christin and jacob are friends of mine from church, and as their guess date approached they thought it might be nice to have someone else alongside them for the birth of their (surprise gender!) baby. i was super honored they thought of me, and was beyond blessed to be a part of their birth story. so prepare to feel all the feels and tear up at just the sweetness of this birth!
Exactly 12 weeks ago today, this little sweetheart came into the world. In honor of her 12 week birthday, I'm sharing a bit of her birth story that I wrote down for her. I took out a few of the gory details for your enjoyment.
For my littlest Lilah Rae... The story of your birthday.
I woke up at 1am on October 23rd (the day before your due date) to consistent surges that were 5 minutes apart and not something I could sleep through so I went downstairs to watch TV and let Nana and Daddy sleep. I watched a few HGTV shows and then realized I had a little bit of work to do so I went to my computer to get it done. When a surge would come I would l lean against my standing desk and breathe through the wave. I finished my work and then called Gramma and Grampa to tell them they should head down from Central California. I watched a few more shows and then went upstairs to wake Daddy around 6:30am.
He and Nana were excited and we decided to go on a long walk, just Daddy and me - our last, sweet moments alone, as a family of 2. We walked to the beach and talked about you and stopped every 5 minutes for a surge. Daddy was the sweetest helper, holding my hands and rubbing my head.
When we got home we set up a little laboring area in our bedroom for me. I sat on a cozy blanket on the floor and when a surge would come I would kneel next to the bed and lay my head on it. They were still 5 minutes apart but more intense so I texted our doula Kelly to update her. She decided to head over to check in and arrived around 12:30. She sat with us and talked while I labored and made the surges so much more manageable by applying counter pressure to my back since I was having 100% back labor. She taught Daddy how to do it also which helped a lot because he would apply the pressure and she would play with my hair. It was so strange because I was able to act completely normal and chat between surges. Eventually she recommended we head to the hospital because she could tell that I was progressing and we were a bit worried about traffic. So, around 2:30 we headed to the hospital.
The car ride made breathing through the surges very difficult and they were getting more and more intense. I was glad they were progressing because I was sure I'd be at a 5 when we got to the hospital. When we got there Nana dropped us off at the front and, surprise, auntie Carrie (my sister) was there! I was so happy to see her and hoped she would stay until you were born. As we walked into the hospital I had a few intense surges but leaning and swaying helped a lot. Gramma and Grampa had just arrived there so we said hi and headed to triage. When we got to triage they checked me and I was a 6! I knew that a lot of the work was done and that I'd probably be meeting you soon. I was so happy even through the intensity of labor.
On our way to the room where we would deliver you I had a few surges so I was pretty sure they were around 3 minutes apart even though I couldn't keep track of time at all. The nurse that escorted us kept talking to daddy when I would stop for a surge, which really threw my concentration off. Luckily, one of the things I did during surges was make a loud "Shhhh" sound so I hoped she would get the not-so-subtle hint that she needed to be quiet. We got to our room and this is where everything kind of blurs together for me. I'm guessing it was 4pm when we got settled in the room. They wanted to monitor me but sitting on the bed was horrible for me so they quickly checked on you and got their numbers and unhooked me. The nurse that had been assigned to us kept talking loudly and touching me during surges, saying things like, "she's trying to do it naturally," and "well... we will see..." It was really discouraging to me, especially since I hadn't even considered having medication throughout my whole labor. There was another nurse that had come in that was really sweet so daddy asked her if she could be out nurse. I'm not sure if I said something to him or if he just knew, but I was so happy because it made all the difference.
Someone suggested that I sit on the birth ball and right when I sat on it I had an insanely intense contraction during which I started to say, "I think my water just broke." Before I could finish my sentence another surge started. My water had broken and I was now having contractions one on top of the other. It was time. I felt like I really needed to push. I looked to my right and your daddy was rocking back and forth in a chair, sucking down a juice box. Thinking back on it, he looked like a 6 year old kid. I asked him if he was okay and he said "yes" but I found out after the birth that he had almost fainted.
At 5:25 I started officially pushing. This was the hardest part of my labor. It was extremely painful and I think I just didn't have the physical strength and endurance I needed to. Your daddy was so sweet, counting to 10 for me and encouraging me the whole time, even when I said, "I cannot do this anymore!" I pushed for 45 minutes until the doctor came in. That really made a difference in my pushing because she would count slower than daddy and would say "harder" or "keep going" right when I was ready to give up.
Finally, I made the mental decision to push with all my strength. I had come this far without medication - I couldn't give up now. With one big push your entire head and body came out! I will NEVER forget that moment. They put your little, wet body on my tummy and I was instantly relieved. I'm so glad we have a video of this part because I probably wouldn't remember what we said or did, but I've watched it a hundred times so I know it by heart. I instantly smiled and talked and almost acted like I had felt no pain at all. I kept saying, "My baby! Little baby! Are you mine?" I looked at daddy and said, "We have a baby!" My sister finally said, "What kind of baby?!" I didn't hear her and was so in shock that we still didn't look to see if you were a boy or girl. I just kept rubbing my hands on your back and saying, "Are you mine?" Finally, after about a minute, you were still lower on my tummy and face-down so I said, "I can't even see your face!" The nurse flipped you over and daddy kissed me and said, "You call it." I opened up you're little legs, gasped, and looked at daddy with the biggest smile and the most shocked face... "IT'S A GIRL!!!" Daddy choked back tears and kissed my face and we both fell in love all over again.
I was so thankful that we were able to have Nana, auntie Carrie, and our doula Kelly. They were each such an encouragement to me throughout the labor and delivery. They left a little bit after you were born and we spent the next hour... just the 3 of us... snuggling. Daddy and I studied your eyes and hands and lips. I kissed your cheeks and you laid on my chest. It was so special. Finally, they weighed and measured you - 7 pounds, 3 ounces and 20.5 inches of pure sweetness, born at 6:45pm on the dot.
Our family and friends who were in the waiting room got to come up and meet you. It was so amazing to put that pink bow on your head and introduce you, "This is our DAUGHTER... Lilah Rae." When auntie Rachel (my other sister) came to meet you, we said, "This is Lilah Rae, named after you!" She gasped, put her hands over her mouth, and started to cry. "We love you and you're special to both Jacob and me and we love how you love Jesus." She was so shocked and so happy.
That night, after everyone left, was the best ever. Daddy dimmed the lights in the room, turned on the pretty piano music that had been playing throughout my labor, and we spent our first night as a family of 3 cuddling and smelling you and taking it all in.
Daddy and I still couldn't believe it. We had a baby! We had a daughter. We had you!
thank you SO much christin and jacob for sharing sweet lilah rae's birth story with us. dear readers, this mama was one amazing laboring woman. such control of her reaction to her labor, such a deep intuition to listen to what her body needed. she was cracking jokes at 10cm, and was having such a fun time in between surges. as i watched her labor i thought to myself- well, this is basically a dream labor right here. lots of love and support, sweet prayers prayed over her, and a deeply rooted surrender to the story God wanted to tell through lilah's birth. so stinkin beautiful.
christin and jacob are also amazing photographers. if you are local (or you just love beautiful things!) do yourself a favor and check out their website here: We Heart Photography