Friday, July 25, 2014

mila june campbell: birth story

It's taken me a few weeks to gather my thoughts, get comfortable with mommy-hood, and actually find time to sit down and put Mila's birth story into written words--but I finally did, and I'm excited to share it with you.

Childbirth. Never has an experience been so foreign to me. No travel, no interaction with other cultures, languages, or livelihoods could have prepared me for this unfamiliar territory.

Truthfully, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. All I knew was that whatever it was--no matter the pain, no matter the weirdness, no matter the time or risk or fear--it had to be done (after all, I couldn't live with this little person in my belly forever)

(Oh, and I am now a firm believer that God made the last couple months of pregnancy SO uncomfortable for that exact reason--He wants us to be ready, no matter how scared we might be!)

So, the morning of July 3rd came, and I was starting to get quite frustrated the baby hadn't made her debut yet. My doctor continued to assure me that she was close, but I was beyond uncomfortable and was convinced the baby wasn't coming.

We had tried just about every old-wives-tale in the book, including spicy food, long walks, pineapple, squats, etc... Nothing worked and I had lost hope (sounds dramatic but really...I had lost hope in ever being comfortable again and was sure it would never end---okay a little dramatic but it's how I felt, okay?)

A few days earlier at my weekly appointment, my doctor had decided (based off of the last ultrasound showing her size to already be over 8lbs) that we would induce the following Tuesday, July 8th--which would be a day after my actual due date. That was the only glimmer of hope I was holding onto--telling myself that at least I wouldn't have to go over 40 weeks.

Now, back to July 3rd.

The day went pretty normal. My mom had already arrived in town. We went shopping and then decided that we would paint our upstairs game room. Well, not so much me--but my husband and mom.

That morning I had decided to purchase a pregnancy ball, because I had read an article on Live Strong's website talking about how bouncing on those balls can induce labor. At that point, I didn't really believe in any of those "natural inducing methods" but I was still willing to try just about anything.

As my mom and husband started painting the room, I decided to give the bouncing a go. I looked up some videos on how to do it safely...and gave it a whirl. Mainly, it just felt like a good leg workout. I didn't feel anything out of the ordinary and found myself exhausted by the end. Eventually I gave up and went to lay down. About an hour later, I started feeling what felt exactly like menstrual cramps. I hadn't felt any like this during the pregnancy and they didn't feel anything like the Braxton Hicks contractions I had been having for weeks. However, they were fairly mild and I wasn't convinced that they were the real deal. I wasn't feeling anything in my back, and I had been told that if they were legit, I would feel a lot of pain in my lower back. Now I know better, but at the time I convinced myself it was not happening.

My husband kept yelling down from the upstairs room asking if I was okay...if I needed to go the hospital...if he should stop painting, and I kept saying "No, I'm pretty sure I'm not in labor" wrong I was.

Another 45 minutes passed. The contractions were now about 5 minutes apart. I decided to call my doctor and ask him what he thought. We called & no answer. Oh well, I thought...I'll wait a little longer. I was in a decent amount of pain at this point, but I still could walk through most of them.

After tracking them for a few more minutes I stood up to go into the kitchen and almost collapsed to the floor I was in so much pain. It hit me so fast and so aggressively. THAT had to be the real deal. At that moment I went into full on panic mode realizing that I had now been in labor for hours and my contractions were 5 minutes apart...wait make that 3 minutes apart!

I yelled to my husband that we had to go. He literally had just finished painting the last corner. He grabbed his stuff & took the world's quickest shower. I grabbed my hospital bag, packed a few last minute items and we all jumped in the car and took off to the hospital.

I won't go into detail about the next couple hours, but by the time I got to the hospital I was in A LOT of pain, and the contractions were two minutes apart. The nurses took me in and got a room assigned for me. I was already struggling with the amount of pain, so I told them I'd like the epidural as quickly as possible. Sadly, it took almost three hours to get the epidural and again--sparing the details--I'll just say that I do not wish to ever relive those few hours again.

Epidural. I never knew how wonderful modern medicine could be until I met an epidural. I cried tears of happiness once I felt it kick in. I don't even remember a single ounce of pain from the insanely large needle they stick into your didn't hurt at all. And to all you women that can endure the whole experience of labor/pushing/delivery without being medicated, I respect you with the upmost amount of respect...and also think you are 110% insane. No, but really I applaud you.

Childbirth is no walk in the park.

It was pretty late at this point, and my doctor said it would probably take the rest of the night for me to get dilated to a 10. We tried to get some sleep, but didn't have much success. It was a stressful night. Between the anxiety of knowing I would birth a human-being in the morning and having to bring the anesthesiologist back at 3 a.m. due to me waking up and freaking out because the feeling had come back to the whole left side of my mid section, we didn't get much sleep. (Seriously, Rob woke up to me in tears yelling, "I can feel my butt on the left side! I can feel the contractions! I don't let me feel the pain again! Please go get the doctor!")

Husbands, just remember that this is definitely one of those times in life to do exactly what your wife tells you to do. Don't fight her on anything--just do it. Robert was great about this. He helped me through this whole experience, was there to comfort and take care of me, and do the things I couldn't do.

At this point, I started vomiting. I threw up 4-5 times throughout the rest of the night/morning. I didn't know that this is actually normal, but apparently it is--and the nurses assured me it was a good thing. They said it is good to get everything out of my system.

But the night eventually passed and early in the morning the doctor came in and broke my water. Two hours later, we were ready to push!

I pushed for about an hour and fifteen minutes, but it honestly didn't seem that long to me. I was just so excited and so focused on meeting my baby girl. I had my husband right there next to me. His encouraging words and loving eyes were enough to keep me going.

It was 10:21am on July 4th, 2014 when Mila June Campbell entered the world. She was so perfectly magnificent at 7lbs 4oz. My heart was bursting at first site of her, my eyes flooded with the happiest tears of my life, and my soul danced with gratitude. Never had I experienced such joy. It was like the world, in all its misery and suffering, was absolutely at peace for just a millisecond. It was the definition of beauty.
My friends, I want you to know that having my daughter was one of the best and happiest experiences of my life. Being Mila's parents has made us happier then we could have ever known was possible.
Robert is so in love with our little angel. She has him wrapped around her little finger. Most nights, I'll wake up to feed her in the middle of the night, only to find that he has moved her from her crib onto his chest to sleep with him. He loves her so much, and she's definitely a daddy's girl. It's so beyond perfect.

 This day was so incredibly special, and even though we're a bit sleep deprived these days--it has been such a dream.

Two happy grandmas! 

About her name. It's pronounced My-la. It was my great aunt's name. I never knew her, but heard delightful stories about her quirky personality (especially for her time), zest for life, and how she always did what she loved and never cared what others thought of her.
She was glamorous and beautiful. I have pictures of her in 1920's flapper dresses and fur coats--being absolutely fabulous. I don't know why, but I just felt drawn to her & loved what I knew of her fun loving personality, weirdness, and beauty.

"June" is from Robert's side of the family. It was his grandmother's middle name before she was married and took her maiden name as a middle name. We fell in love with the name "June" once we heard it and decided it would be the perfect middle name.

His Grandmother, Beverly Campbell, is a beautiful, strong, intellectual woman that has inspired many men and women around the world--through her life, example, and words. She wrote a book on the role of Mother Eve and the importance of womanhood called, "Eve and the Choice made in Eden". Her book inspired me. It is one that I turn to regularly, and have found myself quoting and looking back to even more since I have become a mother.

"June" seemed to be the perfect middle name for our lovely Mila.

I pray that she'll carry on some of the wonderful qualities of both these women and the other incredible female remodels she has in her life, including both her Grandma Shelley and Grandma Shauri, my sisters Siera, Nichel, and Robert's sister Heather (her aunts) and the many other wonderful women in her life.

A dad who is very much in love with his baby girl.
Our patriotic babe :)

We love you Mila.
With all our hearts.
Thank you for being ours.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

pregnancy update--almost time!

We're almost to 40 weeks. My official due date is Monday...and I'll be honest, I wish it was yesterday. My current condition has left me at a comfort level of about -18. Sleeping is a joke, because I pee multiple times an hour. The Braxton Hicks contractions are often so painful, I am baffled that none of them are the "real deal" yet and it leaves me earnestly praying for the girls that choose the "natural" non-medicated option. And yes, I obviously will be opting for the epidural...I had moments of wondering if I may go without, but after the past few weeks of increasingly painful "fake" contractions...I really have no desire to experience the real deal in full swing.

However, I do have a strong and passionate desire to bring this little girl into the world. We have such a little bond already. Sometimes I just sit in her nursery and get teary eyed as I dream of her in my arms.

So far, she looks about as healthy as can be. They think she's already around 8lbs 13ounces (I'm hoping they are estimating a bit high--because I'm mildly terrified of giving birth to a baby over 9lbs but I trust my doctor and know that everything will be okay.)

This whole pregnancy thing has been such a learning, growing, crazy experience. As my husband has so kindly described it, it's the most "natural, unnatural thing". I've come to agree. Never could I have imagined what changes my body would go through. And never could I have predicted how my body would handle those changes.

For basically the first 5 months of my pregnancy I was very sick. I was on constant nausea medication. I lost a decent amount of weight, and would cry almost every morning when I had to run to the bathroom to vomit.

After that, I hit an exhaustion phase. The nausea slowly became less of an issue except for in the mornings, and I was able to eat more. The baby began to grow bigger, and I finally had to make the official switch to maternity clothes (Oh, and the pounds began to pack on! I had to make up for lost time I guess...:/) And never have I felt so tired in all my life, but it was fun to finally have a noticeable bump. Before that I more just looked like a pear shaped blob...and people couldn't really tell if it was a baby bump or just a seriously lack of ab workouts and one too many cookies.

Over the last 6 weeks or so, it's been a steady downhill of discomfort and more weird bodily changes. My baby is incredibly active, even now--at almost 40 weeks. It's like she's teaching a kick-boxing class in there. Constant side-kicks and upper-cuts. I've got to have some gnarly bruising from the inside out in there. I swear she likes to pound on the same places again and again.

Oh, and I'm not going to even try to describe to y'all how swollen my feet and legs have become over the last few weeks. I am not being dramatic when I tell you--I honestly have one pair of shoes left that feet and it's a pair of comfy flip flops that stretch a bit with the feet.

Like I mentioned early, it's probably the most unnatural, natural thing I ever will experience.

I know there must be truth when people say they somehow forget about so much of the unpleasant parts of pregnancy, or just that you love your child so much...because right now I am looking at these women who have done this multiple times and am completely amazed.

Because baby girl is already looking larger, my doctor has scheduled an induction for next Tuesday if I haven't had her by my due date. I'm praying hard that I have her before then--I really didn't want to be induced, but I also don't want the baby too big if she decides not to come. So, we'll see what happens! Hoping she makes her debut ASAP...

They did a quick ultrasound this past Monday to check on her size/weight. Above is a picture of her face and you can see her cute little nose being squished. She's pretty tight in there--another reason why it's so impressive she continues to be so active.

I can't wait to meet this little angel. She already has us both obsessed with her. She's such a blessing to us, and we love her so very much.

Oh, and I finally finished her nursery! I'll post pictures as soon as I can. I'm way too overly excited about how dreamy it turned out :)