February 9, 2021
Hello friends! This post is a long time coming. We are approaching Reid’s 3rd birthday, and I truly can’t believe it! I’m so excited to share this birth story with you. I’m so glad I have this story to read for the rest of my life. I know a lot of the small details could be forgotten over the years, but now there’s a permanent place where they can’t slip away.
I want to start off with saying EVERY birth is beautiful. No matter if your birth plan went flawlessly or if it got thrown out the window on the way to the hospital. No matter if you had a natural/unmedicated birth or if you had a c-section. Carrying a baby for 9 months is hard and beautiful work. The way your baby was born doesn’t change the fact that you are a strong and amazing mama. Be proud of what your body did! I’m proud of you, and I hope you find joy in whatever birth story is yours.
Birth Photos & Film – Labor of Love (Michelle & Danielle)
You can find the birth film at the end of this post! I promise it’s worth every second to watch Reid’s birth unfold. Obviously, I’m biased, but it truly is such a beautiful and raw video.
August 27, 2017 was the day our lives changed forever. It was a Sunday, and Damon and I both served on different service projects with our local church that morning. I helped paint part of the outside of a church, while Damon helped install a ceiling. We worked until 1:00 PM and then attended a picnic with our church family. Damon and I had decided I would take a pregnancy test when we got home that day. I made it through the service project just fine, but I was growing a little impatient at the picnic. I just wanted to go home and take the pregnancy test.
Damon & I arrived home and I pretty much ran to the bathroom. I took the test and left it upside down on the bathroom sink. We planned to look at the test together, and I wanted to film our reactions (in case it was positive). Since I was a hot mess from working outside that morning, I took a shower and got ready. You know – with the pregnancy test just sitting on the sink a few feet away. I was so anxious because I knew the answer was already there for us to see. As I was finishing up getting ready, Damon decided to make a “quick” trip to Lowe’s. I honestly don’t remember if Damon’s trip to Lowe’s was fast or the usual hour trip. Either way, it felt like I was waiting forever. When Damon returned, he changed and we were ready to flip over the test!
I set up the camera in our bedroom. I was starting to sweat and my heart began racing. It was wild to think that Damon and I were (possibly) about to find out the greatest news in our marriage so far! (Obviously, everyone knows what the pregnancy test said given the title of this post). I’d explain our reactions and conversation when we found out we were pregnant, but I think you would much rather watch our reactions for yourself! Click here for our announcement video (our reactions are at the end of the video)! You’ll definitely want to see Damon’s look of confusion when he tries to figure out what it says. I’m so thankful we have this special moment on video.
My pregnancy with Reid was pretty much by the book. Morning (all day) sickness from week 4 – week 14. The usual heartburn and insomnia towards the end pregnancy, but overall I felt great! I was still running until I was almost 32 weeks, and I honestly loved being pregnant. I know not everyone loves/enjoys being pregnant, but I truly loved every moment of it.
It was a HUGE desire in my heart to have a natural/unmedicated labor and delivery. Damon and I took birth classes to educate ourselves on what to expect. Every labor and delivery is different, but we wanted to learn as much as we could to hopefully achieve an unmedicated birth. We took classes through Birth Matters. We were amazed by the information we learned from the Breastfeeding and the Childbirth Education classes we took with Hallie. She is so passionate about birth and empowering women to advocate for the birth they desire. I left her class EXCITED for the pain I would endure during labor – that’s how exciting and fun she makes birth sound. We highly recommend these classes to anyone expecting!
Thank you to the sweet women who photographed my bump! Emilie Ann, Arielle Peters, and Natalie Kunkel
Now on to the most exciting part of this blog and probably the reason you’re here! 😉
LABOR & DELIVERY
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 25TH
My water broke at 1AM. I was 39 weeks and 3 days. Damon and I had maybe gone to bed 2 hours before. I woke up to the sensation of peeing the bed. When I realized I couldn’t stop it, I knew my water had just broke. I tapped Damon on the shoulder to wake him up and told him what had happened. He helped me get to the bathroom where I sat on the toilet for a while. I immediately thought back to our birth classes and remembered the few things to check if your water breaks. (T.A.C.O. – Time, Amount, Color, Odor). There was no smell or color to the liquid so that was a good sign. There wasn’t any blood either. However, I knew the clock was ticking with wanting the baby to be born within 24 hours or so. Once a woman’s water breaks, it is ideal for the baby to be born within 24 hours to reduce the risk of infection since the water barrier protecting the baby from bacteria is no longer intact.
I crawled back in bed (thanks to Damon for covering the bed with towels so we could try to get some more sleep). I started praying my contractions would start on their own. I was really worried about having to be induced if I didn’t go into labor on my own. Within an hour, my contractions started on their own and I was so thankful. I fell asleep on and off for maybe an hour or two between contractions until I couldn’t sleep anymore. I got up around 4:30AM and started walking around downstairs between contractions. Movement is a great way to help labor progress so I wanted to move as much as I could.
By 5:30 AM, Damon was up and gathering all of our hospital bags and loading the car. (He might have also finally installed the car seat too!). At 6:30 AM, I decided to curl my hair between contractions (because what else do you do when you are trying to distract yourself and wait until your doctor’s office opens). I was determined to not call my doctor until they were already at the office.
We called the office at 8AM when my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and were lasting 30-45 seconds. The midwife said to try and stay home a little longer until the contractions lasted for at least 60 seconds. By 10 AM, my contractions were lasting a little over a minute each time. We headed to the office to see how dilated I was. I hadn’t sat much while at home, so it was really hard to sit in the car through each contraction. Every single bump in the road felt huge, and I tried my best to hold my body off the seat for most of the ride.
At 10:30 AM, we arrived to the office. I stopped to have a contraction in the parking lot on the way in. Once we were in the waiting room, we snuck into the conference room for me to continue working through contractions while we waited to be called back. My doctor checked me, and I was 4 CM. I was really hoping to be at least a 4, so I was encouraged. I’m not one of those girls who walks around dilated for weeks. I never even had Braxton Hicks during my pregnancy. It felt like I had made good progress to be at 4 CM after only having consistent contractions for 7 hours or so. Dr. Stroud told us to head over to DuPont hospital and make ourselves at home because we were going to be meeting our baby soon! I vividly remember Dr. Stroud saying, “Stay out of the bed, the bed isn’t your friend. Keep moving and you’ll do great!” As we left the office, we ran into our friends, Josiah & Sarah, in the waiting room. Sarah asked how our appointment went, but she quickly realized we weren’t there for a normal appointment. They wished us luck, and we headed over to get settled into our room at the hospital.
11AM – While we were checking into the hospital, the man at the front desk insisted I sit in a wheel chair and be pushed up to my room. I very adamantly told him I would walk up to the room myself. After asking a few more times, he finally gave up and led the way as I slowly followed. I specifically requested the room with a tub. My twin had labored in the tub with her first son, and she loved it so I definitely wanted to give it a try. After arriving to our room, we answered what seemed like a hundred questions from several different nurses. Damon made a few trips to the car until all of our stuff was in our room. We are the couple who brings our own tennis balls, exercise ball, and gift bags for everyone on our birth team. (Details for the gift bags at the end!)
1PM – It seemed like things were starting to pick up after only being at the hospital for a little bit. I started closing my eyes the majority of the time during contractions and in between while I relaxed. The nurse asked if I wanted to be checked. I knew I wanted to be checked as little as possible since my water was broke. I didn’t want to increase the risk of bacteria/infection with being checked over and over again. However, the pain was increasing and we needed to let Michelle & Danielle (our photographer and videographer) know when to come to the hospital. My mom and sisters were also going to attend the birth, but I didn’t want anyone coming until I was at least 7 CM. I knew it would make me feel bad if people were waiting around for a long time if they came while I was in early labor. With all that being said, I also didn’t want to wait too long to be checked and have people miss the birth because we didn’t give them enough time to come. I had the nurse check me and I was at 5 CM. I progressed 1 CM in about 2 hours. I was encouraged and went back to labor land.
3 PM – After only being at the hospital for about 4 hours, I had already soaked through the 5-6 pairs of shorts I brought to the hospital. I thought I had overpacked (which I usually do) but that wasn’t the case this time. For the remainder of my labor, Damon just held a towel around my waist. Poor guy, I hadn’t given birth yet so I was still playing it safe and trying to be as modest as possible. (SPOILER ALERT: Even if you’re the most modest woman ever – and I consider myself to be pretty modest – once you are pushing a baby out of your body, you don’t care what people see. You’re just focused on meeting your baby!) Since my water broke to start my labor, I continually had water run down my legs and onto the floor during contractions. (During one contraction, I thought more water was leaking, but I was actually peeing all over the floor and couldn’t stop it! Oh the beauty of labor!) I was honestly surprised by just how much water there was. When I thought there couldn’t be any more water left – there was. I spent some time in the tub, but I could never get comfortable. Most of the time I would stand during contractions and hold onto Damon. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and rested my head on his chest/shoulders. I’d sway, concentrate on my breathing, and try to relax my body as much as possible to let the contractions do their job. I wanted to work with my contractions and not against them. The nurse checked me again and I was at 6 CM.
4 PM – My mom and sisters showed up at the hospital. I honestly don’t remember seeing them much since my eyes were closed 95% of the time. I was almost to 7 CM and although I was nervous about transition coming, I was also excited I had made it so far. Only 3 CM left to go until I could start pushing! I knew I could do it. I tried to labor sitting on the toilet several times, but for some reason I could not keep myself in the sitting position during a contraction. The moment I felt a contraction starting, my body would propel itself to the standing position and I’d finish the contraction hanging from Damon’s shoulders or leaning against the wall.
5 PM – Michelle & Danielle arrived a little before 5 PM. I’ll be honest, as a photographer myself, I thought I would have booked a birth photographer/videographer the moment we found out were were pregnant. I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted my labor/delivery documented, but it took me several months to finally decide that I wanted more than just family in the delivery room when my baby was born. Let me tell you this – IT WAS SO WORTH IT! I truly can’t imagine not having the beautiful moments of Damon and me working as a team during each contraction, the faces and emotions of my mom and sisters as they watched and helped me labor, and the most incredible moment of our lives when we found out who I had been carrying for the past 9 months. Hands down the best investment we ever made was having Reid’s birth documented. I just wanted to be honest and real for a second about how special our birth photos and video are to us. It was a big decision and it took a couple months for us to finally pull the trigger and commit to hiring Michelle & Danielle, but I promise it is worth every penny and then some! I’m so glad I have these photos and video to share along with Reid’s birth story. It also means so much to me since I had my eyes closed for almost the entire time of my active labor. I don’t have many mental pictures in my mind of the environment/atmosphere and the people who were there supporting me.
7 PM – With my full birth team by my side, I felt like we had to be getting close after laboring a few more hours. I specifically remember one moment when I was in the tub. I was holding my bum off the bottom of the tub and working through a contraction. When the contraction was over, I opened my eyes just enough to look around and see everyone in the room. I looked at the empty bed and was so proud of myself for staying mobile. I looked at the monitors and thanked God that our baby sounded great every time the nurse checked the heartbeat. I also looked at the clock and thought to myself, “I’m never doing this again. I don’t know why women ever have more than one child. How do you put yourself through this pain again once you know what it’s like? At least the first time you don’t know what to expect until it happens.” I laugh now looking back at that moment. Now that I’m on the other side, I know why women gladly go through the pain again and again. At this point in my labor, I was in a lot of pain and really struggling to relax my body through the contractions. I was tired, and I just wanted to know if we were getting closer to meeting our baby. The nurse checked me and I was at 8 CM. I was in transition and couldn’t believe it. I reminded myself what I had learned in one of our Birth Matters classes – “This pain has a purpose. Each contraction brings me closer to meeting my baby.” I remember repeating “this pain has a purpose” in my head during each contraction while I was in transition.
9 PM – I always heard once a woman reaches transition, her body usually progresses a little more quickly to reach 10 CM. I know it isn’t always the case, but I was hoping I had progressed to at least 9 CM in the last 2 hours. The nurse checked me and I was a “stretchy” 8.5 CM. She said she could stretch me to 9 CM during a contraction, but between contractions I was around an 8.5. Although I was a little discouraged, I didn’t want to lose my focus. I went right back into labor land and tried my best to relax during contractions. I prayed the final 1.5 CM would come within the next 2 hours or so. I continued laboring in and out of the tub and hanging onto Damon.
10:30 PM – The nurse kept asking me if I felt a pushing sensation at all. She said it would be a good sign I was at 10 CM or almost there. I had no idea. I kept thinking to myself – “If I’ve never been in labor before, how do I know what a pushing sensation is compared to just extreme pain? What if I can’t feel the pushing sensation because all I feel is the pain in my pelvic area?” As a first time mama, I definitely second guessed myself a lot. Since every contraction and painful sensation I was feeling was brand new to me, I didn’t want to say I was feeling a pushing sensation and then find out I really wasn’t. Since I was getting close to the end of labor, the midwife was coming in more often to check on me. She checked me and I was at 9 CM. Although progress was going a little slower than I had hoped, progress is still progress. I was so thrilled we were only 1 CM away from complete!
11:30 PM – I continued laboring standing up around the room and was sure we had to be at 10 CM after another hour of intense contractions (or at least 9.5!). The midwife checked me and I was still at 9 CM. I felt so discouraged, but was definitely not prepared for what she said next. She looked at me and said, “Abigail, your cervix is starting to swell and that’s probably why your labor is starting to stall and your body isn’t progressing the last CM.” I honestly didn’t even know that was something that could happen. It makes sense your cervix could swell from the pressure during labor, but I had never heard of it happening before. She said my body was most likely getting tired from standing for so long and having the pressure of the baby on my cervix since my water had been broken for almost 24 hours. She encouraged me to get into the bed to try and relieve the pressure on my cervix and rest my body as much as possible. I felt defeated. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to manage the pain well in the bed and my body would fight the contractions even more. I crawled into the hospital bed and laid on my side. A nurse brought in a peanut ball to put between my legs and we rotated sides every so often. I let the waves of contractions come and worked with them the best I could. Our hope was for my body to relax and the swelling to go down so my body could progress the last CM. I had been praying throughout my entire labor, but I started praying nonstop during this time. I wanted to do everything I could to help the swelling go down, but I felt helpless and didn’t feel like it was in my control. I prayed for God to let my cervix go back to normal and allow my body to progress to 10 CM.
Sydney is my little sister and a certified doula. She was so calm, and I’m so thankful for her support throughout my entire labor. I never even asked her to put pressure on my hips or rub my feet. She just did what she knew I needed and it was such a blessing having her there.
BEST NURSE EVER! Cheyenne was incredible and beyond sweet. She was with me throughout the entire night. She was always encouraging me. She was made for this job!
I didn’t notice it right away, but the longer I laid in bed, my contractions started becoming farther and farther apart. Once the nurse brought this to my attention, I asked if I could get out of the bed and sit on the exercise ball. I wanted to have some sort of movement to try and get my contractions closer again, but I didn’t want to go back to standing and my cervix become even more swollen. I sat on the exercise ball and leaned over the side of the bed. I’m not sure how long I sat there before my contractions were getting even further spaced out and the midwife asked to check me again. All I remember is the look on her face after she checked me. I knew I didn’t want to hear what she was about to tell me. She said, “Abigail, your cervix is completely swollen all the way around. It was partially swollen before, but now your entire cervix is swollen.” At this point in time, it almost felt like an out-of-body experience. I remember hearing her share the next possible steps we could take, but it felt like she wasn’t talking to me. She had to be talking to some other laboring mom because I couldn’t believe I had made it to 9 CM and now I was hearing the words epidural and possible c-section.
THURSDAY, APRIL 26th
1:00 AM – The midwife explained how my body would not be able to progress to 10 CM with a swollen cervix. She said I could continue laboring and hope my cervix would slowly go back to normal but it wasn’t very likely. She said if I continued laboring I was at a higher risk of having an emergency c-section. The other option was to get an epidural. We’d let my body relax for a few hours and see how my cervix was doing. If the swelling went down, hopefully my contractions would pick back up and I could have a vaginal birth. If my cervix was still swollen, we’d have to have a discussion about a c-section. My water would be ruptured for over 24 hours increasing the risk of infection, and I wouldn’t be able to give birth vaginally if my cervix was still swollen.
Damon and I walked down the hallway to talk. I stopped in the hallway to work through contractions and I remember how sweet all the nurses were. They kept saying things like, “We can’t believe you’re at 9 CM and still smiling!” or “You are doing such a great job, mama! We’re all so proud of you!” As a words of affirmation girl, their words meant a lot to me, but I was feeling so hopeless with the options Damon and I were deciding between. My goal was for an unmedicated and natural birth. I didn’t want to be forced to choose an epidural. I at least wanted to “give up” on my own and get an epidural because I couldn’t handle the pain, not because my body wasn’t cooperating and my labor was stalling. It was all outside of my control, and I was so disappointed. Damon and I eventually agreed that the epidural seemed like the next best choice. Although I really wanted to keep laboring naturally, I was afraid to. I had a feeling it wouldn’t go well, and I’d end up in a c-section.
We went back to the hospital room and I sat back down on the exercise ball. We waited for the midwife to come back in to tell her our decision. I remember feeling sick to my stomach because I felt so defeated. The midwife returned and through tear-filled eyes, I told her I wanted to try the epidural. I shifted my goal from an unmedicated birth to trying to avoid a c-section. I remember my twin sitting on the couch across from me as I leaned over the bed. I caught her eyes right after I asked for the epidural and tears started falling down her cheeks. Even though I felt completely crushed, it brought comfort to my heart knowing everyone in the room wasn’t disappointed in me. They knew I was making the best decision to hopefully meet our baby safely.
2:30 AM – Everyone went home to get some rest while we waited for the epidural. (Besides my mom, she slept on the hospital floor beside the tub – talk about a champ!) We waited a while for the anesthesiologist to come to the room. I will never forget her entrance. Now it is absolutely comical, but in the moment it made me so upset. I just wanted to yell at her. I was obviously very emotional when she arrived because I didn’t want her to be there. I didn’t want the epidural.
Anyway, let’s set the stage – I’m sitting on the side of the bed working through contractions and praying the epidural works. I was going to be even more upset if the epidural I didn’t even want didn’t work, and I still ended up in the OR for a c-section. The anesthesiologist walked in the room and this is the conversation that takes place right away.
Anesthesiologist – “Can someone turn up the lights in here? I can’t see a thing!”
Me – *Thinks* – “I’m sure you know where the light switch is. Turn on whatever lights you need!”
Anesthesiologist – “Why is the bed so high? We need this lower. I’m not that tall.”
Me – I think I was working through a contraction and didn’t even think of a response to her.
Anesthesiologist – “Ma’am, you don’t seem like you are in much pain at all? Are you getting an epidural early? Are you to 4 CM yet?”
Me – “I’m at 9 CM.”
Anesthesiologist – “Oh, wow. What do you need me for then?”
Me – *Looks at Damon and rolls my eyes* – “I really don’t want this.”
HAHA – I think by this point she realized I wasn’t excited for her to be there and she didn’t say much else. Except I do remember her making a comment about me wearing a sports bra and she doesn’t know why women wear sports bras during labor. Except it totally makes sense to me because laboring a baby earth-side is the hardest workout I’ve ever done.
Our brief time with the anesthesiologist is hilarious to me now, and I don’t even care how insensitive she seemed in the moment because the epidural WORKED!!
3 AM – 7 AM – For 4 blissful hours, I slept in 50 minute intervals. The nurse would come in every hour and wake me up and have me move to my other side. She was surprised when she told me she was going to help me roll over and I did it all on my own. The epidural was definitely working because I was barely feeling my contractions, but I still had enough feeling to be able to move my legs on my own.
7:30 AM – Marianne Stroud walks into the room. She had just taken over for the midwife who was with me overnight. I had always loved my appointments with Marianne during my pregnancy, but I told her husband, Dr. Stroud, a few weeks prior that my dream birth included him at the delivery. I had witnessed Dr. Stroud in action at the birth of my twin’s first son in 2016. I loved how calm he was and how peaceful the room became when he was present. Dr Stroud kindly told me, “I’m flattered you want me at your birth, but I can promise you if you ever see my wife at a birth, you’ll only want her.” Well, he was absolutely right. It was all in God’s perfect plan for Marianne to be on call that day.
Marianne squatted beside my bed and placed one of her hands on mine. She was real, honest, and compassionate – ALL the things I needed.
“Abigail, I am so sorry you haven’t met your baby yet. I was sure when I saw you in the office yesterday that your baby would already be in your arms by now. I know this isn’t what you wanted. I’m so sorry. (as her eyes filled with tears) I’m proud of you for doing what’s best for your baby. Your water has been ruptured for 30 hours now. We need to start pushing within the next 2 hours or we will have to strongly consider a c-section. I want you to have a vaginal birth and we will do whatever we can to hopefully make that still happen. Your contractions have slowed down to 8-10 minutes apart. We need them closer and stronger so we can get you to start pushing. If you’re good with it, we will start you on Pitocin and we’ll need a consistent contraction pattern by 9:30 AM.”
I remember saying, “Turn up the Pitocin as high as you need and turn down the epidural as low as you can! I’m ready!“
I immediately felt at peace and knew everything would work out no matter what happened. I knew I was in the best hands with Marianne. She was confident and took charge to make sure she did everything in her power to help me have a vaginal birth. The nurse started the Pitocin and increased it about every 15 minutes or so.
By 9 AM, my contractions were where they should be and Marianne checked me and I was at 9.75 CM and the swelling was completely GONE!! She said I could try and push and see if I could get myself to 10! I pushed a few times and I FINALLY made it to 10 CM!
Little did I know, our baby had become disengaged and actually went TRANSVERSE while I was sleeping during the early hours of the epidural! Thankfully Marianne didn’t tell me this because I would have lost it. Instead, she turned my epidural down so I could feel as much as possible and had me in EVERY position possible. As you can see by the photos below, I was all over the bed in different positions. I thought the positions were to help my contractions and they probably did help, but the different positions were attempts to get baby back into a head down position for delivery. Praise be to God!! It worked, and I didn’t know Reid had been transverse until after he was born!
Damon called my sisters and Michelle and Danielle and told them to head back to the hospital because we were going to start pushing soon. Marianne asked if I wanted to start pushing before everyone arrived because she didn’t want anyone to miss the birth. I honestly said, “Let’s start pushing, if someone misses the birth it will be a blessing I didn’t have to push that long.” I seriously laugh at my response now that I know just how many hours I still had ahead of me to push our sweet baby out.
Everyone arrived soon after I started pushing and I really had no idea what to expect. The epidural was still working because I wasn’t in much pain, but I could feel pressure and usually knew when a contraction was starting so I could push with it. I pushed laying on my back, laying on my side, squatting off the end of the bed, and leaning over the back of the bed. I just listened to Marianne when she would suggest a new position and we tried it. Praise Jesus for His kindness because it seemed as if I went back into Labor Land when I was pushing. I didn’t realize just how much time was passing. I started pushing a little after 9 AM. The clock slowly moved past 10 AM, then 11 AM, and then 12 PM. Everyone was always so encouraging when I’d push and they would say I was doing a great job. After a while though, I wasn’t sure if I was doing a great job with it taking as long as it was. Everyone yelled and were so excited when they announced they could see the top of the baby’s head. I was so relieved. Thank goodness the end was in sight, it had been a long 35 hours since my water broke.
BEST MIDWIFE EVER! I’ve highly considered going back to school to become a Certified Nurse Midwife because of this incredible woman. I want to empower and support other mamas like this woman does every single day.
I continued pushing and pushing. Marianne asked if I wanted her to bring a mirror into the room so I could see the baby’s head. Before I went into labor, I definitely would have never thought I would want that, but I needed the encouragement to see my baby was indeed close to joining us earth-side. Well, let’s just say my expectation of what I expected to see in the mirror was not what I saw in reality. I was expecting to see a few inches of my baby’s head, but I honestly couldn’t see the baby’s head at all. They said they could see a small sliver of the baby’s scalp, but I couldn’t see it as much as I willed myself to believe I did. However, after a few more pushes I finally was able to see our baby’s head. Marianne reminded me that with every push, the baby comes down the birth canal a little more but then goes back a tiny bit. I needed to hear that because it was hard seeing progress when I was pushing but then see our baby’s head go back a little bit when I stopped. Anyway, nothing left to do but keep pushing!
As we passed the 3 hour mark of pushing, Marianne said we were so close to meeting our baby! The nurses brought in the table and equipment they needed once the baby was born and everyone got into position for the delivery. Damon sat down at the end of the bed to help Marianne deliver our baby. The very end of pushing seems a little foggy to me because I don’t really remember Reid crowning, I just remember him coming out. While “I See Heaven” by Bryan & Katie Torwalt was playing in the background, Marianne announced just one more good push is all she needed. Marianne guided Damon’s hands and Damon helped deliver our firstborn son at 12:23 PM on April 26th, 2018! Damon pulled Reid up to me and placed him on my stomach. Reid had such a great and strong cry and the cutest pouty lip! We finally did it! We finally got to meet our son! (Not sure if I mentioned this before but the gender was a surprise to everyone.) We planned for Damon to announce the gender of the baby, but Reid was posterior so he was face up when he was delivered. When Damon pulled him up, I had a very clear shot of what the gender was. Fun fact: Reid was actually peeing when I delivered him so his gender was very obvious. HAHA
I made a playlist of worship songs to listen to during my labor and delivery. The playlist is a little over 14 hours long. Little did I know I would listen to it almost 2 1/2 times through. I really wanted to choose the song our baby was born to. However, I felt the urge to not request a specific song to be played during delivery and just see what song God had playing at that exact moment. Again, His plans are always better than our own. The words filling the hospital room as we met our son for the very first time are below.
After delivering Reid, I was able to snuggle him and do skin-to-skin for a while. It was pure bliss. There is truly nothing like holding your baby for the first time. We chose to delay clamping his umbilical cord so Damon cut it maybe 10 minutes after he was born. I tried breastfeeding Reid soon after birth, but I couldn’t get him to latch.
We allowed everyone to take turns holding him before they started heading home. I had the honor of announcing his name for the first time. It was so special!
Before we transferred to another room, my amazing mama left to bring me back Chick-Fil-A for my first meal after birth. The nurses also took Reid’s height/weight. Reid weighed 7 lbs 10 oz and was 20 inches long.
After we were moved to our new room, I continued trying to feed Reid. I just couldn’t get him to latch. With help from several nurses and the hospital’s lactation consultant, I finally got him to latch for a little bit – maybe 3-4 hours after he was born. We struggled to get Reid to latch well and feed for longer periods of time, but I was determined to breastfeed him. Right before we were going to go to sleep, a nurse said if Reid didn’t have another good feeding before they tested his bilirubin levels, we would probably need to give him some formula. Obviously I saw this as a challenge and I worked on getting him latched for the next hour. He finally latched and had his first good feeding! Praise the Lord!!
The next day, a few of my closest friends came to visit us at the hospital before we headed home! I am so grateful to my friend Heather for taking one of my favorite photos of me and Reid.
As we drove home, we drove up and down our street several times because we just didn’t want to end our first car ride with our son. It was such a sweet little memory as a new family of 3. Thinking back to all the firsts as a family of 3 is so special. I’m beyond grateful God has blessed us with our sweet Reid. I would do ALL of it over again! We just love him so much!
Although my labor and delivery didn’t turn out as I had planned and hoped, it is still my favorite birth story. It is the story of how we came to meet our first son. It is beautiful, and there is nothing I would change about it. I didn’t realize just how much birth could mold and change me. God truly used labor and delivery to work in my heart in more ways than I could have ever imagined. He taught me to trust Him on a deeper level, He worked on digging the pride out of my heart (He’s still working on it!), and He showed me how His plans are always better than my own. He granted me a vaginal birth even though it seemed like a c-section was a real possibility. God blessed me with the best midwife when I didn’t know at the time that she is who I needed by my side. God truly was in every detail of Reid’s birth. I am eternally grateful for His kindness and goodness in Reid’s birth story.
If you know me personally, you already know how much I love and adore the staff at Fertility & Midwifery Care Center. I truly can’t express my gratitude to them for their professional and compassionate care for me and my family. We feel so blessed to live in a city with such incredible people who empower women and educate mamas on their options in birth. They support you and do everything in their power to help you have the birth you desire. There’s nothing like being supported by fellow believers who pray over you and encourage you to trust in the Lord. I HIGHLY recommend giving them a call! So many of my friends have switched to their office and everyone loves them!
Thank you to everyone who took the time to read Reid’s birth story. It has been a long time coming for me to sit down and take the time to write this. I love having it to look back on and remember the little details I might forget over time. I personally love reading other mamas’ birth stories, and I hope Reid’s birth story is encouraging to you! We are capable of hard things because of Christ’s strength, and He will sustain us even when/if our plans don’t go as expected. I’m so grateful for Reid’s birth story. I wouldn’t have learned the lessons I did if it weren’t for God’s plan being different than my own.
Sweet Reid, you made me a mama and I can’t express to you how much I love you. I loved you from the moment we found out you existed. I never dreamed of how amazing it would be to be a mama of a little precious boy. You make every day an adventure, and you have taught me so much about the Father’s love for His children. I can’t even imagine how much more you will teach me in the years to come. Thank you for having such a kind heart, for forgiving quickly, and for having the best sense of humor. I love you more than you’ll ever know, love bug.
Below is our birth video by Labor of Love! We can’t thank Michelle enough for this incredible gift! She has amazing talent at capturing births so beautifully! We watch it all the time, and Reid even asks to watch his birth video. Needless to say, Michelle will film ALL of our births!
– Birth Facts –
Labor Started – My water broke at 1 AM
Length of Labor – 35 hours from my water breaking until Reid was born (Around 24 hours of active labor)
Pushing Time – A little over 3 hours
Birth Song – “I See Heaven” by Bryan & Katie Torwalt
Gestation – 39 weeks 4 days
Date – Thursday, April 26, 2018
Time – 12:23 PM
Weight – 7lbs 10 oz
Height – 20 Inches
Gift Bag Details
I made gift bags to give to our nurses and midwives. I included the following in each bag along with a card. It was very important to me to appreciate the women God chose to attend our baby’s birth.
Mints, Fruit Strips, Dove Chocolate, Trail Mix, Almonds, and a little bag of Kettle popcorn .