Sunday, August 23, 2015

Charles Robert Lowe

When I was 35 weeks pregnant I started having contractions one evening and into the next morning.  They were only 3 or 4 per hour but the fact that I had 5 weeks until my due date made me a little concerned so I called the doctor.  He had me go in to the hospital to get checked the day I called.  "Well, your contractions are anywhere from 3 to 20 minutes apart", I remember the nurse saying.  This was my first glimpse of hope that maybe, just maybe I wouldn't go past the baby's due date this time.  They sent me home and said it was ok as long as I wasn't having more than 6 contractions an hour.

4 weeks later my sister Miranda was in town, I was coordinating a Relief Society activity, school had started, and I was only 3 days away from my due date.  I started having regular contractions for a couple of hours and it was getting to the point where I couldn't concentrate on what I was doing.  Could this be it?  Could I actually have the baby BEFORE he was due??  I called my mom and sister and told them to come over in case I was in labor.  About the time they got to my house they started to slow down.  I was still having contractions but they weren't very strong and were anywhere from 5-20 minutes apart.  :/ I thought if I kept moving they wouldn't go away.  So I made a cake, made some cookies, had already gone for an hour walk, and was doing everything and anything to avoid sitting down all day.  When it came time to go to the Relief Society activity, they had pretty much stopped completely.  I remember saying to someone, "I'd be surprised if I'm at church on Sunday"  Wrong.  This baby was just teasing me, he was not ready to grace us with his presence yet.

After that day I started losing hope that he was ever going to come on his own.  Sunday rolled around and I was proven wrong once again when he still wasn't here.  My daughter Ruby had a fever so I decided to stay home with her and make everyone think I had given birth.  My little trick worked, Noah said everyone asked him excitedly if I'd had the baby.  At this point I had already scheduled an induction for Thursday August 20th at 5am thinking for SURE the baby would come on his own before then.  I would be 40 weeks and 6 days by that point and had already been having days like the previous week where I thought I was going into labor.  However, as I was approaching my next doctor's appointment and I was hardly having any contractions or much of anything going on, I was starting to wonder if I should postpone the induction to just give him a few more days to come on his own.  I'm kind of afraid of inductions because I feel like labor and delivery would go more smoothly if the baby came on his own rather than being forced to come out.  So at my appointment on the morning of the 19th I started asking my doctor about postponing the induction to Monday the 24th.  If he hadn't come on his own at that point, I would be 10 days past his due date which I think would be the longest I would want to go past.  My doctor was supportive of whatever I wanted to do and told me to just let him know by the afternoon so he could reschedule it with the hospital if needed.  He also said, "If you could just go into labor tonight that would be best", we both laughed.  As if that were going to happen!

I wasn't sure what to do.  I felt nervous about being induced but I also felt nervous about he possibility of waiting too long and causing complications or even the possibility of a stillbirth.  I said a quick prayer asking for guidance and called Noah to see what he thought.  One thing the doctor said to me that I kept thinking about was that we knew from the ultrasound and other factors that he was healthy right now, and we had that to our advantage.  I decided I felt better about being induced and having him come when I knew he was ok than by waiting until Monday and risking something else happening as a result of him waiting too long to come out.  I knew if this happened I'd never be able to forgive myself.  So I called the doctor and let him know I had decided to go ahead with the scheduled induction.

Noah and I had a hard time agreeing on a name for this little guy throughout the whole pregnancy.  From the beginning he said he liked the name Charles the best.  Charles?  Blech.  That's what old British men are named, not cute little babies.  I liked Charlie, but not Charles.  I felt a little weird naming him Charlie though as it's kind of a nick-name.  I thought I just needed to think of something else I liked more.  I thought of Calvin but after a while I got tired of it.  I liked Odin for a day, Zane for a few days, Mark for a couple days, but nothing was sticking.  I was hoping he would just be born with a name and maybe I wouldn't have to decide.  This particular day, August 19th, also happens to be Noah's Aunt Heidi's birthday.  Guess what her significant other's name is?  Charlie.  I texted her in the middle of the day and told her the baby wasn't going to be born on her birthday, we were both hoping he would be.

My sister came to spend the night with the kids and would get Jonah off to school for us in the morning since we had to be at the hospital at 5am.  I'm usually pretty good about keeping the house clean, at least when I'm pregnant, but told myself I REALLY needed to clean extra well so I could come home to a clean house with the new baby. I decided to make stir-fry instead of eating pizza so I could be sure and have a healthy meal before the "marathon of labor" I'd be experiencing the next day.  A couple times during dinner I had to take a break from eating because I'd have a contraction, but that wasn't totally abnormal.  Sometimes I would have pretty strong, random contractions.  So I just went on with my business and tried not to think about it.  At about 7pm I started timing them because they seemed to be pretty regular and felt like they were getting stronger.  By 9pm they had been averaging every 3 minutes and I definitely couldn't talk to anyone or walk during them.  I was still hesitant to go into the hospital because I seem to be the queen of false alarms.  I decided to call the doctor and see what he said.  Dr Silva was on call for my doctor, Dr Holder.  He advised me to go to the hospital to get checked "immediately".  Miranda was especially excited that he used this term.  So we quickly gathered up our stuff and headed over to the hospital.

Just as we were pulling into the parking lot at about 10pm Noah let his foot off the clutch before turning the engine off which caused the car to lurch forward and gave me a good jiggle.  We had a good laugh about that.  We walked up to what we thought was the entrance to find out the doors were locked.  I then remembered if you arrive after hours that you're supposed to use the emergency room entrance.  So I told Noah to go get the car and I'd start walking around.  I'd make it about 50 feet before I'd have to stop and hold onto something to get through a contraction.   Just about at this point a security guard showed up to tell us to head around to the emergency room and they'd have a wheelchair waiting for me.  I think I said something to Noah about not needing a wheelchair but decided I'd just use it anyway.  After having a couple contractions in the wheelchair I said, "well I thought this was dumb but it's actually pretty amazing" referring to not having to walk a few feet then have a contraction but just be able to sit in the chair and have contractions as they wheeled me along.

I REALLY did not want to get an epidural, which has been my goal with every birth.  I asked for one with Ruby and Hope but I told myself this time when it got to the point I wanted to ask for it, that meant he was coming soon.  With both of the girls, the baby was born before they would have had time to administer the epidural.  When the contractions were getting really strong I did my best to just relax my body, picture a muscle contracting like when you do bicep curls, and remind myself this was all helping the baby to come out.

When I got up to the third floor I met the nurse that would be taking care of me, Wendy.  My friend Lisa had the same nurse a couple weeks before when she delivered her baby.  She hooked me up to the monitors and checked to see how dilated I was.  I told myself not to expect anything more than a 3 since I was a 2 at my appointment earlier that day.  "You're about 3.5 or 4", she said.  I was happy to know at least the contractions were doing something.  "You're having some really nice contractions!" "Yes, so nice", I said.  "I think we're gonna have a baby!  Sweet!", she said as she walked away.  So now it was time to head to the delivery room, I believe it was about 11pm at this point.  I had to stop in the hallway a couple of times to concentrate through the contractions.  I had tested positive for group B strep which means they had to get two doses of antibiotics into my system before the baby was delivered.  At about 11:15 I said to my mom and Noah I highly doubted he would be there before midnight and he would just miss Heidi's birthday.  I was trying to stay on my feet as much as possible and not just lay down in the bed so that gravity could help the process along as much as possible.  I leaned over the bed for a little bit and eventually ended up sitting on a birthing ball for a little while.  As I was sitting on the birthing ball I experienced what felt like a water balloon popping just above the birthing canal.  I was expecting a gush of water but nothing happened.  A few moments later I experience that same feeling and then the gush of water came.  "My water just broke", I said.  "Well, things are just moving right along!", Wendy said.    When this happened I knew the baby would be coming very soon based on the experience of the previous two births I'd had.   I decided it was time to climb into the bed because I didn't want the baby to fall out onto the ground!  I then heard Wendy say to Noah and my mom, "yeah I don't think we're going to have time to get both doses of the antibiotic in"  They checked my cervix to see how far along I was, it was about 8.5 cm dilated so they decided to call the doctor.  Within a few more minutes I was feeling the urge to push.  Looked, again, like the doctor wasn't going to make it in time for this delivery.  "Are you feeling pushy?", the other nurse asked.  I shook my head no.  Again, I lied.  Within a few moments I felt the urge to push but they said I my cervix wasn't completely effaced so I needed to pant through the urge to push.  It got to the point where it didn't matter what I did, this baby was coming!  After a couple of pushes he came right out at 11:35 pm.  He looked a little grayish-blue to me and didn't seem to me moving very much but then he moved and made a gasping/crying noise.  I was so relieved!  Later Wendy told me the cord was wrapped around his neck, tied in a knot, and wrapped around his body.

After what seemed like an eternity of testing and wiping they finally handed me the baby.  What a perfect little miracle.  I always feel like I'm pushing my luck with having more babies after each one is so perfect!  I love him so much and already feel like he's been part of our family for years.  But what was his name going to be?  I remember saying something along the lines of, "He has to be Charlie."  I remembered someone asking where we got the idea for Charles, a couple weeks ago.  I said it was Noah's Grandpa's name, and his uncle's name whom we both love very much and were both very special to us.  Noah's Grandpa "Chuck" passed away I believe when Jonah was just over a year old.  He had a great sense of humor and we loved to tease each other.  He always snorted when he laughed (something I seem to have inherited from him).  I remember a time we were at Kathy's house, my mother in law, and he was spreading butter on his bread.  He put so much butter on this one slice of bread I said,"Grandpa do you want some bread with that butter".  He started laughing which caused his shoulders to bounce up and down with a little snort as he replied "shut up" with a smile on his face.  He always had the ability to make me feel so special, loved, and appreciated.  Noah's uncle Charlie is known as "everybody's favorite uncle".  I can't picture him without picturing a smile on his face.  Although he has no biological children of his own, he has taken all of us under his wing as though we are his.  So much so, that sometimes our kids and other cousins call him "Grandpa Charlie".  The fact that I love these two men so much, and that he was born on aunt Heidi's birthday, even though "Charles" is still growing on me,  I knew it had to be his name.

I decided I wanted his middle name to be something from my side of the family.  I have recently had the privilege of getting to know my father better in the last few years than I probably have my entire life.  As much as he can be known-he's the international man of mystery.  His version of paradise is in a room by himself reading a textbook about the history of French grammar.  He's not usually much of a conversationalist.  I've had the great opportunity to live in the same town as him as an adult and we've both had opportunities to serve each other.  His career in the military often kept him away from the home and during my junior and senior years of high school as well as most of college were spent with him living in another country.  I didn't realize what a gem I was missing from my life at the time.  He has the ability to make me feel more special and beautiful than pretty much anyone else.  I remember a time I went to his house in dirty clothes, probably dirty hair, no makeup and not feeling particularly dashing at the time and he came up to me and said, "you're so beautiful" and walked off.  Things like this happen more often than not with him.  I remember saying to him once, "thank you for always accepting me as I am and making me feel so special and beautiful."  He looked almost confused as he said to me, "I just tell the truth.  It's only because you are."  Anytime I spend time with him I walk away knowing one thing, I am important.  What other name would be worthy of our new baby boy?

I was so pleased with our experience at Canyon Vista Medical Center.  Every staff member was so kind and I felt they went above and beyond what is to be expected.  I remember one of the nurses, Kylie, saying, "you're a very pretty lady and you look very put together" which is always nice to hear after giving birth!  I also got to see the nurse, Marcella, that delivered Hope without gloves on her hands.  She stopped by and was excited for us and excited to hear this was our second baby delivery by a nurse.  The last nurse that took care of me, Yssa, told me the story of her labor and delivery she had experienced just a few months prior to my own.  She lives in Douglas and arrived at the hospital only 14 minutes before the baby was born!  At least I knew I was in good company.

So little Charlie or "Chuck-Bob", as uncle Micah likes to call him :D, is doing great.  It's always a blessing to have a newborn in our home.  My hormones are definitely adjusting as one moment I'm laughing and the next moment the world is going to end but I know I'll get through it just fine as I did the other three times.  I'm so grateful and blessed to receive all the help, love, and support I do every day from family and friends.  I'm especially grateful for my husband who loves me through it all.  Welcome to our family Charlie.