Monday, August 23, 2010

A Story not Meant for the Faint of Heart

If you don't like reading birth stories, I don't blame you. Until I became pregnant, I never read them. Once I became pregnant, I feasted over every detail. If you don't like reading birth stories, just skip this one. I won't be offended. This is the story of how Kaden came into the world, which I really don't think necessitates being shared in a public forum. The problem is that in this case a public forum is the only way I ever journal anything, and since I'm already starting to forget the details of August 11th, I figure I better document them somewhere. So, without further ado:

Kaden was due on August 3rd. At my doctor's appointment that day, the midwife told me to come back the following week, and we would see where I was. By August 10th, he still hadn't arrived. I had felt no contractions. Not a one. I had walked on swollen ankles in the steamy North Carolina air, sweating, trying to coax him into the world. I even jumped on my neighbor's trampoline on August 9th, hoping I might go into labor before my doctor's appointment. I was terrified I would have to be induced. I had heard nothing but extreme horror stories about induction. I didn't want a C-section, and I knew being induced would also increase the chances I might have one.

On the 10th, we went in for my follow up visit. The nurses did a non-stress test to make sure Kaden's heart rate went up every time he moved. The test results were very positive. Kaden seemed perfectly content in his crowded little space.

Then, we went in for an ultrasound. The ultrasound technician made sure Kaden moved enough during the length of the ultrasound, that there was still enough amniotic fluid around him, and they came up with a weight estimate. When the ultrasound tech told me she was showing him at 9 and a half pounds, I almost fainted. Then I asked what were were going to do about getting him out. Now.

When the doctor came in (a man with absolutely NO bedside manner . . . it was quite clear he had slept through the class on how to treat a patient during med school) and checked me, things looked bleak. He couldn't even reach my cervix, it was so high, and I wasn't dilated. At all. With Kaden being so big, he recommended that I should be induced, but he didn't think I needed to have a C-section until I tried to deliver him naturally. When I asked him what the odds were that I would be able to deliver Kaden without a C-section he told me, and I quote, "Well, your odds pretty much suck." Thanks, Doctor Loser. By the time I was finished talking to the doctor, I was in tears and completely distraught. I knew being induced was the right thing to do, but it didn't mean I was happy about it. We waited in the lobby for them to set up an induction time. Lisa, one of the nurse midwives, came out and asked me if I had a bag packed for the hospital. If so, they could start the induction in a few hours. She told us to go grab some lunch, and she would meet us at the hospital around 2:00.
We went to Panera Bread and had lunch. I called it my “last supper.” I even got a frozen lemonade, because dang it, I was scared and I deserved it.
This is what I looked like, pregnant with Kaden at exactly 41 weeks.  We took this in the hospital parking lot, right before we went inside:
Once I got settled into the hospital and was hooked up to what felt like a million wires, Lisa came in and checked me.  Turns out, Doctor Loser had been wrong, and I was dilated to a one and 75% effaced.  Pretty sure that hadn't happened in an hour and a half.  Take that, Mean Old Doctor.  Still wasn't great, but better than nothing.  Lisa put in a foley balloon, with the goal to get me dilated to a three.  The balloon would stay in until it fell out at some point during the night, and they would start me on Pitocin around five the next morning.

Chad's parents came up to the hospital that night with Lauren, and Chad and his dad gave me a blessing.  After the blessing, I felt so much better about everything.

That night I experienced the most glorious night's sleep I had accomplished my entire pregnancy, thanks to a little gem called Ambien.  Seriously, the best sleep of my life.

The next morning, they started the Pitocin drip around 6:00.  When Frieda, another midwife, came in around 7:00 to check me, I was dilated to a good 4 or 4 and a half, but the baby's station was still high, at a -2.  Frieda broke my water, and that's when the fun really started.  I thought I had been having contractions before then, they were about 2-3 minutes apart from the very beginning (got to love the Pitocin) but suddenly I realized those were just a warm up.

My contractions really started to pick up.  I knew I wanted to go as long as possible without an epidural, because I didn't want my labor to slow down too much, and I knew we had a long way to go.  I did as much moving around as I could while tethered to an IV and fetal/contraction monitor.  I requested some pain medication, which helped take some of the edge off the contractions, but they kept getting worse.  Eventually, my contractions were 45 seconds to a minute a part, and I am surprised I hadn't shattered any bones in Chad's hands, or my mom's hands, because I was gripping them so tightly.  It got to the point that I felt like I had just breathed through a contraction and another one was starting.  That's when I decided it was epidural time.  When I asked the nurse about ordering one, she told me to let her know as soon as I was ready for it, because it can take awhile for the anaesthesiologist to get there.  "Ummm . . . now would be good!"  was my response.  Frieda came in to check on me, and when she found out I was getting an epidural, she said she would wait to check me until after, so it would be more comfortable (THANK YOU!).     

The resident anaesthesiologist came in to prep me for the epidural around 1:00.  The anaesthesiologist was finishing up an epidural in another labor and delivery room, but he would come do mine as soon as he was finished.  At this point I was sitting in the most uncomfortable position I could possibly be laboring in--sitting straight up, perched on the end of a hospital bed.  I couldn't move, because the resident had already sterilized the area for the epidural.  We waited.  We waited some more.  Finally, the nurse called and was told the anaesthesiologist had been called to an emergency.  We would have to keep waiting until he could get there.  This is the one point that I finally started to get a bit emotional.  I am so proud of myself, because even with my extremely low pain tolerance, I really did such a good job toughing it out, breathing through the contractions, and not having a melt down.  After waiting for an hour and a half, I started to get a little teary.  I think it was worse, knowing that relief was coming, and prepping myself for that mentally, only to have to sit and wait, while the pain got worse and worse.  I remember asking, "When is he going to get here?  I just want him to get here!"  The poor resident kept apologizing.  He wished he could just do it, but of course he couldn't.  At last, the blessed man arrived.  I literally told him before he left that I would love him forever.  That is how amazing the epidural was.

Frieda came in to check me after he left, and I was dilated to an 8.

After this, I was able to get a lot of rest.  I've got to say, the epidural was completely different from what I anticipated.  I thought I would feel completely paralyzed.  I didn't realize I would still feel the sensation of contractions, minus the intense pain.  I just felt really numb, but it was less scary than I thought it would be.  I just enjoyed the silence of the room from this point on and slept as much as I could.  My mom and Chad asked me if I wanted to watch TV, read, or listen to music, but all I wanted to do was enjoy the silence.  I knew I was going to have to push my little heart out, because Frieda told me with the baby being so big, they would not assist me with a vacuum or forceps, because they would worry about his shoulders being too big, if I couldn't push him out myself.  If I couldn't push out his head, they would immediately rush me to an emergency C-section.

Right before Frieda left for the night, around 5:00, she checked me again and said I was dilated to a 9 and half, and the baby was now at a 0 station.  She said Lisa would be there shortly to check on me again, and make a plan for what we would do.

When Lisa came in, she said there was no reason to check me.  They were going to let the contractions do the work, and let me labor down.  I was supposed to call them if I felt the need to push, but as long as the baby was doing fine, we would wait and let me save my energy, so I wouldn't end up pushing for so long that I wouldn't have the energy to push him on my own.

Around 8:00, Lisa came in and checked me again.  The baby had moved to a +1 station, and I was fully dilated, so she said, "Let's start pushing."

I pushed for around an hour and half, and Kaden was born at 9:27 p.m.  Only for someone so precious will I post such terrifyingly bad photographs of myself:     

He seemed so tiny to me, but when they put him on the scale, the numbers didn't lie.  9 pounds 3.9 ounces!  He was a big boy!  I've got to say, when they told me he was showing 9 and a half pounds at my ultrasound, I really did not believe it.  I know I was huge, but I didn't think I was THAT huge.  And all I have to say is, "Screw you, Mr. Loser Doctor, for telling me my odds sucked."

The moment I saw him, I was in love.  Chad and I still keep saying that we really had no clue how much we would love him.  We are not what you might call "newborn people."  There's a reason I teach high school English.  Give me the adolescents!  They are my niche.  Sometimes, when I was pregnant I would have these mini-panic attacks about what I was going to DO with a newborn.  I knew we would love him, but I pictured myself eagerly waiting for him to turn into a little person who could talk and walk, while Chad eagerly waited for him to turn into a little person who could kick a soccer ball or throw a baseball.  Those fears instantly melted away when I met my little boy for the first time.  Even though we aren't usually "newborn people" it is quite apparent that we are very much "Kaden people."  We adore our little boy.  Oh, and holding my baby, is like a trillion and a half times better than holding anyone else's baby.  Just so you know. 

This is me and Kaden with Lisa, the nurse midwife who delivered him, and Theresa, my amazing nurse who was also there during the delivery:

And here's Grandma Jensen holding Kaden for the first time:

Chad and I had gone back and forth on names, and we had narrowed our selection down to three.  We wanted to wait until we met him, and then decide on the name.  Right away, we knew his name was Kaden.  As soon as I saw him, I knew it, but I didn't want to say anything in case Chad thought something different.  Then, Chad said, "I think he looks like a Kaden," and I couldn't have agreed more.  It just suited him.  Kaden's middle name is Fox, which was Chad's grandmother's maiden name.

After Kaden was born, Chad's family members, who were anxiously waiting in the lobby, came in to see Kaden's first bath:

Gigi holding Kade:

With Aunt Lauren:

With Poppy:

With Uncle Cameron.  Cameron left bright and early this morning for Utah.  He reports to the MTC (Missionary Training Center) on Wednesday, and he will be serving a two year mission for our church in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Just looking at his picture makes me a bit teary-eyed.  I can't believe Kaden will be two years old before he sees Cameron again:

With Uncle Tyler:

With Nana:
Our family, after Kaden's bath:

When I was pregnant with Kaden, I came across this poem.  I loved it then, but now I love it even more:

Investment by Carol Lynn Pearson

How enviously
I watched
The rose bush
Bear her bud--
Such an easy
Lovely birth.
At that moment
I wished
The sweet myth
Were true--
That I could
Pluck you
My child
From some
green vine.

But now
As you breathe
Through flesh
That was mine,
Gently in the small circle
Of my arms, 
I see
The wisdom of investment

The easy gift
Is easy to forget.
But what is bought
With coin of pain
Is dearly kept.  

Pregnancy was hard for me, even though I know I had it easy compared to a lot of people.  By the end, I was so ready to be done.  Now, just like the poet who penned the above verses, I can see the "wisdom of investment."  I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father for sending Kaden to be a part of our family.

Here's Kaden, in his "coming home from the hospital" outfit:

Already, it is hard to imagine life without our little one.


  1. Go Katie! Way to prove those naysayers wrong! I hate when doctors or nurses doubt what a mom in labor can do. I started crying when they told me they were inducing me even though I had known from week 29 there was basically no chance I would get to go into labor on my own. It is a scary thing when you hear so many horror stories! We also weren't newborn people but it is truly amazing what happens when you have your own baby to cuddle.

  2. Thanks Kate for sharing your story since I wasn't able to be there with therest of my family. He is so cute. I just can't wait to meet him.

  3. oh katie, your story totally made me cry. babies are miracles, that is for sure, and the moment they arrive is absolutely amazing. wow! i'm glad you didn't end up needing a c-section and got relief from the blessed epidural. i love all the pictures and little kaden is so sweet. loved the poem too, thanks for sharing. love you girl!

    and ps- i've heard it's a myth about epidurals slowing down labor. for my sister in law, it actually sped it up. she was dialating very slowly until she got her epidural. her body was then able to relax and she dialated very quickly. i guess everyone's different with these things.

  4. So sweet! I totally understand about not being "newborn people." I'm not either. But I quickly found that we are "Alice People." Congratulations on not swearing! I made it to an 8, too, without an epidural, but I wasn't nearly as ladylike as you were.

  5. Such a sweet story. He is precious!! I got teary eyed towards the end, when you were talking about Cameron being away for 2 years. Hard to believe little Cameron is that old to go off to his mission. Congrats again on becoming a family of 3!!!

  6. Its a good thing we are such good friends or otherwise I wouldn't of read your story, but I always read your stories, I love the way you write. Your family is SOOOOOOO cute. Can't wait to meet Kaden.

  7. That birth story was perfect and perfectly beautiful! You explained it all so well and you'll love reliving that later as you start to forget some of those details. And I have to disagree: those pictures of you right after delivering Mr. Kaden are stunningly beautiful! You cannot replace that look of pure joy and love with any amount of makeup! I loved reading this!

  8. Katie! I wish that we had talked before you had little Kaden. I would have at least tried to calm your nerves since i had both my babies by being induced. I'll have to call and talk to you post delivery drama. I hope dr. loser pants is not your regular doctor!


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