The Birth of Mason Roy

I had an uneventful and healthy pregnancy with our fourth child. My first two had been drug/intervention free hospital births, the third was a home birth and our fourth was a planned home birth with Gentle Birth Options. All of our babies had come quick; 3.5 hrs, 3 hrs and 2 hrs and 45 minutes respectively. I knew the whole pregnancy there would be a very real chance we would be birthing without our birth team though praying they wouldn’t be too far behind just in case there were complications. 41.1 wks into this healthy, uneventful pregnancy I requested to have membranes stretched. The morning of September 11, 2014 Cindi did just that. I was 5cm with baby quite low. After a normal NST my husband Adam and I left the office for some Thai food. I had a few contractions during lunch. We had to pick up our other three children and start the 2 hour drive back to Panama City. Lunch in Niceville was a much needed delay just in case the membrane manipulation got things moving before we could get home. No one wants to have a baby on the side of the road. We arrived back home still pregnant around 2:30p. I went to take a nap and left Adam to care for the kids. I slept a glorious three hours uninterrupted. I awoke at 5:30p. I sat in bed for a moment feeling no contractions. I sent a text to Cindi letting her know. I got up, went to the bathroom and started out to the yard where I would find my husband and children playing. I had a contraction. Then, I had another. I was paying attention to these last couple so I thought I should let Cindi know. She asked that I get in the tub and see how I felt. Between feeling the contractions at 545p and the tub filled and me in it at 615p I was unable to update her via text. My body was already clearing itself out (many trips out of the tub and to the toilet) and I was focusing on my labor which I was positive was active. Cindi called Adam and asked if they should come now…YES! My birth team was on their way. I jumped in and out of the tub multiple times to toilet before settling in to a great relaxation pattern. I was centered on the music being played, the essential oils diffusing into the room and my sweet children helping me labor. My husband was managing the logistics of getting the outdoor birth lights plugged in, our babysitter, photographer and birth team all on location. At 7:50p I felt an overwhelming desire to get out of the tub. To this day I will never know why, I just knew I had to. So I did. I sprinted to my bedroom and laid on my side. Adam was not far behind me with a towel, drying my skin as I settled into relaxation again. Five minutes had gone by before I said with certainty, “they’re not going to make it!” “yes they are baby, just breath.” Adam had said. I was pushing, “no, they’re not going to make it!” Adam replied, “okay, we’ve got this” and moved from his support position behind me to sitting on the edge of the bed, my leg on his shoulder and began applying counter pressure to my perineum. Our babysitter/my best friend now moved to my support person, offering her lap as a pillow. My children became my support people as they chanted, “go mommy, I see the baby, you’re doing it, you’re doing it!” while my photographer who looked just terrified every time I opened my eyes to place the people present, became a birth assistant. I took on the role of birth-er and birth manager. After the first push I asked the photographer to put the towels in the dryer. The second and final push revealed our baby. Adam was saying, “I see her, she is almost here honey you’re doing great, slow and controlled…”. Baby was out. It was an easy birth. Adam began to laugh, why is he laughing?! “It’s a BOY!” he said, “You have go to be kidding me!” was my reply. You see, I believed to whole pregnancy that this baby was a girl. The pregnancy had mocked our daughters and my “intuition” had told me it was a girl. My intuition was clearly wrong. I couldn’t have been happier though. This beautiful baby boy was staring back at me. I held him close and breathed in his new life. I sat up and began nursing. A minute or so later I announced that the placenta was coming. My friend held the bowl under me and caught the afterbirth. Cindi called to inform us that she was just a few minutes away. Adam let her know that baby was already here and that he and I were doing just fine. About ten minutes after our boy was born the birth team arrived, first Christina and Lorrie then Cindi. Judging by Christina’s facial expression when she walked in she hadn’t yet gotten the memo that baby beat them to the birth. Our birth, although a planned home birth, ended up being an unplanned unassisted home birth executed with ease in an hour and 45 minutes. My husband was amazingly calm. You would have thought he had done this a hundred times before. My children were amazing cheerleaders and my best friend was attentive. After our birth team arrived they crossed all the T’s and dotted the I’s. Our birth was perfect. Our newest son, Mason Roy Wickes 8lb 22″long was perfect. It was all, from beginning to end, perfect.

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The Birth of Kace

KACE’S BIRTH – (I wrote this at 1:00 AM grammar and punctuation will be off 😉

First: Why have a baby out of the hospital when I had three healthy decent hospital experiences with my others?
I asked a friend at church last year if I could photograph her home birth just for the experience. I will admit and say up until that point I thought having a baby outside of the hospital was ridiculous. Why? Why have a child at home or at a center where there are no doctors, no pediatricians, NO EPIDURAL?? But that day changed my view forever. My friend had her baby girl and the room was filled with an overwhelming since of joy and peace and thankfulness, but it was silent. The sweet baby went to her mommas chest and within seconds she cried and turned pink. There weren’t a hundred people in and out. She didn’t give birth then hand the baby off to people for them to make her cry, put goop in her eyes, and wrap her in an ugly blanket. She actually bonded the first minutes of her child’s life. It was amazing. I can’t explain it but I knew after that I would want to look more into having an out of hospital birth if we had another. After finding Gentile Birth Options and hearing how much experience and knowledge Cindi had in this field I was more than confident. She has enough school to be a Doctor and far more experience than most people in the hospital setting. She has all the medications and equipment needed for any emergency situation. I knew she was my girl. After talking Troy into it we were set!When I found out our due date was May 6th, I jokingly told everyone he would be born May 5th(Cinco De mayo)and we would have a fiesta every year for him to celebrate. Little did I know he really would arrive on May 5th.That morning my friend Kellie asked could she come over. I told her only if she brought pineapple. After texting two other friends trying to talk them into meeting me at the mall or outlets to walk this baby out pineapple seemed to be my only hope. I ate pineapple about 10:00 AM and we sat and talked for hours. During our conversation my water broke. I texted my midwife Cindi at 3:48 telling her I thought it broke and called her shortly after to tell her it definitely did. I called friends from church to come get the other three kiddos, called Troy, and cleaned my van out. By 4:20 I called Troy telling him I was in a lot of pain and to hurry. Honestly I didn’t want to be a wimp. My water had just broke 30 minutes ago so I had a long while to go right? I kept thinking how in the world could I do this for the next several hours. My water never broke on its own before. He got home around 4:30 and we headed straight for the birthing center.I was having some horrible contractions but still managed to put on my makeup in the car between every contraction. I remember holding the mascara and thinking, what if I can’t do the other eye? I’ll look ridiculous! I called Cindi at 4:58 and told her I was in a lot of pain. In the back of my head I still thought I was possibly being a hypachondriac and needed to chill out. So I decided to feel down there… Yep I could feel head. I pulled my pants down in the car. And somehow after driving through an intersection with 12 lanes and all red lights then almost running into the birthing center doors I manage to keep him in a few more minutes. Troy hops out, pulls my pants back up and gives me off to Cindi. I walk in, crowned and all, to the room and drop my pants and fall flat back on the bed. Cindi says she can see his  head and all I have to do is get on all fours and push. And with that I knew I had this. I knew this was it. This was the moment I’d waited for, and thought about, and encouraged myself for. I prayed about this moment over and over. I envisioned it, a lot differently but I envisioned it non the less. Troy walks in and takes his shirt off and just as he sits down behind me and at 5:03in the first push out comes our sweet boys head. It was the most amazing thing in the world to actually hold his head in my hand and push the rest of his body out into his daddy and my arms (with Cindi’s guidance).9 lbs 9 oz 21 ½ inches long. Kace Tucker Kiick came into this world.

I know I sat there on my knees in shock for moments until Cindi told me to lay back. I think the first thing I said to Kace was “Hey Buddy, wheres your hair?” Everyone was amazing. It was far more then I ever dreamed of. Now I won’t lie, I had thought of my beautiful water birth many of times. I bought a special bathing suit top and water proof makeup and hired a birth photographer. I pinned a million hairstyles that would look great during birth but stay out of the way. I bought $50 worth of essential oils to help with birth. I studied a quote I found online and wrote it on a chalkboard to help me concentrate during birth. I watched video after video. I had music downloaded. But after its all said and done I don’t think I’d trade my hour and 18 minute labor with only the last thirty minutes being tough, for all of that.

Whats the big deal? I had every bit of control of this situation. I alone and completely birthed my baby. I didn’t have to be told when to push or have manual guidance. I didn’t need drugs to deal with it like I did in the past. I just did it. I’m proud of that. There was an overwhelming feel of Joy and a high I had never felt with any of the others. The atmosphere was so positive and encouraging. There aren’t words to explain the difference of how it felt but its definitely something I’d do again and again. I honestly feel like a different person since I’ve had him. I have a different sense of confidence and peace in myself. It could be my over abundance of hormones taking over my body or it could be that it was just that amazing.

Credit for photo goes to Sabrina Lewis our amazing birth photographer. I have no idea how she made it there but she did and this photo alone is totally worth every penny.

The Birth of Campbell Jane

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The Birth of Rhoades

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!

The Birth of Natalie

The Birth Story of Oliver Harold

The (Home) Birth Story of Oliver Harold
Oliver Harold Smith was born on February 24 at 1:55am- at home! No, it was no accident that I gave birth to our beautiful son on the living room floor. This was our plan from the beginning- to have our baby in the comfort of our own home surrounded by the most amazing nurse midwife and birthing team in the world. Most of our close friends and family know our reasons for choosing to have a home birth, but for those of you who are wondering why we would chose this, let me share.
Why at Home?
I could go into detail about the research Joel and I did. I could list the statistics that exist on home births versus hospital births. I could tell you all about the FALSE stereotypes that float around concerning home births. But ultimately these things are not why we chose a home birth. We chose it because we had total peace about it. Sure, there are those horror stories of home births gone wrong, or situations where, had mom not been in a hospital, things could’ve ended badly. But Joel and I refused to make our decision based on fear. We knew that God was leading our decision and would protect us wherever we chose to have our son.
Gentle Birth Options, LLC
One of the reasons Joel and I had so much peace about our decision to birth at home was our discovery of Gentle Birth Options. Gentle Birth is a local home birthing company owned and operated by Cindi Denbow, a Certified Nurse Midwife. Cindi has years of experience, not only with home births, but in hospitals as well. She brings the same training and supplies to a home birth that you would find at any level one facility, such as fetal monitoring with a doppler, oxygen, and drugs such as Pitocin in the event of a hemorrhage. Cindi and her birthing team have the perfect amount of respect for both the medical AND natural aspects of birth. After meeting with Cindi and interviewing a few of the couples who birthed at home with her, our decision was an easy one!
On Thursday, February 23, Joel and I had our 40-week appointment with Cindi. It was a 3 o’clock appointment and a beautiful day, so we decided to walk to her office. While there, Cindi checked me and I was dilated to 2 cm. We decided to go ahead and strip my membranes, discussing how this could possibly encourage labor, but only if my body was truly ready. To be honest I didn’t really expect it to do much. I really felt like labor was never coming. Joel and I walked home from our appointment, talking about how exciting it will be to finally go into labor, but still speaking as if it were a long ways off. When we got home I made us some dinner and we snuggled up on the couch. I told Joel I felt a bit crampy and his eyes lit up as he said, “Contractions!” but I insisted it was just cramping from having my membranes swept. At first it seemed to be a constant cramp, but the more I paid attention, I noticed these ‘cramps’ were about a minute apart and slowly getting stronger. I still didn’t recognize these as contractions because I had always heard women tell stories about their contractions being 20 minutes apart or something, and then progressing to a minute apart. I thought surely if these were contractions, they wouldn’t be a minute apart already! It had to be something else. I started getting uncomfortable as the cramps intensified, so I told Joel I was going to take a bath and go lay down for the night. All this time I was convincing myself I wasn’t in labor. I was so afraid to get excited and then find out it was a false start. I couldn’t get comfortable in the bath. I kept flipping over on my hands and knees to try to breathe through what I was still calling ‘cramps’. After the bath, I tried lying down for a while but the cramps hurt so much worse when I was lying down. This was the point that I realized perhaps I was in labor. Since sleep wasn’t an option I decided to start on our ‘pre-labor checklist’. I had heard so many times that first time moms usually have a 24 hour labor, so I knew I needed to keep myself busy. Joel began to inflate the birthing pool and I called our close friends, Mike and Elsie, to come pray with us. They came right away. I cranked up some worship music and we stood together in our living room and prayed for a safe, beautiful labor and healthy baby. I felt so at peace after they left. Joel continued to work on our to-do list, and I was keeping really busy with my minute-apart-contractions. At this point I was already “ooh”ing through each contraction and I can remember thinking, “Why are these so close together? I can’t do this for 24 hours! I’ll be dead by tomorrow!” I reminded myself of a coping technique that talked about contractions being like waves and to picture yourself as a surfer, riding on top of the water. I used this mental image a lot for the first couple of hours, and it really helped me. Around 11 o’clock the contractions started getting really intense and there was no more pretty pictures of waves in my mind. I began feeling nauseous, so I ran to the bathroom and threw up. I remembered from our birthing class that vomiting is often a sign of approaching transition, and if we were vomiting it was definitely time to call the midwife! Joel was relieved when I finally told him to call her. He had wanted to call her earlier, but I kept insisting that it was too soon. Within an hour the midwife and her team arrived. I remember looking up and seeing Cindi and feeling so excited that this was really it! The contractions seemed pretty much on top of each other at this point and I began feeling the urge to push. I asked Cindi if I could get in the pool and she told me that there was no time to heat the water because this baby was coming fast. I remember thinking, “Oh thank God! So I don’t have to do this for 24 hours?!” Cindi had me try a few different positions while I pushed, but I kept coming back to my hands and knees in front of the couch. This position allowed me to feel like I could stay on top of the pain and control my breaths. I remember hearing my worship music playing and really loving it. It reminded me to pray between contractions and ask God for courage and strength! After awhile I started talking out loud a lot. I was giving myself a major pep talk. Every time my mind would say, “You can’t do this, it hurts too much!” I would respond out loud with, “I can do this! I’m having this baby!” I can also remember saying a lot of things like, “Come on Oliver, work with me buddy!” or “Fast labor, I’m going to have a fast labor!” Later Joel told me that I was punching the pillows next to me through each contraction! Because I teach yoga, I thought I was going to be able to internalize the pain and quietly breath through the contractions, but I ended up being the exact opposite! The shouting and talking felt so good because it was a release, and because I was at home I was totally comfortable saying and doing whatever I wanted. Joel and the birth team were so amazing. Joel was right up by my face the whole time. He let me grab onto his forearm and I would pull myself up on his arm with each contraction. I can remember that feeling so good to have his strong arm right there- I could feel his forearm flex each time I would grab onto it and it reminded me that he was there and was being strong for us too. Cindi was behind me the whole time rubbing my back and encouraging me. Any time I would say, “I can do this!” she would respond, “You ARE doing it Erynne!” One of the birth assistants had a big bottle of Gatorade and would give me a drink between contractions; another had cold washcloths for my forehead. I remember feeling so safe and taken care of. They were monitoring Oliver’s heart rate with the Doppler the whole time. That was a great feeling because every time she would check his heart rate she would tell me that he sounded great and he was excited to come out! It was great motivation! At one point Cindi said to me, “Ok Erynne you have been pushing for about an hour so we need to change positions.” She had me get up and go to the toilet for a few practice pushes because it would give me a good idea of how to relax my bottom and push more efficiently. I pushed a few times on the toilet, and it really worked because that’s where my water broke. We went back to the living room and I got back on my hands and knees where I was before. Cindi told me that during the next contraction she was going to put her fingers on a spot just inside of me and that I should try to push against her fingers. It hurt really bad, but it helped me so much. I could feel her pushing against me and it gave me a really specific goal of where and how to push. After she did that, it seemed like things really started to progress quickly. I could feel the baby’s head coming down and she told me that this was the point where I had to be really careful if I didn’t want to tear. She coached me through the crowning, telling me to let his head come down only so far and then to hold it there to stretch the skin. This part was definitely a mental battle. I knew I was crowning, and that meant I was so close to meeting our baby, but it hurt so bad that I didn’t want to do it. The conversation in my head was something like, “Yay! I’m so close! But NO, I’m not pushing his head out. It hurts too much!” Every time I would push I could feel that ‘ring of fire’ feeling and she would tell me to hold his head there. I wanted so badly to just give it a good hard push and be done with it, but I fought the urge. I finally got his head out and I was so excited that the shoulders were no problem at all. I hadn’t even noticed that Joel was no longer by my face, and that he had actually caught the baby! The girls helped me sit back and Joel handed me our boy. We sat and cried together and I just remember saying “WHAT?!” over and over. I couldn’t believe I just did that. I couldn’t believe this was our son. I couldn’t believe how beautiful he was- how beautiful the whole process was- how awesome God was! We sat there on the floor for quite some time just crying and staring at him. The girls were bringing warm blankets and hats and wiping him down. After awhile they helped us to the bedroom. Joel got to cut the umbilical cord and then they had Joel hold the baby while they took care of me. It took me quite a bit longer to deliver my placenta than I had anticipated, and it was a lot more painful than I had thought it would be. We soon discovered that I had hemorrhaged, but it wasn’t a big deal because Cindi carries Pitocin for such an event. I did need a few stitches, but Cindi numbed me up and I didn’t feel a thing. Joel got to weigh Oliver and he rang in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces. Cindi measured his head and length, got his footprints, and gave him a full assessment. She helped me get Oliver to breast-feed and watched me to make sure we were getting the hang of it. At first he wasn’t latching on, but she told me to talk to him and it really helped! After I was all stitched up, the girls helped me to the bathroom where I got a nice hot shower and put my PJs on. They tucked Joel, Oliver and I into our bed and turned down the lights. They left us alone for a couple of hours and later brought us breakfast in bed! They cleaned the entire house and even did laundry! After a couple of hours everyone came into the room and we all admired the baby. It was so comfortable; it felt like one big family! Cindi came in and sat on the bed with us and went over some information. She told Joel to watch my temperature and monitor my bleeding, and gave us a sheet for Oliver to check his respiration and temperature every 2 hours. After that, the birth team came in and hugged us, turned down the lights again and left us to be a family! I could’ve stayed there forever. I will never forget those hours of Joel and I just staring at our beautiful son. I was so in love, not just with Oliver, but with Joel as well. I was so proud to be his wife and to have made such a beautiful miracle with him. I was so glad that I had the birth I wanted and Joel was able to be so involved in every step. I was so happy with our decision to have our baby at home, to be in my bedroom with my family. It was beautiful and perfect- just like our son.

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The Birth Story of Joy

April 18th I woke up and called my mom to wish her a happy birthday. Of course a large majority of the phone conversation revolved around encouraging me to go into labor that day. I told her it didn’t look promising. The day progressed as usual with a few braxton hicks here and there but nothing out of the ordinary. Around 4pm my mom called and left a message telling me I had approximately 7hrs left to have this baby on her birthday. Around 9-930pm I started having strong braxton hicks but I tried to ignore them since I’d been having them on and off all week. Some of them nearly painful and a few times some timeable, painful contractions that would just fizzle out after a few hours. Around 10-1030 I noticed they were still regular and accompanied by some mild cramping and back pain. I kept trying to just relax and ignore them since I’d already gotten excited several times about the possibility of labor only to be disappointed when it would stop.

11pm we went upstairs and got ready for bed. I laid down only to sit right back up after I had a pretty painful contraction. They seemed to be 10x more painful when I was laying down. After about 30min. of tossing and turning and trying all sorts of positions to get comfortable I told Alex I was going to hop into shower and see if I could make them go away. I wanted to be in labor and I knew if the shower didn’t help that it was a strong possibility that I was. I didn’t want to be up all night if it was just a false start like all the previous times.

Around 12am I thought something could be happening. After taking a long, hot shower and pacing the bathroom I started to notice that I couldn’t walk through my contractions. I woke Alex up and he held my hand through some contractions while I sat on the edge of the bed. Between contractions we were discussing whether to call the midwife or not. Of course during a contraction all I could think was ” Ok I’m calling her as soon as this one is over!” but then after it was done I felt fine and wondered if it was truly the real thing. At 12:30am I decided it was time to call. I couldn’t walk or speak through the pain of the contractions anymore and figured that was probably a good sign. I told Cindi that I still wasn’t sure it was the real thing but I was in quite a bit of pain. She told me she was going to get ready and be on her way.

At that point Alex was up(and I’m pretty sure listening through the bathroom door while I was talking to Cindi)  and getting dressed. We both went downstairs and Alex started to get out the birth tub.  Between contractions I kept telling him to wait on putting up the tub and that I didn’t want to feel silly having it all set up when it could still just be a false start. I think I was having a hard time believing I could actually be in labor. Over the next hour I paced the living room, sat on my birth ball, the toilet, and got on my hands and knees. When I couldn’t get comfortable I realized that this was the real thing and I got a little scared. I was moaning through the pain and trying to relax, but each time the pain would start I could feel my toes curl in towards my feet and I would start to worry about how I was going to cope with this for possibly hours and hours.

After Alex was done with the tub he turned on my birth playlist on the computer and sat on the ottoman. I was on my knees with my arms up on the ottoman and just held his hand and arm. I know I got a little hateful at times when he would try to talk to me or touch me when I was having a contraction and as soon as it was over I would apologize. I don’t know what time it was but it was around this time I started feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom with each contraction. After it was over the feeling would be gone. I told Alex and I wondered aloud if  I was supposed to feel this way and surely it wasn’t anywhere near time to push. I got my answer a few contractions later when I felt a sudden, more intense pressure. I told Alex to call the midwife and see where she was at because I felt like I needed to push. He called her and helped me get my shorts off. Right after that I felt even more pressure and very pushy. Alex hurried to get the plastic tablecloth and shower curtain we had ready and laid them down on the floor between the ottoman and the TV. Just a minute after helping me scoot onto the plastic my water broke. Alex was still on the phone with the midwife and I was really feeling the urge the push. I could hear Cindi coaching Alex through the phone telling him to tell me to breathe like I was blowing birthday candles and to try not to push and that they were very close. To try not to push when that was all I wanted to do was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It was painful not to push and at that point I didn’t care, I just wanted the baby out.  I know I even screamed a few times. Not from the pain but from the frustration of trying to hold a baby in that really wanted to come out.

Around 1:55-56ish(my best guess) I was blowing out  birthday candles as hard as I could when I felt the baby’s head and I think I told Alex that I couldn’t help it and that it was coming.  After the head was out I heard Cindi  tell Alex to go ahead and tell me to push the baby the rest of the way out. At 1:57am April 19th, Joy was born into her daddy’s hands. I was still on my hands and knees as Alex passed her between my legs and and handed her to me.

It was just minutes later that Cindi and Michelle arrived and took over. They helped me move to the couch and checked me over as  I nursed Joy. I was happy to hear that I had no tears and didn’t need any stitches. This surprised me even more when we found out Joy was 8lbs 9oz. Leigh had been 6lb 9oz. and I had “needed” an episiotomy with her. After making sure Joy and I were both ok I was helped upstairs and took a nice shower. Cindi and Michelle cleaned everything up downstairs and after making sure we were all settled in bed, left at what I’m guessing was 5am.

All in all I enjoyed our homebirth and loved being able to go to sleep in my own bed just hours after giving birth. The only thing I would change would be calling sooner! I figured my labor would be shorter the second time around, just not that short! I already know that any subsequent children we have will be born at home if possible.  It was a wonderful, intense, beautiful experience that Alex and I will both remember for the rest of our lives.

The Birth Story of Drew

I have to begin by saying that the details of my labor are fuzzy. I can’t remember exact times. I can’t remember the exact sequence of events. I can’t even really remember how it started. I have these memories that float around like clouds; some are light and fluffy while other are dark, thunderous clouds. So, I guess in my best way I’ll record what I do remember before the memories slowly slip away.

It was a Wednesday and Scott had just finished his last flight. I had gone with him to the airfield to wait while he flew. Afterwards, we drove to Fort Walton Beach for the ultrasound for my BPP since I was 41 weeks and 2 days. All was well on the ultrasound. Drew slept soundly through the procedure, which worried the ultrasound technician, but not me since it was his usual sleepy time. The tech ended the procedure by estimating his weight at 9.5 pounds. When I was done at the radiologist’s I called Cindi and she suggested that since I was in the area I should come by the office so that she could check my cervix to see if much had changed since she stripped my membranes the day before. I was glad to go to her office. I was so done with being pregnant and this would save an extra trip out to Gentle Birth Options. When we got to the office, everyone was in jeans and tee shirts and that instantly made me relax. Coming from the Pacific Northwest, I was used to the midwives I worked with being in scrubs or street clothes and I had only seen Cindi in professional dress with heels and her hair done. It’s funny how the little details stand out. Anyways, she checked my cervix and it was 1-2 cm, same as the day before but a little thinner and a little softer. I encouraged her to strip my membranes again to help ripen the cervix. I felt like time was running out and I did not want to birth in the hospital.

After leaving the office, I felt the usual cramping. I was glad and hoped it continued. I knew that the more cramping and the more bloody show that I had the more my cervix was softening and thinning. It was late afternoon by then and we decided to go to our friend’s house for dinner and a movie. They live only a few blocks from us and I felt that this was a welcome distraction to the ever looming question of, “will I or won’t I go into labor tonight.” We walked the half mile to our friends, had a relaxed dinner and a watched a movie (I don’t even remember which one it was!). I tried to stay standing for the majority of the time to increase the pressure of the baby’s head on my cervix. It seemed to help keep the cramping going. Nothing was painful though and my hopes began to dwindle that I would go into labor that night.

Once we got home I headed to bed and sure enough, as soon as I lay down, the cramping went away. I decided it was probably a good thing since I was tired anyways. I started to drift off to sleep, and maybe I did sleep a little. I can’t really remember how long I was asleep, but it wasn’t long before lying down just did not feel right. My back was killing me, so I decided to stand up. Standing really helped with the backache. I started timing my back aches and realized they were contractions, every 5 minutes lasting about a minute each. I think I texted Cindi around this time just to give her a heads up. I told her I was going to try to go back to bed. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. After a couple of hours it was starting to get really intense. I reasoned that I needed to get in the tub to space the contractions out so that I could get some sleep. The hot water of the bathtub was so nice and relaxing. It really helped soothe me, but the contractions stayed around. After some time I started to have panicky thoughts. “I can’t go into labor! I haven’t had any sleep! I’m already exhausted!” Cindi had been telling me stories of her past few clients having fast labors and I started to worry that she wouldn’t be able to make it to my house in time since she had to drive an hour and fifteen minutes. So, Scott texted (called?) her and encouraged her it was time to come. I felt instantly more relaxed knowing she was on her way, but to help me with the contractions I started doing this sing song chanting thing. I don’t really know where it came from, but I reminded myself of Will Ferrel in Elf where he makes up songs on the fly.

A couple hours later Cindi and the birth team were arriving at the house. I was still in the tub trying to sleep in between my contractions. The team was so quiet and calm that I didn’t even realize they had arrived. I was so glad to see that Jessica was one of my birth attendants. Due to a weird set of circumstances I hadn’t got to meet any of the birth assistants at my 36 week home visit, but Jessica was someone I knew from the office and really connected to. I loved her relaxed demeanor and she always seemed to have a smile on her face. Joy was the other birth assistant. She is an RN that works at Sacred Heart in the NICU and I just felt more at ease having another health professional there. I felt like we could all talk to same language. I could not have picked a better team myself.

In the tub, things were really starting to ramp up. I was convinced I was a good 6 cm. After watching me in the tub for a while, I got out to move around and have Cindi assess me. She listened to the baby and took my blood pressure. After being at my house for a couple hours she checked my cervix. I was 3-4 cm. I thought, “no way! I’m pretty sure I’m about to transition.” Rookie mistake. I knew the bathtub was no place for me if I was only 3-4 cm, so for the next few hours I walked around, rocked back and forth and spent the majority of my time hunched over a cabinet, a chair, a ball, the toilet or was on all fours on the floor. I don’t remember a single pain in my stomach just the undeniable ache of my back. Joy was such a sweetheart and applied as much counter pressure as she could, but after a few hours I’m sure she was exhausted from so much pushing on my lower back! The team tried to teach Scott how to apply the counter pressure but he just didn’t have the touch like they did. I also preferred him at my head giving me sips of my coconut water.

I don’t remember how long passed, but a few hours later Cindi checked me again. I was 6 cm. “At least I’m making forward progress I thought!” That is when I really started to spend more time on the toilet. No one ever said anything directly to me but I’m sure Drew was malpositioned in my pelvis because Cindi was encouraging me to do a lot of my contractions with one leg up on a stool or lunging if I was standing. Nausea started to overwhelm me. The team was always encouraging me to eat, but I just didn’t have the appetite for it. I stuck to my coconut water. I had never in my life drunk coconut water before and honestly it tasted terrible, but it settled my stomach so I stuck with it. Every few contractions I would pee a little into the toilet. I took this as a good sign of keeping up my hydration even if I wasn’t eating.

A few more hours later the contractions started to feel different. My back pressure got so much stronger. I had no desire to push, but Cindi suggested I try small little grunts while on the toilet and it did make my back pressure feel so much better. I did this through a few contractions and then it was time to check my cervix to make sure I was fully dilated. Unfortunately, I was not! I was only 9 cm and my cervix was starting to swell. I was so frustrated because I had finally found something that made the back pain feel better. However, I knew from my prior experiences that pushing on a 9 cm cervix could have negative consequences.

I decided to get back in the tub. That helped me deal with the contractions earlier and I hoped it would help me resist the urge to push. The warm water was extremely nice and soothing. I made a mental note that my next baby would be a water birth. It felt like heaven. The contractions did start to space out which I was disappointed in, but the water was so nice that I didn’t even care. I think Cindi let me stay in the tub for about an hour before she encouraged me to get out. The contractions were coming every 10 min or so at this point. She could see how tired I was and set up a place for me to rest on my side on the floor with my leg up to encourage Drew into the proper position. On the floor, I fell asleep and I distinctly remember being asleep for 30 min before I had my next contraction. At some point while I was 9 cm my water broke, but it was such a small trickle that I took no notice of it. And also, at some point someone convinced me to eat dried blueberries and Cream of Wheat. It tasted like the most delicious food on earth.

The 30 min nap was great, but that first contraction after my rest was a doozy! I got up off the floor and walked out into the living room where the team was resting. I sat down in the rocking chair and took my next few contractions there but then I knew things were ramping up and I needed to stand. I think I had about an hour of strong regular contractions before Cindi checked me again. I was 9.5 cm but my cervix was paper thin and stretchy, much better than stiff and swollen! At this point, I was done. Cindi knew it and Scott knew it. I’m so glad Cindi was trying to take advantage of my “rested” state and she suggested reducing my cervix during a contraction so that I could just get to the pushing stage before I completely ran out of energy.

Up to this point, cervical exams were terrible. Mostly it was the laying on my back part, but also the actual exam was no walk in the park. This particular exam though was the worst. I remember screaming through most of it. Joy got in my face and told me to start breathing instead of screaming. It took 2 or 3 contractions to reduce the cervix then Cindi told me I needed to push as hard as I could to bring Drew’s head low enough so that my cervix would not be able to go back to 9cm. After 2 pushes she told me to get out of bed and stand up. We had talked in the clinic about how I had been having dreams for years that I would deliver squatting. I really wanted to see everything so I started squatting and pushing in front of my bedroom mirror.  Scott would grab my hands at the start of every contraction and I would squat down and pull on him with my hands. I loved pushing. It was invigorating. I felt so strong, like a warrior mama and that this is what all the working out was for. After maybe 50 min of pushing Drew started to crown. I thought it was so cool being able to see and feel everything. I had some burning up where I pee and I knew I was tearing up there but I didn’t care. The pain was not strong enough to stop me from pushing. At 6:13pm (18ish hours after my contractions started) I delivered Drew’s head. I had a mini panic moment where I looked up at Cindi who was a few steps away and said something like, “aren’t you going to catch him?” But even then I didn’t care enough to wait and just pushed him the rest of the way out and Scott was there to catch him. Drew came right to my chest, the exact place I wanted him to be. I was so elated. Scott was crying. Relief and happiness flooded over me. I sat down on the floor where Cindi delivered my placenta and cut the cord. I was bleeding a little more that I would have liked had I been the nurse at my own delivery, so I told Cindi it was ok if she wanted to give me pitocin and misoprostil. Both of which she did. We had discussed this possibility earlier in the clinic and I had told her that in my view, I was more conservative when it came to blood loss. I knew a large EBL could destroy a good breastfeeding relationship and even cause a transfer to the hospital, both of which I wanted to avoid.

The next couple hours were bliss. I held, breastfed and loved on Drew. I felt like I had known him my whole life yet I was just meeting him for the first time. My brain was so foggy. People were telling me things, but I had no idea what they were saying. I was love struck.

I was immediately grateful to have a homebirth. I know if I had been in the hospital I would have been encouraged to get pitocin when my contractions slowed down. I also know that they would not have let me stay at 9 cm for 6 hours like Cindi did. I’m pretty sure a cesarean section would have come up. Yes, I could have declined all those interventions, but it is so hard to resist anything while in labor and having to concentrate on your contractions. I was glad that I trusted my body and was patient with it and let my body take the rest it needed. It gave me a whole new outlook to the way I practice birth. I think when the time comes for me to return to work, I will have a hard time returning to the hospital world. The best part about the homebirth was holding Drew afterwards. No one got in my face to talk to me or take him away. The crew just did their jobs quietly while I got to bond with my baby. That meant more to me than having an unmedicated natural childbirth. I will never forget those first couple hours and the intense feelings that come with having a baby.

Drew’s Birth Story Take 2

So, I’ve already written your birth story Drew, but Dad is making me write it again. Arggh! He can be such a perfectionist sometimes. He said the old birth story sound like I was writing a birth synopsis for work. He insisted that you wouldn’t want to know the gory details and that I should jazz it up. I told him that the problem is I mainly remember the nurse type stuff because that’s what I am – a nurse! Anyways, so here goes.

I thought you would never come out. I’d read all these books telling me to stay positive and that you would come when you were ready, but I have to say I was consistently disappointed every morning for the last 3 weeks of my pregnancy. When I’d wake up and I hadn’t gone into labor overnight, I easily became disheartened. Yeah, I was only 1 week and 3 days past our due date, but I was sure that I was going to have you at 39 weeks. I was convinced that you would give me a pleasant surprise and come early – WRONG. At the time we had just moved to Pensacola from Seattle and I wasn’t working because you were going to come in the next couple months after moving. Without work, I was so bored! I’d frozen a bunch of meals in advance and gone through my birth stuff a million times to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. I even read a bunch of books and worked on my tan the best I could for being the middle of winter in Florida. I figured I had nothing to do but go into labor and was so frustrated to be kept waiting.

Meanwhile, you father was not bored. He was quite busy, in fact. He had just started his pilot training and was trying to finish up all his flights in IFS before you came. Luckily, he did just that. You decided to make your entrance the very day after he completed his final flight.

As a mother, I would say I went into labor around midnight of March 28 going on March 29. As a nurse, I would say my labor began around 6 am on March 29. I thought those first few hours of contractions were pretty strong. I logically knew that they would get stronger, but having the overly optimistic views that I do, I really thought I would speed through labor and you would come flying out after 6 hrs – WRONG again! The time you picked was 6:13 pm on March 29, according to our iPhones and the bedroom digital clock.

All night and all day I worked very hard. I tried to stay focused and put everything I had learned from nursing and our birth classes into action. I walked around the rooms of our house (as best as I could), I relaxed in the deliciously warm water of the bathtub, and I spent quite a lot of time sitting on the toilet (because it was the most comfortable chair in the house!) while your father fed me sips of coconut water out of our plastic camping flask. I kept trudging along and so did you. Every time our midwife Cindi checked your little heartbeat, it was pitter-pattering away; even my practiced ears could not discern a single drop in your heart rate.

After a while though, as awesome of a mom that I am, I began to get tired. And for some reason, I think you knew I needed a rest. The contractions began to slow down, get shorter, and space out. As a nurse, my brain was panicking. I just envisioned this was the beginning of the end and I would end up needing to go to the hospital. I REALLY wanted to have you at home. I wanted to prove that I could do it all by myself. (I’ve always had a bit of a stubborn streak and been too self-reliant and independent; it was those qualities that fueled my desire to birth you at home.) But I was soooo tired. If only I could just rest and regain some strength I knew I could finish out strong….and that’s what we did. You and I (and Dad too!) rested. My contractions stopped and for the next blissful 30 minutes I slept like a rock. I was awakened by the most powerful contraction yet. After my mini recuperation, I was ready to rock n roll. It wasn’t long and the pushing phase started. I was born to push. In my honest opinion I think I pushed like a champ. No really, I felt like a champion warrior, so strong, methodical, and focused. The pushing did not take long and you started to emerge. I was so excited and your dad was thrilled. He bent down and put his hands under you and brought you to my chest. I hugged you and kissed you and cried my eyes out. Your dad was bawling and even you were screaming your little lungs out. I had never been so happy in my life.

In the moments to come a sense of pure bliss washed over me. I felt elated. I turned to your dad and told him you smelled like cinnamon rolls, so sweet and delicious. I also remember thinking you had the most perfect lips. They were all puckered up and kissable. I could not get enough of you. Your father could not wait to tell the whole world about it. He texted the whole family and started you a Facebook page before the first hour of your life was up. You loved being held by Dad. He was so warm for your scrawny little 7-pound body that you would curl right up to him and sleep so contently. Life.was.RIGHT.





The Birth Story of Bret