Warning: This is a birth story. There are birth details in this story! And I will apologize in advance for just throwing all the images in at the end 🙂
As we started approaching mid-week of my 41st week of pregnancy, I was beginning to get more and more anxious about our little girl’s arrival. After having a stalled labor a week prior (which left me at 5cm dilated), I was starting to feel as though Caroline changed her mind on being born. After talking with our doctor, we set an “induction” date of January 15th. We were going to go into the hospital that morning where Dr. Ross would simply break my water and try to let labor progress naturally without the use of Pitocin. I was so emotional over this decision since I wanted a natural, drug-free birth, and I knew the chances of needing medicinal intervention were higher with an induction. Little did we know, our Caroline would make her appearance before that induction was necessary.
The morning of January 14th was an interesting one. I was supposed to have a doctor’s appointment at 9:30AM, however Dr. Ross had an emergency C-section, which pushed my appointment back to 1:00PM. Since we were all dressed and ready to leave the house by 9AM, I talked Tabor into going to the mall to walk around since it was a bit too chilly to take the boys outdoors. I was determined to get labor going before our induction the next morning!
15 laps around the mall later, we stopped by the food court and got the boys a box of Chick-fil-a nuggets and took them to Tabor’s parent’s house while we went to our doctor’s appointment. At our appointment, Dr. Ross reassured me that I was a good candidate for our “natural induction”. We went ahead and did a “gentle” (HAH!) membrane sweep, and at the time, I was still dilated to 5cm. Dr. Ross suggested that I take an Evening Primrose Oil supplement that evening to help ripen my cervix before the induction the next morning.
Being determined as ever, Tabor and I stopped by Whole Foods and bought some Evening Primrose Oil before we picked the boys back up. I went ahead and took 2,000mg of the supplement in the parking lot. We got to the boys by 2:00PM and headed home for the evening. Throughout the afternoon, I noticed that I was having some mild contractions, but that was nothing new, so we continued on as usual and put the boys down for their afternoon nap after we got home.
As Tabor was laying down with Kai around 4 PM, I realized that I was in labor. These contractions were getting intense and only 4 minutes apart, but I was able to handle the contractions by relaxing and breathing deeply through them. Tabor quickly called his parents to see if they were still available to sit with the boys while we go to the hospital, and during that short phone conversation, the contractions started coming every 3 minutes. This was escalating quickly!
We went and woke up the boys, loaded them up in the truck, and started toward the hospital, where Tabor’s mom, Sue Lynn, was going to meet us to take the boys to her house. When we arrived at the hospital, Sue Lynn was still a few minutes behind us. I decided to walk up to Labor and Delivery by myself while Tabor waited for his mom and helped to load up the boys in her car.
As I was checking in to L&D, I saw that our friend from church, Amy, was working. What perfect timing! She and I had talked months ago about her being the nurse for our delivery, and it was looking like that may become a reality.
By the time I got hooked up to the monitors at 4:30PM, Tabor made it to our room. Contractions were becoming more intense and I needed him there to help me relax. During every contraction, Tabor would rub my neck—there was just something about it that made everything more tolerable. In the meantime, we set up the iPad and got some relaxing piano music playing, turned off the lights, and just walked around the room. At one point, I got into the shower and had hot water hitting my stomach. It was beneficial for a little while, but I didn’t want to get my hair wet (weird, I know), so I got out and just paced the room.
Between contractions, Amy, Tabor, and I made small talk. My mom made it there around 5:45 and soon after, I realized I was in transition. In fact, after one contraction, I stood up and said, “Guys, I’m pretty sure I’m in transition. I’m getting a little shaky.” Amy decided to go ahead and call Dr. Ross and Tabor called his mom to let her know that Caroline would be arriving soon. See, this is the first birth that we allowed anyone else in our room. We thought that it would be special if our mothers were there to witness their grand-daughter’s birth.
Shortly after that, I realized that I was leaking amniotic fluid. Not a gush by any means, but a decent leak. With the next contraction, I felt myself involuntarily, gently, pushing through contractions. Dr. Ross had arrived by this point, and the atmosphere was still as relaxed as it gets—lights off with piano music in the background. Dr. Ross checked me and I was at 9.5cm dialed. After talking about it for a minute, we decided to go ahead and have him completely break my bag of waters.
Tabor’s mom came in our room after this, and this is where labor picked up significantly. I thought I needed to go to the bathroom, so Tabor went in there with me. I know he could tell that the end was close. As I was in the bathroom, I began to push. Two pushes later, I told Tabor that I was about to have our baby on the toilet. I could feel Caroline nearly crowning. Apparently Amy knew what I was up to, because I was telling Tabor this, she rushed in, pulled the emergency cord to alert the other nurses on duty, and tried to get me back to the hospital bed.
Well, believe it or not, I could barely walk. Amy and Tabor practically picked me up and carried me back to the bed. As this is happening, the room fills with nurses and Dr. Ross steps back in. Tabor starts to scrub up next to Dr. Ross and the nurses try to put my legs in the stirrups. As they did that, Miss Caroline began to crown, no pushing needed. Amy starts saying “Dr. Ross, Dr. Ross” and Tabor looks at me and says “She’s crowning!” I will never forget the sheer excitement in his eyes as he (with the help of our doctor) delivered our baby girl and put her on my chest at 6:32PM.
As soon as they put her on my chest, I realized she was purple- not a light shade of purple, but a deep purple. I panicked and started crying immediately, asking the nurses if she was okay. They quickly cut her cord and took her over to get oxygen. I later learned that the cord was wrapped around her neck upon delivery.
After they got Miss Caroline perked up, they weighed her—8 pounds, 11 ounces—and took her length—20 ½ inches. As they brought her back over to me, we discovered her beautiful head of red hair. Our second red head!
So there it is! Two hours of perfect labor ending with Tabor delivering our baby. I will never forget those moments.