January 25, 2015

our sweet Harpie girl | Harrisburg Birth Photographer

South Central PA Birth Photographer - Harper Christina 6

This birth story is extra special to me, it’s the story of our second baby girl! I don’t know if my words could ever do her birth story justice but I just had to write it all out so I would remember it. I know how much I love to read birth stories, they are just so unique, beautiful and special. So here it is, the story of our sweet baby Harper Christina.

Ah, our sweet second baby. She is such a dream and I truly attribute it to her birth. She came into the world so peacefully and naturally, I well up with tears just thinking about it. It was truly my dream birth – what I wanted all along but never quite knew.
Just over four years ago, my husband and I walked into the hospital be induced at 39 weeks. I have a clotting disorder that requires an extra set of eyes on me during my deliveries just to be sure I don’t bleed too much. So because of that, my previous OB scheduled an early induction. Although I love to read and learn, I didn’t do too much reading and learning about actual birth with my first. We took the basic childbirth classes, read all the pregnancy & baby related books, but for some reason, just never thought about the kind of birth I really wanted. I guess I just thought my OB knew best. I figured she had been to school, had experience in this field and most importantly, I trusted her.

While my first birth wasn’t anything awful or traumatic, I knew I didn’t want the same thing twice. I knew I wanted to experience birth the way God designed it to be. I have since done so much reading and research on pregnancy and birth and everything involved. I have totally shifted my beliefs on health, nutrition, exercise, etc. and just choose a very natural approach to life in general now. We don’t take OTC meds, we eat whole, nutritious foods (well, give me some grace for these past few weeks. breastfeeding appetite is NO joke. milkshakes are also my bff.), exercise has become something I truly look forward to, we use essential oils, etc. So I knew with our next baby, things would look very different and different they were.

I had been having contractions from 38 weeks on. Sometimes they were strong, sometimes not. They certainly felt like they should be doing something. I had my midwife check me at my 39 week appointment and I was at a 1.5 cm. 0% effaced although her head was SUPER low. Like when she moved her head, I could feel it in my pelvic area. Throughout the week, more and more contractions were coming and they just kept getting more intense whenever they would come. I just kept my eye on the prize and knew the stronger they got the more they helped my body prep for labor.
I went into my 40 week (39w6d) appointment ready. I had been super content and comfortable for most of my pregnancy until I hit 39 weeks – then boy was I ready. I continually felt like a baby was going to fall out while I was strolling the aisles of Target. Friends, you shouldn’t feel like that unless your a 10 and ready to push, so I was definitely ready. I had my midwife check me again, praying that all the painful contractions I’d been having were helping move me along.

“You’re 5cm and 90% effaced!” she told me. I started crying and hysterically laughing. I was just SO happy that they had helped and they weren’t just painful braxton hicks. She actually decided to monitor me because my contractions were about 7 mins apart at that point. Since I had to have blood work done, we had to make sure I had enough time for that so she admitted me to the hospital.

I called my mom and my husband on the way over and told them what was going on. In the meantime, they hooked me up to the monitors and watched me. Contractions were still 5-7 mins apart and a little painful. Soon after my sweet sweet hubby arrived with “what a family of 6 could survive on for 2 months in the wild” AKA my hospital bag(s), I ended up leaving because they lost their intensity and stalled out for the most part. I was a little defeated but happy that I could labor in the comfort of my home.

More contractions that night while I was eating dinner. I ditched the chair and bounced on the birthing ball while eating sloppy joes & macaroni salad (I know my husband was so glad he married and impregnated that sexy beast, let me tell you!). In the morning I woke up with some contractions so I decided to still take K to gymnastics. I was in a good bit of pain but I wasn’t about to go to the hospital to stall out again so I pushed through then rewarded myself with a white chocolate raspberry mocha, YUM.

That night things intensified and after several painful contractions coming pretty quickly, I told my husband it was time. It was really surreal, like it didn’t feel like I was going to meet this sweet baby growing inside of me so soon. We dropped off our big girl and kissed her goodbye as parents of just her for the very last time. My first baby, the one who made me a mama, was going to be a big sister. I was SO excited for this new role she would totally thrive in, yet so nostalgic to think of how fast she’s grown and how beautiful these past four years have been with just her. I always wanted my kids very close together but I see why God’s plan for our family worked out the way it did. We had so much growing up to do and plenty of time to focus on being the parents we knew we were meant to be. His plan is always perfect and when we don’t see it we just have to trust.

We got to the hospital and were admitted. My midwife checked me and I was a 6 and 90% effaced at this point. My contractions were all over the place – super intense, spaced out, less intense but coming rapidly, etc. – so I just relaxed and let things happen. I totally trusted my body and was confident that it knew what it was doing.

My mom showed up at that point and we all decided to just relax and try to get some sleep while things were slow. My hubby fell asleep around 1 and my mom around 4. I stayed up and just rocked in the rocking chair, listening to all the yoga meditation music I put onto my phone. It was such a peaceful and beautiful time – I just closed my eyes and let the contractions come and go like waves. I had Gentle Baby essential oil going in the diffuser and I tell you, it was LIFE CHANGING. This time was so special to me – I just gathered all my thoughts, prayed and dreamed about what our sweet baby would look like. I truly believe this time was so crucial in having the birth I wanted.

My midwife came in around 6:30 and asked if I’d like my water broken. I had requested to not be checked for dilation until morning or unless things started to intensify before that, so I told her let’s wait until after 7:30, check me and then we can decide. I was in virtually no pain and my contractions were still coming but weren’t very intense. I jumped in the shower for a little to kill time and hopefully speed things up a bit. Once I got out, my midwife was ready so I hopped up on the bed. She checked me and I was a 7.5 and 100% effaced. I gave her the go ahead after discussing their policies on breaking the water bag. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t shooting myself in the foot by letting her do it and not progressing after, resulting in pitocin or even a c-section. We were comfortable with their policies and so she broke it. Um can I just say WEIRDEST FEELING EVER. My water didn’t break with K until after the epi was in so that was the first time I felt it actually break. Totally felt like I was peeing myself and then any time I flexed my abs more would come out and I would just laugh so hard.

So she broke my water at 7:57AM. I immediately started having the most painful contractions yet. I literally rolled onto my hands and knees and just rocked. My hubs rolled tennis balls over my lower back and my mom just helped me breathe. I was doing good, listening to my meditation music, breathing through each contraction but they were getting SO intense. I was having a hard time breathing, so I kneeled and wrapped my arms around my moms shoulders and my hubby continued to roll the tennis balls on my back. My mom and I were repeating some birth affirmations together and just taking deeeeeeep breaths. I felt the intense pressure of needing to go to the bathroom. My midwife laid me down and checked me in between and said I was 9.5 and had a small lip that she wanted gone before I started to push. I quick jumped up when I felt the next one coming. As soon as I stood up and grabbed my hubby shoulders, my body started to bare down. It was the coolest thing – I wasn’t pushing, my body was. I knew it was time and I told my hubby “I have to push!” and I just started pushing as hard as I could. He threw me onto the bed and my midwife checked me again, “Okay, you’re complete,” she said, “time to push!”

I laid down and was having some trouble at first. My nurse wanted me to hold my legs and pull them back towards my head as I push. I would have rather ran my fingernails along a chalkboard for the record, but I did it. I was having a very hard time breathing. It was pain like I hadn’t experienced so I was holding my breath trying to cope with it and we then realized baby’s heart rate was plummeting. It was at 40BPM when my midwife looked me in the eyes and said, “You need to focus on breathing for your baby!” So I got my act together and really focused on my breathing. My nurse also brought over oxygen and I cannot even describe how I felt getting that. It was almost like a burst of super strength or something.

I kept pushing and finally started getting somewhere. My midwife told me to reach down and feel her head so I did. It was the perfect motivation to keep pushing forward. I pushed once and her head came out, then again and out popped her shoulders and the rest of her body. I had so much water still in there that I soaked my midwife! It was like something out of a water park HA!

Harper Christina Davis was born on January 18, 2015 at 7:37 AM. A total of 40 minutes after my water broke. It was crazy and fast and peaceful and beautiful and perfect. She is SO perfect.
They placed her on me for our skin to skin and I just laid there with her just kissing her and marveling in everything that just happened. I could not believe that I did it. She started nursing right away and has just been a champion nurser since. It was such a nice surprise as breastfeeding wasn’t easy with my first. Harper just took to it with no problems from the beginning, I’m SO grateful. We did delayed cord clamping so eventually my hubby cut her cord but my hospital just let us do our thing for as long as we wanted. They were amazing in every aspect and I’m so grateful that we ended up going with them.
It was the perfect birth, what I dreamed of my whole pregnancy with Harper, and it came true and we are so blessed. I’m just still in awe of what God created women’s bodies to do – it’s an AMAZING thing when you just step back and let your body do what it’s made to do. I couldn’t have done it without my mama, midwife, nurses or most important my amazingly supportive husband. He never doubted me, never laughed when I told him what I dreamed it would be like, listened to all my rambling about pregnancy and birth, watched The Business of Being Born way too many times, rubbed essential oils all over me whenever I asked and just loved on me. There is no feeling quite like being loved and supported in your decisions. I truly felt like I could conquer the world with him by my side. Thank you, MD. You’ll never know what this means to me. You’re the greatest.

South Central PA Birth Photographer - Harper Christina10
South Central PA Birth Photographer - Harper Christina11
South Central PA Birth Photographer - Harper Christina8
South Central PA Birth Photographer - Harper Christina9
South Central PA Birth Photographer - Harper Christina13South Central PA Birth Photographer - Harper Christina14

South Central PA Birth Photographer-Harper Christina1South Central PA Birth Photographer - Harper Christina4South Central PA Birth Photographer - Harper Christina2South Central PA Birth Photographer - Harper Christina3*Thank you to my husband for the beautiful pictures — everything in B&W was taken by him. The color ones were taken by me during Harpie’s fresh 48.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Monthly musings on photography, life, homemaking, mothering and more

Sign up below!