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I knew this time around that I didn’t want to go past my due date. I was 10 days late with my first and 5 days late with my second. Each time, I felt the pressure not only from myself, but the midwives to go into labor before that two week mark. Once you are over 35, as I now am, they really don’t want you going much past your due date. So…I started homeopathic remedies at around 38 weeks, hoping that I would deliver between 39 and 40 weeks. (Note: I am not recommending anyone do anything without the supervision of your doctor or midwife…I am just telling my story).

My due date was the 19th of June. I was hoping for the 12th. My father had passed away May 12th from a tragic accident and I had worked all month helping get things settled in preparation for birth. When the 12th came and labor did not start, I was anxious. I really had felt strongly that it would be the time. On Saturday, the 13th, I told my husband that labor would start around 4. He laughed. That evening, I started having weak contractions that were definitely not Braxton Hicks. It was 4 o’clock when they started…but by 6:30 that evening they had fizzled out. I was so disappointed!

I woke up during that night feeling strange. I got up for one of many trips to the bathroom and thought to myself that it seemed like I had been hurting. I disregarded the feeling and went back to bed. I awoke again at 4 am and realized again that it felt like I had been hurting…this time, I decided to stay up to see. Like clockwork, the contractions were coming. I kept track of them until 5 am when I decided to wake up my husband. This time, the contractions brought pain with them and I knew that they were the real deal.
He got up and made me breakfast. I knew I wouldn’t get to eat at the hospital. We got our things ready and made arrangements for the day since we were going to head to the hospital. It was Sunday, so we needed someone to teach our Sunday school class in my husband’s place…plus, we needed to arrange childcare for JodiAnn.

By 8 am, we were on the road to Asheville to find out if this was it or not. My husband spent the drive calling family and friends to let them know we were in labor. I fought the anxiety that wanted to rise up in me of what was to come. We arrived and gathered our things to lug into outpatient. They got me settled in and began to monitor me. One of the midwives, Beth was on call. I have known her for years through my visits and I was thankful she was there. She needed to check my progress and I was anxious to know how dilated I was. Her words to me were a shock though…”I feel digits,” she said. My first reaction was, “what does that mean?” Obviously, there was either a hand or foot down there. I assured her that it was not a foot!! This baby was definitely head down!

After using the ultrasound machine, they determined it was a hand. We laughed saying she was praising the Lord since it was Sunday morning. My husband put his hands on my belly and prayed over her and me. We were told that if she didn’t move that hand, we were going to have a C-Section. For me, that would have been the worst option. Having a toddler at home, I needed to not have a C-Section! So…we were told they would check again in a couple hours and for now…we were on stand-by. If my water broke…we were heading for the OR.

It was shortly after this time, that I began to feel light-headed. I told Mike that I thought I was going to pass out. I saw him call for Beth, and everything went dark after that. I am not real sure where I went…but, I can tell you, I was not here anymore. I came back feeling the sensation that I really liked where I had been. But, when I awoke, everyone in the room (and there were quite a few of them) looked pretty worried. When my husband described what I looked like (using a cow he had seen give birth in distress as an example) I knew why they had all reacted so quickly! Shortly after that, I was moved to my room for the day while we were in labor.

Our room had an incredible view. I was so thankful that this time around, I had something beautiful to look at while I was there. We waited until around 11:30 to get checked again, and much to the surprise of the midwife, her little hand had moved. We were cleared for delivery! By 1, I was 4 cm dilated and ready for an epidural. I could tell from the nurses, they thought the epidural would slow my labor at that point. They thought I was managing the pain well and didn’t need it yet. They were right…I was managing the pain well, but what I have come to understand about my body, is that it believes it is under attack when in labor. It freezes up and locks down and will not dilate beyond a 4. I have tried all the relaxation techniques in past labors and none ever worked to get me past a 4. So, I am ok with getting an epidural to allow my body to do what it is designed to do.

Over the next 3 hours…things were progressing while I rested. Beth had come in to let me know that we would be taking things slow. She wanted me to be able to take my time while delivering to avoid any tears or issues. I was glad to oblige. I was checked around 4:15 and I was around 9 cm. They began preparing for delivery.

Shortly after that, the atmosphere in the room changed. People started watching the monitors intently, the room began to fill up and I was asked if it was ok for some extra doctors to observe the birth. Things got really stressful when all of a sudden the midwife was on my bed, telling my husband to put my leg on her shoulder. She quickly opened a package and put something in to monitor the baby’s heart rate more accurately through the birth process. She let me know very quickly that we needed to get the baby out and we needed to get her out now. With the first contraction that came, she guided me urgently into pushing…it was very hard this time around because my epidural had worked extra good and I had basically no sensation in my legs at all. I pushed the best I could, but the contraction ended and we had to wait. I knew something was up. People kept turning their backs to me and talking so I couldn’t see. At one point I even told them that I knew they were trying to keep something from me…but, they just reassured me that we needed to get our girl out quickly.

With the next contraction, I pushed again, really trying to focus on getting her out. Trying to make sure I was pushing the right way to make the most impact. I got really close that time. Finally, the next contraction brought our baby girl’s head out. They had me hold back pushing so that they could remove the cord that was around her neck. That cord was the reason for all the urgency…they had seen her heart rate dropping and stopping with the contractions. Her little body was under a lot of duress through the birth canal and they knew she needed out asap! At 4:41 pm, I am so thankful to say that she was just fine when she emerged…crying loudly and passing all her tests with flying colors. The room cleared out again and we were left to spend time bonding with our sweet Jubilee.

This precious baby girl spent the next hour on my chest getting used to the outside world…nursing for the first time and learning the sound of her Mama from the outside. I ordered my “after delivery meal” and enjoyed it while she got weighed and measured and printed. She was a healthy 7 lbs. 15 oz. and 20.5 inches long. We spent enough time in the Labor room for me to get ready to move upstairs and when we finally arrived in our room, we were surprised to see it was the exact same room we had been in the year before with JodiAnn. Our time in the hospital felt short in comparison to the year before…not resting quite as much as we had. But, when we headed home we were so grateful to bring our sweet little blessing home with us.

For those that are curious…her full name is Jubilee Victoria. In the book of Leviticus, a Jubilee year occur’s every fiftieth year, in which slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifested. This September, the Jewish New Year begins and it is the Jubilee Year. My husband and I have a great passion for seeing our world rid of slavery. Many, many millions of people are enslaved in this country and around the world. We want to do everything we can to see it end! We chose her middle name because it is our hope to have victory over slavery in our lifetime. So Victoria seemed the only suitable choice for this special baby girl!

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What an amazing afternoon! The weather was perfect (hot, but perfect), the details worked out perfect, the couple were perfect…what else can I say! This was such a fun wedding for me! I have known Shanna for several years, and shortly after I had begun photography, she told me she wanted me to shoot her wedding someday! Well, it was absolutely my honor to be able to finally fulfill that request!

Enjoy this great day…I LOVE Steve’s reaction at the First Look…and the intimate Lake Lanier ceremony was just perfect! The reception was at Woodfin Ridge in Inman, SC and I was very impressed with their site and services!!

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  • June 4, 2015 - 12:05 pm

    Shanna - all I can say is WOW! You did a fantastic job of capturing everything I could’ve asked for.

    xo,
    Shanna

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