February 21, 2020
Today our baby boy turns one!! Caleb and I cannot believe how fast this last year has gone – it’s been an incredible journey of learning the ins and outs of how to raise a little one. Caden has the sweetest personality and he never fails to make us laugh! What a blessing his life is! Here’s a few photos from his cake smash!
Before I delivered Caden, I had a lot of people ask if we’d be sharing his birth story. I never thought it would take one year to do so! I personally have photographed multiple births over the years – so needless to say, I had some expectations on how my birth would go. I had hoped for an epidural, vaginal delivery with baby placed right up on my chest, etc. A picture perfect moment, right?! But life doesn’t always go the way we want things to go and our birth ended up being far from what we expected!
Our birth with Caden was scary – so many things were out of our control and it’s taken some time for Caleb and I to process that. We’ve had to lean on each other and our faith as we’ve grieved the fact things didn’t go as WE had planned. We’re grateful God had His hand of protection on us the night of February 21st, 2019.
Without further ado, here’s a peek into Caden’s birth story!
At my 39 week appointment, we were anxious to meet our baby boy! After a discussion with my doctor, all things were going well so we decided to have my membranes stripped. She told us there was a 50/50 chance of it putting me into labor within the next 48 hours. We were excited at the thought of this! I personally thought the procedure was very uncomfortable – but it was only for 10 seconds and it did work to put me into labor… so it was worth it! Following the appointment, Caleb and I went and walked around West Acres hoping that contractions would start. After a few hours we went home and decided to *try* and be patient! 😉
Patience isn’t exactly something Caleb and I are great at! Ha! So after some time bouncing on the yoga ball at home, we went to the mall in Detroit Lakes and power walked. I didn’t seem to notice anything happening so we had supper and went back to our apartment. Later that evening, my mom called and asked if I felt like walking around the mall again so sure enough, that’s what we did! At this point, I was starting to feel cramps coming and going.
When I came home, I told Caleb how I was feeling and that he should go to bed and rest just in case tonight was the night! I tried to go to bed too, but I couldn’t get comfortable. I don’t think I realized that the reason I couldn’t fall asleep was because contractions were keeping me up! I wasn’t able to get more than 15-20 minutes of sleep at a time throughout the night.
Around 6am, I decided sleep wasn’t going to happen. So I decided to take a bath to try and relax. I added a few drops of wild orange essential oil just for fun – this was a bad decision! Little did I know, pregnancy had brought on a new allergy to this oil (which I had previously used in the past with zero issues). A minute after I got in the bath, I jumped out quickly because my body felt like it was on fire. I wiped myself off and noticed a big essential oil burn on my shoulder. It was painful but contractions quickly distracted me from this pain 😉
I took a shower and got ready knowing that I would want to go get checked out at the hospital at some point in the day. The shower greatly intensified my contractions and I was exhausted. I laid down in bed and rested in between contractions but we had a lovely apartment inspection scheduled for 9am. Gotta love apartment life! 😉 So after a little bit of rest, Caleb talked to management to see if we could get the crew to come in ASAP so we could get the inspection over with. A handful of ladies who lived on the same floor as us over heard this and you could hear them squealing with excitement! Our baby was sure loved in our apartment building. Thankfully the crew came in, took a very quick look around, said good luck and left!
Around 10am, we left for Fargo in hopes of getting checked out at the hospital. On the way there I called letting them know we were coming. Much to my frustration, the nurse I talked to suggested that we should go walk at the mall for a bit. I understand they were wanting me to labor as much as possible on my own – but in hindsight, I wish we would have gotten checked out right away.
We walked at West Acres for an hour – it was rough. I was so exhausted from not sleeping the night before and after every contraction I would sit down and nearly fall asleep. Caleb and I decided we should go rest at my sister-in-law’s home. I slept in between contractions for about an hour. At this point my contractions were around 4-5 minutes apart.
After we rested as long as we could, I decided I wanted to try another bath. Caleb got the bath going and timed my contractions. He started getting concerned when the length in between contractions quickly went from around 4-5 minutes to under 2. We decided we needed to head to the hospital.
When we arrived at the hospital, they hooked me to all the monitors. My contractions were nice and strong and my blood pressure was a bit high. A nurse attempted to check my cervix but because Caden’s water bag was protruding, she didn’t feel she was able to tell us how far along I was. She paged another nurse to come and check and she said I was a stretchy 4. I was happy things were progressing.
Around 4pm, we were moved into a room and couldn’t believe this was it! I knew I wanted an epidural so I told the nurse whenever they could get to me, that I was ready. The epidural placement went well – I didn’t think the placement hurt more than a little sting. The worst part was Caleb squeezing my hand! Ha! My first IV had infiltrated right after I was admitted so that hand was really sore – when Caleb squeezed it, I loudly said “ouch!” and the poor anesthesiologist was worried something was wrong (she hadn’t even started placement yet). We all laughed when I said it was because of the hand squeeze!
One thing that was random and we didn’t think much of was the fact I had a low grade fever. Caleb and I didn’t think it was a big deal – but our nurses monitored it closely throughout the evening.
My epidural set in and seemed to work great at first. My doctor broke my water and told us to get as much rest as possible. A few hours later when I was checked, my doctor noticed my cervix was swelling. At this point I was around 6cm so the swelling was a concern. She gave me benadryl which made me loopy and very sleepy. I was having “hot spots” with my epidural. So I would wake up feeling contraction pain in random places throughout the evening. We tried adjusting meds but unfortunately there wasn’t much relief. At midnight, I was checked again and it was go time!
The swelling in my cervix was gone (thank goodness!) and pushing seemed to go well overall. My fever was hanging around and Caden’s heart rate was rising as I was pushing. Little did we know – this combination isn’t good. My doctor popped in to check and see how things were going and she noticed Caden wasn’t descending. She told us that she’d let me push for a while longer, BUT since his heart rate was higher than it should be, we may have to consider a c-section.
The idea of a c-section made us a bit nervous – however we wanted whatever was best for mom and baby. So we continued pushing in hopes of delivering him as soon as possible.
After 1.5 hours of pushing, my doctor checked me again to see what was going on. She inserted an internal monitor to check on Caden’s heart rate. It was way too fast – fetal tachycardia. Typically a baby’s heart rate during labor is 110-160. His was almost 200. On top of that, she told us Caden hadn’t budged from the time I started pushing. We would later find out part of the reason he wasn’t descending was because he was sunny side up – little stinker! 😉
The fetal tachycardia combined with my fever was a sign that I had an infection in my amniotic fluid called chorioamnionitis. This can be dangerous for the baby so we felt like the best option was a c-section. Caleb and I were nervous but we felt so much peace knowing this was the best option for the safest delivery.
Because of the hot-spots I had during my epidural, the staff felt it was best to switch me over to a spinal. The time in between the epidural being turned off and the spinal being placed was rough! Hello very strong contractions! Ha!
Standard procedure for a spinal being placed is to have any loved ones outside of the OR in case anything went wrong. Caleb stood watching everything through a little window waiting for the all clear to come sit at my head. Sadly, he didn’t get to come in because I had a rare complication with the spinal. The numbing that should numb from your belly down went the wrong direction and instead numbed my chest up.
I knew things weren’t right when my hands went numb – then my face – and my lungs. Breathing was becoming increasingly more difficult as the medicine set in. The staff tried their best to adjust the medication but unfortunately there wasn’t a way at this point.
These moments were really scary – I thought this was going to be the end of my life and I would never get to meet my baby. I remember praying for Caden’s life and for Caleb as the team prepared to put me under general anesthesia.
Unfortunately Caleb wasn’t informed about what was happening in the OR with me or Caden. He saw the surgery begin and knew something wasn’t right. Because it was never communicated to him what was happening, his first thoughts were that I had died and they were trying to save the baby. Someone finally realized he shouldn’t have been there and sent him to a room to wait.
RECOVERY AND MEETING OUR BABY
I was wheeled into a recovery room and joined Caleb and my parents. I don’t remember anything from the time I was put under general (1:45am) to the next day (Friday). I’ve been told I was very entertaining coming out of anesthesia! I was loopy and kept asking to see my baby. Caleb says I would say “Isn’t it crazy?! We just had a baby!” over and over! Ha!
Caden was in the NICU for 48 hours of preventative antibiotics in case he had any of the infection that was in my amniotic fluid. We got to meet him later that morning. My dear friend, Amber, stopped by and captured these moments. I’m SO grateful to have the photos because I don’t remember meeting my son. Caleb spent a ton of time in the NICU as I was laid up in the hospital bed recovering from surgery. He loved feeding Caden bottles of donor breast milk, changing his diaper, and giving him his first bath with a nicu nurse.
On Friday the 22nd, I finally felt a little bit more like myself and we were overjoyed when we got to have Caden back in our room that evening. He was doing great!
The last 24 hours in the hospital was rough for me – I was really sick from the pain meds and also had some side effects from the anesthesia. After my doctor adjusted my meds, I felt SO much better! We were supposed to stay for another day however there was a big snowstorm heading to Fargo so we decided to leave a day early. We got discharged at 7:30pm, stopped at CVS to pick up my prescriptions, and drove home. It was the best!
Although our birth with Caden went nothing like what we expected, we are so grateful Caden and I were ok! He was born at 2:11am on February 21st, 2019! This last year with him has been incredible – he’s the greatest gift God has ever given Caleb and I.