Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Ellie Rae Sabbah : Birth Story

Ellie Rae Sabbah  9/10/18 9:20am 10lb 4oz 20.5in

Ok..I will start out with the same little DISCLAIMER that I usually do… In case you were unaware….You are about to read a birth story. I will do my best to keep things generally readable but even still…you can expect to find yourself spending some time aboard the S.S. TMI. It’s a thing. If this scares you not, then welcome aboard. If you're just here for the pictures...they are at the bottom. Shannon Williams is a magical human. We are so grateful to have been able to have her with us again to capture the precious moments of Ellie's birth. 

Also…I should note before we begin...that I had prepared and planned for an unmedicated delivery again using a self-hypnosis technique called Hypnobabies.  Basically…it trains your mind to use visualization and other techniques to help you relax through contractions instead of fighting against them. Probably good to be noted also is that contractions in this program are referred to was waves. If I switch between the two terms, just know they are the same. “Pressure wave” provides much more positive imagery and feelings than “contraction”. I’d rather ride a wave than have a massive muscle contraction…wouldn’t you? Haha..Cowabunga.

It is probably best to start a few weeks back at my 34 week appointment….Let me explain. No…there is too much. Let me sum up. (Name that movie and I may just love you ever more fiercely) It was discovered at one of my 3rd trimester appointments that not only was baby measuring large (large even for me…who already tends to make big babes), but that my fluid was also very high. Too much fluid can cause issues during delivery and remember my history of hemorrhage post partum from a boggy (soft) uterus post delivery with Jane? Ya…likely from a distended (basically over stretched) uterus from growing such yummy rolly babies…so add in the excess fluid to an already very large baby and we had ourselves some things to consider.  At 39 weeks I saw an MFM (maternal fetal medicine) doctor for a more accurate scan and a second opinion where it was determined that, all things considered, an induction was the best course of action…”as soon as possible”. 

*Cue stomach churning internal panic…maybe some heart palpitations and a few…a lot…of deep breaths*

I had known for a few weeks that induction could be a possibility and I had been praying that I would know what was best to do when the time came to decide. I prayed that I would feel the peace I’d need in abundance to feel good about whatever our decision was. That peace came soon after the stomach turning internal panic set in and it was overwhelming. I knew that this was right. 

My induction was scheduled for just 2 days later at 7am (39 weeks and 2 days). We woke up at 5:30am, got dressed, woke the girls, got them dressed and ready to go….and thennnnnn we got the call from the hospital. It was PACKED. Full. They had no rooms. They would call when they had one for me…but there was no way to know when that would be.

*Cue hormonal pregnancy tears*

…and I even said thank you at the end of that call…
…right….…because that makes sense…
Thank you…for the terrible news…haha..ok………

With no estimate of when we would get called back… I did what any hormonal pregnant woman would do…I went out to eat and shop. I couldn’t just sit around at home. I knew I would go crazy waiting for that phone call…

I called that night around 9 to see if I could get any inkling of an idea of when they expected to maybe-possibly-by-any-chance have a room and the charge nurse said that I should go to bed as a call would not likely come that night…So we went about our night as usual only to get a call at 12:30am saying that we could come in...of courrrssseee. I was already completely exhausted….and by the time we’d get our kids packed up, to my moms, and then get  to the hospital, checked in, settled in, and an induction method actually started it would be like 3:30am… So I would have been starting labor after having only 2 hours of sleep in nearly 24 hours. I felt completely insane as I turned it down after waiting all day for that call…but I couldn’t imagine going into labor voluntarily on such little sleep.

Sunday I was so sure I’d be getting a call mid-day…you know…after all the morning discharging emptied some rooms…..but alas. Twas not so. We went to my parents’ for dinner and right as we were starting to eat at (about 5pm), the hospital called!!! They had a room for me! I nearly cried.
Yes again. 
It’s a thing. 

We ate dinner (kind of…my family ate…and I picked a little at my plate as my stomach was all of a sudden full of knots and butterflies. I guess butterflies don’t like spaghetti…Who knew….), left the girls at my mom’s, stopped at home for our hospital bags and the carseat, then headed for the hospital. We got there around 6ish and found out Ramona was still on call! 3 fist pumps and a leg kick for rad midwives that make you want to do happy dances at the check in desk. (Note:I would have been happy with almost any of the midwives…but I had hoped from very early in my pregnancy that Ramona would be the one supporting us on delivery day). We got all settled into our room. You know…changed into the super cute and completely concealing robe… mesh panties and fatty pad on (labor is messy)…blood draws…hep lock placed…all that super awesome stuff. I also got set up with some warmed blankets (the bessstttt… since the hospital is still stuck on that whole frozen icy tundra thing) and apple juice (also the best…because apparently I’m 6 years old). Seriously though…those last 2 things are on repeat for me when I’m in the hospital. Warmed blankets and apple juice. All. Day. Long. Living my best life, obvs.

We opted to start with the prostaglandin gels as our method of induction. They essentially soften the cervix, allowing it to open and give the body a little jump start to get contractions going on it’s own. It was what we used to induce my labor with Ruby and they worked great. So I got a dose of gels at 7pm, sat in the room for 40 minutes and then we walked the halls for an hour before coming back for 20 minutes of monitoring and the next dose…as is the way with the gels. We had 3 total doses throughout the night. My contractions kind of started, but they were weak and not as consistent as I would have hoped. By the time the last dose was given, we didn’t even get up to walk around when the 40 minutes was up. It was 2am and I had fallen asleep…so I lost out on having the walking maybe make the difference in my labor progression…but the sleep was SO good. I needed it. When I woke up, my contractions (glorified menstrual cramps really) were even weaker than before. I did dilate another 1-1.5cm which was good….but without consistent and intensifying contractions….it wasn’t good enough to get this baby here……booooooo.

The next step was to break my water. With having as much extra fluid as I did, my water was basically acting as a cushion against my cervix…keeping my contractions from effectively dilating my cervix and getting the labor ball rolling. I was nervous…usually my water breaks at the very end of my labors and it makes things really intense. I’ve never had my water break in early labor so this was new for me. Fear. Peace. Onward we went.

At 5am, we broke my water.

Oh my goodness….there was so much water….
You know Niagra Falls?
Ya…the ones that have been around for like…ever…
I’m pretty sure they got that idea from me.
I mean…at first it was more like…huh..maybe we were wrong about having so much extra fluid…as things just sort of trickled along…
then boom.
There is was. 
The flood gates were opened. 

Contractions didn’t get started right away…..PS….Why is it that movies and TV shows so often portray a woman’s water breaking and then she has approximately a minute and a half exactly to get to a hospital before she has to have a baby in a cab, a veterinary office, or insert-any-other-unfortunate-place-to-birth-a-baby-here….not saying it CAN’T happen that way….but to go from no sign of labor, to delivering a baby in exactly a minute and half seems a bit….over the top…does it not? It does. I digress.

I sat on the birthing ball for a while and had a few ok ish contractions over the course of that first hour. Not baby producing contractions…but they were definitely headed in that direction.

Then over the next hour I had 2-3 contractions that felt “real”…
…the physically and mentally consuming ones… 
I had to use my hypnobabies to “turn off” for them and I knew it was the beginning of active labor…they were baby-having waves. WAHOOO!

So Noor got the tub starting to fill. Oh my goodness. THOSE TUBS. They take a bit of time to fill because they are a deep and wonderful and perfect and are the things happy labors are made of. They take so much pressure off and they make changing positions between or during waves so smooth and easy. If you’ve never been 40 weeks pregnant…moving in general is not an often easy or comfortable task…Things pop and stretch and ache…not to mention you have a decently sized bowling ball on the front of you…Anyways…Being in that tub is my favorite part of my labors. I feel most “in my zone”. I get in as soon as I can and I park it until it’s time to push. They are my happy place.

So I got in the blissfully warm water about 7am after having one more intense wave and we called Shannon, our birth photographer, hoping it wasn’t still to early to call…since my contractions in my previous labors were about 1-2 minutes apart before I was close to the end…and mine were still not very close….maybe as close as 15 ash minutes apart. They were more intense for sure. But by about 8ish…. I’d only had 4-5 of those really good baby producing waves. I was already nearing the end of what I felt I could handle…which again..usually doesn’t happen until it was time to push. Having my water broken early in my labor had me unsure of how to gauge where I was myself.

….then I had a wave where I felt baby move or drop or something very VERY low. I didn’t feel that “need to poop” feeling that signifies baby is really ready to come out and it’s time to push…but the feeling was so low and so distinct in more intense than anything I’d felt in any of my labors so far. I felt like labor was only getting started…but that feeling was just too different to ignore. I decided to get out of the water and see where things were at. Ramona gave me a quick check and found that I was complete! I just had a little “lip” of cervix left. I was SO surprised. I literally had had 10-15 total contractions in the 3 hours since my water was broken…and only like 8 of them were really intense to where I needed to use my hypnobabies techniques to get through them. My contractions after getting into the bed again got much less intense.... they were technically still happening....but I hardly felt that they were happening at all.

Baby had a little ways to come down still, but I pushed for about an hour. With the awesome support of Noor, my awesome nurses, and Ramona…things were mostly light and fun….it made it a fast hour. Then… I felt the pressure. THE pressure. She was right there and I reached the point I hit in every delivery when I wished I hadn’t pushed quite so far because I wasn’t prepared for that sensation. I think I may never be  fully prepared….it is just always a surprise at HOW MUCH the pressure consumes me. Which then of course leads into the 2nd part that always takes me by surprise even though I think I’m ready and expecting it….crowning. Maybe I just forgot with my first 2 deliveries…(baby amnesia is totally a thing….I swear it’s the only reason anyone has more than one kid).. but this time, crowning felt like it took much longer and was much harder to cope with than before. With Ruby and Jane, I felt like the intensity of the crowning happened for just a few moments and then their heads were out and it was nothing but relief and I felt nothing of the rest of their deliveries. But this time…I feel like crowning took at least a full eternity and a half and even once her head was out, the delivery of the rest of her was just as hard. I feel like this was my hardest delivery to cope with…the labor was easy…I mean…15 contractions? I’ll take it….but her actual delivery….my hardest. But…at 9:20am on Sept 10th, she was here! All 10lb 4oz of her....And she came out without issue! Thank heavens! We were watching for shoulder dystocia due to her size...but were so happy that it wasn't a problem.

I did bleed too much again…we expected it and we were prepared. All of the medications etc were already in the room and ready to go. I did still need a catheter to make sure my bladder was indeed empty. (I swear I cursed myself when I said I wouldn’t need a catheter for my future deliveries after I had one and was miserable during Ruby’s delivery….be careful what you say, my friends….the labor and delivery gods are listening and they have a sense of humor…) There are many unfortunate things that happen when your uterus doesn’t contract down well enough on its own after you birth a baby...which are especially unfortunate when you are unmedicated..... I will spare you any further details on this part… But the bleeding did get to an acceptable range without too much of a scare (…though that could be because I was comparing it to my hemorrhage experience with Jane which was a surprise…and terrifying.)

One tender mercy (read: straight up miracle) was that though the post delivery events were seriously unpleasant…I didn’t tear from the delivery. So I didn’t need any stitches added onto all of that. Bless Ramona and her beautiful midwife self for the support she provided to all the right places while I delivered. At least that part of me would feel normal-ish during recovery while the rest of my body felt run over after the events that were about to transpire.

Things were quiet. Baby got measured. My stomach got pushed on approximately 1048562 times. I was still bleeding a little on the “too much” side of things…but not technically in the zone of “too much”. I passed a couple of apple-sized clots… concern was rising… but things were still within normal range. My stomach got pushed on another bunch of times over the next half hour…I was still doing fine….until I wasn’t anymore. My nurse pushed again on my stomach and it full-on gushed. Twice. You guys… felt like my water had broken again…I wish I was exaggerating. My rockstar nurse called for the hemorrhage cart and for whatever else you call for when this happens…I don’t remember because I was busy in my own head trying to take deep breaths and prepare myself for what would be happening next. Within a minute, my room was filled with nurses and doctors.

*Cue more of the unfortunate and super uncomfortable (read: painful) things that happen when your uterus doesn’t contract down well enough on its own after you birth a baby*

Meanwhile….as the many unfortunate and super uncomfortable (read: painful) things were happening…the anesthesiologist was introducing himself… “I’m here just in case,” he said. I knew better. The likelihood that we would be fixing this issue without him was low. The nurses were prepping and poking and pushing…but they were also so sweet and encouraging…keeping what positive vibes in that room that they could. Noor was doing his best to keep cool for the both of us and was rocking it (at least on the outside)….as my initial cool had since been lost and I was starting to get sad and discouraged that this was all happening again. An ultrasound was done right there in my room and it was discovered that I had a lot of clotting happening and the best course of action would be to head to the OR for a D&C.

I was struggling a lot at this point. Emotionally and physically. I just wanted to sit in recovery and snuggle my sweet baby.  Instead I was being rolled away from her and my sweet husband and into an operating room…losing those precious hours of my baby’s first day… I couldn’t keep the tears from flowing. I was just so sad.

I got back to the OR….so sad, so exhausted, so in pain…I was beyond ready to be done with all of it… I sat on that table and reached a point where my tears just stopped. I started to feel almost numb from it all. I’m hugging a pillow while the epidural is being prepped and I look up to find my other midwife, Tiffany, leaning on the foot of the operating table… holding my hand and keeping things light… She was really a tender mercy for me in that OR. I was feeling so alone even in the room full of wonderful people giving me the best care… To look up and see her familiar face…with a kind smile and a light-hearted comment…she was a light in that room and was everything I didn’t know I needed in that moment.

I was given the epidural and a relaxing medication. I don’t remember anything of the procedure (hello, tender mercy) except my legs going numb and being laid down. The next thing I remember was being wheeled into recovery.  It was a piece of retained placenta that gave me the problem. A fluke issue that could really happen to anyone…it just unfortunately happened to happen to me after I already have an issue bleeding too much...bringing me to this post partum hemorrhage double feature.

Things went pretty smoothly from there though. I was pale as pale can be… as you might imagine……I looked like death. I mean…I don’t have a lot of color to begin with…but then to lose as much blood as I did right after delivery…and then more so with the second issue…it wasn’t pretty. I did receive a blood transfusion the following day (Tuesday) when my blood tests confirmed my levels were too low. That was a little less scary and intimidating as it was when I had one after Jane’s delivery and I knew it was going to help me feel much better….and it did. I regained a little color and I definitely felt some energy return. I was WAY swollen from all the fluids and meds they gave me over the course of it all. More swollen than I was before delivery…which was kind of a drag because I was WAY swollen my whole 3rd trimester. Despite the rougher recovery, I was still able to go home 48 hours after delivery.

This pregnancy and delivery were different...they were far more emotional, anxiety filled, and bumpy...but they were also so beautiful, strengthening, and filled with tender mercies... the little lights and blessings in my path that remind me that my Heavenly Father is mindful me even when things are hard. When I think of all of the little (and big) things that went right and the little pieces of light, happiness, and peace that surrounded me during all of this, I am overwhelmed at the love that my Father in Heaven has for me.
He is mindful of me.
I have been richly blessed.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Jane Felicity Sabbah : Birth Story

Maybe this blog will one day once again be restored to its former glory of being the place in which I regularly record the events of our family for all of posterity...or perhaps the next time it will just be where I store the birth stories of our children...the second option seeming to be the most likely.

Jane Felicity Sabbah 11/30/15 7:47 PM 8lb 15.9oz

Here is the birth story of our second sweet daughter, Jane. The pictures I have included from our wonderful birth photographer (Shannon Williams Photography) are at the bottom.  They tell a story of their very own that is just absolutely pure and beautiful. I couldn't bear to break them up with they have a flow of their very own.

Ok..I will start out with a little bit of a DISCLAIMER. You are about to read a birth story. Straight up. I have done my best to keep things generally readable for all but remember that it IS a birth that being may...nay....WILL... find yourself spending some time in the merry land of TMI... I may or may not warn you before you approach the gates of said land... If this scares you not, then pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable. is important to know before we begin... that I had been preparing for an unmedicated labor/birth using a self-hypnosis technique called Hypnobabies.  The program helps you to train your mind to have positive feelings towards labor and birth so that you don’t fight the contractions...which makes them more painful and less effective. The program also teaches you how to create your own anesthesia within your own body and to use visualization and other techniques to help you relax. It can seem hokey to some, but it is really effective for a lot of people. I was successful in my unmedicated birth with Ruby and I have family members and friends that have also had great success using while it may seem a little “out there” to some of you, it really is a powerful tool. Please note that as part of that program, we use the term “pressure wave” for contraction so don’t be confused if I use those terms interchangeably.

Now with business aside, shall we continue?

I was due November 22...4 days before Thanksgiving... when all of my family would be in town. We all waited anxiously for any sign of labor... Noor and I began taking long (curb) walks in the evenings and all such sorts of natural “labor induction” no avail. I bounced, walked swang (Is that a word? Swinged sounds even less like a word...swing....swung in a swing...say THAT 10 times fast. I digress). We did lots of things (except for castor oil. I drew the line at castor oil. Yuck.) Yet, the 22nd came and went...and the day after that...and 6 days after that. I had mentally prepared myself a little better this time around. If you remember...RUBY was comfy cozy in my womb too. We ended up evicting her a day shy of 42 weeks and let me tell ya....being “late” or going “overdue” even when you THINK you have prepared to do so, is no easy task. It can really wear on you emotionally. I’m pretty sure I cried every day I went “over” with Ruby.... I did better this time around though. I’m pretty sure I didn’t cry until at least a few days past my “due date” and even then..while I truly felt like I would be pregnant forever (its a true though....the psychology of a 40 week pregnant woman is not to be questioned. The feeling that the baby will literally be in there forever is so real. No reassuring words about the fact that “the baby HAS to come out eventually” will fix is strictly a “here, have some chocolate” situation. Now..moving on..)

So I really was feeling patient for the most part...while still trying to coax her out. The holiday weekend served as a decent distraction which was a blessing. I had an appointment for Monday morning at 41 weeks and 1 day. I remember making that appointment at the counter before leaving my previous apoointment and thinking..Ha! No way I’ll make it to this appointment. Ha. Ya.

Monday morning came. Disappointing. But I knew I’d go to this appointment and we would be talking options and plans of how we would want to proceed if this babe didn’t get moving there was some light to be seen at the end of this tunnel. (I had a great experience with inducing Ruby at 42 weeks and I didn’t have a problem with repeating that route if it came to that..but I had been really hoping and praying that things would move on their own this time around.)

I started to get ready to go and started feeling some back pain/cramps around 7:30 or 8. They came and went pretty regularly. I wasn’t going to count that chicken before it hatched though.... I’d been having cramps on and off all week that obviously led no where.... so I went to my appointment as normal. (TMI WARNING...I also had been losing a considerable amount of mucus plug. I thought I had lost it already throughout the week...but it turns out there is WAYYYYY more than you would expect. Like insane more. ).

 We did a quick ultrasound to a check fluid levels and then met with one of our sweet midwives. I also got checked for the first time and was a really soft 3 1/2. We set a induction for Wednesday at 9pm.... 2 1/2 days from then....but I had a feeling that we wouldn't make it that far. I’d really HOPED we wouldn’t make it that far.

My cramps were pretty regular and getting stronger by the end of my appointment.

We went home and started packing up our bags and getting a few last minute things ready...just as kind of a test to see if things were going to fizzle out. They didn’t. We got the carseat installed and I started the dishwasher, got my floors vacuumed, and washed a few walls. (Nesting Much? Haha!) I called my mom to come take Ruby for us and Noor and I went to get lunch.

My cramps and back pain were certainly uncomfortable by then but I could still walk and most talk through them.

We ate at Cane’s Chicken for lunch...though “ate” is a loose term for what I did. I’m pretty sure I had all of a single piece of chicken...maybe a piece and a half...before I was done. I didn’t even finish my toast. I know. Crazy. Things were getting real.

Wall washing - no toast finishing - real.

We walked back to the car with plans to head to San Tan know..walk around...progress some..things like that.

We ended up at walmart buy pads...because remember?? Early labor is messy.   Really messy.  And I didn’t pack any extra pads because I was over here like,
 “Oh hey..the hospital has all that. Simplify.”

Ha. Backfired.

THEN we went to San Tan. I had called the on call number to check with my midwife about when to come in. I was a second time mom...but I had never gone into labor on my own I really had no idea what I was looking for in terms of timing or any of that. I apparently called the wrong number or was transferred to the wrong person because I ended up talking to an OB. I asked her if I could talk to Diane (the midwife on call that day) and I swear I could hear her roll her eyes as she said, “Well I could leave a note that you want her to call you..” and I hope she heard me roll my eyes at her right back. I wasn’t about to eave a “note” in hopes that I get a call back. Sorry.

So I asked her when is best for me to come in...and she said in her most condescending apathetic voice as though the question I asked was the stupidest question I could have had...and I quote, “Well, whenever you start to feel ready for pain medication is when you should come in.”

Double eye roll. Nothing against pain medication... I just felt like her measuring stick was a bit immature....not to mention a tad bit assuming...with a few dashes of super negative. But enough of that. That is a whole different conversation.

The short story is, the OB we spoke to was less than successful in helping me to achieve my goals for this birth. I didn’t want to be in a hospital longer than I needed to be...but after our brief conversation, she told me it would be a good idea to come in. Not really sure how to proceed at this point, we walked around Best Buy to decide if we agreed with the oh-so-unhelpful OB. This is where things got stronger. I was having Noor apply counter pressure on my back as I leaned on the shelves. It was to the point where I was ready to be walking the halls of the hospital instead of being out. I knew I’d be able to focus better there...probably even better than my own home as I probably would have mopped my floors a few times if I were to go home. Haha.

So we went. Got checked. 4 cm 90+ % effaced.

Not really admitting material but my contractions were strong and regular so Diane was paged and Noor and I took to the halls for a little over an hour to see how things progressed from there. They were coming pretty quickly and I had to stop for each one..brace on the side rail..and breath. I really focused on my breathing and relaxing EVERY. SINGLE. MUSCLE. in my body during each wave. I pictured the numbers appearing and disappearing as I counted up and down through each breath.

1.....2......3......4....... 8..7..6..5..4..3..2..1.

Noor would push on my lower back and that helped a lot. Then it was over and we would keep walking. We passed open rooms with big, beautiful tubs in the corner and I knew I wanted me one of those. I labored in an inflatable tub with Ruby and it was AMAZING. I couldn’t wait to get into the water...every time we’d pass those rooms with the huge beautiful built-in tubs, I’d pause and daydream a bit. Just a little longer and it will be allll mine.

We got back to triage to talk with Diane around 3:45. I was still at a 4-4 1/2. Still in that gray area in terms of admitting just because things could still fizzle out. But, being a second time mom, she felt it would be best to get me a room as things can move pretty quickly the second time around and didn’t want to risk sending me home and then have me not being able to make it back in time....I mentioned that I lived off of Higley road and that kind of sealed the for dayyyys. Ha. Once it had been decided that I would stay, I wasted not a moment in asking for one of the dreamy rooms with the big corner tubs. Of course. Diane made it happen. Bless her sweet, sweet beautiful, midwife soul.

We got set up in our room by about 4:45.

Ok pause....why the HECK is it necessary to keep hospitals akin to a frozen tundra??...seriously. Polar Bears. Penguins. Santa Clause. Seriously. So. Cold. That was one of my first orders of business in that room...getting it properly climated for human inhabitation.

I was then set up with my first round of antibiotics as I was Group B Strep Positive (for those that are confused, GBS is a common bacteria found on our bodies...more specifically our southern regions... but can be dangerous to a newborn if they contract it. It’s not all that common for the baby to catch, but it is scary and common enough that precautions are taken to help ensure the health of the new little. Just a few rounds of Iv antibiotics takes care of a lot of the risk and...while annoying...they are not really a big deal.)

Hooked up to the monitor and IV for the first chunk of time in the room was not my favorite. It is so much easier to relax through the waves when I am able to move around. But, being monitored there for the first half an hour really showed how close together my waves were. Nurses and my midwife commented that my waves were off the charts in strength and were coming right after the other. These comments were music to my ears. I was feeling so great still at this point. Sure, the waves took considerable focus to get through and they certainly weren’t comfortable...but they were strong, baby-producing, active labor, contractions and those are exactly what I wanted. Bring on the waves!!! Let’s have this baby!!!

I was still managing really well at this point and I felt so powerful because of that. Managing well helped me to look FORWARD to the next wave..which in turn helped me to keep positive and to keep my focus and relaxation consistent. Positivity and confidence bred more positivity and confidence. Seriously...Hypnobabies is amazing..

My nurses were awesome. Patti was the first nurse with me. She mentioned my sense of humor and said that I would probably not be allowed into the tub until I’d lost my sense of humor...that is when you know that labor is for real. I laughed and told her I wouldn’t lose my sense of humor. This was going to be fun...she had no idea what a party it was going to be. (She unfortunately missed Jane’s birth by only an hour. I had another awesome nurse..Laura..Lauri? I can’t remember...which is sad because she was great too).

This was about the point at which our photographer, Shannon Williams, showed up.

We were extremely blessed to have had this experience photographed by the talented Shannon Williams Photography. She was the most perfect fly on the wall I could have asked for. I kind of found her by accident on facebook and after viewing her work, knew instantly that she was the right choice. Having these images now...even just 4 weeks after Jane's such a blessing. We already cherish them so much. Shannon will be at all of our future birth experiences.

(When pregnant with Ruby, I wasn't sure if I felt comfortable having a photographer in the I opted to not hire anyone. I wish I knew then when I know now. If you are on the fence about having someone photograph your will not ever regret having precious images like these...but there is a real chance you will regret NOT having them.)

I had never actually met her before but I had such an amazing feeling hiring her. I just knew we were going to click. Something told me we would....and we totally did. She ended up contributing greatly to the fun and light vibe in the room. I didn’t even notice her taking pictures. It was beyond perfect.

We got the tub filling and I got changed. Oh the sweet sting of that warm water....I loooooove me a warm bath. Instant happy. I had to have my left hand wrapped up in a glove because it had my hep lock that needed to stay that was kind of a drag... but I was able to work around it.

I was brought dinner...pork roast and gravy, potatoes, carrots, chocolate pudding, salad, and apple juice...if I remember right. I sat it right at the edge of the tub and picked at it in between waves. It just felt so smooth and natural...the flow of it all. I felt the rhythm of my body and I went with it...totally listening to what it was telling me. I was able to feel each wave coming, turn off, focus through until it peaked and fell, and then come back for another bite of chocolate pudding. I felt completely normal and energized between waves...almost as if I had MORE energy after the wave than I’d had before it. I would be carrying a conversation with Noor, Shannon, and Diane...leave it momentarily to address the wave...and then return without a skipped beat. I’m telling you, this Hypnobabies stuff is no joke. Our minds are incredibly powerful!

Noor was a wonderful help...reminding me of my hypnosis cues and rubbing my arms and shoulders. Knowing he believed in me 100% and knowing that he also believed in and supported my use of the Hypnobabies program was so huge in my success. He knows just what to say to remind me how strong I really am.

This was the way things went for about an hour and a half. (In the room 4:45. Monitored and finished a dose of antibiotics and in the tub by about 5:45.)

Now 7:15 ish.

I had mentioned I wanted a Jimmy Johns sandwich as my post delivery meal. With Ruby, I delivered in the middle of the night so I was given a sack lunch that was pretty dang sad...I will not lie. I looked at the clock and saw that Jimmy Johns was going to close in only 3 more hours. At what seemed to be this same point in labor with Ruby, I still had about 6 hours to go...things were still too smooth and I felt I was coping too well to be less than 3 hours from delivery. But I still hoped.

It was almost immediately that that the waves started to increase in strength..they were harder to get through...and I remember saying to my midwife, Diane, that I felt like I must be getting somewhere near the end because I’m starting to feel like I can’t do much more. She smiled a smile that said I was closer than I thought I was...and she was right. My water soon broke and a few waves later I started to feel that pressure...My waves at that point were all one long least a few at a time before I got a rest. Things get so real when your water breaks. My sense of humor may have taken a lunch break during this time...but it wasn’t gone gone. I still managed a few laughs in between waves. When I was sure that the pressure I was feeling wasn’t going to go away, I got out of the tub...not an easy task at 41 weeks and 1 day pregnant and being only minutes away from birth. It was seriously quite the task and took at least 2 if not 3 people helping me to do it. I did finally make it to the bed and pushed with every wave that came... after a couple of pushes I realized I could make this happen or I could drag this I decided to make it happen and proceeded with full abandon...letting all worries/thoughts/fears go completely and I felt my pushes become more effective. I could feel progress being made so  much faster.

Crowning was still completely more than I anticipated...even though I had experienced it before. It still caught me 100% off guard. I felt everything moving and stretching and I thought to myself, Holy Crap...I’m going to tear so badly this time....but in the interest of letting my fears go completely....I just pushed right through it and her head was out.

I pushed before the next wave came so that it could be done...and there she was. Only 15-20 total minutes of pushing and there she was! They helped me turn over and lay down since I was on my hands and knees for the birth and they laid her right on my chest. It’s so amazing how instantly all the discomfort that you have just been through just immediately ends and you feel SO good when that baby is placed onto you. During that last stage of labor, you kind of start to feel like it’s going to be forever...and then it ends. It is not forever. And now you have a perfect sweet baby on your chest and it’s all completely worth it. You did it! You did something amazing and wonderfully hard!!

After the placenta came out, I was curious what the damage was. I was SURE that I had torn in a big way. I got lucky with Ruby and didn’t need any stitches (and she was 9 1/2 lbs!) ..I was certainly not going to count on that happening again. But it DID! I had NO TEARS... I had nothing to stitch! What a huge relief!!

So here was our sweet Jane. Labor was done. Baby was healthy. We had decided on a name. And Jimmy Johns was on the way. Everything was seriously heavenly.

Except for one thing. The nurses pressing on my stomach every 10 seconds. Not a pleasant feeling. And unfortunately, my uterus was not cooperating. I was still bleeding too much. This happened with Ruby too. What happened was my bladder was full and my body wasn’t telling me such it was keeping my uterus from being able to do it’s thing..contracting...and ceasing to bleed copious amounts...which is important. SO they gave me a catheter to empty my bladder to let my uterus get to it’s thing. While extremely uncomfortable, it worked like a charm to fix the problem. I was after my second delivery and I was AGAIN bleeding too much. I all but beggggged them not to give me a catheter (it was seriously the ONE thing I wanted to go differently this time around)...but it just wasn’t going to work out that way. I was starting to feel really icky and I knew that it needed to happen so I changed my tune and asked for it. So they gave me a shot of pitocin in my leg and gave me a catheter to empty my bladder and things seemed to resolve. I was able to sit up and eat and chat and while the nurses came and pushed on my stomach 100 more times, my uterus seemed to be behaving.

I would be moving to recovery shortly. My wheelchair was on it’s way over. My two sweet nurses started to help me sit up. I had previously warned them that I have a tendency to get lightheaded easily...even when I haven’t just had a baby and lost a bunch of we were all taking things nice and slowly. Like REALLY slowly. I had barely sat up in the bed before starting to feel lightheaded. I of course mentioned this to my nurses and then I started to black out and shake. When I had woken moments later there were already 10+ nurses and doctors in the room pushing on my stomach, hooking up new Iv bags to my line and using words like seizing and hemorrhage. It was definitely unsettling and completely scary. One of the nurses pushed what seemed to be all of her weight onto my stomach and 2 massive clots came out. The on call physician had her hand reaching in to be sure there weren’t any retained pieces of placenta to blame. There was nothing. They had hooked me up to another 2 bags of right after the other, catheterized me AGAIN  (Of course...the ONE thing I was really hoping to avoid this time around had to happen not once but TWICE. Ha. Right? ) to make sure my bladder was indeed empty...and gave me a dose of cytotec to get my uterus to stop bleeding. The physician was talking to us about what would happen if it didn’t stop and let me tell you..those were scary words. We were actually warned about this particular physician...that she is very thorough in her explanations and comes off as a little doomsday/scary....but that it was just kind of who she was. Knowing that helped us a little bit..but even still..having someone come and talk worst case scenario as your body won’t stop bleeding and they don’t have a reason WHY is flat out scary. I asked Noor for a couple of priesthood blessings during this time and they really helped me to feel comforted..even though I didn’t really get a feeling of peace or knowledge that everything would be ok....I did feel the comfort of the spirit and knowing that my Heavenly Father was mindful of me and that I was not alone.

My bleeding did least enough to make the nurses and my midwife happy...and I made it to the recovery room by around 2-3am where I spent the rest of the night snuggling on my sweet baby girl because I hadn’t been able to snuggle her much in the 2 hours previous as I was feeling woozy and such. I got the heavenly few hours right after her birth of her right on my chest..but missing out on the 2 hours during my hemorrhage made me miss her so much. I knew I should have slept...and that I would probably feel it in a big way come morning...but I just needed her. After all that happened, I needed her to be close to me. It was incredibly healing to have that time with her. Completely quiet. Just her and I and no one else. I couldn’t hardly think about what had just happened..about how in the midst of it all I looked at my sweet husband standing by my side holding our brand new baby girl while I thought...please Heavenly Father...I need to be a mother to my girls. I cannot leave them. I was extremely grateful to be in that recovery room with my perfect baby girl and to focus on only that...the journey that we had made together and how we were finally able to meet and be in this perfect calm together.

My wonderful photographer also had the most perfect I was settling into recovery, she sent me a few previews of the images she had taken during the delivery. ( 2 am!) They were incredibly touching and it was such blessing to have them as a reminder of the absolutely beautiful and perfect birth that had just happened...and to further forget about the rest. It is amazing how healing such seemingly small things like a few pictures can be.

I had been admitted to the hospital with a hemoglobin level of 12. After the hemorrhage, my blood was drawn again and I was at an 8. In the morning, it was drawn again and I was at a 7 ( a dip they had anticipated ) and they mentioned they I may need to consider having blood given to me before leaving the hospital...but that we would wait and see how I felt. Well...the following morning, my blood was drawn again and I was at a 6.4. They more strongly advised blood this time..but said it was still up to me...but they did say that if I was at a 6, they wouldn’t be offering blood to me...they would pretty much be telling me I needed to take it. I was pretty close to that number. But I wasn’t there yet..and I really felt fine.. but there was the worry about my levels dipping further...especially since I was set to be discharged that night and would be at home...up and moving more and not 100% resting like I was in the hospital. After many tears of confusion, some prayer, an angel of a physician that came in at precisely the moment that we needed her to (literally...we had prayed for guidance to know what we should do and I was in tears...and all of 2 minutes later, this beautiful angel of a dr came in specifically to help me decide what was best for me...after talking with her, more prayer, and a few more tears...we decided it would be best to take the blood. So I got a blood transfusion before we left. Which was a little bit of a bummer....because I got to sport it in our “Fresh 48” session that Shannon came to do for us...but she did a beautiful job of hiding it and really....looking really was such a blessing that we took it. Recovery was a little harder and a little slower and I know it would have been so much harder on my body had I not taken the blood.

In all seriousness...I had a completely wonderful and beautiful birthing. I trusted my body and worked with it..which made my labour so much easier and so much more relaxing. I had beautiful people in the room with me the whole  time... Chatting it up with me and keeping the mood casual and light...we were all laughing and having such a great time. Baby came completely healthy in less than 20 minutes of pushing and I needed no stitches. delivery was a bit more eventful than I would care to experience again...but up until that was a dream of a delivery. I consider it a huge blessing to have had such a beautiful that was certainly hard..and definitely trying...but 100% rewarding...knowing that I was able to overcome each do something hard just for the sake of knowing I could.... and feeling empowered when all was said and done. Like running a marathon...I had trained and prepared for 9 months for this “race” and I ran it...dare I say I rocked it. The whole thing.  And I feel absolutely powerful because of it. And to me..that is exactly what ANY birth experience should matter what it may look like.