Thanksgiving is just around the corner and December is close behind it. I am amazed at how these last three months have FLOWN by SO quickly! A lot of things I thought I would have finished by now (like thank you notes) but we pass into the next month and I remember that I didn't get to that list of things! One of those things has been to share Sela's birth story.
Ryan and I had quite a few conversations about what Quinn's birth was like and in many ways it was very, very difficult. Even before we were aware of his health issues, it had been a difficult experience for me and I think I had to work through some of that in preparation for having Sela. Those were good conversations about what happened and what we could do to have a different experience. There were some basic things that we hoped like--we hope we have a healthy baby and a safe delivery. But then there were other things like--if my water breaks I hope it is in the bathroom at our house--or--I hope I can shave my legs before we have this baby--or--I hope the epidural totally works--or--I hope I'm never by myself when a doctor comes in the room to talk about the baby.
I thought I had gone into labor early on August 25th--I called our midwife, went to the birth center just to see, and while I was dilated I was not in active labor or progressing so I went home. Sela was due on the September 11th but our midwife thought she would come earlier so I wasn't nervous about that possibility, just anxious that we wouldn't miss the fact that I was in labor because that had happened with Quinn. With Quinn we went in for our normal appointment where I was dilated to a 5 and I had missed the memo that I was in labor :)
Each day we would wonder, is this the day? One day Quinn got to watch "Cars"--twice--because I was very tired. But boy were we ready for this little girl to arrive! Our bags were packed, we had our delivery CDs made, our friend Carrie was going to come be our "doula for no moola" and take pictures :) We had a plan for Quinn and I had my special bottle of Tuberose shower gel to be able to use post baby delivery. We were ready.
On the morning of September 1st I had gone in to use the bathroom, and I'll keep this part short, but I will say that my first prayer for my water to break at home in our bathroom was answered. Although, I did tell Ryan I wasn't sure it had broken because, well, I was going to the bathroom. Yes, I did just share that in the blog world. It was about 7:30 am and we started making "the phone calls" to family, Carrie, and our midwife, Nan. Quinn, Ryan, and I drove to the hospital to check in and my parents came to pick up Quinn. I was thankful that this all started in the morning and I felt sure we would have a baby while it was still daylight.
We got settled in, connected with our nurse Pam, and soon Carrie arrived (yeah CR!) We got our music going and continued to hurry up and wait. I was dilated at a 3 and contractions weren't very close together. We were able to talk about what we wanted to happen (like having an epidural) and what we were hoping for. The Providence Birth Center staff is so great and our midwife and her assistant are so great--we were in such great hands! I was walking around our room and eventually Ryan went to get lunch and Carrie and I walked the room some more. We talked about the fact that the contractions still weren't super intense and wondered when they might speed up a bit. Perhaps it was because we were talking about it but the contractions began to intensify. Stopping to breathe through a contraction, then walk a little, breathe through a contraction, walk a little--and they were coming closer together.
Time to get checked again and now I was dilated to a 6! And, time for an epidural! With Quinn I had an epidural when I was dilated to an 8 and I honestly believe it had no impact because I felt everything and could hardly breathe. But this time around, the epidural was AMAZING and WONDERFUL and I could have a conversation with Ryan, Carrie, our nurses, and Nan. It had been really important to me to have a clear mind in case something happened with the baby and I needed to be coherent and not just trying to manage the childbirth pain.
Things were moving right along. We were excited and nervous and eager. I was settled in bed, things were being prepped for Sela's delivery and we were getting ready to meet our daughter! I am very much a music person and we had made two CDs for the delivery. Each of the songs we had chosen were special and encouraging and something I would want to hear when meeting a new life. Some of the songs were "At the Cross" by Vineyard Music, "All the Way the Savior Leads Me" by Rich Mullins, "First Song that I Sing" by Sara Groves, "Sleeps with Butterflies" by Tori Amos, "How Beautiful" by Twila Paris, "Landslide" by Stevie Nicks, and "Blackbird" by Sarah McLachlan. One special song was one by my cousin Tyrone called "This is Beautiful". When we were pregnant with Sela, I always identified that song with her and of course it made the delivery CD.
The team was assembled, my body was doing everything it needed to do in order to deliver this baby, and it was time to start pushing. I could hear our delivery CD switching to "This is Beautiful" and I started to cry. It seemed like a such a gift to have that song playing as we met Sela for the first time. We told everyone why the song was so important to us and that it was my cousin singing--and I had someone keep repeating it while we were pushing. Oh, it was so sweet! It was also such that our team knew that when Quinn was born with intestinal blockage he had no bowel movement which alerted us to CF, and as Carrie said, she had been praying that Sela would arrive with an immediate bowel movement.
Ryan told Nan Sela's name for the first time and after 20 minutes of pushing Nan and her assistant Tamara ushered Sela into the world at 2:36pm to the song "This is Beautiful". Everyone was crying. And, in answer to prayer, Nan announced, "She's pooping!" Good girl, Sela! And then Sela was in our arms and Ryan cut the umbilical cord and she had dark hair and looked like her brother.
There were so many little things about Sela's delivery that were an answer to prayer and little things that were special to us. Our day nurse that came on to be with us had been our night nurse the one night we were at the hospital with Quinn. In fact, Nurse Megan gave Quinn his first bath and she gave Sela her first bath. Our night nurse, Cori, had been a nursing student and part of Quinn's delivery and now she was with us for a few nights to help with Sela. It was so great!
It was wonderful to hang out, introduce Quinn to Sela (what a sweet moment), and Quinn got to announce Sela's name to the grandparents. And to hold a little 6 pound, 15 ounces and 19 inch long baby girl--praise God!
We are thankful for many things this season and this special delivery is just one of them!