Josie’s Birth Story

It has been a while since I have added a post to my blog…sometimes life gets in the way, but at the end of the day, there are some stories that just need to be written down. They are life events that simply change you as a person, and this story I want to write down while it is still fresh in my mind!

Twelve days ago I gave birth to my second baby. After my first pregnancy and the birth of our son, I turned into what one might call a bit of a “birth junkie.” There is truly nothing like the oxytocin high of pure joy, relief, and love that exists after a baby enters this world from your body without any medication blocking the release of any of those emotions. A lot of people think I’m crazy for not wanting drugs to take the edge off of the pain, but I say, “bring it on” because the rewards are so sweet, and I learn so much about myself and God’s faithfulness in the process.

So this was my second natural birth, and after Luke’s birth I decided you couldn’t pay me to get in the car while I was in labor again (I actually may have made this decision while I was in labor with him!). So that was that. We were staying home. First variable: changed. Oh, and since my last birth, the chiropractor and I moved halfway across the country, so after falling in love with our first birth team, we had to find another team. Second variable: also changed. This birth was shaping up to be its own unique adventure already!

The chiropractor is quite blessed to work with some of the area’s best midwives and their clients on a daily basis, so finding the birth professionals in our area wasn’t a challenge…it was picking the one that was right for us that was difficult! Even though I tried to go in to this entire pregnancy and birth with no expectations, it is really hard to do that with a situation you’ve been in before. So even though we were searching for a new midwife, I had Luke’s midwife in my mind during interviews. The one thing that stood out to me time and time again were the texts that she sent me in the days after my due date letting me know she was praying for me. In the days when I was losing hope and having a hard time finding the power of prayer, God sent me someone who could intercede on my behalf. Somehow I knew I would need that again. Realizing that prayer needed to be part of my birth plan, our midwife Peggy became an easy choice.

With our primary provider chosen, there were two other people who I felt I needed at my birth (other than a chiropractor 😉 ): a doula and a photographer. After my first birth where I wasn’t sure if I needed a doula (she was the chiropractor’s suggestion), I swore I’d never birth without one! And a birth photographer was hired late in the game last time…again, I was unsure if that is what I wanted, but the gift that she gave me was completely priceless. After attending birth circle for several months prior, I had met Lisa Newhall, another mom who was also a doula who was becoming a fast friend! There was no question that I wanted Lisa at my birth with me! The last piece of the puzzle was finding a birth photographer! This was a BIG change from being in the Dallas/Fort Worth area where birth photographers were all over the place. In quiet Staunton, Virginia, let’s just say they are few and far between (or non-existant…whichever term you prefer!). While I was in Dallas I had stumbled upon the work of Cheyenne Kody Photography and had fallen in love. When I reached out to Cheyenne about the possibility of taking on birth photography (I was nearly a year from being pregnant again at the time!), she was totally game! I was stoked! And then when I moved to town, who happened to live right out my back door, but Sera Petras, a local photographer and out-of-hospital birther who was also good friends with Cheyenne! In the end, I chose Sera to shoot our photos, and Cheyenne was her backup–I was so blessed to have these women agree to go on this journey with me!

Our team was assembled, and it was time to just enjoy being pregnant! With a couple of bouts of nausea during first trimester, I plugged along, much like Luke’s pregnancy. We opted to use only a fetoscope this pregnancy, which meant that we likely wouldn’t be able to hear the baby’s heartbeat until 20 weeks. The day after my first midwife appointment (at 12 weeks) I experienced some bleeding…this was new. We contacted her and decided that since it was minimal, we would wait a few more days. More bleeding…we went back to the midwife to have her use a doppler monitor. My heart was so high up in my throat as she put that thing to my stomach–a heartbeat! I breathed a huge sigh (I didn’t realize I had been holding my breath) and cried tears of relief. She suggested we get my progesterone levels checked, and after receiving the results the next day, we opted to start a progesterone cream and an herbal adrenal cream to help my body produce more progesterone on its own. The bleeding continued over a period of several days; enough time for the chiropractor and I to decide that we needed a little more intervention. In our first pregnancy, we opted not to have any ultrasounds unless medically necessary, and we never had reason to have one. After the bleeding in this pregnancy, we set up an appointment.

We were nervous and also very out of our element–the ultrasound tech was super friendly, but I just wanted to know if my baby was ok. Everything she could see looked great–whew!–now we just had to wait for the doctor to come confirm. The doctor we had that day was filling in from out-of-state and was only semi-familiar with the machine she was using. Our anxiety was building as she fumbled around pushing buttons and saying, “Oh, that’s not what I wanted to do!” Finally she brought someone in and figured it all out and got back to our appointment. We were almost home free when she said, “Well, now I see where the blood is coming from.” My heart sank again. “See this dark patch right here? That’s the blood. It appears that a some point you had a subchorionic hemorrhage where the placenta pulled away from the uterine wall and caused bleeding.” My head was spinning…what did this mean? WAS MY BABY OK? After a series of questions that came out of my mouth that I don’t remember at all, I learned that it was a common occurrence and as the baby grew, my body would either expel the rest of the blood or absorb it. We were going to be ok! It was time to continue on with being pregnant!

My first pregnancy was 42 weeks and 1 day long. My second pregnancy felt like it was about 3 seconds long. Chasing a toddler and helping to run a business take up time, I suppose. And, oh yeah, when I was roughly 7 months pregnant we found out that our rental house had a substantial amount of black mold in it, so we moved in with my parents for a month and frantically looked for a new place to live. In an ironic turn of events, my planned home birth was going great–except for the part where I didn’t have a home to birth in! Through a contact, my dad found “one last place” for us to look at, and after taking a look, it totally ended up being perfect! Time to enjoy being pregnant again!

Because I had gone past my due date with my first pregnancy, I anticipated that would be the case again. I was right. This time, though, my baby was sitting really low in my pelvis for several weeks, and while I was enjoying being pregnant, I was getting very uncomfortable. I had taken an adrenal support supplement called Master Gland every 30 minutes the day I went into labor with Luke, and I was fairly certain that it had helped to encourage my labor, so at my 40 week appointment I talked to my midwife about starting it in the next few days if nothing happened (though much slower). At 40 weeks and 5 days, I started taking Master Gland two times/day (this was the recommended dose on the bottle).

The whole day of Tuesday, October 29, (40 weeks, 6 days) I had this uneasy feeling–I just didn’t feel good; I was tired. Late in the day I asked the chiropractor if he could maybe stay home the following morning and help me with Luke. He rearranged some patients and obliged–I was so thankful! Early the next morning (41 weeks) my grandmother stopped by unannounced–she hadn’t done that in months, and it threw me off a bit, but we continued with our morning. We decided to take Luke to the library, and then I remembered that I needed apple cider vinegar at the grocery store. I actually needed an entire fridge full of groceries, but the apple cider vinegar was immediately necessary and I hadn’t done my meal planning for the week yet, so we decided that we would run to the store really quickly to get the vinegar and I’d go back for a full shopping trip after Luke got up from his nap that afternoon while the chiropractor was seeing his patients at Brookhaven Birth Center.

We got home and the chiropractor got ready to go to Harrisonburg. Around 12:30 pm I had a really dull contraction (I should note that about a week prior I had contractions 3-5 minutes apart for an hour in the middle of the night. I debated calling my midwife or even waking up my husband. I decided that if I felt two more I’d let them know, and I fell asleep before they ever happened 😉 ). I didn’t say a thing about the contraction, but he saw it on my face, “What was that?,” he asked. “It may have been a contraction, but it was likely nothing,” and I told him to head on to work and I’d let him know if I needed him to come home. He left and I laid down with Luke to help him fall asleep. I slept, myself–Peggy had told me during my latest prenatal appointments that if I felt tired, I should definitely nap. Sometimes God would give her the feeling like she needed to nap in the middle of the day around the time a baby was due, even if she had a wonderful night of sleep. She felt like God was helping her rest to take care of her mothers in labor. This prompted the chiropractor to request that if she felt the urge to nap at any point in the coming days to call us so that we could go sleep and be rested for our labor too! 😉

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About 45 minutes into my nap with Luke, I woke up with a contraction around 1:30 pm. A few minutes later I had another. I didn’t think much of it because I had that episode the previous week. After a few more, I decided to text the chiropractor and my midwife. As a side note, my toddler is a terrible sleeper, so when he was sleeping peacefully on my arm for his nap, I was not about to wake him to go walk around and see if I was really in labor–so I just lay there, stuck in one position on my left side, hoping that they didn’t get more intense because my hand was falling asleep and my hips were getting achy.

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Luke finally woke up, and we decided to have a snack, and then go to the store to get those groceries because if I was in labor, I’d need something for my birth team to eat later! After walking around for a few minutes, I remembered why I had decided to have a home birth in the first place: because I didn’t want to get in the car while I was in labor again! So I texted my husband, and it was decided that he would stop at the store on his way back into town; I just needed to text him a grocery list. So I did that, and then I went outside to play “bat ball” (baseball) with Luke.

As I was outside with him, my contractions started to intensify. I also started to feel a little panicky. This was the one afternoon a week that my husband worked 30 minutes away from the house instead of 5, and statistically speaking, second-time labors are shorter than the first. My first labor was 8 hours and 9 minutes from start to finish–how long would this one be? My doula was stopping by to drop something off to me anyway, but boy was I was really glad to have another adult around! Her kids were in the car though, and she couldn’t stay long, nor did I need her to–I knew this was still very early labor, but in the back of my mind, I was still a little panicked. Would Luke be the one to catch the baby?! (This is a really silly thought as I look back on it, but it was a very real concern of mine at the time!)

I texted back and forth with the chiropractor to see where he was in his appointments. He kept asking if I needed him to leave. I kept telling him that I’d be ok. My first labor began with my water breaking, and then I had 8 hours of pretty active labor, so I really didn’t know what early labor felt like or how long it might last. I just tried to focus on taking care of Luke. I also called my mom to let her know that I’d need her to pick Luke up to spend the night with her tonight. She had been on high alert for my phone calls in the previous weeks–waiting for me to call to say I was in labor. Of course, this was the one day that she didn’t pick up her phone! So I called my dad–I needed someone else to know that I was in labor–another adult who could possibly be at my house sooner rather than later, should the need arise. A girl can always count on her daddy to answer the phone 😉 and sure enough while I was talking to him, my mom called me back. It was about 4:30 pm, and my mom said she would be over when she got off at 6:30 pm. The chiropractor was on his last visit of the day–a home visit for a mom and a baby who had been born just a few days before. He would likely be home just a little while before my parents came. Two hours–I could do this–and Mickey Mouse was going to help me through it! As my contractions got more intense, I decided to turn Mickey on TV to distract Luke so I could start prepping the bed with a shower curtain liner and pull out the chili I had made for my birth team from the freezer. I also texted my husband and told him to skip the trip to the store; I needed him home sooner than later.

Thirty minutes later, my doorbell rang. I was so confused–who was ringing my doorbell? Didn’t they know I was in labor?! I went to the door: it was my grandmother! She hadn’t come by unannounced in months, and now she had done it TWICE in one day! I didn’t want anyone to know I was in labor. I didn’t want to be a watched pot. I was going to answer the door like everything was a-ok! “I brought by this Halloween sign for Luke,” she told me. Uh-oh…I could feel a contraction coming on. Keep a straight face! She looked at me: “Are you having ‘pains?'” All I could do was nod. “Do you want me to take Luke?!” she asked. I told her I was fine and Andrew should be home in about 20 minutes. She asked if she could do anything. I told her no. I could see the panic on her face. She blessed herself and started praying as she hurried down my driveway. Well that went well…I thought to myself. Back to focusing on contractions.

A few minutes later the chiropractor came home. He got our dog and took him to a friend’s house and asked me if I wanted him to take Luke along for the drive. Luke was content with Mickey, so he stayed at the house and I packed his overnight bag. I wanted to make sure he had absolutely everything he could need because I didn’t want him to have anxiety about being away. It was going to be enough to come home to a baby in our house!

When the chiropractor came home, I talked to Peggy on the phone. I told her my contractions had slowed down some, but she asked if maybe she and her birth assistant could start heading my way because she had seen a few second-time moms who had pretty slow labors and then things sped up really quickly. She was 40 minutes away, so I asked if she could wait to come around 7:00 pm after my parents had taken Luke to their house. I felt like having THE MIDWIFE there when my parents came would make it seem like something was happening soon, and I was fairly sure it was not. No need to put everyone on high alert. No need to be a watched pot.

While we waited for my parents to show up, I sat down at my computer with Luke and watched old Donald Duck and Chip and Dale cartoons while sitting on a birth ball. My contractions had really spaced out, and I was hoping that the ball might help a bit. We ate tortilla chips. I remember thinking, “This is the last time I will just have one baby. I like watching these silly cartoons with my first baby. I like that this is labor: watching cartoons with my two-year old and eating chips.” And I had a few silent tears that came along with these thoughts. I thought for sure I’d have a hard time letting him walk out the door with my parents. They showed up just a few minutes later, and Luke was pumped to go to Jojo and Poppi’s house for the night! He barely wanted to hug me before running out the door, so there were no more tears–I was at peace with my silent good-bye to him a few moments prior.

After he left I felt like maybe I could really get down to business. Or like I really shouldn’t have the midwives on the way. I wasn’t sure. This just didn’t feel like labor! Moments later Peggy and her assistant Melaine were at the door. They said they tried to wait until my parents left to get out of the car, but sure enough, the friendly guy that my dad is just had to walk up to their car and introduce himself before they left! I was totally ok with that though–I just didn’t want the people in my little world on high alert! So Peggy and Melaine came in and I told them I thought it would be a while, that my contractions had slowed down. They were less predictable now: 3-7 minutes apart and about 30 seconds long. I had a few contractions while I was standing talking to them, and Melaine timed them. Peggy asked if she could check my blood pressure and if I wanted an internal check. I had elected to not have any internal checks during my pregnancy, and part of my plan for labor was to limit internal checks and to never be told how dilated I was–I didn’t want to play a “numbers game” in my head. This had been my plan with my first labor, as well, and it went off without a hitch. This time, however, I expected to be 2-3 cm dilated, so I asked the chiropractor if he cared if we heard the report out loud because I wanted to confirm that I was only 2-3 cm so that I would know that this labor would likely go on for quite a few more hours. He totally agreed with me.

Peggy checked my blood pressure and then did my internal check. Her eyes got wide: “Wow!” she said. What did that mean?? “I’d say that you are a 6…no, make that a 7 with a bulging bag of waters!” What?! She had to be wrong. This just wasn’t labor. It wasn’t. It wasn’t hard enough. It wasn’t what I experienced last time. “Well, we’ll start getting a few things ready, but it looks like you should go ahead and call your doula and your photographer! I’ll call the student midwife! We should have a baby in a few hours!” What?! No, seriously. This wasn’t labor. Or this was labor, but I was not that close to having a baby. I just wasn’t. But she said to call, so I did!

I had given both my doula and photographer a heads up earlier in the day. My doula knew my birth history, and as it turned out, she had already headed toward my house the last time I had talked to her, so she was just a few minutes away. The chiropractor started filling up the birth tub. They asked if I wanted something to eat. It was just past dinner time, and I figured that eating was a good idea because I’d need the energy. I had started eating a bowl of quinoa noodles with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano on them earlier, so we brought that back out for a few bites. It is a really simple meal that is comfort food to me–and it tasted so good! My photographer got there and I just kind of filled everyone in on where we were–still convinced I was not that close to having a baby. The chiropractor said, “maybe this is what your labor will be this time.” Surely it couldn’t be. Surely.

Soon the pool was full of water, so I went to go change into a sports bra. Peggy told me I could get in the tub and just enjoy being in labor. I got in, and the water was so warm–it felt so great! I sat and just chatted with everyone for a long time. I joked about who knows what. I sat in the birth pool and ate my noodles. No. This was not labor. People do not sit in birth pools and have birth parties and eat birth noodles.

Sera Petras Photography

Sera Petras Photography

I had fairly constant contractions. I finally said to my doula something along the lines of, “I don’t know what I should be doing. I guess I feel kind of tired.” She encouraged me to rest, so I closed my eyes. At some point someone turned off most of the lights. I guess I dozed off. Looking back at my birth record, my next contraction didn’t happen for about 15 minutes. Surely I wasn’t having a baby anytime soon.

With each contraction, the chiropractor applied counter-pressure to my sacrum–something that he remembered that helped me from my first labor (I’m glad he remembered, because I certainly had forgotten!) He said it was really cool to feel the baby moving down into my pelvis. He knew I was making progress! After each contraction, my doula offered me water, which I gladly drank, and then I would get still and quiet again. After drinking lots of water, I decided I needed to use the bathroom. I got out of the pool and felt very chilly and my body started shaking rather uncontrollably. My doula suggested that next time I stand up that maybe I do it a bit slower, as my hormones were releasing in different levels in my body right now. I had a much stronger contraction when I got out of the water and another when I was sitting on the toilet. I was cold and ready to get back in the pool.

Sera Petras Photography

Sera Petras Photography

So we went through the same motions again: contractions, sips of water, and quiet times in between. The chiropractor was with me for each and every contraction and was boiling more water on the stove when he wasn’t with me. Eventually the water I had been drinking caught up with me again, so back out of the birth pool I went. Another strong contraction as soon as I stood up and again on the toilet. Those were harder–I wanted to be back in the water where the pain was easier! So back in I went.

This continued for another cycle until I was ready to use the bathroom again. The chiropractor walked with me, and even though I didn’t say a thing to him, I felt my body push while I was sitting on the toilet, and he knew. “Did you just push?!” he asked. I nodded. He called for Peggy and told her that I felt the urge to push. She came back and everyone followed–I felt so excited and relieved because this was getting really hard and exhausting! Peggy asked if I wanted to get back in the tub to push, and I asked if she needed to check me first. She said it was up to me, and I asked her to just to make sure I was complete. I laid down on the bed and she checked me. “I think you need a bit longer, Nicole,” she said. I asked if she could tell if the baby was asynclitic, as my son had been and that had kept me from dilating fully. She said it was hard to tell because my bag of waters was bulging so much. She said something like, “I could break it if you want me to, in order to get a better idea…” and that was the only moment in birth where I completely second-guessed myself: we didn’t want any interventions…but if she broke my water, would this be over faster? I wrestled with this thought in my head for what seemed like 10 minutes. Later I learned that my husband was wrestling the same battle in his head: he was hoping I said no, but toyed with the idea of what might happen if I said yes. My doula said it took me like 2 seconds to tell her, “No, I don’t want you to break my water.” 😉 I also want to note here that I am thankful that Peggy stuck with my original plan not to disclose any numbers to me because I had actually decreased my dilation from the time she had arrived about 3.5 hours earlier, and that was not something that I needed to hear at the time.

Prior to this moment, everyone had just sort of let me labor as I chose. At this point, I think Peggy sensed that I was feeling disheartened, so she suggested a series of positions for the following contractions that would be used to likely straighten baby’s head out if it was a bit asynclitic. Ok! I felt good! Someone had a plan! So I stayed out of the water and labored on our bed. Yikes–these contractions were hard. Everyone sort of left the room and let the chiropractor and I do these on our own. Our doula came in on occasion to check on us and help me change positions. I lost count on how many more I needed to do, but luckily my husband and doula were counting. They said I was done and Peggy came back in. She gave me a few options: I could labor on the bed some more, do a few contractions standing and “slow dancing” with my husband, or get back in the pool. My body wanted to say, “get back in the pool,” because that was easier, but my head told me that I needed to stretch my legs and get a few more good contractions in, so I stood with my husband and let him support my weight.

Sera Petras Photography

Sera Petras Photography

My legs got tired from standing, and someone said, “Would you like to get back in the water?” so I said yes. I later learned that the chiropractor was screaming in his head no no no! You are making progress out of the water!

So back into the water I went. I remember asking what that smell was (I felt a little nauseous). I was told it was the chili heating on the stove. Note to self: beans cooking on the stove is an awful smell while in labor! A few more contractions and I was beginning realize how long I had been in labor. It was more than “a couple of hours” from when everyone had gotten there, and I was not holding my baby. I was so frustrated. WHY was I still in labor? I think I voiced my frustration momentarily, and Peggy asked me if it would be ok if she prayed for me. There it was: I knew I needed a midwife who could intercede on my behalf when I felt like there was no hope, and here she was. I wish I remembered what she prayed. But every word was exactly the word I needed to hear in that moment.

Sera Petras Photography

Sera Petras Photography

At the end of the prayer I had another contraction, and the chiropractor applied counter pressure. “I felt that one in my back,” I said. “I shouldn’t be feeling them in my back–I need you to adjust me.” So the chiropractor adjusted me while I leaned on the side of the birth pool, and sure enough with the next contraction, it was back in my stomach again.

Sera Petras Photography

Sera Petras Photography

“I just feel so discouraged,” I said. “Why isn’t my baby here? My baby should be here by now!” The chiropractor leaned over and told me that while he knew that I expected to have a shorter labor than my first, that wasn’t how this one was going. I needed to let go of my expectations and just let my body work. He also reminded me that the previous night I had prayed for patience, and I needed to be receptive to what I had asked for. And then I finally found my voice: “This isn’t working. I need to get out of the water. I need to go pee.” I think I had known for the past hour or so that the water felt great (like REALLY GREAT), but it wasn’t what I needed to get this baby out. Life outside of the water was hard (like REALLY HARD), but if I wanted to see my baby soon, I needed to get out, empty my bladder, and go through those contractions.

So out I came. Just like the previous 3 times, I had a really strong contraction as soon as I stood up. I walked down the hallway with my husband in front of me and Peggy behind me. Everyone else was giving me space. I think everyone was a little tired and also agreed that my baby should be here already 😉 In the middle of the hallway, I stopped and had another strong contraction. At the end of the hallway, I had another one. A few steps into my bedroom, and I had another one, and I felt what I was pretty sure was the baby’s head! “I need to throw up,” I said. I held back the urge because I didn’t want to cover my husband in vomit. Someone ran and got a bowl: I made it–and then, almost in the same instant, my water broke all over the floor! It wasn’t the baby’s head I had felt; it was that bulging bag of water Peggy kept talking about! She called for the doppler and towels. Her birth assistant Melaine rushed in (I later learned that she had just run in from the car in search of a book for suggestions on positions during labor). The chiropractor was super impressed with how quickly Melaine cleaned up the mess. “The baby is coming!” I said. There was nothing I could do to stop it. I wasn’t in the water; I wasn’t on the bed; I was standing in the middle of my bedroom floor. I knew my risk of tearing was greater because gravity was working against me, but there was very little I could do at this point: the baby was coming whether I was ready or not. “Just let go,” I remember my doula saying, and I took it quite literally; relaxing my full body weight so that the chiropractor was left holding me up and cheering me on. With the next contraction, I felt baby crowning. I was ready to push the head out all at once, but Peggy quickly told me to slow down and pant. In hindsight this was for two reasons: to decrease my chance of tearing, and to give Peggy time to get down to catch the baby! Another quick contraction came and the head was born. Another contraction and the shoulders were out and Peggy said, “Just one more push and the hips will be out!” I wasn’t waiting for a contraction. With one more push baby was here! Peggy asked for someone to check the time, and I heard the chiropractor say “12:18 am.” He didn’t want the baby to have a “holiday” birthday, but 18 minutes past midnight our baby was born on Halloween!

Sera Petras Photography

Sera Petras Photography

My emotions were completely uncontrollable: the release of oxytocin gave me pure euphoria coupled with relief and disbelief. The only thing I could think to say to my sweet husband standing in front of me was, “I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry you didn’t get to catch the baby!” He laughed, covered partially in amniotic fluid and partially in vomit: “That’s ok.”

Sera Petras Photography

Sera Petras Photography

The baby was passed between my legs and they helped me to the bed. I sat there holding this baby wrapped in a towel and couldn’t believe I was a mommy again. I sat there for several minutes before I realized that no one had said anything about the baby’s gender! “What is it??” I said. I unwrapped the towel and the umbilical cord was between the baby’s legs. My husband helped me move it: “A GIRL! IT’S A GIRL! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!” I said. (My last pregnancy I was convinced I was having a girl, and out came Luke. This time I was convinced it was a boy…I should have known 😉 ). I scooted back on the bed and worked to get her to latch. Luke was unable to latch due to a jaw misalignment (from being asynclitic) and a lip and tongue tie, so I was so worried that breastfeeding would be a struggle again. She latched right away!

A few minutes later our birth photographer asked what her name was. I didn’t realize I hadn’t already said it! “Josephine Marie…but we’re calling her Josie”–it was like music to my ears! I had a little girl! We had a little girl!!! My husband was so incredibly strong throughout this labor. He knew just what I needed without me saying a thing. I am so grateful for him.

So I went into labor thinking I had no expectations, but throughout the process I unwound them all and then worked through them. I learned yet again that I am not the one in control of my life, and that babies do, indeed, come in their own time. As a frame of reference for the previous few paragraphs above, the last time I got out of the birth tub, it was 12:15 am. Josie was born at 12:18 am. It was a fast and furious 3 minutes, and I am sure that her personality will quickly grow to reflect her entrance into this world!

We finished the physical exams (Josie weighed in a 8lbs 7oz, nearly a full pound less than her brother, and despite my less-than-advantageous birthing position, I didn’t tear!), I ate more noodles (they tasted even better post-birth!), everyone left, we called our parents, and then Josie and I got some really solid sleep. My dear, sweet husband finished cleaning up the house and then just couldn’t sleep–he has decided that home birth is decidedly more demanding of dad! The following morning, my mom brought Luke to meet her, and it was so beautiful to see him climb into our bed and love on his baby sister. What a proud big brother he was! And now our home feels more complete. I can’t imagine our lives without Josie. Luke made me a mother, and Josie has made me a better mother: I am learning to give up more control and slow down the pace of my life. I’m trying my best to enjoy these children entrusted to me, and to enjoy the blessing that my husband is (I am still so in awe of him–he didn’t cancel a single appointment with any of his patients! He went back to work that same afternoon!)

Sera Petras Photography

L to R: Melaine Copeland (our birth assistant & student midwife), Maria Flippen (our student midwife), the chiropractor/world’s most fantastic midhusband, thechiropracticwife (holding baby Josie), Peggy Byler (CPM–our midwife!); not pictured: Lisa Newhall (our doula)

Once again, I am so thankful for my birth team! I feel so blessed to have birthed Josie so peacefully at home surrounded by support and comfort. I am so thankful to have found a wonderful provider who knew when I was at the bottom and who took it upon herself to be my spiritual support when I needed it most. Peggy, Lisa, Melaine, Maria, and Sera, we love you all! Miss Josie, you are one lucky lady who is loved by so many, and I am so thankful to be your “mama.”

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