Friday, February 7, 2014

a birth story: Ephraim Luke

On January 22, I had my 39 week appointment with a midwife at my doctor’s practice. She said that I was 3 cm dilated, and she asked if she could strip my membranes—which meant she would loosen the bag of waters from my uterine wall. She said that if my body was ready to go into labor, I would within 24 hours. If it wasn’t ready—I might feel a little contracting, but nothing would happen. I did end up feeling some minor contractions, but Wednesday and Thursday came and went with no real labor. I do think that stripping my membranes did move things along slightly. My next appointment was with the doctor on Tuesday the 28th (my due date).

On Monday, Steve, Nolan, and I made a trip to Walmart to stock up on some groceries. Steve went to teach a class in another town that night. Nolan skipped his nap, so I put him down right at 8 to sleep. We cuddled a little bit in his bed, and soon Steve got home. I made some hot fudge, and we enjoyed it drizzled over vanilla ice cream while watching the newest episode of Downton Abbey. And we had some hot chocolate too, cause that’s what we do. I went to bed around midnight feeling some minor contractions. I fell asleep briefly, but Nolan cried out for his pacifier at 1:00 or so, and I woke up. I was continuing to feel contractions, and this time, i couldn’t fall back asleep.

I turned on the Kindle and started reading my favorite blogs. After a while, I downloaded an app for timing contractions. I had read that if it’s your second baby, you should go to the hospital when the contractions are 5-7 minutes apart. Mine weren’t spaced perfectly, but on average, they were about 5 minutes apart. With Nolan, I had to be induced at 41 weeks, 2 days—so I didn’t know what contractions were like when they started naturally (without pitocin). Any kind of false labor I’d had only lasted an hour-ish, so when 3 am rolled around, and I was still awake and feeling contractions, I decided to take a shower and get some things prepared in case we needed to go to the hospital. I wasn’t in pain—I was just uncomfortable. At 4 am, I called the hospital. I explained my condition to the nurse, and she said that since I only live about 5 minutes away, it was worth coming in to get checked out. I called my mom, and she headed over to watch Nolan. Steve and I threw a bag together. I didn’t want to get too excited because I thought there was a 50% chance that the contractions would stop, and they would send me home once I got there.

So we trekked out into the frozen tundra. The negative temps had already closed area schools for the day, and the roads were empty. Once in the hospital at 5 am, they had me change into a gown, hooked me up to the monitors, and started asking me tons of questions. I was 4.5 cm dilated, but only 50% effaced. The nurse said that if I made significant progress in one hour, I would be admitted. If not, they would send me home. I felt some bigger and closer-together contractions while Steve and I walked the halls to help the process along.

At 8 am, my doctor, Kelly, arrived and checked me at 5.5 centimeters. I was officially admitted and answered more questions for the nurses. I talked to my mom on the phone—and was happy to say “good morning” to Nolan. I labored a bit on the birthing ball. I was not in terrible pain.

Somewhere around 10:45, Dr. Kelly checked me at 6.5 centimeters. She asked me if I wanted an epidural soon, or if I wanted her to break my water. I told her I wanted to start with the epidural—in case things started progressing quickly, I didn’t want to miss the window to get it. The anesthesiologist was an older man, and he rubbed me the wrong way. He was a little brash, which I didn’t think was nice considering he was sticking a giant needle in my spine, and I was nervous. He was put off that I had long hair and big earrings in his way. Luckily my nurse, Lottie, was wonderful during the epidural. (Lottie happened to teach Steve and my prenatal class when I was pregnant with Nolan.) Steve got to stay in the room for this part, which they didn’t allow at the hospital that I had Nolan.

At 11-something, Dr. Kelly said I was at 6.5 centimeters again, and she broke my water.

At this point, the baby’s heartbeat kept dropping off the chart. Lottie had me change positions quite a few times, but his little heart still kept going off the monitor for a few seconds at a time. I was told to get on my hands and knees for a while. I began feeling strong pressure in a very low spot. I told Lottie, and she checked me at 10 cm. (This means I dilated from 6.5 to 10 centimeters in only an hour!) Since I was feeling pressure, the nurses made a quick call down the hall for Dr. Kelly.

I pushed through about 7 contractions. The doctor and nurses were all very supportive and sweet cheerleaders, telling me that I was doing a perfect job.

Beautiful baby Ephraim was born at 12:32 pm, and they placed him immediately on my chest. (His name is pronounced EE-frem.)

He was SO tiny, with plenty of dark brown hair. I noticed that he had tinier hands and feet than Nolan did. Yet, his profile, and his nose, mouth, and ears were exactly Nolan’s. He had a round, squishy face, and slate/dark blue eyes. Ephraim let out some loud cries while we marveled at him.

Dr. Kelly gave me a couple stitches. I told her that my appointment with her was supposed to be at 12:20 at her office, and I ended up in the labor room with her instead at that time!
First photo!

Most of the photos of him getting weighed and measured are blurry since he was squirming so much. He weighed over a pound less than Nolan, but his height (20.5 inches) was the same.

After he was cleaned up, they gave him back to me, and he breastfed quickly and easily.

Happy dad! Unfortunately, since we didn’t get much sleep, and he didn’t drink any coffee that morning, Steve got a major caffeine headache and had to go home for a bit for Tylenol and a hot shower.


Steve’s mom, Alice, meeting Ephraim later that night.

My mom brought Nolan to the hospital to meet his baby brother! The first thing he said after “Hi Mommy” was “Mommy ouchie” since I had an IV and band-aids on my arms. He wanted to play with the giant green birthing ball, the baby’s isolette (since it’s on wheels), and the nasal aspirator, which he took to be a microphone.

My little angel.

Wednesday afternoon, my mom and Nolan visited again.

Blurry, but such a sweet moment! I was super emotional seeing Nolan at the hospital both times since I had never spent the night away from him before!

Family of four :) SO overwhelmed with love for these three guys.

I have some more pictures from the hospital, but I’ll have to post those next week.

{Nolan’s birth story} if you’re interested.


  1. Loved reading this! I have really been enjoying your blog. Thanks for sharing your sweet story and your family of 4 is beautiful!

  2. Reading this brought a tear to my eye in a good way! What a sweet story and family! Again, so happy for you all :)
    And you look amazing!!!

  3. Soooo sweet!!! Love the family of four picture :)

  4. You looked GORGEOUS in every pic and I love that you left your earrings in. I looked like a crazy, swollen hot mess with all three of mine - but girl... you were GLOWING! Congrats on your sweet, sweet boy!

  5. you look so beautiful!! what a neat story! like you, i put off going to the hospital (although, charlotte was born an hour later so that's where our similarities part ways!) in the middle of the night. congrats again! he's so precious!

  6. What a great story! And you look absolutely radiant! Congrats again to your sweet family :)

  7. Congratulations! Can't believe how great you look after having a baby :) Beautiful baby.

  8. I can't stop smiling! How sweet are all of these pictures but especially the one of Nolan meeting him and your family of four! Ephraim is a blessed boy to have been given to your family! Congratulations!

  9. Oh my goodness! You look so beautiful! Positively glowing.

    I remember joking with my Dr. about the same thing. I had A on my due date and "missed" my check up because I had delivered that morning. My dr. laughed and said, "If you could see my schedule you'd realize you did me a big favor" ha!

  10. I love your story! What a beautiful family of four!! :)

  11. Such a beautiful birth story Rachel!

  12. SO so beautiful! What a precious gift he is to your family. Many blessings on you four!

  13. You look so happy in labor :) & I love how it was freezing for E's birth and warm and wet for N's... What great birth stories !!
    Much Love,

  14. Congratulations!!!!!! So so so happy for you guys! He is perfect! And you look absolutely fantastic!!

  15. CONGRATS girl!!! beautiful momma and beautiful babies!

  16. I LOVE that you wore our earrings. What better testament to them that the fact that you gave birth in them!!?! Do you mind if I share your comment that you left on the blog? Congrats on your sweet baby- so precious!

  17. Congratulations!!! You look amazing! Not at all like you gave birth!

  18. You look so incredibly radiant after having given birth!! <3 Wow!! Your sweet family of four could not be any cuter!! <3 Welcome to the world, sweet sweet boy!! <3


Thank you so much for your comments! I enjoy reading each one!


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