9:46 PM

This is Charlotte's birth story.

   I know some people probably think it's unnecessary and maybe even a little bit inappropriate to share/tell your children's birth stories.  Frankly, I don't care.  I am not forcing anyone to read this/look at the pictures, and it's perfectly fine by me if you choose not to.

  For me, telling a birth story is therapeutic.  It gives voice to your experience.  When I've gone through something as life-altering as labor/delivery, I feel like a part of me dies if I cannot talk about it.  It's as if someone scaled Mt. Everest and then when people asked about their incredible experience they replied, "Oh, everything went well."  Then listed off a few stats about the mountain's height and weather conditions, and that was it.  Can you imagine?!  I can't either.  So here's the story.


 Monday morning of June 18th, 2012 dawned like any other morning.

   Randy went to work, and I drug my tired, emotional and over-due body out of bed and got showered and dressed.

   It was the morning of my "You're one week overdue and we just want to make sure baby's ok" appointment.  I knew they would monitor the baby and then probably tell me, "Everything's fine, go home and continue to wait on baby."  Of course I wanted everything to be fine with the baby, but I also wanted to HAVE the baby.  I felt discouraged and as huge as a hippo and tired and frustrated and emotional.

    Jocelyn had been having a really hard time with me leaving her for any amount of time, so that morning I slipped out without even saying goodbye.  I remember seeing the back of her, playing in her room, hair still unruly from a night's sleep, surrounded by toys and Grandma & Grandpa Graber and was giggling.  She was fine.  So off I went, by myself, to my "normal" appointment.

   I got hooked up to the monitors, and relaxed back in the chair listening to the swoosh-swoosh of baby's heartbeat for almost an hour.  It was actually kind of fun.  Then my midwife came in,(one of my favorites) and checked the baby out on ultrasound.  This is when things got a little interesting. 

   She said the baby didn't have much fluid in the placenta.  The placenta was starting to look calcified and old.  This baby needed to come out.  Today.

   I felt such a mixture of emotions...anxiety, nervousness, excitement, apprehension, and relief.  This baby was finally, going to come.  But not the way I had planned, which was a natural, spontaneous beginning to my labor.  I had heard so many horror stories about being induced that I was starting to feel very apprehensive.  But if it was best for the baby, I didn't want it any other way.

   On my way to the main entrance of the hospital to check MYSELF in for labor and delivery (boy, did that feel weird)  I called Randy and told him the news.  The moms were also called, as we had decided to let them be present for the birth.  Then after I was checked into the room, I ordered a Philly cheese steak sandwich and fries, Chef salad and a fruit cup, and wolfed it all down. :)

   The nurse, Laurie, was just fantastic.  She had read a copy of our birth plan, and was so sweet about everything.  She was even apologetic for everything she had to do, like inserting an IV and starting the Pitocin, as she knew it wasn't our preference.  "I'm just so sorry this isn't starting out as you'd planned!" She'd gush.  "But you can still do it drug-free and have a very natural birth experience."  I found her reassurance so encouraging, and I loved her immediately.  I was very sad when her shift ended!

   The next few hours really rushed by, as the contractions began and progressively got more and more painful.  Randy was absolute lifesaver, rubbing my back tirelessly with every contraction.  With both labors of our girls he just came through for me in the most incredible way.  It really brings out a heroic side in him that I know is always there, but is just magnified in the environment of labor.  Giving birth is truly a team effort and my heart goes out to women who had to suffer through it without their husbands right by their side as they used to in the past!  I simply CANNOT imagine.

  The thought of holding still in labor terrifies me.  I feel the need to constantly move around.  Those poor nurses had such a difficult time trying to monitor the baby due to my constant motion, but they were sweet about it.

   I've said it before and I'll say it again, Randy IS my epidural!  That's the only reason I can do it drug-free.:)

   After 2 hours of what I would call "hard labor" and just a few pushes, Charlotte Lydia made her way into our world.  She had such a hearty cry for such a tiny little frame. She fit so perfectly into my arms.  As before, there is absolutely nothing in the entire world like the sweet relief of those first, precious moments when you are finally on the other side.  Pregnancy is behind you, labor and delivery are behind you, and a lifetime of getting to know this darling, perfect little girlie is ahead of you.  It is positively intoxicating.

 I would have 100 babies, for that moment alone.

    Our midwife Clare was just amazing.  So confidant, bubbly and reassuring, her personality reminded me of Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland.  You couldn't help but trust her and place your confidence in her, and just sit back and relax knowing you were in good hands.  She and I had differing opinions on a few things in labor, and each time that occurred she trusted me, and let me make my own choice.  I am sooo grateful for that gift, and appreciated her guidance and coaching so much.  We both loved her, and she helped our experience in a hospital be better than I ever hoped it could be!

 Proud Daddy, spreading the news.

  The moment the sisters met was bittersweet. I can't wait for them to be best friends, but of course that will take time.  I will never forget the look on Jocelyn's face when she came into the room and saw all the people there, and mama lying in bed.  It was all pretty scary and she was very unsure of what was going on.  I know it will take time to adjust to life as a family of four, but she's been a trooper so far, warming up to spending lots of time with other people and mama not being quite as accessible. 
   Thanks so much to anyone who prayed. I literally felt those prayers in the peace and calm before labor really started, and in the strength I felt during it all.  We feel so blessed to have these two healthy little darlings to call our own.  Who are we, that we would be blessed with such a privilege, such a responsibility, to raise two young ladies for the glory of God?

God is so good, I stand in awe.

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  1. You look so amazing. SO full of the Holy Spirit. I am just beside myself with happiness for your family. God Bless you Shelley! :)

  2. Thanks so much for a good birth story! WAY TO GO on the drug-free birth, I know from experience that it isn't easy. If you get the opportunity, try a water birth--my midwives call it an "aqua-dural". =) I loved it with both of my births, but everyone's preferences are different. So glad you're on this side of it all!

  3. Aw love it! Thanks for posting the birth story! That's awesome you were still able to go drug-free even with the pit! Nice work lady! Jocelyn and the baby are so cute together, makes me excited for next month! :)

  4. I totally agree on the "need to tell the birth story." There's no way I could've just kept it all inside me! I loved reading about your experience. Dominic was a water birth; I will never do it any other way, if possible. The water does amazing things for the pain. I hope things continue to go well for you and your sweet family. :)

  5. Beautiful story and testimony! Thanks for sharing, and blessings as you now mother two!


  6. I LOVED hearing your birth story! And I could so identify with the "I would have 100 babies, for that moment alone." Yes, for sure! :) My newborn baby melts me like I've never been melted before. It makes it worth all the hugeness, the overdueness, and all the discomfort of pregnancy! Your love for your family comes through so clearly... I melted about Jocelyn and her first introduction; I so understand. My first two are 21 months apart, and at that age the oldest hardly understands what's happening, although they know their world is drastically different. Although it's busier with three, I would say it's also easier because of the ages of my kids. All that to say, I will be praying for you as you come to mind, which you do! May these days be sweet, even with the adjusting and lack of sleep, and may many many people bring you meals and offer to come help at your house and just anything that would help you!

    Love to you, as I end this epistle! :)


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