Piece of Cake

Piece of Cake 034: Carter’s Birth Story

newborn baby sleeping

This quarter’s Piece of Cake is dedicated to all things little baby Carter. He’s four weeks old today!

Our first four weeks with him have honestly flown by. I know everyone says that, but it’s absolutely true.

newborn baby sleeping

Maybe it’s because we also now have a toddler to entertain on top of managing a four week old. Or maybe it’s because this whole year of 2021 has seemed to just go by so quickly.

Either way, we’re now a family of five (Winston the dog gets included in this count). We’re learning to navigate what that means and how that looks for us specifically.

Today I wanted to share Carter’s birth story. Partially as a way to update all of you who have been on this journey with us from the beginning (infertility and all). And partially for myself to have a record of how Mr. Carter made is way into our world.

A miracle from the beginning

Like I said before, for those of you who have been on this journey with me from the beginning, you know that it took us quite some time to conceive Kennedy. That we ended up going through the IVF process to conceive.

I had a very healthy pregnancy with her, and while the birth experience was less than optimal, we still ended up with a healthy, happy baby. Who is now a great big sis!

Because it took us so long to conceive with Kennedy (over two years of trying and struggling (and turning to IVF), we thought we’d try sooner to conceive our second.

We were convinced that it would take us awhile to conceive. We wanted our kids to be close in age, so at the six month mark I stopped breastfeeding Kennedy.

I got my period naturally around a month after completely ending breastfeeding (this was about November of 2020). I didn’t think I would ever be so excited for that to happen.

Because my cycle had never been regular (PCOS and all), I had no idea when I was ovulating. I thought we’d just give it a go and wait for my next period to come to figure that part out.

Our Christmas miracle

At Christmas (which we hosted both sides of our family…crazy, I know), my mom asked me, “have you gotten your period yet?”

I told her no and just brushed it off that it was likely the PCOS. Maybe my one period after no longer breastfeeding was just a fluke? I said I would check back with my doctor if it didn’t come by the end of January.

A couple of weeks before this, I had been having dreams about having a second baby. Not that we were pregnant, but that we had a second child at home.

After Christmas I had another one of these dreams. It was starting to feel like something I needed to pay attention to. So I decided to take a pregnancy test.

I was completely under the impression that it was going to be negative, so I went about my business of making the bed and cleaning up the house.

After more than three minutes I went back to the bathroom and the test said, “Yes, Pregnant”.

I couldn’t believe it! My dreams had been trying to tell me something all along. And after my at home pregnancy test confirmed we were in-fact pregnant, my dreams stopped.

Something I had wanted so badly with Kennedy happened naturally on essentially the first try.

Our baby was our little Christmas miracle (granted…he was conceived before Christmas).

The big reveal

It had snowed the night before I took my test, so Burken was out shoveling. It felt like it was taking him F.O.R.E.V.E.R to finish up.

I grabbed a small Christmas gift bag and some tissue paper and stuck the positive test in the bottom.

I waited, not so patiently, for him to come inside, “present” and myself sitting at the kitchen island.

When he came in I said, “There’s a present I forgot to give you.” To which he then asked, “Do you want me to open it right now?”

I was about to burst, so of course it had to happen that instant. He removed the tissue paper to reveal the test.

The look on his face is one I will never forget. Pure shock with disbelief with admiration all tied together with love.

He then asked, “Is this for real?”. As I shook my head yes we hugged and I started crying. Again, this was something we had wanted so badly with Kennedy, and now it was coming true in a new way.

baby with a binkie sitting in a rocking chair with a big sister shirt on

Fast forward to September 2, 2021

I once again had a very healthy pregnancy, albeit a super hot and sweaty one. And also quite exhausting when chasing around a toddler.

So as Carter’s due date approached (September 6…one day after Burken’s birthday. I knew this was an absolutely meant to be pregnancy when the ultrasound confirmed this date.), I was feeling so, so ready.

My doctor scheduled an induction (I had one with Kennedy) for Thursday, September 2 at 7:30 pm. But my hope all along was that I would go into labor naturally.

After the second membrane sweep on that Monday, my doctor said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we see you sooner than your induction.”

Babies in motion

Earlier in August I had coordinated with multiple friends and family to be “on call” if I went into labor naturally.

When the induction got scheduled, my parents planned to come up that evening to take care of Kennedy.

However, Kennedy’s daycare room closed that Monday due to a Covid outbreak. I initially thought to myself, “why this week? Couldn’t this have happened next week when we’d all be home with our newborn?”

But it was basically a blessing in disguise. That Monday night we met up with my parents and they took Kennedy and Winston back to their home. Now Burken and I had the week to still work and take care of last minute baby things.

Wednesday morning and into the afternoon I worked. I logged off my computer and turned on my out of office notification. Then I ran some errands and cleaned the bathrooms and Burken and I relaxed that night.

Here we goooo!

I went to bed on Wednesday night feeling good. Thinking, I hope this little babe decides to make his appearance naturally, and if not, we’ll for sure be meeting him soon.

pregnant woman standing in front of the mirror
The morning before Carter was born

I woke up at 2 am on Thursday morning with what felt like period cramps. I slept off an on until about 3 am. At that point I started timing my contractions.

I hadn’t had to do any of that with Kennedy. And honestly they didn’t feel all that intense. But they were getting closer and closer together.

I called our nurse afterhours line and they suggested we come in.

Burken and I had both had some sort of cold (contracted from Kennedy of course). So he was sleeping in the basement so that I could get rest without hearing him cough all night. Don’t worry, both of us were Covid negative going into the birth of Carter.

When I went downstairs and told him we needed to head to the hospital he asked, “do you think I have time to shower?” To which I said, “um no, we have to go now.”

By the time we got there and started checking in I was working through more frequent contractions. Burken said, “those don’t seem five minutes apart.” No, they were not, and I was already 5 cm dilated by the time we checked into triage.

Baby Carter’s swift arrival

I was quickly taken up to the delivery room and almost instantly given an epidural. I wanted one after what I had experienced with Kennedy. (Read her birth story for those details).

Soon after the epidural took hold (like within an hour or so) the doctor came in and broke my water. I knew at that moment things were about to get real, and they did.

I know it wasn’t long, but it felt almost instant that the doctor was back in the room and said I was already 10 cm dilated and ready to push.

20 minutes later Mr. Carter Michael Burken was born at 9:31 am on September 2, 2021.

He was 7 pounds exactly and 20 inches long.

newborn baby photos

In all, Carter’s birth experience was 7 and a half hours vs Kennedy’s 36 hours. It was what I had actually dreamed of when it came to my birthing experience. I had minimal tearing and got to hold Carter right after he was born.

He took to breastfeeding instantly.

Everything just felt so natural and easy with him. Probably because this was our second rodeo and it was only 18 months difference between Kennedy and Carter.

And yes, we know that we ended up with presidents names.

Our family of five

I say five because Winston wants to make it absolutely known that he was the first baby of this family.

After bringing Carter home, little Kennedy got her first into to her baby brother.

mom holding a newborn baby while a dad holds and introduces their daughter to the newborn

The meeting was quite sweet and went better than I had initially anticipated it would go. She’s been very sweet with him, but on the whole honestly ignores him (haha).

We’re definitely adjusting to this new lifestyle, especially because Carter prefers to be snuggled and held much more than Kennedy ever did. We’re honestly also just dealing with more sickness in the house with Kennedy being in daycare.

So Carter seems to have a cold way faster than Kennedy ever did. Even with her being born in the middle of winter.

Overall, things really have been quite great in the Burken household.

toddler laying on the floor next to her sleeping newborn brother

I’m looking forward to keeping you updated on the happenings and motherhood with two littles, so stay tuned!

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