Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Caden's Birth

When January 4th, my due date, rolled around, we didn't expect to have a baby in our arms at the end of the day.  I had been to the doctor the day before, on Friday, and it looked like baby wasn't coming any time soon.  I was still 1 cm as I had been the week before, and the doctor seemed to think I could still easily be pregnant for another week.  So, we headed home from Jackson on Friday afternoon making plans for the weekend ahead, one of our last as a family of three.

Saturday morning, we awoke to a nice day and decided to go out for a family ski.  I was eager to take advantage of any and all play opportunities before I no longer could.  There was that, and I was secretly hoping that skiing might be just the thing to kick start labor.  I guess it worked, or at least it certainly didn't hurt.
Family ski on due day!
Post ski:  40 weeks preggo on my due date, last hours EVER as a pregnant lady!
Post ski:  Loving life as mom and dad's one and only . . . having no idea how his world is about to be rocked.
One hour after returning home from our ski, I was reading stories to Isaac before his nap, and my water broke.  I left Isaac to rest and immediately went downstairs to share the exciting news with Matthew.  He hastily loaded up the car while I cleaned the kitchen (there was no way I was coming home to a dirty kitchen!).  I wanted to let Isaac sleep for a while, but Matthew was pretty insistent that we hit the road.  We did have a 1.5-hr drive ahead of us to get to the hospital in Jackson.  I conceded.  We woke up Isaac and took him to our dear friends' house where he would stay the night.  He was happy to have a slumber party with his buddy Arabella.

Matt and I made it to Jackson with no problems.  That was a huge relief!  Matt had been so concerned that we would be the latest parents to claim "canyon baby" bragging rights.  The remote highway from Pinedale to Jackson goes through a rugged canyon in which there is no cell service. Some babies make their grand entrance in the canyon because they don't make it to Jackson in time.  During the winter,  weather conditions can make travel on the highway very treacherous and slow or even force a road closure, making the journey to Jackson impossible.  Luckily for us, neither happened.

Our trip to Jackson was fairly uneventful.  All the way there, I had consistent contractions, but they were brief and not terribly uncomfortable.  When we arrived at the hospital at 5pm, a nurse checked me and said I was 2 cm dilated and about 80% effaced.  As we situated ourselves at the hospital, my contractions were not getting any stronger and in fact, began to slow down.  The nurse came back at 7pm to check my progress.  She reported that my status had not changed--still 2 cm and 80% effaced.  Thinking back to labor with Isaac, who was born 30+ hours after my water broke, Matt and I were sure we had a long, slow night ahead of us. So we began to settle in.  We turned on the basketball game and got cozy.  I texted my friend to say that labor was kind of boring.
Relaxed dad.  Can you tell he's done this before?
The nurse came back shortly after that second check and, to our surprise, announced that the doctor wanted to see progress and was recommending that we induce with Pitocin.  I was almost horrified.  My water had broken only about 5 hours earlier, and I wanted to give my body a lot more time to really start labor on its own before even considering inducing.  Of course, the doctor had her reasons for wanting to speed up labor (reduce the risk of infection; limit the amount of penicillin I would receive--I had to take it every 4 hours--and so on...), but I felt like my body hadn't even been given a fair shake to try on its own.  After discussing what we would do, Matt and I decided to ask for one more hour to see if my body would progress on its own, and then we would concede to Pitocin.  Just before 8pm, the nurse called the doctor and let her know our wishes.  The doctor agreed to give us one more hour but insisted she wanted to see progress within that time.

When the nurse told us we had an hour, Matt and I snapped out of our sense of leisure and started moving.  I was determined to try to get things started on my own.  My body must have gotten the message because almost immediately contractions began again, and they were much more intense.  We walked around the small, quiet hospital, pausing for each contraction, and returned to our room for the 9pm check.  I was delighted to learn that I had made progress in that hour--I was now 3.5 cm.  The doctor was pleased with the progress but said she wanted me to be in active labor (5cm) by midnight or we would need to induce.

Stylin' for our jaunt around the hospital.
At this point, my contractions continued to get more and more intense and closer together.  Matt and I spent the next one and a half hours in the room close to the bed as I worked through contraction after contraction.  I rocked and swayed while standing, sitting on a ball, or leaning on the bed.  I focused on my breathing and all the while drew strength from Matt's unwavering support (he is an amazing partner!!).  Eventually I ended up crouched on the floor on a mat.  The contractions were incredibly intense but still manageable.  I didn't dare let myself have thoughts like, "I can't do this" or "When will this end?" because I was sure this was only the beginning.  I expected to be in progressively worse pain over the next many hours.  Caden and my body had a different idea.

At about 10:30, while crouched on the floor, I said to Matt, "I really feel like pushing, but that can't be.  It's too soon."   I thought there was no way I could already be at that point!  How could I go from 3.5 cm to fully dilated (10 cm) in 1.5 hours?!  It seemed entirely too good to be true.  The nurse came in just as I was feeling the need to push.  She said, "Oh my, then I need to check you again!"  After hastily doing so, she stood up and frantically left the room saying, "We need to call the doctor!!"  Thank goodness the doctor lives about 5 minutes from the hospital and didn't waste any time getting there.  She arrived promptly, and I had already started pushing.  That was after 2 nurses and Matt had managed to get me off the floor and into the bed--I had no will or power to do it on my own.  My fantastic doctor and the nurses coached me through a few more pushes, and then Caden was born at 10:56 pm.  Besides being elated to meet our son, Matt and I were  thrilled and flabbergasted that he was already with us.  I had just gone from 3.5cm to babe-in-arms in two hours!  Remember the doc had said she wanted active labor by midnight?  I'd say we topped that.  Now that's the way to have a baby!!!!

Welcome, sweet baby Caden.
It seems fitting that Caden entered this world in the calm, quiet hours of the night because that's how I would describe his birth.  It was a wonderful, positive experience that felt purposeful, calm, controlled, and intimate. I never felt panicky or scared.  Maybe I never had time to feel that way since it happened so fast, but I believe it also had to do with Matt and I being committed to one another and being ready to bring our new son into the world.  We did so together, with love and joy.  What a beautiful, peaceful birth it was.  I will always treasure it. 

Big brother arrived the next day, and our complete family was all together for the first time.
The hospital treats new parents to a candle light dinner.  Pretty sweet!
Cheers to our expanded family!
Dessert was the best part.
Heading home early Monday afternoon.


Welcome to our family, baby Cade.  Already our lives are enriched.

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