A Birth Story

If you want to skip the novel that is this post, I totally understand. Instead, just watch this video. Because it's perfect. Pants and Hannah - you two are the best. I can't thank you enough for putting this together. I wish you all the Taco Bell and bacon in the world.

Baby Carsen Max from Madison Waters on Vimeo.

Waiting for a baby is hard work. Not nearly as hard as growing one, but the waiting part isn't the greatest.

I was determined this time around to let things happen as naturally as possible. I wanted to give birth naturally, but more than that I wanted to go into labor on my own. I was induced with Hadley and I left that experience feeling a little regret because I knew she needed a little longer inside me. This time around, I was sticking it out till the very end to give this boy as much time as he needed. And he took that to mean literally "till the very end." He may have been born at 41 weeks and 1 day, but the pediatrician estimated him to be 42 weeks based on his evaluation. So yah, he'd been in there a while.

I started early labor (all in my back) on Monday, January 27th around 7 pm. Obviously I know that because The Bachelor was on. I had some contractions come and go while I watched and folded laundry and then went to bed hoping they would pick up. That night I had contractions about every 30 min-1 hour, which was just enough time for me to fall back into a deep sleep before the next one came on. Not terrible, just tiring.

Tuesday the 28th was my 41 week appointment and I went with hopes of either progress, or a healthy enough baby that I could continue waiting things out until 42 weeks (the longest my midwives will let you go before induction). Surprisingly I was okay that I was a week overdue, and I was okay with having to wait one more week. I was so uncomfortable and SO FULL OF BABY, but I had told myself from the very beginning I would probably go late and to just trust that my body knew what to do. And I guess after 40 weeks or so of telling yourself that, your mind starts to believe it. The midwife checked me and I had progressed 2 centimeters from the last week, but I knew that didn't mean much unless the contractions continued and picked up. I had 2 during my 20 minute non-stress test, but that was about as close together as they were coming. The ultrasound showed my water was a little low, but nothing dangerous. The midwife sent us home with a "let's have a baby today!" and an appointment for 3 days later, just in case.

I stayed the rest of the day at my moms house having contractions, trying to rest, trying to get things to pick up, and wishing I could take a quick 10 hour nap. Around 6 or so I decided I might as well start timing things so that I knew how close together everything was happening. Your sense of time in labor is so skewed. The contractions I had been having were short I felt, and I didn't think they could be more than 15 seconds. When I timed them though I was surprised they were more around 45-50 seconds. We timed things for a while, but things were all over the place. I would have a few that were 7 minutes apart, then some that were 5. Then 1-2 minutes apart, and then all the way to 10 minutes apart. Finally I decided to go back home so that if things continued, at least Hadley would be asleep in her own bed and I wouldn't have to stress about her while trying to stay relaxed and focused. We got home, got in bed, and everything just got more intense. The contractions had somewhat switched to the front while I was at my moms house, but everything had moved back to back labor and those contractions were intense and lasting for about a minute and a half each. I finally couldn't take laying down anymore and I got up and paced the room a little bit. I had been using the Hypnobabies relaxation techniques all day and I owe it all to that program that I was able to stay calm and focused through everything - from the pregnancy all the way to being in labor. The list of affirmations were constantly running through my head and they helped me lean into the intensity and allow it to take over, rather than tense up and fight it. once I realized that things were consistently happening about every 1-2 minutes I figured it was time to get over to the hospital since we had a 20 minute drive. We called Jake's Mom to come stay with Hadley, and then headed over.

We got to the hospital at around 230 am, early Wednesday morning. We had to stop about 4 or 5 times to breathe through the contractions on the way in before we got in a room. I wish nothing but good karma and blessings on the staff for putting me in a room rather than making me sit through triage. I just wanted a bed, and I wanted it now. Somewhere between 9ish the night before and when we got to the hospital my body started shutting down from lack of sleep and food. I hadn't wanted to each much the day before and as things got more intense, I avoided food for the sake of not wanting to throw it up. I was so, so tired. We got settled in and just took everything a contraction at a time. The nurses and midwife could not have been better or more helpful. They offered me every option they could think of and were willing to help in any way I asked. I tried sitting on the birthing ball, but I knew after one contraction on that it wasn't going to work. The contractions were getting to the "taking over my whole body" point and I panicked if I felt one coming on and Jake wasn't next to me. Each contraction he would push on my hips and it helped just enough to get me through the peak of each one. I needed him there. I realized after an hour or so of being at the hospital that I wasn't going to make it through the rest of the labor on my own. I couldn't keep my eyes open, I had no strength to stand up, and the thought of things getting any more intense after my water broke was too much. I just didn't have to energy to keep going. And I was surprised by how okay I felt about that. I had wanted a natural birth the whole pregnancy, but I knew I had given this baby as much time as he needed to come out, and now it was just time to do what I needed to get him out. It took about an hour from that point to get the anesthesiologist there, and that hour took every last bit of strength I had. I got in the tub and spent the rest of the time waiting there. A lot of silent prayers were said in that tub. It's kind of a blur from there but around 5 am the epidural was in. I was at about a 7 before the epidural and after everything was in and my water broke I was an 8 and baby was very low.

It seems like I started pushing around 6:15ish. Maybe sooner, I can't remember. I could still feel the pressure of each contraction and how low the baby was. I felt everything while pushing, which was helpful because I could feel how to push. After about 4-5 pushes though I started to panic thinking I wasn't going to be able to get him out. I felt like I literally had no strength left, and it didn't feel like that head was any closer to coming out. If it wasn't for the Midwife and how calm and reassuring she was, I don't know what I would have done. Somehow I forced myself to push into the pain and ignore the "no energy" thing. No one was getting this baby out but me so I better do it and I better do it now. Roughly 36 hours from contraction number one to the last, Baby and me did it. A few pushes later his head, then shoulders we're out, and then the rest of him just sort of flopped out. Sweet, sweet relief.

I got everything I really wanted. Going into labor on my own, immediate skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, nursing within minutes after he was born. We couldn't have asked for a smoother delivery. I was more exhausted than I have ever been in my life, but little Carsen Max was here. Complete with a double chin, arm rolls, leg rolls, and hands and feet bigger than his 3 month old cousin's. 8 pound 12 ounces, and I got NO STITCHES. Talk about wonderful.

This little man fit perfectly into our family from the moment he was born. Almost as if he was always there. Everyone told me that rather than you splitting your love between two kids, your heart just grows when a new baby is born. It didn't feel that way for me. More like suddenly you are seeing your heart from a different angle, and now you can see the space that loves this new little person. You were just too consumed with the first to ever notice it. I guess there was always room for more because I have always known and loved this little boy, I just hadn't been looking close enough to see it.

I love you little Carsen. So much more than you will ever know. Your Dad loves you, your sister adores you, and you have more family that cares about you than you will ever know what to do with. Thanks for choosing us - this family just feel right with you in it. 


Carlie said...

I love the video your sister created! I totally want something like that now. I am glad you had a labor that was a little better/more what you wanted. =)

Jessie said...

Awww, what a sweetheart! So happy to read you had a smooth delivery of one healthy little boy! Congratulations to your whole family.

Brissa said...

D A N I.
your story got the tears warmed up and that video made them flow. Watching Jake take care of you and seeing how much love you two (and everyone, lets be honest) has for little Carsen makes my heart burst. I'm going to watch this in the morning and turn the volume up all the way. Oh he's so perfect. All those rolls!! That sweet little squish. There is just so much love.
Tell Hadi I love her dance moves.

Tiff Berthold said...

What a beautiful post! I loved the whole thing, and felt wanting for more. I love it when you write things like this for/about your kids, it makes me feel like I can't wait for my own little ones someday :) love you Lady!

Steph said...

perfect!!! loved it all!

Cassidy said...

Congrats!! First, the video makes me want to have 12 babies (anti-birth control?). Second, for the first time it also made me want to have my family surrounding me while I did it. So. Much. Freaking. Love. In. That. Room!!