Dear Hemsley Ann,
I can’t believe it’s been almost 2 months since we welcomed you into our family. You are so full of life and I can already tell you have a tender, sweet heart that will bring joy to so many. Over these past two months you have shown your papa and I how to be more patient, gracious, and that a little mess here and there is just fine. You’ve proven to us that our hearts could stretch even more than we ever imagined.
I want to tell you about how you made your way into this wonderful world so that one day you can read about your big journey here.
Before you were even conceived we prayed for you. Your mama had dealt with a lot of confusing health problems and wasn’t sure she would even be able to have you. With the help of some amazing doctors, lots of hope and expectancy, and one really fantastic night in Portland (you’ll get that when you’re older), you became a little seed in her belly.
Over ten months you grew, little by little. Each day your mama and papa would pray for you to be healthy and have a calm temperament when you were born. We also prayed for peace, no fear about the labor, and that it would be only 5 hours. Your mama really liked that number, 5 hours. Everything was proceeding without a hitch… well, there was one small issue, you decided you’d keep your head up instead of down in the womb (we call this breech).
Your mama did everything she could to try and flip you around so that she could have you at the Birth Centre in the tub (she’s always been frightful and leary of the hospital). She did acupuncture, chiropractic, laid upside down on the couch for hours, put ice on her belly, had a doctor try to turn you, had your papa do this weird thing called moxibustion, and even went to the swimming pool at 39 weeks pregnant to dive in the deep end. You must have been very cozy how you were because you stayed put. Your mama cried a lot hoping you would turn but then decided that God must have had a better plan and it was time to let go and trust that you would still make it into the world safely.
On May 3rd in the morning, we all went to meet with a doctor who told us that your mama could try to deliver you naturally at the hospital (when babies are breech they often are delivered via c-section), and he was very supportive. Up until then your mama had been working with an amazing midwife, Teilya, who coached, encouraged, and educated us along the way.
When we were at the appointment the doctor did an exam and told us that your mama was already 3cm dilated. She had no idea as she had not been feeling any signs of labor. This meant that you would be arriving very soon! Because you were still breech (stubborn like your mama!) the doctor suggested an ultrasound to make sure all was good-to-go for a vaginal breech delivery.
The ultrasound showed us that the amniotic fluid was low, which could be risky for you, so your mama and papa had a few choices. The first was to be induced at the hospital, the second to have the midwife do a membrane sweep (I can explain this to you sometime, it’s not the most fun experience!), or have your heart monitored daily until labor started on its own. We decided to do the membrane sweep and that afternoon met with the midwife… after a trip to Costco of course (we needed to stock up in case you’d be arriving right away!). Teilya did the sweep at 1pm and we headed home to wait, relax, and wait some more.
After the sweep your mama started to feel some cramps. They were mild and irregular so she assumed it was just from the procedure and nothing more. She had a nice long shower, did her hair, and then laid down on the couch to watch a movie. It wasn’t 5 minutes after laying down that she felt her first real contraction. It was intense, hard, and shot her up off the couch! That was at 6:15pm.
Not even 2 minutes later, another big contraction. This was it! Active labor had started. Mama started pacing because she didn’t know how to sit/stand/lay to manage the contractions as they began to come very quickly. She decided to get into the bathtub to see if that would ease the pain and relax her. Your papa had called the midwife who very calmly said she’d call back in another couple of hours to check in.
Shortly after your mama got into the bathtub she felt a big “pop” and realized her waters had broken. She quickly got out of the tub and at this point couldn’t talk much. She was making a bit of an odd noise, one she’d never heard herself make before (kind of like a cow mooing?) but it helped her manage each contraction as it came. Your papa called the midwife again and they decided it was time to get to the hospital.
When we arrived at the hospital it was around 8pm and your mama was “in the zone”. Even though we were at the hospital (and not the birth centre), Teilya the midwife was there right along with us, and she was very calm helping your mama and papa relax and go with the motions. The doctor who we had met that morning couldn’t make it to the hospital so we had another doctor who would be delivering you. She was willing to let your mama attempt to deliver you naturally but when it was time to push your mama would only get 1 hour, they set a strict pushing time limit for breech babies like you! Your mama prayed for peace, strength, and for God to give all the doctors and nurses wisdom.
In the next two hours between 8pm and 10pm, your mama went from 5cm to 10cm dilated. Labor was very fast, intense, and the contractions came quickly. Papa and the midwife would rub your mamas back and encourage her as she worked hard to bring you into the world. Between your contractions your mama would say out loud “this is good”, “good job”, “I welcome this” and “thank you Jesus”… these positive words helped her relax and accept the intensity of the labor. She felt no fear and knew she could accomplish this tough and yet rewarding job.
Around 10pm your mama looked at the midwife and said “maybe I need that epidural now…?”, but Teilya encouraged her again that she was doing a great job and progressing so well and so your mama pushed through without it! Shortly after it was discovered that your mama was fully 10cm dilated! Around 10:20 your mama felt the urge to push and so she started to push, push, and push some more. For another 40 minutes she pushed hard to bring you out into the world, but unfortunately the doctor was uncertain about you being breech so she made your mama move to the operating room, just in case they had to give her an emergency c-section. Luckily, Teilya the midwife was with us the whole time and made it clear that your mama was progressing perfectly and that you were very close to being born! The midwife was such an amazing advocate for your mama and we are so thankful that she was a part of your journey here.
From 11:00pm on your mama pushed in the operating room with doctors, nurses, the midwife, and your papa cheering her on. With each push you came closer to your arrival. Through each push your mama could hear your papa in her ear telling her she was doing amazing and that she could do it! He would tell her what he could see and when he saw each part of your little body emerge… bum, then legs, then belly, then shoulders, and lastly, your perfect little head.
At 11:20pm with one last big push you were born! In 5 hours and 5 minutes total.
All 6lbs 8oz of you, healthy, crying, red, wrinkly, and so very real. You were perfect. You are perfect. Fearfully and wonderfully made, our sweet girl.
Welcome to the world Hemsley Ann, we are so happy you’re here.
xo Mama & Papa