I absolutely LOVE our birth story!!!!
Sweet William "Jase" Butler has absolutely changed our lives, and the moment I met him for the first time melted my heart and made me a new woman...a mommy.
I am so thankful the Lord is ultimately in control and had His hand in us welcoming Baby Jase to the world. I am thankful for every prayer that went up for us and that He continues to prove He is faithful. One thing I learned from this is that no matter how much prayer and preparation you put into something, ultimately it is in the Lord's hands...and there is no greater comfort than that.
From the very beginning Jonathan and I have both said that our goal is to have a healthy baby and healthy mama, and we totally trusted the Lord's plans for us. That is exactly what we got- a healthy baby and mama- and for that we are so incredibly thankful. Really, there isn't much more you could ask for...
That being said, everyone knows we did a lot of research while I was pregnant and felt/feel really strongly about natural childbirth. I know it is not for everyone, but after being introduced to Bradley Method, we felt certain this is the route we wanted to take and it was a perfect fit for us. The main reason is because I don't take medicine EVER (I didn't even take a Tylenol or Tums the entire pregnancy), so it didn't make much sense to start during delivery. I really didn't want Baby Jase to have any medicine in his system when he was born. We also loved the idea of having a husband-coached delivery & I knew Big Jon would be an awesome coach. I loved the idea of him having such an active role in the birth process and knew it would make our relationship even stronger. We worked really, really hard to prepare in every aspect possible....knowledge (lots of reading, childbirth classes, Bradley classes), nutrition (I ate clean about 90-95% of the time), exercising (I worked out 3-4 times a week and even walked 3 miles & did planks/pushups 2 days before the baby was born), Bradley exercises to prepare for birth, and lots of prayer. We were 100% READY & confident.
I remember at one of my appointments I asked the doctor to look at my birth plan, and he told me he didn't need to...they wanted it to be as enjoyable as possible and were okay with whatever I wanted. Their only "requirements" were that I have a place for an IV port (hep lock) and they wanted to monitor the baby. He also said that he could GUARANTEE things wouldn't go as planned, so I might as well expect the unexpected. Now I have to be honest, I didn't really buy that. I appreciated the advice, but also knew that many moms probably go in wanting a "natural childbirth" without having
prepared at all. I knew this is not something where you can just wing it, so I felt like our preparation and work would ensure everything would go smoothly. Jonathan & I both felt very confident going in that we had done everything we could possibly do to prepare, and knew the rest was in the Lord's hands.
I had a doctor's appointment on Monday, May 6th- just a regular checkup. The night before I hadn't been able to sleep from 3:30-6:30 am, so I was pretty tired at my appointment. I was still measuring around 1+ cm, so of course we had to discuss induction, even though I REALLY did not want that to happen. Our midwife wanted us to do an ultrasound to check my amniotic fluid and the baby's size. The baby's heart rate was great and my amniotic fluid was still looking good at around 14. Although ultrasounds are not always accurate this far along, ours showed that he was probably close to 8 lbs & 14 oz, putting him in the 90th percentile. I left that appointment very discouraged and cried some when I got home. Jonathan had to do lots of reassuring that my body was made to delivery this baby (I was getting a little worried about his size) and that he would come in God's perfect timing (I was also getting nervous he wouldn't come on his own & I did NOT want to be induced!!!!). Crazy pregnancy hormones!
That night I had my bloody show around 1:30 in the morning and started having contractions throughout the night. I didn't wake Jonathan up because they were not consistent, so I decided to just use my relaxation techniques and breathe/relax through them myself. They definitely felt different than any of the other Braxton Hicks...these were more like intense period/gas cramps & they were very low. I could feel a distinct start and stop to them & continued having more bloody show throughout the night too.
The next morning, May 7th (our official due date!) Jonathan woke up for work and I told him I'd been having contractions throughout the night. He asked me if I thought we should go to the doctor, but I told him to just go on to work because they stopped around 7 am. Still, that meant I didn't get much sleep (for the second night in a row), so I laid back down till about 10 am. When I got up, I realized the baby wasn't moving as much (he was normally a wild man) so I drank a Spark and hopped in the bathtub- two things that normally get him going. Still not moving as much, so I decided to go in to the doctor to get them to check him out. They checked me first, & those contractions from the night before had definitely gotten some work done...I was now at a 3-4!! (Lots of women go to the hospital at this point.) They put me on the monitor to check him, and although he seemed a little snoozy at first, it picked back up by the end so I headed home.
I had more bloody show throughout the day and night and continued having contractions. I didn't feel like they were consistent or close enough together to start timing yet, so I just continued to use my relaxation techniques and let Jonathan sleep through that night too. I knew he'd need his energy to coach me through!
The next morning our midwife, Lauren, (whom I ADORE!) texted me to see how I was feeling & I told her about my evening. She suggested I come in just to be on the safe side because she'd hate for me to be walking around at a 7 or 8 and not know it. Jonathan & I hopped in the truck and took some trash off to the dump. We also stopped at Dunkin Donuts because I wanted to take a sweet treat to the nurses at the doctor's office since I was becoming such a regular (3rd day in a row!).
I decided to start timing my contractions on the way to the doctor (I still don't think Jon even knew I was having them?) and they were around 10 min apart for an hour, so I sorta felt silly for even going in. When we arrived this time though, she checked me and I was 7 cm & my nitrazine strip showed that my water might have broken sometime....Time to go to the hospital!!! We were all shocked I was so far along & didn't know it. Lauren sent us on and told us she'd meet us at the hospital. WOO HOO!!! It was such exciting news- GAME TIME!! I texted everyone on my text list to get our prayer warriors going and off we went!
When we walked in to the hospital around 11 am, the lady at the check-in desk asked if I was there for a c-section or induction. Jonathan told her neither- I was just in labor and needed to check in. She looked shocked that I was so calm & still smiling. They took us back to L&D room 4 to get us settled in.
This is where I met our first nurse...Tiffany. She was FANTASTIC!!! All of our nurses were absolutely incredible the entire time at the hospital, but I loved that Tiffany was so supportive and encouraging of our desire to go natural. She was so helpful the whole time & really pulled for me.
They hooked me up with INT (place for IV) & about that time Lauren arrived and checked me again....8 cm! She said if she had to guess I'd have that baby in my arms by 2!!
They were awesome about letting me drink my water, eat snacks, and move around in different positions. I think a big part of it was because I was still smiling & relaxing through contractions like a champ.
They brought me the birthing ball & I sat on it some....
We really couldn't believe how great I felt for being so far along. The contractions were intense- don't get me wrong- but our Bradley preparations made them totally doable. Jon wanted me to take this picture to show everyone what a "9" looks like. He was super proud.
I got up to take several of the pictures myself....
And these were the goody bags we made for the nurses. They seemed to really appreciate them, but I wanted them to know that we had prayed for them and were super thankful for their awesome care! Seriously, I could not have hand picked better nurses!!!
Daddy acting crazy...filling up Mom's water bottle.
We had lots of guests in the room since I was feeling so good. I didn't mind the company, but lesson learned...next time it will only be Jonathan & I once I start transition phase. It was fine to that point, but then it became too much and I was too in the zone to say anything.
I also squatted on the bed...
And Jon got pretty good at hooking me and unhooking me from the monitors so I could go to the bathroom.
Of course I did some regular squatting too...one of the best exercises for moving the baby down the labor canal.
And when the contractions got really intense during the transition phase, my favorite position was standing and leaning in to Jonathan. Bradley refers to this as the slow dancing position, and I thought it was super cheesy, but it brought the most relief.
We are almost PARENTS!!!!
At 3:30, I was at a 9 1/2 and 95% effaced. There was a small piece of cervix (the cervical lip) in the way, so they decided to break my water. I remember it being super warm and feeling like I was peeing myself!! Everyone in the room was cracking up because I was so certain I was peeing myself. Jonathan said it had a very distinct smell, but I couldn't smell it. It didn't hurt at all either like I was expecting. They were hoping this would help get things moving and move that piece of cervix. I was still in the transition phase at this point and my contractions were getting super, super intense. I remember feeling nauseas and thinking I was going to throw up a few times, but I never did. At 5:30, I still hadn't made any progress so we decided to go through a few rounds of pushing to hopefully move that last little piece of cervix. Jonathan said I was pushing like a champ & definitely moving the baby. (I was super thankful that I had a strong core because it helped with the pushing big time...)
Of course I drank Rehydrate during labor...
I went through two rounds of pushing, and after each round my blood pressure would drop and the baby's heart rate would drop. They would roll me onto my side and give me oxygen, and let me rest through a few contractions. We both still felt a peace that everything was okay, but there were a couple of scary moments where the nurses would rush in. They were a little concerned about my blood pressure because it was so low, but decided it was okay because it's low anyway. The thing that made everyone so nervous is that the baby's heart rate would drop when I would push. They didn't know WHY that piece of cervix wouldn't get out of the way and were concerned that the cord was possibly wrapped around his neck.
By this time our nurse had switched shifts and we had Haley, who was also fantastic!! She was super sweet and took such great care of us!! She didn't get to be there when I was so calm & smiley- by the time her shift started I was in transition, so she only got to see my "intense concentration."
About this time, Lauren came in and started to discuss some options with us. The doctor wanted something to be happening by 10 pm because I had been in labor for SO long and my uterus was wearing out. (Really, it makes sense. It is a muscle...and I had been having contractions for the two days earlier too.) Because my uterus was getting tired, the contractions weren't as strong as before (even though they felt stronger & closer together), so we needed them to become stronger so I could break through that barrier and push the baby out. She suggested that we try Pitocin as a last resort to get that piece of cervix out of the way & increase the contractions. I have heard terrible things about Pitocin, but knew it was our last option before a c-section. Jonathan & I took a minute to talk about it. He tried to get me to tough it out...he said this was just like hitting a wall in my marathons. I had to listen to my body though & I knew there was some reason that little piece of cervix wouldn't move, so we decided to give it a shot. I had a feeling at this point that this might end in a c-section, even though I didn't say that out loud. I still felt a total peace about everything & knew after that Pitocin I could honestly say I had given this 100% and my absolute all. I also knew the baby would be here within the next hour or so (one way or another) & this wouldn't have a lot of time to get in his system, so I felt okay with it.
They came back in for one more round of pushing after the Pitocin, hoping to get some progress, but it didn't work. My contractions didn't pick up and I actually started to swell down there after my third round of pushing. My blood pressure continued to drop and the baby's heart rate dropped drastically when I sat up after the last round of pushing.
At this point, Lauren said we really needed to consider a c-section before it became an emergency. I know she fought really hard for me to continue on as long as I had, but with the swelling & being in labor so long, it was becoming dangerous. There was still no sign of that cervical lip getting out of the way, and she told us of course it was up to us, but we were becoming at greater risk of hemorrhaging or the baby becoming in distress. I asked her if we could have just a minute to pray about it first and of course she agreed. Jonathan & I talked about it and prayed about it and both felt like there was some reason the baby wasn't coming. We still had a peace because we KNEW so, so many people were praying for a healthy mom and baby, just like we had been the entire pregnancy. We knew this is how the Lord must have wanted the baby to come out....and ya know what is so ironic? Looking back, I pictured my labor...the relaxing through contractions, the pushing...but I never could picture actually pushing the baby out. I feel like I got to experience natural childbirth (I went through everything except actually pushing the baby out) & had given it my all, and there was SOME reason he wasn't coming this way. (Looking back, I feel really certain it's because he had his little hand by his face the way he did the WHOLE pregnancy. I truly believe 100% he wouldn't move that hand & it meant the rest of his head couldn't come through the labor canal.)
We decided to go for it. The anesthesiologist came in to give me the meds for the c-section, and the doctor came in to tell us about the risks. He said because I had been in labor for so long, I had an increased risk of hemorrhaging, needing a blood transfusion, becoming sterile, or needing a hysterectomy. Scary, huh?? Honestly though, we all still felt a peace about it. (I know I keep saying that, but it's the truth. Thankful for all the prayers- they totally worked.) My mom prayed with us and left the room. Everyone else had gone at this point too. Jonathan put on scrubs and we headed to the OR about 10:20 pm...
I remember shaking like crazy from the medicine. I'm sure my body was in shock because I seriously mean it when I say I didn't even take a Tylenol the entire pregnancy. When they were prepping me, I remember hearing one of the nurses ask Dr. Lake if he wanted Pandora on. He said of course, and she asked him if he wanted something he would like or I would like. He said "Something she would lie, of course! Let's get it on Chris Tomlin radio." (Honestly, I'm not even sure if they meant me or someone else, but I'm assuming me.) That was so funny because he barely knows me (I always see the midwives when I go), but he knew what I would have chosen. The song that was on was TOTALLY a God thing!! It's already one of my very favorites and is so powerful to me, but now it has a whole new meaning in my life and I don't know that I'll ever be able to listen to it with a dry eye again.
At 10:51 pm, William "Jase" Butler entered the world!!! That sweet cry (he still has a sweet cry- it's not annoying like most babies' cries) was absolutely the sweetest sound I have ever heard. They let me see him & Jonathan went with him while they stitched me up.
When Jon brought him over to me, I started talking to him and he immediately opened his eyes and turned his head towards me. Of course he knew my voice & that I was his mommy!!! Jonathan & I both started crying at this point....it was absolutely the most precious moment of my life.
They got us to the recovery room really quickly & I was able to nurse him immediately and get some skin to skin. I was SO happy to have that sweet, beautiful, HEALTHY baby in my arms!!! After 9 whole months....40 weeks of growing that precious miracle....and now here he was in my arms. Jonathan told me they really wanted to give him a 10 on his APGAR score because he was so perfect, but they don't give 10's. He weighed 8 lbs, 5 oz, and was 20 3/4 inches long....and beyond STUNNING!!!! He was also incredibly alert, & I was thankful to have only had the meds for a very short amount of time before he was born.
Reading back through it, I know it sounds like it was a crazy, stressful, or scary experience. But it wasn't in the least. It was incredibly calm and peaceful the whole time. We never felt scared, frustrated, upset, or worried, and honestly, I truly ENJOYED the whole experience!!! It was one of my favorite days and I am so proud of how it went. I am thankful for how it turned out and that we both made it through very healthy. I'm thankful for Lauren allowing me to try so long so I wouldn't have any regrets. Thankful for the nurses who took such fantastic care of us. Thankful for our protection and that we both came out healthy. And most of all, THANKFUL for that sweet, sweet soul that has absolutely stolen my heart. What a precious gift and blessing!!!
"Every good and perfect gift is from above." -James 1:17
"My cup runneth over." -Psalm 23:5