Monday, August 20, 2018

Lyla Jade's Birth Story

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!]

Monday, April 17, 2017

If You Keep On Believing

Wow, where to begin. I have wrestled so many times in how exactly to share my journey and story of my postpartum Emery self. For so long I would sit down to write and things would just not come out because it would just seem so sad and dark and depressing and not to mention my mind was just swirling around with so much and with the fog of confusion over me, it was hard to even compile anything that sounded very coherent. So I stopped writing and blogging. I stopped all creative outlets...trying to dabble in some here and there when I could, but often I felt numb and incapable. I lost so much confidence in myself and part of me died a little and went into hiding. I went into survival mode. It hurt and I never thought I would be the same person and in one sense I was right, I am not the same person but now I would say I am stronger for it & an even wiser version of my best self. 

See wiser woman example pic below. Duck face selfie and all ;) Making me feel very vulnerable because selfies are scary, just ask Brene Brown. Anyways...

Now I can claim to be a fighter, a warrior of postpartum anxiety/depression, a truth and light seeker, who pushed through so much sludge to be here today. Now, that's not to say I had a terrible life but physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally it was the hardest time in my life and I've never had to rely so much on God to pull me through.

The least I could do was hold on to faith and the promises I knew to be true. To put the gospel I had learned all my life into practice and experiment on the word. Even if it was just holding onto ONE thread of hope that day, I kept holding on and fought so hard to push to the light that I knew was right around the corner if I just kept hanging in there.

Newborn Photos by Art By Ashley, Greensboro, NC.

At times, I felt because I was trying so hard to do good worthwhile things, like fighting to be the best mom for my kids and best wife and support for my husband, the adversary was trying to break me into believing it wasn't worth it for me to fight for those things BUT because those things were SO hard to do, it made me think that I actually was doing something right because why then would Satan push so hard? Why then would he send in his storms and whirlwinds to rain against me if I was fighting for the harder right than the easier wrong? If I was following him he would simply back down and not at all impede my upward journey. Satan delights in nothing but tragedies for families while God wants nothing for our families but to be happy, have joy and love! God, in the midst of this storm was there the whole time watching over me even when it felt that my prayers were only hitting the ceiling, He was there with outstretched arms continually beckoning me to grow and step closer to the light.

Now that I'm on this side of the tunnel and more fully in the light again like I never imagined would happen but knew was possible...I've gained so much. I lost so much too and mourned for the happiness I could have felt and should have felt postpartum with a sweet adorable baby but now I see so much more and my bond with Emery is stronger than ever before because of how hard I have had to push through that wall. I've become better at (and still very much working on daily) replacing my negative, limiting, self doubting thoughts that so consumed me, with truth and light because, frankly, I was just so dang tired and exhausted by living in this deep low place of a muddled state of mind that I never imagine I'd be in.

I knew how to get happiness I just had to put it into action and start acting like I owned it already, because in truth I really already did and it was all right there in front of me, I just had to pull myself higher and live a different way. Changing my habits and daily rituals, aligning my behaviors with what I truly valued. I would say my very nature has changed because of all this self reflection and coming unto the Savior who helps make the most of our true self in no other way that we could do on our own. It has been my price to truly know God.

I also relied on the strength of so many sweet friends who stepped into my life at the very moment I needed them. To hear their stories and feel their strength, I knew those friendships were placed in my life by no coincidence. God's hand was in that and He continues to do that for me as I come across living angels, meeting new friends and expanding my tribe, finding support in those seeking for truth.

Through this time, as I have mentioned before on here, I also sought professional counseling & took medication for a time to pull me out of the thick of it. I used natural remedies and exercise and music and mindfulness, pretty much any help I could get...but I can boldly declare that through Christ ALONE I am healed because really HE makes ALL these things possible.

Mental health is no joke. I still struggle every day with anxiety and some depression at times but through my journey and better awareness of what is happening in the hard moments, it turns me to Christ and I view my anxiety as a strength because without it, would I depend more on myself? Would I still have gained this amazing new perspective? Would I have grown as much as I have? Or come in contact with the people I have? Would my marriage have grown as much? Would my ability to love & parent have grown as much?

I am now more sensitive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit than ever before. When my chest or throat feels heavy with worry I stop and ask, what is my body telling me? Why are alarms going off? What am I missing? What do I need to tune into? What do you want me to know dear Lord? 

I have felt by embracing my brokenness, I no longer come to Christ's feet occasionally but stay at His feet continuously.

Sometimes it's a prayer I am reminded I need to say on someone's behalf. Other times it's a lesson I need to learn or share from a certain experience, or gospel parallel that sticks out from a Disney movie ;) Other times it's a call to rest more that day and to just relax and breathe, go watch a show on the couch with your kids and snuggle them to soak in their sweetness. 

My anxiety has helped slow me down to notice the small beautiful things around me and to carpe diem, seize the day! Because if I push myself and run more than I have strength I completely falter and miss the whole point of life! The small things really are the big things.

I have come to realize and accept the fact that I. am. an. anxious. person. So no matter if I'm hiding and withdrawing from the world or out proclaiming things loudly and boldly I'm going to feel the fear and anxiety I'm going to keep feeling the fear and doing it all anyways, shooting for my goals and dreaming big!

When I'm doing hard things like pushing out of my comfort zone it feels new and uncomfortable but we are not here on earth to feel comfortable. We are here to change (not unlike the Beast from Disney's Beauty and the Beast who needed to learn how not to be deceived by appearances but to love unconditionally) and be moldable, to learn and grow from all that God leads us to and through!

So, "If you keep on believing the things that you wish will come true!!!" (You know, from Disney's Cinderella, A Dream is A Wish Your Heart Makes song) That's called FAITH my friends and it's a good place to start on the journey to health and healing!

If you have made it to the bottom of this post & find yourself identifying with some of these same inner struggles, please know you are NOT alone. Some of the very best people around are on this hard upward path & there really is hope and happiness right around the corner.

I once felt that fairy tales were lies and full of false realities and hope, just fluff and not at all what I was experiencing but as I sang that Cinderella song over and over again, "If you keep on believing the things that you wish will come true!!!" while rocking baby Emery to sleep in the wee hours of the morn, often bawling my eyes out while squeezing the words out, I would miraculously feel the spirit flood the room and surround me with warmth and the promise that everything would work out, it will all be okay. We just have to keep on believing & "keep trying, keep trusting, keep growing. REMEMBERing that Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow and forever!" (Quoting Jeffery R. Holland)

I know now that in reality we can have our happily ever after as we put our trust in God and follow the path He has for us, no matter what that path entails! Because of Him we can declare, "Come what may and love it!"

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. It has made me reflect on the last couple of years in dealing with the grief and loss of miscarriage and then the challenges in welcoming a new baby into our family. Today I feel like I have finally reached a place where I could openly share this part of my struggle.

The last few months have been especially tough for our would think having a baby after a loss would be just the most beautiful thing, and it is, but for me it has also brought with it a lot of unanticipated pain and stress with the fear of losing yet another baby. Then there's also the added stress of transitioning to two kids while living so far away from any family!!

I was not expecting to feel this way after having our sweet baby and at times the anxiety and depression have been all consuming....I wish someone would have told me what baby blues actually were and what they could turn into, that what I was feeling was real and I wasn't an incompetent mother that was going crazy, that I wasn't a lazy mom with no energy or motivation and that all my hopes and dreams of what this time would look like would actually be this...but surprises like this are why we are here. To be stretched and tested, to learn to depend on Christ like never before.

I remember saying to Scott through my tears..."I just can't do this alone!" He replied, "Well good thing you don't have to." Duh the Atonement! It's hard because asking for help makes me feel like a failure and like I can't handle what I should be able to handle but I'm learning to let go and be who He wants me to be. I'm learning we need to be more of a support to those around us, that we really do need each other, to lift and support and love...and that it's okay to ask for help! It's even okay to seek professional help and take medication if you need it.

I know that as we actively come unto Christ we can endure every temptation, heartache and challenge. I know He can heal me. I know I will feel myself again and that I will get better. I know I am not alone in how I feel even though many days I feel so isolated and like no one else quite understands.

Each day is a new experiment in how I will face my fears and challenges. Some days I give in and give up and ask, "Why me? This isn't fair! This isn't fair to my kids or my husband! This stinks!" Falling flat on my face. Other days I am buoyed up by the hand of loving friends and family that have made all the difference in the world, being direct answers to my prayers.

I wouldn't wish this postpartum experience on anyone but I'm glad I have this new perspective and have been able to be vulnerable in reaching out to others, asking for help and making connections that I never thought I would. It has given me so much more empathy and compassion for those struggling with similar battles and an understanding that we all go through silent struggles.

So be gentle, be kind for everyone you meet is going through something really really hard! Facebook and Instagram and Pinterest and blogs are a hard place for people to be sometimes in comparing how we all face life's joys and struggles. I've learned there is no one perfect way to be a mother but a million ways to be a great one!

For some great resources & support visit :

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Emery Adele's Birth Story

Emery Adele Olsen
Born January 27, 2014 @ 1:07 PM
7 lbs 14 oz // 20 1/12 inches

The last few weeks leading up to my due date I had been having pretty regular, increasingly uncomfortable contractions coming on and off all day and night. I was hoping they would be helping to move things along, but really no such luck. I was staying at 1 cm after every cervical check and baby girl seemed good and comfy right where she was at...though each doctor would say how low her head was and I would say, "I know! Tell me about it!" :) The doctor that checked me at my 39 week appointment was really positive about still only being at 1cm, saying how lucky I was that I carry my babies so well and for as long as I do. That helped as I walked out of there with a reminder card for my next appointment scheduled the day after my due date.

They told me someone would call about scheduling an induction for the next week if I wanted to go that route. I still had hope she might come over the weekend though and was excited my Mom and baby sister Brinley would be flying in the next day.

Friday, the sweetest nurse called to schedule an induction for Monday evening. She gave me some really sweet second time mom advice and calmed my nerves about possibly having another induced labor, saying that they would take good care of us and make sure we had a beautiful experience bringing our baby girl into this world. She almost made me cry! I felt I had come to peace with being induced and felt better knowing our baby girl would be coming shortly! I wasn't in a rush to get her here anymore and knew she would either come before or not, but for sure we would be getting things started Monday evening! Man, the waiting game is hard!

Later that night my Mom and baby sister flew in from San Diego and then drove from Raleigh straight to our house! Camden was the most excited little boy ever when he heard our doorbell ring and it was his Meema and Auntie Brinley! We gave them a tour of our new lil home and then headed out to get some yummy Mexican food to fill our bellies! We ate at Casa Vallarta and so enjoyed every tasty thing! Food tastes so so good when you are pregnant! Ha!

The next day Scott's Dad drove in from a business trip in Atlanta to be with us for a few days! It was so fun to have family from both sides stay with us before Emery's arrival. We enjoyed a relaxing day of being together and even watched the documentary of Mitt Romney on Netflix. While watching, there's a part where Mitt is eating what looks like Chinese noodles from a take out box in his hotel room. Ever since I saw that I just had to have some type of yummy noodles! So we ended the evening at a Vietnamese place where we all enjoyed our fill of noodles thanks to my undeniable craving for noodles & boy did they hit the spot! Afterwards we stopped for some frozen yogurt and thought our bellies might just pop...well, especially mine!

Went to bed that night feeling very happily full, had a few stronger contractions but nothing too crazy. Sunday came and I stayed home from church, just so tired and ready to have this baby.

Sunday evening we watched another movie together then Skyped and Face Timed the rest of our family. Everyone was curious about an update from the preggo. I told them how we were still just waiting and how I was feeling good, a little too good, for being 40 weeks pregnant.

Then all of a sudden, while talking with my Dad, I feel this gush of water while just sitting there in our easy chair! I didn't say anything for a few minutes, not wanting to give a false alarm...then I felt another gush and another!

I remember not being able to comprehend what he was saying to me anymore and I was just kind of in shock. I took a deep breath and then blurted out to announce, "I'm pretty sure my water just broke!"

Everyone in the room just stopped and I got up to run, or more like waddle into the bathroom. Then everyone, Scott, my Mom, and Brin, followed haha!

Scott nervously/excitedly called my OB office to tell them his water broke {haha he meant his wife's water broke of course} and they said to come on in. The next half hour, from 9-9:30pm, we hurriedly but calmly gathered all our things and just like that we were off to Labor and Delivery. {Well not before going through 3 pairs of pants and socks before I could get out the door!} we also quietly stepped into Camden's room to say good bye and kiss our sweet baby boy's cheeks, spending one last time as a family of three. 

Tears welled up in our eyes all while we were so excited knowing this was it. I was SO relieved things were happening naturally on their own. My body was really doing this and on my due date too!

We got all checked in to the hospital and sent into triage. The nurse there gave me the best, most comfortable IV! I was super appreciative of that! I was still dilated at 1cm but contractions were all of a sudden really starting to pick up and I was doing pretty good relaxing and breathing through it all.

Now things were starting to get real! It was kind of an out of body experience. I couldn't believe I was actually in the hospital and in labor.

Right before my water broke we were talking about how Scott was going to go into a half day of work the next day and would then meet me at my last doctors appointment that next afternoon. We talked about how later Monday night we would head to the hospital for our scheduled induction...but now here we were, Sunday night already admitted and ready to have this baby!

By the time I'm wheeled into labor and delivery it is around midnight and we realized I wouldn't be having her on my due date anymore but so exciting that she was coming very soon!

Contractions starting really picking up around this time. My nurse brought me some ice water and an Italian ice pop! I was super excited because with my induction for Camden's birth I wasn't allowed to "eat" anything!

While labor was steadily progressing, I remember having to get up to go to the bathroom a few times which was a new experience while having contractions every few minutes. I tried timing it so it was in between contractions but it seemed like when I got up they were coming closer together and it was horrible getting on and off the bed every time. Scott was right there with me though and it was so comforting having him support me and be totally there for me physically and emotionally....even when he probably felt like he wasn't doing much he was! I just remember being so thankful for his comforting presence. He was an amazing support the whole time.

Contractions were pretty consistent coming every 3-4 minutes and lasting 1-2 minutes each. I got through each one by telling myself if I could just get over each peak I would be fine. I also told myself I could go through any torture for my children and that crazy intense pain coming every few minutes was totally doable.

Well that was until they weren't so doable any more...Around 3 am I was getting super uncomfortable and worried I might never get any sleep that night AND if I was to have a long labor, like last time, I was just going to be super exhausted. I asked the nurse about how long it takes to receive an epidural. She said it would be no time at all and I could get one whenever I wanted. At this point I was at 3cm and was hesitant to get the epidural when I wasn't super far dilated so I told her I would wait.

Well 10 minutes later I was calling her back in, asking for the epidural. I told Scott, "Okay I'm ready. What's the worst that could happen? I feel better?" Haha. We had a good laugh over that between some painful contractions that all of a sudden had doubled up on each other and were coming every minute!

I had one arm behind my back for counter pressure and my other arm gripping the handle on the side of the bed all while really trying to take deep breaths and relax. I felt like with each new contraction I took a different mental approach but nothing was quite cutting it!

The anesthesiologist speedily came in and administered the most wonderful magic juice and immediately I felt relief. I was able to relax enough to rest but trying to sleep while a nurse comes in every 30 minutes to check on you is no easy feat. I also was feeling super anxious and missing my Camden boy for some reason...knowing these would be the last few hours before our baby girl got here. It all just felt like a lot to take in. The nurse came in to administer another round of antibiotics every few hours, since I was strep B positive, and then gave me extra oxygen to help with baby's heart rate and before I knew it the morning light came.

We let my Mom know what was happening and she planned on coming to be with us within the next few hours to be there for the birth. So glad the timing worked out so perfect so she could be there. Also so thankful for our sweet friend Jaime who happily watched Camden and Brinley. 

Every time my nurse checked, I had progressed another 1 or 2 centimeters. They did give me a little pitocin to keep contractions consistent at one point & I then think I was at a 6 around the time my Mom got there a little after 10 am. Scott guessed Emery would make her debut around 1:30 pm & he wasn't that far off. {She came at 1:07 pm after 15 hours of labor.} 

From the morning to about noon we just peacefully waited. I wasn't in any pain at all but started to feel her head coming down and a lot of pressure. The doctor came in to check and I was at a 9 1/2. He was just about to go do a C-Section and wanted to know if I was ready to push soon or if I thought I could wait. I didn't feel like pushing just yet so we decided it would be okay to wait a little longer. Plus I wasn't yet at a 10 and I wanted to avoid an episiotomy this time if I could, which I was very adamant about. 

I couldn't believe I was already feeling the pressure of her head and how fast everything was going. I broke down into tears as the doctor left, just so grateful for God's timing and tender mercies. Everything was going so perfectly. I felt so much love for this sweet babe that was so gracefully making her way into this world. 

The nursing station was all a buzz about how close I was and at one point a few nurses came in to check on me. Guess they were all so excited at how close we were getting. The baby warmer got turned on and the delivery tools were getting prepped. As soon as my doctor was done with surgery I was ready to push. Again, perfect timing. 

At first I had a hard time knowing when to push since I couldn't feel any contractions with my epidural. This epidural was way better compared to the epidural I had with Camden. 100 times better. I could still feel my legs and feet too. My doctor kept saying, "Okay on the next contraction, push." But I couldn't tell when the next contraction was coming, they were being blocked so well, so a few would skip by before I pushed again. That was definitely new since last time I could feel every rough contraction pushing Camden out. Dr. Lowe was so sweet and came to the side of my hospital bed to help coach me through how to push this baby out. 

Within 15-20 minutes, only about 5 pushes later, she was out! I ripped off my oxygen mask so I could see her and held on tight to our sweet baby girl as they placed her on my chest. I couldn't believe how much hair she had and how chubby her cheeks were. She smelled like sweet buttery popcorn & had the brightest eyes. It was so surreal how fast she came out. She was here already! Wow! 

She spent an hour or more on my chest while we admired every cute little feature about her. She scored an 8 then 9 on her Apgar, started nursed like a champ and was just as healthy as could be. 

We stayed the next two nights in the hospital. Scott stayed the first night and my mom stayed with me the second night. We Face Timed with Camden {kids couldn't visit because of the flu alert}, received awesome care and even got to sleep some 3-4 hour stretches. So thankful for a healthy baby and that I was feeling so good.

Emery came with a very sweet and calm demeanor and we couldn't be more in love. It is so much fun dressing her up in cute girly clothes and hearing her dainty cry. We loved bringing her home and having Camden meet his little sister for the first time. Total bliss. Love this little family of ours!