Nothing went according to plan. It wasn’t what I had imagined for myself and it’s not the story I thought I would have written. That’s how I would have described the last nine months. My pregnancy and the delivery of our son popped all of my expectations of this journey. Now, as I write this birth story, holding him in my arms, I can honestly tell you I would do it all over again. We are over the moon and beyond with our sweet boy.
Third Trimester Recap:
Third trimester was by FAR my FAVorite trimester. I mentally started to feel great. I had a good routine going for myself with morning quiet times, and afternoon walks. Living in a pandemic actually felt oddly “normal” at this point. I enjoyed talking, singing, and praying for baby Caden as I put my hands over my majorly growing belly. Physically, I was just READY to have our little man. My mind switched from “freaking out” over giving birth, to “I’m so freaking READY”. I think just being uncomfortable and the heartburn were the worst part of the third trimester symptoms for me. I literally couldn’t get comfortable sitting, laying down, or even just standing. I had TERRIBLE hot flashes, but the heartburn was just the worst. Most nights I slept sitting up. I spent a lot of my last trimester prepping, organizing and getting ready for baby. I enjoyed going into the nursery, rocking in the rocking chair, and envisioning Caden in there. Packing my hospital bag was fun, and I also got my room ready for postpartum with baskets of essentials for mommy and baby. A warm shower before bed always felt amazing, I wish I had a shower chair. I even indulged in a bath every once in a while and it felt so nice to my tired body. At 36 weeks, I just kept waiting for that “today is the day” moment. Gosh, I wanted so bad to feel that moment of rush and excitement. I kind of did actually…so I’ll take that. At my 36 week appointment it was found that I may be leaking amniotic fluid. I was told to go to the hospital and get checked. I was at home when I found out and called Jacob that he needed to come get me, that we needed to get out bags and head to the hospital. We were excited for the possibility but also nervous. Turns out everything was fine and I was sent home just a few hours later. It only made my excitement grow. I wanted so much to meet Caden, it ached inside of me. I did ALL the things to “induce” labor or to “prepare” for labor. So much walking, swimming, and pelvic stretching. However, there was a different plan for me….
The Valleys Of My Pregnancy– A Recap
My pregnancy was quite the journey. It was an emotional journey for me to get pregnant, and then having a scare of loosing my baby at 6 weeks. It was a valley between two mountains, I would have several throughout my 9 months. My first trimester was rough, it came with it’s own battles of fighting nausea and anxiety, all in the midst of selling our home and moving. I was both excited and scared-I just wanted to stay positive. Second trimester came at me even harder. It seemed my anxiety didn’t want to let go of me. It was a battle almost everyday. To be honest, my anxiety kept me in the valley most of the second trimester, but I knew I wanted to be on that mountaintop. I started a morning routine of prayer, worship and exercise. I could feel myself regaining some strength to climb. Each day I handed off my anxiety to God and trusted in Him. I can honestly tell you, it was my faith in Christ and daily fight with worship that started to pull me out of that valley. I felt myself slip once again when a failed glucose test leading to the three hour screening knocked me back down. I felt like a failure, and I didn’t know what it meant for my future. I praised God when I did end up passing the three hour screening. It seemed like I was constantly fighting battles, but rewarded with victories. Then, Covid-19 hit. A detriment to celebrations, going out, doctors appointments, and anything “normal”. I cancelled my baby shower, hospital tours/classes were cancelled, Jacob was no longer allowed at appointments and possibly even at the hospital, we had to put a stop to seeing our family, friends and PPE had to be worn if out. There was a lot of unknowns when it came to living in a pandemic. Unknowns that led to fear and grieving of what things were supposed to look like for my pregnancy. I knew God was working in my life because I kept feeling at peace even through the unknowns. I kept trusting. Each day we learned to live in this new “normal” and I felt that in my last trimester, while physically difficult, my mental health was stronger. The last few months of pregnancy I was feeling pretty good, I felt myself become stronger mentally each day. I established a routine for myself and I was feeling hopeful as time drew near to meeting our little man.
At 36 weeks we had a sonogram that told us Caden was head down and ready. I began packing my bags and preparing for the “today’s the day” moment. I actually ended up in the hospital for an afternoon to be monitored, but everything was fine! 37 weeks and the doctor couldn’t find Caden’s head down anymore so he ordered another sonogram at 38 weeks. 37-38 weeks pregnant I worked everyday to try and get him to flip by doing various stretches, exercises, and swimming. I cried, I prayed. Riots due to the injustice of George Floyd broke out. It was terrifying to watch the news. Protests shut down roads to my hospital and I was scared that if something were to happen I couldn’t get to where I needed to go. I spoke up for what I believed, but I knew I needed to step back to protect my mental health. I decided to concentrate on all things positive. I was confident going into my 38 week sonogram that Caden was going to be in the correct position. He had to be. I tried to do everything right and I couldn’t take another valley, I needed a mountaintop. The sonogram showed that Caden was Frank Breech. Alone in the doctor’s office, my doctor told me I had two options. Try an ECV (manual version procedure) or a c-section, but that I needed to make a decision quick as they needed to get it scheduled before 39 weeks . She went through all the various risks with me. I cried in the office. Like full on bawling. I walked outside to discuss with Jacob since he couldn’t be in the room. No words came out, just tears. We discussed and decided it was best to put as less stress on me and the baby as possible. I went in to tell my doctor I would schedule the c-section. She then proceeded to tell me that there was a doctor at a different hospital that could schedule an ECV on June 16 (39 weeks). If the ECV went well they would keep me and induce me into labor. If the procedure was not a success they would go ahead and do a c-section. I felt like this was my best option for having a birth story/plan that I had been envisioning for myself. So, we switched our hospitals, plans, and got it scheduled. I went home and still tried every trick in the book to get him to turn. I was a ball of anxiousness as each day grew closer to June 16. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed. I stayed up at night, tears running down my face. It was always said to me that “our bodies were meant for this”. So then, what was wrong with mine? Why wasn’t it doing what it was supposed to. June 15, I let it all go. I couldn’t fight anymore. All I really wanted was to have peace walking into June 16 to meet my son.
Caden’s Birth Story:
It was 6am on June 16. We were getting ready to leave the house. Bags were packed. I slept good. I was at peace. In the car on our way to the hospital Jacob and I played worship music and held hands. We walked into the hospital at 7am with ALL the emotions of not knowing what to expect. They got me prepped immediately. Lots of hustle and bustle in the triage room with a variety of doctors in and out going over the procedures with me. It was very surreal and overwhelming. Two hours went by with the blink of an eye. It was time. I was taken down to the OR/Theater. Jacob had to wait outside as a handful of doctors prepped themselves and me. They did a spinal block on me instead of a normal epidural in case I needed to be rushed into a c-section after the ECV procedure. It felt like 5 times they poked me in the spine, I squeezed the nurse as she told me to breathe-I’m so thankful for each of the nurses, they made me feel calm. Then they got it. My legs went hot and numb so quickly and they laid me out on the table. Jacob was rushed in to sit next to me at the head of the table. I closed my eyes because I didn’t want to watch. Two doctors worked to move Caden from breech position, pushing on my belly and maneuvering him around. They attempted twice before his heart rate dropped-we could hear it on the monitor, Jacob and I got scared. They said “we don’t feel comfortable trying again” we need to do the operation. I cried. I felt like everything I had worked and prayed for was over just like that. I wasn’t going to get a birth story I had imagined. All I cared about was the safety of my baby, but I can also tell you was terrified. In 30 seconds they had drawn the curtain and began the c-section. It was only moments later that they held Caden up for Jacob to see. They handed him off the a nurse who cleaned him up and announced he was 8lbs 11oz, still shocking to me that I had that big of a baby. They gave him to Jacob and as I was being sewn back together. As I felt the pressure of them working on me, I asked Jacob to put Caden’s face next to mine just so I could feel him. It was only a few short moments when they were whisked away to the room while they finished up on me. I could feel them moving and pulling at me. I just laid there, hands out singing “I will praise you in this storm, and I will lift my hands, cause you are who you are, no matter where I am. Every tear I cried you hold in your hands. You never left my side…..” I sang it over and over until they were done. It felt like a lifetime. I dozed in and out thanks to all the medication I was given. They gave me a shot in my uterus to relax my muscles so they could move the baby around for the ECV. Then, due to needing the c-section they needed it to contract so I had another shot to basically undo what they had done with the ECV procedure. They gave me a couple of other things that I have no idea what they were. When they were done, several nurses moved me from the table to the bed.
I was wheeled back to the room where we started and there was Jacob holding Caden but I was so “out of it”. I just kept dozing off. The nurse in the waiting room explained that I had lost a lot of blood. They were talking about blood transfusions but were going to keep their eye on me. As I was being monitored they put Caden on me. I just remember being delirious, but so happy.
Just a short while later, we were wheeled to our room where we would be staying for the remainder of our time at the hospital. Recovery in the first 3 days were hard, painful and overwhelming. They took a toll on me physically and mentally. I was determined to get better and stronger each day. My nurses encouraged me to walk and through the pain I would stroll my hospital room. It started just with a trip to the bathroom, then I was able to get there by myself, then I was able to walk around the room. I held back tears of pain, but I knew I needed to get better. I progressed well, and was able to leave the hospital after 48 hours. I was so anxious but thankful. Anxious because I had undergone a huge surgery and change to my body, and I just wanted everything to heal properly and correctly without complications. Going home was the best thing though. I immediately felt more comfortable and after a week I was able to get off my pain meds. Two weeks and I felt a world of positive difference, praise the Lord.
Two weeks after having Caden and I’m learning to love the story of my pregnancy and his birth. I struggled with not having anything in my pregnancy go “normally”. I struggled with not having a birth story that I envisioned. I struggled looking at my body and seeing a huge scar. I couldn’t figure out what happened what went wrong. What I learned is that our God loves a good PLOT TWIST. He loves to take things that were meant to cause hurt and pain, and use them for good. I had to laugh because I specifically remember praying for a healthy baby, and a quick birth. I certainly got both, so He really did answer my prayer. Even though I wanted things to go a different way, I have to believe now that God had my best interest in mind. He has the best plan and the best timing. The way Caden was born was the best for me and for him. I know God is going to use me and my story to encourage others. I’m letting go of those past expectations, and moving forward in joy and peace with how things went. My recovery is going so well, and Caden is the light of my life.
Going through a global pandemic, fighting the battle of anxiety, and grieving expectations, I want you to know that I’m stronger today. I’m proud of my body. I’m proud of my strength. Mamas, if I can encourage you, give you helpful insight, pray with you, or just listen to you please let me know!