I got the most wonderful package in the mail yesterday. Our birthing photos have arrived! I'm super excited to share these with everyone! I didn't want a lot of people in the delivery room with me, so I'm thankful my husband convinced me to go forward with hiring a photographer. We went rounds and rounds about whether to hire one. It's hard to justify paying another person when you know in the back of your head you could just shoot everything yourself, not to mention we just didn't have the spare cash. But just a week before I went into labor, after a good talk with Jedidiah, I realized hiring someone would let us focus on those special fleeting moments. For my family and loved ones who couldn't be here for this wonderful day, please enjoy... but be prepared, there are a lot of photos. It was hard to narrow them down from the 200+ photos I was given and still create a story.
At 3 am on August 4th I started feeling my first contractions. I'm a night owl and I had yet to go to bed. The kids were asleep and the house was quiet. This late hour was my me time and I knew those days were numbered. I was guiltily binging on tv shows that I had wanted to watch all week. Apparently I picked the wrong day to watch them all! I didn't connect at first that these were actually contractions. I only had mild and infrequent cramps. I decided to retire upstairs and pack a bit more for the hospital (yep I'm a total procrastinator). As the hour passed by I started to realize these cramps, contractions, were becoming more frequent. I text Jedidiah and told him I think I'm in labor, from there I started tracking my contractions. There was no pattern to them, only that they were stronger than the ones I had had throughout the month. Jedidiah assured me I was probably fine and to get some sleep. I tried to lay down and rest but I couldn't sleep. My mind raced with all the things I had yet to accomplish before delivery. I wasn't ready! I had planned to go into delivery, scheduled, with washed hair, freshly put on make up, well rested, and SHOWERED! But God has a sense of humor and today was the day I was to deliver... not 4 days later (or my actual due date the 13th). Another 30-45min had past and I decided to get up and put myself together so I didn't go to the hospital entirely gross. It was difficult to get dressed and put makeup on while my contractions grew stronger. It was, however, a welcoming distraction while I waited for Jedidiah to get home. As soon as he got home we woke up the family and raced off to the hospital. The drive there seemed like the longest drive of my life. We caught every light on the way. I screamed to go faster! I was NOT going to deliver in a car! It was another 30 minutes before they got me into a room and I feared I'd have to deliver without an epidural.
As I was saying, I did not want to deliver drug free. I'm not one for pain and while I praise those who go without, I am not one of those ladies. Of my three deliveries, this one was by far my most painful. My contractions were consistently about every 1-2 minutes and I was only 5 cm dilated. In the photos above, while we waited for my epidural, the alarms kept going off... I had low blood pressure.
When the time came to push, the doctor wasn't there. With being early my own doctor was gone on vacation. The one on call had already lost favor with me. He was slow about everything and not very friendly. The nurse however, Jessica, was amazing. She was there for us the entire time. Aren't nurses a blessing?! She helped start my pushing but mid way out she made me stop so the doctor could come and do the rest. I've never had to wait mid push and this doctor took forever! I'm so sad I didn't have my own wonderful doc there. With each passing minute I started to become anxious. I could feel more than I would have cared to. I clicked on the epidural button as much as I was allowed.
At long last the doctor arrived and I was able to finish pushing. I was so exhausted and eager to meet our precious new daughter. I can't remember how long I pushed, to me it felt like hours, so it was probably only like 10 minutes.
And with one last hard push I heard her cry. That beautiful soft and sweet cry. All that anticipation and growing emotion swelled up inside me. Like any proud and relieved mama, I cried, we all did.
There are a lot of things I wanted done this pregnancy, like delaying her bath and umbilical cord but like any delivery, sometimes unexpected things happen and plans change. Shortly after Isla was born they placed her on my chest, she cried but was blue in color. They tried to warm her against my skin but it didn't work. Jedidiah cut her cord and she was whisked over to the heating lamps. She had a lot of fluid in her lungs and struggled to breathe. After a few minutes I began to panic. My other girls didn't have this problem. I wanted to go to her but I couldn't. I laid helplessly from across the room as I looked at the backs of doctors and nurses trying to remove fluid from her lungs. She gurgled and cried. My husband and Piper stood over her crying. I cried too and worried for Isla. We prayed for her safety. I kept hearing, there is so much fluid. After about 20 minutes (the longest 20 minutes ever) the nurse asked if she should go to NICU. The doctor said yes, if we can't get more out. They said her breathing was really rough. They used cups on her back to help break up the build up. My poor girl, she had to endure so much stress so early in life.
After about 40-45 minutes Isla was in the clear. I don't remember the amount or the terminology used but they cleared 2 vials full of fluids from her lungs. I was told that was a very large amount. Her color slowly returned too.
Once in the clear we were allowed to hold her for a while before they weighed and measured her. Weary from crying and the stress of birth Isla didn't stay awake long. It was some time before I was able to nurse her.
It has been 6 weeks since Isla's birth. Minus a mild cold she is healthy and doing well. She was the smallest of my girls, the fussiest, and the one with the most hair.
I hope you enjoyed this small look into our little world. This is probably the most intimate photos I've shared openly.
Photos (minus the last one) are by the lovely Tessa Lane of Mountain Folk Photography.
Take Care & Enjoy,