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Kennedy’s Birth Story – February 19th 4:04am 7lbs 6oz and 19 ˝ inches
I had been having contractions on and off for weeks. After a pre-term labor scare at around 34 weeks, we all figured that Kennedy would be arriving early. Here I was, less than a week before my due date, feeling like the boy who cried wolf, every time I would text my Doula, Angela, to tell her that I was having contractions. I was sure that when I did go into labor, no one would believe me – even I didn’t think I’d believe it!
Friday February 18th
I noticed a little pink tinged mucus when I went to the bathroom around 12:30pm. It was something new, but I wasn’t about to get excited after all the false alarms I’d had. I did text my Doula, Angela, to let her know – just in case! I went about my day and around 3:30pm I noticed that the contractions I was having felt different than usual. They were consistently 11 minutes apart. I talked to my aunt on the phone for about 1 ˝ hours. I continued to have contractions 11 minutes apart, and they were definitely stronger than I’d felt before. They actually took some concentration to breathe through. I hung up the phone with my aunt around 5pm, just as Marlon was getting home. I told him what was going on, but neither of us wanted to get excited. We figured it would just stop again. I called Angela to see what she though. During that conversation I had a few pretty strong contractions that I had to stop talking during. She reminded me of my breathing, and said it sounded like it could be early labor. Her advice, stay comfortable and try to get some rest.
At this point, I was still convinced it would stop, but was willing to try to keep it going. I told my husband I wanted to go for a walk. I didn’t take my cell phone, so there was no timing the contractions. Our walk ended up being pretty long, and by the end the contractions seemed a lot closer together and stronger. Towards the end of the walk I was starting to think I wasn’t going to make it! We got home and Marlon decided to make me some pasta. It was about 7:45 and the contractions were 5 ˝ - 6 ˝ minutes apart, 60 seconds long and actually painful! I text Angela again, and she suggested a really warm bath. I ate my pasta and got in the tub. The contractions were anywhere from 4 ˝ - 6 ˝ minutes apart. I chatted online with some friends while I was in the tub. The contractions were getting stronger though and I just couldn’t be bothered with the laptop anymore. At around 9:30 the contractions were 5-6 minutes apart, and for some reason I STILL thought it was going to stop. I text Angela and told her I was screwed if this wasn’t really labor. She assured me that it was early labor, and that she had already given the Midwife on call a heads up. My husband and I tried different coping techniques like the birth ball, a hot shower, massage, position changes, etc. I tried to lay down and rest but the pain was awful.
Around 11:10pm I decided I couldn’t handle the contractions on my own anymore. I called Angela. We were making arrangements for whether she would come over or if we would meet her at the birth center. She suggested that I call Andrea, the midwife on call, and see what she wanted us to do. I spoke with Andrea at 11:20 – I couldn’t talk at all through the contractions, but we somehow had a conversation and agreed to meet at the birth center in an hour. I called Angela back to let her know the update. I had a really strong contraction just as I was calling her, and threw my cell phone at my husband to talk to her.
Was this really it? I still half expected things to stop. We loaded everything into the car and left the house at 11:50pm. The ride to the birth center was rough! I was kneeling on the front seat, leaning over the back,. I can only imagine what other people on the road were thinking. Marlon and I kept laughing about it on the way. He was also trying to massage my back during the contractions and I kept yelling at him to just drive carefully! We arrived at exactly 12:20am, and Andrea pulled in right behind us. We went into the birth suite, and left everything in the car. I was still convinced that she was going to tell me I was still the same 2cm dilated that I was 5 ˝ weeks earlier! I laid down so Andrea could check me, and I held my breath, in anticipation, when she announced that I was 4-5cm and definitely having a baby!
Angela arrived right after I had been checked and she got right to work. Her and my husband did an amazing job together. I started out walking around the birth center and Angela would massage my back during contractions. I pretty much lost all track of time at this point. The contractions started coming back to back and even Andrea and Angela were surprised by how quickly things were moving. I sent my husband to call my mom and have her head to the birth center. I moved to the birth ball at this point and Angela continued to massage my back. Things were getting really intense, my back was hurting and I was getting incredibly nauseous. After a little while I moved to the bed and laid on my side. Angela got a hot pack for my back and showed Marlon where to apply pressure. She was putting cold cloths on my head and neck. I ended up throwing up a few times, and Angela started using aromatherapy oils to relax me and help the nausea. I changed positions a few more times, and got on my hands and knees, and then leaned against the ball. A little while later I decided I wanted to get in the tub. My Midwife went to fill it, and I continued to labor on the ball until the tub was ready. I got in and changed positions several times before I decided what was comfortable. I ended up squatting/kneeling and leaning over the side. My husband held me and helped me breathe while Angela was keeping cold towels on me and pouring hot water over my back.
I started to feel a lot of pressure and at first I just tried to breathe through it. I felt like I probably still had “forever” to go. I was still laughing and joking in between contractions. In fact, I even remember talking about baby number two. Afterwards my Midwife and Doula said they’ve never had anyone talk about having another baby while they were getting ready to push! I kept moaning through the pressure but soon I couldn’t help but give gentle pushes through the contractions. My husband kept telling me how strong I was and how great I was doing. I think I may have said that I couldn’t do it at one point, that should have been my clue that I was close! Angela and Andrea kept encouraging me to follow my body. After pushing through three contractions I told Andrea I “felt something” so she told me to feel down there. I said that I “felt a bubble.” Andrea told me that it was just the amniotic sac bulging. I remember thinking that I must have forever if my water hadn’t broken! I was contemplating asking her to break it, when I had another contraction and pushed. I remember a ton of pressure and some burning and I reached down and said “Oh my god, Andrea help me, the bubble is huge!” Andrea and Angela helped me lean back when Andrea reached down and announced, “that’s the baby!!!” Kennedy had arrived with the membranes completely in tact. Andrea instructed my husband to catch our baby girl as she broke the sac. Andrea helped him put her on my chest.
I was in shock how quickly it happened and instantly felt that natural high and feeling of empowerment that everyone talks about. I had my dream birth and I was finally holding my baby girl.
Kennedy had a little trouble breathing at first. The birth assistant missed the birth by 15 minutes, so my doula jumped in to help the midwife. After a little oxygen Kennedy got pink and she was able to nurse before we got out of the tub. I delivered the placenta about 20 minutes later and we then moved to the bed. My husband and I snuggled our daughter and she continued to nurse.
About two hours after the birth my midwife said she was going to do the newborn exam. Afterward she sat down on the bed next to me and put her arm around me. She told me she was concerned because she saw some physical characteristics of Down Syndrome, and that a lot of babies with it have cardiac conditions. She didn’t hear any problems in Kennedy, but said she needed to be evaluated. I was flooded with emotions. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My hopes, dreams, expectations were all changed with just those few words. At first I was convinced she had to be wrong. There was just no way. We are young, healthy, had no family history. I can’t even put into words how I felt.
The ambulance was called. It was a non-emergent trasfer so I was able to get some more cuddle time and she nursed again. When the EMTs came, my husband went with Kennedy and my doula followed them to the hospital. My Midwife checked me and said that I would need some stitches, to eat, rest for a little and have a shower before I could leave. I sent my mom to McDonald’s and ended up eating a sausage, egg and cheese bagel while Andrea did my sutures. This seemed to take forever. The tear was a little worse than she had first thought, and she did each stitch individually, so that it would be stronger. Shortly after my husband called to tell me that the doctors agreed with the initial diagnosis of Down Syndrome. I was completely devastated. My midwife got me out of there as quickly as possible, and even came to the hospital with my mom and I.
After 5 days in the NICU, a terrifying diagnosis of a cardiac defect, and confirmation of the Down Syndrome, we were finally able to bring our sweet baby girl home. Physically I felt amazing after the birth. Aside from quite a bit of soreness from the tear, I did not feel like I just had a baby. I am so grateful for the birth experience that I had an I absolutely cannot wait to experience another natural childbirth. I am so incredibly thankful for the midwives and my doula, who came to visit Kennedy in the NICU every day. They did my 48 hour postpartum exam in our “courtesy room” at the hospital. They called me and texted me at all hours of the day and night to offer their support and encouragement. The day after Kennedy was released from the hospital the midwife who delivered her and my doula came over to my house to check my sutures and assist with the breastfeeding issues we were having.
My midwife and doula have attended over 500 births combined and they both said that this was by far one of the most amazing, and that Kennedy will always have a special place in their hearts. I came out of this with not just an amazing birth experience, but two wonderful friends.
This was the very last thing I read before I went to bed last night. The story is beautiful. Im so glad you had such an amazing delivery. We've talked about the other stuff and you know you're in all my thoughts. Love you lady
TTC #1 for five years
Battling PCOS and Male Factor Infertility