author ● sojourner ● mother artist

author ● sojourner ● mother artist

Meet Olivia {and her birth story}

Olivia Jane

November 1, 20123:55am8lbs 13oz21in

It’s not uncommon for my baby’s to go past their due date (my boys were 10 and 11 days past due) and Olivia was no exception. With her original due date October 19th and her adjusted due date October 28th, she came when was ready and on no one’s timetable.

{she could have been the 400th birth at our birth center, but even that title didn’t tempt her}

The hard part? Having people ask me over and over again, “How much longer you keeping that baby in there?” “Are you still pregnant?” Fun questions to ask a woman lingering past her due date great with child.

— — —

On Wednesday October 31st, we went in for what I was hoping would be my last prenatal visit (although I had hoped the previous week would have been my last) and my midwife stripped my membranes in hopes to prompt labor. It’s quite a fun process, especially when you have a high uterus.

Not long after that I started to have contractions and then continued about twice an hour for much of the afternoon. We went about our day with lunch at Panera, took the boys to the park, and walked around a pond to help things progress. At this point I didn’t think anything was happening and that I’d probably be pregnant for a few more days. So once we got home I started my pre-labor ritual: scrapbooking. Considering I was scrapbooking Otto’s birth (almost 2 years ago) tells you how much I scrapbook these days.

There must be something about me and scrapbooking, because I could tell the contractions were staying regular and getting a little closer together. Around 5:30pm I figured I should start timing them just in case they progressed to labor.

I was still unconvinced.

Since it was Halloween and we’d already gone to a costume party over the weekend, we had planned to carve pumpkins and bake an apple pie. So, yes, I baked an apple pie from scratch while the rest of my family carved pumpkins. Joe and my mom would occasionally peek at the counter to see how close my contractions were coming (about 7 – 10 minutes).

We ended up letting the boys stay up late (9pm), since I felt bad not taking them trick-or-treating and the pie wasn’t done until 8:30pm. Joey nearly cried when he realized it was Halloween and there’d be no trick-or-treating. He seemed okay when I told him the baby might be coming and he’d have a new brother or sister in the morning.

After we put the kids to bed, I got in the shower to try to relieve some of my back pain (ie, back labor) and then tried to get some sleep. Sleep came for 2 hours in 6 – 8 minute increments. So not much sleep at all.

Around 12:30am we called my midwife, Leigh, and let her know where I was in labor. She said she’d be at the birth center by 1:20am. We got our stuff together, told my mom we were leaving (she’s been at each birth and is my photographer), and were on our way.

We got to the birth center at exactly 1:20am and made our way to the purple room. Leigh asked what I wanted to do and I said I wanted to get in the tub. At this point I still wasn’t convinced this was “real” labor. I got in the tub hoping anyway.

[I had a water birth with Joey (my first) and we joke it was my zen birth. I had probably the best experience you can have with first time labor and birth. With Otto there were no birth centers available and he was born with a midwife in a hospital. Completely different setting and I was very anxious. I was eager to return to the birth center atomsphere and be allowed to labor and deliver in the water. With Otto I had to get out of the water once I was ready to push, which for me was during transition. Walking while cold, wet, and in transition equals lots of “I can’t.”]

I spent about 2 hours laboring in the tub with two jets aimed perfectly at my lower back relieving some of the pressure. During that time Leigh mentioned we could break my water and it would help progress things, but that it was my choice. I kept saying, “Sure, after the next contraction,” but didn’t ask for it. She said I could try to break it on my own with a good push (which is what I did with Otto), but my pushes felt so weak and uncomfortable I couldn’t do it.

[Even though this was my third natural birth, I always get a bit nervous. Not that something bad is going to happen, but at the pain. I know it’s purposeful pain and it’s mangable, but I still fear it. I had prepared by reading lots of Ina May Gaskin in the days and weeks before birth trying to remind myself it’s natural and remember the pain management techniques.]

Between each contraction I’d remind myself that I could do this, it’s natural, and I’d see my baby soon (we didn’t know the gender). During contractions I’d say to myself over and over “for the joy set before Him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). It’s the verse I’ve used with each labor.

I knew I wanted to labor in the water and try pushing on my knees or in a modified squat to help move the baby down, shorten the birth canal, and lessen my back pain. I knew breaking my water would intensify contractions and bring on the pushing, but my track record for pushing had been 1.5 to 2 hours and I was hesitant to increase and lengthen my pain.

Finally, when Leigh asked the third time if I wanted her to break my water I said yes. I was feeling quite exhausted and was actually falling alseep between contractions–which was a first for me! I knew the longer I just labored the more tired I’d get and harder it’d be when it came time to push. At 3:45am, Leigh broke my water. I ended up having a contraction as it broke and breaking it wasn’t as painful as I thought it’d be. But…oh goodness, that baby came in full force.

Pushing happened quickly and transitioning to my knees took my weak pushes into painful, but extremely powerful and effective pushes. Let’s just say I made my mom cry and screamed the most I’ve ever done in labor (which was 2 screams between my first two labors).

I could tell things were moving quickly and it was the first time I could actually feel the baby crowning without being told. At one point Leigh told her assistant to check for fetal tones and a moment later said, “Nevermind. You won’t have time.” They tell me I pushed her head and shoulders out in one contraction. I believe it. Leigh caught the baby and passed her to me as I kept saying, “Oh, baby, baby.” It was a minute before I realized I was holding our baby girl! From the time my water broke to time she was out was 10 minutes. Fastest pushing yet!

I was exhausted and it was the first labor where the happy hormones and endorphins didn’t kick in. We cleaned up, rested for a bit, given the health-okay, and headed home to introduce the boys to their little sister.

— — —

She’ll be 2 weeks tomorrow and it’s crazy how fast the time goes already and how it seems like she’s always been with us and how much pink it now in our house!

We’ve been adjusting well and have a lot of help. The upside to Joe still being unemployed is he’s here to take care of Olivia and me, since his dad is visiting the boys have been entertained by Grandpa.

Joe’s ready to buy a gun to protect his little girl and we’re debating whether her eyes will be blue or green. I’m betting on green. We’re trying to remember to take pictures and not just on our phones. As for me, I’m finding if I keep my hands and my mind busy the postpartum crazies stay {mostly} at bay…and taking my happy pills helps too .

[Postpartum has not been so kind to me in the past and since I’m notoriously bad asking for help this is me asking you to pray for me. While I may joke about “the crazies” it really sucks to feel crazy-anxious-frustrated/angry-overwhelmed-out of control. It ebbs and flows and so I don’t worry you my husband and midwife are keeping tabs on me.]

So I’ve been watching chick flicks and making little boy bowties and little girl headbands and planning tons of adorable sibling matchingness. They’ll probably ask, “Why, mom, why?” when they’re older, but for now I’m relishing in the fact that they think it’s fun.

I know, I know…I can hear some of you shouting now, “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” I try, but it just doesn’t happen. But I do go to be early…if Miss Olivia lets me.


9 thoughts on “Meet Olivia {and her birth story}”

  • Jess, this is awesome beyond belief! You tell the story so well…and what a tribute to the pink now in your life. Your children are blessed to have a mother with such a gift for words. They will be treasures to them as the grow up. Thank you for sharing Miss Olivia. (for some reason, the “Miss” just seems to fit!)

  • Thanks for sharing Miss Olivia’s birth story. I’m praying for you. Two weeks seems to have flown by. I’ve felt a little more nervous about the birthing process this time around, but at the same time, I feel like I’m too busy with the other two to worry… Funny how that works.

  • What a beautiful girl! Congratulations! She is so precious! I had pretty bad postpartum depression with my first and it is so hard to just get through day by day. The hormones are one of the hardest things to deal with! My second is now almost 7 months and I am still a mess from all the hormones. Can’t wait for that fog to end. Praying that God will continue to keep the postpartum depression under control.

  • Dear friend………..what a precious gift you have along with your two other special gifts. I am so happy for you. Praise God for your family. My family will be praying for you and I completely understand postpartum. We will also be praying for the two big brothers and the beautiful new sister and also for that Daddy who is getting his gun ready!!! Congratulations.

  • how did I miss this? Wow–10 minutes! I didn’t get that crazy endorphin happy clappy feeling after Caprice was born either. She’s lovely and the birth story was as well. I hope you are doing well.

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