My Beautiful Angel’s Birth Story

To my darling beautiful angel,

Each of my children’s labors and deliveries are easily in my top favorite memories, and yours is no exception. You, my angel, were my fastest (4.5 hours!) and easiest (2 pushes!) delivery! … and my easiest recovery!!

I had two bouts of false labor, that included strong contractions and my body extensively emptying itself out any and all directions. As you can imagine, the last two weeks of my pregnancy were very challenging. When I woke up at 6am, when you were 39 weeks and 2 days big, with more contractions, I was skeptical. I even sent Daddy into work!! I called him home less than two hours later, and told him to hurry! My labor was progressing very rapidly.

By the time we made it to the parking garage at the hospital, I was taking only two or three steps between contractions. Imagine my dismay when we realized we parked on the wrong floor! We finally made it into the OB triage (the place where they determine whether or not you are really having a baby today), Daddy’s hand on my back through each contraction. They discovered I was at 8cm (I’ll explain that when you’re older; it basically means I was pretty ready for you to come!!) and pushed me on the bed into the delivery room.

Upon entering the delivery room, the nurse looked right at me and commented, “Wow, you’re really calm for 8cm!” You see, my daughter, Genesis 3:16 explains that God made childbirth to be painful. He wasn’t kidding, either! However, I had peace as I was laboring (which, if you read your sister’s birth story here, you’ll see that I was not at all calm. It was embarrassing…). Anyway, I’m pretty sure she was the first person to *ever* describe me as calm, and there is a fair chance it’ll be the last time anyone uses that word for me.

The doctor came and determined that I was now at 9cm (wowza, that was fast!) and she told me if she breaks my water, it will probably go much faster. Now, this is different from water that you drink, dear… well, *you* drank it, but once you’re born you just don’t do that. From what I understand, much of it is comprised of your urine… that’s right, baby, you drank your pee. Anyway, another lesson for another day. The doctor broke my water, and then was immediately called into a cesarean section. She left and within seconds, I started pushing you out! The nurse made some sort of comment about me waiting for a doctor, but I couldn’t stop pushing! She called in a midwife instead. The midwife asked me if I wanted to push in a different position, and as I recall, I was interested but couldn’t really engage in the conversation because I started pushing again! That’s when I heard your daddy exclaiming,”Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!” I knew he was seeing your head, and I just kept pushing (well, not that I could have controlled it regardless). It was wonderful. All of the pain disappeared and I focused on pushing as hard as I could. I was able to put my legs wherever I was most comfortable. It was a peaceful experience.

My eyes were closed so I did not see you enter this world, but I heard your daddy say in the softest voice, “It’s [insert your sister’s name].” That’s when I knew I had just delivered a baby girl. The midwife rested you on my chest, with you still attached via umbilical cord. I had prayed through my pregnancy that I would be able to hold you right away, but didn’t have a chance to ask before you were born! God heard and answered. I was able to hold you for a long time, but they had to help support you because you were still attached. Daddy was able to cut your cord and then I nursed you for the first time. My goodness, were you hungry! The midwife took her time in cleaning and stitching me up (I’ll explain “stitches” when you’re a bit older, sweetie). Daddy said he wanted so badly to catch you as you were coming out, and the midwife told him he could have! It was such a different experience with a midwife, and your daddy felt it too.

So far, you are so calm. You are a great nurser, a great pee-er and pooper (the best on the maternity floor, we were told- amazing compliment that I’m sure you appreciate fully), and you are calm as your brother and sister poke you and scream around you. It was a beautiful surprise to be handed a baby girl, and my heart is so full to have you as my daughter. I am praying for you daily as you grow from baby to child to woman, and I am praying for the husband God has chosen for you. I thank God for you daily, my beautiful angel. Welcome to our crazy family.

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(your brother processing his childbirth questions through art, before you were born)

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My Daughter’s Birth Story

In honor of my daughter’s five month birthday, I am posting the letter I wrote to her when she was about two weeks old. It’s in her baby journal. There are a lot of silly similes but I didn’t revise it due to the level of emotion I had when I initially wrote it. There is really ZERO comparison for pushing a child through your vagina without an epidural… all the while begging for one.

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To my perfect little lady,

You and I share a very special bond- you made your grand entrance into this world by blasting through my vagina like a crate of dynamite. And these days, you are endlessly sucking the life out of my boobs. Upwards of 16 hours a day, dear. You will never share this special bond with anyone else, and you will probably not fully understand the depth of this bond until your daughter blasts through yours and attaches herself to your boob like a drunken sailor attaches himself to whiskey. For. 16. Hours. A. Day.

It all started at 6am on 9-8-13 when I started leaking fluid. It wasn’t enough to make the call that my water had broken, and the doctor told me watch- either I would continue to leak, or… or I peed the bed. There was nothing all day long, and I was feeling more than a little embarrassed. Finally I felt that distinct leak again in the evening and knew it was hospital time.

After jacking me open with the jaws of life calld a (light-up) speculum (you will learn about those joys soon enough), the midwife determined that though I may have a small leak, my water was in-tact. I was having steady contractions, but was stuck at 4cm so they sent me home. Mind you, the contractions were only four minutes apart and were lasting over a minute each- they say that’s when you should go to the hospital, but mommy is backwards and LEFT the hospital instead. They kindly suggested I take a Tylenol and enjoy sleeping in, since your brother was at mom-mom’s.

I enjoyed about 45 minutes of sweet sleep before I woke up in active labor around 3:30am. Nervous to be sent home from the hospital again, I labored at home for several hours. Finally, at the advice of the midwife, when I felt like I was going to die (on all fours crying through each contraction), I woke daddy and we made our trek to the hospital… again.

Now if you learn anything about mommy, it’s that I have an embarrassingly low pain threshold. By the time we checked into the OB triage (the lovely place they sent me home from the previous night), I was 7cm dilated and begging for an epidural. I had two on-the-floor-crying-for-relief style contractions changing into my gown alone. The nurse immediately wheeled me to labor and delivery, and had to stop a few times so I could dramatically endure my unmedicated contractions.

When we entered the delivery room, the first thing I saw was the warming table, and it hit me- I would not be leaving this room until I had met you. That made me feel warm and excited inside for about four seconds, and then the next contraction hit me like a freight train flying through Siberia.

During the first contraction in the delivery room, I begged the nurse for an epidural and while she was working away to draw blood, daddy encouraged me to do without because “she’ll be here by 9:05. You’re almost there. Twenty more contractions.” It was 8:40am. Ignoring daddy (but letting him hold me through the contractions), I continued to beg for an epidural like a crack addict begs for a fix, and mid-contraction, dramatic mommy got the doctor to peek in to ask if I was okay. When she saw my frantic state, she immediately checked dilation and I started crying when she said I was still only at 7cm. Despite the nurse’s attempt to get me to stop, I had been pushing with each contraction since I arrived in the delivery room (life lesson: don’t push till they tell you to; you’ll end up in pain for five months and counting). The doctor said that once my water breaks, it’ll be go time.

Two or three contractions later, I heard a balloon pop and out gushed water, blood, and your first poopie. Seriously. It was nothing like Hollywood portrays. I cried, “gross!” and the nurse laughed until she saw the meconium. She exited the room and when she returned a few moments later, she was followed by several NICU staff and four doctors… FOUR. Within a moment, my bed had transformed into a delivery table, complete with giant stirrups and a huge bucket with a red bag. During the magnificent transformation, someone explained that I would not hear you cry or be able to hold you right away; they would first take you to the warming table to assess your health due to the meconium inside the womb.

The nurse held one of my legs, doctor #1 held the other, doctor #2 was sent to sit down in the closet (yes, the closet) for messing something up during the bed transformation, doctor #3 was in prime catching position, and doctor #4, the one who had checked my dilation a few minutes before, was the lead doctor and oversaw the process. Doctor #4 explained that next contraction would be time for me to push and when she saw my you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me-not-without-an-epidural expression, she said pushing would make me feel better and I’d get to meet my baby soon.

Feeling you come through was the most amazing experience. With every push I felt you come just a little farther and then retreat slightly. Doctor #3 announced that you had a nice head of hair, and I felt a flood of emotion knowing you were almost here. Three contractions (about eight nice pushes) later, at 8:57am, I witnessed you slide right through. You were one of the most beautiful and perfect things I had ever seen, or ever will see.

I heard your soft cry on the warming table and was in love. A moment later I asked what your APGAR was and they announced it was a 9.9 because “we don’t give a 10.” Don’t be discouraged by losing one-tenth of a point on your first exam, my darling. A 9.9 is like saying you got a 10 without the bragging rights of a 10. They were just intimidated by your perfection and docked you for it. It’s okay. We both know you’re a 10.

Daddy was the first of us to hold you while they stitched up your entryway and uncomfortably placed all their weight on my uterus to exit all the blood clots… There was quite a lot of blood, girlfriend. They changed my gown and sheets, gave me the hugest pad you’ll ever see, and sat me on an ice pack before daddy handed you to me.

I immediately burst into tears and continued to cry until I handed you back to daddy so I could slowly prepare to leave the delivery room. The nurses led me to the bathroom where they gave me a nice squirty bottle to help me pee. Besides the greatest invention in the world, the sitz bath, the squirty bottle has been my best friend through my healing… even two weeks later as I write this. That’s right, girl. Your grand entrance is still affecting my ability to sit, stand, or lie down! You are more than worth every pregnancy pain, every pee leakage, every contraction, every push, every boob ache, every stitch, every vaginal and bottom pain, and every sleepless night you  have given me thus far. I’m just glad I recovered from my issue of peeing when I stood or touched water! The first week was brutal.

That night, I began laughing as the nurse bathed you. The nurse reprimanded me for laughing at you, but I was not; I was caught up in the pure joy of seeing the entirety of my daughter for the first time. You were (and are) so beautiful.

[Daughter] sweetheart, it was such a joy to bring you into this world, and it’s just as great a joy to hold you and feed you 1000 hours a day. You made quite the impression on me entering this world, and I expect that you will continue to do so as you grow from baby to child to woman, and perhaps eventually bring your own child into the world.

Love and kisses,

Mommy.