July 06, 2020

Birth Story: Charles Guillermo Chatwin

This blog post is long overdue, but it has been in my thoughts, in my heart, and on a Note in my iPhone for the last year. One thing I want to preface this story with is the firm knowledge I have that God is in charge. I had done so much research, listened to podcasts, asked questions, weighed my options for birth... But the night before going in to the hospital, I remember the overwhelming feeling that I needed to just... trust and let go. That, at the end of the day, the most important thing was to get my baby here healthy and safe. As long as that happened, the details didn't matter. Come what may. And it served me well, because... I swear, every time a nurse or the doctor came in to check on me, their plan and my options changed. But at the end, we got a healthy, handsome baby boy. Here's how it happened.

Our little son, Charles Guillermo Chatwin (Charlie) was born at 8:54am on Saturday, July 6, 2019. He was 20 inches long and weighed 8 lbs 3 oz, which was a big surprise to us, since both of us were small babies! (I weighed 6.5 lbs at birth, and Stephen weighed 7 lbs.) As cliche as this may sound, it really is hard to believe Charlie has only been with us for a year, because sometimes, I can't remember what life was like without him. Thankfully, I took notes during labor, because I knew I would want to remember his birth forever.

My due date was Friday, June 28th. That day came and went, and Charlie showed no signs of coming any time soon. At my 40-week OB appointment, I was maybe 0.5 centimeter dilated. So my doctor walked us through our options. I could be induced, but I'd have to wait about another week. I wanted to delay that option as long as possible in the hopes of being able to go into labor naturally, so we discussed being induced either on the 3rd or 5th. (With the 4th being a major holiday, it would've been a little trickier to be induced on that day.) We very nearly went in on the 3rd (which means Charlie would've had a 4th of July birthday!), but I really wanted to give him more time to come on his own. We made plans to be induced on July 5th if Charlie hadn't come by then.

In the meantime, we tried ALL the things to get him here! (Except castor oil; my doctor was very clear that we shouldn't resort to that!) I ate spicy food, I bounced up and down, I tried curb walking, we tried acupressure, and a number of other things, but nothing worked.

So on the morning of July 5, we made our way to the hospital so I could be induced. The first couple of hours were pretty low-key. My parents came down to the hospital. Throughout the day, other family members came and went (Chris, Shirley, Stephen's parents). Charlie wasn't born until more than 24 hours from when I arrived at the hospital, so I'll refer to my notes now to share about how things went.


10:15am- I've been here for a couple of hours, and Doctor Mutscheller just now came to check on me. She says because my cervix is thin enough (80% effaced according to the nurse), we can skip cervical ripening (an option she had considered to help get labor going) and go straight to induction! I’m still just .5 cm dilated, which means there hasn't been any progress since my appointment with her last week. The nurse will connect me to an IV in just a bit so they can administer low grade Pitocin.

10:20am- Just had an ultrasound, and it shows the baby is still head down and is sitting lower in my pelvis now than in my last ultrasound. Yay!

10:30amI’m all connected now to the IV now. The nurse will be back in a half hour to turn up the medication dose.

11amThe nurse just came to check on me. Apparently, the monitor says I’m having contractions every five minutes, but they’re not strong. I’ve been asleep and haven’t felt them yet.

1pmI was told that once you were admitted for labor, you weren't allowed to have any more food. But because my labor is going so slowly, Dr. Mutscheller said I could have food! Stephen went to get me a #1 deluxe combo from Chick-fil-A. with a large lemonade, of course! (Chick-fil-A lemonade was one of my strongest cravings during this pregnancy!)

4:59pmIt's been a few uneventful hours. They’re going to break my water shortly to speed things up. He still probably won’t be born until tomorrow though.

5:22pm- I’ve been on an IV getting pitocin for 6 hours, and I’m only 1 centimeter dilated. 🤦🏻‍♀️ My doctor came in to break my water to help things move a little faster. But since I'm not progressing, and because it turns out my cervix is only 50% effaced, not 80%, the plan changed. Instead of breaking my water, they’re now going to give me an epidural and then use a Foley balloon to open my cervix. 

The doctor hopes with the epidural, I’ll be able to sleep through the night and then hopefully, the baby will be born tomorrow.

(a little later)- The epidural went well, thankfully! I was super nervous, because after Dr. Mutscheller checked my cervix, I went to the bathroom and was bleeding. Like, period bleeding. I got anxious and started breathing quickly (not quite hyperventilating but in the vicinity). Stephen and the nurses helped me regain control, and the epidural went well. The anesthesiologist was very kind, and it turns out he knows Dave! (Stephen's brother)

6:21pm- My water broke on its own!

6:45pmChange of plan (again).They can’t use the Foley balloon if my water is broken. So I now have a monitor inside my uterus to more accurately track contractions and to see if I need more Pitocin. They won’t check my cervix again until I’ve had four hours of consistent contractions.

Also, the baby pooped just before my water broke, and there was meconium that came out with my water... They need to have a special nurse here when he’s born to check on him and make sure he hasn’t inhaled any.

And, apparently, from here on out, I’m just going to be constantly leaking fluids... including more baby poop. I had NO idea there was so much that needed to come out! Or that it didn't all come out when your water breaks. It’s so weird! I’m lying on a glorified puppy pad, and they just change it out periodically. I can't feel much anyway because of the epidural, so it was weird to see how full the pad was the first time they changed it.

Oh, and I’m not allowed to eat until after he is born. :( On the bright side, I’m connected to a catheter, so no need to get up and pee.

9pmNo real update. My contractions aren't coming in a good pattern yet, so they reset the monitor to make sure it's working correctly, and they're playing around with Pitocin levels. I’ve been getting short of breath when I have a strong contraction. I don’t feel pain, but my heart rate and breathing speed up significantly during a contraction.

Also, Stephen is my Smoop, and I love him. Annnnd I’m SO itchy everywhere! The nurse says it’s a normal reaction to the epidural, but it’s driving me nuts!!

10:47pmMy epidural has run out. My nurse is in a delivery, and I’m waiting on someone else to come switch out the IV. I am feeling contractions now, and it’s making me appreciate the epidural so much more! I’m also waiting for them to give me Benadryl to fight the itching. It’s driving me crazy!!

11pmTraci (my current nurse) is back, and she is going to let me have jello! I’m not even a jello person, but it definitely beats ice chips, so I’ll take it! She also gave me more epidural + Benadryl for the itching. I have felt my last two strong contractions, so I had to push the epidural button twice to get a higher dose. Hopefully it works!


5amThe nurse came in to check my dilation. I'm at four centimeters! Hooray for progress!

Unfortunately, I’m also shaking uncontrollably and have a fever of 101.2 degrees. I thought the shaking was from being cold, and the nurse brought me some heated blankets. But after taking my temperature, she took them away, and I was left shaking again. :(

They gave me more Benadryl (because the itching is back with a vengeance) and Tylenol for the fever. The baby’s heart rate is high right now because of my fever... They reset his monitor and are watching him closely. If things don’t improve, worst case scenario is we end up in a cesarean delivery.

The reason I have a fever is because I have an infection: chorio infection. Here’s what I found about it online: “Chorioamnionitis also known as intra-amniotic infection (IAI) is an inflammation of the fetal membranes (amnion and chorion) due to a bacterial infection. It typically results from bacteria ascending from the vagina into the uterus and is most often associated with prolonged labor.” They administered antibiotics via IV.

Basically, we’ve been in labor too long, and I’ve somehow gotten an infection. I was also feeling nauseated, so they let me have more jello and apple juice. Stephen came and held me (to be my blanket) until I fell asleep.

6:40amMy fever is now up to 102, and the baby’s heart rate is fluctuating between 175-180, which is too high. They added another medication to my IV, but the biggest concern right now is the baby. He’ll have to be taken to the special care nursery after birth to be examined. :( The risk of a cesarean birth seems to be increasing by the minute...

7:18am- I have a 102.38 degree fever. I also got my cervix checked again. I’m still at four centimeters, and my cervix is swollen. Cesarean is looking more and more likely.

Later that day...

We had to do a cesarean delivery. Baby’s heart rate was just not stabilizing. My fever kept going up every time they checked on me, and my cervix stopped progressing. (I never made it past four centimeters.) Our baby was obviously in distress, and our doctor advised us that getting him out ASAP via C-section was our best option. Stephen and I discussed it and decided to accept her advice.

And so, our little baby Charles was born at 8:54am via C-section at LDS Hospital. The doctor held him up so Stephen and I could see him, and then they took him immediately to the Special Care Nursery to get checked for meconium inhalation or swallowing, for infection, signs of fever, distress, etc etc.

Unfortunately, I was lying on my back and couldn’t see the baby when they showed him. I asked for them to please hold him up again, but they had already taken him away, and I started crying. I was so upset that they took my baby away before I could even see him! But Stephen saw him and told me he had hair. Stephen went with Charlie to the special care nursery and stayed by his side while he had his examinations. I found out later that my sister was allowed to go with them to take photos, and I'm SO grateful she could be there to document the moments I missed.

I stayed behind to get my internal organs put back inside of me (ha) and to have my incision stitched up. This sounds weird, but I remember feeling my organs being put back in... It didn't hurt, but I felt pressure and movement. It was a bizarre feeling. I had been fighting anesthesia in order to stay awake to see my baby after he was born, but once he was taken away without me seeing him, I just gave up trying to stay awake and fell asleep crying. I woke up towards the end of the procedure, because Stephen came back with baby Charles. It was a wonderful and emotional moment. I was so excited to see them! Especially my baby. But I was still flat on my back in the operating room, so I couldn’t hold him. And I was hardly conscious, if I’m being 100% honest. The first thing I remember thinking is, "He has hair!"

When I got wheeled back to our room, I tried to sit up and hold Charlie, but I couldn’t do it. I was dizzy, I was nauseated, I almost vomited. And I couldn’t keep myself sitting upright. I had to give the baby back to Stephen, and then I proceeded to conk out in my hospital bed. (In hindsight, I wish someone would've helped me hold the baby on my chest while I was lying down so we could have at least had SOME skin to skin, even if it wasn't immediately after he was born.)

This was definitely not the birth experience I was expecting, but I’m so grateful for modern medicine and to live in a time when we have the knowledge, science, and technology that kept both my baby and me alive. I’m keenly aware that in a different time period, one or maybe neither of us might not even be here.

And most of all, we are so grateful to our Heavenly Father for protecting us and for helping us bring our sweet boy into the world safe and healthy. We love him so much and can't imagine our lives without him!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for your comment!