Cassie Clark.
epic shit.
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Auden Grey's Birth Story

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I remember every detail, every emotion like it was yesterday. The birthing experience was one of the most amazing and profound experiences I have ever endured.

I want to share Auden's birth story for a few reasons; one being I wanted to share my personal perspective of the natural birthing experience from a first time mother. I remember being completely frightened by the idea of giving birth, not knowing what to expect and  not knowing how it would be or what it would feel like. You can read a million books on the subject matter but until it happens you never truly understand how where your mind will take you or how your body will respond.

The second reason was I wanted to share Auden's birth story for anyone who was considering a natural birth. Originally I thought I wanted the epidural for pain relief but after reflection, I decided a natural birth was right for me and the baby. Sticking to our original birth plan was something I am really proud of. Delivering Auden without the aid of medication tested everything I had. I was able to prove to myself that I can do anything. The mind and body are powerful tools and when used together can have truly amazing results. 

Lastly, as a personality type who has always struggled with relaxing or chilling out, I have found the secret. The trick for me was to calm my mind by reminding myself that I would get to spend time bonding with my daughter. She is the most important thing I have ever created and I was able to enjoy every moment thinking of her with my husband. 

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We were due on December 16, 2017.  I had it marked on my calendar as Little Baby Ingram's Debut. My last day of work was December 13th which was a Wednesday. And a snow Wednesday it was! The snow was falling extremely hard and it took me two and a half hours to get home from work that night. I felt like the universe was making sure I left in an epic way. I was anxious about my maternity leave. As the Creative Director for Cadillac Motor Shows at Czarnowski, leaving in the amidst of one of the biggest Motor Shows in the middle of our season gave me anxiety. As a designer, I struggle with letting things go. I am a huge perfectionist when it comes to the design and execution of an Auto Show, specifically the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). However, I had finished NAIAS before I left. I knew everything would be fine, but letting go of work was something I knew I would struggle with. 

To add more challenges, our townhouse experienced a sewer back-up in the basement that same week. My husband thankfully dealt with the maintenance staff that entire week. It was a nightmare; our entire basement was a wreck and I could not do ours or the babies laundry. We spent the next few days cleaning the house from top to bottom for the arrival of our little bundle.  

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On the day of our babies due date, I realized how paralyzed by fear I was and how surreal everything felt.

I kept saying "please Little Baby Ingram, take your time. You can come out when you are ready." Over the next few days after the house was in order, meals were prepped, laundry was done and our hospital bag was semi-packed, I allowed myself to unplug and try to focus on us and the baby. What this meant was trying to relax and mentally preparing myself by meditating, visualizing a safe, fast birth. 

 

 

We had our last OBGYN appointment on the 14th and scheduled our inducement for the 28th.  At that point, I was still dilated at 2cm and had not grown in dilation from the last appointment. I knew I did not want to be induced, so I began researching safe ways to induce labor. Everything from exercise, walking up and down the stairs excessively, to drinking raspberry tea and eating spicy foods. 

JR thought the baby would come on the 23rd. He had a guess that our conception date and thus our due date was about a week off. So as oddly as it sounds I prepared myself for the possibility that he was right and that our little bundle would be coming within the week.  

On Friday December 22nd, JR and I had a great day. We ran a few errands, had a late lunch and watched a few movies cuddled on the sofa. I started experiencing contractions around 2 pm. I had read that sometimes contractions can start but then stop. I thought I was experiencing early contractions and dismissed them. By 10 pm they began to get more severe but again I just thought they were mild, early contractions. Everything I ate or drank had a metal taste to it which I found to be odd. I began to really contract by 1 AM when JR and I went to bed. The contractions intensified; it all happened so quickly. I held on to the towel rack in our bathroom and breathed through the contractions. I kept telling myself out loud, "I can do this". I was hell bent on taking a shower, blow drying my hair and putting on a little bit of makeup. I thought I could have made it through the night but while I was in the shower I realized that I was not going to make it til the morning. JR called our doctor to inform her that I had began labor. I was in a lot of pain and was bleeding heavily by this point so, JR who had not packed his clothes yet threw a few things in our suitcase, let our dog outside, watered the plants and left plenty of food and water out for our cat. 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though we live less then a mile away from the hospital it felt like an eternity driving. The contractions were growing stronger by the minute. Walking from the parking structure to the front door took a lot of consternation. Every step was painful. We checked in at 3AM, and were sent to a triage room where I was given a gown to change into. An IV was started and my vitals were taken. They also checked my dilatation; I was surprised to find out I was 7 cm dilated. My husband signed a bunch of papers and notified everyone of the birth plan; which was a natural birth and no epidural. I breathed through each contraction and had to hold my the left side of my lower back. I would arch my back forward with each contraction just to try to find some relief.   

Walking to my labor room felt like another surreal experience. The hallway seemed as though it kept growing. The labor nurse was incredible and held my hand as we walked to the room. JR was behind me every step with all of our stuff. Seriously it looked like we were moving in. Once I was in the room, everything happened very quickly. My incredible doctor arrived, and checked my dilation once again. This time, I was 10 cm dilated.

Here we go- this is it-
it all felt like a dream. 

I was laying propped up on the bed and before I knew it, it was time to push. My nurse and JR held my legs up and provided the best moral support and cheering. I was so lucky to have such great coaches by my side. Pushing with the contractions was a relief; It required a lot more consternation than I thought it was going to. During each contraction I did three sets of pushes. I closed my eyes mostly to remain concentrated. I needed everything in darkness in order to continue. There were moments when I started to 'lose it' when I lost control of my breathing and was aware of the pain. After a short while, our doctor said out loud "There is the head". I could feel the head and the pressure weighing down. The doctor asked if I wanted to see and touch the head. "No", I said. Of course I wanted to touch my baby but I needed to maintain concentration and I knew touching the baby would break it. I knew I did not want to prolong labor nor did I want my baby to have a cone shape head so I pushed with all my might. 

I pushed until I heard a small cry let loose.

"Do you want to know what you've had?", our doctor asked. As the baby was being pulled out, she showed it to JR. "It's a girl! She was given to me and placed on my chest. She was beautiful and perfect. Seriously; my heart melted. 

"What is her name?" our doctor asked. "Auden" I replied. "Auden Grey Ingram. " 

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Auden Grey Ingram

Born: 6:05 AM

Weight: 8lbs. 1oz.

Length: 20 inches

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We are truly blessed. 

She is the most incredible gift!

I have never been in love with anything so much; she simply is amazing, incredible and so so beautiful! JR and I have created the most perfect daughter. I felt like my heart was going to explode with so much love! I still feel the same way every time I look at her.  

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