The Birth of Kora Kate | San Antonio Birth Photographer

Kora Kate White.  January 19th, 2018 at 4:31 PM–you forever changed our worlds.

I had multiple doctors tell me that you would never exist; that you were simply a figment of my imagination because of my body.  My body was a failure–that is, until it wasn’t.

The things is, my sweetness, is that if someone tells your Mama she can’t do something or can’t have something or in this case, can’t make something she will fight to the death to prove them wrong.  Oh boy, am I glad I did.  Please don’t ever listen when someone tells you, you can’t.  You can, always.  You might have to take the longer path, or the road less traveled–but you can.

Let me start from the beginning.  I want you to know where your life began–and I want you to know that it began long before I created you in my womb, or even before I got a positive pregnancy test.

I met your Dada in 2012.  We decided to make it forever in November of 2015, and got married.  I knew almost instantly that I wanted you right after we were married, so we quit preventing a pregnancy the month before we got married.  A year later, in October of 2016 we decided to ask the doctors what was wrong.  I knew something wasn’t right for a long time.  I’m not sure how, I just knew.

On October 26th, 2016 my heart fell out from underneath my entire body and smashed onto the doctor’s office floor.  I was told you would never be mine.  The human that I had longed for since I was a child myself, the person that would be half myself and half of my husband, and both of our entire world’s–not possible.  One blood test and ultrasound had forever changed us.  I held myself together in Dr. XYZ’s office, but as soon as I walked out and got into my car with your Dada I broke.  Into a million little pieces.  I had never felt such pain as I did in that moment.  It was the kind of pain that left me with no words, only gut wrenching tears.  I could have filled an ocean with the amount of tears I cried.  How do you dream for something your entire life only to be told one day, in a finite moment that your “something” will never happen?

God said no.  He said “I will.”  God said, “I surpass all blood tests, all ultrasounds, all follicle counts, and all doctors.”  He whispered in my ear those days to come that he was greater than any diagnosis; and I had no choice but to believe him.  You see, if I hadn’t–you wouldn’t be here sleeping in my lap right now.

We will save the rest of that story for later–just know that your Mom and Dad were told we had a 1-2% chance of conception from that point forward and for the rest of our lives those numbers would only dwindle with age.  We were told we could perhaps conceive with donor eggs–another woman’s eggs and Dada’s sperm.  While we were not opposed, we didn’t have $40K+ to shell out on a 40-50% chance for that procedure.

So, I did what I do best.  I researched.  I gathered information.  I fought.  I fought for YOU.  I cared what the doctor had to say, but I also didn’t care.  I got a second opinion.  I found a doctor who listened.  I found a doctor who loved deeply, had compassion for her patients and her work, and who would let us try different options.  One of which worked. An option that had an 8-10% chance of working according to that doctor; the previous doctor told us it would never work.  My sweet girl, that is why you research.  You don’t stop when you are told no.  Ever.

Fast forward 7+ months after being diagnosed, and 9+ months of growing you inside my little big belly.  I went to sleep on a Thursday night, convinced I would be going to work the next day.  I even packed leftovers for lunch, from one of my favorite meals that your Dad cooks me.  Street tacos.  Mmm.  You will learn to love these as you grow older and Dada cooks them for you, too.

Well, you had different plans, you see.  At 2:30 AM, I woke up and had to pee.  As per usual.  You loved to rest on my bladder through out the entire pregnancy.  What wasn’t “per usual” was I woke again at 3:30, and 4:30.  My 4:30 pee break happened, and then I got back into bed knowing I only had one more hour of horrendous sleep before I had to get up and make myself presentable for the day.  You wouldn’t let me go back to sleep though.  You wanted out!  Finally.

I went into the kitchen at 4:30 and did some dishes, folded some laundry and paced back and forth.  Was this really it?  Were you going to leave your world today and enter into mine?  I didn’t think so.  I called your Grandma and asked her if I should go to work.  She said yes, go ahead and go.

HA. HA. HA.  You laughed at me from within the womb, I’m pretty sure.  Then I woke up your Dada.  I told him I think we needed to call the midwife.  Which at that point, he told me we didn’t need to because he didn’t know I had been awake for two hours laboring.  I told him I was timing contractions and that they were a few minutes apart since 4:30 AM.  At which point he laughed, and told me to stop timing contractions.  So you see, the morning of your birth was full of laughter.  Except, I was the only one not partaking in the fun.  I have forgiven both you and Dada, don’t worry.

We labored at home from around 4:30-9:30.  The contractions were so strong and so close together from the get go that I didn’t even have time to call in to work.  I texted my boss and my co-counselor, and told them I didn’t think I would be making it though.  I also texted our birth photographer, Vanessa, towards the beginning of this whole ordeal and told her I already hated the process.  We had had lots of conversations about what birth was like, as she had two babies already and was pregnant with her third.

Around 9 AM, our doula, Amber came over.  She was actually driving to the birth center where she works part time, and had to turn around to come to our house.  She got here and I was still in the tub.  Your Dada had cooked me a grilled cheese a couple hours before, and came to give it to me in the tub.  He sat down on the toilet and –swoosh– the grilled cheese slid off the plate onto the bathroom floor.  He proceeded to get up and go make me another grilled cheese.  We both laughed.  That was one of the only times I laughed during your labor and delivery.

Around 9:30, Amber suggested I get out of the tub and labor standing up for a bit.  Well, that was not fun my little girl.  Your head felt like it was going to rip me wide open.  I swear it was the size of a bowling ball pushing down on my pelvis.  This was only the beginning…

We moved to the birth center around 10 AM.  Under the notes they took, it said upon arrival my “appearance, emotional condition, coping” was “moans ‘no, no'”.  ACCURATE.  No, no and more no.  This was the most painful thing I had ever experienced.  They checked me, and I was 95% effaced, at a -1 station and only dilated 0-2.

I labored in the exam room from 10-11:30, because there was another little baby girl being born in the MaryBelle suite, and the other suite was occupied as well.

[Funny story, the worry wart inside of me asked the midwife (Heather) at our very first tour of the birth center if both rooms had ever been occupied at the same time (because I was worried it would happen on your birth day) and was told it had happened once but that was it. The day you were born, so were two other little girls. You three all decided to come pretty much at the same time. Okay, okay, I exaggerate. Not the same time–but definitely the same day! It’s like you ganged up on me with them–and I won’t soon forget this!]

Luckily, the woman that was in our suite was having her THIRD baby. It wasn’t her first rodeo. So, she graciously pushed her little girl out and moved into one of the exam rooms so we could move into the suite to work on getting you out next.

We (finally!) got moved into the MaryBelle suite at 11:30 AM and I immediately jumped waddled into the bath tub full of warm water.  That was the first feeling of relief I had had since leaving our house and being in our tub (the same one I bathe you in every other night!) earlier that morning.

I labored in the tub for a bit, then moved from the tub to the toilet to the bed….back and forth, back and forth, for what seemed like forever.  The toilet seemed to be one of my favorite places to push–it felt more productive for some reason.  The irony in this, is I think it was my body’s way of telling me how to get you out, eventually.  If only I had listened a little better.  When I was finally able to push you out at 4:31 PM, I was in a squatting position on top of the bed and was being held up by Amber (doula), Jess (Midwife), and Andrew (Dada.)  I didn’t realize this though until many days later when your Dad and I were discussing how the labor went.

Things went so quickly during your labor, that it was all kind of a blur of pain and confusion in the moment.  According to the notes, I was a 0-2 at 10:10 AM, then went to a 4 CM at 10:45 AM; onto a 9 and 7/8 CM at 2:08 PM.  Well, it didn’t SEEM fast at the time but for a first time mother that is pretty quick.  You would think, being at almost 10 CM I would have pushed around 2:08–but no.  Again, you had other plans.  You decided to stay in just a lot little bit longer.  I was finally completely dilated at 3:29 PM.

That is when the hardest work began.  The pushing.  Oh man, the pushing.

I pushed forever, I swear.  You did NOT want to make an appearance.  At 3:48 “dark baby hair was seen.” This was eight minutes after I had been told I needed oxygen.  That was my least favorite part of the pushing process–but we had to keep the oxygen mask on because your heart rate would dip if I didn’t.  I was learning to become a mother, before you were even outside of me.  I kept that oxygen mask on the best I could through my contractions and pushing–because I knew it was what was best for you, little one.  It was the last thing I wanted to do though.  There is nothing more confining than a mask on your face when you’re trying to take deep breaths.  It’s okay–you can buy me a chocolate bar with your first allowance.

At 4:05 I got to touch your head for the very first time.  I put my fingers down between my legs and felt your little giant head.  The one your Daddy and I worked SO hard for.  The one we prayed over an empty crib for.  The one we injected meds into my tummy for.  It was there.  I was touching it.  I was touching you.

I pushed for another (long ass) 26 minutes and then BAM.  You had arrived.  Just like that.  At 4:31:13 you made your grand entrance into OUR world and left the one you had been living so comfortably in for the last 39 weeks and 3 days.  Thank you.  Thank you for leaving your world, to come share with me in mine.  I know that must have been very scary.  I was scared too.  Honestly, I sometimes still am.

You see, the thing about infertility is that it never ends.  I worry if I’m doing everything right.  I worry if I’m doing what’s best.  I worry if I’m giving you the most and best parts of me.  I worry all. the. time.  But you, my sweet girl, are worth every ounce of worry.

Because for every ounce of worry I shed, you show me ten ounces of joy.  Ten ounces of hope.  Ten ounces of love.  You love me unconditionally.  You love your Dada to the moon and back a million times.  Your love is infinite–which in that finite moment in that doctor’s cold office, I wasn’t sure I would ever get to experience.  You are the best parts of me and the best parts of your Dad all rolled into one perfect, little butterball of love.  For that–I would go through the entire labor and delivery process all over again.

Love,

Your Imperfect Mama.