Kennedy’s Birth Story

Hi friends. I have been meaning to write Kennedy’s birth story, but it has felt like such a daunting task! How do you put in words the most meaningful moment of your life? I was, and still am, afraid that I can’t do it justice. I think you other mamas will agree with me, there is simply nothing in the world like meeting your baby for the first time.

Earlier in the week at my doctor’s appointment, we found out that I would be induced the following Saturday, a few days after Kennedy’s due date. To be completely honest with you guys, an induction was not what I wanted for the birth. I always thought I would go into labor spontaneously. I pictured my water breaking at our house, Chris driving carefully and anxiously to the hospital as I labored in the backseat, both of us filled with excited anticipation to meet our baby girl. I wanted a natural labor, and an induction was definitely not a part of my birth plan! Although I was disappointed, I have to admit that there was another part of me that was so happy. We had a “deadline,” so to speak. The waiting was killing me, and by Monday morning, I would be holding my baby in my arms.

I remember that Thursday and Friday were such a whirlwind for us. We washed baby clothes, packed our hospital bags, set up her bassinet and changing station, and cleaned the entire house in expectation for the coming weekend. I had so much anxiety just thinking about her birth. Would she be heathy? Would it hurt? I went on so many walks around our neighborhood that week, praying to God and trying to quiet my mind.

Friday night was the strangest night of all. I look back at that night and feel like I was in the twilight zone. I was on the cusp of motherhood, a grand new adventure I couldn’t wait to start, but it was bigger than that: I was also exiting what had been a wonderful stage of my life. Up until that night, it had been just Chris and I. We loved our life together just the two of us. I couldn’t fight the twinges of sadness that came over me as I thought about how mine and Chris’s relationship would never be the same. That night, Chris and I walked around Target leisurely (for probably the last time in years!), picking up a few last-minute baby items. Then we picked up our “last meal” (Olive Garden take-out, of course). We prayed together that night, put all of our bags by the door, and then it was lights out to try to get some sleep before our alarm clocks went off.

Before we knew it, it was Saturday morning! We woke up at 3 a.m. for our scheduled induction at 5. I got ready at the house and we loaded up the car to leave around 4:15. There was hardly anyone on the road, but there was a heavy fog. For how nervous I was the previous night, this morning I felt strangely calm. I could hardly believe that we were about to meet our baby for the first time.

We got to the hospital around 4:45 and checked in. We were pretty much the only people in the hospital at this point, except for the staff! I told the nurse at the front desk that my doula would be coming later with an inflatable bath tub (part of my birth plan), so they gave us a large room to accommodate the tub. This might sound a little nuts, but even though I was getting induced, I was still hoping that the experience would be as natural as possible. I wanted to go easy on my body and was hopeful that if we got the process started artificially, my body would “take over” from there. The hospital paired us with an awesome nurse, Lauren, who supported my goals for the birth. We had a solid plan in place: whenever I got to active labor, our doula would come and set up the birth tub so I could labor in the water. I was hoping that I wouldn’t need an epidural. And we were all prepared for it to take 24 hours or possibly more, since all my friends told me getting induced could end up taking a long time, even days.

Our doctor, Dr. Lewis, got to the hospital that morning and we had a long discussion with him about the best way to start the induction. I told him my wish that I wanted to mimic natural labor as much as possible, and how I was worried about the cascade of interventions that is more likely to occur with an induction. Dr. Lewis checked me and I was already having contractions, and I was 80% effaced, but only 2 cm dilated. He suggested that we start off with Cytotec and a Foley Balloon to see how my body reacted. (The Cytotec is a pill that is inserted next to your cervix and helps to “ripen” the cervix, while the Foley Balloon is a small saline-filled balloon that’s placed in your cervix to help it open manually.) I called my doula to tell her the plan and she agreed that this was a good way to start out for a more “natural” route – she said if it went well, then my body could go into labor on it’s own. The doctor placed both in my cervix and told me that the Cytotec would last for four hours, so he would come back to see my progress once the four hours had passed. Meanwhile, our nurse, Lauren, would be checking on us regularly and monitoring the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions.

At this point, I did not feel very much at all! It didn’t hurt when the doctor placed the Foley Balloon in my cervix, and even though I was having contractions already, they weren’t painful at all. Chris and I spent the first hour watching Good Morning America on TV and passing the iPad back and forth while we played Scrabble as my contractions slowly got stronger. About an hour in, Chris helped me unhook from the monitors so I could use the restroom, and THAT is when I started feeling pain! I had been laying down all morning, but when I stood up I could feel the balloon inside and all the sudden the pain was INTENSE. The contractions were also starting to get stronger and more painful, and I had to grit my teeth and focus on breathing in order to get through them. For the next hour we watched TV, talked with my parents on the phone and did anything we could to keep me distracted. About three hours in, our nurse suggested that we could walk around the halls of the hospital if we wanted to. I was in a lot of pain, but she said that being upright and walking could help speed up the process, since it would allow the balloon to put pressure on my cervix. Once my cervix was open enough, the balloon would fall out on its own! (Remember I was only 2 cm dilated that morning, so my cervix had several more centimeters to go.)

Chris and I walked around the hospital halls VERY slowly. I was basically grasping on to Chris for dear life! The contractions were taking over my whole body and wow. It was way more painful than I thought it was going to be. When we got back to the hospital room, our nurse checked me again and when she tugged on the balloon, to our surprise, it popped right out! I IMMEDIATELY felt relief from the balloon being out of my body. I realized just how much pain I had been in when the balloon was gone… I was still having contractions but could walk with ease. Once the balloon came out, the nurse checked me again and found that my cervix was dilated to 5 cm. She even commented that she “felt the baby’s hair” while she was checking!

So where to go from there? Dr. Lewis checked in on me, and I got hooked up to the monitor once again. The baby’s heartbeat was perfect. However… my contractions were incredibly close together, and the doctor was worried that my uterus was getting “over-worked” due to so many contractions. Dr. Lewis said pitocin was definitely not a possibility since my contractions were so close together. In fact, he wanted to give my body an hour to rest and hopefully my contractions would remain strong but space out a little more.

I felt amazing at this point. The balloon was gone and, while my contractions were close together, they were a lot less intense than they had been earlier in the day. We called our doula and she said that since my cervix had dilated so much, it was possible that the baby would descend into my cervix and my water would break on its own. This would be the best case scenario, as I did not want to take any other medicine or get put on pitocin. Our doula sent us a few positions to try to get baby lower in my pelvis, and also suggested more walking and doing a few squats. So that’s exactly what we did! Chris and I walked some more, then put on Game of Thrones and I did squats around the hospital room and bounced on the yoga ball. At one point, I stood up after bouncing on the yoga ball and felt and heard a small “pop” in my pelvis. All of the sudden, it felt like I was peeing myself! “I think my water just broke!” I exclaimed as I ran to the bathroom.

From here, the rest of the day is almost a blur. After my water broke, my body went into labor immediately on its own. The contractions returned, as strong as before. Our nurse Lauren came in to check me again and discovered that the baby’s station was a zero. At this point I was having trouble holding conversations with anyone because my contractions were getting so intense. Chris called the doula to tell her that the baby was at a zero station and she immediately hopped in her car to race to the hospital – apparently we were having a baby soon! It’s at this point where my memories decrease and all I can remember is the white, hot pain of contractions. Prior to delivering, I thought I might be strong enough to handle a natural birth. But oh my goodness, when you’re in the thick of it, it feels UNBEARABLE. I was probably in the “transition” phase of labor but did not realize it at the time. All I could focus on was getting through the pain for the small break in between contractions. When I called for a trash can because I thought I was going to throw up, Chris looked me in the eyes and said, “Caitlin… should you get the epidural?”

And I think you know the answer to that question. 🙂 Our doula arrived around 6 p.m., right as I was getting the epidural. I felt almost immediate relief from the epidural. The pain was gone, replaced by very itchy arms (a weird side effect, I suppose!). Our nurse, who had been with us all day, mentioned that she wouldn’t be there for the birth since she was leaving at 7 p.m. I told her I had a feeling that it might happen fast – and I was right!

Around 30 minutes after getting the epidural, I felt an IMMENSE amount of pressure “down there.” I wouldn’t necessarily say that I had an urge to push… but I just felt like there was so much pressure down there that I might explode. My nurse told me to try to push for a second, so I did… and then she said, “Okay STOP PUSHING! I’m going to go get the doctor right now!” Apparently she was going to meet our daughter after all!

This part of the story is where I tear up. The BEST part of the story… the part where we get to meet her. I can see it all clearly: the hospital staff rushing in getting the room prepared. The lights were dim, but somebody turned on a bright light that felt almost like a spotlight on me. Chris was to my left, holding my hand, and the doula was to my right, whispering comforting words in my ear. It was like being in the eye of a storm: everything was so calm and peaceful. Dr. Lewis would say, “Okay, it’s time to push!” and I would take a deep breath and push with all of my might. Fifteen minutes later, I heard a tiny cry and Dr. Lewis was handing me my beautiful, screaming baby girl. I couldn’t stop the tears from gushing out of my eyes; they came involuntarily and in excess. She was (and still is) the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my entire life. I couldn’t believe she was our baby… the one I’d carried all those months and grew inside of me. I felt like the Grinch when his heart magically doubled in size… it was as if I could physically feel my heart expanding. She was perfect. She was our daughter, I was her mother. I looked over at Chris, and he was beaming ear to ear. Miss Kennedy McColl Dorsch was finally here.

xoxo

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42 Comments

  1. Lena

    Wow Caitlin what a beautiful story! Wiping tears away as I write this you wrote it beautifully.
    I cannot wait to have children in my future, I can’t wait to be a mother, and I pray to God every night that my future is filled with my amazing boyfriend as my husband and healthy and happy children just like you, Chris, and Kennedy. I loved reading this thank you so much for sharing. I have loved following you on the journey and had been waiting for your birth announcement for a long time 🙂
    You are all in my prayers and I am so happy Kennedy is here.

    3.29.21Reply
    • Stephy

      Such a wonderful, honest and truly beautiful birth story! 💗💗💗

      3.29.21Reply
  2. Dianna S.

    Tears of joy reading your birth story. I’m so happy for you and Chris! What beautiful memories to always cherish. Your baby girl is beautiful! Congratulations!!

    3.29.21Reply
  3. Kelly

    This is so sweet!!!!! It makes me miss childbirth so much — we have been done for 4 years now (weeping), and even though it’s irreversible… that just makes me wish so badly we could do it all over again. There is TRULY nothing like it!

    Thank you for sharing your story!!!

    3.29.21Reply
    • Kaley

      Thank you for sharing your story! I am expecting my daughter in July and she’s our first baby😊. I know my labor experience will be different but reading your story does calm my fears. I teared up as well at the end because I know the day we meet our sweet Emersyn will be so amazing. Thanks again for sharing!

      3.29.21Reply
  4. Rawan

    Thank you for sharing this with us! You made me re-live the birth of my baby girl and had all the feels again, I cried remembering that wonderful day and the most memorable 30 minutes of my life at the end right before meeting and holding her. Kenny is perfect, God bless your beautiful family <3

    3.29.21Reply
  5. LB

    I had so itching with my second epidural! Almost made it hard to focus on the task at hand!

    3.29.21Reply
  6. Kate

    Sweet Caitlin!

    I just legitimately teared up. Thank you so much for sharing this special moment with us. You have a beautiful way with words and in all my years of reading SC&P, this is my favorite post yet! 🙂 Congratulations!!!

    3.29.21Reply
  7. Rachael

    Thank you for sharing! I am getting induced next week and terrified!!! This post helped so much!

    3.29.21Reply
  8. Patty

    Beautiful birth story! Can I ask why you were induced? Was it due to a complication or just routine practice?

    3.29.21Reply
    • Kaitlin

      It is not standard practice to induce labor, but instead is based on multiple factors including the doctor’s expertise for the best possible outcome. If someone is overdue- there’s infection risk, potential placenta issues, IUGR (intra uterine growth restriction which endangers mom and baby), preeclampsia etc.

      The rate is about 30%. The pitocin (synthetic oxytocin) is known to intensify labor contractions significantly because it doesn’t cross the blood brain barrier. The brain can’t release the endorphins it would in response to oxytocin (body produced hormone) reducing the perception of pain.

      There is no wrong way to birth.

      I’m sure you’re curious- lots of birth details are simply too personal to choose to share online such as tearing etc (obviously every person is different. I loved the post labor poop viral post from a diff blogger bc I had NO idea that was a thing women experienced. Negatives/challenges of labor and 4th trimester are rarely mentioned, including pelvic floor problems. Women in France receive 6-8 weeks of pelvic PT post birth by default!).

      I hope this information was useful. I am nursing student.

      3.30.21Reply
  9. Caitlin,

    What a beautiful birth story! You and Chris are so blessed with your sweet baby girl and I can tell you will be amazing parents.

    Although it may have been hard to put your birth story into words, Kennedy will enjoy reading it one day. Life is ever changing with children and with God by your side, you will be guided and loved. Follow your instincts, I’ve learned as a mom of 4, my instincts are always right.

    Welcome to a beautiful family Kennedy, you are one lucky baby girl!

    ❤️Colleen

    3.29.21Reply
  10. Kristen

    What a beautiful story and experience. Don’t feel bad about your birth story changing, my original plan was natural with no epidural as well but when I started vomiting from the pain I jumped at the opportunity for it!
    Once you meet that little baby, then it doesn’t matter how they got there just that they are safe and happy in your arms 😊

    3.29.21Reply
  11. I went so smoothly even with little surprises – so happy for you and I agree-that is one beautiful baby girl!

    3.29.21Reply
  12. Amy

    Oh goodness I am over here sobbing! Thank you for sharing!! I am 10 weeks pregnant and this gives me so much peace 🙂 you were so kind to dm me awhile back so many helpful tips you and Chris tried while TTC and I am forever thankful!!

    3.29.21Reply
  13. Tory

    This was beautiful abc reminded me so much of my birth. My daughter, Eloise, was born January 12 and I was induced as well. My body also decided it was ready and after minimal interventions, I started laboring on my own. I am currently holding my sweet Ellie as she naps and I couldn’t help but tear up as I read this and remembered the day I met her. It was truly the best day of my life.

    3.29.21Reply
  14. Brooklyn

    Thank you for sharing your amazing and beautiful childbirth story! I’ve been following you and your journey from the beginning and I wish you and your family all the best. Truly inspiring!

    3.29.21Reply
  15. Allison

    Love reading this! Makes me remember giving birth to my son… the movement when you meet them, all the pain is worth it. Beautiful little girl 🙂

    3.29.21Reply
  16. Danielle

    Such a beautiful story! I went into labor with my baby girl on Saturday 1/16 and had her that next morning on the 17th. Reading your story brings back all of those joyful emotions that I hang on to so tightly. It is such and intense but beautiful moment and there is nothing like seeing your baby for the first time.

    3.29.21Reply
  17. Court Wicks

    Such a beautiful story. I am filled up reading it! I remember when I laid my eyes on my son for the first time. There are no words! I am due in 11 short weeks with a baby girl and cannot wait to experience all of this again.

    I follow you daily and love your content!

    Much love from Newfoundland, Canada
    Xx

    3.29.21Reply
  18. Anon Reader

    Yay! Love a birth story. Did they give you a reason for the induction, or was it just that you were past your due date? Also, did you end up using the tub?

    3.29.21Reply
  19. Gaëlle

    Aww this is so beautiful I had tears while reading. I’m so happy for you guys! I am pregnant with my first baby (a girl too) and I cannot wait to meet her! Thank you for sharing.

    3.29.21Reply
  20. Tina Miller

    I loved reading your birth story. I’m a grandma now and my daughter gave birth about 2 weeks before you delivered sweet Kennedy- I loved tracking your pregnancy with my daughters. The love is so intense and forever unconditional. There will be highs and lows but the love you have for your children is like no other. Now you k ow how your mom feels ❤️

    3.29.21Reply
  21. Kimberly

    What a perfect baby! And radiant parents! And such a beautiful story! Caitlin, you gorgeous mommy, you did it! You did it. And she’s just so cute!! Congratulations to the three of you!

    3.29.21Reply
  22. FULL TEARS!!! SO so happy for your sweet family, what a beautiful birth story! Congratulations again! xo

    3.29.21Reply
  23. Laura Farrar

    Such a beautiful story Caitlin!! Praise the Lord for good doctors, nurses, doulas, and epidurals! 😅 you’re a rockstar!! And Kennedy is perfect. Congratulations!!!

    3.29.21Reply
  24. Libby

    Wonderful story! So glad you and Kennedy were healthy and all is well. Such an amazing blessing to have her added to your family. Thank you for sharing your story!

    3.29.21Reply
  25. Heather

    Beautiful story. My boys are now almost 12 and almost 10 and I remember both of their births so clearly. There is no stronger love than your children.

    Xoxo

    3.29.21Reply
  26. Angie

    Awe such a beautiful story! I was crying of happiness for you and your family. I still remember the day my son was born. What a beautiful moment 🤍✨

    3.29.21Reply
  27. Dina

    Such a sweet story! So happy for you and your new little family. Congratulation, she is such a cutie pie.👼🏻

    3.29.21Reply
  28. I just teared up! Thank you for sharing your birth story! I’m engaged and got me thinking about my fiancé and I’s future child. Such a beautiful story and actually calmed my fears about birth! So happy for you guys and congrats! Kennedy is beautiful! 🥰

    3.30.21Reply
  29. Thank you for sharing!!! I am currently 34 weeks and very nervous about the birthing experience! This helps calm my anxiety.

    3.30.21Reply
  30. Crystal Z.

    This was beautiful! Teared up multiple times but especially when you described your heart expanding, that’s exactly how I have pictured it will be (28 weeks today). Thank you for sharing!

    3.30.21Reply
  31. Jessica

    Such a beautiful birth story. I gave birth to my daughter last week and it was such a surreal moment. I keep reliving the day in my mind and already wish I could go back to that special day. You inspired me to write my own birth story! It was great to follow your blog during my pregnancy. Wishing you happiness and health always! Xoxo

    3.30.21Reply
  32. She is seriously the cutest baby! I also went into my first birth with the idea that I could do it natural (I have a high pain tolerance) but it was so much more painful than I imagined due to the type of birth I had. Epidurals are a God send!

    Congrats again to you and Chris!

    3.30.21Reply
  33. I’m so glad things went mostly how you had hoped they would and you got to safely deliver your sweet little baby girl! My son’s birth about 4.5 months ago was nearly the complete opposite of what I had anticipated, but the end result was still just as great!

    3.30.21Reply
  34. Sarah

    Thank you for sharing! Such a beautiful story!
    I’m 7 months pregnant and love hearing about these experiences.

    3.30.21Reply
  35. Amy

    This is so beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing.
    Would love a post (if you are comfortable) with the ups and downs of adjusting to motherhood and the “4th trimester” as the call it. I think this would be great for all the future moms out there who are really nervous about these things and have struggled with anxiety themselves!
    Cheers
    Amy

    3.30.21Reply
  36. Amanda Hinkle

    What a beautiful birth story Caitlin! Even after birthing 3 amazing children myself and working in the past as a labor and delivery RN and having the privilege to be a part of so many beautiful birth stories, I still tear up reading ones like yours. So happy for you. Each stage of early childhood just gets better (and easier) with time. You are blessed 🙂

    3.30.21Reply
  37. Annie Clifford

    Can I ask at what point you did your hair and makeup!!! I’m trying to time mine for when I deliver in July!!

    3.31.21Reply
  38. This is so, so special. Thank you for sharing your birth story with us! I’m so happy for you and your beautiful, growing family. Kennedy is absolutely adorable! <3

    xx
    Key
    https://storiesbysuddreth.com/

    4.5.21Reply
  39. Amanda Peterson

    Beautiful story! Were you mad that your husband asked if you wanted an epidural when you were in transition? Congratulations

    4.9.21Reply