Magnolia's Birth Story



I sit at my laptop with the unusually warm February breeze* blowing into our bedroom window, my pup is cuddled by my side, and my sweet Magnolia is wrapped in her muslin blanket snoozing in her Dockatot. Daddy is watering the Magnolia tree we planted on Mother's Day of last year, when our daughter Magnolia was only in our dreams. One day that tree is going to bloom outside of our bedroom window and it'll be a constant reminder of how blessed we are to have our daughter. That Magnolia tree was planted with hope and faith that someday she'd be in our life, and now she is. I hope to remember her birthday all the days of my lives. I've never felt so much physical pain and emotional + spiritual happiness all in one moment in my life. The gift of motherhood is the greatest of them all.
*I started to write this on 2/11/17

The first time my OB checked for dilation and effacement at 37 weeks we were both surprised to find out that I was already 70% effaced and one cm dilated. Each week my effacement and dilation progressed. He started to strip my membranes at 39 weeks and I started to feel the early signs of labor, but the contractions were never significant enough to count. My doctor said that it was very unusual for a first time mom to have made so much progression and not be checked into the hospital already. Basically I had been walking around in early labor for weeks. At my 39 week appointment he offered to schedule an induction since I was 2 cm dilated and he figured I'd be at a three by my 40 week appointment. My first thought was that I didn't want to be induced because I knew that Pitocin would ruin my plans for a drug free labor. I knew the Pitocin contractions would be stronger and more intense and on top of that I'd be confined to the hospital bed for the entire duration of labor. Meaning no baths in the soaker tub! He didn't pressure me at all and he told me he would schedule the room and I can take it or cancel it. I appreciated the fact that he gave me time to think about it and he made it clear it wasn't something I had to do. There was no medical reason to be induced, but I was progressed so much that a little Pitocin would simply get the active labor kick-started. It was very important for me to have my doctor deliver her and that was a factor in my decision to go ahead and do the induction on Friday, February 3rd (40 weeks + 3 days).

Thursday night before we went in for our five am induction I was up all night long having some pretty intense contractions. My sisters were insisting that I go into Labor and Delivery early, but I decided to stay in the comfort of my home as I figured we had plenty of time to get to the hospital. We got checked into our room at 5 am, all the nurses were incredibly kind and loving and they made us both feel very comforted. A nurse checked my cervix and another started my IVs. I felt excited and unusually calm. Before they started the Pitocin I asked to go to the bathroom. Ryan helped me get all the plugs undone and walked with me as I was hooked up to IVs. I felt a warm sensation running down my leg and there was blood all over the floor. I sat on the toilet and could hear a lot of fluid coming out of me. The toilet bowl was full of what we thought was blood (it was pink). I panicked a little because I didn't think that much blood would happen until after birth. Ryan ran and got a nurse who wasn't startled a single bit. She said it was fine and some women just bleed like this during labor. It took me a little while to shake it off, but they all said it was normal. One nurse had said all the fluid we heard may have been my water breaking. Then the nurses changed shifts.


My new nurse was one that I had already met at my doctor's office and I LOVED her. I was incredibly excited to know she'd be my nurse for all of my labor. Her and I just clicked! Around 9 am my doctor came in to break my water. He had already warned me that the Pitocin contractions wouldn't be intense until after he broke my water. At this time I was already having contractions that took my breath away and all I could do was breathe through them and Ryan would watch the machine and tell me when they had peaked. Knowing they were going to pass really helped me get through the pain. I was a little nervous to think that my contractions were going to get worse after my doctor broke my water, but I was ready to meet my baby girl, so I was ready for him to help things move along. When he went to break my water he couldn't find the sac. I immediately knew that my water had to have broken at 6:30 am when I got up to go to the bathroom. We weren't sure at that time and since the nurses had changed shifts he didn't know what had happened. The reason it was pink water was because it was mixed with blood. My doctor said what I was already thinking, "well good news is you don't have to worry about the contractions getting any more intense at this point!"

He knew I wanted to labor as long as possible with out pain management. He told me to let the nurse know if and when I was ready for an epidural. When the nurse and doctor left the room I talked to Ryan about how long I wanted to go before asking for the epidural. My goal was to get to 6 or 7 cm dilated, that way I'd be in active labor and I was hoping things would continue to progress at a nice speed. My doctor said it wouldn't slow things down, but I had it in my head that it would, plus I felt that I was handling the contractions pretty well at that time. It was tough to be stuck in the bed as the nurse cranked up the Pioticin, and all I could do was tell myself that with each contraction we were getting closer and closer to meeting our baby girl. Ryan was the absolute best husband through it all. He was literally laboring with me. He was by my side with every single one and he would hold my hand or watch the machine and tell me when they had peaked. He'd help me stay calm and catch my breath before the next one would arrive. At one point I had him get my Lavender and Peppermint essential oils out and they helped a little bit. He played music and we watched funny movies. I ate ice chips and popsicles through it all and I can say that ice chips have never tasted so good before. Going without water since midnight the night before was very hard for me.

As I got closer and closer to my goal the back labor was growing more and more intense. I always heard that the contractions would take your breath away, but until you actually feel them it's really hard to explain. With each one I would put my head back, try my hardest to relax my body, it was almost like I was in another world. It was like my reality altered during each one and I would just breathe. Around 11 I got checked again and I was at 6 cm dilated. Ryan and I decided to call for the epidural 30 minutes later. The anesthesiologist got there really fast. My nurse had already told her to be ready for the call. I was a little nervous about having the epidural inserted, but at this point I was truly in and out of this other world, and I was able to just clear my mind and relax as she did it. Ryan looked me in the eyes and held me the whole time and it really wasn't that bad at all. After it took effect I kept saying, "oh I'm so happy I finally got this!" It was great to have some relief and store up some energy for pushing. At this time we thought I'd start pushing around three o'clock. Well, as I had feared, things started to slow down with the epidural and the Pitocin was being cranked up. By five o'clock I was 10 cm dilated, which was not too much longer than we had expected. The nurse said that Magnolia was still pretty high up though and I could either start pushing then or I could sit in a different position in the bed in hopes that she'd start to descend on her own. I had no idea what route to take and I told the nurse to do whatever is best for my body and Magnolia. She adjusted the bed and put me in an upright position with my feet down.

Around the time of the new seating position I started to feel the contractions on the left side of my body, especially strong in my back. My right side was completely numb and I couldn't even move my right leg. I told the nurse and I used the pump to get a little more pain relief. It would help for about 20 minutes and then they'd come back. We never really figured out what was going on with my left side and then the next thing I knew my nurse said although she hadn't dropped anymore it was time to start pushing her down. I was really happy and excited at this point. She said this could take anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours. From that I was prepared for an hour and half.


She prepared the bed and I could start to feel the contractions again. Part of me wanted to feel them because I wanted to know when to push versus having someone else tell me when. And I also feared that not being able to feel anything would hinder my ability to productively push. Well, I got my wish and the pain was back. She helped me get the hang of pushing for the first 30 minutes or so. After 30 minutes I realized baby girl was really up there! Once I got the hang of things, Ryan and I were the only ones fully involved, which I very much appreciated. The nurse was down there watching and encouraging us; she gave us the ownership of the birthing process that I truly desired, even with all the medical interventions. I would say when a contraction was coming, I would hold my right leg and Ryan would hold my left leg. He would would count to ten three times. I was golden for the first ten, I'd start to fizzle out half way through the second set, and by the third set I was in so much pain that I didn't know how much longer I would make it. I had doubts in my mind, but I never spoke them out loud. I knew how important it was stay stay strong and confident and I just had to push my fears to the back of my mind. The pain was so bad that I started to vomit during the third set of ten. I was purely exhausted. The nurse kept saying how close we were, but I started to doubt her assessment when we got to the one and half hour mark. I knew the doctor was planning to show up once her head was starting to show. He ended up showing up early and was there for the second half of the pushing. When he arrived I got a new wave of energy. Thankfully he was much like our nurse and he continued to let Ryan and I lead the way. He was only there to say when to really hold the push, even though I thought my head might pop off. For two hours and 45 minutes I pushed as Ryan was by my side counting and encouraging me. I had the mirror pulled out in the beginning because the nurse was so excited about all her long dark hair and I just had to see it. Just seeing how close she was to being in my arms was a big motivation. In between each contraction I would put my head back, close my eyes, and pray to God to give me the strength to birth her. And with each new push I felt strong again until the third round of ten!

Minutes before she arrived the room was full of nurses and each nurse was training someone so the room was packed. As we got closer and closer to her arrival the entire room was literally cheering me on. I remember hearing them, but I was in another world. The doctor said he was going to do a small episiotomy so I wouldn't tear. I felt him numb me, but I didn't feel the cut, thankfully. I'm not sure how much time passed after that. I do remember him saying "okay, you can push really hard on this one and she'll be in your arms or you can push three more times and she'll be here." Before I knew it she was on my chest.

At 8:14 pm on Friday, February 3rd, after almost 14 hours of labor.



It's really hard for me to put into words the moment when I felt her warm body on my skin. I remember the overwhelming feeling of euphoria and uncontrollable tears. There are no words powerful enough to explain the moment she looked into my eyes and I heard her cry. I looked up at Ryan and his eyes were full of big tears and we just cried as Magnolia laid on my chest. The hospital staff was amazing. They left us alone for two hours as she laid skin-to-skin on my chest. I figured since I was a new mom they would send in a lactation consultant right away to help me feed her, but after 15 - 20 minutes no one showed up. My mommy instinct just kicked in and I put her on my breast and she started to nurse like we'd been doing it forever. I felt grateful and happy for that moment. I've heard stories about nursing being a challenge and I was very much relieved that her and I just connected and got the hang of it within her short 30 minutes of life. In retro I'm also grateful that we did it all on our own without someone hovering over us as we had that first special earthside connection. Eventually, later in the evening, a lactation consultant came in to see me and she was happy to see how well we were doing and she left us to do our thing. I couldn't have asked for a better crew of nurses and I have the most amazing OB.






After our skin-to-skin time they asked to take her to be weighed and bathed. I was surprised to see she was only 6 lbs 12 oz, I was thinking she'd be in the lower seven pound range, especially since she went past her due date. She has really long legs and arms and measured 19.5 inches long.





Around midnight we were taken to our room and we were both exhausted, starving, thirsty, and the happiest we've ever been in our lives. I couldn't get enough water in my system! Since it was so late the cafeteria was closed so we ordered Italian food. I ate really fast and continued to nurse my baby girl skin-to-skin through the night. By Saturday morning I must have been running on adrenaline because I hadn't slept since Wednesday night, yet I couldn't keep my eyes off of this tiny human that Ryan and I made. Bless Ryan's heart, he was just as fatigued, he truly labored with me every single second of the process.





On Saturday we had a few visitors. We had decided in advance that we wanted to keep the hospital visitors to a minimum. We had numerous reasons why we wanted to keep the room very calm and peaceful. Mainly because we wanted that time to bond with our baby girl, and we knew how tired we'd be after such an intense labor. The nurses and doctors advised us to keep the guest list short, as cold and flu season is very dangerous for babies. On Sunday morning we got the all clear to go home! I took a nice hot shower, put on some makeup to freshen up, and we got our Magnolia dressed in her first outfit. As we were pulling out of the parking lot I burst in to tears. I told Ryan to stop the car for moment so we could just sit there and take it all in. WE WERE LEAVING THE HOSPITAL WITH OUR DAUGHTER! It was surreal and a moment we had prayed for, for so very long. I needed a moment to really feel it and soak up all the glory of my escalated emotions. It was a beautiful February day with a cold breeze and a bright sunshine filled sky. And then life as a family of four (including our Mrs. PB) began!



Many of you have followed along on our journey to parenthood, starting over a year ago when we began the IVF process, and you supported us, prayed for us, encouraged us, and to you we are forever grateful.

For this child I prayed and the Lord has granted the desires of my heart. 1 Samuel 1:27

Love xo
Wen, Ry, and Magnolia

p.s.
Follow us on Instagram @wendycorreen for more photos of our family and our Sweet Magnolia. Also, I've got her newborn photos that I'm excited to share here on the blog soon. Stay Tuned.
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Wendy Correen Smith
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  1. Congratulations Wendy and Ryan! She is absolutely precious!

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