IMG_4971We have two kids now. There are two car seats in the back of my car.

There are two sets of mouths to feed, although one can technically feed himself. Two little bodies to hug and hold and cherish and we feel like our cup is running over. Why did we only get a cup to contain all this goodness? Someone bring us a wheel barrel please.

We knew we wanted a second kid. We felt that it was time and we had not a second to lose. So we started trying in November before Joel left to prepare our new home and life in North Dakota. We found out literally two weeks into him moving that we were going to be parents again. Things progressed a lot quicker than we thought they would.

We moved, I had to make new friends, figure out a new grocery shopping plan with Bismarck’s grocery store options, reconfigure our budget, make a new home ours, AND try and process that I would be giving birth and raising a newborn again.

Let me just tell you that round #1 for me was no piece of cake. We had a fairly easy baby, but I was not the naturally domestic type. I didn’t dream as a child of a time when I could stay home, cook pastries, and knit new born onesies. Not my style. So I had an identity crisis, made lots of plans, filled my schedule with lots of things, and put us on a Hello Fresh plan so that cooking wasn’t such a burden. I needed meaning in my life! I needed to be noticed and applauded by adult humans! It was taxing and exhausting and I felt like I was constantly torn between trying to “do” something that mattered and trying to “be” something for the people that most mattered to me.

This time around, I had been a stay at home mom for a full year before little miss got here. I love cooking. I have a cleaning schedule. We have figured out our favorite parks, how to play in the snow, and have a community that we dearly love to connect with.

We were so ready for our little Miss Josie.

Until we found out at 39 weeks that her measurements predicted her weight to be 9 lbs and 10 ounces…

I had a natural birth with Olson. I assumed this would be the process with Josie so I had planned for it: stretches, breathing exercises, squatting, raspberry tea, lots of yoga, and scripture memorization. I wanted to be better prepared for this time around because birth is a miracle and all but, OUCH.

Those plans kind of came to a halt when my doctor suggested I be induced so that our little girl’s shoulders wouldn’t get stuck in the birth canal and potentially hurt her.

Done deal. The plan for a healthy baby trumped all. My induction was scheduled and we resorted to the fact that I’d have a lot of medical intervention, making contractions more unpredictable and painful, and that I was at a higher risk for a C-section. Shoo! That was a lot to process. I was emotional and desperately praying to the Lord to bring me peace. That most importantly, our little girl could get here in the best way he saw fit. I also prayed that by some miracle I could deliver an almost 10 lb child the way God intended. (For reference, Olson was 8 lb 14 oz and had no complications. What was a pound more, right?)

Each day passed and I kept praying. “Lord, bring her here the best way you see fit.” I didn’t really ask for things to go my way because I thought that a bit unfair. And I didn’t want to set myself up to be disappointed. We went for walks. I kept drinking raspberry leaf tea, practiced my squats, ate random foods that were supposed to aid in inducing labor, had my membranes stripped (oh my gosh that was an experience) and did other…coupley things that are supposed to help get the process goin.’ 😉

The night of my induction, Joel had some stomach pains and was awake all night. I woke up at 2 am, 2 hours before we were supposed to be at the hospital, to him puking in the kitchen. More anxiety. His role as my partner is so huge to having a natural birth. I needed him! I prayed more and could feel my faith muscles stretching in ways that only the unpredictability of this life can exercise. We called the hospital at 3 am to let them know we were coming in for our induction and they said all their rooms were full and they would call us when they had space for us.

Ah, relief. We could get some more rest. We talked to the hospital again at 7:45 am, still no room. More relief. We took a walk together around our neighborhood, napped, and focused on scripture declaring God’s promises.

It might be helpful to mention that with Olson, labor was very mental. And I lost mental strength quick. SO for this birth, I desperately wanted it to be a holy spiritual experience. I wanted to feel the joy of the Lord! I wanted to know God was with us, and not be struck with fear.

So the more time I could meditate on scriptures the better.

At 12:45 pm, they told us they’d be ready for us at 1:30 pm, assuring us that my doctor would be the one to deliver no matter what (another perk since not every doctor is totally chill with a natural labor.)

WE WERE SO READY. God had given us extra rest, extra time to focus on him, and extra time together. Our faith in His way being the best way was increasing by the hour.

We arrived at the hospital and upon being admitted, I went into labor on my own. As soon as they strapped all the contraptions to me to monitor baby’s heart rate, my contractions began. The nurse told me that I wouldn’t need the suppository the doctor had ordered to soften my cervix and begin labor.

WHAT?

I get on the bed in my hospital gown and I’m in labor?? Faith muscle flexed.

We walked around for a bit, skipped actually, bounced on an exercise ball, and practiced breathing. There was still a chance they’d put me on pitocin and I had no idea how to predict what those contractions would feel like. I just had heard unanimously from anyone and everyone that they were, in fact, more painful.

The nurse assured us that with the way I was progressing, we’d be having the baby by the end of the night. She convinced me to break my water, since that would give me more time to progress in the most natural way possible before the doc got there to review my situation and decide if I needed pitocin or not. We trusted her and gave her the go ahead.

At this point, our nurse felt like our trusted friend. She really listened to us and made us feel like she was on our side. We freaking love my OB and the nurses I had. We are not ones to question everything and challenge those who have a lot more extensive experience and knowledge than we do.

My water broke, and four hours and two pushes later, I was holding my stunning, peaceful (another answer to prayer), darling daughter.

I cannot even hardly describe her without welling up with tears!!! She cried for all of 10 seconds and then relaxed on my chest in complete silence. I loved that our hospital (St. Alexius) encouraged her being bathed later, and being on my chest longer for bonding. That was really special for me. She was able to stay with me longer without being poked and prodded.

Oh, and she was only 8 lbs 3 ounces.

No pitocin, no suppository, and no c-section. I understand these things are sometimes necessary. I was prepared to accept them all and still was in full belief that that might be God’s best plan to get her here. But for me personally, this was best case scenario. And I’m baffled that God, in fact, was unbelievably present at her birth. I remember singing “You give me joy, down deep in my soul! Down deep in my soul!” in between 8 and 9 cm. About 10 seconds later I was pushing.

Now, I had some torturous contractions (I mean, none of them are pleasant!) around 6 cm and told Joel I couldn’t do it anymore. But things progressed so quickly that there wasn’t even time for an epidural. The contractions were quite a bit worse than with Olson, but there were only half a dozen of them instead of an hour of them straight!

PRAISE YOU LORD. Gosh, He is so so so good. I have never truly dedicated myself to scripture memorization and prayer like I did with her birth, except maybe in preparation for us moving to North Dakota. But this was a more meditative and disciplined type of spiritual practice.

I have a lot of friends pregnant with their second kiddo, so I thought it might be helpful to include some things I did differently to prepare for birth no. 2. These things would be helpful even if you are planning on using medications for pain relief (I support you, girl!)

10 things I did to prepare for baby no. 2!

  1. Prepped my pantry with healthy snacks that would aid in breast-feeding and replenishing my body from labor. When healthy things are available and prepped, ready to eat, I am way more likely to eat them. With Olson, I ate a lot more junk because it’s what was available. I felt so faint and wasn’t well nourished. My recovery with Josie has been incomparable. And I think proper nourishment is a huge part of that.
  2. Yoga three times a week for an hour until about 30 weeks. I kept myself limber, stretched and forced myself to focus inward for three hours every week and it was so good for my mind and body.
  3. Raspberry leaf tea at about 34 weeks to strengthen the uterus and cervix. I’m not a tea drinker, but I read and heard many times that this tea was good for labor. So I just did it. Do I know if it helped? Not really. But it certainly didn’t hurt.
  4. Deep squats. Garland pose is what it’s called in yoga. Google it, do it. Shortens the cervix and helps bring baby down into the birth canal.
  5. Back adjustments up to 36 weeks pregnant. This is a perk of being a Land. Joel’s dad works for a chiropractor and we get free adjustments. But I was extremely thankful, as Josie was not the most pleasant baby to carry. My back hurt a lot and these adjustments were much needed.
  6. New toy for Olson. I heard multiple people say that giving your oldest child something special when the baby is born reminds him/her that they still matter. AND it provides them with new entertainment on the hard days. We found a Marbleworks raceway set for $10 on Facebook marketplace, and it kept Olson entertained for a full 5 days. He could build and rearrange it, race marbles, AND it gave him something to do with daddy that daddy really enjoyed too.
  7. ADULT DIAPERS. I bought these because so many people told me they were better than the mesh underwear situation you get at the hospital. And I am just here to concur and say “YES.”
  8. Memorizing scripture. I wrote scriptures on notecards so that I had something to focus on during contractions. But I also had one memorized (Psalm 23) so that it would feel deeply rooted in me. Whether you have a birth with pain meds or not, you’ll have to endure some contractions, so this is helpful either way.
  9. Hypno-breathing. I don’t know a lot about hypno-birth, but I heard that the breathing techniques could be helpful. I literally just youtube it and put it in my back pocket in case it came in handy. And it did! I honestly think having ANYthing to focus on during a contraction is helpful so that you’re not just writhing in pain.
  10. I tried to smile during contractions. I’m serious when I said I wanted to feel the joy of the Lord during this birth. I heard it said once that your face isn’t having a contraction. And if you can relax your face, your body will follow suit to a certain degree. And this was actually very effective. I would smile during a contraction and focus on feeling thankful that I was one step closer to holding my daughter!

Okay! Well, that’s probably an unnecessarily long post, but birth is truly a miracle. And I always enjoy hearing other women’s journeys and stories of bringing their kiddos into the world.

Have a great weekend friends! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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