The next morning, Friday, April 26th, after a mostly sleepless night we got up super early in order to be at the hospital by 5:45. Charlotte had been super active during the night. The last week or so, she hadn't been moving well. I would have to sit down and really poke her in order to get her to move a lot of the time. Needless to say, this caused me constant concern, whether it was needed or not. So I was glad that she was so active, even though it was super uncomfortable and kept me from sleeping. It felt like maybe she was attempting to turn during the night. I was unsure of her position for awhile after I woke up. Before we left for the hospital though I was able to tell that she was still kicking low and her head was still behind my ribs. We got to the hospital and check in and were taken to my room. This was the first time that we had seen any of the L&D floor. It was pretty nice. Not as nice as where the first two girls were born, but nicer than Tripler, where Savannah was born. I was bummed to find out that it would still be a couple of hours before the Dr even got there. I was nervous, and ready to get the show on the road! It took several minutes and 3 nurses to find Charlotte on the monitors. They just couldn't pick up her heartbeat. I wasn't worried, I could feel her moving the whole time. Every time they would get close to her, she would move away. Little stinker. They finally got it on, and Charlotte mostly cooperated after that. I was also having frequent contractions...but I'd been having those for weeks, and they weren't helping me out any, even though there were big enough to be picked up on the monitor.
Then came time for the IV. That's always one of the worst parts for me! I have veins that roll, and it always involves lots of poking, and digging, and re poking. The nurse asked the guy that was training with her if he wanted to do it. Great... Tony asked the young Airman how long he had been out of Tech school, to which he replied, "A few weeks" Gulp... Oh the joys of a military training hospital. I braced myself for the torture that was coming. He poked me once...and was done! I was by far the BEST IV I've had done. I seriously wanted to hug him. I was so relieved to have the first step of this very scary process go so well. The next couple of hours passed with lots of vitals being taken, IV fluids given, questions asked and answered, shift change, so meeting different nurses-the ones that would actually be with me during the surgery. I met the anesthesiologist. He explained about the spinal block that I would be getting and tried to ease my fears of it, since I had had such a terrible experience with my epidural when Gabbie was born. He was super friendly and outgoing and worked well with the nurses and seemed to know a lot about more then just his job for the day, so I liked that. I was given a bag of antibiotics, much to my disappointment. I was STREP B positive with the first 3 girls and had to have antibiotics during labor with all of them...and then I always got thrush a few weeks later. So...when I found out that I was actually negative for the strep B this time I was stoked! For a little bit anyway...until I found out that I was having a c section. Even if I had been positive, I probably wouldn't have needed the antibiotics with the section. Of course...Isn't that how it usually works?! And now, since I was having surgery I had to have antibiotics anyway. Bummer.
The Dr finally got there and came it to see me. She kinda looked at me funny, and said that it appeared that the baby was in the right position, according to the ultrasound that was done. Sigh. I had to tell her how it was a mistake on the paperwork, and how as of yesterday she was still breech. She was more than welcome to check though! So she brought in the little portable ultrasound machine and checked. sure enough, still breech. She was quite upset about the mistake in the paperwork. "That's a big thing to get wrong." she said. Yeah, no kidding! (I'm telling you, you do NOT want the government to take over everyone's healthcare!)
I told her that I wanted to just have the c section and not try to turn her first. She seemed disappointed a little. I'm really so thankful that she was such a "natural" Dr. She definitely wanted to help patients have a natural birth, instead of rushing to a c section. I liked that. She went over the last questions and details with me, and then left to get ready.
Finally the anesthesiologist came to get me and walk me to the OR. I got an extra gown to cover my backside and away we went on one of quite possibly one of the scariest walks of my life. Ha ha.
The OR was much smaller than I expected, and full of machines and people with masks. I couldn't tell if I had met them before or not. The anesthesiologist came in to do my spinal and get me all hooked up to his machines. Tony wasn't allowed to come into the OR until right before they started, so I had to go through all of this by myself. I was quite nervous, and really wished that he could be there while they placed the spinal. However, this is the point that he almost passes out every time, so maybe I was just as well off... I had to sit on the very edge of the narrow operating table. A nurse came around to help me perch there. I asked if she was going to keep me from falling off. She was super comforting and assured me that she would. She was about half my size, so I wasn't so sure. The anesthesiologist was quick and kept exclaiming that I was so skinny and that made his job so easy. Ha ha. He had great bedside manners for dealing with pregnant women! He did a great job and next thing I knew he was helping me lay back on the table and strapping my arms down. I was still super nervous and wondering when the heck Tony was going to get there. My legs were getting warm and heavy, and people were still buzzing all around the room getting things ready. I noticed at some point that I was laying with all of my bottom half totally exposed. Lovely. I tried not to think about all the people that were in there while I was all exposed, until one of the nurses noticed a guy over in the corner. "What is he doing in here?" He was fixing a computer or machine or something. Really?? They were slightly annoyed and made him leave. Whatever he was fixing could wait a little while they said. What the heck, random IT guy in my OR?! It's one thing for all of these nurses and doctors to be there, they've seen countless people laying exposed on an OR table. I decided that going into an OR while still awake was no fun! I focused on the amusing conversation between the nurses. If I thought about what was about to happen, I could hear my heart rate picking up on the monitor. Finally all the prep work was finished. (They should really warn a person before putting in the catheter. Just because you've had a spinal, they shouldn't assume that you can't feel anything. Cause you can still feel a little... and I could have don without that part being a surprise. ha ha) the Dr was there along with a student Dr that was going to be assisting...and still no Tony. At this point I was afraid that there were going to forget to tell him to come in before they started. There went my heart rate again...
Finally they told someone to call him in. I don't think I was ever so happy to see him! He definitely helped me feel calmer. He talked to me and rubbed my face and made everything so much better!
They started the surgery. I could feel that they were doing stuff, but didn't feel any pain, thank goodness! I was having doubts that they could really make it so that I wouldn't feel that they were cutting me open and taking some of my insides out! It seemed to take forever for them to tell me that they were finally about to get to Charlotte. In reality it was about 5 min or so. (Another thing, the Dr should really clarify when she says "rupture". Especially when the last things she was talking about was something called a "bladder blade") Rupture, what rupture?!? Ahh...It was just the amniotic sack, whew!
Since she was breech, she came out feet first, and it took quite a bit of tugging and coaxing to get the rest of her out. She was really lodged behind my ribs! (This just reaffirmed that my decision not to try to turn her was the right one.) Tony got to watch over the curtain of her being delivered, which he said was really cool. I heard her tiny cries, they seemed so quiet and small to me! Then they lifted her up over the curtain for me to see. I only got a short glimpse of her before she got a big breath and let out a BIG cry...and them blood squirted from her umbilical cord all over my face! Ha ha. They took her and Tony to the side of the room to do all the baby stuff they do, and the anesthesiologist quickly went to cleaning off my face and glasses. I could hear Charlotte crying the whole time they were working on her. I was so thankful for healthy baby cries!
After a little while, Tony brought her back over to me. I couldn't hold her, as they were still working on getting me put back together. The Dr found a cyst on one of my ovaries that she removed, and I was getting my tubes tied since we had decided that our family is complete and they were in there anyway. Charlotte had calmed down now that she was all swaddled up and in Daddy's arms. Even though I couldn't hold her, the Dr was great about trying to let me have as much time with her as possible, and she had them untie my arms so that I could touch her. I'm so thankful that I got that Dr! She really fought to keep Charlotte in the OR with me. She was a great distraction for sure! Tony tried to get Charlotte to open her eyes and look at me, but she did not want to at all! But he brought her close enough for me to kiss her, and as soon as I kissed her and started talking to her, her little eyes popped open and she turned her head towards me. The anesthesiologist took pictures of the 3 of us while we were waiting for the Dr to finish me up. I was getting nervous, as I was having some sharp pains in my neck. He assured me that this was normal, and was just a result of the air getting into my body cavity and all my organs shifting around. Weird! I also couldn't feel myself breathing, but thankfully I had stumbles across a blog of a woman telling of her c-sections and I read that this was also normal, as a result of the spinal. It numbs everything below the boobs. You don't really think about feeling yourself breathe...until you can't! That's really strange too.
Once the Dr got everything put back in me and was ready to sew me up, Tony and Charlotte went back to my room, so that they could get Charlotte's weight and check her some more. I laid there trying to stay calm and just breathe. Ha ha. Finally I was finished and they wheeled me back to my room. When I got to the room Tony told me Charlotte's weight. 7 Lbs, 14oz. 19 3/4 long. she also had the roundest head and straightest little legs that I've ever seen on a newborn. Since she never curled into the fetal position with her head down, she wasn't all curved and squished like most babies. :) Her nose was also a little crooked, due to it being stuck up in my ribs. The nurses were quick to assure me that this would resolve itself, and it has.
She was my biggest baby. Except for Savannah, my babies get bigger each time. Natalie was 7lbs 12oz, Gabbie was 7lbs 13oz, and now Charlotte was 7lbs 14 oz! They gain an ounce each baby! Charlotte was the exact same length as Gabbie. (Savannah was the odd one out, at 6lbs 8 oz, and only 19inches. Her fluid was low at the end though, so she had stopped growing earlier.)
My experience at the Langley AFB hospital was great. My recovery went well. Charlotte was born at 8:47 am on Friday, and I went home on Sunday afternoon. Not bad. After about a week I felt really good, and after about 2 weeks I felt almost back to normal. I'm happy to say that I am only 8 lbs away from pre baby weight, and although I'm not back in my pre baby pants yet, I'm very happy with how my belly is recovering. I was afraid that I would have a sagging belly forever because of the c-section, but that hasn't been the case.
Charlotte is happy, and healthy, and very loved by her sisters! Savannah hasn't been jealous at all; she adores her "baby sissy" We call her "squish", since she is our squishiest baby. :) She was especially squishy in the hospital, since she was a c-section and all the excess fluid wasn't squeezed out of her. She lost a bit of weight in the first 24 hours, but it was all water. She completes our family perfectly. She looks like Natalie and Savannah...But I can't tell what color her eyes will be yet.
Life is fun, but challenging with 4. I LOVE that they are all girls, and I love the spacing between them, even though some days are extra hard. Adding #4 was definitely harder than adding #3. I think that's mostly because I had 3 1/2 years between #2 and #3, and only 22 months between #3 and #4. And also because Tony is back to working shifts, and doesn't get off until close to 7:30pm or later. (So he gets home around 8:00-9:30) Doing supper and baths and getting all 4 ready for bed by myself is challenging, especially since that is when Charlotte usually decides that she needs the most attention. By the end of the 70-80 week we are all worn out. We are finding our groove and schedule though...slowly but surely.
Hopefully I didn't bore anyone too badly...and if you are still reading, here is what you stuck with it for. Pictures! :)