Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mary Graham's Birth {The Backstory}

As I've been thinking about Mary Graham's birth, I'm finding that my mind can't help but go back to the weeks and months leading up to her birth and how memorable they were.  And let's be honest--the term 'memorable' is really a euphemism for intense, stressful, and challenging.  Granted, there were some sweet times too, but a cross-country move, a pregnancy, and a house purchase and renovation were never things I would have wanted to do at the same time.   Oh, and how about if we throw in the impending Christmas season too?

I was so excited for Wade and Holland to be at our 20-week ultrasound.

Sweet little peanut!

Somehow we made it through the fall, during which time we lived in temporary housing at Travis Air Force Base.  (I truly did not think I could make it another day in that place!)  My due date was December 23rd, and as the month of December plugged along, I basically begged the little one inside me for more time.  There was just so much to be done, and I knew how life changes drastically once there is a new tiny little person in the mix. This being my third child, with my other two having coming close to their due dates, I really didn't think I'd get a full 40 weeks out of this pregnancy.  Having had bouts of what felt like pre-term labor at 28 weeks (hello trip to Canadian ER and Labor & Delivery!) and again at 35 weeks, we were all expecting an early baby.  At 36 weeks, I had the midwife check me, and I was two centimeters dilated.

To post a picture like this I really must have no shame, right?  In my painting clothes, surrounded by chaos, and wearing a supportive maternity belly band, no less.  Livin' the dream!

Work continued to move along on our house, but with each day that passed, I felt like I was one day closer to reaching a deadline, at which point I knew everything would change.  Life felt anything but calm and settled.

This  picture was taken at 38 weeks.  I remember asking Philip to take it because I thought I'd surely be going into labor soon, and I wanted to make sure I had documented the end of my pregnancy.  Little did I know I had plenty of time

There was also the matter of actually delivering the baby.  Now, I've had two babies before, so you might assume that the thought of having another one was no big deal to me.  Not so, my friends.  Giving birth is the most intense, hardest physical thing I've ever done.  I do think God graciously gave me a body that births efficiently, but still.  It's no joke.  I was also a bit uneasy about where I planned to deliver.  Holland was born at home with my wonderful midwife, Nancy Giglio back in Richmond, VA.  I would have loved to have been able to have another home birth, but unfortunately insurance made that choice cost-prohibitive.  I chose to deliver at the local hospital, where thankfully, they have a birth center staffed by midwives who truly do view pregnancy, labor, and delivery as a normal time in a woman's life and not an illness.  They didn't have many birthing rooms though (and only two had tubs), and one on-call midwife covered all the labor/delivery rooms as well as the post partum rooms.  Seemed like a far cry from the kind of intimate care I received from Nancy.

Made it to 39 weeks!

Well, my due date came and went.  The picture above was taken at my pre-natal appointment on my due date.  I was battling a bad cold and cough, and one of the midwives predicted baby may wait till I was healthy, as they often do.

My mom was already here, as evidenced by this photo she will likely love me posting :)  (We had just gotten pedicures :) The rest of my family arrived on Christmas Eve so that we could all spend the holiday together and they could meet the baby.  I will always remember the days leading up to Mary Graham's birth as time spent with my family, so I thought I'd share some photos from that time.

Here we are once everyone had arrived at the Sacramento Airport.

Uncle T!

Christmas Eve.

Brunch on Christmas Day.

Fun with Legos, a new obsession around our house!

Her delight over a special new bracelet from Mimi.

Impromptu push-up session for the men.  If you know my family at all, this kind of strange behavior isn't very surprising.

waiting on baby + grandparents in town = date night!

Too bad our new sofa hadn't arrived yet, as things got a little tight here.  I believe this crew was watching one of my dad's favorite movies, Roman Holiday.  

How could I leave out wrestling with Papa?!

It was great to have my family around, albeit a little strange knowing that at any moment labor would begin and I'd just go off and have a baby.  You know, no big deal.  Ha.  As the days ticked by, we began to wonder if they were going to be able to meet this baby after all.  Everyone was scheduled to fly out on Monday, December 30th, and baby seemed quite happy staying put.

Stay tuned...

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