Its amazing to think that not too long ago Baby G was with God. I don't know when the spirit enters the body, but I know that it does, and that is what's important.
One of my biggest fears in life was childbirth. I never wanted children. I never wanted a marriage. But as I got older, the more I recognized Gods plan for me - and, step by step, line upon line, God lead me here. I am here holding my sweet sweet child, typing with one hand, because He slowly showed me that what was best for me is this - to be a wife and a mother. I used to downplay those two words as a teenager, not truly recognizing the importance of either roll. But, God showed me and I, eventually, saw His way as my way. And thank goodness for that, because my husband and my child have brought more love and joy into my life than I used to think was ever only possible in fiction . . . or in Heaven.
I always thought, since I was afraid to have children, that if I did, how nice it would be to have a C-section and get it over with or an epidural and not feel anything. That is, until my sister gave birth naturally about a year ago and had an amazing experience. The Lord was working on me at the time to prepare me to have children and I seriously thought about the option of unmedicated child birth while listening to my sister share her experience. I read book upon book and watched movies and videos to educate me on every part of child birth, medicated and unmedicated. I even exercised a certain way, and prepared the best I could in order to do things naturally (as long as it was medically possible). I was determined and I believed I could do it. To some who knows me well, this didn't come as a shock to The Babe as I tend to head a little more toward homeopathic things, but I looked at me like I was crazy when I explained to him what I wanted to do. He was worried about me being in all that pain knowing there wouldn't be anything he could do to help. As we discussed things more, we studied lots of coping methods for labor pain and he was such an amazing support!
This past year The Babe signed up for the Air Force. It's exciting and terrifying. We realized that he would be leaving for training a few weeks before Baby G was due. So, in preparation with the Bradley Method of unmedicated child birth, I asked my mom to be my coach, since George wouldn't be there to do so. But on the car ride to Utah we received word that The Babe wouldn't be leaving until a few months later. This helped my confidence immensely. Not only would I be glad to have his support and to share this experience with him, I think it's something that every spouse should be a part of. So, in the coming weeks my mom and I discussed her duties as my coach and George was there to be the support as well. I had previously asked my sister-in-law to be my Doula since it was something she had done before. Needless to say, I felt prepared as I was going to be at this point and we were ready to welcome Baby G into our lives whenever he was.
At 35 1/2 weeks I went into early labor thanks to dehydration and the flu. It helped things progress really well, though, which helped in the long run. After the flu I was 3 cm, -1, bulgy bag, and 94% effaced. After a long and painful night in the hospital, we were able to get things under control and keep Baby G in a little longer to ensure his health. Which, was good since I came down with a cold the very next day that stayed around for a good month. The Babe got it, too and every day we prayed we would get better before Baby G got here so we could keep him healthy.
On January 25, a Wednesday night, at 38 1/2 weeks and after many bouts with false labor, I finally hit the real thing at 7:30 pm. I had seen my CNM early that morning for my weekly checkup and she said I had only progressed 1/2 a cm and to just see how things go. I labored all night only to experience a lack of progression. We called the on call midwife to see what could be done and she suggested going to bed and if it was real labor it would keep going. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep. At 9:30 am the next day the CNMs wanted me to come in for evaluation at which we decided to strip my membranes - which there wasn't much left to strip anyway. After we went to Gandolfos and before we left things started to progress and I couldn't get home fast enough. I went throughout the day with the help of my mom, my Doula and The Babe to encourage labor to keep going. I did so many sets of walking up 32 stairs over and over again and so many squats. I'm surprised my legs weren't toned to perfection by the time I was done. Finally around 5:00 pm, the contractions were enough and we called the CNM and decided to go to the hospital. On the way to the hospital I remember looking out the window, breathing deep and thinking about how this was the last time I would be in the car or anywhere outside of the hospital without my child. It was a weird feeling knowing that the next time I breathed fresh air, I would have a little one in my arms.
Once we were at the hospital and they decided to have us stay, we got down to business. I spent the next several hours roaming the halls with various members of my birth party whilst stopping to squat and breath through contractions. Good thing I took so many years of ballet, I had my grande plié's down. After several hours, I had not progressed from a six, so with much discussion we decided to break my water, which I was afraid of since stripping my membranes wasn't super fun, but I was relieved to not feel anything. My CNM said it was so thick there was no way it would have broken on its own. After that we took a walk and did more squats. Things got pretty intense and so The Babe took me for a walk on his own and supported me through my squats and breathed with me. Since he wasn't supposed to be there originally, I was especially glad that he was there throughout this whole process. He brought me such a peace and confidence that I had only read about in all the birth books, I was excited to be experiencing it for myself. Knowing that I had him and my mother and my Doula (sister-in-law) made me feel sure that I was going to be able to deliver my baby naturally.
After another few hours I had progressed to a seven but wasn't going anywhere and things were really starting to pick up, so we got me into the tub for the second time at which point I finally hit transition. I was ready for it, but it just hits you like a ton of bricks! It was like having an in body and out of body experience at the same time. The pain was so intense I wanted to ask for an epidural. I had a password, Cayenne Pepper, that my labor team knew if I decided I was really suffering, I kept saying I wanted "that word" but never actually said it because in my head I knew it was too late and that I also really wanted to do this with as little medical intervention as possible. I remembered reading about a woman who labored in the tub and got throguh transition by beating her hand against the tub in a rhythm. I began to do so and found that it did help. Each contraction was welcomed with the beating of the tub and as soon as it was gone i fell lapse into the tub and folded into my own mind, trying to remind myself the purpose for what I was doing and that all this would soon bring Baby G into this world. Soon I felt like I needed to push, but because I wasn't progressed enough quite yet, my CNM told me I couldn't, which made me really mad because I felt so ready, but logically in my head I knew she was right.
After a few more minutes we moved to the bed where my CNM checked me again to find me at a nine. Everyone exclaimed their joy to finally have things underway and I kept my eyes closed, trying to concentrate on fighting the urge to push. I was getting tired and discouraged but everyone began to say they were bringing baby things into the room and they got me ready to deliver. At that moment I started to panic and reminded everyone of my wishes for delivery. I couldn't deliver the way I wanted to because of some unexpected physical bumps in the road. Pushing was an amazing experience in that I felt like I was actually doing something to help bring my child to his new home. Soon, though, my temperature was rising too high and Baby G's heart rate was dropping too low. I remember my CNM saying, "Cassady, I want you to listen to me." All the while my eyes are still closed and I feel like I'm going to pass out. She says, "I am worried about your baby. We have got to get him out right now, okay?" She then explained to me that she had to perform an episiotomy to get him out and they put oxygen on me - which helped me feel less like passing out. I nodded in reply and said, "Just do it." and soon, on January 27 at 2:50 am, there he was, all pale and dark haired and beautiful.
They laid him on my chest and I always thought I'd be one of those girls that cried when they suddenly looked up at you for the first time, but I was so tired and so weak from the 32 hours of labor that all I could do was hold him against me and breath in through my mask. I knew he looked pale and grey because he lacked oxygen but he was here and he was mine and he was beautiful no matter what.
They took him on the other side of the room while I was taken care of to make sure he was okay and I watched as The Babe stood right next to him, suddenly becoming the papa bear I knew he would be. It was a good distraction to see my two boys together. Soon they determined that Baby G was alright and returned him to my arms where I kissed the top of his little head and felt closer to heaven than I had ever thought possible. After many moments I watched as The Babe held our son for the first time and felt so much love I was sure the door would burst and it would flow down the hall and fill each person in its wake. I was so tired and so hungry and so, well, sore (to be honest), but I didn't care. Because it was over. He was here. And his little squeaks and beautiful eyes and little fingers warmed my soul to new heights. I knew that this was what everyone was talking about, this was love, a deeper love than I had ever known, and it was worth it.