A Caelan Birth Story
This is a story of strong emotion, intense pain, and overwhelming love. Even more, it’s the story of a faithful Creator God.
For roughly five weeks prior to his birth, I was having contractions on and off. After struggling with my progesterone levels throughout the pregnancy (the hormone that keeps the baby inside) and feeling those contractions, I was convinced that he would be born early. My midwife was even instructing me on ways to slow down labor in case he was going to be pre-term. As each week passed without a baby, I began to be increasingly discouraged. The last two weeks were taken one day at a time and I must admit, I cried daily. If you google “how to induce labor at home” you’ll find a list of what my final weeks of pregnancy looked like. I tried it all. Vincent went above and beyond to support and encourage me. He made our meals, massaged my back, and held me while I cried. Yet, together we became frustrated. We prayed daily, pleaded daily, that “today would be the day”. And as each day ended with no baby, our frustrations grew to be toward God. Finally, on Tuesday March 14, our souls crashed. I cried heavily, being two days past our due date, full of emotion, discomfort, and confusion. Vincent tried to comfort me, but his own disappointments were at a high. With a shaky voice, we prayed for a final time. We told God that we were done begging Him and we confessed our anger. We counted our blessings and thanked Him for each one, but admitted our lack of trust with this biggest blessing. We said amen and fell into an emotionally exhausted sleep.
At 3:30am, a contraction woke me. Not unlike what I’d been experiencing the past several weeks, it wasn’t even as strong as some I’d felt before. Six minutes later, another one. I chose not to time them because I didn’t want to get my hopes up again, so I adjusted my bed of pillows, closed my eyes, and nearly fell asleep. Another contraction. I tried again, but they kept coming. I got up to drink a glass of water and see if the change in position would do anything. But they kept coming. Once I decided to start timing them, they were coming every six minutes for 50 seconds, then every five minutes for 60 seconds, seeming to grow longer each time. At 5:30, I woke Vincent to tell him I might actually be in labor. He made sure all of our things were ready to go, then we waited. Our midwife told us to come in when they were three minutes apart and I wanted to labor at home as long as possible, so Vincent helped me breath through each contraction as they grew in intensity and duration until they were between three and four minutes apart. They became so intense that I couldn’t stand anymore, so we decided to make the thirty-minute drive to the birthing center and arrived around noon. By the time we got there, the contractions were coming every two minutes and it finally settled in that we were going to have a baby- that day!
They started a bath for me and I began the long process of the final two centimeters. Vincent was by my side, letting me squeeze his hand for every contraction. He reassured me that I could do it through every tear and shout that I couldn’t. The intensity of the pain is indescribable. Our midwives tried some essential oils to slow down my labor since I was quickly becoming exhausted. But my body was on a roll with contractions on top of each other and no break in between. Finally, I was 10 centimeters and they broke my water to try to get my body to transition into the pushing phase. A few contractions later, I felt a difference in my abdomen and knew it was time to push. I had spent most of my labor in the tub and was hoping for a water birth, but after an hour of pushing, it just wasn’t the right position for our little guy to make his entrance. I moved to lay on my left side and found a strength I didn’t know was left. I felt his head and knew we were close. He crowned in three pushes and came flying out in the next push- fourteen hours and 45 minutes after I woke with that first contraction. He was immediately placed on my chest and I was holding a living, crying baby- that I gave birth to! Surreal. After counting ten tiny fingers, I said, “what is it?” We looked to find we had a perfect baby boy!
No one tells you about the pains you face after giving birth- the lingering cramps, the uterus massages, the stitches. They’re all very real. But you get to focus on the precious little face of your baby and almost block it out. Almost. Vincent cut the cord and I was able to take a fresh, cleansing bath. It was then that I cried my first tears of motherhood, sitting gingerly in a tub, watching my husband be a daddy. (All after being stitched up for what felt like an eternity.)
Lightheaded from blood loss and looking like a mess with every blood vessel in my face burst from pushing for an hour and half, I put on granny panties and comfy clothes to rest in bed as our families came to meet the newest member. We waited a couple of hours for my pulse to stabilize before we got to go home as a family of three. We opened our door just before midnight and settled in with our little bundle who’d only come into the world six hours before.
Choosing to have a low-intervention, unmedicated birth was an easy choice as a first-time momma because I couldn’t comprehend the intensity of birth. Now that I know, I still believe it was the right choice for our family. We were blessed with a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby that allowed us to have such a smooth, peaceful birth experience. Our God is so good. And He is faithful, even when we waiver.