This morning while taking a hot shower I began the process of attempting to scrub off the remaining sticky residue left on my wrist from the IV tape. I began picking at it as a natural reflex, but then I started to actually think about it and I felt the familiar emotions that go along with the ending of your pregnancy and beginning to your life with a new little. You spend 9 months in preparation and anticipation of meeting your little love and then one day, voila, they are here… and all of that waiting and excitement is done. You have lived through the experience and you now have the memory of how the love of your life entered this world. You’ll never relive those amazingly powerful moments over again, but the story will be yours to hold dear forever. And it is in that spirit that I sit here today to immortalize Carter’s story while it is still so very fresh in my head. So without further ado here is the story of how Carter Lee Foley joined our lovely little world.
It was Saturday and I was grateful to have Devin home for the weekend. I was one day shy of being 39 weeks pregnant and I was feeling every minute of it. I had been having contractions about every 10 mins for the past 4 days or so and could tell we were nearing the end. My mom came into town just a few days prior to be here to help with Sadie when we went into labor. We spent the day out. We went out to breakfast, went to the beach and the playground. Several times throughout the day I had some very serious signs that baby was on his way – but I kept this to myself out of fear of getting everyone too excited and then not going into labor.
Sadie was very difficult to get to sleep this night. It was 10:30 by the time her room fell silent and she actually drifted off. During the entire process of putting her to bed my contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I was timing them at 5-7 minutes apart. Still not wanting to jump to any conclusions I got ready for bed and laid down at about 10:45. Devin came into the room a few minutes later and we laid there talking for a bit when all of a sudden I felt this sensation like a little tiny bubble was moving through my belly very quickly and then POP! I sat up and stared at Devin with huge eyes. He looked anxious and said, “what’s happening?” I told him that I think my water just broke, but I checked, and no… I was completely dry. I laid back down and was in the middle of telling him what a strange sensation that was when all of a sudden I felt warm water escaping me. I stood up and took off my pajamas and watched as my water trickled onto the floor.
We stood there looking at each other with our mouths wide open trying to wrap our heads around the fact that this thing was happening. Devin got a bit frantic at this moment and asked what he could do while simultaneously grabbing random things in the bedroom and reorganizing and cleaning. I told him to get ready and I was going to get changed, call the doctor and wake up my mom. My contractions immediately went from a mild discomfort to very real pain. And within moments they were coming in every 2 minutes.
Before leaving the house I attempted to go into Sadie’s room and wake her to tell her we were leaving. I kissed her and hugged her and whispered in her ear that I was going to the hospital but would be back soon, but she was out cold. She didn’t budge. I kissed her and touched her face and wept over her. I was leaving my baby at home and would be coming back to my big girl, my eldest child, my first born. I left her room heaving over in pain but also feeling overwhelmed by emotion. I asked my mom to get me a piece of paper and a marker and I sat hunched over my bed while sobbing (half from pain and half from emotional takeover) and wrote a little note to Sadie so she wouldn’t think I disappeared into the night.
On the car ride over the contractions were coming in every 90 seconds or so, and the pain was unreal. Tears were streaming down my cheeks involuntarily and Devin had to keep reminding me to breathe. The short walk from the parking garage to the hospital entrance felt like an Olympic feat. We hobbled in hand in hand with my head hunched over and pressed into Devin’s stomach and were immediately brought into our delivery room.
I labored hard for the next 2.5 hours – sitting, standing, rocking, swaying, birth ball, toilet and anything else that would ease the pain. And you know what… nothing eases the pain. Except drugs. I was asked if I wanted an epidural as soon as I arrived but I wanted to labor as long as I could on my own. I didn’t want my progress to slow down and I also didn’t want to feel the same lethargic feelings I felt when I had my epidural with Sadie’s birth. But by 2:30am I was exhausted and felt like I was going to need a break from the pain to rest to ensure that I could complete the mission at hand – push a baby into this world. I asked the anesthesiologist to only give me a half dose, and that worked wonderfully, for me. I still felt my contractions, but they were more mild like they were in early labor and I was also still able to feel and move my legs. But most importantly I was able to rest and close my eyes for a little while and Devin was able to nap. By 5am my contractions had started getting intense once again. My doctor was called and told to come in. And I was prepping myself for delivery.
I was shaking so hard that my speech was trembled. The only response I was able to give anyone when they asked how I was feeling was that I was nervous. I don’t really know how to explain it well. It’s just that we were getting down to the moment where it was all on me. I knew I was about to start pushing and no one could help me achieve that task. It was just me and me alone that was expected to pull off this amazingly super human feat. And on top of this monumental responsibility, I was about to have two children. And even though I have had 9 months to prepare for this moment I suddenly felt unsure of myself. Could I handle it? Would I love him enough? Would I love him as much as Sadie? How could I? Will Sadie hate him? Will Sadie hate me? Will I still have my special bond with my daughter? Can my marriage handle the pressure of raising another person? It was an explosion of feelings and emotions and I was simply terrified. Devin kept telling me I could do this. I’d done it before and I did great. He told me I was an amazing mother and an amazing woman. I hadn’t verbalized any of my feelings, but somehow he knew exactly what I was thinking.
The time was 5:30am on Sunday, August 25th 2013 and I put my legs up on the bar and wrapped my hands tight around the harness and I pushed with all the life inside of me regardless of how unqualified I felt to preform such a fantastic accomplishment. It hurt. Oh lord it hurt. I wanted to stop. I wanted to ask them to just take him out by themselves. I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t getting anywhere. The doctor kept telling me to push and the nurse kept telling me I was doing great. I felt like there was no way I was going to be able to push through the pain. But at 6am on the dot I felt it. He was right there and I was about to push him from my body and make our bodies separate for the very first time. I pushed through the pain, just like my nurse had said to. And with this enormous feeling of release I heard a cry. It was my baby. My son. I started sobbing and crying a deep cry. An animal cry that most people will only experience in the most extreme of situations. Some people probably go through their whole lives never experiencing that overwhelming of a feeling. I felt blessed. They held up my boy and put him on my chest, and I wrapped myself around him and cried.
He is so beautiful. He is so beyond perfect. Only moments ago I felt that I wasn’t going to know how to fit him into my life and all of a sudden I don’t know how I’ve ever lived without him. Life is beautiful that way. We have such a capacity for love, it runs deeper and stronger than we can even imagine. And after a week at home with my new little man Carter I’m more in love with him and my family than I ever knew was possible.
Here’s to you my baby Carter. I love you deeply and I love you fierce. Enjoy this beautiful life you were given and enjoy this majestic world. We can’t wait to watch you discover it.