We welcomed our third son, Camden Pax Hales, four months ago on January 19, 2012. I seriously can’t believe we’ve had our precious Camden with us for 1/3 of a year. He is a sweet little precious baby, very content and loves to converse a ton! His smile brightens all of our days and the bigger boys cannot stop giving him kisses (Ezra) or trying to pick him up (Porter). He is quite easy-going and so, so sweet. When he was born, we immediately saw so much of Porter in him. Now we’re seeing more and more Ezra, especially when I go back and look at Ezra’s baby pictures. But as many of our friends have said, we’re the family that looks alike, so Camden does look like all of us. (The boys said “He looks like us!” when they received a picture of him after he was born via a friend’s text).
As you may or may not know, I was pretty anxious for Camden to arrive. Porter was born at 38.5 weeks so I was just sure Camden would be early. 40 weeks rolled around and I hadn’t changed from being about 2 cms dilated and 70-90% effaced. I went back and forth trying to do things that would get him to come and just realizing that he would when my body was ready. Every day after 40 weeks, I got a bit more nervous; my caregiver was great and supportive of my 2nd VBAC but after 40 weeks you realize you don’t have too much time to have this baby! But Camden did great — he came the morning of my 41 week appointment, so I got to skip that and didn’t even need to talk about induction. Although it seems the case that this guy was perfectly cozy in the womb and didn’t feel the hurry to rush and be born.
Around midnight or 1 am on January 19, I woke up with contractions (after only about 2 hours of sleep). I’d had several bouts of contractions the last few weeks — even some that were pretty consistent and lasted up to 4 hours or so — so I wasn’t getting my hopes up. They were strong and regular and by 1am I got into the bathtub. I was just getting too excited so by 1:30 am I woke up Bryce and told him that I was in labor and he could go to sleep but just so he knew… Ha! Poor guy of course couldn’t go to bed! We just figured that things would majorly pick up like they had with Porter and we’d have to rush to the hospital, but they didn’t. I stayed in the bath until about 3:30 or 4am. Until they just slowed down and nearly stopped! I couldn’t believe it as I was sure I was in labor. So Bryce went back to bed and I lied on the bed for about an hour with a heating pad, trying to sleep. Finally as it neared 5 or 5:30 things were picking up again. By 6am, we realized that we needed to go to the hospital just so we could be out of the house and labor without Ezra and Porter awake. So we woke our neighbor who stayed until he had to leave for work. Then there was a string of very lovely friends to watch them in shifts that day and for the next few days (thank you: Wheatleys, Peaches, Stones, McKinneys, Spiers!).
It was nice to have a pretty calm drive to the hospital; contractions were coming about every 5 minutes and were moderately intense. We got to the hospital and walked around a bit, with Bryce putting pressure on my back when I’d stop and lean over in the waiting area. Finally around 7am, we decided to check in. They ask, “What brings you in today?” Um, I’m in labor! I started filling out paperwork, then couldn’t, so had Bryce finish it up while I breathed through contractions. (They thought I was there probably for a scheduled c-section, I imagine). They got us set up in a wonderful room and let me change and just left us alone for about 30 minutes. Finally they came to check me: I was 6 cms. I was ecstatic. I thought all the hours of contractions weren’t that intense, so I didn’t think I’d be that far along. We had an amazing L&D nurse who stayed with us the whole time and was a rock during transition and pushing.
There was a chance that my OB (whom I love!) would not be able to deliver Camden because his mother-in-law had passed away. But he agreed to come in — phew! I was slowly progressing to 8 cms over the next few hours. But as I progressed my back began to ache increasingly. I asked if I could get in the bath. They told me sure, just make sure I didnt have the baby in the tub (it’s illegal in Utah). That gorgeous deep jetted tub was amazing on my back. Afterwards I was just very hot and wanted to be in the bed. We then had this beautiful rhythm where I’d signal every time a contraction would start and Bryce would come closer and sound through it with me while putting pressure and an ice pack on my back and the nurse would get me a cold washcloth for my forehead. It was seriously great and I was in the zone. When I was about 8 or 9 cms we decided to break my water. I was really scared to do so because I remember how hard transition was (and how very quick) with Porter when my water broke before labor started. Obviously being in labor land I didn’t think clearly that “Duh Ashley, you’re already in transition and handling it beautifully, so don’t worry about it.”
I quickly dilated to 10 cms no problem. Transition was super hard with Porter’s birth, but with Camden I really loved it. It took me a while to feel like pushing, though they wanted me to bare down right away since Camden’s head was ‘right there.’ At this point, too, the Dr. turned Camden’s head around so he wouldn’t be born posterior. I was absolutely floored that labor did not kill my back when I look back on it; posterior births hurt. Pushing, however, did kill my back. I didn’t want to push; every time I did I would just yell, “OOOOhhh, my back!!”. It was also really hard because we decided that we wanted Bryce to catch the baby; but this meant that he had to gown up right before Camden was born, which meant that he wasn’t available for me to dig my fingernails into while I pushed. They got another L&D nurse to come and help and both of them helped me lift my legs back and dig my fingernails into them while I pushed. 🙂 Finally the dr did this awesome midwife trick; he got a rolled-up towel and made me play tug-of-war with him while pushing. It really helped me bare down. And let me tell you, I screamed that baby out! And rather than coming shooting out, his head and shoulders just emerged and Bryce asked, “Can I take him out?” to the dr. and so he did!
He laid him on my chest and I was just so happy to have him here and healthy! I was so sleepy from my only 2 hours of sleep. I remember one of the sweetest things our L&D nurse said, that Bryce and I were an amazing team and should teach childbirth classes and that my body was made for having babies.
Camden was born at 11:44 am. He weighed 7 lbs 4 oz. and 19 inches. He is beautiful and perfect.