THE BIRTH OF CHESTER LEE

I am almost at a loss of words but yet have so much to say. It was important to me to take the time to write his birth story on paper before sharing it here. And while I kept it more raw + detailed over there, I still want to share the majority of his story here. So grab a cup of coffee (or wine) and read about the biggest miracle I’ve ever witnessed.

It all started on Tuesday- I had been irritable

and frustrated, feeling like my body was going to explode if he didn’t come soon. My mom and dad met me for lunch and took me for a short walk around the block, they left and I found myself at a complete peace. Chase arrived around 5 and we cooked dinner before settling in for our typical Tuesday night of our favorite tv shows. Something felt different that night though, we crawled into bed and left the tv off and talked for what seemed like hours. We talked about what we pictured Chester being like, how much Pike would love him, and what great of a life we had already spent together. I remember looking at Chase and saying, “I’m not saying I’m going into labor tonight or tomorrow, but I think its time”. (obviously, I was 39 weeks pregnant, ha!)

The next morning he kissed me goodbye around 6am, I woke up and told him to keep his phone on him. THE THINGS YOUR BODY CAN SENSE, absolutely insane. At 7am I woke up from a dead sleep to a contraction. It felt different than what I had been experiencing. We had been dilated at a 2 for 2 weeks so I wasn’t surprised. I let myself relax and the next contraction came again at 7 minutes. I called Chase and we stayed on the phone until the next one hit again at 7 minutes. We decided that if I was still having them when he was done with that client that he would head home.

They continually came at 7 minutes for the next few contractions. Chase called back just a short time later and while we were on the phone the next one came at 4 minutes. I felt insane for him coming home, but now I’m sure glad he did! I composed myself and took some time to relax during the contractions and feel the stillness of the house. It was quiet and a moody morning outside, absolutely fitting. I found myself shifting during a contraction, then tidying up and packing a few last minute things in between, waiting to hear the backdoor open.

Chase arrived about 30 minutes later and they were still timing at 4 minutes. He watched as I breathed through all the while he lit candles + turned on our playlist that we had prepared. Was this it? I remember thinking it couldn’t be. Most of our birth plan was laid back and to go with the flow- a few things we knew we wanted was to labor at home for as long as we could, imagining it to be a full day or evening-knowing not all labors were the same but typically your first baby takes longer. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned. 

Another thing I really wanted during labor was to soak in a bath and relax. I remember the heat on my body as I submerged into the tub, candles lit around me, Cloud Cult as background noise. The water swirling around my belly, barely below water, one of the most memorable mental images of my pregnancy. I allowed Chase to snap a few photos because this was my place of comfort while growing my baby. Chester spent countless hours with me in that bath on nights that I was uncomfortable, days that felt long. Always moving when my body hit the water. A constant reminder of the life I was growing inside of me.

Within moments of being in the tub, another contraction came. 1.5 minutes. Then another, 1.5 minutes again. I sunk as low as I could letting my body accept what was happening all the while mentally denying that this was it. Chase and I argued over going to the hospital, he was typing his vacation response all while calling his boss to tell him he was starting paternity leave. WHAT? He begged me to get out, it was time to go, I fought, and I fought hard.  I argued to him that he would be embarrassed when they sent us back home and he had to tell work it was a false alarm.

I spent a minute with Pike in the mudroom, telling him how much I loved him, knowing that everything could change the next time I’d be standing there. We got into the car and the three minute drive consisted of 2 contractions and laughing at how stupid we were about to look. “Labor doesn’t happen this way”. We checked in and walked down the hall to room 303. Maybe this was it. They examined me and I almost couldn’t believe it when they told me I was about a 6 and definitely in active labor. Within minutes the doctor on call was in to break my water.  I remember asking her if that was really necessary that I had JUST got here. She probably thought I was nuts. She broke my water and away she went. And the real waiting game began.

I knew our favorite doctor was coming on call at 1pm and I kept telling Chase that I refused to have this baby until then. The next few hours were some of the most blissful and exhausting hours of my life. My contractions came steadily at 1.5 minutes apart. Chase never leaving my bedside, our playlist echoing in the background and the monitor sounding off his heartbeat, a heartbeat that I could never imagine not hearing. Our moms arrived and came in to wish us well before heading to the waiting room for their waiting game. I opted for the natural birth and gave in to an epidural- regretfully wishing now I would have stayed strong sense it didn’t even work. My shaking was uncontrollable and I found myself getting nauseated throughout the contractions. Laboring was tolerable until I felt the urge to push not being quite fully dilated.

Eventually I had no control and Chase went out for our nurse, she came in to examine me and concluded that a small part of my uterus was still in the way. She decided to go ahead and try to move it the rest of the way during my next contraction. From there, at exactly 2:50pm, I officially started pushing.

THIS. This is what I remember…The pain, each contraction, each push, each moment in between of being utterly exhausted. Pushing, Pushing, Pushing. I remember looking at the clock and it being 3:44pm.. I had already pushed for 54 minutes. Our nurse eventually asked for the doctor, our stubborn boy wasn’t wanting to go under my pubic bone. Another nurse called back that he was in a c-section and then had another delivery before us. Her response, “well we are having a baby before that”. Everyone in the room must have sensed my concern, reassuring me at how well trained nurses were. I still don’t know if that was a joke or if that really was a possibility.

For most of my labor things were quiet, the music was light, Chases voice was soft, and daylight was dim. Everyone so calm and collected.. My eyes were closed for those last few hours, barely opening them.  Around 4:30pm our doctor came in and a few nurses followed. Things quickly escalated, the room roaring with life + encouragement. They knew I was wearing out and fast,I didn’t have much more to give. Something miraculous happened when our doctor arrived because our sweet boy finally tucked his head just as he should. I pushed and gave it all I had in those last few contractions.

I can’t put into words the pain I felt during delivery, the epidural completely failing me, yet painfully gracing me with a memory of his birth. I gave a push and the room went wild, shouts of , “here he comes”-“keep pushing”-“do whatever you just did again”. In those seconds, my contraction ended but my baby was half way here. I remember the nurses telling me to look and to keep pushing; I couldn’t. A sense of panic was in room 303 for 2 seconds but I knew I had to push ONE. MORE. TIME. to keep my baby safe. And I did. And at 5:04pm he was here. After 2 hours of pushing, my sweet baby boy was here and that is truly one thing I will never be able to put into words

I can’t believe how true it is that you forget all of the pain once they put that baby on your chest. He was mine and I was his. I’ve never felt so connected to someone so quickly, I gazed up at Chase through my tears and I will never forget the tears falling down his face. I will never forget that moment when he realized he had just become a dad. And we just became a family.

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The next few moments were sort of a blur. Our hospital is really big on skin to skin for the first few hours and I knew that as long as everything was well they would leave him on me and do all the protocol while we spent that time together. However, he was quickly whisked out of my arms and I remember feeling my heart being ripped out of my chest. Chase stayed so calm, saying something that I can’t remember, and trying to comfort me with how proud he was while they just made sure our boy was okay. It felt like a lifetime watching them with him across the room, when they walked back towards us and placed him back on me- all felt right again. We were together.

We spent the next few hours just the three of us, skin against skin, in the evening light. He was quiet and peaceful. The most beautiful peaceful I had ever endured. It was the closest I’ve ever felt to Heaven. I will never forget the moment he nursed for the first time, how much gratitude I felt for my body. I had never felt more beautiful. Those few hours were the absolute best few hours of my life and I AM SO GLAD we took that time for us. We needed that time to embrace our new life.

The other best decision we made that day was calling our birth photographer, Michele. She captured March 8th better than I could have ever imagined. I will never be able to thank her enough for one of the best gifts. I will cherish these photos for as long as I live. Each time I look at them, the tears stream and someday maybe they won’t, but for now, those tears remind me of what that day means. And the memories flood me.

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