Sweet Charlie

It’s been 10 days since Charlie arrived. He came into this world on his own time and while I wish I could have kept him in my belly a bit longer, I sure am glad he’s here now. He’s got a feisty little way about him, always wiggling out of the swaddles the amazing NICU nurses put him in and loves to stretch out, hands above his head – just like Millie. I can’t wait for her to meet him.

But this journey has been difficult. From November 20th, the day I was admitted to the hospital, to the morning after he was born – there were just so many unknowns. We’ve learned a lot since then, and I think I’m ready to share a little bit about it.

On Monday, December 2, I was having a ton of Braxton Hicks contractions. I was keepinging track of them as instructed, not usually having more than 6 in an hour. They weren’t painful and I felt ok. They gave me a bunch of fluids that night and I woke up Tuesday feeling really good. No contractions, more energy and just generally.. good. I took a shower and by lunchtime, things changed fast. I had 1 long cramp, followed by 2 real contractions, they were unmistakable. I still scarfed down my lunch, I had a feeling it’d be the last thing I’d eat for a while. The nurses came in, hooked me up to the NST machine (nonstress test – to monitor his heart rate and any contractions) and the OB came to check my cervix – 2cm dilated. At this point I think it was around 1:30pm. Bojo made it just in time before they took me to Labor and Delivery, my mom and dad made it too. I continued to have regular contractions and there was some concern as Charlie’s heart rate had slowed down a little bit. We knew he was breech too, so a c-section was inevitable. They checked me again and I had dilated another 2cm by 2:30ish pm. It was time. They wheeled me off to the OR and Bojo joined me a little bit later. The nurses and doctors and anesthesiologist team were really amazing and I didn’t feel an ounce of pain – one of them even held my hand until Bojo came in. They really went above and beyond to offer comforting words and support. I was honestly pretty terrified, so it meant everything to have them near.

Charlie’s delivery went a little something like this (3:31pm)..

Dr. Rogg – “We see legs! And a cute little butt! And omg.. all that hair!!”

…..

Dr. Rogg – “What did you think you were having?”

Bojo – “It’s still a girl right?”

“Uh no.. it’s a boy. It’s definitely a boy.”

Bojo and I – “Holy shit, WHAT!?” Tears, laughter, shock, love, more shock. WE HAVE A BOY!

The doctor in Batavia had been certain it was a girl, and so for 2 weeks we were dreaming up girls names, we started a brand new list, and were just thrilled at the idea of having another girl. But this surprise was like nothing else. I never knew how badly I wanted a little boy – we are so in love with him.

The NICU team took him away immediately. But he was breathing on his own and there weren’t any complications! Such a little fighter. Meeting him for the first time was incredible, he was making little squeaking noises and looking directly into my eyes. I could have stared at him all day.

But for me, it wasn’t over. Unfortunately, they discovered that I had placenta accreta, it’s a serious pregnancy condition that occurs when the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall. Typically, the placenta detaches from the uterine wall after childbirth. But with placenta accreta, part or all of the placenta remains attached. This can cause severe blood loss after delivery. And it did. I needed a blood transfusion while they worked to detach the placenta from my uterus. It was another hour or so and it was horrible. I wasn’t in pain perse, but incredibly uncomfortable and nauseated. Bojo held my hand the entire time and kept swapping out the little bowls for me to throw up in. I won’t go into any more detail, but I did reach a point where I felt like I couldn’t handle much more of it.

Thankfully, they were able to save my uterus. According to my OB, it was a 50/50 shot. I remember them calling in the high risk OB and other doctors for assistance on what to do, even though I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on, I knew it was serious.

We only learned of this condition the morning after the delivery. Dr. Rogg came in pretty early to share what happened, the severity of it all and how it will affect any future pregnancies. For those who don’t know, I had an extra placenta with Millie and it was tough to separate as well. After she was born, I had to have a D&C to remove it. This was a contributing factor to what I experienced with Charlie, but we didn’t know it. The accreta was posterior, towards the back, and therefore wouldn’t show up on any ultrasounds. So we really had no idea.

Ultimately, the chances that this will happen are highly likely, especially given that it’s happened twice now. We’ve been encouraged to wait at least 2 years before we think about trying again, and even then, it will be a high risk pregnancy from the start. It’s no longer just about a healthy baby, I have to consider how it might affect my health too. It’s very real, and very scary.

It is something I still can’t wrap my head around though. I’m so mad at my body for failing me in so many ways. And yet, eternally grateful for everything it’s given me. I just know I’m not done having kids yet and so my hope is that with enough time for healing and the right care when we’re ready, we will be able to continue growing our family. For now, we are focusing all our love and attention on Millie and Charlie, our hearts are fuller than ever before. Any future pregnancies will just have to be a future conversation.

As of this morning, Charlie is weighing 2lbs 11oz and continues to gain weight every day. He’s breathing even better on his own and just needs to focus on growing! We are so amazed at his progress so far. He’s the sweetest thing. Tons of hair all over his body, with big hands and cute little feet. I can’t wait to bring him home. And the NICU staff are absolutely amazing, they are so caring and thoughtful and always have sweet things to say about Charlie. They’ve truly make us feel so much better about having a preemie baby and how he continues to make such great progress every day.

For me, recovery has been different. If I’m being honest, the emotional and mental toll it’s taken on me has been far worse than the physical pain. I have mostly good days, with a few bad moments here and there. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions – I feel guilty for not being with Charlie all day every day. And for not seeing Millie every day. It was such a paradox walking out of the hospital after being there for 2 and half weeks, but without either of my kids. The separation has been so, so difficult. I find it a little unsettling to have all this free time and not quite sure what to do with it. I’d rather be wherever my kids are. But my physical recovery is important too. I finally slept in a bed again after sleeping in my dad’s recliner since coming home from the hospital. I continue to move a little easier each day and I’m so grateful to have had such an amazing OB and team during my stay here. I had a follow up appt earlier this week to check my incision (healing great!) and to see if my uterus is ok. They had to put in a lot of sutures so right now it’s hard to tell, but they confirmed there are no placenta fragments left and I should continue to heal as expected.

I have to say this – Bojo has been the most attentive and supportive husband. We joke about all modesty going out the window during this time, but truly, we are vulnerable. We have learned a lot about each other in these last few weeks and our marriage is stronger because of it. It’s the most trying and stressful time right now, but I could not get through any of it without him. He’s been waking up with me every single night to help me out of the recliner so I can pump and then he labels the milk and washes the parts so I can go back to bed. He’s helped me shower and change my depends (I’ve since graduated to real underwear again!). He puts lotion on my legs that haven’t been shaved in at least 2 months. He makes a million trips to Target (which he now loves haha) for breastmilk bags and pudding so I can swallow my pills. He drives me literally everywhere. He does my laundry, cleans the house and makes dinner. He does this without hesitation and with so much love. I know his journey through this has been a little different than mine, it can be tough to watch a spouse endure so much. But I draw my strength from him and in every way he continues to put our family and my recovery first. It’s healing me in so many ways.

   

And to my parents – Dad, thank you for letting us move in and take over your house. And for getting Carl out here to turn that water heat up! For dealing with Motley’s dog hair and letting me take over the TV room. I never thought I’d have to move back in with my Dad, but I’m so happy to be here. We love you Daddio!

My mama – whew! I said it on Day 1 and I’ll say it again. She’s a saint. Our Millie has been having SO MUCH FUN with her. She’s happy and healthy and spunky as ever. I never worry about her being well taken of when she’s with her Mian – I have normal worries as a mom in general haha. But it’s such a comfort when you can know and trust that your kids are in the best hands. I know what that felt like as the kid – Mom you’re the absolute best and we love you so much.

   

I also want to thank everyone for following along with us. We continue to feel the love, support and encouragement every day and it’s what’s getting us through. Thank you, thank you, thank you. <3