Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Whole Story

Note - This is the long version of Charlotte's birth for journaling purposes and any of you that are interested. Gotty - I filled your request, now I want to see some pictures of your kids!

July 1, 2009 - Charlotte Renee Gates Arrives

On the eve of our scheduled induction, I received a phone call from the hospital saying that there might not be room for us in the hospital to be induced and have our baby. Stonewall Jackson Hospital only has 7 rooms for Labor and Delivery and only does about 300 deliveries a year. The odds of being full were extremely rare. Luckily, when we called at 5 am the morning of the 1st, there was one room available for us, as no one had come in labor during the middle of the night.

As we arrived at the hospital at 6am, we could see a gorgeous sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains from the parking lot. I absolutely loved that we had only a 2 minute drive to the hospital and that my Mom was home with the Leland and Lucy so they could keep sleeping. I remember when Lucy was born, we had to take Leland to a friend’s house at about 3am and then drive about 30 minutes to the hospital – that was not fun.

We got settled into our room, which was spacious and comfy. We had some great nurses and my Doctor was wonderful. At this hospital, you deliver and recover in the same room. All the equipment for delivery and taking care of the baby is hidden in wood panel armoires.

I started getting pitocin around 7:30am. I requested to get my epidural before my doctor broke my water. During my last delivery, it took almost 2 hours for an anesthesiologist to give me my epidural after I requested it. I was not really up for waiting that long, if the pitocin was going to start kicking in. My last 2 epidurals only fully went to one side of my body. After discussing my body’s previous response to epidurals with the anesthesiologist, he decided to put it in a few vertebrae lower than usual. Well it worked and all was peaceful on both sides of my body. I’m grateful that he was happy to listen to my concerns and made some adjustments for me and the way my body responds to epidurals.

The doctor broke my water at 9:30am. His prediction was that we would have the baby at about 3:30pm. Chuck thought there was no way the baby would come before 5pm. Both of the first labors lasted about 10 – 11 hours. Things progressed slowly over the next few hours. At about 12:30pm, the nurse checked me and I was only about 5cm and 75% effaced. Chuck decided to run to the store to get some things for the house that we needed. The grocery store is only about 2 minutes from the hospital, and then it is only about 10 minutes from the store to home, then back to the hospital again.

After Chuck had been gone only 30 minutes, I started getting really intense contractions coming very close together. I tried giving my epidural a boost and it just wasn’t helping. My nurse decided to check me and I was now a full 10 cm, 100% effaced, and ready to start pushing. I had gone from a 5 to 10 in only about 45 minutes. I called Chuck to tell him he better hurry back; we were waiting for him to start pushing. He said he frantically ran to the check out, bought his stuff, and ran home to drop off the groceries. He had my mom back our van out of the garage. He pulled his car in the garage, jumped out, then jumped into the van to drive back to the hospital.

I could hear him running down the hall as he came in. While we were waiting for him to get back, my nurse started prepping the room for delivery – dropping lights down from the ceiling and setting up the baby station. It was such a relief to have him back with me. We started pushing just minutes later. After a few pushes, the nurse determined that the baby might be posterior (face up). Lucy was posterior as well, and needed a vacuum to come out. After pushing with a few of the contractions, the doctor (Dr Troise) got there. Chuck asked the Dr about the likelihood of having multiple posterior deliveries and if there was a reason. Apparently, some pelvic bone shapes increase ones likelihood of having posterior babies during delivery.

As the baby started to crown, Chuck yelled out that he could see lots of hair. That is a first for us. Leland and Lucy just had some blonde peach fuzz. I was very excited that this baby might actually look like me! With posterior babies they have a hard time staying down, so with each contraction the baby would drop and crown, but when I would relax the baby would go back up. The doctor got out the vacuum to try to assist in the delivery. He said he was not going to really pull, but rather use it to hold the baby in place between contractions. With that and a few more pushes, SHE was here!

Born at 2:36pm, our 3rd little girl had finally arrived. When the doctor brought her out, he immediately put her right on my chest as I cried in joy. That was really special and was the first time for me to get to hold her immediately. She was 7 lbs 15 oz and 20 ½ inches long.

While they cleaned her, which took FOREVER, because she was covered in a thick white cheesy layer, Chuck ran home to get the big sisters. I decided that I wanted Leland and Lucy to be the first ones to know if our baby was a boy or a girl, so we waited to tell anyone else until after they arrived. We had still not decided on a name. We came to the hospital with about 6 possible names for a girl. As I held her waiting for everyone to arrive, 2 came to mind.

I was so excited for Leland and Lucy to see her for the first time and their reactions were priceless. Leland had a look of pure excitement; Lucy looked a little more inquisitive like she wasn’t sure about all the hype. They both enjoyed holding their new baby sister, while Chuck and I decided on a name. Lucy was so cute she was holding Charly and she acted like she was done, so I started to pull the baby off her lap, and Lucy starts saying “No! My baby sister!” It was so cute.

This labor, delivery, and recovery have been, by far, the best and easiest out of all 3 - with a total labor of only about 5 hours, no tears, and no complications with delivery or my epidural. My doctor and the staff at the hospital were all wonderful. I received such great care and felt like the only person delivering a baby that day, well because I really was. I love that we had our baby in Lexington after 2 wonderful years of living here.

The name

Charlotte – named after her maternal Great-Great Grandmother who passed away when Ashley was in high school.

“Charly” – named after her dad Charles

Renee – Ashley’s middle name


  1. I am so glad things were finally easy for you. She has so much hair! How fun! Do your bitty bows fit in her hair?

  2. What a difference a good doctor can make. I'm so glad to hear everything went so well and that it was so comfortable it sounds like. And so nice that you were so close to home, how nice!