We could not be more thankful to God for allowing us to raise this precious girl. These past two years have been the best of our lives, and we know that joy and love is going to continue to grow for all our days on earth.
Happy Birthday to our first born!
This past weekend Stephen and I celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary! I can’t believe we have already been married 5 whole years, but then again I suppose it doesn’t surprise me when I think about all we have done and accomplished.
We bought our first home. Have had 2 beautiful children. Stephen is a youth pastor and was ordained this past fall. And best of all, I have finally mastered cutting his hair without my moms help
Sarah stayed with her grandparents for the weekend, and our friend Melissa, who lives right up the road, watched Ella for us so we could have a few hours of one-on-one time. To celebrate Stephen did what he knows I love most – took me out for mexican food! There is a new restaurant near our house, Margaritas, and it passed my salsa test with flying colors! Yes, I have a test for mexican restaurants, and it completely revolves around me liking their salsa. Margaritas, you are my new favorite spot – and your bean dip ain’t too bad either!
Here’s a picture of me and my hubby during our date night.
After dinner we came home and watched the newest Batman movie. Afterwards we picked Ella up and snuggled on the couch for a bit. It was a nice and relaxing evening. By Sunday morning we were very excited to see Sarah, so Elanor and I made our first appearance to the church morning service. She slept through the whole thing. It went perfectly, just like our entire weekend!
To end I will show you what Stephen got me. The man knows me so well I don’t know why it continues to surprise me when he comes up with the perfect gift… –
He had a comic artist he follows make this for us. Our newest family portrait! We are ordering a frame for it because it’s 20 x 30 – that’s right, our first above-the-fireplace (that we don’t have yet) portrait/artwork. I love how Sarah is chasing a butterfly. That is SO her personality! I can’t wait to hang this in our home!
I looked at Jenny with a dumbfound look. Am I ready to have our baby? Did she really just ask me that? All I knew at that moment was that I was beyond thankful that she was done checking me. That contraction was the worst, and all I was concentrating on was not pulling away from her while she did her job. I couldn’t believe we were at this point already. Was it actually go-time? With a bit of excited confusion I asked her back “You tell me, are we ready?” I don’t know what I was thinking or expecting, all I knew is that I hadn’t mentally prepared myself yet. I was in labor with Sarah for over 24 hours, and this time it had only been 7 hours since my first contraction. I think she could sense my hesitation because she asked me how I was feeling and I told her I felt a lot of pressure and like I needed to push. It’s true when people say you feel like you need to go to the bathroom. And yes, I do mean “bathroom” as in you feel like you need to poop. Thankfully it’s just the sensation that feels similar, and not the outcome! She told me if I felt like it was time to push then it was exactly that, time to push.
While some nurses scrambled around we discussed birthing positions. I did a lot of research on this subject and told her I was interested in squatting. She got a nurse to grab the squat bar and attached it to the end of the bed. I tried standing and getting into a squat position and it was.NOT.happening. It hurt my knees and was far from natural feeling for me. I blame my height, squats have never been my thing. I hated them in high school and I guess I still don’t like them to this day. Jenny suggested what I’m going to call the “C” position. After deciding on a position that felt comfortable and natural I got mentally prepared. Just like that. It took me less than 10 seconds to realize and accept that this was happening. I was ready.
While Jenny was getting prepped, and I was working through a contraction, she asked me my feelings on having med students in the room for the delivery. I don’t know if it was my honest thought, or being asked the question during a contraction, but I told her “sure”. (This split second decision would prove to be rather interesting a bit later). Jenny got all her medical gear on and asked me if I wanted her to break my water. It wasn’t a question I had thought much about. I guess I just assumed it would happen on it’s own, naturally. I asked Stephen what he thought and neither of us were against the idea so we went for it. Less than a minute later I felt the strangest and warmest release I’d ever felt. I had heard from a lot of people that after their water was broken they felt a lot of uncomfortable pressure and their contractions were a lot more painful. I didn’t feel this. I guess I could have felt pressure, but wasn’t aware because it was after this that I started pushing. While trying to get into position a contraction started and I did my first set of pushes. I had no clue what I was doing during the first 2 pushes. They told me “curl your body like a C” and all my brain heard was “you’re doing it wrong” and I kept thinking “how the crap does my body make a C?” Turns out it’s really simple to figure out when you aren’t trying to think during a contraction.
I finally figured out the correct positioning and it was time to push again. I grabbed the hand grips, held my breath, and pulled my chin into my chest. Jenny and all the nurses were telling me “Push! Push!”, so I did. I did 3 pushes during that contraction. While waiting for the next contraction Jenny was telling me she could see the head. We were only 1 contraction in and she could already see our baby. I was excited and shocked. Before I knew it it was time to push again. I was pushing as hard as I could, 1 push and then another. I know it may sound crazy but I really don’t remember any pain. It certainly wasn’t painless, but it wasn’t so unbearable that I didn’t want to push. We made it through that 3rd push and Jenny told us “Look at all her hair.” I looked down and could actually see our daughters hair. It was incredible. She had a lot of dark hair, just like her sister did. It came time again and Jenny, Stephen, and the nurses were cheering me on to push. I pushed as hard as I could through 2 pushes and on the 3rd I stopped. I needed a break. The nurses were all saying “Push” and I told them “Hold on. No, I need a break.” I know my body, and I knew to stay in control and keep my energy up I needed to stop, so I did. I told them “I feel like I’m going to pass out, I just need a moment to breathe”, and they all listened. Holding your breath while you push is tough. During my very first set of pushes they told me not to waste any energy on making any noise, put all your concentration and energy into your pushes. That’s what I was doing, and that’s why I needed a moment to catch my breath.
I was feeling good again and then it was time to go another round. My contraction started and I pushed as best I knew how. I remember while I was pushing I could hear Jenny saying “keep pushing, her head is almost out”, so I did just that, I kept pushing. After that contraction I looked down and saw our little girl for the first time. I remember hearing Stephen say “Cassie, she’s so beautiful” and I remember saying “Look at those cheeks!” She looked just like Sarah, except with the cutest little chunky cheeks I’d ever seen. I love that I have such a vivid first memory of seeing our daughter. Being so aware and alert just staring at her face while Stephen held my hand. Another contraction came and I closed my eyes and pushed with all the energy I had left to push with. It was during this moment that Elanor was born. It was an incredible sensation, feeling our daughter being born. I watched as Jenny had her in her hands and immediately brought her up and laid her on my chest. She had started crying while they were rubbing her off and Stephen and I just stared at her. Then, it happened. That instant and incredible love that people talk about. The one you worry you won’t have with a second child. Stephen and I both asked it…”Will we love her enough?” “How can we possibly love her as much as we love Sarah?” It’s the most amazing thing feeling that new bond while your heart fills with love for this new child. I didn’t get to experience those thoughts and sensations with Sarah, and I was so thankful that I was finally getting to have this moment.
It all happened so fast. It had been less than 30 minutes since Jenny came into the room to check on me, and we were already holding our new baby. I never would have thought that it could go by so fast.
Stephen was kissing my head and telling me how happy and proud he was. I was able to have my dream delivery, and it was far beyond anything I could have imagined. Any pain I had felt was gone. I honestly don’t remember it hurting. I know that probably sounds crazy, but it’s true. The moment I was done with that last push and they were bringing our new daughter up to our arms all I felt was joy, excitement, and love. The endorphin rush was stronger than anything I had ever felt.
While we were admiring our little girl Jenny came and gave me a hug. I loved having such an open and strong relationship with our doctor. We told Jenny exactly what we were wanting and hoping for with this delivery, and she helped us achieve just that.
I was physically ready this time. I even thought I was emotionally prepared, but anyone who’s had a child knows there is no way to prepare yourself for the overwhelming love, joy, and thankfulness that fills your heart and mind. The emotions are all there, along with feelings you can’t explain and weren’t expecting. Then, before you know it the experience is over and you have your story. The story you’ve been dreaming about for 9+ months. That, my friends, is the beginning of Elanor’s story.
While sitting around the house today Stephen came up with a great idea. The man knows me, so when he mentioned going on a walk I was sold!
When we were talking about the idea Sarah got really excited and immediately headed for the front door.
Thankfully we have those [frustrating] white child-proof door things, so she had to wait for us first.
We got the baby loaded up in the stroller, packed on some warm clothes (because it was unusually cold today), and headed outside.
Here are some photos from our little adventure.
Living in the country has its perks. Sarah moo’ed at the cows and actually pet the horse that came up to us.
We had a great time. I’m so glad phones have decent cameras so we can easily capture moments like today when we don’t have our actual cameras on hand.
Now I’m laying on the couch with Elanor asleep on my chest, Stephen playing a video game with some friends in TX, and Sarah sleeping soundly just down the hall.
On Wednesday we celebrated Christmas with the Wells side of the family. After a day of pigs-in-a-blanket, swapping gifts, chowing down on stocking-candy, a yummy roast lunch, and eventual napping, we headed out to the Gulf Breeze Zoo. Every year they set up Christmas lights and we had never been before and knew Sarah would absolutely love it. Well, turns out we were right! The girl had a blast. It also happened to be one of the coldest nights that year, so we had to bundle up nice and warm for the outdoor show.
Here are some photos from the evening, and as a special treat there’s a video at the end!
It was slow, but it was something. The nurses watched the screen a bit and one of them left the room with instructions to grab a few things. Her heartbeat wasn’t as strong as it should be. She was fluctuating between 90-115 bpm.
They started by giving me something to stop my contractions. I knew this was what they needed to do, but it also had me worried it was going to completely stop my labor, like what happened with Sarah. They then started a bag to hydrate me. Because we came in first thing in the morning I hadn’t drank much or eaten anything since the night before. The nurses wanted to hydrate me and said that could help solve everything. We waited for 30 minutes while the IV bag emptied and there wasn’t any progress. Her heart rate was still low. Next they started another bag, but this one had dextrose. The thought was that some sugar/energy would cheer our girl up and have her back to normal. Skipping breakfast wasn’t like me, but that day was far from our average morning and I simply forgot to eat. Not even 5 minutes in and her heart rate was picking up. Praise God, it was working! Seems our little Elanor is like her momma and gets cranky and difficult when she’s hungry. By the time that bag finished she was back to normal. Strong heartbeat in the 150-160 range. The nurses were finally comfortable and going to give Stephen and I some time alone. They instructed me to stay me in bed a while longer, no walking or moving, giving her some more time to recuperate.
The peace and quiet was nice. I think that was the first time I took my eyes off the monitor since everything started. This whole crazy thing began at around 9:30 and I wasn’t allowed to get out of the bed until after 11:30.
When I got the go ahead Stephen grabbed the Ab ball for me so I could start moving around. There’s something relaxing and kinda fun about laboring with an ab ball. Stephen sat and talked with me while I rocked around hoping to get my contractions back and steady. After about 15 minutes on the ball I was able to start walking around again. It felt great. Things were finally getting back on track. While stuck in the hospital bed I had stopped feeling the contractions because they’re intensity had slowed way down, but based on the screen they were coming every 5 or so minutes. They were short and weak, but I was so very thankful that my body hadn’t decided to go backwards.
At noon my midwife came in to check on us. We chatted for a bit and Jenny asked if I wanted her to check me then, or wait until she came back at about 1:30. I voted to wait. An hour and half wasn’t a long time, and I wasn’t emotionally ready to find out if I was still at a 5 like I had been earlier. I knew that if I heard I hadn’t progressed any it would be a big blow to my confidence. That, and checking for dilation isn’t exactly comfortable on a laboring woman, so getting the option to wait was nice.
It was just Stephen and I again, I was listening to Enya on my phone while walking my earlier path and started having to take bathroom breaks. Thankfully my walking path lead into the bathroom, so it was pretty convenient. After alternating between walking and the exercise ball I needed a change. We buzzed our nurse and she came and helped us get the whirlpool filled with some warm water. This was the best decision yet. I stepped into the tub and slowly lowered myself into the water. I had to lift my gown I was wearing and because the fetal heart rate monitors were waterproof I didn’t have to adjust or move them. The moment I sat down I felt instant relief. Warm water has a way of doing that, relaxing the mind and muscles. After sitting down I noticed that the jets for your back were positioned kinda weird, but the foot jet was wide open, so I sat with my back to the faucet so the jet could hit me directly where I was feeling my contractions. The water pressure was just right. I just sat there, for close to 30 minutes, listening to music with my eyes closed. Stephen would come check on me every once in a while and chat for a few minutes. I felt like I was in my own world. A world with no pain or back labor. I wasn’t feeling any discomfort during my contractions, so I stayed in there until just a few minutes before Jenny was supposed to come and check on things. -
It was just before 1:30 when I got into the bed. It didn’t take any time at all to start feeling the contractions again. They were coming fast and sitting in the bed made them pretty uncomfortable. After about 15 minutes I felt a contraction starting and asked Stephen to help relieve the pressure. He started to press on my lower back, like he had done numerous times that day, and as soon as he started to push in I told him to stop. The contraction in my lower back hurt and the extra pressure felt horrible. I had 2 contractions like this. The second one happened when Jenny was coming into the room. Stephen was telling me to remember to breathe and I was swaying sideways to relieve the extra weight on my hips. It was this moment that confirmed everything I had read and heard about laboring in a bed being the worst place possible. Jenny walked over and checked the monitors. My contactions were coming less than 2 minutes apart. She asked me how I was feeling and I told her. I felt great before I was sitting in this bed. The last 2 contractions were the most painful I had felt all day. She listened to me talk and then asked me to lay back so she could see where we were at.
Not 10 minutes before, while we were waiting for Jenny, I had asked Stephen to pray that I was a seven by now. 7cm dilated, that’s all I was hoping for. I wasn’t too tired, and things were going really well, so I was hoping to hear we had progressed some after everything with the IV’s and bed-rest from that morning.
I was laying down when Jenny started to check me and it was at that same moment that I had another contraction. It hurt like all get out. Jenny is known to help stretch you, which any laboring woman appreciates, but that doesn’t mean it’s painless, and to have a contraction at the same moment was far from pleasant. I was arching my back and squeezing Stephen’s hand, hoping to hear her say 7cm, when something completely different happened. I heard Jenny say “she’s in +2 position and over 9cm”. While I heard the words I didn’t really comprehend what she said. Not a moment later Jenny looked at me and asked me the last thing I was expecting, “So, are you ready to have a baby?”
In case you missed it, here are the links to the earlier posts of the Labor Story: Part 1 & Part 2