Happy 2 months today to our sweet Viv, Vivi, Vivian Cruz! Truth is, I’ve had this post written for roughly 3 weeks. However, I have been tweaking the post and having second thoughts on sharing. Last month was cesarean awareness month and similar to any mama in the postpartum stage I feel emotional. I’m also aware of other mama’s out there that may not have had the labor/delivery of their choice. Regardless if you did or did not, I love you all and respect each of you for your strength and courage of becoming a mom. This was the hardest journey of my entire life. We are all healing, dealing with our emotions as our hormones balance out and adjusting to having a newborn. This story is sharing a very personal journey and I hope you feel inspired, motivated, emotional, educated and maybe you’ll find something here that resonates with you. I’m also hoping that you may consider exploring a natural birth. Please like my page and/or leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!
After 3 long years… she has arrived! Vivian Cruz Crowder -7 lb 3 oz 19.5 inches long with brown hair, big beautiful almond-shaped blue eyes, long fingers, and feet. She didn’t just steal our hearts, she immediately made us realize that being parents is quite possibly the best job in the entire world. Our hearts were the fullest they had ever been. EVER! Everyone told us it would be different when it was your own, they were right! She is a miracle and the most beautiful gift from God.
Moments, days and just a few weeks away from egg retrieval and our first IVF procedure we found out we were pregnant. It finally happened! I can honestly say I’ve never been more in shock or never believed more in the good lord above. I would like to share a few contributing factors to pregnancy finally happening for us; patience, praying, relaxing/not stressing over when or if it would happen (this is easier said than done), a break from fertility treatments, sayonara hot yoga, and hello acupuncture and “me time” weekly. I also started to envision a baby in our future, in our home, in her nursery and forced and disciplined myself to think only positive thoughts. Thank you to my husband, my family, friends, Candace my chiropractor and Tracy my yoga instructor they helped me stay positive and mindful. And it happened!
Before sharing my birth story I thought it was important to share a few ways I prepared for pregnancy. From day one your mind goes complete bananas! Well, at least mine did.. I was overwhelmed with happiness mostly, but also thoughts of miscarriage, making appointments, reading articles on pregnancy, making a laundry list of house projects I wanted to complete before the baby arrived and a list to start the nursery. All while working full-time. Holy smokes, I’m going to be a Mom!
I truly LOVED being pregnant! I immediately thought about making life changes. I needed to ensure I was providing a healthy and happy environment for our growing baby. I switched my facial care products (due to active ingredients) and every product that I was putting on my body. Body wash, lotions, etc. I decided to switch to -The Éminence Organic skin care line (Made in Hungary) and oh so very lovely. I purchased these products from one of my favorite places to zen out- an organic spa -Raw Esthetics, in Lakewood, OH. This new skin care routine made me feel that I was making the best decision for my baby. Thank you to Kristen, Bailey and Maureen for their many tips and advice and keeping me sane throughout my pregnancy. I splurged and alternated between a prenatal massage, and an organic facial each month. It can do wonders for your mind, body and soul during such an important time for you and your growing baby.
Next up was switching up my diet, and let’s be real, the occasional Swenson’s cheeseburger slid its way in (with warning sans self-control) but my cravings were watermelon, strawberry/spinach salads, strawberry sorbet, chocolate, avo toast and eggs. LOTS! OF! EGGS! I eliminated coffee immediately as it was causing me to experience anxiety. Oh and Chipotle was a go to! My doc shared I needed to up my protein. I also snacked a lot – I bought the sargento cheese and nut packs, apples, banana’s, and the justin’s peanut butter packets. Yum! I also drank LOTS OF water! Sometimes I felt that I couldn’t get enough.
Also in preparation for giving birth was strengthening my mind, body and movements to give birth! From the beginning I knew I wanted to deliver naturally but knew I needed to prepare as much as possible. At 6 weeks pregnant I started BirthFit twice per week with a wonderful and inspiring woman Candace Gesecki- Cleveland Chiropractic and Integrative Health Center. She led us to tap into our power within. BirthFit allows women to take charge of their bodies and decisions in preparation for birth. It allows you to focus on your mindset, fitness, nutrition and additionally I received chiropractic work. My body was built to deliver this baby. The motivation to stay active (even on the toughest days) was reminding myself this was healthy for my baby and strengthening my body. I give all of the credit to this mental/physical preparation, and the mantras landscaping the walls, for how I felt in the delivery room on that Fri-yay. #bestweekendever After uping my game and knowledge of diet, and strength next up…. dah dah dah. My birth plan…
MY BIRTH PLAN… I wrote it thinking these people are going to think I’m a control freak. Oh wait… I am! Perfect! I wrote my birth plan as a wish list, with the understanding that it may not go as planned and that’s ok! Every birth story is different and unique and is inspiring to me to see how strong women truly are! Props to all you strong and beautiful mama’s out there! I knew I would need to be flexible for the health of my baby and myself. Oh and the sanity of my somewhat nervous husband! See photo of my birth plan below: please let me know if you have any questions or leave a comment.
It all started at Crocker Park On Friday 3/2/18 at Urban Outfitters (on my due date) with my soon to be sister-in-law Nikki “Allison” Chercourt! She’s a real babe and the most positive ray of sunshine you’ll ever meet! I knew I was having a series of ACTUAL contractions because I had experienced a few “actual contractions” the week prior and thought holy smokes how will I ever make it through more of this type of pain. The pain was real, real intense! I was attempting to hide it from Nikki. I was breathing and walking away so she wouldn’t notice or get worried. As we entered the fitting room to try the cutest tank bras ever, it happened again, and then again. Priorities people, these bras were definitely going to sell out quickly, they were amazing! I needed these bras for summer time and my delivery, ha! 😉 I had previously said if baby viv didn’t arrive by her due date I would “walk her out” – well I think we successfully did that, thank you Nikki! Nikki and I were both in shock after a trip to the ladies room and I knew THIS WAS LABOR! Nikki drove me safely back to Brecksville (away from my hospital) to meet Adam and potentially pack the car or labor at home. I wasn’t sure how this was going to play out. This was my first time having a child. I didn’t want to be sent home from the hospital but I also knew this pain was the real deal. Nikki and I are still unsure about what we discussed on that car ride but those unknown moments will forever be with me! And those damn tank bras are the best! Hell yes we waited in line, through some nice long breathing to mask the contraction pain!
AC looked calm, excited, nervous and so happy all at the same time. We were only home for 20 minutes before realizing the contractions were 5 minutes apart and we had 5pm Friday traffic to deal with. We took the hospital tour during our 7 week parenting class. Do you think we remembered where to go? Uh, No! Do you think I was in the wheel chair… Uh, no! If you think the many bags that were stuffed full were in the wheel chair and we had to ask where to get checked in, you win! We were so calm on the car ride, laughing, singing, admiring the sunset, and two teens smoking cigs at a stop light with no care in the world. But when we arrived at the hospital, it all fell apart. But only for a few minutes then we got our shit together and had a baby.
We arrived in Triage – YESSSS!!!! After being 1/2 cm for almost 2 weeks I was now 3cm. This was MUSIC to my ears! Finally some movement! They hooked me up to the heart rate monitor and the contraction monitor and said the doctor would be in to check me soon. Holy Smokes – quickly the pain got worse and worse… and I DID NOT want to be strapped to a bed. As we were waiting for the doctor to come and check again I asked to be able to walk around freely. This is what I envisioned and I was getting antsy. I learned many techniques to get through the contractions from our natural birthing class. I was sure to take notes of breathing techniques, leaning over the bed, bouncing on a exercise ball, and slow dancing with my husband. Laying in this bed I couldn’t use any of these techniques and the contractions were getting worse. The good news I knew and could tell my body was doing what it was supposed to as the contractions grew closer and closer. But oh boy did it hurt! They finally let me move freely in the room. I was having chills and my body was clearly in shock. I used the hair dryer to warm myself – a very quirky and odd habit of mine. Poor Adam, it started to get bad, I was growing impatient and he looked a little nervous! He made a quick phone call to my mom and the nurse. I was yelling in pain and started to bleed and just wanted to get to the natural birthing wing – where in the heck was this doctor to check me?
Finally the nurse came back and checked me. THANK YOU AC for calling the nurse not once but twice to let her know my patience was about to go out the window. GOOD NEWS – I WAS 5CM DILATED! They FINALLY agreed to take me up to the natural birthing unit to get me a room. We requested a room with a queen bed to have more space for our family, ask and you shall receive. Jackpot!
I was quickly greeted by a beautiful bright blue-eyed woman named JOY and she introduced herself as the midwife that would be delivering our baby. Now here is the crazy part… we’d never met. After quick conversation we realized we live streets away from one another and she had my husband and mother laughing almost the entire labor. SHE! WAS! AMAZING! And someone sent her to me for this delivery. Thank you Lord! She let me grab her arms, she squeezed my hips during contractions for nearly 3-4 hours (so did ac and my mama), she read my entire birth plan, she hung my mantras with medical tape and pushed me when she knew I was losing steam. Vivian was her last delivery at Cleveland Clinic and she also allowed our sweet girl to release her meconium all over her when she was entering the world. And by allowed, I meant she had no choice. However she later shared it was everywhere including on her pager. Whoops, SORRY!
Within those moments of meeting her and my mom arriving…it was go time once we were in the room. We originally planned for it to be just AC and I but he made the game time decision to call my parents. My sweet Dad waited outside and My Amazing Mom was ready to deliver this baby! IT ALL happened so quickly, well… until the 2 hours of pushing. The doctor checked as soon as I arrived in the room and I was 8 cm. After about 1 hour of contractions and spraying my back in the shower I arrived at the finish line of 10. Shortly after my water partially broke in the labor tub. Joy offered to break it completely with a hook and I kindly declined and wanted it to break naturally. Also causing an issue, my cervix was only 90% effaced and was blocking Miss Viv to make her entrance. We needed my cervix to be 100% effaced and my water bag to fully break, and I wanted this to happen naturally… but they were both being quite stubborn. One of the worst pains I experienced, contractions? Although painful… not the worst. The worst pain was having the midwife massage my cervix in an attempt to soften it to 100%. HOLY SMOKES… it was bad. Joy did this multiple times and I couldn’t help but repeat mother of pearl. I swore once during my entire delivery and only snapped ummm let me check with my husband and mom on this one…. response; 3 times… once when there was too much talking I couldn’t concentrate, once when they turned off the hair dryer which was providing me heat and noise, and once when my mom was rubbing my back with super dry hands. I LOVE YOU MOM! Joy didn’t have to provide this massage or let me grab her neck or arms multiple times but she did. I was so lucky to have My mom, Adam and Joy! They were all so patient and amazing!
- hip squeezes during contractions
- sprayed back with hot water standing in shower eating ice chips
- labor tub soaked in water and used sprayer on back – water partially broke –
- sitting/bouncing on the exercise ball and attempted to squat the baby out when i started pushing
- water bag broke rest of the way while attempting to squat her out – hooray!
- delivered her on all fours in table top position.
Today during a conversation with my sweetest friend Jessica Haisley – she asked what was the best part of your delivery and what was the worst? I don’t know if I had thought about it until this morning. So I thought I’d share… Thank you Jess for asking this question and caring about well everyone in the world. ❤
The best part was experiencing my body taking over – and knowing what to do – feeling the shakiness of your body, the chills the contractions and the natural pitocin working to get my body to the point that I was ready to push. The worst: Pushing for two hours; attempting to get beyond the ring of fire (getting viv’s head out) and breaking nearly every blood vessel in my eyes and my face exploding to triple the size. I was bearing down so hard and had so much pressure on my face – note to future self: if you do this again, just breathe and DO NOT put the pressure on your face/head.
In closing… The Midwife, Adam and my mom all shared that it looked like a war room. We had nearly covered all grounds. I’ll leave it at that. In the final moments they asked me to try laying down and push… this was a little after midnight… Counting to 10. Pushing continually. I was SO close to crying and wanting to give up, I was losing steam. They gave me oxygen to increase my energy. Joy said Cassidy you can do this… Adam and my mom were counting and yelling all this stuff about seeing her hair, meeting the baby, yada yada yada, and Joy said if you don’t get this baby out they are going to start asking questions and we may have to go a different route. Welp, that’s just what I needed to hear. I pushed harder, I was bearing down more and pushing through the 10 count. Vivian started to turn so Joy said twice loudly I want her on all fours. And then it happened, I listened, I flipped, pushed again and moments later with Adam at the head of the bed, my mom at the messier end, we saw this perfect purple little lady laying right underneath my table top position. It was a miracle. I’ll never forget that moment. I did it! I’m crying writing this! Thank you to my mother/father and my husband for being by my side. To Viv’s Papa and Nana, for being on call and traveling into the early hours of the morning to meet her. To Nikki for the safe commute home and for helping me walk this baby out and Uncle Jordy for visiting our sweet girl. And lastly to Justin & Heather Crowder -Viv’s Godparents for the large bag of goodies and visiting multiple times during our hospital stay. I couldn’t have done it without our family and friends supporting me during the months of preparation and pregnancy. I delivered this baby and she was perfectly amazing! Now onto motherhood… am I as prepared? TBD…
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