Charlotte Katherine Newman

Never mind the fact that my baby girl is almost 6 months old. I've been on a blogging hiatus. I wanted to write down the story of her birth, so that I don't forget the details. I actually wrote this not too long after she was born, but I never published it because I hadn't uploaded the pictures. Anyway, here we go.

We welcomed our precious daughter, Charlotte Katherine Newman, into the world on Saturday, March 15, 2014, at 6:10 PM. She weighed 7 lbs, 13 oz and was 20.5 inches long. She has chubby cheeks, the most beautiful full lips, plenty of dark hair, blue eyes, long feet and fingers, and a tiny little nose.

I had started having contractions around 37 weeks. Just early/latent labor. I asked my mom how was I going to know when the contractions were "real." She said "Oh, don't worry. You'll know." And man, she was right. I knew. We went to dinner with my dad at the Mermaid on that Friday night, and during dinner I noticed that the contractions were getting to be a little more intense. We had actually gone to the hospital Friday morning because I had some bleeding. They had put me on the monitor and baby girl was fine. I was only dilated 1 cm, so they sent me home. The plan was to be induced Monday (the day after my due date) if she didn't come that weekend. My doctor was amazing and let me make the decisions. Even though I didn't want to be induced, because of my residency schedule, I couldn't really wait too long past my due date. Plus, as a pediatrician, I just don't think there's much benefit to babies staying in utero past 40 weeks. I've seen too many broken clavicles and nerve palsies. So it was my decision, and I felt good about it. So anyway, since I had already made a trip to the hospital that day, I didn't think much of these contractions since I knew I wasn't dilated very much. We went home and went to bed. At 10:30, the contractions woke me up. They took my breath away. I laid there and timed them. Four minutes apart. I thought that this was for real, but they tell you to call if you've had painful contractions 5 minutes apart for an hour. For some reason, I waited 2 hours. I had already been to the hospital, so I didn't want to be sent home again. Finally, at 12:30 that night, I was sitting on the edge of the bed gripping the mattress, and I told Matt to get up. We were going to the hospital. Matt jumped out of bed like a ninja and began panicking. I called the on-call doctor and told him that I'd had contractions every 4 minutes for 2 hours, and he said "Well, sounds like we're going to have a baby soon! Come on in." Holy cow.

On the drive to the hospital, during my contractions I yelled at Matt to drive faster and run red lights. Between contractions I told him to slow down. I was a crazy person. When we got there, the lady checking us in was being quite casual and taking her time. I was bending over and trying to breathe deep with my contractions as I was STANDING at the desk for some ungodly amount of time. She finally said, "Are you hurting, honey?" I may have made a very sarcastic comment about how I was just in labor, no big deal. PLEASE HURRY THE HELL UP THANK YOU. Since I was already in good labor, they gave me some pain medicine and wished me luck. I didn't need any medications to augment my labor. I was still only 1-1.5 cm. When he told me that, I said "Are you freaking kidding me?!" I did not want a c-section at all, so I prayed that I would dilate. At 6:00 the next morning, the doctor broke my water. Such a strange sensation. At 8:00, I was only 2 cm. I was dying. Matt figured out how to read the monitor, and he would say "Oh you're having a contraction now!" I would say, "Yes, I noticed." Along with some choice words that my mama wouldn't be proud of.  He told me that the game wasn't as fun without a good announcer. Typical.

I got my epidural at 9:30 because I'm a wimp and thought I might die otherwise. I was not trying to be a hero. I'm all about some anesthesia. Kudos to all you mamas who want an all-natural labor and delivery, sans anesthesia. I don't know if you're crazy or your pain receptors don't work right, but good for you. Not this girl. The doctor thought if I relaxed with an epidural, it might speed things up anyway. I told him to sign me up. After it was in, I think I told the anesthesiologist that I loved him. My mom told Matt that now he could tell me when I was having contractions!

At 2:00 that afternoon, I was 8 cm. So close! However, at 5:30, I was still only 8 cm. Once you get to 7-8 cm, it shouldn't take long to become fully dilated. The doctor, who was absolutely wonderful, knew that I didn't want a section, so he let me go for as long as possible. At 5:30, he came in and told me he was getting worried about Charlotte. She was getting pretty tachycardic with every contraction. It had been about 19 hours, and she was getting tired. I knew that she was only going to become more distressed if we waited, and I wanted my baby girl to arrive safely and healthy. The doctor held my hand and told me that I had done a great job and that I was already a great mother. I cried. I had so wanted to be able to deliver her, but I just wanted the best thing for her, and at that point, she needed to come out!

While we waited for them to prep an OR, my mom put some eyeshadow and blush on me. I may have been a bit of an emotional train wreck. I was already crying because I was upset that I had to have a section, and I was worried about Charlotte, and I looked a mess anyway since we had gone to the hospital at 1:00 AM. I told mama that I was sad that my first pictures of my daughter and I were going to be terrible. So she put makeup on me, like a good mama would. Looking back now, that's so funny to me. My dad stood by and held my vomit bucket. (Oh, yes. I threw up all during my 20 hours of labor. It was really special.) Matt gowned up and stood by the bed freaking out. Then they came to wheel me away for surgery.

I tried to forget that my delivery wasn't going as planned and just get excited that I was soon going to be holding my child! I remember it being SO cold in the OR. I was shivering so hard. I remember them telling me to fold my hands over my chest so they could move me over from my bed to the operating table. They had re-dosed my epidural, and it had affected all the way up to the level of my arms. I could hardly move them, and I was telling them, "I can't! I can't! Am I supposed to be able to?!" Anesthesia told me to calm down, and he moved my arms for me. Before they got started, Matt leaned down close to my face and said a prayer. The doctors started saying things like, "Oh, she's got lots of hair!" and other comments describing her. I freaked out a little because I thought she was out, and she wasn't crying. I think my heart rate shot up, and I asked them why wasn't my baby crying. Anesthesia told me to calm down (again- he probably thought I was nuts), and informed me that she wasn't all the way out yet. They told me that my chest may hurt, and oh my gosh it did. They pushed my uterus up to pull her out, and I thought, this is what people feel like when they have a heart attack. It was terrible! A couple of minutes (seconds?) later, I heard an angry little cry, and they raised her above the drape so I could see her. Tears filled my eyes, and I was so relieved to see a pink, crying baby! Then I asked them what her Apgars were, like a huge nerd. (They were 9 and 9--good girl!)

Our first family picture!

Holding her for the very first time.

At the hospital where I delivered, there are cameras in the hallway where they tell the families to wait. They gave Charlotte to Matt, and he walked down the hall to show everyone our new little bundle of joy. There are screens in the OR so that I could watch it! It was really neat because I could see everyone's reaction, even though I was stuck on the operating table. Matt was terrified to walk and hold her at the same time. He was super awkward.

She is absolutely beautiful, and I remember holding her for the first time in the recovery room and feeling so overwhelmed with love. I didn't know how much I could love someone. Even though things didn't go exactly as I wanted, I am so thankful that we have a perfect, healthy baby girl. I fed her in the recovery room, and she nursed like a champ.

The section really wasn't bad, and the doctors were incredible. I didn't take much pain medication at all. And as my friend Lucy reminded me, on the upside, my next child will be a scheduled c-section, and I'll be showered with my hair fixed and make up on!

The dress she wore home was the same dress that my parents brought me home from the hospital in. It was way too big for her, but it had been too big for me too. It was really special.


Weeks 37-39

So most of you know, our sweet Charlotte is here! Actually, she's been here for 2 months and is nearly a grown human being by now, but I wanted to post about the end of my pregnancy before I get into her birth story. I want to write it all down so that I don't forget! So let's pretend I'm still pregnant for a sec.

There weren't any big changes during the last 3 weeks. I finally got my life together and we finished the nursery around week 37. (Well, we still haven't hung a few of her things for the walls, but residency is just really not conducive to home decorating. She has a crib (that she's never slept in) and a changing table (most importantly), and a rocker (second most importantly).) My ankle swelling went away completely, and I was able to wear my wedding rings the whole pregnancy- until they made me take them off at the hospital. I still ate cheeseburgers, pizza, and milkshakes more than I would like to admit. I'm not quite sure how I'm not obese at this point except that I have my mother's genes. At my last OB appointment at 39 weeks, I had gained 26 pounds total. We did an ultrasound to look at my fluid levels at that last appointment, and they estimated her weight at 8 pounds. I generally felt good the last few weeks. I remember just really trying to cherish every little kick and squirm. I knew I would miss that (and I do!). Sleep was another story. I was not comfortable lying down at all. That I do not miss.

I didn't take a week 39 picture, and I had her at 39 weeks and 6 days (one day shy of my due date), so this is the end of the chalkboard pictures!


Weeks 30-36

I've totally failed on the blog updates. I have lots of excuses though, don't worry. I took Step 3 this month, so sleeping and studying have definitely been priorities. (Step 3 is the third and last test we have to pass to obtain a permanent medical license.) But praise the LORD I am done with those tests!! Step 3 takes 2 days and is about 16 hours of testing, total. That's bad enough, but taking it while almost 36 weeks pregnant was a real treat, let me tell you. Every time I had to get up to use the bathroom, I had to sign out, be fingerprinted, pull my sleeves up, pull my pockets out, pull my pant legs up (and bending over to do so is no longer easy, but neither is holding my pee), and be scanned with a hand held metal detector. It was a lot of trouble to go to the bathroom. I'm just glad it's over, and I can have my life back.

Lots of growth has occurred since my last post! I officially waddle. It's unavoidable. And my ankles. Good grief. They started swelling about 35 weeks. I have some serious pitting edema going on. I look at my feet at night, and it's like I'm looking at someone else's lower extremities. Nausea has also returned, which is really special. And sleep is... lacking, to say the least. Despite all of my complaints, I think I'm going to miss being pregnant! I just love feeling her squirm around inside my belly and knowing that she's always with me. She's such a mover and has been this whole time. You can see my belly move all around, and Matt always says she's trying to get out!

I didn't take a 30 week or a 35 week picture, but here are the last few!

I can't believe she will be here in less than a month! One of these days, we're going to finish the nursery (maybe even before she's born...), and I'll post some pictures of it.


29 weeks

Happy New Year, everyone! (Never mind that it is January 19, and I am actually 32 weeks pregnant.) Flashback to 3 weeks ago...

2013 was a great year. Matt was baptized, we celebrated 2 years of marriage, I accepted a fellowship position in hematology/oncology, and I've been carrying our precious baby girl for the last 7 months! Our hearts are so full, and we feel so blessed. I can't even wrap my head around what 2014 is going to be like with Charlotte here!

We had our check up this week, which included our second anatomy ultrasound, and everything looks perfect! Charlotte weighed 3 lbs 6 oz, which is the 60th percentile. My doctor estimates that at term she will weigh 7.5-8 lbs. We can tell that she has hair. She has also turned head-down and is no longer breech! I know I still have 11 weeks to go, but I was starting to get a little worried that she was going to stay breech. I will say that things are much more uncomfortable since she's vertex, but I'm very happy about it nevertheless. As for me, I have gained TWENTY pounds. I'm not quite sure how to classify my bellybutton these days either. All in all, I'm feeling great and just so thankful everyday for this healthy baby girl.

Katie and Wes built Charlotte a toy box this weekend! I'm quite impressed with Uncle Wes's handiwork. They wrote a sweet note to her on the bottom of it, and I can't wait to put it in her nursery! It is such a special gift.


28 weeks: Merry Christmas!

7 months, y'all. Not much has changed since last week. I still feel great! My belly button is kind of neither in nor out, and I haven't had a cheeseburger in like a week. Go me! We're going to get ready for baby this month {I think}. We finally ordered a crib. And I ordered some fabric swatches for the bedding. That's about as far as the nursery has gotten.

Speaking of which, if you missed my Facebook post, let me update you on the nursery. It is my belief that there is a dead animal inside the wall in the nursery. It stinks to high Heaven. If the door is left open, the dogs go and stand in the closet and sniff. I mean it's bad. We have looked everywhere. It's got to be in the wall. I don't know where it is or what it is but it is dead. And it is rotting. Not quite sure what we're going to do about that. To be continued...

This week has been so different this year. I worked 12 hour days the entirety of Christmas week, so part of me felt like I just totally missed it. I barely got the Christmas decorations up before Christmas (and only half of them, at that). I ordered most gifts online (which didn't arrive until after Christmas Day). I didn't get to go to church. I forgot to get the dogs' Christmas gifts (trivial, maybe, but still). And kudos to all you Pinterest-inspired people who have blogged about your cutesy Christmas-themed baked goods. It was Dominos and take-out for the Newmans this week. I think I cried at least twice. 

Then my good in-laws showed up on Christmas Eve, and I came home from work to prime rib, presents stacked under the tree, candles lit, and people not wearing pajamas. My dad, my sister, and her fiance joined us for dinner. It was so nice, and I finally felt like it was Christmastime. We opened gifts with Matt's parents that night, and it was so much fun opening things for baby girl! I didn't take many pictures, and I realized later that I didn't even take a family photo. Fail.

On Christmas night, I got off work and we headed straight to my dad's for a late Christmas dinner. 

The day after Christmas, I had to settle for speakerphone happy-birthday-singing with my family to my mom since I was not around wi-fi and couldn't FaceTime. (FaceTime has really become an integral part of my life, and I think it's the best invention ever.) I think this is the first time I've not been home for her birthday. They even took a picture of her holding the phone up so I was "in" the picture.

I finally finished my week-long stretch of work on Friday night, and we headed South for Christmas at my grandparents' and then with Mama and Mike. 

I love listening to my mom play the piano. It's one of my favorite things in the world.

Apparently, my precious little sister drew this fine piece of artwork at some point in our childhood. My grandfather kept it, and he pulled it out and showed it to us this weekend. I must say, it's pretty funny.

After I nearly died from overeating, we opened gifts and played our traditional game of Dirty Santa. I scored some Trap-A-Crap (a spray made by Poo-Pourri to cover up your bathroom stench). I tried it out before {someone} went into the bathroom. Evidently, you're supposed to spray it into the toilet. I sprayed it in the air, and {someone} said I was trying to kill him. Whoops. It's made with essential oils, and it's guaranteed to work.

Round 4 of Christmas was back in Hattiesburg. Special shout-out to my sister for being patient and waiting 3 days to celebrate Christmas because I had to work. Katie got me a bracelet with the March birthstone (because Charlotte is due in March). Mama said, "Well, what if she isn't born in March?" Katie said, "Well it's a good thing Laura was born in March too because I never thought of that." Haha. We got way too many things this year. I'm so thankful that we were able to spend time with all of our families even though I worked so much. We have the best families, and I'm so grateful for them.

Animal print from Aunt Katie. Duh.

Santa, aka Mama, had the flu this year during Christmas. Wrapping presents in her state of illness and delirium, she labeled everything "From: Sick Santa" which I thought was weird and hysterical.

Charlotte's first ornament on Mama's tree! She truly is the best gift we could ever have asked for. I absolutely cannot wait to hold her, and I love her so much my heart may explode. I can't believe this time next year we will have a precious little 9 month old crawling around!


I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!!