The Birth of Noah

The Hombirth of Nolan Vincent

 

 

Labor of Love

I am so excited, thankful, proud to announce that Nolan Vincent is here!  He arrived October 30th, 2013 weighing 8.5 lbs and 21 inches long.  He is the most amazing chill little man.  We are just soaking him up.  As well as the fact that we are a family of 4 now. 🙂
The Story~

October 29th, I had a last minute scheduled appointment with Cindi, (my midwife), and Larissa, (chiropractor).  I was 39 weeks and  I was having some pelvic pain and I really needed to be adjusted.  The last few weeks were so uncomfortable.  I was trying my best to accept it because it was caused by him being so low and head down.  That was a great thing!  I would take the pain over him being too high or head up, like his sister was. 😉   When I scheduled the appointment with Larissa, Cindi wanted to see me too just to check on how I was doing and the position of baby.  It was a quick check up with Cindi.  She asked how I was and I plastered on a smile and said, “ready”.   Oh, how ready I was.  Ready to meet him, ready and anxious for the labor to start and ready to sleep comfortably.  (haha!  I forgot what it was like to have a a newborn apparently).  We talked some and then she checked his position as well as his heart beat.  All was great.  He was low and engaged and I heard “I don’t think it will be much longer”.  I just smiled and thought “I want to believe you but I feel like he will be in there forever”.   Went and got adjusted by Larissa and she too said the same thing and talked about how loose my bones were.   I wanted to be excited but I really heard all these things since 36-37 weeks and he was still in there and not out.  It’s funny how slow time is when you’re pregnant.  As well as how dramatic you can be….or is that just me? 😉  Anyways, I went on with my day.  Picked Anna up from my moms, went home and we both took a nap.  I woke up from my nap choking from vomit. (eww!).  I ran to the bathroom and threw up just a small bit.  I immediately texted my sister to ask if she ever vomited before going into labor.  She answered that she did with her first right before labor started.  However, it could have been from being adjusted.  I again tried not to get too excited.  I have been having contractions for a few weeks but nothing persistent and worth timing.   I was having slightly stronger ones through out the day and into the evening but again, nothing worth timing.  I told Kyle about the nap and that the contractions were stronger by a little.  I also got in mega clean mode.  I deep cleaned the bathroom and downstairs.  Now looking back, I think I “knew” this really could be it.  As much as I tried to deny it so I would be disappointed incase it wasn’t.  In fact, that night, while rocking and praying with Anna before bed, I prayed over the birth, (as I did every night just in more detail), and then told Anna that this could be the last night of her being the only child.
It was 1030 pm when Kyle and I were watching Sons of Anarchy and the contractions kept coming.  Still wasn’t timing them but didn’t know if I ever wanted to at this point.  Instead I just moved from the birth ball to squatting.  Trying to get comfortable and I was also feeling a little antsy.  During a commercial I went to the bathroom and that’s when I lost some of my mucus plug as well as started having bloody show.  I called for Kyle and told him.  He asked me what that meant and my mind was blank.  I couldn’t remember.  I couldn’t remember what to do.  I was too nervous to text Cindi.  I don’t know why!  I just sat there on the toilet a little frozen.  When I finally came back to my senses, I did text Cindi as well as my sister Kristen, (since she would be coming over once labor started).  They both pretty much just said that this could be it or it could still be a while.  That I needed to rest just incase this was it.  Kyle and I did a few last minute things to get ready for labor such as blow up the pool, make the bed and put up sheets and stuff.  We went upstairs when we were done to get some rest.  However, as soon as I laid down they got really intense.  I was having to breathe and really concentrate on them.  I would grab Kyle’s arm when they would come.  After a few of those Kyle wanted to start timing.  I let him.  The contractions were about 6 minutes apart.  He then texted Cindi and let her know.  She advised that I get in the tub and see if that stalls them.  I got in and the contractions became even stronger and closer together.  When Kyle started timing them there they were about 2-3 minutes apart.  Here is when time and events get a little fuzzy.  I was really having to concentrate.  I did tell Kyle while in the tub that this might just be a really fast labor.  I just couldn’t believe how fast and sudden the contractions were coming.
I decided I was ready for my mom and sisters to come on over.  Kyle also told Cindi that we were ready for her.  I labored a little bit more in the tub and then got out.  By the time I was out is when my mom showed.  We went downstairs where my birth space was set up and I automatically got on all fours and labored.  Sometime during this is when Kristen, Cindi and her birth team arrived.   It wasn’t until Cindi sat with me and placed her hands on my back and told me to relax my muscles that I even realized there were other people in the room.  I was in my own world and found it amazing how easy it was to block everything out.  I was only aware of the music we had set up, the oils we had burning and my breathing.   It was really serene.  Though the contractions were coming strong and fast, I didn’t feel like I was in crazy pain.  Don’t get me wrong.  It hurt.  I guess it was just more of a very uncomfortable pain.  I also will add that when I first started feeling those first real contractions I was so excited to feel them.  I welcomed them.  I had waited for this.  I waited since I was pregnant with Anna!  Three years later I was doing it.  I was laboring and birthing my baby.  I really think that mind set is what really helped me with the pain too.  Well, the pain of contractions anyways.  🙂
I labored for hours in all different positions.  Hands and knees; hovering over the birthing ball; sitting on the birthing ball; sitting on the toilet; in the birth pool.  It was amazing getting to labor however was most comfortable for me.
I can’t recall how many  hours it’s been or what time it was but when I was in the pool, I could feel myself dozing off in between the contractions.  Cindi had asked if she could check me and see where we were.  I was so tired at this point and I just didn’t care.  I got out of the pool and she checked me.   Boy, did I regret allowing her to do so.  It hurt like a…well, I don’t know what to compare it to.  It just hurt.  She didn’t just check my dialation though.  Nolan was so active while I was in labor that she was needing to check his position and feel for his head.
I was at this point 8-9 cm.  She advised that we try and get some rest so that I am not drained and tired for the pushing.  I couldn’t move hardly so I just stayed there on the couch.  Worst decision.  I was so uncomfortable.  This is the time when the contractions really hurt and it was hard for me to relax.  I don’t know how long I stayed there.  My sister, Kristen, would rub my arm and encourage me everytime a contraction came.   It was exactly what I needed.  I learned that I hated feeling alone during labor.  I needed someone there touching me.  I needed to see someone when I would open my eyes.  Because of how I was facing, when I opened my eyes I couldn’t see anyone.  They were all behind or on the side.  I didn’t want to move my head though.
I finally got the energy to vocalize that I was hot and wanted off the couch.  I also really needed to use the bathroom.  I was drinking so much water during labor and it was going right through me!
Cindi advised that I still rest.  There was just a few hours left before the sun would rise.  They helped me upstairs and that’s where Kyle and I stayed for a while.  Again, I have no recollection of times so I don’t know how long I was up there.  I was able to sleep in between contractions.   It was nice even if it was very little rest.    However, I eventually became uncomfortable laying down and was ready to go back downstairs to my birthing space.  I desired the music and water.
When I made it back downstairs I realized that Kristen and my mom had left.  As well as the birth assistant.  Nikki was now here to take the place of Rachel.  Shortly after coming down stairs is when Anna woke up too.  Kyle got her and called his mom to come pick her up.  We knew she wouldn’t be able to handle being there seeing me in pain.  Now, I am so glad we made that call!  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do until the last month of pregnancy.  When Tricia came and got Anna is when my good friend, Ali arrived to take pictures.   She was ever so sweet to offer.
The pool was ready again for me to get back into.  I labored more in there.  I also was starting to push.  Not exactly because I felt the urge but just to get him to drop more.  This is where the birth began to feel like it was never going to happen.  Eventually being in the water was spacing my contractions out and so I decided to get out.  I labored and pushed on the floor.  Again, in all different positions.   All fours, squatting, leaning over furniture and even laying on my back.   Which of these do you think was most  successful in getting Nolan to come out?  Yep- laying down on my back.  😉  He would get so close and I would think it was almost over and then he would go back up.  I pushed for hours!   Then, when we thought he was almost out everyone talked me into getting back into the pool since I wanted a water birth so bad.  I did.  I somehow was able to walk, waddle is more like it, back into the pool.  I pushed a while in there.  Again, it slowed down my contractions and his heart rate actually started dropping.  Cindi allowed me to try for as long was safe and then we just decided that he was coming out so much better on the floor.  I somehow was able to climb back out and walk back to the floor.
I pushed and pushed!  It hurt and he was not coming out.  Cindi told me that I wasn’t getting mad enough.  That is when I started getting really vocal.  You hear about how beautiful a woman’s “labor song” is.  Well, if there is such a thing as a “pushing song”, let me tell you- it’s not pretty!  Mine wasn’t anyways.  I was scaring myself sometimes by the noises that were coming out.  🙂  I didn’t care though.  I was ready for this baby to get out!   I was tired and I was in pain.   I wasn’t feeling this relief from pushing that I heard and read all about.  It was making me angry.  I wanted to push when I felt the urge but it turned out that I needed to be coached.   I needed Kyle or Nikki to count for me while pushing.  The kind of things that I said were unnecessary  when writing my birth plan.  Well, they were for me.  I kept wanting to give up mid push.  I was just too tired.
Then I hear everyone cheering.  My mom, Cindi, Nikki, Kyle and Ali.  Telling me that he is coming out.  I was doing it.  His head came out and I was so excited and anxious I actually reached down about to pull him.  Cindi had to remind me that I needed to push the rest of his body out and then told Kyle to come and catch his son.  I pushed one last time and Kyle caught him and laid him on my chest at 12:12 pm on October 30th, 2013.
I dreamed of this moment.  When I became pregnant with Sky and knew that we were going to have a homebirth.   Then after we lost Sky and I became pregnant again with Nolan, I dreamed like you wouldn’t believe.  It was a constant dream going on in my head.  During the day; while I slept.  Dreaming of this pregnancy going to full term.  Dreaming of me feeling a contraction.  Me pushing and birthing my baby and holding him on my chest and me just crying because I did it.  I successfully carried this baby full term.  Allowed him to come into this world on his timing and birthing him naturally.   When that actual moment was here and it was no longer a dream, I didn’t cry.  I just held him so tight and silently thanked God for blessing me.  He was crying and I would tell him that I was here.  It was one of the most beautiful moments in my life.  Better than I could have dreamed or imagined.  We did do it.1452231_10153492714680508_596722243_n
Kyle was so amazing during the whole thing.  He was my rock.  Telling me that I was doing a great job when I felt like my body wasn’t doing a good job pushing this baby out.  He allowed me to grab his hand or arm at each contraction.  He would kiss my head as a silent way to tell me that he was there and he believed in me.  My heart grew so much that afternoon.   Making room for me to love Nolan as I do Anna.  Also, falling deeper in love with Kyle.
Nolan latched right on and nursed for a good hour.  I ate some food that Kyle cooked and tried getting some energy back.   After Nolan was done nursing, Cindi weighed him and did some vitals.  He weighed in at 8.5 lbs and was 21 inches long.  My perfect little boy.
It was a long labor and a long 4-5 hours of pushing but I wouldn’t change any of it.  I feel so blessed to have had a successful home birth after having a c’section with Anna.  It confirmed to me that I can do it.
So thankful for Cindi and her birth team at Gentle Birth Options.  From when I first made the phone call to schedule an appt after finding out that I was pregnant again, they were excited for us and believed and encouraged me the whole pregnancy and into the birth.  Cindi who would gently remind me that I didn’t need to be afraid during the birth and that I could do it.
Ali who was so generous to come over and take pictures of it all.   She captured some of the most memorable moments for my family.   Her sacrifice and patience during it all is such a blessing.  Being a wife, mama and business owner herself and gifting us with her time of taking  all the photos of this whole experience and then editing them.  There are not enough thank yous.
My amazing mom and sisters.  Present for the birth or not, they each too were there for me during the whole pregnancy and birth.  It be through prayer, listening to me voice my excitement or concerns.  They were and are the best support team I could ever ask for.
Kyle who is my amazing partner.  What a great team we make.   He had to listen to me list off our to do lists the whole pregnancy as well as complain about how uncomfortable I was at the end.  He still amazes me as we work as a team with two small kids.  Both of us losing sleep at night with a newborn and a tot who decided doesn’t need sleep either, he takes on his daddy and husband role with no complaints.  I am beyond blessed that God chose him to be my husband and the father of my children.

He even was born with a perfect heart shaped birth mark.  So much love!

Gabe’s Birth Story

Child Birth.
Its a hot debate in the mommyhood circles. There are so many options: home, hospital, birth center, drugs, no drugs, water births, hypnobirths. And all have research looking at how safe each one is for the mother and child. With Makena, my first, I was more worried about pregnancy and then the after, how to care for said child. I was terrified like any new mom is. How am I going to know what to when the kid comes home with me?

We all figure it out and raise beautiful little people.

The second time around, I wasn’t worried about either of those things. Pregnancy was a breeze. I had morning sickness this time around but made sure I worked out more (not hard while chasing a toddler). My first kid was still alive so I figured I got the raising part down. So I had time to focus on the birth.

I am a person who is constantly needing to learn. I get antsy if I am not reading and researching something. I started looking into the different birthing options. I moved from Washington to Florida in my 7th month. I saw an OB that came recommended. He was great, but I didn’t feel like they were listening to me (which their records proved they weren’t). I had wanted to try for a natural birth this time and wasn’t supported in that decision. I got an epidural with Makena but wanted to try for not having one this time. I was starting to learn that it tends to cause more problems than help. My delivery with Makena went smoothly, so it wasn’t a choice made out of fear. I was just more informed this time around.

I watched the Business of Being Born. I read articles on deliveries, epidurals, IV fluids, and recovery periods. I talked to friends who went the natural route. I bugged my doctor friends and stole their class notes.

So now I had to find a new Doctor. I kept hearing about this birthing center. My crunchy, hippie ways seemed to be a blinking light for strangers to tell me about this place. I googled it and loved it. The place is homey and comfortable. The staff is so wonderful and gentle. They were engaging Makena at our appointments, not annoyed and leaving the room like at the OB’s office.

We switched and made the plans to have Gabriel at Gentle Birth Options with the midwife, Cindi. I have to admit I was nervous and so was Josh. OB’s are constantly throwing the “what if’s” and worst case scenarios at you. In reality, I was a perfectly healthy women who had one easy delivery already. After meeting Cindi and the staff, I learned they are just as trained to handle most complications, and at the very least able to do enough to get us to the hospital in time.

So Gabriel’s delivery…

I was growing so impatient. I was 38 weeks and done. I had my appointment with Cindi and wanted to get my membranes swept in hopes that it would get things started. Well, I was already 3cm dilated and he was right there. She did it anyway, but didn’t think it was needed. That boy was coming out SOON.

Contractions started immediately. I had been having lots of braxton hicks, but these ones hurt. The staff started checking who was on call that night. They predicted I would be having that boy that night.

They were right.

I was told to go home, get some rest, sleep if I can. Eat a meal and just relax. So I tried. We put Makena to bed. I texted our sweet friend, who was watching Makena during the delivery, that things might be happening if the contractions progressed. I stayed up making sure I had the food ready, our bags by the front door (they had been packed for weeks) and just fiddled like pregnant, laboring women do. I finally laid down and managed to get a few hours of sleep.

2:30am hit.

Ouch. Those suckers woke me up and would not let me rest. I got up and moved to the couch so I wouldn’t wake Josh. I didn’t know how far alone things had gotten and didn’t want to jump the gun. So I put on Alaska State Troopers and tried to ignore the tight pain around core.

3am: they couldn’t be ignored.

I kept hearing my moms questions from that night about timing them. So I did. I was having them every 2 to 3 minutes. This went on for 1.5 hours. Oops.

Shit is happening!

Shortly before 5am I text my midwife. We start talking about when I need to come to the birth center. I say I think I can wait a little longer. I wake up Josh and tell him to get ready. He jumps in the shower and my contractions get much worse and I start to feel more pressure.

Cindi tells me I need to get to the birthing center, no more waiting.

I shower, Christa rushes over and stays at our house to wait for Makena to wake. Side note: The BEST thing was being able to leave Makena to sleep and be at home than have to transport her somewhere. I strongly believe its one of the reasons why she adores her brother so much. It was such a smooth introduction.

IMG_15426:05am: We get to the birthing center. I swear I am doing a home birth next time just so I don’t have to ride while having contractions. My mood was still playful between the contractions at this point. We moved into one of the birthing suits and just tried to relax.

 

Josh has been my savior during the deliveries. He knows how to comfort me, when to give me space and be the most encouraging man I have ever met. I could not have told him to be more perfect for me, he surpassed anything I could have thought of. I do truly believe my deliveries are so easy because of what he does for me.IMG_1543

He had taken a comfort measures class at the birthing center and was giving me different things to try while my labor progressed. As things got nearer, Cindi realized that Gabe was stuck on my pelvis. She was having me try different positions to get him unstuck. All the while, I could push if I felt like it. At things point, transition hit. I started doubting myself, thinking I couldn’t do it. The pain was too much, I was tired. I didn’t feel like I had the strength.

Josh convinced me otherwise. Even though I did not voice a single one of those thoughts, he knew. And he said what I needed to hear

“You are so strong. You can do this. You are so amazing. I am so proud of you. Keep going babe.”

How amazing is he?

And I did do it. Transition passed and the pain got manageable again. Now, there is the hard part for me. I can handle the pain, which had been pretty easy actually. It was a LOT less painful than with Makena. The hard part for me is pushing. I’m terrible because I always use the wrong muscles. I tried laying on my back for a little bit. Cindi had to break my water and tried to help me remember which muscles to use.

10:30am: I found that on my knees, leaning on a ball was better for me. So after, what felt like an hour, of failed pushing he came down. I do remember that I yelled at this point. Screamed would be a better word. I wanted that kid out NOW. I was done, I kept telling myself that all I had to do was push him out and I could rest. I couldn’t keep my scream in as much as I tried. I was so silent with Makena and most of the delivery until this point. I could feel him right there and Cindi said, “Reach down and catch your baby”. All I could think of was pushing this freaking kid out! So one actual push and he came shooting out. He landed on the bed and I reached down and grabbed him. In my dIMG_1547aze, I missed Cindi unwrapping the cord from his neck. I just cradled him close and moved to lay back against the pillows. Josh laid next to me and we stared at our little boy. He gave one big cry and then latched right on and starting eating. He hasn’t stopped. Gabe did have some swelling and a nice black eye because of my stupid pelvis. He was a little beat up to say the least. But a few days later he was the handsome little man he is today.

After getting some time to just bond, and making sure we were both healthy and doing well, Josh started heating the food we brought. I got showered and cleaned up.

Then Makena joined us at the birthing center. We wanted her to be there as soon as possible. We felt like she needed to be included in this early bonding time as well. Christa brought her over about 30 minutes after Gabe was born. She was a little confused at first I think, as she hasn’t spent much time away from me.IMG_1559

She quickly became interested and comfortable again.IMG_1564IMG_1565

3:00pm After we all ate and made sure Gabe was eating well. We went home. 8 hours of labor and home 4ish hours after he was born. I felt so good in my recovery. We even went to Target the next morning. The labor was much easier than I thought and surprised me in how smoothly it went. It was peaceful and quiet and supportive. I never felt alone in it and had constant reassurance. Cindi was always softly giving me directions or words of encouragement. I would feel a gentle rub during a hard contraction. I felt more cared for than I could imagine, and no where near the care I got in the hospital.

Josh and I both walked away completely converted to natural child birth. We recommend it to everyone who is even thinking about it. I know it’s not for everyone, but I ask that it’s something you at least look into. Here is our little guy a month later on Thanksgiving. So blessed is our little family.

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The Birth of Natalie

The Birth of Luke

About 1000 on Saturday morning, Meesh said she was having a different sort of contraction that did not feel like her Braxton Hicks she’d been experiencing recently in her pregnancy. They weren’t unmanageable so we went on with our day, eating lunch together, reading According to Plan, and capped off our day with our weekly visit to the grocery store.

We went to the Commissary and I had to stop every now and then. I figured it was just my pregnant body adjusting to more changes. We didn’t buy anything for the birth day since I “still had time” before little Leong was suppose to come. And I didn’t want to have an abundance of food that the two of us could not consume.

I also had a list of to-dos on the fridge to include making and freezing waffles and apple muffins should I have a morning birth and want breakfast. I had cards to laminate for the birth day; bible verses on one side and black-and-white pictures for LL on the other side. At one point in the day I thought I might paint my toes but decided not to since I couldn’t sit long enough without having a contraction.

Things seemed normal until late at night she started experiencing serious pain: stronger contractions. I had been a little behind in my reading, worriedly broke out the pregnancy books and flipped to the phases of labor. Meesh, though well versed in her readings, also anxiously flipped through her books to see where we were.

“We’re okay, this may be a bit” said Meesh. I, not completely convinced stared at Meesh only believing her because I was behind in my readings and should have known better, but did not. The idea that Little Leong could come 13 days earlier threw off my equilibrium; I had plans for my work, the new football season was starting, and mainly, I had much to do in preparation for Little Leong’s arrival. I shrugged off the thought and tended to her, who was now experiencing contractions at a very frequent pace.

I downloaded an app to time contractions. After a few contractions earlier in the day, it seemed like I was in early labor moving onto active. Honestly I didn’t think much of this. According to the estimated due date I still had two weeks! Not to mention that first pregnancies usually go past the due date. So I figured my discomfort was me being weak sauce during the Braxton Hicks contractions. We’re okay, this may be a bit.

One contraction over 60 seconds in length every 4 minutes. Was this within the range of phase 1? “Full Term,” the app that counted contractions, provided a rollup of frequencies of contractions in relation to the phases of labor. This reading was moving from phase 1 to phases 2 according to the rollup. Yikes. I sat next to Meesh in bed as she tried to sleep, plagued by frequent contractions and leaving her in a world of pain and discomfort. After an hour of monitoring her, I called our mid-wife Cindi to ask if this was “normal.”

Cindi said things appeared to be normal and that I should call her again if Michelle experienced more pain or something at a different level. She seemed to plateau at “painful” and “frequent” and had a horrible night. She never slept; I barely slept because I was trying to support her but praise God things never got worse.

I was exhausted. There were moments that seemed like I slept for a long period but Hoy said it was just minutes in between contractions that I was resting. I had no idea what time it was and how often I was moaning with those contractions.

In the morning, around 0730, Cindi texted us asking to meet up at the birthing center to do a quick checkup. We were more than happy with this offer, tastelessly ate breakfast, and soon headed out to see Cindi.

I wanted to see Cindi but I didn’t want to, for the fear that she’d say I’m just early along. What if all this pain I’m feeling is just the beginning and not even close to the real deal?

Meesh, at this point, was having a real hard time waddling so when we got to the birthing center, we slowly made our way inside where we were greeted by CIndi who gave us the most shocking information that we did not expect.

“Looks like someone’s going to have a baby today!”

WHAT??? 3 cm dilated. My eyes were wide open and I stared at Hoy. Excited and shocked because I was actually progressing! Strong contractions at short intervals. No, she must be mistaken. This can’t be! I felt a sense of anxiety and excitement, though more anxiety because I was not ready for an early arrival. It was a little difficult to stomach the news but we reminded ourselves constantly of God’s will for our lives and how His plan was good for us, even if it wasn’t what we had planned ourselves. Okay, time to take a breath.

“It could be 30 minutes from now, or it could be 3 hours from now. I’m going to send you home. Call me when things are different or when you can’t handle being at home anymore.” Cindi said. My water didn’t break yet but it could be any moment now. I asked if it would be obvious. She said it would be like a water balloon popping. Cindi walked us through some exercises to help Little Leong move further down (to include sashaying!) and shortly, we were on our way back home (not waddling anymore but sashaying).

Side note, our birthing center focuses on having labor in the most comfortable place: the home. We weren’t sent back home because they weren’t ready for us, but because they wanted us to be comfortable in our setting. And we were.

So we went home. Meesh’s contractions still hit every 2-3 minutes. During those contractions, I stayed by her side, encouraged her to fight on, telling her to keep breathing. When the contractions were not dominating her, I raced around the home and began preparations for the delivery. Luckily, Meesh already packed a suitcase and made a meal to bring to the birthing center. Hoy just had to organize some things and load up the car. Meesh’s job was to persevere.

I was leaning over the sofa moving my hips back and forth as Cindi had said. In between contractions I watched Hoy move our suitcase and cooler to the car.

One hour and 15 minutes after we returned home from the birthing center, Meesh’s water broke. It was 1315. I called Cindi, who had just got home from our previous visit, and she asked if we could meet at 1400. Meesh, in the background, screamed “there’s more water!” and Cindi immediately said, “I’ll have someone at the birthing center in 10 minutes!”

I had a HUGE water balloon! I thought I could hold it in with all the Kegel exercises I’ve been doing. HA! Before we left home I almost chewed Hoy’s head off because I needed to get dressed and he completely missed that point. I think this was the only time I wanted to kill Hoy during labor. Flustered, Hoy gave me his red skull shirt to put on and we left.

And off we went. I made 2 trips to the car to load everything up then slowly walked Meesh to the car (it took about 10 minutes to get from kitchen to car!), then carefully drove (didn’t break speed limit folks!) to the birthing center, 5 minutes from home.

Our short drive to the birthing center seemed like forever.

I pulled into the parking lot and drove right up to the front of the building, ignoring all parking rules. I escorted Meesh inside and was met by the staff of the birthing center. They were each warm and friendly, excited for this big day for our family. Okay, time to get to work!

1400: It happened so fast. Cindi got Meesh pushing right away and we were off. She did another check up and said I was at 10 cm! Oh my word! This is really happening. Meesh was still in heavy pain but valiantly worked through it and focused on pushing. Cindi was an expert coach and helped both Meesh and I through the process. She kept calm and all the staff kept encouraging Meesh and I. I am so grateful for their approach: to let the husband and wife labor together, have the husband encourage the wife and support her through it rather than a doctor. I noticed that things were zipping by and looked for Meesh’s phone to at least call our parents and small group to let them know we were in labor. No luck, I was needed, I had a job. (That’s why you didn’t hear from us until after!)

I couldn’t talk, all my energy was used for pushing. Nodding and shaking my head were my only forms of communication. I had the thought of a C-section at one point but couldn’t get any words out of my mouth. When things were tough, which were often, I ran Psalm 92:2 over and over in my head. “to declare your steadfast love in the morning and your faithfulness by night.” I couldn’t remember any of my other bible verses.

Meesh almost broke three of my fingers. I was in pain but nothing compared to hers. All I could do was tell her she was doing awesome and that it was worth it.

I labored over the toilet and then transitioned to the birthing ball on the bed. I wanted to labor in the birthing tub but couldn’t make it over there in between contractions even though it was only a foot away. I had things packed in my suitcase to help with the labor, a comb, my dryer balls, a massage tool, and some Jolly Ranchers. Of all these I only had the hard candy and sucked on it for only a millisecond until my next contraction came.

It was hot. I remember Hoy wiping away my sweat and Cindi fanning me.

When time was getting closer to Little Leong’s arrival, I asked if I could catch our baby. Cindi was more than happy to let me do this so I swapped places with one of her assistants, Christina, and they handed me a pair of latex gloves. Thanks Christina! I’m grateful you were there! I struggled to put them on as quickly as possible, knowing that the time was soon. Cindi saw me struggling and assured me there were still a few pushes before Little Leong would come out. I remember Cindi telling Hoy, “Don’t worry, you’ve got some time.” She was wrong. With one push, Little Leong popped out around 1459 (I don’t think anyone caught the exact time) and escaped the sure hands of both Cindi and myself! Luckily, he landed on the soft bed and was unharmed. I quickly went to grab him and, with my vast experience with holding children (if you know me, I have zero experience except for an electronic baby in daddy’s class), attempted to hold our new baby boy! Somehow, I got the umbilical cord wrapped around Meesh’s leg while she was recovering from the final push and had to carefully uncoil my son from my wife’s leg. Despite this new clumsy father, God led the way and blessed us with a beautiful, handsome, and so-cute-you’ll-want-to-kiss-him-all-over baby: Luke Christopher Leong!

Neither of us expected Luke to join us when he did. At our follow-up appointment Cindi mentioned that he cooked in there just long enough and it was time for him to come out. It was a good reminder of God’s plan. None of those readings and classes we had, though helpful, could tell me exactly what labor and birth would be like. By God’s grace Luke came and I didn’t kill Hoy.

God’s timing and plan, certainly not ours.

Our sweet son was born September 8, 2013 around 14:59. He was 19.5 inches and weighed a tiny 5 pounds and 15 ounces. He was just perfect.

The Birth of Luke Christopher (Dad’s story)

(Mom’s story italicized)

About 1000 on Saturday morning, Meesh said she was having a different sort of contraction that did not feel like her Braxton Hicks she’d been experiencing recently in her pregnancy. They weren’t unmanageable so we went on with our day, eating lunch together, reading According to Plan, and capped off our day with our weekly visit to the grocery store.

We went to the Commissary and I had to stop every now and then. I figured it was just my pregnant body adjusting to more changes. We didn’t buy anything for the birth day since I “still had time” before little Leong was suppose to come. And I didn’t want to have an abundance of food that the two of us could not consume.

I also had a list of to-dos on the fridge to include making and freezing waffles and apple muffins should I have a morning birth and want breakfast. I had cards to laminate for the birth day; bible verses on one side and black-and-white pictures for LL on the other side. At one point in the day I thought I might paint my toes but decided not to since I couldn’t sit long enough without having a contraction.

Things seemed normal until late at night she started experiencing serious pain: stronger contractions. I had been a little behind in my reading, worriedly broke out the pregnancy books and flipped to the phases of labor. Meesh, though well versed in her readings, also anxiously flipped through her books to see where we were.

“We’re okay, this may be a bit” said Meesh. I, not completely convinced stared at Meesh only believing her because I was behind in my readings and should have known better, but did not. The idea that Little Leong could come 13 days earlier threw off my equilibrium; I had plans for my work, the new football season was starting, and mainly, I had much to do in preparation for Little Leong’s arrival. I shrugged off the thought and tended to her, who was now experiencing contractions at a very frequent pace.

I downloaded an app to time contractions. After a few contractions earlier in the day, it seemed like I was in early labor moving onto active. Honestly I didn’t think much of this. According to the estimated due date I still had two weeks! Not to mention that first pregnancies usually go past the due date. So I figured my discomfort was me being weak sauce during the Braxton Hicks contractions. We’re okay, this may be a bit.

One contraction over 60 seconds in length every 4 minutes. Was this within the range of phase 1? “Full Term,” the app that counted contractions, provided a rollup of frequencies of contractions in relation to the phases of labor. This reading was moving from phase 1 to phases 2 according to the rollup. Yikes. I sat next to Meesh in bed as she tried to sleep, plagued by frequent contractions and leaving her in a world of pain and discomfort. After an hour of monitoring her, I called our mid-wife Cindi to ask if this was “normal.”

Cindi said things appeared to be normal and that I should call her again if Michelle experienced more pain or something at a different level. She seemed to plateau at “painful” and “frequent” and had a horrible night. She never slept; I barely slept because I was trying to support her but praise God things never got worse.

I was exhausted. There were moments that seemed like I slept for a long period but Hoy said it was just minutes in between contractions that I was resting. I had no idea what time it was and how often I was moaning with those contractions.

In the morning, around 0730, Cindi texted us asking to meet up at the birthing center to do a quick checkup. We were more than happy with this offer, tastelessly ate breakfast, and soon headed out to see Cindi.

I wanted to see Cindi but I didn’t want to, for the fear that she’d say I’m just early along. What if all this pain I’m feeling is just the beginning and not even close to the real deal?

Meesh, at this point, was having a real hard time waddling so when we got to the birthing center, we slowly made our way inside where we were greeted by Cindi who gave us the most shocking information that we did not expect.

“Looks like someone’s going to have a baby today!”

WHAT??? 3 cm dilated. My eyes were wide open and I stared at Hoy. Excited and shocked because I was actually progressing! Strong contractions at short intervals. No, she must be mistaken. This can’t be! I felt a sense of anxiety and excitement, though more anxiety because I was not ready for an early arrival. It was a little difficult to stomach the news but we reminded ourselves constantly of God’s will for our lives and how His plan was good for us, even if it wasn’t what we had planned ourselves. Okay, time to take a breath.

“It could be 30 minutes from now, or it could be 3 hours from now. I’m going to send you home. Call me when things are different or when you can’t handle being at home anymore.” Cindi said. My water didn’t break yet but it could be any moment now. I asked if it would be obvious. She said it would be like a water balloon popping. Cindi walked us through some exercises to help Little Leong move further down (to include sashaying!) and shortly, we were on our way back home (not waddling anymore but sashaying).

Side note, our birthing center focuses on having labor in the most comfortable place: the home. We weren’t sent back home because they weren’t ready for us, but because they wanted us to be comfortable in our setting. And we were.

So we went home. Meesh’s contractions still hit every few minutes. During those contractions, I stayed by her side, encouraged her to fight on, telling her to keep breathing. When the contractions were not dominating her, I raced around the home and began preparations for the delivery. Luckily, Meesh already packed a suitcase and made a meal to bring to the birthing center. Hoy just had to organize some things and load up the car. Meesh’s job was to persevere.

I was leaning over the sofa moving my hips back and forth as Cindi had said. In between contractions I watched Hoy move our suitcase and cooler to the car.

One hour and 15 minutes after we returned home from the birthing center, Meesh’s water broke. It was 1315. I called Cindi, who had just got home from our previous visit, and she asked if we could meet at 1400. Meesh, in the background, screamed “there’s more water!”  and Cindi immediately said, “I’ll have someone at the birthing center in 10 minutes!”

I had a HUGE water balloon! I thought I could hold it in with all the Kegel exercises I’ve been doing. HA! Before we left home I almost chewed Hoy’s head off because I needed to get dressed and he completely missed that point. I think this was the only time I wanted to kill Hoy during labor. Flustered, Hoy gave me his red skull shirt to put on and we left.

And off we went. I made 2 trips to the car to load everything up then slowly walked Meesh to the car (it took about 10 minutes to get from kitchen to car!), then carefully drove (didn’t break speed limit folks!) to the birthing center, 5 minutes from home.

Our short drive to the birthing center seemed like forever.

I pulled into the parking lot and drove right up to the front of the building, ignoring all parking rules. I escorted Meesh inside and was met by the staff of the birthing center. They were each warm and friendly, excited for this big day for our family. Okay, time to get to work!

1400: It happened so fast. Cindi got Meesh pushing right away and we were off. She did another check up and said I was at 10 cm! Oh my word! This is really happening. Meesh was still in heavy pain but valiantly worked through it and focused on pushing. Cindi was an expert coach and helped both Meesh and I through the process. She kept calm and all the staff kept encouraging Meesh and I. I am so grateful for their approach: to let the husband and wife labor together, have the husband encourage the wife and support her through it rather than a doctor. I noticed that things were zipping by and looked for Meesh’s phone to at least call our parents and small group to let them know we were in labor. No luck, I was needed, I had a job. (That’s why you didn’t hear from us until after!)

I couldn’t talk, all my energy was used for pushing. Nodding and shaking my head were my only forms of communication. I had the thought of a C-section at one point but couldn’t get any words out of my mouth. When things were tough, which were often, I ran Psalm 92:2 over and over in my head. “to declare your steadfast love in the morning and your faithfulness by night.” I couldn’t remember any of my other bible verses.

Meesh almost broke three of my fingers. I was in pain but nothing compared to hers. All I could do was tell her she was doing awesome and that it was worth it.

I labored over the toilet and then transitioned to the birthing ball on the bed. I wanted to labor in the birthing tub but couldn’t make it over there in between contractions even though it was only a foot away. I had things packed in my suitcase to help with the labor, a comb, my dryer balls, a massage tool, and some Jolly Ranchers. Of all these I only had the hard candy and sucked on it for only a millisecond until my next contraction came.

It was hot. I remember Hoy wiping away my sweat and Cindi fanning me.

When time was getting closer to Little Leong’s arrival, I asked if I could catch our baby. Cindi was more than happy to let me do this so I swapped places with one of her assistants, Christina, and they handed me a pair of latex gloves. Thanks Christina! I’m grateful you were there! I struggled to put them on as quickly as possible, knowing that the time was soon. Cindi saw me struggling and assured me there were still a few pushes before Little Leong would come out. I remember Cindi telling Hoy, “Don’t worry, you’ve got some time.” She was wrong. <— That is said with love. With one push, Little Leong popped out around 1459 (I don’t think anyone caught the exact time) and escaped the sure hands of both Cindi and myself! Luckily, he landed on the soft bed and was unharmed. I quickly went to grab him and, with my vast experience with holding children (if you know me, I have zero experience except for an electronic baby in daddy’s class), attempted to hold our new baby boy! Somehow, I got the umbilical cord wrapped around Meesh’s leg while she was recovering from the final push and had to carefully uncoil my son from my wife’s leg. Despite this new clumsy father, God led the way and blessed us with a beautiful, handsome, and so-cute-you’ll-want-to-kiss-him-all-over baby: Luke Christopher Leong!

Neither of us expected Luke to join us when he did. At our follow-up appointment Cindi mentioned that he cooked in there just long enough and it was time for him to come out. It was a good reminder of God’s plan. None of those readings and classes we had, though helpful, could tell me exactly what labor and birth would be like. By God’s grace Luke came and I didn’t kill Hoy.

God’s timing and plan, certainly not ours.

Our sweet son was born September 8, 2013 around 14:59. He was 19.5 inches and weighed a tiny 5 pounds and 15 ounces. He was just perfect.

The Birth of Maeryn

The Birth Story of Elias

The Birth Story of Elias

It was just a regular day in the life of a housewife and stay at home mom. Tend to the toddler, waddle around, deep clean the floor, since it had become my daily ritual since about the 37th week. Waddle around some more. I had settled in for the long haul – our first child came 9 days late at the beginning of a hot, hot September. It was February and I wasn’t swollen or terribly uncomfortable. I was ready to house this kid as long as he pleased.

It was around noon when the contractions began. I shrugged them off at first. The last 6 weeks had brought several hours-long bouts with contractions that ended as quickly as they began and without bringing forth the baby. At 1, I put Violet, our 2 1/2 year old, down for a nap and decided to try and nap myself. I had already done all the other things one should do to ‘test’ the validity of contractions – eat, pee, walk, sit down, stand up, fight, fight, fight! I called my husband, Addison, to let him know I was experiencing contractions but not to get excited since they were probably going to disappear any second.

Two hours later, I am having probably 10 contractions in an hour and am starting to have to focus on them. Violet is up from her nap and I am having trouble focusing on both her and my body. I called Addison home from work and then texted my mother in law, Wanda to let her know I needed help with Violet.

My third call is to Cindi, our midwife. She says what I figured she’d say to me – to hang in there and let her know when things pick up.

Addison comes home right after my in laws arrive. We decide to take a walk. Oh, did I mention I’m having back labor? Not the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. On a street paralleling ours, I squat through a contraction, leaning on Addison. A sweet old lady comes out of her house and asks me if I need any help. Addison tells her I am just stretching. Funny.

We make our way back to the house and I decide to take a shower. I had back labor with Violet and I remembered how amazing the shower running on my lower back felt. I give it a go and it is not the relief I am looking for. After about a half an hour, I plug the tub and try a soak in the bath. That wasn’t working for me either. Addison gives Cindi a call for some other coping suggestions. She listens to me having a contraction. I overhear her telling Addison not to tell me that it is probably going to be a long night.

I am not terribly surprised. Everything about this baby has been a clue that his personality is much more laid back than his sister’s. He wasn’t in constant motion like his sister was and though they were both breech towards the end, this baby turned over fairly easily with Cindi’s gentle encouragement. Violet turned, too, but not until a pretty intense hour-long external cephalic version in the hospital. This baby would be laid-back in labor, too, I was sure.

At this point, it’s been about 6 hours and I am still doing the same thing I was doing at the start – focusing through contractions but keeping casual conversation with others in between. A warm rice pack on my back, counter pressure, and the birth ball are helping me keep focused and cope.

Around 8:30, I decide to take Cindi’s advice to try and rest up for the long night ahead. I take my position curled up on my side on the bed. Not two contractions into this new position and things have changed dramatically. I cannot sit still and I feel out of control all of a sudden. I immediately tell Addison that I have got to get on the toilet and pee. My contractions are coming on top of each other out of nowhere and I still cannot sit still. I can’t put my feet on the floor and can barely stay seated on the toilet. Addison is on the phone with Cindi again and I know she is telling him to get me off of the toilet. He gently encourages me to sit on the ball, to which I refuse (respectfully and in the sweetest manner possible, I’m sure). Wanda, my mother in law, has quietly let herself into our room. She heard the change in my tone and as a mother of 4, knew what was about to happen.

We soon realize that this laid-back baby was coming and he wasn’t waiting for the night to pass and he wasn’t waiting for Cindi and her team to arrive. He was coming NOW! With Cindi on speaker, Addison and Wanda leap into a flurry of activity. Towels in the dryer, plastic tablecloth and chux pads on the floor. I crawl from the bathroom to the floor in front of our bed. I felt totally out of control, a mess of curse words, grunting, sweat, and animal instinct. I yield to my body and push once. My water breaks, all over my husband’s lap. I’m told that Wanda handed him a chux pad to put over his lap at the exact moment before my water broke. Smart lady.

Pushing again and there’s his head. One more and this slippery, precious thing slides straight into his daddy’s arms (Nana with the assist). HE’S HERE! WE DID IT! Addison passed him to me through my legs and I collapsed onto my bottom clutching the pinkest baby you’ve ever seen. Everything about him was so perfect – he was tiny, his cry was tiny, his head perfectly round. Ten perfect fingers, ten little toes.

Cindi and her team arrive shortly thereafter and we moved into the bed. Our bed. The birth team did their thing in a perfectly efficient and caring manner. Our baby weighed in at 7 pounds, 2 ounces and measured 20 inches in length. Violet, who by the grace of God did not wake up to my howling and his birth, woke up to meet her new baby brother and we had this deliriously beautiful couple of moments as a new family of four.

We decided on a name two days later – Elias, a derivative of Elijah, meaning ‘my God is YHWH (LORD).’ And just like that, we wondered how we ever did without.

The Birth of Logan

The Birth of Juno Rose

 

Juno Rose,
The week before you were born I had come to terms with the fact that I may possibly be pregnant forever. I’d be an invited guest on the Dr. Oz show and become a spectacle for daytime television watchers around the nation. At least I would probably receive a lifetime supply of cocoa butter and prenatal vitamins. Then maybe I’d go on to have my own show on TLC along with other medical oddities such as Honey Boo Boo. Waddling around the earth incessently keeping track of my 80-100 grams of protein a day, I would never again be able to enjoy bleu cheese, sushi, or even beer. These notions had me teetering on the brink of insanity, and we hadn’t even reached your due date yet. Luckily for us both, this was not our fate, and you were not destined to be my forever fetus.
Fast forward to Monday, February 18, 2013 around 6 p.m.. I had just gotten home from my daily 2 mile walk when I started feeling menstrual cramp-like aches in my abdomen. Thinking nothing of the pain I went about my business and didn’t mention anything to your dad when he came home from work. I noticed I was having two or so of these pains per hour, and this persisted through the night. The next morning I was still having these pains, so I told your dad before he went to work that I wasn’t feeling quite right. He kissed my forhead, told me to get some rest, and headed off to work. These pains began coming closer and closer together. At this point, it wasn’t anything too painful but they were very uncomfortable. Little did I know, these pains were actually early contractions. At around 1 p.m. I decided to call the birth center. I talked to Brittany, a birth assistant, and told her what was going on, mentioning that these “pains” were coming about every 10-15 minutes now and I was bleeding slightly. She used the word ‘contractions,’ but I was sure she was mistaken. I wasn’t in labor; I was never going into labor, especially not before your due date. She assured me that this was normal and said she would let my midwife, Cindi, know what was going on.
Your Granny Rose planned on making the trip down from Tennessee to watch you come into the world. I talked to her, and she had a suspicion that I may be in labor, but based on the mild amount of pain I was in, decided not to book a flight down for the night. Your daddy texted to check up on me and decided to come home early from work. I told him it wasn’t necessary and that this was probably just a false alarm. He came home anyway around 1:30, and we decided to go on a walk around the neighborhood. On our mile and a half walk, I had four contractions. I was still not convinced that I was laboring, but we decided to get our bags ready to go just in case. Your dad went to the store to get some snacks around 3 p.m., and by the time he got back home, these contractions were coming every 5-7 minutes and starting to require my attention. I ate a popsicle and decided to chill out on the couch. Pretty soon I was writhing in pain and made my way to the bedroom. At around 5 p.m. I texted Cindi in between contractoins to tell her that my contractions were coming closer together and becoming more intense. I remember her calm reply of “sounds great” and thinking that surely, she doesn’t understand the severity of this situation; how can she be so calm at a time like this! About five minutes later after one of the most intense contractions yet, I felt what was like a giant bubble pop, and a rush of fluid poured from me. I jumped out of bed and screamed, “Something just came out! Something just came out!” Your dad couldn’t contain his laughter and excitedly said, “Your water just broke!”
I rushed to the bathroom and your dad called Cindi. She told us to keep doing what we’re doing since I would be more comfortable at home. I got into the bathtub trying to get more comfortable. The warm water helped with the pain, but it soon became more and more overwhelming. I had this immense urge to push. Knowing for sure that it was too early to do so, I tried to stop my body from pushing, and I made your dad call Cindi again. She assured us that all was good and normal and told us to head to the birth center in about an hour. It was about that time that your dad reminded me that we had hired Nicole, the photographer, and that we should probably call her so she could head over and snap a few shot of me laboring. I then informed your dad that I no longer cared about the photos and if anyone tried to take a picture of me at that moment, I would destroy the camera and possibly their face.
Daddy got me in the car in between contractions and we embarked on the worst car ride of my life. We sped to the birth center, arriving there at 6:50 p.m. Cindi met us in the parking lot and helped me inside. Once she got me inside, I asked if she needed to check my cervix to see if I should be pushing. She looked up at me and said with a smile, “You’re crowning.” Then she quickly got your dad and I in the tub as she and the birth assistants stood back and let my body do its thing. I was surprisingly calm and centered inside once in the tub knowing it wouldn’t be too long before we would get to welcome you to planet earth. Your dad was a huge comfort as well, whispering into my ear and telling me how well I was doing and supporting me physically as I leaned against him. I pushed with all my might during each contraction and pretty soon your head was all the way out. Knowing the hardest part was over, I took a short mental and physical pause as Cindi reached down and unwrapped the umbilical cord from around your neck. With the next push, your dad and I reached down and caught you. Your tiny body emerged from the water, plopped onto my chest, and at 7:25 p.m. you became a citizen of the planet.
The next four hours are a blur of elation, bliss, and pure love as we gazed at your perfect little self remembering how 9 months ago you were just a suspicion when I vomited on the Mission: SPACE ride at Disney World.And that, Junebug, is how you came to be.We’re so glad you’re here, and we’re glad you were able to be brought into the world in a peacful environment surrounded by a birth team who truly care.