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Joy’s Birth Story

birthstory_0018I’m so happy to announce that our sweet Joy Maelynn was born January 18th at 6:18pm.  She weighed 9lbs and was 21.5 inches tall.  She is absolutely perfect and is the very best baby.birthstory_0005I had a great pregnancy and an even better delivery.  I always have a crazy story and Joy’s is no different.  You may remember from Paisley’s birth story, the delivery was quite traumatic.  She had shoulder dystocia which basically means her shoulder got stuck coming out.  It was pretty scary because her umbilical cord got pinched so she wasn’t receiving oxygen.  Her nerves got damaged in the delivery and so she wasn’t moving her right arm for a little bit.  Eventually she regained movement and her shoulder is now totally fine.  The reason for the injury is the way my pelvic bone is shaped and the size of the baby…the combination can be very dangerous and can occur in future deliveries.  birthstory_0001birthstory_0002At 37 weeks, I went in for an ultrasound and they told me that Joy was probably around 7lb 11oz.  Everything was measuring on point except for her belly which was already measuring 40 weeks.  She had a big belly, that chunker!!  Joy needed to be under 8lb 14 oz (which was what Paisley was) in order for me to have a safe vaginal delivery.  It was a little too risky, so I was planning on having a C-section at 39 weeks….unless I went into labor naturally before that.

So that being said, I tried to pull all the tricks…but I really wasn’t noticing anything.  I had my check up on January 18th which was a little over a week after my ultrasound, I was 38 weeks.  We were going to plan my C-section, but when I got checked I was already 6cm dilated, so my doctor sent me to the hospital!   We were not expecting that to say the least.  That doctor’s appointment was at 12:15…I legit had a car full of groceries from Trader Joes in the car and Paisley.  We checked into St. Joes, my mom came and got Paisley and all the groceries and I got all the monitors strapped to me.birthstory_0028A little while later my AMAZING doulas arrived…yes doula(s), I had two!  If you are considering getting a doula, do not hesitate.  They made everything so much easier.  I was talking to my friend yesterday and it made me realize that labor is so foreign, you don’t know what you are allowed to do or what you should do.  Doulas just help inform you and give you suggestions about how to go about labor.  Now Aaron was a little nervous because he wanted to be the one to help me through labor, but my doulas totally helped him help me.  He really loved having them there!   Brittany also did my birth photography, talk about the perfect combination!  So here is the BIGGEST SHOUTOUT to Frederick Moms and Doulas.  I cannot thank them enough for how they helped get me through labor.  Check them out and tell them I sent ya!birthstory_0029If you are NOT an oil person skip this paragraph…SO many people ask me so I just wanted to share how I used essential oils before, during, and after labor.  I was using geranium starting at 36 weeks to prevent tearing along with ingesting evening primrose oil in a pill form (I actually only needed one stitch).  I also started using clary sage and put it on my belly and back diluted in sweet almond oil and also on my inner ankles.  Now I wouldn’t recommend this unless your doctor approves you doing things to try to go into labor (which mine did).  Once we arrived at the hospital we put frankincense and lavender in the diffuser which helped to just calm and relax me (and everyone in the room).  When I feel a lot of pain I tend to get sick to my stomach, thank God for peppermint oil!  My doulas put peppermint into a bucket (in case I needed to use that bucket) which we kept by my face so I could smell it.  After that, everything progressed pretty quickly and I just used oils for the healing process.  I used lavender and frankincense on my stitch and a combination of ylang ylang and geranium on my stomach to help my uterus contract back to normal size.  I also put lavender in my sitz bath to promote healing and I am currently using a mix of oils to help heal my stretch marks.  Let me know if you have any questions and I would be happy to answer them!  Okay..back to my labor story!birthstory_0027When my doctor got there (around 3:30pm) she went ahead and broke my water since my bag was bulging.  I am happy to say that I actually experienced normal labor from that point on.  I really did prefer it over what happened with Paisley (not feeling anything and then feeling everything and more at 9 cm since I had been on pitocin for 7 hours).  Joy’s labor was gradual and made me feel like I could handle it.  The next time my doctor checked me, I was fully dilated and ready to push!  That was around 6pm.  I pushed for a total of 17 minutes (the first half in a squat to get her to drop and then only 2 pushes on my back) and she was out!

birthstory_0003birthstory_0006It was so crazy to actually get to hold her right afterwards with the umbilical cord still attached!  We never got to do that with Paisley.  Aaron even got to cut the cord, which was a really cool experience.  I’m so proud that I was able to labor naturally and have a great experience.  Joy’s shoulder did pop coming out, but after getting x-rays we ruled out any injury.

birthstory_0004birthstory_0007After I fed Joy, they went ahead and got her all cleaned up and weighed her.  To our surprise she was 9 pounds!!  Now this may not seem like that big of a deal, but the fact that Paisley was 4 days late and was 8lb 14 oz and Joy was almost 2 weeks early and weighed more than her was crazy!  Also, we didn’t think that Joy would be able to safely be delivered without injuring her shoulder if she was any bigger than Paisley.  We made a judgement call based on the ultrasound and thankfully she ended up being okay.  I seriously cannot thank my sweet doctor Dr. Chung and Frederick Moms and Doulas enough.  After our loss, I was a little more anxious than normal this pregnancy but they just calmed me down and gave me the best experience ever.

birthstory_0014birthstory_0010birthstory_0016birthstory_0017birthstory_0019birthstory_0009Paisley has adjusted so well being a big sister.  I was worried that she would be really jealous, but so far I have just seen excitement.  She loves holding her and constantly says, “Her eyes are open!” when they are.  It has been so amazing seeing them interact and it just makes me even more excited to watch them grow up and be best friends.  birthstory_0023birthstory_0021birthstory_0024birthstory_0022Thank you to everyone who have been on this journey with us.  I’ll try not to be too emotional, but it was a pretty difficult year going through our loss and 9 months of infertility afterwards (which I know is NOTHING compared to what many people go through).  I had a lot of questions, confusion, and heartbreak month after month.  I love our redemption story…our sweet baby has brought us so much Joy that we had no choice but to name her that.  Sometimes it takes a tragedy to really appreciate life and not take it for granted, the little and big things.  This experience has helped me to be present in each season and try to learn from it, even when I don’t want to.  I think this quote sums it up pretty well and it’s from one of my favorite authors:

“Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a sliver of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich when it contains a splinter of sadness…Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands. Sweet is nice enough, but bittersweet is beautiful, nuanced, full of depth and complexity. Bittersweet is courageous, gusty, earthy…When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”  -Shauna Niequist

birthstory_0025So this is us, celebrating our rainbow after the storm.


Thank you so much to all of my friends in the industry who took photos for us!
Andrea & Renata: Maternity Photos
Brittany DeFrehn Photography: Birth Photography
Anna Grace Photography: Family Photos

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