Graham Jeffrey: A Birth Story
Updated: Feb 10, 2019
It's February 1st and I'm two days overdue. My heart is weary and my attitude is defeated. I really wanted another due date baby and the waiting is HARD. That evening Josh had to do some work at the office so I decided to go with him and walk some laps/stairs and change my attitude. We dropped the boys with my mom for a couple hours. At the office, I blasted worship music in my headphones as I walked and let tears stream down my face as I prayed out all my fears and hopes for this birth to the song "Seasons" by Hillsong. I left with a renewed sense of trust and peace in God's timing for Graham's arrival. We stopped at the store on the way home and I got a fresh pineapple and red raspberry leaf tea, ya know, just for good measure.
When we picked up the boys from my mom, the last thing she said to us as she closed the door was, "See you tonight"with a sweet, hopeful smile.
At home, I got in the bath with a grateful heart for another night to take a bath instead of complaining about the baby that's not in my arms. I ate half of that fresh pineapple and drank a whole cup of red raspberry leaf tea and went to sleep.
At 3:30am I woke up to my first strong, wake-you-from-your-sleep contraction. "Could this be it?" I wondered as I went to the bathroom. But as I went to lay back down, I immediately had another strong contraction. This one broke my water and I leapt out of bed. The fastest I've moved in 9 months. And I didn't even get any water on my freshly changed sheets. I rushed to the bathroom and Josh followed me there. "Are you sure you didn't just pee your pants?" he inquired. "I"m positive", I replied even though I'd never had my water break naturally.
We called the hospital to see if we should plan to come in since I was overdue and my water had broken or if we should wait out the contractions at home. But by the time Josh was off the phone, I knew the answer to that question. The contractions were already coming 2-3 minutes apart and they were STRONG. We had been planning to drop the boys at my mom's house on the way to the hospital but I told Josh there was no time. He called my mom and she answered immediately. When Josh got off the phone he chuckled, "I think your mom was waiting by the phone." Later my mom told us that the Lord had woken her up earlier in the night and she'd been tossing and turning praying for us. So she was indeed awake and ready.
The contractions kept on coming as I gathered up my last minute things I needed to put in my hospital bag. And then they got so strong and distracting that I just yelled to Josh that we needed to go. I didn't even have my contacts in or glasses on.
I had to wait out the contractions in order to even be able to sit. I kept telling Josh I felt like I needed to poop which I knew was a feeling of pushing and it scared me. My literal worst fear was having a baby in the car. Josh went well above the speed limit the entire 15 minute drive to the hospital.
When we arrived, they offered me a wheelchair to which I replied, "I can't sit". The elevator ride to the second floor felt like an ETERNITY. In our room on the Maternity hall, we were greeted by two nurses who knew immediately I needed to be checked.
"Can you lay down for us?"
"I don't think I can sit, it feels like I'm gonna poop"
"Then we really need to check you"
I finally laid in the bed during the short break from contractions. "Were you hoping for an epidural?" the nurse inquires as she begins to check me. I start to stammer some "maybes" and Josh interrupts to say, "She did with the other two but she was hoping to do without this time." And then the nurse says, "You're complete".
Those words brought a mix of shock and relief. No time for an epidural. I was going to do this. This is what I wanted. And this is what my Ennegram 9 personality needed in order to do it - a nice, forceful shove outside my comfort zone to do something unknown and challenging.
By that time the ER doctor on call was in the room introducing himself to me in case the baby came before my OB doctor arrived. In my mind, I would cross my legs in order to wait for my OB doctor to get there. I never got the opportunity to have my OB doctor deliver my other two babies and that was something I really wanted as well. I asked for my contacts while we waited as we'd left so quickly, I'd forgotten them. I only got one in.
When Dr. Heimann arrived, Josh said the whole vibe in the room changed to excitement. She told me I could start pushing whenever I was ready.
This part was so other-worldly to me. The pain was taking me over and I felt out of control. Luckily, I had some amazing nurses. My one nurse, Annette, was to my right and Josh was to my left. Annette felt like this sense of focus and calm. She would call my name tell me to look her in the face. She would center and refocus me and help me count and use my breathing to my advantage. I never realized how truly crucial knowing how to breath correctly through the pushing contractions was because I'd never been able to feel what my body was doing with my other two deliveries. During the final pushes, Josh was so encouraging. "You can see his head, baby" as I reached down to feel for myself. What amazing motivation that was. Thankfully, in total, it only took me 4 contractions with several pushes each time to meet my baby. The feeling of finally pushing him out into the world is one I will never, ever forget. The absolute most amazing feeling - a high like nothing on earth. When I got him on my chest and he started crying, the most incredible sense of relief and gratitude rushed over me. All the anticipation and longing was put to rest through an incredible journey.
From the first strong contraction at 3:30a.m to in my arms at 5:24 a.m. - it was the most exciting and challenging 2 hours of my life. And incredibly special that it was 5:24 as 5/24 was our 10 year anniversary and the day we found out we were pregnant with him!
I spent the next hour with him on my chest just studying his perfect features and praising God. Things I noticed right away - his wispy, blonde hair. I've never had a baby with any hair before! Big, deep blue eyes that could stare into my soul already. And a spot on his hand - I asked the nurse if she thought he got cut on the way out. "Nope, that's from him sucking his hand in the womb." No wonder he nursed so naturally right away.
They weighed and measured him next - 7lb 12oz and 20.5inches. My biggest baby yet in both height and weight! Finally Josh got to hold him and I ordered breakfast. It was only around 7a.m. by now and our day was just starting!
It was a slow, beautiful start to our new life with him. We texted and called family and friends to share our news and took turns holding and admiring him. We watched the news and realized Graham was a Groundhog's Day baby. The groundhog did not see his shadow this year and it's predicted that spring will come early! Hooray!
We showered and had lunch and planned for our photographer friend to come at 2 p.m. and capture our older boys meeting Graham for the first time as that's when my parents were planning to bring them to the hospital. There is definitely something to be said about a quick and unmedicated birth. I felt night and day different from my other two deliveries. The fact that I was up for pictures 8 hours after giving birth should tell you just how different I felt. Not being bloated from fluids and being able to use my legs right away felt like a gift.
These moments of my family together for the first time are hard to put into words for me. Just so incredibly special to watch things I'd dreamed about for months become a reality right before my eyes. I'm so glad Amanda was there to capture it all. My heart has never felt fuller than in these moments and she captured them so beautifully.
This weekend of his birth will go down as one of the most special of my life. Quiet and dreamy with just Josh and I getting to know our new son. Special thanks to my sweet mother for taking time off work to take care of our other boys so we could enjoy this time. We left the hospital in time to get home for the SuperBowl. We made chili together and celebrated this beautiful new life.
Specific prayers that God answered in regards to Graham's birth that we want to praise Him for:
- Clear roads/no snow when it's time to head to the hospital: It was a quick and smooth drive with no bad weather conditions.
- That he would come when my mom had off work to watch our other boys: He came on Saturday and my mom had off work through Tuesday. Such a blessing.
- That my water would break (I'd never experienced this naturally and wanted a clear sign that it was go time. No false labor.): My water broke naturally
- That my labor and delivery would be quick: It all happened in less than 2 hours
- But not too quick (I was afraid of not making it to the hospital): We got there just in time
- That I would be able to have an unmedicated birth: praising God for the strength to be able to do this
- That Graham would be healthy and strong: He is perfectly beautiful and healthy
If you're on the fence about if you should have Fresh 48 hospital photos done, let me reassure you that you will never regret them. I'm positive these pictures are recommendation in and of themselves but if you're local, I cannot recommend Burman Photography enough. She captured some of the most special moments of my life in the most beautiful and natural way. And she's as talented baby whisperer as she is a photographer.
All our family photos in this post by Burman Photography