The last day Noah was an only child.
Loved spending some time with Krista and Noah in the calm before the storm!
In my total type-a planning mode, I had been joking with Krista that the weekend of 9-9 thru 9-12 would be a good one for Ruthie Grayce to come since Lovey was gonna be in town. I knew the help would definitely be needed/wanted on my end. I had guessed 9-9-11 as Krista's delivery date since it would be the exact same gestational age as Maryn's delivery. Since I felt like I single-handedly (obviously God was in control, but He sure did hear my prayers to get everybody on the 2 under 2 bandwagon!) willed them to conceive, I figured I might as well single-handedly will her out. ;)
Krista said if RG was gonna hang in that long then she might as well hang on til 9-10-11 since that would be a cool birthdate!
I had been praying about RG's arrival. First, for her to STAY IN, and then, for her to GET OUT, but always for her to get here safe and sound! Funny how prayers change over time. I was excited and anxious about my role in RG's birth. Krista had asked me to do the birth photography for RG's birth. I have never taken pictures of a birth. In fact, besides my own two babies, I had never witnessed another's birth. I have lots of great friends that have babies, but have never been there for any of them - the labor, the pushing, the recovery. I definitely wanted to be the photographer although wasn't quite sure of the logistics since I knew I would have a little one of my own. I agreed and had faith that it would all just work out. And, as always, He was faithful and it was beautiful. Although I was nervous about the photography aspect of it, I was way more nervous about the other roles I might be asked to play during the labor and birth. BFF, supporter, advocate, prayer warrior, comic relief, etc. I prayed that I could be the person Krista needed to be and when she needed me to be it. I hope I was that person!
I sent her a text at 8:37 pm asking if we could have a baby (and move the treadmill) on Saturday. She said she would see what she could do. They went to Fuzzy's, and I told her what a fitting last meal as a family of 3. After that convo, I'm not sure why I didn't get my crap together. HELLO!!! God was kinda telling us that it was about time. But did I take a shower? No. Did I pack my camera bag? No. Did I think thru details of Miss Maryn? No. I went to bed. DUH! I got the first text about midnight. Krista is confident "this is it." I start diligently praying for effective contractions. You ask that I pray for sleep first. I read that as go back to sleep! Krista texts me at 2:14 says Cindy is coming soon. Her mom calls about 3 and says that Krista would like me there. In my stupor, I didn't ask any important questions like OMGAREWEABOUTTOHAVEABABY? I freak the heck out. I was so stinking excited I couldn't even think straight! Brandon thankfully is calm during this freak-out. I guess I was confused about does Krista want me there as a BFF or does Krista want me there as a photog? If just the latter, then I was freaking out because that meant baby was coming RIGHT THEN!! It sure would have been a good question to ask! In my defense, my baby girl had just started sleeping thru the night, and I was enjoying that blissful sleep! I get my camera bag ready and tell Brandon to check in after while, and he looks at me like I have 3 eyes. He's like aren't you gonna take Maryn?? Oh yeah, exclusively breastfed baby upstairs, yes, I should take her. I text Krista telling her I'm on my way with baby in tow. She graciously offers up RG's crib. Aww, first sleepover. Maryn and I arrive about 3:20.
Krista is all smiles. I give her a quick kiss on the cheek and haul Maryn into RG's room to nurse her and get her back down. I pray while I'm feeding. Prayers for Maryn to sleep, prayers for Krista and RG, prayers for Cindy (her midwife), and prayers for me. I was anxious and nervous, but put on my best game face. Maryn crashed back out like a champ and it was time to work. I'm so thankful I was the one behind the camera - I looked terrible! I joked that I enjoyed this laboring business way better when I was the one supporting the laborer and not the laborer! Dr. Cindy and several other women present all agreed! I had never been involved with a birth with a midwife or a birth at home so both of these were new to me. I kinda sorta loved it! Something so neat and comforting about being in your own surroundings and surrounded by people you love. I loved that the midwives were all God-fearing women who not only provided medical advice, but also scriptural encouragement and Jesus love.
Being pregnant and delivering a baby is the most spiritual experience I've ever had. Something so "bigger than us" about the whole process. A journey about provision and faithfulness like no other. Krista was by my side during my journey, and I was so excited to be by her side during hers. I knew that God would make His presence known throughout her labor and delivery. He did just that, and I was blessed to have been a part of it. Midwives roll with a much more "your body knows what its doing so just kinda go with it" approach. I've come to appreciate it, and it was so interesting to see it all play out. Krista had been pushing in the tub for a while. She was exhausted. Micah was exhausted. Dr. Cindy encouraged her onto the bed where she determined that she was not as dilated as she had thought. After this discovery, Krista could have easily been upset, discouraged, angry, etc. To be honest, I remember holding my breath waiting to see what Krista's response was going to be. She was relieved!! Totally GOD talking there, friends! She was glad to know that there was not some other impediment to the pushing and that she was encouraged that it would just decrease the pushing later on. If her body had led her to push then, it must have known what it was doing. Krista decided that she was gonna try to get some rest (since she wasn't ready to push). I kinda played an "intermediary" sometimes. I generally was all up in the business of Krista and the midwives so I got to hear all the discussions and then would go relay to the rest of the family.
Krista is laboring out of the pool for a while. An email had gone out to a chosen group of girls that had all been praying for Krista and RG during the whole pregnancy and especially the last few months. I responded to all asking for some specific prayers and laying out what had gone on. Responses started pouring in. I loved reading to Krista words of encouragement from her dear Jesus friends. I loved how God used me to reach out to them. One special friend asked if we needed a coffee run (it's maybe 7ish by now) and said she lived close. Before I even knew what I was doing and definitely before I asked anybody else (Krista included), I had asked her to stop by for 5 minutes to pray over Krista. I knew first-hand the power of prayer during labor and delivery! I will never forget the smile that came over Krista's face when she realized that it wasn't mine or Mandy's or Cindy's voice praying. Some fresh mojo is always good! I lined up another for about an hour down the road. She came with her scripture book and read scriptures in between contractions. Finally, a sweet life-long friend came. She prayed and loved on Krista, but her usefulness did not end there. She played with Maryn in the next room when RG came into the world. Loved having a hand in getting these women to shower Krista with love. Krista's mother, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law all helped with Maryn. You could just tell that they were anxiously waiting their turn with their own sweet baby girl!
Throughout the labor, I felt myself taking charge (even when I had no business!). It's just sort of what I do in stressful situations some time. Noah was waking up, and we needed a plan. :) Me and the grandmas were asking Krista about what to do. She gave us the look and told us to figure it out. We walked to the living room, and I layed out the plan. I told Lolly to haul Noah to my house. He would be attending Joshua's birthday party with Travis, Lovey, and Brandon. :) I didn't want one of them to have to take Noah away and miss RG's arrival. They all went along with it, and I was so glad that Lovey was here! After we got Noah off, I sent Micah to get some rest. He mumbled something about "nobody being his boss" and then traipsed off to Noah's room. (Little did we know he actually got in Noah's bed!) Micah had been working hard and doing lots of "strength training" with Krista in the pool. There were plenty of hands to help Krista labor, and we didn't know how much help he was gonna need to be when it came time to push again.
I'm seriously glad that nobody needed to pee because when the time came for RG to arrive, there was no time! Krista was definitely the epitome of her body taking over. It was wild. A little something from the Discovery channel or Animal Planet. She started growling and howling and roaring. Ok, maybe not. :) But she did get this fierce look in her eyes, and I firmly believe her body started pushing before her mind was engaged in what was happening. Almost like her head was not connected. She pushed halfway thru one contraction and then RG arrived on the next push or contraction. Honestly, its all a bit of a blur. It's a wonder any of the photos are in focus. I was crying and sniffling and hugging the rest of the family just like I was one of them. In fact, I'm pretty sure I am one of them. :) At one point, while Krista was laboring in the pool, she needed some pressure applied to her hips. I had been doing this throughout (even using my chin to hit a pressure point that felt good on her spine), but had not done it in the pool. Let's be honest - the pool had some goo in it. In fact, I was very excited when I saw goo, because I knew it meant progress. Hadn't really wrapped my head around sticking my hands in the goo-ladened water though. I literally had to do a little processing before I decided to stick my hands in. The decision went like this - if Krista needed a kidney, would I give it to her? I said yes - so off my hands went into the pool. That's friendship, folks!
While I feel like the photos ended up a bit amateurish, I wouldn't change it a bit. Taking pictures was the afterthought. Being there to love and support my sister was what was first in my mind. Krista was a pillar of strength and was so graceful even in the painful throes of labor. Her groundedness in her God and her full surrender from the beginning made for a beautiful journey. I love that all of those Krista feels that "blessed" her during the journey feel equally as "blessed" to have been a part of it.
Sweet sweet sister-in-law!
Smiling and cracking jokes!
Skyping with Joyce!
Maryn and Dr. Cindy's baby girl patiently waiting for RG to join their tea party!
Lolly and Maryn
Literally, friends from birth! How cool is that?
Only fitting that we ended the blessed day in prayer. A perfect end to a journey and testimony of prayer and provision.
Photography by Gara Hill Photography