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.

My Joyfully Full, Utterly Broken Heart

Nearly every night before I go to bed, I sneak into my son’s bedroom and shine light on him to watch his sweet breaths for a moment. The panicky part of my mom brain does it to make sure he’s OK, that’s he’s alive and well, and the calm part of my mom brain does it just because I want to see him a moment more before I close my own eyes for the night. And while this little ritual is special to me every night, tonight it was very emotional for me, because when I wake in the morning, my baby will be a whole entire year old.

How can I describe what this feels like? Before James was born, I was terrified and excited. After he was born, I fell in love with this tiny human, and somehow managed to fall more and more and more in love with him every minute of every day. And now, I have this wellspring of love and memories inside me, and my heart is full and broken all at once.

Already I miss his sweet baby coos; I miss the feel of his swaddled newborn body as I struggled to stay awake and hold him; I miss his sweet little face and head shape before his surgery; I miss his first time rolling over, his first crawl, his first steps; I miss being in labor and the feeling–both physically and emotionally–the split second after he entered this world and they laid him on my chest.

And yet, I love my toddler (it’s even hard to type the word!). I love the way he walks to me, the way he flings his body toward me when I’m close enough with biggest smiles and sweetest laughs, the way he pulls at my legs and lifts his arms toward me, knowing I’ll scoop him up. I love how he buries his face into my shoulder and sighs. I love how he trusts that if I’m there, he can’t fall. I love the way he throws his arms up when I say, “How big are you? So big!” I love the sound of his voice as he says, “Dada.” I love this sweet toddler phase, even if he’s into everything and so sweetly wild.

So my heart is so joyfully full of how amazing my baby is and how amazing this life is with him, and it’s so utterly broken by the parts of motherhood that are gone forever with him.

I’m so grateful for my son. I’m so grateful that I get to be his mom. I’m so grateful for the last year, and I’m so looking forward to the next. But for the first time in my life, I understand the times my mommy and daddy have said that no matter how old I get, and no matter how far away I live, I will always be their baby, because James will ALWAYS be my baby. As he starts to talk, to walk, to go to school, to drive, to get married and have his own children, he will forever be my sweet baby who was born so very early on a Monday morning, who barely cried at all–until they took him away to weigh him–and who from the very start stared up at me with the biggest, most amazing blue eyes as if to say, “Hi mommy, we’re in this together now.”

James born
Moments after James was born.
James before 1
Moments after James was born.