Birth is beautiful! A big THANK YOU to Julie for sharing your birth story!
“If I could give an expecting mom two pieces of advice for the big day, it would be this:
1.Hire a photographer
2.Write it all down as soon as possible
As all moms out there know, those tiny fingers and toes grow painfully fast and while it’s the most amazing experience of your life, you WILL forget so much more than you think or ever hope to. Those two things will help you remember more than anything else.
Anyone who knows me or has visited my house can tell you that I’m passionate about having pictures. I’m not very sentimental about any other items I own, so I was ultra-supportive of Melissa’s photography dreams from the very start. I’ll never forget the day she told me she wanted to do birth photography. We were spending the day letting our kids play on the playground and have some ice cream to celebrate her youngest daughter’s birthday. I remember there seemed to be some hesitation in her face and voice when she said it, as if she wasn’t sure how I’d respond. But I was so excited by her fantastic idea! From that moment and still today, I’m a believer in her passion to capture those precious first moments. I have seen in her the privilege she feels to have that responsibility and the joy she feels when families are overwhelmed with all the emotions that come with reliving those moments through photos.
When my first two children were born, I put my husband in charge of the camera. The poor guy was going through all the emotions of worrying about me and being excited to meet his baby, and now he also had the monumental task of capturing it all on camera. He tried his best, but I have about 3 pictures per child from those days that I felt were worthy enough to go into a frame. My face is in one of those 3.
With my third, there was no question who would take pictures. Since all of my births were planned c-sections, I felt there wouldn’t be very many photo-worthy moments beforehand. I told her I perfectly understood if she didn’t want to be at my house at the brutal hour of 4:30 am, but she insisted. Now I’m glad she did. As much of a cheerleader as I was before, I can now say from my own experience that having those pictures means the world to me and it was a huge load off for my husband who had one less job that day. I didn’t take my own advice on writing everything down so I had already started forgetting all the “feels” of that day, but they came back to me with each shot she took. It’s hard to remember such a flash of a day when you’ve gone through so many emotions all at once…such joy, pain, nervousness, stress, relief, exhaustion…it’s a lot to take in and hold on to. So do yourself a favor and get a photographer to capture those moments. It’ll take the pressure off your husband/family so that they can just experience the day, and you won’t believe how much those pictures will mean to you…how much you’ll cherish them.
Weeks before Coralie’s birth, I confided in my closest friends that I was praying for God’s peace over me for the day before and day of my surgery because I didn’t want to spend my time living in fear. I enjoyed my last day of pregnancy with a pedicure, making sure I was packed, and also packing my older daughters to spend the night with my mom. I think all my nervousness that day was about being prepared and having everything I’d need.
I took a shower with antibacterial soap and washed my hair that night and again the next morning as instructed. I couldn’t have anything to eat 8 hours before so I made sure to have a little something at 11 PM. I woke a little before 4 to take my shower and get ready. I was feeling pretty good about the day…still just anxious to have everything in place. Melissa arrived around 4:30 and I had to make the big phone call at 5 to make sure we were a “go.”
Thankfully we were because I wasn’t wanting to have to fast for any longer than I had to (unlike some doctors, mine lets me eat right after my surgery). We left right away and picked up my mom because we had to be at the hospital by 5:30 and it was (at least) a 20 minute drive. My mom is such a rock in my life. She said a sweet prayer for the day before we took off. When we got there, they took me to my room where I changed into a hospital gown and was asked all kinds of questions while the sweet nurses were hooking me up to all kinds of devices (IV, heart monitor, contraction and baby heart rate monitor). I was feeling relatively calm and saying silent prayers while watching the clock. Once we were about an hour away, I started feeling more nervous. I remember them rolling the bassinet out, and the surreal feeling about the fact there would be a baby in it the next time I saw it. Finally, it was my turn to be wheeled back.
My mom gave me a hug and a kiss. It was a very short trip as my room was directly across from the hall of operating rooms. Only one was lit up with a room full of female medical staff and a chorus of laughter. I loved how laid back they all seemed. I walked to the operating table and climbed onto it. There were all kinds of beeps and contraptions. This is when the nerves really set in. I began to tremble from the nerves and also the cold operating room. The anesthesiologist was a short, adorable woman and had such a kind nature about her. She explained to me what she was doing as she administered the spinal (or epidural… I can’t remember which I received). I had to roll my back like a cat while I hugged a nurse. I couldn’t make out what any of these women looked like since they were all covered with masks/gloves/caps, but in those moments I felt nothing but support and utmost care from all of them. I have a special place in my heart for this unknown group of “masked” women. In fact, the one I was hugging was whispering encouragement to me as I not only hugged her waist but had my legs wrapped around hers…I was so nervous. Now I think back on that and laugh. When the anesthesiologist told me I was going to feel a “sting” I instinctively began breathing deep breaths through my mouth. Turns out that’s what you’re supposed to do because my nurse told me I was doing it just right. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared. As soon as it was in, my nurse looked me in the eye and said, “Things are going to go really fast now.” I was laid back, and sure enough, there was a whirlwind of activity going on. I remember they did a “count” every now and then…I have no idea what that was about. My body began to feel warm and somewhat calm, no longer trembling. I felt like I should be able to move my legs, but they were completely numb. The anesthesiologist poked me with an object and asked if I could feel it. I actually could which made me uneasy, but she kept poking and pinching and finally told me that she was doing it very hard -but it only felt like a touch. They put the drape on me and the shield. My doctor rubbed my hand, greeted me, and said things would go by quickly. They brought my husband in and he held my hand. My brain was on high alert and full of prayers for me, my baby and everyone in the room. I heard all kinds of clinks and beeps, as well as the care-free chatter from the medical staff…I love how relaxed the room was, despite my own nervousness. They told my husband the baby was coming, and soon I heard the most precious gurgled cry.
They let me have a glance of her freshly born and then took her and my husband to a nearby bassinet where they cut her cord and suction her. Hearing her and seeing her made everything suddenly real. It’s crazy how I went all those months feeling her inside me and anticipating her arrival, but the fact that I was having an actual baby was not reality until I heard those cries and saw her perfect little body. They placed her on my chest and let me have a few minutes to see, touch, and kiss her.
As much as I wanted to soak in that moment, I felt some indigestion (like I needed to let out a big burp) and was afraid I might vomit (although I didn’t feel the slightest hint of nausea). My husband followed the baby to the nursery where they would weigh/exam her. Then he held her until it was time to go to my room.
One of my favorite things about my hospital is that they take their c-section patients straight to their room instead of having to wait in a recovery room. After I was stitched up and the drape was taken down, my anesthesiologist reminded me she was going to give me some kind of “block”. This was something new to me, and it is awesome. She gave a couple injections near my incision with the help of another nurse using an ultrasound machine. I was able to watch the screen while she found where to put the needles. Of course, I didn’t feel any of this and it kept me completely pain free for 24 hours. I had no need for any pain meds well into the next day, and I was alert without the blurry feeling of narcotics.
I was taken to my room where the nurses hooked me up to a blood pressure cuff , heart rate monitor, a leg compression machine, and an IV. Soon my husband and baby were brought in. We spent the first two hours with just me, him, Coralie, and the nurses (another great hospital policy). Daniel and I were able to just swoon with joy over our precious baby while I begin nursing her for the first time.
I have the most amazing family, and thankfully we all live close by for the most part. So after those two hours, we were flooded with visitors and surrounded with love.
Everyone passed our sweet Coralie around and gushed over her.
And that’s her birth…I’m thankful for the experience, my recovery, and everyone who shared in it. I felt the presence, love, and mercy of God throughout it all. I had a very caring doctor and medical staff surrounding me.
I have an incredible “village” of family and friends who give me so much support, strength, and love that I desperately need. I can’t imagine life without them.”