I jinxed myself with this pregnancy because I just really wanted to deliver early this time. I was due sometime early December and I figured it wasn’t too much to hope for a Thanksgiving baby 😉 While I felt uncomfortable on Thanksgiving (and it wasn’t from eating too much), and had a couple hard Braxton Hicks, nothing happened. Over the next two weeks, we tried going on a few walks and going up and down some hills, which produced some contractions, but they always fizzled out after getting home. There were at least two times that I thought something might be started, but it never stayed constant. My due date came and went, and then four days after my due date, I woke up one morning and there were signs that labor would be starting soon. I texted my midwife and doula to let them know that things might be happening today. I remember feeling nervous and excited and didn’t really know what to do next. I hadn’t started having any contractions, so I had no idea how fast or slow this would go. The day continued to progress, and nothing seemed to be very imminent, so I was starting to think it would be another day or so before anything happened. Then late afternoon came around and at 5 o’clock I was starting to feel that there might be some regularity to what I was feeling. I decided that if this was going to be it, I needed to start some supper. The contractions were close enough now that I started to time them. They were coming every 4 minutes and were around 45 seconds long. They slowed down after supper was made, but they were starting to make me think I was going to have some back labor… NOT what I wanted. Anytime I got up and moved around, the contractions were closer together. My midwife and doula suggested doing some balancing movements, especially since I felt like I might be having some back labor. We had gone next door to my parents so that Ruth could be with them and so that we could have more room to do all the balancing movements. I had already started doing some of the movements before my birth team suggested them, but we made the few changes they recommend and even had Stephen run a light massager over my back trying to get baby to turn in a more optimal position. My doula suggested doing the side lying release for 20 minutes on each side. The first side went okay. Laying on your side with the top leg hanging off the bed isn’t the most comfortable way of laboring, especially while having contractions. By the time we were on the second side, I was having to vocalize during contractions to relax. The last contraction I had to sit up for, because there was no way I wanted to go through another contraction with my legs laying across each other!
At this point I decided that I wanted to go back to our tiny house to get through the next few hours. Ruth was laying down in my sisters’ room watching a tv show with my Mom and younger siblings, while Dad was downstairs watching football. I knew that I was no longer able to keep from vocalizing during contractions, and I didn’t want Ruth to be concerned about me. I was also struggling mentally because I knew that if I didn’t tell Ruth that I was leaving, she would be fine, but my momma heart needed to tell her goodnight. In the back of my mind was the advice that every single one of my doctors told me after finding out about my AVM. They all told me that having another baby would be dangerous, so part of me knew that there was the small chance that I could have complications and not be able to tell my little girl goodnight again. We had decided to put our faith in God, and we had also done more research and decided that the risk of my AVM bursting during labor was not as high as we originally thought. All the same, it was hard to let go of the doubt and fear. As I hugged Ruth goodnight, she squeezed so hard and was trying so hard not to cry. She is such a momma’s girl and loves her routine of getting to lay down with mommy at nighttime. Ruth did so good, and only cried a little bit. My family told her that she would get to meet her baby brother or sister when she woke up, and I’m sure that helped a lot. 🙂
Stephen and I started walking back to our tiny house, but I had to stop halfway there because I could no longer walk during contractions. It felt like anytime I took more than a couple steps, another contraction would stop. I got into the house and my doula texted in our group chat asking how things were going. It was now 9:30 pm and I let her know that things were definitely more intense.
I was afraid to go ahead and give them the green light to come over, because with Ruth, it took me forever to dilate past a three. I wasn’t looking forward to feeling like I had to be close and then find out that I still had a long way to go. Both my midwife and doula assured me that the timing would be perfect no matter how much further I had to go. They said they would start the process of getting things together and heading to our house.
But the next few minutes, I had to throw up and with the last contraction I felt some pressure. I let them know and they both said they were on their way. So, with that, we went back to Mom and Dad’s. My midwife was there within the next thirty minutes (probably around 10:20 pm) and she thought I was ready to push. She began getting the birth stool out and was ready to catch a baby. But no, it was just me coping with hard contractions while mentally not being prepared to wait it out. 😉 As she was prepping the birth stool, I remember thinking, “No, this isn’t how it’s supposed to go. I’m supposed to have a water birth this time!”
Now that things were getting real and the contractions were intensifying, I found myself just saying in my head “No, no, no, I don’t want to do this again. I’m not ready for birth again.” I didn’t want to move, I didn’t want to do anything but to stop the contractions from coming. I was also VERY ready for the birth pool. Anything to help me relax and to get through the next part of the birth. My midwife asked if she could check me, and I mentally braced myself for her to say that I was anywhere from one to a three. All I heard her say was “You’re making good progress!” and I said, “Just tell me where I’m at!” I figured that she didn’t want to tell me so that I wouldn’t get discouraged. Stephen said, “Did you not hear her? She said you are at a five!” That was not what I was expecting to hear, so the good news was a welcome relief!
The birth pool was ready soon, and I could not wait to get in. As soon as I got in, I instantly relaxed. I leaned back against the side of the pool and just closed my eyes while Stephen sat behind me. The contractions did slow down, but I welcomed it. I needed a break. I was so tired and so relaxed I almost went to sleep… The water helped me relax so much during contractions as well, and I could tell when I had a productive contraction. I could almost feel myself opening up and getting ready to have a baby. The lights were dim, everything was quiet, I could hear my birth team talking softly in the background every once in a while, and it was just a very peaceful atmosphere.
I didn’t know this, but my midwife and doula were talking while I relaxed, and since things had seemed to slow down, my midwife was thinking about starting some more balancing movements if things didn’t pick back up. My doula suggested they wait 45 more minutes. She came and asked how I felt about moving into a different position. I also had felt a little more pressure with the latest contraction. I moved to get on all fours, and I felt the contractions change. It was maybe after two or three contractions on all fours that I felt like I might be pushing soon. Then, everything changed. My body just took complete control, and the bearing down was intense. I just knew that I was tearing. I tried to fight it, but knew if I wanted to have this baby, I had to just relax and let my body do the work. I only remember pushing during maybe 3 or 4 contractions. My mom had stayed in the background for this birth and hadn’t said much during the process. But I remember that in between some pushes, that she spoke up and said, “Caitlin, it’s the Lord’s Day. God’s blessing you with a little baby this Sunday.”
The next push so intense that some high-pitched vocalization (possibly screams) came out of my body. Apparently, I scared my sister and dad, who were waiting upstairs. 😉 My birth team reminded me to try to keep it low and deep, and then the next thing I remember was my midwife saying, “Ok, your baby is almost here and when baby comes out, I’m going to float baby to you, and you can bring baby out of the water”.
With the last push, it happened exactly how Kim said it would. I saw my baby coming to me and it was incredible being able to bring our new child out of the water at 12:12 pm on Sunday, December 5th. The emotions and happy tears flooded, and I just remember being so thankful for this new life and the safety of this birth. Stephen had been right next to me this entire time and being able to sit on my knees, holding our new child while my husband sat right in front of me, holding my face, was indescribable.
This pushing experience was something completely different than Ruth’s birth. With Ruth, I pushed about 45 minutes, and felt in control of it the entire time. With this baby, there was no way I could have controlled even a little bit of it. It felt like something just took hold of my body and was going to get this baby out quickly no matter what. And it was fast, I only pushed 10 minutes…
I was thinking back to all the sounds of birth, the ones that brought tears to my eyes were all the soft exclamations, laughter, and happiness that were coming from everyone present as a new life entered the world.
“Oh!! Your baby is here!”
“Look at that hair!”
“You did it, you had a baby!”
Once we got baby and me out of the birthing pool and on the couch, the best news I heard all day was that I hadn’t even torn a little bit. Another point for the water birth! 😉
We had decided to keep our baby’s name a secret again, so once we found out that we had been blessed with another girl, it was time to let everyone know what name we had picked.
We chose Kara mainly because it was one that we both liked. 😉 We have a hard time finding names that we can both agree on, so once we finally found one, we stuck with it. Kara also means beloved, or friend.
The story behind Grace. I had told Stephen over a year ago that I wanted our next baby to have a name that would remind us of all that God had done for us over the past two years, from all the help with building our tiny house, financial help for Stephen’s health issues and Lyme diagnosis, and in so many other ways. I also knew that if God blessed us with another child, it would be due to His care over us in keeping me safe with the AVM. I wanted our child to be our “Ebenezer” (1 Samuel 7:12), our “Stone of Help” that would remind us that God was with us at some of the lowest points in our lives. Thus far, the Lord has been our help, and we know that He will always be our help.
Lyndin came about because my mother created my middle name by combining my grandmother’s name with my great-grandmother’s name. I wanted to do that for one of my girls as well, so we decided to combine my mother-in-law’s middle name (Lynn) with my mother’s middle name (Dion).
My family had come down to meet Kara-Grace (Except for John David. He had been asleep and once he heard it was a girl, he decided it could wait until morning. 😉 ) As I lay on the couch and everyone was just about done cleaning everything up, we heard a little voice from the top of the stairs. Ruth had woken up and wanted to come meet her new sibling. 🙂 All she knew was that they had said when she woke up, she could meet her new brother or sister. As they went upstairs to bring Ruth down, I had Stephen take Kara Grace into the bathroom so that Ruth could sit on the couch before seeing her sister. We sat her down and then Stephen brought Kara-Grace out. Ruth was definitely still half-asleep, but she wanted to hold her sister right away. After a little bit, they took Ruth back upstairs to sleep, but apparently it took her quite a while to be able to go back to sleep. 😉 The next day Ruth was a baby hog.
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