Saturday, September 3, 2016

Conyer the Baby's Birth Story

Funny how things are so different this time around. In a lot of ways. But for the sake of this post, let me start by saying it's taken me 362 days to sit down and write the story of Conyer's birth. I've thought about writing it almost daily. The weight of such a beautiful story weighing on my mind. And the guilt of not having written it yet weighing on my heart.

But here I am, a few nights before Conyer Edward Kroboth turns one. And this is the story of his perfect arrival into our family.

Pregnancy number three was no joke. I was older, and I felt it. I had two other boys to tend to, and a business to run. And I was tired. I had my usual four months of morning sickness, proceeded several months before by 10 weeks of additional sickness when we had our miscarriage. So, I was very much over being pregnant. And very much anticipating the arrival of our third son.

We had a name picked out. His big brothers were so excited to meet him. And I knew this time around it'd be a different kind of welcome for the newest Kroboth. Asher was only 22 months when Elias was born, and he had no idea what had just happened. But this time, Asher was keenly aware that he was going to have a baby, and Elias followed suit. I couldn't wait for them to meet him. I knew they'd both be the best of big brothers and that the introduction would be a moment to remember.

A few weeks before Conyer was born, my Mema passed away. It wasn't something any of us saw coming, but it also didn't happen super fast. And I found myself again in the heart wrenching position of losing a grandmother, a beautiful life, while bringing another member of the family into the world. When we all last spoke to Mema she told us that she was excited to hold the baby, and that she'd hold him all day long. The boys agreed. And I know she held him. I know she held him each and every day from the moment she passed into heaven until he was in my arms.

In memory and honor of her, we changed our planned name to Conyer. Mema's mother's maiden name was Conyers. I read the obituary and knew instantly that this is who he was meant to be. Conyer. Edward after his dad, Pop Pop and Grandpop. Conyer Edward Kroboth. A name with intense love and meaning.

I quickly learned the term prodomal labor. Very common with subsequent pregnancies said my genius doula. It meant I was going into 'false' labor nightly for about a week before the real labor kicked in. Rusty had long since relocated to the guest room because my snoring was out of control. And each night, I'd go to bed, feel the contractions begin and each morning they would ease off. I remember being frustrated at the time, but I wasn't too terribly uncomfortable. My sleep number bed and extra space helped me stay comfortable. And I had a calmness about me this time around. I knew I could have a vbac again. I knew my body was capable. I was simply waiting.

September 5th, I went to bed wondering if tonight would be the night that things kept going. Somewhere around the middle of the night I knew the answer was yes. I laid in bed a while. Walked around the house quietly for a few hours. I leaned into the contractions. And I even thought that this couldn't be it because it wasn't nearly as intense as it was with Elias. But, really, I think I knew what to expect and I was doing a better job of mentally rolling with each contraction and embracing them.

Around 6 am, I woke Rusty up and told him it was time to go to the hospital. He was in shock. Now? Right now? (I was thinking yes dear, I let you sleep through all this.) We had to call Nini to come stay with the big boys. Of course this was the one night she had concert tickets, didn't hear our 25,000 phone calls and texts and Rusty went and knocked on her door. That got her right up and over, though half asleep.

We arrived to Rex just before the shift change at 7 am. I was sent to triage and still had thoughts of maybe this wasn't active labor because I was entirely too calm and managing things far too well. The contractions seemed too short to me, but the belly monitor said otherwise and I had progressed from my previous OBGYN check up. So, I was admitted.

Labor kicked into high gear pretty quickly. I had some IV meds to take the edge off. Soon after, though, I was ready for my epidural. It took very nicely, but I still felt the intensity of the growing contractions so they upped the meds. Then I felt like a solid log with no ability to move an inch. It took the nurse and Rusty to so much as scoot me. But I was progressing and comfortable so we went with it.

A few times, the charge nurse and the OBGYN would slip into the room with a few others. I would soon realize this meant that Conyer wasn't behaving well on the monitors. An internal monitor was placed and we positioned me in ways that he responded best to. The last time the crowd came in to see what was going on with him, the nurse suggested replacing the internal monitor. The doctor went to do just that and said, "Let's have a baby instead!"

You know, it's been almost a year so the specifics are fuzzy (Sorry, Con!). But I think he was out in literally about three pushes. I was in shock at how fast, calm and easy it all was. I heard him cry. I cried. I was so relieved he was here safely. We spent our time skin to skin and tried nursing. I'd soon learn that his jaw was retracted which presented a whole slough of challenges to come. But in that moment, he was just my sweet, new sleepy big baby. All 9 lbs 1 oz of him! Born before it was even lunchtime!

Big brothers came to visit as soon as we got settled into our room. And boy, they swooned over their Conyer. I can still see so vividly them perched on the end of my bed holding their baby. And just like that, there were three Kroboth boys.

I've heard people talk about how beautiful their labors were and how they'd do it again in a heartbeat. And I thought they were crazy crazy crazy. But truly, I loved loved loved my labor with Conyer. I had my awesome doula friend supporting me through all the false starts. She was by my side at the hospital. Rusty seemed calmer. We all had this unspoken 'we've got this' attitude. And there was just a sense of peace and strength through this labor.

My anxiety doesn't like knowing what not to expect. And this time, I knew how labor felt and I welcomed it with open arms. I breathed. I didn't even do as much timing. I just went with my gut and let my body guide me. I think Ashley and Rusty both would tell you they could tell a difference in my laboring. And I felt it, too. It was an incredible experience. Bringing Conyer into this world with confidence and peace is one of my grandest accomplishments. (And I'd do it again. I'm not going to do it again, but I would.)

I look back on his birth and my heart swells. It was just seriously so exquisitely powerful, wonderful and gave me the best third little boy a mom could ask for. Doesn't get any better than that.

Now excuse me while I go dream of labor and delivery, recalling each moment that brought Conyer the Baby into our lives. Such an awesome, freaking awesome morning was September 6, 2015.

Happy almost birthday, my littlest love.

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