birth story

A 6 Minute Birth Story...

By now you have likely seen this beautiful face all over my social media channels! Well world, meet Miss Eliza Brooke Suell! 

She made her arrival on Sunday, June 5th at 3:04AM (exactly one week past her due date). She weighed 9lbs 9oz, and measured 21.25inches long. 

And...I pushed approximately 2 times, and had her in a matter of 6 minutes within getting to my hospital room. To say that this birth story is unlike my other, is an understatement. I shared about my amazing birthing experience with Zander (2014) a few weeks ago. You can read that HERE

First sign of contractions...

So let's start on Friday, June 3rd. I was anxiously awaiting Eliza's arrival, having felt zero contractions yet, but on Wednesday when I went in for my 40 week checkup, I was already dilated to a 4. So my doctor and I both felt like she would be coming any time now. Well on Friday, I finally started feeling some contractions. Nothing too intense, but they were consistently 20 minutes, and sometimes 15 minutes apart. 

Now I'm not usually the one to jump the gun, but for some reason I felt like once this labor started, it would go quickly. (wow, I didn't know how right I was). And our moms lived 5-5.5hours away, and definitely wanted to be here. So when I was having contractions for half the day I decided to call them. Even my sister assured me that since I was almost a week past due, surely once the contractions started they would only progress and not start. 

Well we were wrong. My mom, grandma, and mother-in-law all got here by 5PM on Friday, and by that evening at dinner the contractions ceased to exist. So now I just felt pressure that I had to go into labor that weekend while they were there and off work! 

Trying every natural labor inducing remedy in the book...

So on Saturday, I decided it was time to do some natural remedies to induce labor. I had started a week or so ago taking Prim Rose Oil Capsules orally, and drinking raspberry tea. (the capsules were supposed to prepare and soften the cervix, and the tea helps to tone the uterus. All having positive reviews from others when I read about it online). I started the morning with pumping, because that is supposed to release oxitocin (the body's natural form of pitocin), which could start up contractions. (that's why when I was in labor with Z the nurse suggested nipple stimulation, for the same reason). I started pumping and immediately stuff, aka colostrum started dripping out. I decided "NOPE, don't want to do that! My baby will need that stuff!" haha so I put the pump away. 

I was up earlier than normal on this day since family was in, and I got a phone call from our friend and mentor Shelli Presley. She let me know she had been praying for me, and had the feeling that we should go out to some friend's land outside of town and climb the mountain. (This is a West Texas, Abilene "mountain" but challenging still). She said this is what she did when she was 8 days past due with her last son, and she went into labor the next day. I was all for it! Plus it's gorgeous out there, and being out doors sounded glorious to me! She also shared with me this verse: 

Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.       -Psalm 3:4

So we waited around to get permission to go out on the land, and about 11:00AM that day we got to. It was beautiful, the weather was great at that time, and I loved getting to do that with our family. My mom, Meguell, and I hiked it, while my mother-in-law, grandmother and Zander drove to the top. 

We hiked together to the top, then Meguell and I went out alone and hiked around some more. It was a sweet time for us, and we prayed that Psalm scripture, plus more over us and Eliza. We also talked about how we have prayed for a supernatural birthing experience, so instead of desiring contractions to occur, I wanted to just pray for it to come quick and happen quickly and as painlessly as possible. 

I think I may have felt one contraction on our drive home, and nothing else. 

That afternoon I also ate nearly an entire pineapple (another way to induce labor), and I purchased some sugar free ice cream and made a vanilla and castor oil shake to drink that evening. 

So that night I did start having stomach pains, but those were linked to the castor oil cleaning me out, so I spent a lot of time on the toilet and just feeling ugh. I layed in bed around 10PM and went to sleep around 11:30PM or midnight, without feeling any more contractions

HERE'S WHERE IT GETS GOOD! 

Then, at 2AM I woke up to go poop again....(that dang castor oil)! My stomach was cramping and I was going. Then in the midst of the cramping I would get sharp pains very low, and realized...hm, this might be a contraction. So I pulled out my app (called "Contraction Counter" I used it with Z too. It is so helpful to have!). I began to count the time that these low, sharp pains were occuring, and realized they were in sync, and about 2.5minutes apart. I then googled how far apart contractions should be for you to go to the hospital. (Yes I have done this before, but I forgot! lol) And it said lasting 30-45 seconds in length, and 2-2.5minutes apart. "OH, HEY, THAT'S EXACTLY WHERE I'M AT." 

Well, if you read my first birth story, you know I am a big proponent for laboring at home as long as possible, so in my head I still felt like I needed to make sure these were real. I was thinking..."Let me see if these last an hour being this consistent then I will wake up my husband." 

Throughout all of this, I was still on the toilet doing my thang, having 2.5 minute apart contractions. And each time I had the contraction I would have to stand up, hands on my knees, hovering over the toilet. I had only had about 6 of these when I felt a lot of pressure down low and they were super intense. I decided I needed to wake up my husband. 

He got up and I started to have another contraction. I ran back to the bathroom. I just felt like I needed to be near the toilet because I felt like something was going to come out. 

I think at this point, when I woke him up, I felt myself relax some. Like I didn't have to be as tough anymore because he was with me, so it was like all of a sudden they got more intense. Meguell was getting our bags ready, waking our moms, and calling our friends to come watch Zander. 

I was in the bathroom having this thought.... "OMG I think this is real!" I felt pressure down low...like the baby coming kind of pressure! And you know I have always read stories about people having their babies at home or in the car and I think...that would be so cool. But at this time I thought, "OMG I do not want to be one of those people who accidentally has their baby in the bathroom!" 

Still not knowing if I was over reacting or not, I go out and tell Meguell we gotta go now! Our mom's need to get our bags and wait for friends. We stopped on our porch for a contraction as Meguell called the hospital to let them know we were coming. It was 2:37AM.

SPEEDING with no signs of cops! Thank you Jesus!

Meguell sped all the way to the hospital! I mean fast! going about 60-70 mph on a 40 mph road. Thankfully there were no cops. I guess Meguell realized it was pretty important to get us there quickly too. Although in the back of my head I still didn't know how close we were to having our baby. For all I knew it would be hours before she came. 

We went to the main entrance of the baby part of the hospital. It was connected to a parking garage. He dropped me at the door, and parked only about 25 yards away. 

I tried getting in the twirling doors...LOCKED!

I tried getting in a side door....LOCKED! 

When Meguell ran up I was bent over mid-contraction saying... "I can't get in! They are all locked!!" He tried one other door a little further away...LOCKED! (We still don't understand why)

Thankfully, (and when I say thankfully, I say it with the deepest thanks to God!) there was a random wheelchair in the parking garage. Meguell ran and got it, I sat down, and he ran me about a quarter of a mile around the building to another main entrance. 

I'm squeeling as we come in and the security guard runs to the elevator to help us get on quickly and I think he wished us luck. 

Oh Hey...I'm the one that forgot to pre-register!....#sorry

We get to the labor and delivery floor, they let us in, and we went straight in to triage. Where I was informed I didn't pre-register. Between my back-to-back contractions I managed to answer some questions about myself, strip down my clothes and into a hospital gown, and have about 3 contractions. (Meguell ran to the restroom) On #3 I asked if I could go to the bathroom. Still feeling like something might come out! I go try to get in...LOCKED! (What the heck was up with all the doors being locked tonight!?!?) The nurse ran around to let me in. It was during this contraction that it got real! I semi-yelled out! 

"Um...I think yall need to check me! I seriously feel like this baby is about to come out!"

So I go back in the room, and really things are a blur because my eyes are shut and I'm just making it through! 

They check me...I'm at a 9! 

Now the Nurses get serious!

They then decide it's GO-TIME! And rush me around to a labor and delivery room! Things happened fast here!

SIDENOTE: --At some point during this time, about 5-10minutes after we got to the hospital our mom's arrive. They come to our room to try to get in but the nurse won't let them. (They have no idea how quickly things are progressing). They take our stuff to a waiting room and when my MIL walks back to our door (going to try to get in again), she hears Eliza crying. She runs back to my mom and informs her that I've had the baby! They were both shocked at how quickly it happened!--

So many people were in the room, all I remember is them putting monitors on me, and the heart monitor was right where my contraction was happening and it hurt! I was asking them not to put it there but the nurse said they had to. So during the contraction I just lifted it off my belly. That lasted like one time. 

The very next contraction I began telling them I needed to push. Of course they said..."NOT YET!" (there was no doctor yet)

But that didn't stop me. I informed them that I didn't have a choice SOMETHING WAS COMING OUT NOW! And I wasn't lying! I thought it was the baby, but it was actually my water sack. I guess at this point the doctor came in. He popped the water sack, officially breaking my water. 

The next contraction I was pushing this baby out! I pushed hard, thinking to myself just push through these next pains and it will be over soon, and the baby will be here soon! 

I was right! I pushed one big time and the doctor said..."Okay, stop pushing and just lift your knees up." Not sure how this happened, some of my effort, and some of my husband and a nurses help, but my knees lifted and the baby slipped out. She was here! They didn't even have time to put my feet in stirrups or give me an IV. (Not complaining about the IV. I hate them!). But the baby just layed at the end of the bed! 

And actually when she was born, the sack was still around her head. So my husband said, at first she didn't even have to breathe because her head was still covered. They quickly got it off though and she started crying.

She layed there at the end of the bed for about 10 minutes while they cleaned her off. The doctor, (not my doctor FYI, just a random on-call doctor) left her attached to the umbilical cord for an extended period of time, which I appreciated. He then came over and delivered the placenta, and cut the cord. It was weird though, he didn't even offer to let my husband cut the cord. 

Finally I was handed my sweet baby girl for us to do skin-to-skin. 

I did tear some, but only enough to get 2 stitches. Which knowing that she was a 9lb 9oz baby, was not a big deal at all to me! We got to enjoy skin-to-skin together for a full hour, and then daddy got some skin-to-skin time with her for about 30 minutes. 

While doing skin-to-skin the nurse informed us that we had been in the delivery room for a mere 6 minutes before she was born at 3:04AM. Remember I woke up only at 2AM. This went so quickly. 

I layed in bed thanking the Lord! 

First I was thankful that this was over and not a long process. I was so thankful to be holding my baby versus still feeling that pain for an extended period of time. 

Then I thanked him for getting us to the hospital. If I would've waited only a few more minutes to wake my husband, or if he wouldn't have driven as fast, or if that wheel chair wouldn't have been there. All of these things played in my mind as I realized how blessed I was to have made it on time! 

Other fun things...

It was definitely a fun-filled experience, and I'm not really sure which method of natural inducement worked since I seem to have tried them all. 

Also, as we left the labor and delivery and transported to mother care that night, about 4 nurses sat at the nurse's station and cheered me on as I rolled by! Saying how great I did and how I was a rockstar. 

Each nurse that we came into contact with over the next two days talked in amazement about our birth story. They would come in already hearing about how it went down and comment on how quick it was. 

The next day our doctor came by to see us. I am sad it wasn't him that delivered her just because he is such a great doctor. But even him coming by and chatting with us was nice. And of course, he took time to pray with us and to read a blessing over Eliza, which is just so special to me! 

Another really funny thing, was on Friday when we thought I might go into labor my mom and mother-in-law ordered me a wreath for the hospital door. Well when they realized we wouldn't be making it to the hospital that day they called to see if the wreath had been delivered. The nurse said yes, but seemed confused at why they would send a wreath if I wasn't there yet. My mother-in-law explained my status, how I was overdue and contracting. And the random nurse on the phone said... "Oh, Brittany Suell, that's the Yoga Girl right?!?? Oh yeah, she will do fine." I thought that was so funny to be known as the "Yoga Girl!" But I love it! 

Zander meets Eliza

Later that day we brought Zander to the hospital to meet his baby sister! It was such a sweet time for our family, and we were able to have a photographer there to capture all of the sweet moments for Big Brother & Little Sister, and our new family of 4! 

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And here are some of Eliza's sweet newborn photos! 

Eliza Brooke Suell

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!     -Luke 1:45

Photos taken by Copper & Pearl

My Baby Turns One! Celebrating, Reminiscing, and Sharing My Birth Story!

Wow, I cannot believe it.  A year ago I was in labor with this sweet baby, yet to have met him, and now he is a part of my life so intently, I couldn't imagine life without him.  Zander Ki Suell has brought us so much joy, laughter, and life over the past year, and I know he will continue to do so. 

This sweet boy is bold, confident, adventurous. He is kind, vulnerable, cuddly, and loving. He loves others so much. He is a constant overflow of joy. 

I pray, that as his name's meaning is: Defender of Men, that he will be just that. I am constantly speaking over him that he will be a warrior. That he will stand in the victory of winning, (because Jesus has already won for us). That he be a peacemaker, and a bringer of justice. That he will stand up for the weak and fight for the oppressed. I know that he will do all these things as well as love people well, and constantly show them grace! 

So today, as I celebrate the sweet life that the Lord gave to us a year ago, I thought I would let y'all reminisce with me, and share my birth story with you! It's long, but it was one of the sweetest experiences that I have ever had!

My son is turning 1! Today I'm Celebrating, Reminiscing, and Sharing my Birth Story with you!


 My Dream Birthing Experience

Posted: April 23, 2014

Still I sit here asking myself..."Is this real life!?!?"

Today I found myself talking to my baby boy out loud, telling him just how much mommy loves him.  Then I looked up at the mirror and saw myself, staring back, and in disbelief thought, "I can't believe I AM MOMMY!" But this is real life, and I have to say, it is a wonderful, glorious life! I have fallen in love with this tiny, precious soul, and I have fallen in love with motherhood!

So without any more hesitation, allow me to introduce:

blog announcement

So today, exactly 1 week since my tiny one was born, I will do my best to write my thoughts out, with some facts included on how my BIRTH STORY went.

 DUE DATE: 

My official due date was Monday, April 14, 2014.  That Monday at my doctor's appointment, I was dilated to a 3, and I was 50% effaced.  My doctor asked me if I wanted to schedule to be induced the next day.  I told him no, I wanted to wait.  He was okay with that as long as I had Zander by the following Monday, (April 19th).  If not, then he wanted to induce on that day.  I had all of my friends praying that I would go into labor that week.  Inducement was my last choice. I did not want to be induced.  For one, I wanted to experience the natural process of my body going into labor. Plus I feel like your baby will come when it's time for your body, and I didn't want to force him out.  (Just my personal opinion, no judgement to others that choose to or have to get induced.)

GOING INTO LABOR: 

So, a week ago, on Wednesday, April 16th I woke up at 2AM having my first ever contractions.  I got out of bed and went straight to the bathroom.  The contractions felt a lot like cramping, so I was testing my body first to see if I just had to go to the restroom or something.  The cramps kept coming frequently, so I knew they were contractions.  My husband had recently downloaded a "Contraction Counter" app on his phone, so I grabbed that and started keeping track.  Which side note: If you are pregnant, get an app...it was SO MUCH HELP! I kept track of my contractions all morning, so I knew where I was in the labor process.

Shortly after starting the contractions and seeing that they were lasting about 30 seconds, and only about a minute and a half a part, I decided to call my mom.  It was about 2:20AM.  I went back and forth on whether or not to call her yet.  She lives 5 and a half hours away, and had recently warned me..."Give me enough time to get to you, I don't want to miss the birth of my 6th grandchild!" So I didn't want to hesitate too long, but also I didn't want it to be a false alarm and her come all the way here, since she would only get 1 week off work no matter what.  So after seeing how consistent my contractions were I decided that this baby was coming TODAY! So I called her.  She got right up and headed to get my grandmother.  They were quickly on the road by about 3AM if not sooner.

Over the next several hours I went from the hot bath, to the toilet, to my nursery rocking chair, to walking the pain off around the house.  I really enjoyed the hot bath.  I took one almost immediately after waking up at 2AM.  I kept the water in the bathtub because I knew I would be back again. I think I took 5 baths that morning, just adding fresh hot water each time! That was a comforting place for me.

At about 4AM I tried to lay back in bed.  My husband woke up at that time and noticed his phone beside him and started looking at the app.  He quickly made himself aware of the situation and that I was having frequent contractions and had been for a while.  He was awake now, and asking how I was doing.  He got up and made me some biscuits! I was starving!

My husband stayed up with me for a while, then later layed back down, but couldn't really fall asleep. Around 5:30AM we called his mom to let her know the situation.  Then I noticed my sister was on Facebook so I told her I had been having contractions all morning.  She was shocked, and annoyed that I hadn't called her at 2AM! Over the next hour or so we skyped with her.  My husband would hold the phone and we would all talk.  All the while I was still having contractions every minute and a half a part.  So when a contraction came I would get up and walk around the room, or out of the room if it was a really hard one.

Although in pain, I really enjoyed being able to go through this labor at home.  That was my plan and desire.  I wanted to stay home laboring as long as possible.  I figured I would enjoy the freedom of my home or the freedom to get in the bathtub if I wanted while I was in pain.  I wanted to put off getting hooked up to machines and IV's as long as possible.   So a little before 8AM I decided I was tired of sitting and standing.  I would sit between contractions, but felt the need to walk it out when a contraction came.   I decided I would try laying in bed.  This worked great.  I would literally snooze for 1-2 minutes between contractions, then wake up, press start on the phone, and breath through the contractions.  At this time they had become more like 45-50 second contractions.

At about 8AM my mom and grandma arrived.  They came in and were so excited to see me.  I got back out of bed and ate two more biscuits.  At some point around this time I told my husband to go ahead and load the hospital bag in the car and get the carseat buckled in.  I then laid back down, and my husband planned to call the doctor's office and just let them know what was going on.

Mid-Contraction as I head to the car

We got in touch with the doctor at about 10AM, and the nurse practitioner wanted to speak to me.  I told her how frequent and how long my contractions were, (the app helped with this).  Then she asked if I was still feeling the baby move a lot.  This is a question that the doctor's ask at every visit, it is really important that you are always feeling your baby move.  When she asked this I remember earlier in the morning thinking I hadn't really felt him move much.  So I automatically thought back to that and told her not as much.  She then suggested we go on and head to the hospital.

So I got out of bed, and we began preparing to go to the hospital.  I was in no rush though.  Between contractions I took time to get some last minute things together, brush my teeth, braid my hair, etc.  We finally left, and made it to the hospital by 11AM.

Headed to the hospital

AT THE HOSPITAL: 

At 11AM we got to the Birthing Place at the hospital. When we walked up the registration desk and told the lady we were there to check in.  Her response was, "What for?" My husband looked at me and then answered, "To have a baby...." We both kind of laughed at how awkward this was.  Really though it was sad because she went on to ask if we had an appointment for inducement.  I said no and explained that I thought I was in labor and my doctor told us to head on up.  It was sad that inducing has become so primary that it was weird for her to have me coming because I felt like I had naturally gone into labor.

Anyways, she took us back to a room where a nurse began asking me questions and was prepping to check me to see what I was dilated to. One of her first questions to ask was if I was going to have an epidural.  When I responded no, she went on, like most nurses and doctors to encourage it and let me know I could always get it if I needed it.  I politely listened to what she had to say, but disregarded it.

When it was time to check me, she revealed that I was dilated to 6 CENTIMETERS AND 100% EFFACED. She let me know that we were STAYING TO HAVE THIS BABY TODAY! The next thing she said was so encouraging.  Unlike her former comments, she said, "You could definitely do this without an epidural if you want to because you have already done half the work!" I was very excited to hear her encouragement!

CHECKING IN TO THE HOSPITAL: 

Officially checking in to the hospital consisted of IV's, getting hooked to several monitors, getting asked tons of questions, and then making myself comfortable in our room.  The room was a great size, so after doing everything with the nurse I sent my husband down to go get my stuff from the car.  As I mentioned in my "What's in My Hospital Bag" Video I brought several things to set a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere/aroma in my room.   So I got my husband right on that.  He set up our dock and iPod, playing my "Labor" playlist filled with peaceful worship music.  Then he pulled out my mason jar filled with baking soda and put in 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil.  This jar was to act as a natural diffuser that would dispense scents of lavender throughout the day.  I was so impressed by how well this worked.  At various times throughout the day I would get a scent of lavender and it would bring on a peaceful and calming attitude for me.

At 12:25PM my doctor came by to see us.  He was excited to know that we would be having this baby soon! He took a moment to pray over us, which he does at each doctor's appointment.  We love this about him and is one of the reasons why we chose him as our doctor.  We all gathered around and held hands and prayed over our sweet little one!

 LABORING AT THE HOSPITAL: 

Soon after we got settled in I was given my 2nd nurse of the day. This was unusual because it was not an official shift change, but it was fine.   The new nurse was very nice and encouraging.  She constantly throughout the day bragged about how well I was doing.  She said this was the ideal labor. I was doing rather well.  Although my contractions were still painful and very consistent, I was still able to function and interact with my family.  I was also on my phone texting my friends updates about our status.  I even had two work friends drop by to see me.  (My work is right across the street from the hospital). I would be interacting with everyone, then when I had a contraction I would get very quiet and breath through it. My nurse told me that I was doing great, and that most people dilated to a 6 were climbing the walls at this point.

Laboring on the birthing ball

WATER BREAKING: 

At 1:18PM my doctor came by again and suggested going ahead and breaking my water.  This wasn't necessarily in my plan, but I had recently read how most women who go into natural labor may not actually have their water break naturally.  It was not that big of a deal to me, so we decided to move forward with it.

Having my water broken was not painful at all.  Actually I don't remember feeling anything except for warm goo coming out of me.  And let me just say I was grossed out! I kept commenting on how disgusting this was and felt! My family just laughed at me, probably thinking of how much more disgusting things that were in store for my day.

As soon as they broke my water we called my mother-in-law.  She had decided earlier in the morning to go to a half day of work.  When she heard my water broke she jumped right into the car and started her 5 and a half hour journey to come to us.

My contractions were still the same, staying consistent, lasting over a minute long at this time, but still manageable and bearable for me.  I got tired of laying in bed though, so I spent time laying, standing, on the birthing ball, and even walked around the halls some with my husband.

After breaking my water, they checked me and I was still dilated to a 6, and the baby was at a -1 gestation.

It was at this time that my nurse said one of the most wonderful things I have ever been told.  She told my family, "I think she is made for having babies!" This made my day! I have had such a desire to become and mom, and really feel like this is what I am made for, so for a complete stranger to say this meant a lot to me!

DILATED TO AN 8:

 4:32PM They checked me and I was dilated to an 8, and the baby had dropped some more.

5:33PM Nothing much had changed, still just waiting on Zander to come.

7:10PM My contractions started to pick up here.  I started feeling them more, but I was still able to interact with my family between the contractions.  The plan for later in the day when I started really laboring and getting close to pushing was for my husband to stay with me and coach me and for my mom to be my "2nd" person in the room, and she would be taking photos.  I wanted pictures of my husband and I laboring together, and of when Zander first came out.

It was around this time that my mother-in-law arrived after getting a ticket as she frantically tried to get to us as quick as possible.  She explained to the officer that she was headed to see her very first grandchild be born, but he didn't care too much since she was driving 75mph in a 60 speed limit.

My husband stood by my bed as my pain increased and our family sat in the sitting area of my room.  They were great to have in the room.  They didn't interrupt or anything.  When I was in pain they sat quietly, and let my husband and I go through it all together. My mom described our room and how I was doing as being "Painful, but Peaceful."

It was about this time that my nurse started prepping the room for the doctor because she anticipated the time was getting closer.

Nurse prepping the room

NIPPLE STIMULATION: (yes you heard right)

7:18PM At this time I was progressing well.  It was about time for a shift change, so my former nurse introduced me to my new nurse.  I liked her immediately.  She seemed to really know what she was doing and was very informative.

Her first task as my nurse was to point out that if we wanted to have this baby that I had to make my way from being dilated at an 8 to a 10.  The only problem was, is that although my contractions were longer now, they weren't quite close enough together to really get me to dilate to a 10.  She suggested that we move to using Pitocin, (this was not my first choice AT ALL!), or her more natural suggestion was nipple stimulation.  We chose the second.

So our family cleared the room and our nurse explained the process.  Yes there was an actual process to follow when doing this.  So we began this method, and it actually worked.  I began really contracting at this point, more frequently, and I would say at this point is when the pain began to increase.  Basically the way it works, is that nipple stimulation releases oxytocin in your body, which is the natural form of Pitocin, which causes your uterus to contract! So it was working well.

After a while, they did end up giving me a tiny bit of Pitocin, but it was not much at all.  Usually they give it to people at a 20+, I got it at a 2, and they never increased it.

NURSE #4: 

When my pain really began increasing, Nurse #3 suggested that I lie down to labor through the pain.

My nurse wasn't there long, when they introduce me to Nurse #4! Yes this is my fourth nurse since arriving at 11AM.  At this time, my contractions are really picking up, but I am lying on my side, breathing through them.  My husband is right there beside me encouraging me along.  As soon as Nurse #4 comes in she suggests that I try sitting up in the bed.  This is not something I want to do, since from early in the morning at home I knew that I didn't enjoy laboring while sitting.  I would rather stand or lie down.  She said that this would help baby move lower into the birthing canal though.  So I thought if it will get me closer to having this baby then I will do it.

I was on my way towards sitting in the bed when I got my next contraction.  So far this was the hardest contraction I had felt.  I was mid way sitting, in a lot of pain, and I just started crying.  Not a ton, but the tears wouldn't stop.  The nurse apologized and said I could lie down if I wanted.  I explained that I really was okay, and wanted to try sitting.  I think all the change of nurses and telling me things to try hadn't gotten to me, plus the pain, and not being prepared in a sitting position.  This was the first time I got emotional during the process.

From here we tried different methods, I even sat up on all fours for several contractions.  The pain was getting very intense at this time.

Nurse #4 was very nice, but she seemed to talk  A LOT! And as I mentioned before, when I was contracting and in pain I didn't want people talking to me. She would be explaining something (which she did a lot), and I would start contracting and instead of stopping talking, she would keep going.  I don't know if she expected for me to listen of what.  My husband several times asked her mid-sentence to "Give us a second..." I don't know if she ever got the cue.

At one point I had gone to the bathroom with my mom and I told her...."OMG, this nurse talks so much.  I know she is doing her job, and she's nice, but I wish she would shut up!"

KICKING & SCREAMING: 

8:07PM My doctor comes in and decides to check me again.  He says I'm getting close, and we may be getting ready to push.

8:18PM More contractions are happening and I am starting to feel lots of pressure and pain.

I get to a point where the contractions are every minute and a half a part.  From the time when I sat up, when Nurse #4 came, (a little after 7PM), to 9PM the contractions got really hard.  I was definitely kicking and screaming! I had gotten to a 9, and then dilated to a 10.  I was so close, but come to find out the first nurse that told me I was 100% effaced was wrong.  I was 90%, and that last 10 seemed to be VERY important.

My nurse would leave for 15 minute increments and tell me she would come back and check again.  There was one time she was checking me, when she wanted to check my cervix during a contraction.  My doctor had done this earlier and although painful and hard, it went fine.  So now the nurse was going to do it.  Well when she did it, it was awful.  Apparently I even reached down and yanked her hands out of me! (whoops, sorry!)

Big Sis said this was her favorite part.  Oh, did I mention that my sister who lives in Florida was on Skype on my mom's iPad the entire time.  She was muted and just watched, which may be weird to some, but actually the doctor never asked my family to leave, so my mom, mother-in-law, grandmother, and sister (via Skype) all watched my entire birth.  I was okay with it because they were so quiet and never interfered I didn't even pay attention to the fact that they were there!

TIME TO PUSH: 

After pulling the nurses hand out of me, I believe it was about 8:45PM she told me she would come back in at 9PM to check if the 10% was gone.  At this point I was in so much pain! I was screaming, crying some, kicking, flailing! It was so hard! My husband was incredible.  He braced himself across the bed and I pushed on his arm.  He prepped me for each contraction.  This 15 minutes seemed to go by so slow.  He kept saying, just one more contraction and the nurse will come.  I knew I had several more before it became 9PM, but I listened to him and tried to believe it was only one more.

It was at this point that my body was telling me to push! It was so hard because the nurse said I couldn't yet, but my body had such a need to push! It was getting so hard.

Finally she checked me again and said still I was only 90% effaced.  I was going to have to wait longer!! This was terrible news for me, but then my doctor came in the room.  I was so glad to see him.  I just knew he would allow me to have this baby.  He checked and did some stuff inside me to manually help my cervix thin, and it was time to push!

HERE COMES BABY:

My nurse and Meguell (my husband) held each of my feet and were telling me to push.  It was really hard to push the right way, without clenching.  Let's just be honest for a second.  One big fear of giving birth for a lot of women is that they will poop on themselves.  YUCK right.....well now I understand why it is so easy to happen.  Naturally I was clenching my butt when pushing, and they told me not to.  Really I had to push as if I was going to the restroom! It was the weirdest thing, but I was willing to do anything to get closer to being done with this pain!

I pushed and pushed.  Then after one push, my husband's voice when encouraging me changed! He was so excited, telling me, "Oh my goodness you are so close! You can do this! Just push!" I knew he had seen the baby! I even laughed out loud and said, "You saw him didn't you!?!?" He told me he saw hair and movement!

This was so sweet to me because my husband has a week stomach and when we have talked about birthing before he said he didn't know if he could handle looking and would get grossed out just talking about it.  I loved hearing his excitement though.

I think it was only a couple more pushes and I was done! My baby was here after pushing for 20 minutes! My doctor and the nurses were also amazed at this! Saying that for my first birth this went so well and easily!

After pushing Zander out I literally laid there with my eyes clothes for a moment.  I knew when I opened my eyes I would see my baby, but I had to sit and breath for a second.  I had to take a moment to soak in the fact that that was the worst, most terrible pain I had ever experienced!

SEEING MY BABY BOY!

Then I opened my eyes and saw my boy! I could not believe reality!

I literally laid there as the doctor wiped him off saying aloud..."OMG is this real life?!?" "Babe, that is our baby!" "O My word I can't believe this is real!" "I am a mom!" Over and over I said these things, in disbelief that this moment was actually happening.

Then my husband got to cut the umbilical cord.  Another thing that he always said he could not do! It was such a sweet moment.  Meguell said the only time he got a little nauseous was when Zander came out.  He said he thinks the hype of the emotions and then the way Zander was purple, hahaha, but Meguell did great! I was so thankful of him! I loved getting to experience this with him, and he was seriously such a good coach! I wouldn't have wanted any other help!

SKIN-TO-SKIN:

Then it was time for them to hand me my baby.  We got to do skin-to-skin for close to 2 hours! It was great! Having my sweet boy up against me, and my husband right there with me as we just admired how sweet he was.  Zander was so alert from the moment they put him on me.  His eyes were open wide and he was looking all around.  And he already had his hand up by his mouth, looking like he was trying to find his thumb to suck on.  He started breastfeeding soon after. It was such a sweet time for our family!

Family of Three

Since this was such a long post, I will leave not describe to you all my feelings of being a mother! I'm sure I will share those in the future.  For now just enjoy the sweetness of my baby boy! These photos were taken the day after birth by my friend that came to visit us at the hospital!

zander b&w

Zander color

Our Little Family

 

My Dream Birthing Experience

Still I sit here asking myself..."Is this real life!?!?" Today I found myself talking to my baby boy out loud, telling him just how much mommy loves him.  Then I looked up at the mirror and saw myself, staring back, and in disbelief thought, "I can't believe I AM MOMMY!" But this is real life, and I have to say, it is a wonderful, glorious life! I have fallen in love with this tiny, precious soul, and I have fallen in love with motherhood!

So without any more hesitation, allow me to introduce:

blog announcement

So today, exactly 1 week since my tiny one was born, I will do my best to write my thoughts out, with some facts included on how my BIRTH STORY went.

 DUE DATE: 

My official due date was Monday, April 14, 2014.  That Monday at my doctor's appointment, I was dilated to a 3, and I was 50% effaced.  My doctor asked me if I wanted to schedule to be induced the next day.  I told him no, I wanted to wait.  He was okay with that as long as I had Zander by the following Monday, (April 19th).  If not, then he wanted to induce on that day.  I had all of my friends praying that I would go into labor that week.  Inducement was my last choice. I did not want to be induced.  For one, I wanted to experience the natural process of my body going into labor. Plus I feel like your baby will come when it's time for your body, and I didn't want to force him out.  (Just my personal opinion, no judgement to others that choose to or have to get induced.)

GOING INTO LABOR: 

So, a week ago, on Wednesday, April 16th I woke up at 2AM having my first ever contractions.  I got out of bed and went straight to the bathroom.  The contractions felt a lot like cramping, so I was testing my body first to see if I just had to go to the restroom or something.  The cramps kept coming frequently, so I knew they were contractions.  My husband had recently downloaded a "Contraction Counter" app on his phone, so I grabbed that and started keeping track.  Which side note: If you are pregnant, get an app...it was SO MUCH HELP! I kept track of my contractions all morning, so I knew where I was in the labor process.

Shortly after starting the contractions and seeing that they were lasting about 30 seconds, and only about a minute and a half a part, I decided to call my mom.  It was about 2:20AM.  I went back and forth on whether or not to call her yet.  She lives 5 and a half hours away, and had recently warned me..."Give me enough time to get to you, I don't want to miss the birth of my 6th grandchild!" So I didn't want to hesitate too long, but also I didn't want it to be a false alarm and her come all the way here, since she would only get 1 week off work no matter what.  So after seeing how consistent my contractions were I decided that this baby was coming TODAY! So I called her.  She got right up and headed to get my grandmother.  They were quickly on the road by about 3AM if not sooner.

Over the next several hours I went from the hot bath, to the toilet, to my nursery rocking chair, to walking the pain off around the house.  I really enjoyed the hot bath.  I took one almost immediately after waking up at 2AM.  I kept the water in the bathtub because I knew I would be back again. I think I took 5 baths that morning, just adding fresh hot water each time! That was a comforting place for me.

At about 4AM I tried to lay back in bed.  My husband woke up at that time and noticed his phone beside him and started looking at the app.  He quickly made himself aware of the situation and that I was having frequent contractions and had been for a while.  He was awake now, and asking how I was doing.  He got up and made me some biscuits! I was starving!

My husband stayed up with me for a while, then later layed back down, but couldn't really fall asleep. Around 5:30AM we called his mom to let her know the situation.  Then I noticed my sister was on Facebook so I told her I had been having contractions all morning.  She was shocked, and annoyed that I hadn't called her at 2AM! Over the next hour or so we skyped with her.  My husband would hold the phone and we would all talk.  All the while I was still having contractions every minute and a half a part.  So when a contraction came I would get up and walk around the room, or out of the room if it was a really hard one.

Although in pain, I really enjoyed being able to go through this labor at home.  That was my plan and desire.  I wanted to stay home laboring as long as possible.  I figured I would enjoy the freedom of my home or the freedom to get in the bathtub if I wanted while I was in pain.  I wanted to put off getting hooked up to machines and IV's as long as possible.   So a little before 8AM I decided I was tired of sitting and standing.  I would sit between contractions, but felt the need to walk it out when a contraction came.   I decided I would try laying in bed.  This worked great.  I would literally snooze for 1-2 minutes between contractions, then wake up, press start on the phone, and breath through the contractions.  At this time they had become more like 45-50 second contractions.

At about 8AM my mom and grandma arrived.  They came in and were so excited to see me.  I got back out of bed and ate two more biscuits.  At some point around this time I told my husband to go ahead and load the hospital bag in the car and get the carseat buckled in.  I then laid back down, and my husband planned to call the doctor's office and just let them know what was going on.

Mid-Contraction as I head to the car

We got in touch with the doctor at about 10AM, and the nurse practitioner wanted to speak to me.  I told her how frequent and how long my contractions were, (the app helped with this).  Then she asked if I was still feeling the baby move a lot.  This is a question that the doctor's ask at every visit, it is really important that you are always feeling your baby move.  When she asked this I remember earlier in the morning thinking I hadn't really felt him move much.  So I automatically thought back to that and told her not as much.  She then suggested we go on and head to the hospital.

So I got out of bed, and we began preparing to go to the hospital.  I was in no rush though.  Between contractions I took time to get some last minute things together, brush my teeth, braid my hair, etc.  We finally left, and made it to the hospital by 11AM.

Headed to the hospital

AT THE HOSPITAL: 

At 11AM we got to the Birthing Place at the hospital. When we walked up the registration desk and told the lady we were there to check in.  Her response was, "What for?" My husband looked at me and then answered, "To have a baby...." We both kind of laughed at how awkward this was.  Really though it was sad because she went on to ask if we had an appointment for inducement.  I said no and explained that I thought I was in labor and my doctor told us to head on up.  It was sad that inducing has become so primary that it was weird for her to have me coming because I felt like I had naturally gone into labor.

Anyways, she took us back to a room where a nurse began asking me questions and was prepping to check me to see what I was dilated to. One of her first questions to ask was if I was going to have an epidural.  When I responded no, she went on, like most nurses and doctors to encourage it and let me know I could always get it if I needed it.  I politely listened to what she had to say, but disregarded it.

When it was time to check me, she revealed that I was dilated to 6 CENTIMETERS AND 100% EFFACED. She let me know that we were STAYING TO HAVE THIS BABY TODAY! The next thing she said was so encouraging.  Unlike her former comments, she said, "You could definitely do this without an epidural if you want to because you have already done half the work!" I was very excited to hear her encouragement!

CHECKING IN TO THE HOSPITAL: 

Officially checking in to the hospital consisted of IV's, getting hooked to several monitors, getting asked tons of questions, and then making myself comfortable in our room.  The room was a great size, so after doing everything with the nurse I sent my husband down to go get my stuff from the car.  As I mentioned in my "What's in My Hospital Bag" Video I brought several things to set a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere/aroma in my room.   So I got my husband right on that.  He set up our dock and iPod, playing my "Labor" playlist filled with peaceful worship music.  Then he pulled out my mason jar filled with baking soda and put in 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil.  This jar was to act as a natural diffuser that would dispense scents of lavender throughout the day.  I was so impressed by how well this worked.  At various times throughout the day I would get a scent of lavender and it would bring on a peaceful and calming attitude for me.

At 12:25PM my doctor came by to see us.  He was excited to know that we would be having this baby soon! He took a moment to pray over us, which he does at each doctor's appointment.  We love this about him and is one of the reasons why we chose him as our doctor.  We all gathered around and held hands and prayed over our sweet little one!

 LABORING AT THE HOSPITAL: 

Soon after we got settled in I was given my 2nd nurse of the day. This was unusual because it was not an official shift change, but it was fine.   The new nurse was very nice and encouraging.  She constantly throughout the day bragged about how well I was doing.  She said this was the ideal labor. I was doing rather well.  Although my contractions were still painful and very consistent, I was still able to function and interact with my family.  I was also on my phone texting my friends updates about our status.  I even had two work friends drop by to see me.  (My work is right across the street from the hospital). I would be interacting with everyone, then when I had a contraction I would get very quiet and breath through it. My nurse told me that I was doing great, and that most people dilated to a 6 were climbing the walls at this point.

Laboring on the birthing ball

WATER BREAKING: 

At 1:18PM my doctor came by again and suggested going ahead and breaking my water.  This wasn't necessarily in my plan, but I had recently read how most women who go into natural labor may not actually have their water break naturally.  It was not that big of a deal to me, so we decided to move forward with it.

Having my water broken was not painful at all.  Actually I don't remember feeling anything except for warm goo coming out of me.  And let me just say I was grossed out! I kept commenting on how disgusting this was and felt! My family just laughed at me, probably thinking of how much more disgusting things that were in store for my day.

As soon as they broke my water we called my mother-in-law.  She had decided earlier in the morning to go to a half day of work.  When she heard my water broke she jumped right into the car and started her 5 and a half hour journey to come to us.

My contractions were still the same, staying consistent, lasting over a minute long at this time, but still manageable and bearable for me.  I got tired of laying in bed though, so I spent time laying, standing, on the birthing ball, and even walked around the halls some with my husband.

After breaking my water, they checked me and I was still dilated to a 6, and the baby was at a -1 gestation.

It was at this time that my nurse said one of the most wonderful things I have ever been told.  She told my family, "I think she is made for having babies!" This made my day! I have had such a desire to become and mom, and really feel like this is what I am made for, so for a complete stranger to say this meant a lot to me!

DILATED TO AN 8:

 4:32PM They checked me and I was dilated to an 8, and the baby had dropped some more.

5:33PM Nothing much had changed, still just waiting on Zander to come.

7:10PM My contractions started to pick up here.  I started feeling them more, but I was still able to interact with my family between the contractions.  The plan for later in the day when I started really laboring and getting close to pushing was for my husband to stay with me and coach me and for my mom to be my "2nd" person in the room, and she would be taking photos.  I wanted pictures of my husband and I laboring together, and of when Zander first came out.

It was around this time that my mother-in-law arrived after getting a ticket as she frantically tried to get to us as quick as possible.  She explained to the officer that she was headed to see her very first grandchild be born, but he didn't care too much since she was driving 75mph in a 60 speed limit.

My husband stood by my bed as my pain increased and our family sat in the sitting area of my room.  They were great to have in the room.  They didn't interrupt or anything.  When I was in pain they sat quietly, and let my husband and I go through it all together. My mom described our room and how I was doing as being "Painful, but Peaceful."

It was about this time that my nurse started prepping the room for the doctor because she anticipated the time was getting closer.

Nurse prepping the room

NIPPLE STIMULATION: (yes you heard right)

7:18PM At this time I was progressing well.  It was about time for a shift change, so my former nurse introduced me to my new nurse.  I liked her immediately.  She seemed to really know what she was doing and was very informative.

Her first task as my nurse was to point out that if we wanted to have this baby that I had to make my way from being dilated at an 8 to a 10.  The only problem was, is that although my contractions were longer now, they weren't quite close enough together to really get me to dilate to a 10.  She suggested that we move to using Pitocin, (this was not my first choice AT ALL!), or her more natural suggestion was nipple stimulation.  We chose the second.

So our family cleared the room and our nurse explained the process.  Yes there was an actual process to follow when doing this.  So we began this method, and it actually worked.  I began really contracting at this point, more frequently, and I would say at this point is when the pain began to increase.  Basically the way it works, is that nipple stimulation releases oxytocin in your body, which is the natural form of Pitocin, which causes your uterus to contract! So it was working well.

After a while, they did end up giving me a tiny bit of Pitocin, but it was not much at all.  Usually they give it to people at a 20+, I got it at a 2, and they never increased it.

NURSE #4: 

When my pain really began increasing, Nurse #3 suggested that I lie down to labor through the pain.

My nurse wasn't there long, when they introduce me to Nurse #4! Yes this is my fourth nurse since arriving at 11AM.  At this time, my contractions are really picking up, but I am lying on my side, breathing through them.  My husband is right there beside me encouraging me along.  As soon as Nurse #4 comes in she suggests that I try sitting up in the bed.  This is not something I want to do, since from early in the morning at home I knew that I didn't enjoy laboring while sitting.  I would rather stand or lie down.  She said that this would help baby move lower into the birthing canal though.  So I thought if it will get me closer to having this baby then I will do it.

I was on my way towards sitting in the bed when I got my next contraction.  So far this was the hardest contraction I had felt.  I was mid way sitting, in a lot of pain, and I just started crying.  Not a ton, but the tears wouldn't stop.  The nurse apologized and said I could lie down if I wanted.  I explained that I really was okay, and wanted to try sitting.  I think all the change of nurses and telling me things to try hadn't gotten to me, plus the pain, and not being prepared in a sitting position.  This was the first time I got emotional during the process.

From here we tried different methods, I even sat up on all fours for several contractions.  The pain was getting very intense at this time.

Nurse #4 was very nice, but she seemed to talk  A LOT! And as I mentioned before, when I was contracting and in pain I didn't want people talking to me. She would be explaining something (which she did a lot), and I would start contracting and instead of stopping talking, she would keep going.  I don't know if she expected for me to listen of what.  My husband several times asked her mid-sentence to "Give us a second..." I don't know if she ever got the cue.

At one point I had gone to the bathroom with my mom and I told her...."OMG, this nurse talks so much.  I know she is doing her job, and she's nice, but I wish she would shut up!"

KICKING & SCREAMING: 

8:07PM My doctor comes in and decides to check me again.  He says I'm getting close, and we may be getting ready to push.

8:18PM More contractions are happening and I am starting to feel lots of pressure and pain.

I get to a point where the contractions are every minute and a half a part.  From the time when I sat up, when Nurse #4 came, (a little after 7PM), to 9PM the contractions got really hard.  I was definitely kicking and screaming! I had gotten to a 9, and then dilated to a 10.  I was so close, but come to find out the first nurse that told me I was 100% effaced was wrong.  I was 90%, and that last 10 seemed to be VERY important.

My nurse would leave for 15 minute increments and tell me she would come back and check again.  There was one time she was checking me, when she wanted to check my cervix during a contraction.  My doctor had done this earlier and although painful and hard, it went fine.  So now the nurse was going to do it.  Well when she did it, it was awful.  Apparently I even reached down and yanked her hands out of me! (whoops, sorry!)

Big Sis said this was her favorite part.  Oh, did I mention that my sister who lives in Florida was on Skype on my mom's iPad the entire time.  She was muted and just watched, which may be weird to some, but actually the doctor never asked my family to leave, so my mom, mother-in-law, grandmother, and sister (via Skype) all watched my entire birth.  I was okay with it because they were so quiet and never interfered I didn't even pay attention to the fact that they were there!

TIME TO PUSH: 

After pulling the nurses hand out of me, I believe it was about 8:45PM she told me she would come back in at 9PM to check if the 10% was gone.  At this point I was in so much pain! I was screaming, crying some, kicking, flailing! It was so hard! My husband was incredible.  He braced himself across the bed and I pushed on his arm.  He prepped me for each contraction.  This 15 minutes seemed to go by so slow.  He kept saying, just one more contraction and the nurse will come.  I knew I had several more before it became 9PM, but I listened to him and tried to believe it was only one more.

It was at this point that my body was telling me to push! It was so hard because the nurse said I couldn't yet, but my body had such a need to push! It was getting so hard.

Finally she checked me again and said still I was only 90% effaced.  I was going to have to wait longer!! This was terrible news for me, but then my doctor came in the room.  I was so glad to see him.  I just knew he would allow me to have this baby.  He checked and did some stuff inside me to manually help my cervix thin, and it was time to push!

HERE COMES BABY:

My nurse and Meguell (my husband) held each of my feet and were telling me to push.  It was really hard to push the right way, without clenching.  Let's just be honest for a second.  One big fear of giving birth for a lot of women is that they will poop on themselves.  YUCK right.....well now I understand why it is so easy to happen.  Naturally I was clenching my butt when pushing, and they told me not to.  Really I had to push as if I was going to the restroom! It was the weirdest thing, but I was willing to do anything to get closer to being done with this pain!

I pushed and pushed.  Then after one push, my husband's voice when encouraging me changed! He was so excited, telling me, "Oh my goodness you are so close! You can do this! Just push!" I knew he had seen the baby! I even laughed out loud and said, "You saw him didn't you!?!?" He told me he saw hair and movement!

This was so sweet to me because my husband has a week stomach and when we have talked about birthing before he said he didn't know if he could handle looking and would get grossed out just talking about it.  I loved hearing his excitement though.

I think it was only a couple more pushes and I was done! My baby was here after pushing for 20 minutes! My doctor and the nurses were also amazed at this! Saying that for my first birth this went so well and easily!

After pushing Zander out I literally laid there with my eyes clothes for a moment.  I knew when I opened my eyes I would see my baby, but I had to sit and breath for a second.  I had to take a moment to soak in the fact that that was the worst, most terrible pain I had ever experienced!

SEEING MY BABY BOY!

Then I opened my eyes and saw my boy! I could not believe reality!

I literally laid there as the doctor wiped him off saying aloud..."OMG is this real life?!?" "Babe, that is our baby!" "O My word I can't believe this is real!" "I am a mom!" Over and over I said these things, in disbelief that this moment was actually happening.

Then my husband got to cut the umbilical cord.  Another thing that he always said he could not do! It was such a sweet moment.  Meguell said the only time he got a little nauseous was when Zander came out.  He said he thinks the hype of the emotions and then the way Zander was purple, hahaha, but Meguell did great! I was so thankful of him! I loved getting to experience this with him, and he was seriously such a good coach! I wouldn't have wanted any other help!

SKIN-TO-SKIN:

Then it was time for them to hand me my baby.  We got to do skin-to-skin for close to 2 hours! It was great! Having my sweet boy up against me, and my husband right there with me as we just admired how sweet he was.  Zander was so alert from the moment they put him on me.  His eyes were open wide and he was looking all around.  And he already had his hand up by his mouth, looking like he was trying to find his thumb to suck on.  He started breastfeeding soon after. It was such a sweet time for our family!

Family of Three

Since this was such a long post, I will leave not describe to you all my feelings of being a mother! I'm sure I will share those in the future.  For now just enjoy the sweetness of my baby boy! These photos were taken the day after birth by my friend that came to visit us at the hospital!

zander b&w

Zander color

Our Little Family