Sunday, December 6, 2015

What I Learned Giving Birth the Second Time Around

Going into this pregnancy, something that was always on my mind was how and if it would be different than my labor and delivery with my first baby. There were things I was hoping would be different, while other things I had kept reminding myself to soak up certain moments more fully, because that experience and what you learn and feel from it is so fleeting. This time around I learned so much more about myself, and I came to be more aware about the nature of our relationship with the Savior. I had this talk on my mind a lot that night. 

I have had my mother in law here helping with J--it's been such an enormous blessing. I knew this meant that for this labor, I would be facing some of it alone. I really needed her to be there for J rather than try to comfort or help me, so some of the hardest moments were right before going to the hospital when I was laboring alone in my room, knowing that I needed to get through that pain on my own with no help from others. Laboring at home was so much more painful this time since it progressed a lot faster the second time. Contractions were long and intense but thankfully the between times gave me enough relief--even if it was only for four minutes at a time! Watching a Flip or Flop marathon on my ipad and eating Sonic pebble ice was what helped relieve me a little bit and made the time not feel so strenuous so if you're looking for labor ideas there you go haha. 

While I had prepared myself to conquer most of the labor process alone, I also knew that getting to the hospital meant that I would be getting help I could not do for myself, like actually delivering the baby...and getting an epidural ;) So that gave me hope. When I got to the hospital, I was told I was dilated 6cm. I did it! I wasn't turned away and they began prepping me for birth. Things progressed pretty quickly, and by the time the epidural kicked in two hours later, I was already at an 8. So things were still getting more and more painful as they were getting it all ready. 

Something else I learned about myself in this setting is what works best for me as far as comforting goes. I didn't realize it until this birth, but compared to the nurses and doctors at the Naval Hospital where I gave birth before, these nurses were much different in a way that was much better for me. With my first birth, the nurses and the doctor delivering me were kind of acting more like cheerleaders: trying to get me pumped up and motivated to push through the pain. It must have been the whole military mindset. Now I realize that does not work for me, and I think that's why things were harder for me. My nurses at the hospital here in Monterey were more like encouragers. They gently encouraged and talked me through each contraction building and coming down. It was just what I needed. They even coached Victor to gently hold my hand (to keep the IV flowing mostly ha) which was nice, since before I didn't want anyone touching me through contractions. Poor Victor!

I also learned (or had it reconfirmed) how much I loved it just being Victor and I in the delivery room. We were discussing again whether we should have asked someone to come in and take pictures for us, but when it comes down to it, I always say no. Since my mother in law had to stay with our older baby, it really was just the two of us this time, and it was just such a special and sacred thing to just savor with him. I'm still grateful that he was able to snap these pictures though :) Hope you don't mind the kind of gross ones. 

btw click here if you want to read about my first time giving birth
This one is blurry since it all happened so fast--did I mention I only had to push three times in like three minutes and then just like that he was out?? That was awesome!! Since I was more with it this time, the doctor let me reach down and pull my sweet baby directly onto my body. You can be like my mom and sister and say that's gross, but I don't care. It was a surreal experience!
I love this man. He is such a wonderful father!
I just want to end this with these beautiful words which helped me so much. Thank you Jeffrey R. Holland, for ultimately saying what I have learned from all this, and most importantly, helping me feel closer to my Savior Jesus Christ. 

"Bear, borne, carry, deliver. These are powerful, heartening messianic words. They convey help and hope for safe movement from where we are to where we need to be—but cannot get without assistance. These words also connote burden, struggle, and fatigue—words most appropriate in describing the mission of Him who, at unspeakable cost, lifts us up when we have fallen, carries us forward when strength is gone, delivers us safely home when safety seems far beyond our reach. “My Father sent me,” He said, “that I might be lifted up upon the cross; … that as I have been lifted up … even so should men be lifted up … to … me.”

But can you hear in this language another arena of human endeavor in which we use words like bear and borne, carry and lift, labor and deliver? As Jesus said to John while in the very act of Atonement, so He says to us all, “Behold thy mother!”

Today I declare from this pulpit what has been said here before: that no love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child. When Isaiah, speaking messianically, wanted to convey Jehovah’s love, he invoked the image of a mother’s devotion. “Can a woman forget her sucking child?” he asks. How absurd, he implies, though not as absurd as thinking Christ will ever forget us."

Thanks for reading, if you made it through! And Happy Sunday. 
xoxo Annie


  1. I'm so impressed you already got your birth story up! It was beautiful hearing about the spiritual journey you had to give birth to your second baby boy! How sweet! By the way last night I dreamed you all, including Dominic came to visit. It was so good to see you and we played a few card games with some pirates. Good times :)

  2. You look pretty amazing in those photos! Where's the sweat? Haha. Love his birth story and mostly that everyone was healthy. Love you!

  3. You look amazing in those photos! Where's the sweat?! Ha. Love his birth story and mostly that everyone was healthy. Love you

  4. I love your description! I loved holding my new babies immediately and didn't care about the goo! It was definitely surreal--among the most amazing moments in my life.

  5. What a beautiful birth story!!! Congratulations on becoming a mother for the second time!