Everett Gray Reed made his debut on Monday, December 19th, 2016 at 4:09 PM. He weighed 8 pounds 15.5 ounces and measured 19 inches. His birth story warms my heart and makes me tear up every time it’s told. I am honored that Kati asked me to share his story to coincide with the amazing birth photos she captured. This was her first birth and I hope she will continue to photograph and capture more. She is too talented not to share her gift! Although it’s an extremely personal life event to share, I hope that it helps other parents when it comes to their future birth curiosities, anxieties and wishes. I hope that it will encourage other mothers to share theirs as well. Writing it out in detail will be a memory I can cherish forever. I wish I had done so for my first birth. Since becoming a mother, I have found a new strength in myself and passion for all aspects of motherhood. I aspire to use my new found passion as a creative business venture in the near future.
40 weeks and 2 days pregnant, little to no sleep and anxious for the arrival of our son. Our alarm was set for 5:15 AM to head to the hospital for induction at 7:00 AM. I had prayed for weeks and days leading up to this day for him to come on his own. I specifically prayed that when I woke up to leave for the hospital my son would be ready. I woke up, prayed, rolled out of bed and there it was. My body felt completely different than it had been. I could feel that his head was much lower in the birth canal, extremely crampy and mild contractions started as I walked around the house while preparing to leave. I went to the restroom and lost the rest of my plug. I proceeded to literally bounce around the house while getting ready in hopes to progress things.
Dustin and I headed to the hospital. We held hands prayed that God would have a different plan than an induction. We arrived at 6:45 AM and check in. We were placed in Delivery Room 1. I had delivered my daughter in Delivery Room 2 that shared a wall. This made me smile!
Once we signed paperwork we settled into our room. Two sweet nurses came in. I was shocked when I knew one of them, Tamara! We went to high school together. She was very sweet and had a great bedside manner. The second nurse was Mandy, very sweet too. She was training with Tamara as she recently transitioned her career from a birthing center in Austin to a labor and delivery nurse. I was excited to have her there too, as I knew she would also be conservative with decision making throughout the day and my needs. Her and Tamara were a great team. They tended to all of my needs and wants, listened to what I hoped for out of my delivery and not once questioned my decisions. I could not have asked for better nurses for my delivery and I am incredibly thankful.
They hooked me up to a new, portable fetal monitor that gave me the ability to move around all day. Tamara checked me around 8:21 AM, I was at a 4 and still only 50% effaced with little contractions. I know the exact timing of everything because I was texting my mom all morning. I was happy to be at a 4, but a little bummed that I was not more effaced. I asked them to call my doctor and ask her permission to stay away from being induced with the dreaded Pitocin. Tamara mentioned that the doctor might be able to break my water to get the ball rolling. I wanted my water to break on it’s own, however, I was ready to meet our son and if it meant I didn’t have to have Pitocin, then this was fine with me.
My doctor, arrived at 9 AM and broke my water. I would then be checked every 2 hours to see progression. We text our family and friends with an update. I anxiously paced, organized the room, set up my music and lavender oil diffuser and prayed again that I would progress more. Dustin relaxed until my contractions drew closer together.
11 AM came. Tamara checked, I was at 6cm and 60% effaced. She noticed my sac of water had not fully broken and flushed the rest. You could actually see my belly shrink, it was crazy. I labored for a while on my birthing ball. My contractions began to speed up and I started having back labor. They started in the front feeling like a strong menstrual cramp and quickly moved to my lower back. They were pretty awful. Dustin was using counter pressure to lessen the pain I was feeling. I know it wasn’t easy for him, but I felt relief during each contraction. Thanks babe, you rock! I moved back and forth from the bed to the birthing ball while laboring.
1 PM. My doctor checked and I was at 7cm and 80% effaced. She said she didn’t know how I was talking through the contractions and must have a high pain tolerance, I didn’t know either. Shortly after being checked they suggested to try the peanut shaped ball between my legs while laying on the bed to help the baby move further down into position for birth. I had wanted to try this ball and I feel that it really helped.
I text Kati, the photographer, to give her another update that it could be anytime soon. Tamara suggested to let her know to come soon so there was no chance of her missing it. She was there shortly after, around 2:30 PM I believe. I got out of bed and back on the birthing ball. This is the point that I remember tears running down my face and rough contractions beginning as I tried to breath through them. Kati tested out the lighting and began photographing. I never noticed her, which is wonderful when you’re going through such a vulnerable and personal experience. She was so sweet and professional the entire time. My mom arrived shortly after Kati and just in time!
At 3PM I got back on the bed so Tamara could check me again, I was 8cm and 90% effaced. Immediately after she checked me, something changed. My contractions were incredibly intense. In my head, I started to doubt myself and my body’s ability to get through this without an epidural, although I never remember speaking of it, I do remember laying on my left side balling my eyes out and saying, “I can’t do this!” many times. My husband, mom and the nurses kept a positive attitude and telling me how great I was doing, how strong I was, and that I could do it and it wouldn’t be much longer until I met my son. I remember screaming and saying “I have to push!” over and over and “just get him out!” The pain, without an epidural this time was surreal.
I was trying my best to breath through the contractions and pain, however, my body was taking over. I yelled out that he was coming and begged Tamara to check. I remember her telling someone to get the doctor quickly. My doctor sprinted from her office across the street while Tamara was literally holding him in. My mom was on my left side and Dustin on my right, both coaching me to breathe. Once my doctor made it, I pushed once, his head came out, I pushed again and he was completely out! I was screaming at the top of my lungs through all of the pain, all while trying to remember to breathe. My body took control. I went from 8cm to 10cm and fully ready to push within a 16 minute time frame. I became a mother to another beautiful and perfect little blessing. I kept hearing how big he was and how many rolls he had!
I remember feeling empowered and quite euphoric. Time stood still and my heart was heavy with so many happy emotions. I actually did it. It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt, but I would do it all over again for that little boy.
The room flooded with nursing staff it seemed. They laid him on me and did delayed cord clamping as long as possible, however he was blue and not pinking up, so NICU was called in, the took him and put a breathing mask on him. I kept asking everyone what was wrong. They said he was fine, but had swallowed some fluid and was very bruised on his face and lower extremities since he came out so quick. Thankfully, he was okay after a little while and started to pink up a bit.
I delivered my placenta shortly after and felt relief throughout my body. A nurse labeled it and put it to the side so I could have it encapsulated. Taking my placenta in pill form has been extremely beneficial in many ways for me, especially the boosts of energy and breastfeeding milk supply.
My doctor proceeded to give me lidocaine shots and stitch me up for the next 45 minutes. She said she had to do an episiotomy because his head was so large and he was coming out so rapidly. I also had a small tear by my urethra. My body was shaking uncontrollably and I couldn’t stop screaming. It was brutal. The nurses and my husband were still holding my hands through this.
The moment came when I was finally able to hold Everett again and do more skin to skin. He latched immediately and drank like a champ! His little face was so bruised and his body was purple all over for hours after the birth. I remember being in awe of the detailed work of God in my arms. He looked just like his sister and daddy. My heart was exploding with love and so many emotions.
My dad walked in the door with my daughter and my eyes flooded with tears. I couldn’t wait to hold her. It was such a precious moment I won’t forget. Soon after, my husband brought our son back to the room. Our daughter was a bit confused at first by the hospital room gadgets and lights, but the moment she saw him, she knew exactly who the baby was, her “Bubba.” She had been calling him this throughout my pregnancy. I cried more as I watched her love all over him. I kept thinking how blessed and thankful I was. My heart was full.
We finished up family photos with Kati. She was so patient, helpful and just sweet. She felt like family. I can’t thank her enough for capturing this amazing day. I wish I had her there for our daughter’s birth as well.
We moved to our new room and had a great hospital stay. Every nurse was so kind, caring and had a great bedside manner. This was so important to me. I appreciate all that the nurses did. I am especially thankful for the nursery nurses including our friend, Sandy, the cousin of one of my best friends. She just so happened to be there for both of our children’s hospital stay. It was so nice knowing they were both in great hands as well as getting a little sleep between feedings. Thank you Sandy!
During our hospital stay, we had asked for only our parents to visit and others to visit once we were settled in at home this time around. We would do this again if we were to have another. We did this to focus on our son and my healing as it can get overwhelming with all of the nurse visits for mom and baby. We really enjoyed this special time together as a family but were definitely missing our daughter and couldn’t wait to be home.
Now, almost 6 weeks postpartum, I can say that I’ve had a completely different and great recovery. I physically, mentally and emotionally feel pretty incredible if you compare it to my last recovery. I believe that a combination of things have helped including the great nurses, my amazing doctor, how my birth went, my wonderful husband, working out more often during this pregnancy, my placenta pills and several other little things. I could go on, but that’s a story for another day.
A huge thank you to my doctor. She is the best doctor I’ve ever come across. Positive and happy 100% of the time. I’m truly thankful to be a patient of Dr. Susan Orth.
If God chose us to be parents once again someday, I would hope to have as natural of a birth as possible. I hope that this story empowers and inspires other soon to be parents to write their birth story to keep and cherish or to share with the world. Be proud of yourself too. I also hope that it helps you choose what type of birth you would like and know that you have a say in every step. I believe pregnancy and postpartum should be discussed more openly to support one another in the wonderful whirlwind of motherhood.
One thing I always reminded myself of and kept with me through this pregnancy was how strong our bodies are and that our Creator designed our body and mind for birth, motherhood, and parenting. Nothing will ever go according to plan and keep an open mind. That in the end, it does not matter how the baby is birthed into this world, all that truly matters is a healthy mom and baby.
Kati, thank you again for asking me to share Everett’s birth story and especially for capturing such a special day. I highly suggest having Kati photograph your next birth! God is good and we are beyond thankful and blessed.