Thursday August 2nd -
Last appointment with midwife Deidre before she would leave out of town on Sunday. She really hoped to deliver you but we made appointments with her backup midwife and trainer, Cathy, anyway. She thought that I very well could deliver early but being a first time Mom, it was still highly unlikely. I was still at a 1 and around 50% effaced. She just really hoped she wouldn't miss it by a couple hours or something. Cathy looked at me as we talked though and said, "I don't know if she will be late, she does have the look." Coming from someone that had delivered thousands of babies, I figured she must know what she is talking about and that gave me hope.
Friday August 3rd -
I had been having lots of Braxton Hicks for about a month but this day they were consistent at every 15 minutes and getting strong and a little painful. I sat at Walmart through one strong contraction and thought about how my stomach was getting so sore and that I couldn't bear any more days like this. I was getting very impatient and just wanted to get the whole ordeal over with. I desperately wanted to see what you looked like. Your grandmas and Emma had gotten here just two nights earlier and we all begged you to not keep us waiting much longer. That night I bounced and circled on my exercise ball until I could feel the contractions getting stronger. This is the day I had always told myself and others you would be coming, maybe my mind could make it happen. I knew it was a long shot but I thought I would give it a try, but you still had other plans.
Saturday August 4th -
I woke up at 4:00 am with contractions and knew it had to be the day. I had been woken up with contractions before but these were definitely different. Mark called Deidre at 6:30 and we waited for the contractions to get about 5 minutes apart. Mark made me breakfast, we packed our last minute items, Mark and our friend Matt gave me a blessing and at 8:45 we were gaily stepping out our door for the last time as a family of two. We were so excited to get down to the Birth Inn that I didn't even think to take a picture. I am so bad at documenting things, I promise I am trying to get better. Someday the Lord will bless me to remember all these sweet memories in every little detail. Cynthia, Deidre, and Sam met us at the Birth Inn and the rest of the family came about an hour later. Things seemed great and contractions were getting stronger and closer together. We got brunch, went for a walk and then laid down for a bit. As we tried to rest up a bit before hard labor, I had a VERY strong contraction and felt a trickle. I stood up and felt a gush... my water had broken. I felt excited and nervous knowing that labor was going to get harder. Much of the excitement faded when we noticed a little bit of meconium. It would also be more dangerous for me to get into the tub for pain management until I was farther along in labor. I had planned on using the tub for most of my labor and was really upset to hear that. Luckily I could still take a shower and that helped a lot. Then, not exactly sure when, contractions started to spread back out and my back really began to ache. I didn't want anyone to touch it, it hurt so bad. Daddy stuck to holding me and guiding me through each contraction rather than massaging me or providing counter pressure. When Deidre checked my progress, she confirmed that you were posterior and did not have your head tucked. You were trying to see where you were going! She tried to manually tuck your head but you did not want to budge so we tried some positioning to encourage you into the right position. I was able to progress to a 5 but no further. My cervix was so soft and ready to move, we just needed correct positioning from you to guide it open. We then started to work for harder contractions to force you into position. We tried so many things, walking, driving, nipple stimulation, birth ball, squats, Grandma DaNell rubbed my feat, etc. Everything we did would start to bring contractions closer together, but then as soon as we stopped, contractions would spread back out. We were getting exhausted. As almost a little blessing and encouragement from the Lord, it started to rain and thunder. I love rain and silently hoped you would be born during the storm but for some reason you needed to be born the next day.
Finally it was determined that I needed to try to rest, my uterus was just so tired. Maybe in the morning, with a little rest, it would finally kick into gear. So, for two hours I tried to sleep between contractions. I eventually gave up and went to see who was still awake. Cynthia sat awake all night texting Deidre who was home getting packed and ready to leave and my Mom sat outside watching the rain. I sat with her for a while and found new determination to work even harder to get these contractions stronger. As much as I would like to control things though, my body and you were just not ready. At 5:00 am, we all sat to weigh our options. Because we saw some meconium, and 24 hours since water breaking was approaching, we knew the sooner we could get you here the better. Contractions were about every 15 minutes at this point and we knew it would take my body much longer to get to the point we needed. We all agreed that a little bit of pitocin was just what we needed and decided to pack up for Wesley Birth Care Center, where we knew Doctor Jensen would be. We had been seeing him throughout the pregnancy as well and he knew us and our situation. As much as I liked him though, the hospital environment makes me so uncomfortable, I would much rather labor longer in a home environment. I also knew pitocin would make things really difficult. I was already so tired and so down hearted, I didn't know where I was going to find the strength or bravery to deal with the whole situation. While everyone packed up, I excused myself to a back room and cried and prayed and cried and prayed. Daddy and Deidre soon found me and we prayed together. I was ready to meet you and wanted you here safely and started to decide for myself that I was going to need an epidural because I no longer felt that I had the strength to get you here myself. I was already getting pitocin, so why not add an epidural. I knew that there was a risk of it slowing my labor again, and if it slowed labor there was a risk of a C-section. I prayed that I could make it still a little longer without an epidural and give my body the chance of getting you here as naturally as possible despite the need for pitocin. Thank goodness for modern medicine at a time like this. We checked into the Birth Care Center around 7 and got my IVs and monitors all set up. It took 3 tries to get the IV into my arm and they kept adjusting the monitors all throughout the hard contractions. Your heart rate dropped with each hard contraction because of the Pitocin and the nurses wanted to hear it as well as see it on the monitor. It worried and stressed me but she would not turn it down even though Daddy pleaded with her to. Thank my calm demeanor and my determination to be nice or I would have smacked those nurses across the state of Kansas. Maybe that would have felt good, but it probably would not have helped. I hated hearing that slowing beat and I told my body to get you here faster! Deidre had to leave around this time to catch her plane.... missing your birth by just a couple hours.... just as she had hoped would not happen. But family was there and that meant so much to me! Anyway, Pitocin was more difficult than I EVER imagined it could be. Without your Dad, it wouldn't have been possible for me to get through. It felt as though my contractions never ended, there was no break in between and they about threw me into hysteria at each strong peak. But, each time I began to loose control, he would bring me right back. I didn't know it was possible to feel such strong love through such difficulty and pain. I did not notice anything going on in the room, my only focuses were your father, controlling myself through the pain, and seeing your little face soon. I was administered 45 min of pitocin and began pushing around 2 hours later. At one point in that time you were forced to turn, I began to open, and the doctor was able to take me from a 6 to a 9 dialation in 30 seconds. (Again I am surprised I did not kick somebody.) Those 2 hours seemed like eternity but then my body just started pushing, without me even realizing that I had the urge to push. It felt SO much better to push. Where pushing against the pain earlier sent fire up my back, now it gave so much relief. The pushing process seemed a lot shorter than labor with pitocin. I thought it was only like 30 minutes but I guess it was more like an hour and a half. All I know is that suddenly they were saying they could see hair and they wanted to know if I wanted a mirror. I always thought that I wouldn't want to see it, but I consented hoping it would give me even more encouragement. Just the thought of being so close to meeting you was so encouraging. At one point, as the doctor began to put on his water proof outfit, Cynthia called my attention and said "Cassie look what Doctor Jensen is doing, what does that mean!?" I smiled as I realized the time had to be close! Everyone laughed because I was smiling! The doctor then sat back and watched me work and made a mohawk with the progressive amount of hair he could see. Just when it seemed like I was making slow progress (because it felt like we were only seeing such a small portion of your head) your whole head was out and I heard a gurgle as you tried to cry. I was so grateful it only stung for a split second. With one more small push, you entered the world at 12:25 pm and were laid on my tummy. Daddy cut your cord and then we just stared at your screaming little form. What an amazing noise! I will never forget holding you and the first time your eyes met mine. Every little minute of pregnancy and labor was suddenly worth it. You were perfect, absolutely perfect... I just couldn't believe it. So tiny and so incredible. I just sat in awe of the amazing feat you and I had just accomplished. That fact will bind us forever. What an amazing process.
And we named you Porter. You were 6 lbs 5.3 ozs, 19 inches long, and we are absolutely in love with you.
I look back now and realize I have one of those dreaded labor stories that could scare any poor little expectant Mom out of labor if it were possible. I always hated when people would try to scare me with long back labor stories. Most people, I am sure, did not mean to but I still did not like to think of the process as defective, unhealthy, or scary. Was it difficult? Um.... YA!!! Was it amazing?.... Without a doubt. Would I trade it for anything?..... Never. I had so much energy after! What a thrill! I grew so much from it and look at my wonderful little reward... a beautiful baby boy!!! I also found that I had more strength in me than I ever thought possible. I was blessed with added strength as well. I was blessed with strength from Heavenly Father to surrender my body as a vessel to bring a child of God to the world, new found strength of a Mother willing to do absolutely anything for a child, strength from Daddy willing to do ANYTHING for a wife (like holding my tired body for 32 hours...literally) and telling me how much he deeply loved me, strength of our mothers cheering me on, strength of a sister there for support, strength from midwives who are so close to their Heavenly Father and deeply care for each of their patients, and strength from prayers of family and friends. I felt those prayers so strongly!
I absolutely loved becoming a Mom and can't wait to continue to watch you grow and learn. Everyday has been Heaven and we just can't believe we ever lived without you.
Thanks for making me a Mom. I love you with all my heart and soul.