How do I even begin to put to words how the birth of sweet Duncan unfolded on August 8th...
I was enthralled when Cheyanne asked me to capture her baby's birth. Luke & Cheyanne are one of the rare families that decided to discover baby's gender at birth. That takes some serious will power ya'll! They have 2 children prior to welcoming the new baby; sweet Finn (oldest) and beautiful Lucy (youngest). They decided on names for a boy and for a girl and kept those names "secret" as well. They love keeping us all in suspense :D
It was so surreal to be able to capture and witness the raw emotions, happiness, and love this family displayed while bringing a beautiful baby into the world.
If you haven't watched Duncan's Birth Video, view it here:
Here is his story, as told by his beautiful mother, Cheyanne White:
Around 5 am on Monday August 7, I had a contraction that woke me up out of a deep sleep. "Woooow" I thought. "That was different..."
I had been experiencing prodromal labor all that previous week, and especially over the weekend. Uncomfortable, sometimes painful, regular contractions that would come for 4-5 hours and then completely stop.. talk about disappointing and discouraging! I had joked that I would probably end up giving birth at home because when I really was in labor, I'd be in denial because of how many false alarms I've had!
After that first contraction, I fell back asleep, only to be woken up by yet another contraction not long after. So I got up and made Luke breakfast, and packed his lunch. He went to work and I figured I would stay up since I would have to take Finn to his therapy session at 9 am.
At this point I was having contractions coming every 15-20 minutes. As I'm driving the kids to Finn's therapy, I notice my contractions coming about every 10 minutes now. They continued to be that way until we got home around 10:30 and I tried not to think about it too hard or get my hopes up because of all the false labor I'd been experiencing before then.
Sure enough, not long after we got home, my contractions just stopped! 5 1/2 hours and then they come to a screeching halt. If you've ever experienced prodromal labor, you'll know that those contractions can get mighty uncomfortable and hurt, which makes you think it could be the real deal!
I had a prenatal appointment at 1:10, and at the end of my appointment, my doctor had asked if I wanted him to strip my membranes. He told me it would only work if my body was ready, and I'd know within 24 hours! I told him let's go for it, and so he did it!
As he was leaving the room I asked him "You really think I could I be seeing you tonight?!" And he said it was a huge possibility. I replied with "please do not get my hopes up!"
Immediately after leaving to go get pick up the kids from my mother-in-laws, my contractions started to pick back up. I called Luke and told him what was happening, and reality really set in that we could possibly be meeting our baby in less than 24 hours.
After picking up the kids, I went home and did some exercises on my birthing ball to help the baby position itself in my cervix while Finn and Lucy napped and I watched YouTube videos on drug free childbirths. I had my mind set that I wanted to see how far I could go in attempting a drug free birth! Haha, I obviously had no idea what I was in for.
Later that evening we had plans to eat with Luke's family at Longhorn, and the contractions were still coming but maybe one every 20 minutes. I wish I would've ordered a huge steak, but I ordered country fried steak that the waitress recommended along with mashed potatoes and corn on the cob. I could barely finish it all but if I knew what was about to come, I probably would've forced myself to! After dinner we were going to walk a little over a mile back to Luke's parents house, so we loaded up the double stroller and Luke pushed the babes while I power walked with my mother-in-law Cheryl back to her house. At this point I was just feeling so much pressure like the baby was about to fall right out of me with a few contractions here and there. We got back to their house a little after 9:15, and before leaving to go home, I had Cheryl, my father-in-law Joey, and brother-in-law Sage pray over me.
I'll never forget when Cheryl prayed "Lord we know your will will be done, but we ask for a baby tonight"
Right before getting home, I had a very intense contraction that kinda took my breath away and I just knew in my heart that these were the beginning of the contractions that were going to bring me my baby.
Once we got home, I immediately went to bed to try and get some rest and Luke got the kids ready for bed. The contractions started coming every 10 minutes and I just couldn't believe that this could really be happening. Not even 30 minutes after we got home, the contractions started coming on so intense, I couldn't lay down anymore, it was way too uncomfortable and hurt. I texted my mom around 11:30 pm and told her what was happening, and that if I was still having these kind of contractions at 1 am, I'd go to the hospital. I decided I'd take a shower to see if that would help me some. I stayed in the shower a while and before getting out, the contractions started getting closer to about every 5-7 minutes and lasting 45 seconds to a minute long. I could handle them pretty well if I was up and walking through them, but the moment I laid down it hurt so bad! I was so tired though, having been up since 5 am.
1:00 am came, but I was still questioning if these contractions were the real deal, haha! Yes they hurt and yes they were coming closer together- but I was so afraid once I decided to go to the hospital, they would stop or they would tell me I wasn't really in labor. So I told myself at 2 am I'd go to the hospital if they were still coming... and not long after I told myself that, the contractions had gotten to where I had to really focus on my breathing and I could barely walk through them.
We had plans to call my father-in-law for him to come over to our house to watch Finn and Lucy once I thought I was in labor, and with it being in the middle of the night, I didn't want to have to wake him up and have him come over for nothing if I ended up really not being in labor, and I didn't want to wake up luke because he would still have to go to work in the morning so I had the thought of maybe driving myself to the hospital. Haha I just didn't want to be an inconvenience to anyone! 2 am rolled around, my contractions were coming every 4 minutes and I wanted to try taking a shower again because the hot water on my back really helped through the contractions. I labored for about 35 minutes in the shower before deciding to switch the shower over to a bath, and as soon as I sat down in the bath, I could barely even get back up, the contractions hurt so bad! I then knew it was probably time to go to the hospital. I woke up Luke and told him, and I also had him call the Labor & delivery unit and explain to them what was happening and see if it sounded like I was really in labor haha. Looking back I don't know why I had any doubts!
Luke then called his parents and told them it was time, and my father-in-law was on his way.
I snuck into Finn and Lucy's rooms before leaving, and got so emotional thinking about the fact this was the last time I'd be home with just two children and that Lucy would no longer be the baby of our family.
I already had my hair and makeup done from the day before, so I just touched it up a little between contractions and finished getting a few things together while we waited for Joey to arrive.
It's around 3:45 at this point and as soon as he got to our house we left, and it was the longest 10 minute drive to the hospital ever. I had two strong contractions that I just had to grip on to the car door and hold Luke's hand for. Once we got to the hospital, I could barely even walk in and had to stop and wait for the contraction to pass. Now I really knew I was in labor and stared getting so emotional haha. We had to check in at the front desk at the ER, and between contractions I told her my information. There was a doctor who just happened to be right there who came around to talk to me and ask me questions. "How far along are you?"
"39 weeks, 2 days" "how many is this?" and since I was in the middle of a contraction I just held up the number 3, and he was like "there's triplets in there?!" Haha I thought he was asking me which pregnancy this was for me! Luke told him there was only one baby. I then was wheeled up to the labor and delivery floor where I was hooked up to some monitors. They checked me & I was dilated to a 4 1/2. I was admitted to the hospital, yay! Luke called his mom and my mom and they were on their way!
Oh the emotions thinking back to walking into the room where I would soon be meeting our sweet baby. Seeing the little bassinet, the warming table, it all seemed so surreal. I labored for the next 2 hours walking around our room and in the bed. The contractions were taking my breath away, but I remembered reading the more you tensed up and held your breath, it made the contraction worse. So I tried to relax and just took deep breaths and prayed literally every contraction asking God to give me strength! I wanted so badly to go all natural but I just had to have something to at least knock the edge off, so my amazing nurse Alyssa gave me some pain medicine through my IV which definitely helped and made it to where I could at least relax, I almost wanted to take a nap! I was so tired having been up for around 27 hours at that point. But the medicine wore off quickly and my doctor was there to check me and break my water. I was only at a 6 and I was kinda disappointed I wasn't further along. My doctor told me if I wanted an epidural, now would be the time to get it because once my water broke, those contractions are on a whole other level. But I had another nurse I had told I wanted to see how far I could go all natural, and she said if I could just get to a 7 and through the transitional stage, I'd be good and it'd be just about time to push. So I knew being at a 6, it was either now or never that I get the epidural, and I decided to go ahead and get one just so I could relax and rest and maybe that would help speed up my dilation. It took about an hour for the anesthesiologist to come and by the time she did, I was in so much pain, I didn't know how I was going to be able to get through a contraction while getting an epidural... but I did, and once I got it, I wasn't completely numb but it definitely made the contractions so much more bearable. I was able to relax and next thing I knew, I was at a ten and ready to push.
I was attempting a VBAC, and one of the risks in that is your uterus rupturing where the previous scar was. I had to sign a consent early that morning that basically said I fully understood I could die if my uterus were to rupture while pushing. But, I knew my God was faithful and everyday I prayed for a non-complicated vaginal birth, I had also given birth to Finn vaginal so I knew I could & would give birth to this baby vaginal as well.
After my nurse told me I was at a 10, I just couldn't stop crying.
I was so thankful I had made it this far and I just couldn't believe that in a matter of minutes I'd be meeting my baby.
Duncan Taylor, or Olive Joe.. who were you going to be?
That was my main motivation in pushing. It took me less than 20 minutes of pushing and as soon as I caught a glimpse of my baby, I was so in love and just knew it was a boy. My doctor opened his little legs which revealed he indeed was a boy and I immediately reached for my sweet Duncan and pulled him up to me as fast as I could! I can't remember who it was, but someone told me "woah he's still attached to you!" (Talking about the cord) haha! Giving birth is such a beautiful thing. How could you not believe there was a God after seeing and experiencing that? I wish I could relive it just one more time. It's amazing how your heart has a hidden, dormant spot that suddenly flares to life when your baby is placed on your chest for the first time and your soul suddenly remembers him, "oh, hi. It's you."