It’s taken me a bit longer than I had hoped, but I am finally finding a quiet moment where I can gather my thoughts and share with you Caleb’s birth story.
In all honesty I’m not really sure of the exact moment my labor began. I first began noticing contractions late Friday afternoon, May 25th. Throughout the night I would contract about every 10 minutes with contractions lasting about 30 seconds. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a false start as once morning came the contractions died down. From then until Monday it was the same story. Every night contractions 10 minutes apart, but then dissipating as morning came. It was exciting each night as I would think maybe it will be tonight; however, it was also slightly discouraging as they were just enough to make it uncomfortable and hard to sleep, but not enough to truly make any progress.
At four days overdue I was trying all the tricks: walking, bouncing on my exercise ball, eating pineapple and spicy food…you name it, I did it! I was so ready to meet our precious boy! Finally, on Monday my contractions maintained throughout the day. I tried not to get too excited, but as they were coming closer together and it hadn’t hit evening yet I was beginning to think that this would truly be the start to heading into active labor. I had a much needed distraction by attending my brother-in-laws birthday celebration and by the time we left the festivities they were coming every 7-8 minutes.
We headed to bed around 10 pm to try to get some sleep, but that just was not possible as it was now becoming difficult to concentrate and relax throughout each contraction. I was timing them, just waiting for them to get down to 5 minutes apart, which was the time where we could call our midwife to see if we could head to the hospital.They finally reached this around 1 am. We called the midwife and got the green light to head to the hospital. Jose told his mom and I texted my family letting them know that things were getting real and that Jose would take over any updating from there on out.
That ride to the hospital I felt every pothole, rattle, and bump! Once there it was smooth sailing through check in and we got settled into the triage room to wait for the midwife. She came to check and I was dilated to 3cm. Even though I was hoping for a bit more I was still so excited as it meant we were on the right track and getting closer to meeting our baby boy. We had to be placed in a temporary room, as the room with a tub (I wanted to be able to labor in the water) was still occupied. At this point I felt most comfortable standing, holding the bed for support, while swaying through each contraction. I felt this helped me to focus on the movement and relax as much as possible.
Tuesday morning we were able to get settled into our room and around 5:30 am they let me get into the tub. The hot water was such a relief and not only helped somewhat ease the pain, but also offered my mind some relaxation. I must mention that through this whole time Jose was my rock. He allowed me to squeeze his hand throughout each contraction and even though he tried to hide it I know there were moments in which tears slipped out to see me in such pain. I didn’t say anything, but just knowing he cared so much about me, our baby and what we were going through gave me strength.
From here on out it gets a bit fuzzy as to what happened and when…partly from pain and partly because of the lack of sleep (I don’t do well without sleep on a good day!). As far as I can remember around noon the midwife checked and said I was pretty much at 10cm and said I could push! This was so exciting and I thought it would be a short time until I was holding our baby. The only problem was that I didn’t really feel any urge to push. I “pushed” for a half hour and the midwife checked again and discovered Caleb wasn’t in the right position and even though I was dilated fully my cervix also had a lip on it that needed to go away. I was going to have to continue laboring. I tried many different positions, used the shower, ended up back in the tub…just about anything to help relieve the pain and try to get him to begin moving down. Finally, around 6pm I was so exhausted I looked at Jose and asked him if he was okay if I got an epidural. We were hoping to do everything completely natural, but at this point I just needed some rest.
The nurse ordered the epidural and when the midwife came in she was glad I had made that decision because my contractions had slowed down and they were going to have to start me on pitocin to speed them up and move Caleb down the birth canal. She said I needed to be able to get some rest so that when the time did come to push I would have strength left. The anesthesiologist came in and I was honestly so focused on remaining calm and still during my contractions that I hardly noticed when he put in the epidural. Almost immediately I felt relief and began crying in happiness! The nurses got me settled on my side to help get Caleb in position and my in-laws got to come in the room and we all talked and laughed. Even though I hadn’t planned on it, the epidural was such a blessing!
The pitocin strengthened my contractions, but I was able to get the rest I needed and at 9 they told me I could begin pushing. The family left and at this point I could begin to feel tightness of the contractions and knew when I needed to push. I thought we were so close, but it proved to be a bit more tedious than I had imagined. Looking back I feel so bad for my husband and sister-in-law who were there with me. I kept asking if there was any progress and they had to keep telling me not quite yet. Finally a few hours later they were able to tell me they could see him and once I was able to reach and feel the top of his head that gave me the extra measure of strength I needed continue and at 12:05 am on Wednesday, May 30th, Caleb Jose Morales made his entrance into this world showcasing his excellent pair of lungs! They quickly wiped him off and placed him on my chest while the midwife delivered the placenta and stitched up a small tear. I couldn’t believe he was here! I don’t know what I was thinking…hormones were crazy and I was exhausted, but apparently I asked for Jose to sing and make a video for Youtube, and then I began to sing to Caleb. Craziness aside, it was perfect…Caleb was perfect and even had a thick head of hair! The nurses handed Caleb to Jose and there was nothing sweeter than seeing his daddy holding him for the first time. Once we both had time to have skin to skin they took his measurements. He weighed in at 8lbs 4 oz and was 21.5 in. long.
We made our way to the recovery room and were thankful to spend the rest of the night and the next morning just the three of us. We were blessed with sweet visits from friends and family later that day. Recovery was relatively easy and we are loving this new journey of parenthood. I am so thankful for Jose’s support throughout pregnancy, labor, and now parenting. We are both thankful for our family and friends who prayed, supported and encouraged us throughout the entire time. God is so good!