Oaken Daye // Birth Story
I love every one of my babies' birth stories - I know they'll get tired of Ben and I re-telling them their birth stories every year on their birthdays, but I'll never get tired of remembering every emotion and the wonder of what our bodies are capable of. I have always had the goal of delivering my babies unmedicated, and I'm so thankful I've been able to do that with all three of them!
I started having contractions weeks ago - this is normal for me, with Bradlee I was told I have "irritable uterus" meaning that I not only get Braxton Hicks contractions, but I get spontaneous actual contractions throughout the pregnancy as well. My midwives knew that my previous births were unpredictable and quick (with Rayne I didn't even know I was in labor and I found out I was dilated 7cm at my 40 week appointment - they sent me straight to the hospital and she came a few hours later!)... so our plan was to be on top of it this time and not risk a car birth! We live about 45 minutes away from the hospital, so we planned on heading in early and not laboring at home as much as I would have liked.
Fun fact :: Oaken was born at Providence Hospital and his name means providence.
We also started early checks of my cervix to see if I was dilating at all - the midwives checked each week starting at week 37. I was 2cm that week, 3 cm at my 38 week appointment, and 4 cm at my 39 week appointment. Two days after that 39 week appointment, on Thursday night, I noticed that my contractions were closer together than they had been. I timed them for a few hours and they were about five minutes apart. Normally that wouldn't be enough of a reason to go to the hospital, but given my history of fast labors, we decided to call our midwife and ask her what she thought we should do... And that's where we'll start with the official birth story ::
Thursday 11p :: We called the midwife and told her the contractions were 5 minutes apart but not too horribly painful. She said we should head on down to the hospital just to be safe and she'd meet us there. Rayne told us many times that she wanted to be at the birth, even if we went in the middle of the night. So, we woke her up and asked her if she wanted to come - she definitely did! Ben, my mom, Rayne, and I all got ready and loaded into the car. Even though it was midnight, it was still light out.
The 45 minute drive was peaceful and very Alaskan : we passed a moose on the highway and we had to stop abruptly downtown to let a bear cross the street!
Friday 12:30a :: We got checked into the hospital and settled into a triage room. My midwife checked and I was 5cm dilated at that point. My contractions came randomly during the next couple of hours - not consistent in time or strength. A few of them were painful enough to bring me to tears, but it also could have been the fact that I just wanted to go to sleep.
Friday 2:30a :: My contractions tapered off almost completely. My midwife checked one more time and I was 6cm, but we weren't sure what to do from there... She gave me the option of going home or scheduling to have my water broken first thing in the morning. We decided to head home and rest as much as possible.
Friday :: We got back home at 4a (Rayne stayed wide awake that entire night, she was so excited about the entire process!) and we all fell asleep immediately. After resting all morning, we ventured out to a "normal" Friday filled with errand-running, Red Robin, card games with Neena and Papa, and then we all went to bed early that night.
Friday night :: I felt my contractions all night, they were more painful by that point but still not consistently close together.
Saturday 7:30a :: I was awake in bed, resting while everyone else slept, and I heard a loud popping noise. I thought to myself, "I wonder if that was my water breaking?" and a minute later during my next contraction, a huge gush of water came out. I woke up Ben and told him my water broke (which never happened with the girls, so this was new to me!) and that we should probably plan on heading back to the hospital. We woke up my mom and Rayne and told them to start getting ready - I felt ok at that point so everyone was taking their time showering, getting dressed, etc.
Saturday 7:45a :: Within a few minutes of my water breaking, my contractions were insanely painful - more water came gushing out and my contractions were making me scream at that point. Poor Bradlee didn't know how to handle everything and we ended up driving away from the house with her crying as my dad helped console her. That drive to the hospital was much less peaceful than the previous one, it was also 15 minutes shorter thanks to Ben's driving skills!
Saturday 8:30a :: We got into the hospital and I made it to the triage room crying through every contraction. My midwife arrived a few minutes later and checked me - I was 7cm at that point.
Saturday 8:50a :: They wheeled my whole bed to the labor and delivery room because I couldn't walk there, and I got settled into a new room with a new nurse who wanted to monitor the baby for a few minutes while my midwife filled the bathtub for me. When I labored with Bradlee I did it in a birthing tub and it was incredible how much it helped with the pain. This time, not so much. During the hour of labor & delivery, Rayne had the freedom to come in and out of the room as she felt comfortable. During every loud scream, she ran out of the room, but when it came to blood or the mess of it all, she wasn't phased one bit!
Saturday 9:05a :: After just a few contractions in the tub, I felt like I already needed to push. They told me I'd need to move to the bed for delivery, but that since it was early on I could stay in the tub for a couple of pushes. It was miserable and I asked to go back to the bed.
Saturday 9:15a :: By the time I was back on the bed the pushing urge was more intense, so my midwife checked to see if I was fully dilated. She said I was close but not quite there yet. She told me to push as I felt the urge, though, so in the next contraction I pushed and his head crowned. Everyone ran around getting ready for his arrival really quickly because no one thought it would be that fast. Rayne and my Mom were out in the hall at this point.
Saturday 9:25a :: During the next contraction I pushed again and his head came out - they told me to push again to get his shoulder unstuck so I did, and after four pushes in that same contraction he was all the way out (my mom said she could tell from my last scream that he had been born because she could hear the relief in the end of it!).
Saturday 9:27a :: Oaken Daye was with us! He made a dramatic entrance - he was crying as he came out, didn't even wait until he was fully born. His cord was wrapped around his neck twice and he had a full knot tied in it -- despite both of those posing a dangerous threat, he was perfectly fine! I thought about it later and the skill that it took him to tie a knot in his cord - he had to make a loop and swim through it, while squished in the womb... he was by far my most active baby in the belly, so really it's not surprising that he accomplished that!
Oaken was named for hope, life and redemption in place of death and despair... his identity was so prominent during his birth : he thrived when he should have been in distress, with the cord around his neck and tied in a knot. We love that picture of how God is shaping him already and using him to bring life and truth to a world that is so often run by fear and death.