Monday, April 6, 2015

Ezra Lee - a birth story

I am a planner, so the unpredictably of birth has always sorta drove me nuts. With Uriah, I didn't really get a chance to think about how and when it would happen, because all of a sudden I had gone from a normal check up at 37 weeks, dilated to a two, to labor and delivery, bleeding and at a four. I think I spent my whole pregnancy, though it was completely different from Uriah's, thinking that labor would happen the same - It was something I could plan on, sort of. I would be 37 weeks along, 38 at the very latest, surely, my water wouldn't break on it's own, my contractions would never intensify past casual cramping, I would go into the hospital for bleeding, or something that suggested labor, without any actual signs of labor... When I was 36 weeks, dilated to a two and 50% effaced, I was certain she was coming early, in just the same fashion as her brother. But when I hit 37 weeks and hadn't made any progress, my thoughts began to change. 

Ezra was running out of room and was becoming slightly tachycardic, so my doctor decided to induce me at 39 weeks if I didn't go into labor on my own before that and I became positive that that's when she'd be born, March 25th. I sent my mother back to Pocatello and disregarded every cramp and contraction, because in my mind, it officially didn't mean labor - I was going to be induced. Which was kind of nice - to know exactly when and how it was happening brought me a little peace (after the disappointment of not meeting her early had worn off). We could prepare. My mom could be in the hospital with me, Stephen could request time off work, my dad could be home with Uriah, my hair could be done, my legs could be shaved... you know, the important things.

My mom wasn't convinced this girl was waiting until that Wednesday, though, so she came back to Boise after a week of being away to stay through the weekend, and then, of course, onto Wednesday when I was set to be induced. Because I was showing no more signs than normal of baby's arrival, we made hair appointments on Monday morning - some last minute pampering before labor. My appointment took forever - my mom's hair was colored, washed, cut and styled before all my foils were even put in. But four hours later and we were back at home and eating lunch with Stephen while Uriah napped. 

My mom went back to her (temporary) home away from home to regroup before our probable park date when Uriah woke up, and I laid on the couch with Stephen while he read. I had been asleep for maybe ten minutes when I awoke to a loud, hard, "thud" - I thought someone had given one loud bang on the door and it startled me awake. Not a minute later and I was doubled over on the couch in tears - It was 2:45 and I was having a contraction. 

With Uriah, I dilated to a six without every feeling anything more than cramping, and at 38 and 1/2 weeks pregnant this time around, while I had been cramping and contracting every day, nothing had merited the term "painful", yet, it had all just been "uncomfortable". Until now. It hurt and it lasted a good long minute. When the wave of pain finally subsided, I went to stand up and felt like maybe I'd lost some liquid, which wasn't at all abnormal for me and this pregnancy (there's a chapter in the book Belly Laughs titled "Niagra Falls" - that was me), so I juts rolled my eyes and went to the bathroom. 

I went to the bathroom and as I went to wipe I adjusted myself on the seat a little and peed some more. Hmm. Every time I moved just an inch or so, more liquid would come out and then stop. I couldn't wipe and I couldn't stand up and I just couldn't believe it... Did my water break?! I chuckled a little from the bathroom and hesitantly called for Stephen who immediately busted the door open asking the same thing, "did your water break?!" Because I was so sure it wouldn't break on it's own, I was sort of in disbelief and wanted to just shrug it off as some serious incontinence, but I agreed to go in, already embarrassed over the possibility that the doctor was going to tell me I just couldn't control my pee. 

We called my mom to come back over and frantically rushed around the house gathering our bags, packing last minute items, straightening the house (I was so determined the leave the place put together, I was fluffing pillows through contractions) exchanging smiles and raised eyebrows in disbelief that this was actually happening. Before my mom got to our house I snuck upstairs to watch Uriah sleeping, hoping to get one last long look at my first baby before I had another - before bringing a baby home and rocking his world. I had been so worried about that - how much of what was happening did he really understand? Would he just hate me and this new baby? How on earth was I going to handle two? I was so anxious and ready for her to come join our family, until it was actually time - I was nervous and unsettled and worried. I think I actually told Stephen, "I don't want to do this!" Of course, I was equal parts thrilled and excited and overjoyed...! But you prepare for eight or nine months and then it's all just decided - it all comes down to just one moment, the moment she decides to show up, and there's no going back or doing it differently and there's nothing else you can do to prepare. It's happening.

Uriah was, to my surprise, awake, sitting in bed silently, sweetly, like he had been waiting for me. I scooped him up and he fell right into my arms, his head against my shoulder. I carried him downstairs and snuggled with him on the couch until my mom came busting through the door. I cried, like the emotional pregnant lady I was and he worried, like the sweet soul he is. We told him we were going to the hospital and that baby sister was coming. Considering he had just woken up, he took it really well - excited to play with Nana and meet sissy when the time came. It was very bitter sweet walking away from my baby boy and our house, a family of three for only so long. Bitter, but so very, very sweet. 

As we were getting into the car I kept thinking out loud that "surely, my water didn't really break". I had been so convinced I would be induced on Wednesday that the idea of her coming early, and on her own accord, seemed too far fetched to me. I was rolling my eyes, laughing, saying the doctor was going to tell us to go home and I would have gone into labor and delivery for the fourth time (!!!) for nothing. But as Stephen backed out of the drive and went over the curb... It was definitely my water. I was officially sitting in it. And officially kind of freaking out. The contractions were still coming, every two to five minutes, and they were at the highest level of "uncomfortable". I knew they were only going to get worse, and since it wasn't something I had experienced before, I kept trying to tell myself that - pep talk myself into thinking that they weren't that bad, trying to use every word but "painful" to describe them. 

We made it to the hospital and I was a nervous, shaking, embarrased wreck walking from the parking lot to the labor and delivery floor. I was soaking wet and contracting. Neither of us could stop laughing (admittedly, a bit of a nervous laugh) and smiling. I was just positive my sweats were dripping and I made Stephen walk behind me to see what could be seen from the public eye. It was all very comical to witness, I'm sure. 

We got checked in and all thoughts of "my water didn't really break" were out the door - I was leaking all over the floor just trying to get into the gown and on the bed. I was worried Stephen was going to slip and fall...!

Baby and I were being monitored while they got the test ready. Her heart rate was normal and my contractions were still coming every two to five minutes, some easier to breath through than others. The nurse didn't want to make me wait for a resident to do the ferning test so she had me rearrange slightly on the bed and just took a pH stick to all the liquid that came gushing out. Yup, my water had broken. 

Even though I knew it, I was still a little shocked to hear her say it. I was dilated to a 4, 100% effaced. My water had broken. These contractions were real. We were going to have a baby. Another baby.

They worked on getting me admitted to labor and delivery right away. I had tested positive for Strep B and they needed to get antibiotics in my system at least four hours before the baby came. The nurses moved swiftly, getting my IV in and the antibiotics dripping. It was in my plan all along to get an epidural, but I assumed I would be progressing at a normal to slow rate and would have plenty of time to get it. Though the contractions were painful, I have a low pain tolerance and knew they were only going to get worse so I was determined to tough it out for awhile. Truthfully, I didn't want to look like the wimp who got it at just a four, so I told the nurses not to hurry. The labor and delivery floor was almost empty, though, so the anesthesiologist came in not too long after I was all settled. And really, by the time he got there and was offering me drugs, I didn't care about looking like a wimp. I was looking forward to enjoying this labor with some time and ease and comfort, so I didn't tell him to come back later. 

My nurse, Alison, was incredible - fast and efficient, but helpful, friendly and sweet. I held onto Stephen as she occupied my thoughts talking about the procedure as he was doing it. Right when he got to the point where "you have to sit completely still" my body triggered a contraction - a big one. It was incredibly hard and incredibly painful to sit still through it, hunched over, but Stephen let me squeeze his arm until it was red and before I knew it, it was over. 

It had been about an hour since I was admitted, now five o'clock, and I was dilated to a six, feeling tired from the contractions, but comfortable. We were settled in and ready for a night of waiting so my mom brought Uriah to the hospital for a visit - my dad on his way to Boise and Uriah's favorite baby sitter ready to take over. 

It was almost 6:30 when Uriah left with our friend, Brooke, and the contractions were intensifying, though subdued by the epidural. I couldn't sleep because I was feeling very aware of my body and what was about to take place. They say an epidural slows the progress of labor and numbs your body from being in tune with what is happening, and maybe for some it does, but I was very aware of what my body was doing and I knew she was coming soon.

The nurse came in to take my vitals and reminded me to let her know if I felt the urge to push - she'd be watching the monitors from the hall. Before the door had shut behind her I was giving big, nervous eyes to Stephen and, a little surprised, but with obvious excitement on his face, he turned to grab her.

I was dilated to a 9.

I was shocked. My water had broke at three - it had only been four hours. How was this happening already? I wasn't ready. She was coming and I wasn't ready - I couldn't get used to the idea that I was about to have a baby, another baby.

Disbelief or not, right as I rolled to my other side to try and dilate that last centimeter, I felt it - the urge to push. In just that one moment I had dilated to a ten and it was time.

The doctor was gowning and the nurse was getting ready. I wasn't cold but I couldn't stop shivering. I was nervous - I was scared. Then, and looking back now, I don't know what I was scared of. Actual labor? Meeting my baby girl for the first time - would I love her just as much as I had Uriah? Was I really ready for two kids? Maybe it was all of those things and somehow none at the same time, too. I was very aware of God's presence and His plan and knew, despite my worries, He was in control. I was excited, but on overload, and I found comfort in sending up silent little prayers - prayers for peace and strength and confidence.

When it came time to push, I couldn't stop laughing, which contagiously caught on to Stephen, the doctor and the nurse. I could feel the contractions and I could feel the urge to push, I just didn't feel like I knew what I was doing. "I've done this before, you'd think I'd know what I was doing!" The first couple contractions passed with feeble attempts at pushing and a few more laughs, but the contractions started to pick up in speed and intensity, and I knew she was coming whether I was prepared or not. And though I felt silly, like I really didn't know what I was doing, I knew my body would guide me. My nurse counted down during my contractions and I could feel Stephen's touch on my leg and my shoulder - my provider and my rock encouraging me with love I'm sure he didn't even know he was radiating.

It took less than twenty minutes of pushing for Ezra to enter our world. Slowly, painfully, and then all at once.


I had done it. It was over. The pain was gone. She was here. Of course. There was an immediate peace, an immediate release, immediate relief. Her, us, here... Of course.

March 23, 2015. 7:19 pm. 7 pounds, 13 ounces. 19 and 1/2 inches long, just like her brother. I spent my whole pregnancy, as I'm sure most second time mothers do, wondering how I would ever love another baby as much as I love my first. I questioned it all the way up until her arrival, but the sound of her first cry, the feeling of relief, the sight of her on my chest... There was no question. The heart does not divide, it grows and she grasped that second half with a vengeance. She was here, my baby girl.

I didn't require any stitches, so it seemed like very quickly we were cleaned up and left to ourselves to soak in our baby girl. I was tired - exhausted - despite the high that she had brought with her, I was eager to hold her close and sleep, struggling to keep my eyes open. It had taken just over four hours for her to make her appearance and I was still suffering from the emotional roller coaster her debut had put me through, still in disbelief that it had all happened so suddenly and quickly. 

We attempted nursing as soon as we could and I don't recall a latch ever feeling so wonderful. It happened instantly and naturally and my heart soared. I loved nursing Uriah and was sad when it was our time to stop, but the process hadn't had an easy start. I wondered how it would fare this time around and worried that I wouldn't enjoy it with a different baby. When I thought of nursing, I thought of nursing Uriah and I was afraid those memories would taint this experience, or vise versa. But it was completely new and completely the same - weird and wonderful and it bonded me closer to her than I had been expecting. 

My dad made it to the hospital just after she was born, and like so many of the momentous occasions in my life that he was a part of, the memory brings tears to my eyes. I am a daddy's girl - from the thick blonde hair, blue eyed exterior to the core. Seeing him with my baby girl made my heart soar and I am so happy he was able to meet her so soon.

We were transferred to our recovery room and after getting settled in, were able to talk with my parents and love on Ezra before finally calling it a night. Or so I thought... ;) My sister, one of my very best friends, in love, support and desperation to meet her niece, left her girls, made arrangements for work and drove straight to Boise to see us. She was hoping to share her birthday with Ezra, but settled for a long drive home on her 28th, instead. I was tired when she walked in the door and again the next day on her birthday, so I don't know that I ever got to say just how much her being there meant to me. To give up her time like that for us... It did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. She has so much love in her heart.

Nor did my parents' presence, my mom's especially. I don't know how she "just so happens" to be in town every time I go into labor, but I am so grateful for her motherly instincts that brought her back to Boise before my induction date. I cherish these pictures and am so grateful she was able to do this for us, but even more so, I am grateful she was able to be a part of the experience.

And to Stephen, who never left my side or doubted my ability, who laughed and cried right along with me through it all. I didn't know it was possible to love you more and I was hesitant to have to share your heart with another girl, but seeing you with our daughter has changed everything. You are somehow more of all the things you ever were. I am abundantly grateful for you - your love, support, friendship and guidance. God has blessed me with a remarkable man.

And that was it. She was here and our next adventure was starting. While it all seemed to happen so suddenly, it was, at the same time, like it had already happened. And, I guess, in God's eyes, it has. This is how and when she was supposed to come - we are walking a path that has already been forged for us and we are walking it together, now, as a family of four.

She's here.

Ezra Lee Wall, you are loved.


  1. Well this just made me puddle up!! Thanks so much for sharing. This story was beautiful! Your little family is such a precious blessing!! I love seeing all your sweet pictures on Instagram!

    1. You are the sweetest! Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it! - I love writing these things out to have to look back on!

  2. Ok I am a mess now! Reading about when you left Uriah as a family of three for the last time.. Ah I'm just going to die! Why do I feel like I'm about to betray my first born??! Haha it's awful. So with my first, they made me get completely undressed, but I've seen a lot of girls wearing sports bras in labor. I would love a little support through out the day. Was it ok with breast feeding right away? It's the little things that I'm getting nervous about!

    1. It's such a hard concept to wrap your brain around, but I promise you having a second is just as marvelous as having the first! You will rock their world a little bit ;) but soon after and for the rest of their lives they will thank you for the forever playmate. - With both my labors I wore a nursing sleep bra in the hospital. It looks like a sports bra, but is made to nurse in! I bought the one I'm wearing in the post from Target. (Buy a couple because the ones you were in the hospital inevitably get stained or ruined)

  3. this was so beautiful!! and made my ovaries ache for another little one, i won't lie. made me tear up in more than a few places. also...i feel like you should be like a labor look so natural and beautiful in EVERY picture. so real and so photogenic!! even during labor!! and crying!! it's beautiful. loved reading this.

    1. Only slightly convenient that I'd had my hair done that day... The appointment took so long that I just had her straighten it before I left - should have gone for the curls! ;) Haha! But, thank you! New babies give mommas a good glow. Plus, my mom is a genius with the camera.

    2. Oh and thank you! About the birth story, too. I was worried the second time around wouldn't be as magical or something but I assure you it's just as spectacular and intimate as the first! You need more baby Reeces!

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you! We are so happy she's here! :)

  5. Allison I'm so glad you shared her birth story! I'm literally bawling, I had to stop half way through and get tissues. There is seriously nothing better than the miracle of birth! These photos are priceless of you and your precious family. Love that Uriah got to come give you some snuggles too. Congrats again mama!