Birth Story of Eloise Grey

My birth story starts way before labor started with my 4th pregnancy. After having a c-section with Camp I knew that in order to fully feel like my body was working again it would require having another healthy pregnancy and birth. Lot’s of praying and stretching of my faith was done during my pregnancy and I really felt confident and equipped going into my VBAC. I was 40 weeks and 4 days when I started having some contractions that were stronger then what I’d been having, it didn’t slow me down but was comforting to be reminded I wouldn’t be pregnant forever! The next day was Sunday December 13, we started the day as normal after a good night of sleep and got ready to head to church. Our church is close to the birth center (both around 30-40 minutes from our house) so I packed my bag and we loaded the carseat just in case. I swayed through worship and tried to just distract my mind as much as possible, after church we grabbed some lunch and went to visit some friends, contractions were still coming but they were very sporadic and when I’d sit down they stopped. Early afternoon we got home for the kids to nap and Jeremy headed off to a gun show, I laid down for a little while but was awoken by a contraction that felt stronger then they’d been up to this point. I got up and again tried to just stay distracted but gave Jeremy a heads up that it may be getting closer. By the time he got home I was starting to turn inward and concentrating through contractions, since this isn’t the first time Jeremy’s seen me in labor he called our midwife and gave her the heads up that he knew me and this was real labor. We agreed to give it a little while and then head towards the birth center cause we didn’t want to wait too long. We took the kids to a friend house and headed towards the brith center, we arrived around there around 8. Donnellyn checked all my vitals and listened to baby then checked my cervix, I was 4cm dilated which I was encouraged by but discouraged at the same time cause I really wanted and felt like this was going to be a fast labor. We started to get settled into our room at the gorgeous birth center!

I walked around, bounced on the birth ball and tried to mentally get myself prepared while listening to worship music and preparing my heart for what was ahead. We applied oils and diffused them to keep things going steadily. Eloisebirth-24When I would lay down or stop moving contractions slowed down so I tried to keep moving without completely wearing myself out. At 12:30AM I was 5cm dilated and starting to feel discouraged by slow progress, we all agreed I should get in the bath and relax some so I didn’t argue! The bath felt AMAZING! There isn’t much in labor that feels better then sinking into a big bath of warm water and letting everything relax! But unfortunately being in the bath slowed labor down some and I wanted a baby more then I wanted to relax so I got up and begin walking again, I would just move around and then when a contraction hit I would lean against a wall or Jeremy and try to relax through it but that was getting harder and harder to do. Eloisebirth-12This is when things started to get foggy but I got in and out of the bath a couple times while in between doing some creative positioning to convince baby to apply her head to the cervix better so I’d dilate faster. This is a pattern I’ve had with all my labors, my babies hang out up high and have to really be convinced to come down and apply their heads to the cervix so that I dilate! Around 4am I asked to be checked again in hopes of more progress, I was 6cm but baby seemed to be positioned better so I asked to have my bag of waters broken, that happened right away and there was moderate meconium in the water (meaning baby had pooped in utero and can be an indication of fetal distress but isn’t always), baby had and continued to sound great through labor so we had no reason for concern at this point. Eloisebirth-75I got back in the tub and continued to labor there while occasionally getting out to use the restroom when needed. Contractions intensified and I could tell we were getting closer to meeting our baby girl.

Around 5:30am I mentioned feeling “pushy” and Donnellyn reminded me to work with my body and push when it felt right. By 5:40am I was pushing and baby girl was born at 5:49. I reached down and put her on my chest, it was an amazing feeling! Eloisebirth-116All the emotions in the world happened at the same time but the feeling of relief that my baby was out and that my body had birthed a baby vaginally after a c-section were stronger then I can explain! I cried, tears of joy, tears of relief but mostly tears of thankfulness that our daughter was here safely! We moved out of the pool and into the bed to deliver the placenta and Eloise immediately nursed like a champ. All of her vitals were great and I ate some food and drank juice while they prepared an herbal bath for us. Eloisebirth-239The herbal bath is a highlight of home/birth center births for me and is a precious bonding time with my baby. After we got out of the bath and got settled into bed to do the newborn exam and wait for my Dad to bring our big kids to meet their new sister. Eloisebirth-291Her newborn exam went perfect and the kids got lots of snuggles and got to dress her like they’d talked about doing for weeks! My Dad and Mom took the kids home and we started getting our stuff ready to head home, I could not wait! I loved the birth center but couldn’t wait to get home and snuggle my baby in our own bed!

Eloisebirth-309Eloise’s birth built my faith and reminded me of just how good our heavenly Father is. He cares about the details and knows the desires of my heart! The labor was hard and long but I have since resolved that its just how my body births babies, long! I don’t have fast births but I don’t have complications and have resolved that is just ok. I felt redeemed, like my body worked again and validated in my belief that a women body was made to birth babies. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my birth team, Donnellyn and her team are amazing and I can’t imagine having a baby without her there! Eloisebirth-70One of my dearest friends, Cindy, who is also a midwife and chiropractor has been at all my births and her adjustments keep my body functioning at its best and I love that we’ve celebrated birth together so many times. Eloisebirth-168I invited Morgan to come because she is one of my closest and dearest friends whose birthed 4 babies naturally but had never been anyone else birth. She is a rock and one of the strongest people I know and I knew I’d need that during labor.

Eloisebirth-261My Mom, well I just can’t imagine a labor without my Momma! She prays and gives me the look that says “I know this is her but you can do it” yet doesn’t say anything. She’s given birth every way possible and I draw so much comfort from her presence.

Eloisebirth-249Jeremy is my constant companion during labor, my rock who never leaves my side. He’s compassionate and loving yet reminds me how strong I am and to push through when I’m ready to give up. He knows what I want and is willing to fight for me to get that when I can’t fight anymore! Bringing our babies into this world is the most bonding experience we’ve had and he amazed me every time with his strength when I don’t have any left.

 

Eloise has been a joy to our family every moment since this day! Our first week didn’t go as we’d hoped or planned but thats another post which I’ll get to next!   Eloisebirth-311

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Birth Story of Campbell Jack

DipticSunday night February 17th I had a couple strong contractions that made me thing my body may be getting ready for Camp’s arrival. At that point I was 41 weeks and very ready to go whenever my body decided it was time! Monday February 18th, I had light contractions all day and lost what I assume was my mucous plug but it didn’t really affect our plans. We went and had lunch at some friends house, came home and had naps then once Jeremy got home (he left work early because his day wasn’t going too well) we all headed to the gym. I had been trying to walk everyday so I did my 2.5 miles on the treadmill while Jeremy worked out. After we finished, it was right around 6pm, I went to go to the restroom and Jeremy went to get the girls loaded up. After I went to the bathroom when I stood up I felt a gush, I thought maybe my water had broken but once I checked I realized it was blood. I sat back down on the toiled and more blood came out. My first thought was that since I had some stronger contractions while walking it was probably some bloody show from dilation and maybe I really was starting labor, but I quickly realized this wasn’t bloody show. It seemed to come in gushes then would stop. I quickly went to the car and told Jeremy we need to go straight home, I called my midwife while we were driving and she said to keep her posted once we got home. By the time we got home there was blood on my seat and running down my legs. I went inside and was sure it was going to stop but at this point I knew in the back of my mind something was wrong, I started to panic. I don’t think I’ve ever felt the fear and panic before that I felt at that time. I couldn’t get baby boy to move so that only added to my panic. I started to shake and was in tears, Jeremy was a rock for me at this time. I know he was scared and the unknowns were daunting to us both. I texted Donnellyn (my midwife) a picture because it’s so hard to estimate blood loss, she immediately called back and said we needed to go to the hospital. If your reading this and don’t know I have had 2 home births with a midwife and was planning to deliver my 3rd this way too, a hospital birth in any shape or form was the farthest thing from my plan. I quickly changed clothes, Jeremy got the girls loaded in the car and I grabbed my purse. We live about 10 minutes from the hospital, we had left our house about 6:20. Jeremy dropped my off at the entrance and my midwife had already called Labor and Delivery giving them the heads up that I was on my way.

I got to a room about 6:40 and Jeremy got the girls in and we both quickly went through getting me checked in and answering what felt like a million questions! I’ve never been in the hospital before, never had an IV, never been given medications and such so it all started feeling like a bad dream. They put the heart monitor on Camp and the best sound I’ve ever heard filled the room. My baby was ok, I immediately knew at this point that whatever happened God would be faithful, yet still in the back of my mind fully expected to be sent home once things settled down and my bleeding was under control. In a matter of about 15 minutes (so 6:45-7) the anesthesiologist came in and went over pain control options if surgery was needed, my parents arrived at the hospital, my sister came and got the girls, my midwife arrived, I was given an IV in each hand, had blood drawn from each arm and the Doctor came in and said our only option with this amount of bleeding was a c-section. I clearly remember a wave of shock going through my body, surgery was the last thing on my radar until about an hour earlier and it all just felt like too much to process.  She explained that time was of the essence because it sounded like I had a placental abruption (where the placenta begins to separate from the wall of the uterus) and the fact that Camp had a heart beat showed it wasn’t fully separated but in a matter of minutes that could change and we risked losing our baby. With fear and panic we agreed a c-section was needed. My Dad, Mom and Jeremy prayed quickly over me as they begin prepping me to go back to the OR and within minutes I was wheeled away. They sent Jeremy to get scrubbed up and have him wait while I got my spinal, since Camp’s heart rate sounded good I was able to receive a spinal and be awake for the surgery. I was taken back to the OR around 7:15, once they had me numbed and prepped Jeremy came in and surgery was under way. From the time they started surgery it was about 7-10 minutes before Camp was born. At 7:51pm I heard my baby cry and knew that we were all going to be ok. I could go on forever about how great the anesthesiologist was and how well taken care of I felt. He explained what was happening as the surgery progressed and reassured me that what I was feeling, hearing and seeing was normal. I got to watch them clean my baby up, weigh him and wrap him up then Jeremy brought him over to me. I was able to kiss his cheeks and cry in gratefulness that he was ok. Jeremy and Camp went with the baby nurse to the nursery while they closed me up and took me to recovery. When I got to recovery I had my baby in my arms in a matter of minutes. He immediately nursed the reality that he was here started to sink in. The nurse told me that the waiting room was full and slowly some of my family and friends came back to the recovery room to give hugs, share tears and meet our sweet baby. I was taken to a room around midnight.

As I write this I have tears running down my cheeks. I have struggled with such a huge range of emotions in this past week. Feeling SO thankful that my baby was ok and for the medical intervention that was available to us, feeling robbed of “my birth” and missing the feeling that comes once you hold your baby after laboring so hard to get them here. But I keep coming back to choosing to see God’s hand in it all and allowing God to write this story and use it for His glory. Campbell means “from the beautiful field” and Jack means “God is gracious”, and I know it’s not my chance that we named him that. My little man couldn’t be more perfect, he is such a joy to my heart and has brought more smiles to my girls then I knew possible. He is his Daddy’s pride and joy and even has his Daddy’s dark hair. I know we have a long road of recovery for me ahead but I’m choosing to trust that God will heal my body as he heals my heart. I still have lots of emotions to work through and every day new ones surface but I’m daily (sometimes hourly) choosing to trust. God promises that HIS strength is made perfect in my weakness and there is nothing like major abdominal surgery to make you feel weak. We’ve been so blessed by a community of family and friends who have supported us and loved on our girls through this last week. Jeremy has carried the majority of the load from the girls, to house cleaning, laundry and getting us all fed and he has done it with joy. He has allowed me to sit on the couch and just cry when I don’t know why I am even crying, he has allowed me to express my anger and vent my questions of “why me, when I did everything right do I end up with a c-section”, he has just listened and loved me despite it all. I’m grateful today and choosing to trust in a God who is only Faithful! Here is a slideshow of Camp’s arrival! http://www.shareitvideo.com/watch.php?v=241555843408656

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Thankfulness {day 10}

Today I am thankful for my Honda Odyssey mini van! I had always been very opposed to driving a mini van and considered myself an SUV person when the time came. Once we started car shopping for a new {to us} bigger vehicle I realized how much I loved this van! It has been such a huge blessing to us and as our family grows it will only come in more handy. I’m thankful for a husband who works hard and values me driving a good car, we saved and then sold our car and paid cash for this van. It’s not fancy, the newest model and doesn’t have all the bells and whistles but it works great for us and its paid for!

I’m thankful for automatic sliding doors, a back seat to carry friends and family with us, large storage space to carry a double stroller and anything extra we need, good gas mileage and plenty of other things!

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Thankfulness {day 9}

Today I am thankful for my lovely home! We lived in rent houses or apartments for our first 4 years of marriage and honestly, we loved it! We liked the care free lifestyle it brought and no maintenance required but we were so ready to have a place to call our own! Almost a year ago we closed on OUR first home! It has been a wonderful haven to raise our babies and make memories with friends. There is so much more I want to do here and lots of undecorated areas but today I’m choosing to not focus on that and only focus on the fact that it’s our home and we’ve been blessed to be able to buy it.

It’s not a home we plan to be in forever and we have learned lots about what we “like” and “don’t like” in a home but I am perfectly happy with this little home. Thankful to have plenty of space with extra closets, a garage, an attic, an awesome playroom, a driveway for our kids to ride bikes and draw chalk on and beautiful trees with changing leaves on them.

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Thankfulness {day 8}

Today I am thankful for nourishing and healthy food to feed myself and my family.  We have chosen to think of food as an investment into our health and therefore we can’t afford not to eat nourishing foods. We buy lots of organics and try to find the best local sources for meats. Sometimes it’s less convenient and often times it cost more money but I know we are healthier because of this. We are teaching our girls what foods are good for their bodies and which ones aren’t. We aren’t perfect and make exceptions and have treats when we want.

I’m grateful that Jeremy also values this and we make other sacrifices in order to eat well. I know in some parts on the country its harder to come by the foods we eat so I don’t want to take lightly the ability to drive down the road and get what we need.

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Thankfulness {day 7}

Today I am thankful for the ability to be physically active and workout. Before I got pregnant this time I was working out or running 6 days a week and reached some fitness goals. I’ve stayed active working out this pregnancy, working out 4-5 days a week, and am loving it. I don’t say that to brag on me or get a pat on the back but I realize the ability to do that is something I’ve been blessed with don’t want to ever take that for granted.

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Thankfulness {day 6}

Today I am thankful for the privilege to vote. Thankful to live in a country where I have a voice and can vote based on that voice. Today is election day! I’m not scared for our countries future and I don’t think a man can surpass the sovereignty of the God I serve.

Thankful I serve a God who knows the end of the story but also grateful I have a chance to vote and let me voice be heard.

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