I stare at you while trying to write and only tears come, the best ones.

Charlotte – French, for petite

Lucia – Roman, for light…after Great Oma

Grover – for Us!

I can’t believe I’m writing this: our birth story was uneventful, unlike all our others, and that’s exactly what we wanted. 

I had talked to you days earlier, saying you pick if you want your own day or a vaginal birth and that you are welcome to come earlier, and Mama will try her best. If you wanted to be born on Grandma’s birthday, the C-section would be the safest route.

I said goodbye to the kids the night before, and they wouldn’t let me go. That was so hard, as they understood Mommy had to get cut open, but they were not to be scared, and they would see me soon.

I took a bath with my mother’s blessing salts, making sure to save just enough for the six-week mark. I meditated, snapped some last-minute pictures, and wrote words to say to you. It all felt so final.

In the morning, I could not wake up. I started texting everyone, but then, really suddenly, I just wanted to spend one more day fully with you (which is what I would be getting). I couldn’t eat but had tea and a bunch of mints. I decided to do one last yoga, to move and thank my body.

I spoke with your daddy on the way to the hospital, too nauseous to look at my phone. We arrived, greeted by a dear friend who has been with us on this journey. I got dressed and read my birth affirmations. I couldn’t even listen to music. I was so ready to meet you, babe. My doula came in and gave me a hand massage, relaxing me and bringing me back to the moment when we would meet our baby.

Now I’m recounting it all, not wanting to miss a single thing.

Your little bird-like squawks and smiles, your peace. All the things I can’t wait to do with you and how all the things all at once don’t matter because I’ve got you, just as I felt with all my other babes, trying to explain to them that this feeling of love and admiration and soaking in how little they are has always been the same.

I think about how taking in this last baby somehow puts more pressure on it all, knowing this has to last me forever. It does and it will. Nothing beats this. And yet our life together does. I think about how I can do this forever, how it never gets old, cuddling you.

(I’m currently way too emotional to be writing to you.)

I walked myself independently into that OR room, each step thinking: 

My anxiety doesn’t define me.

I am stronger than I think.

My feelings are allowed to be here.

I am in control.

I have survived this before and I’ll survive it again.

I am enough for my babies.

I sat on the table and didn’t flinch when the spinal went in. It all felt so symbolic—Phillip with his arm on my shoulder. I could feel it and knew he was there. He’s always been with me from the start, but this time, he really was. It was all the encouragement I needed.

We were actually on time, but the doctors weren’t. I guess it’s strange to be on time in the hospital. The most bizarre moment for me came when they said they were cutting at 12:37 and I should meet you, baby, by 12:47. You were out at 12:44.

I had a brief thought about all the scar tissue they would need to cut through and how that may take longer, a great releasing, opening me up—an old wound that would actually heal me all back together again.

The time you were born has meaning.

The angel number 1244 “reveals a time of personal development and understanding. If you are seeing this number, your guardian angels want you to spend time reflecting on your true purpose in life and what you need to do to move forward on your journey.”

I felt such pressure on my chest. I apologized. I was scared. I couldn’t breathe. This time it wasn’t my heart stopping but the moment taking my breath away. I remember when they pulled you out, how I sincerely felt like a weight was lifted physically and metaphorically. It felt so right.

They flung you over the drape, just for a second, as you were still attached to the placenta (my OB is a bit of a goofball, like me). Phillip was excited to know that babies aren’t as fragile as he thought if doctors can flip them around. All I could see was your little fist: “I’m here, Mama, I’m triumphant.” I heard your sweet little cry, and the student captured that for us.

Carmen's Bump Day Blog: Charlotte Lucia's Birth Story

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

The doctor who helped us with Kaia also held you, our baby girl, lifting your hand out of the way to reveal . . . girl! I was completely shocked. And I shocked myself with how quickly I was not upset but in such awe, as always.

I remember discussing names with Phillip (Charles is a Grover family name) while they stitched me up.

Carmen having skin-to-skin with Charlotte in the OR - Carmen's Bump Day Blog: Charlotte Lucia's Birth Story

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

How special it was to see and talk to Phillip during this experience and, most of all, to be holding my girl, who would not cry. This worried me, but you were pleasantly pink. You were just so content to be here. I stressed so hard about how I wanted skin-to-skin, and I got it right there in the OR—my needs met!

I could see flashbacks of holding Kaia and now holding Charlotte; how liberating it all felt that this was us and our journey.

I remember apologizing to Phillip that I hadn’t given him a boy, and to my son that I couldn’t give him a brother. Briefly, the loss of Jude came to my forefront. But I did give you a brother . . .

This journey has been transformative, growing me and us.

It’s all spun in these moments. And then, seeing my babies with our new baby and her petite light shining all over us, I realized it’s actually pure bliss.

It has been exceptionally warm for February in Canada, and I know Charlotte brought the light, though we brought her home in a light snow. I sing to you, “Here comes the sun, little Charlotte” and remember how I used to sing to Case, “We are all okay, because I’ve got you, babe” to the tune of “Dashing through the Snow.” Then it dawned on me that I had stopped singing. Now I am singing again.

I got all the things I wanted: skin-to-skin contact, being shown the baby over the drape, chill physicians joking and giving me comfort, hearing and recording the first cry, keeping the gender a surprise, getting all the pain meds I needed, and just being together as a family. Phillip loved how slick it was just to go in and get a baby, no drama, and this felt like something I could give him and us.

As I shot off texts, my hospital wifi was sketchy at best and would not send the photos when I sent IT’S A . . . . So I came across a bit of a butthead, as I had plans of not telling family the baby’s sex, and the only way they could find out was by changing your diaper. My best friends knew which fingers I held up in a photo for boy or girl, as I painted them blue and pink. And lastly, I told many that “Charlie was here,” continuing the wait for the gender reveal, as that could be a boy or girl!

The big kids with Baby Charlotte - Carmen's Bump Day Blog: Charlotte Lucia's Birth Story

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

The kids absolutely adore you, Charlotte Lucia. They run downstairs and ask, “Is Baby Charlotte still here?” Yes, I say, we get to keep her, and wow, she’s so tiny! Case feeds you with syringes like a bird and must cuddle you every morning. Maelie dresses you for the day, and Ayda puts your shoes on in case you go outside. The kids love calling you Charlotte, as it is like royalty or a princess, they say.

Carmen's family with Baby Charlotte

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

An Empowered Birth, that is what I had.

I’m a bit sore and battered, but what Mama isn’t. It doesn’t have to be a vaginal birth to be empowering. I reclaimed my C-sections. Maybe we would have had more babies if it hadn’t been so hard, as C-sections can also limit the number of kids you can have. And yet, we have more than we ever thought possible.

Baby Charlotte - Carmen's Bump Day Blog: Charlotte Lucia's Birth Story

Author’s Personal Collection/Carmen Grover

So, to my dearest Charlotte Lucia . . . You were born today, on this peaceful and glorious day. Out of the window, I catch a glimpse of the sparrow in the maple tree, and at the exact moment that it flies away, off into the great big world…with such purpose!

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