I can’t believe Cayden will be 6 months old tomorrow. It’s hard to believe that in another 6 months she’ll be 1 year old. Sometimes it seems like she was just born yesterday but at other times it seems like it was so long ago! Since I started this blog so I can have a written record of our kids’ lives, I guess I’ll start from the beginning (of Cayden’s life)…
Cayden’s due date was February 8th, 2011. This pregnancy was pretty rough for me (the roughest out of the 3). I know a lot of people had it a lot worse than I did and I tried to stay thankful and positive, but still, those hormones just made everything so much worse! I had morning sickness for about 4 months, lost weight, was exhausted…the normal unpleasant first trimester symptoms. Then when I was finally feeling better the SPD (some fancy name for when the ligaments in your pelvic area loosen too much) started. It hurt so much to walk, roll over in bed, get in the car, move your legs apart, get up from standing – basically it hurt to do even move. When that finally eased up around 7-8 months, I was already halfway into the 3rd trimester, which basically just sucks all the way around. Pretty much the only thing I enjoyed this pregnancy was feeling Cayden move and kick, which she definitely did a lot of (more so than Mackenzie and Ethan).
Long before January I was already having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions. In late December/early January they would consistently stay 15-20 minutes apart, which was very annoying. When I went to the doctor 1/16/11, my blood pressure was on the high side (168/86) and the midwife mentioned that that sometimes mean that labor could start soon, but not to get my hopes up (but of course I did – I wanted that baby OUT!)! But nothing happened. Thursday, January 20th was my last day of work. A pregnancy “issue” came up (which I will not go into detail about) that made me not able to walk. I had an appointment on January 21 – then I was 2cm and 50% effaced.
So I was confined to the couch/bed until Monday, January 24th. That afternoon (and the whole week before) my parents were over helping watch the other kids and fix dinner (which I was soooo thankful for) and I remember getting a contraction around 4:00pm that was a lot painful than the others I had been getting. I didn’t say anything; I just kept timing them. They stayed pretty strong and about 10-12 minutes apart for a couple hours. I finally called the midwife and told her we were going to head to the hospital. I called Michael, he came home, and off we went.
We got to the hospital at about 9:45pm on January 24th. Contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart and where I had to breathe through them. After getting settled in they checked me and I was still only 2cm. I was so disappointed. With Mackenzie I got to the hospital and was 4cm and got to 10cm 4 hours later. Here I was with my 3rd child feeling like an idiot for going to the hospital and only being 2cm. So anyway, they made me walk around for an hour to see if that changed anything. We walked up and down the halls for an hour and then I rested in bed for a while. They finally checked me again around 3:00am on 1/25/11 and I only got to 3cm. The contractions were still strong, but they were getting farther apart. The nurse/midwive suggested that I go back home and rest; that I would be more comfortable at home. So we get home around 5:00am, Michael goes to sleep, and I immediately get in the tub. I stay in there awhile and it was like my body knew I was home and the contractions really started hurting. I think I remember laying in bed around 8:00am and the contractions were about 5-10 minutes apart; I couldn’t walk or talk through them and was really having to concentrate on breathing through them. I called my doctor’s office to see if I could just go up there and get checked (since their office is right beside the hospital) to see if I had made any progress. We got up there around lunchtime and when she checked me and said I was 4cm I was SO relieved!!! We could finally get admitted to the hospital! We were kind of waiting around in the hospital room because the nurse that the midwife wanted me to have had not arrived at the hospital yet. So I just walked around the room between contractions. I had to be constantly monitored because I had 2 previous c-sections and was trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I was in pain and thought that getting into the shower would help (since it helped with my first daughter). I got in there at about 2:45pm and got out soon after because it wasn’t helping at all. It’s pretty wild how each labor/birth is completely different. The contractions I had with Cayden were a completely different pain than what I had with Mackenzie and a lot more painful. At around 3:30pm they checked me and I was 5/6cm. After 24 hours of real labor so far, I broke down and decided to get the epidural. I could still feel the contractions but they weren’t as bad. And I could still feel them just as strong on the left side of my body; so I don’t think it really worked like it was supposed to. It didn’t even take away all of the pain and it didn’t take away any of the pressure (which was what most of my pain was from anyway). At around 4:30pm they broke my water and I was at 7cm. I started feeling indescribable pressure and pain – it was as if I didn’t even have an epidural. It was like I wasn’t even in my own body; at this point things were a blur. I think I told my mom to go find the nurse or midwife because I could just tell that she was right there and getting ready to come out! It seemed like it took forever for the midwife to come into that room, and at 5:40 she checked me and I was at 9cm. I remember feeling very scared – I had only had c-sections before this and didn’t have a clue what to expect.
Years and years I had spent being angry about the reasons why I had to have my 2 prior c-sections. I felt violated and cheated out of the experience of a “normal” birth. I felt like I wasn’t a real woman because I hadn’t had the chance to deliver a baby the way they were supposed come out. I know that some people think “you should be happy that you had a healthy baby” – and I was – but it’s still a loss when you don’t get the experience that you’ve waited 9 months for. I understand that c-sections save lives and are needed in some circumstances, but in my case the benefits of a natural birth far outweighed the risks of a repeat c-section and the major surgery. If an emergency would have came up then I would have been perfectly fine with a c-section – whatever it takes to get my baby out healthy – but that just wasn’t the case. I wasn’t high-risk and there were no complications with the labor. I did my research and found a doctor that supported me and my decision. Nobody, including family and friends, really understood how much that meant to me. And I was so glad that I found that doctor, even if it was a 30-40+ minute drive each way.
So anyway, at that moment when she checked me and said I was 9cm, I finally realized that I was going to get to have my baby the right way (for me). It was such an awesome feeling; I can’t even put it into words. Then they got me into position to start pushing and about 5 minutes later, at 6:09pm, my precious baby girl was born. I just have to put in here that while I was pushing Michael had to sit down because he was getting ready to pass out. I just thought that was hilarious! Not really at that time, but thinking back on it, I do! All joking aside, everything went perfectly that day; I was on a high for weeks after that. It was so healing for me – most people won’t understand that – but it actually feels good to write about it. Cayden was 7 lb 1 oz and 18 1/2″ long. She was my smallest baby (probably a good thing) and was gorgeous. She hardly had any hair but had the sweetest lips!