I’m so honored to share another birth story here in my sweet little space. Kaitlynn and I met while earning our bachelor degrees at McNeese and serving on the same committee for Up Til’ Dawn. We don’t often see one another, but when we do I know I can appreciate another mama loving her babes and the current stage of life that God has blessed her with. Birth stories are the absolute best, and if you’re anything like me, you relive the entire experience as you taste the words written by a mother, filled with gratitude, and saturated with pride. I hope that you enjoy this precious birth of an even more precious little girl written exclusively by her loving mother.
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A few days before Edith decided to make her debut earth-side, I looked at my husband, Jeremy,and said, ” What if I can’t do it?” He looked back at me completely puzzled, so I clarified, “what if I can’t have another natural birth? What if it’s too painful and I can’t do it?” He just smiled at me and said, “your body was made for this; you’re so much stronger than you think.” That was all I needed to hear.
I had my first daughter, Cecilia, as naturally as possible, and it was a rough experience. My water broke to begin labor, and I was put on a clock and eventually pitocin (AKA the devil drug). I labored for 8-9 hours with no progress and then was on an excruciating amount of pitocin for 3-4 hours until Cecilia came out. I remember being so exhausted that I fell asleep between pushes.
Cecilia Anne Hollier
After my first experience, I was afraid my body didn’t understand labor, and I would have to deal with progression failure again and have to make the pitocin decision. I was wrong.
Preparing for Edith’s birth started with early pregnancy. I dealt with severe gallbladder and digestive issues. I ended up losing fifteen pounds within the first few months. If you think this sounds appealing, you are very mistaken! I was so concerned about my baby and my body getting proper nutrition. Also, everyone reminded me about how “abnormally” small I was. My mother even found it appropriate to tell me to eat and ask me if this or that was wrong. Terrifying.
I had to monitor my diet very carefully for the majority of my pregnancy which basically consisted of fresh, low fat foods. Probably what everyone pregnant should eat anyway, but ya know.. Pregnancy cravings! Anyway, I also made the decision to start working out as soon as I stopped vomiting (around 22 weeks). I think both of these were game changers! My body felt so good my whole pregnancy! I worked out , cleaned, and stayed active until I had Edith.
Getting home from the gym 38weeks
I was physically preparing, but I also knew I needed to mentally prepare for birth, so I did some light reading (take a Bradley class if you can! My friend Ashley Augustine offers them, and she’s fabulous) and a lot of google image searching (haha.) Believe it or not, simply reminding myself of the science of it all helped me the most! Understanding that labor is work and pain for a purpose really got me excited for the process. I also came to terms with being pregnant for 41-42 weeks (my first was born at exactly 41).
If I can give words of wisdom to mothers it is BE PATIENT !!!!! Due dates are just estimates and can be off by weeks. Be patient! Leave your baby alone. He / she will come out eventually. Your doctor will make sure everything is safe if you go “over.” Statistically, limiting unnecessary intervention is the best option. Just. Be. Patient. Mentally prepare for a “late” baby.
I was mentally prepared for a 41 weeker, so when Edie decided to come just after her due date she felt early! Being Ok with being pregnant passed my due date was probably one of the best ways I mentally prepared for Edith’s arrival. She knew what she was doing.
Contractions & Progress:
My contractions started getting intense around 38 weeks. I really thought I was in labor a few times. I wasn’t. But she was making progress, and a few days shy of 39 weeks I was 2cm! This may not excite many people, but for a woman who sat at 2cm during hours of labor THIS WAS EXCITING!
So Edie teased me a few times between 38 weeks and my due date. But after the first couple rounds of consistent contractions I decided to ignore them… Ha!
The Real Deal: Slow and Steady
On May 29th, my due date, I was at my grandma’s birthday party. I started feeling exhausted so Jeremy and I bailed on dinner plans with my brother . That night I started having pretty regular contractions for a few hours. I also felt a lot of pain and pressure (what I’m assuming now was Edith engaging) but I just went to bed. The next morning I started having contractions around 9am. They kept coming consistently, so I told Jeremy to load up our hospital bags and we’d go to town with him (he had basketball camp.) So we loaded up. My contractions got so intense that I didn’t want to talk.. I had one as we pulled up to the school to drop Jeremy off … He waited on it to pass, and I got out to get in the driver’s seat (I know, I know.) I told one of the basketball moms to not say anything but to keep her phone on because I might be in labor. She laughed at me. I drove to Pho Tien, picked up spring rolls (always hungry,) then headed to my sister Nichole’s house.
My sister and I had plans to go to a friend’s house for dinner, but I thought I was in labor so we made the decision not to go. Then BAM, 1:45 last contraction… And they all stopped. I was furious. How in the world does one have contractions that intense for that long and THEY STOP? I told Nichole we were going to see our friends! And we did! We left Nichole’s after 5PM, and I thought maybe I felt contractions again… But I was ignoring them now because I was tired of the teasing! So Nichole and I ran to Market Basket, shopped, picked out boudin, and headed to Moss Bluff!
We got to our friend’s house around 7:30, and the contractions started. Around 8 they really started. I started having some leaking with contractions but decided it was nothing, and I carried on because the food was so very delicious. Then one of my nurse friends suggested I time my contractions. They started coming every 8 minutes, so my other nurse friend said I should probably not eat much more. Y’all, sad times. There was so much deliciousness happening. But I agreed and decided to monitor the contractions. We moved outside to sit around a beautiful fire and watch everyone get fabulous henna tattoos. It was around 8:45 when Nichole and I made the decision, with the help of our mom friends, to go ahead and head back to Lake Charles. I was still in denial at this point because of all the teasers. We also made the brilliant decision to go to Walmart and look for PH strips… Kids don’t try this at home…
A post from my mom friend who hosted the dinner.
We wanted to know if my water was leaking. So we got to Walmart and couldn’t find anything we needed … Except an air mattress. I went to customer service to try and get some help. That was when I had my first really intense contraction. I put my head on the counter and breathed through it. I sort of think the customer service employee thought I was being super dramatic about having to wait, so I told her I was fine and that I was just having a contraction. SHEER PANIC lit up her face. Why does birth scare people ?? The lady was no help, so we left.
We got back to Nichole’s house (2 minutes from my hospital) around 10 PM. Contractions were still coming about every 8 minutes. Some were more intense than others, but I knew I wasn’t that far along because I was fine and the pain wasn’t anywhere near what it was for my first. (Side note to readers – pitocin labor pain is way worse than natural labor pain) So we decided to get everyone ready for bed. We had initially put the air mattress in the living room. That was a mistake. Cecilia was acting like a crazy baby and bouncing on the mattress as I labored on the other end. I told Jeremy this was not working. We moved the mattress to the empty kid’s room. Jeremy went in there and tried to get Cecilia to sleep with a noise maker. It didn’t work. So I went in the spare room, and he took Cecilia to the living room. Ahhh a dark room, alone! Jeremy had actually left the noise maker too which provided the perfect amount of white noise to sort of calm me. This was nice. I tried to rest as much as I could. I rolled around and adjusted my body to get comfortable during contractions. I decided I needed to pee or stand. I needed to do something. So I went in the bathroom. I was rocking and rolling, swaying in the bathroom, taking belly pics, and updating some friends on Facebook. I could feel Edith moving around, and everything was great. I had actually brought a Doppler and BP cuff in my bag( I knew I wanted to labor “at home” as long as possible,) but we never used either.
Laboring in Nichole’s bathroom… Updating my mom friends on Facebook.
Then my contractions started getting closer … 7 minutes… 6 minutes … Hmmmm. Around 11:40 I had a few contractions that made me think, “maybe we should go to the hospital,” but as soon as the contractions were over I was like, nah this is fine .. I’m probably at 3 cm ( WRONG).
Get this app!
Then the contractions got closer … (Later, my sister said she could hear me during contractions and thought I was around 5-6 .. I really didn’t think so. )
Playing on Facebook about an hour before giving birth
I kept waiting for the intensity of my previous birth, but it never happened. Around 12:30 I found myself calling out for Jeremy during a contraction, so as soon as it was over, I hopped up and got ready to head to the hospital. Yes ! Hopped up. I literally felt like a normal person between contractions. I first woke Nichole to tell her to get Cecilia from Jeremy. BAM another contraction… Worked through it. I got Jeremy up, and he loaded up the car … Then I had to wait out another contraction. So they were coming pretty close together at this point. We loaded up, and I had another contraction in the car (not fun). We arrived at the hospital and it was of course locked, so I pressed the buzzer. Nothing. Silence.I thought, “fantastic I’m having this baby outside .” Another contraction. Then I had to call to have someone let us inside the building. We started walking inside, and I had to find somewhere to sit because another contraction was coming. At this point I was so very glad I pre-registered. The nice security guard got me a wheelchair. This was a good move. We arrived at early labor and delivery. My contractions stalled. I thought to myself “noooo not again!”
**I talk and think to myself a lot.**
The nurse got all my info and had me pee in a cup. I was positive I was 3cm and she was going to laugh at me. But when I went to fill my cup there was finally bloody show! I thought “OK AWESOME. This is the real deal.” I went back in my little room, and the nurse decided to check me. I made her wait until a contraction passed. She seemed a little confused while checking, but when the glorious words, “you’re about 6” came out of her mouth I wanted to cry happy tears! I looked at Jeremy and said something like, “6! Yay!” But then the nurse followed her statement with, “At first I thought you were complete.” Hold the phone. There’s a big difference between those two. At this point I told Jeremy he could contact our families because I knew our mothers and sisters wanted to be there, and I wanted Edie’s godmother there and our fabulous photographer Vanessa Edwards.
So then the nurse tried to get the on-call doctor on the phone. This was interestingmainly because she couldn’t get through to him and had to keep leaving voicemails. She finally got through to him and told him I was 6/7 and really laboring, and he needed to come over. This was great to hear! Not only had I dilated to 7 without her checking me again, but she thought delivery was soon! They wheeled me to my room; it was already set up for delivery. All I could think was this is crazy. These people are crazy; we have hours still! It took me 3-4 hours on pitocin to go from 5 to pushing with my first. Why are these crazy people setting up the room and calling the doctor? Jeremy and I just kept working through contractions.
Again, I kept waiting for it to get as intense as the first time. I kept waiting for there to be no breaks between contractions and for there to be just completely miserable pain … It never came. The nurses I got were fabulous. One had had her three children naturally, so she was very supportive and reminded me to breathe during contractions. For some reason I hold my breath. This hurts and doesn’t help at all! Don’t do it. It was so wonderful to have those nurses there! After a few minutes one of my nurses decided to check me. I had only been checked once so I allowed it. She said “8/9 bulging water bag. As soon as that water breaks you’re having a baby!”
I seriously could not believe she had just said that. I looked again at my husband with complete disbelief and joy. We had just gotten to the hospital! I felt fine and was making jokes between contractions- I’m the nicest person while in labor; it’s very strange. This could not possibly be the real thing. There was no way I had labored through transition. It felt like a dream. I asked Jeremy if they were lying to me. And cue my water breaking everywhere with the next contraction. My nurse ran out to hurry the doctor. As soon as the door shut, I told Jeremy “get her I need to push!” ( Let’s pause very quickly. I get it. I do. However, nurses , midwives , doulas , doctors , whoever .. It’s very uncool to tell a woman to not push when she’s going naturally, is at 10 cm, and needs to push.) Within seconds everyone flew back in and started moving things around. They wanted me to wait on the doctor, so I humored them for one contraction and then decided I was pushing. Luckily the doctor showed up because that girl was coming out. There wasn’t even time for a local anesthetic by the time the doctor showed up, so I had a little more pain while pushing this time. This pushing experience was very different. I pushed for about 45 minutes with a lot of breaks for my first, and I was exhausted. This time I was super excited and alert. We pushed once, and I came right back and pushed again and then again and then her head was out and then her body and there she was! I remember the nurses saying “look up! Look up!”
Edith’s first breath
By 1:51 AM Edith Marie Hollier was earth-side, 8lbs 2oz and 21 inches long, and in my arms! (I told my mother there was nothing wrong with her just because my belly appeared small!)
I looked at my sweet nurse and said “I did it!” She laughed and said “yes you did! That was awesome! You did great.”I did and it was. No one except my photographer, obviously, made it for the delivery. Don’t tell them but it was actually kind of nice! From delivery on everything is kind of a blur. I get “birth drunk” as Nichole would call it. I start rambling and talking nonsense. At one point I handed doctor Forsyth an iPhone because he needed more light… I just felt so good! They cleaned Edie up and handed her to her daddy until I was all finished up with the doctor. Then Jeremy handed her to me, and she latched like a champ (also very different from my first child.)
Nichole photo photo bombing
This labor was so wonderful, and I wish everyone could experience birth the way I did this time around. I remember spending basically the whole next day saying prayers of thanksgiving. We are so blessed and so in love with our new daughter.
Edith Marie Hollier