I am so thankful to be able to share this testimony of God’s faithfulness and answered prayers as we welcomed Baby Kade into the world.
My last checkup was on Friday (6/12) and I was 40 weeks and 1 day. I was 2 (maybe 3) cm dilated and my next appointment was scheduled for Tuesday, June 16 to “discuss our options” & monitor the baby again. (Here is the last update before having Kade.) The doctor was really encouraging and didn’t seem too concerned, but after my appointment, it was a constant battle of the mind to take my thoughts captive to the Lord and not fear. Honestly, I wouldn’t care at all when he came except for the fact that I thought he was going to be big. Babies over a certain birth weight make VBACs less likely to be successful, so that’s where fear crept in. My heart’s desire was to have a natural VBAC delivery so we can be faithful to have however many children the Lord wants us to have. (Once you start getting up there in the number of c-sections, the greater the risks.) I was past due according to my due date (although I know based on tracking my cycles and my ovulation dates that my official due date was actually June 15th), so I really feel like I was in constant prayer for the last few days before Kade was born. I recited Scriptures out loud. I prayed out loud. Jonathan prayed out loud for me. We both prayed daily and very specifically all throughout pregnancy too. (Supernatural Childbirth gave us some great ideas for what to pray specifically.)
**A few of the Scriptures that were especially encouraging to me in the final days as we inched closer to the due date and then past it were Psalm 37:4, Proverbs 3:5-6, Philippians 4:6-7, Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 26:3, and Romans 8:28.
I really thought Kade was going to make his arrival early. I’m not sure why- maybe because everyone else thought so? (And because I was having some major Braxton Hicks in the last few weeks.) I should have known better though, as I prayed specifically for Kade to be 100% ready and fully developed (full term), and for him to come in the Lord’s perfect timing. And although it became tougher to be patient in the final days, I am so thankful for our Flag Day baby and every specific prayer that was answered. God definitely grew our faith and trust in Him over the last few weeks and even more so after the incredible birth.
Contractions started to really pick up on Saturday (6/13) and later in the day some of them were getting more intense, so I knew they were doing some work…but they weren’t coming regularly enough to time them. We went to Brian & Laura’s Saturday evening for dinner and so the boys could play. She fed us a yummy supper (which turned out to be my final meal & perfect fuel for labor) & then we all went on a walk through their neighborhood to the lake. It was beautiful! I could definitely feel the contractions picking during the walk and they continued for the rest of the night. Before we went to bed I told Jon to get a good night’s sleep because Sunday was going to be the day. I pulled up the WebMD Pregnancy app on my phone because it has a contraction timer where I could just press a button without having to wake Jon up to time them for me. When we went to bed Saturday night around midnight, contractions were about 15-20 minutes apart. I finally woke up around 3:30 am and texted my friend Erin (who is an awesome L&D nurse and my best friend Dana’s little sister) around 3:50 since I knew she was awake and at work (where I was going to deliver). We chatted for a little while and she encouraged me to rest and plan on coming in when they were 4-5 min apart for an hour. I rested off and on for the next few hours.
Around 7:40 am I had my bloody show. This was very different from my mucus plug a few days earlier. Not painful at all, but I knew it meant that my cervix was doing some serious work! (Erin confirmed for me after I sent her a picture. Seriously, I’m surprised all my midwife, L&D, & OB friends haven’t blocked me from their phones after some of the pictures and “Is this normal” texts I’ve sent. Love you guys- you know who you are!) Contractions were becoming more intense and anywhere from 8-13 minutes apart after that. I woke Jonathan up and told him he should take a shower and get ready because I didn’t know how quickly I was going to progress. I also texted mom to tell her we weren’t going to make it to church and asked her to come over to get Jase when she was ready. At 9:30 am I had a piece of toast with strawberry jam and my favorite 1/2 Spark/Rehydrate mix. I decided to lay back down and rest for about an hour. At that point, contractions were still coming 8-10 min apart and I marked them as “moderate” on my tracker. I remember telling Jonathan that if they got any more intense I’d probably have to get an epidural. He encouraged me & told me I was going to have to go to somewhere else mentally (so I did). He was also cracking some jokes that morning and I was NOT finding them humorous! Ha! During contractions, it helped for everything to be really quiet (I don’t like anyone talking to me) and I would close my eyes and take deep abdominal breaths (in my nose, out my mouth). I would also pray through them and visualize my cervix opening and pushing the baby down, thinking of it as a muscle contraction rather than anything painful. That helped a LOT. They were lasting around 90 seconds. During the peak I felt a little nauseas and at the end of the contraction my face would get really hot. Then whew- relief!
Around 11:00 or so I got in the shower while Jon got everything loaded in the car. Mom left with Jase and after I got ready I spent some time laboring on the ball. I made sure to stay really hydrated and ate a few crackers. Around 12:45 contractions were coming every 5-6 minutes and were pretty intense. We were trying to decide when to go to the hospital and I continued to pray that the Lord would let me know the perfect time. At 1:00 I had more bloody show. I asked Jon to sit in the rocking chair on the front porch with me for a few minutes and I ate a popsicle while we were out there. Around 1:20 I told Jonathan I thought it was time to go. I could just feel it. Mom had just pulled up with Jase to lay him down for his nap, so I gave him a hug and a kiss and off we went!
On our way to the hospital I shot Tiffany a message because I knew she was on call and I wanted to give her a heads up we were coming in. I didn’t know how far along I was and I was hoping if it wasn’t as far as I’d like that they’d let me go back home (although I thought I was pretty far along.) We arrived at the hospital at 1:50, and when we pulled in Jon dropped me off at the front while he parked the car. I went to sign in and had a contraction right at the registration desk. I moved over to the side until it passed. I just breathed through it with my eyes closed. They were coming every 4 minutes at this point and lasting around 1 min and 45 seconds. After I checked in they had me call the nurse to tell them why I was there. I didn’t know what to say so I just said “Hi there- this is Danielle Butler. I’m about to have a baby.” Ha! I think I said the same thing when I came in to have Jase? She asked if I was in labor or being induced, and when I answered she told me to have a seat and she’d be right out. Jonathan walked in about the time another contraction was coming on and that was right when the nurse opened the door to call me back. I asked her if she could wait for just a second and I had another contraction right there in front of a huge group of people in the waiting room. I’m sure they didn’t think too much of it because I just closed my eyes and breathed through it, but it was a BIG one! Up to this point I wouldn’t let myself mark “severe” on the app because I felt like I was giving in to pain rather than viewing them as a muscle contracting, but I finally marked this one as severe.
The nurse took me to a triage room to check my progress. As soon as we got in the room my mom was calling Jonathan and the alarm company was calling me because mom accidentally set off our alarm system! Haha! Gotta keep it interesting, right? When I got on the table, the charge nurse (Jessica- who was fantastic) checked me and asked “Ummm, how long have you been having contractions?” I didn’t really know how to respond, so I said “Well I started timing them around 3:30 this morning.” She said “Honey, you’re 8-9 cm dilated. We need to call the doctor ASAP!” She asked me a few questions about the birth plan I filled out on the website, gave me a gown, and hustled me back to a HUGE labor & delivery corner room- room 8. I texted my prayer warrior friends & fam to let them know I was at the hospital and I also texted Dana & Erin to head that way. When we first got in the room I had to potty, but of course had a contraction right before I made it to the bathroom. Once I made it through that and into the bed, they immediately got the baby hooked up to the monitor (the doctor was freaking out a little that he wasn’t already being monitored) and started trying for the IV. Bless their hearts, it took 4-5 tries and everyone kept missing because apparently I am very “valvey.” I know they felt terrible, but honestly, I was already in the zone at that point and pretty much tuning everyone out so I didn’t even notice. Once they had the IV in (they ended up having to put it in the crease of my left arm where they typically draw blood) Tiffany checked me and said I was definitely 9 cm and probably almost ready to push, but my bulging bag of waters was still in tact. She asked if I wanted her to break it and I asked her not to. (I wanted to avoid any intervention possible.) I LOVED how relaxed and laid back she was. She sat on the couch and chatted with Jonathan and that made him feel more at ease too. Dana & Erin got there around that time too & plugged in a diffuser with some essential oils and got me a cool rag for my forehead.
The baby looked perfect on the monitor- praise the Lord! Contractions weren’t super close together- they were giving me time to recover between- but Jon said they were monsters on the monitor and lasting about 2 minutes. Shew! I could definitely tell. I sat on the ball for a while, and after a few contractions I felt my water break. They called Tiffany back in to let her know my water broke and she asked if I felt the urge to push. I was still feeling somewhat nauseas at the peak of contractions and Dana used a little bit of peppermint essential oil on my left wrist to help with that. When Tiffany checked me this time, she said my forebag of water hadn’t broken yet, but if I would bear down and push some on the next contraction it would probably break. She was feeling with her hand at the same time, and sure enough when I pushed it broke too. Jon said my contractions got even bigger at that point. Tiffany told the nurses I was fully dilated and ready to go when I felt the urge to push.
I definitely felt it, but was a little unsure/nervous. I finally felt it strong enough that I just thought “Okay, let’s do this!” I started pushing around 3:40. I was still having some pretty monstrous contractions, but thankfully with a good amount of rest time before another would come. That rest time was my saving grace. It is good to know for future labors about my contractions though, because that’s why I waited so long to come to the hospital- they weren’t close enough together yet. Even though they weren’t close together, they were definitely doing some SERIOUS work. That is exactly what I prayed too.
Jon said I probably could have pushed him out on the first or second try if I wouldn’t have stopped to rest, but I tried to listen to my body. I kept my eyes closed most of the time and was pretty much in the zone, so some of the details are a little fuzzy. I was able to pull my own legs back, but I know Erin had one leg and Jessica had another to help me during the heat of it. Between contractions they reminded me to completely relax and let everything go- to relax my face and breathe deep. They kept telling me I could scream if I needed to, but I’m just not much of a screamer. I would kind of “moan” through if something was intense enough that I needed to make a noise.
Everyone’s coaching was extremely helpful!! I guess from my old athletic days I kinda like someone to be in my face encouraging me, and they were definitely an encouragement. They told me to curl up behind the baby and Tiffany told me to use my ab muscles to push him out. They told me to bear down and reminded me to fill my lungs up with air. I could feel when I needed to push and when to take a break, so I could control that part. Tiffany kept massaging the entire time too to help stretch and make room for Kade. I remember asking if I should squat to help and they all kept saying there was no need because he was RIGHT there, and they encouraged me with every pushing round that I could get him out that try. They were trying to get me to reach down and feel his head but I wouldn’t do it. Ha! Thankfully he looked perfect on the monitor the whole time too, even though I never looked at it one time.
I remember when I started crowning and feeling the “ring of fire” people talk about. That was some pretty intense burning, but I knew that meant we were close. I heard them call to tell nursery to come in at that point so I knew they were serious that it really was close! I rested through one contraction with his head crowning (Jon said that Erin made a good point that it was helping everything stretch out) and they told me the burning and pressure wasn’t going to ease up, so to really bare down on the next one and he would be here. I ended up pushing through about 6-7 contractions I think and it took about 20 minutes total.
Tiffany told me to reach down (Jon said she had to tell me a few times because I wasn’t doing it) and I pulled Kade out and up to my chest. Andrew “Kade” Butler was born at 4:01 pm. He arrived 100% natural via successful VBAC and was perfectly healthy and beautiful.
The last two songs on Pandora that were playing as he was born…
He laid on my chest while they did the final work of delivering the placenta, cutting the umbilical cord, and sewing up a few small little internal tears (probably from resting through that crowning!). Jon cut the umbilical cord (he said he doesn’t necessarily want to do that next time- hahaha!) and all the nurses were super pumped and kept commenting about how healthy the cord looked. I could feel it touching me and I did NOT like it! Ha! Yuck!!
They were joking that only nurses would get that excited about a great looking cord & because we donated the cord blood that someone was going to get some really good stuff from that. We prayed specifically for the cord as random as that sounds- that it would be just the right length and not wrapped around his neck, so I have no doubt that was just another answered prayer.
Getting stitched up afterwards was kind of uncomfortable, but thankfully it didn’t last long & they used Lidocaine to help numb it. The baby was getting checked out at that point. They also gave me Pitocin to help my uterus contract afterwards and they said that is standard, but I wasn’t too thrilled about that after I’d just gone through everything without any meds. I’ll ask more about that at my appointment because I’d really like to avoid that with the next baby if I can. I know breastfeeding helps the uterus contract so maybe they’ll let me try that route next time. One thing they did start (that I LOVE!) since Jase was born is waiting 6 hours after birth before they give a bath. They said research shows it’s better for the baby, and I totally agree.
Kade had a lot of mucus, so they helped us use the aspirator to clean out his mouth. His blood sugar was a little low too which was making him kind of shaky, but they said some skin to skin and nursing should do the trick. (They told us if his sugar was still low next time they checked him that they would have to take him for 2-6 hours, so we prayed it would pick back up.) After those few things and getting his footprints, Jon got to hold him for a few minutes before they gave him back to me to start nursing. These pictures absolutely melt my heart!! We have some similar ones from after Jase was born and you can just SEE the love in Jonathan’s face.
He latched right away & started nursing like a champ.
After our hour they give you for bonding time, the nurse from nursery (who was also FANTASTIC) came back in to weigh, measure, and check him. His sugar was back where it needed to be, his APGAR score was a 9, and she said he looked perfect.
Those dimples?!? I can’t even…
Dana captured some sweet pictures for us that we never would have had without her and I am so thankful for these pictures. We are so, so thankful for every single person that had a hand in the delivery. We prayed for them very specifically and we know the Lord hand picked exactly who was going to be in that room. Tiffany was amazing.
All of the nurses- Jessica, Lacey, and Erin- all were so encouraging and helpful. As soon as we told them we were trying for a VBAC they were all about it and so positive and on board, which is exactly what Jonathan prayed. Lacey said she wasn’t even supposed to be working that day and was getting ready for church when she got the call to come in.
We are so, so thankful for God’s faithfulness in EVERY detail!! No GBS meant we didn’t have to hurry to the hospital for antibiotics and I could labor at home. I am so glad it was a Sunday afternoon- perfect timing for us and our families. We arrived at the hospital at just the right time. (They said if it had been any later they might not have let me try to VBAC because we wouldn’t have had time to get the baby on the monitor.) Tiffany was already there and ready to go. The nurses were believers and so positive and encouraging. Dana and Erin were both able to be there and help. Jonathan was well-rested. The baby was much smaller than we expected (which was great!) and perfect on the monitor the whole time. My water broke on its own. The pushing phase didn’t last long. He weighed 7 lbs and 7 oz, and Jonathan said he thinks that was a little “God wink.” There was no external tearing which we prayed specifically for.
Thank you, Lord, for so faithfully answering our prayers. Thank you for the lessons we learned during the pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Thank you for growing our faith and reminding us to trust in your PERFECT timing and PERFECT plans. Thank you the promises in your Word and being thankful to answer when we claimed those promises. Thank you for every prayer that went up for us. Thank you for letting yourself be shown in EVERY detail so you alone can get ALL the glory for our sweet boy. You are so good and we know we are blessed. We will put this sweet moment in our “pile of stones” as the Israelites did so we don’t forget the goodness and favor you have shown us. You are good all the time, and all the time you are good.
Welcome to the world, Baby Kade!!
“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” –James 1:17