One of my goals this year was to write my children’s birth stories as their birthday’s approached and this month I’ll be writing two! I have four children all of whom have a unique story—each delivery was different! I hope you’re encouraged and empowered as a mom by these stories that I hold close to my heart. I have failed at documenting their lives in picture album form up to this point, but I certainly hope they will one day treasure these writings.
Olivia Grace is our fourth child and a soon-to-be smart and feisty 4-year-old. Approximately two years before she was born I miscarried a baby when I was 12 weeks pregnant. Although we mourn for that baby still to this day, I can’t help but marvel at God’s infinite wisdom. Had we given birth then, we most likely wouldn’t have Olivia today. This is far beyond my understanding—how can something so heartbreaking bring about something so wonderful? I believe that we are allowed to live in this type of paradox surrounding many situations of our lives so that we can continue trusting that God is good.
My pregnancy with Olivia was adventurous to say the least. When I was approximately 12 weeks along with her, we packed up a moving truck and headed west all the way to California. Although I was dreadfully sick (morning, noon and night sick) I think back on that time and remember how absolutely wonderful California was. We ended up only being there for just 3 short months (our business venture didn’t work out), but we all remember it so well. The beaches, the sunsets, the mountains—it was gorgeous. So different from our midwestern upbringing. I still remember cleaning sand out of oldests ears weeks after we returned back to Ohio!
Although Orange County was glorious, about 1 month after settling there my pregnancy appeared to be in danger. I began spotting for days at a time and it was unexplained by the doctors. This was exactly what had happened when I miscarried—and right around the same gestation.
I had experienced spotting with my first as well, although it was earlier on. I was reassured over and over that this was perfectly normal and that some women spot all throughout their pregnancies. But one night I woke up and experienced such bad bleeding, I was sure it was over.
What Are You Holding Onto?
All I can remember is lying in bed in the middle of the night too afraid to go to sleep. While my husband and I laid wide awake, we made plans to visit the doctor in the morning. I silently began praying for God to save my baby. I wish I could tell you that God reassured me that everything would be OK. That he told me her name was Olivia Grace and she would be a gift and a blessing to us just like our other two children were. But He didn’t. I don’t know if I can properly explain this, but what I felt God tell me there in the dark was that my baby belonged to Him. That just like Abraham was called to sacrifice his son Isaac on the mountain, I was being called to offer my baby to the Lord—no questions asked. I leaned over and told my husband that we could go to sleep. Once I agreed with God that my baby belonged to Him I was at such incredible peace that I was able to fall into a deep, restful sleep.
Needless to say, I did not miscarry!
That next day when the ultrasound was done it appeared to be a subchorionic hemorrhage, and over time it completely cleared up. I don’t feel like I can do this story justice because to this day I can still feel that peace I felt after letting go that night.
In due time, Olivia Grace was born.
Now I don’t know if it was because of California (and their crunchy-mom ways) or because I was more health conscious (this being my fourth pregnancy and all) but I was determined to eat healthy and have a natural childbirth. When we returned to Ohio I switched doctors and went to a practice with midwives where I decided to have a water birth.
This was the best decision! Although I didn’t have an epidural with my first two, I did not employ any natural childbirth techniques during my labor. This made both of those deliveries excruciating. I knew I didn’t want drugs from the first time I was pregnant—I just didn’t know what to do about it!
My Water Birth Experience
The water birth was like a dream. Sure, it was still painful, but it was far more manageable than my first two deliveries—they say that the water has the same impact as morphine. It was so peaceful too. Just me and my husband in a small, quiet room. The midwife popping in from time-to-time to check things.
Spending that first day with Olivia at the hospital was like a vacation! When you have other small children at home a small room with a bed, television and people bringing you food is pretty attractive.
A funny side story—shortly after I delivered, I remember waking up from the most restful sleep I had had in forever. My head was nestled into the softest pillow and I was so relaxed. As I slowly awoke I started to realize that I was in the bathroom. I then began lifting my head only to realize that I was being embraced by an incredibly kind nurse that allowed me to fall on her bosom! Turns out, I had fainted. Low blood pressure isn’t helpful after the strain of labor!
Olivia has been a joy from the moment we laid eyes on her. She has also been incredibly assertive with her voice from a very young age. Before she had words, we called her “the raptor” because of her ferocious yell! Now that she can verbalize her feelings, we know that she merely needed to be heard and refused to be ignored #thirdchildproblems.
Little did we know that just 16 months after Olivia was born we would give birth to a tiny premature baby that Olivia would affectionately call Bop-O. Harper was a difficult name to pronounce! Olivia is one of the best big sister’s and she is blessed to be an incredible little sister too.
Photo Credits: Bella Baby Photography
My prayer for YOU Olivia Grace is that you love like Jesus. That you take your middle name, Grace, seriously and bestow it on every undeserving soul that threatens to derail you. Use your strong voice and determination to fight for those whose voices are weak and all-too-often unheard—you do this so well for Harper right now as she is learning to talk! Keep asking all the questions and being just as curious as can be. You need answers and as Dad pointed out recently—you get that from me. Be forewarned, people don’t like giving answers so it won’t be easy. Life is never easy though when you’re strong-willed—your greatest gift will also be your biggest flaw.
Happy Birthday Olivia! And in the words of your favorite television show, “ugga-mugga”—I love you!
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