July 11, 2018

The Birth of the Daughter Diaries: Ava's Birth Story

The Daughter Diaries started with one little girl named Ava and my letters to her. This is the story of the beginning of something beautiful.

I had this concept of running a blog for a long time, much longer than actually taking action. (I’m someone who has millions of ideas and no idea where to really begin.) Allie stumbling into my life made this dream come to fruition, and I couldn’t be more excited to be officially launching and making this concept a reality, with even bigger plans than originally conceived.

But let’s back up a little...

Before my first daughter, Ava, was born, I had already started journaling to her my pregnancy along with documenting every little tedious detail of my birth plan (sidebar: the birth didn’t go according to said plan -- shocker). Cataloging my pregnancy included fun little memories that I wanted to hold on to, ways in which I was feeling, and the thoughts running through my head of having a child and having no idea what to expect.

Wait, let’s back up a little further to the beginning, because all beautiful stories have a beginning.

I think this may come as a shock to some of you, but my husband, Matt, and I NEVER wanted children, that's right never, ever, no thanks. This was about three years ago. We were dead-set on just doing our thing, living a wealthy, happy, stress and shit-free life. And it was supposed to be perfect.

Well, around this time I was walking daily with one of my friends who was pregnant with her first child. During our walks, we would talk about how she felt, her anticipation and preparation for this little being she was creating. All the while I was thinking, "Thank the Lord this isn't me. This sounds way too uncomfortable and stressful. Why would anyone knowingly do that to themselves?"

Fast forward to the day I met my friend’s little miracle. Needless to say, the logical and sensible part of me went OUT THE WINDOW, and I became obsessed with having a little miracle of my own! Yeah, so Matt didn’t get the rose-colored glasses and see eye-to-eye with me for quite a long time.

Over the next couple of months, I kept kindly suggesting, (okay we all know I was nagging), how easy and fun it could be, (funny right -- this shit is hard!), and that it was definitely the next step in our marriage of four years.

Despite his objections, we did start trying to conceive. That December, after only two months of contemplating a baby, I became pregnant. I felt like it was the easiest thing in the world getting pregnant. Wow, I had this idea to have a baby and look, I was getting one so quickly! The doctor confirmed my home test saying I was indeed pregnant. I was so excited and overjoyed, I quickly began telling people fairly early and started already making plans for welcoming this little bundle of joy into the world. Would it be a little girl or a little boy? What would we name the baby? With what colors would I decorate the room?

In early February, we went to our first ultrasound to catch a first glimpse of our little baby, and I was so excited. Everyone told me we would get to see this tiny little bean and hear its tiny little heartbeat. I remember practically bouncing up and down in my chair waiting, (okay, I kind of had to pee too from drinking so much water). The moment the ultrasound tech placed the wand on my stomach, I felt like something wasn’t right. She wasn’t saying a word and didn’t point out anything to us. After a completely silent ultrasound screening, she told Matt and I to wait inside this room. We waited what seemed like forever when finally someone came in to tell us to go to my doctor immediately. I asked why but they didn’t say.

We headed over to my doctor, and I cried all the way there because I didn’t feel like this was good news they were going to shower me with. In my doctor’s office I waited another long period, forever again, and finally my doctor came in. Matt held my hand tight as they told me the news that my little baby wasn’t going to make it. They didn’t know why, I had no answers other than “sometimes these things just happen.”

I was so shocked because I never thought that would happen to me. Did I do something wrong? Was it because I didn't want children all those years so this was my fault? I was filled with so much guilt and resentment, especially seeing so many of my friends that were due around my September 29 due date. It’s honestly hard to capture into words the feelings around losing a child and really only those that have lost a child themselves can understand that feeling. People feel bad for you, but don’t know how to express it. You feel guilty and don’t understand what you did wrong for this to happen. You feel bitter as others around you are being blessed with children while you struggle with the heartache.

Miscarriage is hard and even though it happens to many of us, we just don’t know how to express the heartache. I even wish I could explain the emotions behind it better, but I just can’t.

After losing our baby in February, I wrestled with the idea of a baby again. Maybe that was a sign that children just weren’t meant to be. After contemplating it long and hard, Matt and I both decided to just let fate decide what was meant to be. For someone like me who is a planner by heart, it’s hard to let fate just be decided.

During the process of physically healing, as well as emotionally, I happened to get pregnant again in July. Those first few weeks I wanted to say nothing to anyone. I was constantly an emotional mess. I tried to push the idea of a baby out of my head because I didn’t want to be let down again. I tried to feel no joy or excitement because what if this baby wasn’t meant to be either.

I remember that ultrasound was the WORST anticipation ever. After my first ultrasound experience who could blame me? Right before they called me back, I told Matt we should just leave, and that I didn’t want to deal with it today. He made me stay, (rude).

The minute they put the wand on my stomach, a little bouncing bean appeared! It was the most wild little thing we’d ever seen! I instantly burst into tears, which was super embarrassing, but I couldn’t help myself. I felt relieved that I’d made it to 12 weeks with what seemed like a healthy little baby.

Ava Birth Announcement

I had what some might call a “Unicorn Pregnancy,” never got sick, was enjoying and appreciating every moment of being pregnant. Every morning I would wake up and put my hand on my stomach and say a little prayer and thank God for this gift. Despite having ultrasounds and every doctor telling me it was a healthy little baby, I was still so fearful and skeptical that at any point the news could be different.

In October, we found out we were having a girl! The idea of having a child became more real at that point when we found out the gender. We couldn’t wait to tell everyone that we were being blessed with a little girl we decided to name Ava.

Gender Reveal Photo

I cataloged every detail of my pregnancy for my little girl. How I was feeling, what I was feeling, and how I thought life would be once she arrived. I felt like I was talking to her even though she hadn’t arrived. I was conveying my hopes and dreams for her, telling her how much I had prayed and wished for her, and how excited I was that she was chosen just for me. I couldn’t wait to hold her and meet her for the first time.

Fast forward to week 36 of pregnancy. This future Mama had started getting large, and definitely not large in the cute way anymore. More than that, I had started to feel REALLY bad. I had started to run a low-grade fever, my swelling was off the charts, as well as my blood pressure. I had seen my doctor on a Friday, and she was concerned that I was developing a rare condition called Colestasis, (if you don’t know what that is click here), that only affects 1 out of every 1,000 pregnant women, lucky me! She told me to go in for testing and then sent me on my way. Little problem though: this was Easter weekend and all the testing labs were closed, and I was getting worse, quickly. That night, I couldn’t even stand up and see straight and my itchiness I thought was going to be the death of me. My mom advised me to go to the hospital, and I think that was the best advice she could have given me.

Upon admittance to the hospital, they were fearful about other conditions they thought I was developing in addition to Colestasis, like Preeclampsia. The doctors decided to start induction at 37 weeks. I quickly realized after four days, several rounds of Pitocin and Cervidil, starting and stopping delivering between all the doctors, that this birth was not going to go according to my birth plan.

My plan on having an all-natural vaginal delivery quickly went out the window with a life-threatening medical condition that could have cost my daughter her life, had I not been proactive. It’s funny how life can just determine how it wants to go, whether you plan for it or not.

On day four, the doctor broke my water, and I began the process of pushing and pushing and pushing. Three and a half hours later, we determined she was conveniently stuck inside my pelvis, face-up, and wasn’t coming out, so I had to go a c-section route.

The doctors were concerned that with how “early” she was, we might have to stay in the hospital longer, but out came a screaming, wild child! The minute they placed her in my lap was such a beautiful, frightening moment. I was a mother to a beautiful little girl. She was finally here and she was healthy as could be.

After she arrived, I realized we were making memories each day that I didn’t want to lose or forget with time. A few days after she was born, I decided to buy a journal and start writing how our days were going. It was not only cathartic but also made me feel good I was capturing some of the most memorable moments of that day that would get lost as time went on.

Each day since she’s been born, I’ve written to her about things she learned, things she’s said or done, or lessons I want her to carry with her even after I’m gone. I talk to her about my daily struggles that I deal with raising a strong-willed child, but how special and unique she is.

Creating this diary for her prompted me to start thinking about sharing my story with others. I felt like I probably wasn’t alone in the struggles I was facing as a mother, and was even told by some people to jump out there and talk publicly about this crazy thing called motherhood.

So here I am, over two years later, having found this amazing co-writer, Allie, and we are dreaming up big and beautiful plans for this blog that started with one little girl named Ava and her diary.

I invite you to follow our journey of motherhood as we navigate it together by scrolling down to the bottom of our page and subscribing.

Photo Credit: Sasha K Photography

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