our birth story.

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As I sit here today, three weeks after my precious baby boy was born, I watch him stretch out his arms so big over his head and slowly start blinking his blue eyes open all the while making the sweetest cooing noises. I’m love-struck. These are the moments I’m living for… I want to soak in every single second with him. I never dreamed of loving someone or something as much as I do this precious child. “Sweet Jesus, your agape love is more than I can handle. How much you love us, your children, blows my freaking mind.”

On March 27th at 1 a.m., my pressure waves started. They were intense from the moment they began at 3-4 minutes apart lasting 60-90 seconds. I waited until 3 a.m. to wake Husband. He started timing the waves and was immediately anxious. He called L&D and requested a room with a birthing tub and then called our doula, Alex. They (Brady & Alex) decided it would be best for us to go to the hospital instead of our original plan of Alex coming to the house so I could spend the majority of my birthing time in the comfort of my own home. We arrived at the hospital shortly after 5 a.m., got checked in and went to triage. I chose to not be informed about my dilation – I wanted to stay focused, stay positive, and let my baby’s birth happen naturally. The nurse took Brady to the hall and informed him I was 4cm at 6 a.m. My dear husband thought we were going to have our baby on the way to the hospital… and since that didn’t happen, he thought for sure he would be out before noon.

We finally got settled into our room. I tried to relax and put our Hypnobabies into practice, but I just couldn’t relax. I laid down and listened to scripts for a little while, but still couldn’t get comfortable. Alex and Brady started running water in the tub in hopes that would help my body relax. I spent probably 5-6 hours in the tub, my pressure waves getting even stronger, closer together, and longer. I had intermittent monitoring of the baby who continually had a great heartbeat throughout the entire birthing time. After a few hours, I needed complete silence, cool compresses on my head, and warm water poured over my back. Husband and Alex provided exactly what I needed and continued to fill me with positive reinforcement.

After the tub, I let my body lead, allowing it to move, twist and turn however necessary. A few more hours passed, I left my body and got lost in a cloud of ecstasy, the euphoria filled me, my body felt calm, baby was moving down, and it felt ahhhhmazing. And then the intensity of my pressure waves magnified.

Throughout the entire day, my eyes stayed tightly closed… I saw the sun rise and fill the room and then set behind my eyelids. Time was irrelevant. Husband told me over and over again, “he’s coming babe” or “he’s almost here”… and after hours and hours I began thinking he’s not coming at all. The discomfort was nearly unbearable at times. I needed a break… just 5 mins. without the tight squeeze surrounding my abdomen. I was hungry and tired. I felt like I couldn’t go on anymore. Thankfully, I had already told Brady not to give in to me, no matter what I said. He felt helpless; he couldn’t take the discomfort away. Our nurse suggested nitrous oxide (laughing gas). She said, “it’ll take the edge off”. We decided that was the best option and not too long after our decision was made, a mask was brought in. I’m not sure if it actually did anything but, according to my husband, it at least did two things: mentally, it was helping me through my pressure waves, and two, it muffled my moaning :)

Pushing began around 6:30 p.m. I was so tired and my pushing was ineffective. Then it was 7 p.m., shift change. Here is what Brady said about that: “The midwives/doctors had a shift change at 7 p.m. and in walked a doctor at 7:30 p.m. that had not read our birth plan and immediately tried to take advantage of my frail, discouraged wife. She basically said we need to get the baby out and tried talking us into an epidural, forceps, or a vacuum. Alex and I told her we would talk about it, but Jenny said she doesn’t care how he comes out, he just needs to come out. She was tired, weak, and ready to meet our son. When the doctor left the room, I heard her tell a nurse that she would be back in 1½ hours and that Jenny wasn’t even close to having him out. Closing in on 18 ½ hours, I finally felt discouraged. Jenny was so tired her eyes were just rolling around in her head. I was defeated…so I thought.”

The next 30 minutes was basically a big blur for me, so I’m going to let my amazing Husband tell the rest of our story…

A new nurse came in with the shift change and was super nice. She began giving Jenny a perineal massage and, during one of my cold compress exchanges, she told me to come look. I was a little hesitant because I get a little queasy about blood, certain smells, or childbirth! I looked anyway and there it was, a small head crowning! I saw his head and knew if she would only push a little longer he would be born. I put the cold compress on her forehead and whispered in her ear, “I saw our baby’s head. He’s almost out”. I don’t know if I encouraged her or if the new doctor discouraged her, but Jenny went into lioness mode. She started pushing and didn’t quit. She would have pressure waves that literally lasted 5 minutes and she wouldn’t stop pushing. The nurses were asking her to take a deep breath and push, but there were no deep breaths. She was pushing like a woman on a mission. She was pushing so hard and so much we were all worried about her physical well-being. Nurses kept checking her pulse and the baby’s heartbeat to make sure everything was all right.
After about 20 minutes of hard-core pushing, our baby’s head was halfway out. It was amazing. His head was full of blonde hair! I was so excited! Ten more minutes of pushing and his head was completely out, but something was wrong. I remember seeing his head crowning and thought, “wow, he has a small head”, but when his head was completely out it was huge! His eyes were closed, his face was purple and swollen, and he wasn’t breathing. I heard a nurse say something about meconium. Apparently, our little guy had inhaled some, which can lead to respiratory problems. That wasn’t the only thing wrong. It happened so fast, but I saw someone’s elbows pushing down hard on Jenny’s stomach. With this going on, I think alarms were going off behind me and I turned around to see six or seven nurses/doctors fire open the back door and start setting up equipment that I’ve never seen before. For the first time in this entire experience, I was scared. I remember Jenny saying, “He’s not breathing”. One of his shoulders was stuck behind her pubic bone (called shoulder dystocia) which is somewhat common with bigger babies, but I had no idea. They were pushing on her stomach to try to free his shoulder. It only took a second to dislodge it, but it seemed so much longer.
Once he was out, they immediately clamped his umbilical cord and I got to cut it. It all happened so fast because they had to get him checked out. I stayed with Jenny for a second to make sure everything was okay and then Alex told me to go see our baby and watch them. Once I got over to the bassinet, I saw a big, purple baby with a huge, swollen head. I saw them stick a long, thin tube down his throat and brown meconium coming out the other end. After a few seconds, I heard him cry.  I asked the nurses what was going on and they told me he had inhaled a little meconium and explained to me what happened with his shoulder. They informed me that he was moving his arms fine and he was gripping things with his finger and there was nothing to worry about. He was alive and breathing, and in a split second the worst day of my life became the best day of my life.
I remember glancing over at Jenny and saw her pushing and the doctors pushing on her again and then pull her placenta out. I stayed with our baby boy for another minute until I saw Jenny shaking and convulsing uncontrollably. Now, Jenny was in trouble. I rushed back over to her and tried to comfort her. I heard the doctor mention hemorrhaging and needing to give her Pitocin and I immediately said, “No!” This was the same doctor that tried to talk us into the epidural. She had given birth and she had pushed her placenta out. Why does she need Pitocin now? Thankfully another doctor, I believe the attending, intervened and told her to keep massaging her uterus. A few minutes later, she stopped convulsing and the threat of hemorrhaging was gone.
Once they were finished with Jenny, I went back over to get a few pictures of our baby and bring him to her. We were both exhausted, but on top of the world! She put him on her breast and nursed him like she had done this hundreds of times before. She was a natural and I was so proud of her.
Malakai Grant Upton was born at 8:12 p.m., March 27. He weighed 9 lbs. 15 oz. and was 22½ inches long. I will never forget this experience and will always admire my wife for what she went through. I’m a proud husband and father and look forward to many memories as a family of three.
I am thankful. My birth experience wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I never dreamed of birthing a nearly 10 lb. baby or my birthing time lasting 19 hours, but I wouldn’t change it. I have nothing to compare my birth experience with, but this was such an incredible adventure…  it was challenging, empowering, beautiful. I trusted my body to do exactly what it needed to do.

A few recommendations:
1.) Hypnobabies is an incredible method for natural birth and I highly recommend it. We started the classes back in November and, once it wrapped up in January, we continued to read and listen to scripts on a nightly basis; I practiced the techniques and listened to the positive affirmations track almost every day. It takes the fear surrounding the Western cultures “idea” of pregnancy and birth and makes it so positive and wonderful. Although I didn’t listen to my scripts throughout my entire birthing time, I listened to it enough before to have it embedded in my subconscious mind and it empowered me even more. I also would like to mention the night before my birthing time started, my Hypnobabies instructor sent us the “Baby Come Out” track and shortly after Brady read it, my pressure waves began. Coincidence, maybe… but, we tried everrrrryything to no avail. I will most definitely be using this method for our next birth and hopefully it will be a much faster and more comfortable experience.
2.) Get a doula! I think my husband would second this over and over. Ours, Alexandria with Bella Mundo, is absolutely incredible. As soon as we met her, I knew she was the one we were going to share this experience with. From the time she came to our house to visit, to being by our side and being our voice the entire time at the hospital, to her follow-up visit to check on baby and me… this girl exceeded our expectations. She was a Godsend and I will forever be grateful. She made sure we had the natural birth I so desperately wanted.
3.) Through Alex, I met another incredible person, Aysha Harward with Terra Nektar, who makes herbal products, essential oils, and does placenta encapsulation. I’ve heard of placenta encapsulation before, but never gave it much thought on something I would actually do.  And then I started considering the possible benefits and the simple fact that basically all mammals consume their placenta… and why not, you spend so much time and energy feeding your body and baby healthy, nutritious food for 9-10 months. Brady and I decided if there’s a chance it can help regulate my hormones, we’re in. A few other benefits are: great milk supply, less stress, and more energy. I’m not sure what postpartum would be like without the placenta encapsulation, but I can say as soon as I started taking the capsules my emotions leveled out so quickly and I have felt amazing ever since; my milk supply has been incredible and I definitely feel energized.
Aysha came to the hospital and picked up my placenta and within 2 days hand delivered the capsules to my house. She’s also working on a tincture and cream that will be ready within 3 weeks. The first time I met Aysha was in the hospital and she is seriously one of the sweetest and kindest people. She brought a lovely gift full of delicious goodies for us to enjoy too! I’m totally sold on placenta consumption and highly recommend it!
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41 weeks & 6 days…

On March 27, 2014 at 8:12 pm our precious little boy, Malakai Grant, was born!
9lbs.15oz. and 22.5″ long! He’s healthy and more wonderful than we ever dreamed.
photo 1photo 3I’m looking forward to sharing my natural birth story with you very soon, but right now it’s all about the little one and us adjusting to being a family of three!

41 weeks.

Friday, March 21, 2014. ImageImage

size of baby: ???
weight ~  8+lbs; length ~ 20+”
what baby’s up to: His endocrine system is busy at work producing stress hormones for outside the womb… and he’s still packing on the pounds.
gender: boy!
movement: yes.
what I miss: not worrying about my “due date” there’s entirely too much pressure placed on a specific date that is rarely accurate; we’re talking maybe 4-5% and that’s still skewed b/c more and more women are getting induced even before then.
maternity clothes: yoga pants and Husband’s shirts.
cravings: salads with parmesan crisps!
aversions: the smell of raw chicken is extra gross lately.
symptoms: let’s just say castor oil didn’t work for us, either time we tried… and it makes you pretty uncomfortable.
exercise: 90 minute prenatal yoga and lots and lots of walking!
sleep: I’ve definitely had a few sleepless nights this week.
belly button: out.
wedding ring: off – I’m scared it’s going to get stuck, so I’m just wearing a band.
best moment: Spring has arrived!
adventure: We’ve really been taking it easy, relaxing a lot, and trying to focus on our Hypnobabies scripts and not what everyone else is saying.

40 weeks.

Friday, March 14th. We have finally arrived to our “guess date”… now let’s see how long until baby boy graces us with his presence.

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size of baby: a small pumpkin
weight ~  7.5 lbs.; length ~ 20+″
what baby’s up to: He’s just hanging out, staying nice and cozy in the womb.
gender: boy!
movement: yes.
what I miss: my hawaiian tan… does that count?!
maternity clothes: yoga pants… every.single.day!
cravings: juice pops and orange juice.
aversions: nothing specifically; my sense of smell is still super enhanced.
symptoms: uncomfortable, but super anxious and excited!
exercise: I have been walking like crazy this week trying to help evict our baby boy.
sleep: as much as I can!
belly button: out.
wedding ring: off – I’m scared it’s going to get stuck, so I’m just wearing a band.
best moment: making it to 40 weeks… now let’s get this party started!
adventure: Since our little boy didn’t want to come out to celebrate, we decided to take advantage of another Friday night date night to celebrate his soon arrival.

Everyone, I think baby boy needs some encouragement to enter this big world… on three let him hear it 1… 2… 3… “COME ON OUT”!! ;)

39 weeks & baring the bump.

March 7th. We’re considered full term over here!
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size of baby: heavy as a mini-watermelon (doesn’t feel so “mini” to me)!
weight ~  7 lbs.; length ~ 20″
what baby’s up to: just waiting to greet the world! He’s continuing to build fat to help control his body temperature; thankfully the polar vortex is over and the Nashville ice-storms have passed!
gender: boy!
movement: yes! It doesn’t feel like he’s dropped, but then again, I’m not exactly sure what that “feels” like.
what I miss: I was totally missing the sunshine, but Praise the Lord, it blasted it’s warmth Friday, ah it was lovely!
maternity clothes: I’m thankful for the closet across from mine…  thanks for sharing Husband! :)
cravings: juice pops and orange juice.
aversions: oh man, day old fish in the trash can – talk about the smell of death.
symptoms: I am uncomfortable.
exercise: the stairs in my house and some extra walking is about all I can handle right now.
sleep: Every little movement from baby boy makes me wide awake, I’m totally on the edge of my seat.
belly button: out.
wedding ring: on – but it’s starting to stick a little.
best moment: Double dinner date in Murfreesboro with one of my best friends, Jessica, and her man, Jd! I am seriously so thankful to have friends close by! We had a blast.
adventure: welp, what would a week be without a little house trouble… I was reading on the couch Monday morning and when I looked up to the ceiling lo and behold a big water spot was staring back at me! One of the hot water heaters broke which meant no hot water and no heat until replaced and they weren’t going to be done until early morning; with a temp of 51 in the house, we were basically forced out. With the baby possibly arriving any day, the thought of packing another bag was not what I had in mind, but it was good for us…  it was like a mini baby moon in downtown Nashville AND an extra date night!

38 weeks.

February 28th. HAPPY BIRTH MONTH (a day early)!

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size of baby: as long as a leek.
weight ~ 6.8 lbs.; length ~ > 19 1/2+″
what baby’s up to: Baby boy is packing on the pounds and apparently, has a firm grasp! He’s also doing some pretty important things like producing more surfactant to help his little lungs prepare for their first big breath.
gender: boy!
movement: yes! Baby boy is in a good position, hopefully we can keep him there!
what I miss: being comfortable… have I said that?
maternity clothes: I’m a serious repeat offender if anyone is judging. yoga pants by day, yoga pants by night.
cravings: green smoothies and frozen juice pops!
aversions: nothing’s ringing a bell this week.
symptoms: dizzzzzzy!
exercise: yoga! I’m killing it this week folks.
sleep: I’m definitely not experiencing the best sleep of my life…
belly button: out.
wedding ring: on.
best moment: Tuesday was my last “official” day at the office! whoop whoop.
adventure: It seriously feels like we’re in the buying-selling cars business these days… we sold our edge and bought another one! And we spent some time in Dandridge; I have a feeling it was the last trip for a while.

Can ya’ll believe baby boy’s due date is only 2 weeks away?!?! I’m seriously trying not to freak out. I just can’t hardly contain myself.
I think we should take a vote…
Who thinks he’s coming on his due date, March 14th? Or do you think he’ll be early or late? :)

37 weeks.

February 21st.
baby boy is considered “pre-term”
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size of baby: swiss chard / winter melon
weight ~ 6 1/3 lbs.; length ~ > 19+″
what baby’s up to: Preparing for his departure. He’s now considered “pre-term”. Spending the next 2 weeks in the womb allows his brain and lungs to fully mature.
gender: boy!
movement: yes! and baby boy hasn’t turned yet… even with my stink-bug and cat-cow yoga poses! Any suggestions?
what I miss: touching my toes without having to think about it. I know, kinda weird to have to move around a belly.
maternity clothes: Scrubs have been booted.
cravings: darn that nutella! Luckily my other “cravings” have been orange juice and salads.
aversions: the smell of tobacco dip ugh!
symptoms: feeling tired and ready. I just can’t wait to meet our little man.
exercise: yoga!
sleep: could definitely be better!
belly button: out.
wedding ring: on.
best moment: Every time I cross something off my “to-do” list! And I’d like to add that all the contractors are finally out of our house! It’s been a looooong 6 weeks, is all I have to say about that!
adventure: that Husband of mine is a keeper I tell ya. The kitchen is my zone in the house, but Friday he decided to take over and prepare an incredible dinner just for me… and after we enjoyed his amazing meal, we made dark chocolate covered strawberries together. Love was in the air!! Then Monday rolled around and we went to Ruth’s Chris for another yummy meal… Date nights are being cherished around here!
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