July 28, 2017

happy birthday tristan matthew | Carlisle Birth Photographer

My boy, my beautiful baby boy – he is absolutely perfect in every way I dreamed he would be. I always thought I would be a three girl mom when I was young but I had a dream that we were blessed with a baby boy and I had hoped and prayed one day that that dream would come true. & now here we are, on the eve of his first birthday and I’m sitting here tearing up thinking about how the events leading up to this momentous day transpired. So I finally finished & clicked publish on his birth story, the special day our little Tristan Matthew came into the world.

It was a practically perfect summer day, my favorite time of year. Just like with Harper, I had been having contractions since I was about 38 weeks and I was definitely getting there. I went into my midwife appointment at 38 weeks and was 2cm and 75% effaced. Lots and lots of contractions were coming and going so things were moving along. I was pretty content being pregnant, just getting everything ready for the new baby, packing my tried and true favorites in my hospital bag, enjoying lots of quality time with my girlies before their baby brother joined us! We were staying super active with all their activities and as many park dates, walks, ice cream shop visits, pool days and weekend beach trips as we could fit in.

I saw my midwife again at 38 weeks 6 days and had progressed to a 4. I was getting super painful contractions & signs of labor but nothing was sticking. It was slightly disheartening but I chugged along trying to distract myself and have fun with my family! Once my water breaks or contractions pick up, my labors tends to go quick, like 1 hour or so quick so Matt decided to work from home until I went into labor. That way, we could get the girls where they needed to be and to the hospital in time. Contractions would come and go all the time, never sticking around to do anything significant. I was getting more and more frustrated by the day. You see, I go through this fun little thing called prodromal labor. It basically means you have real contractions that are strong and painful, dilating you for weeks before your baby actually comes but always fading after a while (until real labor of course!). It’s great now looking back at it because I go through the early stages of labor over the course of a few weeks little by little with lots of breaks and when things start, they go pretty quick, but at the time it’s extremely frustrating because you never know when it’s real.

So we went out for a date night a few nights later and all during dinner I was having some strong contractions. We were on the way home and I felt the baby’s head move down and some really intense contractions started. I had never had this feeling before and it was so strange. I couldn’t walk right and definitely felt like this was it. It was perfect because the girls were at their grandparents already so we stopped at home and grabbed our hospital stuff and headed there. But of course, as we were on our way my contractions fizzled out…oh gee, WHAT A BIG SURPRISE (…not)! We still went though because I had a slight burning sensation and the baby’s head was still strangely low, like in labor low. Once we got there, I had them check me and I was still a freaking 4. I was so annoyed, all these labor signs and contractions so why was I not progressing? I left the hospital at a 5 but told them that I didn’t want to stay if I wasn’t moving along.

I arrived at my midwife’s office for my 40 week appointment (40 weeks and 3 days pregnant) and broke down right there. I was so so so frustrated, why weren’t things happening?! I was so worried that I wasn’t already in labor by now. I had a session that I had to shoot in less then two weeks but I knew that I couldn’t do it only a few days postpartum so I felt like I needed to go into labor like yesterday to make this happen. (I know, I know, I’m really dumb and I believe that the stress from this made a huge impact on my body’s ability to relax and really get labor going.) My midwife Jen just wrapped me up in a big hug and told me that everything was going to be okay – that things were going to happen when they were meant to happen and that I have to relax, let go of all the stress and enjoy these last few minutes/hours/days of being pregnant with my little guy. Talking to her was like a huge, HUGE weight off my shoulders. She has such a calm, easy-going demeanor that really put me at peace with whatever happened. I sent a prayer up to God asking for a definite sign of labor so I would know for real when it was time. I left there 6 cm dilated and a whole lot less stressed.

The next day, I decided to have fun with my girls. I didn’t have any labor signs but I tried to put that to the back of my mind and just soak up these moments with them. We cleaned the house (like every minute of the day!) and then went out for lunch and went swimming after around 4. We played around in the pool and enjoyed floating weightless (oh wait, that was just me) in the water. I swam some laps (can’t pass up an opportunity to be active!) and just let all my worried float away. We got home from the pool around 8 and I fed the kids dinner and gave them a bath. Matt had ran over to a friend’s house to play poker and I was just enjoying being with the girls and relaxing. I bent down to get Harper out of the tub and I felt a little gush. I stopped for a second with lots of thoughts running through my mind…

1. Did I just pee myself? – Very, very possible and most likely.
2. Did someone splash me? – No, couldn’t be, my bum is in the other direction of the tub.
3. Did my water break? – Mother of all things holy, is this it? I mean I honestly don’t know at this point…
4. Am I going crazy? – Actually scratch #1, this is the most likely the correct answer.

I decided to put the girls to bed and just see if anything happened. I texted my friend Janae and was talking to her about it and lucky for me, she was with a midwife friend and told me her friend said to call my midwife to let them know, get my stuff together and get ready to leave. I was still skeptical of it so I was just getting things together, getting ready to call my midwife but made a quick pit stop to the bathroom (my second home) and as I was sitting down to pee another huge gush came out. “Okay,” I thought to myself, “that definitely wasn’t pee.” So I got back up and did it again and same thing happened. Ahhhh MY WATER, MY WATER BROKE! I was jumping with joy at this point and so excited that it was finally really happening. I quickly called my husband who raced home and then my mom. She wasn’t answering her phone so I called my dad to tell him. Turns out my mom was right by my house getting food so she came right over with my sister and my dad showed up with my other sister to spend the night with the girls since they were already asleep.

Contractions were really picking up at this point and I was really having to breathe through them. I called my midwife (Jen, the sweet midwife who gave me a pep talk just the day before!) and she told me to come in right away. I can’t even tell you how ready I was to get this baby here! We left our house at 10:30PM and talked about how next time we came home, we’d have our little guy with us. Matt said that it looks like we’ll have a July 30th baby but I was hoping it’d be sooner. We only had about 1.5 hours until midnight so I mentally made it a goal to have him before then. While we were driving, water kept leaking with each bump and turn we made. My shorts were soaked and it felt so weird to walk into the hospital like that!

When we got there they put us into the room and got everything ready. They checked me and said I was still a 6 (BOO!) but my water had definitely broken. My mom got there and I instantly felt better knowing everyone that I wanted there had made it there. I even had the same nurse I had when I was in labor with Harper who was due the same day as me which was so special. My contractions had slowed again a bit so my midwife said there was still some fore-bag that hadn’t broken and once that was gone, things would really kickstart. I told her to go ahead and break it, I was 6 cm and the baby’s head was right there, like they had to go entirely behind his head to check my cervix so I was pretty confident that I would progress quickly. After she broke it, I didn’t feel anything for a few minutes then all of the sudden, WHOA. Major major contractions. They started coming fast and furiously and I had to get in a good mental state. I had a harder time mentally handling the pain this time around. I kept thinking, if this goes on for a while I won’t be able to handle it. I grabbed my phone and my headphones and tried to concentrate on my amazing, meditation music. I was doing my best to groan in a very throat-y way to get me through each contraction. They were coming so fast and so hard and I was starting to wish they would stop for a second so I could get a little bit of a break. I would feel one fizzle away and imagine the ocean flowing away taking the pain out with it. Then a few seconds later I could feel it coming back and I would start to hope that it would go away again because I could barely catch my breath. Things were getting seriously intense, I was in transition and it’s definitely the hardest stage of labor to get through, mentally and physically.

I wasn’t sure how long this part was going to last. I did everything I could to manage each contraction – hands and knees, standing and rocking with my arms around my husband’s neck while my mom rubbed my lower back with tennis balls to counter the pain. The end didn’t feel near and the pain was so strong. I kept humming and listening to my music doing anything to distract myself. I was praying for strength to do this. I knew deep down I could but I just needed that little push. All of the sudden, I felt the urge to push. My body started baring down a little and I quick told my nurse. She checked me and I was an 8. She said it was most likely the pressure from the baby moving down that gave me that urge. I got back up and was ready. I felt the end was near & I could do this. I rocked and swayed and did everything that felt good in that moment managing each contraction. After 2-3 contractions the urge to push overtook my whole body. I couldn’t talk or make any other sounds then a deep groan as my body started pushing for me. I was trying to let gravity do its work as much as I could before the nurses told me to lay down to push. My midwife came in and my husband told her that my body was baring down. I couldn’t do anything but push, it’s what felt right. She told me to lay down and push while she got ready so I jumped onto the bed and grabbed my legs and pushed as hard as I could. I try to get the pushing over quickly because the ring of fire is a real thing and it’s hard to concentrate with it’s burning like that. I pushed again and my midwife came over to help. I was two contractions into pushing and you could see his head at this point! It was so encouraging to hear. They told me to keep going and I pushed a few more times. Finally the burning and then his head was out. I pushed with everything I had and his body was out and they laid him on my chest!

He was here, he was finally here. Our perfect baby boy that I dreamed about. I couldn’t believe it. Tristan Matthew was born at 11:59PM on July 29th, 2016 weighing 7 lbs. 14oz and 20″ long. He is the the most amazing addition to our family. I feel so blessed to call him ours forever. 💕

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