.

Better Today

Thank you all for your kind and encouraging words of support on yesterday’s post. I’m feeling a lot better about things today. Physically, I’m exhausted and hurting, but as I was packing teeny tiny newborn outfits in pink and blue in my hospital bag today, I regained the perspective that this is all for a good cause. Because after all, I am having a baby. Another child that I will love as much as I love Grayson? Wow, that’s going to be amazing. And that certainly overshadows any stress, fear, or pain I’m feeling.

And, as my bloggy friend Stef pointed out in her comment, what I’m really stressed about is the unknown. I have no idea how the next few months (or years, whatever) are going to play out, but they will. When people say “I don’t know how you do it” when referring to Grayson, I always say that I don’t have a choice. Sure, I don’t do it perfectly, but I’ve learned a ton over the past 2 years about a lot of things I never would have dreamed I would be dealing with. And it will be the same with having 2 kids- I’m smart, I’ll figure it out.

And as several other friends pointed out, the guilt I will feel is probably unavoidable, but the good news is for this new baby, our crazy life will he his/her normal. Doctors appointments, therapies, vomit, seizures, tubes…it won’t be anything s/he will bat an eye at. And I’ve heard so many times that siblings of special needs kids develop incredibly soft hearts and amazing empathy. I hope that is true for Baby C.

Grayson had a good day today. It was his first day back at school and he was obviously excited to see his teachers (and must have been soaking up all that learning because he didn’t take a nap- oy). When we got home we spent some time rocking, singing and giggling; I’m soaking up every second I can with my sweet boy, while it’s just us for a few more weeks.