Introducing Caroline Mae Engelhardt | Caroline’s Birth Story

June 6, 2023

PC: Emily Gerald Photography

It’s hard to believe this little peanut is already over 1 year old…I know everyone says this when it comes to their kids but time really has flown by and it truly feels like I just gave birth only a few weeks ago. The fact that I hadn’t published this blog post yet was causing some serious mom guilt in the back of my mind so even though it’s late, it’s better late than never and I’m so excited to finally be sitting down and taking the time to write this. Caroline’s story is a bit different than Grace’s, if you haven’t read her introductory post you can read that here!

Miguel and I had agreed we wanted two kids at the beginning of our relationship. Family is something that means so much to both of us and we knew early on that eventually we wanted to add to our families that we love so much. Grace decided that she was ready for the world whether we were ready for her or not and she was everything we didn’t know we needed at that time. From the moment she came into this world in 2019, she has left a mark on everyone that meets her. She’s a powerful force to be reckoned with, topped with the most empathy I’ve ever seen a toddler possess. Fast forward to 2021, Miguel and I decided to start trying for our second because we knew we didn’t want a big age gap between our two children. While their stories are a bit different, they both came into our lives when we needed them the most. Caroline was the blessing we needed in a hurricane chapter of our relationship. We were excited, thankful, nervous, anxious, just all of the emotions but most of all, we were happy.

My pregnancy journey with Caroline was different in almost every way than my experience with Grace. For one, I had quit my 9-5 to pursue photography full time which was so incredibly nerve-wracking but 110% the right decision so it was exciting more than anything. Because of that, there was very little stress and I was able to take a nap any time I felt necessary (which was a lot). I was sick way more often and I gained more weight this time around which led to excruciating hip and lower back pain. It got so bad that I would be frozen in place whether sitting or standing. I literally couldn’t move. Just like my first pregnancy, I started making chiropractic appointments and it helped to an extent but honestly the only thing that truly helped was giving birth.

PC: Julia Rebecca Photography
PC: Julia Rebecca Photography

May 12th, 2022 9:00am

The weeks went on, the scale kept going up, the pain was getting significantly worse even with regular chiropractic appointments, and I was beyond ready to no longer be pregnant. I remember going to my 39 week appointment where they told me they highly recommend that I get induced before my due date, otherwise I could be giving birth to a 10+ lb baby and my body hadn’t proven that it could accomplish such a task. Grace was 8lbs 9oz so in their words, that’s the max my body was proven to handle. They didn’t want to risk Caroline getting stuck in the birth canal and neither did I, but I’m stubborn and wanted to do this on my own. Even though my body hadn’t proved to any doctor that it could pass a 10lb baby, one thing about me is if you tell me I can’t do something, I will make it my life’s mission to prove you wrong. I had to think it through over the next 12 hours and Friday, May 13th, I called and told them to schedule the induction, because that’s what seemed best for Caroline.

May 13th – 15th, 2022

I can’t even begin to explain how weird it is to know you’re having a baby on a certain day. The anticipation leading up to Grace’s birth kept me so much on my toes, it was almost paralyzing but also kind of a little bit exciting if I’m being totally honest. With Caroline, I remember Miguel, Grace and I driving around town and thinking to ourselves, “This is the last day we’ll be a family of 3.” It was a very bittersweet feeling (spoiler alert, now we absolutely can’t imagine our lives without Caroline, but you don’t know what you don’t know!) Sunday night was spent making sure my bag was packed, the grandparents were ready to watch Grace, and a whole lot of anxiety and panicking from me. I had given birth before, and I remembered it wasn’t fun…

May 16th, 2022 5:00am

Remember how I said I really wanted to do this whole labor and delivery thing on my own? Well baby girl had my back on that because I woke up on May 16th, the morning of my scheduled induction, to find that my water had partially broken overnight. My water didn’t break for Grace, but I knew that’s what it was and not just a pregnancy pee accident. I was so happy. I felt like this was all meant to be. I called the hospital at 6am as advised to make sure there was a bed for me, and Miguel and I were out the door about 2 hours later.

May 16th, 2022 8:30am

By 8:30am, I was hooked up to #allthethings and luckily, the doctor and nurses agreed that since my water had already partially broken, that we could wait to see if my body started laboring on its own before starting Pitocin. Unfortunately, after about 2 hours of waiting around and constantly being checked, and no progression happening, the doctors decided we should start the Pitocin. I agreed and they started the drip. I didn’t have a Pitocin experience with Grace and if we ever have more children, I don’t want to ever have it again. It started my contractions almost instantly after having to continually increase my dosage and I’m convinced it made the pain 10x worse than normal pregnancy pain. How am I still alive? I remember again not wanting an epidural because I knew I could do it without one, I had already done it with Grace, but the Pitocin made me cave and no less than an hour later I was holding onto Miguel as the anesthetist was administering the epidural. Terrified. I. Was. Terrified. I also vividly remember my first contraction after the epidural was administered and I literally said out load “Oh my god I’m such an idiot!” It was amazing. I felt pressure instead of paralyzing pain. I couldn’t believe I had not only waited so long to get one but that I went through an entire delivery without one. Crazy. Then it was time for the doctor to go in and break the rest of my water to keep the progression going. She broke it so easily and said she was going to go see other patients but she’ll be right back. No sooner had she left the room, I looked at Miguel and said, “something is happening…” My comfy epidural padded pressure had turned into pain again and I instantly felt the overwhelming urge to push. We told the nurses and they checked and one said to another, “Go and get the doctor, she’s right there! Hang on hun don’t push yet.” UM EXCUSE ME. When a pregnant woman feels the urge to push it’s not exactly voluntary… I tried as best I could to wait for the doctor to come back and as soon as she did, I started pushing like my life depended on it.

May 16th, 2022 8:16pm

After laboring for 10+ hours and pushing for about 1.5, Caroline made her appearance, all 9lbs 11oz of her. I knew my body could do it, I was so proud of myself. She was so beautiful and couldn’t do anything but stare at her. She was here! Finally!

And that’s it! Caroline’s birth story. I’m SO HAPPY IT’S FINALLY LIVE ON THE BLOG!! No more mom guilt aside from how long it took me to post it 😉

While that is her birth story, it’s not the end of the story for me. I dealt with postpartum depression after having Grace but it was 10x worse after having Caroline. I won’t get into it too much right now, that’s a whole other blog post in and of itself, but the bottom line is, if you’re feeling like you are dealing with big, sad, heavy emotions, thoughts and feelings, you are not alone and it is OKAY to take medication to remedy it. It took me WAY too long and too much suffering in my own head before I finally agreed to take the necessary medication to make me feel like myself again. It’s been amazing. I’m on literally the lowest dose and I don’t feel super happy and unlike myself, I just feel like a good version of myself with more good days than bad and that’s the whole point. If you guys want a blog post more in depth on this topic I would be more than happy to share, just comment below and let me know otherwise I feel like I’m just writing to myself 🙂

If you’ve made it this far, wow thank you so much for caring enough to share in our story. I love sharing my life with you guys and I hope to be doing more of it from now on!

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