Friday, July 12, 2013

Arabella's Birth Story

On the night of my due date (June 27th), I was getting ready for bed when I started noticing that my Braxton Hicks contractions were actually becoming a bit consistent. Throughout this pregnancy I have had many BH contractions, but none that were consistent. So this definitely caught my attention! They began at around 11:00pm, but I tried to go to sleep anyway. Around 12:30am I was wide awake thanks to the contractions. I got out of bed and decided to go downstairs and really time these bad boys. :) They were coming every 7 minutes, like clockwork, but I didn't want to call my doctor or wake Keith yet. I continued timing them until 3:00am, and they had gone from every 7 minutes to every 5 minutes. 

Now things were getting serious! 

I called my doctor and he instructed me to make my way to the hospital. I woke Keith up and told him that it was go-time! He showered, and I did my best to fix my hair and put some make-up on. As painful as the contractions were, I wanted to look nice. I was going to be meeting my daughter soon! I'd say that's reason enough to look nice. :) My in-laws arrived a little before 4:00am to stay with Gavin, and Keith and I were on our way.

At the hospital...while things were still semi-calm

When we arrived at the hospital I was sent straight to the Labor and Delivery floor. By this time it was a little after 4:00am (we live right by the hospital) and the contractions were getting much more intense. I was informed that I had dilated to 4cm and that was very exciting, as I was only 3cm at my last appointment a few days prior. After monitoring Bella's heart rate and the contractions for an hour, Keith and I took a walk around the L&D floor. This only lasted for about 20 minutes before I decided it was time to get back to our room. 

Walking the halls

At 6:30am, my amazing photographer, Tamara, arrived, and by 8:00am my doctor was there to check my progress. I was hoping for a few more centimeters, and boy did I luck out! I was 7cm!!! My water still had not broken, and I declined the offer from my doc for him to break it. Instead, I spent the next 20 minutes in a hot, whirlpool bathtub. This definitely felt amazing, but my contractions were coming quicker and were getting more and more painful. I decided to get out of the tub and get back into bed. I had a feeling that Arabella was going to be born soon, and I didn't want to be in the tub.

At 9:00am I made a comment to Keith and Tamara that Gavin was born at 9:16am and maybe Bella would arrive at the same time. Keith didn't think things would happen that quickly, and said "Well, maybe by 9:30?" 

And do you know what time my daughter arrived? 


Only 8 minutes after that conversation, and an hour and 8 minutes after being 7cm, my daughter was born.

I was checked 5 minutes before her arrival and was told that I was 9.5cm. The nurse left the room to grab a delivery table, so it was just me, Keith, and Tamara. The next thing I knew, my water burst! I let out an atrocious yell, and Tamara ran to get help! It was just me and Keith in our room, and I told him that I needed to push. At this point we really thought he was going to have to deliver our baby! I asked him to look and let me know if he could see her, and sure enough she was there! And boy did she have a lot of dark hair! :D 

The nurses came running in, and a doctor I had never met before said "Hi, I'm doctor so-and-so" and then caught my daughter! Everything happened SO fast! The doctor didn't even have time to put gloves on! A few minutes later my doctor ran in the room and could not believe that he missed it. I told him that unless he was still on the L&D floor there's no way he could have run fast enough. Baby girl was ready to make her big debut, with or without my doc. :)

I got to hold Arabella immediately for a few minutes for skin to skin, Keith cut her umbilical cord, and then the clean-up process began. Due to the fact that Arabella came so quickly, I had a pretty significant second degree tear. But, I have never felt more amazing or more alive than I did after that delivery. (Well, other than after Gav's natural birth.) In fact, as I was getting taken care of, I was eating animal crackers and drinking water. Oh, the joys of a natural birth!

Tamara filmed a short clip of Arabella crying and we put it on Instagram with the hopes that my Me-Maw would see her. And you know what? She did. :') It was one of the last times that my Me-Maw was conscious. Arabella was born at 9:08am on June 28th, and my Me-Maw passed away at 6:21pm on June 29th. But she got to see my baby girl. And while my heart hurts deeply, I am thankful that she saw her 4th great-grandchild.


Keith left the hospital and went pick-up Gavin so that he could meet his baby sister. And I have to be honest...this did not go as I had planned. I had this Kodak moment in my mind, and it was just a mess. Gavin had been awake since 4am (when Keith and I left for the hospital) and was extremely fussy. He cried the whole time and wanted nothing to do with me or the baby. Needless to say, Keith didn't stay long and brought Gavin home for a nap.

They returned later that day and things went much better, but that initial meeting was a complete failure. My amazing photographer stayed with me to capture some pretty precious moments, but she also took great care of me. Tamara, you are exquisite and I don't know what we would have done without you! :)

Once she left, it was just me and Arabella in our recovery room. I became so overwhelmed by the events of the morning. I kept thanking God and praising Him. He orchestrated this amazing natural birth and I felt His presence through every contraction, every bit of pain. During each contraction, I would remember the scripture that I memorized the weeks prior. I knew what God's word said, and I kept meditating on those promises. I am 100% certain that without my faith, I would have never been able to achieve a second natural birth. It was ALL Him, because I am completely incapable of accomplishing something like that on my own, especially in a hospital environment.

I would like to say that there is a huge misconception about natural birth, especially a natural birth in a hospital. My natural birth was not filled with screaming or cussing or stress. It was not a hostile environment. In fact, the only time I yelled out was when my water broke. Instead, it was full of love and anticipation and beauty. I was completely blessed by the nurses and hospital staff who took care of me. They were simply amazing. I delivered at Trident Medical Center in North Charleston and cannot speak highly enough about my experience. I was a bit worried about delivering at this hospital because Trident has a somewhat bad reputation in Charleston. Why? I have no idea. I had an incredible experience and am very thankful for Trident. 

The video below was put together by my photographer and shows just how beautiful this experience was. The song used is Keith's ringtone, and once my photographer heard it she knew that was the perfect song to use. The video has been known to cause waterworks, so watch with caution. :)  

The Birth of Arabella from Tamara Hart on Vimeo.

I still cannot believe that I have a daughter. It's still hard for me to understand how I am worthy enough to have these two little, incredible blessings. I am a Mom. A mom to two precious souls, and I am thankful beyond words to have been chosen.

**These beautiful pictures were taken by the talented Bump Meet Baby Studio. I cannot recommend Tamara enough...she is simply divine, and I am in love with these photographs.**


Legally Lovely said...

This is such a beautiful post and I am so, so happy that you and your beautiful Arabella are safe and healthy and happy.

Those pictures are all so beautiful (you look especially gorgeous, what the heck, lady!? I don't even look that good normally and you were GIVING BIRTH). The natural birth especially sounds wonderful - you are so strong!

Congratulations to you again. You have such a beautiful family!

Sarah at Midwest Pillowtalk said...

one of the most beautiful birth stories i have ever read. absolutely wonderful. so happy and calm. im so proud and happy for you! great job mama. shes beautiful! congratulations again!

Christina McGuire said...

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

Kaci said...

So precious! Congrats

BARBIE said...

Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful daughter! I have had a natural birth in a hospital and I echo everything you said. It was a beautiful experience!

Natalie said...

WOW! What an AMAZING story! Love every bit of it. I love your 'disclaimer' about natural birth. Sad that the media portrays natural birth the way it dose and scares women out of it. Its probably the most amazing things I've ever experienced and I'm SO thankful I chose to birth that way (twice)! I did natural birth in a hospital as well and my second one especially was totally peaceful, calm, absolutely no yelling and just amazing. Thanks for sharing your story!!

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