Hello there! How has it already been 2.5 months since our little Wren was born?
If you remember Bowie's birth story, this one was also like something out of the movies. It's how we do things around here. The birth was so quick (3 hours) that Hal almost missed it! I still laugh about how nothing made it out of my bag - no candles, crystals, essential oils or Hypnobabies this time around. But I'll take fast and furious over long and laborious any day. Makes for a great story, that's for sure. And we're fortunate that we had someone there to help me tell it to you today - our birth photographer, Whitney Hardie.
Birth photography was not on my list of must-haves going into this pregnancy. In all honesty, I was extremely hesitant about letting a stranger document such raw and intimate moments. Would her camera clicking distract me? Would I feel self-conscious? Would the images scar our children for life? But as soon as we met for an initial consultation, Whitney and I connected instantly and her warm and calming presence put me at ease. All my concerns were addressed and as promised, she was an absolute ninja. I barely even noticed she was in the delivery room. And the final images? You'll see below - they speak for themselves. They still make me emotional. I love being able to re-live this once in a lifetime event. And seeing your birth from someone else's perspective is quite amazing - like an out-of-body experience. We're so happy to have had these memories preserved. I only wish Whitney was with us for Bowie's birth as well! Pregnant friends, if you're on the fence about hiring a birth photographer, do it. Seattle mamas-to-be, Whitney is your gal.
So here we go. My darling Wren, below is the beautiful story of how we met...
You were due on January 2nd. I was hoping for a New Year's Day baby because it was a full super moon on the 1st. You know me, I'm silly about that kind of stuff. At the very least, I was determined to have you after Christmas (who wants to compete with Jesus?) But on December 22, 2017, at just under 38 weeks, you came knocking on my door. I woke up around 5am with what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions. I'd had them throughout the third trimester, frightening me with each tightening of my uterus. Since your brother Bowie was 1 month premature, I was extremely anxious about going into labor early again. Although I was considered full term, I still wasn't mentally ready (would I ever have been?) With each contraction, I told you, "no, no, not today baby, not today." You must have been giggling inside. I drifted in and out of sleep until around 7am when the pressure waves felt regular, so I began to time them. They were 10 minutes apart. This was all new to me, since Bowie's labor started with my water breaking. What did 10 minutes apart really mean?
I woke up your Papa, told him the news, and got into the shower to see if the hot water would slow things down. It didn't. I could barely stand up in the stall. As soon as I got out, I called my midwife. Since second births happen quicker, she said I should come into the hospital. I naively asked her if the contractions were possibly a false alarm? She chuckled and said "no, you're having a baby today!" Eek! I got dressed, dried my hair, and threw a few last minute items into my bag. Standing up and walking around sped things up considerably. I was doubled over in pain every 30 seconds or so. It didn't even occur to me that the time between my contractions would increase and intensify so rapidly.
Meanwhile, your Papa called my folks to start their 1.5 hour drive up to Seattle. He called Whitney, so she could meet us at the hospital. Then he got busy getting Bowie fed and dressed. We planned to leave him with my brother who lives in the neighborhood, but they were in Hawaii and we foolishly didn't have a back-up plan. Total parent fail! In hindsight, we should have dropped him off with a neighbor, but we figured your grandparents would get to the hospital in time to take him while I labored. Famous last words.
Once we got in the car, it seemed as though my contractions were happening every 15 seconds. I had to unbuckle my seatbelt, lean forward into the dashboard and breathe through them with all the concentration I could muster. I remember saying to Papa, "you're going to need to drive a lot faster!" Poor Bowie was probably so confused. Papa explained to him that you were on your way and Mama was going to be okay. At one point, I truly thought I was going to give birth in the car. BUT we made it to the hospital. Papa carried Bowie along with all our bags, while I trailed behind, stopping to breathe through a contraction every few feet. We rushed up the elevator to the delivery ward and the nurses directed me to a room. I waddled in, changed into a birthing gown and immediately climbed into the bed. Bowie was chatting up a storm so I asked Hal to take him outside. I needed silence. And I couldn't bear to have him see me in so much pain.
They left the room as my midwife came in to greet me, strap on a monitor and check my cervix. I was 6 cm dilated. She left to go get a birthing ball while the nurses asked me all sorts of annoying questions and tried to insert the saline lock into my arm. But there was no time for stillness in between contractions. As soon as one pressure wave ended, the next one began. Then it happened - I felt the strong urge to poo. I remembered this sensation all too well from Bowie's birth and knew exactly what it meant. You were ready. You were coming.
My midwife came back and checked my cervix. I asked if could push, dreading the thought of holding you in like I had to with Bowie. But she gave me the green light and I was so relieved! Someone asked if I wanted your Papa in the room. I said "YES! GO GET HIM!" A nurse raced out to the waiting area, gave Bowie a piece of chocolate, and told Papa to RUN! He arrived just as I began to push you out.
He cheered me on as I crushed his hand with my grip. I was so eager to see you, my midwife had to remind me to only push during the contractions! About 2 pushes in, my mom arrived, right as your head was crowning. Then one final push!
They flipped me over and I got to hold you on my chest, skin to skin. The most magical feeling in the world.
My placenta was delivered soon after and my midwife sewed up a very minor tear as you instinctively made your way to my breast for your very first feed.
Your papa was so happy he made it in time.
And he couldn't wait to bring your brother into the room to meet you. Bowie was in awe of your tiny nose and mouth, that looked so similar to his own.
We named you Wren for a few reasons. Papa chose it because one of his favorite drummers is Alan "Reni" Wren from The Stone Roses. I loved the name because the wren is considered the most sacred bird in many cultures, particularly to the Druids. It symbolizes wisdom and healing. Around the New Year, an apprentice Druid would go out by himself into the woods and if he found a wren, it was a sign that he would be blessed with knowledge in the coming year. The wren is a very tiny bird with a big voice. The wren's elusiveness is a metaphor for finding divinity within all things. Your middle name, Keone (pronounced key-own-ee), is Hawaiian for land/sand/earth. We felt it went perfectly with Bowie's middle name, Ocean.
The next day, the hospital photographer stopped by to take a few sweet portraits of you and all of us together at last....
Wren Keone O'Keefe, you are one special soul. So incredibly loved. With you here, our family is complete.