Tag Archives | birth

Tag Archives | birth

Major’s Birth | part 2

After we got the girls to bed, I was still having contractions on the regular.  I was trying to ignore it, because I swear my labor is afraid of it’s own shadow.  If I mention that I’m having contractions, they’ll shrink away immediately!  I got the house picked up, and folded the rest of the baby laundry.  I read over my birth affirmations and put on my birthing necklace for all the good energy I could muster.  I prayed, and meditated a bit connecting with my baby and my body.  I had text Janae earlier letting her know what was going on, and by 10:30 or so, I was feeling more ready to have her come.  Brady got the birth tub out and ready to fill for when the time came, and around 11, Janae (midwife) and April (friend and videographer) both showed up.

We all sat in my room chatting a bit, and my contractions slowed way down.  (I told you my labor is afraid of it’s own shadow..) at 12ish, Janae suggested she and April go in the other room and see if my labor picks back up.  At this point I felt like it was more prodromal labor and my contractions were dying down.  I felt super discouraged.  I asked Brady to give me a priesthood blessing.  He gave me such a sweet blessing; that my body would be strong, and my mind would be at peace, and our baby would be safe and sound.  As soon as my blessing came to a close, a contraction hit strong and steady.  In a minute, another, and then a minute after that.  Janae and April had probably been out of my room for 5 minutes and when they came back in, I was in full blown, in-the-zone labor.

They quickly got to getting the tub filled, which proved to be a little difficult with our 1950’s house and tiny water heater.  As I waited, contractions were becoming stronger and stronger.  During each contraction, my sweet little team would take turns pressing on my hips with my heating pad.  Once the tub was ready, I happily climbed in and immediately felt the relief I was hoping for.

Trisha, my doula (and janae’s birth assistant) who has been at all of my births, was headed out of town for the night when my labor started, but she turned around and came back for me.  I was so so happy to see her and felt so grateful she would do that.  A birth without her just wouldn’t be the same.

For weeks, the girls had been making me promise that if I went into labor during the day, I would check them out of school, and if I went into labor at night, I would wake them up.  I promised I would.  While I was laboring in the tub, we kept talking about when we should wake the girls.  Sometime after a few very strong contractions and when I was feeling more pressure in my hips, we decided it was time.  While I was still in the tub, my sweet, sleepy girls came walking in. “Hi mom,” Stella said, with Harlo quietly creeping in behind her.  They hopped up on the bed and got comfortable, just taking in the scene from this exciting night.  The sight of their sweet little faces was so precious to me in this time.  I was so glad they were here.

We chatted between contractions a bit, and I’m not even sure what about now, but several times I got the giggles so bad and had to tell Mr. Miller to stop making me laugh.  I thought in the back of my mind how much I loved having babies with my Mr. Miller.  This is one of my favorite versions of him – seeing our babies in the world together.  It’s such a happy and exciting time, and I cherished having my older girls be able to witness this with us.

Pretty soon I wanted out of the tub.  I’m not sure why I always want out of the tub when my transition starts, but I just feel out of control.  I’m not a big water person in general, and I just can’t fully let go when I’m in the water, even though it does feel so good.  I decided to get out and get checked and go from there.

Janae went to check me and I said “am I even progressing?  I’m not like at a 2 and you all are going home soon?” The false labor always plays with my mind.  They all laughed and Janae said I still had a lip and could start pushing or doing whatever I wanted.  At this point I could feel the baby moving down just like it was supposed to, and felt grateful that sweet thing was helping me out.  I felt the need to be in a squatting position, and when I got into that position, the baby slipped even further into my pelvis and I suddenly had excruciating pressure in my tailbone and hips.  I felt like they were going to split in two.  Just then my legs started cramping up – their nightly routine – and I had to quickly move back to my back to stretch them out.  I stayed there fighting with my body for a little while… taking turns stretching my legs out to avoid a charlie horse, and then getting back up to relieve my back/hip pressure.

I made a point to focus on my laboring necklace and all the good energy it brought to my birth.  I would glance up and look at my birthing affirmations that said things like “my body is strong”, “my baby is coming!”, “birth is joyous”.  I would make one my internal mantra for the next few contractions.  I was surrounded by the most perfect birth team – my midwife Janae and her assistant Trisha, some of my two closest friends, April and Ashley who were there to shoot video and pictures, my sister was tuning in via FaceTime in California, my two precious girls who were calm and sweet and brought such a neat energy into the room, and my strong and capable husband who was there to see me through like he always, always has.  In this moment, I felt so so blessed.  I knew I could get through this labor.

My contractions picked up in intensity and I immediately found the need to lean on that strong and supportive birth team.  Stella hummed with me through contractions which kept me grounded and focused, between contractions she would hop down and rub my arms and back.  Harlo would lean down a hand for me to hold.  Brady attended to my every whim applying pressure on my tailbone the way I always like.  Janae kept my mind focused.  Trisha kept the towels coming in non stop rotation, April and Ashley encouraged me right along, getting me sips of water, or whatever else I would need.

I started feeling defeated, as the end of labor makes one feel.  “Janae.. help me!” I whined through contractions.  I could feel every inch of the baby in my hips and the pressure was unbearable.  She had me lay back to check me and though I was fully dilated, I still had that lip of cervix to get through.  “Want me to break your water?” she said “YESSSSSS”, I almost shouted.  She broke my bulging water bag which gave me quick relief of pressure, but just as soon as the relief came, so did the intense contractions.

“You’re just going to have to push through that lip, Cass and it will be all over.”  Much like Grae’s birth, she had me lay flat and pull my legs back.  She asked if I wanted help moving the cervix out of the way and I said yes, but when time push came to shove (literally) I quickly snapped “No! I remember what that feels like and I don’t want to do that.” This part was hurting so much more than my others had and I couldn’t take a bit more discomfort than I was already experiencing.  I pulled my legs back and pushed and the hip-splitting pain intensified.  When I would quit pushing, the contractions seemed to overtake me.  I would push against the contraction, and again my bones felt like they were being ripped apart.  I knew my girls were there and I wanted to control myself for them, but in my head I was losing control.  “WHY ISN’T IT COMING OUT?” I exclaimed through exasperated breath. “The head is right there! When you push we can see the top of his head.. just a little more, Cass!” everyone encouraged.  My irritability was gaining momentum and I suddenly felt the fury I needed to get inside myself and finish this labor.  I curled over my huge belly one last time and pushed with every single inch of strength I could muster.  Pushhhhhhhh, quick breath, pushhhhhhh, quick sob escaping, pushhhhhhh.  There was the head top of the head.  I pushed hard again, and out inched the face.  I waited for the easy part to come, when the baby just slips out, but that wasn’t happening.  I pushed again.  “Okay, Cass, here you go! Grab the shoulders!” It seemed nearly impossible to think about my arms reaching down to get this baby, but I somehow managed it anyway.  I wrapped my arms around those sweet shoulders and had to push just one last time to get the rest of the body out.  This baby made me work for every last inch.

I pulled this precious child onto my chest.  The sweetest relief I’ve ever felt.  I wanted to lay just like that for 100 years.  “What is it?!” Janae said, “I don’t know,” I brushed off, not even being able to think about the next step through my exhaustion.  And in this split second, I truly didn’t care.  I loved this baby. This was MY BABY, the one I had been waiting and waiting for.  The one that was sent just for me.  Whether it was a boy or a girl seemed somehow insignificant now that I was holding it in my arms.  I reached up to move it’s warm little leg out of the way.  “It’s a boy!” Janae and I announced simultaneously.  I heard the room roar with excitement and I held him even closer.  Brady half-laughed/half-sobbed into the back of my neck as he wrapped his hands around my arms.  I felt so proud and secure right there in his arms, holding our newborn son.

“Our son.  I have a son,” I thought.  “My son!  Of course!  Of course it’s you!  My son!” I said over and over in my head.

IT’S A BOY!!!!!

(special thanks to Ashley Flowers Photography for these precious, priceless photos)



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major’s birth story | part 1

During my pregnancy, I had it in my mind that I would at least make it to my due date.  I have found being mentally prepared for going overdue has helped in the past, so I didn’t let my mind think about the possibility of going early.

Just like I had predicted, I woke up on my due date, still very very pregnant.  This pregnancy had been quite an uncomfortable one – I was carrying this one straight out in front which was wreaking havoc on my back, ribs, and hips.  I had sciatica pain, and horrible rib pain.  I had tried to be patient, but I couldn’t deny that I was absolutely miserable – and huge – at this point.  I was getting little to no sleep at all, and prodromal labor had started like it does for me.  Contractions picking up and getting consistent just long enough for me to get my hopes up before they would die off again.  This mind game mixed with my physical misery had begun to feel like torture.  I had my midwife’s appointment that day and didn’t bother getting checked for dilation.. I knew I would be way too disappointed if I wasn’t progressing and I didn’t want to add that to my plate of misery.

The next day, Mr. Miller took me out on a date – our usual weekly occasion.  We went to one of our favorites and had a delicious meal hoping it would be my last pregnant meal.  Brady was so sweet to me that night and helped me hobble across the street to the car while my sciatic nerve was flaring up.  He took me for a drink and then for a drive, which is one of my favorite things to do.  We talked about how crazy we were for not finding out what we were having and the possibilities for each.  We chatted about some final name ideas – Major or Harris for a boy and we were still between a few for girls.. Luca, Arden and Ever.  We talked about how crazy and amazing it was to be having our fourth baby and I wondered if we would have more, or if this would be my last.  It was just the kind of night I needed to lift my spirits and get me through the next few days.  

That night I had quite a bit of contractions starting at midnight and lasting til about 3:30, and sadly, I dozed off and woke up again still pregnant at 6.  I woke up on Thursday feeling like I would certainly be pregnant forever.  My friend had recently gone 19 days overdue, and I got depressed at that mere possibility.

By Friday, I decided I would not be leaving my house again.  I stayed in comfy clothes, tidied up my house, ordered pizza for supper and arranged a family movie night.  I had some contractions start around dinner, but that was typical for this time of night.  My dad text me to ask if I could help him with something or other on the computer and I text back and said “not tonight, dad, I’m going to stay home and hope labor starts and I don’t want anyone over.” ha! He’s a good man, and text me back “Totally get it! Good luck!” I sat on my birth ball through the movie and welcomed each and every contraction that came.  My girls were cuddled up to Brady on the couch and my heart was overwhelmed with love for my little growing family.  It was a perfect night to have a baby, I thought, but even if I didn’t, I was still the luckiest mama in the world.



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my blessing way

A few weeks before I gave birth, my dearest friends threw me a blessing way.

I am not a big shower person, and tossed out that idea early on, but what I could agree on is an evening full of yummy food, good vibes, and a lot of womanly energy (and no gifts).  That sounded like my kind of scene.

During this time, I was having a serious case of the ‘pregnancy blues’.  Honestly, it took a lot of effort to let my friends make a fuss over me and have the energy to even show up to my own party.  I had been in a tough place for a few months.

I slowly felt my perspective shift as the days came closer.  I felt grateful anyone would join me in celebrating this precious baby coming into the world.  My heart was overflowing that my friends would support me in the journey I was about to embark on, giving birth.  I got ready for my special evening and felt a little lighter than I had in months.

The evening could not have been more lovely.  Ashley had a flower crown made for me, and I felt like a queen.  Darling birth affirmations hung in the window that I could take home and use for positive vibes and encouragement.  It was casual pot-luck style (my favorite) and each friend of mine had brought something she knew I was loving in my pregnancy.  There were pasta factory breadsticks, poppyseed salad, chips and queso, hummus and pita bread, sliced pineapple, coconut cupcakes… all things I had craved over the course of my pregnancy.  These were ladies who loved me enough to pay attention and remember the things I liked to eat while pregnant.  Sisters, that is love.

My friend Heather is such a lovely host and had set up the night beautifully.  We loaded our plates and sat on quilts in her gorgeous backyard, and chatted and laughed and enjoyed the crisp spring air.  When it got a little chilly, we piled into Heather’s living room, getting nice and cozy on the couches.  Each friend was asked to bring a set of beads representing all their children.  As we sat around the room, they presented the beads to me handing over their strength and love and positive energy.  Each friend had such sweet messages.  They talked about how our paths originally crossed and how much our friendship had meant to them in their own lives and motherhood.  A good few friends I had met through their own births, which was so sweet to remember.  Some I had met through my blog and they spoke of how it had been an inspiration to them in their lives.  Others had been in my life a long time and we had walked into motherhood together and raised all of our babies along side each other.  They strung the beads together for me for a necklace that I could wear during labor reminding me of the bond we all share in motherhoods and the strength and positivity to move forward.  Each girl also made a bracelet to help her to think of me the next few weeks and during my delivery.  It was just the sweetest sentiment, and made me feel so special and loved, as well as my growing little baby.

With each word spoken, I felt God.  He was right here in this room, guarding my heart and sending me the most tender of mercies right when I needed it most.  I felt so beautifully and divinely connected to each of these sweet mamas in this room.  I felt so grateful for their friendship and companionship in this life and on this sometimes tough road of womanhood and motherhood.  I felt supported and surrounded by the purest love.  It was a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life.  God knows me and what I need so deeply.  He uses the people in my life to show his blessings.  I love that.  I am so grateful.

The energy from my blessing way would carry me through my last weeks of pregnancy.  It changed the course of my heart in this chapter.  It was exactly what I needed, and I am forever grateful for the beautiful friends I have been so purposely blessed with.

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the after-baby body

If you are an american woman who has ever given birth to a child, you know that the “after-baby body” is quite a big deal.  Everywhere you go, someone comments on it.  Everyday someone questions me about mine.  I am getting emails flooding in about how in the world to get back to the pre-baby body.

Let me tell you my thoughts on “getting back” after the baby…

This baby has changed everything.  Everything, I say!  My heart has changed, my soul has changed, my marriage has changed, my family has changed, my days have changed, my nights have changed, my faith has changed, my priorities have changed, my work has changed.  Nothing in my life has gone untouched since this baby has made his way into my life – just exactly like each baby I’ve had before him.  I am better in every single way possible since the calling of being his mother was laid on my chest.  I am more loving, I feel more giving, my priorities seem to be much more clear.  This change is profound!  Profound, I say!

So in the topic of “getting back after baby.” I’m asking myself.. “why in the world would someone want to go back to life – in any way shape or form – to before the baby was here?”  I have just given birth to the blessed child, he who will do great things and all that… why would I want to even imagine life to before this baby was here?  Also, let us not forget the vessel to which this son of mine was born.  ME.  I was the vessel.  This body of mine has done me proud, sister.  It has done. me. proud.

This body of mine has been pregnant for accumulatively 36 months, has nourished my babies with an endless supply of milk for 34 months (and counting!), it has spent 46 hours laboring to bring life forward (through it, might I add).  It has gained and somehow lost accumulatively 112 lbs over the last 8 years.  It has stretched and shifted in ways that hurt and were incredibly inconvenient.  This body has spent 26 months in the midst of horrible morning sickness.  This body has suffered joy and loss and aches and pains you wouldn’t believe.  This body has endured all of this and so much more, bringing these babies of mine into the world, and still it provides my every single need each day.  It wakes up and nurses through the night, gets up in the morning, makes breakfast, picks up babies, changes diapers, serves as a pillow, wipe, jungle gym, shade, heater, cooler, vehicle, entertainment, love, and comfort every single day for my family.  My body is incredible.  And I owe it every last ounce of love I can spare.  This body of mine has been through it all, and to be honest, if I didn’t have a few marks, or lumps, or squishy patches to show for it, I’d be dang disappointed.

So my after-baby body routine is quite simple.  Love.  When I love my body, I can be patient.  I can appreciate it.  I can put my shallow frustrations aside and give it what it needs (and quite frankly, deserves).  I will love my wide, round hips for as long as they need to stay spread out and nice and roomy.  I have pushed four children, accumulating 29 lbs through them, for crying out loud.  I will love that saggy pouch of skin that has carried most of the weight those months and months of pregnancy.  I will even sigh in appreciation to the skin on my thighs – and everywhere else – that hangs just a bit lower each time.  Because really, in comparison to all it’s done for me, that little bit of relaxation isn’t a whole lot to ask for.  I will embrace the new lines on my face that have worried and worried over well-loved children, spent entire nights and days awake with crying babies, smiled a numberless amount of smiles, an cried tears of joy, sorrow, pain, frustration, happiness and every single emotion in between.  I will love my body – my whole body – and I will treat it with the respect it deserves.

This is my after-baby body, and it’s a dang good one.  But then again, they all are, aren’t they?


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