Cohen Steven: A Birth Story

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On Monday, February 4th, 2019 at 4:15 pm our sweet baby boy, Cohen Steven Carlston took his first breath and made our family feel more whole and complete.

The day before Cohen was born was the Super Bowl–and a pretty boring one at that. I was frantically trying to get some Reading Noodle orders complete with my mom while dealing with more and more intense contractions. The contractions weren’t anything special, they were more triggered by how active I was. This pregnancy I nested intensely and rarely took time to just sit and be still. So it’s not a big surprise that the day before my induction date I was cleaning, packaging orders, and running around my house trying to squeeze in last minute projects. I ended the night playing with Janie and letting the projects sit because it suddenly hit me this was my last time just her and I.

I went to bed nervous and excited, I wasn’t induced with Janie so this would be a new experience. I chose to be induced with Cohen because I wanted my parents to be there to care for Janie. I has pretty high anxiety about how I would get Janie somewhere if my water broke suddenly and Trevor was at work or coaching. It was also the end of Trevor’s basketball season, and choosing an induction date made us both feel more at ease knowing Trevor wouldn’t have to rush from an away game, possibly in the snow, to get to me. Altogether it just was the right choice for our family. And now that I have been induced I would do it again and again! It was the BEST experience.

Monday morning around 2 am I woke up to some pretty painful contractions, they were coming about every 5-7 minutes and I did my best to just sleep through them–I wasn’t very successful.

I finally fell asleep around 4 am and then woke up to my alarm at 6. I showered, curled my hair a bit, did my make up, checked my hospital bag, and was ready to go. The hospital called around 6:30 am and said to come at 7:15 instead of 7 am.

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Ready to head to the hospital!

I went downstairs and was met by my mom and dad who hugged us goodbye and wished us well. We climbed in the car, said a prayer, and off we went.

We were greeted by the sweetest nurse, Katie, and she got right to work hooking me up all the while putting my fears at ease about being induced. She checked me and I was at a 2, but my cervix was still high.

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She started me on Pitocin around 8:30 am. I was most nervous for this, but it was actually not bad at all. They started me slowly and each 30 minutes she would come in and increase the dose. I labored without an epidural for longer than I had planned, and I was proud of myself for that! Around 11:30 I started to feel the contractions were more intense and I was ready for the epidural (I know 3 hours doesn’t seem long but pitocin contractions get more and more intense, plus I had been having contractions since about 2 am–so I was still proud of myself!)

I wanted to have the epidural before my Dr. came in to break my water. Timing wise it made sense to get the epidural sooner because we were unsure how long the anesthesiologist would be around before my Dr. came in, and I knew from my experience with Janie that once my water broke things would get intense quickly.

I told Katie I was ready for that epidural after she checked me and I was at a 4. My anesthesiologist came in around noon to give me the epidural. He was wonderful and all the nurses raved about him which really put me at ease. After I got my epidural Trevor and I took a nap, which was much needed! With Janie, I was so nervous I couldn’t relax enough to sleep during my labor–so I was determined to enjoy this labor experience and also just relax and sleep while I still could!

We were waiting for my Dr. to come break my water on his lunch break but he got stuck at clinic. Katie came to check on me and decided to try to break my water before she called my Dr. again. She tried to strip my membranes in hopes that my water would break from that process. She was about to give up but then there was a sudden pop and a gush and my water broke! I knew things would really start moving once that happened.

Trevor and I watched some shows on Netflix and then Katie popped back in at 3:30 ish. She came in watched the monitors and kept changing my position. She said baby’s heart rate kept dropping really low right after a contraction. She was a little worried the cord was wrapped around his neck. She checked me after finding a position that raised his heart beat and I was at a 6. She then stayed in for about 10 minutes to watch the monitor and then decided to check me again. Her eyes got wide, “You’re at an 8!” Literally 10 minutes had passed and I went from a 6 to an 8. She said she was going to give me 15 minutes and then check me again.

As she left the room I started to feel intense pressure and had the strongest urge to push. By then my epidural was starting to wear off, and while I didn’t feel pain, the pressure was intense.

I told Trevor, “Go get Katie, I think I need to push.” He went and got Katie, who had literally just left about 2 minutes before. She came back in and saw how uncomfortable I looked and checked me again. Her eyes got wide again and she smiled, “You’re a 10 girl! Give me the tiniest little push.”

I barely pushed and she said, “Stop! Don’t do that again until your Dr. gets here!”

Let’s recap: within 20 minutes or less I went from a 6 to a 10!

She ran out to call my Dr. I breathed through the contractions and fought the urge to push for 15 minutes while my Dr. sped over to the hospital. Katie reassured me that if I really needed to push she could deliver this baby, but she knew that it was always best to have the Dr. there. I loved my nurse Katie, she was open and honest and joked with us throughout the day. L&D nurses and Dr’s do not get enough credit! They are truly incredible.

People filled my room and I heard the familiar sound of my Dr.’s voice. He walked in the room and I saw his infamous blue crocs from under the privacy curtain. He walked in and I felt so much relief knowing he was there. He looked a bit exasperated and made a comment about how his ride was a little scary trying to get here in time. I adore him for that, to me that shows how deeply he cares about his laboring moms.

He has the most calming demeanor, and all day the nurses were just fawning over how wonderful of a Dr. he is. I couldn’t agree more obviously, he had seen me through 2 pregnancies and now a second delivery. We trust him wholeheartedly. They said he was one of their favorites, and a big reason why is because of his quirkiness (aka the crocs), but also how he is able to step into a situation and make you feel calm and heard.

He got all gowned up and we waited for my next contraction, and he said, “Are you ready to have a baby?” I happily replied, “Yes!”.

I pushed 3 times for 10 seconds each (that’s one full set of pushing) and everyone encouraged me and told me how wonderful I was doing. I kept thinking “they have to say that, we’re going to be here for a while.”

But towards the end of my first set of pushes I felt intense pressure and knew that baby boy’s head was making a quick entrance.  We sat and chatted, yes chatted, with our Dr. while waiting for the next contraction. The next contraction came and I started into the first round of 10 seconds.

After I did that push my sweet Dr. uttered these amazing words: “You’re all done pushing, just relax.”

I remember saying something like, “Are you serious?” I was completely shocked out how quickly things had progressed.

I felt pulling and tugging and nurse Katie said, “Yep, the cord was around his neck.” But she was calm and that made me calm, she said it was totally fine and not too bad. The nurses all marveled, “He’s already trying to cry!”, as my Dr. pulled him out the rest of the way. And fast and furiously he was there, my sweet Cohen was laid on my chest after Trevor cut the cord.

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Instantly I felt connected and in love with my new little boy. Instantly I knew he was meant to be ours, just like I had felt while I carried him inside of me. He cried for a bit but calmed down quickly. This didn’t surprise me one bit, he was fairly calm inside the womb, and has been relatively calm ever since he came into this world.

One of the most tender moments to me happened as my Dr. took his leave. This was my second baby he had delivered and you really do form a special bond with your OB, and the L&D nurses. They are there for the most sacred moments of your life, and Trevor and I have nothing but wonderful things to say about him. It was bittersweet saying goodbye, I felt like he and my nurse had been there for such a sacred time and then all of the sudden they leave. I felt like saying thank you just wasn’t enough.

When we got ready to leave he shook our hands and then looked at Cohen and said, “Little one, you are going to be SO loved.” He said that every time he checked on us, and the following day when he checked on us in the recovery room.

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Those words have stuck with me. The sincerity of them and the the fact that he knows us well enough now to know how deeply we love each other and our children.

I want to strive to live up to those words each day. I want to ensure that my children feel how deeply we love them and that others around me can pick up on how much we love our precious children. I still tear up whenever I think about how my OB picked up on our love for our babies, and his sweet words, “Little one, you are going to be SO loved.”

My recovery was a BREEZE this time, which I am so incredibly grateful for. I had such a hard physical and emotional recovery with Janie, I needed this recovery to be smoother. Thankfully it was. I barely tore and was able to be up and moving around quickly. I was still sore for about a week, but stopped the pain management meds within a week.

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The hardest part emotionally this time was watching the change affect Janie. My babies are 23 months apart almost to the day. She is so smart and in tune, but the first few days were hard on both of us. We both sensed the shift in our family dynamic and our mother daughter relationship. While the shift was a positive one it was still a bit of an adjustment for both of us. There were times during the first few days of being home that she would become so emotional about the smallest things, or would burst into tears if I left the room. During some of those moments I just took her in my arms and cried with her. It really helped to spend some time with her doing things she wanted to do and letting my parents or Trevor tend to Cohen.

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My sweetest daughter. Every day is filled with laughter, imagination, loves, and lots of Cohen snuggles.

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The other difficult thing has been being stuck inside with all the snow we received in February. And top it off with how bad RSV and Flu season are this year I struggled being stuck inside with my very active toddler. But we made it, the sun started shining, and we are slowly becoming more confident taking the kids out.

This past month we have been so blessed by service. We had my parents come stay for a long time to help with the transition, and Janie was in grandparent heaven.

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Grandma Diana flew in for less than 36 hours to cuddle Cohen, play with Janie, and make us a warm meal.

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And we have had countless meals and acts of service showered upon us that have truly helped me feel confident handling life with two kids.

We have Trevors dad and step mom coming in this week to spend some time with us too! Cohen’s middle name is after Trevor’s dad Steve.

Then of course there is my wonderful husband. He is such a caring and loving husband and father. He makes sure to check in on us throughout the day, and works so hard to provide for us.

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While adjusting to life with two kids has been anything but perfect, it has still been sweet and peaceful. Cohen has brought such a loving presence into our home, we are so thankful to have him in our family.

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My greatest blessings.

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