If could sum this whole post up in one sentence… Pregnancy and birth are simply magical!
I still remember Caroline’s birth like it was yesterday. While they say that if we could remember it all we would never have children again, I find that to be false. I remember most of Caroline’s birth and even during the darkest part of my labor, I can recall asking myself if I ever wanted to do this again. The answer was yes. I’ve never been one to read birth stories though and still don’t like to but I wanted to document this for my sweet girl and that’s what blogs are for right? They are a place to document life and love.
My water broke at 7:30AM on Monday the 5th of March. Aaron was headed to work in Jeannette that morning and our hospital was in Johnstown. I had been fixing breakfast for myself in the kitchen when he popped his head out of the hallway and asked if I was sure he should travel that far in the opposite direction of the hospital. Let me just add that March the 5th was my due date.
Now as you all know, I’m a wedding planner by occupation but a big planner of my own personal life as well. So when else would my little girl decide to arrive but on her due date. Sounds simple right? Well, like most births, things don’t go as planned and neither did mine.
I told Aaron to give me a half an hour before de decided to go to work or stay home. You see, I had started to feel some funny feelings that morning. Aaron didn’t know though, mostly because I didn’t think anything of it and didn’t know it was contractions. (Yes, you can all laugh at me.) I was just about to finish my bowl of cereal when something felt a little funny and I rushed off the the restroom. Just before I reached my destination, my water broke.
Let me just say that I had no idea that your water doesn’t just break once. It continues to break until the baby is out. Friends, I had no idea that was the case. After all of my reading and studying about birth, that was left out. So to our sweet pregnant couples, your water doesn’t “break” once like the movies. So from the bathroom I told Aaron that I didn’t think he was going into work that day.
A quick call to my mom to let her know resulted in her asking me if I had contractions. (This is yet again another point where ya’ll can laugh at me.) I told her no I had just had some funny feelings. Her response… “Honey, I think those are contractions. You should start monitoring them and see how close together they are.” Yes, I was in labor and didn’t know it.
While my contractions were light for the longest time, little did I know I would be thankful the start of this process was so gentle in comparison. Now before I scare those who haven’t had a baby yet, let me pause for a moment. Your body is capable of some amazing things and thanks to modern medicine, birth can be quite pain free.
The night before I went into labor I had messed up my hip and it was hard to walk so I decided to take a quick trip to the chiropractor before I did anything else. You should have seen the looks on their faces in that office. One of the sweet girls that has worked for Doctor Nick for years couldn’t believe I was there. I was determined to make sure I was feeling as good as I could to have this baby though.
My contractions still weren’t consistent and becoming closer together, so we headed home only to be told by the hospital that we need to get up there ASAP because my water had broken. Looking back, I would totally re-write this portion of the day but I hadn’t done this before so I didn’t know my body and how this was to play out. Rather than rushing there, we casually got ready and headed to Johnstown.
If you are still scratching your heads as to why were chose Johnstown’s hospital over our local Greensburg one, we chose it because they have midwives there in the hospital and let me just say there are amazing! Not to mention that the drive up there is lovely! The drive up that day was one of the most memorable for me though.
With each doctors visit over my pregnancy, I would think to myself as we would drive up that soon we would be making this trip to have this baby. This trip was finally it though and by the time we had reached this hospital my contractions were getting rather close together.
Aaron was such a sweetie and kept timing them for me. As for me though, I could have cared less. For as precise and stressed as I get about things, I was rather chill and come what may about it all.
Now here is where there was a slight turning point in my story and while I won’t go into it all here but what I thought would be a more easy journey turned into a very long and hard journey. Upon arriving at the hospital, I was only 2cm dilated. While you can dilate quickly that wasn’t the case for me. They got us all settled in our room around noon on the 5th and the long process began in the hospital.
Because my water had broken so early in the morning I had assumed that I would go into labor quickly and this was a done deal but that was not the case. They couldn’t check to see if I had dilated more very often because of the risk of infection and after 24 hours they had to start an antibiotic. Mind you, my body is quite sensitive to medicine and I have had allegoric reactions to several things over the years. As you can guess, I was not to thrilled about this.
My hope was to have a natural birth and not have to take anything. While this was the case for 24 hours of labor after my water broke but they did finally have to intervene because of the infection risk. My 24 hours of unmedicated labor was no easy task. By nightfall Monday, Caroline was trying to get out and the exit door was still shut. Active labor began and my body wasn’t getting ready like it should have been.
Aaron was such a champ about it all. He was simply the best husband. He hardly left my side, encouraged me and took care of me. I had to force him to leave me for a minute to even use the restroom.
We tried everything to get my body to work. From the birthing ball to essential oils, the peanut ball to walking; nothing was helping. Thankfully there was a very nice high back chair in the room that I would death grip when a contraction hit and my legs would buckle as our Caroline would slam against the exit to get out. When the 24 hour mark hit after my water had broken I was still on “3-4 centimeters” dilated and something had to be done.
Not only did I need an antibiotic but because I wasn’t dialing they suggested I start pitocin before Caroline ended up in distress and a C Section was necessary. I don’t think I have ever felt so defeated. I had prayed for a natural birth and prepped my body. God knew how worried I was about my body responding to medicine and yet he let this all happen. As upset as I was though, Aaron and I felt a peace about it all.
By the time I was given the pitocin, I was beyond exhausted and there was a poor momma next door screaming like a banshee. After only a few minutes of the pitocin Aaron and I decided that it was best to get the epidural. I don’t think I have ever felt so defeated but by the time the epidural came I was so exhausted I passed out once I got it.
Next thing I knew the nurse came in and the news was that I was fully dilated. I pushed for about 10 minutes and they called in the midwife. Caroline was out with a few more pushes at 2:08PM on the March the 6th. She was 6lbs 10oz and 18.5 inches long.
Aaron caught her and they quickly placed her on me. I don’t think there has ever been a more wonderful moment in my life. Me being the “must make a joke when things get intense person” totally blurted out “wow there really was a baby in there.” Sometimes I just have to lighten he mood. 😉
Looking back now a year later I would have done a few things differently but despite it all I would do it again. Birth is quite empowering and how mommas were designed to bring babies into the world is simply amazing.
The first two photo in this post and the rest of the photos below were taken by my dear friend Kara with Kara Abbey Photography. She came up to the hospital to do a little fresh 48 session with our little family.