Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 3 of Things I Love: Our Birth Story

Our Birth Story

I’ve gone back and forth with how I have felt about sharing our birth story on my blog. It is such a personal story, but it’s one that I am so proud of, and one that I am so happy about that I have decided that I want to share it with you, my sweet readers. 
These photos are personal and were made by either Grayson, or our incredibly talented and sweet friend, Millie Holloman. Please do not use these photos without asking. 

Throughout my entire pregnancy, friends and families, and even the doctors, told me that I would go into labor early. I’m a petite person and I was carrying a large baby for my frame. The entire two weeks before my due date, I would call my mom every day, assuring her that “No, I am not in labor. Not even a little bit.” My due date came and went with no signs of Tilley-Gray making her way into this world. Monday, November 28th, the day after my due date, Grayson and I arrived at my doctor’s appointment with hopeful hearts, but there were no signs of any progress. I was the same as I had been two weeks before. Tilley-Gray was in no hurry to come out.

My doctor scheduled an induction that Thursday.  I was to call in at 5am to make sure there was a bed available. I was awfully terrified about being induced, but I was excited that we at least had a date set.  We knew when our sweet girl would be here.   Wednesday night, my mom drove the five hours, from Hickory, to Wilmington, and arrived just around 9pm. I was so relieved to see her. I wanted to make sure she was with me through this entire process.   There is just this innate security about moms that makes everything seem OK.

Thursday, December 1: Tilley-Gray makes her debut

330am: I wake up earlier than planned because I am having contractions. Not the Braxton Hicks contractions that we hear so often about, these are the real deal!   I wake Grayson up and I get in the shower as he makes eggs and toast for breakfast.

430am: After breakfast, just as I am finishing getting dressed, my water breaks. This is not a gush like you see in the movies, just a trickle. I scream with excitement, and Grayson and my mom are in the bedroom within seconds. It seems that Tilley-Gray has decided that she is ready to come out on her own. She’s not going to be rushed. We are doing this on her time.

5am: Grayson calls the hospital and tells them that although we are scheduled for an induction, my water broke and we are headed to the hospital. As Gray packs up our remaining bags, I tell my mom goodbye. She is going to finish getting ready and she will meet us at the hospital a little later. We take one final picture in front of our house as a family of two and then make our way to the hospital.

530am: We are checked into triage, I change into my hospital gown and they check my vitals. I’m 3 cm (a full 2 cm from my doctor’s appointment on Monday) and my contractions are about every 6 minutes. They are manageable, but still painful.

645am: My mom arrives, and I’m so happy to see her.  We are moved into our labor and delivery room. We are on the tale end of the nurse/doctor shift. My nurse is nice, but a little chatty about her upcoming trip to Disney World during my contractions. She tells me that my doctor will be Dr. Wilson and my delivery nurse is named Fifi.

            This is Serendipity at it’s best! My contractions are getting stronger and I am ready to do some walking. Grayson and I walk the halls, round and round. Dr. Wilson sees me.   He isn’t thrilled because my water has broken. Dr. Wilson tells me to sit tight in my room and I am not too thrilled about this.

730am: Nurse Fifi arrives and she is fabulous. She is in her 50s, has a grey bob haircut with pink streaks and a feather extension. She lives in the country, has chickens, and is a hard-core yogi. She is a killer breathing coach, and she talks about all of the right things, in all of the right places. I could not have dreamed of a better labor and delivery nurse. Fifi gets me a stability ball because I have been banned from walking as mom and Grayson trade off helping me through contractions.

830am: Dr. Wilson comes in and checks me only to find that I have not progressed. I tell him that I do not want Pitocin, but he tells me that it’s dangerous to be in labor longer than 12 hours if my water has already broken. If I haven’t progressed any in an hour, they are starting Pitocin. I don’t seem to have a choice.  So it’s back on the stability ball.  I’ am determined that I can do this on my own.  

945am: Dr. Wilson is back and he checks me again. There has been no progress so Pitocin it is.  Fifi warns me that my contractions will be a lot stronger with Pitocin, especially since my water has already broken.  I send Grayson out to get coffee and breakfast for himself while mom helps me breathe through the contractions. They are definitely stronger and they are coming closer together. I cry.  My mom cries with me and I can’t stop shaking. I’m not ready to get an epidural.  I have heard it slows down progression and I want to have this baby before 7pm (when Fifi is done with her shift).

1045am: Grayson and Mom trade off, and while she is gone, the contractions become unbearable. I’m shaking uncontrollably now on the stability ball and sobbing because I am so scared. Grayson cries with me, and, this alone make me cry, because Grayson never cries. I want to try and go a little longer without an epidural.

11am: Dr. Wilson comes in checks me and I’ve only progressed to 4 cm. He tells Fifi to bump up the Pitocin, so back on the stability ball I go. The contractions are so much stronger and I can’t stop shaking. Grayson and Fifi help me breathe through the contractions, but they are incredibly painful.

1120am: I tell Grayson I can’t do it anymore without an epidural. He lets Fifi know and she orders and epidural. I get back in the bed and she brings me a Popsicle and heated blankets.

1145am: The anesthesiologist arrives. I feel so sorry for that doctor. He sees patients at their very worst. I don’t even know what he looks like. He numbs my back but I’m shaking so bad that it’s hard for him to stick the epidural. He has to try three times before it works, but when it does, it really works. Within minutes I am relaxed.

1pm: The epidural has made me feel human again. I am in bed, still with the shakes, but I am reading gossip magazines that Grayson stocked up on and watching the Martha Stewart show. Our sweet friends that had twin boys the Monday before came in to visit with us. My brother, who drove in from Asheville, and my cousin, came in to visit.  Grayson’s parents are here as well.  It’s nice to have company.

3pm: Neither my mom nor Grayson have eaten so I send Grayson out to get some lunch. Fifi comes in to check me and I have progressed to 8 cm!  I can’t believe it. My mom calls Grayson, who nearly has a heart attack that I’m that far along. He calls his parents, and my dad, and Millie so that they all know the progress. We tell them that we don’t want any more visitors and that we want sometime together. Fifi says it could be as little as an hour before I start pushing, but it would take me at least a few hours of pushing, so not to rush.

330pm: Grayson turns on a playlist that I have made and he helps me change into my pretty hospital gown. These are the only few things that I have any control over, and they do make me feel at peace. I am both ready and excited to push. I’m not scared. Millie calls Grayson and tells him that she is at the hospital. I tell him I need a few more minutes of just “us.”

345pm: Fifi comes in again and checks me. She says that I can start pushing now, or, I can wait another hour. I ask her what she would do, and she says that she would push. I tell her I need 15 minutes of prep time. I needed to roll my hair and to put on make-up. (I know, looking back, it’s kind of absurd, but I felt like I was going into battle. I wanted to be prepared.)

4pm: Grayson calls Millie and tells her we are ready for her. Fifi unhooks my epidural and I start pushing. I can feel the contractions more in my back than anything. The contractions are intense, but we joke and laugh in between them.

430pm: Fifi says that she can see Tilley-Gray’s head. She says she has a full head of hair. This thrills me! I can’t wait to see her. I start pushing harder and harder because I’m so determined to see her. Fifi calls for Dr. Wilson. “This baby is going to be here soon” she says.

440pm: Dr. Wilson arrives with a baby nurse, Ali. My temperature is at 101.9 and Dr. Wilson is ready to get the baby out because it is unsafe for the both of us. I push as hard as I can and I go longer on counts than I am asked to do. Fifi counts for me, and Grayson and Millie hold my hands and breathe with me. They all tell me I’m doing great, but Dr. Wilson wants harder pushes. He wants more.  “Bear down and get mad Lindsey!, he says.” I push and push.

458pm: I feel like all of my energy is gone. My fever is up to over 102 and my back labor is unbearable.  “Just one more push and she will be here!” Dr. Wilson says. My legs are still shaking and I’m crying but I give the biggest push I have yet and then…

5pm: Tilley-Gray arrives. She is the most incredible little girl I have ever seen. Grayson and I both cry as we look at each other, and then at her. They put her on my chest and Grayson cuts the umbilical cord. I can’t believe that I have a daughter.

505pm: I want to hold her but I still have to deliver the placenta. Dr. Wilson pulls on the remaining umbilical cord, but it breaks. My umbilical cord was only attached to the placenta by membranes and is attached to my uterine wall. Dr. Wilson has to go in and by hand, remove the placenta from my uterus. This is more painful than anything I have experienced all day. My fever is up, my epidural is gone, and I’m loosing a lot of blood. I’m screaming from the pain and Grayson comes back to me while Dr. Wilson calls the baby nurse as well as another in to assist. Millie is with Tilley-Gray, camera in one hand, bulb syringe in the other. What a blessing for all of these people.

530pm: The placenta is finally out and without going into to many graphic details, it was the worst pain I have ever been in. Dr. Wilson said some technical term for what happened that I can’t remember, but equated it as being as rare as being struck by lighting. He said that if they would have known this was the case, I would have been on bed rest from day 1 and would have had a scheduled c-section. I was so lucky that I was not in a car accident or did not fall during pregnancy. It would have killed the baby and I could have bled to death. The thought of this is terrifying but I focus on how blessed we are with our new, healthy baby.

615pm: After Grayson and I spend alone time with Tilley-Gray and I have nursed her for the first time he goes out to the waiting room to tell our parents our parents the details. Grayson’s mom says that Tilley-Gray was born at “Happy Hour”. We bring our parents in, one by one, followed by our brothers and cousins in one large group. We are a family full of boys (I’m the only girl on both sides) and it was amazing to see five big guys with our tiny little girl.

That night, Grayson and I move up to the post-partum room and just stared at our new baby. It was such an incredible thing that we had just been through and we were over filled with joy. I didn’t feel well, but I could only think about how blessed we were. The following days are a blur. Grayson let our friends know that I wasn’t feeling up for company so it was just mainly family that visited. I had to stay an extra night and have a blood transfusion because I lost so much blood during delivery. The morning after I had her, I looked at Grayson and told him that as hard as it was, I would do it all over again every day. It was certainly the very best day of my life. 

Thank you so much for letting me share my story with you. It is something that you can never imagine until you go through it, and again, I am incredibly blessed to have a friend like Millie Holloman to document those priceless, precious moments. This story and these pictures are things that I love and cherish so much. Thank you so much again Millie!


  1. I am a new reader to your blog but I love it and love that you shared your story! I had my baby September 1 and had a terrible pregnancy experience but it is the easiest forgotten pain and would do it all over again if I could. Congrats to your family and may y'all be blessed with health and happiness.

  2. I love this story. Thanks for sharing it. I gave birth to my own sweet baby boy eight months ago and your story brought a flood of memories to me.

    I love that you stopped to curl your hair during your labor!

  3. Thank you for sharing such a incredible experience and "birth"day! What a strong woman you are! I can hardly wait for new posts on her progression and life as a family of three!! "Every good and perfect gift is from above" love-angie

  4. What a beautiful story! I have tears rolling down my face as I write this. I will be having my second baby at the end of April and it reminds me of how truly amazing giving birth is and how lucky we are to be able to have this gift of life. It is truly a magical experience and I thank you for sharing it with all of us. Congratulations!!

  5. I literally cried reading this blog post and seeing all the beautiful pictures! I am so glad you chose to share this with all of us who have followed along with your pregnancy, its truly a beautiful time in your life and congratulations on your new family of three! Tilley-Gray is absolutely precious! Congrats and blessing to you!

  6. i just cried at work reading your story!! thank you so much for sharing, so beautiful!! and Tilley-Gray could not be any cuter :)

  7. You are seriously the cutest little pregger person! Such an amazing story, thanks for sharing!

  8. like your friends who read this before, i too (esp. as a new mama myself!) cried :) what a beautiful story!! - anna

  9. Such a beautiful story - all of it - even through the tears and the shakes. Oh, and you are glowing in the pics - forget the curlers and makeup- you look gorgeous! Congrats on your new bundle of joy; Tilley-Gray is just precious!

  10. Lindsey,
    I don't comment on blogs very often, but I stumbled upon your blog a few months ago. I check it daily for updates. You are such an inspiration to us all! There are so many precious things about you and your family that remind me of my own. Thank you for sharing this story with us. I am expecting, and due in two weeks, and patiently waiting for our little girl to arrive (first child). Words can not describe the way I felt after reading this post... I will be going through it in two weeks. I cried, because I am emotional, but also because I always knew I wanted to experience this love, and watching you go through it reminds me what to look forward to! Thanks again for the inspiration! Stay precious!

    PS -- We are naming our little girl Searcy, my maiden name.

    1. I hope Miss Searcy has arrived healthy and perfect! Thinking of you!

  11. Beautiful story and pictures!

  12. This is such a beautiful post in so many ways! Thank you for sharing your amazing birth story and congratulations again on your baby girl. :)

  13. What an amazing story, Lindsey! I am crying at work! I am so happy everything worked out for you! Congrats again on a healthy, beautiful little girl!

  14. I am so gratefull you shared your story ith us, as I am due in 3 weeks, but they are saying the same thing that our baby may arrive sooner, as it is big and I am huge. I was stuck to the screen reading your story. Thanks for being so open and honest. I hope to share mine with you soon.

  15. what a beautiful birth story!! thanks for sharing with us a very intimate moment in your family's life. it was precious

  16. I have tears in my eyes. And those photos are beautiful!

  17. This is such a remarkable story. You seem to have such wonderful memories and it's obvious that you cherish each one. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and each one here is, but you have also added such a beautiful dialog to accompany these special photos. Your strength and story is inspiring and shows what a blessing the miracle of truly life is. I hope (and feel like I know from reading your blog) that you are enjoying your sweet little blessing each day! You've truly made my day today with this posting!

  18. Wow - absolutely beautiful!

  19. Our stories are very similar(except you looked waaaay prettier than me!) and it brought back alot of memories. I didnt get an epidural tho, what was I THINKING!? and the doc had to cut out my placenta, that was more painful than the delivery, the whole nine months of being pregnant and the time I slammed my thumb in my car door and couldnt open it. I "accidentally" kicked him in the head a couple of times =)Good job lady, what a beautiful story! I love your blog =)

  20. You are strong and fabulous! That definitely teared me up :) So wonderful!

  21. That was such a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing your special gift with us all. I am so happy for the joy your family has been blessed with. Tilley-Gray

  22. What a beautiful story and the pictures to go along with it are absolutely priceless! Thank you for sharing your story with your readers. It's such a personal thing and sometimes scary, but amazing to know that given the option, you'd do it again in a heartbeat. Kiss that sweet girl for me!

  23. What a beautiful story, and beautiful pictures! The photo of the uncle with his hands on his cheeks totally choked me up! Congratulations!

  24. What beautiful story and pictures! You have a beautiful family. I completely understand the fact that you'd do it again because I would too. :) Enjoy every moment because they grow so fast.

  25. I absolutely LOVED this. Nothing better than an amazing birth story! And those photos convince me that the next time around, I want a photographer to document it all. Those photos are absolutely priceless.

  26. I'm stopping by from Design Mom. Your pictures are so beautiful! Thanks for sharing your story. I had the same umbilical cord/placenta problem with my second child. Thankfully everything was okay with her also.

  27. I just found your blog today and have spent way too much time reading your posts! :) FiFi was my nurse too, my baby girl Livvie was born in October. I loved her pink hair and feathers as well.
    Congrats on your beautiful baby, perhaps I'll run into you in Wilmington!