This pregnancy, I was much more confident and verbal about the desires of my heart. I prayed for specific things, which can sometimes feel so petty. People (and the enemy, hello) can be quick to dismiss a detailed prayer, say “oh but anything will do!” at the end as if they didn’t really mean the whole prayer. Nah, not this time. I prayed for everything I could think of, of the very very best for this birth and for Hannah, and for our family in general.
I had a summer pregnancy with no swelling! No back pain. No sleep problems. It was very hot and that kind of heat plus belly combination is a challenge. I was the sweatiest mom at the park chasing my toddler, hands down. Some days I just wanted to lay down and take a nap, but with a toddler it’s not that simple. The tiredness hits, but it’s not yet nap time. Then nap time would come just after I had caught my second wind, and it’s really hard to wind down. Looking back, was there regret in planning for another baby so soon? Absolutely not. Holding both of my daughters in my arms now is a priceless blessing. The temporary exhaustion and discomfort of things like having a giant belly and maneuvering a toddler into a car seat… it’s just that– temporary. I had the thought “how do people have multiple kids?!” when I had just become a mama and felt overwhelmed by my one baby. Then the time passes and that baby can ask for a snack and walk and sleep much better, and say “I love you.” Somehow our hearts just make room for more.
For the sake of recording this, let me just list a few of the specifics I was praying for Hannah and this birth.
-A faster birth (than 19+ hours 😂 the odds were favorable here!).
-But not too fast! I hoped we’d have enough warning to get my mama in law to our home to be with Emília.
-I wanted to be able to do bedtime routine with Emília so I prayed for a day time birth.
-I prayed for no tongue tie for Hannah! Emília had such a hard time with hers, and breastfeeding was so painful with that challenge. So skip that!
-I prayed one of the midwives I really connected with to be on call or be able to be there. The day before I went into labor, God reminded me that HE would be there and that’s all that matters! He’d pick the right team to help me, and not to worry about specifics, so I surrendered that and stopped staring at the midwife on call schedule, which of course I had obtained. 💁🏼♀️
– No jaundice, healthy loss of weight for baby (not too much!), no trauma, no infection, no skin problems, perfect healthy organs.
– Group B Strep negative so I didn’t have to deal with any needles whatsoever during birth.
– That I’d be brave enough to at least try the birthing tub. Last time I was like a feral cat, and wouldn’t get in the water.
– I prayed for a calm baby, for her to be able to sleep on her back. Healthy startle reflex.
-No tearing, no hemorrhage, no complications, no decels, no fever, no spike in blood pressure, no vomiting.
One could say I tried to be thorough. Every single prayer was answered.
Now that you’ve read the lengthy introduction, here’s THE BIRTH STORY.
On my due date (the 18th), my mother in law came over to be with Emília in the afternoon. I had lost my mucus plug (bloody show) the day before, and I knew I needed to rest but also wanted to go for a brisk walk, too. So I thought “I’m gonna walk, then grab this freebie frozen caramel coffee from Chick Fil-A, then shower, then nap.” I did something along those lines. I wasn’t trying to induce my labor but it worked.
My brisk walk just after 5pm…
My chick Fil-A frozen caramel coffee…
About 7pm, I started getting contractions, but they were little fluttery ones. Steady, not stopping, but very easy to ignore. So I ignored them! We did dinner and bedtime routine with Emília, and went to bed about 10pm.
At midnight, two hours later, I had to get up because the contractions felt uncomfortable in bed. They were under 4 minutes apart. This was no drill.
I woke Buddy up, went downstairs to sit on my yoga ball, texted my doula, and called the midwife. And looky looky, the midwife on call was Nicole, the one who caught Emília! She’d be “on” for seven more hours, so I was delighted my uterus had made an appointment with her again. We love her so much!
She said to go ahead and call for my mother in law, this is happening, and to check back in an hour or if my contractions take another turn up.
At 1am or so, my mother in law arrived and settled in on the couch with the baby monitor. Meanwhile I labored at home, staring at my birth affirmations, drinking coconut water, totally relieved that my kiddo was asleep and wouldn’t have to be disturbed at all.
Contractions kept on, and at 3am they kicked up a notch. At 3:15, I called the midwife again and let my AMAZING doula know it was go time. Buddy and I drove to the birth center at the most convenient time, ever. No traffic. We got there in a blink.
I insisted on a selfie before we walked in. Look how rested we are!
The same room I had Emília in was available, the water room, so that’s what we chose! I spent some time on the bed for my contractions to get just a little longer and for me to reserve some energy, then I got in the birthing tub.
The tub was like rainbows and unicorns compared to laboring outside of it. All the pressure of the weight of my belly was lifted and contractions felt completely different. I went through transition and my water broke, then I started trying to push in the water. It was just after 7am. Talk about less than 19 hours, you guys!!!
Pushing in the water wasn’t happening for me, I needed gravity, so we went to the bed.
Again, I ended up in the dangling off the bed situation (which the midwives called The Keasler position now 😂) and looked around to see that I had four midwives present. The original three from Emília’s labor and birth (Sara, Shannan, Nicole), and then the midwife who was officially on duty as of 7am, Vanessa. I felt so supported! You’d think having a full room at the birth would be nuts, but I knew these ladies and had gone through two pregnancies and a birth under their care… It was so exciting they would be there to share this with me.
I pushed for about an hour and this is when I wish I could say “oh I checked out with Jesus, I was off in a distant land, pushing was amazing, I could finally feel progress” like I experienced with Emília’s birth. Nah. Nope. I am sorry to the first time mamas or future mamas who may read this and think “yikes” but babes, I gotta be honest. This hour of my life was very painful, definitely undignified screaming fire nightmare stuff… But it was one hour, so in perspective, I was in major pain for one hour to birth a child. Ring of fire? I experienced it. I was being encouraged to push, but during some contractions I just screamed. If it had been a home birth, the cops would have been called! 😂 It was such a blessing to hear the encouragement all around me, to be present, to feel my doula right there and hear that I was doing great… Last time I was so, so, so tired that I don’t have vivid memories like that. The entire time I was pushing, I was praying in my mind against the fear of tearing, trusting God in that, praying to make room.
I am grateful that I didn’t have any pain medications, because I am certain I would have torn if I couldn’t feel the pain that made me push so slowly and take the rests I ended up taking. And one hour of pain versus the thought of possibly tearing because I pushed too hard while numb? It’s a personal choice to be made by each mom in the moment, but I favor the labor pain.
Because I was so rested, I was present. I remember. I was vocal. We did get the birth on video, and I’m still not ready to watch it with the audio on! I turned up the volume just to hear the part where Hannah actually came out and was put on my chest. My first words were “Yes, yes, praise You Jesus!” 😭
Hannah Madelyn was born at 8:17am. I labored at the birth center for less than 5 hours this time! 8lbs 3oz, 20 inches. Head circumference was in the 95th percentile so that’s about as big as a baby’s head gets… Maybe that’s why I felt so much pain? The second she came out, instant relief, pain over.
Thankful for the Atlanta Birth Center and trustworthy, loving staff.
Here is us leaving the birth center.
We got home just after 5pm on the same day, well before dinner, and I got to snuggle Emília for bedtime that night. Answered prayer!
Recovery has been much better this time, physically and emotionally. Hannah is super calm, a champ at nursing (no tongue tie!), and beautiful as can be. Emília is so sweet and concerned with her, wanting to share her paci when Hannah cries, wanting to play this little piggy with her toes, and give her hugs and high-fives. I’m excited to see them play and grow together. It fills my heart to know they’ll have each other.
Please keep my family in your prayers as you remember us. We are learning how to function with our newest member, and doing our very best, but oh how we need Jesus. Every hour, right? Pray for unity, patience, rest, health. Pray for grace, for trust, for peace. Pray for us to act in the Spirit when we’re tired, and to enter into God’s rest. Pray a blessing over my marriage, that we will keep finding the laughter and keep our hearts so grateful for each other, thankful to God for bringing us together and entrusting us with these beautiful girls. He is Our Cornerstone. He is the reason and the winner in all of our happy endings and breakthroughs, and our comfort and Helper through trials.
The quiver is filling up, you guys. Welcome to the fam, Hannah.