Please know that this post contains photos of birth. I did crop and edit them to make them as modest as I could but either way, if such images bother or offend you, please don't view this post!
By March 15th, I had been having prodromal labor for days. Not real labor but the kind where you swear "this is it" and then for whatever reason it just stops. I decided that day since I was scheduled for a prenatal anyway, that I wanted to have them strip my membranes and no that's not breaking your water for those who are wondering. I figured if my bodies truly ready (which I was sure of) then it would work. They went ahead with it (I was 2 cm's at this point) and told me to go walk for one hour around a nearby lake, come back to the office & they'll see if I've made some change. Well no sooner did I start my walk and I was getting some pretty good contractions. By the time I made my way back to my midwife's office I was having to lean onto things and really focus. They checked me and I was at 4 cm's. We all decided at that point it was time to get home. Unfortunately for me, it was during the middle of rush hour traffic on a very major highway called I4. We were at a crawling pace, more than 40 minutes from home and my contractions went from about 8 minutes apart down to 4 minutes. Poor Jeff was a nervous wreck and even I had a few moments of thinking "I hope I don't have this baby in the car"! And I need to say for the record that laboring in a car really really SUCKS!
Around 9pm I was checked only to discover that I was only five cm's. I didn't get too discouraged but, I did fear that this would turn out to be another 2 day labor like my first. Almost everyone had decided to go home for a bit and rest at that point and I thought maybe I should try to rest as well. I spent the next few hours side lying on the bed vocalizing through every contraction when I suddenly felt the need to just go sit on the toilet. I was feeling SO much pressure on my bottom at that time. Once on there I had the infamous contraction that feels more lie a dry heave ending with me uncontrollably making the most notable pushing noise. Then began the trembling. Jeff walked in and looked at me as if he knew something was up. He thought I was transitioning and so did I. I told him to call everyone back to the house and that I was feeling "pushy".
Once everyone got there I was checked but was still 5 cm's! I really couldn't understand why I had those symptoms but was only at 5. Baby was very low however which I guess I why I was feeling the urge to push. My midwife offered to break my water and I was so ready to move along with the process that I fully welcomed it. She broke my water and I was not expecting what happened next. My contractions were to the point where I just needed to go into my own world. I pretty much didn't want to be touched anymore other than holding my hands or leaning on someone. The intensity mixed with the immense pressure had my roaring like a lion and each "roar" would end in a pushing grunt. After only an hour since my water was broken It was to the point where I absolutely could NOT control the pushing. My midwife decided to check again and sure enough, I was complete!
I started of pushing on the floor, on my knees while draped over the bed but after a few contractions I had a sudden need to just get on the bed. I popped up onto the bed, pulled my own legs back and pushed like my life depended on it. Once again this stage was SO different from when I had Aizlynn. Back then I was much more quiet but this time I actually felt the need to yell as I pushed. It felt better to just let it out especially when Aubrey began to crown. At that point Jeff left my side and got in front of me ready to deliver his baby. I let out the most intense scream and her head was out. Her tiny little body followed about 10 to 15 seconds after and she was born onto her daddy's hands. Jeff had tears in his eyes as he placed our baby on my stomach. I didn't even know this baby yet and I instantly felt a powerful rush of pure love come over me. I remember asking what it was but they let me do the honors of looking. I saw that she was a precious baby girl and my world instantly changed in that moment. Jeff laid next to me while I was waiting to deliver the placenta and as we admired our new baby, I felt as if I had falling in love with him all over again. After some time I kept getting snapped back from my place of bliss when I continued feeling gushes coming from me. The first few I ignored but after a few more I looked at my midwife and said "Am I ok?" I could see by the look on her face that I infact was not. My placenta would not budge and I beginning to bleed heavily. One of my worst fears was coming true. Partial placental abruption.. After that everything quickly changed..
In the ambulance I prayed silent prayers in my head and kept imagining how devastated my family would be if they lost me. I thought about Jeff and how he'd have to live and raise our two girls without me. I thought about Aizlynn having to endure the agony of losing her mother and I thought about how the baby we tried so hard for would now never know me. It was surreal. At that point, because of all the blood I was losing, all my veins were collapsing and they were having a hard time starting an IV. One guy was looking at the veins in my neck just when the other paramedic finally had some luck with my arm. I really did feel for a time as if I wouldn't make it but my will to live took over. It was almost like an anger. I kept telling myself to fight. Just fight. As we got closer to the hospital, one paramedic had climbed onto the end of the gurney, I would imagine ready to perform CPR at any moment. He kept asking me questions and sternly saying "wake up mama", "stay with me".
By the time I got there I was really fading and (I was told later on) I had lost half my blood. I felt like everything was going in slow motion and I was just fighting to stay awake. Finally, the doctors started my blood transfusion eventually giving me FIVE units of blood and they rushed me to the O.R. They were prepared to give me a hysterectomy if they couldn't remove my placenta and stop the bleeding but by God's grace they were successful in resolving the issue. My vitals began to improve quickly after that. I began crying out loud to God in the O.R. and through slurred speech saying "Thank you Jesus". All the doctors were amazed at how fast I improved given how close I came to death. It was indeed a miracle.
(Mommy's in love! You might notice my face is still a bit puffy from all the fluids I recieved. It took about another 24 hrs for all the swelling to completely go down)
(Precious, tiny, little angel...)
(This is pretty much where Aubrey spent most of her time, in Mommy's arms..)
We spent the next three days in the hospital just taking everything in, getting to know our new baby girl and enjoying our "babymoon". During that time I slept with Aubrey on my chest, nursed her and bonded with her immensely. In fact I think that baby was in my arms about 80 percent of time! It was almost a luxurious experience all around- amazing care, awesome room service and the most incredible view of Down Town Orlando. It was especially gorgeous at night. It's ironic really. I wanted a home birth so I could stay the heck away from the hospital and then I ended up almost not wanting to leave ;) It was just great not having to worry about food, cleaning or anything else and just focus on Aubrey and each other.
I'm proud to share with you a small clip of one of the most precious moments of my life. The very moment Aubrey Grace was born. I made sure to start the clip just past all the screaming lol! Enjoy!