What’s a more personal way to start my adventuring in blogging than to share with you our most personal story. The day that we welcomed our sweet babe into the world.
Today is Calvin’s first birthday. I’ve wanted to share with you his birth story for quite some time now, but raising a tiny human is exhausting! Yes, it’s taken me a year to pick the photos and write the story, but hey, that’s a pretty big accomplishment if you ask me.
Now, before you scroll down here are a few forewarnings about the following images. You will see skin. My skin. Probably as much as you would if I were in a bathing suit. So don’t feel weird, relax, it’s just skin. When he is born, he is naked, covered in fluids as every baby is that enters the world is. Just putting it out there now for you so there’s nothing to be shocked at. The images that have any sort of fluid have been turned black and white for your viewing ease. I don’t you to loose your cookies over a little fluid as natural as it is. I’ve left out many many images and this is only a snippet of our day. If at any point you don’t want to see more then just stop scrolling. Don’t worry, you won’t see anything that I don’t feel comfortable sharing. That’s about it! Now, on with the story!
The day our son arrived is by far one of our most favorite days as it was the beginning to a whole new adventure for us, the day our family became three and the day that our hearts started living outside of our bodies.
Tuesday June 2nd, 2015 around 1:30am I woke up with some slight cramping that was hardly anything but what felt like braxton hicks, so naturally, I went back to sleep. Not for long though. 2:15 am rolled along and I was again awoken by the cramping. I couldn’t get comfortable or fall back asleep after that. I thought that this could be the beginning but really had no idea since I had been having BH’s for several months. It wasn’t until about 3am when I decided to wake Michael up and get his opinion. After some deliberation and continues cramping every 12 minutes or so we decided that it was in fact contractions and that I would try to relax in the tub. The tub was perfect. The warm water helped me relax and Michael and I enjoyed talking about how excited we were that the day had arrived. We were going to meet our little fella soon!
Around 4:30am we called my mother-in-law, an amazing labor and delivery nurse (lucky me!!) and she suggested going ahead and calling the midwives to see when they advised us to come in. It wasn’t until about 6am that we arrived at the hospital with my contractions about 4 minutes apart lasting about a minute each.
After arriving and being examined in triage they admitted us as I was in active labor and dilated to 4cm. Once we were settled in the room I moved into the tub to try and gain some relief and relaxation. Due to the construction at the hospital the water was just barely warm, not what I was hoping for and not all that relaxing.
This is when my dear dear friend Mary arrived to capture our birth story so we could relive it time and time again. I am incredibly thankful that she was there not only as our photographer, but as our friend and support. She has been the biggest supporter, teacher and fellow mom who has let me bombard her with a billion questions since we found out we were expecting.
All of these amazing images are captured by her, thank you Mary.
My amazing support team, Michael, my mother, my mother-in-law, and our midwife team, surrounded me and were incredibly helpful. They took turns pouring water over my back, helping relieve the back labor with pressure and providing to any request I would make.
I have no idea how long I was actually in the tub for, time was not something I was paying any attention to. At some point I decided to get out of the tub and try moving around to see if that would help any. It didn’t. I hardly made it to the bed without having to stop after just a few steps to work through a contraction.
Back Labor is no joke.
After some time I decided to get back in the tub as that had helped more than being out of it did.
Around 9am the pain was pushing a point of discomfort for me that I could no longer bear. I then asked for help. I didn’t really know what I was asking for, but help is what I needed. The midwives explained my options to me and in that moment I decided that I would like to try their new pain relief option, nitrous oxide.
Awe, relief! Nitrous is a funny thing. Being the first woman at Methodist to use it they were very curious to know how it helped me. I think that I was able to give them a pretty good report. At one point I was laughing so hard that I had squinted my eyes into the back of my head.
I really hate how I look in this photo (above), but the moment was so glorious I just have to share. What am I laughing at you wonder? Let me explain as I remember it clear as day. So picture this; there’s lovely relaxing spa music playing in the room. Your back is being massaged. Your hand is being held. Your husband is telling you he loves you and reminding you to breath and that you’re doing fantastic. Then all of a sudden, you hear it. The first song that played at your wedding reception that literally had the floor shaking because your guests were dancing so hard. Yep. It was Macklemore “Can’t Hold Us”. For those of you who were at our wedding, you know that moment where we were all nervous that the floor was going to cave in but didn’t stop dancing because we were having so much fun? That moment was right there with me in the delivery room and I could not stop laughing. It was amazing. I think I confused everyone in the room pretty good. “Is she laughing? Is she crying?” I was laughing so hard I couldn’t even tell them what was going on for at least a minute. When I finally caught my breath to share my joyous moment the room filled with laugher. Never did I imagine that happening, but I’m so glad it did.
As awesome as Nitrous was it just wasn’t enough for me to get through the delivery. I was informed that I couldn’t use it while pushing and I knew that I couldn’t go with out help of some sort. So we revisited my other options. We decide that the next step was going to be. I’m pretty sure it was a narcotic of some sort that was given to me through an IV. All I remember is that the pain was worse. Way way worse. By this time I was exhausted. The narcotic wasn’t doing a thing.
I was scared. Very scared of the level of pain that this would bring and that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I had never gone through anything like it before. Pain and I have never done well together. I typically get super hot, clammy and want to pass out if I’m in too much pain.
That started to happen. That made me even more scared.
In my head I started to panic. What if I can’t do this? I don’t want an epidural because I don’t want to be numb and not be able to move. I’m sacred. What if it’s too late to get an epidural? What if I pass out while pushing?
My mind was racing and I was terrified.
At that point, I requested an epidural. And waited. And waited. It was 20 minutes that felt like an eternity while I waited for the epidural. Once I had decided that it was going to be the solution I wanted it now and did not want to wait. I was contracting so rapidly and it was so intense every second felt like an hour.
Michael was beyond amazing, more than I could have ever imagined. He knew just how to calm me down and get me to relax and helped take my mind away from where it was going. It’s amazing what you can get through when you have your incredible partner there to support you.
He arrived. The man with the needle that I was absolute terrified of and had been for many months. I probably nearly squeeze Michael’s fingers off as it was being administered more out of fear than actual pain. The needle pain was NOTHING compared to what was happing in my belly. It wasn’t long before it kicked in and I was feeling relief. Real relief. I remember laying my head down and saying, “Thank God” and the anesthesiologist replied, “Nope, my name is Rob.” – “Oh well, thanks Rob”. Once again, the entire room was bursting with laughter. Another very memorable, positive moment.
Then time slowed down. I was able to rest and get some sleep. My body needed it. My mind needed it.
For the next several hours I went in and out of sleep.
Michael was able to rest as well. But as you can see, our mothers didn’t, they were taking care of us, their children. Thanks Moms, you are so appreciated and loved.
I enjoyed some jello.
But I was getting antsy.
“When is it going to pick back up again?” I was too excited. I wanted him out. I wanted to meet him and kiss him and see those tiny fingers and toes.
I was flipped back and forth like a pancake to keep the meds equal (I think). That was the part of the epidural that I did not like one bit. I was stuck in bed. I couldn’t move my legs by myself. That made me feel slightly claustrophobic and I started to regret that I decided to get an epidural. I guess I had already forgotten about the fact that my belly didn’t feel like I had a giant vise squeezing around it while getting punched from the inside just a few hours prior. Ha. How silly is that?!
I did feel like I had given up. I was disappointed in myself for letting fear overcome my decisions. I was upset that if I would have endured what billions of mom’s, including my own, did that I would already have our son in my arms.
They checked me for the umpteenth time and told me it was time to start pushing. Thinking to myself, “Really? I mean I feel some pressure but it’s really time? Huh. Ok. If you say so.”
In that moment I gave it my all. There was nothing that was going to let fear and disappointment overcome me again. I want him out. I wanted so badly to meet him. I wanted Michael to hold the baby boy that had been in my belly for 40 weeks and 3 days. I wanted to see him as a father.
They said three big pushes, I gave four or five most times.
I was so focused I didn’t really listen to anything anyone was saying. I was breathing and pushing and that’s all that I cared about. Fifty-five minutes of hard pushing, then I heard it, “He’s crowing!”. There have never been more motivating words than those. I think there was one or two more round of pushes and then he was here.
His purple, wrinkly skin, his beautiful cry, all his tiny finger and toes; he was here and it was amazing. He was laid on my chest immediately and it was the most incredible moment I’ve ever experienced. Tears flooded mine and Michael’s eyes. Kisses were given and we started at the tiny human that was ours forever thanking God for the blessing he gave us.
The nurses took him for the normal testing and measuring before bringing him back for more skin-to-skin.
Our first family photo.
Michael holds his newborn son for the first time. Love at first sight.
Grandpa, Aunt Amanda and Papa Lee got to meet babe when he was on his way with Michael to the special care nursery.
About 15 minutes after he was born they needed him to be monitored in the special care unit as I had developed an infection sometime during labor. It was a precautionary measure to ensure he was not infected. We later found out that he was perfectly healthy but by policy he needed to be monitored for 24 hours. They knew what needed to be done so we trusted the professionals. Michael was able to be with him from the minute he left the room and didn’t leave his side.
After he’d left with Michael I had to wait for the feeling to return to my legs before I could leave. Um. WHAT?! Isn’t this a hospital filled with wheelchairs? What do you mean I have to wait to be with my baby? I was furious. There was nothing that could be done at that point so I just had to tough it out. Hours went by. My emotions were in such distraught. Family tried to keep me distracted and provided me with company but it wasn’t at all what I had imagined this going like. I intentionally didn’t make a “birth plan” because I think it’s ridiculous that anyone thinks they could “plan” anything about a birth. There were only two things that I deeply deeply desired. Skin-to-skin and breastfeeding within a reasonable time of him arriving. Needless to say, neither of those really happened in my opinion. Fifteen minutes of skin-to-skin didn’t count for me, it was over in the blink of an eye.
The only thing that provided me any sort of comfort is that Michael was with him and he knew how important skin-to-skin was for me. Later, I was so elated to hear that Michael was able to spend a lot of skin-to-skin bonding time with our son while he waited patiently for me to join them.
It was the longest four hours of my life. It sounds a little dramatic, I know, but for me it was. I had carried a baby for 9 months, spent 16+ hours welcoming him into the world to see him for all of 15ish minutes before he was whisked away. Now, I don’t disagree that testing and monitoring are very important but I wish there had been another solution.
Around 11pm the three of us were finally able to be together. Life was good again. My emotional state had turned from pure anger to bliss. Here we had this sorta tiny, 8 lbs, 12 oz, 21” long baby boy who was perfectly healthy and had all of his fingers and toes and there was nothing in the world that could have made us any happier.
The following morning Mary returned again with camera in hand to capture some moments of the three of us. It was at that time when we shared the name we had given him, Calvin Patrick.
Our dear friend and talented photographer, Mary with Calvin and I.
Welcome to the family Calvin. You are so dearly loved and we are so thankful you are here. Happy Birthday Babe.