Oliver’s Birth Story

If you’ve read my firstborn’s birth story, you know it took me an entire year to type it out. Every time I tried, I quite literally couldn’t find the energy or the words. Because writing it out meant remembering the details. And more than that, it meant accepting that the story God wrote was different than the one I thought I would share. It took me more than a year to process Henry’s birth, to grieve my plans, emotionally AND physically heal from the wounds, and to ultimately find the good in it. And while I know that process was 100% necessary (and something I would encourage every mom to do), it wasn’t easy and no one was more surprised by the amount of time it took than I was.

Flash forward two years to now, and it’s taken met yet again an entire year to write out my second birth story. Not because reliving the trauma was too painful like it had been before, but because finding the words for the most beautiful and redemptive day of my life, has felt like an impossible task! I’ve spent a year pinching myself that my birth dreams came true and questioning my word’s ability to ever adequately describe just how much that day meant to me.

I’ve also decided to share Oliver’s birth story exactly as I have written it for myself (minus many photos) — the good, the hard, the nitty gritty. I purposefully edited parts of Henry’s birth story from my personal copy, either because emotionally some details felt safest only in my heart or because I felt intimidated to share some of the more graphic and vulnerable parts of birth. I mean, the internet isn’t exactly an intimate, non-judgemental place, ha!

But if I’ve learned anything about birth and motherhood in the last 3 years — it’s that it’s full of vulnerable and graphic moments. And I’ve grown to see it as a disservice to my absolute favorite job in the world to not share all parts equally. Or to shy away from sharing my story in fear of offending/disturbing someone else. There are also many paths to bringing children into the world, and while I’m fully aware that my desires for giving birth may not be everyone’s first preference, I think there’s value in women (especially future mamas) knowing what birth is truly like. Value in women knowing all of their options. Value in women feeling secure to share their experiences, in hopes of instilling a confidence, crushing a fear, or sparking an idea or question for someone else.

If you do not join me in valuing those things, this is where I would respectfully ask you stop reading………

March 13th, 2021

It was the 2nd weekend in March, I was 36 weeks pregnant, and I had spent the first part of the weekend at a women’s conference at a local church. I met so many new women in those 2 days, every single one of them oo-ing and ah-ing over my “very low” belly. Their excitement and remembrance of their own pregnancies/birth made me happy. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure we will be meeting this little guy before his due date! (April 6)” I repeatedly said with an un-wipeable smile.

I came home from the conference feeling so inspired and convicted in my walk with the Lord and in my role as an (almost) mother of two. While riding that same high, we decided to see if our neighbors (that we had just met the week before) would want to meet at a local greenspace for dinner that evening. It felt a little bit like a nervous ask, as we barely knew each other. But with the little to no community we still had in Virginia, we were really excited about getting to know them (and their two young boys) better.

They happily accepted our request (phew!) and we had such a fun night, eating pizza on the turf, letting our boys run wild together, and even ending the night at their favorite hot chocolate spot. It felt like we talked about everything under the sun, but of course there was a lot of natural conversation surrounding the subsequent birth we were only a few weeks from. They were so intrigued and supportive of our plans to birth at home, even commenting that if we needed somewhere for Henry to go during it, they would be willing to watch him. “That’s really kind of you, if [Oliver] decides it’s “go time” before my mom flies into town, we will let you know!”, we replied through naive laughter. We got home, put Henry to bed an hour later than usual, and quickly fell into bed ourselves, both feeling so thankful for this new and quickly blossomed friendship.

March 14th, 2021

Only a few hours later, around 1:00 AM, I couldn’t sleep due to some intense Braxton Hicks contractions. I had been having them every day and night for a while at that point, so I kickstarted my normal routine: went to the bathroom, drank some water, did my best to breath and just get *some* rest.

Around 3:00 AM, they were still coming, and were now accompanied by an unsettled stomach. “Hm, that’s weird. Maybe that (rare) hot chocolate was too rich for me?”, I thought. While this was almost exactly how Henry’s birth began, even to the hour, I was in denial that this could be real labor. I mean, I was 36 weeks. I felt sure he was coming early, but not THIS early.

By 5:00 AM, they were coming even stronger and often enough that I woke up William, explaining to him that I was worried about this either being or turning into real labor. I wasn’t worried about giving birth again. In fact, I felt mentally ready and excited. But I knew the birth center we were receiving our care from only permitted home births within the 37-42 week window, so I was anxious that my dream of having our baby in our sacred space may not come to fruition again.

By 5:30 AM, I reached out to our doula, Stevie, to let her know what my morning had consisted of. “I have had a minimum of 3 contractions an hour that are accompanied by pretty strong lower back cramping and pressure in my bottom all night. They feel spread out (and are shorter than a minute) to where I’m assuming it’s not real labor, but it definitely feels different (and harder to sleep through) than the Braxton Hicks I’ve been having the last couple of weeks.” She suggested I keep trying to rest and we should check back in an hour or so to see if anything was longer/stronger/closer.

By 6:30 AM, they were in fact coming closer together, so I mustered up the courage to call the birth center/midwife on call.

The birth center consisted of 2 on staff midwives + 1 extra/substitute midwife who helped fill the gaps. While I truly felt comfortable and at peace with all 3 of them, William and I both felt the deepest connection with the "extra" midwife, Shawna. We had only met her 3 times but I always walked away feeling secretly hopeful that she would be the one to arrive at our home on the birthing day.

One of the staff midwives, Sharon, answered. I shared with her that I thought I might be in labor and I was anxious about what that meant since I was only 36 weeks. Without hesitation she said she saw no problem in overlooking that rule, as I was only a few days away from the typical 37 week window — and especially because I had been considered extremely low risk my whole pregnancy. Exhale.

Thank you, Lord.

“BUT…” she continued, “I want to let you know that I actually have 2 other moms on call ahead of you, soooo I might need to call our backup midwife, Shawna“. My eyes immediately started to water and I quickly covered my mouth to stop myself from rudely screaming in excitement. We hung up and I looked up to heaven.

Thank you, Lord.

By 7:00 AM, the contractions were now coming every 10 minutes. My phone lit up. It was Shawna calling: “Hi! I hear we might be seeing each other today….”, she said in a calm yet excited tone. I was still in disbelief. She suggested we go ahead and get the birth space ready just in case, rest if and when possible, and keep her updated.

Rest?! Ha! William and I both popped out of bed to begin transforming our room. While I had everything somewhat prepped, there were obviously a few more things we had planned on doing in the final weeks. By this time, Henry was up and he was excited to “help” us get ready for baby brother. William moved my dresser out of way and blew up the birthing tub. And I got the supplies all set out and organized, while mentally and emotionally trying to shift gears. Is this really happening today?!

The 3 of us ate breakfast together and prepared to watch church online, as we now knew we probably weren’t making it in person. My mom FaceTimed us, as she usually does on Sunday mornings. I updated her on our full weekend, the women’s conference, the great night out with our new neighbors….. but never mentioned the fact that I thought I might be in labor. I even had 2 contractions while we were chatting and was able to keep a straight face!

This part of the story is usually the most surprising to those that have heard it, ha! But early in this pregnancy, there were many intentions and boundaries William and I talked through and set, based on what we felt we learned or gained from Henry's birth experience. One of those boundaries was making the tough decision to not share with our family when I was in labor. Not because we didn't want them to know or because we didn't feel we could use the extra prayers. But because when you're giving birth differently than people want (whether they admit that or not), the extra commotion, questions, concerns, need for updates, etc can become really, really distracting. And the people pleaser in me quite literally needed this day to feel quiet. I wanted to walk into motherhood (again) at peace with our personal choices, and not worrying about how those choices were making others feel.

At 10:00 AM, my body was still clearing out. And there was even a little bit of blood. A good sign!

It was a beautiful, sunny morning so we decided to get dressed and go on a walk around our neighborhood. William snapped a photo. Would this really be our last walk without Oliver earthside?

By 12:30 PM, things seemed to have slowed down. I made us all lunch and we put Henry down for a nap. I was hopeful that with him asleep, I would begin to progress more. But not before figuring out a back up plan for where he would go if needed….

I desperately texted our new neighbors (that we had just been out with the night before), "You’re going to think I’m crazy but I think I'm in early labor!! We are just taking it easy for now and trying to have a ‘normal’ day but if things start to pick up I was wondering what you had going on today... and if you had room for one more?"

They were immediately excited and overly willing to take Henry in if necessary. Phew.

Thank you, Lord.

Around 2:30 PM, Henry had been napping for a little over an hour and I wasn’t sure much had changed. I updated Shawna: “Contractions still pretty inconsistent… usually every 10-20 min (lasting about 30 sec each). I notice they definitely come quicker and harder if I’m not sitting/laying. And the pressure on my bum is constant now (not just during contractions).” She felt encouraged by the (albeit, slow) progress and especially that there had been a little bit of blood. She recommended I try a “Miles Circuit“, which I immediately googled and decided to give a go.

At this point, William decided he didn’t want to ‘waste’ a beautiful day and went outside to wash the cars while I did the circuit. He had started to doubt that this was the real thing. And in his defense, I still wasn’t fully convinced either. I think we were both so afraid of getting our hopes up or getting ahead of ourselves based on Henry’s lengthy birth.

By 4:00 PM, I had just finished the last part of the circuit and immediately had more of the “bloody show”. My contractions were starting to last longer but they were still inconsistent and not noticeably any stronger. While there was proof of progress, this is the point where I started to get emotional. Henry was now awake from his nap, it felt like the day was quickly on it’s way out, and I was starting to have negative flashbacks to his birth. I was starting to feel anxious that I would yet again be laboring for days. That maybe this is just how my body labors. That maybe “the second one always comes faster” just wouldn’t be true for me.

The days already felt eerily similar. It was another sunny March day, I woke up in the middle of the night to diarrhea, we rushed to get the space ready in the morning, only to have everything slow down by lunch, inconsistently and slowly progressed the entire first day, and I was even wearing the exact same shirt! …. The main differences were that we were in a different country/home and we hadn’t rushed our birth team over yet (another very intentional decision learned from the past). I kept repeating to myself over and over: “This is Oliver’s birth. Not Henry’s birth. This is Oliver’s birth. Not Henry’s birth”.

I felt emotionally weak and decided to call our doula. I was bouncing on a yoga ball, holding back tears, and wanted her genuine opinion on this being false vs. real labor. She was calm and encouraging, reminding me of many truths about birth. It’s unpredictable. It can be inconsistent. It can be slow.

Within the hour, at almost 5:00 PM, the constant back pressure was now hard to ignore. And my contractions were finally getting stronger and longer. We updated our birth team and they suggested they start making their way over to our house (as they all lived about an hour away). At first, we were surprised and hesitant to agree. We still felt so far from the end and our fears from Henry’s birth were still trying their best to get in the way…

I took a deep breath. Said a prayer. And joyfully replied, “Let’s do this!”

William started filling up the tub and I nervously started packing Henry’s diaper bag. While I wasn’t opposed to him being present, we decided it would be best for everyone if we took our neighbors up on their offer. He could happily play with his new friends for a few hours until bedtime and we would be able to fully focus as the birth team arrived. Everyone wins. We felt extremely optimistic and excited that Henry was most likely going to wake up tomorrow morning and run into our room to meet his baby brother!

The birth space was officially all set and the 3 of us spent a few minutes group hugging and praying together. Worship music was playing in the back ground as we did our best to explain to our just turned 2 year old what was about to happen. I kept crying, stroking and kissing Henry, as I continued to allow myself to find comfort in the change of plans. And accept that the weeks I thought I had left with him as my only child had now dwindled into a day… or maybe even hours?

We walked 5 houses down, each of us holding one of his hands. My contractions still actively coming. William and I making emotional yet peaceful glances at each other over his innocent little footsteps. Their whole family eagerly met us outside, as we all joked about what a crazy turn of events this has been, and how much of a God thing their timing in friendship was. We hugged Henry goodbye, thanked them again, and said we would just plan for William to walk back down and grab him before bedtime.

Hand in hand, William and I very slowly walked back home. I had 2 more contractions on the way.

Moment later, at 5:30 PM, our nurse, Liane, was the first of the team to arrive. I took another deep breath as I saw her get out of the car. There was something so undeniable about someone else now joining us. We had met Liane one time previously but obviously we didn’t know each other super well. We made small talk in the foyer as she unloaded her bags and I quickly gave her a tour of our space. Knowing how much my labor slowed down when Henry’s brith team arrived (due to my natural tendencies to want to host), I decided to separate myself to keep my head “in the game”…

If you don’t mind, I’m going to go take a shower while you get set up“. “Of course! You do whatever you need to do!“, she responded.

This was the mental turning point for me. I knew there were more hours in the day behind us than there were ahead of us. Henry was now taken care of. And our whole birth team would soon be here. I knew I needed to focus and prepare my mind for the house the feel full — to GIVE BIRTH — and to fully believe that the outcome would look different than it did 2 years ago. I was so close to meeting Oliver, while simultaneously living out a decade long dream.

It felt SO good to have the hot shower water hitting my back. I could hear the excited chatter coming from the other room. Ah, everyone was here now. My tears started flowing again. I was soaking up a few more minutes of alone time, praying out loud through the contractions. Begging the Lord for this to not be “fake”, for them to not all show up and be on “house arrest”, or worse, have to leave and come back later. I asked Him to give me supernatural peace and ability to focus, to not host, to allow myself to be taken care of. And above all, I told Him I trust Him with this story. I trust Him with the outcome. I trust Him with my life. And I trust Him with Oliver’s life too.

I got out of the shower and was slowly greeted by our wonderful team. I felt peace enter our home when they did. And I felt ready to share in this special evening with them.

Around 6:30 PM, everyone was settled in, Liane took my vitals, Shawna checked on Oliver, and then (as I had intently requested), checked my cervix.

This was something I declined in pregnancy and labor with Henry, because I didn't find it necessary. I felt sure I would innately know how far along I was once I was in labor. But I knew my body better this time around. And I knew someone telling me what I dilated to was important to me.

I laid back on our bed, the last hour of sun still pouring in, everyone somewhat (naturally) crowded around. The pressure in my rear almost unbearable now in this position. Yet I almost simultaneously couldn’t notice, as it felt like I was awaiting a huge moment of truth.

Before Shawna proceeded, she leaned in to have a heart to heart with me. Reminding me that this number in no way defines me. That it can truly mean nothing in the game of birth. The rest of the team quietly agreeing with her sentiments. I assured her I understood and that I was just hopeful I was at least halfway dilated because that would make me feel like this long day of labor wasn’t all “for nothing”.

Within a couple of seconds of her checking, she started chuckling. “You want me to tell you?”, she said through a smirk. I shook my head, “mhm!“. “You’re 9 cm dilated… I can feel his head right here. Honestly, I’m not sure how you aren’t pushing right now!” I immediately broke out into joyful, overwhelmed tears. It felt like the whole room did! I kept chanting through an ugly cry, “thank you, thank you!” to Shawna, as she felt like the bearer of really GREAT news, but really to the Lord, who had been surprising me in the sweetest ways all day.

We were honestly shocked. And beyond relieved. I truly had no idea we were so close.

This is it! Today IS the day. The confirmation was invigorating.

William, Shawna and Liane began to finish filling/warming up the tub in our room, while I hid away in the bathroom with our doula, Stevie. My contractions were picking up while sitting on the toilet with my feet propped up on a stool. She encouraged me to turn around, facing backwards, which brought them on even stronger. I was surprisingly able to rest in-between them but I found myself having a hard time fully releasing myself into the actual contractions. I felt SO safe and comfortable at home (and with Stevie there), but I could tell my body was physically holding back.

The sun had now completely set as I continued to work through the waves with Stevie by my side. I could hear that our photographer, Kate, had arrived and I was proud of myself for not letting my focus stray to greet her. I was leaning over our bathroom sink, swaying back and forth, and suddenly I realized what the hold up was — I no longer felt safe in that spot. I felt vulnerable that if I fully released with the contraction, he might just fall out right there on the bathroom floor! I communicated these fears to Stevie and asked if she thought I could now move to the tub.

She helped me make my way over and in while Liane checked both of our heart rates. They were afraid the water wasn’t warm enough yet, but I’m not sure I’ve ever felt anything better in my life. I leaned back to relax and couldn’t believe how quickly the pressure on my back just seemed to slip away. I felt so light, so secure.

Within less than a minute of settling into the water, I felt another contraction coming and it literally forced me to quickly flip over onto my knees. My body knew exactly the position it wanted to be in. And there on all fours, I felt my body and brain uncontrollably release together, followed by a contraction so strong (and a moan so loud) it caused the whole team to make their way back into the room.

William was now kneeled in front of me, the brunt of my embrace, Stevie and Liane by my sides, and Shawna behind, all offering support in their own ways. They were perfectly present and I felt 100% supported. Shawna voiced that I was stretching beautifully, that she could feel his head right there, and that if I felt comfortable, I could try pushing some. I reached down and could feel his head too. Similarly to Henry’s birth, I never got the famous “urge to push” or experienced the “Fetal Ejection Reflex”. But I knew he was right there and they pressure was undeniable! And so with the next contraction, she encouraged me to lean into it. Not in a demanding or forceful way, but in a peaceful, teachable, when you’re ready kind of way. I began to breathe while intentionally bearing down, almost as if I was trying to learn and understand the sensation for the first time. This is one of my favorite parts of unmedicated birth. You can literally feel what your body is doing and how you and your baby are working together. Amazing!

And with two more powerful contractions (only 10 minutes after getting into the tub), while “Great is Thy Faithfulness” played softly in the background, I roared out his head. Shawna very matter-of-factly stated that the cord was wrapped around his neck 2x, she gentle unwrapped it, and the rest of him was born (at 8:10 PM).

I sat back and Oliver Thomas greeted me on my chest for the very first time.

All of Heaven rejoiced!

Thank you, Lord.

There are no words for the sweet relief and JOY of that moment. My precious baby boy, pressed warmly against me, looking up at me with wide, trusting eyes. It was one of the most sacred and holy moments of my life. Everyone was quietly crowded around the tub, relishing in new life, in our new son. I kept saying through tears, “William! We just had a baby! In our room!” I was totally beside myself. And in shock of how quickly the last few hours had unfolded. That only 3 hours ago, we were walking Henry over to our neighbors, confident we had a long night ahead of us. That only 2 hours ago, we felt reluctant about the birth team arriving “too soon”. And now here we were, with Oliver in our arms, 3+ weeks earlier than expected, after experiencing the birth of my dreams. The birth I felt stripped of 2 years prior. The birth that I had questioned if I was worthy or capable of every day since.

We waited patiently (1 min, 28 sec) for his first breath — as everyone calmly remarked about how “chill” and content Oliver was. It’s typical for a baby born into water to need a minute or two to figure out breathing in their new world, which is one of many reasons delayed cord clamping is so beneficial. He had great tone and respiratory effort and so we all just waited while in staying in awe of him. And then all burst into smiles when he let out his first cry! I held him there in the warm water, skin to skin for what seemed like only a few minutes and an eternity at the same time. We waited for the cord to completely dry out/pulsing to stop (35 minutes) and then William eagerly cut it to begin his first skin to skin with his second born son. Holy moments!

During the Golden Hour, I couldn't help but ask about Henry. We had originally planned on grabbing him before bed, obviously unaware that his brother would be born around that exact time! Unbeknownst to me, William had been in communication with our neighbors and they had already fed him dinner, put him in one of their children's pjs, and were fully prepared to set up a pack 'n play and let him stay the night if needed. At first, I was very frazzled by this idea. Not only had he never spent the night at someone's house - we hadn't even sent him with any of his 'stuff' to do so - and don't forget, they were essentially strangers! Ha! He was still awake and I was so intrigued by the idea of him getting to walk back over right then and meet his baby brother! But William ultimately made the decision that it would be better for everyone if he came home in the morning. Had I not been in such newborn heaven, I might have pushed harder, but looking back, he made the right call. Without any extra hands, having a few more hours to soak in Oliver uninterrupted was exactly what we needed. And we were beyond thankful for their generosity and ability to help. (And for Henry's flexible nature!) It was all such a HUGE answer to prayer.

The team then assisted me in standing up in the tub, hopeful that gravity could help me birth the placenta more easily. It delivered shortly after and I was able to move right over into our bed, to continue in the “Golden Hour” with William and Oliver. Pure bliss! The 3 of us joyfully snuggled up while the team almost without notice began to clean up our surroundings, throw in a load of laundry, and get something for me to eat (frozen grapes!).

Shawna stayed close by to monitor my bleeding, as I attempted to let Oliver try latching again. She calmly shared that I was *mildly* hemorrhaging and made me a Chinese herbal tincture, Yunnan Baiyao, to drink. After more monitoring, she didn’t feel like the tincture was enough and recommended we utilize a stronger, more effective option, my placenta. Placental tissue is full of hormones, especially oxytocin, and while many cannot stomach the thought of consuming it, it is exactly what Pitocin (the more common, synthetic option) is trying to replicate. Shawna slipped a small piece of the cord in between my cheek and gums to let it quickly start working it’s magic. It felt like what I would assume having a dip in would feel like, ha, except it didn’t have any taste! Then William helped Shawna prep me a smoothie full of fruits, greens, and a small piece of my placenta. And thankfully, my bleeding regulated very quickly after sipping on it.

It’s hard to describe how calm and causal (and un-disgusting) this entire situation was. There was no panicking on their part and no big surprises on mine, as these were all (in the case of hemorrhage) interventions we had discussed and I had chosen/approved of in one of our prenatal appointments. I was in such good hands.

Now that my bleeding had regulated, it was time for a more thorough check. A second big moment of truth for me.

If you've read Henry's (Postpartum) Birth Story, you know I walked away with a 3rd degree tear and a 2nd degree bladder prolapse. Which was followed by 2 full months of initial healing and over a year of pelvic floor recovery. My postpartum journey with him was absolutely some of the hardest months of my life. So needless to say, I was extremely hopeful this time could yet again, look different.

Shawna climbed up on our bed to join me but I couldn’t relax my body, I was so nervous! I asked her if I could awkwardly prop my legs up onto hers (essentially straddling her waste), to which she gladly welcomed, through laughter. (This is yet another one of the MANY reasons I adore home birth/midwifery care, you CANNOT replicate this kind of trust and relationship anywhere else.) And then, Shawna got to be the bearer of GREAT news again… NO tearing, no prolapse. Nothing! THE absolute most wonderful news to my ears.

The overwhelmed tears and cheers took over the room again. Gentle, water birth (and much smaller baby, ha!) for the win!

Thank you, Lord.

Shawna was then excited to do a little birth show and tell. Cozied up on our bed with us she examined in my small (yet healthy) placenta and explained her theories as to why Oliver came early. But she was even more excited to show us that he had been “born with the caul” or had a “caul birth” — basically he was born with a part of the amniotic sac covering his head or face. This is definitely not as rare as a “EN caul birth” (when the baby is born completely in the sac) but she said in the midwifery world it is still considered a very auspicious sign … and means good luck!

Now time to inform our totally clueless families! In that moment my mom had just so happened to be blowing up our family group chat about pajamas she wanted to buy for everyone. William slyly chimed in that she should go ahead and get some for “Oliver Thomas Fine” first and included a photo of him. Not knowing we were in labor or even the name we had chosen yet, she responded with… “who is that” HA!

Which was immediately followed by a very confused and emotional FaceTime call! We were all nervously laughing as they took in the huge news that he was already here, weeks before my mom’s flight was even to take off.

Clearly, she was. in. shock. And rightfully so!

We were able to add my sister into the call and of course began filling them both in on all of the details and answering their non-stop questions.

While thoroughly enjoying the chaos, Shawna began performing Oliver’s newborn exam — to which they got to be virtually a part of. We all started throwing out guesses as to what we thought our little guy weighed. I honestly didn’t know what to think, I just knew he was a lot smaller than Henry was! Ha!

He weighed 5 lbs, 13 oz – but he was strong, alert, yet calm. It was so evident that he had entered the world peacefully. Everything checked out beautifully and he was quickly back in my arms. We continued calling all of William’s family and close friends, as we fully relished in the goodness of that Sunday evening.

By 11:00 PM, less than 3 hours after Oliver was born, everything was cleaned up, the lights were dimmed, and our wonderful team came in for one last hug goodbye. They each escorted theirselves out while our photographer, Kate, lingered a bit longer to capture a few more moments of us snuggling with our newest addition.

After she left, William and I were pure giddy. Here we were at midnight, in a quiet house, with our toddler spending the night with our new neighbors a few doors down, holding the smallest baby we’ve ever held, after the most beautifully surprising day of our lives. We knew it was in our best interest to get some sleep, but we literally couldn’t! We just laid there staring at him, rehashing the entire day, the birth, the team, and God’s faithfulness through every detail. I mean who could actually go to sleep after experiencing something so wonderful?

We kept jokingly asking each other, “Can you believe they left us with him?!” We felt like first time parents all over again, only this time we were totally on our own! With an under 6 lb, 3 hour old baby!

We did all actually end up getting some sleep, Oliver successfully nursing a few times in the midst. And we woke up to the sunrise, still oozing with thanksgiving over the last 24 hours. William made us some breakfast, I got my first glorious shower, generous friends started delivering us groceries (and smaller clothes and diapers!), grandparents started rearranging their flights, and we waited eagerly for the text that Henry was wake up and for him to come home! Around 9 AM, William walked over to get him and I’ll never forget his eyes when he came through the door.

Our family of 4 was together at last. Henry was so intrigued by Oliver, he kept pointing at and naming all of his features. It was a moment in time I’ll never forget. We then got to enjoy another beautiful sunny day as a family, just this time with Oliver in our arms! We did our best to navigate those first few foggy days with 2 children… but we were so thankful for both of our moms who quickly came to our rescue.

And we’ve pretty much been learning to navigate those wonderful yet foggy, challenging yet defining moments ever since…… these truly are the days!

Photo by Rebecca Allen Photography

After Henry was born, I was afraid of getting pregnant and having to experience the distress of birth again — but ever since Oliver was born, my fear is now that I might not get to experience the wonder of birth again.

The sweetest redemption.

Thank you, thank you, Lord.

Birth Photographer: Kate Chapman Photography

Doula: Embodied Alchemy

Birth Center: Premier Birth Center

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