Atlanta Birth Center Story – Charlotte + Andy (Part 1)
For weeks, I knew Charlotte was ready to bring Eva into this world and meet her. I could see it in her facebook and instagram posts. Eva was continuing to grow. Charlotte’s discomfort was growing with being able to move. But moreso, hers and Andy’s excitement couldn’t climb much higher to meet this little one.
For over a week, I was religiously checking my phone. Was there a message from Charlotte? Had she updated facebook recently? We had talked several times about what to do when it was time. She knew to call and not text because she was now an emergency contact that would bypass the Do Not Disturb mode on my phone. Updates came about contractions moving along in the late afternoon and it looked positive that Eva might decide to arrive on the seventh of March. I went to bed early anticipating a middle of the night call. And then it came. At 1:45am, Andy was on my phone saying they were heading to the Atlanta Birth Center. I jumped in the shower, because bed hair, and was out the door before 2am.
At 2am in the morning, Atlanta interstates are a BREEZE, people! The roads were almost completely empty and I was walking in the doors of the birth center by 2:30am. I may or may not have been pushing the speed limit. Because there was a BABY coming! Charlotte’s best friend Melissa arrived at the same time as I did. Andy let us into a dark building and Lauren from Meraki Mama Collective was already in the birthing room supporting Charlotte.
Let me stop here and give you mommas-to-be some advice. When you’re planning the birth of your miracles, give solid thought to having your own doula. It may seem like an extra expense that you can cut. Similar to hiring a wedding planner seems like an extra expense, but having one makes your day flow sooooo much more smoothly and they make sure your photographer doesn’t miss any impromptu and important moments. Having a doula at your side is one of THE best gifts you can give yourself (and your husband) in making it through labor. Lauren was phenomenal at helping Charlotte manage pain and utilize different techniques to shift her focus and make it through over 30 hours of labor together. Lauren was a force, bringing calm to the room. And peace in knowing everything would be okay. That everything was normal. That there were options that the medical staff wasn’t offering. Lauren offered support and encouragement. But also redirection in focusing on things to do other than thoughts that could have easily circled, like, “OhmygodithishurtssomuchImdoneandcantgoonjustgivemeanepiduralnow!”
The images you are about to see occurred between 2:30am on March 7th and 12:15pm on March 8th, 2018. The birthing center was Charlotte and Andy’s domain until 8am and they had free reign to walk the halls and rooms.
As dawn was creeping into the Atlanta skyline, Charlotte was exhausted and labor had not progressed as hoped overnight. The contractions had backed off a bit, but were still so painful. After long conversations, she decided with Lauren’s help to get some sleep to restore her energy for dealing with the labor in a few hours. Andy was using his phone throughout the night to document from his perspective.
Lauren and I both dozed on and off for a little while on the floor. I opened my eyes to see her in the middle of yoga stretches.
Several hours passed quickly. The meds they gave Charlotte made waking up a slow process. She talked with Lauren and Andy at length before deciding she was not strong enough to continue on her natural birth plan. She had used up so much energy overnight and the pain was more than she had anticipated. Over the next hour, plans were made to drive across town to the Atlanta Medical Center for Eva’s birth, along with meds for pain management. Charlotte is a warrior.