Callie Ray’s birth story

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post, but celebrating Callie’s birth seems like reason to write. Now that we’ve had time to get to know Callie, it will be fun to reflect on how she came into this world.

I started having a few evening contractions starting around 36 weeks. At 37 weeks, I had several nights where contractions would wake me up in the night but then end. They were just frequent enough to make me worry that I needed to wake up my mom to get Cadence.

On Friday (37 weeks 3 days), I ran 5 miles on the treadmill. The run was fine, but it definitely felt different. Afterwards, I felt a lot of pressure but no pain. Later that afternoon, when I went to the bathroom, I saw blood and thought it might be the mucous plug. Just to take precaution, I called my nurse and told her what I saw. She thought it was just from the running and cautioned me to “run more gently” the next time.

On Saturday, I attended a fun mini boot camp hosted by my personal trainer friend, Rachel. We modified a few of the moves for me because at this point, I knew that I was losing my mucous plug. Everything else felt normal except a little added pressure. I went home and finished up on the bike after boot camp. Then that afternoon, Jon, Cadence, and I went to a college football game. Nothing makes you feel cooler than walking through a college campus knowing that you are in early labor. Haha.

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Last football game as a family of 3

Everything proceeded as normal on Saturday night and we went to bed as usual. Around 6 am, I woke up and felt like I had peed a little. After going to the bathroom, I got back in bed and felt like I peed a little again. So I put a pad on and started googling how water breaks. (With Cadence, my water broke way after labor contractions had started.) Around 7 am, Cadence awoke, and we all went downstairs. I was having no contractions, which worried me since most OBs will require that the baby be born within 24 hours. I headed out for a walk around 9 am to try to move things along while Jon got Cadence ready to go out. On my walk, I called my two neighbor back-ups who had volunteered to take Cadence. One was in Florida, but the other was home and made herself 100% available to us.

One of my biggest concerns with this second labor was what to do with Cadence. My mother in law was supposed to get Cadence, but she was at work at least an hour away (and we couldn’t reach her on the phone). Our neighbor, Keeli, so graciously offered to take Cadence as soon as we were ready, even though Keeli was celebrating her son’s one year birthday with all of their family in town. I cannot express my gratitude enough to this family.

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Walking to start contractions

When I got back from my short walk, I had started to have a few very light contractions and I had completely wet my shorts through the pad. I changed and we all headed out as a family for a walk to move things along. It is such a weird feeling to have people going about normal lives while you are in active labor just walking down the street. We took the long way to the playground and let Cadence play. My contractions started escalating fast enough that I decided to track them. By around 10 am, I felt a little more urgency to be closer to home, so we walked back (total of about 5 miles) and showered. I talked to my midwife, who suggested that I wait an hour and then go to the hospital. Cadence’s labor was long at home, but once I got to the hospital, I was fully transitioned. We thought that this second baby may come quickly too.

Jon and I dropped Cadence off at our neighbor’s house at around 11:30 am, and she happily joined their family birthday party. We headed to the hospital and tried to make arrangements for my mother in law to come get Cadence when she was able to leave work. Once we got to the hospital, registration felt like it was taking forever. We were finally in the room by around 12:30, and the nurses checked my dilation. I was only at 3 cm, which was pretty discouraging after feeling the contractions so close together.

During the registration process in the hospital, the contractions were painful in the front of my belly. If I marched in place with an exaggeration of my legs, it would relieve some of the pressure on the front. Once we made it to the room, the contractions started to come on more strongly. Memory is a funny thing, and I don’t remember contractions being as strong with Cadence’s labor. I had contractions at home for 30 hours before going to the hospital fully dilated with Cadence.

In the hospital room, the nurses insisted on monitoring the baby’s heart rate for 20 minutes of every hour, which was pretty frustrating (but totally understandable) given that I was unmedicated and wanted to be able to move around. The contractions were getting really painful, and movement helped at least distract me, even if I still had the pain. Marching in place and moving my hips seemed to be the movement that felt best. Jon pressed on my lower back and hips as hard as he could for each contraction. I was also extremely tired and tried to rest my head on the elevated bed every 2 minutes between contractions. Around 3 pm, I told Jon that I felt like I needed to push, so he called the nurse. To my dismay, they told me that I was at 6 cm now and advised not to push or it could cause me cervix to swell. I was in so. much. pain.

I asked what would happen if I asked for an epidural, and the nurse told me that I could have it within 10 minutes but reminded me that my birth plan was to have an unmedicated birth. I felt pretty exasperated to only be at 6 cm and couldn’t think of how I would manage to complete labor in this much pain. The nurse left and Jon tried to encourage me that I was over the hardest part (he has never pushed a baby out of his vagina–hahahaha). Jon said all of the perfect things and encouraged me in all of the right ways. I still thought that I would ask for an epidural, but then the contractions escalated so that all I could do was make it through and focus on recovering for the next. My sweet running friend, Kim, told me that her doula had encouraged her by saying that each contraction leads you closer to delivery. I thought of this with each contraction and it helped so much.

About 10 minutes after the nurse told me that I was at 6 cm, I started dry heaving and felt incredibly like I had to go to the bathroom. Jon called the nurse again, who checked me and told me that I was fully dilated and to wait for the midwife. They told the midwife to RUN and the nurse assured me that she had delivered a baby before. Haha.

I did not feel the urge to push with Cadence during labor, but with Callie, my body took over, and I felt a huge rush to push. It was the most incredible and empowering feeling. Finally, the intense pain of the contractions could be realized with action, and I knew I was so so close to meeting our baby. I pushed a few times and the midwife told me that I needed an episiotomy. This was not my preference, but I had had one with Cadence and just wanted the baby out. The midwife cut me and within the next push, Callie Ray Ussery was born at 3:30 pm on September 2, 2018, 16 days early.

This tiny little 6.5 pound 20″ baby was put on my chest and we fell in love with our Callie Ray. I loved working with my midwife, and the nursing staff at the hospital were all amazing. We stayed in the hospital for one night and then hurried home to be with Cadence. My recovery was much easier with Callie than with Cadence, and I felt well to walk around immediately. I’m thankful that both birth experiences were positive, even though they were very different in just about every way.

Cadence loves her little sister and is nothing but sweetness to her. We are so blessed and in love with these two precious girls in our lives.