22 Months

25 Oct

22months

At 22 months, Charlie…

:: Will repeat pretty much any word I ask him to. He will throw new words in randomly every day — favorites this weekend include “Bouncy castle!” (we were at a birthday party) and “Ques-a-DI-lla?!” He also loves to say “basketball” and “turn it around.”

:: Is also repeating lots of phrases and sentences. It’s really amazing how his speech has exploded over the last month or so and he can now express pretty much anything he wants to.

:: Still loves for me to pick him up when we are in the kitchen for very long, except now he’ll usually say “Carry!” instead of the previous “Me me me!”

:: Loves being chased and playing “Find you!” which is where I will disappear from the room for a moment and say, “Oh wheeeeere is my Charlie?” then pop back in and say, “I found you!!” He then laughs uncontrollably and says, “More find you?”

:: Says “Miss you” and “Love you” in pretty much the cutest possible way.

:: Is obsessed with Simon’s Cat. We still don’t do much screen time but he begs for “Simon’s cat? Washing machine?” at least once a day.

:: Loves to throw things. Especially hard things. We are working on the difference between hard and soft, and now have a basket of soft things that he can throw inside if he has the desire to throw. We’re working on trying to set firm but respectful limits with hitting and throwing, and I’m so grateful for Janet Lansbury and all she’s got to say on the subject. Her most recent book, No Bad Kids, is incredibly helpful (the audio version is great).

:: Has started to understand potty humor. As in, he likes to say random things like, “Poop bathtub?” and then laugh. Thankfully we’ve only had one poop-in-the-bathtub incident.

:: Wants to “bump” all day long. Which is throwing his hands up and then flopping backwards onto his bed, or throwing himself forward onto the pillows on our bed. He also likes to “flop” (which is Caleb holding him up above the bed and then letting him drop backwards).

:: Has started to enjoy Skyping/Facetiming family more and more. He will often ask to talk to various relatives, although we are still trying to figure out who “Uncle Bumpy” is.

:: Is very much looking forward to “Gigi” and “Uncle Josh” (Caleb’s mom and youngest brother) coming to visit in a few weeks. They will be spending Thanksgiving with us and it will be so nice to have them here.

:: Has started trying new physical activities, such as walking around on his knees, sliding forwards and backwards on his stomach like a worm, and spinning around in a circle on the floor.

:: Loves his Scuttlebug scooter and likes to go backwards and forwards on it while saying, “backwards” and “forwards”, which is fun.

:: Walks on his tiptoes every few minutes. And will usually say, “Tip toes! Tip toes!” when he does.

:: Wants me to sing slow versions of “Five Little Monkeys (Jumping on the Bed)” and “Five Little Ducks (Went Out to Play)” before he goes to sleep. Sometimes when he wakes at night and is upset, he’ll say, “Monkeys? Monkeys?” for me to sing it again.

:: Is starting to figure out colors, mainly blue, yellow, and purple.

:: Responds affirmatively with “Yeshhhhh.”

:: LOVES to be read to. He would have us read books to him all day long if we didn’t feel like we were going to lose our voices after an hour!

:: Still thoroughly enjoys all things musical. He can now plug and unplug cables into Caleb’s amp and strum a guitar with a pick. And of course, play a mean solo on the drums.

Twenty and Twenty-One Months

18 Sep

20months

At 20 and 21 months, Charlie…

Loves to swim. I pulled out his”Lil Swimmers” swim diapers the other day and his eyes got big. “Pooooool?! Fwimming??” He was so excited.

Likes to hand things to me and say, “Thank youuuu!”

Responds to pretty much anything I ask. Usually when I ask if he wants to do something/go somewhere, he will quickly and definitively say, “Yeah,” with a slight nod of his head. Or if I ask whether he saw something (like a cat or a bird) he will reply, “Mmmmm.”

Is saying loads of new words each day. Lots pointing, repeating, and asking what things are called. There are so many fun ones, but my favorites right now are “salsa”, “sunshine,” and “Happy!”

21months

Has discovered the joy of playing the drums. After church each Sunday, while Caleb is adjusting the music/sound equipment, he will sit on the “big” drum set and just go to town. He also discovered two of my extra-large knitting needles and has been using them to drum on every surface available.

Also, when we do something that he really likes, or hug him, etc, sometimes he’ll say, “Happy.” And then a few minutes later, “Drums!”

Is starting to put together sentences. So far, things like, “I coming!” and “Airplane…in the sky,” and “Drive in the car?” He says them so quickly that sometimes it’s hard to figure them out, but they are getting clearer and clearer.

Will say “Heavy” when picking up something that is heavy — but also when he’s having a hard time climbing up on to something or can’t get something to move the way he wants it to.

Has discovered the joy of bouncing and jumping up and down.

When he wants me to pick him up (usually when we are in the kitchen), he’ll throw his arms up in the air and say, “Me! Me! Me!”

Likes to pretend to “fake sleep” when Caleb is holding him. Caleb will say, “Fake sleep?” and they’ll both close their eyes and pretend to be sleeping. Then he’ll say, “Wake up!” and they’ll open their eyes and smile.

Seems to have lost some interest in the toilet. He still goes first thing every morning (and 90% of the time, does his one and only poo of the day in it, which is amazing), but doesn’t care to use it during the day. He still loves books about the potty and talks about pee whenever he hears/sees someone else heading to the bathroom or flushing, but would rather just avoid the bathroom/diaper changes altogether if it were up to him. I’m trying to let him do his thing and not pressure him, but hoping he will come around again soon.

Loves to “dump” — everything from dried beans to pom poms to water. Thankfully he will now usually say, “Dump?” before he does it, so that I can tell him not to if it’s messy. Although, when he’s finished drinking from a cup, his desire to dump usually gets the best of him.

Has entered a more picky stage with food. Or rather, vegetables. Up until about a month ago he was down with pretty much everything, but now vegetables continue to be passed over. Fruit, dairy, meat, grains are all fine but thank goodness for green smoothies (which he loves). It’s really hard not to pressure him or try to talk him into eating them, but I know it will be worth it. I’m really thankful for lots of things I learned from reading It’s Not About the Broccoli.

Upgraded to a twin (single) mattress in his room. He loves it and I really enjoy laying next to him at bedtime reading books together. He is still so little in it, but he is a pretty squirmy sleeper so he takes advantage of having lots of room to move. He also finally decided he doesn’t mind having a blanket over him, so just before he goes to sleep he’ll say, “Cozy?” and I’ll tuck it around him.

Thinks the farm is the best place ever. We got season passes to the community farm just down the road from us, and he talks about it every single day. We go about twice a week, even if it’s just for an hour. His favorite things to see are the bunnies, the turtle (tortoise), cows, the tractor (which he can sit on and “drive”), and the giant dragon sculpture that spits water out of its mouth.

 

Eighteen and Nineteen Months

19 Jul

18months

At 18 and 19 months, Charlie…

Has been busy, busy, busy! He flew from London to Florida, then up to Pennsylvania, then drove to the Ocean in New Jersey. He’s been such a trooper and we are so glad that our trips have been smooth so far.

Loves to explore and take things apart. He’s happiest if he can climb up, on, and around everything and then find something small to take apart and put back together.

Loves dumping water out of containers and filling them up again. He also really likes stomping in the water after he’s poured it out (even better if it’s in a mud puddle).

Got his first pair of wellies. He thinks they are the best, and carries them around saying, “Boots!”

Loves to be chased and tickled (especially by his Aunt Kelly).

Really enjoyed playing with his younger cousin Jameson!

Says lots of words, new ones every day. Some favorites are: mama, toes, shoes, bee, snail, squirrel, cow, moo, swing, play, park, Nanny, GiGi, Kelly, Pap-Pap, cat, meow, dog, woof, airplane, hey-oh, hello, strawberry, cheese, smoothie, iPad (hah).

Started using the iPad a week before our big trip so he’d have something to keep him still on the flight. It’s worked fairly well but I’ll be packing it away again until he’s two, so I’m imagining our first few weeks back there will be some repeated requests for it.

Has started to be a little more shy when meeting new people (understandable, since he’s met about a zillion new people over the past few weeks), but warms up to them pretty quickly.

19months

Blows kisses when he says goodbye, which makes the ladies melt.

Is pretty tall but super slim (still wearing 12 month clothing). Which is not for lack of eating, because this kid loves to chow down.

Loves the splash park, the beach, and the pool. It was definitely hard to say goodbye to all the water activities we got to enjoy, but not so hard to leave the summer heat!

Took his first ride in a little red wagon (in the driveway of the house where his Grandma grew up).

Loves swinging in the backyard with Granny and watching for birds and squirrels.

Whenever he sees a picture of a bear, he points to it and says, “Cow. Moo.” Not sure how this one started since he has seen plenty of cows since he was little!

Misses his dad (Caleb had to go back to Wales about halfway through our trip to keep working) and gets the biggest smile and laughs whenever he sees him on FaceTime.

Seventeen Months

22 May

17months

At 17 months, Charlie…

:: has begun running (oh boy) and doing little dances (mainly bopping up and down).

:: started signing “please” and “thank you” — which really still mean nothing to him, but are nice social graces!

:: is drinking well out of a cup again. We went through a “dump everything on the floor” phase for a while, but now he’s back to being more interested in the actual eating and drinking again.

:: thinks that Ikea or any home store that has empty cabinets/toilets/sinks is paradise.

:: can now climb on and off things like rocking horses, small see-saws, and bouncy animals. Which is cool, but also scary.

:: loves to be upside down. He likes to go for a “horsey” ride on our laps and then throw his head back until he is upside down.

:: has started to pretend to cook while using his learning tower. Today he was mashing broccoli in a bowl for awhile and helping me wash carrots.

:: decided that the electric toothbrush is cool again, and not scary. I need to start looking for a smaller one — it seems a bit silly, but he loves brushing his teeth with it and I’m happy to pay for an extra battery every now and again in order to avoid bedtime brushing drama.

:: has explored France! Well, mainly just Paris. I’m hoping to do a little update about our trip soon, but wow, the parks. Charlie had a blast. He also enjoyed hanging out with his new friend Jack (the son of another church planting family in Paris), and learning how to say goodbye by blowing a kiss.

:: is enjoying a resurgence of the peek-a-boo game, although this time with slightly more advanced hiding (and more enthusiastic re-appearing).

:: likes making animal noises, especially if it’s for a dog (woof, woof)!

:: looooves to go exploring outside. Almost as soon as he gets up in the morning, he starts bringing us his shoes and his jacket, ready to go for a walk.

:: can finally wear the little Converse sneakers that I bought Caleb to tell him that we were expecting!

Sixteen Months

26 Apr

16months

At 16 months, Charlie…

:: is a real toddler. Walking all over the place, opinionated about what he wants, not happy to sit still for more than a few minutes — he is a fireball of energy!

:: has started to understand the difference between throwing and rolling. Throwing, of course, is still the most fun.

:: is no longer happy just to point and watch cats — he likes to chase them!

:: had his first mild ear infection and managed to get through it after just a few days, without any antibiotics. Thankfully it wasn’t bad and he mainly just got extra sleepy/lazy and grumpy. The day after we went to the GP (doctor) to see what they thought it was, he ended up feeling much better. We were given amoxicillin just in case but I’m glad I didn’t have to find out whether or not he was allergic to it (a number of my relatives are).

:: really enjoys “washing his hands” (which actually consists mostly of playing with the tap/faucet and putting the towel in and out of its ring.

:: likes to put the oven mitt on his hand and touch the stove saying, “Hot! Hot!”

:: says and does the sign for rain when it is raining. He’s added a number of other signs (and words) to his vocabulary and is a lot of fun to communicate with.

:: could probably eat TWO blocks of cheese a day if I let him. The kid loves cheese.

:: is turning into a total giggle-monster. He will go nuts about the most random things and has started throwing his head back and cackling.

:: loves his DIY learning tower. He doesn’t stay up in it for too long yet and mostly likes dropping various utensils off of the counter, but it’s made kitchen time a bit easier and given him some more independence.

:: discovered the amazing joy of an electric toothbrush.

:: decided that an electric toothbrush was incredible and super cool for two nights…but now it’s a little scary.

:: is also nervous about the vacuum cleaner. So we decided to be goofy last time I had to vacuum and I would point at it and say, “No, vacuum cleaner — we don’t like you!” After that he wasn’t as scared and instead enjoyed pointing at it and calling, “No no!”

:: has started to get “ear” “nose” “mouth” and “eyes.” Although there’s still a big of confusion between no / nose / know.

:: likes “sweeping” with his very own little broom.

:: is more interested in exploring and walking around than in toys, but does like balls, cars, his pound and drop toy, wooden eggs and musical instruments. He also has started playing more with some of his “buddies” (stuffed animals) and loves to hide them, do the sign for “Where did it go?” and then find them.

Fifteen Months

21 Mar

15months

At 15 months, Charlie…

:: is finally walking! He is still very cautious and crawls more often than not, but he’s walked up to six feet or so on his own. He much prefers holding our hands, which is fine by me because I know he’ll be running off before we know it.

:: has started connecting more and more words with objects. Some favorites right now are: ball, shoe, cheese, cat, dog, bye, hiya, nana (banana), nah (no), eat, more, and of course mama and da (dad).

:: likes copying what we do with our hands. We have an awesome print in his room from my sister-in-law, Angela, and sometimes I’ll point to it and read it to him. He smiles really big, points back, and “reads” it back to me.

:: loves riding on his dad’s shoulders.

:: opens and closes everything he can, especially doors (and unfortunately, the toilet seat). He really, really likes “doing laundry”: opening the washer door, putting a dishrag in, closing it, and pushing the “on” button (which beeps because of the childproof setting). Then he’ll open the door, take the rag out, and start over.

:: is getting better at eating with a spoon (and using his fork), so mealtimes are more 50/50 utensils and hands.

:: could eat a block of cheese a day if I let him.

:: makes me both proud and terrified with his climbing skills. There will be some falls in our future, no doubt about that. Hopefully just not big ones!

:: wants to be involved in everything we do in the kitchen. We are working on a learning tower for him this weekend that should make his time while we are cooking a lot more enjoyable.

:: loves looking for cats and dogs. If you say “cat” or “dog” he will immediately repeat it and then point outside. If he gets to pet one, he’s in heaven!

:: loves reading: current book obsessions are Hands Can and Have You Seen My Cat?

:: has started sleeping much better at night, which has been wonderful. It looks like we are coming up on the transition from two naps to one soon, which I’m both looking forward to (much easier to schedule around one nap) and dreading (because it’s nice to have two little breaks in my day, and transitions are usually tough).

:: is such a goof. I love that he is still such a happy, silly boy!

 

Fourteen Months

3 Mar

14months

At 14 months, Charlie…

:: is really starting to look like a little boy (and not a baby!). I’m proud, but also a bit sad!

:: has taken his first steps! It’s only happened a few times, but he gets braver every day.

:: hands down, favorite activity right now is dropping/throwing/hiding things and then throwing his hands up in a “What happened?” or “Where did it go?” gesture. Usually I’ll pretend to look around and then he will go “find” it.

:: likes to repeat noises I make, especially if it’s got a musical tone to it.

:: loves to “brush” his teeth. He’s actually doing some semblance of brushing, which is a step up from just sucking on the brush. He also enjoys brushing his hair and using the handkerchief to dab his nose (although not when it’s actually runny). I’d like to set up a better “care of self” area for him soon.

:: eats with a fork and spoon (if I pre-load them). The spoon eating is definitely messy, but I am trying to let go and embrace the mealtime mess as he learns.

:: enjoys eating his snacks at his little table in the living room (when we are at home).

:: enjoys watching the blender when we make smoothies, and has a blast drinking them (especially because it usually involves a smoothiestache).

:: gets really excited whenever I say, “Do you want to find Dad?” and starts chanting, “Da! Da! Da!!!”

:: does the signs for “milk”, “more” and “all done.” He understands the sign for “book” and we are also working on “dog.”

:: hates being strapped in his car seat. He’s fine once he’s in, but ever since he figured out how to climb out after being unstrapped, he doesn’t want to sit in it until he’s buckled. We will probably move up to an extended rear-facing seat in a few months (hopefully we can fit one in our car and can find a decent price), but for now he is still fine in the smaller seat (since he’s such a small fry).

:: likes to bend over and do a mini downward facing dog pose. He also loves flipping backwards when we are holding him and looking at the world upside down.

:: loves animals. He likes to stand in his window (with me behind him, of course) and watch the cats and dogs that are frequently seen in our court.

:: has lots of fun playing with the few Schleich animals I got for him, especially the sheep. He says, “baa, baa” when he picks it up and if I ask him to get the sheep, he will crawl over and take it out of the basket.

Thirteen Months

2 Feb

13months

At 13 months, Charlie…

:: makes me smile more every day. He is just so, so happy.

:: has yet to take his first official steps, but is getting much closer. He loves walking with me holding his hands, but still zooms across the floor crawling most of the time. He’s gotten to be ridiculously fast at going up and down the stairs, which makes me both proud and nervous.

:: also makes me nervous by standing on his own…in scary places, like on top of his little chair, or the top steps.

:: has started singing in his sleep, which is pretty much the cutest thing ever.

:: loves looking at his books. They’re upside down half the time, but he’s obsessed with opening and closing them and turning the pages.

:: is also fascinated by putting things in other things, and opening and closing containers. He has a new respect for his nesting cups!

:: has tooth number six, with number seven almost through. Teeth, man, they are not fun.

:: said “Bye dad!” the other day when Caleb was leaving and it blew us away.

:: does the sign for “all done” as well as his own new sign for “more” (which looks nearly identical to “all done”).

:: likes to push things across the floor, such as the laundry basket, the trash can, chairs, his high chair…

:: has explored our neighborhood and the mountain path near our house in the Ergo. Looking forward to better weather when we can get outside a bit more!

:: is an eating machine. He would eat meat all day long, and also loves cheese, eggs, broccoli, mangos and yogurt. So far the only things he won’t eat is grapes, raisins, or tomatoes (which is funny because he used to eat all of them).

:: has started rocking a bit of a baby mullet. I think we can get by for a few more weeks but at some point I’m going to have to attempt a haircut.

:: thinks it’s hilarious when we brush our teeth. He mainly just sucks on his toothbrush but cracks up at me brushing my teeth.

:: still hates wearing hats inside, and will do everything in his power to remove bibs the second they’re around his neck.

:: sings all the time. Baby singing, it is so adorable. I hope he sings to himself for a long time to come.

Twelve Months

18 Dec

12months

At 12 months, Charlie…

:: is still ridiculously happy, amazingly cute, and a total adventurer.

:: crawls like a maniac. No walking yet, but he has just started standing without holding on to anything. He still loves pushing his walker wagon and cursing on furniture but when he wants to book it somewhere, crawling is the mode of choice.

:: made yet another international flight and was informed he was the “best baby traveler ever” by a super-persnickity old lady who complained about everything else on the flight. We were pretty proud.

:: spent his first Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania, visited friends in New Jersey, and is enjoying the month of December (including celebrating his first birthday and his second Christmas) in Florida.

:: had his first bout with being ill. We all came down with what we are pretty sure was Bronchitis, and the poor guy was sad and sick and tired for nearly four days. It was so heartbreaking seeing him so quiet and serious and not-himself. He got lots of rest, cuddles, and love, and a few days after we arrived in Florida he was 100% again.

:: has been enjoying so much love from friends and family here in the States who don’t get to see him on a daily basis. Which also means that Caleb and I have gotten a few much-needed date nights!

:: is a real big fan of organic berry yogurt melts. I generally avoid the “baby snacks” but with all of our traveling we’ve had to grab some less-mess eating options, and the boy likes his yogurt melts.

:: is also a fan of chicken wings. We went to a BBQ place and Caleb gave him some meat and a big wing bone to (carefully) chew on. Yes, we kept an eye on him and no, it wasn’t small enough for him to choke on. He loooooved it.

:: crawled on the beach and left some pretty awesome sand tracks.

:: is currently saying: mama, dada, gogo, oh, bye bye, baa, muh (for more), ni ni ni (for no).

:: thinks that an empty water bottle is pretty much the coolest thing ever. He is also a fan of most of the things on this 10 month old’s Christmas List (warning, there’s a tiny bit of language)

:: enjoyed celebrating his first birthday twice, once in Pennsylvania and once in Florida! He had fun with balloons, tearing at his presents, and smiling at all of his admirers. He wasn’t very interested in his cake, but still managed to give it a good smash.

:: is still long and lean. He is right on target with his own personal growth, but he is definitely a little dude! I have a number of friends who had babies within a month or so of Charlie, and it’s been really neat seeing all of their different sizes and stages.

:: has four teeth. Only. Still. I feel like teeth five and six should have been here by now, and sometimes they taunt us by poking out a bit and then disappearing again. We had a solid week of him waking up angry and biting and upset, and then back to normal again, but still no new teeth. Teething really is the worst.

:: started doing this ridiculous sticking-out-his-tongue-twist. He decided to start on the day we had family photos taken, so there should be quite a few funny outtakes!

:: learned how to clap! We don’t really talk to him in “baby voices” or clap very much, so he learned this a little later than a lot of his counterparts, but it’s pretty cute.

:: is getting more and more hair by the minute. Right now he can rock a little faux hawk (or kewpie curl) depending on the wind strength.

:: is the happiest. For real, the boy just loves to smile at others. We’ve watched him make the connection that when he smiles at other people, they smile, and it’s so much fun when we are out and about.

:: is a YEAR OLD!!! I can hardly believe it. We are so blessed by him and I am so thankful that he is part of our family.

Charlie’s Birth Story

12 Dec

birth1

I can’t believe that Charlie is one year old today and I’m just now posting his birth story. I wrote it all out a long time ago but until recently, hadn’t gone back through to edit it. Of course, if ever there’s a good day to share it, it would be his first birthday. Warning — it’s long. So it you’re into birth stories, then march on ahead.

Monday, December 10th, was a normal day, except for one thing  — I had an insane amount of energy. I actually posted on Facebook that I’d felt like I drank a triple espresso. It was bordering on ridiculous. I cleaned, ran a ton of errands, went to the thrift store. The weather was pretty dreary but I was completely wired.

That night I had a really vivid dream about various early labor signs happening to me. I also woke up a number of times feeling a little discomfort, like I might be having a contraction. They mostly felt like Braxton-Hicks, but just seemed a little bit different. Tuesday morning (the 11th), I woke up around 8am and felt enough of a difference in what I thought were Braxton-Hicks to download a contraction app and start timing them. I laid in bed for about an hour, timing the start and end. They were pretty far apart, but seemed to be consistent. With my due date still two weeks away (and this being my first baby), I knew that it was very likely just false labor. I went about my morning as usual, including my 38 week appointment with my midwife, Tara. We talked about the contractions and she told me not to get my hopes up but to try and get a little rest that day, just in case.

3

I ran a few errands, including a trip to Target to buy some diapers (just in case, since we didn’t have any!). I stopped by our church’s office to see Caleb–I had mentioned that something might be up, but he was also convinced it was way too early for anything to be happening. Some of our friends were having a holiday potluck lunch at their flower shop, so I ate with them — all while continuing to feel consistant contractions. I had a haircut scheduled for later that week, but decided to move it up to the afternoon (I even told them I thought I might be in labor, which I think made my stylist somewhat nervous). After a nice new haircut, I stopped by the Hyppo Cafe to see Caleb and get some dinner, then went over to a friend’s house to watch New Girl. At this point, I’d also alerted my doula, Cee, because not only were the contractions continuing, but they were getting a bit more uncomfortable. I actually had to stop and breathe through some of them, and to me that was the biggest sign that this was probably it.

IMG_5180

Caleb had planned to go out that night with some of his friends as a last little “hurrah” before being home early each night (or, as he called it, “babywatch”). I told him to go ahead, but to keep his phone close. Around 11:00, I gave him a call and decided to take a bath. Things definitely started amping up at that point, and he helped me relax until about 2am, when they seemed to be getting much closer together. I told him to go ahead and call both Tara and Cee, since I had no idea how quickly things would progress (hah, little did I know). They arrived and Tara started getting everything set up. They both suggested that I try and labor in bed as long as I could, sleeping in between contractions (or at least trying to) so that my body could get some rest. I’m so glad I was able to do that and store up energy–Caleb and I laid in bed and I don’t think I slept much, but I was able to conserve quite a bit of energy (and Caleb did sleep).

Around six am, I felt like I needed to start moving around, because the contractions were getting a bit longer and had more pressure. Caleb was still sleeping, so Cee suggested that I walk around the house a bit. Things felt like they were spacing out, which discouraged me a little. I feel like this was the first mental block I had to get past: without much sleep, and feeling like I’d reached a little bit of a plateau, I really had to push myself not to feel bummed out and worry that it was going to get really hard (and long).

Thankfully, after another hour or so, I decided to have Tara check me to see how dilated I was. This was actually the first time I’d been checked since I was pregnant, so I was a little apprehensive about how my progress would be. I think Cee and Tara were too, and it felt like we were all holding our breaths. When she told me I was between 6 and 7 cm, I felt like dancing! I knew I still had a ways to go, but that was definitely progress! I felt like I had renewed energy after that, and Caleb woke up shortly after. I used the birthing ball to rock back and forth and had him pressing on my hips to relieve the pressure, which was really helpful. I feel like we tried most of the positions we’d learned in our Bradley Class, but that one was my favorite.

Around 11:00, I told Tara that I thought my water was going to break, and less than 30 seconds later, it did! After that, things definitely picked up. Contractions intensified even more and became longer. Caleb and Tara started filling up the birth pool, which took quite some time because our sink had some sort of funky connection and the water was coming out really slowly. Tara checked me again and I was between 8 and 9 cm! When the tub was filled and I finally got in, it felt amazing. I felt so good and the contractions seemed to become much more dull. I relaxed for a while, just floating in the water while Caleb would squeeze my neck. I waited for the urge to push, but nothing seemed to be happening. After about an hour, I got out and Tara checked me once more. My water had resealed (apparently the result of having a really healthy sac/eating healthy during pregnancy). She gave me the option to wait for it to break again, but I decided to have her go ahead and break it, since it had already broken naturally and I was starting to get pretty tired.

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After that, I got in the shower so I was upright for a bit, and wow. The next contraction that hit was the only one where I felt like I was completely out of my body. Or like I had gotten hit by a cement truck. I think it had been the combination of my water breaking again and being out of the tub after having so many contractions in the water. I yelled for Caleb and he helped me get to the tub quickly, where I felt much more comfortable. I finally felt the urge to push, and I was so excited because it seemed like we had almost reached the end. Hah! If only. Pushing was tough. I think part of it was that I had expected the pushing to be fairly short — because for most people, it is. But the actual pushing, during a contraction…well, it’s not fun. For the first two hours, I was progressing (that is, Charlie was moving down). Then, for the next two hours, things were staying the same. Yes, that’s four hours of pushing, half of which wasn’t actually doing anything. We left the tub about halfway through to try some different positions in the hopes that it would help move things along. After being awake (and in labor) for 36 hours, I was starting to run out of energy.

As we got towards the end of the last two hours, I could tell by Tara’s face that we were probably going to have to transfer. We were so close to having the homebirth that Caleb and I wanted (and had planned and worked for), but baby Charlie just didn’t seem to want to budge. Tara and Cee talked for a minute, then came back to let me know we had one last position we could try, but if that didn’t work then we would need to transfer. Legally, Florida midwives are required to transfer if a laboring mother has been pushing for more than two hours without progress, which is where we were at.

Caleb and I prayed together, and we all got into position for the last option. I think at that point I knew we’d probably be heading to the hospital. I put all the energy I could into those pushes, but he still wasn’t moving down. I was so ready to meet him, so ready for him to be out! My biggest fear at that point was that they’d have to use forceps or a vacuum. I wouldn’t even let myself think about the chance of a C-section. We’d cross that bridge if we came to it. Everyone started gathering things up, including the “just in case” bag I’d packed, and I put on a comfy dress. It was so cold and misty outside, and walking to the car was the last thing I wanted to be doing at that point. The ride to the hospital wasn’t fun, but it also wasn’t as bad as you might imagine. The contractions weren’t any stronger than they had been, but now I was trying not to push with as much effort (because once you start pushing, you can’t NOT push — you can only put less energy into it). I had two contractions during the short, five minute ride to the hospital, then one in the elevator and another when were filling out the registration form. Tara had called ahead, so thankfully we were able to go straight into L&D.

They had us go to the triage room, which is super tiny. I’m still not sure why they didn’t send us to a normal delivery room. As I was getting onto the bed, Tara saw Missy, one of the hospital’s nurse midwives in the hallway and pulled her in to help us. I’d actually visited Missy before for routine appointments, and she’s delivered a number of my friends’ babies, so I was really glad she was there. Missy and two of the nurses started directing my pushing, which was actually pretty helpful. Tara and Cee and Caleb were all cheering me on, and I knew we were almost there. I think the drive to the hospital and the walking helped move him down quite a bit. The pushing was painful, certainly, but there was never a point during the entire labor when I felt like I “couldn’t do it anymore” or that I was screaming for drugs.

As we were working through the pushes, the room seemed like it filled with people — I guess they were trying to be prepared if his heart rate changed, or if another procedure had to be done, but it was seriously chaotic. It was such a huge contrast to the quiet house we’d left, but at that point I was completely in the zone and focused on getting this baby out! The doctor who was on call arrived at the very end, during the second to last push.

We geared up for the last push, with everyone cheering, telling me to get angry, that this was it and I was going to push him out! The contraction started, I took a deep breath, let it out, took another and then shut my eyes tightly, and pushed with everything I had. Then wonderful, sweet relief and he was born! As the nurses checked him and wrapped him in a blanket, the doctor immediately started reaching to clamp and cut his cord, which we didn’t want (delayed cord clamping is much better for the baby). Missy tried to tell him, but he wasn’t listening, so Caleb yelled, “Doctor, do NOT cut his cord!” He put the clamp down. It might sound silly, but I was so proud of Caleb and the way he stood up for the things that were important to us. They put Charlie on my chest and he was crying away, pink and excited and a baby–our baby. It was completely surreal. It felt like I had waited so very long to meet him, but that I already knew him. We snuggled and he began to calm down as we looked at all of his sweet features. It was 8:46pm on 12/12/12 and he was born just twenty minutes after we arrived at the hospital.

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It was kind of amazing how normal I felt immediately afterwards. Yes, I was a bit sore, but other than that I felt great. Not woozy or out of it, but full of adrenaline and happy hormones. We put a hat on Charlie and had great skin-to-skin contact. After we cuddled a bit, I started nursing him and he latched on immediately! I had been a bit worried about how that would be, but we’ve honestly had a really easy time of it. He was so alert and I think that was a great help. Tara went out and got us some food from Arby’s, and so I have an awesome picture that Caleb took of me holding a nursing Charlie with one hand and a roast beef sandwich with another!

We spent the next two days in the hospital, because they require any babies born there to stay for 48 hours of observation. It was actually pretty nice to have the nurses and the meals and the remote-controlled bed. Charlie was with us the entire time — he stayed in our room and Caleb went with him any time they needed to take him to the nursery to check his weight or check him over. The hospital was really great about our requests — the only shot he got was the Vitamin K (since we’d had such a long pushing stage), and they didn’t weigh him until we’d spent a few hours together (he was 6lbs, 8 oz). It’s taken me some time to fully come to terms with the fact that we weren’t able to have him at home, but I feel like 99% of his birth was a homebirth and while I wish we hadn’t had to go to the hospital, I’m so thankful that we still had a natural birth with minimal interventions. I definitely plan to birth at home with our next one, especially since this time the pushing stage should be much easier.

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I know that birth is different for every person, and with every baby, but I can truly say there was never a point when I thought we couldn’t do it. It was hard work, and it took a lot of energy, but it wasn’t torture. It wasn’t impossible. And it was so very, incredibly rewarding. Our recovery was really fast and went so well, and I know that not having drugs in our systems was a huge part of that. I am so grateful for the support I had — especially from Caleb. He was so encouraging and such an incredible partner. I’m also grateful for the knowledge we had and the preparation we did. It was all very much worth it. Just knowing what to expect, even if it wasn’t exactly how we thought it would be, made a huge difference in getting through labor. I am in awe of the way that God designed our bodies, and the birth process. I’m so glad He delivered Charlie safely and kept me healthy, and that thanks to him, we are now a family of three.

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