I love love love reading birth stories. You can read Porter’s here. I’ve been writing Cayia’s birth story over and over in my head, and I’ve written bits and pieces here and there when I’ve had a few minutes, but I finally had some time to put it all together. Looking back, the whole experience seems surreal, like it didn’t actually happen to me. It’s hard to remember all the details, but I wish I could have recorded it all so I could replay it in my mind whenever I’d like.
My due date was May 31. Even though Porter was four days late, I never thought in a million years (forgive the cliché) that I would have a June baby. I was already 2 cm dilated at my 35 week appointment. At my 37 week appointment, I was 3 cm dilated. At my 38 week appointment, I was 4 cm dilated. I know dilation doesn’t always mean anything, but the baby was already really low and I was already feeling a lot of pressure in my pelvis region. Due to all of these things, I was so confident that Baby Blythe #2 would appear sometime in May. Of course, she proved us wrong, and decided to arrive two days after her due date.
On the evening of June 1, I started feeling a few very mild contractions. They weren’t forming a pattern, and they weren’t very painful. I went to bed feeling fine and woke up a few times throughout the night with a few more mild contractions, but I was always able to fall back to sleep. Between 5 and 6 a.m., I woke up to some more contractions, but again they were very mild. However, they started forming a pattern (about 9-10 minutes apart) so I thought maybe I was in the beginning stages of labor. I told David what was happening and I got out of bed at 6 and jumped in the shower (just in case this was the real thing.)
I obviously couldn’t time them while I was in the shower, but by the time I got out, it seemed like they were easing up a bit. I continued to time them, and was disappointed to find that they were all over the place. While they were consistently between 30 seconds to a minute long, they were ranging anywhere from 3 and a half minutes apart to 12 minutes apart. Patterns would form, but only for short periods of time. They were increasing in intensity, though, so I decided to get ready and eat breakfast. I knew that if I really was in labor that it would likely be my last meal for awhile.
By 7:30-8:00, I was getting really frustrated because the contractions were getting worse, but there was no consistent pattern. I was told not to go to the hospital until my contractions were 5 minutes apart, lasting for 1 minute for an entire hour. I was worried that if I went to the hospital that they would send me away saying that I wasn’t in labor. Finally by about 8:30, I was in enough pain that David convinced me that we should just go. I was already 4 cm dilated, so I knew that my labor was likely to be a lot faster (or at least I hoped.) Plus, I knew that second births in general tended to be quicker. David said, “I’d rather us get there too early than too late.” I knew that after my labor with Porter that I wanted an epidural, and I didn’t want to miss that opportunity. My sister was in town, so we got her situated with Porter, I hugged Porter goodbye, David packed our bags in the car, and we were on our way.
I took this selfie with Porter right before we left.
When we arrived at the hospital around 9:00 a.m., we were immediately led to a labor room and to our surprise it was the same room that I had Porter in. Not only that, but the same doctor was on call, and we even had the same labor and delivery nurse, Tina. With Porter, I had two different nurses due to a shift change. We adored our second nurse, and we were thrilled to have Tina help us again.
I got gowned up and hooked up, but I wasn’t admitted immediately. My contractions were still all over the place and were not holding a consistent pattern. When Tina checked my cervix, I was still 4 cm, so no progress was made. So, we decided to wait a bit to see if things progressed so that I could be admitted or if I was to be discharged and sent home. My contractions were getting more and more painful, but they were still manageable at this point.
Around 10:30, Tina checked me again, and I was dilated to 5 cm, so it was apparent things were progressing and I was in true labor. My contractions were getting closer together, too. Around 11:00, I was officially admitted and I made my request for an epidural. Up until this point, I couldn’t have an IV and the epidural could not be ordered because it wasn’t certain whether I would be staying. Shortly after being admitted, Dr. Murphy came in to break my water, and at this point, I was around 6 cm. It was discovered that the baby had had a bowel movement in the womb (just like Porter had—which is common when babies go past their due dates) so it was determined that NICU would need to be on board when the baby was born. Minutes after Dr. Murphy broke my water, my contractions significantly intensified and grew closer and closer together. David held my hand through each one and assured me that I was doing a good job. As Dr. Murphy was leaving the room, she said, “Well, I think we’ll have a baby around dinner time.”
I posted this picture to announce that I was in labor. This picture was obviously taken in between contractions, and thank goodness for Instagram filters.
Tina started an IV, and we were told that it wouldn’t be long before I could receive the epidural. When it had been almost an hour, and my contractions were getting more and more intense, I finally asked if I could have some pain medication administered through the IV to take the edge off. I only had to wait a few minutes before receiving the IV pain medication, and I immediately felt some relief. It was around this time that according to David I had a “mini breakdown.” I started to think about Porter and couldn’t help but to feel bad for him. I couldn’t stop crying because I felt like Porter was going to be mad at us for giving him a sibling. I know he’s still young enough that he’ll never remember when he was an only child, but I still felt bad. David assured me that he wouldn’t be mad at us and that he would love his baby brother or sister. I also talked to my sister at some point during this mini breakdown and she, too, assured me that Porter would be fine. Shortly after receiving the pain medication, I suddenly felt like I was going to get sick. I felt extremely nauseous and had to slow down and control my breathing in order to prevent from throwing up. Finally around 1:00 I received the epidural and I felt immediate relief. My Dad also showed up around this time to bring David lunch.
Around 1:30, I started to feel some pain. I thought it was weird because after receiving the epidural with Porter, I didn’t feel anything. It was enough pain that it was making me uncomfortable, so we called Tina in. She gave me a boost in the epidural (I can’t remember the official term she used). We waited for a bit to see if that would help, but the pain and pressure I was feeling just kept getting worse. Around 1:45-2:00ish, we called Tina in again. She emptied my bladder and hoped that it would relieve some of the pressure I was feeling. It didn’t really help, so she checked my cervix to discover that I was about 7cm. Throughout all this, I had a group text message going, as I was trying to keep my close friends updated. I looked back at the text message and I had sent a message at 2:06 giving my friends the update that I was at 7cm.
The next bit is kind of a blur. The pain and pressure I was feeling kept getting worse, and while I couldn’t feel my contractions, I was in quite a bit of pain. When we first arrived at the hospital, we didn’t bring our belongings up, so we sent my Dad to the car to get our camera. In the short time that my Dad was gone, we called Tina back in because with the pressure I was feeling, I just felt like something was wrong. She checked my cervix again, and said that I was already 10 cm. She said “Okay. Let’s have a baby.” She then called NICU and the doctor and told them it was go time. My Dad came back with the camera and David told him what was happening and sent him on his way. David made a few quick calls to other family members to keep them in the loop.
At this point, some other people came into the room to prepare for the baby’s birth. One of the nurses was Taylor, a girl whom David and I went to high school with. Taylor and I had been in contact for a few days, and I was so glad that she was going to be there for the actual birth.
During my next contraction, Tina had me push. I couldn’t feel how effective the push was, but I wasn’t very confident (as I pushed for over 2 and a half hours with Porter.) I asked her if the push did anything and she said, “Oh, yeah.” Taylor and Tina assured me that I was doing a good job, and I remember feeling grateful for their encouragement. Tina made another frantic call to NICU and the doctor and told them that they needed to get there. At my next contraction, Tina had me push again and told me that she could see “this much” of the baby’s head. She held up her two hands and formed about a four inch circle. I couldn’t believe the baby was so close. She told me that I absolutely could not push during my upcoming contractions and that “This baby was coming out.” She made one more call and told NICU and the doctor to get there now. It was difficult to not push during my contractions, as I had the extreme urge to do so. As I couldn’t push, I sent a quick text to my friends at 2:33 to announce that I was 10 cm.
Finally, Dr. Murphy showed up and she quickly scrubbed in. As another contraction was coming, we prepared to push again. I pushed three times during that contraction. After the second push, Tina yelled at me to look down. The baby’s entire head was out, and after the third push, at 2:56 p.m. the baby was completely out. Someone quickly put the baby on my chest, and my head was spinning because I couldn’t believe everything had happened so fast. Later David told me that Tina announced that the baby was a girl, and while I worried that she may have ruined it for David, David told me that just seconds before he had seen for himself. David also announced it was a girl, but I apparently didn’t hear either of them. I was so focused on looking for myself that I completely tuned out everything else around me.
I was not surprised to see that the baby was a girl, as that is what my gut was telling me throughout my entire pregnancy. In fact, towards the end of my pregnancy, I was so convinced that it was a girl that I started referring to her as Cayia in my head.
Someone (I don’t know who) asked if she had a name. I announced that her name was Cayia June and someone whisked her away to hand over to NICU. All I could hear was “Hi, Cayia June!” and “Happy birthday, Cayia June!” and “She’s beautiful!” I was crying and trying my best to see what they were doing, but my head was still spinning. I do remember hearing Cayia crying and I also remember seeing them suction out her nose and mouth. David kept saying how much she looked like Porter, and I couldn’t agree more. It seemed as if they were exact clones of one another!
Porter just minutes after birth (12/28/12)
Cayia just minutes after birth (6/2/15)
As the NICU was taking care of Cayia, David was snapping pictures. They announced her birth weight as 7 pounds 10 ounces, which was Porter’s exact birth weight as well. Her length was measured at 20 inches (so just ¾ of an inch shy of Porter’s length.) Cayia also earned 9’s for both of her Apgar scores (just like Porter had.)
After what seemed like forever, Taylor asked if I wanted to do “skin to skin” and I said yes. They finally brought her back over to my chest, and I tried to memorize every inch of her. I absolutely couldn’t believe she was here. While it felt like I was going to be pregnant forever, it all seemed worth it, and I couldn’t believe how much I already loved this little tiny human. When I was pregnant, I wondered how I could love someone as much as I loved Porter, but somehow, it’s possible.
David made a few calls, and some of our family members didn’t want to know the gender/name until they arrived at the hospital. Some family members wanted to only know the gender, but no one wanted to know the name until seeing the baby.
Within an hour and a half or so, my Mom, David’s parents, my Dad and my sister all arrived. They weren’t all there at the same time, as there was some trading off with Porter. We stayed in our labor room for a long time (Taylor was spoiling us!) and just enjoyed this beautiful new addition to our family.
Cayia June, we are already so in love with you!
To read a little about Cayia’s name, go here.