Guest Post: the Birth of Eli

Today's guest post comes from Vanessa of FitFoodieMomLife. Vanessa shares the birth story of her son Eli, who recently celebrated his first birthday!

June 25, 2015 changed my life forever. And when I mean forever, I mean I went from a very organized, everything scheduled, never late to anything, and always on top of life, to having to plan at least an hour ahead of time just to leave the house and make it to my event only fifteen minutes late! But June 25th was also the best day of my life and I will always and forever treasure the memories and the first of everything.

Two days before my due date!

Two days before my due date!


June 24th: the day before my son entered this world, my husband and I went to the beach with my family. We took a beautiful long walk along the shoreline, enjoying the fresh warm summer air along with a good meal. My husband dared me to do a full-blown burpee. He knows better not to do that because I will of course do anything anyone challenges me to do. So, at 39 weeks pregnant, I got down on the beach and kicked my legs back, did a pushup, jumped my legs forward, and then jumped up. Yeah, I felt a little lightheaded but quickly felt okay again.

3:45am, June 25th: I woke up to my husband’s alarm and went to the bathroom, only to find blood on the toilet paper this time. I panicked. What was going on? My husband reassured me everything was okay and the baby was making his way into our lives. Was it that burpee? When the events suddenly fall into place, this whole birth thing sounds a lot more real. We started keeping track of contractions but they were so random and all over the place at this point. I tried to go back to sleep for a few more hours but I couldn’t. My tummy ached and my back hurt so bad. I took a shower and remembered feeling a whole lot slower that morning. Oh, I was also in the middle of finals so I grabbed my computer and worked on a research paper.

11:30am: my husband called (he went to work that morning) and asked how I was doing. I told him I was still bleeding and losing some mucus (now I know this was my mucus plug!). He decided to call it a workday and came home. My mom suggested we go for a walk around the block, but it was 95 degrees, humid as heck, and I could barely walk to the front office. All along I prayed in my mind this was the real deal and not false labor. My friend Kori came over around 1:30 and we started timing contractions and Sam kept track of their length and space in between. Around 2pm my midwife came over and checked on me. We all thought this was false labor and life would go on. I was really crossing my fingers I could get through finals. My midwife checked me around 3:30 and I was 4cm and 100% effaced. THIS WAS GOOD! I was super encouraged and was told baby would come soon. I continued to labor and breathe through my pains. The back pain killed most because it felt like someone had a knife running up and down my lower back. It was intense. I had to leave the room where my family and two midwives hung out along with my two friends. Sam and I went to the bathroom and I sat in the tub with warm water and tried to breathe through a few intense contractions. An hour later the midwife came back in and I progressed to a 9. It was now 6:30pm and my midwives suggested I sit on the toilet and labor some more. This had to be the worst pain I felt in my entire life. The gravity, the pressure, and the dull feeling in my back were unforgiving.

Proud dad with his boy!

Proud dad with his boy!

I briefly remember constantly asking, “how much longer?” The midwifes would reply back, “honey, we can’t tell you that answer. It’s up to you!” Disappointed and frustrated of course, I continued to breathe through my contractions. They were super close now and merciless. Around 8pm I moved to the bed and leaned against a few pillows. This part was actually the easiest because there was actually a two minute break. My contractions were timed at this point and I started to push around 8:20. Shortly after my water broke and splashed in my husband’s face and all over my midwife’s shirt. Talk about getting real personal! I zoned out after every push. After 15 minutes of pushing, I pushed through the last contraction. The baby popped out and Sam caught him! With one pat on the back, he screamed and everyone cheered and celebrated! Baby and I immediately did skin and skin and he latched on with just a little bit of help.

Maybe labor started because of that burpee? I don’t know. But getting to experience a drug free birth was exactly what I asked for. And if you ask me today if I remember any of the pain, I will say absolutely not. The birth was a beautiful experience and I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to labor at home.

Sweet baby Eli

Sweet baby Eli

Eli has been my biggest blessing and I’m so thankful for his little personality and cute smile!


I’m Vanessa, momma to handsome little Eli and wife to my hero, Samuel. We live life in the crazy fast lane but love to slowdown whenever we can and make the most out of the time we have. I love living adventures and exploring new things. Coffee, blogging, Jesus and family are my go to in life. You can read my blog, FitFoodieMomLife, or follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.


A Birthday, Birth Day, and Nursiversary

Dear Rohan,

A year ago today, I breathed you into the water and into my arms. Your high risk pregnancy made it hard for me to feel close to you in the womb. As you grew bigger and stronger, I found it hard not to melt a little as you rolled, kicked, and hiccuped. You were my constant companion, responding to my voice, pokes, and rubs. By the end of your residency in my belly, I loved you so fiercely and knew I would always fight this hard for you.

Your arrival was quick. The contractions came one on top of the other and I felt like I was riding a freight train. All I could do was hang on and surrender to my body, to you making your grand entrance. Three contractions in the tub and you were here. I will never forget the moment I met you, I said, "hello baby" and you just stared up at me without making a sound. You were connecting with my voice just as I was connecting to your 10 perfect fingers and toes. I was so excited to finally hold you that I announced you were a boy, even though Daddy was supposed to do that!

Breastfeeding you has been such a joy. The first several weeks threw all kinds of hurdles in our way, but we overcame them together. Whether it was my difficult postpartum recovery or your lip and tongue ties, we worked through them together. Without the support of your daddy, my IBCLC friends, and dear mama friends, we wouldn't have made it through. You loved my milk so much that you didn't eat or drink anything else until you were 9 months old!

Even at 12 months, you'd rather have mama's milk than solid food, and I'm still your favorite person on Earth. My voice, smell, and warmth give you more comfort and peace than anything else I can think of. I adore you in so many ways. You have been the sole bright spot through the months of depression and anxiety. I need you just as much as you need me, my darling.

Know that I love you regardless of who you marry, what you do with your life, and where you end up. I am your mother, and I will be your biggest advocate until my last breath. I cannot wait to see who you become.

All my love always,



You Are My Sunshine

This was originally shared on my Instagram account.

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine." 

I would sing this to him while he was in my belly, before I knew he was a he. Rocking and rolling, hiccuping and kicking. The months of bed rest when it would just be he and I, all day long. Again and again, I would sing to him. In whispers, through tears, a wide range of emotions, but always rubbing my belly. Feeling his jabs while rubbed some unseen part of him. I still sing it now and he calms down instantly. Does he remember?

"You make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never know, dear, how much I love you." 

The last year has been difficult. I felt a lot of anger and resentment towards nearly everyone in my life. Except for him. He was the bright spot in a seemingly bleak existence. My constant companion, he goes with me almost everywhere. A part of me was thrilled that he didn't take to solids until nearly 9 months old. It was the perfect reason to have my littlest love with me. I was his sole source of nutrition. I am his primary source of comfort. In my arms, strapped to my chest in a carrier, on my hip. A continuation of the closeness we had during the pregnancy. Someone to love me unconditionally when I felt unlovable. Innocent and pure, without conditions.

"Please don't take my sunshine away." 

I still feel a certain level of anxiety when someone else is watching him, even if it's his dad. No one can take care of him like I take care of him. I've said that out loud more than once. My hesitance to hire a babysitter is because of my anxiety. I don't want anything to happen to him. I worked so hard to stay pregnant that I'm scared of him getting hurt now that he's earth side. I feel like I'm sacrificing my sanity and my cup runs empty because of these worries. But I'm working on it. I'm trusting others more. I'm leaving the house for a few hours at a time, by myself. I'm taking time out for self care. I've been seeing a therapist. It will get better, I'll have less anxiety and intruding thoughts. But you, my little love. You will always be my sunshine.

This week's fruit: mini-watermelon

Alternate title: #stillpregnant

In some serious shock about how pregnant I am...

How far along: 39 weeks. 39 WEEKS. I have never been this pregnant before. I don't know what to expect anymore! I'm officially full term by ACOG's recently revised standards!

Total weight gain: Probably about 8-10 pounds.

Maternity clothes: They barely fit. I usually wear yoga pants and a t-shirt that barely covers my belly.

Sleep: It is so interrupted at night! Heartburn, prodromal labor, and getting up to pee every few hours makes it very hard.

Miss anything: Sleep, being able to wear sandals without assistance, shaving my legs without getting winded.

Movement: Yes, but it's a different type than before - still pretty powerful, but not so many jabs. More like moving around trying to get comfortable with what little room is left.

Food cravings: Those soft pretzel appetizer things from Chili's, milk & Oreos, watermelon, apples, avocado, mangoes.

Anything making you queasy or sick: certain smells. I'm not sure of which ones until I smell them.

Have you started to show yet: There's no hiding it, that's for sure!

Baby's Sex: Still unknown. We will find out when Baby makes his/her debut!

Labor signs: Consistently inconsistent contractions, I've spotted a little of my mucous plug in the toilet, was told of some cervical changes as of 3 weeks ago when I got my stitches out.

Belly button in or out: Still in, but maybe it will pop! Now I know why they're referred to as a navel orange.

Wedding rings on or off: On.

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy, but I can go from happy to weepy in seconds.

Looking forward to: Maternity leave starting on Monday, whether Baby is here or not. My water birth (fingers crossed), learning whether this little one is a boy or girl, a baby in my arms! Breastfeeding, being a mom of two, Ethan meeting his little brother or sister. Newborn noises and gulps and smiles and smells.

Lets see if I make it to pumpkin, shall we?

It's Out

15 weeks ago to the day, I started bleeding and cramping while at work. I went to maternal observation only because I was 21+4 and I knew they wouldn't turn me away. I was told my cervix was funneling and that my bag of waters was making its way down. I was told I had an incompetent cervix. I got an emergency cerclage that night. I've been on some form of bed rest ever since - in fact, it was 13 weeks of strict bed rest at home. The past 15 weeks have included a half dozen trips to maternal observation or labor & delivery because I could've sworn something wasn't right. It has meant not going to work anymore, stopping all other activities, and living a very different life. It has meant not being able to pick up E and cuddle him when he was upset and sobbing, "Mommy, pick me up!"

Well, about an hour ago, the same doctor that put the stitches in took them out. My baby has grown stronger by the day. I am an incompetent cervix success story, an emergent transvaginal cerclage success story, proof that bed rest (while incredibly difficult) does help. This has by far been the hardest thing I've ever done.


Photo by Valerie Cannon Photography

it has been worth it. Every twinge, ache, worry, and tear has been worth the rolls, kicks, punches, and hiccups that I feel. I can finally exhale and stop worrying about having a preemie. I can focus on labor, breastfeeding, and life with two kids. I cannot wait to meet you, Baby. I can't wait to introduce you to the people who already love you so much.

30 Weeks - The Countdown Begins!

Click to enlarge so you can actually read it!

How far along: 30 weeks - 10 weeks from EDD, 6 weeks(!) from stitch removal, and 2 weeks from even greater viability.

Total weight gain: Within 10 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight.

Maternity clothes: I got to wear something other than yoga pants this week! The lovely moms from the mom-to-mom breastfeeding group I helped facilitate prior to bed rest threw me a sprinkle this week. I got to wear a maternity dress I bought months ago, blow dried & flat ironed my hair for the first time since January, and put on my going out makeup. It felt so nice to feel normal.

Sleep: I can't get enough. The baby starts its calisthenics at about 1am every day. I'm usually up, thanks to pregnancy insomnia. I nap a lot during the day.

Miss anything: Social interaction, though the sprinkle helped a lot.

Movement: So much movement! The nightly exercise includes rolls, kicks, and punches. Sometimes I feel like the baby's going to break through my pelvic floor!

Food cravings: guacamole, chocolate, grilled cheese, and funnel cake.

Anything making you queasy or sick: certain smells. I'm not sure of which ones until I smell them.

Have you started to show yet: Yes, I love my big belly.

Gender Baby's Sex: This has been bothering me for weeks. It's not gender. It's sex. We don't know the baby's sex. The gender will be determined after its born. Lots of green and yellow.

Labor signs: Braxton Hicks continue, but usually go away if I empty my bladder or drink water. Hoping not to see labor signs for another 6+ weeks.

Belly button in or out: Still in. I don't think it's going to pop.

Wedding rings on or off: On and they are kind of loose.

Happy or moody most of the time: Very moody. Regular pregnancy hormones + extra progesterone + dealing with bed rest = moody.

Looking forward to: 32 weeks, seeing the baby at my perinatologist appointment this week, getting baby stuff, stitch removal!

Hello Third Trimester!

The last trimester of my last pregnancy. Very bittersweet feeling.

How far along: 28 weeks! As someone told me earlier this week, "the days are long, but the weeks fly by" - this is especially true on bed rest!

Total weight gain: I weigh 12 pounds less than my pre-pregnancy weight. At my last midwife appointment, I learned that while I may be gaining weight, the bed rest is likely causing me to lose muscle tone :(

Maternity clothes: If by maternity clothes, you mean yoga pants and t-shirts, then yes.

Sleep: So tired, and it's just going to get worse from here on out.

Miss anything: Lots of social events, pedicures, hair cuts, wearing makeup every day (although I will wear it around the house when I have visitors), going outside, and Guinness.

Movement: Tons of it! Each kick, roll, hiccup, and punch is getting stronger by the day. Sometimes the kicks take my breath away.

Food cravings: avocados, Coke (don't judge, I don't give in very often), oranges, apples

Anything making you queasy or sick: the smell of cauliflower when it's cooking.

Have you started to show yet: Yes, for weeks now. I am feeling large and in charge.

Gender: still a surprise. When my sister was here, we did some old wives tales to see if we could figure it out. Check out this video to see what we determined.

Labor signs: just Braxton Hicks. While it's not a labor sign, my linea nigra is starting to come through.

Belly button in or out: Still in.

Wedding rings on or off: On and they are kind of loose.

Happy or moody most of the time: Moody. Still very moody.

Looking forward to: A refresher birth class this weekend, making it to 32 weeks.

It's Not All Cutesy Pregnancy Updates

This pregnancy has been hard. Having to go from being really really busy to laying down for 99.97% of the day has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I definitely have my less than optimistic days, and today was one of them. I had a pity party of 1 which included lots of tears. Pregnancy hormones suck.

I am missing out on several fun pregnancy things that I was looking forward to, silly things like dressing the bump, getting my belly painted and/or henna'd, maternity pics, and even a baby shower/sprinkle/blessingway. I hate that I can't do these things because gravity is not my friend. I just want a cervix that works. I hate that I feel really let down by certain friends because they've about fallen off the face of the earth for the past 6 weeks. Bed rest really makes a girl realize who is there for her and who isn't (and cue the text messages asking how I'm doing from people I haven't heard from in ages). I hate that I am missing out on events I've been looking forward to since before this baby was conceived. I hate that I feel like I have let people down. At least in reality everyone understands and has been supportive, so I'm really not letting anyone down.

Sorry Mrs. Gaskin, I respectfully disagree. Pretty sure mine is a lemon.

My body feels broken and I am not sure I trust it anymore. It's making me apprehensive about labor. It's making me even more apprehensive about breastfeeding. I don't feel very connected to this baby or pregnancy. While I care very much about the growing life inside of me, I certainly don't feel about it the way I felt with E. I'm almost a little grateful that this is the last pregnancy I will have. Almost. Then I get sad again about all of the things I won't get to enjoy.

While this post is some sort of verbal (written?) diarrhea about feeling all the feels, I am trying very hard to keep a positive attitude. I'm so thankful for the friends who've come through in this tough time and have helped me take care of my family when I can't. I'm thankful that I've made it this far. I'm thankful that there seems to be an end in sight. I'm thankful for every kick, punch, roll, and hiccup that grows stronger every day. I'm thankful for having fantastic health insurance. I'm thankful that E is old enough to understand that Mommy has a big ouch and needs to lay down a lot.

I'm looking forward to getting this damn stitch out and going into labor on my own. I'm looking forward to having my baby in water, even though it will be in a hospital setting and not at home. I'm looking forward to breastfeeding again, and all the newborn things (the desperation, the gulps, the sighs, the sleepiness, the warmth, the smell, the love) that come with it. I'm looking forward to getting to know a tiny person and watching him or her develop and learn. A tiny part of me is even looking forward to the newborn stage filled with no sleep, no showers, and no schedule.

There you have it. The roller coaster of emotion that has been my pregnancy. This post has been brought to you by pregnancy hormones and underwritten by 17P progesterone shots.

This Update Almost Didn't Happen

How far along: 22 weeks!

Total weight gain: -5 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight

Maternity clothes: Still using some of my pre-pregnancy long sweaters, but definitely in maternity pants. My wardrobe these days is sweatpants and t-shirts...

Sleep: I can't get enough.

Miss anything: My "carefree" pregnancy :(

Movement: Yes, this baby's a kicker. E & D got to feel the baby kick for the first time recently.

Food cravings: apples and oranges

Anything making you queasy or sick: chicken breast. I have no idea why.

Have you started to show yet: Yep

Gender: Surprise baby

Labor signs: Too many. Long story short, I started showing signs of preterm labor last week (at 21w3d). A night in the hospital later, I left with a diagnosis of incompetent cervix and a cerclage. I'm currently on bed rest at home.

Belly button in or out: Still in.

Wedding rings on or off: On, but I don't wear them around the house.

Happy or moody most of the time: Moody. So very sad.

Looking forward to: Potentially getting off bed rest! My sister coming back to visit next month!

We're Halfway There

I can't believe I'm at the halfway point of this pregnancy. That means there are only 20ish weeks until Bebe arrives, of which I've got maybe another 10-12 good weeks until third trimester fatigue and discomfort hit. Yikes.

I'm feeling more connected with the baby and I'm feeling more pregnant, too. The movement, yoga, and the big 20 week ultrasound have helped me focus. D & I have been figuring out sleeping arrangements, baby clothing storage, and what we want to pull out from storage. All of these things are making it seem more real. I haven't been posting as many updates as I would like this pregnancy, but you can follow me on Instagram for more snippets of my pregnant life.

How far along:

20 weeks!

Total weight gain:

-11 pounds. First trimester nausea and food aversions caused me to lose weight.

Maternity clothes:

Pants for sure, some non-maternity tops and sweaters still fit if they're long enough.


I will pass out by 10pm if no one wakes me up. Sleeping pretty well, but the crazy pregnancy dreams have started.

Miss anything:

Champagne on New Years Eve


Oh yes. Lots of it. Bebe didn't like all the coughing and sneezing when I was sick, he/she let me know!

Food cravings:

fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, apples, oranges, Cobb salad (no meat other than eggs & bacon), french fries

Anything making you queasy or sick:

Still not a big fan of beef or chicken, but it's getting better.

Have you started to show yet:



Surprise baby

Labor signs:

None. Not even Braxton Hicks yet.

Belly button in or out:

In. It never popped out with E, so I don't expect it to pop out with this one.

Wedding rings on or off:

On, I don't have swelling. Yet.

Happy or moody most of the time:

Moody. Commercials make me cry all the time.

Looking forward to:

 My sister coming to visit in a few weeks!

Recurring Thoughts from the Last 4+ Months...

Well, I'm finally a few weeks into my second trimester. The first one was really rough. Lots of nausea, vomiting, and food aversion. None of the holistic stuff was cutting it. I finally broke down and asked for a prescription to Zofran. It was a life changer, but caused my digestive tract to come to a screeching halt. Thankfully I found a way to take it while still keeping things going and things got easier. My energy level is still pretty low compared to my pregnancy with E, but I'm now having to chase a toddler around after a day at work. I don't have the luxury of laying around like I did before we had him.

I am definitely having a harder time connecting with this pregnancy. Most days I forget I'm pregnant, unless I get up to quick or feel nauseous. The baby is moving around some, but it's not feeling very strong yet. Perhaps I have more fluff this time around and am not as receptive to the movement. I feel pretty guilty for not having the same connection this time around, but after talking to other friends, it's not a strange way to feel. I don't think these emotions are tied to the loss earlier this year. I have started a prenatal yoga class, but it seems to be more of a workout than a way to connect with your baby. I wish my old instructor was still teaching!

I haven't even started processing my feelings on having to split my attention between E and the new baby. Oy. That's going to be fun.

How did you connect with your pregnancy? Did you have similar feelings when you were pregnant with subsequent children? Feedback is appreciated!

Party of Four

Lots of big news over here. A few months ago, I accepted a position that is a huge step in the right direction for me. I'm finally working at a place I don't mind going to every day!

I think the biggest news would be our family becoming a party of 4. I'm pregnant and Baby 2 is due in May 2014!

Story time with E. Photo taken by Valerie Cannon Photography

Everyone's got some new reading material. Photo taken by Valerie Cannon Photography

This pregnancy has been a lot more difficult than my pregnancy with E, both physically and emotionally. Between the loss this summer, constant nausea/vomiting, food aversions, and not being able to keep up with a toddler after working a full day, I have not been enjoying it as much as I enjoyed E's pregnancy. However, baby is healthy, growing, and wiggly all over the place, so I know all of the difficulties have been worth it.

Expect to see this blog become more active again. As long as my energy stays up, of course.

The Birth of Mr. E

After reading The Laotian Commotion's birth story over on her blog, I realized I never put up mine. My fantastic doula, Jamie, wrote up a great account of E's arrival.

After taking Bradley birthing classes, we made the decision to switch providers (at 26 weeks pregnant), from an OB at a hospital known for it's high c-section rate to a group of certified nurse midwives at a baby friendly hospital. This was one of the best decisions we made in pregnancy. I was able to labor as needed (I even had the option to labor and birth in water!), eat or drink during labor, wear what I wanted, no IV or heplock, intermittent monitoring, delayed cord clamping... the works! It as a perfect situation for someone like me, who wanted a natural intervention-free birth but wanted to be in a hospital. While labor and delivery were nearly perfect, our breastfeeding story started out less than ideal.

Here it is, the birth of my sweet boy E...

Well, normally birth stories are long and sometimes complicated. Yours, however, is not! It’s not long and it’s not complicated, because you’re mommy was in labor but didn’t know it, and by the time she did know it, there wasn’t that much longer to go! It’s amazing, and this, Ethan, is your story:

Your mommy was 36 weeks 4 days pregnant on Friday, December 10th, 2010 and she and your daddy headed to downtown Fort Worth for mommy’s 36 week appointment with the midwives, which was set for 11:45 a.m. On the way there mommy said that she’d been having a little bit of fluid leaking and wondered if she should mention it at the appointment. Daddy thought that she should at least mention it, just in case.

So, the appointment went fine, everything was normal, and your mommy declined having an exam because she figured that she was still a ways off from your estimated due date, so why bother? Towards the end of the appointment the midwife, Tania, asked mommy if she had any additional questions. Mommy mentioned the fluid that she’d been feeling, and Tania agreed that it was probably normal just from being in the later stages of pregnancy but wanted to check with an amnio-test just to be sure; she did the swab and said, “Hmm, this isn’t looking good!” and said that it was definitely amniotic fluid that was leaking. Your mommy and daddy were shocked, because obviously this was not expected to be happening at 36 weeks and 4 days! Tania wanted to check to see if there was any cervical change happening and your mommy agreed – and both were shocked when Tania said “you’re 5 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced!” It looked like the errands and shopping that your parents were planning on getting accomplished after the appointment were going to be postponed, because they were going to meet you soon!

Tania said that they should head over to the hospital and be admitted to Labor and Delivery, so that’s what they did. Your daddy called me and let me know what was going on; his exact words after I answered the phone were, “Hi, ummmm, we kinda have a situation!” I was actually at another hospital with a couple from the childbirth class that your parents took with me, because she had delivered her baby boy a few hours earlier, also born early! Neither of you were due until January, but both of you decided to be December babies instead!

I gathered my things and quickly headed to the hospital to join your parents. When I arrived at 2:15 p.m., your daddy was gone because he’d went to your house to gather the things they needed for the hospital stay. They had planned and prepared for a natural childbirth for you, and wanted to get all of the support they could, so their birth plan was attached to a basket of goodies for the nurses.

Their friend Alanna and her sweet little baby girl, Tara, were there, along with Alanna’s mother. We sat around talking and trying to wrap our minds around the fact that you were going to be arriving soon! Your mommy was walking around the room and relaxing on the bed and would have contractions, but they didn’t feel very strong to her – more like a crampy achy feeling. She didn’t have to use any relaxation techniques or comfort measures during them at this point, and didn’t want to do anything that might cause the labor to move any faster until your daddy was back.

Once he was back and had brought their bags, the gifts for the nurses, drinks and snacks for themselves, and your car seat up to the room, we got ready to labor. We started walking the halls around 3:45 p.m. and by 4 p.m. your mommy was feeling the contractions a little bit stronger than before. When she would have one she’d stop and breathe through it and then continue on down the hall. We had an interesting conversation about some French fries that were in a trashcan at the end of the hall because the smell was bothering mommy when we’d get close to it!

We walked for about 45 minutes and then headed back into the room so that mommy could use the restroom. Mommy continued to drink lots of fluids to keep herself hydrated and everyone was snacking to keep their energy level up. At 5:30 p.m. Candis, who was the midwife on call for the night, came in to check and see how things were going. Mommy told her that she was feeling the contractions more strongly and they were coming around 5 minutes apart. Candis checked and found that mommy was now 6 to 7 centimeters dilated; she explained that the cervix felt like a funnel with the outside part dilated to 7 and the inside being more like 6. Suddenly, during the exam, mommy’s water broke! Candis promised that she hadn’t intended to break it.

Husband's caption: "7cm. fully effaced. -1 station. Laughing like a fool."

As normally happens after the water is broken, the contractions picked up in both speed and intensity. Mommy was still handling them wonderfully, barely appearing like she was even in labor. She tried to use the birth ball but found that it wasn’t inflated quite enough and wasn’t very comfortable to sit on. She walked around the room and ended up back in the restroom, where she labored on the toilet.

By this point, everyone had left except for me and Daddy. Our nurse, Hope, was about to go home and Beverly, our new nurse, came in. Beverly was pretty focused on getting blood pressure readings and vital signs recorded. The first time she needed to do it was fine; mommy went to the bed and had her temperature taken and your heart rate was quickly monitored. The next time, though, was not as easy. Mommy was comfortable in the restroom and Beverly really wanted her to come to the bed. As a contraction would end Mommy would head for the bed very quickly, but as soon as another contraction would start she’d turn around and go back to the restroom. It just wasn’t comfortable to be on the bed!

The contractions were coming 2 to 2 ½ minutes apart now and were strong. Mommy used yoga breathing to manage the labor and it was working wonderfully. She started to show signs of transition and I knew that you were close to being born: she got really hot, she didn’t like to be touched, and she said a few times that she didn’t know if she could keep doing this or not. Daddy and I reassured her that yes, she could do this, and that she was close to being done. We put cool washcloths on her neck and forehead and reminded her to relax her shoulders and let the contractions work so that you could move down. She did awesome! I’ve really never seen anyone else handle labor as well as she did; from the outside it looked like she was calm and confident, although on the inside she was feeling doubtful that she could do this without medication like she had originally intended.

A few contractions later I heard mommy pausing in the middle of the contraction and thought that she was probably feeling an urge to push. She confirmed that yes, she was feeling like pushing, so I asked Beverly to get Candis. I’m not sure where Beverly went, but she didn’t get Candis, so I left to go to the nurses’ station to find her. She came in a minute or two later and Mommy agreed to move to the bed so that Candis could make sure that it was time to push. It was about 8pm.

Candis checked and yep, you were right there! You were at +2 station and with each push we could see your head. Your mommy was doing amazing and made low, deep sounds as she pushed you down. In between pushes we talked about whether we thought you were going to be a boy or a girl; everyone guessed you’d be a boy except for me, and I thought I’d be different and say girl, since everyone else said boy! The midwife listened to your heartbeat for a few seconds and said it definitely sounded like a boy’s heart rate. Your mommy’s family wanted to be there for your birth, and your grandma was actually supposed to be flying in a week before your due date so that she could be there for your birth, but since you were coming early that wasn’t possible.

Daddy used FaceTime on his phone so that they could hear your first cry. As you were about to be born Candis asked your mommy to slow down and not push very hard so that her skin could stretch; your daddy repeated it to her loudly and Candis told him he didn’t have to shout at her, however, it was his voice that your mommy heard, so it was good that he did! At 8:26 p.m. you were born and placed right on your mommy and they discovered that you were a BOY!!

Our first glimpse

In the first hours after your birth you stayed skin to skin with mommy until she was ready for you to be weighed and measured; Beverly apparently had some trouble working the scale and said that you were 5 pounds and 7 ounces, but later that night, after they’d moved all of you up to the postpartum room, you were re-weighed and found to be 6 pounds 3 ounces. As Beverly went to lay you in the bassinette to diaper you and complete the newborn assessment, I noticed that she was holding you upside down! I squeezed your Mommy’s leg really hard and she and your daddy noticed what was going on; Daddy hurried over and carried you back to Mommy’s arms.

Hours old

The oxytocin was a-flowin'!

Your temperature was a little low so another nurse brought the warmer over to the bedside and put it over top of you and mommy. It heated all of us up very quickly! Soon after all of the postpartum recovery things were taken care of, we worked on getting you to nurse for the first time. It took a little while, but you eventually latched on.

Our first time nursing, less than an hour old

Your birth was amazingly calm and short, and it was an honor to be a part of the process. You were born into a wonderful family with loving parents who worked together to prepare for your birth and bring you into the world in the healthiest possible way.