Every birth is special and a beautiful thing. Every story is unique, and they never go as expected. Caroline’s debut into this world is no exception.
Caroline’s birth story starts a lot earlier than I anticipated. Here we were on Saturday, August 16. I started feeling some mild cramping in my lower abdomen/pelvis. I felt something similar a week before, but thought it wasn’t anything because at my 39 week appointment my cervix was completely closed with no signs of labor starting any time soon. For some reason, this cramping started in the morning and didn’t let up all day. It wasn’t painful, really, but it didn’t let up.
I downloaded a contraction timer app onto my phone and they were so irregular, far apart, and short. They weren’t anywhere but in my lower abdomen. My belly didn’t tighten up or anything. I thought maybe it was Braxton Hicks. See, I didn’t really have contractions that I felt on my own when I went into labor with Kennedy, because my water started leaking and that’s when I was admitted to the hospital. I decided to call the doctor’s office, and the nurse on call told me to drink lots of water, lay, down, relax, and de-stress. She told me that when the contractions were 3 to 5 minutes apart is when I needed to call back. I took a nice, warm bath, lit a stress relief candle, and spent the rest of the night in bed.
Pretty late into the evening (I can’t remember what time now), the contractions started getting intense. They would wake me up and had me writhing in pain. They were still in my lower abdomen, and they were far apart (15 minutes apart) and only lasted about 30 seconds. This lasted all night. In the morning, they hadn’t let up, so I called the doctor’s office again and the nurse on call said that it may not be anything, but since I was supposed to have a c-section in two days and the contractions felt intense, it may be a good thing to head to the hospital. She said that I may be really dehydrated and they might get the contractions to stop and send me back home, but we never know.
So, at that point, we called my mom and she was on her way over to watch Kennedy. We had some time, so I showered, fixed my hair, and did my makeup. Greg got ready and dressed up nicely. Before we left, we spent a little time with Kennedy talking to her about how we had to go to the hospital to get the baby out of mommy’s tummy. We had some previous talks about how it was going to happen so we had to do a little reminding. We wanted to have that talk with her just in case. It took everything within me not to start crying like a baby at that moment. I couldn’t believe that this was possibly the last time I would see and kiss Kennedy before she became a big sister. My first baby. The one who made me a mommy. My mom snapped a photo of the three of us, just in case it indeed would be the last photo of just us three. It is, by the way.
We headed off to the hospital. Once we arrived at L&D, they were expecting us. I was escorted to a room with my nurse, Jamie. She instructed me to put on the hospital gown and then she would hook me up to the monitors. We chatted, had a few laughs, and once that was all done, it was time to check my cervix. That hurt worse than any other cervical check I’ve ever had. And guess what? I was five centimeters dilated. This baby was coming today.
I was shocked that I actually progressed so much on my own. I must admit, I felt kind of badass. High pain tolerance! My nurse jokingly said, “you want a VBAC? You’re already halfway there!” All kidding aside, she said we would go ahead and have the c-section in an hour. An hour.
Greg then made the necessary phone calls and texts to alert the troops. There was no turning back now! All of this pre-surgery stuff went so fast. The doctor on call came in and introduced herself and assured us that we would be in good hands, yadda yadda yadda. She was a really nice, and surprisingly young lady. Yep, yet again my OB doesn’t deliver my child. Having a baby on the weekend for the second time can do that to you.
Nurse Jamie came back and administered my IV, and thank God she knew what she was doing because it only took one try and she put it in a spot on the side of my right forearm that made my hand easy to move. God bless her. I peed about twenty million times, and breathed through contractions. Baby’s heartbeat was great and everything on the monitors were looking good.
The time to go back to the operating room came before we knew it, and Greg suited up in his scrubs. He was then escorted to the waiting area while I was to go down to the operating room. This was such a surreal experience because I walked to the OR myself and sat down on the operating table on my own. It was strange to be so aware of what was going on, as opposed to last time where I had been laboring close to 24 hours and was so out of it and drugged by the time the c-section finally happened.
The anesthesiologist administered the epidural, and that didn’t really bother me one bit. I did, however, start to get really nervous because of how aware I was there in the operating room. It seemed like forever before I finally got to see Greg again and was prepped completely for surgery. The anesthesiologist made sure I was completely numb from my toes to my chest, and I was, indeed, numb. Greg finally came in, and so did the doctor. The surgery began.
Surgery didn’t take very long, but it sort of felt long. And then, finally, the anesthesiologist told Greg he could stand up to watch them pull her out. He stood up, took a few pictures, and then at 2:25 p.m., Caroline Mary arrived. They held her up over the sheet for me to see her and I immediately burst into happy tears.
She started crying vigorously right away, and I just had tears streaming down my face. I could hear them say “wow, look at all that hair!” and making comments about how perfect she was. It felt like it took forever for them to bring me to her, but once they did, I was actually able to hold her in my arms.
She was perfect. She is perfect.
I sung her “Happy Birthday” (just like I did with her sister) and we were able to sit there with her while surgery was finished and I was sewn back up. Greg and Caroline then left while they finished up with me. I was then taken to the recovery area, and then Caroline was brought to us. She was ready to nurse, and latched on immediately with no problems. This made me so happy! It was great to be able to bond with her right away, even after a c-section.
After an hour, we were taken to our postpartum room. Later on that evening, Kennedy came to meet her little sister (along with her grandparents, aunt and uncle).
To be honest, Kennedy wasn’t really that interested in Caroline at the hospital. She was more interested in taking walks around the hospital and eating pretzels with her Uncle Fred. Haha. Caroline, on the other hand, was one alert girl her first day of life. She had her eyes open and was ready to take on the world!
Of course, the story doesn’t end here. It’s just the beginning! We are doing great at home, getting the hang of being a family of four. Caroline is a sweet, easy going baby, who eats and sleeps like a champ. I can’t get over her full head of beautiful dark hair. Kennedy has taken quite an interest in her and is a great helper. We couldn’t be more happy and grateful for these beautiful gifts that are our daughters.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.”
– James 1:17