On Wednesday, April 5th, 2023, we welcomed Charlotte Ann into the world. She weighed 9lbs 2oz & was 20.5 inches long! We had a scheduled c-section at The Christ Hospital Birthing Center. This was our second time giving birth at the birthing center. We were here previously in 2020 welcoming our third son Odin. Read all about our pandemic birth story.
If you’re local to Cincinnati, I couldn’t recommend The Christ Hospital Liberty Birthing Center enough. The experience we had was unlike any other. We felt so much love and support from the staff. The Liberty Birthing Center made our birth story what it is, and we are so grateful! Suma Reddy, MD, OBGYN, performed my c-section. She was absolutely incredible. I’m so thankful for her compassion and care. She truly has a gift. I couldn’t recommend her enough! I am so excited to have had her by my side this year, and I am happy to continue my future care with her.
Charlotte is our first girl after three boys, and our final baby. During my c-section I also had my tubes removed. Charlotte completed our family and brought us so much love and happiness. My oldest son has been asking for a baby sister since he could talk. Twelve years later, she’s here and she’s our everything! Her older brothers are so thrilled to have a baby sister! Here is Charlotte’s birth story, my recovery, and full experience at The Christ Hospital Birthing Center:
*This blog post is created in collaboration with The Christ Hospital. Like always, these thoughts and opinions I share are my own. When we found out we were pregnant again, we instantly knew we would be back at Christ. The choice to collaborate and work with The Christ Hospital is a no brainer – a perfect fit! I am so very happy to share them with my local followers as my recommendation for your next child birth and beyond.*
For the most part this pregnancy was smooth sailing! I felt incredible until anemia swept me off my feet – quite literally. That was really difficult to navigate with a toddler to chase around. I was not able to stay as active as I would have liked due to the symptoms: lightheadedness, fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath…and craving ice. I could not get enough pebble ice! After giving birth my iron levels were low – however, the symptoms were completely gone as soon as Charlotte was in my arms! I instantly felt like a brand new woman. Maybe it was the bliss? Who knows, but I am so happy to be feeling better!
Going into this birth knowing it would be our last was bittersweet. It made me extremely mindful, and for that I am thankful. I made sure to soak up all those fleeting moments that I may have taken for granted with the babies we welcomed before. I know the trend right now is to remind moms how fast everything goes, so “soak it up!” Even with all this in mind, I still feel like I wish I could go back and do even more to bottle up the moment. I think we can try with every fiber in our being to “soak it in” and it’s truly never enough. Don’t worry. Don’t stress. You’re doing the best you can with the time and energy you have.
Being my third c-section, I knew 100% that I wanted to get my tubes removed while they already had me open. We felt this was the best decision for our family. I feel extremely complete with my family, and understand the risks of multiple c-sections. I will say though, this first Mother’s Day following the tubal removal brought up lots of feelings about not having any more babies.
We talk about so many “firsts” in motherhood – but no one really talks about how those “lasts” really feel. They kinda sting.
Wednesday morning, we made our way to The Christ Hospital Liberty Birthing Center. I honestly wasn’t too nervous. I was excited! We had such an incredible experience previously at the birthing center and returning brought me so much peace. Not to mention, it felt like we were going on a little mom and dad date. Can you tell we don’t get out of the house alone much?
After checking in, we went straight to our room. I changed into my gown and the nurses came in to prepare me for my surgery. I had to answer some routine questions, get my vitals checked, and start my IV.
Before we knew it, it was go-time! We were so ready to meet our girl! Walking into the OR was such a vibe. The staff was listening to “Sweet Caroline” and welcoming me while singing along. It brought me so much peace! It felt like a birthday party for Charlotte!
My anesthesiologist was amazing. He was patient and thorough when walking me through the process. During the spinal, both the anesthesiologist and the nurse holding me were so encouraging through the process. They made me feel so strong and confident. Once they got me laid down, and my bottom half was numb, Derrek was allowed to come in.
Derrek sat down by my head and held my hand. There was no pain during the surgery, just pressure and pulling. We continued to listen to what I like to call “yacht rock” (a broad music style and aesthetic commonly associated with soft rock from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s). It reminded me of playing in the backyard at my aunt’s house when I was growing up: summer sun, the smell of baby oil, feeling comfort and no cares in the world.
When Charlotte arrived, Alica Key’s “No One” started playing. It truly felt like a scene from a movie. As soon as the words of the song said, “I just want you close” they lifted her up and I got to see my girl for the first time. I cried. It’s such an out of body experience. I still think back and can’ t believe she’s mine. I have a daughter.
They instantly wrapped her up and laid her on my chest. She got to lay on my chest while they continued my surgery: removing my tubes and sewing me up. She nursed just about the entire time! It was such a sweet moment between us. I can close my eyes and be transported back in time.
Afterward, they rolled me back to our room to recover. At The Liberty Birthing Center the rooms are LDRP (labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum) all in the same room. In my case, I left to go to the OR for my surgery, but came right back to the same room we started out in. This is a little feature that truly makes a world of difference. Without bouncing around a hospital, it really makes the experience feel more like a hotel stay. Another feature that makes the experience feel luxurious? The rooms are so spacious! The entire hospital is so small and intimate, but your rooms are huge. You really feel like the only patient there.
Each and every nurse took such wonderful care of us! I can’t even fully express how grateful I am for their compassion and care. At such a vulnerable, magical moment in your life – it means so much to have people by your side cheering you on every step of the way. You can tell they absolutely love what they do.
Yes, The Christ Hospital Family Birthing Center is a beautiful location, but it’s the beautiful people who work there that make it feel like home.– Shelbie todd
We were quickly informed that Charlotte was born with a tongue tie. She is my first baby to have a tongue tie – so I didn’t know much about it.
“Tongue tie, or ankyglossia, is a condition in which the tongue is tethered in such a way that sometimes feeding or speech is compromised,” explains Charla Payne, Clinical Nurse Manager, BSN RNC-MNN, IBCLC.
“Our lactation consultants perform an assessment on all babies born at Liberty to evaluate tongue ties. Together, with shared decision making between the neonatal physicians and parents, we discuss options related to tongue ties and potential interventions. Sometimes tongue ties affect feeding but others can simply be monitored.”
Nursing was painful after the first few hours. We also noticed she was exhausting herself while nursing and falling asleep. This was causing her to drop weight. Before we left, we ultimately decided to have her tongue tie corrected in the hospital.
“Depending on parental preference, a frenotomy, or a quick clipping of the tongue performed by a physician, may be done to release the tissue and maximize the use of the tongue,” says Payne. “Babies are latched back to the breast, or given a bottle, immediately after the procedure.”
I noticed a difference in her latch right away that continued to improve over the first week. I had no more pain. She was no longer falling asleep instantly. After two weeks she got back to her birth weight. I am so glad that we decided to make the correction in the hospital.
I’m also glad to have had the amazing lactation support from The Christ Hospital. The lactation team at Liberty consists of five women with over 100 years of experience combined! They have varying obstetrical backgrounds, and specialize in assistance with breastfeeding with certifications. They are available to help on an inpatient or outpatient basis 365 days per year and are passionate about assisting moms in meeting their personal breastfeeding goals. They are a really great resource there to support you during your stay.
My inner foodie was so excited about the food during my stay. That was one of my favorite things from our last visit! Unfortunately, I had the worst nausea the first 24 hours. For some reason when I get an IV it makes me nauseous. When I could finally keep things down, I did try to lean towards lighter meals that are easier on the stomach, like the spinach wrap. I was obsessed! I think I ordered it three times! I even placed a grocery delivery while I was in the hospital for the ingredients for me to make it when I got home.
Honestly though, the entire menu at the birthing center is fresh and delicious – the best hospital food. Your partner even gets a free meal during your stay! They also have a cafe on the 1st floor that Derrek frequented.
Derrek had plenty of room to sleep on their large couch that turned into a bed. Our room also had a very nice reclining chair – that’s heated! Derrek loved relaxing there to hold the baby. And he held her every chance he could pry her from my arms.
My previous c-section I had horrible constipation that truly ruined those first couple days. This time I made sure to be on top of it with stool softener, prune juice, and a suppository after surgery. And it worked. I was also up walking around much sooner, and more often, this time. I think that helps a lot!
We stayed two nights, but had the option to stay a third. With all the kids at home, both Derrek and I started to get homesick. It’s funny, we joked about having them “keep us as long as possible” because we love it so much there. But man, we were way too excited to get Charlotte home to her brothers.
Friday morning we woke up with the okay to go home. Getting the okay for both of us to head home was fairly quick and simple. I had lunch before I left – another spinach wrap – while Derrek loaded up the car. He came back up with the car seat and stroller.
Before we left our room, I had a moment of tears. I looked at Derrek and said, “this is our last time doing this – leaving the hospital with a baby.” So bittersweet. Derrek pushed Charlotte’s stroller, and our sweet nurse wheeled us out to the van.
I rode in the backseat with Charlotte, of course. We stopped to get my prescriptions and she did amazing on the ride home.
She was welcomed by her three big brothers running down the driveway to see her. They were so excited and in awe of how “tiny” she was!
I wasn’t too sure how Odie would adjust, but he loves his sister so much! We had a little bit of behavioral issues here and there, and a little regression from potty training. Overall, it has been a wonderful transition. I think we all feel like she’s been here with us the entire time.
Physically recovering from this third c-section and tubal removal was shockingly the best of them all. I guess I just assumed with the extra work of removing my tubes, I would be in more pain? But this was the least pain I’ve had between the three surgeries! I was up moving around and even taking less pain medication. I have to give all the thanks to the incredible Dr. Reddy. She is amazing! She was genuinely so kind and passionate about her work.
Mentally recovering, however, is hard. Having a toddler and a newborn simultaneously is no joke. I already suffer from anxiety, and postpartum just adds a little fuel to the fire of those symptoms. I decided to increase my SSRI dose at my six week appointment. I am so happy I made that decision. I am slowly finding my groove, but just need a little help getting there.
Christ Hospital has some incredible resources and support. Did you know they partner with Galia Collaborative to provide additional resources for mental health and overall wellness? Galia Collaborative’s mission is to guide women out of the trenches and into the spaces they want and deserve to occupy.
“Women often put their families before themselves, so it’s important for them to understand how recognizing and treating mental health needs is a benefit for themselves and their families.”
Leanne Olshavsky, MD, Medical Director of Women’s Health at The Christ Hospital.
Everyone’s journey into motherhood may look different, but we all deserve the same amount of time and care. If you are delivering soon, congratulations! Remember that reaching out for support doesn’t discredit your strength. You’re an incredible mother.
Take a virtual tour, schedule an appointment, and learn more at https://www.thechristhospital.com/services/womens-health/your-care-and-treatment/pregnancy
If you’re local to Cincinnati, I couldn’t recommend The Christ Hospital Liberty Birthing Center enough. The experience we had was unlike any other. We felt so much love and support from the staff. The Liberty Birthing Center made our birth story what it is, and we are so grateful! Dr. Reddy performed my c-section. She was absolutely incredible. I’m so thankful for her compassion and care. I couldn’t recommend her enough! I am so excited to have had her by my side this year, and I am happy to continue my future care with her.