Wow. You guys. My little man is already 3.5 months old! Also, I haven’t blogged since September.

My. Bad.

I wrote Luke’s birth story within weeks of his birth but then our lives took a left turn and life got a bit crazy. I’ll probably share more about that on here sometime – for a brief overview see this Instagram post.

For both of my babies, I’ve made the choice to not have a professional photographer in the room. I love birth photography. But I know myself and how my brain works. For me to be able to concentrate on having a med-free birth, I need the least amount of distractions as possible…and everything distracts me! ForGabe’s birth, I made them take the clock out of the room because I could here it ticking (no, not kidding).

I’m going to share our birth story with a few g r a i n y photos from my phone that my husband took and I have to say…I love them. No, they are good quality, but the emotion…it’s there. I’m a big advocate for birth photography…I really am! But I love my iPhone photos and I’m happy with our choice to keep it just us (and our midwife, doula, and nurses, of course).

Luke’s Birth Story

It was no secret that I was ready to have this baby.   I had even scheduled a massage and pedicure for the day before the predicted super moon on January 21 to try and get this baby out!  Little did I know I would not make it to that massage appointment!

Sunday, January 13, 2019, I was sitting on the barstool next to Gabe having breakfast and I felt a random gush of liquid.  I jumped up to see a puddle on the seat of the stool.  I ran to the bathroom and came back to tell Nate that my water just broke…or I just peed myself!  I went upstairs, put a panty liner in and came back downstairs, hands shaking from the nerves.  No contractions to speak of at this point.

First, I texted my mom and sister…freaking out and overcome with anxious excitement.  Then I texted my doula to let her know that I thought my water had broken.  I called the midwife labor number at the hospital and she told me to wait a few more hours and if I kept having gushes, that it was my water…not that I was suddenly incontinent! After a few hours I called her back and she confirmed that yes, my water was broken. I couldn’t believe it! Two weeks before my due date!

She told me that I could take some castor oil to get contractions going if I wanted to, or I could hang out at home until 8pm at the latest and then come on in to the hospital.

Me & my boys snuggling in bed waiting for contractions to start

Nate called his parents and I called my mom to let them know they needed to head to Richmond to help with Gabe.  My mom was already on her way!  That cracked me up.  We spent the rest of the day with Gabe, laying in bed, watching movies, having his favorite snacks, and napping. No contractions.

Around 5:30, the roads were getting really covered in ice so we called back and she said to go ahead and come in…and to take some castor oil!  Apparently castor oil doesn’t upset your tummy if you fill up on protein before you take it, so I ate half a rotisserie chicken and took the castor oil in a protein shake.  Still no contractions.

We said goodbye to my mom and Gabe (Nate’s parents were still en route) and headed to the hospital.  The roads were really bad.  Cars were sliding on the ice and even the highway was just covered in ice.  It was a scary drive there! 

Once we got there, we met up with my doula, Laura Grace who was already there.  We got checked in to our room and the nurse started getting my vitals.  Brenda checked me and I was only 1.5 cm dilated and 50% effaced. The monitors that they put on my belly told us that Luke was doing fine, but I was still not having contractions.  Laura Grace had me do the Miles circuit a few times (side lunges, polar bear, side lying) and a few hours in, I was still feeling fine…no contractions.  According to the nurse by around 10 or so I was having them – I just wasn’t feeling them. 

Looking fabulous doing lunges for the Miles Circuit

Around 11 or so, Elizabeth, the midwife, gave me a couple options: 1) to start a low drip of Pitocin to get things going or 2) get some sleep.  I chose sleep because I wanted to avoid Pitocin if I could!  Well, I couldn’t sleep, so she offered me Ambien…and I made her promise that if things picked up the Ambien wouldn’t make me feel loopy!  She promised so I took the Ambien. 

We all agreed we’d reconvene in the morning.  Laura Grace got me all set up on my left side with a peanut ball between my legs. And I settled in to get some sleep.  LG went home to get some sleep.  Elizabeth left the room so we could sleep.  About 15 minutes later, as I was about to drift to sleep, I felt my first contraction.  I laid still through a few of them and realized…so geez…this is happening!  I got up and woke Nate up.  We called the nurse and midwife back in and Elizabeth encouraged me to still try and rest. 

About 15 minutes later, my contractions were so strong I couldn’t lie down anymore and I needed to move.  I started to freak out and told Nate to order me an epidural. Haha!  At that point, Nate told me to get my head in the game (haha) & then prayed for us, for Luke, and for my labor and delivery. He turned on my labor playlist (filled with worship music) which helped me get my head right. 

Another 15 minutes went by and my contractions were strong enough for me to ask for the tub to be filled.  It took about 20 minutes to fill up and as soon as I got in I felt immediate relief.  I was able to talk in between contractions and move around to find more comfortable positions.  I was in the tub for about 20 minutes and I starting having the strong urge to push.  I pushed through one contraction and had Nate call Elizabeth back into the room.  She told me that after the next contraction I needed to get out of the tub.  In Virginia, you can’t have your baby in the tub in the hospital and I knew Elizabeth could get in trouble if this baby was born in the water! 

I couldn’t get myself to get out of the tub and ended up having three pushing contractions in the tub before Elizabeth got really firm with me and told me I basically had no choice but to get out!  When I got out, they dried me off as I walked towards the bed.  Elizabeth asked me what position I thought would be good for pushing and I remember saying, “I don’t care, all fours sounds good!”  I climbed on the bed on my hands and knees just before another contraction started.  Within 3 contractions my sweet Lucas Ashe was born at 2:21am!  Elizabeth passed him through my legs and I scooped him up onto my chest.  I sat back on my heels and just cried and kissed my baby.  Nate took some great pictures and videos on my cell phone (and by great I mean semi-not-blurry!) and I love looking back on them.

My entire “active labor” was a total of 3 hours!  Wow.  I couldn’t have asked for a better or more beautiful delivery.  The healing process after such a quick labor and delivery has been so much easier than after my first.  Luke came into our lives 2 weeks and 1 day early, quickly, and beautifully.  I am in awe of his birth story and I’m so grateful it’s ours.

The day after Luke was born, we had my parents and Nate’s parents bring Gabe to the hospital to meet Luke. We had a birthday party for Luke complete with cupcakes, a balloon, & a gift that Gabe picked out & wrapped for Luke a few weeks earlier. It was such a sweet day.

Below images all by my sweet friend, Nikki Santerre

Want to see more? 

Megan and James | Pharsalia Wedding

Amy and Rob | Scott’s Addition and Monument Avenue Engagement Session

The Hahn Family | Richmond Maternity Session

Luke’s Birth Story

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