Sweet Charlotte Jane,
The story of you and how you came to be is so miraculous. You already know by now that Mommy and Daddy waited a long time to get pregnant, that we lost a baby before your brother Jack burst into the world with wildness and glee. What you might not know is that even when Jack was very small I had a dream of you in my heart. I heard other Mommy’s saying things like “I never want to do that again” about pregnancy and giving birth, but I didn’t understand that then, I only knew, without knowing you, that you were missing from our family.
I wanted to have you as soon as possible and since it had taken a long time to get pregnant before, your Daddy and I decided to not use any birth control and just see what happened. When Jack was 4 months old I remember crying to Levi and Wesley’s mommy and Sophia’s mommy and saying I wished I were pregnant. They loved me, but they thought I was insane, as they themselves had very young babies. There hearts weren’t ready for their new babies, yet, all though they became ready later in the year.
When Jack was 5 months old, your Daddy and I had a very rough weekend. We got in a humongous fight over a parking spot and Daddy said that I was acting like a lunatic. Something about the fight made me remember how mean I was to Daddy the weekend before we realized I was pregnant with Jack. I decided to take a pregnancy test, just incase, even though I was pretty sure it would be negative. I was on the phone with your Aunt Jess when I came back and remembered to check it… there was a pink plus sign! I shrieked. I said “JESS! I’M PREGNANT!” then I said a bad word because I realized that I hadn’t told Daddy yet. I said “Oh, my gosh, I have to go, I haven’t told Matt. Don’t say anything!” And hung up. Daddy wasn’t home yet, but he was going to be home in a few minutes so I quickly ran and got one of Jack’s white shirts and wrote “Big Brother” on it. Then when Daddy came home, we ran outside to meet him and let him read Jack’s shirt. It took him a minute to understand what we were saying. We laughed and cried in stunned disbelief. I couldn’t believe that God would bless me enough to give me both of you precious babies in such a short amount of time.
During my pregnancy, a lot of great things happened. First, we found out you were a girl. I didn’t want to admit even to myself that I was hoping that you would be. There was something very precious about carrying you, and knowing that you were growing in me. We also found out that we had the all clear to have another home birth with you. I was so happy that you would be born in the same beautiful way that your brother was and that our dearly loved midwife would be the one to help me with your birth.
Being pregnant with you with a little tricky, though, because I was still nursing your brother. In fact, I nursed him until 2 months before you were born, and as you’ve already seen, Mommy got quite large with you, so that was quite the feat. Sometimes if Jack laid across my stomach in a way that you didn’t like, you would kick him. It was pretty sunny to everyone but Jack. By the way, you have very awesome and strong legs.
Your due date was December 23rd but your mommy pulled a fast one on everyone and told them that you weren’t due until December 31st so that there would be less pressure on me when you were late. That was nice. Everyone trusted my body and homebirth more this time around, anyway, and they would have been okay if they had known the real date.
You know that at 16 days overdue we had gone to dinner with Glenn’s mommy and Daddy and that I had resigned myself to being pregnant forever. What had also happened that morning was that your outer sack of water had broken. I called my midwife and told her but then decided not to tell anyone else because that doesn’t always mean that labor is going to come quickly. We just went about our day like normal. After dinner we came home, put your brother to bed and then we put together your crib. It had been bothering me for a while that it wasn’t ready, even though I knew you wouldn’t be sleeping in it for the first few months. Then your Daddy and I went to bed. Or rather, your Daddy went to bed. I couldn’t get comfortable and I felt like I had a stomach ache. I had two rather mysterious contractions a few hours before, but nothing since then. I decided to get into the bubble bath and read for a bit. While laying in the bath all of a sudden I had a very hard contraction and had to get out immediately, there was no way to lay down with a contraction that strong. I looked at the clock, it was 2:30 a.m.
Our very wise midwife had made me promise to call her as soon as I starting contracting because she thought that my labor with you was going to be, in her words, “lightning quick!” Still, I hesitated, because I really didn’t want to wake her up for a false alarm. I decided to time a few contractions. The first two were 10 minutes apart, but then the next 4 were 5 minutes apart and about a minute long. After half an hour I called our midwife and told her, it was nothing bad, I hadn’t even woken Daddy yet, and that she could go back to bed if she wanted, I would just call her when it started to really hurt. But our midwife is very smart and she decided it would be better to come right away. I am so glad she did!
It took her about 45 minutes to arrive, at which point I had been in labor for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. The minute she saw me she called her apprentice and asked her to come right away. 10 minutes later I told her I felt like I needed to push a little. She told me to do whatever felt right, and I noticed that she started laying out her medical equipment and other supplies more quickly.
You have to understand, Charlotte, that at this point, I thought that I was crazy for wanting to push a little. I thought that when Stephanie said “lightning quick” that she meant 6 – 7 hours. I mean, that’s a crazy short labor! I pushed a little as I walked around, swaying my hips from side to side felt like a good idea, so I did it. I remember daddy asked me if I wanted to do lunges. I wanted to laugh but the contractions were very intense at the point so I just said “um, no.” It was the nicest thing I could say to a suggestion like that. I felt the urge to push really strongly right after I started swaying my hips, and still under the assumption that I was going to be laboring for another 5 hours or so, I assumed I needed to use the rest room. I ran (read: waddled) into the bathroom and pushed a little from the toilet. I noticed Stephanie watching me from the other room and felt embarrassed. I said “the amount of people who have pooped in front of you must be staggering” to break the ice. You must know by now that Mommy makes awkward jokes, right? As I finished that sentence I felt this INSANE urge to push and could do nothing but that. My water didn’t just break – it exploded! I remember the sound of the amniotic fluid hitting the water in the toilet and being terrified that it was you that made that noise and that you had fallen in the toilet.
Have no fear, my love, it wasn’t you. But you were coming fast! I now knew I wasn’t in control anymore, you were. Even when I wasn’t pushing, you were. You had decided that 17 days past your due date was quite enough, thank you very much, and you wanted to be born that very moment. And you practically were! 9 minutes after I felt like I needed to push, and 1 hour and 42 minutes after I had my first contraction, you were born.
Angel, how do I describe that moment? You were perfect. You were very tan, like a little Eskimo baby, but besides that you looked just like Jack. You had beautiful black hair and you were chubby! Oh, you were so chubby! You must know that your Mommy goes to pieces for a chubby baby and you were the best of them all. You were much shorter than Jack so I assumed you weighed less. I called your Grammy and guessed that you were in the 9 pound range. Boy, honey, I was wrong! You beat even your brother, weighing an astounding 11 pounds and 8 ounces! Those extra 2 ounces looked good on you, darling.
Charlotte, your sweetness and gentleness have forever changed this family. You are everything that I never knew to ask for in a daughter. It’s impossible for me to even describe what a fulfillment you are to the dream that I held in my heart for so long. I love, sweet girl, and I always will.