Brooke is here :)

Brooke Ginny Strawberry was born at 12:00am on Wednesday, November 1st, weighing 6lbs 13oz and 19.75 inches tall. 

Brooke was born at 38 weeks and 3 days. I had been working in the office that day and had a routine doctor's appointment in the late afternoon of Halloween with my favorite doctor (Dr. Jarvis) who has been my OBGYN for the past 15+ years. At the appointment, she noted the baby had a low baseline heart rate of 105 bpm. I was monitored with an NST machine for 20 minutes. Overall, the doctor wasn't too concerned, but she still wanted to send me over to the hospital for additional monitoring. She suspected I might be in labor (and apparently babies' heart rates can drop during contractions). I told her I felt fine but had noticed I had been breathing heavier the past couple of hours, which was a weird symptom but I felt like I should mention it. 

This somewhat messed up our evening plans of trick-or-treating in the neighborhood with Cam, who was very disappointed in his sister's timing! Brian brought Cam by the hospital, so I got to see him for a bit. I was still feeling perfectly fine and just hooked up to a monitor. My parents came to pick up Cam, took him to our church Halloween festival, and then he spent the night at their house. It worked out well because he had a Teacher Workday and no school that Wednesday.

At the hospital, my contractions were every 3-4 minutes on the monitor but I could not feel them. The baby's heart rate was fine and no longer a concern, so the midwife on call came in and told me I could be discharged and that the contractions might go on for days/weeks and were not really a concern.

Knowing my experience with Cam's fast labor, Brian and I both knew that there was a chance this baby might be born really quick. I had been having some anxiety over the past month about giving birth in the car if we couldn't make it in time to the hospital. I trusted my gut and asked her for another cervical check even though I had just had one a couple of hours prior at my doctor's appointment. I had been at 4cm dilated and 80% effaced for the past 2 weeks and it was unchanged at my appointment that afternoon at 4pm. 

When the midwife checked me before letting us leave the hospital, I was at 6cm and 100% effaced. 

"Well, you won't be leaving here without a baby," she said. I am so thankful I spoke up and asked for another cervical check!

At that point it was just a waiting game. Brian and I got moved to a nice labor room and we hung out and chatted for a couple more hours. My pain on a scale from 1 to 10 was literally a zero. I'm fully convinced had I not been sent to the hospital after my appointment, I would have gone home and probably been in bed at that point. 

The midwife offered to break my water for me if I wanted to speed things up. We decided we would do it at her next check at 11pm. She said she felt it was very safe and the baby was so low in the pelvis that she didn't feel there was any issue with cord obstruction. At 11pm, I was at 8cm dilated (and still feeling fine), so she broke my water. No fluid came out, which she said was an indicator that the baby's head was so low it was blocking any fluid from escaping. She left the room and told us to call the nurse when I felt ready to push. The contractions gradually picked up for about 30-45 minutes and by 11:45pm I was definitely in the phase where you can't talk through them. Thankfully they come in waves so there was a minute or so of relief between each one, but it got pretty painful! 

I remember looking at the clock around 11:45 and telling Brian I knew I needed to push this baby out; the pressure was so intense. The nurse came in and the midwife came in quickly behind her to get everything prepared. The doctor was not available because he was with another patient, but I really liked the midwife and nurse and felt very confident in their care. At this point, I think I asked for an epidural, lol. I pushed three times and the pain was off the charts, but after the second push I heard the midwife say "head is out" and I felt such relief (that was at 11:59pm). The third and final push put Brooke born at 12:00am on the dot. I could not believe it....a November baby! The best start to my favorite month in the year 2023. :)

She has been a super chill baby the first two weeks! Fingers crossed it continues. We feel so incredibly blessed. 

I could not be more grateful to God for gifting us two miracle unplanned miracle in 2015 and another planned miracle in 2023 after three and a half years of trying. 

I wrote this in my journal one morning last week and it couldn't be more true when it comes to our two children:

Job 42:5  "My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen You."