Tag Archives: childbirth

Remy’s Birth Story

I’ve had several people ask me lately if I would be sharing Remy’s birth story.  Since we’re celebrating his 6 month birthday, I thought today would be perfect.  If you are just joining us, you can find more information about our birth plan here.  Every birth may or may not go as planned but ultimately a healthy mama and baby are key.  It’s pretty crazy thinking back at how our plan slowly but surely came to fruition.  In the end, I was thankful to experience a beautiful, unmedicated water-birth free from any intervention.  This day will forever remain in my memory as one of the most spiritually fulfilling experiences this side of heaven.  I had my husband and my little sister by my side throughout the entire day, and my best friend there to document. The peaceful presence that surrounded the day was something unexplained.  And, yes, while the labor was hard and exhausting the reward was far greater than anything I had endured in those 22 hours.  Without further thoughts, here’s the story of my first birth…

I woke up just before midnight of Remy’s due date to my waters breaking – at first I didn’t know if that was what was actually happening because it was a slow process.  Greg called the midwives, and we spoke with Cathy who recommended I try to rest and monitor the leakage.  My emotions were full on so its was hard to rest.  I made some hot tea and simply lay in bed next to Greg.  I was in awe that it was all really happening.  I prayed, “Lord, let my labor begin soon so that Remy is safe from any infection due to my waters breaking before labor begins.  Send your Holy Spirit to be my guide, my peace over this journey of birthing a new life into this world.  Peace, perfect peace, I pray.”  After approximately 22 hours of labor our precious first born son entered the world via water birth at 9:34pm.  Greg, Adrienne and Britney were with me throughout the day – laboring this little one into the world with me – I don’t know if I could have done it without their help and encouragement.  The contractions first started around 2am and were slow but steady.  I tried to sleep but was still too excited.  Fear never overcame me but I was anxious to see how the entire experience – the one I had been preparing for mentally the past 10 months – was going to play itself out.  I called Cathy around 5am, and she let us know it was time to make our way over to the hospital.  I didn’t have the option to labor at home because my water broke so early on.  We (Greg, my mother-in-law, and myself) gathered our things and headed over to drop off Greta (our sweet pup).  At this point contractions were still spaced out about every 6-8 minutes.  We arrived at the hospital around 5:45am, and I was pleased to find out that there was a chance I’d get the tub room!  This was something I had envisioned for Remy’s birth but knew it may not be available because there was only one room with a tub.  Thankfully, it became available around 7am and they transferred me.  I didn’t mind laboring at the hospital v. home.  I was feeling energetic and full of life, which made sense;)  My nurses and the hopsital staff were all so supportive.  We all made jokes every time they saw me pass in the hallway.  By 8am contractions were every 4-5 minutes, and I was 2cm dilated.  My pain was about a 2 on a scale to 10.  Dad, Peggy, Kathy and my mom were in and out throughout the morning.  I’d walk the stairs to progress the labor, and it definitely helped.  My dad and sister walked stairs with me, Brit and Greg did another time – it was wonderful having their company.  As time went on, labor did too, but slower than my midwife was hoping.  She mentioned we may have to start a Pitocin drip if we didn’t see progress by the noon check.  I was adamant about not having any interventions.  I knew my body was doing what it needed to do.  By the afternoon I was progressed to 3cm.  I didn’t let this bother me.  It was really important to only allow positive, peaceful thoughts – everything was taking its course as needed. By 3:30 or so, I along with everyone else in the room could tell my body was progressing and in full on active labor.  My mental state became more focused, and my dad’s pain level jokes weren’t so funny anymore;)  At this point I depended on the constant encouragement/help from Greg and Acy for every single contraction.  The music playlist I had helped, too.  I can remember the one time throughout everything when I felt worn down and mentally exhausted.  It was around 5pm or so.  I was really ready to get in the tub and contractions hurt badly.  Cathy checked me shortly thereafter, and I was between 5-6cm dilated…enough to get in!  The rest of my labor was spent in that tub.  The water therapy helped alleviate some of the weight and curbed my exhaustion though I wouldn’t say it took away any pain.  The urge to push finally came about an hour or so in.  It took some mental adjusting for me to trust my body and allow it to take control.  Once that happened the entire room was very focused both during and between contractions.  I can remember saying I couldn’t push anymore but somehow you just keep on.  We got into a rhythm where I would raise up on the bars, Greg would hold me up under my arms, and Acy and a nurse would push counter pressure on my legs – I couldn’t have physically done this without their help.  We continued this until little man was born.  When his head started crowning, I could see him (there was a mirror), and I had one thing in mind: COME OUT!  Cathy told me to feel his head at one point, and I remember not wanting to because I didn’t want to get ahead of myself.  Pushing felt like forever. It didn’t hurt like the contractions prior because it gave me something ‘to do’ if you will; however, doing anything 20 hours into labor was exhausting!  In the very end, it almost got easier.  His head came with one of those exhausting pushes, and we all watched in awe of that little head in the water so unaware of what was about to happen.  The time between that and the next contraction moved very slowly for me.  I could literally feel his body turning as we watched his head turn and prepare for the rest of his body to be born.  And then it happened…one last push and he was out.  Greg helped Cathy raise him up to my chest straight away, and I can remember him just laying so sweetly and quietly.  He never cried.  He slowly opened his eyes to look up at Greg who was still standing over my shoulder supporting me.  We waited until the cord stopped pulsating, Greg cut the cord, and we all sat there exhausted, overwhelmed and in completely awe of how Remy was now here with us.  It is a memory that brings tears to my eyes when I just think about it.  I honestly believe the journey of labor and birth gives us a small glimpse of how our overall journey through life is played out.  We aren’t promised the road may be easy.  The love and selflessness of others surely helps lighten our load.  And, in the end, the reward is far greater than we have ever could have dreamed it to be. I had people love me and help me carry on in my most vulnerable state.  Every time I think about it, I can’t help but think of grace and of beauty amidst the suffering.  I’m reminded of a peace that surpasses my understanding and a joy I cannot describe. I am thankful.

“…but the purpose for which we have been created shows us the path along which we should go, perhaps strewn with many thorns, but not a sad path. even in the midst of intense suffering it is one of joy.” *pier giorgio frassati

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Friday Favorites

Is it already Friday?  Wow, this week has flown by in our household.  There is a lot going on between my wrapping up the work year and the huz vigorously prepping for finals that start in two weeks (have I mentioned that he’s in his first semester of law school?).  Meanwhile little R is a happy camper doing his part in growing like a little weed;)  I mentioned in last week‘s favorites that I’d have some great info to share this week for all the mamas & mamas-to-be since I didn’t have much in that post.  This week I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on pregnancy and labor.  I watched the 4 part series More Business of Being Born, which is a follow up to The Business of Being Born.  I highly recommend them both…to everyone.  Whether you are pregnant, thinking of having a baby, or simply interested in the birth experience, they are worth the watch.  One thing I love is how they interviewed several women our society sees as beautiful, sexy, talented: Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington-Burns, Gisele Bundchen, Alanis Morisette, and others.  What most of our society probably doesn’t know is that each of these women gave birth naturally – unmedicated, not induced; some in the comfort of their home, all with a doula present – by choice.  They share their stories in such a beautiful and empowering way.  I highly recommend!  Anyhow, without further adieu, here’s the rundown on favorites for the week…

For little R (18wks)…
playing with his toes;)
visiting with his great aunts & uncles from VA
drooling all over these colorful bibs (they work wonderfully!)

For myself…
eyeing West Elm’s Essex Ottoman in Lagoon
sharing exciting business news for Magnolia Pair
being inspired by Chanel’s attention to detail, backyard dinner parties, & snowy France

For all the mamas & mamas-to-be…
watching More Business of Being Born (the follow up to The Business of Being Born)
loving this idea of a Dear Baby Book with letters & photos for baby
reading When BabyWise Fails for encouragement on sleep issues
pinning an awesome diy playhouse, cardi& bowtie set, & a fun playroom

Here’s a preview from my birth experience documented by the lovely Britney Smith.  I’ll share more images and my full birth story next month. Enjoy the weekend. xoxo…*holly

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Friday Favorites

*I’m starting a new weekly post called Friday Favorites!  Feel free to skip down to simply view the list, or if you are interested in reading my long winded tangent on how I decided to do so, here goes…;)  This week has proved itself the most consistent yet since little R was born.  He will be 4 months next week.  As of last weekend I started to note that he was becoming more consistent on his own with when he wanted to eat, sleep and wake.  I started re-reading through my sleep book as well as various blogs with 3-month old sample schedules.  I came to realize that many of them say similar things .  By 3 months babies are capable of self soothing and learning a routine.  Most would argue that they need routine similar to how they need food and rest.  That to say, I decided to sort of create our own method by combining what I thought would work based on R’s personality.  As I type this, he is sleeping soundly after having self soothed himself to sleep (no crying! just a little sucking on his hand).  It’s amazing, really.  For us it took two days or so for him to be okay with going down alone before falling asleep.  He never cried more than 10 minutes (which he actually only did once).  A part of me feels like my desire to go in, sweep him up and cuddle him at the onset of a cry is more for my comfort than his because for the past 3 days he consistently sleeps for atleast an hour at every nap, 4 times a day.  He has also gone down to sleep at night by 7:30, and sleeps until 4am with a dream-feed at 10:00pm (he doesn’t wake, but I wake/change/feed him).  Now…we’re going off this past week alone so I’ll update you if anything changes;)

With this consistency has also come sanity for mama!  After the first night when he went down at 7:30 I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I am usually either exhausted or hurrying to get something done in the chance he might awaken in a couple of hours.  That hasn’t been the case since starting this schedule.  I’ve had time to read, to write a few letters and send some birthday packages, to work on my calligraphy and to journal.  All of which got me thinking about this new “Friday Favorites”.  It gives me a way to look back and reflect on the week, to see the small things that have grown me as a person, not just as a mama, in the past week.  I don’t pressure myself for it to be anything big but just something…anything that inspires or encourages or makes me a better mama by my growing in other areas of life, too.  It also serves as a personal record of how much change can happen in a short week.  I’ll share my favorites for little R, for myself and for all the mamas & mamas-to-be out there.  Feel free to check in every Friday to see what I’ve been learning about or inspired by throughout the week!

For little R…
reading Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read with My Eyes Shut”
loving his Baby Bjorn Bouncer (he can finally kick in it himself, and he LOVES it)
listening to Yeasayer Pandora station…it’s his favorite;)
playing with Kushies Zolo Boa Stacking Rings

For myself…
reading  “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child”
listening to Chelsey Scott’s new album, “The Faithful” 
thinking about taking this online calligraphy course 

For all the mamas & mamas-to-be…
reading Manhattan’s Rockstar Doula
loving Henry’s vintage nursery
pinning a french birthdaycostume ideasteepees!and just plain cuteness😉

And because I can’t leave a post without an image or two. This cute guy turns 5 today. Happy to YOU, Simon! and Happy Weekend, all.  xoxo…*holly

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The Beauty That Comes from Suffering

I wanted to share this recent interview from CBS News with Annette Ross, a mom of four who was paralyzed from the waste down as a result from an epidural during the birth of her second child.  I share it for two reasons: the first because I hear from many people during talks of childbirth how ‘dangerous’ vaginal births can be.  Her story shows us that epidurals surely aren’t foolproof.  Secondly, and more importantly, I share because she encourages me with her beauty and faith.  Even as she speaks in this interview she is glowing.  She recognizes that beautiful things can come from suffering, and she is living her life, raising her 4 precious girls with that wisdom and reality.  Her story is one of beauty and strength, and she shares a small glimpse of that with us…

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Our Birth Plan

This past weekend Greg and I ventured to Nashville to spend time with family and friends who threw us a baby shower for little Remy.  As we loaded the car, both of us just looked at one another and said, “This is happening.”  I’m sure every first parent has this realization at some point…the moment when you are surrounded by tiny little clothes, bottles, Dr. Suess books, a stroller that will all-to-soon hold your baby…your baby that you created.  It is surreal.  We’ve got about 9 weeks to go until our little man enters this world, which means just 2 short months to finish preparing.  I have started working on our birth plan that explains in short detail what we desire for an all natural, un-medicated labor and delivery.  Every birth doesn’t go as planned so it simply shares our desires if things do fall into place without any complications.  I thought I’d share what I have with you as of now in the chance you, too, are in the same process, or have thought about it but didn’t know exactly where to start or what to include.  Again, this is our personal plan as a couple so take and leave what you will!

 Feel free to comment or shoot me an email if you have questions about something I noted on the plan.  I can talk about birth all day long 😉  And here’s a preview of our family with my little growing bump that Britney photographed for us two weeks ago.  We can’t wait for Greta (our pup) to meet him, too!

Enjoy the day!  xoxo, *holly

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