Sunday, March 11, 2018

Cooper's Birth Story

Cooper’s birth story is so special to me. My second natural birth, and my favorite birth experience thus far. It really was one of the most amazing, powerful, and sacred experiences of my life. It brought me closer to heaven and helped me to appreciate my body and recognize how, when combined with a determined mind, it can do amazing things. 

I spent the days and weeks leading up to his birth visualizing how it would go. It would be day time, and I would remain calm and focus on gratitude. I thought about experiencing an intense pain, and welcoming it. Working with, and being grateful for the pain, instead of tensing up and wishing it away. I wanted that pain because it was bringing me that much closer to my son. I visualized my body opening up and having plenty of room for my baby to make his entrance into this world, regardless of his size. I read books and positive birth stories about women who trusted their bodies, trusted Heavenly Father’s perfect design; and went into birth with confidence and excitement. That’s what I was building for myself. Confidence in my body, confidence in God that he would be with me if I just asked, and that He would give me the strength and clarity of mind to push through the pain.

— March 2nd —I started having a few hours a day where I would have contractions- and sometimes they were coming every 5 minutes. Every day, the contractions would be for longer periods and more frequent. I was absolutely driving myself crazy wondering if it was “for real” this time or if my body was just playing a cruel joke on me. I know by now what a braxton hicks contraction feels like, these were not them. They were painful and fairly strong. Every time I got a contraction I would get a glimmer of hope, which would quickly turn into a feeling of anger because it was probably just another fake one. It was incredibly mentally draining. I’m always anxious at the end of pregnancies but the anxiety with this one was by far the worse because I couldn’t keep my mind off of it since I had constant physical reminders of what MAY or MAY NOT be happening in the near future for me. I was just aching to hold my baby in my arms. 

After days of this, on monday I had them all day AND all through the night. All the other days they would stop at night. Jeff and I stayed up until past midnight deliberating on whether we should go to the hospital. But they weren’t getting stronger and we decided to try to get some sleep; which I’m grateful for now! 

— March 6, 2018 — That next morning I woke up, trying my best to hide my frustration, and failing. My angel friend Ashley offered to watch my kids while we went to the hospital, so we dropped them off and drove. Even though I knew I wasn't in active labor, I needed to see if I had made any progression. That drive to the hospital was the longest drive OF MY LIFE. (the hospital is 30 minutes away) Poor jeff was starving and I wouldn’t even let him stop at McDonalds to get food because I was just SO anxious. We got to the hospital and I told the nurses I needed checked. They weren’t taking me seriously since I wasn't doubled over in pain. Once I told the doctor this was my third baby, their attitude changed and they got me hooked up to the monitor immediately.. After 30 minutes of that, the doctor checked me! I was at a 6!

RUSH of joy. The grumpiness and frustration that had built up the past few weeks was instantly flushed out and replaced with utter giddiness and joy and ENERGY. Three things that had been hard for me to come by for the past 3ish weeks… They brought us to a hospital room and told me to let them know if the contractions got stronger. Funny how I thought that being in a hospital would magically make these contractions get stronger after a week of having them. We waited around in the room, then went down to the cafe to get some food, got massages in the massage chairs, and just relaxed and hung out together. A deep breath as a couple before a life change that would leave a little less opportunity for such deep breaths ;)

After 3 hours, I hadn’t progressed much. (surprise, surprise) The doctor said he needed to break my water or give me pitocin. Breaking my water scared me because, knowing my body, I knew it would get intense SUPER fast. I almost opted for pitocin but the doctor told me that breaking my water would be the better option. I knew he was right. I swallowed my fear, and told him to do it. 

^^ Last bump pic. Literally taken about an hour before he was born. How crazy is that?! He went from being all the way inside my body to laying on those blue towels behind me in such a short amount of time. It will just never NOT be mind boggling.
 ^^ check out the time on that clock 15:2-- , he was born about 10-15 minutes after this. (15:38.) During a contraction break at the most intense part of labor.
 Sure enough, the contractions went from about a 3 on the pain scale to a 7 almost immediately. I was so much more calm during this labor because of how incredibly excited I was to meet my baby. I breathed through the contractions, after requesting (as kindly as I could muster) for jeff to “please not talk to me while I’m having contractions.” I had a handful of contractions like that before they stepped up a notch (or 3). I soared up to the 10 on the pain scale and knew my baby was so close to being here. I started sweating and shaking, and it was so painful. But the breaks in between my contractions were blissful and I had time to gear up for another one and remind myself that he was soooo close! About 25 minutes after they broke my water (honestly it might’ve been even shorter), I started pushing. I pushed for maybe 5 minutes and he was out. At 3:38 pm, Cooper Hans Andersen took his first breath at the same time that I was taking the deepest breath of relief and joy. The greatest feeling of joy and empowerment came over me and I cried and cried as they handed my sweet boy to me. Pure ecstasy. A little bit of heaven was now in my arms, and there to stay. I had envisioned this moment SO much with this pregnancy, and it was sweeter than I could’ve ever anticipated. One of the doctors made a comment “big baby!” and I was like “whaaaaat?! I have tiny babies!” I thought he was a little crazy but that scale proved me wrong. 8 lbs 10 oz of perfection. (Jane was 5 lbs 13 oz, Lyla was 6 lbs 2 oz)

I was so happy with my boy, so proud of my body, and so grateful to my Heavenly Father for allowing me to experience something so powerful and sacred. For giving me this body that really was MADE to do this. 
 I held my baby, and felt that familiar, mutual recognition that I’ve experienced with each child as they look up at you with their calm, wide eyes. We’ve known each other before, and our spirits are forever connected and intertwined. I spent an hour basking in that joyful knowledge and admiring every little feature. His daddy’s lips, his mommy’s ears. His ten perfect, tiny fingers and toes. His squishy (!!) kissable cheeks. Hours later I got to watch as my two ecstatic little girls admired the very same things on their new baby brother. The baby they have sang songs to for months, and the one they’ve been praying for just as long. They played ‘this little piggy’ with his toes and Lyla exclaimed “AH! He loves me!” We all felt a palpable love for, and from, each other. Our family is that much more complete and it has never felt so right.

There’s nothing quite like the responsibility of another precious spirit that inspires me to work even harder to reach my divine potential, with a fervent hope that by doing so I can help him reach his, too. I’ve got some work to do.

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