Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Caleb's birth story...

My labor this time was different. I'm not sure I've ever experienced early labor like I did this time.  Maybe I was just more aware of my body, maybe I was just very ready to be done.  Either way, I noticed changes occurring for about a week before I went into labor.

Last Saturday I was having contractions for several hours that were consistent in time, but not strength and length.  After timing them and waiting, we decided to go to the hospital.  They checked me and I was only 3cm.  I asked to go home because at that point, the contractions weren't as close together and didn't hurt as badly. I was encouraged because at my last exam {five days earlier}, I was 1cm and 50% effaced.  SO those contractions were doing something! This was my first "false alarm" and one thing I was always nervous to have.

But over the next few days, contractions would come and go -- and I felt more tired.  My body was doing somethings that only happen before labor and I felt confident that things were progressing, if even a little.  I also surrendered a little more to the process and constantly reminded myself that there was nothing I could to do determine my baby's birth day.  My birth mantra has always been "God is the Lord of my body, the Lord of my baby and the Lord of my birth experience" -- He has always been kind and faithful and I knew He wouldn't leave me.

On Wednesday I had a midwife appointment and when she checked me I was still 50% effaced, but dilated 3cm on the outside of my cervix and 7cm inside.  I wasn't too sure what that meant, but she told me that when I felt labor to come in! She swept my membranes which is always very unpleasant and off I went to finish the day.  Nothing big changed, but I felt like my body and mind were preparing.  I was very peaceful and we finished a few errands before coming home and enjoying dinner and popsicles outside. I joked that I had finished reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth the night before, so I was ready! :)

Patrick got home late from work, around 7pm, and right around then my contractions started.  By 7:30 they felt more strong and were pretty consistent.  I took a bath, walked around, laid down and rested as much as I could.  Patrick timed the contractions as we texted with Andra {my doula and friend}.  The contractions came on quickly and each one was intense.  There was no easing into this labor {except everything that happened the previous week -- haha!}.

We decided to go into the hospital and got there around 11.  They checked me and I was 4cm and 60% effaced.  Progress! But not enough to admit me.  We walked the hospital and went up and down stairs for an hour.  When we went back to triage, she checked me again and I was 5cm and more effaced.  That was enough to get me into a birthing room and by the time we were in there it was around 1am.

I was so very tired at this point and tried to rest when I could.  The contractions were consistent and intense, though, so sleep didn't come easily.  I was hooked up to monitors this time, which meant I couldn't move as freely as previous labors.  Plus, my back pain was super awful.  Patrick and Andra were very encouraging and helped me to remember to breathe :)

Around 4am I was feeling pushy and asked for Leanna to come in and check me.  She said I was 6cm and the baby was at a -1 station.  She broke my water and by 4:30 my contractions were getting more intense.  I turned around and labored on my knees, laying on the top of the bed {it was raised}.  It felt good not to be on my back, but contractions were picking up so nothing felt great at that point.  The contractions were about 2 minutes apart and I was bearing down a little with each one.  I do remember at one point feeling very alert and calm between contractions and feeling like this process was taking a very long time.

Side note: My midwife didn't leave after she broke my water {she remembered and noted that my babies come quickly after my water breaks}. She stayed and encouraged me.  She rubbed my back and played with my hair.  She stayed quiet and kindly offered suggestions.  And she came in early to be there for my labor.  She's a gem.  And I'm so grateful for her.

I went to the bathroom and had a few contractions sitting down before heading back to the bed.  At this point I was feeling like I needed to push and when Leanna checked me I was 9cm and 90% effaced {which she said was probably 100% for me}.  She moved my cervix around the baby's head and said we would "see" what would happen with the next contraction.  That was what I needed and the baby moved down and I was ready to push.

I don't remember a lot of this whole labor, but I do remember that grabbing my legs was helpful and gave me a little more control when I was breathing and pushing.  After two strong contractions, bearing down, there was a rush around the room and I knew that my baby was near.  This part felt very, very long -- but Patrick and Andra assure me that it was not.  I pushed once and felt him move down and start crowing.  I laid back, exhausted in every sense of the word, but couldn't not push because his head was nearly out and that pain was intense. With the strength of the Lord and very single bit of willpower I could find, I leaned forward with a deep moan ready to meet my baby. One last strong push and our baby came rushing out.  I don't remember even needing to push once his head was out.  And in hindsight, even through the pain, it was very easy.

One thing I do remember vividly was Leanna saying "Ashley, do you want to reach down and pull your baby onto you?" And I don't know if I said it out loud or in my head, but "yes! I do!"

I haven't really cried after the births of the other babes, but this time it was such a release of all the things to cry a few tears -- of gratitude and humility and relief and joy.  I was able to snuggle our sweet boy as they cleaned him off and while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing.  Patrick cut the cord and I was able to snuggle him more closely! After the placenta was delivered, I put my fist int he air and proclaimed "It is finished!" -- and it was.  My body was empty of a miracle and rested contently. My pain had subsided, God had answered an abundance of prayers and I felt a great freedom rush through me. And it felt very right and very good.

I will note that I didn't remember most of my labor past getting my water broken. I talked with Patrick and Andra and had them tell me what happened. I asked a lot of questions and slowly recalled having a baby. :)  As Andra said everything was "intense fast". And like the other babies, they came with relative ease and looking back I still don't mind labor and quite enjoy the reward of bringing forth life into the world.  BUT I remember saying to Andra several times, "remind me that I never want to do this again!" Amen.

SO, it is with great joy and true gratitude that we introduce this tiny miracle:
Caleb Alexander McBride
August 13th, 2015
6lbs, 15oz -- 20.3 inches

Fresh out, so relieved and so grateful!

Andra was so great and I appreciate her so much!

Patrick is such a rock for me. He loves and serves me so well. I love that we get to do this together!

Getting checked out!

All of my boys!

They were in love with this sweet baby! Especially Elise.

So many friends came to visit! I only got a few pictures, but I'm so glad to have people keep me company and love on me so well! These friends are indeed like family to me!


 A little in room photo shoot to kill some time...

 And going home! Finally! Caleb has slightly evaluated bilirubin levels -- so we had to stay longer than we have before.  It was nice to rest, but I was soooooo ready to go home and be with my people!

I'll post more pictures from my phone when I get time. Thank you for all of your love, encouragement and prayers through my pregnancy and beyond. And thank you for asking God for this little miracle time and again over the last ten years.  This gift of God's faithfulness isn't just for us! Caleb is evidence of a Healer and a Giver of good things to all who ask.  Thank you for praying for us!

1 comment:

mama cindy said...

I don't know why I read this at work....what a sweet birth story made me cry. So happy to have little Caleb as my 4th grandson. You are a champion!! Love you! Mom