Sage McKenna Christensen
I lay here in my bed listening to the sweet sounds of my sleeping baby nearly 4 weeks from the beautiful day I brought our sweet baby girl Sage into this world. I am kicking myself for not opening the laptop at the hospital while everything was still so fresh in my mind. However, my memory will have to suffice.
Out of all 3 pregnancies, this one seemed to be exceptionally uncomfortable. Most days I felt as if I were a pregnant hippopotamus. In fact, a few weeks before her birth I laughed as I saw an elephant at the circus completely lie down and get back up again with more grace that I could muster at that time. I had heartburn to the point of being sick, I cried myself to sleep numerous times as I could feel my muscles around my ribs being torn as my stomach ran out of room and my mind would race every night to the point I simply just could not sleep. It was a combination of all the excitement surrounding me as we just moved into our new house; unpacking, nesting, and being so excited for our sweet girl to arrive, that didn’t allow my mind to rest. I was ready for her to come!
A month before her due date, my midwife told me that she would be out of town the week of my due date on a cruise. From that moment, I gave myself a mental due date that would allow for me to go into labor while she was still in town, May 6th. Two nights before the 6th, I was giving up hope of going into labor a little early, so in my nightly prayers, I told Heavenly Father that I was ready to accept that she may not come when I wanted her to and that I was giving it to him. But, if he wanted I was ready and he could send her now. Sure enough, the mind is amazing and so is God! At two o’clock in the morning on May 5th , I felt a little gush of liquid in my sleep. I awoke and my first thought was, “Ohhh, my water broke!”, but within the same thought, I figured, “surely not, I probably just peed the bed!” I quickly elbowed Wade and told him that I wasn’t sure if it was my waters or pee and I asked him to check because I was too embarrassed to find out I may just have peed my pants. However, my initial thought was correct; my water’s did in fact break! Yay! How exciting, this is everything I hoped and planned for, but why was I shaking so badly and why was I so nervous? My adrenaline was pumping through my body like crazy. I had to take a few deep breaths and just relax before I spazzed. I’ve done this two times before, but each labor/delivery brings a bit of uncertainty with it. After I collected myself a little bit, I had Wade go wake up my sister Emily who was spending the night with her family while I called my midwife. To my great disappointment, my midwife was at home alone with her young child, so she would not be able to make it to the hospital until 7:30am. What!?!? I go early and she still couldn’t make it? Now I was even more nervous. I was going to have a hospital birth without medication and without my midwife and oh, I didn’t have a written out birth plan! How was this going to work?
I wasn’t really having any contractions so I was a little scared that the labor was not progressing. We quickly packed up my bags, jumped in the car, and headed to the hospital. I had a few contractions in the car and I was kind of exaggerating the intensity of them. At this point, Wade told me, “You are just playing mind games with yourself, they don’t hurt that bad. You are just scared because they are ‘supposed’ to be more intense after your water breaks.” While this statement may seem a bit cold to be said to a laboring woman, I think it is what got me through the labor and delivery as well as it did. I quickly responded, “Yeah, you’re right, they don’t hurt that bad, I’m not even sure they are real.” I had a few more. We checked into the E.R.. They wheeled me up to my room. I made sure to make it clear that I wanted the room with the tub! If there were to be a number 1 on my birth plan it would be that! We got the room with the tub, check! I undressed and she gave me my gown. I hopped on the bed. She checked me. I was hoping I was at least further than a 3 on the outside like I had been a week before. I was a 6 and 85%! Wow, I guess those contractions were real! The nurses left for a bit.
With this birth, we decided to do it at Marietta Memorial in Ohio because we had heard good things and our last experience wasn’t terrible considering the process of my birth, but it was not what we wanted this time around. While the nurses left, I asked Wade what I was supposed to do. He didn’t know either. When the nurse came back Wade asked, “So what is the procedure from here on out?” She was a bit confused and said, “What do you mean?” We explained that we were use to the nurses telling us what to do. She laughed and told me to do whatever I would like to do to try and be comfortable. We started the tub. Warm water. Lavender essential oils. Lights down low. Relaxing, meditation music playing. THIS IS LABOR. While it may not be an epidural in the back and no pain, or on the contrary, squatting in the woods with the sound of the babbling creek and birds chirping, it is what I wanted and needed. This was MY BIRTH and I was physically, mentally, and emotionally high on birthing this baby!
While soaking in the tub, I was overjoyed when my Mom and Emily arrived to cheer me on. I had a few really good contractions, but still not extremely painful. The ‘on call’ doctor arrived to see how I was feeling. I maybe felt some pressure so I asked if she could check me. I was at nine centimeters. I decided to stand and lean on the bed now. The contractions were coming on stronger, but still not scary. I decided I wanted to try and push. I wanted to lie down to push; I didn’t feel like I could support myself. I did a little practice push… boy was I a rusty. With Aubrey I pushed for 15 minutes. With Liam it was 6 minutes. My goal was beat our record again. I let my body have a few more hard contractions. As I labored through them I would read and reread the sign that was posted on the wall in front of me to keep my mind away from the pain. After reading it over a dozen times, I still can’t tell you what that darn sign said. Something about folding the chair! Sadly, that was my focal point. Next time I’ll bring my own sign, something a little more motivating and beautiful. Okay, I am ready to push again. Push. Push. Push. Push. Keep it going Kate. Push. Push Push. At this point I tune back into the world for a second as I hear the nurse say, “Here comes the ‘Ring of Fire’!” Oh crap! I forgot about the ‘Ring of Fire!’ The burning came on slowly until it reached my toes. Almost like really strong warming lubricant! It only lasted a few seconds and there was her sweet head. One more strong push and she is here!!! 6:08 am. . 6lbs 11oz. and 19”. Four hours of labor and four minutes of pushing, I couldn’t be happier! Wade makes sure to remind me that there is certainly room for improvement.
Like with my first, her cord was short. I watched from above as she worked to get out her first cry. She was so grey and covered in vernix with a head full of dark hair. Then she mustered out her first cry, a beautiful little cry! After the cord stopped pulsating and was clamped and cut, she was laid on my chest. From this point on everything was done on my chest or in the small warm bed located in my room. My baby that I waited so long for was not leaving my side. She looked just like her big brother and big sister! She was absolutely Beautiful and all ours.
A few hours and a couple naps later, after we were all cleaned up and moved, it was time to unite our whole family together. A little tap on the door brought the two brightest eyed big kids you could imagine. I was waiting for my babies to come, but for some reason when Aubrey and Liam came, my babies didn’t seem like babies at all! How did they grow up so fast in such a short time? Aubrey new exactly what was going on and immediately gave her sister all the love she was bottling up for the last 9 months. Liam on the other hand wasn’t sure about things. However, when he saw her he started squealing and smiling the same way he does when he sees animals. He loves animals. He loves Sage. They both love Sage and are so good to her. We are family and I love us! With each new addition to our family, as we participate in such a spiritual experience, I could not feel closer with our Heavenly Father. I know that these sweet babies were brought to us from Heaven and I hope that I can always treat them with the upmost respect and love that our Father in Heaven does. They are our blessing.!