kai's birth story
I cannot tell you how many times I have written this & stopped. I can't seem to find the right words to describe my feelings or events.
partly because I honestly have had a hard time processing how I really felt about it.
But writing is therapeutic for me and I decided to share it despite the words I lack, the mixed feelings I still have, and honestly the confusion I sometimes feel about it.
Everyone asked if I was scared to birth a child. Honestly, no I wasn't. I mean sure I was scared for what might happen or what could go wrong. But as far as pain factor goes - it was excruciating and nothing I've ever done before, just like everyone said.. so no big shocker there.
What I was scared of was postpartum healing. Which turns out I was pretty right about how awful it is (well in my case. Most women I know pop right back to normal day life quickly). But more on that in another post.
Kais due date was March 25, and that came and went despite every trick in the book that Andrew & I tried. But come Monday the 27, I started feeling contractions early in the morning. Like 2am early. I was so EXCITED!!! We started the day with breakfast at our favorite lil spot in Carpinteria (Lucky Llama) with our good friends Brian & Sarah! We couldn’t hide the joy of meeting baby Kai soon! After Andrew went to work and I watched the ocean from our studio apartment in Summerland whenever I got a little contraction, eagerly awaiting the next few hours where I'd FINALLY meet my baby boy.
Fast forward to 5pm that day and we decided to go to the hospital to check things out. Unfortunately the doctor said I wasn't even dilated and to go home, it was false labor. Queue the crying that ensued on our way home - I didn't want to go home. I didn't want to wait another week alone in the studio (if Kai didn't arrive during the week, they wanted to induce on April 1).
Tuesday morning (the 28) Andrews parents & sister, Abbey came down to keep me company (they felt my contractions were real and Kai was coming soon). That entire day I had some pretty crazy contractions and was starting to get annoyed. If they were fake why were they getting more intense and frequent? By lunch time I started to realize I really was in labor. I remember waddling into the ocean water and focusing on the water foam formations during a few contractions. I felt so calm and ready.
That evening we had a strange encounter at the liquor store down the street while grabbing ice cream. A lady said the moon was right (hahaha) and baby was coming. I already knew that and asked Andrews mom to text the group of friends she'd been updating that Kai would come before 10am the next day. Prayer is powerful.
Around 11pm I started to have contractions closer together and much stronger. I woke Andrew up and we turned on a worship playlist and worked on contractions together. During contractions I'd focus on the breathing and the music, in-between Andrew would gently rub my back. Sitting there with only the bathroom light on and the moon reflecting on the ocean water is still something I treasure so much.
Around 1am, we decided it was time to head down - since we lived 30+ minutes from our hospital. The drive was excruciating and I wondered with each bump if Kai would pop on out. We were admitted around 2, when it was found I was 3cm and a test showed I developed preeclampsia.
We moved from triage to the room Id labor and deliver in. it was HUGE. From there the doctor checked again to see how far along I was, I was already at 5cm! She decided to break my bag of waters suddenly, which honestly freaked me out. I panicked - I didn't feel it was time. Even still I am frustrated she did so without even talking to us about it, it made the contractions come even faster and I didn't realize I'd keep leaking. From that point I lost focus and had a hard time making it through each contraction, so I asked for the epidural. My hope was it would bring some relief but mostly a quick break before pushing came.
Ironically, despite all the wonderful stories of moms napping or playing card games once they received the epidural it caused me to dilate even faster and I was at 8cm in no time.
I was exhausted. When I thought I couldn't muster through anymore, my sweet sister Alina - who is also a labor and delivery nurse back home - finally made it. The nurse who just started her shift let Alina take over for the most part. Alina talked me through contractions, what was next, and encouraged me so much. I AM SO THANKFUL I HAD HER ALONG MY SIDE. When I couldn't bear not pushing anymore I told Andrew to call the nurse in, and my sister, mom in love, and Andrew were all by my side encouraging me as I pushed that 9lb baby out!
Finally I felt relief as Kai came earth side and his little voice started crying and he was quickly plopped onto my chest. I could barely hold him, from how exhausted I was, and truthfully in that moment I wanted nothing more than some food and a nap with my baby. But nothing could compare to hearing Andrew in my ear, telling me I did it, as our baby boy cried and searched for comfort in my arms. And remember that prayer about Kai being born before 10am? He was born right at 8:32am. crazy.
What felt like only 5 minutes (it was really close to 1.5 hours?) of cuddle time, it was time for Kai to be wrapped and bundled. I will never forget the sweet relief of knowing my baby was finally earth side, and I could finally stare at his little features any minute I wanted to.
Those first few days at the hospital were rough, I was so uncomfortable in my new postpartum body (preeclampsia made my body swell excessively for weeks after), but I forgot about all of that while we ooh'd and aah'd and cried over that sweet boy and his perfect little noises.
I know moms get all the credit for birthing their babe, but really I share that credit with my sister, mother in law, our first nurse, and husband. Without them encouraging me, telling me I could do it, and physically being their to help hold me, I don’t think our experience would’ve been so sweet.