Ella Reese’s Birth Story {March 19, 2006}

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I wasn’t blogging when Abby Grace was born (or when Reese was born, for that matter!), but I wanted to share both of their birth stories. I love reading birth stories and I love sharing mine! While there are so many things I would go back and change if I could, I am blessed to have had very easy pregnancies, labors, and births. There were a few (minor) complications, but nothing to ever complain about. 

My little Ella Reese. Her birth story begins when Abby Grace is 13 months old, and we are living in the church apartment… a little set of rooms (living/kitchen area, bedroom, and bathroom) in the youth building. It was interesting, in that we put our bed in the living room and gave Abby Grace the bedroom. We turned that little apartment upside down, and oh, there are some wonderful memories from that time. Living in a tiny space isn’t near as bad as it sounds. In fact, I really miss those days, and I wish I had slowed down and stopped longing for more.

Anyway. That was June 2005. Fast-forward to October, and we have moved into the FOUR-bedroom parsonage. Talk about not knowing what to do with all of that room! Abby Grace ran around the house exclaiming, “This is SO big!” Despite my being four months pregnant, I had only gained 10 pounds. My clothes didn’t fit, but you could barely see a baby belly at all. A sonogram was done, and Reese was healthy and growing just fine. I believe we found out in early December that number two was going to be another sweet girl, and we were thrilled. I didn’t mind at all having two sweet girls.

As her due date approached, there was concern over the amount of weight I hadn’t gained. Y’all, I bet I didn’t gain 20 lbs my entire pregnancy. And while that’s a big {skinny} yay for not having to worry about losing it, I actually was worried because I was afraid she wasn’t growing. On week 37, I had another sonogram for a weight check. Sure enough, Reese was growing just fine, albeit a bit small, but just fine. When we said I was “all baby,” I really was – it was all sixish pounds of baby and not much else!

Shane, who was now a pastor, had asked me to pretty-please-not-give-birth-on-a-Sunday. Any day but Sunday was fine. Well, Saturday wasn’t good either, he said, so no Saturdays and no Sundays. The real joke is that TWO of his kids were born on a Sunday.

Reese was due around St. Patrick’s day, which was also her Uncle Griff’s birthday. I had an OB appointment that day, so I thought how wonderful it would be to have Reese on her uncle’s birthday! I was dilated enough at the appointment that they told me to go walk. It was cold outside, so we headed to Walmart. We got several knowing glances as we walked (and walked and walked and walked) around the store. I bought a few things we needed, and we headed back to the hospital. I didn’t feel any different, but I just knew I would be more dilated now than when I left. It wouldn’t happen TWICE that I “shrunk back”. No way.

Well, you know what’s coming, right?

The midwife looked perplexed, and checked me THREE times. She double-checked her chart to make sure she had MINE (you know, the one that said this lady was dilated when she came in the first time), and said, “Well, you aren’t even a one.” She said a few other things about tilting uteruses (or is it uteri?), but I really didn’t pay much attention. I was kind of stuck on the words *not dilated*. And THEN she says, “If you had still been dilated, we would have just broken your water. But since you aren’t we are sending you home.” Did she have to add insult to injury? She could have just released me and let it go. Again, I left disappointed and feeling like I was never going to meet my little girl.

Babies come in their own timing. I’m very impatient, and it’s hard for me to remember that good things come to those who wait. And babies are best left where they are until THEY are ready. Don’t worry, I don’t tell other pregnant women this. :D

That was Friday. Saturday was uneventful (hmmm… sounds a little like Cam’s birth… excitement on Friday, nothing on Saturday, and lookie, lookie the big day comes on a Sunday!), but on Sunday morning, I woke up at 4 am, and could not get back to sleep. I wasn’t having contractions, but I knew what was going on. I could feel that my body had changed. I repacked my hospital bag, and woke Shane up when I felt my first contraction at 6 am. At 7, I was on the phone with the hospital, and we were dropping Abby Grace off with my in-laws. Not wanting a repeat of last time, they hung back a bit before heading to the hospital.

I waited until I was measuring at a 6 to get my epidural this time, even though NONE of my contractions were painful. Again, fear kept me from trying to go without one. My anesthesiologist only had one arm; his good arm was in a sling and he kept joking about being “inexperienced”. I was in a good humor and gave him a hard time. Shane was kicked out of the room (much to his disappointment!) this time, and a nurse took his place holding me down for it.

My in-laws arrived with Abby Grace, my parents (who basically followed us to the hospital) were there, and my sister-in-law showed up with her family: the aforementioned Uncle Griff, and their three daughters. Everyone was there, so we were ready to get this show on the road.

As with Abby Grace’s birth, I had asked my mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law to be beside Shane and me. All of my modesty goes out the window when I give birth; I don’t care who sees me as long as I can get that baby out. I’ve mentioned that I’m a little nutty, right?

Back to the birth. My helpers were beside me, and the remaining family -including 20-month-old Abby Grace – waited on the other side of the curtain. When it was time to begin pushing, I noticed the epidural hadn’t worn off, but it never “took” to my left side, so again, I could feel everything. The nurses and midwife (ironically, the one who would deliver Cam… there are so many parallels with his birth and Reese’s!) encouraged me to let them know when I wanted to push. All of a sudden, from the other side of the curtain, Abby Grace’s head peeks out and she says, “Push, mommy, push! Push, push, push!” That is hands-down my favorite moment from any birth. We laughed and I thanked her, and then we got down to business.

Reese’s birth was less work than Abby Grace’s, and after only 17 minutes of pushing, my precious little bundle was born. She didn’t cry as much as her sister had, and was content almost immediately. There was no hesitation on her dad’s part this time about cutting the cord.

Ella Reese was born at 5:01 pm on Sunday, March 19, 2006. She weighed 6 lbs, 15 oz. She had fuzzy dark hair, blue eyes, and was a tiny little thing. Most of the clothes we bought her didn’t fit for a few weeks.

Settling in with two children had it’s ups and downs, but Reese turned out to be a very easy baby. Abby Grace was an amazing big sister, and we had NO issues of jealousy or discontent on her part. She was thrilled to be a big sister and to have Reese in our home.

Reese was our only child to take to a pacifier, and was so attached to it, that it took a week away from home (and her momma!) for her to be rid of it… at age 3 and a half. Oh yeah, she was half-grown before she gave it up, and it was still a battle when we got back home because she thought the paci would return when momma did. Oops.

My milk supply dropped drastically when the pediatrician recommended we supplement with formula because she was so small. She dropped to 6 lbs, 9 oz when we left the hospital. Sadly, my milk dried up well before I had a chance to establish a good supply, so I didn’t get to nurse Reese as much as I would have liked. On the other end of that, she ended up being a fantastic sleeper, and slept through the night (12 hours, people) by one month of age. She is still a great sleeper today.

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