My Birth Story
“You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light.”
The words that played as she entered the world.
I woke up around midnight on October 29, feeling cramps that came around ten minutes apart. This was exactly how my labor began with Quinn, but this time, I knew that this was probably the real deal! I knew that I needed to try to rest as much as possible, so I stayed in bed and tried to relax as best I could, though my mind was racing. I waited until around 2:00 am to wake up Jerrin (I thought I should let him sleep as long as possible), then I got up and started to get ready. As silly as it may sound, I started putting makeup on because it was a great distraction from the pain, and I knew we would have photos taken, so the photographer in me couldn’t help it! I called my midwife to let her know I was in the beginning stages while I sat on my birth ball and breathed between contractions while I got everything ready to go. Jerrin turned on the Office thinking we had plenty of time like we did with Quinn, and I stuck my head out of the bathroom door and told him he needed to get ready to go! He called my mom to come over and sleep at our house and updated our sister-in-law who was our doula and photographer. We got everything packed that we needed after my mom arrived, and I knew it was time to go. I walked into Quinn’s room and stood over her crib as she slept, the dim yellow glow of her unicorn night light providing enough visibility for me to see her little sleeping face. With tears in my eyes I whispered “I love you so much. I always will. I love you so much baby,” just as I felt another wave coming and I quickly walked out of her room so I wouldn’t wake her. I remember wishing I had a little more time to take in my last moments with her before our lives changed forever, but even those couple minutes I got, I will remember forever. And it’s probably a good thing it was cut short, as I would have been a complete mess saying goodbye to my first baby…
We got into the car and headed to the hospital, Banner University, which was about a 35 minute drive. Jerrin called my midwife as my contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart at this point, and he quickly drove down the empty freeway. I told him it felt like we were going on a trip and heading to the airport as that is the only time we ever really drive with the streetlights giving off their 3 am halo when you see them through tired eyes. With every contraction that came, I held the safety rail above my head in my right hand, and clenched Jerrin’s hand in my left. It was here that I knew I was having back labor for the second time, remembering the burning agony of back labor with Quinn, and tried not to stress about what I knew what was to come. Being constrained in my seatbelt was not fun, but I do feel like I stayed as calm and relaxed as possible, even though I was vomiting by this point. We arrived at the hospital just before 4:00 am, and exactly as I had with Quinn, I threw up right after getting out of the car at the entrance while Jerrin was parking, hoping no one would walk by, but honestly not caring if they did. Jerrin met me and we walked in with our masks on, required as a Covid precaution. We went up to the 3rd floor and I had a contraction in the elevator, then we walked over to the Labor & Delivery check in. We checked in and walked over to a room in triage, or as I call it, hell haha. It’s crazy how so exactly similar this labor was to Quinn’s in so many ways! They both started in the middle of the night, they both went FAST (10 minutes between contractions to 3 within a couple hours), I had back labor with both, I hated triage with both, I was nauseous both times, and I had my epidural around 6-7 centimeters with both. I was thankful for that as I felt like I knew what was coming this time around, and that was so helpful for me mentally. Anyways, back to triage…What did differ for me through this labor was Jerrin’s counterpressure on my back. With Quinn, I couldn’t even breathe without him pressing on my back, hard. His hands were shaking almost the whole time. With this labor, I literally slapped his hand away once because it made my back pain hurt worse, which is so strange to me! So this time, I just leaned on him and held his hand, just his presence was all I needed, and wow, did I need it. We learned I was 4 centimeters in triage, so I was here to stay, which I already knew. They hooked up my IV (ouch) and had to wait until I had an hour’s worth of fluid in me before the epidural. I’m pretty sure I asked if it was time every 10 minutes haha. They wheeled me to a delivery room, and after what felt like forever with 2 minutes between contractions, the anesthesiologist came in. He had a thick Russian accent, and administered the epidural while I tried to hold still. It definitely hurt more than it did with Quinn, but I welcomed it and waited as the agony lessoned and melted away. I was finally able to look around the room, and realized my midwife was there, which I was totally oblivious to before. Jerrin joked that that anesthesiologist sounded like he may have killed someone at some point because of his accent, and I laughed for the first time since being at the hospital, followed by a big eye roll on my end haha! My body shook violently (it had been since triage), and I looked in the corner and saw the bassinet for the baby. It felt so incredibly real and I was actually so excited! The fear that enveloped me for Quinn’s birth didn’t exist this time around, and I felt so peaceful. It was around 7:00 am and my midwife checked to see my progress, I was at a 7! I had progressed 3 centimeters in an hour of tirage, no wonder I was in my own bubble of deep breaths, digging my nails into Jerrin’s hand, and crying out in pain…
We relaxed a bit as I sipped water and juice, and our doula/photographer/sister-in-law arrived. And we were so incredibly thankful for Amanda as a calming presence who was an absolute angel through the end of my labor. We chatted and texted friends and family, and I slowly felt a dim burning in my lower left back with each contraction. I realized it was my epidural not hitting that side, and I began to worry a little. The pain moved around to my front left side as well, and began to become more and more intense. My midwife checked me and I was around 8-9 centimeters, so we decided to break my water to move things along. We then turned me onto my left side in hopes that gravity would help the epidural reach the “hot spots”, and I breathed through contractions that I was very much feeling on that side. They felt more like a burning sensation, and I remember looking at the buttons on the side of the bed while Jerrin rubbed my upper back and Amanda rubbed my lower back. She softly told me affirmations to help me relax, reminding me that I was so close to meeting my baby. Her and Jerrin were such a gift during that time, but I will always remember thanking God that we were here, and that my body was doing what it was supposed to do. It’s one of the few times that I have truly praised him in a storm, and I will treasure those moments when I think back on that day. My labor playlist was also softly playing in the background, mostly worship music, and it was so wonderful. I pushed the button for more medicine, and finally felt some relief! Amanda coached me on how to breathe and push when the time came, and her advice actually helped me SO much. Though I could still feel some pain on my left side, I did start to feel pressure like it may be time to push. I called my midwife in and she checked me, and I was 10 centimeters! I couldn’t believe it was finally time, and I looked over at Jerrin who looked as nervous as could be haha! I was definitely nervous, but I was also filled with excitement and I felt so ready. This was what we had been waiting for, and I knew then that we could have the VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section) we had been preparing for during my entire pregnancy. We were going to meet our girl so soon, in a completely different way than we met our Quinn, which was a bizarre thought. I tried not to let anxiety of the unknown cross my mind, and as our music kept playing and they prepped me for pushing, I was filled with a peace that simply didn’t make any sense. It was a type of peace that only God could provide, and my mind will never wrap around the calm that filled my heart where fear should have been. When that first push came with a contraction, I still couldn’t believe it was happening. Pushing was not easy by any means, but I actually loved it in a way, which again, doesn’t make sense when I was doing the hardest work with so much pressure in my body, but I was also bringing our baby into the world. There was no other feeling that compares. Between pushes, I was so relaxed, and I do think that’s part of why I was able to bring her earthside so quickly and smoothly. “She has so much hair!” exclaimed my midwife, and I reached down to feel the top of her head in amazement. I breathed and pushed as hard as I could for about 45 minutes, until suddenly, I felt the most intense pressure, and there she was. 11:27 am. Our Andi girl.
No feeling will ever come close to meeting our daughters for the first time. Our meetings were so vastly different, yet so uniquely sacred. Everything they say about your second child is absolutely true – your heart makes more than enough room. And there are no words to describe what happened to our hearts on October 29th. All I can say is we are so incredibly blessed. She was perfect, nothing like I pictured, and everything that God had hand-crafted down to every eyelash. The peace. The elation. We drank it in with tired eyes that spilled tears of adoration for this tiny little girl who stole the other half of our hearts that her sister left behind.
My precious Andi:
I’ll always remember the words that played as I brought you up to my chest. I looked down at your dark hair and drank in the beauty of your sweet face for the first time. I heard the most beautiful sound of your cry as you took your first breath on this earth and took mine away. These words filled the room as my heart filled with praise and thankfulness to the one who picked daddy and I to be your parents. And for that, though we could never know what we did to deserve all the magic that you already are, we will forever sing this praise.
“And as You speak,
A hundred billion galaxies are born,
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form,
If the stars were made to worship so will I.
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made,
Every burning star a signal fire of grace,
If creation sings Your praises so will I.”
Photos above by Heaven Sent Doula and Encapsulation Services
“So Will I” by Hillsong United
If you loved these photos, you might also like Quinn’s Birth Story