Disclosure: This is a fairly detailed account of Raychel’s birth. If you don’t want to know, don’t read. 🙂
Raychel Joye Sedberry joined this crazy world on July 18, 2011 at 6:24 in the morning at Dayspring in Hayden, Idaho (she’s our little spud). She weighed 8 pounds and 12 ounces and measured 21 inches long. She also had a full head of hair!
As she is lying here on the bed next to me, making adorable faces, I am just in complete amazement by her… I seriously can’t even concentrate on writing this. It’s taken me like an hour to get this far. She just keeps doing cute things!
So anyway, the birth story… Around 10:30pm on Sunday I was skyping with Beth and had a couple of rather serious feeling contractions. They were like half an hour apart and not too intense so Gabe and I thought they were just harsh Braxton Hicks or maybe really early labor. Gabe especially was really expecting the signs of early labor that we’d learned about in our Bradley classes: excitement, nesting, high energy… These weren’t present so we just ignored it and went to bed around 11:30pm. Around midnight I started feeling more contractions. I was trying so hard to ignore them (per everyone’s advice so that I could get rest before labor), but it was becoming increasingly difficult to do so. We stayed in bed and I tried sleeping between them, but at one point I was woken up so violently that I shook Gabe like a rag doll and getting that tensed up made the contraction nearly unbearable. (That was my hard-knock lesson on the huge difference it makes to not tense and scream). Gabe decided it was real and we should take a walk. He got me out of bed and had me walk around a little bit. We went outside and it seemed to help, but they kept coming on pretty strong and by 2am they were about 3-4 minutes apart and had been maintaining this pace for a while (Gabe couldn’t time them at first because I had all of his attention). Mind you, we’d been told that people who live 10 minutes from the hospital should go in at 4-1-1: 4 minutes apart, 1 minute long, for 1 hour. For people who live 40 minutes from their birthing place we were told to go in at 6 or 7-1-1… So these things are going through Gabe’s head while I am irrationally unsure as to whether or not to call.
After a couple of contractions around or less than 3 minutes apart and too painful to talk through Gabe convinced me to call our doula. I called her twice and didn’t get an answer so we called our friend Brittany who has recently become certified as a Doula. She said it sounded like labor and to call the midwife and let her know how it goes. She was so calm and kept us both at peace. Gabe called the midwife who listened to me have a couple contractions on the phone and said that we could either keep working at home or go ahead and get that 40 minute drive out of the way. Still expecting a 24-30 hour labor I had to deliberate with Gabe – we decided after another severe contraction that we wanted to get the drive out of the way. I felt a little discouraged that if what I was experiencing was still early labor I would not be able to handle active labor (clearly, I was wrong and I was indeed actively laboring).
So as Gabe got our stuff together I called Brittany back and I asked her if we could possibly pick her up since we couldn’t reach our planned doula… Looking back I must have somehow known that I was progressing quickly and would need the help because I don’t think I would have decided to stop and pick anyone up had I really considered how far into it I was. So the famed “irrationality” of a woman in labor ended up being good! She was already in gear and said she would grab her bag and wait for us. Still sort of thinking this is early labor, I didn’t rush. For some reason I really wanted to make the bed and Gabe was getting impatient with me, but was totally sweet and understanding… Helping me through like 3 contractions as I dilly dallied and finally getting me out the door. I could tell that he was getting nervous and really wanted to get me to the midwife. In the car I called Beth and my Mom to let them know we were going in. I kept having to put the phone down to have contractions and they were getting more intense. We got to Brittany’s and she was waiting outside for us. I had a contraction as we pulled up and then got into the back seat with her. She was waiting on her porch and was like a ray of light to both of us – Gabe was instantly put at ease with her presence. Each contraction was really hard on my back and applying my own counter pressure in the passenger seat was just not cutting it. Gabe is pretty amazing, but he doesn’t have a third arm.
That drive sucked. I remember asking if we were almost there and Brittany sweetly saying, “No, not really, but we’re on our way.” She was an angel. She rubbed my back (hard; she got a work out!) and was completely calm despite seeing signs of transition (commonly noted as the most intense part of labor, it’s what a mom goes through right before the pushing stage). She told me later that she actually considered what to do if I started pushing! But she didn’t let me know about those thoughts, she just helped me work and reassured me. One of those signs is fear and I told her I didn’t think I could do it. Brittany and Gabe were both such a comfort, reassuring me that I was doing it and that I was doing great. I thank God that our planned doula didn’t answer her phone; there is no way I could have gotten through that car ride without Brittany. I think we would have ended up at a hospital or I would have passed out or something. Gabe was also such a stud, driving quickly and safely despite the laboring woman in the backseat. He even held my hand and kept up the positive affirmations… He is amazing.
Around 4am we got to the Birthing Center and Carrie was in the parking lot waiting for us and had already started the bath. As we pulled onto the street my water broke, but the contraction was too painful to tell anyone. When we parked I told them and had another contraction, then they quickly got me out of the car and helped me into the house. We got to the foot of the stairs before another one hit – about 50 feet or so from the car. The second it was over they helped me up the staircase before another one came on. I had at least one in the room and then wanted to go to the bathroom so while the tub finished filling up I labored in there. Then they helped me into the tub so I could labor in the water. It helped relieve some of the pressure, but not all of it so Brittany had to basically cradle me by my back – she never complained and kept her calm disposition even though her arms must have been killing her! I remember thinking that this was the dumbest thing I’d ever done and that if I got pregnant again I was definitely going to a hospital and getting an epidural. I also felt insecure about being able to keep it up. Between contractions I would cry and say how I felt. Gabe was right there with me the whole time (he went to put the music on for me and I scolded him… everyone laughed). Carrie and Brittany kept assuring me that I was doing well and that everything looked great.
When I started pushing it was not what I expected. I felt her move forward and then come back and started getting really discouraged. I just wanted her to get out of me. Carrie checked her heart rate (it was good) and I said, “I don’t care!” Then I asked Carrie if that was normal, to not like my baby right now (I was worried that I wouldn’t love the baby when she came out). She laughed and said yes and they all assured me that it was normal and nobody blamed me for not caring. That helped me not worry and just focus on the work at hand – which was plenty! Between pushing I would pass out. Gabe said my body would go limp and my eyes would close, but then I’d suddenly wake up and start pushing with everything I had. At first I kicked my legs out because of how much it hurt. Carrie told me to put all that energy to one spot so from then on every ounce of energy I had went to pushing into that spot. After a bit over an hour Carrie told me that she thought that if I were to get out of the tub the baby would come out faster. My only concern was the pain, but she assured me that it wouldn’t hurt any MORE out of the water at this point so I agreed – I wanted this thing out of me!! It’s a good thing I took her advce, too because I didn’t even make it down the 2 steps from the tub before dropping into a squat to push. Kim (the student midwife who we saw the most and whom I was really hoping would be on-call; actually she wasn’t, but Carrie forgot and she came anyway! :)) was on one side holding me up by my arm, Brittany was on the other side and Carrie was in front of me putting down puppy pads and getting her gloves on. When I saw her preparing I knew that this kid was coming – I think she actually said, “Okay, baby is going to be born on the floor!” It gave me a little bit of energy to see that we were nearing the end. Gabe was watching and was in complete awe and totally speechless. I heard Carrie say to him, “Tell her what you see!” and then his excited, smiling voice tell me that he could see our baby’s head. That “ring of fire” thing was no joke – and it didn’t last for a few seconds like it does on TV. Pushing was definitely the hardest part of labor for me. But once I just accepted that it was going to hurt like hell I pushed through it and didn’t let the pain stop me. After a few pushes her head came out and then her body quickly followed. Kim told me later that it was a fast exit and Carrie had her work cut out catching her. 😉
Carrie put her on my chest and immediately I was in such a deep love all I could do was cry. I wasn’t exhausted or in pain anymore, just in love. Gabe was instantly by my side and the joy on his face is something I don’t know that I’ve ever seen before… Maybe on our wedding day. He had tears going down his face and could not stop smiling. He kept saying things like, “Thank you,” and “Look at our baby! Look what you did!” Somebody asked if she was a boy or girl and when we checked I said, “I got my little girl. I got my Raychel Joye.” It was incredible… At that point I didn’t even consider the pain it took to bring her here, I was just so grateful that she was in my arms.
They helped us to the bed and not too long after Gabe cut the umbilical cord and I delivered my placenta. At some point the initial euphoria wore off and I was in a bit of shock. They made sure I got some sugar and protein which stopped the shaking. During this time I didn’t feel as connected to Raychel, but as I ate and just rested I once again felt overwhelmed with love and joy (or… Joye… haha sorry, had to). While they were making a gourmet breakfast for us Gabe, Raychel and I spent some time alone as a family. All we could do was stare at our little girl and look at each other in total amazement. We were both physically tired, but we couldn’t sleep. We were way too high on pure emotion. Hormones are no joke! lol After we ate we had visitors: We skyped with Beth and my Mom and Gramma and Vickie came in. Then we took a short nap (only about an hour) and Tom and Tish came with Jamba Juice and took some beautiful pictures. It was so wonderful to share her with the people we love… She brought smiles and tears to everyone she met. 🙂
We left the birthing center around 5:30pm to pick up my mom from the airport and go home. First we took a bath, spent more time resting and I had to get some shots of her. 🙂 When we got home our neighbors Tim and Tessa had decorated the house in pink, written “Welcome Home Baby Berry” in chalk on the concrete and decorated the door to the nursery with scripture and ribbons (they had also cleaned up the house which was such a blessing). Tish had gotten some of our maternity shots printed and framed and put them around the house… She put a gorgeous bouquet of pink roses in our room (and they lasted for a really long time!). It was a beautiful, perfect homecoming. The Woods and Wellings came over (and of course both grandmas were there) and we got to just be family and celebrate Ray’s birth day (we even had cake with a number 0 candle). We are so blessed and I cannot begin to express how grateful we are that God has provided not only such a sweet, beautiful, healthy baby girl, but also a family to surround her with His love.
First time face to face
Brittany, our angel Doula.
Yummy yummy breakfast… I didn’t eat much, but what I did was super delicious!
About to be swaddled by Carrie.
First family photo.
Totally in love
Kim and Carrie
Skyping with Beth.
First bath… She liked being in water again.
Tish visiting and holding RJ.
Such a beautiful baby!
Daddy putting on the first diaper (after she pooped in her swaddle lol)
My beautiful daughter!
She looks like a thinker.
First car ride!
She was beyond happy to see us in the car – we surprised her.