The Birth of Noah

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.

_MG_1654

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 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.

The Birth of Ella Grace

Ella’s Birth Story

The estimated due date for my precious baby girl was 31 January 2013 and I never expected her to arrive on or before that date. I also didn’t expect her to come as late as her big brother either, which was 12 days. So, at my 40 week appointment with my wonderful midwife, we discussed a plan for what to do as I passed the EDD. Cindi said she couldn’t let me go past 42 weeks and at 41 weeks she would strip my membranes to encourage labor to begin. She was confident that would probably get things going since I’d be post-date & my body would likely be ready, whereas many doctors try stripping membranes weeks before the due date when the body isn’t ready, so it often doesn’t do any good in those instances (as happened with my son).

So, we scheduled my 41 week appointment while hoping I’d come in with a newborn that day instead. I had to reschedule the appointment and, being afraid of what going to 42 weeks may mean (as in Pitocin at a hospital), I opted to make the appointment 2 days earlier.

On 5 Feb, I went to my appointment and I was 2cm so we decided to try stripping my membranes. I figured since I was 5 days late it should work! I asked Cindi when I could possibly expect the contractions to start if this worked and the contractions started exactly when she said they would. I’d had Braxton Hicks for over a month so I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t realize when the real labor contractions were starting, but these were different and exactly as Cindi described them – they were painful way down low & wrapped around my lower back. So, contractions started around 8pm & continued a few hours. When I got in bed I thought labor was beginning and I wouldn’t get any rest that night because I wasn’t sleeping between them. The next thing I know, I’m waking up the next morning with no contractions. Around 8am they started up again so I hoped that meant baby Ella had let me rest & now things would really get going. I went on with my day as usual with a few contractions here & there but nothing increasing & that evening it all stopped.

The next day, 7 Feb, was my 41 week mark. I was able to go in that day for an appointment after all and I was 4-5cm so the contractions were doing something!! Cindi stripped my membranes again & expressed concern that I would have a fast labor & delivery – so much so that she was worried my hubby, Philip, may end up delivering Ella on the highway if my water broke at home. It was around Noon at this point, I think, and she offered to break my water right then and we’d stay at the birth center expecting Ella to come quickly, or we could come back at 6:30pm to break my water. I wanted to return at 6:30 so we could grab my bags from home & get our son to my brother. By now I was really getting nervous about enduring a fast, intense labor!

So we got our bags and gave my brother our son’s car seat so he could pick him up from school. Then we headed to my mom’s to wait until 6:30 since she lives near the birth center. Cindi sent Philip a text asking if we could push it to 7:00pm so we grabbed some dinner and then arrived at the birth center around 6:45.

The birth assistants came out to help us carry the bags in which was nice! We went into the birthing suite where the lights were already dimmed. We set things down and Philip immediately started setting out the candles…

When Cindi stripped my membranes earlier it did get the contractions going again pretty good. The birth assistants took my vitals and then Cindi asked if we wanted to break my water so Philip answered exactly the way I was feeling – that since everyone was there, we may as well get it going so everyone wouldn’t be stuck there longer than necessary.

Cindi checked me and I was still at 5cm so we waited for the next contraction for her to break my water. I expected a huge gush but it was only a small amount, as if I’d just wet myself. Now the waiting game began for everyone else and my real work was beginning. Quickly, I might add! The very next contraction was more intense but bearable. Since Philip hadn’t eaten his dinner yet I told him to go ahead and eat before I really needed him. I sat on the birthing ball for several contractions while Cindi and her birth team periodically checked Ella’s heartbeat and Philip encouraged me & applied pressure to my lower back when I needed it. I was aware I was progressing because I noticed my attitude & concentration changing. I could only tell Philip “back, please” when I needed him to apply pressure. I asked to get in the birthing tub soon & Cindi asked me to try a few contractions sitting on the toilet. I did, and the contractions were intensifying while they prepared the tub.

I finally got in the tub, hoping for more relief than it provided, but this was the quick, intense labor I had feared. I sat in the tub trying to relax between the contractions but they seemed to be almost back to back (at least to me!) and when I had a contraction I would tense up my arms, pushing myself up in the process. Philip was outside the tub leaning over the side toward me. I realized I was getting more & more vocal & thought back to my doula commenting 6 years ago that my son’s birth was the most quiet she’d attended. But I couldn’t help it this time! And now with every contraction I was crunching over down into the pain. I would occasionally try to straighten up & lean back instead but that was hard to do. After a few rounds of that, Cindi recommended I sit on the seat in the tub rather than the bottom, and that Philip sit on the back corner so I could lean back against his legs with my arms hanging over his knees. I think I must’ve been pretty close now because before we moved into that position, I apparently started bearing down rather than just hunching over into the pain. I remember Cindi gently telling me to make low sounds during contractions and I know I was getting louder & higher pitched…she also asked at one point if I needed to bear down but I don’t know when I felt that urge, I only realized at some point that’s what I was doing.

So, I’m on the corner seat with Philip behind me and bearing down & I guess pushing now. I don’t know how long this continued, but eventually I was aware I was definitely in the process of pushing her out & saw Cindi peeking in the water with a flashlight to see if she was crowning. 🙂 After she crowned, I waited for the next contraction to push a little more with all my might. It was so awesome to feel her little head pop out (it didn’t feel so little at that moment) and I yelled “her head is out!” I heard Cindi tell me the baby was then going to turn and I felt her turn!!! I asked if she was ok with her head out underwater while I waited for another contraction & of course she was fine! Cindi said I could reach down to grab her, but as much as I wanted to, I needed to concentrate to push her body out. Philip couldn’t reach far enough from behind me to grab her but he could touch her head. 🙂 During the next contraction, I pushed with all my might while Cindi simply placed her hands under Ella until I got her out, then Cindi told me to reach down and pick her up! That was so very amazing to lift her out of the water and onto my chest!!!!! I held her at the water level to look at her briefly then brought her onto my chest. Just then, Philip mentioned we needed to get her ears pierced – so much for not wanting a girl nor being willing to dress her up girly!

Cindi said I needed to get out of the tub so she could see where the bleeding was coming from which scared me for a minute, but it was only from my tear.

I got onto the bed, still holding Ella on my chest while Cindi ever-so-gently stitched me up. The birth assistants checked our vitals and I barely knew they were in the room working to clean the tub and doing the other things they do.

I delivered the source of my baby’s nourishment and after the umbilical cord stopped pulsing, Philip got to cut the cord. It felt a little like a ribbon cutting ceremony at a grand opening! After some snuggle time, Cindi measured Ella and checked her over. Daddy got to weigh her which was so beautiful to watch.

I was helped to the restroom and to the shower. It felt like I could only move in slow motion. I got dressed and back to the bed where Philip had been snuggling with our new daughter skin-to-skin.

The entire experience was so very different than the birth of my son in the hospital. It was nothing but quiet, gentle support. No bugging me to do an internal monitor, trying to hurry me along with Pitocin, or telling me it’s time to push. No talk of a cesarean due to pushing for 3 hours when baby wasn’t in an optimum position & my body wasn’t ready yet. Just allowing me to do what I needed, when I needed, as I needed, with gentle guidance only when I needed it.

 

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The Birth Story of Asher

Wow, my little man! Your arrival definitely did not go as expected, and I wasn’t even really expecting anything!  My contractions started Wednesday night, but we didn’t realize that until after you we’re born. I never felt a single contraction, I had hip pain instead that wouldn’t let me lay down, sit, or stand. I didn’t even make the connection that they came with contractions until I felt my belly harden one time, and I. Thought they were Braxton-Hicks.

Well, the contractions went away Thursday during the day, then came back that night again. They continued like that until Saturday night. They were so intense and continued all night long, and throughout the day Sunday as well. We went to my parent’s house so I could soak in their tub to help with the pain, Cindi said it would be a long day and night, and to get as much rest as I could.

Sunday night went just like the others until about 12 midnight. I couldn’t even lay down in bed my hips hurt so much, so I tried sitting in the recliner downstairs at my parent’s house, but that didn’t work either. Soon the hip pain became so intense and constant I couldn’t stand it any more! I woke up my husband and told him that if this wasn’t it, I wanted to go to the ER for pain meds. He called Cindi, and she suggested another bath first. So we did as she said, but Asher wasn’t having it! After getting in the bath I started to have the urge to push!

Robert called Cindi again and she said to meet us at the brith center to check me. That was the most uncomfortable car ride of my life!! Every bump sent me into a contraction that had me up out of the seat in pain, but thankfully we got there in one piece.

Once we all got inside and settled Cindi checked me, and I was 9 cm!!! I was so relieved to know it was happening NOW! At this point my water still hadn’t broken yet, but Cindi was t concerned about it. I started on the bed on an exercise ball, then went to the toilet, the tub, squatting on the floor, kneeling on the floor, and finally back on the bed on my side. Things just weren’t progressing very well so Cindi decided to “help” me by showing me where to push. I screamed! But then we really got to business. To this point we’d been at the birth center for about 3 1/2 hours or so. Once I really started effectively pushing my water finally broke! Now we were getting somewhere. I ended up rolling onto my back for the final part, it was what hurt my hips the least and let me really concentrate on pushing, which felt so good.

Once Asher’s head started crowning, I was able to push completely on my own in the right spot. I kept asking ” how many more times do I have to push?” No one answered me.

Well! I finally pushed him out at 7:08 Monday morning, February 11, 2013. He was 8 lb 13 oz and 21 inches of beautiful!Untitled1Untitled2