The day we became a family of four. . .

It has taken me a while to share our story because I didn't have the words - Only emotions.

About a month and a half before my due date I decided I wanted to give birth naturally and medication free. I had a terrible experience when I received an epidural with RyAnne. It caused me over a year of back pain. Plus I never really considered giving birth any other way. No one talked with me about options. I just kinda assumed when you have a baby you get an epidural. I decided that a week or even a month of discomfort was way more worth it than having to deal with over a year of back pain all over again. While Google searching, I came across Mongan's Hypnobirthing method. A method that encouraged quiet, gentle, relaxed birth. I instantly purchased her book from Amazon and I couldn't wait for it to come in the mail. While waiting for the mail, I YouTube-d Hypnobirths and was astonished! This is how I wanted to labor and deliver!!! The deliveries I watched were beautiful and so peaceful.

I read the book every day and practiced the breathing and relaxation techniques. The book came with a disc of relaxation music and affirmations that Trey put on my iPod. I would lay in the bath tub or in bed and fall into a deep relaxation. A relaxation I have not ever felt before. The more I read and practiced the more confident I became in my body, mind and soul. I knew I could do this! My husband and family were very supportive as well. I asked them about a week before I went into labor to start praying for me. I asked them specifically to pray that God would bless me with a fast, pain free, gentle birth. And that's what I got!!!

On Monday, February 17th I went to my 40 week appointment (my due date was that Wednesday the 19th). My midwife felt pretty confident I was going to go into labor that week. I was uncomfortable and getting slightly discouraged. I mean holy moly I was HUGE! She asked me if I would like her to strip my membranes. I wasn't quite sure what that meant. After a detailed description I agreed! I was ready! The process for me was not painful at all. I was already dilated to a three and 75% effaced (thinned) and she could feel Olivia's head. And during my exam she could feel my uterus contracting. It was funny because Lynn, my midwife was like, "Oh wow! Is that a contraction?!? Do you feel that Holly?? You're having contractions!!" I thought that I was but they weren't painful and I would just breath with them just like I learned in my studies.

After she stripped my membranes I instantly started to feel my contractions picking up and getting a little more intense. Trey decided to not work that day - just in case. This went on all day but nothing consistent. I went to bed that night wondering if I was going to be the women that wakes up in the middle of the night with my water breaking in bed. Oh, I shutter at the thought!

The next morning I woke up feeling very rested. RyAnne crawled in bed with me and we watched cartoons for a little bit. We came down stairs and ate breakfast. And I then decided I wasn't going to waste the day away. I knew I was going to have Olivia that Tuesday. And I was going to get some things done! I started cleaning out Olivia and RyAnne's closets, pulled down the attic stairs, and started packing up the old stuff and bringing down the things we still needed. I set up Olivia's bassinet next to my side of the bed. Got the Diaper Genie ready and bagged up!

After a couple of hours of organizing and having mild contractions (in the attic), I decided to lay down with RyAnne and rest a little. We napped off and on before it was time for a late lunch. I started cooking her and I scrambled egg and cheese sandwiches about 2:57 pm and it hit me. HARD! I experienced my first REAL, take your breath away contraction while standing at the cook top!!! I looked at the clock and jotted down the time just in case I had another one and then I picked up the phone and called Trey. I said to him, "Are you ready to come home from work? No rush but I just felt a real contraction like I haven't felt before."

Then I had another one and another one. All while I was cooking RyAnne and I lunch. Once I realized they were coming every two to four minutes, I called my mother-in-law. She lives right down the road. I needed someone to be with me. My sweet RyAnne was getting very irritated with me. As I was getting into Hypnobirthing mode and my contractions were mounding I couldn't reply to her questions fast enough. At one point she told me she was mad at me for not talking to her. This broke my heart. In between a contraction, I told her I was having her baby sister and I couldn't reply to her.

I went upstairs trying to decide if I was going to get into my bath tub or lay down or sit on my birthing ball. I felt like I didn't have time to do either. My contractions were on top of each other. RyAnne was down stairs getting upset with me so I decided to go down with her. While walking down the stairs I see my nieces and nephews flying down the driveway. I felt a huge relief! I knew RyAnne and I wouldn't be alone! As my four nieces and nephews walked (very quickly!) in the house they all looked so worried. Trey called them and told them what was going on. My mother-in-law, Taryn, showed up shortly after. I made my way back up the stairs to my room to continue to labor.

As I was sitting on my birthing ball Taryn was realizing how close my contractions were. I needed to use the restroom and as soon as I stood up I thought I peed on myself. Taryn was like, "Sweetie, I think your water just broke.” I went to the restroom and she encouraged me to “check myself”. And as reluctant as I was, I am so glad I did! I then realized that I needed to be at the hospital. . .like leave now!!! As soon as Trey got home we were out the door. We live on a gravel road and believe me that doesn’t mix well with contractions. I made him stop driving so I could have my contraction. lol He wasn’t happy about that. I am sure he was freaking out. At this point I have very little recognition of time and what was going on around me. I had my earbuds in and was listening to the relaxing, Hypnobirthing affirmations. I was getting in my zone!

The drive to the hospital seemed really fast to me. Trey called my mid-wife and let her know it was go time! She met us there. I do remember walking very slowly from the car into the hospital all while stopping and having contractions. Once I got to my room it was about 4:00 pm. I had to be hooked up to the monitor for 20 minutes. They wanted to chart my contractions and hear Olivia's heart beat. I opted for no IV and no hospital gown. I was too far into my contractions to care about what I was wearing.

My mid-wife asked if I wanted her to check how far dilated I was. I was was a little reluctant. If I was only dilated to a four I would have felt slightly defeated and upset. Especially after feeling how hard my contractions were. I finally agreed, I wanted to know. With a huge smile on her face she told me I was a seven!!! This made me so happy! I was so close and feeling so encouraged. Once the monitors came off I wanted to get on the birthing ball and rock my hips. As soon as I stood up to get on the ball I felt her move down into my pelvis. It was an incredible feeling. It brought a smile to my face. I spoke out with excitement, between contractions, "I feel her head!"

And then I felt this intense urge to push. Through my studies I read about J Breathing. The book encourages breathing your baby down instead of pushing. And that was my plan. I tried to hold back my urge to push and instead began breathing her down. I could feel her moving down with my breaths but it wasn't enough. I wanted to get back on the bed on all fours. I couldn't resist the urge to push. It felt good to push and feel her move even more. Lynn asked me to lay on my back. I didn't want to at all. I felt good were I was. But what I didn't realize is how long I had been in that position. Apparently my mid-wife knew something I didn't. As soon as I laid on my back the feeling in the room changed and I heard Lynn ask for another nurse to come in the room. I knew something was up. Once I delivered Olivia my plan was to have her laid on my chest and keep the umbilical cord attached until it stopped beating. Well, the cord was wrapped around her neck and because she spent so much time in the birth canal (kinda stuck), she had to be pulled out of me. Which was fine. I felt no pain, just pressure. Lynn laid Olivia on my stomach and I wrapped my exhausted arms around her lifeless, warm jell-o body and threw my head back into my pillow. A nurse was there with a tiny oxygen mask trying to revive her. They tried and tried. Then the urgency mounded and they had to get the cord cut quickly so they could take her to the little baby station next to my bed. Trey was right there cutting the cord. Oh I was so sad to let her go and so exhausted that the urgency hardly felt real to me. Once I heard her cry my heart felt happy again.

Once she was breathing and the nurses felt she was in the clear they weighed her. I remember hearing a nurse say, "I bet she is around 9lbs." Once she hit the scale the room went wild and everyone was excitedly saying with disbelief, “10, 10!!!" I was like, "Trey, did they just say she is 10lbs 10oz????" The look on Lynn's face was pretty priceless. She said, "Holly, I swear I had NO idea!" Almost as if she was apologizing. lol We had discussed her weight the day before at my checkup. We both threw around some guesstimations. She guessed high 8's. I guessed 8.5 or 8.7. We were both way off!

It was a while before I was able to hold her. I still had to deliver the placenta. :( This was the absolute worst part! I was so out of Hypnobirthing mode and my attention was on Olivia. And I was kinda out of it from losing so much blood. The placenta was huge due to how big Olivia was. And in my studies I don't recall them discussing delivering the placenta. Even though I knew I would have to, I didn't consider needing to stay in Hypnobirthing mode. With RyAnne I did have to give it a little push. With Olivia I had to really push.

I was really starting to get anxious about holding my baby girl. It felt like it had been forever! Once they placed her in my arms, I was so relieved. She was looking at me - her mommy! :) I nursed her and her daddy and I loved on her! As I was holding her, I couldn't stop saying, "I can't believe I did this! I delivered her ALL NATURAL! Can you believe I did it!?! And look how pretty she is!" Trey was so proud of me. I was so proud of me too! 

Yes, folks! I did it!!! All natural! With NO medication of any kind! I'm so proud and thankful!!!

Wishing my sweet baby girl a very Happy One Year of Life!