Caroline's Birth Story


I have read many, many birth stories over the years, dreaming about when I'd get to write my own. It still feels a little surreal to be writing it now, with my little girl sleeping quietly beside me. The gratefulness I feel is overwhelming!

I had a rather uneventful pregnancy, which I am very blessed to say. I had bouts of nausea at the beginning, but no sickness. The only thing that really caused me much worry was a high blood pressure reading at my first prenatal appointment. I was so nervous going in and had convinced myself something would be wrong, so when they took my blood pressure, it was a sky-high 160/90. It never went down through the appointment, and I knew it was not a great thing. I monitored it at home for a while and it seemed to be a solitary event, so after 3 days of anxiety, many tears, and worry over potentially developing preeclampsia and having to be induced (it seemed like the worst thing at the time!), I was cleared and everything was great.

I had virtually no cravings and Baby J was always given a perfect bill of health at each appointment and ultrasound. I measured on track, passed my glucose tolerance test, and only had one quick NST on New Year's Eve because I hadn't felt her move much the day before. She promptly started dancing a jig as soon as we arrived at L&D.

8 weeks
37 weeks

Harrison and I were getting so excited towards the end of my pregnancy to finally find out if Baby J was a boy or girl and to hold him or her for the first time. We made as many final preparations as we could anticipating being able to labor at home for a while before heading to the hospital when it was time. My bags were packed at 36 weeks and Harrison's would be done at 37 weeks when he returned from his trip to Kansas (yes, I let my husband travel 16 hours away when I was 37 weeks pregnant!). Overall, I had really enjoyed being pregnant and was working through the emotions that come with the mental preparation of preparing to welcome your first child. I was fully expecting to go past my March 10th due date when Harrison left for Kansas on February 13th, and that's when Baby J's birth story really begins.

I worked on Valentine's Day and took February 15th off of work for my 37-week appointment and a prenatal massage. Going to the doctor's office, I could tell that I was having a little bit of anxiety. I was working through my breathing techniques in attempt to calm myself down. When the nurse took my vitals, my blood pressure was 140/90... much higher than my previous appointments where it ranged in the 112-124/60-70 range. I wrote it off as anxiety and explained that to my doctor. I was alone and had been stressed for sometime about Baby J's position. We had a 4D ultrasound at 34 weeks, but at my next appointment, and each subsequent one, they told me she was likely breech. I was terrified of the idea of a C-section, so I desperately wanted her to flip head down. My doctor understood, took some time to help me relax over the possibility of a breech baby, and suggested I head to L&D for an NST and blood pressure monitoring, as well as labs to rule out anything more serious related to the high blood pressure reading.

I cancelled my prenatal massage appointment (so sad!) and spent the next 2 hours in L&D, with the fetal monitors on and having my blood pressure taken every 15 minutes. My blood pressure never came down lower than 135/85 and my labs showed an elevated protein/creatinine ratio. They wanted me to do a 24-hour urine test and come back the next day to do it all again. My blood pressure was still elevated when I went back on Wednesday and the total urine protein value was elevated. They diagnosed me with mild preeclampsia and told me that I should prepare myself to be induced the following week. That was a LOT to take in at one time, by myself, so I was very grateful that my mom came up that evening to stay with me until Harrison got back from Kansas.

I had an ultrasound on Thursday to see what position Baby J was hanging out in, and thankfully he or she was head down! That was a huge relief and it was also so cool for my mom to be able to be there. I also found out that I had polyhydramnios, which is excess amniotic fluid. Friday, I went back to L&D for another NST, where my blood pressure was still elevated. Thankfully at each appointment, Baby J was doing fantastic.

Harrison was back Friday evening (I have never been so glad to see him!) and we spent the weekend hanging out and making preparations in case I was induced the following week. I had an appointment on Monday where my doctor told me that the polyhydramnios was fine, Baby J was still head down (yay!), and I was dilated to 1cm. She also told us that when it comes to preeclampsia, it's usually better to get baby out sooner rather than later, so we were going to be induced on Wednesday at 4pm! It didn't really sink in for me, but Harrison was kind of in shock, ha. On Tuesday, we went to supper and it was then that it really hit me that we were going to have a baby by the end of the week!

On induction day, I ignored the advice to nap (I couldn't sit still!) and made sure the house was clean and we had everything we needed for the hospital. Harrison went to work and got home around 12:30. He was super antsy, while I was fairly calm. We dropped Sailor off at his parents' house and grabbed an early supper from Chick-Fil-A. We walked into the hospital around 3:45 and were taken up to our room shortly after that.

The doctor came in to check me and decided that we would start pitocin immediately and also put in a Cook's catheter to try and get some dilation and effacement going. All of that was in place around 4:45pm and I spent the majority of the next 4 hours laying down. Sitting was unbearable and I would get up to go to the bathroom, but I had traction on my catheter, so I didn't get to walk around much. The Cook's catheter came out around 9:30pm and I was 3cm dilated and 50% effaced. At that point, my contractions had started to get a bit more painful and around 10pm they were coming on top of each other with little relief. I couldn't get myself to relax through them, no matter how hard I was trying, so I called for an epidural at 10:25pm. I got up to use the bathroom, brush my teeth, and wash my face since it would be my last chance to for a while. After using the bathroom, the contractions were more bearable, so part of me wishes that I had kept my bladder empty and kept breathing through them rather than getting the epidural so early.

The anesthesiologist came and had my epidural placed by 11pm. I was so nervous for that procedure, but it was a breeze! The IV placement hurt significantly worse. I noticed that my left leg was getting numb faster than my right, so they turned me onto my right side and it evened out. The great thing about getting the epidural when I did, though, is that it allowed me to sleep almost all night! The next morning, the nurses checked me again and I was still 3cm dilated and 50% effaced. It was a little discouraging that I hadn't made any progress, but I was doing my best to stay relaxed and positive. I used the peanut ball some and rotated from side to side. The doctor came in around noon to check me and I had progressed to 5cm dilated and 80% effaced! I was so excited to hear that I had made some progress.

Around 1:45pm or so, I started to feel some breakthrough pain in my right hip. I was breathing through the contractions that I was feeling, all concentrated in that one spot, but it was getting pretty intense. I maxed out the button to dose myself with more epidural medication, but it wasn't getting any better. The nurses called the anesthesiologist up and he was there around 2:30pm. He repositioned the catheter a bit and gave me an extra bolus of medication. I was much more comfortable after that. The nurses sat the bed up and dropped the end down so that I was effectively sitting up in hopes that gravity would help me progress more. At 4:18 pm, the doctor came to check me and told me that I was complete! I was amazed at how quickly I went from 5 to 10cm and, in hindsight, the pain I felt in my hip was probably due to transition and Baby J's position. They wanted me to labor down for an hour, which I was great with. Around that time, the pain in my right hip came back. I was fighting through it, trying my hardest to breathe and tell myself that I would be pushing soon. Ultimately, the intense pain and exhaustion got the better of me and I couldn't stop crying. The nurses called the anesthesiologist again, and he came and gave me two boluses of medication. I very much regret not being able to fight through that pain to start pushing because the extra medication created intense numbness, to the point where I couldn't feel my legs at all. One thing that I really wanted in my labor was a low-dose epidural so that I could feel pressure and move my legs myself. Up until that point, and aside from the breakthrough pain, it was perfect. After those boluses, I knew I was in for a long time pushing.

At 5pm, the nurses came in to start pushing with me because I had called to tell them that I was feeling a ton of pressure! Baby was at a 0 station, and I knew it was starting to get real and that our baby would be here soon, but I was very calm. Pushing was... a struggle to say the least. The nurses were so encouraging, but I could tell from their and my doctor's reactions that I wasn't making much progress. I was doing my best to follow their advice when it came to pushing, but it was so difficult when I couldn't feel anything at all. It was so hard to not get frustrated and I was pushing more with my diaphragm than with the correct muscles for the first 1.5 to 2 hours. Every so often I'd have a good push or two, but then I'd struggle to recreate it. I had to ask the nurses to tell me when I was having a contraction. It was exhausting. Around 6:30pm they put me on oxygen, but thankfully Baby J continued to tolerate labor well. Finally, after about 2 hours, I started to get feeling back and my pushes got better. It took a long time to get baby's head out from under my pubic bone, but I was apparently starting to make some progress because at 7:35pm my doctor was back in the room for delivery!

I was getting desperate to get him or her out, so I was squeezing four, sometimes five, pushes in each contraction. The relief I felt when when I delivered his or her head was beyond comparison. I vaguely remember the doctor saying that the cord was around baby's neck, but Harrison said she quickly fixed it and it wasn't a problem. Not long after that, Baby J was born at 7:54pm! Harrison announced that it was a girl as they put her on my belly. Everything surrounding her birth is kind of foggy because of how tired I was, but I remember hearing her little cry and everything feeling so surreal. I held her for a few minutes as they dried her off, then they took her to weigh her and do everything else they needed to. The nurses asked what her name was and we were so excited to finally use Baby J's real name... Caroline Miloree Jenkins.

Because they broke my water, they had to take my temperature every so often. It was going up while I was pushing and was 101.3 when Caroline was delivered. Caroline also had a fever of 101.3, but they weren't sure what had caused it, so we both needed blood drawn for cultures. They took her to the nursery for labs pretty quickly after she was born and had her for about 30 minutes. While she was gone, Harrison and I were sitting there just a bit in awe of everything that had happened. They finally brought her back to our room and we were all truly able to start our time as a family of three!

While not everything in Caroline's birth story when according to my plan, I look back with such joy and fondness over how she came into the world. I have to laugh when I think about how I was freaking out at 8 weeks pregnant over the possibility of getting preeclampsia and being induced when that's exactly what happened in the end. My epidural wasn't perfect by any means, but it helped me realize my own strength and ability to persevere when things aren't easy. I had a fantastic experience at our hospital with some incredible doctors and nurses. I'm beyond grateful that the fever Caroline and I had at birth wasn't anything more serious and can basically be chalked up to the stress of labor and delivery. All of this - every single bit of it - points to the sovereignty and goodness of God. His plan was and is perfect. I have been so blessed by this pregnancy, birth story, and baby we brought home. All of it has worked to refine me and to open my eyes to how everything points to the Lord and his provision for us.

Harrison and I are so in love with our sweet girl and are so excited for the journey that lies ahead of us.

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