Posted by: Elizabeth | February 4, 2012

Upside-Down

I’m not sure that she totally realizes it yet, but a couple of weeks ago, Caroline’s world got turned upside-down: her baby brother arrived.  It was a long-anticipated change – even longer-anticipated than we thought, since he was born 10 days after his due date – but perhaps the full effects have not yet been realized.

Carter James Schindler arrived on Friday, January 20, 2012 at 8:11 p.m.  [Note: Caroline was born at 8:11 a.m. – I think that’s pretty cool!]  We were actually scheduled for a labor induction that day, but I called first thing in the morning and was told that we were “on hold,” because the Labor and Delivery floor was full.  They said they’d call me back if and when they had room for me, hopefully that same day.  Sheesh – if that wasn’t a let-down after preparing to go in for an induction!  But they called back and asked us to check in at 11:00 a.m., not too long after we had expected to go.  We were grateful for the extra time, as the snow and ice of the prior days was receding to make travel a little less perilous.  I had been having contractions off and on for three weeks, and that morning, they were stronger than usual but still quite erratic – sometimes 5 minutes apart, sometimes half an hour apart.  But they were significant enough that when we arrived at the hospital, we decided with our caregivers that, instead of taking the drugs to induce labor, the doctor would just break my water and see if labor wouldn’t progress on its own.

What a relief!  I was dreading another drug-induction, and was so grateful for the chance to try labor on my own.  There were some complicating factors, namely that the midwife on-call was stuck in her driveway due to ice… so we resolved to get the hospitalist to come break my water… except that there were 5 c-sections that day, so he was busy… and then the midwife got out of her garage but got to the Tacoma Narrows bridge just as they closed it due to falling ice, so she couldn’t get to the hospital… But around 2:30 p.m., the hospitalist (who was wonderful!) came in and broke my water.  The contractions were strong enough at that point that I had to stop and breathe through them – just still irregular.  After he broke my water, they almost immediately became more regular, quite close together, and quite intense.  At about 4:30, I requested an epidural, remembering how long and arduous my labor was with Caroline and hoping to avoid the utter exhaustion I felt when she was finally born.  The OB anesthesiologist was in one of those c-sections, but an on-call anesthesiologist came and gave me a fantastic epidural.  I immediately relaxed and watched a movie with Steven while labor progressed.

Since the on-call midwife was still stuck on the other side of the Narrows Bridge, my favorite midwife from the practice came over after she finished her clinic patients for the day.  When she got back from dinner around 7:00 p.m., I was fully dilated.  I could not believe how quickly that happened!  She let me labor down for a while, and I started pushing at about quarter till 8:00.  Carter was born without complications at 8:11 p.m.  It was absolutely the best labor and delivery experience I could have imagined, with a quiet, supportive, encouraging room – just me, Steven, our midwife Joan, our nurse Stacy, and a very quiet nurse hanging out off to the side to take care of Carter.  Things at Caroline’s birth did not happen perfectly, to say the least, so I had a lot of anxiety around Carter’s birth – but it really could not have gone better.

All through this pregnancy, everyone, myself included, has thought that this baby would be smaller than Caroline (who was born at 11 lbs).  I gained less than half the weight I gained with Caroline and felt totally different and better during pregnancy.  He had LOTS of room to move around even at 41 weeks, and while he was measuring “above average,” everyone’s estimate was about 9 or 9.5 pounds.  Even after he was born, I thought he was probably 9.5 pounds – he was full-cheeked, for sure, but did not look as big as Caroline to me.  After I had snuggled with him for a while, the baby nurse put him on the scale, and she and Joan the midwife started laughing.  I had no clue what was going on, because the scale was in kg, and I couldn’t do the conversion in my head.  Then they pushed the button to switch to pounds, and we saw that Carter was 11 lbs, 1.8 oz.  All I could say was, “Seriously?!”  He was a quarter inch shorter than his sister, but outweighed her by 2 ounces.  I guess we just make big babies!  Thankfully, Carter did not break any bones during delivery, whereas Caroline broke her clavicle, and he did not have low blood sugar like his sister did.  So he started out on an easier path, and has had an easier first few weeks than Caroline had.  He lost a full pound in the first few days, just as his sister did, but has more than made up for that by eating like a hungry little hippo in the days since, passing his birthweight on day 12.

We are adjusting quickly to life as a family of four.  While Caroline seemed totally unimpressed with her brother when she met him at the hospital, she has quickly warmed to him, and now wants to hold, kiss, hug, and touch her “baby brudder” ALL THE TIME.  She wants to be with him and help him constantly, which warms my heart.  It’s obviously difficult for her to share her parents, but she now understands that Carter’s mom and dad are her mom and dad, and she seems to be settling in to her new role as big sister.

I realize that now we’ll have to change the name of the blog… but I’ll work on that later.  Here are a few photos for your enjoyment:

This is how Carter felt about being born. Gotta love that pouty lip!

Big baby boy

First family photo

Close-up - a few hours old

 

Playing air guitar - 3 days old

Big sister and little brother seem to feel differently about this situation... - 3 days old

"What's up with the puppy ears, people?" - 6 days old

First big outing: Costco - 8 days old

Sibling love - 11 days old

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Responses

  1. Congrats – love the story of how Carter entered the world – I can’t imagine dealing with ice/snow on top of labor/anxiety of having a baby. Caroline looks like she already has the big sister thing down. So happy for you and Steven!

  2. Love! Great story and pics. I’m glad everyone is healthy and doing well. Can you explain to this non-mommy what it means to “labor down” ? (“She let me labor down for a while…”)
    Thanks!


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