Today is officially my due date. I am sitting here sipping coffee, watching the Today's Show, and holding a sleeping baby on my chest. Needless to say I didn't make it to my due date. I have wanted to write out Caroline's birth story for several days now but haven't found the time to do it. So this morning as I reflect on the past three weeks that this baby was supposed to still be inside me I wanted to finally write out this story.
On May 22nd I went into the Dr. for my weekly appointment just like normal, I was 36 weeks pregnant at that point. I was feeling fine other than the fact that my clothes were beginning to not fit and I felt like a whale. I was called back to the back and the nurse took my vitals. She knew I tended to have a higher BP on the first take for whatever reason so when the screen read 140/91 she just took it again...same reading, 140/91...and again...140/91. Okay so high BP but not crazy alarming or anything. They tested my urine sample and there were not any signs of protien so I was feeling relieved. Well the nurse comes into my room where I am waiting to see my Dr. and says they want to do some blood work and have me perform a 24 hour uninalysis...so I did begin to get slightly concerned. However, I remained calm and knew they just wanted to be sure of everything and keep Caroline and I safe.
Fast forward to Friday, May 25th (mine and Ben's 5 year wedding anniversary)...I had dropped off my urine jug earlier in the week and was waiting on my results. I had a prenatal massage lined up for the next day, so in light of everything going on I decided to call my OB and just double check I was okay to still go to the massage. Well...that call is the call that suddenly changed everything. My favorite nurse decided to keep me on the line after telling me I really shouldn't go for the massage (I was sooo bummed) and said she would be right back with my test results. When she got back on the line she proceeded to tell me that my urine had shown high levels of protien so that coupled with the high BP meant I was going to be induced...the following Wednesday. WHAT?! I remained calm on the phone but then hung up and immediately called Ben and began to melt down...all the tears and sobbing and freaking out. I could not believe suddenly it was our last weekend just us, and in just 5 days I would be induced. We had so much to do still on the house and to be ready for Caroline's arrival...I was flipping out. Ben remained really calm and was so encouraging and supportive (even though I know he was freaking out too since he thought he still had a few weeks to line everything up at work for his leave time). We hung up the phone and I was able to breath again and called my mom and sister. Both of them remained calm, talked me down, and reminded me how exciting it was that I was going to get to meet my little girl sooner than we thought.
That night Ben and I decided to celebrate our anniversary at our very favorite steakhouse in Jackson, Shapley's. We enjoyed nice steaks and a sweet evening of just us together reminiscing on the past 5 years together and talking of all the was about to come in the next week. The following five days were somewhat of a blur and packed with prepping things for Caroline to join us. By the time Wednesday arrived we were ready...we woke up slowly that morning to a gorgeous sunny day. We enjoyed coffee together and time in prayer outside on our back porch, I managed to take a little nap preparing for labor later that day and we packed our bags and headed to the hospital about 3:00pm on Wednesday, May 30th.
We checked into the hospital and got shown to our room, and the first awesome God moment happened. I had been SO NERVOUS and when our nurse walked into our room it was the nurse that we had LOVED that taught our child birth class. It instantly helped me to calm down and feel at peace and in good hands. Rebecca was amazing and was so encouraging to us both as we began the whole process of being induced. Let me back up...I didn't tell you, I was not dilated AT ALL nor was I effaced AT ALL. So to start the process a more natural way, my Dr. inserted a Foley Catheter Balloon into my cervix that would begin contractions mechanically and in theory was supposed to get me to 4cm dilated before it would be taken out. So I had the balloon in all night which was interesting for sure and surely did start contractions...whew. I slept off and on throughout the night (special shoutout to Stadol, the magic medicine that let me sleep through mild contractions, you the real MVP).
The next morning my Dr. came in to remove the balloon and sadly I was only about 2 cm dilated and slightly thinned out. Little did I know I would never progress beyond this point. That was about 6:30am and once the balloon was removed I was started on Petocin to really kick up the contractions...geez did they really get stronger. We had our praise and worship music playing and when a tough contraction would come along I would just grab Ben's hand, squeeze it tight, breath, and mouth the words to some of my favorite songs full of truth about the Lord's faithfulness to us. Sidenote - it was so amazing to see my husband interact with me and other during this whole process. He was so tender, attentive, and supportive. Wouldn't want any other birthing partner, he was wonderful.
So every 3-4 hours my Dr. would come back to check me and every single time I was still only 2cm dilated...womp womp womp...it was getting pretty discouraging. I held out as long as I could before getting my epidural, but once I had this placed I was much more relaxed and comfortable. About lunchtime on Thursday things began to take a bit of a downward turn...my contractions were not progressing or falling into a pattern like was desired, my blood pressure had started to rise, and my heart rate had continued to stay pretty high. This was the first time that a C Section was mentioned...my Dr. said to Ben and I that it things didn't change when she came back to check me again later that we may need to go that route. She left the room, and Ben and I both cried. We were caught off guard and a section was definitely not what I wanted...but we knew that nothing that was happening had caught the Lord by surprise and that we were recieving amazing care so we came to terms with what may happen ahead and really did feel a peace about it.
Things continued to go south after this point...my BP stayed high as did my heart rate, and I had begun to show signs of an infection with a fever...then suddenly Caroline's heart rate began to sky rocket over 200 BPM and that is when the call was made...about 4:00pm it was decided we would be having a C Section and would be meeting our daughter within the hour. I was scared but more relieved than anything. There was an end in sight. In what feels like a blur I was prepped for surgery, Ben was given scrubs to cover up with, and I was wheeled down to the OR for the procedure. It all happened SO FAST at this point. There were people everywhere prepping the room for me and the area where they would care for Caroline. I was given more medicine in my epidural until I could not feel anything from my chest down. Ben was sitting by my head and the procedure began. I could not feel anything at all but still had to remind myself to breath and remain calm. I had to be given oxygen to help me breath at one point...but all of it faded away when suddenly I heard that little (not so little) cry...Oh that moment. I cried, Ben cried, the nurses cried seeing Ben cry...it was the sweetest moment. They wrapped up Caroline and showed her to me and snapped some pictures of us while the Dr. was finishing sewing me back up.
Ben was able to watch Caroline be cleaned off and weighed and then he took her back to the nursery for a bath and to meet our families. This is the part that is hard for me if I am being honest...I really have not struggler with my "birth plan" going differently than I had hoped. I knew this was the best thing for me and for Caroline and have had true peace with this decision and path we had to go down. BUT...not getting to see our parents and my sister meet Caroline for the first time has been sad for me, and I think that is okay. A good friend and fellow mama told me before labor to allow myself to grieve the things I had to give up, and to not feel bad about that grief. So this was a sad part of having a c section for me and that is okay.
Once I was all taken care of I was wheeled back to our room and was reunited with my precious daughter a few minutes later. We were able to have skin on skin time and I was able to nurse her right away which was magical and so sweet. She was so tiny weighing 6lbs 4oz and had the most gorgeous head full of hair. I was in love with her immediately and could not believe she had been inside me just a few minutes earlier. What a miracle it is to birth a child.
Later that evening we were moved over to our postpartum room and things began to settle down. I had no idea about the recovery from a C Section and was caught off guard by being kept in the bed for 24 hours and the pain that came the next day. Simple tasks like sitting up, walking, coughing, laughing, and even just going to the bathroom were super hard and really tiring. But it truly was worth it all and I would do every bit of it again in a heartbeat to have this little girl in my arms. John 16:21 is such a verse of truth, "When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world." The anguish was gone and the joy was there and there in fullness. We are so grateful to the Lord to have been given this gift of parenthood. We cannot believe the miarcle that is pregnancy and birth, what a testimony to the goodness of our Heavenly Father!