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The {Hospital} Birth Story of Caroline Faye

birth in wilmington north carolina

As the first birthday of my daughter nears, I can't help but get nostalgic. I'm a very sentimental person and I love memories. I think they are my absolute favorite thing about being a human!

I woke up on Thursday July 26th 2018 feeling like I was about to start my period as I was having uncomfortable and really light cramping. Even though I read the books, took the class, had the doula... I didn't think much of it since my due date was well over a week away and had been told most first time moms usually go after their due date.

I got ready and went to work like normal. I worked throughout the day having Braxton Hicks contractions and tried to time them during the day just to see.

At work I was taking people in and out of my office all day so my timings were really off. I talked to my mom at lunch and she thought it may be a good idea to really try and pay attention to them when I got home to have a more accurate read on what's going on.

I was having "Braxton Hicks" contractions THE. WHOLE. DAY and they never stopped or slowed down. The light bulb never went off that I was in labor.

When I got home from work, I focused more on timing them. They weren't painful though, it was more just like a sensation that was a little annoying and getting my attention.

That night we were visiting with a friend for a few hours and as I was sitting on my couch timing them she asked me if I was in labor. After she left we got ready for bed.

I laid down that night and I could NOT sleep. My contractions were getting uncomfortable now.

I texted my doulas asking what to do and sent a picture of my contractions I timed on an app I was using. She replied that I could definitely try to get some rest and see if they went away.

This whole time I was getting up and going to the bathroom (and you know... "bathroom") and again, it never occurred to me that this could be it.

I went to sleep for an hour and woke up and the contractions were really uncomfortable, taking all my attention and super consistent.

Michael, my husband, called our doula. He and I decided we should try and get to the hospital. I was so nervous I wouldn't be dilated enough to be admitted but I finally realized,

"Okay, this is it. We are having this baby."

I was admitted at 1:30am and was 6 centimeters dilated. I had worked through being afraid of hospitals because of a previous experience from when I was a child. I was surprised to feel safe and so relaxed in the hospital environment. I never expected that but my wishes for a calm and peaceful environment were completely met and more.

Our doula arrived and really helped us with the ambience of the room by getting the lights dimmed and playing worship music from my Spotify birth playlist. For me, music gives me life and there was no question I wanted this for our birth. Lyrics give me courage and with my faith being a huge part of my life, I knew I wanted this birth to be a spiritual experience.

There was one song played that really spoke to me and helped me see that the labor pains I was experiencing was for a greater purpose, bringing new life into the world.

The lyrics of my music really encouraged me and helped me see that I didn't need to be afraid of the pain or birthing my baby, because the pain was bringing me my daughter.

As I sat on the birth ball with a hot compress and counter pressure on my lower back, held by my doula, Michael helped me keep my hands open and spoke love and encouragement to me.

I remember looking up in one of those weird moments when I came out of the "zone" and saw my open hands and realized that this is what it's like to surrender. I felt like God was leading me to surrender so I could receive the best gift, my baby.

"I yield to you and your careful hand, when I trust you I don't need to understand." -a line from the song that helped me through labor.

I knew that God had prepared the amazing people supporting me a lifetime before to be in this exact place and moment. Our OB, our wonderful labor and delivery nurses, our incredible doulas who offered so much knowledge and support and then finally, my sweet husband who was giving me the exact encouragement I needed.

We tried a few different labor positions. It felt good to stand, sway and lean over the bed. I was in my zone using my breath through contractions and as my legs were getting tired I decided to move onto the bed and get on my knees while leaning over the top of the bed.

I decided on a cervical exam and was dilated to nine centimeters. Then I felt that weird urge! "I feel like I need to poop!" -that's a sure sign!

My water was still intact so I was unable to push. Because I was group b strep positive, they didn't want to break my water until I was at 10 centimeters and needing to push.

This is where I started doubting myself (hello, transition phase of labor!). I felt like I just wanted to get up and run away.

I was ready to be done. I kept saying, "I should have gotten the epidural."

Our doulas encouraged us to make a code word in the chance I wanted to change my original plan and get an epidural. But I decided that I had come this far and I wanted to push through. Our doula reassured my husband that it was getting closer and closer for baby to be here.

Suddenly, I heard what sounded like a water balloon popping! That unforgettable sound was my water breaking.

I had another cervical exam and at 10 cm, I received the okay to start pushing! I'll never forget hearing my OB in conversation with one of the nurses. One nurse asked my OB if they were going to count and my doctor said, "No, I'm just gonna let her do her thing. She's got this." That gave me so much courage that even though I had NO idea what I was doing, I was doing something right and my body was in fact birthing my baby.

30 minutes later our sweet Carolina Faye had come into this world and made it more beautiful at 7:02am on 7/27/18 weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces and 19.5 inches long! She had a head full of dark beautiful hair and the absolutely cutest little whimpering cry I've ever heard.

"I felt as though I had missed her my whole life and when I saw her for the first time I was immediately in love. I knew that THIS is what unconditional love truly is and I finally understood it."

After giving birth to her, I couldn't believe I did it! I felt so empowered, like superwoman. Caroline's birth helped me learn and see so many things about myself.

The strength in surrendering.

The ability to persevere.

I'll never forget being wheeled up to the mother baby floor of the Betty Cameron's Women and Children Center with my little burrito baby. A bundle of pure sweetness.

She was my trophy. She will forever be my prize!

I can't give enough thanks to the OB's from Wilmington Health for being amazing doctors who took care of me.

A HUGE thanks to the labor and delivery nurses for encouraging me and keeping me and my baby safe.

And of course, to my doulas (from Wilmington Coastal Doulas!) who set me up for success by helping me prepare for labor, both educationally and emotionally. And for the physical and emotional support they provided for both my husband and I to help us attain and execute the labor and birth I hoped for.

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