I can’t even believe I’m typing this out right now. What the heck! I have my own birth story to share friends! This is still so surreal and it’s already been 6 months. 😂 I never thought I’d be someone to write out my birth story but after reading so many while I was pregnant and finding them SO helpful (and sometimes a little scary 🙈) I decided I’d share ours too. Plus I’ve got beautiful photos that I have to share somewhere. It only seems fitting to blog them along with the story.
Yes, this is the story of our precious girl Emerald but most importantly this is a story of God’s faithfulness. Through the journey of becoming parents there’s no denying God’s presence and power in this story! He took fear and turned it into faith.
The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does. Psalm 145:13
Our journey to becoming parents started so many years ago… always a question in our mind of when or if or how (we’ve always loved the idea of adoption). I truly believe it was back in 2016 that God started stirring our hearts. In June 2016 we lost a dear friend to cancer. Chris’ best friend’s wife passed away and he was left to care for two little kids. We were there during the time of her passing (two weeks before and two weeks after) and we helped our friend in any way we could. It involved helping with their two sweet kids. The sweet little girl completely stole Chris’ heart ❤️ and it was the first time in a long time that I was able to take care of little kids (and I completely fell in love with it). As we returned home we began to talk more seriously about kids.
I’ve had a lot of fear in regards to pregnancy and child birth. It was years of wrestling with where this fear was coming from. I thought maybe it was God’s way of getting us into adoption. Chris and I never had a burning desire to have biological kids but I always saw kids in my future. Chris wasn’t completely sure; he always said he could go either way with kids (he was a lot of help 😉 in the process). For some reason I just couldn’t get passed the anxiety and fear of being pregnant and then having to get that baby out. ha! I joke slightly about the wrestling part but it really was for me for many years. I’ll never forget talking with my mom and he saying to me, “Ruthie, I’d really hate for you to miss out on one of the greatest things because of fear”. Woah!
That hit me like a ton of bricks, kinda like a wake up call that I was truly letting this fear control me and the choices I was making. I truly believe that God is greater than our fears and anxiety. I’ll sing about it all day long and read about it in the Bible but here I was holding onto these fears so tightly. I’ll never forget hanging up with my mom and telling Chris we needed to chat. I told him what my mom said and he completely agreed. We talked more and I remember telling him that I couldn’t make this decision on my own. We both were still really excited to learn more about foster care and were really open to the idea of moving forward with that but then I just kept coming back to the idea that I was letting this fear control me. I didn’t want to miss out… we also had no idea if we could even get pregnant. So we both agreed that we just needed to take a step. We weren’t going to get anywhere if we didn’t just take a step. Our decision was to take steps in both directions and see what happened. We went to our first informational meeting on foster care a couple weeks later and then two months after that we found out we were pregnant!
We were both thrilled! And ready or not, I was facing my fear head on. No turning back now. In the days that followed I remember feeling so much peace. It was a peace that only could be explained by the Lord. I was so thankful for that! I definitely had my moments and it continued to be a fight to surrender and trust God. Pregnancy is such a beautiful thing. It’s a reminder that we aren’t in control. I was fully relying on God to sustain life within me. Yes I could do my best to protect the little life inside me but it was really out of my control. Isn’t that life though? I don’t know about you but I like to think I’m in control of a lot more than I actually am. God used pregnancy to show me what it means to fully surrender. To give up control in ALL circumstances and situations. To trust Him because He’s got me!
I was on baby watch for the last 3 weeks leading up to my due date (which was Nov 10th). I thought for sure I was going to go early. Both my sisters did with their firsts and my chiropractor thought for sure I would too. Let me just tell you, don’t tell a pregnant lady you think she’s gonna go early. It’s probably the worst thing. haha! I basically made myself (and everyone around me) go insane. Again, another beautiful reminder that I AM NOT IN CONTROL! 😂 And even if you do all the “right” things to get labor moving along it’s not up to you… it’s all in God’s perfect timing!
November 6th, 2018 - This photo above was taken at 4:15pm and literally an hour later Chris and I were on our way to the hospital. I remember after my mom took this photo I began feeling weird back pains. Something that I had never felt before. She kept asking what it felt like but I couldn’t really explain it. I also thought that maybe it was in my head because I was so ready to get this baby out. ha!
4:45pm - My friend Stephanie arrives to our house because we were headed to get our nails done that evening. When she arrived the pains began to get a little more intense but I couldn’t ever feel a starting and ending of them. It was just sort of a constant back pain. I remember my mom calling my sister and me trying to explain what I was feeling. She thought it could be the beginning of labor. I remember busting into tears. 😭 In that moment I was so scared, anxious… basically just all the feelings! Like holy cow this could actually be happening! I called the midwife on call and tried to explain what I was feeling. She told me that I could come in and she’d check me but that if I wasn’t far enough along they would send me home. We decided to take the chance given that my last Dr’s appointment I was 2cm dilated and we had a 30 min drive (with no traffic) to the hospital.
5:15pm - We packed up the car and drove to the hospital. Of course it was rush hour and pouring rain. ha! Chris said it took everything in him not to lay on the horn at every slow driver. haha! As soon as we got in the car though I remember feeling an exact start and stop to my contractions. They were 3 min apart. I was so thankful we were heading to the hospital. As we were driving we had my labor and delivery playlist playing. I specifically remember this song playing. I’ll never forget Chris asking me how I was feeling. I told him, with tears in my eyes, I feel SO MUCH PEACE right now it’s crazy! Y’all, God was so very present. It was something I’ve never experienced in my life! I was at the start of labor (one of the fears that I thought I would never overcome) and I was fully at peace. No fear, no anxiety. It was amazing!
6:00pm - We arrived at the hospital and they immediately checked me. Still 2 cm dilated. What?! I thought for sure I would have progressed farther, especially with my contractions being every 3 minutes. They told us to stick around and they would check me again in an hour and see if there was any significant progress. We made laps around labor and delivery wing and I rubbed all the essential oil blends on me. Weeks before I had spent an evening mixing up all different kinds of oils to help with laboring.
It was a busy night that night in L&D. I’ll never forget when we made a lap near the door to the lobby we heard… “It’s a boy!” and then followed were a million “YAYs” coming from family waiting in the lobby. 😊 It was so sweet! It was also so exciting to think that we’d be celebrating our own little baby soon too!
7:00pm - They checked me again. I was 4 cm dilated. They told us they would be keeping us because I had progressed so quickly within that hour. YAY! It was such a relief knowing they were going to keep us and we weren’t going to be sent home. They got us checked in and into the last room they had free. It was also the tiniest room ever. Ha! Chris and I have over packing issues anyways and we honestly could barely fit all that we brought into that room. haha! It was kinda comical.
7:45pm - By this time our friend and birth photographer Madison had arrived (Starbucks in hand for Chris, of course!) and my mom arrived shortly after. I continued to labor for another couple of hours. I remember I kept saying how shocked I was that the contractions weren’t that bad or painful. I knew they were only going to get more intense but it was pretty encouraging to me that I was able to labor even this long without being completely uncomfortable or in a lot of pain.
Oh my sweet husband! I love these two pictures above of him supporting me through the contractions.
10:00pm - A couple hours later I got an epidural. I didn’t have them check me, because honestly I just didn’t want to know. I didn't want to get discouraged if I hadn’t dilated much further. But I will say, best decision of my life to get that epidural! Picture below basically sums up how I was feeling after I got it. 😂 The anesthesiologists was the kindest man during the whole process of getting the epidural. I was definitely nervous but he made me feel right at ease during the whole process.
After getting the epidural I began to shake really bad. Like teeth chattering shakes. It was super weird but the nurses assured me that was normal. It was honestly freaking me out which didn’t help the shaking either. I love this picture of my mom just holding me and putting pressure slightly to help keep me from shaking. She also prayed over me too. It was a really special moment that I’m so thankful was captured. 😊
Then we FaceTimed my sisters to keep my mind off the shaking. Thankfully the shaking didn’t last forever. It would come and go and then eventually completely went away. 🙌🏻 I’m curious if anyone else experienced that when they got an epidural? It was the weirdest thing.
12:00am - The shaking subsided and we decided to settle in for the night and just wait until it was baby time! The rest of the hours were a bit of a blur. They gave me a “peanut ball” to put between my legs to help get baby in position. I had never heard of this thing before but I was all game to get things moving along. 😊 We dimmed the lights, had the diffuser running and Chris was playing my L&D playlist while we rested. It was a sweet time of resting and worshiping Jesus, awaiting the big moment of pushing our girl into this world!
During this time of resting I’ll never forget the moment I had with Jesus. The song faithful came on the playlist. This song had been my anthem for the better part of my pregnancy. I’ll never forget hearing it for the first time and just crying. For the months leading up to Emerald’s birth I sang this song and proclaimed His TRUTHS over my heart and mind. Even when I was having a hard time believing and trusting that He would be faithful I fought the lies with this song. So as I was lying there in bed, peanut between my legs (😂) and my husband resting on the other side of the room I was completely overcome with THANKFULNESS. Here I was, about to face my biggest fear (in just a few hours) and He had truly been faithful every step of the way. I again felt an overwhelming PEACE as well. There was no need to be afraid because He was there with me in that moment and in that room and He was going to see me through.
3:30am - They checked me and I was 10 cm dilated but my water still hadn’t broken so they had to break my water. When they had broken my water they had noticed that Emerald had pooped (I’m sure there is some technical term for this ha) while I was laboring which meant they had to bring in some extra nurses just in case she had inhaled any of the poop (I know, TMI) while I delivered her. So remember that tiny room I was in, now it was full to the max with nurses. I remember looking out and seeing about 2-3 extra nurses in the room. That made a total of about 8-9 people in the room when I delivered. I have to say, it felt a bit awkward to have all these faces looking at me. 😂
Chris was the greatest coach. 😭 The photos below I was really wanting to give up. I remember feeling like I couldn’t get my pushes right and wasn’t making progress. I was; but man was it intense. I also remember feeling so much down there… like I’m pretty sure my epidural was wearing off. I’m still not sure if it was or not but it was just so intense. I love the photo below of Chris giving me a serious pep talk. ha!
4:30am - After about an hour of pushing I really started to feel all the things. I was exhausted, getting hot and nauseous and honestly didn’t think I had much left in me to get this baby out. Then out of nowhere this nurse appeared to my side (not the nurse that had been with me the whole night) and began to be my biggest and loudest cheerleader. She had the sweetest yet most encouraging voice. It was so great to have another person in my face cheering me on and telling me that I can do this!
4:48am - Miss Emerald Kay Allen made her appearance! 😍
And then her daddy completely lost it when he laid eyes on her for the very first time!
Love this moment between Daddy and Emerald. She was starting to cry as they started to cut her umbilical cord and Chris began to say, “baby, you’re okay.” and she completely calmed down. One of the nurses said, “oh my gosh she hears her daddy’s voice and is calming down”. It was the sweetest and I’m SO happy that Madison was able to capture it! By the way, have I sold you on hiring a birth photographer yet?! 😉
Getting weighed for the first time! Emerald was a big girl, weighing in at 8lbs 11oz. I can’t tell you how much I prayed to have a small baby. haha! I thought for sure there would be NO WAY I could deliver a big baby. Again, God showing me that I’m not in control and that I can do ANYTHING with Him by my side! HE IS FAITHFUL!
I love this man so much! I know I already said it once but he seriously was my ROCK during the whole process… always pointing me to Jesus!
And my mom… how thankful I am that she was there for Emerald’s birth! I’ll never forget, when I was losing the strength to continue to push I looked out into the room and there she was just looking at me. I later asked what she was thinking in that moment and she said that she was praying for me. She knew she couldn’t do anything besides fight through prayer for me and that’s exactly what she did!
And there you have it, a beautiful story of God’s faithfulness! I pray that if you are struggling with fear and anxiety about something, maybe not pregnancy or birth but something else, that you would just take a step of faith. Surrender control to Him. He is faithful to give you the strength you need.
THE LORD IS TRUSTWORTHY IN ALL HE PROMISES AND FAITHFUL IN ALL HE DOES. PSALM 145:13
All birth photos by our sweet friend Madison Rae Photography