Colette's Birth Story
Throughout my life there’s a truth of God’s character that reigns true. He continues to show me it’s true even though He doesn’t have to.
If you’ve been to my home, that quote rests above my fireplace. Not only is it true, but it’s my life. No matter my fear, my disappointments, my dreams and victories, He is faithful!
I found out I was pregnant on New Year’s day, I told Karry the following day (It so happened to be his birthday) that he was going to be a dad. It was a weird feeling. There is a human growing inside of me.
Our little human. It was a surprise that took a second to process. Hugs, tears, and more hugs. Two months into our marriage and something beautiful had already come from this union.
The first half of my pregnancy flew by.
At 8 weeks we flew to Colorado and went snowboarding. The last ‘adventurous’ thing I could do for a while, apparently. That summer I wanted to try wakeboarding. I wanted to have pictures to show my daughter that her mom was once “cool” (or at least she thought she was). I promised multiple people “I just won’t wipe out.”
Needless to say, I didn’t get to wakeboard that summer as Colette grew strong and fast.
I remember one morning, reaching to grab my alarm on the dresser next to our bed. I wasn’t expecting all the weight in my mid-section to pull me out of bed…and onto the floor. She was for sure gaining the lbs.
The last 2 months went by sooooo slowly. We hadn’t picked a name. Then, we couldn’t agree on the spelling of her middle name when we finally found a name. I hit 38 weeks and time went even s l o w e r.
I was hoping (but wasn’t holding my breath) to maybe go into labor before 40 weeks. I was trying to be super active. I shot my last wedding at 37 weeks and I was ready to go have this baby! At my 39.5 week appointment, my doctor suggested that I be induced that Sunday at 40 weeks and 3 days – I hesitantly agreed.
I was ready! I was confident and ready to just do the whole birth thing with no pain meds!
Google and YouTube prepared me (my nurse was not impressed with this answer when asking if I took a birth class). I had my mental checklist what to expect during childbirth.
I like to know everything that’s going on with my body. I’m more fearful of the unknown than the actual process, so I researched and consumed whatever I could find on Google. I watched every birth video and birth vlog on YouTube – especially if it was a natural in-hospital birth. The last week leading up to Colette’s birth, I was researching all things on being induced. I ended up going to Jesus just about every night that week about a different fear resulting from my research or from an informative good-intention friend.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
The day we were to go to the hospital to be induced started in the best way. We had a great morning of worship at our new church. Then we were prayed over by people we felt like we barely knew, but were so eager to come surround us. They were so eager to come into His presence for us, lifting up our fears and dreams for this moment to come. We didn’t have to be at the hospital until 5pm. I decided after lunch I would attempt to take a nap to prepare for a long night ahead. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to fall asleep.
Karry was working on a house project while I kept tossing, trying to sleep, but too excited to actually shut my eyes. 2:30pm rolled around. I kept having what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions. When I had them before, it was like cramping that only stayed a while. This time they came and went continually. I started to time them and they seemed to have a rhythm. I went to use the restroom (AGAIN!) and seemed to have lost my mucus plug. I didn’t know if I actually did or not and didn’t want to tell Karry unless I was for sure that it was happening sooner than planned. But, wanting to confirm what I was feeling and seeing, I did the next best thing…
…Txting my mom that is. “Sounds like labor” was her reply. Having no words to speak, I walked over to where Karry was working and showed him the text messages.
We took one last walk as a couple before heading to the hospital.
My Doctor hadn’t planned on being there until 7am the next morning. The plan was for them to insert Cytotec in my cervix, since I was barely dilated. But, after I got hooked up to the monitors, I was now having strong contractions every 2-3 minutes. I was excited when they told me the contractions were really strong. They were painful, but 100% bearable at this point. They stripped my membranes to “get things going” and I tried to settle in. I was way too antsy to settle in. After all, I had been preparing for this moment and I was ready to rock it!
While Karry read a book, I snacked on a popsicle the nurse gave me and tried to walk around (after the nurses figured out how to get the only portable monitor to work). The contractions were getting more and more intense, but I wasn’t 2cm yet, so the nurse decided to strip my membranes again. I had the nurse find a medicine ball to bounce on (brand new never used – lucky me!) in hopes that it would help me be even a little bit distracted. I was becoming very tried at this point. I don’t even know what time it was – 11pm?! I opted to get a medication to take the edge off of the pain and help me relax, hopefully enough for me to get some zzzs. After only an hour it wore off. One problem with that medicine was that it slowed my contractions down. I did feel like it had helped replenish some of my energy so I could keep on keeping on, so it was overall positive. A couple of hours later, they checked me and I think I was 3-4cm. I was going to have them not tell me how much I had dilated, but I HAD to know! My husband convinced me to get another low dose of the “loopy drug” as I called it (Stadol, to be more specific). I was checked again an hour or two later and had only progressed to 5cm. Not long after, the contractions became very intense. None of my breathing techniques were working to help me relax so that I wouldn’t fight the contractions. None of my contractions were in my back like I had prepared for either, it was just all in the middle of my body. I DIDN’T PREPARE FOR THAT.
In my head I thought, I am only at 5cm and they say near the end are the most intense contractions. How in the world will I be able to cope! I fought in my head so hard and finally agreed from them to call in the doctor to give me an epidural. The nurses started to get things ready for the epidural. Then I had a contraction that came with so much pressure. Literally, just like in the movies, a gush of water covered the floor. It turns out, if your water breaks, they have to check your dilation before they can continue with an epidural (I felt like a toddler getting in and out of bed during nap time….). They also have a video on epidurals that is required for you to watch first. All I remember is my husband (who is a paramedic) get big eyes and say, “Oh, wow.” THAT was not encouraging coming from someone who has a high pain tolerance and is in the medical field. I didn’t care at that point.
The nurse checked me and, if memory serves me right, she responded with “Oh, girl you’re at a 10 and ready to start pushing!” SWEET RELIEF!!! “Do you still want the epidural?” she asked. Pretty sure I looked at her like she was insane, “No, Ma’am!”
They turned to the epidural doctor who was now standing at the door…after they called him in from home. I shouted out an apology. I felt bad, but was also so DARN HAPPY to do this brith without an epidural. Another answer to prayer.
Just like that the pushing stage was here. Our baby girl was coming in every literal sense.
For some reason I had such a hard time processing the words “hold your breath as you push,” that the nurse kept repeating it. I eventually started applying it. A few times the nurse would tell me to push, which I would reply with “nope, I can’t. I’m waiting for a contraction”. This whole time I was thinking back through all my Google searches and YouTube birth videos that I had consumed during late nights when Karry was at work. One thing I kept waiting for was the “ring of fire,” but it never happened. I was so prepared. I had my list of things to tackle in birth and that was the obvious next one. I traded it for a moment of INTENSE cramping. I was cramping where I hadn’t felt it before. The nurses thought they knew what the problem was and attempted to fix it. Spoiler alert: They didn’t fix it. So, the pushing continued. My nurses were super supportive to the point of me thinking: “how many times have you said ‘she’s almost here’ or ‘I can see her’?” (< which I felt was a lie the whole time because – no ring of fire yet, duh!).
After about 30 minutes of pushing, they laid her on my chest. I saw her come towards me and I saw something beautiful…
At that moment Colette Alise was born into this world.
One of the many things I prayed for Colette and her birth was this little desire for her to have some hair. My heart skipped a beat. My Jesus heard me and answered yet again. They quickly whisked her away to be weighed and cleaned up, the nursed called over her shoulder for Karry to come take pictures. He had been holding my hand and started to leave, but then didn’t. A moment defined as “wait, I have two girls I love so much, where am I supposed to be?” My heart smiled. I told him to go ahead, document the moment, I’m fine.
During that time, I started thinking: “was I dramatic? I was too dramatic!” Literally my first fear post birth!
So, I looked around the room at the nurses and asked to no one in particular, “was I too dramatic? I felt like I was too dramatic.” They all chuckled and told me “no.” The nurse with Colette was struggling to get her to cry out some fluids. Colette just didn’t seem to want cry. Eventually she gargled out a few cries.
Disclaimer: At 8 months, she doesn’t have this problem now.
Healthy baby WITH hair (check), no epidural (check), next thing…How bad would recovery be?
I asked the Doctor how bad I tore.
“Eh, one stitch, maybe two because it’s on a vein.”
Phew, that’s a relief. Postpartum healing TERRIFIED me more than the birth itself.
I turned to have Karry handing Colette to me.
Karry: “What do you think? Looks like a baby?”
Me: “Yep, it looks like a baby.”
Colette literally looked like the poster baby for all new humans. No defined specific features, just a perfect baby.
I held her close me and let her nurse for the first time.
My nurse’s shifts were ending now. I didn’t realize it was morning. My labor did not seem like it was 13 hours long! I was thinking it was around 3am, but it was around 6:30am. The first half seemed slow, but the last few hours had flown by. Apparently, after birth you aren’t allowed to stand up by yourself. I told them I got this, buuuuut ‘hospital rules’ ( I accidentally broke a few of these during my stay). I waited for the nurses to come and help me to the restroom, so we could move to our room.
I then confidently walked my baby down to our room (in the rolling bassinet, of course). We did it!
3 things that I wasn’t expecting about my experience:
How often they wanted to change my robe through out the night. Any little spot of blood and they insisted I put a new one on.
How they ask throughout the night, before it was clearly a 10, on what part of a 1-10 pain scale I was at. I kept it at 6 and under because I was expecting it to get worse. The one nurse said, when I told her I was at a 4, that my face wasn’t showing a 4. I replied that I felt like I should save the higher numbers for later. I never got to say 10, because they didn’t ask at that point.
How I wasn’t allowed to use the restroom and put on underwear by myself. In my mind, I had so much adrenaline rushing through my body, I totally could handle it on my own!
I 8 out of 10 would recommend not getting an epidural. It’s undetermined if the next time around will give the same experience, but one thing I do hold close that is true and everlasting: God is good and He is faithful.