It took me awhile to write out my birth story, there were a lot of details I wanted to share, but wanted to make it as short as possible. Although it's still stinking long...here it is for those of you who are interested. :)
Eisley Grace - A Birth Story of God’s Providence and Grace
Eisley’s birth story really starts from the moment we found out we were pregnant. My previous birth was a little traumatic, nothing extreme but enough that it left me nervous about birth and wanting to do something about it. During this pregnancy, I stayed with a less than mediocre doctor for 23 LONG weeks while I was trying to fight with insurance to get them to cover the care of a midwife. I was feeling so frustrated and so helpless. All I wanted was an environment conducive to delivering my baby naturally and peacefully, without intervention. That’s when I remembered that a friend of mine had said how much she loved Redlands Community Hospital and a certain doctor there. I emailed her and after looking into it, our insurance covered the switch. Yay! It wouldn’t be a home birth, or a birth center birth, but we would be able to birth in a hospital that supported natural birth and we’d get a private room which was another GIANT big deal for me. Makenzie screamed the whole first night in the hospital and the thought of being in a room with another person just sent my anxiety through the roof!
So we had a new doctor and a new hospital and I was feeling so good about my care. I was finally mentally free to plan for baby and anticipate her arrival.
The next hiccup came on July 21st when my estimated due date came and went. My doctor wasn’t pressuring me to be induced, YET, but he said that if I hadn’t had the baby by the following Monday, July 29th, we’d have to discuss induction. My heart sank. I had done so much to create the best possible birth scenario, and now I had 7 days before we had to make a decision that I didn’t want to make. I was almost in tears on the way home.
For a few days I did everything I could. I walked like crazy, I did extra squats, I even went to a chiropractor to make sure everything was aligned. After going to the chiropractor, I had steady, strong contractions for two hours, but they were only 30 seconds long and finally dissipated. During my chiropractic appointment the chiropractor had said a few negative things about my birth and my doctor that had really frustrated me, which I later found out was not at all true. After this I was even more discouraged.
This was a time when the Lord really humbled me. Throughout this whole pregnancy I had been fretting about aspects of my birth. It was at this point that I finally realized that this whole time I was trying to create a birth I was proud of and empowered by, a birth that I felt was done “the right way.” I had often repeated Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” I “know” this but I realized that I wasn’t truly leaving it all in God’s hands, I was trying to take things in my own hands. God gave us this child in my womb and He would give her to us at the perfect time and in the perfect way. I struggled not to worry or to be anxious, but I was now constantly laying it down at God’s feet, praying for HIM to be glorified in this birth of HIS child. I knew that if I was to be induced it was what God had planned and all I really wanted was to have a healthy baby in my arms.
The weekend came and went and I was so bummed that I was going to have to face my doctor in the morning and make decisions that I really didn’t want to have to make. We decided our first step was going to be for the doctor to strip my membranes, which sent me quickly into labor with Makenzie. If that didn’t work then I guess we’d plan an induction date. I went to bed on Sunday night bummed but at peace about our appointment in the morning.
Then at 2:20am I woke up with some crazy strong contractions. I started timing them and they were about 10 minutes apart, lasting for a minute. I didn’t get my hopes up because I had been there before, but they suddenly started to get closer, 7 minutes then 5. I woke up Dirk and told him that I was going to shower to see if the contractions would stop, they didn’t. So I told him it was time to get ready. He thought I was waking him up to get ready for our doctor’s appointment, when he looked at the clock he said, “Babe, it’s really early!” I laughed and told him that the baby wasn’t going to wait. It finally set in that my labor had started and he kinda went into panic mode. I was totally chill and decided that I would do my makeup and freshen up my hair. Gotta look decent for those birth photos, haha.
We got ready, let my parents know that they should get ready to head to the hospital and waited for my brother and sister-in-law to get to our house to stay with Kenzie. My contractions were 3 - 4 minutes apart and seeing as we live about 30 minutes from the hospital, I was starting to get a little worried. As soon as my brother and sis-in-law got to the house I was ready to go but Dirk insisted that the dishes needed to put away. He is such a level headed guy, I think the only other time I’ve seen him so scattered and nervous was when I was in labor with Makenzie.
So we were finally on the road, I was in labor only hours before my doctor’s appointment where we’d set an induction date. Thank you Lord! The contractions weren’t horrible but I couldn’t talk through them and needed to close my eyes to concentrate. Dirk got us to the hospital in 18 minutes, I won’t say how he did it but the important thing is that we arrived safely, crazy man. With as close as my contractions were, I thought for sure I was at LEAST 4 cm dilated. We headed to the Labor & Delivery floor and checked in.
The nurses were great from the start, another answer to prayer. The nurse checked me around 5:30 am and said that I was 3 cm. I was disappointed but the nurse was totally encouraging. They got us transferred into our labor room and we got settled in. My parents were there, Dirk turned on my birth playlist and I immediately got on the birth ball. Unlike my previous birth where I laid in bed the whole time and threw EVERYTHING I had planned out the window, my goal was to stay upright, change position, use the restroom frequently, chomp on ice chips, etc.
My doctor came in around 7 am. It was so nice to see a familiar face. During my previous labor, I had to have the doctor on call which did not go well for us. To see my doctor walk in and call me by name was so reassuring. And then...not only was it my doctor but with him he brought a midwife. What?! A midwife?! I didn’t know there were midwives at this hospital! My doctor explained that the midwife would be there to assist him and would do perineal massage before pushing to help the perineum stretch. What?! I immediately was reminded AGAIN that God is in control and while I wanted a midwife all along and had given up hope, God had not forgotten. Another answer to prayer! My doctor pretty much just asked how I was doing and said, “Well it looks like you guys have everything under control in here. If you need anything just let us know, otherwise we’ll just let you do your thing.” Thank you! And again thank you Lord!!!
I had felt nauseous off and on through the labor but suddenly the nausea got so unbearable and I started vomiting. I HATE to vomit! I mean really who really likes to vomit but I loathe it. When I’m sick I do everything I can to keep myself from vomiting. Having crazy strong contractions and throwing up at the same time was miserable. Luckily I just vomited a few times and felt better. The midwife came in around 8 am to check on me and I asked when she could break my waters. She checked me, I was 6 cm but she said that I had to wait until I got the second bag of antibiotics at 10 am (I was positive for Strep B). When the midwife left, my mom said that I wasn’t going to make it until 10 am, but I wasn’t so sure. The contractions were intense. This whole laboring on your feet thing was crazy but the bed didn’t make it any better and I knew that staying upright would get this baby out sooner. I was so wishing I was in a birthing tub but I quickly shoved that thought out of my mind and refocused my thoughts.
As the contractions got stronger, I started really leaning on Dirk, literally. We raised the bed as high as it could go, I leaned on it, swaying. As a contraction came I threw my arms around Dirk and swayed. Then I started to feel like I was about to pass out, I’m pretty sure I was one contraction away from blacking out (how does one labor while passed out? maybe I should have just let myself black out nature’s anesthesia right? heh). The nurse told me to take shorter breaths and that helped. My mom and Dirk were trying to tell me that I was in transition but just like last time, I told them it was too soon and didn’t believe them. Dirk immediately replied, “Yep, self-doubt, you’re definitely in transition.” Love that man.
I think it was about then that I also told Dirk I just wanted a needle in my back. He knew I didn’t really mean it, although I wasn’t so sure. Lord have mercy, laboring on your feet is intense! (did I already say that?) I could feel the baby drop down and go back up with every contraction. Then I started feeling a ton of pressure and then it came...the urge to push. My bag of water didn’t break but started to trickle. I asked the nurse if I could push and she said that I could push as I felt the need and she rushed to get the doctor. Well it just so happens that the lady next to me also needed to push and she was also my doctor’s patient. It got kinda hectic in the room for a minute as the doctor was called to come back to the hospital and the midwife was going from one room to another. I stayed on my feet for another contraction or two and just pushed as I felt the urge. Then I got on the bed. The urge to push came and as I did my water burst. I know that they usually say that your water “broke” but no, mine burst, like spewed across the room, at least 10 feet almost hitting my mom, who quickly ran out of the chair she was sitting in, managing only to get a bit on her shoe...so gross. Even though I was in pain, I couldn’t help but giggle. It was a mess, everywhere. It was like a water balloon popped, we were all stunned and laughing.
Dirk heard the midwife and my doctor talking in the hallway. They were going to choose which baby to deliver. The midwife chose us and I’m so glad she did. I love my doctor and I’m sure he would’ve been awesome but I just loved the midwife! She immediately got to business, “Okay, how would you like to push? You can push on hands and knees, using the birth bar, whatever you’re feeling.” Seriously?! I love you midwife! I had initially planned to use the birth bar to push but I was exhausted and just decided to push sitting up. The perineal massage was not comfortable at all, especially as I was pushing. In my head I was yelling, "Get your fingers out of there woman!” but in the end I only had a slight first degree tear which I was rejoicing over!
As I was getting ready to really start pushing, the lady next to me was screaming SO loud. Dirk turned up my playlist but I could still hear her. I tried to focus elsewhere and not let it psych me out. Come to find out she had an epidural, I’m sure it’s still a ton of work to push when you have an epidural but the way she was yelling...WITH an epidural...lady come on! She sounded like she was being stabbed to death. Pushing went great. I’m not sure how long I pushed but it didn’t feel very long. There was some meconium, so the NICU team was called in.
Eisley was born (without a middle name) at 9:18 am on July 29th, my dad’s 51st birthday! Her apgar scores were great! The midwife stitched me up while the NICU team checked Eisley. My placenta was taking forever to deliver, I guess it was comfy in there but the midwife worked around the placenta, waiting for it to deliver. Finally I was all stitched up and could finally hold my sweet baby. She was pretty much immediately hungry and started breastfeeding like a champ. Thank you Lord!
The birth was better than imagined. The midwife was awesome. The nurses were great. The hospital is amazing. The midwife went out of her way to stop by several times to check on me, even when she wasn’t working at the hospital. The nurse that checked us in up in the labor & delivery area, came down to our recovery room the following day to see how we were doing. Everyone seemed to genuinely care about us. I HATE staying at the hospital, it is miserable, BUT it was as great as it could be.
I am so thankful that the Lord orchestrated everything for us. I look back at all of the times I doubted and I was anxious and think, “Why do I doubt you Lord?”
It's been 4 weeks since we had her and things are going really well. There are definitely challenges to managing two little ones, and my house, well it's seen better days but mentally and physically I'm doing SO much better than I was after having Makenzie. The transition from one to two kids has actually been easier for me than the transition to having my first. I've yet to run errands with both kids, I always take one or the other but I know that day is coming soon. We're just taking one moment at a time and enjoying our girls.
Makenzie is transitioning so well. There hasn't been much jealousy to deal with at all. If anything, our biggest challenge is that she wants to touch her and hold her and talk to her, all day long. Which isn't conducive to a sleeping baby and she isn't always the most gentle with her. Life with two girls is awesome and I'm so thankful for them.