I have waited and waited to write this post, and today, even though it’s taken me several hours in between nursing/changing/and taking care of Bella – I finally had a chance to.
Charlotte was born October 28th at 8:28pm after two hours of labor and one push. So basically she didn’t want to come out until things got rolling and then we couldn’t get her to stay in long enough for the doctor to gown up. We were told she was 8lbs 5oz but found out later she was actually 7.5. Not sure what happened there. Later on I’ll blog her whole (rather crazy) birth story, but I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect birth. It was incredibly healing, and Sam was amazing by my side.
I could write a book about these past three weeks alone, that’s how much has happened. Hopefully most of you have kept up on Instagram because it’s so much easier for me to do quick updates there for now.
A few months ago we decided on her middle name as Ann – after my mom’s middle name. I thought about adding an “e” since I adore Anne of Green Gables, but thought that wouldn’t be really after my mom anymore. Once we told her though, she asked me that night if I’d consider adding an “e” to it as she’d always wanted one on hers because of Anne. So Ann became Anne. 🙂
Our first two days were spent in the hospital. We ended up having a few scares – with her oxygen levels of all things. On Friday morning she ended up having an echocardiogram done (the same as when we found out Kaden had cardiomyopathy) since she failed both oxygen tests (pulse ox). It was absolutely terrifying to have that happen. All I could think of was how I couldn’t face another sick baby/loss again. Thankfully, it ended up being nothing. She had been right on the cusp of normal both times (95% and up is the goal, she wavered 93-95% both times) and they were extra cautious because of our history.
You can find out more about pulse oximetery and it’s importance from Cora’s Story on FB.
We finally left the hospital at nearly midnight on Friday. Bella finally was able to meet her around 9 that night. The hospital has a strict “no kids under 18” on the maternity/postpartum floors during flu season, but one of the nurses let Sam and her through when she realized we were going home soon anyway.
That’s a whole other blog post very soon.
It’s been a pretty incredible first three weeks. In many ways, it feels like being a first time parent all over again. We have the wonder and thrill of being able to set up a stroller, pick out her outfits, buy baby things at Target, marvel at her little noises and faces. We’re headed to the zoo tomorrow and the thought of looking down with two kids in front of me is so special.
Yet – in the spirit of honesty – there are parts that have been very hard. Besides the obvious (postpartum hormones, adjusting to life with two, some big sister jealousy included in the excitement, and lack of sleep), there have also been moments that catch my breath from losing Preston, Julian, and Kaden. That can trigger both Sam and I, and we’ve ended up on edge with each other not even realizing that was happening.
I’ve had moments where she briefly looks like the twins, and she resembles Kaden so much that I’ve held her and let my tears just fall for the life he never had. She’ll be three weeks tomorrow and that’s how old he was when he died. So these three weeks have been so full of memories for us – things both Sam and I haven’t thought of or had in front of us to handle in two years. It’s been healing and it hurts in a good way. I’ve said it before, but the pain of loss is always a reminder to me of how deeply I love them.
In many ways, she’s brought up things we’d also forgotten with Bella. So like we compare her with Kaden, we also do that over and over with Bella as an infant. There are many similarities in these first weeks of their lives too, and it’s been fun to remember those days when everything was so new and unexpected with her.
I have so much more to write on, but this post alone was started last week and took me 4 hours to get through today 😉 so I’ll end it here. We are in love with Charlotte. I can’t describe the joy she’s brought to our lives as the baby we finally got to take home.
It doesn’t end the pain of losing my sons. It won’t ever and I didn’t expect it too. In some ways, I miss them even more. I wish they’d been able to experience their lives with us too.
But what her life does is help us to have a little more normalcy, gain back our lives as parents again in a way we’d struggled to do the past 3 1/2 years. She ends the cycle of repeat grief for another life, another wanted baby. For that, we are so very thankful.