The Birth Story of Wallace Scott - Oklahoma Birth Photography & Videography
As I shared in my last blog post, reading birth stories has been a significant part of each of my pregnancies... as I have found that soaking in the experiences of other mamas has helped to "normalize birth" for me in a culture where most people never witness a birth first-hand until their own. Birth stories carry so much power... allowing others into a sacred, supernatural space where miracles happen every single day. It is my absolute joy to capture these stories... and I am SO excited to begin a "birth stories" series as I share them on my blog in both written and visual form.
The following story is so precious to me. This mama (a dear friend of mine) was the first to ever open my eyes to the world of unmedicated birth... and I must admit that the first time she told me she was planning one, I thought she had lost her marbles. But as I slowly watched her first pregnancy play out, and heard her birth story after her precious daughter's arrival - I was intrigued and motivated by the complete peace that seemed to surround this process that previously I had always considered more of an "unfortunate right of passage" than something truly beautiful and to be enjoyed.
Being able to be present the second time around was a dream. Kacie labored with so much peace and control (as you'll see in the video) and literally breathed her baby out in a matter of just a couple minutes when the time came. It was a whirlwind of a day, I had been at the hospital since the afternoon before with her husband's brother and sister in law who were welcoming their surprise gender baby... and had been receiving numerous texts from Kacie throughout the day/evening wondering if they were in labor (this mom & dad had decided to keep the event of her labor private until after baby arrived), to which I obviously couldn't reply with any sort of affirmative or negative response. So when I got a call sometime between 3-4am from her husband Kaleb (while momma was in the middle of pushing), I let it go to voicemail, assuming they were probably just having a little bit of insomnia and hoping for an update... knowing they'd text me or call again if it was important.
When the nurse came in the room not long after asking us if "we knew where his brother was," I knew something was up... so I slipped out of the room in an available moment and called Kaleb back to discover that sure enough, Kacie had just checked into triage having gone into labor in the middle of the night. I quickly called my back-up photographer, and let her know there was a slight chance I might be needing her depending on how things played out... and then let my sitter know I'd be at the hospital longer than expected. The next few hours were beautiful and full, heading to the OR with Kacie & Kaleb's sweet sister-in-law to welcome her little one - and then capturing all of the sweet postpartum recovery moments while bouncing across the hall periodically to check in on Kacie (whose labor had stalled temporarily, as if her body/baby knew she needed some time to focus on the health/well-being of her family members). After a couple of hours, I was able to transfer to my "new digs" in Kacie & Kaleb's room full-time, just in time to reflect on the insanely beautiful coincidence of these soon-to-be "twin cousins" before her labor reestablished. I'll let her voice pick up from here...
I can’t really share the birth story without going back to the very beginning.
We found out we were pregnant the day after Thanksgiving and already knew that Kaleb’s brother Nate and his wife Heather were also pregnant and due two weeks before us. We told the family on Christmas morning that they were expecting not one, but two new grand babies over the summer. Heather’s due date was July 26 and mine was August 9. July 26 came and went and Heather was still pregnant. We were all on baby watch as she passed 41 weeks. They weren’t announcing when they were going to the hospital so anytime we didn’t hear from them for a few hours we assumed it was baby time, and then it never was.
On August 3 we went to dinner with Kaleb’s parents and a family friend at Charleston’s and no one had heard from Nate and Heather all afternoon so we all had a sneaking suspicion that it was baby time for them. Kaleb and I actually drove past their house after dinner to see if Heather’s parents were there because we knew they were supposed to be watching their older girls…I don’t much like surprises.
At the restaurant I was feeling really really sore and was waddling around, which I just credited to overdoing it that day. We got Ros from my parent’s and I was super grumpy and finally just walked out and sat in the car because Kaleb was taking too long to get outside. I was so over it. The 100+ degree days were wearing me out. Once we got home I immediately got in the bath, which I did pretty much every day. I noticed I was leaking some colostrum and it was toxic-sludge yellow, so I texted Kaleb from the bath that it was weird. We headed to bed around 10 and at 1 am I woke up to a pretty strong contraction. I got up and went to the bathroom and came back to bed and I had another one, and another one. I was awake enough at this point to not be comfortable in bed anymore. I got up and down to the bathroom a few times because my stomach was feeling crampy and finally decided to get in the tub again.
In the tub I actually downloaded a contraction timer, and in between contractions I e-mailed my assistant an “out of office” response because I hadn’t set one up yet and I guess something in the back of my mind told me I better get my ish together. My contractions were consistently about 4 minutes apart while in the tub. I went back to bed and laid down for a minute and finally woke Kaleb up and told him something weird was happening. He asked if we should finish packing our bags or call the grandparents to come stay with Ros and I said no but finished packing my bag anyway. I think my body knew it was happening but my mind was not on board at all. Finished packing our things and I put on makeup cause Lord knows I couldn’t look ugly if it was baby time. Contractions were still very consistent but I could talk through them and they were manageable.
Kaleb went ahead and called his mom to come over around 3:30 and she headed over right away. We loaded up and Kaleb’s mom arrived to stay with Ros. I was super emotional because she had asked me to cuddle her in our bed that night as a delaying tactic to not have to go to bed like she does every night and I told her no. Mom guilt. So I hugged and kissed her in bed and said goodbye to her.
Once we got to the hospital Kaleb said “that’s Nate and Heather’s car!” and confirmed our suspicions that it was, in fact, their time as well. Which was also weird when we got to triage and told them our last name because they almost got us confused for the other laboring Kinney’s. I just remember thinking, “what on earth are the chances of this happening?!” Here we are 5 days before our due date and they are 9 days over and we are actually here having babies at the same time. What the what.
I got to triage and the nurse said I was dilated to a 5 and that we were going to be admitted. Another bizarre moment because my entire brain still refused to believe the whole event was going down.
This is where it gets weird.
So we get to our room and find out through the nurses and our birth videographer (who was also Nate and Heather’s), that she had been pushing for 6 hours at that point and had to go to get a C-section. (Aside: Our birth videographer literally thought we were just being super nosey about Nate and Heather when we called her at 3 am and hadn’t answered her phone. Like we were so annoying that we actually went to the hospital in the middle of the night to wait for the birth that may or may not have been happening. Still makes me chuckle. ***Brittany's note... mama was in the middle of pushing so I couldn't answer regardless, lol! But did initially assume after a day of calls/texts seeking info that this was another attempt for an update... As Kacie mentioned above, she doesn't like surprises! ;) I do however remember mentioning the call to Kaleb's brother as "odd" and wondering if something was up.*** ) We were walking the halls and Nate came out to the hallway and I just burst into tears. I know Heather’s plans for her birth were changing and it just broke my heart that the birth she had in her mind wasn’t happening. Then it was like a trigger flipped in my body and my contractions all of the sudden majorly spaced out and were not strong AT ALL.
Our bodies are so, so smart. I truly believe my brain told my body that we had other things to worry about at that time and stalled out my labor. It was like this from 6 am to after lunch. Heather came out of surgery, we waddled across the hall to see her and meet our new baby niece, Esther, and I cried more with Heather. We saw her 5-year-old twins come to meet baby sister and all of these events further spaced out my labor. It’s not a bad thing (I actually think it’s really cool), but what are the chances?! It was really special to me that we were able to be a part of their experience (even though it was supposed to be a surprise).
My birth crew was there—Brittany (videographer) had been up all night and switched from one birthing mom to the next, Kris (photographer) and Kylee (Kaleb’s cousin and doula) were all there and there I am feeling nothing. This is where things were getting tricky in my mind. I seriously asked the doctor if I could just go home and come back to try later (mind you I’m dilated to a 6 at this point). I just could not jump back on board. I kept checking my phone for work e-mails because I had fully intended on working all week. Someone had to quote Beyonce for me before I realized I needed to get to work (“Strong enough to bear the children, then get back to bidness.”) So we started walking and using the breast pump to get things going again. I put up my phone and deleted all work apps.
It was around 2 p.m and the birth crew left to get food and I labored in the tub trying to get focused again. Using my visualizations and birth breathing from hypnobirthing helped a lot, but I was still so discouraged because at that time we had been at the hospital 9 hours and I felt like we had a long way to go. We walked, pumped, tried different positions and worked through contractions until my doctor came back just after 5 to check me. I decided I wanted her to go ahead and break my water cause I could tell baby was up and down and hadn’t wedged down like he needed to. Once she broke my water around 5:30 or 6 my contractions definitely picked up. I got in the tub again and things were getting pretty intense. I listened to my music and continued my birth breathing until I was done being in the water.
Got out and got in the bed and things go fuzzy from here. My whole body was convulsing and Kaleb kept asking if I was cold (I couldn’t verbalize that I was in transition so I just kept telling him no). I was laying on my side in bed and I remember saying I needed a break, I was so tired. I think by then it was about 7 p.m. Everything I knew about birth told me I was in transition but still, my brain was really struggling and I think it boiled down to the fact that nothing was happening according to my plans. I told Kaleb very seriously that I wanted an epidural and the nurse pretty much told me ‘no’ so that was out. At this time I felt I needed to sit up a little so they dropped the feet of the bed and raised the back to a 90 degree angle. They pulled over the tray table and raised it high so I could lean over it. I was sniffing peppermint like crack because I was starting to feel nauseous. It was at this point at the end of a contraction that my body did a little push. *this is both the most exciting and most terrifying part of natural labor. Your body totally takes over and there is nothing you can do.
I knew I needed to tilt my hips forward a little bit but I knew it was going to hurt REAL BAD. So I did it. I got into the position I knew was going to bring baby out and I did about 2 contractions here until my body was full on pushing and roaring. I may have been speaking in tongues at this point but I know I was yelling for help and saying I couldn’t do it. ***Brittany's note: What's amazing here is from her birth team's perspective, Kacie was SO calm. Her "roaring" was gentle grunting sounds during contractions - and while we knew birth was getting close, we had NO idea just how close it was! I've never seen a mom be so calm and seemingly relaxed as her baby was making his (very fast) descent. She was seriously breathtakingly beautiful to watch!***All of the sudden I feel major pressure and it feels like I am ripping in half and/or pooping myself. I reach down and sure enough, there is a head halfway out of me! Uhhhh, what do I do?! I yelled “HEAD! HEAD!” and Kris ripped back my covers to reveal that I am not fooling around. Someone calls the doctor and the nurse rushed over and finished delivering the head. Someone asked me to push the rest of the body out but I told them I needed to wait for another contraction. Once the next contraction hit, the body was out and it was over. The whole pushing process took about 3 minutes from start to finish and Wallace Scott was born at 7:56 p.m.
Looking back on the day, I don’t think there was anything that I would have changed except for my own attitude. I needed to give myself a pep talk but instead I wanted to give up. It was like my body said, “Nope, you’re going to do this and you’re going to be okay with it.” I’m so grateful our sweet niece Esther was born that morning and that Heather was okay. We got to have such a great family experience going from room to room in the hospital those next two days which I will never forget. Another amazing example of what women’s bodies are capable of. I am so grateful.