Katherine's Birth Story
October 16th, 2013 is a day Spencer and I will always remember and always praise God for getting us through.
I’ve been meaning to write this for awhile now…two months to be exact. But as you can imagine, life has been a bit hectic. I don’t think there is a way to put into words everything that has happened, especially emotionally, but I wanted to share at least a little bit of Katherine’s arrival for those who want to read about it.
K’s due date was October 7th. But that day came and went. Days and nights went by and labor didn’t start. Everyone loved to tell me ways I could induce labor, but you better believe I was trying them all. As we got further away from the due date, my doctor said we needed to induce. So we scheduled the induction for Wednesday, October 16th. We had an appointment on the 15th and K wasn’t here yet. The doctor went over all that would happen the next day. We were so thankful for that time because the Lord used it to fill us with such peace about everything. Being induced definitely wasn’t something we were wanting, but we knew the Lord was in control and blessed us with a doctor we trusted.
Spencer’s parents and brother came on Tuesday as well as my mom and sister, Amy, and their two dogs. So we went to sleep that night with a full house overflowing with excitement and anticipation.
Wednesday morning started early. It felt especially early because I couldn’t eat or drink anything after midnight. We got up about 5:45. It was a pretty strange morning as we just did things as normal. My mom even texted me later on saying, “I want to know who says, ‘We’re going to have a baby today; I better make my bed.'” Driving to the hospital was extra weird because it was so different than we had anticipated for nine months. We just always thought we would labor at home for awhile and then head to the hospital when it was unbearable. But it was just a normal early morning drive, and we were at the hospital at 7:00.
Check-in was quick, and we were led to our room where we got all settled in for a long day, and I got all hooked up. The nurses were so great and friendly. We appreciated their support when we told them we wanted things to be as natural as possible and try to go without an epidural. They were so kind and helpful.
Our doctor came in shortly after he arrived at the hospital at 8:00 and started the Pitocin (inducing drug). He checked me and I was only dilated just under 2cm. At my doctors appointments the day before and week before I had NST’s which showed I was having mild contractions and was only 1.5 cm. And those mild contractions just continued for a couple hours. I often watched the monitor to see how high the contractions were getting so I knew what to compare them to as the day went on.
My mom and Amy stopped by around 10:00 (before they headed to Union for Amy to have a tour which had been scheduled for awhile). We were full of smiles still, just chilling out, watching a season of Community we brought on dvd. After we got tired of Community, we watched American Pickers and Property Brothers throughout the day. It helped pass the time. It was good to have something to keep our minds off the fact that I was still at just 2 cm.
A little while later Spencer’s family stopped by. The contractions were growing, but they were still just small and steady. I was just so thirsty and hungry. Ice chips definitely weren’t cutting it. I understand that you can’t eat or drink in order to be prepared in case you have to get a c-section, but it’s crazy to go into the most intense workout and pain of your life with absolutely nothing in you.
Our doctor came back in about noon and I was still at 2 cm. So he decided to get things moving and broke my water. And that definitely got things going. Soon after that the contractions were just awful and right on top of each other. The nurse offered to give me 1/2 a dose of Stadol (pain meds in the iv), and Spencer and I decided to accept it. I was in constant, awful pain. From that point on I was pretty out of it. I rarely opened my eyes throughout the rest of the day. My sweet friend Hannah stopped by at one point. I remember just sitting there with my eyes closed and saying Spencer would have to do all the talking because even talking wore me out.
A little while later around 2:00 Spencer’s family came back by. And in one of the times Spencer was bringing people to and from the waiting room, I threw up everywhere. It was awful. But I was so thankful no one had to witness it. I was still at about 2 cm, but the contractions were so bad and there was rarely a break between them.
So around 3:00 the doctor came back in and they decided to use an internal monitor and pump fluids back into me to try to get the contractions to spread out.
Around 5:00 my mom and Amy came back to see us. They quickly saw the intense difference between then and when they saw us that morning. My mom pretty much stuck around the hospital the rest of the night along with the Connatsers. My sister and brother, Alli and Chip, arrived from Knoxville around that time. And my dad flew into Memphis, getting in about 6:30, and Amy drove to pick him up. At some point I remember opening my eyes and seeing each of them at various times, but I was completely out of it. I was overjoyed that all the family was there, even if I couldn’t express it at the time.
Around 7:00 I was just at about 4cm. We were so glad to have some progression happen, but also disappointed that it was taking so long and was so excruciating. Spencer was amazing throughout the day. He was the perfect encourager and partner in it all. I know it was so very hard for him to see me in so much pain. But he was such a trooper.
Around 8:00 I was at 5.5 cm. They told us that it would be at least an hour per centimeter from there on out. They offered us an epidural and we decided to take it. I had nothing in me to give and didn’t know how I could keep going for another minute, let alone five or more hours. So I signed for one, reluctantly but also ready for any sort of relief. The nurse told us it would be a little bit before the anesthesiologist made it to us.
The nurse checked me about an hour later at 9:00 and I was at 7 cm. And we hadn’t seen the anesthesiologist yet.
At 9:30 I don’t know how I was still breathing I was in so much constant pain, but I was checked and was at 9.5 cm. (Later on I found out Spencer was texting the family in the waiting room and they erupted in cheers with each text saying there was progression, especially since it was happening so much quicker than expected.) But still no anesthesiologist had come. Originally we wanted it to be just Spencer and I in the room at the end, but my mom ended up being in there as well. And at that point I didn’t even care. I just wanted that baby to come.
And then just a few moments later I told the nurse, “I have to push!” She checked me and I was at 10 cm and ready to start to pushing. Having absolutely no energy in me, I begin the final stage of it all, still without an epidural. I always heard that the doctor comes in at the last second, when the baby is about to be born. So every time I would open my eyes and not see the doctor in the room, I was so discouraged. I knew I had to somehow keep pushing, but she wasn’t going to come yet. Our nurse was awesome during this time. At one point another nurse came in, who happened to be her sister, and started counting while I pushed. I wanted to slap her and say, “That doesn’t help!” Thankfully she was there for just a minute. :) And then after over an hour and a half of pushing, around 11:15 the doctor came in the room. And after an episiotomy and help from a vacuum, Katherine was born at 11:19.
Those first few moments were terrifying. As I laid there in such pain, I never heard a cry. The doctor couldn’t get her to cry and said she was stunned from it all and being in there so long. They called other nurses in to help. And a few minutes later a cry finally came. We were so very thankful that Katherine was okay and healthy. She weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces and was 20 inches long.
I was completely out of it. The pain didn’t cease, it increased as I got stitched up, and my entire being was beyond exhaustion. I don’t even remember holding Katherine for the first time or trying to feed her. I do remember the doctor praying over us and Katherine once she was alright and in Spencer’s arms. That will always be a sweet memory from that night. Then we spent the first 30 minutes together in the room, just Spencer and Katherine and I. And then the family came in. I vaguely remember them all being so excited and taking pictures with K. I just sat up in bed quietly trying to smile. And although there was such awful, horrible pain, God’s grace was definitely evident in getting us through it all.
We were at the hospital for two more days. Those days are a blur. A few friends stopped by. Family stuck around and helped and brought food often. Spencer was such a champ through it all and even had to leave Friday afternoon to go take a Praxis test. He’s simply amazing. We were discharged that night at 11:20 and told we could either stay the night or head home. We definitely wanted to just be home. So we arrived home about midnight and ushered in our crazy, new life.
I’ll write about these last crazy two months soon. For now I’ll just say, we are so thankful that God blessed us with the doctor we had over those nine months, that He got us through that day, and that He trusted us with this child. There have been hard days and long nights, but in the midst of it all little joys have triumphed. It hasn’t been easy, but we are filled with gratitude. God is good and faithful. Always. And we will rejoice through it all.
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Sarah loves Jesus and her family and is passionate about addressing the urgent spiritual and physical needs around the world. She is the wife of Spencer and mama of Katherine and Claire, and they live in Nashville, TN. She runs a photography business with her husband and writes in order to offer encouragement and invite others to choose grace, joy, and gratitude in the adventure and the mundane. She loves traveling and reading; she will choose unsweet tea over sweet and bootcut jeans over skinny; and she is all sorts of awkward with small talk but thrives with deep conversations.