Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Birth of Margaret

I didn't realize how long it has been since I posted here. My last post was also a birth story. That precious girl is now two and we've welcomed a fourth princess to complete our family. Here is birth story of Margaret Frances.

I had family in town visiting. They had come in on April 18th which is the day we hoped the birth would happen but Miss Margaret and God had other plans. Each day ticked by as we anxiously awaited her arrival and getting to learn if she was a she or a he as we chose not to find out during pregnancy.

Finally on April 28th, the day before my family was scheduled to leave, the day for her to be born came. As is normal for my body, my labor began in the early morning. At 4:54am I was jolted awake by a very intense contraction. After a second contraction I woke up Jesse and told him that while they had just started, they were intense. He asked for ten more minutes of sleep. Exactly ten minutes later another contraction began and I told him to get his butt out of bed. A couple more contractions came a little over ten minutes a part before they jumped to five minutes apart. I never really settled in to a super consistent pattern. They jumped  around from 4-5 minutes apart to 7-8 minutes apart. At 6:16am, after only ten contractions, I called the midwife and told her I thought it was baby day. I still had my doubts so we agreed to just have her assistant come check me. I also let Susan know and she asked I keep her updated.

While waiting for the assistant I had five more contractions and decided to text the assistant and have her tell the midwife to go ahead and come. This was at 6:42am. I also reached out to the birth photographer at this time.

Six more contractions came and went before the assistant arrived. As soon as she walked in the door I asked her to check me. We waited for the next contraction to pass and I was already 8cm. This was at 7:17am. Cue shock. A mere 22 contractions and I was already almost there. I text Susan who was thankfully already on her way. I also text my mom and told her she could come. After texting everyone I went ahead and got in the tub. The midwife arrived as I was climbing in and was also surprised to learn that I was already 8cm.

After I got in the tub details got fuzzy. I quit timing contractions or even looking at my phone. Everyone had been notified and I could just sit and enjoy the water. Shortly after everyone arrived I remembered that I needed to postpone the birthday party that was scheduled that day for my two year old so I did hop on facebook for a bit. Time seemed to stand still. I know I wasn't in labor long but I had no point of reference for time. I just let the contractions come and go until I realized I was feeling pressure and wanting to push.


I lightly pushed with a few contractions before I switched from leaning over the side of the tub to sitting on the seat inside the birth tub. I let them know I was feeling pushy and asked to be checked again. The assistant gave me the clear to push. I love how everyone just trusted my body. No one tried to count or direct. I pushed when I felt like it and didn't when it didn't feel right.

My main goal for this birth was that I wouldn't freak out when pushing and be able to catch the baby myself. I did hit one rough spot where I began to plead. Susan re-centered me and I put myself back together. To get through I reached in to feel for a head myself. It was such a surreal experience. I hit a point where I just wanted her out and pushed with all my might. Once her head was out the assistant checked for a cord around her neck, there wasn't. As her shoulders came out the assistant reached down to check her and I panicked and snapped at her to not touch the baby. It burned and I was afraid if she touched the baby it would burn more. As her body slipped out I was able to reach down and at 8:52am she came into the world and I pulled her up to me. It was absolutely amazing. It was so worth it and so emotional. I'm not usually emotional in the moments after birth but I totally was this time. Maybe it was that I knew it was the last. Who knows. I was just so in awe that I caught my own baby by myself.

The big girls were in the room, right beside the tub as she was born. Charlotte came running in from the other room and leaned over the tub and said, "Hi baby, I'm Charlotte." Everyone's heart melted.

"Hi baby, I'm Charlotte"
I remember someone asking if baby was a boy or a girl and I said "I don't care right now" and everyone laughed. A few moments later I did look and got to announce baby was a GIRL. We had been hoping to get to experience a son but we are so much in love with her. We hadn't been able to agree on a girl name so I looked around and asked "so what will we name her?" The big girls both yelled "Margaret". I looked over to Jesse and he nodded in agreement and so it was decided.

After the placenta was delivered we moved to the bedroom. We let Emberlynn and Zoe cut the cord.

Other than some blood sugar issues the day of birth and ears full of fluid from allergies, the recovery has been smooth which I'm so thankful for. We're all still adjusting and also preparing for a military separation so emotions are high. Charlotte is struggling a little with not being the baby anymore. But overall we're doing great.

It's still so surreal that we have four children and that our family is now complete. There are no plans for any more babies. Which is bittersweet. Sometimes I tear up just looking at her and knowing I won't ever have a baby this small again. It's so hard to believe she's already four weeks old today. More and more the cliche proves true, the days are long but the years are short. Time is flying by and this mama heart can't help but feel all the feels. Motherhood is such a roller coaster but it's the best thing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Birth of Charlotte

Really I feel like this story starts the day before.  I woke up Monday morning, April 25th, exhausted.  Acid reflux had kept me up almost all night.  I encountered a great deal of stress over the course of the day and many tears were shed and prayers were prayed.  When I laid down in bed Monday night I was having mild contractions and I prayed, "Lord we're all exhausted.  I need sleep.  The girls need sleep.  Jesse needs sleep.  Please can we just have a little sleep?  Please don't let me go into labor tonight."  And I drifted off.
Zoe joined me in bed around 1:30am and by 4:00am she was ready to start the day.  I pleaded with her to sleep and noticed a couple of contractions.  Finally at 4:28am I wrote down a contraction and convinced Zoe to go hang out with grandpa.  I laid in bed timing contractions for roughly 30min before getting up to drink, take a magnesium and read my Bible.  I'd already had a few false alarms and was kind of expecting this to be another one.  By 5:30am, after timing contractions for an hour at 6-7min apart, I gave my midwife a heads up.  She asked a few questions and asked if she should come.  I told her I wanted to wait another hour to see if things would fade out.  Two more contractions and I text her back saying maybe just give it 30 more minutes.  Two more contractions and I told her it may be best to head my way.  I reached out to the rest of my birth team and they all headed my way, the midwife being the farthest away.
After everyone was contacted I let the girls wake up Jesse.  He came out and immediately knew it was the real deal.  I was still a little in doubt.  Him and my dad did some quick cleaning until I made Jesse stop to fill the pool.  Gosh the water felt wonderful.  I got in before anyone arrived.  I had learned with Zoe that I did not want to wait until things were too intense for me to enjoy the water.
Susan, my doula, was the first to arrive.  She immediately took her place right beside the pool.  April wasn't far behind.  The birth photographer and Samantha showed up.  Times and exact order of arrival are a little fuzzy to me.  At some point Carolyn, my midwife, asked that we time my contractions again.  They were now 2-4min apart.
April reading to the girls.
At 8:15am my midwife arrived.  I think we all breathed a sigh of relief that the baby had not come before her.  Although my relief didn't fully come until she checked me and told me I was 8cm and would be having a baby soon.  I was so glad that I had not called everyone out for a false alarm.  She asked me to try to get out and use the restroom.  Not fun.  I couldn't wait to get back in the tub.
It wasn't long until I could feel myself starting to loose it.  I declared to everyone that I was done and that I did not want to do this anymore.  I yelled and begged and told them all NO! when they tried to encourage me.  Of course this was transition.
Shortly after I realized I was pushing.  Carolyn checked me and cleared me to do so.  I felt desperate for it to be over.  I did at some point bite Jesse.  He was shocked I lasted that long.  He's a trooper.  Thankfully, despite a nuchal hand/elbow, it was over soon and at 8:58am I got to exclaim "I had a baby!" which of course made everyone laugh.
The girls watching their new sister be born.
Sweet relief.
We all quickly realized she was a chunk and were eager to see what her stats were.  My older girls were 7lbs 5oz and 7lbs 4oz.  I was shocked when her weight came in at 8.57lbs or 8lbs 9oz.  And she has a head full of hair!  She just looks so different to me than my other girls did.
I'm still in awe that I delivered such a good size baby, in only 4.5hrs, with a nuchal hand/elbow and didn't tear at all.  With my history, had I followed medical advice instead of my intuition I would be telling a very different birth story.  I'm so grateful I stepped out and trusted God and my body.
My whole world.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Mother's Intuition

I'm by no means a pro at this motherhood thing.  It's been roughly six years since I became pregnant with my oldest.  But even from her conception I've had a voice communicate with me from deep inside.  As I've grown in my faith I've come to recognize this voice as the Holy Spirit.  While I'm still learning to let Spirit guide me in every day life, I definitely receive strong guidance when it comes to my kiddos.  Sure there are times when I act on uneasy feelings and it ends up not being anything but I've learned to always listen.

During my pregnancy with Emberlynn I had an uneasy feeling about delivering in the hospital and being induced.  There were mental red flags that I ignored because I was doing what I thought I was supposed to.  I mean seriously, who just goes and has a home birth without being able to justify such a controversial decision?  Well my intuition was right.  Her delivery was less than ideal and the recovery was long and slow.  Thankfully my little bundle of joy was perfectly healthy but I paid the price for not listening to that inner voice.

With Zoe we've had two instances when she was sick and something told me she needed to be seen even though others didn't think she was "that sick".  Both times my baby ended up being hospitalized for four days.

Now we face yet another test of my mother's intuition.  From the beginning I've felt that our new little blessing on the way is a boy.  All of my pregnancy symptoms have been different.  I've felt completely different.  And all that aside, I just have this feeling that I'm carrying a boy.  But here's the catch, the ultrasound tech said girl!  Mentally I just can't commit to calling this baby a girl.  We've toyed with the idea of having another ultrasound but are still on the fence.  Regardless of what we decide, I know come April we will know for sure whether we are being blessed with another daughter or our first son.  The anticipation almost feels like torture some days.  But then I remind myself how quickly pregnancy passes and soon enough I'll know.

I say all of that to tell any new mom's reading this to please trust your gut!  You know your kid better than anyone else.  You know what the right decision is.  So drown out all of those external voices.  Ignore the criticism.  Believe in yourself.  God has given you these specific children for a reason and he will guide you in raising them.  Much love and God bless.

Friday, January 1, 2016

No New Year Resolutions for Me! read that right.  I'm not making any new year resolutions.  No list of tasks to check off.  Instead, at the leading of a great friend, I took a One Word Theme devotional on the YouVersion app.  For the whole year my focus will be on this one word.  My hope is that I will step out of God's way, truly surrender control to Him, and enjoy the journey.

What is this "one word" I will be focusing on, you ask?  Calm.  Calm is my word for the year.  While I have an idea why God would choose this word for me, I'm not going to focus on any of that.  Instead I want to gain my understanding straight from the source, not based on my own understanding.  Why?  Because let's face it.  I struggle to see myself the way that the Bible says God sees me.  I'm insecure, fearful and often negative.  If I focus on why I think God gave me this word I'm sure I will miss out on what God has in store for me in the year to come.

Honestly, while I know there will be challenges (that's just life), I'm looking forward to the lessons and God moments that are in my future.  Every day is a new opportunity for God to teach me and use me for His glory.  And I will strive to thank Him for these opportunities every day.