...I had 150 photos printed from the first month of Charlie's life. I figure at that rate, by the time he's 18 we'll have 32,000 photos of him, and by the time he's 30 we'll have 54,000.
We need to call the architect about that addition.
A favorite from my birthday...Locket a birthday present from my parents made by Designs by Donna on Etsy.
PS - Not only was yesterday Charlie's should-have-been-due-date, it was the day his new internet buddy made his arrival. Kasey and I met through blogland and have entirely too much weirdly in common to not be friends (wedding anniversaries, birthdays, and now births of our sons). So happy for her and Mike!
...you woke up early, anxious to greet the day. You laid in bed with mommy and Charmer, turning your head from side to side as mommy moved a toy over your head. You snored in your crib. You smiled at mommy with a big milk mustache. You had an explosive, explosive poo (but at least today it didn't hit any walls). You talked to yourself in the backseat of the car. Your mommy was told at least a dozen times how gorgeous you are. She smiled, because she already knew that. Because she's spent the last month falling more and more in love with you.
Happy one-month birthday, bubba.
...It's funny how the world kept on spinning the last month while we fell more and more in love with Charlie every day. Included in that month was my dad's trip to NYC to act as The Donald's stand-in for the live Apprentice finale. Here he is with the Trump kids. If only they would adopt us as their stand-in family:
...runneth over. What a completely overwhelmingly emotional birthday:
It took me hours to open all the cards that came in via my mom's request. If you are among this bunch (from my childhood pediatrician to former coworkers), please know how much your words and simple gesture meant to me. I will cherish this forever.
Everything is just right, and thirty, without a doubt, has been the best birthday ever (my fifth birthday at Chuck E Cheese is a close second). We topped the day off with Charlie's first dinner out and his first popped collar:
(I love Charmer's face in the background).
...I don't know how this became Charlie and my song. But it is. When I first found out I was pregnant, I would turn it on and hold my belly. Willing him to stay healthy, to stay strong. I listened to it every night for months. Sang it in my head when I was worried.
Welcome Charlie. We will love you forever.
…I knew this kid was coming early. There are things I did in the days leading up to his birth that have no rhyme or reason, other than I was preparing for him to come on April 29. I returned things to stores that needed to be returned. I put diapers in the basket on his changing table. I finished writing all the entries for my 365 day blog. I even cleaned out my purse.
I also knew that I had not one, not two, not four, but five practice runs to Labor and Delivery:
1. Nine weeks pregnant – bleeding
2. 26 weeks pregnant – stomach ache (ahem, gas)
3. 31 weeks pregnant – Charlie starting to show signs of coming early
4. 35 weeks pregnant – thought my water might have broken
The morning before he was born, I got up and felt a pop. Maybe too much information. But something happened. So in I made my fifth trip to Labor and Delivery. Where I had an eight-minute contraction. Yes, you read that right. It didn’t hurt that bad, but Charlie’s heart rate dropped in the middle of it, so they kept me for observation and then at 1 p.m. discharged me. I went to work. They had a cheese sandwich with hot peppers waiting for me – how could I not go in? I spent the afternoon around a table with coworkers, preparing for an event that weekend. I was exhausted, couldn’t wait to get home and have some cantaloupe for dinner.
Ken and I both got home from work and he took Charmer for a walk. I heard him outside talking to our friend’s Alex and Andy so I went out to join them. It was just beginning to get hot, and my ankles were starting to swell. Ken went on his way with Charmer, and Andy went back to their house with their son. And I felt something pop again and all of a sudden I was six years-old and peeing my pants at the neighborhood block party.
Alex had no idea. She has since told me that I kept looking at my feet. I told her I needed to go inside and proceeded (cautiously) up the stairs. I knew this was real. This was it. When they say, “gush of fluid,” they mean gush of fluid. It was 7:30 p.m. and Inside Edition was playing on the television.
My bags had been packed, but I put together a few last minute things. Ken carried everything to the car, our next-door neighbors noticed something was up, and came over to take a last family-of-three picture. I can’t believe what a fat cow I look like in this picture, but I’m sharing it for memory sake. (And if I look like I’m in mid-waddle, I am). I remember getting changed to go to the hospital (since I’d peed myself) and thinking, “Hm, what does one wear to have a child?”
We took a minute before turning on the alarm to talk to Charmer. Tell her how much we loved her. I’m not kidding. It was 8:00 p.m.
We got to the hospital, timing my contractions on the way, which were coming every four minutes – and starting to hurt.
I signed the admissions paperwork, dating it October 24, 2009. Why do they have women in active labor fill out paperwork? I have a feeling it was one of the admissions clerks who had seen me there before and figured she would be discharging me in a few hours. It was 8:30 p.m. and I waited about 10 minutes to be seen in triage, getting more and more uncomfortable.
The first thing I told the triage nurse was that I wanted an epidural. I heard about missing the magical window and I wanted none of that. The nurse checked me out and I was completely effaced and 3 centimeters dilated. Baby boy was coming. Ken called my mom, told her to come now. She was three hours away, and it was about 9:00 p.m. He called some more family members and friends, most of who expected to go to bed that night and wake up in the morning to hear I was still in labor. Hell, I expected to go to bed that night in labor.
I was wheeled to labor and delivery, where I reminded the nurse again that I wanted an epidural. The hospital I delivered at has state-of-the-art delivery suites but the week before there had been a water main break and the whole wing had been flooded. The high-risk pregnancy unit had been changed to labor and delivery, so that’s where we were. I remember getting to the room and thinking, "This is where my son is going to be born." I remember seeing the warmer/bassinet and thinking, "That's where they'll put my son."
The anesthesiologist arrived. The only thing I remember was him asking me if this was my first, and telling me it was his first too. I didn’t really think he was all that funny. I told him to “Strive for Five,” a motivational term I had seen on some employee propaganda at the hospital.
I have known I wanted an epidural since seventh grade health class when we learned about the miracle of life. I wasn’t afraid of it at all and there was no reason to be. It didn’t hurt at all, and although I could still feel the labor, I almost instantly started feeling relief. I think it was around 10:00 p.m.
I lose track of time a little bit here. Because it seemed like five minutes later I was telling the nurse I needed to push (I had heard this was a way of getting their attention, but I had no idea how much I would want to push). She said, no, no way, not yet, just breathe through it.
“Can’t breath through it” was all I remember saying. It was like having to go to the bathroom in the worst possible way, and someone holding a gun to your head and telling you if you went to the bathroom they would shoot you. I pleaded, and she decided to check my progress - I was nine centimeters dilated. Charlie was coming, and he was trying to make his entrance before midnight. We had joked earlier (never thinking he would come before midnight) that he needed to be born at 12:01 a.m. because if he was born at 11:59 p.m. or earlier, we only got one night in the hospital because of stupid insurance rules.
Monica, the nurse, said, “I don’t think this baby is waiting until midnight.”
Now, I am horrible at remembering names, but I wanted to remember my labor and delivery nurse’s name. I remember thinking, “Monica, like Friends.” And then I thought of the line from Friends when Monica and Chandler’s baby boy is born and she says, “I’m gonna love you so much no woman is EVER going to be good enough for you!”
I was amazed at how much of the laboring process was just Monica and Ken. No other nurses or doctors. Since we weren’t in the regular labor and delivery unit, this room was much smaller. At one point during the pushing process, I looked up and caught myself in the circa 1986 Zenith television directly across from me. “Can someone close the entertainment center?” I panted.
The doctors came. Other nurses started filing in. A pediatrician and nurse from the NICU arrived since the baby was considered pre-term. It was about 11:30 p.m.
I was pushing and they kept saying how much hair he had. If there was one thing Ken and I knew about this baby, it was that he would have hair, and lots of it. I also buck the old wives tale that heartburn = full head of hair because I never had a day of heartburn while pregnant.
I got sick. This was appropriate considering how I spent the first 14 weeks of my pregnancy with my head in a toilet. But this time it was welcome. I spent about five minutes getting sick. Charlie was born at 12:05 a.m. – five minutes after the midnight cutoff. What a good boy.
He came out screaming. I said, “Oh my God that felt so good.” The nurses laughed at me. Ken didn’t get to cut the cord – Charlie was taken immediately to the warmer to be checked out by the NICU. I remember straining my neck to try and see him, asking continuously if he was OK. If he had ten toes and fingers (and one important other digit). He was OK. He was beautiful. The NICU was only there for a matter of minutes. The doctor told me the importance of skin-to-skin contact with a pre-term baby, and Charlie was placed on my chest. Neither Ken or I can really remember what happened from here. We called my mom, who had just pulled in to the parking lot.
Charlie weighed six pounds, five ounces and was nineteen and a half inches long. He had long legs and big feet. I am five foot ten. I never expected to have a six-pound baby.
We had kept Charlie’s name a secret (successfully!) I think I had always known that our baby boy would be named after my Pop Pop, but we did entertain some other names. Nothing else seemed right, and as we stood next to Charlie’s crib the other day, we both agreed that he couldn’t be anything but Charlie. The only thing that makes me sad about his arrival is that the original Charlie isn’t here to see him. I can only hope he is watching somewhere.
My mom made it in to the hospital around 12:20 a.m. I will always remember what she said, “My baby has a baby.” And I introduced her to her grandson, Charlie.
I was in labor for about four hours. I never expected that. Ever. But in the two and a half weeks since Charlie’s arrival, I’ve learned that there’s far more to having a baby than what you read in What to Expect. I still look at him and can’t believe he’s here. Mercer’s mom believes that babies choose their parents. We are so lucky Charlie chose us. We will love him forever.
...And for all of Charmer's friends - I wanted to let you know that the big sister is doing well. And yes, I still love her as much as I did before Charlie came. Maybe even more. And yes, we have called Charlie "Charmie" and vice-versa. We figure that some day we will just be able to yell "Char" and they will both come running.