Not sure where it came from exactly but my husband has taken to calling our darling Cashel Rock “The Boy-Co Bean.” I have found myself using this adorable nickname as well and can’t help but wonder, again, where it comes from. 🙂 I guess I may never know.
I’ve had several requests for our “birth story” to be shared so here goes my attempt. It’s a long one so here is a sweet picture to hold you over until the rest of the images at the end! 🙂 Or you can watch the video Grandad made for Cashel to watch.
I can tell you that this was totally unexpected and I am so glad that my leading response when people asked me what my “plan” was, was to say “I’ve never done this before, so I have no idea what to expect or how I’ll handle it.” Or some version of that… I often said, “I don’t know and I won’t pretend to.” I had no idea just how good that mind set was for this unexpected adventure.
There was little about our birth that went as planned and yet it was perfect for us! I would change very little, and am so blessed to have been surrounded by a team of people who had our best interest at heart. Especially my teammate and husband Benjamin.
August 13 (24 days to due date) I had my 36 week appointment and was 1 centimeter dilated and 80% effaced.
August 23 (14 days to due date) I had a 37 week appointment and was 1 centimeter dilated and 100% effaced.
August 29 (10 days to due date) I was not feeling well all day and truly didn’t do much more then go to a doctor’s appointment. I saw another doctor in my doctor’s practice since she was out of town. We reviewed my birth plan and I went home and made a few changes to it that night. Very ironic! We also ran some errands afterwards, including having our car seat safety check done. Just in the knick of time! This was followed by a 2.5 hour nap that we both desperately needed, and little did we know just how much. I feel like this was the Lord’s gift to us.
I had terrible heart burn in the last two weeks plus an incredible amount of swelling. Both of which kept me and Benjamin up all night for many nights in a row. To have gotten in a nap of truly restful sleep, we felt so lucky. After the nap Benjamin headed out for a boy’s night and I pondered getting ready and going to a birthday celebration for my sister a few hours away. I just couldn’t rally. And it’s a good thing.
Instead I laid on the couch, doing little to get comfortable and eating the only thing that sounded good – Hagen Daaz Coffee Ice Cream.
When Benjamin arrived home around 11:30 or 11:45pm we both headed upstairs to bed and tried to fall asleep. Again there was little sleeping for either of us, and for a short stretch I found a comfortable spot in the crook of Ben’s arm. Just a few minutes prior I had been doing some Pampered Chef business on my phone, selling a few brownie pans. 🙂
And the time stamps on those messages were actually how I approximated when my water broke. At 12:45am on August 30 (9 days to due date) I felt a very strange and dramatic “POP” in my belly and was very uncomfortable almost immediately. I rolled out of bed and headed to the bathroom. A great deal took place there including almost an hour in the bathtub. Looking back that POP was the start of my active labor as my water broke. At one point I even turned on the curling iron thinking if I was “really in labor” I’d have some time and maybe between contractions I’d do the “getting ready” I hadn’t done earlier so I’d look half way decent heading into the hospital. 😉 Who was I kidding?
The hour in the bathroom was marked with a lot of wondering “is this really it?” When Benjamin saw me turn on the curling iron he asked what I was up to and I gave no reply. I knew what he’d say to my silly notion. 😉 He continued to watch “Kitchen Nightmares” and at the end of the episode came and asked me what was up. I told him I thought I was possibly in labor, but I wasn’t certain. I had him bring me my phone and we made a valiant effort to try to “time my contractions” as did he. However, to be honest, I really was having trouble figuring out when they were starting or stoping. I chalked this up to being a first time Mom who really had no idea what I was doing. Realistically they were coming constantly without reprieve so it was no wonder I couldn’t decipher a start or stop.
Until I started to throw up I really was not certain I was in labor. Big thanks to some lovely girlfriends, who had revealed to me somewhere along the line that they had thrown up while in labor, I figured it might be the real deal when I too took to the glamorous rotation of painful silence and gross vomiting. I explained to Ben that I thought my water had broken when I had first left the bed about an hour before, that I thought I might be in labor, and had him call the hospital.
A friend of mine, who is a nurse at the hospital, answered the phone and recognized our name. She was wonderful to Benjamin on the phone, and told him it sounded like he needed to bring me in. At this point Benjamin was on higher alert, and despite his fear of calling family at 1:30am and having it be a false alarm he humored me and called my Dad.
“Dandy…” Benjamin said using the Grandfatherly name my Dad has chosen to go by…
“Talk to me Ben…” my Dad replied.
“We’re headed to the hospital soon, looks like she is in labor.”
“See you there.”
The next ten or so minutes consisted of me instructing Ben (at times in a very curt way as I knew I just needed to head to the hospital; and was a bit annoyed, with myself, that my bag wasn’t fully ready) to gather things for the trip. I believe this is also when he called his Mom, Dad, sister and brothers. Primarily I just wanted a pair of clean, dry yoga pants to put on and the “hospital clothing” from the dryer put in the bag. And oh yes my headbands, phone charger, camera, and makeup…. He humored me, gathered it all, and finally around 2:00am we were headed to the hospital.
I committed to myself, since I had yet to be able to time the contractions well, that I’d at least count how many “peaks of pain” I thought I had while we drove to the hospital. I figured that the drive was about 15 minutes and I’d at least be able to identify the “peaks of pain” if not the start and stopping of the contractions. And this would help us figure out about how far apart they were. I had 4 “peaks of pain” (yes I coined that term myself) on the drive. So yes 4 contractions in 15 minutes, consistent and constant.
When we arrived I was offered a wheel chair and despite my intentions of “walking throughout my labor” I anxiously accepted the offer after the painstaking walk from the car to the front doors. Our friend who happened to be the charge nurse that night had us skip the check-in triage room and took us right into a delivery room when I explained that I thought my pain level was at a 6 or 7, but that I wasn’t sure what to compare it to since I’d never done this before. She knew my water had broken and could see in my eyes, since she has known me since I was 12, that triage was not the place for me.
As we walked in she asked me what my plans were for labor and pain medicine and my very quick response was, “the plan is out the window, I have a feeling this is going to be very different then what I was imagining.” And boy was it! Thankfully Benjamin had been very on board and reviewed the birth plan with me just the day before so no matter what I was asked or what I chose to do he double checked with me, and reminded me of our plan. He helped be an advocate for me and what I wanted and I am so grateful for that. I felt like we made the decisions and were in control.
She settled me in, checking the baby’s heart rate and then within a few minutes checked me out. I was 8 centimeters dilated and 100% effaced. I was in shock! my desire was to labor mostly at home and couldn’t believe I had progressed that quickly! I had Benjamin call my parents again, because they were still not there, and I knew they might miss it if they weren’t there soon. We were all calling my sister like crazy as she was supposed to be the photographer, but with no luck. She arrived the next day! Already in the hallway waiting were our sister and brother in law – who are also expecting their first baby. They were later joined by Benjamin’s parents, two brothers and their girlfriends and also our friends who are “Auntie and Uncle” to the baby too! (10 visitors in the hallway!)
When Benjamin talked to my parents they were still at home! They had showered and were making coffee! Crazy!! OF course they then put it in to high gear and arrived just 15 minutes later. At that point I had requested an epidural and they were held at the door until it was in place. The doctor almost said “no” to allowing the epidural as he wanted to check me again. But, due to the fast nature of my labor my nurse and the anesthesiologist really stressed the urgency of doing it then, and boy am I glad they did.
My parents got there just as I was receiving my epidural and joined us in the delivery room as soon as it was in place. Thankfully my Mom was able to take photos and my Dad had the video camera running and was able to tape the whole thing in a very modest way that allows me to share the experience with family and friends!
From there it’s hard to recall the timeline as it went quickly. I did have to breathe through about 30 minutes of contractions as the baby’s heart rate dropped when I tried pushing that first time. After breathing through just a few contractions the baby’s heart rate was fine. However, the on call doctor wanted to be safe so he had me on an oxygen mask and waiting through the contractions for a while longer. This was probably the toughest part despite the fact that I had gone through the most painful part of labor, called “transition,” at home. I truly believe that not pushing with contractions may have been harder. All your body wants to do is the push in response to the contractions so breathing through them was tough to say the least.
At one point, probably at 25-30 minutes of breathing through them, I paged the nurse. She told me to page when I could no longer just breathe through the contractions, and “needed to push.” And boy did I need to push. I began the “pushing process.” A couple good pushes and my nurse announced to the doctor that he needed to get ready. After calling him twice more he arrived and began his preparations to get ready for the birth. In the mean time… Cashel Rock made his entrance into the world and the nurse actually delivered him while the doctor was on the other side of the room! The doctor did join in the delivery just as our nurse brought him up to me; but yes it was our nurse, and long time friend, who delivered our son. She had done it 3 times prior and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, especially since my own doctor was out of town!
Cashel Rock was born at 4:28 am after just 3 contractions with pushing and after just under four hours of active labor. There is a moment, caught on tape where Cashel’s cries bring on spontaneous laughter from both Benjamin and me. It’s priceless and is truly a depiction of how my heart felt.
At this point the doctor sat down for the long haul… and many repairs. He repeatedly said, and I mean many times… “If you have another baby you need to live close to the hospital.” After about an hour of sewing, which is the number one reason I am glad I didn’t stick to my original plan and had pain medication, the rest of the family joined us. During that hour I was able to do skin to skin, we had our first attempt at nursing, Ben cut the cord after letting the cord blood empty, Cashel was wiped up and Benjamin got to hold him for the first time.
As family poured in they took turns holding their first grandchild/nephew for the very first time. Everyone was wide eyed and many tears were shed. Our friend Kendall, also our brother’s girlfriend, is a talented photographer and was able to capture the family’s first moments together! We were so blessed and so thankful he was here healthy and safe. I made many jokes during labor, mostly in response to questions from the nurses. Saying how would I know…. this is my first time doing this… I had nothing to compare it to. BUT I feel so lucky to have had a labor like I did.
He arrived 7 lbs. 6 ounces and was healthy! There is more to the story as I was back in on Labor Day with postpartum preeclampsia. And we can tell countless stories about our boy that can seriously eat, fill his pants, yawn a yawn that is as big as his whole face, and put on weight like a piglet; but I’ll save those for another day.
The support we had was unimaginable and more then 30 visitors met Cashel before he was even 36 hours old. He is one loved little boy.
Will I do it again? Yes.
Will I do it the same way? I don’t know and I won’t pretend to know.
Am I happy with how it all took place? Yes. Couldn’t be happier, except if my doc had been able to be there, but then our friend wouldn’t have delivered him…SO…