As I started to write this post, I realized there was still a twinge of regret that I ended up having to have a c-section. But as soon as that thought entered my head, my own words, ones that I’ve told myself and others countless times, came rushing to mind… God has such a unique story for each of us. No story is better or worse than another, each one is simply different and created for our own circumstances, gifts, season of life, and so many other things! And the way God has woven my life, my own story, together up to this point, I should know better than anyone that He always knows what He’s doing and it’s always far better than anything I could dream up.
So now that I’ve given myself a pep talk, here is our baby girl’s own birth story…
I’d been having contractions for what seemed like a few weeks by the time Valentine’s Day rolled around. None of them were extremely strong or consistent, but they were starting to happen. In fact, the Sunday a week before she was born (Feb 8), we went for a walk and contractions were so strong that I really thought we were about to head to the hospital. But by the time we got home and I sat down for a few minutes, they subsided and we went back to waiting.
The following Sunday (Feb 15), my contractions were much more frequent and were between 5 and 7 minutes apart. This went on for several hours so we finally loaded up the car around 9:30pm and headed to the hospital! But when we got there and they checked me, I wasn’t very dilated and baby girl hadn’t dropped. But they kept me hooked up to a heart rate monitor and observed us for about an hour. Sadly though, nothing was actually happening. Between that and the news from my 39 week appointment the week before that this baby was over 9 pounds, I shed some tears as I got dressed in my clothes and we went home.
The next morning (Monday, Feb 16) I called my doctor to see if we could come in because even though I had my 40 week appointment the next morning (when I would actually hit 40 weeks and baby Catherine’s due date), they were calling for a pretty severe ice storm to come through Greenville Monday night. And the last thing I wanted was to not make it to our appointment and for something to actually happen that would keep us from getting to the hospital. Thankfully, they were able to squeeze us in at 11am so Ben met me there and one of the doctors examined me. Sadly, she told me the same thing the nurse told me the night before… I hadn’t progressed at all and she still hadn’t dropped.
Her advice was to schedule an appointment for Friday to be checked again and if this baby still hadn’t come on her own yet, we’d have to talk c-section the following week because she was just getting so big (at this point, they were expecting her to be close to 10 pounds) and they were afraid that she wouldn’t be able to drop into the birth canal because of her size. My doctor had mentioned a c-section the week before so I’d already had time to be thinking about it, but it still wasn’t what I wanted. So as Ben and I headed home for lunch, I cried. I cried because I was tired, I cried because I felt so big, I cried because it seemed like this baby was never going to come.
So when we walked in the house, Ben hugged me and told me everything really would be ok. And I knew at that point that no matter what, I just wanted this baby girl and myself to get through this in whatever way was best for us both. So while I still didn’t love the idea, God was working on my heart and in my mind.
This is the point of the story where I’ll go ahead and warn you… some of this may be TMI (too much information) for some of you, so if you’d rather not read anything about bodily fluids, I suggest you skip a paragraph or two!
Ben went to the kitchen and pulled things out to start making lunch while I went to the restroom. Yes, I had to pee but I also had to blow my nose because I’d just spent the 15 minute drive home crying and I desperately needed a tissue. As I stood in the bathroom and began to blow my nose, I couldn’t believe it, but I actually wet my pants… except that after a second or two, I realized I had no control over it and it just.kept.coming. I yelled to Ben that I thought my water had broken and he came back to our bedroom to see me standing there, trying to take my pants off and not having any idea of what to do. Neither one of us had a clue! And seriously, it just kept coming. In an instant, I’d become Niagara Falls!
I couldn’t believe that 1) everything from that morning had changed in about 2 seconds 2) I was standing in the bathroom when my water broke (as opposed to being at the store or somewhere else in public!) and 3) that Ben was home to help me and keep me calm. I don’t believe in coincidence, but I do believe in a God that has every detail planned out and He had this day planned down to a T.
Ben loaded up the car and I did my best to not leak everywhere as I put on dry (for the moment) clothes and made my way to the front of the house. We put a towel down in the front seat and I lowered myself into the MINI and we made our way to the hospital – for real this time! The night before, I hadn’t told many people we were going to the hospital because I wanted to be sure that we would be staying there. But this time, I knew without a doubt that we’d be having this baby within 24 hours (which is what happens when your water breaks because after 24 hours, there’s risk of infection to the baby) so I was calling family and texting friends on our way.
And remember that ice storm that was supposed to happen Monday night? As we were pulling off the interstate and into the hospital parking lot, sleet started to fall on our windshield. And we were thanking God for His perfect timing! The next several hours consisted of us getting settled and our moms arriving at the hospital. We were so thankful that they were there and safe and wouldn’t have to worry about the ice either! The only person in question was our birth photographer because we didn’t know how fast or slow everything would go and if she’d be able to safely make it to the hospital or not. But we stayed in touch and she was ready to come (if it was safe!).
I won’t go into all the details of what happened and how boring the night was. They did give me some pitocin to get contractions going (since we were on a clock, things needed to be sped up some) so after a bit they became too much and I got an epidural… which was amazing :-) I knew from way before getting pregnant that drugs would be a part of my delivery. Pain and I don’t get along well and I trusted my doctors to be straight with me the entire time so I was ok with all that they were doing. Thankfully, it worked exactly as it was supposed to because I could still move around but I didn’t feel the pain. Unfortunately, it did make me itch and no matter how much I scratched, I couldn’t actually feel myself scratching so the itch wouldn’t go away! That may have been one of the craziest feelings ever…
My doctor checked me that night and I hadn’t progressed much at all so she let me labor through the night before checking me again in the morning. Ben and my mom tried sleeping in the room with me and Ben’s mom found a couch in the waiting room to sleep for a bit. Although I don’t know that any of us slept much at all during the night. I tried resting as much as I could and spent time praying, watching the clock and listening to baby Catherine’s heart beat from the monitor. That alone gave me reassurance that she and I were both still doing well :-) At some point during the night, our moms went to the lobby to walk around and they found some more comfy couches at Starbucks. So Ben and I watched Friends on Netflix and just hung out while we waited. It was such a sweet time because our little girl would be here soon and it was like we were able to have one last date night “on the couch” before she came (although I was laid up in bed and he was leaning on the side of it next to me!).
When morning finally came and my doctor came to check me, I’d finally made it to 7cm and was 90% effaced! But unfortunately, baby girl still hadn’t dropped. My nurse brought in the huge peanut/exercise ball thing to put between my legs in hopes of coaxing her down. But after a couple hours of that, she still wasn’t coming down. So, they began preparations for my c-section.
Thankfully, by this point, God had worked in my head and my heart enough that I knew it was the best thing for me and the baby. And my doctors and nurses had been SO amazing that I trusted that they’d done everything they could to try and get this baby girl to come on her own! But even in that, God knew what He was doing!
As preparations were being made, I looked at our amazing nurse and asked, “I know it’s a long-shot, but if our photographer is able to get here safely, would it be possible for her to come into the delivery room to take photos?” We’d been talking about photography the day before and she knew how important it was to us. She said to not hold my breath, but she’d go and ask. So I called Jana (or maybe texted her at that point) to let her know what was happening… and when our nurse came back and gave us the thumbs up, I couldn’t believe it! So Jana made her way to the hospital. They all even waited on her to get there before wheeling me back to the operating room!!
Part of me is still in shock that they allowed her back there, but we weren’t going to ask too many questions. So, finally, the real photos begin. Jana Candler got a few of us in the room before they wheeled me out and then joined us in the OR when I was prepped and they let Ben come in.
So thankful for this woman… she trusted me to second shoot with her when I was still a newbie and our car rides to and from those weddings consisted of much more than just the events of those days! She prayed with me for my husband, cried tears of joy with me as she photographed Ben and I becoming husband wife, and encouraged me as we waited to get pregnant with this little girl. So to have her there to capture this day too was so very sweet!
I don’t know about you, but I think Ben looks pretty good in scrubs!!
I could feel the pressure of all that they were doing too me and I remember the anticipation of them pulling Catherine out. Tears welled up in my eyes and I was so overwhelmed when I got to see her!
Our chunky and perfect baby girl!!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
I’ve been kissing those cheeks since the first possible moment!
I’m so thankful for the way this man loves me… and how he’s loved our baby girl since we first found out we were expecting.
I wanted to see her hair!! I was convinced she would be bald so I was so excited she actually had hair!
Look how she’s looking at her daddy!!
We were taken to recovery not long after she was born. The thing I remember most was how thirsty I’d been in the OR and how chapped my lips were! Finally, Ben was able to feed me some ice chips not long after Jana captured this photo of him with her.
I look a hot mess, was so loopy/tired/groggy/thirsty/hungry, but this was our first family photo and I LOVE it.
Thank you, Jana!
Once we got to our room, Ben had our camera ready to capture the grandmas meeting Catherine for the first time :-)
It was their own First Look with her!
Mémé with her sweet Catherine!
On Ben’s side, Catherine is the 8th grandchild. But she made the number of girls equal to the number of boys!
So, this is three of the four girl cousins :-)
Ben’s mom, grandmommy.
This is Ben’s sister, Shellie.
And this is my brother, Matt. He teared up meeting his niece for the first time, which of course made me cry too!
He calls her peanut. And I kind of like it :-)
We came home that Friday afternoon and took a few more photos where we’d been taking them most of the pregnancy. It was the perfect way to welcome her home!