There’s just something so magical about a birth story. Each one is different. Each one is unique. It’s a day that is forever embedded in my mind and in my heart.
Now I know I’m here to tell a birth story (I promise I will get to that soon) but before I begin, something struck me as I was sitting down to write. With the birth of a baby also comes the birth of a mama. My first thought was to describe October 14, 2014 as the day I officially became a mama. However I realized that isn’t really true. From the minute I saw those two pink lines on that mid February afternoon, I was a mama. I spent more days than I can count worrying that all was well with our little baby growing in my belly (and haven’t stopped worrying since). I took random tests up until I started feeling movements, just to “make sure” I still was pregnant. I held my hand on my belly for hours just cherishing every tiny flutter, kick, and punch. That first ultrasound of our sweet babe was like looking at a picture of my heart. We created that. Our love made a tiny human. Long before I held our baby in my arms, I was a mama.
Now, as promised, I will tell our first born son Kaiden’s birth story. My due date was October 8, 2014. Well that day came and went. And then more days came and went. After 9 months of anticipation all I wanted was that sweet baby boy of ours to finally be out of my belly and snuggled in my arms. My midwife discussed my options with me and we decided to set a date for me to be induced. Monday, October 13th, just shy of 41 weeks. Looking back now I wish I would have given my body that last full week to go into labor naturally (they wouldn’t let me go past 42 weeks even if I wanted) but at the time we just couldn’t wait any longer.
We checked into the hospital Monday, October 13th at 7 am. It was all very anticlimactic and planned. Not exactly the “my water broke” exciting, spontaneous moment I was hoping for throughout my pregnancy. We walked into the hospital (ok he walked, I waddled) went into a little office, filled out paperwork and were told to go up to labor and delivery. I was given a hospital gown (those things really make you feel beautiful, ha.) and the nurse got me into a hospital bed. My midwife came in shortly after and placed a pill (Cytotec) up you know where and said just get comfortable and let’s see what happens. Going into this process I was 2 cm dilated. Noon rolled around, still 2cm. Another pill was placed, hoping to finally get things going. Then it was 3:00 pm, oooh 3cm. Things were really moving now! Not. At. All. I was having random contractions but nothing too strong and was barely progressing. Taylor and I were starting to feel like we couldn’t sit there waiting for another minute. It was 6:30 pm and I had only dilated a whopping 1 cm ALL DAY. My midwife came in and suggested we go home and see if being in my own environment would help me progress things along. At this point she could have told me to dress in all purple, do jumping jacks, and sing twinkle twinkle and I would have done it. I felt nothing but complete disappointment as we grabbed our things, along with my perfectly packed diaper bag full of tiny outfits, itty bitty socks and the softest baby blankets. We headed home, not with a baby and still with a bump.
In the car Taylor had the nerve to say “perfect, we will be home in time for Monday night football”. I’m pretty sure he can still feel the sting of my glare from that one to this day. Once home I decided to go take a bath and try to relax…we all know what Taylor decided to do. After the bath I came down and laid on the couch by him. Something was happening. I was having contractions almost constantly. Something just felt different. Afraid to be the woman who was sent home only to come back too soon I kept trying to wait it out. (Taylor agreed we should wait, mostly because he was hoping to make it until halftime, insert eye roll here). We got home from the hospital at 7 and by 8:30 I had decided we should head back. Good thing I did. In that short amount of time I had dilated from 3cm to 7cm. FINALLY! We were going to meet this baby!
My whole plan was a completely natural water birth. And so far, so good. My midwife wanted me to progress a little further before I entered the birthing tub so until then I decided to labor in the regular tub in the room. The warm water was instant relief through the increasingly strong contractions. I had made it to 9 cm. It was time for the birthing tub. I got into the tub around 3 am. Taylor sat outside the tub and held my hand through each contraction, all while making jokes about getting his speedo on and hopping in with me. (Side note- anyone who knows Taylor knows he has a one of a kind humor. For example…at my dating ultrasound, which was an internal ultrasound because it was early on in the pregnancy, he asked if there was a vibrate button…inappropriate. Although I must admit I definitely laughed, as did the ultrasound tech). Ok now where was I… up to this point, all 9cm, I had made it through with no pain medication. (This all is starting to sound like it was going to be a dream, picture perfect birth story isn’t it? Don’t worry it fooled me too)
After about an hour in the tub I wasn’t feeling the urge to push at all. My midwife said I should get out of the tub and get back into a bed so she could check my progress. Still 9cm. Our little guy was coming down crooked and wasn’t able to drop down low enough for me to dilate fully and push. She decided to break my water hoping this would help, mostly all it did was make the contractions way more painful. After about an hour of breathing through them the pain of the contractions and my exhaustion was too much and I decided to get an epidural. All the way to 9cm and I’m getting an epidural. I was so disappointed in myself. As the anesthesiologist walked in with her tray Taylor got extremely quiet. I rolled onto my side and she prepared my back. Suddenly Taylor asks the nurse to take over for a minute and handed her my hand to hold. He says he’s feeling lightheaded. So let’s get this straight…I’m the one who has been laboring for over 12 hours and am about to get a giant needle stuck into my spine and the nurses are asking him if “he needs some apple juice, or a chair”. SERIOUSLY. All I could do was laugh (and never let him live it down, of course). After the epidural they tried moving me all around. Onto all fours, holding my legs back, you name a position they put me into it. Anything to try to get him to drop down. Now let me remind you. I was numb from like mid belly down. Talk about embarrassing, by this point every nurse had seen more of me than I have even seen of myself. Nothing would turn this baby. He just wouldn’t budge. They returned me to my back and let me relax. I fell asleep for a couple hours (or so I was told, it was a blur at this point).
I woke back up to my midwife walking back into the room accompanied by a doctor I hadn’t seen or met before, her face said it all. I knew that dreaded word was coming. “C-section.” That’s all I heard. There was a long explanation about how baby was starting to be in distress but all I heard was the sting of that one word. Instantly I broke down into tears. Not sweet, soft, gentle tears. No these were sobbing, snot rushing, intense tears. The kind where you start to make that gasping sound that resembles some kind of strange animal noise and that you have absolutely no control over. Everyone was trying to calm me down and make me smile. But I knew the only thing that would make it better was meeting our baby boy. (In a later post I will get into the details of why the word c-section was such a trigger for me.)
I was scheduled for a c-section at 10:30 am. They handed Taylor his scrubs and wheeled me off to the operating room. He couldn’t come in by me until everything was set up and they were about to start. It felt like forever not having Taylor by my side. The lights in there were so harsh and every sound pierced my ears. In reality it was probably only 15 minutes but I had never been so happy to see his face as I was when those operating room doors opened. It was time. We were going to finally meet our baby boy. I remember feeling pressure and some tugging. I remember watching Taylor’s face as he watched over the sheet draped across me, wishing I could also see. (Yeah I know what you’re thinking…me being sliced open doesn’t bother him but a big needle, oh that’s just too much.) I remember feeling a huge relief of pressure. Then I heard it, that cry. That sweet, incredible, amazing newborn cry. They held him up. He was beautiful. Perfect. My heart was forever changed. The time it took for them to stitch me up felt like forever as I watched them take his vitals, clean him up, and hand him to Taylor. Taylor held him next to me as I snuggled my face against his soft, warm skin. The happiest of tears gently rolled down my cheek. The waiting past my due date, the hours of labor, ending up needing a c-section, none of it mattered anymore. He was here. He was healthy. And he was all ours.
Kaiden Jay Potratz was born on October 14, 2014 at 10:57 am. He was 8lbs 2oz and 21 inches of absoutle perfection♡