Here we go.

Well, this is my first blog post. I've had a blog before with it's own independent domain/website called "Summerland Mama", so I figured I might as well mesh the two websites together. I actually really enjoy writing. It's a great way for me to de-stress, mark down memories, thoughts, inspirations, and overall my life in the South Okanagan. It might get a little personal, but why wouldn't I want to share that with the best clients ever? So, take a look at my art, check out my investment page, contact me if you have any questions or inquiries, and hop over to my blog to read little pieces of my life story. My photography business is called Moments for Mamas - so I thought it was pretty appropriate to make my first blog post about my birth story - the day I became a mama.

I will for-warn you, before we welcomed our son Earth side, I took a loooong break from photography. I still had the camera and the equipment, but it sat in my closet untouched. I finally brought it out for my maternity photos that I set on a timer, ran into the lake, and took self-portraits (photo above is an example). Not half bad, so I figured, I did my own maternity photos, so I'll just get my family to take photos for my during and after birth. Boy, let me tell you, that is probably one of the only regrets during my pregnancy/birth is not hiring a birth photographer. So here's where the warning is: the photos you're about to see in this blog post of my "pre-birth and after-birth" (nobody thought to take a photo during the birth -_-).... they suck. They're iPhone photos. But, at least they're photos that documented one of the most empowering, challenging, emotional, heartwarming experiences in my life. So here we go.

The Forever Waiting Game.

I was actually really lucky to have an easy-breezy pregnancy. I was active every day, going on hikes, my biggest craving was fruit so I was staying healthy casually stuffing my face with peaches and watermelon. Aside from the heat, it's probably the best time to be pregnant in the South Okanagan if you're craving fruit because there's 932582938 fruit markets on every corner. I ended up getting a summer job at the Peach Pitt in Summerland because my job at the school district tends to get a little violent and I was afraid I would get punched in the stomach or the stress would impact my pregnancy. The owners of the Peach Pitt are the most wonderful, down to Earth, genuine people I've met. I worked there full-time baking pies and they grow their very own non-sprayed organic peaches in their orchard. Life couldn't get any better. I worked there all the way up to my 37th week of pregnancy, and then started maternity leave so I had some time to get everything ready. My due date was September 27th and we had just moved into our new house on September 1st so there was a lot to do. I re-painted the entire interior, we put down brand new fresh carpets, deep cleaned floor to ceiling, and decorated it to our liking along with our baby boy's nursery. My mom came down from Quesnel to keep my company and wait for baby a week before my due date. We tried eeevvvverrryyyyttthhiiinnnnggg to get him out. He was just too cozy in there. Hence, the forever waiting game.

Hiking the Stairway To Heaven at 39 weeks in Peachland in an attempt to get baby boy out.

Getting induced

He's coming...

Well, I did everything I could, got a membrane sweep (which was more uncomfortable than the birth itself), and it did nothing. Finally at 41 weeks 3 days along I got induced on October 4th 11AM. It was uncomfortable but quick, and off we went to the mall to start walking around and do some shopping. We came back home around 5PM and we had some dinner and watched a movie. I bounced on my ball for a bit but then around 8PM I started to feel some very mild cramps. I was told that meant it was working, and I was on the right track. Around 11PM I started feeling really uncomfortable, they were bearable but not enough to be able to fall asleep to get some rest. So we went into the hospital to check things out because the cramps were "coming and going". We got there and I wasn't very far along. They told me to go back home and try my best to get some sleep. Well, that didn't last very long. We came back home and I lasted maybe an hour. I was curled up in a ball and I had to really start to focus on pain management. The cramps were now less than 2 minutes apart. So off we went to the hospital again at around 2AM. The midwife checked me again, and she said I was only 3CM dilated. I told her if there was any way I was going to get some rest, I needed to take the pill out (the thing that they stuck up me to induce me). She was hesitant because she didn't want me to lose my progress, but I trusted my body and knew I was far along enough that my body could continue naturally. So she pulled it out. The pain did not go away, and I did not sleep. I was hooked up to this monitor that monitors your contractions. So, say a REALLY strong contraction is 200. I was monitoring between 20-50. This was super discouraging because I was in a lot of pain, and I thought to myself, "if this is how I feel at 20-50, how will I manage 200 without pain medication?" I was dead set on no pain medication whatsoever. I was now needing to breathe through each contraction, and it took a whole lot of mind power to keep my body and my breathing under control. As soon as a moaned, I knew I was losing control and I had to re-set my focus on only breathing through the pain. My midwife started talking about the possibility of an epidural because according to the "contraction monitoring machine" my contractions weren't strong, but I was in a lot of pain. This really tore me down. I thought to myself, "I thought I was stronger than this." I also starting feeling really nauseous and wanted to throw up, but I couldn't. That alarmed the midwife because that's usually the sign of a transition. So she checked to see how far I was dilated. I remember her looking up at me, and saying, "Well, you're going to need to walk down the hall into the delivery room now" (they had me sitting in an exam room during all of this because they didn't believe I was going to give birth that night, or anytime soon). I asked her if I was further along, and she told me she could see the head. SHE COULD SEE THE HEAD. MY BABY BOY WAS COMING OUT, I WAS SITTING IN AN EXAM ROOM, AND THE ENTIRE TIME THAT STUPID MONITOR MACHINE WAS BROKEN!!!!!! I was nervous, excited, pissed off for nobody believing me and doubting how my body felt. I've always been very in tuned with my body, I knew when something was not right, I knew when I was pregnant before the test was positive because I just knew (and I tested positive at only 3 weeks pregnant). But, I set those emotions aside, gathered my strength and focus, and walked down the hallway to the delivery room. I had to stop once because the need to push was too strong. Kris thought I would give birth in the hallway hahah. I finally made it to the delivery room and laid on the bed,

He's here!

I pushed for about 20 minutes and out came Kezlin. I was a silent pusher. I pressed my lips together, pushed (which felt SO relieving) and then "breathed" him out for a bit. Two last pushes and he was out. My sweet prince was Earth side weighing 7 lbs 14 oz at 7:12 AM, measuring 20 inches long. He was delivered naturally and pain med free, and he was perfect. I immediately removed my pajama t-shirt (because I didn't even have time to get in a hospital gown) for skin to skin. He latched on right away with no difficulties and nursed until they wheeled me away to be sewn up. I suffered from 4th degree tear so I needed surgery which took about an hour.

Fresh 48.

I also regret not hiring a fresh 48 photographer. Those first few days were such a blur after the birth adrenaline wore off and from sleep deprivation. I didn't sleep at all in the hospital. I was too afraid to put Kezlin in the hospital crib so I held him the entire time. He's 18 months now and still bedshares with me, and is still nursing at night. Kris, however, slept the entire time in the hospital.... you'd think he was the one who had given birth.

We went home about 3 days later. I had a private room to myself so I didn't mind staying to make sure I was healing properly after my tear. But it was definitely nice to finally get home and comfy on my own couch and bed and snuggle with Kezlin. We came home Thanksgiving Day and my family came over and cooked Thanksgiving dinner. It couldn't have been more perfect and I was so thankful for everything and everyone around me.

Postpartum wasn't as easy, and I definitely underestimated it because nobody really talked to me in depth about what I would experience, but maybe I'll save that for another blog post in hopes that it helps another mama prepare in the way that I wasn't.

So, there we have it! My birth story. At least everything I can remember in detail of it. I gave birth 18 months ago, so I think I remember pretty well considering the present timeline. Every birth is extremely unique to the individual just like pregnancy, but it is the most empowering experience a woman can go through and I wouldn't have changed it for the world. If you're a mama-to-be, and you ever have any questions (not medical questions, of course, you should always seek out your doctor or midwife for that), please know I'm one DM away and you can ask away, vent away, share away! I will try my best to voice my experience and answer your questions with zero judgement.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my crazy, wonderful birth story, and I'm already excited to write my next blog post. Until next time!