We moved into our new place on Saturday, May 9th. I immediately started working on getting as much put away as I could. We had no idea when baby girl would be coming and I wanted to take advantage of the last few days to try and unpack. Sunday was Mother's Day. We went to our new ward for the first time. I felt bad because I knew I was going to be gone for a little while after that first Sunday and nobody would have a clue who I was! Oh well! We were able to go visit both of our families that afternoon and evening. That night we went to sleep having no idea what the morning would bring.
Around 5:30 in the morning, I woke up having some contractions. They were strong enough that I couldn't go back to sleep. Since I had been induced with Both Ryder and Easton, I had no idea what it felt like to have natural contractions. I didn't know what going into labor on my own would be like. I started timing the contractions on an app on my ipad and they were pretty regular (about five minutes apart) and lasting 1 minute. I finally woke Kevin up around 6 and told him that I was pretty sure I was in labor. We were excited and it felt so surreal. The contractions weren't really painful yet, just a bit uncomfortable. My labor with Ryder was 12 hours and with Easton 7 hours. So i thought i had plenty of time before we needed to leave for the hospital. I got up and showered and did my hair and makeup. Kevin called his parents to let them know they needed to come over to watch the boys. Kevin was also really hoping to get a haircut from his dad that morning, so he asked him to bring his hair cutting stuff.
By the time his dad got their, I was in pain. I was pacing the house, trying to breathe through the contractions. Kevin asked if we had time for him to get a haircut and I told him it wasn't going to happen that morning. We were just waiting on Jeannine to get there so I could give her instructions on taking Ryder to preschool that morning. When she got there, I was stopping with each contraction (which were now about a minute apart!!) and focusing on breathing through the pain. I wanted to get a priesthood blessing from Kevin and Chad before we left so I sat down for them to do that. During the blessing, I had a bad contraction and was shaking and breathing so heavily that Kevin knew he had to wrap it up quickly! We said our goodbyes and left in Kevin's brand new car around 8:45 am. He was really hoping my water wouldn't break on his new seats! After we started driving, we remembered we had left the hospital bag back at home. We hurried and turned back, got the bag, and started back to the hospital. I was in so much pain at that point with each contraction.
I called my mom to let her know what was going on. We had tickets to go to the Payson Temple open house that evening, so I called her up and said "We're not going to be able to make it tonight."She sounded a little disappointed and asked why not. I told her "I think were going to have a baby instead!" She couldn't believe it and was very excited. Over the course of our short, 2 minute phone call, I had to stop a couple times breathe through a contraction.
After I got off the phone with my mom, I told Kevin we had forgot to pre-register at the hospital. He called them to see if there was anything we could do over the phone so we didn't have to wait when we got there. They told him they would first need to check me and confirm I was in labor (HA!) and then they could go from there. A minute later, I asked Kevin if he could call back and see if I could get an epidural right when we got there. They said the same thing, "we will have to check and see where she's at and if she is in labor." I was starting to panic. I just kept saying, "This really hurts! I really want my epidural!" As we got closer to the hospital, I remembered I needed to text our birth photographer to let her know what was happening. She said to let her know as soon as they checked me to see how far along I was. When we were about a minute or two away from the hospital, I started feeling a TON of pressure down there. I knew that was not a good sign if i wanted to have time for an epidural. I was freaking out at this point!
We got to the hospital, parked, and Kevin helped me hobble in. When we got to the labor and delivery front desk, I was bent over in pain and gripping the counter top with white knuckles. The nurse said, "OK! Let's get you right back into a room!" In the room, she handed me a gown and told me to change into it and then they could check and see where I was at. I was shaking so much and could hardly get changed into the gown. My water suddenly broke while I was changing and I could see right away that there was probably some meconium in it. I called out to Kevin that my water had just broken and a nurse came in to help me finish putting my gown on. When i finally laid down and the nurse checked me, she called out, "She's complete!" I think my face must have gone white and I asked, "What does that mean?!" She said, "You're a ten. You are ready to push!" I hurried and asked, "Can I get an epidural?!" (I already knew the answer but I had to try!) The nurse told me no, not at that point. Kevin asked, "Is there anything you can give her?" She said, "At this point, anything we give her is going to effect the baby and honestly, she's ready to push. She doesn't have time." I had a moment of panic and fear because I had never prepared for any scenario where I wouldn't have my precious epidural. The thought had never crossed my mind! However, there was nothing I could do about at that point.
The pain got noticeably and considerably worse after my water broke. My midwife wasn't there yet but her partner was.She told me they had just called her and she was on her way in. She said that I could try and wait for her if I wanted, or I could just push. I didn't really want to wait, but at the same time, our birth photographer wasn't there either yet. I remember say to Kevin, "Our photographer isn't going to make it!!" I was just like the cliche woman in labor that you see in the movies. I was screaming at the top of my lungs and making sounds that were completely foreign to me. Kevin said the noises sounded like they were coming from the depths of Hell, ha ha! I'm usually such a quiet and reserved person, and I remember thinking somewhere in the back of my mind,"Is this really me?! Am I really screaming?"
My midwife quickly go there and told me I was free to start pushing anytime I wanted to. I did, and oh boy did that hurt. She told me instead of screaming, try to channel that energy into pushing. As soon as I did that, it was two more pushes and she was out! Literally the second she was out, I felt complete relief! It was over I had survived! They laid her on my belly and I got to see her and say hi while Kevin cut the cord. They needed to hurry and clear out her airways, especially since she might have breathed in some meconium. Poor baby! They got her all cleared, cleaned up, and she looked great! She was born at 9:36 (36 minutes after arriving at the hospital) and was 8 lbs 1 oz, 20.5 inches long.
As they were cleaning her up under the warmer, our birth photographer walked in. I was SO sad she wasn't able to make it for the actual birth! She immediately started snapping pictures and I was so happy with what she did end up getting.
Even though my midwife gave me a numbing shot, I definitely still felt her stitching me up! I only needed a few stitches, so thank goodness for that!
When I finally got to hold baby girl, I was just amazed. She was so beautiful and I was still in such shock from the events that had just taken place! Just like with the boys as newborns, she had such a heavenly presence about her. I felt such deep love, and I would have done anything for her! She didn't have much hair, but what was there was red! I was not expecting a ginger! I was thrilled though. She was able to start nursing and did great right from the start. I felt such mixed emotions at having had a natural birth. Part of me felt amazing and powerful! The other part of me felt like there was no way in Hell I ever wanted to do that again!
Kevin and I named her Ella at first. We decided a little while later that it just didn't fit. I had been thinking of the name Elsie for a while before she was born and so we decided that Elsie fit much better (even though it was really close to Elsa from the movie Frozen. Kevin didn't want anyone to think we were just jumping on that bandwagon, ha ha!) I knew if I ever had a girl, I would give her my middle name, Dawn, which is also my Mom's middle name. So her full name is Elsie Dawn Briggs.
I had tested positive earlier for Group B strep, but didn't have enough time to have the antibiotics during labor. So between that and Elsie having ingested some meconium, the nurses wanted to keep a close eye on her to make sure there were no signs of infection. We were hoping to leave the hospital after 24 hours, but ended up having to stay for the full two days.
Ryder and Easton got to come meet Elsie a few hours after she was born and it was so sweet. Ryder had been so excited to have a sister and he was not disappointed. He wanted to hold her all day, and pretty much everyday since! Easton wasn't too interested in her at first, but even he warmed up and sat there cooing to her after a little while. It felt amazing to look around at our family of five! Its incredible to think that we created these three little humans. They are my greatest treasure and I felt so humbled to be their mom.
I put together a slide show of the pictures our photographer took that day. She did an amazing job and I'm so happy I have these to look back on.
Elsie Birth Story from amybame on Vimeo.