Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Baby!!!

Y'all, we have a baby! Who has been here two weeks. And we are smitten with our littlest!

Tuesday morning, August 20, I woke around 5am with contractions. Hard, painful contractions. The Engineer's alarm went off. He rose to shower and I said nothing...just bit my lip and counted through each contraction. About the time he was stepping out of the shower, I told him to stay home. I was pretty sure it was the real thing. 

He looked a little skeptical and asked me if I'd been timing them and I got a little snippy and suggested he go on to work and I'd just call him when the baby arrived. (Lovely. I know.) Around 7:30 my contractions tapered out. And I just knew I'd been wrong. It was false labor! Had to be. And here I'd told him to stay home from work. And I'd been a jerk about it.

He suggested we "get things moving." So I raked the driveway and a chunk of the backyard. And then headed inside to sit for a bit. Which quickly turned into me lying down. In the bedroom. With the door closed. 

The children watched TV. We'd had a false alarm two Sundays before. They weren't holding their breath. 

At 10am The Engineer decided we should go on and send the kids to a friend's house. I was still worried it was false labor. He wasn't. Our sweet friend arrived at 11. She stepped back to the bedroom to visit for a few minutes. By then, The Engineer had insisted I get dressed and make sure my things were ready to go. I was lying across the foot of our bed when my friend arrived. We talked for about ten minutes. I didn't have a contraction while she was here. Again, I was sure it was false labor...and was growing more mortified by the minute...The Engineer had stayed home. He'd called family and alerted them. The in-laws were on the way. My friend (who home schools) was sacrificing her entire day to keep our kids. Eek What if it wasn't the real thing!? 

She took the children. Three more contractions...The Engineer said it was time to go. I rose and began making my way to the car...still afraid it was false labor. (My contractions weren't regular - they were crazy...eight minutes, then two minutes, then five minutes, etc.) 

I saw the breakfast mess and declared I would NOT leave such a mess to come home to. And I began to clean. The Engineer was freaking out a little keeping things in perspective...promising he would clean it up later...would I just "GET IN THE CAR?! "

Two more contractions and I was dying. I got in the car. I made him pull over at the foot of our driveway...another contraction. And it hurt bad.

We pulled into the parking garage of the hospital. He found a spot near the entrance. It would be tight. He suggested I get out prior to pulling in...I got out. Contraction. Right beside a Mercedes. I was afraid to lean on it, for fear I'd set off an alarm. I put my hands on my thighs, bit my lip, and counted.

The car wouldn't fit. I got back in. We had to park elsewhere...we'd almost made it to the hospital entrance. Contraction. Good night they hurt.

We made it through the entrance and to the elevators. I could hear the doors opening as another contraction hit me. It was all I could do to remain standing while I leaned hard into The Engineer.

We made it to the L&D floor. The nurses sent me to Triage to be checked. Bam. Another contraction. I felt like I might fall over. I was still afraid it was false labor.

The nurse checked me. I was between 5-6 cm. It was the real deal. She stepped out and then popped her head back in, "You gonna want an epidural?" 

Fear gripped my heart. Dare I? My back hurt so bad during most of this pregnancy and I always bruise badly for several weeks from the epidural...and so towards the end of my pregnancy I'd decided I wanted to try and power through and have baby au natural...as in...without any pain meds. 

My OB had suggested I have a game plan for dealing with the pain. We read about the Bradley Method, thanks to a sweet friend's suggestion. That same dear friend told me if I went in planning to bite my lip, I'd bite right through it. She was tremendously supportive and helped me navigate planning/prepping for this new territory.

And so I answered, "no." And I was kind of scared. Afraid I wouldn't make it. Couldn't make it.

And so they wheeled me to L&D and called my doctor. I was lying on my side, gripping The Engineer's hand through each contraction. The nurse was precious and very supportive and even waited between contractions to mess with things like the belly monitor, etc.

My doctor popped in, checked me...this time I was between 6-7cm. She broke my water and told me to prep for super strong contractions. The nurse said, "oh they'll really pick up and get intense now." Y'all, I could not fathom anything stronger than what I was already feeling. And...when they broke my water, they discovered meconium...and explained that we shouldn't panic if baby didn't cry right off the bat...that they'd be handing baby off to the peds staff. My doctor stepped out.  

And my heart sank. I prayed. I reminded myself that God is sovereign. Over every detail. Even when it's not what we want. There was peace in my heart, but sadness as I pondered the reality that His ways aren't ours. Not my will, but His be done. And I wondered if it was a good thing I'd guarded my heart. If the worst happened, maybe it wouldn't hurt quite as bad.

I had one more contraction on my back and had to roll to my side. I promise they were worse on my back. I had another contraction and panic set in. I needed to push. STAT.

I yelled to the nurse. Another contraction. She needed me to roll over. I couldn't. It hurt too bad. Finally, I rolled. She took one look and The Engineer says she panicked...it was SO time to push. She was flying all over that room, calling for the doctor, grabbing things, etc. The peds/nursery staff came running in. Oh, it was exciting. My doctor came running in. She was rushing so and fumbling with her drape...telling me to "hang on."

Another contraction seized my body and she gave me the "go-ahead"...and it felt so good to push. I was gripping both sides of the bed. Freaking out a little bit. I mean, this wasn't my first rodeo, but I kinda never felt anything much with the others.

And then there was that awkward pause...where the contraction has passed and you're sitting there in stirrups and everyone is just hanging out. Waiting. And I'm thinking, "childbirth is so glamorous!" And then my thoughts shifted to my baby...I wanted baby out...away from the meconium.

Contraction. More pushing. The Engineer held my head up for me. Another break.

One more contraction and oh my - it hurt so bad. I just wanted baby OUT! Like - I would do anything, just get that baby OUT!! I've never felt anything like it. The ring of fire (which wasn't as bad as I'd imagined), the urge to push, etc. It was crazy. God made our bodies crazy intricate. Amazing.

I pushed hard. And got a little vocal. Baby's head was out. One more push and baby was completely out. I fell back in the bed, exhausted, my eyes closed. I was gasping for air. Relishing the empty feeling following birth. Not to mention how weird it felt to actually feel what had happened. Baby screamed. My heart breathed a sigh of relief.

And my doctor said, "It's a GIRL!!!!!" Y'all, I was so exhausted - just trying to breathe again - I smiled, but couldn't even open my eyes to see her. She quickly handed her over to peds. The Engineer didn't get to cut the cord. He stayed right by my side, holding my hand.

I'd finally caught my breath and looked over at baby. They were wrapping her up. She was just fine. Perfect, in fact. My heart beat with gratitude and thanksgiving. Baby girl was healthy and we'd done it. I birthed a baby without meds. And The Engineer had coached me through. And let me dig my nails into his hands. He'd held my head and encouraged me. We did it. 

They placed her on my chest and neither The Engineer nor I could stop the smiles. We stared and unwrapped our precious bundle. We called her by her name. I fed her. We traced her fingers and nose. It was magical. There is nothing more attractive than seeing my man with that wedding band on his finger holding our new baby.

And then they whisked her away for her bath, etc. The Engineer got to be a part of all of that. I stayed in bed and begged for a snack and advil. Only - things had happened so fast (about an hour and a half from arrival to baby in arms), none of the paper work or info had been entered into the computer. So no advil. I did get a coke. (smile)

And then the strangest thing happened. The nurse returned and I got up, out of that bed, and walked myself to the bathroom. Like - without assistance. And hello, no catheter this time!

They moved us to our room. I went in a wheelchair and upon arrival, got up out of that wheelchair and walked to the bed. The nurse gave me the low down and told me to call her the first time I got up out of bed. Hold up - no need to call. I was ready. And I got up out of that bed by myself. I was steady on my feet. I felt FANTASTIC!!

So here's the thing...natural childbirth is incredibly painful. My ectopic pregnancy is the only thing that could possibly compete with the pain level. But, when you forgo the epidural, when it's over, it's over. I liken it to a Dave Ramsey vacation. Pay cash and when the trip is over, it's over. It doesn't follow you home to be paid for later. If I knew then what I know now about the recovery, I would've gone natural every single time. And I am all for modern medicine! It's just, this experience was awesome. Amazing. And the recovery - oh my - SO MUCH better! The Engineer couldn't get over how quickly I was "myself" again.

The other thing about this experience is that things happened quickly and we missed out on taking any pics pre-delivery. We didn't even get a shot with my ob. And we certainly didn't get "it's a girl" on video...which makes me a tad bit sad, but it is what it is and the memories are precious.

Later that evening the grands arrived in town and gathered our older three and brought them to the hospital. My in-laws waited in the hall while we told the children. (We sent a mass text letting friends know baby was here, but withheld her gender so the children could find out first.) 

They were SO STINKIN' EXCITED! And it was so sweet to see the Lord give all three of them the desires of their hearts - and how precious that He would unite them on that front. The girls wanted a baby sister sooooo badly! And Little Man wanted a China brother soooooooo badly. They were thrilled. So thrilled, in fact, the grands heard their excitement and figured out we'd had a girl before they even set foot in the room.

And ha - Little Man was right! Maybe he does have a future in sonography!?

Because he'd been right (and because they were all bickering over who got to go first), The Engineer elected Little Man would hold her first. He was smitten. It was so sweet to see. The girls each took a turn and then the grands. We had a sweet, sweet visit and love spilled over.

A dear friend came right after that, with two HUGE slices of delicious chocolate dessert! It was amazing. Just what a new mama needed. We had a sweet visit and turned in for the night.

Baby girl (who is named for The Engineer's and my paternal grandmothers) had a full day on day two...girls from small group stopped in and there was all the busyness of the hospital and doctors buzzing in and out and a birth certificate to file, etc. By the end of 48 hours I was ready to head home. Sort of. I do enjoy the hospital stay. 

Head home we did. All SIX of us loaded up, snapped a few pics, and hit the road. It was a sweet homecoming. Sister wanted so badly to carry her new baby sis into the house. We let her. It was precious. They had decked out the house and Sister made the most precious poster that's ever been for her new sister. The table was set and there were pink balloons on the mailbox. The children had picked out a little gift for me in celebration of baby girl. 

Little Bit seemed a tad disinterested at first. Since then, she's pretty much fallen in love. We should've had three babies...one for each of the older siblings. They have struggled to share baby girl. It's both incredibly annoying and absolutely precious. We finally settled on giving them each ten minutes of alone time with her each day. This has gone a LONG way. 

Sister is a pro with baby girl and such a blessing to me! Little Man loves to "settle her" and insists he has the magic touch. And Little Bit is queen of waking baby girl at inopportune times as well as helping me change Baby Girl's diaper, which usually means a lot of interest in the mess that is in the diaper, rather than actually helping me change it {wink, wink}. But gather supplies she does!!

Little Bit has had a rough go of giving up the "baby" throne. She insists she's still "the baby!" Fine by me. For now. We'll hit our stride eventually and I'm okay with taking some time to get there.

Today, on baby girl"s two week birthday, we have our first day sans the fam. I teared up when my mil left and again when mama left. It was such a blessing to have help for so long, and yet it's such a blessing to be just "us" again, and to begin discovering what the new normal is. 

The Engineer left for work early this morning. The children and I got moving a little later. Our social worker was scheduled to arrive at ten to update our home study. I'd cleaned upstairs last night, laid out the kids' clothes, and had downstairs fairly picked up. (She needed to see baby girl as well as the nursery - which is another story all together.) Two out of three had meltdowns over the clothes they'd agreed to wear. One decided to sling a urine soaked pull-up around and around and threw it in the hall where it exploded. Said child took a broom and began trying to sweep the sticky gel mess into a pile. That was totally not effective. And the broom was nasty with gel bits. I lost my temper and yelled. I mean - it's just a social worker coming by to verify that we are doing well with this fourth child so she can update our homestudy so we can adopt a fifth child. Ha.

And there is nail polish all over the girls' toilet and bathroom floor and in their sink. I've just confiscated every bottle of nail polish owned by Little Bit. I've already had to apologize to the children for how ugly I've acted and spoken. Little Man jumped on the guest room bed and did flips, etc. WHILE the social worker was in there checking out the nursery (which is also the guest room) despite knowing he was disobeying plus my repeatedly telling him to stop. Sister is quite emotional. Little Bit has ponies all over the living room floor where the girls played while I visited with our social worker. And as I type this, Little Man has just dropped his lego box at the top of the stairs. It broke open and legos have showered down the steps - which makes a terrifyingly terrific sound...so there are 4.1 million legos EVERYWHERE. Baby girl has thrush...and so do I. Ouch! My goodness - it's painful. It's a little bit crazy over here, y'all. I'm a little overwhelmed today. Mostly by attitudes. But I suppose (and hope) a good bit of that is detox - from two weeks of fun times with the grands and the excitement of having a baby.

And this is just a season. And it will pass quickly.

For my benefit, and to keep things in perspective...We have a beautiful, healthy, precious baby girl and three other healthy children. Our adoption is rocking along. God is providing for us, above and beyond. It's crazy. And I may have shed a few tears, but it sure is good. And we'll figure it out soon enough. And we are thankful, so thankful. I am still in awe that God has given us this little one. That He knit her together in my womb. That she is fearfully and wonderfully made - with great intention and purpose! And still, I am in awe that she lived. That we made it. That God's perfectly sovereign plan was to sustain this precious little girl and to entrust her to us. I pray we will honor Him in the way we live the Gospel before her and I pray that He is already whispering to her, softening her heart, calling her to Himself.

Precious baby girl, flesh of my flesh, you are a wonderful, good and perfect gift from God. You are amazing and we are in awe of the gift of you. You are so loved, so celebrated, so rejoiced over! We love you, sweet girl!


7 lb 12 oz


1:19 pm

Happy Birthday, baby girl!!


  1. CONGRATULATIONS! What a perfect, beautiful little girl! And you look absolutely radiant!
    Many many congratulations - reading this beautiful post has made my day!


  2. Congrats!!! Excited for you all and I loved reading your story!

  3. Congratulations! She's beautiful, and it was so touching to read the story of her birth.

  4. a beautiful blessing to a beautiful family. hang in there! you will find your groove in this very new and very full season. praying for you!

  5. Praises and blessings! I relished reading every word of this post-- so beautiful! Baby girl is out of this world precious, and these pictures are amazing! So thrilled for your family! Praying for y'all in these beautifully hard newborn days!

  6. And also trying not to be jealous as I wait the last long month until we meet our fourth. This beautifully written post tugs on every one of my heartstrings!

  7. Congratulations! I found your blog by way of Camille, Flowers in His Garden. The thumbnail of a birth story caught my eye as I am one who loves to read birth stories. When I came to the end of your post my first thought was "That was one of the best birth stories I've ever read." I'm guessing your writing style comes pretty naturally to you so you may wonder why I felt that way, plus, I think it's always nice to get feedback on ones writing so here's my impressions. ;o) Funny without seeming intentional,I could relate to you. The stress of an important event (social worker coming to give you the once-over) on a day that is already challenging (hubby going back to work leaving you with 4 little people). Yelling and then feeling bad about it... All of this is stuff that makes us moms say "yep, been there." Sometimes I think "how can I avoid these days, how can I schedule things better so this doesn't happen?" But maybe these are the opportunities for us to see how much we need our savior and keep us on our knees as our only hope in the day to day battles. I will definitely be reading more of your posts and I pray that you enjoy your babymoon and all the blessings God has for you.

  8. Yay!!!!!! I am so excited for your family! Blessings to you all. BTW- my third was natural and I actually kicked a nurse bc she was stroking my leg. It was crazy painful, but I can't even recall exactly what it felt like now 6 years later. :) I did have to laugh bc I noticed that I held my breath for the delivery part of your story.


  9. As I was reading this, my music in the background was playing "Overwhelmed" -- a great song, but more importantly, a very appropriate song. Congrats.

  10. Sweet Jennifer...we are thrilled for you...THRILLED!! And, your little one...she is perfect. Do you think she looks like Sister? Your photos are gorgeous...as always. Love you MUCH! XOXO

  11. So very happy for you and your family! Your story is amazing and heartfelt. I enjoyed reading, as always! Thinking of you during this new season of your life! Blessings!

  12. She is so beautiful! Lily and I could hardly stop looking at the pictures. I prayed for you for all those years and it brings tears to my eyes to know God gave you the desire of your heart. His presents are so wonderful aren't they. I knew you will raise the child in the admonition of The Lord! Love you and am glad you got to experience the painful version! LOL! It gives you a whole new level of understanding!

  13. Oh i am bawling!!! Thank you for sharing your story. She looks exactly like sister!!!!

  14. Oh i am bawling!!! Thank you for sharing your story. She looks exactly like sister!!!!

  15. So thrilled for you all! What a blessing, what joy! Natural childbirth is so cool! I felt like I was feeling your pain or at least can recall T & MC's births when I was reading the birth story. It's so neat how God created our bodies! Enjoy your sweet bundle of joy and I look forward to hearing how life transitions with the newest addition and soon to be another new addition! Praying for y'all and your Chinese baby :)

  16. Oh Jennifer - she is amazing and precious! So sad I wasn't there to come visit :( praise The Lord for this new life. Beautiful birth story, you rock!

  17. LOVED reading all the back story!!! So exciting. So many blessings. Can't wait to meet this little one! And the pictures are absolutely gorgeous!

  18. oh my!!! congratulations!!! she is precious!! loved the entire story <3
    so happy for all of you!!!

  19. Awwww, precious story! I haven't been around here lately so it's so special to catch up with you. Congratulations on your gorgeous new addition and now I'm reading you're waiting for more? How fabulous! Enjoy every minute.