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I can’t believe 4 weeks have passed already since the arrival of our sweet, Aoife. There are so many emotions that are present for me that I could go on and on about. But the most pressing thought that keeps surfacing is this simple one…

I feel as though my soul has known yours for so long, my child. As if we were always meant to be together…

Until next time…

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New baby, Josie is here!! We got such a great combo of sleepy baby and very alert baby, and I love the contrast. There are SO many!! Here are a few faves…

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We’ve started photographing for the 31st annual children’s contest! Here are a couple of sweet littles that we’ve been photographing practically their whole life! :)

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2015 | 02.03

Aoife’s Birth

Our sweet Aoife (pronounced Eefa…yes, we went with another Irish name ;) ) is HERE! And what a wonderful little person she is. I wanted to write down her BIRTHday, so that I wouldn’t forget anything. And the ever so talented, Jay Eads, documented her arrival for us. (The photos on this post are from him.)

I wrote each of the girls weekly letters throughout my pregnancies, and this is a continuation of Aoife’s. So it is written to her. Our birth story is long…very long. I believe that each experience helps mold us into who we are, and this is here just to share with you a piece of why I am the person I am right now…in this very moment. Because of experiences like these…

It was Sunday, and the sun was shining. It was a beautiful day to be born. That had become our mantra over the last week. Every day after waking, I would say, “It’s a beautiful day for a birthday” to daddy and Maeve. Though it had yielded no results over the past week, I was hopeful today would be different…it had to be. I had been up till 5am the night before with intermittent birthing waves, and we were going on week 3 of prodromal labor. Aka…I was beyond ready to meet you. I had come to appreciate that you (like many other babies) are born when you are ready…not everyone else. I had thought there were lots of ways to encourage a baby to come out, and well…now I don’t really think that. Four membrane sweeps, acupuncture, acupressure, and many other failed attempts later…still no you. You simply were not ready, and I know that now.

Around 2:30p, we decided to go on a walk. All of us had come to appreciate our outings over the last few weeks. We walked down to the park to let Maeve burn off some energy. I had been having intermittent birthing waves throughout the day, but nothing consistent by any means. After about 45 minutes at the park, I was ready to head home. I did notice that they seemed to be a little less sporadic, so I decided to time them once we got home. (Something I hadn’t once yet done because of their inconsistency.) We got home at 4p, and I timed them over the next couple hours. They had been consistently 6-7 minuets apart and lasting about 30 seconds. I was excited!! But still semi-skeptical. I think daddy was too. At that point, I texted our midwife to give her a heads up because I knew that she was going off call as she had been on the two previous days. At the birth center, you get whichever midwife was on call. Patricia, the midwife we really wanted, had agreed to be at your birth if it were feasible for her. We were both hopeful and agreed to touch base later as things progressed.

When we were walking back from the park, I told daddy that pizza sounded good. So he had made us some homemade pizza that was delish! I ate in between birthing waves, and we had a great last meal as a family of three.

Our excitement was growing, and we knew that we needed some rest. Maeve has stopped napping, so we were most anxious to get her down. After Maeve went to sleep, we tried to rest from 8p-10p, as my waves were about 5-6 minutes apart. From about 10p-midmight, daddy and I hung out in our bed…too excited. Since we finally decided that you had chosen your birthday, I knew we needed more rest. Daddy put music on, and I plugged into my hypnobabies. We actually slept pretty soundly for an hour.

At 1:15a, my birthing waves woke me up with an increased intensity. I went to the bathroom and was trying to imagine my cervix opening up and could feel you shift. I looked down and immediately had bloody show. It was so awesome to be that in tune with you and my body. I went to the living room and spent some time on the birthing ball while daddy slept. Since 1:15, they were every 3-4 minutes, lasting about 30 seconds. I texted our midwife around 2:30a. We talked and she said she wanted them to be lasting around one minute and then to let her know when we were ready to head to the Birth Center. After another hour or so, I woke daddy to tell him that I think we should head in as they had been lasting 60 seconds for about 45 minutes. My goal was to get to the Birth Center around 6cm…to have time to settle in.

I sat on the bed with daddy through several waves, and we would talk in between. After a bit, he started gathering things up. Then we woke your sister. She had only gotten a few hours of sleep, but was so excited when we told her that you were finally on your way. I, once again, plugged into my hypnobabies for the car ride. In between, we would all talk. Daddy thought I was only 4cm because I was still so calm. We both hoped that wasn’t the case, as we didn’t want to wake our midwife prematurely since she hadn’t gotten much sleep. We called her on the way in, and she said she would meet us there.

We arrived at the Birth Center around 4am, and we met in the empty, dark parking lot. I got out of the car and had another wave. She hugged me as we swayed, and I remember her saying, “dance your baby out.” :) We headed inside and after a few more waves, she checked me. Sure enough, I was a 6! I was so happy and looked right at daddy when she told us. He was surprised…and thankful. Pretty much from then car ride in, I was having waves every 2 minutes, lasting about a minute. I was so present the whole time and thought it was pretty cool to feel one come on, peak, and then wane. It allowed me to enjoy daddy and Maeve and our conversations. I felt completely fine in between. Not worried about the last wave or the upcoming one. Daddy did such an awesome job during each one and remembered to use my hypnobabies cue to help me relax even more. He was so present for me as well…rubbing my back or squeezing my hips, anything I needed.

I stayed on the birthing ball for an hour or so (remembering to snack and drink in between). After a couple hours, Patricia checked me again. She said my cervix was so soft but still at 6cm. And then, just like that, she said, “Never mind, you’re an 8!” For the next couple of hours, daddy and I would sway back and forth during contractions. We did some lunging as well to try and speed things up. I was still able to interact completely in between each one, and I was thankful for that. Sister was doing great…being her silly, crazy self. My cue to her that I was having a birthing wave was that my eyes would close. I asked her to allow me some space or she could touch me gently during them. She responded great to the eyes closed cue. My mom and dad were there and would play with her when she got restless.

We ended up getting in the tub as I had wanted a water birth. Maeve got in for a while with me. At one point, daddy was rubbing my belly, and I got all choked up. I started thinking about how I would probably never be pregnant again and how blessed I felt at being able to carry two beautiful healthy girls. Daddy and I both teared up at this realization and stayed in that moment for a bit. 

At around 9a, not much progress had been made. I remember apologizing to Patricia for how long it was taking. Her response…poignant…like everything she had said during your birth. “It’s taking what it is taking. There is no time limit.” I felt relieved by her response. She asked me how I was feeling, and I told her that I was getting tired. She gave us a couple options…to get out and try lunging some more or breaking my water. I could tell that daddy wanted to see if you’d be born inside your sac, but I was too tired. We got out of the tub, and Patricia broke my water. My only fear that I had expressed to daddy was that there would be meconium in your fluid since you were passed due. And sure enough, there it was. It was thin, but there. And for some reason, I wasn’t really scared. I knew you would be fine. Again, Patricia gave us the option of transferring to the hospital in case you needed deep suctioning but that they had the equipment there too. We trusted her judgment and all agreed to just stay. And form that point on, it was go time. I immediately felt pushy. Patricia didn’t want me to get back in the tub, so I tried a squatting bar. I could feel that I was getting a bit anxious. At one point, your heart rate went down to 89 and made us all a little nervous. I knew I needed to calm down and focus on what you needed. After each wave to push, I welcomed the rest and focused on being so calm. You never had another decel. :) I was so happy that I was present enough to listen to what you needed.

I could tell that my pushing wasn’t very effective after just a couple, and I wasn’t loving the position I was in. I decided to move to the bed on all fours. The nurse stacked a bunch of pillows for me to lean over, but I didn’t like how they squished down when I was pushing. I felt like I needed something strong to hang on to. And since daddy was going to help deliver you, I couldn’t use him. I asked them to move the squat bar over by the bed, so that I could use that…it was perfect. It was also perfect that the nurse that arrived was a hypnobabies instructor and knew exactly what to say and do. She was by my head while I pushed, and I could really hear her words! It was also SO crazy how I could feel the difference between the dilating contractions and the pushing contractions. They were clearly so different, and I liked being able to feel that.

Once I got the squat bar, it was on. I pushed powerfully and effectively and could feel you coming down the canal. It was very intense. I heard Patricia talking to your daddy and sister about your cute nose and squishy cheeks, and she told me “Push your baby out, Tiffany.” I liked hearing that. :) Your shoulders were a bit stuck and you had your arm acrossed your chest. I could feel it  finally pop down and out you came. I think a total of four pushes or so later! So much relief! You pooped so much on the way out and kept pooping. Daddy helped catch you, and they inverted you to let your lungs drain a bit right before they handed you to me. I spun around to sit down and spread your poop everywhere ;) Maeve was right there during the whole thing…watching about a foot away. Daddy said she backed up a little once your head came out, but was immediately on the bed right by me when they gave you to me. She was so thrilled, Aoife. We were instantly in love. 

We waited for your cord to stop pulsing. I had wanted to feel it, so daddy reminded me, and when it was time, he cut the cord. A few minutes later, I felt more cramping and pushed out our placenta. I also really wanted to look at it….at your tree of life. It’s so fascinating, and I was glad Patricia took the time to show us about it and the sac. You were crawling around on my belly and ready to nurse right away. It was so awesome how alert you were, and we all just soaked you up!

After a while, we measured and weighed you. You were 7 pounds, 5 ounces, 20 inches long with a 13 inch head and 13.5 inch chest at 10:03a. I had been fantasizing that you would be born in the sun, and when we went in at 4a, I didn’t think that would happen. But right as I got on the bed to start pushing, the fog lifted and the sun shined right in our room. It was glorious, my sweet love!


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