3:46 PM

By Tuesday, November 2, I was a few days past my due date and READY to have a baby. I'd been dilated to a 2 for over two weeks, and had had my membranes swept FOUR times. It wasn't that I felt like I was oh-so ready to be a parent or anything crazy like that, but the mental game was GETTING TO ME. Thankfully (times 100), I was incredibly blessed to not be miserable during the last few weeks of my pregnancy physically, but mentally I was STRUGGLING.

My mom had flown in the night before (Monday) and my cousin April (who was kind enough to agree to be my doula) had come up from St. George a full week previous because she wanted to guarantee she would be here when I went into labor. As luck would have it, I had just been informed by my doctor that he was going to be out of town Wednesday - Friday. PERFECT. Although I was a little bummed my doctor was out of town, I was determined to have that baby SOON because my mom already had her ticket to fly home the following Wednesday, November 11, and I really, really wanted her here for the time AFTER the baby came (as much fun as it was having her here before as well :)) and I really did feel bad making April be away from her husband for so long. (Even though she was being incredibly nice about it.)

Anyway, back to Tuesday morning. When I arrived at my Aunt's house, my mom and my aunt were talking about plans for the day. "We have an idea," my aunt said with a smile. Without missing a beat I responded, "What?! Go hike the Y?? Let's do it!" They both laughed and my aunt explained that their plans were basically the opposite of hiking the Y, aka going to the movie theatre. We ended up going to see a movie (The Intern, in case you're curious) but my mom and I did go on a walk around the neighborhood before and after the movie -- just incase walking might encourage things to move along. Unfortunately nothing seemed to come of it, and even though I went to sleep Tuesday night optomistic I might wake up with crazy contractions, I woke up entirely too-well rested the next morning. (Sidenote: I was (and slightly still am) thoroughly convinced that people only start "real labor" at night, so whenever I would wake up in the morning not having woken up because of contractions the night before, I felt like I would just have to 'get through today' to see if tonight might be the night. haha. By the way, it turns out my theory is kinda true).

I went back over to my aunt's house Wednesday morning (where my mom was staying) and my mom and I talked about plans for the day. We thought about maybe going to the dollar theatre to see another movie just to pass the time, but decided to go on a walk first. When we were going outside for the walk my mom said, "You don't have to do this...but I was just thinking, if we're going to go on a walk anyway, do you want to just go walk the Y-trail for a little bit and then we can stop and come back whenever you're ready to stop?"

I laughed and said, "Sure! Why not?!" (Note: If you know me at all you will see a small glimpse of how much the mental game was affecting my mental capacity, hahaha. This blog post might give you some idea about how much I really really really hate enjoy hiking...)

We jumped in the car and headed to the trailhead. As we were parking, I received a text from Stephen jokingly asking, "Hiked the Y yet??" The timing was impeccable. I sent him a picture of the gate at the trail head and he responded with, "No way. You pulled that from the web." So I sent him another picture of my mom and me on the trail. He responded with, "You've got pregnancy brain! You've gone all opposite on me and actually want to hike! I don't even know you anymore!" It was hilarious.

Although I truly wasn't sure if I would make it to the top...I did. We took PLENTY of breaks, though. :) It was actually a beautiful hike! The weather was nice, too. I was pretty proud of myself for doing it, since I really am not a hiker, nor have I ever enjoyed that hike (or any hike, come to think of it) not pregnant. Since I was so proud of myself, I did what any vain millennial would do, and posted a picture of my mom and me at the top on social media. Within an hour, I had all sorts of advice on ways to "jumpstart labor" coming in! haha. Some suggestions included: bouncing on an exercise ball, walking more hills, pressing pressure points on my feet, and then my friend Ann called with the recipe for a crazy drink-concoction her midwife had recommended to her just a few weeks before. The drink consisted of castor oil, almond butter, Kern's nectar, and lemon juice. According to Ann, according to her midwife, the drink should "get things going" within an hour and a half, and if it hasn't started working within four hours, it's not going to work, so try again in a day or two. Although I was skeptical, at this point I had nothing to lose! I had hiked the Y for crying out loud!! Why in the world would I not at least try bouncing on an exercise ball or drink this crazy weird drink thing?? SO, my mom and I were off to Walgreens to buy the supplies!

I drank the drink at 6:25 p.m. (And here is an incredibly unflattering video to prove it)

After finishing the lovely concoction (and bouncing on the exercise ball a little longer), my mom and I left for Stephen's intramural volleyball game. (He's on a team with my brother Daniel, sister Miriam, and a bunch of my cousins that attend BYU.) About halfway into the game I started feeling reeeeallllyyy sick. No, not like I was going to have a baby..but like I was going to throw up the nasty drink I had just chugged! As soon as the game ended (about 8:10), I felt AWFUL. We headed home and I immediately got into bed and tried to rest. Luckily after a little bit the nausea subsided and at about 9:00 pm I started having contractions. This didn't really mean a whole lot to me because I'd been having irregular contractions for a few weeks that obviously hadn't amounted to anything. After about 30 minutes, though, they were definitely stronger than I'd experienced before and seemed pretty regular. I started timing them using an app on my phone and they were about 3 minutes apart, but not THAT painful. There was definitely more pressure than I'd experienced before, but I was still fine. We watched an episode of Modern Family to see if they would continue to get stronger. They did. I called my aunt and asked if we could come over so I could take a bath in her big tub because I'd read that water helps lessen contractions, and I was curious to see if it would make the contractions go away altogether. She said that was fine, so we got all of our stuff "just in case this was real labor," packed up the car, straightened a few things around the house, (I made Stephen shave hahaha), and then went over.

When we got to my aunt's house things were about the same. I was having contractions about every three minutes, but still they weren't the "can't walk through it/can't talk through it" type of contractions that I knew meant business. I told Stephen he should go to sleep for a little bit just in case this was the real deal. I knew that it was important he had a little sleep because I was depending on his help to get me through the natural labor I'd planned for.

I got in the bath and immediately my contractions stopped. ha. I felt dumb. I was like, "Dangit. Now I've gotten everyone's hopes up and NOTHING IS EVEN HAPPENING." I stayed in the bath for probably half an hour and then I started bleeding so I quickly got out. I'd been bleeding off and on for a couple days, so I didn't really think that much of it. (Especially since I knew by now that my body does crazy things while pregnant and by this point I just stopped asking questions and treated every possible thing as a normal pregnancy symptom.) As soon as I got out of the tub I started having contractions again, so I was just all kinds of confused. Was this baby coming tonight or not?!!?!? I decided that if she WAS coming I would probably benefit from some sleep as well (seeing as my 9 month pregnant self had just hiked the Y earlier that day and I was already really tired...) so I decided to lie down, too. I got in bed (at my Aunt's) at about 12:30 am. Thankfully I was able to fall asleep, but at about 1:40 am I woke up to even stronger contractions that were about 2 or 2.5 minutes apart. After about twenty minutes of timing the contractions, I woke up Stephen (I had promised I'd keep him posted of any changes) and April and the three of us went to the living room so they could help me better work through the contractions. Since I planned on a natural labor, I wanted to labor at "home" as long as possible, because I knew once I got to the hospital I would have monitors on me and an IV, and changing labor positions would be more difficult, so we stayed at the house for another two hours. Stephen and April applied counter-pressure on my back, I tried a few different laboring positions that April recommended, and I tried to stay as relaxed as possible. Meanwhile, I was bleeding a lot but still not paying that much attention to it. Just before 4:00 am we decided that I might as well go to the hospital. April had started timing my contractions and she said they were about 1.5-2 minutes apart and she was slightly concerned that I was bleeding so much. I tried to "take a walk" around my aunt's house and definitely had to stop and give my full concentration to the contractions, so I felt like I was at the level of contractions my doctor had told me about.

We had a snack (toast is what sounded really good to me, haha), Stephen gave me a Priesthood Blessing (I explain a little bit about what that means in the last paragraph of this post), woke up my mom, and the four of us headed to the hospital. What was weird to me at this point was the fact that even though I was having pretty strong contractions, between the contractions I felt 100% normal. I guess I wasn't expecting for it to be such a stark contrast between when I was having a contraction and when I wasn't. I kept asking my mom and April, "Is it normal to have ZERO pain between contractions??" because I was still not completely convinced that I was about to have a baby. I was still so worried that I was getting everyone's hopes up for no reason!

My aunt only lives about 3 minutes away from the hospital, and at 4:00 am there were very few cars on the road, so we got there really fast. We parked and started walking in to the hospital. My mom asked if I wanted a wheelchair, but I said I didn't want one. A few people had commented that "you won't be able to walk into the hospital" implying that I would require the use of a wheelchair, and I wanted to prove them wrong. haha. Yes, even in labor, I am prideful. We got up to Labor and Delivery and I swear the lady looked at me standing there, in zero pain (I was in between contractions) and she gave me a look of, "Oh honey. You are most definitely not in labor." But she was still really nice and got me set up in the room. We asked for a specific room that I had been in a few weeks before (when we thought maybe my water had broken when it actually hadn't -- apparently I don't even know when I'm peeing myself....) and since it was free, they were kind enough to give it to us! That was a tender mercy for me because I tend to visualize things a lot, and since I'd seen that particular delivery room, I'd visualized the birth taking place there. That probably doesn't make sense, but needless to say I was grateful we got the room I requested. :)

I put on the really cute hospital gown on (haha) and laid down on the bed. (Sidenote: I was kind of bleeding everywhere at this point but still not really paying attention to it because I felt fine.) The nurse came in and checked me and said I was 5 cm dilated! I was so glad she didn't say I was at a 2.5 or something because I would have been rather discouraged, and felt really dumb, haha. I asked her if that meant they would automatically keep me, or if they would have me leave if I wasn't progressing. She said that since I was bleeding so much they were going to keep me either way. That was the first time that it actually occurred to me that maybe all this blood wasn't normal, but I was more concentrated on the fact that this meant I was ACTUALLY going to have a baby! I would officially be a mom by the time I left the hospital -- whenever that was going to be. I was so relieved!
^^I think this picture was taken around 4 or 5 a.m., not too long after I was admitted into the hospital. You can tell I'm already pretty tired, haha.

The next 4 hours are kind of a blur. I remember vivid things here and there, but I was soooo tired! One thing I vividly remember is that my feet were FREEZING. It literally felt like I had ice bags attached at the ankles! Thankfully we had some of those microwavable rice-bag things that my mom, April, and Stephen were nice enough to continually re-heat because I was trying to relax/concentrate on the contractions, but it was really hard when my feet were so so so cold! haha.

I mentioned before that I planned on doing a natural birth. People are often really confused about why in the world I would want to do such a thing. I don't blame them. A year ago I would have thought I was crazy! After I found out I was pregnant, I started talking with a few friends who had done natural births and it was always amazing to me to hear them talk about the experience. Many friends talked about how spiritual of an experience it was and how much of a bonding experience it was for them and their husbands. One of Stephen's cousin's I talked to mentioned that she had experienced both natural birth and a birth with an epidural and she unquestioningly preferred the natural birth because it was such an emotional and spiritual and bonding experience, especially for her and her husband. I really liked that. I liked the idea of the labor being a team effort of me and Stephen. Around that time I asked my cousin April if she would consider being my doula. We weren't exactly sure how it was going to work since she lives in St. George, but thankfully she was kind enough to come up a week before my due date and then just hang out until Lydia decided to come.

I prepared for the natural birth by talking to people to who had experience with natural birth, reading a few books (Hypnobirthing, The Birthing Partner's Handbook), reading lots of positive natural birth stories online (on the Hypnobabies website), listening to the Hypnobabies relaxation tracks, and also a few podcasts (particularly one called Hypnobirthing Hub, which I really liked). One of the things that I read - I believe it was in the Hypnobirthing book - is the phrase, "Birth is normal, natural, and healthy." I really liked that and it kind of became my "mantra." One of the things that the books pointed out is that fact that giving birth is unlike any other pain that people experience because it is "productive pain" or "pain with a purpose." I don't think many people would consider breaking a bone or getting a cavity filled "productive" or "natural" pain. Another thing that I focused on in my research is the idea that the amount of pain felt during labor and delivery is dramatically increased with the amount of fear the person is experiencing. When we're afraid, our bodies produce adrenaline, causing our muscles tense up. This is actually the exact opposite of what we need to do. The more relaxed we are, the more our bodies are allowed to perform their natural function, and the more endorphins are released, making the birthing process significantly less painful. (Some people even claim childbirth is possible without any pain if the person is truly relaxed or in a state of hypnosis. Although I was not at that level of relaxation (or really that close to it), the fact that I got a little break in between contractions where I felt zero pain, really made the whole process manageable. I can honestly say that there was never a time where I even considered asking for an epidural. Sure, it was challenging, and probably the hardest thing I've ever done - but after, I seriously felt invincible! ...until they started stitching me up. hahaha. but I'm getting ahead of myself...

Not only was it important to me to prepare myself mentally, I also felt it was of utmost importance to prepare myself spiritually. I knew that my body was capable of performing a natural birth, but I definitely wanted to get as much spiritual help as possible. I set the goal to attend the temple at least once a week for the final month of my pregnancy and I'm very grateful to be able to say I met that goal! I was even able to attend twice some weeks. I cannot deny the amount of peace and reassurance these temple visits gave me.

(Okay...back to the labor...)

About an hour after arriving at the hospital, (around 5 am) I was dilated to a 6. And then an hour after that I was at a 7! I was pleased with the progress I was making. (And yes, my feet were still FREEZING.) But then...I stopped making progress. A few hours later and the most intense contractions yet...and I was still at a 7!! It was so discouraging when I would ask the nurse to check me again and again and I was still at a 7. Plus, I was so so so tired!!! Stephen even played me my all-time favorite song in an effort to help wake me up..but my eyes were soooo heavy! Sometimes I would fall asleep in between contractions, which was actually bad because then, when the contraction would come, it would startle me, so I would tense up and not be relaxed like I needed to be. Switching up labor positions regularly was helpful in keeping me as awake as possible. Although I didn't mind laboring while just laying on the bed, April said that it wasn't a recommended position because it might make Lydia turn her body to be facing the wrong way. SO, instead, I used an exercise ball, tried to use a peanut ball (but unfortunately never really figured out how to make it work for me - it just felt really awkward), and hung on Stephen. Literally, like, I would put my arms around his neck and when the contraction came I would put allll of my weight (which I will admit was .5 pounds less than his weight at the time) on him. He was a champ for letting me do that, although I'm sure it was uncomfortable for him.

When the nurse was checking me (one of the times when I was still a 7...) she said that BabyGirl's head was really far down, and so was my water. She suggested having the doctor break the water (basically with a small needle) because she was convinced that that would speed things up. I was scared about that idea because I'd heard that the contractions get a lot more painful when the water is broken, but I was sick of being at a 7 and I really wanted to get things moving (again). So, I agreed. Unfortunately, the on-call doctor (because, remember, my doctor was out of town) was busy in an emergency C-section so she wasn't able to come right away. They thought she would be there soon. I admit that I did not have a very good idea of the timeframe in which things were happening...but I would NOT say the doctor came "soon." haha. And next thing we knew, she was being called away to do an emergency D&C.

She did come in to check on me really quickly before heading on to the emergency D&C, and let's just say...the first meeting did not go very well...

Looking back now, I realize that she was probably in an "emergency situation" mindset and that's probably why our first encounter went the way it did. But when the doctor came into the was not what any of us were expecting. Stephen described it as feeling like she came in and "punched us in the stomach." I'd been at the hospital laboring for about 6 hours at this point, and the doctor came in, took one look at the amount of blood that I'd lost and basically said we needed to prepare ourselves for an emergency C-section. WHAT?? It was seriously out of nowhere (from my perspective anyway). This is what I remember:

The doctor came in and was talking to the nurse, I wasn't really paying that much attention. I was laying on the bed at this point working through the contractions. I could feel a contraction coming on, so I did my best to relax into it. April was great at coaching me on breathing techniques and the one I found the most useful was doing "horsey lips" along with a low humming sound when I would breathe out. So I did this and the doctor kind of stopped what she was saying looked and me and then said (I'm not really sure who she was talking to directly), "Does she not have an epidural??" Unfortunately I would not describe the doc's tone as one of amazement, nor was there any indication that she was was more like a tone of "this girls' an idiot" haha, but I was at least happy about the fact that she'd been in the room for over a minute and she didn't even know I was doing a natural birth!!! haha! (It also goes to show that movie birth-scenes are greatly over-dramatized because not once during the entire process did I ever scream or yell mean things at Stephen, haha.)

So then the doctor says, (I think to me) "You really should get an epidural now because if we have to do an emergency C-section we won't have enough time to give you one (since it takes about 20 minutes for the medication to take effect) and if you don't have one you'll have to be put under general anesthesia and you'll have to have a machine breathing for you and your husband won't be there and you'll be totally out of it, and you won't be able to hold your baby for 20 minutes after she's born."

Okay, okay so there probably shouldn't be quotes because that is not verbatim what the doctor said, but in my extremely tired state that's what I heard.

To sum up, we had two options:

Option 1: Continue with the natural birth (no epidural) and then if an emergency C-section situation arose I would be under general anesthesia without Stephen there and unable to hold Lydia until I woke up (20-30 minutes after the birth).

Option 2: Get an epidural now, basically throw away the fact that I'd labored so long without one, and then be "more with it" in the case of emergency C-section.

But I was still so confused about where the idea that I was going to need an emergency C-section was coming from. I felt fine! But the doctor made it seem like the chances of C-section were REALLY high. I tried to ask her why she was so sure I would need a C-section.

She explained that I was loosing a lot of blood, and since Lydia's head was so far down, there was a good chance that she was blocking a lot MORE blood that might all come gushing (sorry, is that a gross word to use? haha) out when she broke my water.

She then said something along the lines of, "I'll be back in 30 minutes, you'll need to have your decision made by that time." And she left.

Youch. That was unexpected. Yes, it's true I was bleeding, but I felt 100% fine and Lydia's heartbeat had remained strong throughout the entire process so far. Even with that being said, it's safe to say she had us pretty scared.

After the initial shock subsided, we took the next logical step and had Stephen say a prayer. I can't even remember any of the words he said, but the Spirit was so strong. He was crying, so of course I was bawling. The feeling of his love for me and for Lydia, and the feeling of peace from Heavenly Father was undeniable. It was a truly special moment. After that, Stephen gave me another priesthood blessing. When he was finished, we both felt that we should go forward with the natural birth that we had planned. I had confidence that my body was capable of performing a healthy, natural birth, and I knew that if something did go wrong I was in the hands of a very capable (although maybe a little bit scary) doctor, and in the end I would be okay and so would Lydia. My mom and April also felt good about the decision, so we told the nurse that we wanted the doctor to go ahead and break my water without giving me the epidural.

30 minutes went by...and then more (again...time was really hard for me to gauge during this whole process, haha) and the doctor finally came back. (I was still only 7 cm dilated.) And, I kid you not, even though it was the same doctor...she came in the room a totally different person. She came in, sat down, and said, "Okay. I've had a chance to read over your file, it looks like you are a healthy person, and in the notes it said that you wanted to have a "natural" labor. What does "natural" mean to you?"

I quickly ran through the elements of my birth plan that Stephen and I had previously discussed. When I was finished she said, "Okay. We can do that."

It was seriously so weird. Weird isn't the right word. It was amazing, miraculous even. In the last 30+ minutes, her attitude had changed completely, and I am 100% sure it was because of the prayer and blessing that Stephen had given with the assistance of the Spirit.

The doctor broke my water and immediately I was at an 8. Thankfully there wasn't an excess of blood to require the emergency C-section (which, to be honest, I had forgotten was even a worry at that point because I felt so calm about everything). About an hour later I was at a 9...and then things started to get really exciting. haha. Since I didn't have any pain medication, I very strongly started feeling the urge to push. The doctor (or was it the nurse? I can't remember) explained to me that it's really important I not start pushing until I was dilated to a 10, because if I pushed the baby too early, her head would push against the sides of the cervix which would cause the cervix to swell, making it a lot more difficult for the baby to come out. Well, they told me this, and it makes total sense...but fighting the urge to push when your body is telling you to push?!?! Nope. Not gonna happen. I SWEAR I tried. I was trying so so so hard to do what they told me (not push) but then the urge just took over my whole body and I was helpless against it. haha. I kept asking the nurse to check me because I wanted to be at a 10 and be able to push. Although she checked me at least twice without me having progressed, I was pleasantly surprised when she informed me that BabyGirl had hair! She told me it was long enough for her to tug on it! (Since Stephen and I were both baldies when we were born I was thoroughly convinced that we would have a bald baby.) THANKFULLY, within 30 minutes I was at a 10 and I was allowed to push FOR REALS. To say that it was a relief is an understatement. The "pushing stage" was weirdly satisfying. It was this cool "becoming one with my body" moment where I just let the natural process take over. ..Sorry if i'm starting to sound total hippie, but it really is true!

Whenever I could feel that I was about to start pushing, I would announce it (haha, that seems so weird now, but at the time it didn't seem weird at all) and then one of the nurses would count to 10 and I would push the whole time. She would count to ten three times and then give me a rest. It was SO SO SO helpful to have her counting. I even thanked her for counting during one of the rest periods. (Everyone was commenting about how polite I was during labor and I'm starting to get the impression that I was more polite during labor than I am in normal life, haha!) I pushed for about 45 minutes and then, on Thursday, November 5th at 11:52 a.m., Little Lydia came right on out! I didn't realize she was gonna come out all at once like that. For some reason I thought I would push her head, and then her shoulders, and then the rest of her, but nope. Stephen said he now understands why they call it "catching the baby" because the doctor literally caught her in mid-air!

After one minute, the doctor had Stephen cut the cord (which he can't get over the crazy color of. haha.). Then they put Lydia right on my chest. She REALLY DID have hair!!!! And...she was PURPLE. Like, the craziest shade of purple I've ever seen. (The pictures don't show the true color at all.) Apparently that's normal?! I guess that's another one of those crazy things that no one ever tells you. haha. It makes sense though because she hadn't even been breathing oxygen for more than a minute. They put her on my chest and Stephen came over and we just looked at her. She wasn't crying or anything. Her eyes were closed but occasionally they would open for a second or two. Meanwhile the doctor was stitching me up and YOUCH! that was painful. She gave me a numbing shot but didn't really wait for it to kick in before she went in with the needle (which Stephen said looked very similar to a crochet hook).

They quickly took her weight and length (right there in the room) and then handed her back to me. (Sidenote: during the pushing stage we all made guesses about how much she would weigh and I guessed 8 pounds 2 ounces...turns out I was pretty dang close because Lydia weighed in at 8 pounds 4 ounces! She was also 19 inches long.) They put me on potocin at this point to help my uterus contract back down faster, and every (seemingly 10 minutes even though I think it was every hour) they would come push on my stomach to also help my uterus contract and it HURT!...Honestly I felt like that was worse than most of the contractions I'd had.

I got to hold Lydia for about an hour. I could not wrap my head around the fact that this little person had been living inside me for the last nine months. I could comprehend very little, but I was pretty dang proud of the fact that I had actually given birth without any pain medication! In a lot of the books I read they compared the feeling of giving birth without an epidural to that of completing a marathon. I'm not sure I'll ever know the feeling of having just completed a marathon...but the feeling after giving birth to Lydia was pretty exhilarating. (And no, it did not in any way increase my nonexistent desire to run a marathon, haha.)

^^Looking very much like Piglet with her wrinkly little skin and her perfect chub.

...And after that hour passed, the last 36 hours caught up with me and I was EXHAUSTED. I was so so SO tired. Should I mention the fact that I hiked the Y the day before?? and then had about an hour and 15 minutes of sleep before laboring for 10 hours?!?! hahaha. Stephen and my mom went down to the nursery to watch Lydia as she received her first bath, and I took a nap! It was great, and very much needed. Pretty sure I fell asleep in about .2 seconds.

After a few hours they moved me to the "post-delivery" room at the hospital. When I stood up, it hit me how much blood I lost because almost immediately I felt like I was going to pass out. The doctor estimated that I'd lost 700 CCs of blood...which means nothing to me, haha, but apparently that's more than most people? I have no clue. Thankfully the nurse had a wheelchair ready for me, so she took me in that down to the other room.

That evening, we took this picture (our first "official" family photo where you can actually see Lydia's face, kind of.)

Because of the blood loss, they had me stay in the hospital for two days because they weren't sure if I would need a blood transfusion. Thankfully, I didn't. Staying at the hospital for those few days was pretty nice though, getting all the free food (haha) and knowing that there were tons of medical professionals around that could answer our many first-time-parent questions. On Saturday morning, just before noon, I was cleared to go! The nurse offered to take me out to the car in a wheelchair, but since I had walked myself in during contractions, I wanted to be able to walk myself out, too. It just felt right. (Remember that earlier comment about my pride? It applies here as well.)

^^Note to self: Maternity shirts are no longer flattering when you're no longer pregnant. hahaha. Next time I'll be sure to bring some nice baggy clothing...

TO SUM UP: Was natural birth easy? No. It was not easy. BUT, it was absolutely doable. I feel that I was able to do it because I prepared myself mentally and spiritually (there is plenty more I could have done to prepare myself mentally, like take classes, which I was too cheap to do, ha) but more importantly I had an amazing support team. Having Stephen and April and my mom (although we didn't originally think she would be in town for the birth) there was HUGE. It was because of their support and my preparation I never even considered asking for the epidural. Interestingly enough, I never even cried from the pain. There was one point during the labor where I thought maybe crying would help, so I tried to...within 30 seconds I realized that by trying to make myself cry I was scrunching up my face and causing unnecessary tension, making the labor more difficult. I quickly realized that was actually a terrible idea and then didn't have the desire to cry again. haha.

It's crazy how, looking back even just barely two weeks after the ordeal, I already have forgotten what the pain even felt like! I wish I could say the same thing about the agony of the first 6 months of my pregnancy, but unfortunately I cannot! I can honestly say that I would much rather relive a 10-hour unmedicated labor than 6 months of throwing up and feeling all-around miserable. haha. (Stephen agrees because it was so hard for him to watch me feel so crappy for 6 months and not be able to help. He really really loved that during the labor there were things that he could do to literally help lessen my pain.)

Well, if anyone made it this far I'm truly impressed! I started writing this for a few friends who asked about the birth story, but now I realize I wrote this whole thing much more for my benefit than for anyone else's. There are just so many details that I want to remember that I'm already starting to forget!

Being Lydia's mom these past two weeks has been so much fun (and, to be honest, a lot easier than I thought it would be! - Greatly in part to the fact that my mom was so kind to extend her stay so she could be with us during Lydia's first week at home - THANKS MOM, and dad!). Stephen and I always say it's amazing how entertaining Lydia is especially considering she does so little, but I'll save all that for a different post. ;)

_ _ _

PS If reading birth stories is STILL your thing - even after reading this beast of a post ;) be sure to read Stephen's account (which is even better in my opinion) HERE!!!!!!!

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  1. I love birth stories!!! Thank you for sharing. I also went with a natural birth and I remember thanking the nurses profusely during labor and afterwards, I even kissed one of their hands during a contraction hahah! They help sooo much. Congratulations!! Being a mom is the best.

  2. I loved reading this!! Reminded me of so many things about my labor with Kai! The natural pushing of our bodies that you can't hold back, totally know what you mean. It's all so empowering and spiritual. So glad you had such a great experience :)

  3. I'm so happy for you (and so incredibly jealous at the same time)! I'm glad you had such a wonderful experience, and she's adorable!

  4. Congratulations!! I'm so happy for you both! Thank you for sharing :)

  5. Hooray!!! I loved reading all of this. Thank you for sharing it! Oh man. It sounds like you and Stephen handled it all like such champs. Amazing. Amazing!

  6. Such an amazing experience! So glad she is here and everything went well. Can't wait to meet her!

  7. I loved every bit of this!! You are a champion and I love you!

  8. Oh wait, I cried reading that post about Stephen and I bawled through this one. Haha you are so amazing!!!!

  9. Oh wait, I cried reading that post about Stephen and I bawled through this one. Haha you are so amazing!!!!

  10. Hello everyone my name is Joan from USA, i never ever believed in spell until i meet a man called Dr.Ogudugu, who helped me cast a spell that brought back my ex-lover to me within 48 hours. Dr.Ogudugu spells works beyond my imaginations and today i am happily married me and my ex-lover are now husband and wife. What more can i say rather than to say thank you Dr.Ogudugu for been there for me,contact Dr.Ogudugu today and your life will never ever remain the same. YOU CAN CONTACT Dr.Ogudugu VIA EMAIL: OR CALL HIM ON +27663492930


  11. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I had been rejected by my husband after five(5) years of marriage just because another woman had cast a spell on him and he left me with 2 kids to suffer. One day when i was reading through the web, i saw a post on how he help a woman to get back her husband and i gave him a chance he told me that my husband is under spell, he said that he will help me and after 7 days that i will have my husband back. i believed he and today i am glad to let you all know that this spell caster has the power to bring lovers back now my husband is back with after 7 days . he also gave me a financial magic ring to boost my business and removed bad luck. i am now happy with my husband. Thanks you Dr. love please contact him at (lovespelldoctor0@gmail. com)

  12. Good-day viewers that is reading this article, i want to share to the world how this great man save me from HERPES VIRUS 1/2 3years back i was battling with this terrible and disastrous disease which was so detesting,well on my aid of looking for solution all my effort conceived nothing, I was devastated but one day out of great enthusiasm i saw this intrigue testimonies about Dr Ojoka so afterwards i contacted Dr ojoka on his emails: (drojokarootandrootandherbal@gmail com) I explained myself to him and i obeyed all his instruction without protesting any further he assured me that all will be fine and that was it,i was totally cure when i used the herbal medicine that was sent to me,Thank so much sir Dr Ojoka for your help, Dr ojoka also cures several disease such as DIABETES, HIV AIDS, HEPATITIS B & C And many more, incase you are going through this same infection yours can also be cured, contact his mobile or What App : +2348144172934
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  16. I'm Tonia Anderson by name, I am from the States, Suffolk county to be precise. I am here today to testify of the good works LORD ZAKUZA has done in my life, I never knew great men still exist until I found him. I have been suffering from heart break for the past 3 years, my partner who I invested on cheated on me with my best friend on my matrimonial bed, I was yet to recover from this terrible shock and needed help to make him stop cheating. A friend of mine directed me to this spell caster called Lord Zakuza. I doubted him at first but as things went further, I had to give him my trust and I did exactly what he told me to do. Ever since then, I have been happy all my life and my love life with my partner has been so wonderful and all this happened within 48 hours of contacting Lord Zakuza.. You can also need his help for anything and here's his contact information's. Email: lordzakuza7 @ gmail. com and Website: or Call/text/WhatsApp +1 (740) 573-9483.


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  19. I was diagnosed of HERPES Virus in 2020 and I have tried all I can to get cured but all to no avail, until i saw a post in a health forum about a herbalist man who prepare herbal medication to cure all kind of diseases including HERPES virus, at first i doubted if it was real but decided to give it a try , when i contact this herbalist and he prepared a HERPES herbal cure and sent it to me via FEDEX delivery company service, when i received this herbal cure, he gave me step by directions on how to apply it, when i applied it as instructed, i was totally cured of this horrible disease within 14days of usage, i went to the hospital for a test and it was negative. I can tell the public now that I am now free from the horrible disease called herpes, all thanks to Dr. OLIHA that is why I want to leave his email address and What's app contact just if you want to contact him for help. you reach this great herbal doctor via his call or WhatsApp on +2349038382931 email on ( website on: ....


  20. […]I was browsing the Internet searching for help when I came across a testimony shared by someone on how she was cured from Herpes Disease. I quickly contacted him to get the cure. I bought the herbal medicine from the herbal doctor [Robinson Buckler]. I took the herbal medicine for 2 weeks as instructed and i went for a medical checkup and to my greatest surprise i was cured from Herpes virus. My heart is so filled with joy. If you are suffering from Herpes or any other disease you can contact this herbal doctor today on this Email address_________________robinsonbuckler@[[]].....Thank you Doctor[…]