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Sophie's Birth Story

Thursday, May 10, 2018


I guess you could say that this story began two weeks and a day before Sophie was born, at my 36 week doctor's appointment. We've had a bunch of things that Ben has needed to take off days for this year, so we'd been trying to conserve them for when Sophie was born, and for a few things after, like Beau's birthday. So the plan was for Ben's parents to join me for the sonogram to help with Beau and just to see our girl! 


This photo of Beau is kind of random and out of order but before the appointment I ran into Anthropologie with him really quick and he was so sweet and just laid down in the stroller and I really loved the time with him. At the appointment I was checked and was almost at 3cm dilated. This blew me away because when we went in for my 39 week induction with Beau, I was literally at a 0. This made us wonder if there was any chance I'd have Sophie earlier than we had thought. 

The next week went by and I was glad to have no signs of labor. My doctor had to reschedule my 37 week appointment for earlier that week instead of my usual Thursday time slot because of a surgery, so I was checked again just a few days after my last. I had progressed and was now at like 3.5. I wondered if I was steadily progressing what would happen in the next week and a half before my next check. I was glad for no developments because Beau had a stomach bug and I had to daily choose to not be stressed out at the thought of him being sick if we had to go to the hospital to have his sister. It would have broken my heart for him to not be able to be there with us or visit at any point. 



A couple of real life, non glam bump shots. These are from those last bits of time, and I just thought I would include them because, as I'll mention again in a minute, we didn't take a ton of "bump pics" this time around. 

On Saturday, April 21 we had our home group Spring social, a "battle of the sexes" game night. It was REALLY fun. We did minute to win it games with spouses dueling against each other (Ben's trying to move the cookie from his forehead to his mouth in this photo.. haha!) and then a round of newlywed game, and then a round of trivia. We were all hooting and hollering all night and it was really fun. Towards the end of the night I started noticing that I was feeling contractions and some pressure on my back and some on my hiney (TMI but this is a reality apparently!) and so I told the girls and they were all like AHH LABOR! TRACK CONTRACTIONS! So we did. Nothing legitimate and then from around 12:45-2 I had pretty consistent contractions. 


The 10:44 time was when we left to go home haha. So this wasn't super regular but for someone who honestly knew nothing about going into active labor.. we were wondering if we'd go to the hospital. The app even told us to at one point. But then they slowed and I fell asleep and just woke up the next morning. I was really glad because Ben's parents had kept Beau that night and I would have been sad to not snuggle him. 

Tuesday night we uncomfortably walked around our neighborhood to see if anything would happen. I was swooning over Beau's little hands on his snack tray. My boy is so sweet!

Wednesday night I caught this photo of Ben snuggled up with Beau in bed. Our last night at home with just him, and we didn't know it!

All the beginning of the week we were on patrol. There were a few other times that I tracked consistent contractions for almost an hour, and then they would totally stop. I washed my hair daily because of my fear of getting to the hospital and not getting to shower for days. When I had Beau, the nurse didn't let me shower until 48 hours after we had arrived at the hospital and it really made me uncomfortable so I was trying my best to plan ahead. On Thursday Ben's mom took Beau and I to my appointment and I hadn't progressed at all. We talked about the plan to induce on the morning of the following Wednesday (May 2, the day I'm actually writing this!) and I was content. We'd enjoy a weekend together and be ready for our girl next week. Ben's mom dropped us off, Beau had nap, and I was excited that we'd get to attend our friends' 40th birthday party that night. 



Before we left, because I was all dressed, we snapped a bump photo. My first real legitimate one of the pregnancy. Looking back this was such foreshadowing!

The party was so fun celebrating this couple turning 40 within a few weeks of each other! They have 5 kids and have renovated their house to really fit their needs (like having two giant fridges!) and it was just a really sweet gathering. Everyone had been joking about this being my chance to go into labor part 2 because we'd be playing games again. 

Karen should have known when she took this photo that labor was happening.. look how bloated my face suddenly was!! YIKES!! As we sat around that table eating three types of delicious soups, bread, strawberry spinach salad, and chocolate cake, I started having regular, pretty uncomfortable contractions. Karen (the birthday girl!) is an experienced nurse and so I joked several times that if I was going to go into labor I wanted it to be at her house. We were playing a game but I wasn't at all focused and we kept tracking things. All of my contractions were between 3-4 minutes apart. I was uncomfortable and after an hour, we felt like we needed to go to the hospital. Again, the app told us to go like 20 minutes in. I kept saying that I felt so dramatic! I was afraid of being sent home for false labor. We had taken Beau with us to the party and put him down in a pack and play in another room, so we were torn on how urgent we felt. Should we take him to Ben's parents or have them meet us at the hospital? When we left I made the call that we should call them and just drive in the direction of home. As we drove things felt stronger and by the time we got to our house I was ready to go to the hospital. I just felt shaken. We grabbed our bags (so glad they were already fully packed!) and waited on Ben's parents to meet us. His mom stayed with Beau and his dad followed us to the hospital. I was texting a few close friends about what was happening but with most wanted to wait until we were admitted.. or not. 


Beau is actually awake and smiling in this photo but we had moved him to his bed and I just needed one last snap of my baby boy before he became a big brother. I'm crying thinking about this. 

We got to the hospital at about 11:30 and the nurse went ahead and took us to triage. She hooked me up to monitors and asked us a million questions for her to record on the computer. She said my contractions were still consistent. It was the moment of truth, time for her to check me. She really took her time and that made me feel like she was going to say I was still at a 3. But nope, I was at a 5! We weren't going anywhere. We texted some family and this was fun because my brother and aunt in England were actually awake for the next day, haha! My friend Kayla started getting her things together to come to the hospital. I'm soooo grateful for this. I kept telling her that it made no sense for her to not sleep and just come up in the morning but she insisted and I'm glad she did. Her support meant so much to me. 

We moved into our labor and delivery room at about 1 and chatted with our nurse a long time. She had three kids and was currently carrying as a surrogate so there was lots of interesting conversation. Ben's dad came and sat in the room with us, and Kayla arrived shortly after. The plan was just to let me labor and see what happened. My contractions didn't increase a ton so the nurse said we'd probably let the doctor arrive at about 7 and break my water and check me then. Kayla and I talked for a few hours and then we realized we should all probably try and rest. My labor crew.. my husband, my bestie, my father in law. Ha!!!

I slept maybe an hour and then started feeling like I couldn't sleep through the pain. I had been on the fence about what medication I wanted, wanting to actually feel the pains of labor. I had no complex feelings about it, but a part of me wanted to experience this aspect of birth. I started to say "of God's design" but I guess it wasn't.. as pains of childbirth were a result of the fall. But I digress!

I talked it though with Kayla because Ben was still sleeping (LOL!!) and then I woke up Ben to get his thoughts too.. but I felt like if she was going to have to break my water and there was a chance they'd put me on pitocin, I wanted to go ahead and get an epidural. So at like 6 am, I did. Pretty soon afterwards I started not feeling so great. My other friend Susannah had arrived at the hospital and her and Kayla came in and were talking to me and as I was looking at them I felt my vision blurring. 

The nurse was convinced that we needed to "troubleshoot" and this had her suspecting that I was responding poorly to the epidural. The anesthesiologist (who MIGHT have been one of the most awkward people I've ever come across) maintained that he didn't think it was causing how I was feeling. I didn't either, because what I had just experienced felt so much like the black outs I had experienced throughout pregnancy due to my low iron levels. We made a note that after delivery, we needed to ask the nurses about getting me iron to take postpartum, as I obviously would be loosing blood and we'd need to watch how I felt. Over the next few hours we noticed my contractions slowing and decreasing in power.. which didn't make sense given the fact that I should have been on more pitocin. We had some visitors in and out, most excitingly my sweet niece. 

At this point I'll say that throughout the births of both of my children, I've realized how phenomenal nurses are. They care for people so well. That being said, our nurse was kind of on another planet. She had her own agenda for what should be going on regardless of how I was feeling. She wanted to put me in these weird labor positions and switch them constantly which was extremely uncomfortable for me. She also was constantly giving Ben chores, which is fine he didn't mind helping.. but it just felt weird. She was rude to my friend Kayla and told her DO NOT COME IN when she knocked at the door and told Ben has had his food. I wanted to be like "it's fine.. she can see whatever!!!" even though neither of us were dying for her to see my hiney. It just felt really disrespectful. 

At about 11 am the doctor came by on her way to a surgery to check me and I hadn't progressed at all. She was clearly frustrated and looked at the nurse and said her name, and then said that we should have been having a baby by now and asked her why she hadn't followed the directions for the meds that I should have been on. She put something in me to measure the intensity of the contractions and said that we should have been at a totally different place at this point. She told her a bunch of things that made no sense to me but basically was communicating that she needed to be upping my meds and contractions needed to be intensifying. 

Annnnnnd then my epidural wore off. Yikes! Looking back, I'm actually grateful for this because I feel like it satisfied some of my desires in feeling a natural labor. The fact that I needed pitocin kind of sealed the deal for me that I would still get an epidural, but I got to see what contractions felt like as I was on oodles of pitocin and going from an 8 to a 10 over the next hour or so. We cleared the room for a bit and I was really frustrated about what had gone on with the nurse, including the fact that she kept wanting to rotate my body every 20 minutes or so. The process would take about 10 minutes in itself because of how she wanted me to do like a 15 point turn. I texted my friends in the waiting room and my home group girls group text to ask them to pray for me as I was really really frustrated with my nurse. My friend Karen (also a nurse) who's house I had gone into labor in immediately texted me that I needed to voice my concerns and ask for someone else, but we were so far in at this point. A new anesthesiologist came and gave me a "bolus" which from my understanding is just a bunch more epidural that made me very, very puffy. This helped with the pain, and then I had my friends come back to visit with me and take my mind off of the fact that I was growing emotionally weary. 

Sometime between 1 and 2 the nurse checked me and I was at a 10, 100% effaced. She then said we would "labor down" and the doctor would come for me to push. So we took that time for me to rest and be ready for delivery. Then the time kept going on. And on. She had said we'd wait an hour, but then the doctor was "on her way" for a long time. I could feel contractions intensifying and I told Ben that I could almost feel my body starting to involuntarily push. 

Finally the nurse took it seriously after checking me and she had Ben start prepping the room for delivery, no joke. Haha! She had him pull down the big light and do a few other things as she "had bad shoulders" I should also say that several times she was "tooting" and then saying "sorry!" which honestly provided a little bit of comedic relief in this weird scenario. 

As they got everything prepared, I felt myself starting to shake a little. I wasn't sure why I would be having nerves but figured it was possible. But I KEPT shaking, and getting worse. I ended up having to put on the oxygen mask, and then keep smelling a little alcohol wipe to calm down. The nurse suggested I wear the mask to push but I felt fine and the mask was incredibly uncomfortable so I just laid it beside me. 

We kept waiting and finally she was like "lets do a test push" so we set up and I barely started to try and push and she was like "HOLD HER KNEES!" to Ben. He said that it looked like Sophie was about to come out. So then she called for the doctor who showed up about 10 minutes later so who knows if she had even called her before,  I have no idea. But the doctor and team set everything up as soon as possible. They set me up to push, and her head came out first push, body second push. 

My beautiful girl was born at 4:22 pm. When Beau was born we had the NICU team present to check him out, so the events that followed felt really different. Another nurse took her for just a few seconds to clear her mouth and nose and they immediately let us do skin to skin while everything else played out (placenta delivery and stitches wise!) Ben cut the cord less than a foot from my face, different from Beau's which was cut on the other side of my knees and I couldn't see. The nurse who had cleared Sophie up had taken Ben's phone and was taking photos and even a video which I truly cherish. It felt so.. easy. The nurses laughed at me because even after a long day I was almost sad that the pushing was so short. I loved those moments of delivering Beau. It felt so special to me. This is one of the thoughts that made me wonder if I would enjoy a natural delivery, but any who. After I was all cleared up the nurse checked my vitals and Sophie's, and said we could have family come in for 15 minutes before we would need to repeat the process. Ben went to get a very exhausted Beau, who hadn't really napped. We had a few minutes just the four of us, which was really sweet. Even though Beau was so exhausted he reached for Sophie a few times, and was interested in looking at her. I had tried to keep my expectations very low, knowing he wouldn't have napped most likely, and honestly wouldn't have a strong understanding of what was going on. Soon after, everyone came in, passed our girl around, and then scooted out as they were all as exhausted as we were. I took some time to try and nurse Sophie, which to our surprise went really smoothly. Everything started getting packed up for us to head to our postpartum room. 


It still feels completely surreal that we would be entrusted with these two precious lives. My Beau and my Sophie. Such an incredibly precious gift. 

Sophie Charlotte Strader

Monday, April 30, 2018


Thank you all for your sweet support as we welcome our angel girl! I'm absolutely bursting at the seams to share Sophie's birth story, and so many other little details of the last few weeks. More soon.. XO

37 Week Pregnancy Update

Monday, April 16, 2018


SO the last time I published a pregnancy update (33 weeks) I talked about how much better I was feeling and literally that morning I had a scary incident where I started blacking out while I was driving and had to pull to the side of the road just in time. Literally as I put my car in park Ben was on speaker phone telling me to put my hazard lights on and I had to tell him I couldn't see anything to find the button. Incredibly scary and I was so glad that Beau wasn't in the car with me. Since then, things have been mostly uneventful. We got the concerns that incident caused taken care of (upping iron and watching my blood sugar) and although I still don't feel great, we're not worried about anything stressful. Although I will note that last week I didn't take my diclegis (anti nausea meds) because I had run out and figured that at 36 weeks pregnant I probably didn't have morning sickness anymore. NOPE. Literally projectile vomited. I thought that was only for newborn babies! Whooowee, we keep saying we hope this pregnancy doesn't communicate anything about baby girl's personality, haha!

At my 34 week appointment I expressed concern to my doctor that I thought she might be breech. I hadn't felt as much movement, or at least movement in a different way, as I had with Beau. All the kicks felt REALLY low. So she felt around and confirmed that yes, it did look like baby was breech. I proceeded to read a ton of stuff in Facebook groups and on google and wondered if putting a rainbow of peppermint oil across the top of my belly would help her flip. It's funny, because going into my birth experience with Beau I could have cared less if I delivered vaginally or had a c-section. But this time I knew that I wanted to avoid it at all costs. One, because I loved my birth experience with Beau, and two, because I really didn't want to deal with recovery while having Beau inevitably need me. I ultimately decided that I couldn't stress myself out too much, and would need to just trust that if she was going to flip, she would. I did book a chiropractic adjustment because people recommended that but honestly also just knew that would probably relieve some tension I had been feeling. The night before the adjustment I told Ben "feel!! I think her head is on the side!" it totally was, but it honestly didn't occur to me that she could be starting the process of turning. At the appointment the chiropractor felt around on my belly when I told him we thought she was breech and he said that he was pretty certain she wasn't. A huge relief, but I wasn't necessarily believing it. Sure enough the rest of that day all of the kicks had moved up to the top of my belly and I could tell there had been a major change. Our bodies are so wild! I had my 36 week sonogram last Thursday, something I was really looking forward to. At our 36 week sonogram with Beau we got to see that he had hair, so I was really interested to see what we'd see on sister..


Beau is on the left, sister on the right. Both a good amount of hair, haha! My guess all along has been that she wouldn't be bald, but wouldn't have hair like Beau. But now who knows! It feels so special to know something about her! Anyway, we were happy to see that she's head down, and everything is looking great. The sonogram was such a fun experience for me, seeing our little girl's face. Her nose is EXACTLY like my niece's.. something that was really fun to see on the 3D sono!



Stretch Marks- Not that I can tell, but I also haven't been super intense about my belly butter lately, oops! I need to finish strong here!

Maternity Clothes- I am genuinely rotating between like 4 outfits at this point, haha! I'm so excited to get into normal clothes again. With Beau, I pretty much could wear all shirts and dresses right away, and jeans at about a week after.. my "skinniest" pair probably a month in comfortably. I've heard from some people that this process is a lot slower second time around so I'm trying to have realistic expectations. Again, last time I was like "its fine if I don't wear my jeans for months and months" but because of positive experience, I'm like okay we need to get this show on the road!! Haha!

Weight gain- Just like with Beau I pretty much stopped gaining weight at 30 weeks. I've gained a pound or two I think but at this point I don't think that's anything to worry about. Excited to hustle and get back to a healthy weight after this sweet girl is born!

Movement- Yes! Lots!

Baby Size- Google says the size of a large cantaloupe! haha!

Looking forward to- Meeting our girl!! I am so excited to see what she looks like and just dive into this new season of life. I just feel READY. Savoring these last days with just Beau but I'm so excited to see him adjust to having his little sister around. My boy has had a TON of change since Christmas. A ton. And he's handled it so well most of the time and I've been so grateful and proud. I'm so prayerful for him to handle the adjustment well and can't wait to cuddle my two babies!! Annndd... I'm excited to no longer be pregnant. I'm grateful for the journey but it's time, haha.

Food Cravings- None really.. honestly I've been mostly eating pretty "blah" the longer I've been pregnant. She's been sitting so high that I can't eat very much in a sitting and I haven't had a huge appetite so most of the time I'm just eating protein when I'm hungry.. although I have enjoyed a few indulgent bowls of cereal. I know that's probably not "indulgent" but it feels like it because we never really eat cereal.

Sickness?- Covered this above, YUP! Haha!

Labor Symptoms- I don't think any but I am already dilated to a 2.. when we went to induce Beau at 39 weeks I was at a 0 so this is new to me, haha. My guess is that we'll still make it to 39, but that maybe the labor process will go a bit faster. But what do I know? Haha!!

Sleep- Really hit or miss! Most of the time I'm getting up a lot and having a pretty hard time sleeping, but we're so close to this coming to an end and I'll be sleeping like a baby.. with a baby. :)

What do y'all think? When will baby sister be here? :) 
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