Browse Author by Sarah B.
What I See

Juniper’s Birth Story

One month ago today, Alex and I welcomed Juniper Kate into the world. Besides our wedding day, this was the most memorable, beautiful day of my life so far. I wanted to share her birth story, mostly so I’ll always remember the day she came and changed our lives forever.

Disclaimer: I tried not to go into too much detail, but birthing a baby is kind of unglamorous. I am sharing the most memorable and important parts below. Feel free to skim or skip portions.

Early Labor

On Tuesday night, January 16th, I started feeling some contractions. It’d been like this for the three or so previous nights. I’d feel some pretty consistent contractions, go to sleep, and during the night they’d dissipate. So on this night I expected the same thing to happen. I was three days past my due date and tired of getting my hopes up, ha. I woke up shortly after 4 am to stronger contractions. In the minutes to follow, I started to really wonder if this was it!  I woke Alex up, and we started timing them. The confusing part was it felt like I was experiencing two different kinds of contractions: One was the tightening of my uterus – the kind I expected – and the other was like a lower abdominal, heavy cramp. I couldn’t decide if one was the real thing and the other wasn’t, or if they were both contractions. It made a difference in figuring out how far apart they were, of course, and eventually I decided they must both be contractions at about 5 minutes apart! 

At Home

Alex called our moms around 6:30 am to tell them we were pretty certain I was in labor. I ate a banana and part of a Cliff bar, not because I was hungry, but because I was scared of how long it would be until I ate again. Ha. 

From there, the morning was a whirlwind. In between contractions, I brushed my teeth and checked the contents of my hospital bag. During contractions, I got in positions that helped me relax – either on my hands and knees or on the toilet. I reviewed my labor mantra of sorts, which was inspired by the encouraging words my dear friend Casie texted me a few days before. I trust you, God. My body already knows what to do. Alex is my perfect coach. I do already do long-distance discomfort. I have everything I need for an amazing delivery.

By around 9 am, contractions were around four minutes apart. When I’d talked with my doctor earlier in my pregnancy about wanting to labor at home as long as possible, she advised that we come to the hospital when contractions were consistently 3 minutes apart and I was in pretty heavy discomfort. With that in mind, we thought soon it’d be time to go. Alex put on my socks and shoes, scraped the ice off the car and heated it up. There was still ice on the roads from the day before, and Alex handled this extra challenge like a pro. It was the first of many, many times in the last month I’ve been amazed by Alex’s ability to stay calm and patient when I want to freak out.

At the Hospital

When we pulled up to the hospital’s main entrance, Alex retrieved a wheelchair and then wheeled me to the elevator and up to the second floor just like we had been coached to do on our hospital tour. We had preregistered but I still had to sign a couple of forms – not easy to do with that level of discomfort!

From there I was taken to the triage room to be checked. I changed into a hospital gown, breathed through another contraction in the bathroom, and then got in the bed. When the doctor came in, I prayed I was at least 6 centimeters dilated. She told me I was 7 to 8. Praise God!! That was a real confidence booster and the first time I thought, “Okay, I can do this. Can’t be too much longer until 10.” The doctor asked if I wanted an epidural. When I said no, she said, “We don’t award Purple Hearts here, you know.” Honestly – and I’m so thankful for this – it never crossed my mind at that point or throughout the rest of labor to request medicine. That’s not to say that it would have been wrong or bad whatsoever. The mindset I had going into labor was to try to go without one (mostly because I almost passed out while learning about epidurals and other medical interventions in our childbirth class, but that’s a story for another time), but to be open to one if I felt I needed it.

From there I was wheeled into the labor and delivery room, and once I got into bed, I did not want to leave. Before going into labor, I was sure I would want to continue moving around at the hospital. But now, I just couldn’t think about much else besides breathing through those contractions. I wanted to be still.

It’s funny to think back on all the “essentials” I’d packed in my labor bag and didn’t use like mouthwash, an adult coloring book, my beloved scripture cards, and my yoga ball. What I’m glad I packed: socks, a washcloth to help cool my face, some lavender essential oil, my Spotify playlist, and the watermelon water flavored ice chips I made ahead of time.

When I was 9 centimeters dilated, I was told that a large portion of my water hadn’t broken and that doing so would speed things up to the pushing stage. I said yes. Again, this was not something I would have thought I’d agree to beforehand; I wanted everything to happen naturally. But Alex and I agreed it seemed best in that moment. So, a doctor came in and broke my water. It didn’t hurt; I just felt a large gush of warm fluid. 

The Final Stretch

As warned, contractions then became more intense, and I felt an urge to push. My incredible nurse Suzanne (seriously, I think she was an actual angel) said to call her when the urge was constant, not just during contractions, because that would mean Juniper’s head was low enough to start pushing.

Around 2 pm, I was fully dilated and ready to push. For me the pushing stage was the most intense part. I didn’t feel like I was making progress despite the encouragement of Suzanne, Alex, and my mom. Plus, pushing for an hour and a half was really hard work! When my OB arrived, little did I know I really was in the home stretch. I pushed through two more contractions, and on the third push of that last contraction, I felt not only Juniper’s head come out but the rest of her body too. It was the craziest feeling both physically and emotionally. At 3:23 pm, our baby girl was finally here!

My doctor and the nurses wondered where I’d been hiding an 8 lb. 8 oz., 21 inch long baby, and I couldn’t believe it either! I was just beyond grateful she was here and healthy.

I’m also so very grateful for Alex, who I’ve grown to love and respect more deeply. He really was the perfect coach, and he is the absolute perfect daddy for Juniper. As new parents, we’ve had super hard moments this last month and also the most joyful moments of my life so far. I am thankful for them all and for how God has shown me his grace and kindness.

This is a very long post, so if you’ve made it this far, you deserve a legit reward! Thank you, friends and family, for your amazing support and encouragement in this season. It is a beautiful thing to not only love my daughter but to know so many others love and pray for her too. Here are some photos to make you smile.

 

 

Photo by The Bird and The Bicycle Photography
Photo by The Bird and The Bicycle Photography
Photo by The Bird and The Bicycle Photography
Photo by The Bird and The Bicycle Photography
Photo by The Bird and The Bicycle Photography

xoxo,

Sar

What I Learn

36 Weeks and My Favorite Prenatal Workouts

Hi friends! Christmas is just N I N E days away. Woah. I hope you’re fully embracing the wonder of this season. With glowing lights, cooler temps, and extra festivities, there’s just nothing like it. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in busy, but really, this month is all about gazing into the face of God, who came as a newborn baby – Jesus! – to show us how to live and to make our broken lives whole. He gave it ALL. One little way I’ve been slowing down is to write out scripture on index cards and read them over when I have a few minutes. What are your favorite ways to slow down during the holidays?

Today marks four weeks until Juniper’s due date, and that feels very surreal. I’ve been into readying her room and trying to make it all cozy, washing her clothes, and reading up on all things labor and delivery. Alex installed her car seat, and we’ve attended what feels like all possible birth/breastfeeding/newborn classes. I’ll tell ya, it’s hard not to go overboard with all the info out there. I’ve had some moments of, um, shall we say “unease,” but mostly I just have to trust that God is preparing me for the days ahead. He is sovereign and always good.

I’m grateful to still be feeling well, though I’ve definitely noticed a decrease in energy these last couple of weeks. It’s very important to me that I listen to my body, so when I’m doing things that were no big deal a few weeks ago – like cooking over the stovetop for a while or cleaning or walking briskly – and I feel extra tired or my back starts aching, I try to listen to that and sit down. So I guess being 36 weeks pregnant is a good way to slow down during the holidays.

One unexpected thing I’ve been LOVING these days is yoga. My friend sweet friend Sarah is a yoga instructor and got me more interested in prenatal yoga a couple of months ago. As I’ve gotten further along in this pregnancy, I’ve been turning more to yoga instead of running. So about five days a week, I try to do a short yoga video (10-20 minutes) and walk a couple of miles also about 5 days a week (with some jogging mixed in if I feel up to it). Everything about yoga – the breathing, the gentle stretching, the focus on body and baby – leaves me feeling fresh and less fatigued than when I started. I’ve also been enjoying a couple of short and simple prenatal cardio workouts. I have never regretted one session, but again, it’s important that we listen to our bodies and modify or take a break when needed. Also, of course, make sure your doctor has given the green light to exercise.

So, for any pregnant mamas or anyone else who’s interested, I wanted to share my five favorite YouTube videos for pregnancy fitness. Let me know what you think if you try one!

Prenatal Morning Yoga Routine: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaSPLL0fF04

Prenatal Bedtime Yoga Routine: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQi9Ejk-TX4

10 Minute Pregnancy Yoga – Episode 4:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrO1dRBX7m4

Pregnancy Workouts – Best 10 Minute Workout: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qvopY5HddU

5 Minute Maternity Workout for 2nd Trimester: www.youtube.com/watch?v=guo6lEKGXto

 

 

xoxo,
Sar

What I Learn

G R A T I TU D E 

Happy belated Thanksgiving and first day of December, friends! I hope you had a delightful day of turkey and family that hopefully included a few extra moments to count your life’s blessings. Alex and I spent a few days in Arkansas with our families, and it was a joy. And to top it all off, our family and friends showered us with gifts and love for Juniper. We are grateful!

Speaking of gratitude,  it’s surely never too late to compose a gratitude list. Here are a few I’ve been thinking on lately: 

  • A God who is faithful and near no matter the season, never holding back His lavish love and perfect will. 
  • My husband, who is full of patience and humor and is so good at living in the moment and trusting God for the future. These 4 1/2 years with him in marriage have been a greater gift than I ever imagined.
  • Juniper Kate, who is 6 weeks (give or take hopefully not too many days) from making her grand debut. I’m so curious about who she is, and I pray she will be a bright light in this weary world. 
  • Friends near and far (including friends like you who encourage me to blog!)
  • Good health, especially during this pregnancy. I’m grateful to feel up for staying active (most days). 
  • God’s financial provision during Alex’s and my marriage and especially these last few months as we have moved to one income. 
  • The simple joys in life: a cold glass of water, the perfect planner, awesome Tex-Mex, an hour spent outside reading in the sunshine, the uncontrollable giggle of a baby. There is so much pain in life, and no one is immune. Yet God gives us joys big and small. Thank you Lord.
The Bird and The Bicycle Photography / www.birdandbicyclephotography.com

What are you grateful for? I’m not sure whether you’re in a season marked by pain or joy, loss or expectancy. With the official Christmas countdown on, let’s find a few sacred moments to slow down and soak in the wonder of this season. Thanksgiving may be over, but I find more and more that every season is one for G R A T I U T U D E.

xoxo,
Sar

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1.14