Welcome, Charlie

23 Jan

I’m fairly confident that if you asked those who know me best (parents, husband, close friends), I’m sure they would verify that I have a way of doing things my own way.  Not necessarily in a persistent defiant way, but just my own way. 

So it would not likely come as a surprise to those same folks that when the doctor says we’re inducing on December 27th at 7:00 am, my water breaks at exactly 7:00 am on December 26th.  It appeared as though our little one wanted to come into this world on his own accord, and we were happy about that.

It was the day after Christmas.  Jarrod and I had been on pins and needles for nearly a week, wondering when we would meet this new little person…and if we would end up with a Christmas baby.  We both received plenty of advice on the whole Christmas baby thing.  Some experienced it first hand with very negative experiences, and others genuinely loved sharing their birthday with “the most wonderful time of the year.”  For Jarrod and me, if we had our druthers, we were hoping for an after Christmas, before New Years arrival.  But when it came down to it, we just wanted a successful, healthy delivery for both baby and myself, and if that happened on Christmas, New Years, or St. Patrick’s Day, we were going to be grateful for such a wonderful blessing.  Besides, we were going to have little control over the arrival date anyway…no need to stress.

After spending Christmas evening at Grandma Schumacher’s, playing cards, chatting with family, and munching on Holiday goodies, Jarrod and I made it home somewhere around 2:00am.  I laid in bed, restless.  For whatever reason, I just couldn’t sleep.  My mind   Seven hours after the book was closed on Christmas 2009, I woke up in a haste.  My water broke.  As I leapt out of bed, I said, “Jarrod, Jarrod!”  In a groggy, half-awake voice, he replied, “Yea?”

“My water just broke.” I replied calmly, but with excitement.

The words barely escaped my mouth as Jarrod sprung out of bed with wide eyes and a thumping heart.  In my memory, he spun in about 9 circles right there next to the bed before he actually did or said anything.  Then he looked at me, unable to organize his thoughts.

“What do I need to do? What do I need to get? What can I get for you?”

“Jarrod. I’m in no pain.  I need you to pull yourself together.”

“Ok.  I can do that.”

That’s exactly how that conversation went.  He went from frantic to fairly together in those fifteen seconds.  And from then on he was collected, engaged, and attentive.  He made the phone call to Jane Crouch, our doula and mother of one of my closest life long friends.  With the bags packed in the car, we were on our way to the hospital.

The ride to Anderson is about 12 minutes long.  We phoned and texted those close to us to let them know we were making that highly anticipated trip southbound on I-55, destination: Maternity Ward. 

Once at the hospital, we met Jane who was waiting at the door for our arrival.  We were moved to our delivery room and soon enough I was hooked up to a fetal heart monitor, contraction monitor, and an I.V. drip.  Contractions weren’t coming hard or fast.  As a matter of fact, I felt rather silly laying in this hospital bed “in labor” and I wasn’t really feeling much of anything. 

Jane provided me with an endless amount of helpful information.  She asked me if I had intended to get an epidural.  It was my intention to bare the pain until it was too much to handle, however far that would take me.  If I couldn’t handle it, I’d request the epidural.  Jane said that if I thought that I would get the epidural, to request it before they started the pitosin.  She reiterated how much work labor actually is, and how much strength and energy I will need when it comes time to push.  I asked my doctor if that was an okay plan and she confirmed it was a smart move and gave me the thumbs up. 

Soon enough, the nurse anesthetist was in the room and the epidural was in.  I’m not a fan of needles.  The epidural was incredibly uncomfortable and strange feeling.  But after the whole evening was over, this discomfort was minimal compared to the discomfort that would have ensued without it.  As the epidural was being placed, I hunched forward on the hospital bed, Jarrod holding me closely and I counted down from 10…about 40 times.  I buried my face in a pillow that I was hugging and just thought, “this too shall pass.”  It did, and soon I could feel close to no pain.

The next several hours found me laying very calmly and sedately in my bed.  Jarrod perched next to me and Jane nearby as well.  The tv in the room was on to help pass the time, although I seemed to notice Jarrod watching me more than the television. 

Mom and dad came into the room for just a bit.  The brought Jarrod some lunch and sat to visit with me for a moment.  My mom asked if I was having any contractions.  I replied, “Yea, I’m actually having one right now.”  I’m not sure she would have believed me if I couldn’t have pointed to the monitor to my right that showed the peak of the contraction I was currently experiencing.  She then told me how while she was in labor with Katie she had a bruise across her forehead from holding on the bed rail and pressing her head up against it to get past the contractions.  Thank God for medicinal advancement.

Around 6:00 pm I was beginning to feel quite hungry.  All I was allowed was clear liquids, so Jarrod managed to grab me a Sierra Mist Free from the lounge.  He poured it into a cup and place a bendy straw in the soda for easier drinking.  As I leaned forward in my semi reclined bed to take a sip, I aspirated the little soda that I had taken in.  I coughed hard about 5 times, trying not to choke, but more trying not to pop out any of the dozen or so tubes that connected me to the delivery room. 

With those coughs came an immediate and immense pain, or pressure, in my lower right pelvis.  This was new. 

I alerted Jane and Jarrod and they in turn alerted the nurses.  Within 60 seconds, there were 2 nurses in the room checking my progress and trying to identify my new found pain.  For the 3 or so hours leading up to my soda aspiration, I was dialated to a solid 5-6 cm.  Thanks to my forceful coughing, I had progressed to 7 cm. 

Then, before Jarrod and I really had time to assess the situation, there were more nurses.  And they were saying this crazy four letter word that wasn’t exactly what I was ready to hear.

“Push!”

What? Already?  I was just casually sipping soda 3 minutes ago!  Before either Jarrod or I had adequate time to realize what was really happening I had my legs reared back and I was pushing with all my might.  Contractions were coming faster and harder, and in all honesty, I truly wasn’t in pain.  The only way I can sufficiently describe what I felt was an insane amount of pressure coupled with an inordinate amount of discomfort.  Pushing started at about 6:00 pm and lasted for another 51 minutes. 

When the baby started crowning, I believe it was Jane that said, “That’s not a 9 lb head!”

“You mean it’s BIGGER???” Turns out it wasn’t.

As the baby’s head began to show, the doctor looked at Jarrod and said, “Dad, do you want to see your baby’s head?”  Jarrod looked at me without responding to the doctor.  “Go ahead!” I replied.  Jarrod then moved to get a better view and the nurses told me to push one more time with everything I had. 

The head came out and the doctor flipped the baby over and suctioned out the mouth and nostrils.  I was unable to tell by the way it felt how progress was coming, but Jarrod gave me play by play as best he could to keep me informed of that which I couldn’t feel or see. 

Incredibly, I had the realization at that moment that the  baby’s bottom half had not yet been revealed, and Jarrod was staring at his child, his son or daughter, still not realizing which it would be.  The moment I was most anticipating and excited for was about to become a reality.  I told myself, “Annie, push with everything you’ve got.  Look at Jarrod.  This will get you through.” 

Soon enough, Charlie slipped out and the doctor exclaimed, “It’s a boy!”

Jarrod’s eyes filled with tears and his smile was a mile wide.  The doctor got the baby all the way out and placed him on my chest.  Jarrod and I gathered around this little person, covered in blood and vernix and he was the most beautiful thing we had ever seen.  Our water-filled eyes couldn’t hardly understand the miracle in front of us, but we held Charlie and held each other and for a moment, the other 12 people in the room disappeared.  The sounds of the monitors were drowned by the adorable cry or our son.  We had no thoughts of pain, no feelings of inadequacy, and no stresses of financial obligations.  We were parents and we were humbly elated. 

The moment soon passed and it was time for Charlie to undergo a plethora of tests.  He laid in the warmer about 8 feet to the right of me in my bed and his cry was the most amazing thing to hear.  Jarrod held my hand and I finished my delivery.  They took Charlie out of the room and continued to run a few tests on him.  I sat in the delivery room, nurses had gone, the doctor had moved to the delivery next door, and Jarrod, Jane and I were left in the room alone.  Much like a few hours ago, the three of us sat in the quiet hospital room.  But now, Jarrod was a father, I, a mother.  Our lives will never be the same and we could feel it. 

My mom and dad soon came back to the delivery room to check on me and await Charlie’s return.  They were also waiting to find out if they were having a granddaughter or a grandson.  We asked them if they wanted to know or if they wanted to meet their grandchild.  They decided they wanted to know. 

Jarrod proudly told them, “Congratulations, you have a grandson.  His name is Charles Jarrod Frey.  We’re going to call him Charlie.”

Mom and dad, now grandma and grandpa, both teared up.  Dad responded, “I’m not worthy!” and proceeded to sit down in the guest chair and take it all in.  Joey called mom and asked how everything was going.  Mom told him that he had a nephew, Charlie (not a nephewette as he had earlier predicted we wouldn’t have). 

The next two days were somewhat of a blur.  The day and night blended together and we began to get a taste of what our new life as parents would be like.  It was obvious to us that this new life would be different.  We knew it wouldn’t always be easy.  But we also could see how much joy Charlie was going to bring to our lives, and everyone else’s lives he touches, each and every day. 

Welcome, Charlie.  We’re so glad you’re here.

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4 Responses to “Welcome, Charlie”

  1. Jane January 25, 2010 at 9:43 AM #

    Annie again, all I can say is what an amazing writer you are and how happy I am for you and your family. I enjoyed reading your blog, it brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations and always remember the joy of that moment as you watched Jarrod as Charlie made his presence known because that’s what will get you through those rough days you will have in the future. May God Bless you and keep you and your family safe and healthy and may your blessing continue to grow.

  2. Weber January 25, 2010 at 10:35 PM #

    Adorable Baby…Congrats!!

  3. Kathy January 26, 2010 at 8:10 AM #

    What a Beautiful story, Annie. Makes me cry (happy tears).

  4. Jane Crouch January 26, 2010 at 6:42 PM #

    I absolutely loved reading your story; gave me YOUR view on everything. I was tickled to see you all on Charlie’s Baptism Day. May God continue to bless you and hold you up as you take on the most important job of your lives.

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