Introducing Ethan + My Birth Story

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Wow. What a difference a year can make. Just look at this picture. When I look at it I see joy, delight, family, but more than that I see a miracle in my arms, prayers answered, dreams fulfilled and God’s faithfulness on display. It’s sometimes hard to believe that this is my reality now, that my biggest prayer has been answered and is resting in my arms.

Last year at this time was a different story. We had just finished our first IUI and found out on Christmas day that it didn’t work. There wasn’t a baby. We were devastated. Deflated. Torn. Weary. And we had to decide right away if we wanted to try again. J said no. He was too disappointed. But I wanted to give it another try, and I convinced J to try again as well. I’m so glad we did. Ethan was just one cycle away from us…we only had to hold on to hope.

I’ve almost written various different posts over the past 6 months or so but none have made it out of my head and onto this screen until now. There are so many thoughts and feelings involved when you become pregnant after struggling to conceive for many years. I didn’t expect to feel so much fear at each doctor’s appointment during my pregnancy. I feared that something would happen to our miracle baby and that he’s be lost. With each appointment my blood pressure would soar with fear. I had so much to lose, I told them. It took four long years, I’d say. Four years. And one perfect baby.

I also couldn’t stop thinking about all of my friends who are still trying to conceive. It wasn’t guilt as much as a heightened awareness and sensitivity of their struggle. After all, I had just been there. I knew those feelings of longing and sadness and disappointment all too well. While I was “on the other side” of infertility and full of joy for it, my heart ached even more for them as I knew that they would give anything to switch places with me. Each prayer thanking God for my precious miracle was often followed with a prayer over my friends who are still waiting, that their time would come quickly.

My pregnancy moved along as most pregnancies do with all of the typical symptoms. First it was morning sickness that lasted from weeks 6-10 only to reappear at week 12 and stay until 18 (lucky me). Couple that with a terrible gagging reflex from smells that left me throwing up in the sink each and every time I opened the fridge. At around 20 weeks I noticed that my feet and fingers were starting to swell and gave up both my wedding rings and my normal shoes for the remainder of my pregnancy. My ankles disappeared into my legs in the most un-sexy manner possible. Thankfully, I live in SoCal where flip flops are the norm as that was the only thing that fit on my puffy feet. Along with that I had terrible heartburn that ate away at my throat until I begged the doctor for something to tame it. I was big and round and gained more weight than I had wanted and I wobbled everywhere like a penguin, but it was beautiful because I was pregnant.

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Ethan gave me his first kick on Mother’s Day when we were in Hawaii. It was just a flutter, but it woke me up from my sleep and couldn’t have been a better gift on a day that I used to dread. He kept on kicking for rest of the pregnancy, at some points rubbing his feet along my ribs like it was a foot massage.

On September 30th, the morning before my due date, my water broke as I was walking into the kitchen to get breakfast before going to a Women’s Conference. I actually just thought that I had lost bladder control until I felt a second woosh as I walked down the hall. Could it be? I wasn’t having contractions so I told my husband to go to work which is hesitantly did, only to return home about an hour later. Haha! He couldn’t stay away with our baby boy’s birth so imminent. But I still felt fine so we finished packing our hospital bags and watched Netflix to kill the time. I had my weekly doctor’s appointment that afternoon so they told me to come on in and they’d check me out. Turns out that despite feeling nothing, things were somehow moving along because I was already at 4 cm without contractions. But since my water had broken that morning I was on the clock and had to progress so he suggested acupuncture to induce labor. Thankfully, my doctor has an fertility acupuncturist just around the corner who was willing to squeeze me in for some baby-inducing treatment. Thirty minutes later she returned to remove the needles and asked if I felt anything. I said no but that my back was aching — like every 5 minutes aching. “You’re having back labor!” she replied. Success!

My contractions immediately after acupuncture were strong and rapid, first 4 minutes apart and quickly to about 2 minutes apart about 2 hours later. And ALL. IN. MY. BACK. I have no idea what a “normal” labor feels like as my contractions never moved out of my lower back to my front. In case you’re wondering what back labor feels like, it starts out much like bad gas pains and moves into “I want to rip my hips out of my body!” kinda pain. We labored at home for only 2 hours before our precious doula (who was a GEM, by the way, and worth EVERY stinkin’ penny) suggested that we head to the hospital. Long story short, at the hospital I continued to labor, breathe, listen to prayers, dance, sway…anything to keep the pain at bay. Around 3:45am I started having contractions that would turn into pushing without me trying. They had told me that I wasn’t ready to push yet, but this baby was coming out. I couldn’t help but push! I crawled onto the bed on my hands and knees, trying to lesson the crazy pain in my back and hips, still feeling a push with every surge. Before I knew it, the doctor was back in the room. J whispered in my ear that they were getting the room ready and that the baby warmer was being set up. It was go time. I pushed for only 15 minutes on my hands and knees until Ethan came out. It was hard and painful and I screamed in ways I didn’t know my body could scream but I did it — 12 hours of hard back labor without any pain medicine and a perfect baby boy in my arms.

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Ethan Ryder Ward was born on October 1 (his due date!) at 4:15 am. He was a perfect 7 lbs 15.8 oz and 21 inches long. When we looked at him we couldn’t believe he was ours! He was SO cute! Perfect button nose, round rosy cheeks, dark hair on his head and the longest feet ever.

We are completely in love with our baby boy.

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Ethan is now almost 12 weeks old and is such a good baby. He sleeps well at night, only waking once to feed. He smiles and coos and laughs throughout the day. He loves when I sing to him and will sing along. He has his daddy’s bright blue eyes and I could stare at him all day long. I’m not sure how I’m ever going to get work done with this adorable little guy in my sight during the day! He brings us so much joy and we love him more every day. God truly gives the very best gifts.

To my friends who are still in the wait…hold onto hope. Please don’t give up on your prayers. Continue to pray and to praise. Thank God in advance for the babies he has for you. Thank him for answering the prayers that he has yet to answer. Believe that he will! I learned so much in this journey – that prayer works and that God is faithful. Always faithful. And He is a good father who loves to give good gifts. I love you all. You continue to be in my prayers.

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