Introducing our family's newest addition...
Lyla Jade Olsen!
It sure has been a while since I have posted regularly on this blog but here is where I have shared all my previous birth stories of my babies & I wanted to get this one down in writing while it was still fresh in my mind as well so without further ado here is Lyla Jade's birth story...
It all started to pick up Wednesday afternoon, two days after her due date. I remember waking up feeling a bit different than normal and just a sense of calm that her arrival would soon be near. It was a stark difference from the previous day when I had felt more anxious and impatient, so this was a good sign.
Contractions wrapping around my back and giving me a tighter squeeze started coming closer together throughout the day. I even started to lose some bloody show and just felt overall crampy and like my body was preparing to do some work ahead!
I called Scott out of a business meeting that afternoon and said, "I think you better come home early today. I'm just feeling a little more uncomfortable and think something more might be on the horizon." He came home just in time to pick Emery up from preschool and swing by to pick up Camden up from school too. I'm so glad he got there when he did. They were both surprised to see Dad home early! Excitement and anticipation filled the air.
I walked around the house and bounced on my birth ball while breathing through the contractions. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions all week but these felt different, a good different like they were really getting me somewhere.
We didn't really know how to gauge when would be a good time to go to the hospital. Contractions were now coming about every 4 minutes, lasting a minute for an hour at this point... which is when they say you should come in but the contractions weren't crazy intense yet so we just suspected I was still in early labor and could continue a little longer at home.
In the meantime, we had an early dinner, my last meal at home and finished packing our bags and getting everything ready in the car. We notified my parents who were on call to take the kids whenever we were ready. We decided to head there around 7pm.
We hung out with my parents and two of my sisters, Brinley and then Brooke who was in town visiting. We took some last minute pregnant belly pictures then said a prayer all together and hugged our babies goodbye for the night. It was around 9pm when we made our way over to the hospital to see where things were at...and the Monsoon storms were a raging. We felt strong winds and rain as we got into the car. So many babies were born within the next few days because of the storms.
I had never gone into spontaneous labor like this at home before. I was always in the hospital first before real labor contractions came...being induced with Camden or having gone straight there after my water broke with Emery so it was hard to say how far dilated I was and how soon she would really be making her entrance. We crossed our fingers they wouldn't have to send us home, but come on 40+ weeks pregnant and in labor, her time was for sure here right?!
We got all checked into triage and the nurse said I was still at 2cm (like I had been a week ago) but could walk around the halls for an hour and she could then check me again to see if I progressed any. So great, no big...We would just see where things would go.
We began to walk the halls and contractions were definitely coming one after another. Scott was so good at coaching me through each one, to ride the wave and just focus on my breathing. We made a pretty good team & this was starting to become my favorite glorified date night with him supporting me, right by my side.
After an hour we had the nurse check me again hoping I would be able to be finally admitted but no centimeter progress had been made. I was still at a 2. I just knew this was it though and was getting upset they couldn't see that. I thought to put up a fight but I started to get discouraged and my contractions actually began to slow down so it wasn't worth it to push any further. Plus, it was awful laboring in the triage environment anyways so I just said, let's go home even though that was the last thing I wanted to have to choose. We signed some discharge papers and I wobbled out of there mid contraction.
I endured the car ride home, breathing through each rollercoaster surge that came. Scott reminded me how each contraction was a positive thing bringing us closer to our sweet baby, not something to fight but to let happen. As soon as we got home it was around midnight and it was really nice to be back in my own comfy environment. Scott warmed me up some broth and herbal tea.
My body immediately relaxed and my contractions started kicking in big time. I was so tired by this point though and just wanted to rest or sleep somehow if I could. I put on my relaxing hypnobirthing tracks I had been preparing with but they were anything but relaxing and I was having a harder time focusing through the powerful surges coming faster. My legs were starting to tire and burn with each contraction at this point so I went upstairs and tried to lay down in bed but that was most the uncomfortable position to be in.
Scott was soon in charge of pushing counter pressure on my lower back through each contraction but when I started sounding like an animalistic cavewoman at each coming surge and had a bit of a sobfest breakdown we both started thinking how nice an epidural sounded at this point and that we better head back to the hospital before things got any more intense.
So just 2 hours later we were headed back to the hospital. Before we left I told Scott I was so scared to be riding in a car through these contractions without him applying counter pressure to my back for relief but he reassured me I could do it and that I had to do it. So as Scott was getting some of our things put back into the car I said a prayer out loud petitioning Heavenly Father to get me through this next bit. I mustered all my strength and figured if this was any time to have faith in God this was it & I truly felt surrounded by angels, I wasn't alone and I could do this!
There was no way I could sit down regular forward facing in the car though so I instinctively put the passenger seat flat and got on my hands and knees facing the back of the car, gripping onto the headrest bars feeling like a rockstar. I said another prayer and off we went.
Good thing at 2am in Gilbert there's hardly any traffic so we were able to get to the hospital in half the time. 20 minutes is still a good amount of time to travel in a bumpy car while you are in such pain as labor though...I remember thinking it didn't matter what I did to get through the contractions I just had to get through them until we got there. So I yelled out strange loud low noises in weird rhythmic tones that helped distract me from the pain and reminded myself I could do anything for a minute, which each contraction was lasting. It all felt like a scene from a movie as we rushed on to the hospital. With each contraction I gave it my all. I pushed my elbows down into the seat and my forehead onto an ice pack I had placed on the headrest. Really wish we had some video footage of that car ride. Haha!
We only hit one red light the whole way and in a miraculous flash we were there. I remember feeling so empowered to be a woman having this warrior-like experience. That I had made it through every rough contraction so far and that each one was bringing me closer to meeting our baby girl.
We parked right up front and Scott rushed over to help me so we could walk straight into the hospital. They recognized us from earlier, obviously, and when they heard what I sounded like getting through the next contraction the admittance lady grabbed her phone and said, "Brittany is back with pretty strong contractions and needs a triage room ASAP!" It was kind of funny to me and exciting we were really at this point!
They asked me a bunch of questions again as I labored on all fours leaning over the back of the triage bed and once they checked me the nurse exclaimed, "Wow, you are now at a 7!" So NOW they really believed it was happening. I had gone from 2cm to 7cm in just a few hours and the nurses felt a bit bad for sending me home. This time was go time!
I was in pretty intense pain every few minutes being in active labor and told my nurse I'd like some epidural relief so I could rest some before having to push this sweet baby out. They had to take my blood and hook me up to monitors and an IV first so that was fun while having active labor contractions rock my whole body. This was a new experience for me as I had never progressed this far on my own without any pain intervention. I was so glad I had that experience to labor on my own but was ready to enjoy some modern day medicine and we both felt like this was a good call even though I had been hoping to go all the way without drugs. I just didn't know how much farther we had to go either and it was good peace of mind that the pain would soon be subsiding and Scott and I would both get a break and be able to more fully enjoy this next part.
I didn't have to be hooked up to antibiotics this time around as I had tested negative for Group Strep B. I had been positive with my other births and had prayed to not have to labor with antibiotics this time so I could labor at home in my own time, so I definitely got that wish. It was also such a tender mercy knowing my baby would be protected from the get go too.
So much of getting through labor starts in your mind. It is a mentally rigorous marathon to endure and I'm so grateful I had better prepared this time to get this far and still be feeling so positive and excited to be in it.
The next part was intense as I tried to stay still through contractions so the anesthesiologist could administer the epidural. My sweet nurse put her hands on my shoulders and looked me straight in the eye with extra encouragement to get me through the next few contractions that I surprisingly handled like a champ.
Scott's hands were cramping up from pushing on my back so often that he was relieved I got through these next ones okay without that counter pressure. Almost immediately after the epidural was in I felt some relief and we joked we would name our child "Lee" after the anesthesiologist.
It was about 4am at this point and I'm so glad I was able to rest before her arrival. Hallelujah, I was finally able to sleep! I would say that extra sleep really helped boost my physical recovery after birth and strengthened my mental clarity going in to caring for a demanding newborn.
Later that morning around 7am my new nurse came to check me and said I was still at a 7cm with my waters bulging so that was probably the thing still holding her in. She tried pinching it open but said it was so thick the doctor would have to come in to officially break my waters. So we waited another 2 hours for him to arrive while I just labored there in bed peacefully.
I did start to feel a lot of pressure in my back so I asked if I could go on all fours to help her hammock hang in my belly and get her in a good position for delivery. To my surprise, the nurse said, "Yes, of course!" So even though I couldn't feel my legs at all I was able to get in a different position with the help of Scott and my nurse to hold me up. That felt really good and the pressure was relieved. I requested my epidural be turned down a little so I could feel when a contraction would come so there wasn't any pain, just pressure like a Braxton Hicks contractions almost. I knew this would help with the pushing stage and feel like I had a little more control.
I couldn't believe we were doing this for the third time and we would soon meet our sweet baby. I got a little emotional and weepy at this point and knew we were close because that always happens to me right before delivery.
Well sure enough my doctor arrived and broke my water around 9:30 am. I was at 9cm and within a few contractions I was ready to push. This next part to get her here only took about 15 minutes. The nurse helped remind me how to breathe to help guide baby out and that was very helpful. It took a few tries and then I got the rhythm of it. I was able to reach down and feel her head between a contraction and was so encouraged by her soft little head. I could feel she had some hair and couldn't wait to meet her. I also felt her feet all the way up at my chest and the doctor said she was going to use me as a springboard. Well sure enough on the next contraction she burst through and it was the best sensation and feeling of joy and relief.
Her left fist came out charging first and we laughed because that is the hand she always had up in her face during ultrasounds and it was that side she always punched straight down when inside of me that sent tingling nerves down my leg. Because of her wonder woman arm pushing out first I tore a tiny bit but we made it out with one tiny stitch.
The moment she arrived the lighting was so perfect and the moment I heard her first cry was just like angels were singing. It was a dream come true kind of moment finally getting to meet this sweet baby inside of me all this time. Immediate love surrounded us and tears started flowing. She was so clean and beautiful and I could see her fuzzy shoulders and perfect coloring. She was so safely kept in my comfy waters the whole labor and for that, I was so grateful. Her delivery was swift and smooth with no complications. It was the most perfect story and entrance into this world we could ask for. Scott and I looked at each other and said, "We did it!"
She weighed 7 lbs 14 oz (same as Emery) and was 19.5 inches long, born at 10:05 am 3 days after her due date on August 9th, 2018. Her name, Lyla Jade, means precious stone of light because she is just that and I hope she will forever know of her great worth and the light she brings with her into this darkened world.
So grateful for the positive birth we had. For the wonderful nurses and my great doctor that I felt so comfortable with. Even though labor was painful it was a hundred times over worth it to have this slice of heaven join our family.
It's kind of surreal we made it through. I had been envisioning and preparing for her arrival for months and it was finally here and went so well. Maybe nothing like we had planned but even better than we had planned.
So thankful for my Scott, for being such a wonderful advocate for me and helping me feel so calm throughout even when I felt myself spiraling a few times in pain, he was right there to reassure me and give me the confidence I needed.
Birth any way that it happens is just a miracle. I have so much respect and reverence for our amazing bodies and the transformative nature in which birth moves you to experience is just unlike any other. Recovery this time has been my best yet and I have this renewed confidence in being the best mother I can be. Having a newborn reminds me how much I love each one of my babies and how that love just multiplies. Being part of creation and bringing new life into this world is just the closet to heaven you can be.
Introducing Lyla to her siblings, Camden and Emery, has been the best thing ever. They love her so much and can't wait to hold her every second they can. So thankful they have each other. Our hearts just might burst from all the love.
Lyla came with such a happy and chill demeanor. She even let out a yawn as they placed her on my chest. She has become a champ at breastfeeding and is our sleepiest newborn. She hardly cries except when she's hungry or tired which is saying something with two previous colicky babies. The Lord knew we needed a little peacemaker for our third and I'm grateful she is just that. She even slept through a huge tantrum Emery was throwing and I just felt such a peace that she is going to be our calm through the storms. Haha! Love each one of my babies and their unique personalities they bring with them.
We are just so thankful for the many blessings we have seen all along the way, for our wonderful family and friends who have helped so much the last few weeks in supporting us through this transition. Thanks for all the love. We couldn't do it without our village!
So excited to see what unfolds in the life of Lyla and what adventures lie ahead together as a family of 5! Welcome earthside Lyla Jade, you are so loved!
[Click the "Birth Story" label below this post to read Camden & Emery's birth stories too!]