It has been 4 days since Chet joined us in this world. There are no words to describe the experience of birthing your child. The love I felt for Christian, Cole and Chet on that day will forever be captured in my heart. I know I have already forgot some of the details, but this is how I remember the day happening. It’s fragment. It’s full of emotion. It’s full of highs and lows. It’s unedited (because if I wait much longer to write it, I won’t remember anything but the highs). It is my memory of 12 whirlwind hours of laboring (and not laboring), an almost c-section, a determined baby, and a very quick active labor.
Grandma arrived at our house at 6:30 am to take care of Cole while we were at the hospital. I woke Cole up before we left. Saying goodbye to him was hard. I knew it was our last moment as just me and Cole. He was a little anxious but very excited to meet his brother. Grandma was going to pick him up from school after lunch, and they would wait for our phone call that his brother arrived.
Christian and I arrived at the hospital at 7am. They were cleaning my room when I got there so we sat in the waiting area until around 8:30. When we arrived, we learned that our nurse would be Lenore for the day. Little did I know that she was the best match for me. We sent a text to Christi, our doula, to let her know what was going on. Our plan was to keep her informed through each step. She would come to the hospital as soon as we needed her to arrive.
Around 8:30am, Lenore came out to get us. When we got back to our room, we discussed our birth plan. I changed into my own laboring clothing, and she left to update the doctor. We had a few options. I could possibly be started on pitocin. I could have my water broke. When she checked my cervix I was still at 3 cm and 80% effaced. I was also at -1 station. I was also having contractions that were lasting a little over a minute every 7 minutes. The doctor came back to make sure we were okay with induction. She said we could wait a few more days if we wanted. Christian and I explained our decision, and I got started on pitocin. The plan was to start of with small doses and to go as slow as possible until I got to 5cm. They would then take me off the pitocin so I could labor naturally.
I was still feeling good at this point. Christian and I were playing scrabble on my phone. I sent Christi another text to tell her the good news. She gave me a few things to do while we waited for my body to start feeling labor. I needed to use the bathroom every hour. I needed to be in a gravity enhancing position. I needed to save my strength.
Shortly after the doctor came back into the room to break my water. At this point I was at 4cm, 80% effaced, and -1 station. She chose to break my water to allow me to have a more natural birth. When they broke my water, everything looked great. It was clear. Chet responded beautifully.
About an hour after my water was broke, I got up to use the bathroom. The towel that was underneath me was covered in a greenish liquid that had a distinct smell. I had meconium in my water. Chet had used the bathroom in my womb. At the same time, Chet’s heart rate started to drop with several of my contractions. It would drop, and then it would bounce back to its normal rate. Once again I sent Christi a text. She headed to the hospital. Lenore also became my super hero and advocate in the next few hours. Lenore had me switch to laying on my side to see if Chet would handle contractions better. It worked for a while. It then went back to dropping with a few contractions.
Our OB/GYN came into the room to discuss her concerns. She couldn’t watch Chet’s heart rate drop with consistent contractions for long. If it continued, I would need a c-section.
As soon as she left the room, Lenore got to work. I changed positions. She messed with the monitors. She knew that Chet was a healthy baby because he was bouncing back from the drops in his heart rate beautifully. I know that she did so much more to make sure everything was going the way that Chet needed it to go. I know she made sure that the OB/GYN didn’t rush me into a c-section if it wasn’t needed. What she did? I’m not sure. I just know that she focused on my baby. She made sure he was safe. She will forever be loved by our family for the way she looked after the baby in my belly. She is everything that a labor and delivery nurse should be.
From here, my memory gets blurry. I remember every emotion I felt during this period. I don’t remember what details happened when or at what point things occurred. I just felt my way through the process.
At some point, Chet’s heart rate kept dropping consistently. We knew the c-section discussion was coming. Lenore hooked up an internal fetal heart rate monitor. It wasn’t working properly. I was put on oxygen. I was taken off pitocin because my baby dislikes the drug as much as I do. My body was left to labor naturally. I was at 5 cm at this point.
Once I went off the pitocin, my labor slowed down. My contractions started to spread out. I quit feeling the intensity. While my body was relaxing, Chet’s heart rate still wasn’t staying consistent. Because of the meconium in my water and his heart rate, he needed to come out. (I believe it was around 6pm when I went off the pitocin). I had two options. I could go back on pitocin and hope that my labor progressed quickly or I would need a c-section.
This is when everything became real to me. Prior to this point, I kept my body relaxed. I focused on contractions and labor. I ignored the monitors and the scares. I focused on my baby and bringing him into the world in the way that was best for him.
Our OB/GYN came back into our room. We started talking about a c-section. She went over the details of what would happen. I would be taken back, given an epidural, and prepped for surgery while Christian waited outside for me. He could be in the room with me once everything was ready. I couldn’t stop the tears at this point. I needed my husband. He had been beside me all day. I couldn’t have him waiting in a hallway. I needed him. My baby needed him. Christi looked at me in the middle of this discussion and she said, “Go to your happy spot. Go to Utah”. Those simple words opened up a flood of emotion in me. I quit trying to be strong for the doctor. I cried. I cried for my husband. I cried for my baby. I cried for everything I knew my baby deserved and might not receive. The OB/GYN left us with the option of a c-section right away or giving pitocin one more try. Everyone left Christian and I to discuss our decision.
I wanted my baby safe. The overall goal of any birth plan I had created was to provide Chet with a peaceful birth. I didn’t want him to feel the stress of anything that was going on around him. I didn’t know why he wasn’t responding to labor well. Some babies don’t respond well to labor. Was he feeling stress from his heart rate dropping? Was it worth it to try pitocin again? If we tried pitocin again would I just prolong a c-section? At this point we knew Chet was healthy. We knew he was responding well to everything that was going on around him. If I was going to put my baby through the trauma of a c-section, I wanted it to happen when he was strong. I didn’t want to weaken my baby with pitocin to only then need a c-section. I had made up my mind. We would get a c-section.
Christian and I cried more tears. He was worried I would regret my decision. He didn’t want me to doubt anything in the process. I didn’t. I felt confident in my decision.
Christi came back into the room at this point. We talked about everything with her. We wanted to know her opinion even though we knew it was up to us. She gave us two questions to ask: request to be checked again and ask if my baby was feeling stress from his heart rate dropping. She also said something to me that will forever be written on my heart. She told me that of all the mom’s she has worked with she has never seen someone so prepared and willing to let go – to let go of everything selfish and to let my baby direct labor. She was honest with us and said it made her sad and angry that our labor was moving in this direction because she knew I could handle labor. She had a feeling I would end up with a c-section.
Lenore than reentered the room. We talked to her about our thoughts. She also thought I would need a c-section. She checked me one last time.
I was at 6 almost 7 cm. My body was finally responding to labor. Somehow things started to look up. With the new knowledge that my body was progressing and Chet was responding well to labor, we started pitocin again. Lenore started me off on the smallest amount. We all watched the monitors as contractions intensified. Chet was staying strong.(it was probably around 6:45 at this point)
Seven o’clock approached. Lenore was done for the day. She hand-picked my nurse for me that evening. I feel horrible that I can’t remember her name because she too was the biggest protector of Chet. She came into my room, she announced that we were going to have this baby the right way, and she took over right where Lenore left off.
At 7:15 I sent my parents a text to tell them that I was back on pitocin and Chet was doing good. Not too long after that I wanted to get up to use the bathroom. While I was in the bathroom, I had two very strong contractions. I also felt like I needed to have a bowel movement. I told Christian to ask our nurse if it was okay. She asked me to come back to bed before so she could check me. I was at 8 cm. She was excited that things were moving along. We were going to have our baby vaginally.
As soon as she left the room, another contraction came. I needed to push. I felt myself crawling up the back of the bed. Christi sent Christian out to get the nurse fast. She came back in. She checked me. We were having a baby. The doctor rushed into the room. The NICU team rushed in the room (since I had meconium in my water). Within an hour, I had gone from feeling very few contractions to feeling the need to push. The first two pushing contractions caught me off guard. There was no build up to the intensity. I hit me in the face. My hands went numb. I couldn’t stand not being able to feel my hands. Christi got me to focus my attention on what was going on. The next two contractions I felt in control. It hurt. It burned. I wanted him out. After three strong pushed, the OB/GYN said Chet had to come out with the next push. I pushed. She gave me an episotiomy to prevent me from tearing.
Chet was born. It was 8:11 pm. He came into the world and the only words that left my mouth were “my baby”.
Christian cut the cord. (We weren’t able to keep him attached because of the meconium). He was checked by the NICU team. He got a nearly perfect apgar score 9 and 9. Christian was able to focus on Chet while I delivered the placenta and got stitched by the doctor. Within minutes, Chet was on my chest and ready to breast feed. He attached immediately, and I don’t think he has detached since his birth.
The entire experience was nothing I expected. It was more than I could dream. It was everything I had hoped it would be for Chet. He had a plan. He knew how he wanted to enter the world. Everything happened exactly how it was supposed to happen. Had I gone into labor naturally at home, I would have labored at home. I would have arrived at the hospital. They would have seen Chet’s heart rate without know its history and I would have been rushed into an emergency c-section. I’m thankful with every inch of my body that I chose to be induced.
Thank you doesn’t do justice to the appreciation I have for both of my nurses. Christi will forever by loved by our entire family.I’m grateful that our OB/GYN respected our wishes for natural birth. She could have rushed me into a c-section, but instead she saw my birth as a whole picture and not just a monitor.
And Christian………I will save this for another post but Chet’s birth story should end with him knowing how truly incredibly his dad is. He is my perfect husband. He was everything I needed him to be and everything I didn’t know I needed him to be. I have never loved my husband as much as I loved him on that day and will continue to love him for the rest of our lives. Chet has one amazing daddy!
Welcome to the world Chet Christian Maute. You are already loved by so many.