All photos by Hayley Kaze.
Here is the story of how Raleigh Rex Frame finally joined our family on June 10, 2016 at 12:54 pm. He weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces and was 20 inches long. Besides some jaundice, gratefully he is healthy as can be even though he was technically 1 day premature. So, onto the delivery! Is there an echo in here? Now that I am on the other side I can say, yes, yes there is. After a few weeks of basically the same events, false alarms, contraction history, things were looking like they might be a verbatim copy of my other deliveries. Strep B positive – check! Dilated to a 6 at 36 weeks – check!No one can really tell me why, but my body dilates (with Callum I was dialed to an 8 at 37 weeks and not in active labor) quickly and not necessarily in tandem with any contractions. So the fear of delivering at home or in the car is overwhelming for both Russ and I, and as much as I love him that’s one adventure I don’t need to experience. Luckily the team of doctors and midwives discussed my situation and just one day before I would hit 37 weeks they finally sent me to the hospital. With lots of pre-labor contractions that week, I was so grateful to finally get admitted! So! As what has now become a routine in my deliveries, they admitted me, started a round of antibiotics for the Strep B (healthy but dangerous bacteria that a baby can pick-up in the birth canal that I apparently carry all the time and really, in combination with dilating, the only case they can make for inducing someone at 36/37 weeks.) Then similarly my midwife told me once the antibiotics were administered she’d break my water and we’d get the show on the road. Something must’ve changed since my last delivery 5 years ago, because what was a 4-hour round with both Hayes and Cal’s delivery was only 1 hour with Raleigh’s. I had told everyone that the baby would likely be coming at 4-ish – my sister watching my kids, our birth photographer, my family, etc. etc. We had decided that since it might be our last baby we’d do the delivery just us two. No one else in the room, but Hayley who would be taking pictures. We thought we had time and honestly hadn’t even texted everyone we should have (whoops, Russ’ mom!) Then, at 12:30pm my midwife comes in and says “Okay, ready to do this?”
Exsqueeze me?I immediately got butterflies and luckily we had warned Hayley so she was already on her way. They broke my water and then literally everyone just stared at me. Waiting for something to happen. A contraction? For that dumb smile to be wiped off my face? I was still feeling great so my midwife went to get a soda or something, presumably. I rolled to my side since Raleigh was posterior and was told that might help with his descent, and then WA-BAM. Hey actual labor contractions, nice to see you again. Russ coached me through two sets while I breathed like my life depended on it and asked him for an update on our girl Hayley. On that third set I looked at my nurse and said sort of incredulously “I think I need to push.” She ran out to the hall and I heard her yelling at my midwife, “Get in here now or you’re gonna miss this.”My midwife checked me and she said “Okay, if you’re ready, push on your next contraction!” I felt like I was on a runaway train watching nurses all run around setting everything up. I looked at Russ and said “Where’s Hayley now?” then we looked out the window and saw her full-on sprinting with her camera bag into the hospital. It was hilarious. So I opted to wait out one more contraction and the second I saw her face through the door, put my feet up in the stirrups and got to town. This is the actual first picture she took of the event (so intense, I wouldn’t normally post such a thing but it illustrates the speed perfectly!)Now for all of you who say (and I agree) my deliveries are too easy and it’s just not fair… I do not get out of any pain when it comes to pushing. As soon as I started I was not a happy camper and really just half-heartedly into it. Can I back out now? They kept telling me to pull my legs up closer to my chest, but I just didn’t wanna. Don’t make me do it! Luckily it only took 5 (3 rounds of total wuss-fest pushing and a couple of actual okay, you’re not going to get a baby here by being a baby, Emily) rounds of pushing to get him here and that sweet relief washed over me. I couldn’t stop crying, and I have that same feeling wash over me often ever since. Just absolute gratitude. I am so grateful he’s here. The long wait, a miscarriage, the 36 weeks of nausea, throwing up, hip pains, what-have-you. So grateful to hold his tiny face in my hands. The anxiety and anticipation, the wondering and hoping, the praying. He is a miracle to me and he is absolutely everything to me and to my boys and to Russ. We have stars in our eyes for our Raleigh Rex. From every face he pulls to burp he rips it is cheered on by a family who loves him. (This was taken right before Hayes and Cal walked in to meet him!)Sometimes when I am in a big crowd of people I think to myself – Every. single. person. here had someone carry them for 9+ months. Every single person here had a mother who shared their body, felt the pain and worry, and I’d say (and hope) the majority of which did it with love in their hearts, honored at the chance. It blows my mind! Raleigh was born the same day as the shooting in Orlando, and I thought about how scary of world I was bringing him into. Panicked for a moment. And then I thought about that crowd of people – each one with a mother who lovingly carried them, delivered them, cared for them. There will never be as much hate or fear as there is love in this world. It is just statistically impossible. Mothers alone ensure that the scales will never be tipped.