Monday, December 16, 2013

Juliana's Birth!

Karis Juliana, 9lbs 1oz, 22in, 12/9/13 5:58am

The Friday before Juliana was born I was sooo excited because I had some bloody show and was cramping some. I just KNEW I was in early labor because that is how labor started with Joseph. We were all prepared to end up at the hospital at some point on Friday! I was pretty disappointed when I went to bed Friday night and woke up Saturday morning still super pregnant.  On Sunday, December 8, I woke up feeling really discouraged and weepy. I was cramping on and off all day long and remembered that this was the way I felt the day before going into labor with Joseph, but I didn’t want to get excited because I had been so disappointed about what happened on Friday. Edward and I decided Sunday morning that we would take the kids to McWane because walking would be good for me and they had been begging to see the winter exhibit. We had a lot of fun at McWane and I resisted the urge to play on the zip line. HA! We went to the 6pm service at Grants Mill and I was pretty sure I was having contractions on and off throughout the service.  I assumed they were Braxton Hicks because I had been having those and they were uncomfortable. Josiah told me before he went to bed that he had a gut feeling we were going to need to go to the hospital during the night. I told him I thought he might be right because of the way I had been feeling all day, but we would just have to wait and see! Edward and I stayed up until midnight watching a movie. At 2am I woke up and immediately knew I was having real contractions. I didn’t want to do like I usually do and get too excited about labor and rush to the hospital too soon so I decided to try to use the bathroom and go back to sleep. With each labor I set a goal for myself and it was my goal this time to stay at home as long as possible. I used the bathroom and went back to bed twice and then I knew I had to get up because these were too uncomfortable to sleep through. I woke Edward up and told him I was in labor, but to go back to sleep and I would wake him up when I needed his help/we needed to go to the hospital. I decided it would be a good idea to get our toiletry bag packed and put the bags by the front door because I was sure this was it! After getting the final stuff together, I headed downstairs to prepare my area for labor. I have had SUPER long labors with all of the other kiddos so I had no reason to think this was going to be really quick. Since we had been praying for a quick labor and delivery I did expect it to be faster, but not as fast as it was! At 2:25 when I was sure we were going to be heading to the hospital at some point in the next few hours or so, I called mom to wake her up because I was not sure how long it would take them to get ready and drive to the house. I put lavender oil in the diffuser and got that going, turned on my birth playlist, and jumped into the tub to see if that would help me feel better. At this point the contractions were coming every 5 minutes and lasting for about a minute, sometimes a little more. They were painful, but I felt like I worked through them well by myself and I wanted to let Edward sleep as long as possible. I only stayed in the tub for about 5-10 minutes because it wasn’t helping anymore. I felt like I needed to stand up and move. I paced back and forth during each contraction, trying to focus on worship. At 3:30 it was very clear to me by my pain level that we were going to need to head to the hospital soon so I woke Edward up.  I was really hurting so I headed back downstairs to try getting on the birth ball, which had always been helpful before. I could still talk and walk through contractions though so I knew we’d be ok to wait on my parents to get there before we left. Edward woke up Josiah because he wanted to be at the hospital with us and they both got ready really quickly. I found during this labor, sitting down on anything wasn’t helpful. I did lean over the birth ball and rock with each contraction and that seemed to help some. Mom and dad got to my house around 4:45 and I was already “not here” as Edward put it. At some point between 3:30 and 4:45 I stopped being able to communicate well between contractions. As soon as my next contraction passed, I walked straight to the car and got in the floorboard of the backseat. Mom drove, Josiah sat in the front with her, and Edward and I were in the back. Edward squeezed my hips as hard as he could with each contraction to help with the pain. The car ride was AWFUL! I was hurting sooo badly and I think everyone knew by my responses to them  ( I could not talk, could only give yes and no answers, was snippy) that I was in transition. Even though it was cold and rainy outside, I HAD to have the window down all the way because it helped. I remember having a hard time focusing through each contraction and then I just started picturing Jesus on the cross. I thought about all that He suffered for me…for my new birth…and that seemed to help. It had to be the Lord giving me that picture because I really felt like I was dying until I saw that picture and began to focus on it. With each contraction I would seriously call on His name out loud. Mom said the contractions were coming every 2 minutes at this point. I remember being a little surprised that Edward and my mom were asking Josiah for directions to the hospital because neither one of them were 100% sure which exit to take. HAHAHA!!! I also decided in my mind that I didn’t have to go natural this time and if we got to the hospital and I was less than 7cm, I would get an epidural. We got to labor and delivery at 5:22 and I could not believe that I had to go from the main lobby to the 3rd floor! They offered to bring me a wheelchair, but as I said before, I could not sit down. I HAD to be standing up so I walked to the elevator and then walked to my l&d room. I think as soon as my nurse, Amy, saw me she knew I was in transition. I was hurting so badly when we got to the room that I couldn’t sit down right away for her to check me. She was sooo great…a very laid back nurse who just let me do my thing! As soon as I was able to sit on the bed long enough for her to check me, I was 8cm. She immediately started getting everybody in to get things prepped for Juliana’s arrival. As soon as she was done, I stood right back up and within just a couple of contractions felt like I HAD to push. I remember reading about taking short breaths if you need to hold back pushing so I tried this through a couple of contractions because I was worried that I was trying to push too soon. It didn’t work that long though and I HAD to push with each contraction. Amy assured me it was okay and just to go with what my body was doing. She did get eyeball to eyeball with me and tell me she REALLY needed me to sit down in the bed  because she didn’t want Juliana to fall out onto the floor. When I sat down she confirmed I was complete and I really started pushing. I felt like I was in an awkward position this time and didn’t feel like my pushes were working as well. I didn’t push that long (maybe 5 contractions), but it seemed like a lot longer than last time and now I know that was probably because Juliana was so big! I was sure to keep my eyes open while pushing this time because I wanted to see her being born. At 5:58 my sweet girl entered this world! She was delivered by Dr. Campbell, the Dr that was at the hospital, because the Dr on call for my office didn’t have time to make it there. He got to deliver the placenta, but not the baby. J This birth blew my mind! It was wonderful and crazy all at the same time. Things that had helped me cope with pain during previous births just didn’t work this time, but God provided new ways of coping. There was no time to call friends who were planning on helping me and taking pictures for her birth, not even time for an IV hook up, no time for my antibiotics that were needed because I was group b strep positive, no time for monitoring…it all went sooo quickly! The end result was absolutely amazing…the most wonderful, beautiful gift of a new, precious, life added to our family. To God be the glory for all the great things HE has done! He is sooo good!!! 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

An Amazing Blessing!

You MUST read this incredible birth story! Samuel's little life is such a miracle! I am so blessed to know his sweet mom and sister and look forward to knowing this little guy too! This story is a testament to God's goodness and His perfect plan!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

C-section Rates

Check out your states status when it comes to cesarean rates here. This is VERY interesting. Alabama (my state) has very high cesarean rates. This is definitely something you'll want to be aware of as you get prepared to have a baby. Remember...nobody can force you to have surgery! Get educated and know whether it's really necessary! :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Olivia Jael's Birth Story

Today my baby girl is 1 month old. The time has flown by. I have been working on her birth story little-by-little for the past month so I am hoping I have included most of what I wanted to. If we should be blessed with another baby, I HOPE to type the birth story up in the hospital while it is all still fresh on my mind. I never imagined life would be so busy with 3 kiddos around so that is why I am just now getting around to finishing this up! Thank God for my mom that kept up with a timeline during labor. I wouldn’t have nearly as much documented if it weren’t for her. So…here it goes…

June 1st, 39 weeks 6 days

Around 12:15-I ate lunch with a friend at Burger King so our kiddos could play indoors because it was soooo hot. When we were leaving I felt like I was bleeding. I made the 5 minute drive home immediately and went to the restroom. I was not bleeding, but something was definitely going on. I laid Joseph down for his nap, checked my email, and texted a good friend to ask about what might be going on. I wondered if my water bag might be leaking. I decided to lay down for a nap and call the doctor’s office when I woke up if the leaking feeling continued. I prayed if my water was breaking, I would know it and there would be no question... I really didn’t want to head all the way to the dr’s office with two kids for no reason. I rolled over to get comfortable and felt a gush of water. I KNEW that my water had broken! YAYYY! I texted my friend again, called my husband, called Dr S, and then called my mom.  Dr S wanted me to come in immediately. I jumped in the shower and afterwards packed everything we needed for the friend that was keeping my youngest son so we could head to the hospital. When Edward got home, we took Joseph to my friend’s house and headed to the hospital. Josiah planned to stay with us for the birth, but started feeling sick once we got there so we sent him home with my dad. I am glad we sent did because he ended up throwing up that night.

Around 4- I see Dr S and she tells me that my water has definitely broken, however, I am only 2-3cm/50% effaced and the baby’s head was still very high. Even though I had been having some uncomfortable contractions, I hadn’t changed very much in the past two weeks! She had to admit me though because my water had broken. I was very concerned that this would mean I was being put on a timeline as far as when the baby had to come, but she assured me I had nothing to worry about. I trust her completely and knew it would be okay.

5pm-I was admitted to the hospital and the waiting game began.  I tried to get rest overnight, but didn’t really get much because I was thinking that labor would really kick up and get going any moment. THANKFULLY, Dr S let me eat dinner and a bedtime snack because it would prove to be A WHILE.

June 2, 2011-40 weeks

7:45a-Dr S came in to check on me and I hadn’t made a big change, but the baby’s head was pressed down against my cervix so that was good. She wanted me to try some nipple stimulation to see if we could get some things rolling with labor. She was originally going to let me try that for an hour, but ended up letting me do it longer. She was so great and perfectly okay with letting me go longer doing the nipple stimulation, but I could tell that the contractions I was having were not strong enough to do anything so I opted for the pitocin. This was a hard decision for me because I had such a hard labor with Josiah on pitocin and it ended in a c-section. I knew something had to get rolling and this is what I had a peace about so I did it!

11:40a-Pitocin is started at 1…the lowest # it can be started at and it’s increased every 15 min or so until it gets to 12. Once at 12, I started having good contractions and I could tell they were working to accomplish something. They were very uncomfortable, but still not unbearable. I stood up by the bed for a long time because I seemed to have the harder contractions when I was on my feet. Even though that was the most uncomfortable, I knew it would have to get uncomfortable to accomplish something! In fact, I tried sitting down on the birth ball once during this time and my contractions got much weaker and further apart. So…I went back on my feet.

4:10pm-I was getting super tired of standing up so I laid down in the bed to “rest”. I was thinking that I needed to try to get some rest/sleep before things really starting going since I didn’t sleep the night before. It seemed that laying down made my contractions space out and get weaker so the nurse bumped the pit up to 14 to help them be strong again even though I was laying down. 14 was the special # because things REALLY got super uncomfortable after she did that! I even thought about asking her to turn it back down a few times, but I knew something must be happening with all of this discomfort.

4:45p-I was VERY discouraged when I was checked and still only 3.5cm/50% effaced. Though I am pretty sure I never verbalized it, I really began to wonder if I had made a mistake in asking for the pit and if this was going to turn out in a c-section. I think the nurse must have seen the look of discouragement on my face because she assured me this was okay…we had only cranked the pit up 35 minutes earlier and active labor was just getting started. I am so thankful she was there to encourage me because I really needed it at that point.

6:30p-This was probably the most emotional time during my entire labor. I CRIED tears of relief when Dr S checked me and I was 5cm/90% effaced. At this point there was no doubt in my mind that this was going to happen! Things really started progressing quickly after this…MUCH more quickly than my birth with Joseph.

8p-6.5cm/100% effaced/0 I was really hurting by this point and doing different things to cope. I got into the shower. I stood up with the hot water hitting my back and I would squat down a little and press my hands hard against the shower wall during contractions…it made them WAYYY less painful. By far the most helpful way that I was able to cope with pain during labor this time was to have my wonderful nurse, Julie, talk me through relaxing each part of my body from my feet up to my head. As she mentioned a part of my body she, the nurse in training (Heather, I think), Edward, and my mom would each rub that part of my body. This really helped me focus on relaxing each part of my body. This was the BIG difference between this labor and my labor with Joseph. I felt that I had trouble really relaxing my body during my labor with Joseph, but I felt that I really was able to relax through contractions this time…until a certain point! At some point between now and transition, my dear friend Leisha came into the room to start taking pictures. I was soooo blessed to have her there to photograph during the labor and delivery. I remember hearing her come in, but I could not open my eyes to see her. I remember hearing the camera click and hearing her ask the nurse if she thought the camera was bothering me (it wasn’t), but I didn’t get to actually speak to her until after the birth. 

9:05p-9cm/head very low (station wasn’t mentioned) Starting at this time is what is the most vivid in my mind probably because it was by far the hardest. I remember being so relieved mentally when I heard that I was 9cm because I knew I had finally made it to the shortest part of labor. I remember thinking of getting nubain, but I would tell myself through each contraction that by the time they brought to me I would be pushing so there was no need in asking for it. I remember saying several times “I can’t do this”. I laid down, stood up, put all of my weight on Edward, etc…anything to try to cope with the pain I was experiencing. At this point, the talk of relaxing each part of my body was not helping at all. I reached a point where I could not relax through the contractions. I did some things I did NOT do during my labor with Joseph. I squeezed Edward’s hand and my mom’s hand VERY hard…so hard, in fact, that my sweet mom’s hands were bruised afterwards. YIKES! I also remember turning to my mom and ALMOST biting her. I was definitely in A LOT more pain this go round than I was with Joseph. I think it’s because everything was happening so much more quickly than it did with Joseph though…and I was completely drug free this time! It really helped when Edward put pressure on my back and once when he was going to run to the bathroom or rest his hands, I remember telling him no because I didn’t feel like I could make it through a contraction without him putting pressure on my back. I remember feeling that I needed to start pushing and asking to be checked on 2 different occasions, but each time I wasn’t quite ready and could not start pushing yet. That was very hard to hear and it became EXTREMELY hard not to push. Julie assured me when my cervix was ready I would know it and HAVE to push. And…she was right!

10:52p-I started pushing. My body had started pushing on it’s own, but I took over at this point. Part of me wonders what it would have been like if I had just waited and let my body push the baby out. BUT…I HAD to get her out at this point! And that is just what happened. I pushed through 3 or 4 contractions and at 10:59pm my sweet Olivia Jael was born...on her due date!!! I remember looking down and seeing that she was a girl and being completely in shock! In fact, I think it took several days before it really began to sink in that I have a DAUGHTER. I fully expected this baby to be another boy.

Even though my water broke at a completely unexpected time causing labor to get going in a completely unplanned, unexpected way I am sooo happy that I was able to have another natural labor and delivery and achieve my personal goals for labor this time…no nubain and no episiotomy. And the BEST part was having the SURPRISE of a precious, perfect baby girl!!! God is so good to me and I feel so incredibly blessed to have another amazing, beautiful, healthy child!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Olivia Jael

We were so blessed to welcome our sweet little GIRL, Olivia Jael, into the world at 10:59pm last night. She weighed 8lbs, 6oz and was 20 3/4in long. She is so amazing! Her birth story is on the way, but I wanted to share this video that my precious friend put together from Jael's birth. We were sooo blessed to have my friend take pictures during the labor and delivery. ENJOY!!!

Untitled from Leisha Hairston on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mirabelle's VBAC birth-May 23, 2011

Please take a few minutes to read this incredible VBAC story and be encouraged! I met the sweet mama of this beautiful baby girl at a local ICAN meeting where she was the leader. I am sooo thrilled for her for getting the desires of her heart with this birth!

I'll try to keep it as ungraphic as possible ;).

So most people who know me, know that I started preparing for a VBAC from the time Davy was about five weeks old. Most people know that I had what I consider to have been (at the time it was performed) an unnecessary c-section after 15 hours of unmedicated labor and making it almost all the way. Most people also know what a nightmare of a recovery I had- second surgery, Wound VAC, all that fun stuff. Since then I have become a serious birth advocate, doula, and childbirth educator. I wanted the birth of my next child to be different. I wanted a VBAC, but at the very least I wanted to feel confident that even if I had another cesarean that it was necessary and not due to any naivete on my part. I hired a doctor known to be supportive of VBAC and natural birth at a hospital also known to be supportive of those practices. In fact, I had the privilege of attending five or six births with my doctor and hospital before my own labor began! With a supportive caregiver on our side, Robby and I hired a doula (and ended up getting two!), completing my VBAC team.

My "guess date" for Mirabelle was May 16th. I went into labor naturally with Davy at 40 weeks and 1 day, so as I easily sailed past that mark with Mirabelle I settled in for another week or more of being pregnant. On Tuesday, May 17th I had about three hours of crampy contractions from 2-5 am. However, when I woke up at 7:30 I realized it was not "The Day." The rest of the week I stayed active with Davy- we visited the zoo, the McWane Center, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and a park or two. On Saturday May 21, my mother came up from Mobile in order to stay with Davy if labor started in the middle of the night. On Sunday May 22, Robby and I sang in choir at St. Paul's and in the afternoon we took a family trip to BBG. As we walked around, I noticed that I was having several contractions that felt a little tigheter than the others I'd been feeling, but weren't noticeably regular or long or particularly uncomfortable. I took one dose of Labor Enhancer at suppertime. As I was putting Davy to bed at 8pm I noticed that I was indeed having regular contractions that were accompanied by the same crampy feeling I'd experienced earlier in the week. Thinking these were more practice contractions, I suggested that we get in bed to rest around 11pm- either we would need the sleep because things were about to get started or I would wake up again in the morning the contractions having subsided. As I was doing my normal nightly routine, I felt a pop in my pelvis. "OH MY GOD!" I thought "Did my uterus just rupture?!" Then I noticed the clear fluid. My water had broken! TOTALLY unexpected! My water was artificially broken at 9+ cm with Davy. I called Robby into the bathroom to let him know what happened and then called our doula. I had two contractions that were difficult to speak through while on the phone with her- whoa. It seemed like I wouldn't have to wait for things to get started. I got in the shower and agreed that I would call the doula when I got out to let her know whether I was ready for her to head over. While in the shower I started having contractions that simply felt better for me to quietly vocalize through. They were pretty strong, and already getting closer together. At 11:20 I got out of the shower and told Robby to call the doula to tell her that we should just meet at the hospital. I'd already decided I did not want a 30 minute drive when the contractions were much more intense and closer together than this. We loaded the car and headed for Shelby Baptist in Alabaster. I rode in the very back of the car draped over a birth ball and I'm pretty sure I swore every time we hit a bump in the road (please don't hold it against me!).

We arrived at Shelby around 12pm, I think. One of our doulas met us at the elevators and applied counterpressure to my back as we rode to the 2nd floor. We went to the nurses station and I was thrilled that since we hadn't been able to get in touch with Dr. Head that it was Dr. Simmons who was on-call (Dr. Simmons actually gave me a hug after a birth for which I was doula). I had at least two strong contractions right there at the desk and they checked us right into a room without going through triage first. The nurse checked me and I was 4.5cm, 90% effaced, and -2 station. Not what I was hoping for with the contractions being as powerful and close together as I had been experiencing, but more than what I had been at my last dr's appt. Ok, time to settle in. Our other doula arrived. I labored on the birth ball for some time and wanted lots of counterpressure and heat on my lower back. Things get a bit fuzzy for me from here. I remember being checked at 6.5cm, 90%effaced, and -1 station, but I can't remember if that was before or after I started feeling some pressure to push. We got in the shower. The urge was stronger. I wanted to be checked again and was 7.5 cm and still -1 station. This is where I started to lose it a little bit. With Davy I never had the opportunity to labor him past -1 station. I started to doubt my body and the thought that perhaps the baby was presenting some way or I had some sort of pelvic anomaly that made it difficult to progress past -1 station. The contractions were intense in both the front and back and ever longer and closer together. I started asking for medication, but my doulas and Robby kept pushing me. Next check, I was 8.5cm and 0 station- this did SO much for my state of mind! Whether anyone else present there could tell or not, haha. The urge to push was incredibly strong. Finally, I couldn't keep my body from pushing. Our doula called a nurse and I was complete! I used a squat bar a bit, but what felt most right for me was getting on my knees and supporting my upper body on Robby's legs. Basically a modified hands and knees. I have no clue how long I pushed, but started to feel some burning. Everyone was incredibly supportive- my husband (who I later found out was worried I might break his legs!), my doulas (my fellow BirthWell in Birmingham partners- Dalia Abrams and Dana Gale!) who continued to provide verbal reassurance and physical support, the nurses who pretty much just stood back and let me do what I needed to do (not that I would or COULD have done anything different had they asked me to), and Dr. Simmons (who didn't say word one to me about catching a baby in a less than orthodox hospital birth pushing position). Knowing that no matter how uncomfortable it would be helpful to push Mirabelle's head out as slowly as possible, I tried to do just that. Allowing myself several contractions to try to breathe her head out gently and avoid tearing. Turns out that those efforts didn't matter too much- she had a nuchal hand! At 4:51 am Mirabelle made her miraculous appearance. The labor was quick and intense! But honestly it didn't even seem as long as the nearly six hours it was. So much of it is a blur!

We admired our beautiful baby [8lb 8oz, 19 inch, 13.25 " head circumference] in peace for quite some time as the hospital team allowed ample time for the cord to stop pulsating and for the placenta to detach on its own. Eventually, Dr. Simmons and the nurses came back. Robby cut the umbilical cord and the placenta came out easily. However, it was determined that I had endured a 3rd degree tear because of that little hand/arm/elbow. And although I may be a bit sore from all that, it is NOTHING like the pain I experienced after my cesarean. In fact, I don't think I was getting around as well as I am now even five weeks out from Davy's birth. In fact, today I WALKED out of the hospital and easily got into our car. I buckled my seatbelt without flinching.

We did still have some postpartum complications- Mirabelle went to the NICU (probably would have been just fine without going, to be honest, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it yet); I ended up with another blood transfusion because my hematocrit was so low. But the experience we had and the support we received were amazing and so very different from our previous experience. I'm sure I'm going to be processing the past week for quite some time!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Knightley Birth

I received a wonderful birth story today that I HAVE to share with you! I hope this will be an encouragement to all of you expectant momma's! If you'd like to visit the blog where this story is found, you can find it here.

The Beautiful Arrival
“dum spiro espero…While I breathe I hope….”
Characters:Me (Dee, Kona)- the fullterm pregnant mama
Jer/J- The Papa, my husband
Jeremiah/Miah/Jem- sweet 2 year old son
Erin- Incredible midwife
Cindy- hardcore doula

We’ve been living in the middle of nowhere in Interior BC on a gorgeous mountain ranch for the past while. Sadly, due to health cuts, they don’t deliver babies out there. Without family/friends in that area, the Interior cities weren’t a great option either as we wouldn’t have anyone to help with Jeremiah. So we had been waiting in the lower Valley with Jeremy’s sweet folks. Originally planning on a home-type birth at a beautiful B&B just out of town here (which was pretty much the coolest idea ever!), we had recently shifted our plan to the hospital in the next city; partly due to finances and partly due to the unknown date of arrival and the need for some kind of plan and booking. (Note: this hospital is really great; private rooms where you deliver and then stay, tubs, etc.)

The Beginning
Midnight. September 30th. 2010.I was half asleep, waiting on labour and life change andeverything else, when I heard Jeremiah start to fuss in his sleep. Jumping up, I ran out the door and feel a sudden little gush. “Oh! I think…yup!” My water had finally (almost officially) begun to move (a hind-water break). I slipped into Jem’s room to the first special moment of the day; his sleepy arms gripped around me with his sleepy giggle murmering “mamaaa” as the first contraction tested itself upon my body. I smiled. It was going to be a good day.
I texted Jer at the ranch and told him to go to sleep and head down in the morning, just to be sure he was safe and rested. I snuggled in and tried to rest.
2:00am. Contraction! Oh man! I waited and noted that they were about 10 minutes apart. With Jeremy 3 hours of mountain highway away, I called him (in the middle of his deep sleep!) and asked that he head down to the Valley. I felt terrible! All week I had been saying, “I just hope I don’t end up calling Jer at 2:00 in the morning…” but I just didn’t want to risk him missing out.I grabbed my computer and updated my online world, notified my doula and midwife, and tried to sleep.
5:00amJeremy arrived, exhausted. We both tried to get some sleep as I realized that there really wasn’t a whole lot going on in the labour department. My fluid continued to leak, but contractions were irregular. I spent most of the morning just feeling terrible for calling Jer down early, but he was great.
12:00Great nap!
2:30Called Erin (midwife). She was super laid back and great and said we’d see how the day went and just flow with it. Then I checked in with Cindy (doula) and let her know that I was heading out on a walk to see if I could get things moving. Jeremiah was napping and Jer and I struck out on a brisk walk in the unexpectedly hot September sunshine. I felt great! Jer and I were starting to wake up a bit following our naps and enjoying the chance to catch up after another week apart, so the walk fit in perfectly. The goal? Figure out what was happening and get some rhythm and progression with the contractions. Off we marched down the street, chatting and holding hands, belly swingin’.
About halfways into our walk, our conversation sounded something like this:Me: “What have you read? How’s the ranch? What’s new? How are you???” (pause, contraction)”Jer: “You okay? Maybe we should head back? “Me: “No no, maybe we should jog a bit. Did you water my basil? (stopped to chat with a friend on the street. Contraction. Walk walk walk.Ohhh…contraction…again?)Jer: “Do you think I should go grab the car?”Me: “No! I need to keep moving. I have to get some rhythm. I really feel so out of touch with my body right now and want to figure out where it’s at”(neighbor lady #1 stops with a bottle of water and words of encouragement)Jer: “I don’t know Kona…. It kind of seems like one big contraction…you’re only taking like 5 steps…”Me: “Nope, I’m great! This is good, gotta get moving(neighborhood lady #2 runs down the street with water and words)Jer: “Kona..I should really get the car….”Me: Stop. Keel over. Freeze. Breathe. Oh crap.Jer: “Should I call my dad?!Me: Nodding madly, tears.Jer: “I’m calling my dad!!!” DadIL zoomed down the street, I staggered in, and soon hobbled into the house. Jer was sure it was time to head right to the hospital. Me? “No hon, not yet, it can’t actually be this yet! It’s too fast…I think…but…ohhh!!!” I was suddenly realizing that in waiting for the ‘rhythm’ of contractions, I’d totally missed it. I was there! It was time!We called Erin and Cindy but still thought we’d wait at the house a bit, just to be sure. That lasted about 10 seconds. I then was sure I should use the bathroom before we left and set out crawling across the floor to the toilet. Met my DadIL on the way, we cracked some jokes, and I heaved along. Cindy burst in within those minutes, offered some killer hip squeezes, took a good look/listen at my face, and said, “Um guys, maybe we should just do Chilliwack hospital, I don’t think we’re gonna make the 30 minute drive!” I wasn’t up for that idea so we struggled to the vehicles and took off down the freeway (Where we almost got into a crazy accident!!! I laughed and Cindy [feeling terrible!] couldn’t believe it. My response? “Cindy, I’m in labour and we almost smashed a car on the highway. What else can I do but laugh right now???” Jer was on the phone [to my mom] behind us—freaking out!!!!)

At the Hospital
We arrived, staggered across the parking lot, snagged a wheelchair, and then ran (literally) through the foyer and registration. Erin walked us right through triage and into our room. A quick check and she announced that, “There isn’t much cervix left there at all, you’re at least at 9 cm!” Wow!!! My forewaters hadn’t broken yet and we figured we could let the last bit of everything progress, so Cindy grabbed a fantastic labour ball and we all hit the shower.Those contractions were madness. SO hard.Jer and Cindy worked the shower head and hand massager for a few hours while I worked through brutal back labour. I’m not sure if it was the swiftness of the onset or the focus on the back, but the contractions seemed much more intense and painful than with Jeremiah. Finally, Erin paused us to say that I really could push whenever I felt the urge, and that she could break the waters if I wanted.I moved to the bed and a few minutes later my waters smashed out (literally! Like, right off the bed!) and I felt such incredible relief! Everything stopped and it was just awesome. (this same stage happened with Jeremiah, though the response with my caregivers was entirely different). The contractions stopped and we all just sat down and chatted. I was totally alert and in-hand and super impatient to meet my son. We sat and waited. Nothing. My team re-affirmed that I could go ahead and push whenever I desired. Hmm…. But no contractions. So I started to test out my body; little pushes, bigger pushes, feeling it out, feeling the fear of what would happen when I really went for it.In the midst of this, I was given total freedom to choose my timing, setting, everything. It was incredible!

The Beautiful
At this point we moved into one of the most beautiful and intense experiences of my life. The lights were turned down, my beautiful playlist was started, I put on a clean tank top (and a hospital gown wasn’t even mentioned!), and I chose my position (hands and knees with the head of the bed upright). Jer settled in by my head and while Erin and Cindy stepped back; available, competent, and gifting me with the freedom and confidence to step ahead with the birthing experience.I don’t even know how to express the beauty and intensity of the next twenty minutes….Andre Bocelli’s Lord’s Prayer began, followed with ‘What Child is This’. I began a slow dance; gathering courage for what needed to be done, testing my strength, increasing the strength of the pushes. The song shifted to Charlie Hall’s ‘Set this hope in me’ and I closed my eyes and prayed, overwhelmed with the sheer hope and terror and immensity of the moment. My body kept swaying, I felt my son coming near, and I began to cry with hope and confession and anticipation.

set this hope in me
set this hope in me
that I may be….pure and holy
that I may be…like you only
that I may be….completely free
Lord, I hope in you
though you slay me I will hope
your hope inspires by endurance
your hope is my anchor
God of hope fill me….fill me!(x6)

And then I knew it was time and I pushed into the most intense and blinding pain of my life. Indescribable. Erin paused me with words of focus and then…”Deanna, grab your baby! Hold his head, he’s here!” A few more excruciating seconds and with a gush he was there in my hands, my own hands! A lusty cry met my ears as I fell towards him sobbing and laughing and filled with the greatest relief and elation known on earth.Amazing. Amazing amazing….

Within ten minutes he had latched on and was nursing like a champ. Everything seemed perfect. Erin cleaned me up (slight tearing but she fixed it up beautifully!). Frank Sinatra’s ‘All the Way’ (our wedding song) was playing as we celebrated and cuddled and rode that hour of adrenaline.[Unfortunately, within the hour it was noted the Knightley was expressing some unique respiratory struggles. While he was alert, nursing, and had great color, his little chest was chugging way too hard and he was having some moments of struggle. So, just as we thought we were all done for the night, we instead all trekked to NICU. Our baby was settled into an incubator for observation and that was that. (In the end, it settled out and seems to be just a unique part of who he is. He was released back to me in the morning, we stayed an extra day and night, and now he’s doing great).]

Other details? We spent our first couple of days in the hospital. The food was brutal. Knightley decided he wanted to eat all.the.time., but that was fine J Jeremiah thought his baby brother was great, for the first few minutes Etc., etc., and then we finally left the hospital yesterday afternoon and came back to Jer’s folks for cuddles and cozyness some days of family.

So that’s it for now. Long hey!? Ha. What an incredible experience. Thanks for sharing these days with me. What a beautiful point in this journey! What a prize!