Charlotte’s Birth

My baby girl was a week old on Thursday. I cried. All over her. Even with double mastitis and this damn UTI, I would pretty much kill to just stop the clock and stay here forever.



I figured since we’re already at the one week mark, it’s probably time to sit down and write her birth story before I forget all of it.  It’s a total jumble in my head as it is. Fair warning, this is probably the longest post I’ve ever written and I’m doing it while sleep deprived and hormonal. 

Twix gets a bit clingy as I’m having some contractions on the ball

Labor started for me in the very early hours of the morning on July 22nd.  I woke up feeling pretty lousy and having mildly painful contractions. I went back to sleep, figuring I’d know in a few hours if this was the real deal or not. When I woke around 7 am, contractions were still mild, but happening consistently about 5 minutes apart. Catch and I settled in for what we anticipated would be many hours of laboring at home.

Around 10 am, I got up to use the bathroom and there was a small gush. Our midwife and OB had both said to go straight to labor & delivery at any sign of fluid, but I really didn’t want to go so soon. I just wasn’t convinced.  We decided to give it a bit more time and see if I had any more signs of fluid. 20 minutes later, I was sitting on the exercise ball and there was another small but undeniable gush. We headed to the hospital.

In the hospital, the nurse basically stopped short of rolling her eyes at us. She told us that she wished people would stay home longer and not rush to the hospital the moment their water breaks. She didn’t seem to believe me that I’d had a gush of fluid, and insisted that they would likely be sending me home. Conflicting information, much? Sheesh. I was seriously annoyed. It’s not like I wanted to be in the hospital any longer than I needed to be. I was only doing what all of my care team had told me to do.

Eventually, a midwife came in and examined me. I was 3 cm dilated, fully effaced, and there was a leak in my bag of waters, but it was small and high. They were keeping me. I was admitted, and after a bit of baby monitoring, they unhooked me and sent us off to walk around for an hour. When I stood up to get dressed, my water broke in a gigantic, bloody/watery insanely messy pool all over the floor of my little hospital room. It was just me and Catch, and we both stood there laughing as it just kept coming and coming and coming. Talk about a bizarre experience.

After our hour long walk, I was really ready to lie down again for a bit. Contractions were more painful, but still manageable, and I figured it would be a good chance to get some rest.

Around 5pm, I was really hurting. They unhooked me from the monitors again and wanted me to go walk, but I barely made it to the end of the hall before I had to turn back. When I got back to my room (after hugging the walls the whole time), I told the nurse I think it’s time for an epidural. I think she wanted to roll her eyes at me again.

Sometime before 7, the anesthesiologists arrived to do my epidural. It was right around then that I started shivering. I couldn’t stop my body from shaking. I told my nurse, but she wasn’t concerned. Catch was asked to leave, and I wanted to cry. I was so scared of the epidural, I just wanted her to be there with me holding my hand. Fortunately, the nurse could see that I was falling apart a bit and she stepped up her game, holding my shoulder and reassuring me the entire time. The epidural was finally in and they were testing it. I still felt EVERYTHING. Epidural number one was a total flop.

They pulled everything out, and tried placing epidural number two in the same place. All the while, I was terrified and shaking. I tried to focus on the reassuring grip my nurse had on my shoulder. After much fidgeting, it was determined that epidural number two was also a flop.

Again, everything was pulled out and they decided to try a higher position on my spine. My shaking was getting worse, and the contractions were getting harder to cope with. I was not in very good shape at that point. This time, though, they pulled through. I could feel the numbness starting to spread throughout my body. I was also starting to feel really weak. Catch was allowed back into the room just in time to see me turn ghostly white as both my heart rate and Charlotte’s heart rate plummeted. In a matter of moments, I was throwing up over the side of the bed. Catch stood there looking terrified and helpless. The anesthesiologists jumped into action, injecting something into my IV, and after a few minutes, my blood pressure was back up and things were okay again. It was a very scary couple of minutes, though.

As soon as the anesthesiologists cleared out, the midwife came in to do another cervical check and to place my catheter. I was 5 cm dilated at that point, which made me feel a bit better about the epidural. For whatever reason, 5 cm was the goal I’d given myself.

After that exam, my mom showed up. She was worried sick, so we allowed her to come in and sit with us for a little while just to show her that I was okay. Mom left sometime around 10 pm, and shortly after that, the midwife appeared again. I was informed that my temperature had been climbing ever since I was admitted and it had reached 100.3, which was the last chance to treat it with Tylenol and ice before I would be forced to start IV antibiotics. They gave me the Tylenol and packed me with ice packs.

I was also informed at this point that the baby’s heart rate had been consistently high, and they couldn’t explain it. I was told that they don’t generally worry unless it’s over the 160s, but that Charlotte had been hovering at 160 the entire time. They asked for permission to put an internal monitor on the baby so that they could get a better feel for what was going on.

Once that was settled, I was told that the epidural had stalled my contractions. This wasn’t news to me–we’d noticed on the monitor that my regular contractions had bottomed out and become totally irregular. They hooked me up to the lowest dose of pitocin and added an internal monitor for contractions. 

I now have the following tubes & wires attached:

  1. Catheter
  2. Baby’s heart rate
  3. Contractions
  4. Epidural
  5. IV Saline 
  6. IV Pitocin
  7. Blood pressure
  8. Pulse oximeter

But who’s counting, right?

This was the point where I started to realize that I was feeling my contractions. Next, I could feel my legs. Soon, my third and final epidural had failed completely. Just in time for the pitocin. 

Over the next several hours, my nurse turned up the pitocin as frequently as she took my temperature (thankfully, the Tylenol & ice packs were working).  I was miserable. When the pitocin was increased to the max dose, I was pretty sure death was a better option than the pain I was feeling. 

I started feeling pressure along with the pain around 4 am on Thursday. A cervical check revealed that I was at 9 cm. At 5:30 am, I was wheeled into a delivery room and started pushing. 

My memory of pushing is sketchy. Contractions were coming hard and fast, and I was in so much pain that I couldn’t focus. I almost passed out several times. The nurse did turn down the pitocin at some point, thank god. 

Our nurse was incredible. She’d been with me all night and she was determined to see Charlotte’s birth. Her shift was over at 7, and she told me that I was having this baby by 7 no matter what. Her coaching and Catch’s encouragement and excitement were all that kept me going for the 90 minutes I was pushing. The nurse kept telling me she could see red hair. Catch, who had sworn for months that she would be an over-the-shoulder coach was helping to pour mineral oil as the nurse massaged my perineum. They were both rock stars. 

Just before 7, the doctor was called in and suddenly the delivery room was a flurry of activity. The next thing I knew, her head was out and our nurse was on top of me pushing my stomach with her elbow. At 7:02 am, I felt a gush and heard a very weak little cry. Charlotte was placed on my belly for the shortest moment before I realized that my baby was blue and floppy and being rushed away from me. I couldn’t see them working on her, but Catch could. I kept my eyes on Catch, watching for signs that everything was ok, and she tried to reassure me. I heard a few more weak cries before the pediatrician arrived and she started yelling as loud as she could. 

I have never been so relieved. The doctor said he saw no need to take her to the NICU, so she was placed back on my chest. 

 The OB finished stitching up my second degree tear, and then we spent the next hour snuggling our perfect little girl. I have honestly never felt anything like it. I was in awe of what my body had done. I was in awe of my wife, who was my rock through all those long hours. I was especially in awe of the miraculous little creature in my arms. 

 She is perfection. Absolute perfection. We are so in love. I cannot stop kissing and smelling her little head. I cannot believe she is ours. 



The two Charlottes. (My Nana)


heading home from the hospital



33 thoughts on “Charlotte’s Birth

  1. Fantastic, dramatic and rewarding story. I am impressed that you remembered sooo much! Our bodies are absolutely amazing. Did you know our new babies were born on the same day?

  2. Well done, you. This sounds both frustrating and rewarding. Thanks for sharing it with us. I’m glad you and Charlotte are healthy and enjoying each other despite the scary, painful moments of your first meeting. Go team!

  3. You are a trooper Molly! 3 failed epidurals? Yikes! You did great though, and Charlotte is absolutely perfect. She is so beautiful, and you can tell through pictures how sweet she is. Congrats to you and Catch! Hope you’re feeling better and that feeding is going better too. Hugs!

    • Thanks! I’m finally starting to feel human again the last few days. Feeding is still a mess, but I’m starting to make peace with it. She really is just the sweetest baby. Totally worth the failed epidurals! (And the mastitis, and the UTI, and the non-existent milk supply…)

  4. Well done. Scary, scary moments throughout, so glad everything turned out well in the end. It’s an unfairly unspoken reality that epidurals 1) can cause major (scary) loss of blood pressure and 2) sometimes just don’t work. In so sorry you had to experience both!
    Your sweet baby is absolutely perfect, and there can be no doubt that you’re her mama! She looks so much like you!

    • I did find it pretty nuts that I managed to have every textbook epidural complication possible. If I ever do this again (unlikely) I will have to plan for a drug-free birth so I at least have some coping techniques. There’s nothing quite like expecting a medicated birth experience and then having it pulled out from under you!

  5. Oh my goodness, she is so beautiful! Her cheeks looks so scrumptious! I am incredibly impressed with your strength during that labor. 3 epidurals!?! You are a warrior, that’s for damn sure.

  6. Wow, you did amazing considering all the failed epidural and scary moments! As a nurse myself, it’s so disheartening to hear when a nurse shows she is annoyed and not realizing patients can pick up on it. Especially since this is such a big moment for you and it’s not like you do this everyday. But I am glad you had a great nightshift nurse (I’m partial I did nightshift for 7 years) and Catch to help you through it all. But Congrats again she is absolutely beautiful!!

    • Thank you! The first nurse had her good moments, too! I felt bad for her because labor & delivery was insane that day and her other patient next door to me was pretty demanding. You nurses do amazing work! I was totally in awe of everyone those few days. I will never forget the night shift nurse or the one who took over for her when she finally got to go home.

      • Oh okay, I’m glad she wasn’t that bad!! Thanks! Granted I could never be a labor and delivery nurse though!! Hope you are feeling better!

  7. Yikes, it’s sad about the epidurals not working very well. :-/ It’s really too bad there weren’t other pain relief options that worked for you. Safe, effective pain relief for severe pain is a human right, IMHO. I know some women accept and don’t want to treat the pain during childbirth, but I strongly feel that that should be one of many options women have.

    Charlotte is adorable and looks to be well worth it. 🙂 I’m very happy for you.

    • I so agree with you about pain management. If I had gone into the experience anticipating a natural birth, that would have been one thing because I would have prepared some coping mechanisms. It was even worse knowing how the epidural felt when it was working because when it didn’t work, all I could think about was how I wanted that feeling back! They did try to give me some narcotics to boost the epidural. It took some of the edge off for maybe an hour, but they couldn’t keep giving it to me.

      You’re right, though. This little one was worth every second. I have no desire to do it again, though!

  8. Wow! Three failed epidurals! What the actual?!

    Your teeny miss is so perfectly precious and I’m glad she’s with you all safe and sound. Enjoy her always!

    My two turned 3 months and I literlly cannot remember the beginning bits anymore 😳 its a blur!

  9. She’s so beautiful. And despite the pieces of your story that sound so stressful, it made me all gooey and starry eyed (birth stories always do, just ask my wife). Congratulations again. 🙂

  10. She is just so perfectly beautiful! I have been in Catch’s shoes before knowing that my wife was watching me for a good sign to a possibly bad situation. I am so so happy for you both though that it turned out so well. Keep the adorable pictures coming.

  11. I’m glad you got to have her vaginally and that your birth team were so great. Sorry there was so much craziness beforehand, I think my wife would have thrown a fit with all that going on. She’s perfect.

  12. These pics are just gorgeous. You both look content and so beautiful! I don’t understand why different nurses say different things, you were supposed to go in when water broke and she was pretty rude. I’m glad the delivery nurse (same one?) ended up so supportive. And your wife! She sounds amazing. It’s such an intense time, you don’t know how you’re going to handle things. I’m so sorry about the epidurals. Those pitocin contractions are awful. You were a rock star. Thanks for sharing your story! I’ve written mine twice now and my old laptop keeps deleting it. Very frustrated. I’m just going to have to write a shorter version. Have a good day of cuddles!

    • Different nurse at the end! I’m so sorry you keep losing your writing! How’s that baby girl doing? Is she growing as fast as mine? I can’t even believe how big Charlotte is getting!

  13. I’m sure it was hell to relive that pain but thanks for sharing! I always cry when I read birth stories…perfect start to my Monday :). She is just beautiful. Absolute perfection.

  14. Maybe I’m just super-hormonal already, but this has just made me cry! Happy tears! I love how Charlotte is looking at you in those first few pictures – she’s thinking “mama you are a rockstar!!” Sending so much love to you, Catch and Charlotte (and Twix and Rolo)!!

  15. Ah, I love reading birth stories, thanks for sharing. She is so wonderful and perfect. I can’t even tell you how happy I am for you and Catch. It might seems weird, but really we started TTC around the same time and I am so so glad you finally have your baby. 🙂

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