Sadie Lynn Frantz

They say every pregnancy is different, every birth is different, and every baby is different. After giving birth to James and then, two years later, to Sadie, I can say that is absolutely, positively true.

On Friday, April 28th, I started having painful, low belly pain around 10pm. Sadie’s due date was the 30th, and if I’m being honest, I’d been anticipating labor for weeks (since James came on his own two weeks early). His labor, in total, was 13 hours, so I expected Sadie’s to be even faster and even earlier (at 37 weeks, I was ready to GO!).

I timed that first contraction with my nifty app and waited. I had another an hour later, and then another an hour after. I decided to try and sleep, since I just knew she’d be with us by morning, and wanted to be well rested.

I contracted all night, once every hour or hour and a half. I got up on the 29th around seven and my contractions sped up to every half hour. This was it. I just knew it. I called my midwife, Jamie, and she told me to come on in (it was a 45 minute drive). So Vince and I packed up James and headed to the hospital to have our baby.

Well, the contractions slowed, and by the time we got there they were less painful and again over an hour apart. They monitored me for a while, and after we learned I hadn’t dilated any since my last prenatal check at 39 weeks, they sent me home. I was so discouraged.

So I headed home, crying (because PREGNANT), and took a nap. The whole time, Vince built me up. Already I’d been in labor (albeit early labor) longer than I’d been in labor in total with James, but he kept reminding me it was all OK. She was fine. I was fine. Everything was OK.

So, tired after being up and down all night with contractions, I napped. After a talk with my friend, Victoria, I did a miles circuit to try and get Sadie in a better position and try to speed up this labor that seemed to be stuck at an hour in between contractions. Contractions didn’t speed up, but man, did they intensify. And they were lasting over two minutes. So I called mom and she drove up, just in case, so someone would be with James in case we had to leave.

After laboring on my side for a while, resting and cuddling James between contractions, momma arrived. She sat with me, witnessed one very hard, very long contraction, and very firmly suggested we call Jamie again. I was hesitant, because they were still 45-60 minutes apart, but I decided to listen to my mommy (for once). Jamie told us to come in, and after Vince put James to bed (and I bawled that I couldn’t do it, and because PREGNANT) we hugged mom goodbye and headed back to Stanford (around 9:30 PM).

We arrived, I got hooked up to check my vitals and Sadie’s, and they checked me again. Still at 1.5 cm. I felt crestfallen. No progress, and each contraction hurt worse and worse. But the nurses at Fort Logan (Chelsea and Alisha) were so great and patient and kind. I labored, with Vince there to hold my hand and whisper encouragement, for a while longer. And when they checked me again near midnight, I had finally progressed to 2-3 cm, and they fully admitted me! If I hadn’t progressed much more by morning, they would start a pitocin drip and we’d explore some other options, but I was told to rest between contractions until then. I got up and walked around some, filled out some paperwork, and rested as well as I could. The nurse said, “We could still have a baby tonight, though!” but I don’t think she believed it. She was just encouraging me, and it made a huge difference.

And it’s midnight. It’s Sadie’s due date. Sweet, stubborn girl that she is, made it to her due date. At 12:13, my contractions grew closer together. Each one after that was a little stronger, a little closer to the last, a little harder to get through. It was like she’d been waiting for her due date. Vince, who was my rock during James’s birth, was my rock again as labor intensified and grew more difficult. (I could not have done it, either time, without him.)

At 4:15 or so, they checked me again. I was almost to 5 cm! Finally! Active labor is usually considered to have started between 4 and 6 cm, so I thought, we’re halfway there! We’re finally in active labor! I was sure, by noon at least, she would be born.

The nurses asked if I wanted to get in the tub (the biggest, nicest, most awesome tub EVER) to work on some pain management and I said I did. I slowly got up, and with Vince’s help in between contractions (which were between 3 and 5 minutes apart) made my way to use the bathroom (where my water broke and I didn’t realize it ’til we talked about it later) and then get in the luxuriously warm, whirlpool tub.

The warm water helped with the pain, and after a couple of contractions, I had a lovely break. Even though I was afraid I’d stalled my labor with that luxuriously long 9 minute break around 4:40, I was so grateful for the cessation. I fell fully asleep, floating in the water, with Vince holding tightly to my hand.

And then, another contraction. It was so much more than all the others. And then another. And another. And another. They were a minute apart (according to my contraction timer than Vince faithfully kept track of) and with the sudden intense, increase in pressure, I knew, somehow, even though they’d just checked me and told me I was barely at 5 cm, I was in transition. With James I sounded like a cow as I labored (low, rumbly sounds). With Sadie, I sounded like a wounded jungle cat, fighting for her life. Or perhaps a dragon. (Ooh, I like that! Yes, a dragon.)

I told (ok, yelled) that Vince go get the nurse. I got out of the tub with Vince’s help and contracted maybe four more times between the tub and the bed (about 15 feet). I laid down, and I was wild. They offered me nitrous, which I took, and then Jamie arrived. (They’d called her when I got in the tub around 4:20-4:30 and it as now 4:55 or so.) I was so relieved, and panicking at the same time. I told her (ok, yelled at her) that I needed to push. My nurses already had all the things ready for delivery, and Jamie, as she was suiting up, leaned her head down, glanced you know where, and said, “Well, go ahead!”

With James, pushing was this immense relief. The pain vanished and all I had to think about was pushing. This time was different. It was harder. It hurt. And after being in some kind of labor for 30 hours, I was exhausted. I told Vince I couldn’t do it. He reassured me that I could. I told Jamie I couldn’t, and she did the same. The nurses were telling me I was doing great, even though I felt unhinged. I felt like I’d lost it. I was a mess. I was vocalizing (my dragon roar) into the nitrous mask, and pushing when I contracted. Jamie told me to reach down and feel Sadie’s head, and I did, and it was amazing. But I had to keep pushing. It felt like hours. And then it suddenly felt like too much, and I gave up. I just roared my dragon roar, I didn’t push, and my encouraging, soft-spoken midwife had to get firm with me. “Lindsey, stop making noise and start pushing!”

So I did. She told me to do a sit up, so I did. I pushed. Vince was holding my hand, helping the nurse hold my leg, and talking to me in his calm, lovely way, encouraging me along.

And suddenly, the pain ceased, and I heard a beautiful, hearty cry. Sadie was here.

They laid her on me, squalling so strongly, and amidst my intense relief, I cried. For Sadie. For myself. For all the reasons and no reason at all. At 5:16 AM (pushing felt like hours, but it was really only around 10 minutes) Sadie Lynn was born, weighing 8 pounds and 5 ounces (20 ounces more than her older brother had) and measuring 20 inches long (1.25 inches shorter than James). My incredible midwife, Jamie, and my awesome nurses, Alisha and Chelsea, took care of both of us while I lay there, holding my baby, my husband by my side. He cut the cord. I made them show me the placenta. We laughed. It was over.

If you ask a text book, I was in active labor for about an hour. One single hour. If you ask me, I labored for 31 hours. Either way, on her due date, Sadie Lynn came screaming into the world, and now, one week later, I can’t imagine my life, or my family, without her.

James Gordon Frantz

On February 22nd, around 1 pm, my whole world started to shift. I was sitting on the couch with Vince, my feet in his lap (because he’s a wonderful husband and was rubbing my 38 week pregnant feet) when my belly started to ache. As someone who’s had some gastrointestinal issues for years, I didn’t think anything of it. I was only 38 weeks pregnant, and I’d read that most first time moms don’t go into labor until 41 weeks on average. So I didn’t say anything, I gritted my teeth, and dealt with some discomfort for a few minutes.

When I felt the same stomach pain about an hour later, I got suspicious. So I told Vince about it. We called mom, and she said it could be false labor, so again, we didn’t stress it too much. We still had two whole weeks before we were gonna have a baby!

Despite the fact that I was pretty sure this was false labor, we decided to go to a few stores and look for some essentials I would need in the hospital (because of course I hadn’t put together a hospital bag yet). We went to WalMart, then drove to Richmond and went to TJ Maxx, and then Meijer. By the time we got to Meijer, I’d had at least one contraction in each store, which was really awkward and difficult to handle, so Vince went in solo to get the last things on our list. When he came out, I’d been having contractions for five or six hours, still at an hour apart. So, what did we do? We went through Cook Out’s drive thru and then headed to my workplace, LaFontaine Early Learning Center, for Vince to do his weekly cleaning.

We ate. Vince cleaned. I contracted. By the time we left a few hours later, my contractions had jumped from an hour apart to 15 minutes apart, and quickly to ten minutes apart.

On the way home, I looked at Vince and asked if he’d called his mom. Up until that point, we both were still kind of in the mindset of “this is false labor.” Clearly it was not false labor. We couldn’t get a hold of Vince’s mom, Sandie, because they’d lost power due to ice, but we got ahold of my mom and told her what was happening.

At home, Vince started packing my bag (did I mention I’d procrastinated with that?) and I got in the bathtub, because the contractions were getting more intense. It was hard to talk while they were happening now. Every time a contraction would start, I’d tell Vince and he would time them for me (because he’s an amazing, wonderful man). They were five minutes apart and all of a sudden, I couldn’t talk at all while they were happening anymore. When the contractions made it four minutes apart, we were going to leave, but the contractions hung out at five to six minutes apart for a while. I don’t know how long I was in the bathtub, but I had to refill it once because the water got cold.

I’ll never forget the moment I said Vince’s name to let him know I was having a contraction and he said, “Um, honey? The last few have been two minutes apart.”

Two. Minutes. Apart. We’d skipped four completely.

I got out of the tub. We scrambled to get a few things together. Vince took Juno out and loaded the car. And I walked around around the house, stopping to hold onto walls, the couch, the bed, whatever I could find, and make some sounds that I can only describe as sounding like a really upset cow.

We got in the car and Vince called my mom. By the time we drove from exit 76 to exit 83, I was convinced I wouldn’t make it all the way to exit 104. I was convinced the baby was crowning at that very moment. (He wasn’t, but it sure felt like he was.) Vince called my midwife, and after she talked to me for about 15 seconds and heard me start a contraction, she said, “Take her to the hospital in Richmond.”

We made it to Baptist Health, pulled into a spot by the ER, and I hobbled in. The ER receptionist asked what we needed, and after I told her I was in labor and started a contraction, they got me in a wheelchair and sent me up to labor and delivery. I made Vince run down the hall. I was so sure the baby was crowning, that I’d waited too long.

When we made it to labor and delivery, Vince and I were both a little panicked, so they sent us straight back to a room and got me in a gown and on the bed. They could have made me stop and sign in and do all that, but they let Vince do it for me as I was contracting on the bed.

I told the nurses I needed to push. I felt like I did. When they checked me, I was only at six centimeters. SIX. I still had four to go. I’d planned to have a natural, no medication birth, and now I was sure I couldn’t do it. It was so intense.

For the next two hours, I contracted, I made a lot of noise, I begged the nurses to let me push, and I kept saying, “I can’t do this. I cannot do this.”

If it weren’t for Vince, the most wonderful, strong, amazing husband in the WORLD, I would have asked for an epidural or pain meds, but he kept reminding me that I could do this, that I could handle each contraction if I just took them one at a time, and that he was there. He was strong and supportive, but also soft and empathetic. I’ll never forget holding onto him when it hurt the worst and hearing his voice telling me he was proud of me and that I could do it.

Mom got there around midnight. I kept looking at the nurses, Amanda and Kerrie, asking them if I could push. One nurse was firm (in a way that I very much needed) and the other was very soft and kept telling me I was doing perfectly, that Vince was doing perfectly, and baby was doing perfectly. They balanced each other out and helped me tremendously.

I can’t describe how hard it was not to push at one point. I’ve never wanted anything so badly in my whole life. I thought, “If I can push, this can be over.” But I somehow managed to listen to my nurses and wait. And wait. And wait. I was only in the delivery room for about two or two and a half hours, but it felt like much longer.

When the doctor finally got there, and it was time to push, time ceased to exist. I had Vince on one side holding one hand and mom on the other. The nurses and doctor were talking, but I can’t remember what they were saying. I can only remember looking at my mom, looking at Vince, and pushing as hard as I could when they doctor gave me the go ahead.

I don’t know how many times I pushed, but they told me later I pushed about 25 minutes. Pushing didn’t hurt as much as transition had. It was really just pressure. So much pressure. I pushed and pushed.

And then, suddenly, he was there. I looked down, and the doctor was holding this purplish-whitish-reddish creature upside down by one foot, and I thought, “Oh, that feels so much better. And look, an octopus-alien!” They dried him off and laid him on my chest, and I thought, “How cute!” but I think I was in shock. It didn’t register that this creature, this tiny, beautiful, strange creature was my child. My SON. 

They laid this beautiful baby on my chest and he just stared at me. Vince leaned over, and he stared at him. Mom came over and he stared at her. He barely cried. He just looked around, taking in the world. He was so warm and soft, and even though it hadn’t registered yet that this was my son, I knew I would do anything to protect this baby.

Vince had cut the cord. The baby was doing well. We were skin to skin and I didn’t hurt anymore. I cannot describe that sense of relief.

On February 23rd at 1:34 in the morning, weighing 7 pounds and 1 ounce, measuring 20 and 1/4 inches, James Gordon Frantz entered the world and changed our lives for ever. Since that moment, he has consumed my every waking thought. I speak for both his daddy and myself when I say he is the best thing that ever happened to us.