Meet Cade- Our Birth Story

January 15, 2016

Okay, okay, better late than never right?! Our sweet little boy is almost two months old, so I better get to introducing him!!! I promised you a birth story, but life with a newborn is busy and time has zoomed by! I've been busy enjoying every second watching my little nugget grow! Now that our days are becoming a little more predictable, I'm here to finally share our story!

Meet Cade- Our Birth Story
I don't want to get into all of the gory details with you, but I will share all the details of Cade's birth. I desired a natural, unmedicated delivery, so before we even started trying to conceive, I did my research to find the most supportive providers of natural birth in the area. I ended up with a great team of midwives. During pregnancy Pete and I both did a lot of reading to help prepare ourselves (I highly recommend both mom and dad read Husband Coached Childbirth* or The Birth Partner*). I didn't really want to focus on any particular birthing method (all that focused breathing just isn't for me, but it definitely works for some people!), but wanted plenty of relaxation techniques to get me through the expectedly long early part of labor. We had an exercise ball and tennis balls at the ready!!!

My due date came and went, and I started to feel frustrated. I knew first timers usually delivered late, but for some reason I assumed my on-my-feet-all-day career would send me into labor early. Nope. I must have tried every old wives tale out there and am here to say that you can try every trick in the book, but babies still come when they are good and ready!
Seven days after my due date we went for a non-stress test. Our baby was happily moving around with appropriate heart rate changes during Braxton Hicks contractions. We also had an ultrasound to check my amniotic fluid index. The midwife was extremely happy with what she saw and was happy to let me go another week, provided my next nonstress test in a few days looked good. We made plans for induction at 42 weeks in the event that nothing happened before then. The midwives don't usually perform cervical checks, but because Thanksgiving was in two days and the office would be closed for a while, I asked if she could give me an idea of my progress. She agreed and found me  to be about two centimeters dilated but still with a very high, posterior cervix. She was impressed with how soft my cervix was and encouraged me that she didn't think I would need that induction. She jokingly told me she was on call the next day and would love to see me at the hospital.

Meet Cade- Our Birth Story
Me at 41 weeks!
I left feeling slightly discouraged that my cervix was still posterior but glad that she thought I wouldn't make it another week! I was determined to get the little guy engaged so that my cervix would do its job! When we got home, Pete and I went for a brisk two mile walk in the cold, and then I spent some time bouncing and doing hip circles on my exercise ball. After dinner I took a relaxing bubble bath to take my mind off of things.

We went to bed around 10:00 pm and an hour later I woke up to pee, which was pretty typical for me. I didn't notice any contractions and easily went back to sleep. Another hour later I woke up again. I felt a weird pressure in my lower abdomen and assumed I had to pee again. I got up, went to the bathroom, and... nothing! I went back to bed and felt the weird feeling again. This time it felt like I needed to have a bowel movement. I got up and tried with more nothing!!! I laid back down in bed and within a few minutes realized I couldn't comfortably lay down. I again wobbled out of bed and leaned over the edge of the mattress. I started to realize maybe I didn't need to go to the bathroom... maybe this was labor. I wasn't convinced, so I started paying attention to what time the pain was occurring each time. It seemed to be about 3-5 minutes in between these stomach cramps and they lasted what felt like over a minute. I felt confused wondering why I wouldn't start contracting 10 minutes apart like everything I had read! I starting consulting Dr. Google and found that this could mean false labor or could lead to a long slow early labor. I continued to lean over the bed waiting for it to pass. It got to the point that I couldn't stand still and was pacing the room. About 45 minutes after I initially woke up, I was finally convinced this was the real deal!

I went to Pete's side of the bed and awkwardly sat next to him. He immediately woke up and asked what was wrong. I told him I was pretty sure I was in labor and explained what had been going on. He starting truly timing my contractions with an app on his phone. Turned out they were more like 3 minutes apart and 30-45 seconds long. I was still convinced that even though they were close together, this was still "early" stage labor. We had time. We were going to use all those relaxation techniques and stay home as long as possible. We planned on having my mom in the delivery room so I called her to give her a heads up since they lived three hours away. When she heard how far apart my contractions were she made me promise to call the midwife right away and said she would leave now.

We called the midwife on call. She said I sounded pretty calm and coherent still, so she suggested I take a warm bath. If this was very early labor it could stall labor or slow down my contractions. If it was later stage labor, it could help labor progress. A bath was a good way to see if this was the real deal. So for the second time that night, I got in the tub.

Once in the tub, I could not get comfortable. I couldn't lay on my back and kept ending up on my knees with each contraction. Pete was timing my contractions at 2-3 minutes apart and I could tell he was getting nervous. He suggested maybe we move downstairs so that we were closer to the door when I felt it was time to leave. I got dressed while he loaded the car. I slowly made my way down the stairs, pausing with contractions. Then I went to the bathroom. There, I lost my mucus plug, and my contractions instantly felt stronger. I suddenly grasped that this wasn't early labor at all. We needed to leave now

I crawled into the backseat of my SUV. The whole 40 minute ride to the hospital was a blur. I spent it standing on my knees, facing backwards, leaning over the seat, swaying through contractions. I was in a sort of a twilight zone and didn't notice anything around me. 

When we got to the hospital, I couldn't sit down even for a second. It felt best to be up and moving. An EMT escorted me upstairs to L&D. They had me walk behind them with my hands on their shoulders. They directed me to squeeze their shoulder if I had a contraction, and we paused our walk with each one. When we got to L&D triage, they temporarily put me on a fetal monitor to make sure the baby was tolerating labor. Everything looked good and the nurse went to get the midwife. My mom arrived at that time and we filled her in on everything. The midwife came in and checked my cervix. I was 9 centimeters! I couldn't believe it! I thought for sure I would hear 6 or 7 centimeters. Hearing nine was so encouraging. I could totally do this.

Meet Cade- Our Birth Story

They admitted me into a room across the hall and placed a saline locked IV in case of emergency. My contractions were pretty strong at this point and my body was involuntarily pushing. I was trying to fight it because I had heard that pushing too early could cause cervical edema and lead to failure to progress. I later learned that I should have listened to my body because it was trying to move the baby into the birth canal. I tried many positions at the nurse's suggestion. I found I was most comfortable in positions that allowed me to sway my hips. The movement came naturally and helped the pain. I was totally zoned out, focused on moving, but I can remember my husband and my mom rubbing my back, massaging, and comforting me the whole time. When the midwife checked me again, I was fully dilated, but  the baby still needed to move down. She had me try pushing in a squatting position. My water broke after a couple of pushes. She thought that might help him move down as well.
Meet Cade- Our Birth Story

Eventually it was shift change for the nurses and midwives. The nurse that came in for the next shift was also named Nicole (a lovely name, if I do say so myself!). She suggested I try laboring on the toilet. I was open to anything at that point, so I waddled my way to the bathroom. I sat on the toilet, and the nurse encouraged me to push my baby down with every contraction. I felt like I wasn't making any progress and  felt a little frustrated. After a while she suggested I get in the shower. So I stood in the shower and leaned on the handicap bar. She directed warm water at my lower back and I instantly felt a change. Pete said he could actually hear the sound of my relief. With the next push I felt a burning sensation. The nurse had me reach down and feel my baby boy's head! It was the most amazing thing and made me feel like I was ready for anything!

The nurse had me waddle back to bed as she called the midwife. I laughed as the midwife I saw in the office walked in and said "I had hoped I would see you today!" In hindsight, I wonder if she had known all along but didn't want to give me false hope! I got into a hands and knees position and started pushing with encouragement from everyone in the room. At 8:06 am, Cade Alexander was born! I felt a huge adrenaline rush as I pulled him to my chest. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

Meet Cade- Our Birth Story

There was a lot going on around us after that, but I didn't notice. All I could focus on was those first precious moments with my husband and my son as a new little family of three.

Meet Cade- Our Birth Story

Meet Cade- Our Birth Story

Meet Cade- Our Birth Story

Meet Cade- Our Birth Story

All in all, I had an incredible labor experience. It was about eight hours from the time contractions started until the time Cade was born. Neither of us had any complications. I was able to have the natural birth that I wanted. And we had an incredible birth team. I couldn't ask for a better labor and birth. It was all better than I imagined. And I now realize that none of that even matters. All I care about is this sweet little boy having the healthiest and happiest life I can give him. 

Meet Cade- Our Birth Story

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7 comments

  1. Such an amazing experience for you and I'm so glad things worked out the way you wanted them to! Cade is absolutely precious!! xoxo

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  2. What a beautiful story Nicole! And he really is just the sweetest!

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  3. Beautiful story and pictures, Nicole! Congratulations!!

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  4. Getting nervous? I was sure we'd be delivering that baby on 16th street!

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  5. Glad all went well! He's beautiful!

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  6. I love reading your birth story, Nicole! I'm obsessed with birth stories in general, but I'm so happy to hear you were able to have the unmedicated birth you wanted! Especially since you were in the hospital, which can sometimes make that dream more difficult!

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    1. Thank you!! I feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful hospital natural birth experience!

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