Before I delivered Lotte I had BIG plans for my maternity leave. I envisioned myself heavily investing in this blog, crushing my fitness goals, starting a business (LOL), joining every single mommy-baby class offered and cooking bangin' meals for David to come home to (HA HA HA)!
Well, I think David's reaction to one of my most recent 'bangin'' meals- "It's okay Julia... you're just in a Summer slump. Why don't you stick with something you already know how to make.... like tacos!"- serves as a pretty good indication of how my mat leave plans have been going!
So, if not blogging, exercising, class-taking, business-starting etc. then what HAVE I been doing?
Well let's see...
Lots of bouncing and cuddling
Lots of documenting- first smile, first 'standing', first grabbing, first bike ride, first boat ride
Lots of singing- countless repetitions and renditions of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Head and Shoulders and My God is So Big
Lots of walking, talking and cottage time with Nana and Grandpa
Lots of coffee drinking
Lots of celebrating little things like eye contact, smiling, holding, grabbing, standing and rolling over
Some lunch-ing with friends
A little bit of crying
Lots of diaper changing and outfit changing
Lots of mall walking and window shopping
Daily belly-laughing with David about being parents and the funny things that Lotte does
Lots of wondering- What will Lotte be like when she's older? Are we doing this parenting thing right? And most importantly... what colour will her eyes be?!? ;)
Lots of storytelling, stuffy naming and character inventing
Lots of kissing and rocking
While the first 4.5 months of my mat leave may have looked different than I imagined, these seemingly "ordinary" activities have filled my days with so much JOY and I'm so thankful to have had the time to enjoy them! What a gift!
Here's to the next 7.5 months of mat leave being filled with no fewer cuddles, convos, kisses, walks or laughs... but hopefully at least a couple more blog posts! ;)
Lotte at 3 Weeks:
Weight: 7ish lbs (her next check up is Friday)
Hair: Brown…and lots of it!
Looks Like: a mix of mommy and daddy
Looks Great In: PINK!! And headbands of any colour! ;)
Sleeps: SO WELL! Lotte sleeps for 5-6 hours at a time during the night which means I really only feed her once in the middle of the night- SUCH A GIFT!
Loves: Going for long walks outside, shopping (favourite stores: Gymboree and Baby Gap), bath time, cuddling with mommy and telling “stories” after eating!
One pleasantly surprising thing:
I’m so in love with Lotte that the little things I expected to be difficult just aren’t as bad as I pictured. For example….getting up to feed in the middle of the night. When I hear her cry I think ‘ughhh’….but as soon as I see her I’m so excited because I just love her so much!!
One Fun Thing:
Everyone is SO friendly when you have a baby! Strangers come up to talk to us all of the time when we’re out and about… and I love it!
One shocking thing:
The number of diapers we’ve gone through! WOW!! In 3 weeks we’ve gone through approximately 200 diapers! It’s crazy! Sometimes I’ll JUST finish changing Lotte’s full diaper when she goes again. Sometimes I’m in the middle of changing her diaper when she goes again. Ha….at least she has a healthy digestive system!
One ‘WOW’ Thing:
Every time I look at Lotte I can’t help but say “WOW”. At first it was more about the fact that her body was so perfectly formed- how do 10 fingers, 10 toes, lips, eyes, ears all end up in the right spot, all inside of my body? It’s incredible! But now I’m amazed at her ‘person’. At 3 weeks Lotte already has a personality of her own. And already she’s learning so much- Lotte’s curious about what’s happening around her, she TOTALLY recognizes David and I and she’s started to try communicating with the cutest vocalizations. It’s incredible that this tiny babe is actually a complete person- an individual! David and I feel so lucky that we are the one’s who get to love on her and watch her develop into the person she’s going to be! What a blessing!
During the last 3 weeks David and I have had so much to be thankful to God for. First, we’re thankful for Charlotte’s safe arrival and healthy body! We’re thankful for a complication-free recovery for me. We’re thankful for the energy David’s had to go to work and then come home and invest in Lotte. We’re thankful for friends and family that have loved on us during this time of transition and who have been SO excited about meeting and loving on Charlotte, too! And finally, we’re thankful that she’s ours! WOW- God is so good!
Charlotte Catherine Dawe (‘Lotte’ for short) arrived 1 week ago today! Even though she didn’t come on the day or in the way we were expecting or hoping for David and I couldn’t feel more blessed! She is PERFECT and we are SO in love!
Here is her birth story…extended edition ;)
**Note: This is the ENTIRE story. If you’re only interested in the BIRTH part…scroll down to the dotted line and start reading from there!**
On the night of Friday March 30th, 2 weeks and 4 days before my due date, I started to experience what was later diagnosed (after four trips to the hospital) as Trigeminal Neuralgia- basically incredibly severe head/eye/cheek/gum pain on one side of the face caused by an irritation or inflammation of the Trigeminal Nerve. This condition left me in chronic pain during the day and unable to sleep (as ‘attacks’ would happen most often during the night) at night.
On Thursday April 12th my mom drove me to Southlake for a routine ultrasound appointment. I had been to Southlake for MANY of these ultrasounds before and every time I was told that my baby was healthy and happy! So at 39 weeks pregnant, I thought my OBGYN was being so ‘EXTRA’ sending me for yet another one. On this particular Thursday Southlake was a buzzing place so we had to wait 2 hours past our appointment time to be seen. We filled our time with knitting, looking through 2+ year old fashion/home décor magazines and lots of laughing/chatting. After having the ultrasound I was sent BACK to the waiting room to wait for the doctor to review my results. After 15ish minutes I was called to the pre-natal clinic and told “Hey hun! We need to but you on a non-stress test right away. Your baby has shown no growth since your last ultrasound so you will most likely be induced tonight. You definitely wont be going home without a baby!” WHAAAAT?? I honestly thought they were joking! The first words out of my mouth were… “Will I have the baby tonight or on Friday the 13 ?” (Ha…I really wanted a baby born on an EVEN numbered day) followed by “Is the baby okay? What do you mean ‘no growth’? Why? When? How? Etc.”. I went back to the waiting room to tell my mom and she didn’t believe me! How could this be???
I called David ASAP and filled him in on the drama! He was going to be a DADDY sooner than we though! Then I sent him a list of like a MILLION things that I forgot to pack in my hospital bags but definitely needed him to bring.
The Non-Stress Test (which was actually VERY stressful for a momma-to-be who was just told that her baby hadn’t grown in 2 weeks and that she was going to be INDUCED) showed that the baby was doing well- strong heart beat, lots of moving. Hallelujah! My blood pressure test, urine test and blood work all came back ‘normal’ which was great too. The doctor came to see us within 25 minutes and said “tonight we are going to insert a Cervadil right up next to your cervix. It will release a drug over 12 hours that is supposed to soften the cervix and start the dilation process. If it works at all, we will pop your waters tomorrow morning. Sound good?” Well I’m not sure it sounded GOOD, but it sounded like a plan and I was content with that for the time being.
At 5:30pm on Thursday April 12th the doctor checked my cervix- I was 1cm dilated- and inserted the Cervadil. I was taken to my birthing room (which I was really impressed with at the time- ha) and David showed up with all our bags. That night we had a ‘pizza party’ with my mom and dad and tried to relax and mentally prepare for the next day.
At around 8:30am the next morning the doctor on call, Dr. Walsh (who just so happened to be my OBGYN), showed up to check my cervix. I was 1.5cm dilated- enough to start the induction through Oxytocin given via an IV. She broke my waters and the journey began! Initially contractions were about 5-7minutes apart and not too painful. Every 30 minutes the nurse came in to increase my dose of Oxytocin. The pain got pretty intense pretty quickly (and increased with each increase in Oxytocin) and the contractions moved to 2 minutes apart within the first 3 hours. After 6 hours of labour I was wiped out but hopeful that all of the pain meant my cervix was dilating! Dr. Walsh came in to check my cervix at 2:30pm and I had only dilated 0.5cm…for a grand total of 2cm. Obviously my body was not ready to give birth! At that point, after 6 hours of brutal labour and essentially NOTHING to show for it, I was emotionally and physically worn out. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to continue for WHO KNOWS HOW LONG without some sort of pain medication. That’s when I called for the epidural. The anesthetist came and inserted the epidural promising pain relief within 5-10 minutes. After 20 minutes I was still suffering through contractions with only numbness in my legs! The anesthetist decided to give me a double dose of pain medication through my epidural tube to see if that would fix the issue and it didn’t. He came to the conclusion that he’d inserted the epidural too low on my spine! At 4:20ish he pulled out my epidural tubing and inserted a new epidural tube higher up on my spine. At that point my blood pressure dropped significantly and Lotte’s heart rate went from 150 to 50.
All of a sudden everything got really serious. The nurse said “Hun I’m going to give you oxygen” and then I heard her use the intercom to say “I need assistance”. Within seconds there was an announcement saying “Code Silver” over the hospital PA system and within seconds there were a ton of people in my room. My OBGYN came beside my bed and said “Julia your baby’s heart rate has dropped. I’m taking you for an emergency C-section right now.” Then she turned to David and said “daddy come with me. Everyone else stay here.” I was wheeled down the hall to the operating room and David was taken to a separate room to get hospital clothes on. I was given super strong drugs through my epidural tube and Dr. Walsh said to me “we are going to leave this room with a healthy baby and healthy mommy. Try to stay calm”. STAY CALM?!?! I was a drugged up, stressed out wreck! When David walked into the room he was crying and I was shaking pretty intensely. David said “This baby is definitely a girl. There’s no way a boy would be this dramatic!” ha.
Eventually I heard Dr. Walsh say “Julia you’re going to feel a LOT of pressure for a few minutes… and then we’ll have a baby!” I felt some pushing on my abdomen and then heard “the baby is out”. I remember asking “why isn’t the baby crying?” and the anesthetist assuring me that everything was okay. I could see Lotte being passed between a bunch of doctors/nurses- being weighed, measured and assessed. Then I heard one nurse say to another nurse “FEMALE”. I turned to David with a HUGE smile and said “IT’S A GIRL!!!” Honestly, in that moment I couldn’t have been happier!! Eventually they brought her to me all swaddled up to hold for a few minutes. I asked David what we should name her (we had gone into labour with 3 options for girls names) and he said “oh she’s definitely a Lotte”. So…Charlotte it was!
David and Charlotte left the operating room while I got stitched up and then eventually I was wheeled down to the recovery room to meet them. When I got to the room David said “I’ve already bonded with her!” which was pretty cool for a new mama to hear. Charlotte and I had our first cuddles and feed in that room before heading to our new room where we were greeted by family who couldn’t WAIT to meet her!
In the past week Charlotte has totally stolen our hearts. Already we can’t, and wouldn’t want to, imagine life without her. Midnight feeds, crying fits, dirty diapers, sore breasts, scars etc. all seem like a SMALL price to pay for getting to do life with Lotte. We are looking forward to a lifetime of watching her grow, witnessing her personality develop and falling even more in love with her (if it’s possible). We are so thankful to God for this miracle.
Hi! I'm Mrs. Julia Dawe,