Carson’s Birth Story
by Corinne Smelker
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We had four children in the house, three of them under the age of 2. Terry and I had talked about either having four children, or six. I told him I wanted to wait until the then-baby was 2, and if we were going to have more kids, have two more really close together. I really wanted to take a break from this whole pregnancy thing.
With that in mind I dieted and exercised and actually became thinner than before we married. I had great fun going out and buying ‘skinny clothes’ after having worn maternity clothes for four straight years!
At the beginning of August though, I felt like I was dragging, Garrick was 9 months old, Hayley about to turn 2, and Teagan 3. Terry would come home in the afternoon to find me sacked out on the couch, highly unusual for me. I told him I was overwhelmed with the kids, and wanted desperately to be done. I was not feeling good, I was wan, and always exhausted. Terry teased that I was pregnant, but I insisted it was impossible – we had been using two forms of birth control for heaven’s sakes! But he was adamant that I see the doctor, who as a matter of routine, took a urine sample and tested it for pregnancy hormones. He entered the room and asked me to sit down. “Mrs. Smelker, I am not sure whether this is good news or bad – but you are definitely pregnant, and there is a possibility it is twins.” I sat there stunned while he explained further. “The hormone levels are high, so either you are six weeks pregnant with twins, or you could be 12 weeks pregnant with one baby.” Meanwhile I’m thinking, How did this happen? Oh, not the mechanics of it all, but how, despite using two forms of birth control did this occur? Right then I decided it was time for Terry to see the urologist!
I made it home somehow and dropped the bombshell on Terry, who was actually pleased! He liked the idea of twins. I thought he was nuts! Of course he was gone all day, I was the one at home working with three toddlers, all of whom were still in diapers, I was one getting up a zillion times a night to nurse, and the thought of bringing another baby or babies into the Smelker world didn’t exactly thrill me.
Terry and I decided that our family was definitely complete, and he agreed to have a vasectomy. So, I called to set up the appointments.
“Good morning. This is Mrs. Smelker. I need an appointment for an ultrasound.”
”Fine. We can set you up next Wednesday at 11:00. Is there anything else?”
”Yes,” I replied, “I need to make a urology appointment for my husband. He is having a vasectomy.”
“But Mrs. Smelker, you’re just pregnant! Are you sure?” The receptionist asked in her most concerned voice.
“It’s my fifth, possibly sixth baby,” I wailed.
“Oh. Well we can fit him next week too,” she answered.
The ultrasound the following week determined there was only one baby, and my due date was set for March 3rd. So, I got through my first trimester not even knowing I was pregnant!
Having this baby at home was a no-brainer for us. Garrick was born at home with no complications and we already knew which midwives we wanted. I called Terri, the midwife who had delivered Garrick right away. She informed me she had moved from Valerie’s (my previous midwife) practice and was working with another midwife, Charlotte. I met Charlotte the following week, and never have I been made to feel more welcome. I thought Valerie was a good midwife, Charlotte wasn’t only an excellent midwife, she was a natural at it – she had wonderful instincts.
I thought it would be a great idea not to discover the gender of the baby. Terry wasn’t so thrilled, but seeing we were using a midwife there was no chance of ultrasounds, and thus I got my way. I figured seeing we had two of each gender, it didn’t really matter what #5 turned out to be, although I kind of wished it would be a boy as a companion to Garrick who would be 16 months old when this new one came along.
March 3rd came and went. People at church teased me that my due date was not a Wednesday, therefore the baby was not going to come; apparently they were right. But looked ahead to the next Wednesday, March 8th 2000 and it seemed so far off, and I was so uncomfortable, and measuring big, I just knew I wouldn’t make it to the next Wednesday.
Saturday night Terry and I went to bed around 11:00pm. I woke up at about 4:15am on the morning of the 5th of March, and went downstairs for a drink of water. I was uncomfortable, the baby was riding low, I was 4cm dilated, and just plain tired of being pregnant. I turned on the TV and watched some figure skating for about a half hour.
When the first contraction hit at 4:55am I knew it was the real thing. I called Charlotte right away. Poor gal – she had just crawled into bed 20 minutes earlier after attending another birth. She said she’d be over right away. I then went to wake Terry, and call his mother. For the first time I was having her be a part of the birthing process.
The contractions were pretty steady at this point, but I kept thinking, I’m not ready for this. If this labour was going to be anything like the others, I knew I was facing a constant wall of pain, pain that would never let up, or ever give me a breather. Friends have said, “Oh. You’re so lucky – you have such quick labours.” And yes, I do, but there is a price to pay. The pain is intense, and unlike ‘normal’ contractions, I have one, long-lasting-up-to-40-minutes contraction. My body does in 40 minutes what it takes others three or four or more hours to accomplish.
Charlotte arrived first, followed in short order by my mother in law, who stepped back and was an assistant to Charlotte. She boiled water, and laid out the towels and helped Terry prep the room. Charlotte checked me and I was 6cm dilated. The first thing she did was pray for me, and then we chatted. She could see the contractions were scaring me (you’d think I’d handle them better seeing I’d done it a few times before, but I think the anticipation of more pain was frightening me more than anything.) For about twenty minutes she talked about what she planned to do, and got her instruments ready. Then she turned to me and said, “Are you ready to have this baby?” And I realized that for twenty minutes I hadn’t had one contraction. The moment I said “Yes”, they started back up, and became the one long intense contraction that I had been dreading all along.
Terry came in and helped me – he has been my coach through all the other labours, and we work well as a team, words don’t need to be exchanged. And suddenly five minutes after the contractions started back up I was ready to push. I could feel this one was different though – this baby just felt bigger, and had from the beginning. Charlotte encouraged me, and slowly I could feel the baby crowing. The head was much wider than that of my other babies, and Charlotte warned me to slow down. She said, “Here comes the head,” and then there was a pause, and I heard her say, “The shoulders are stuck. Cori, you will feel some pulling, I have to bring the shoulders out gently.” Again this was different from all my other kids who have come out effortlessly. This one was stuck. I could feel her tugging and I hung onto Terry for dear life! Suddenly, like a cork from a champagne bottle, the baby popped out. Warrick, who had been sitting on the bed next me yelled, “It’s a boy!”
Carson arrived at 6:39am on Sunday morning after 2 hours and 40 minutes of labour. He weighed in at 8lbs 8oz, but the surprise was his length – he measured 23.5 inches! His head diameter was 2 cms wider than any of his siblings, and his shoulders were immense. The kid came out looking like a wrestler!
Teagan, Hayley and Warrick were in the room with their grandma when Carson was born, and Garrick joined us 20 minutes later, when he woke up. To this day my children talk about when their brother was born.
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I found this by accident and I had to leave you comment. My "surprise" (number 4) who was born AFTER my husband's TWO vasectomies and while using another form of birth control is named CARSON! He's also long but not as long as your Carson. He was almost two weeks early and weighed 8'2" and 21 3/4". Fun! He's a joy. Blessing to your family.