Kai Rowan Mast
Hey everyone! Kent here.
Super super super exciting news. We are parents! I guess, truth be told, we were parents at conception – but I’ll put it this way; our son ran out of womb! Kai Rowan Mast was born on September 6th, 2015 at 1:22am. 7lb’s 11 oz, 20 inches long.
I decided to take my camera along and create a fun little film to announce our little man and the labor story. This film only captures a brief bit of the story, so I will type our more detailed story below the film, for anyone who wants to know.
We were all geared up and ready to have a natural birth. Ashleigh and I had taken a twelve-week course going over the Bradley Method. This is just where we landed personally after thinking through some of the options. There are plenty of methods to labor, and this really is a secondary issue, which I feel is necessary to say because as people we can get really.. bent out of shape about preferences, mixing up facts and opinions.
Ashleigh began experiencing really terrible back pain on Thursday afternoon around 4pm. It was so intense that we took notice. She has a high pain threshold, and was barely able to move. We called Birthcare and began the drive. When we arrived we found out that she was 2cm dilated and 70% effaced. This was amazing news because we didn’t know she was dilated at all. We believed that this was tremendous back labor, and in the not-so-distant future we would be birthing at Birthcare. We decided to stay there to time our contractions, which ended up occurring every few minutes, lasting a minute and a half or two. This was really.. alarming, and led us to believe that we were much further along in the labor than we anticipated. After staying there a few hours, the midwife checked her again to find her 4cm dilated. We were amazed – this was really happening, and quicker than we anticipated. The back pain didn’t let up, and Ashleigh labored through the night.
However, around 5am we realized there was really no progression and things had come essentially to a halt. In addition, Ashleigh had been unable to sleep or rest due to the pain, and was in no condition with her energy levels to even try birthing a baby. We tried going home to see if Ashleigh would be able to rest. The back pain continued drilling into her, and after 24 hours of trying different things (warm showers/baths, medication, rest, etc) we had run out of options. We had also ran into an unsettling truth the night before – Ashleigh didn’t think it was actually back labor, she felt that the excruciating pain was coming from her kidney.
We arrived at WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital and regrouped. Ashleigh was basically a day or so shy of her due date. Ashleigh needed an ultrasound to see how serious the condition of her kidney was. This is where The Lord continued to take our birth plan in His hands and give us new plans. Her kidney was fully functioning, and there were no visible kidney stones, but the kidney pain in general needed an epidural and there was no way around it. In addition to that, she would need to get an IV drip that would induce her labor because the urologist told us that birth needed to happen immediately in order to correctly scan and diagnose what was going on with the kidney. We had wanted to avoid both an epidural and inducing because of what we had learned about babies who were born naturally versus receiving medication, but at this point there were no other options. The pain Ashleigh was going through was tiring her out and we needed to get her rest. We spent the night at the hospital and decided to induce her the following morning.
The next day they began inducing her and she went to 6cm dilated, 90% effaced, and they broke her water. They decided to try taking her off of the induction medicine to see if her body would naturally progress from that point, but after putting in an internal monitor to test the strength of the contractions, we realized her contractions were not strong enough to bring us to labor. She had actually begun regressing to 80% effaced. We thought we would be having the baby by 7 or 8pm, but as 6:30pm approached we knew that was no longer a reality. They put the medicine back on and decided to move forward into labor.
Around 10:30pm that evening Ashleigh began pushing. Sidenote – when in that final stage of labor, time is so bizarre. Those next three hours passed so quickly, and yet each moment was very intense. About an hour and a half into pushing we began to see his head and were greatly encouraged that things would be wrapping up within three, four, maybe five big contractions.
An hour and a half later and we were nearing the three hour mark of labor. Around three hours, for the safety of the mother and the baby, hospitals begin to tell mothers they need a C-Section. Kai was in the correct position, and we could see his head for a very long time, but he was attempting to come out at a slight angle, and between Ashleigh’s smaller size, and Kai’s head size, that angle caused an additional hour and a half of pushing to bring us within ten minutes of the C-Section. Ashleigh, her mom, our midwife, and everyone in the room was incredibly helpful and necessary. We would not have been able to do it without any of them. Finally at 1:22am, Kai Rowan Mast was born to my brave, amazing, wonderful wife and I.
Kai’s umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, which our midwife saw and immediately took action. That was in addition to other circumstances, and instead of having a wonderful mother-son moment immediately after the labor, Kai was quickly pulled out, had his cord cut, and rushed into the hands of two nurses who noticed that he hadn’t cried or gasped for air. He was potentially in a state of shock after the labor and for the first minute we were all very nervous. It was definitely a whirlwind, and emotions felt very high for the first several minutes as we didn’t know if everything was okay. His heart rate had begun dropping lower than our midwife liked and there were several hushed conversations between the midwife and the nurse leading up to labor. After having him in their capable hands, he began breathing and flushing with color.
Due to the three hours of pushing, Kai was a little beat up upon arrival in the world. He had a good bit of swelling and bruising. He actually couldn’t even open his one eye fully for the first day.
Our really amazing friends Joel + Amy Bomberger and Brad + Mariah Sensenich were four of our biggest cheerleaders, sending prayers and encouragement from afar. We can’t ever express how much their encouragement meant to us. We had many other friends and my entire side of our family praying. Kai has literally been an answer to prayer.
Our expectations of what God would be able to accomplish in our hearts has been completely exceeded. We have both welled up with love for a little boy that has completely stolen our hearts in such a short amount of time. The entire labor I was getting slammed moment by moment with more grace and help from our Father who helps us in our time of desperate need. Ashleigh was able to endure an extremely difficult labor. I could not be more proud of her. The humility and grace that she has demonstrated in the last week has been tremendous.
Thank you so much for your prayers! This is just the beginning of our party of three. Please continue to pray for us, that we would become more like Jesus in this time, and that we would give Him all glory and honor for who He has given us.