This is Audrey's birth story - born on Friday, April 13, 2012. All times are approximate.
11:20am Tim, the girls, and I drive to the birth center for an appointment. Midwife Kerry checks and I'm 4cm, 85% effaced, baby's head is low. After discussing options, she strips my membranes and we talk about old wives tales for inducing labor naturally since I am 4 days overdue.
Noon-ish We stop at Chipotle for lunch. Tim & I share a burrito (I eat about 1/3 of it and am full). I am having contractions that cause me to mildly catch my breath. A middle-aged man in a cowboy hat looks at me as I have one and half-smiles out of the corner of his mouth. I wonder if he knows.
Early Afternoon We walk around the mall (one of our least favorite places, by the way) on a mission to find Kayla tennis shoes. Without success, we decide to leave. I am still having mild contractions - not exactly painful, just pressure. We drive to Tim's parents house on the way home, "just in case."
3:00pm The girls bound inside the house to play with "Ma." Tim & I walk the property, taking breaks to sip orange juice and water. My contractions are building in intensity now. I lean over the trees and pray during each contraction, snapping branches with the palm of my hand as the pain peaks. Tim begins timing. 4 minutes apart...
3:15pm I start to sing through the contractions. Oddly, "Come Thou Fount" (an old hymn) is in my mind and I sing bits + pieces (I hardly know any of the lyrics, actually...but the tune is comforting).
3:30 pm Tim says the contractions are consistently 90 seconds apart now and is concerned because I am singing. He texts Rhonda (a nurse at the birth center and our friend). I hear him run back-and-forth, taking out car seats and telling his parents and the girls that we are leaving. They scream with delight. I imagine them jumping up and down with eager anticipation.
4:00pm We drive. Tim calls the birth center to let them know we are on-the-way. I hold on to the handle of the door with both hands when the contractions come - and I sing. Mercifully, the contractions seem to slow down slightly in the truck. I wonder if my labor will stop, if this is really "it." (This is funny in hindsight since I was very close to actually having the baby).
4:20pm Pulling up, I have a contraction and sing through it. Midwife Fran greets me, "Do you need a wheelchair?" She must know that I am close, even though I don't. I decline and walk in. A room is ready for me - the one with desert green walls and wooden decor. The lights are low. The water is running in the tub. I feel safe, but scared. I lean against the bed post when the contractions come, singing with all my might.
4:45pm I decide to get in the tub, stripping down to my wine-colored bra and my silver necklace. The contractions come and I lean forward on all fours, gripping the hands of Rhonda and Tim. Singing still, but also crying out words that bring me comfort, "Lord, Help Me!" "I'm so scared!" "Baby, I love you!" Midwife Sandy is in the room, along with Nurse Olivia and Nurse Rhonda. Their presence comforts me, although I can't make out their faces.
At one point, Sandy asks, "Is she wearing lipstick?" Olivia adds, "She looks beautiful." Rhonda says, "She always wears lipstick." In between contractions, I laugh with my eyes closed, "Yes, I always do."
4:55pm The urge to push grips my body. I am terrified, but I let go - knowing deep inside that I can do this, drawing strength from Tim and the room and the Lord. I hear someone humming the tune of "Come Thou Fount." Later, I ask Tim who it was and he says he doesn't remember anyone humming. When I say, "I don't know if I can do this," Tim answers, "You can. You ARE. Our baby will be here soon." I push.
5:10pm Sandy asks me to stand up a little. I do, supported by Tim and Rhonda. With a relieving push, the baby's head slides out. I reach down to catch her and hold her in my arms, mesmerized. I step over the tub and walk to the bed, holding her, the cord still attached and pulsing. Tim & I exchange looks of sheer joy and wonder at the miracle of it all. He cuts the cord. I deliver the placenta. We are wildly happy, delirious, not at all tired.
Five hours later (10:00pm) We walk out to the truck. Baby in arms. I start shaking from the cold as we stand in the parking lot, my teeth chattering...but I warm up with a robe and towel pulled around me when we start driving. We pick up the girls. Kayla is overjoyed, holding Audrey's tiny hand, adoring. Liv is sleeping.
By 1am, we are all in bed. The girls are tucked in their bunkbed. Tim & I stare in awe at the little one on the bed in between us. "I am SO happy," I say for the hundredth time.
Coming to your birth story a little late....was kinda afraid to read it thinking it would bring back some bittersweet memories for me. I am so amazed at how empowering childbirth can be when it is allowed it's free reign. Your experience was beautiful.
What is going on with breastfeeding? Is it better now?
Thank you so much for asking, Nancy! Breastfeeding is much better...turned a corner this weekend and it's almost pain-free. So grateful to be over the worst.
I think that has to be the perfect birth story. I can't even imagine such a peaceful and beautiful delivery. Wow. You and your family are amazing and deserve all the wonderful blessings you have.
"O to Grace how great a debtor,
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter
bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love.
Here's my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above."
That has to be one of my very favorite verses in any hymn, or possibly song, ever. It resonates in my soul. What a wonderful song to be singing while giving birth to your beautiful Audrey Jane! (Even if the words maybe weren't so clear!) And as you know, we think April 13th is a GREAT day for third daughters to be born. :)
Awesome story. beautifully written. Love that old hymn. Congrats to all of you!
I have had such a crazy week I missed this post. My reader is all but forgotten and I only saw your breastfeeding post link on facebook. :) Mine is not going so well right now. :(
But what an amazing birth! You are so lucky! My second was like this and it was by far the best one for me. I'm glad my girls are here, but wish the experience could have been like this. It's so nice to be home in your own bed so quickly! :)
(PS. You are way better than me at getting this up quickly! ;)
Just perfect! Midwives are the best!
Congratulations to you and Tim. This is a beautiful birth story and I'm sure Audrey Jane will enjoy reading it when she is older.
What a beautiful family you have and a great birth story! I'm so happy that everything went so peacefully and quickly for all of you! And you already have your first 10 days of breastfeeding under your belt....way to go!
Thanks so much, Sarah! The recovery is going super smoothly, but breastfeeding is still intensely painful. Can't wait until this period passes and I can nurse without weeping/wincing. Hopefully soon!
I forgot to ask....have you You Tubed Mumford & Sons singing Come Thou Fount? It's beautiful!
No, but I'll have to look it up. Thanks for the recommendation!
Wow that was quick! So now that it's all over, don't ya wanna do it again? Or am I the only crazy one like that?! Enjoy all that precious newborn time.
Congrats, Stephanie! BEAUTIFUL picture of you and Audrey! :)
Well done Stephanie! She is beautiful, as is the story of her birth. So happy for you :-)
Congratulations! A beautiful birth story! So happy for you. Sending you good wishes and positive thoughts!!!
Stephanie, thank you so much for that beautiful birth story. Two friends of mine just had babies this week. As I talked to one on the phone we went through her birth story. I love hearing birth stories. Each one unique and glorious. And then your own birth stories come flooding back like they happened yesterday! Congratulations on your third child. We are contemplating trying for our third starting this summer :)
It sounds perfect! And girl. You went right home 5 hours later!? That is a 3rd baby for ya. LOL. (I wanted to go home so bad after my 3rd, I got them to let me out a day early, regular hospital and all that jazz.)
Such a wonderful birth story! I am in awe that you walked to the truck and rode home 5 hours later. My post baby high is incredible, but I don't know that it would get me through a car ride! So glad you posted this. I love reading beautiful, natural birth stories.
So sweet and beautiful...
She's a beautiful baby! Congratulations to the entire family.
I would have 12 babies if I could labor like that. ;) SO AWESOME! Your story actually reminded me of my third. I request a repeat, please. ;)
I am truly grateful for such a positive (and quick!) labor & delivery. It was terrifying and intensely painful, but also...peaceful and empowering. I'm sure you can relate to that paradox.
Remind me when you are due?
Yes! Actually, I don't know if there was anything peaceful about my 4th, but all the others... yes! ;) This one is due in August. Four of our 5 will have birthdays all within 6 weeks. Crazy!
i love the part of the humming of the hymn...sweet angels comforting you is my guess. Congrats---she's beautiful!!
Absolutely GORGEOUS. I love you all. A beautiful birth, it has me singing, too. So so so PROUD of you all.
We are so blessed to have another grandaughter!! Little Audrey Jane is beautiful!! Tim and Steph--you make such a great team: Tim coaching, Steph singing :) I can see that your birth story will encourage others. Keep trusting in God and He will continue to bless your life!!
I sang "Come Thou Fount," too! Beautiful! And fast!!! How's the recovery?
I know! I totally sang it because YOU put it in my head. ;)
The recovery is much faster this time. I actually feel great. Now if only breastfeeding wasn't excruciating...
Steph, SO SO beautiful. It made me cry. I never cry at stuff! Just so much beauty. Congratulations isn't a strong enough word. So good. <3
Beautiful birth story! I love reading them! I'm so glad she came quickly for you! By the way, you look radiant! :)
That is wonderful and beautiful! So happy you didn't have a super long labor/delivery! She is gorgeous!! (I'll have to remember to wear lipstick when I deliver!)
Congratulations again to you, and thank you so much for sharing your birth story. I love love love birth stories, details and all. :)
I have chills reading this. So beautiful. Congratulations.
That was so beautiful! I teared up too. I have a little girl with a _____ Jane name too. So sweet. Congrats!
I'm three months away from my due date with my second little man. My first labor/delivery was in the hospital and it was excruciating - 46 hours, horrible tearing etc. This time, I'm having a midwife assisted birth. I'm scared, really, but trusting God to help me.
Your experience has encouraged me SO much. I literally have tears running down my face. Thank you for sharing!!
Myra - I'm so sorry to hear about your 1st experience. How scary that must have been. I bet it will be a "night-and-day" difference this time around: midwives are marvelous! Will you deliver at home, at a birth center, or at a hospital?
Wishing you a peaceful + positive birth!
Congratulations Stephanie!! What a lovely and peaceful birth!!
Congratulations, again! I am so glad that everything went to so perfectly. :)
I saw your tweet about crying as you wrote it. I see why; I teared up as I read it.
PS. She is truly beautiful.
Yay! Beautiful! So proud of you! I have yet to read a birth story that hasn't made me cry and rejoice as I remember my own. Thank you for sharing!