The birth story of Harlan Veil

I’m not sure where to start so I’m just gonna start at the beginning……..

I wanted another baby SO bad. Not to try for a “girl”, but because I always wanted 3.  My womb literally felt like it was aching. Plus, I’m a dreamer, I dreamt about ” this time next year I’ll be pregnant” an entire year before we were even considering trying again. I had bought baby sleepers and my hospital house coat and gown,  before we even conceived. I was ready.  I had that fertility app bought and  everything logged in to go because dammit I had a plan, and plus,  I was beyond done with the whole ” working Mom” thing anyways.  And well, it didn’t happen exactly when I wanted it to.. So, of course the rational woman in me  panicked. I thought for sure my baby days were over and for some reason I couldn’t have kids.

But it happened, on July 3 2012 I saw for the third time in my life “pregnant” , and I fell in love at that moment all over again with a sesame seed sized bunch of baby cells.

And then at 8weeks, like the two previous pregnancies, I got sick, no, like REALLY sick.  And it just so happened that the week my  “morning” sickness started was the week steve started the busiest blueberry season in history.
— Cue huge pity party.
But I survived, even though I have absolutely  no recollection of summer, all I know is I slept, I puked, and  I tried to mother two little boys the best I could on my own.
I got a lot of comments this pregnancy that didn’t sit well with me, ” I bet your wishing for that girl aren’t you?”  or-
” There would be something wrong in the world if you didn’t have a girl. ”
I felt like people were rooting for me to have a girl, I felt like if I had a boy ( which is really and truly what I thought I was having ) people would be disappointed and that made me sad.
I can say this with confidence that I was at a very good place with either. I felt like God knew what our family needed, and all I really wanted was a healthy baby.

At 20 weeks I had a second ” quick ” ultrasound for some extra images and  I  was told,   ” you have a short cervix, don’t do much this weekend, your midwife will be contacting you, have a good day!”
I drove out of there completely numb, and confused.  I knew about this, I had a friend who had this, this short cervix thing was extremely serious. I was told that night that if born before 24 weeks my baby would not survive, and they would not resuscitate.  I walked myself through a still birth,  I blamed myself for it,  thinking maybe I had been too busy lately.  I internalized most of these fears, but I would cry in the shower, or alone in the car. I would wake up at night and remember what I was going through and not be able to fall back asleep.  I was plagued with fear every moment as I cradled my hand on the baby that  danced  and kicked inside and I begged God that this wasn’t happening to me.

But there’s a great thing called mommy instinct. I felt like so many things weren’t adding up, so I demanded another ultrasound a week later. I will never forget the drive to my appointment that day. Crossing the mission bridge with my worship music cranked tears pouring down my face thinking I’m either gonna hear the best or worst news of my life today.
Thankfully, it was the BEST news of my life! All of  this worry and week long bed rest was all because of a faulty ultrasound.
My cervix ( the word cervix always makes me giggle ) was totally fine. In fact she told me it was the most perfect baby she had seen all day,  and with that, I was sent home and told to carry on with life as normal.
And I did.

 

Fast forward to 37 weeks –

Although I was still extremely nauseated and exhausted, I wasn’t ready for it to be over just yet. You see, I love being pregnant.  I love the wonder and excitement and the feeling of never being alone. All along I had been telling myself this was my last baby, my last pregnancy.  It’s never easy to close that chapter, and for me it felt heartbreaking. But I told myself I had treasured every second, I had taken as many photos and videos as I could , I had done everything I wanted to. But ,  I was measuring small, extremely small, 32.5  at 38.5 weeks. So I was sent for numerous ultrasounds and an appointment with a obstetrician to get a second opinion.
The obstetrician recommended we induce sooner rather than later.  My fluid levels were border line and I was measuring very small, so they had concerns of growth restriction. Since  I was 38.5 weeks I too agreed the risks out weighed the benefits at this point. So I called my fav midwife and we planned on meeting the next day at the hospital for 10 am where she would break my water.

It’s a crazy thing knowing the day your gonna have your baby. I’ll never forget the last day we spent as a family of 4.
We took pictures, Steve ran around the house cleaning everything ( little did he know I had been nesting for the last 1o months and my list of things to do, recently completed.  But thanks anyways, honey 😉
I was present and aware of the fact that life was going to be changing,  I took in what life looked at that moment.
As I tucked the kids into bed that night I couldn’t help but cry. It had been the 4 of us, just me and my boys for the last 2.5 years, and the unknown felt just a little scary.


I went to bed that night feeling like it was Christmas eve, and I fully enjoyed my last full night of sleep.

I woke up feeling 100 million different emotions — I was quiet and in my own thoughts as I did my makeup and hair.
I was ready — I had waited for this day for the last 10 months. All this preparation, planning, nesting, was all for this day.
I remember feeling very emotional getting ready to go. I remember I told Levi I needed him. I needed to hug and hold and smell him, because there’s just something so comforting about your firstborn

Leaving the house, I took one final pregnancy photo and video, and I said goodbye to our old life…

We got there on time but our room wasn’t stocked, so we hung out in there for a hour, which gave me the opportunity to nest. I  sprayed my lavender oil, laid out the quilt, my nightgown, my boy or girl clothing options…I made Steve clean the bathroom,  because I’m paranoid that way…
We took some videos, sent texts.. I saw the baby warmer and the basinet, and it hit me that this was real, the baby that was in my tummy would be in one of those,  and hopefully soon.
My water got broken just after 11, so we  walked the halls, waiting for it to start and I would make pit stops at the waiting area to chat and laugh with the large group of family and friends that were there supporting us that day.


– All of the next images of her birth are curtesy of: Roxanna. J Photography. This was the best investment
we made. No stressing about photos, or missing a moment. Everyone said she was such a calm spirit, and she really was. She captured the day, the moment perfectly, and I will treasure these for the rest of my life,
thank – you Roxanna!!!

I remember having my first real contraction just after 12:30, we called in the birth photographer around 1 and I remember looking at her and saying ” crap I forgot this actually hurts!”  Like all my other labours, I hopped in the shower on the ball,and this is where things  from manageable to really hard.  I remember Steve trying to download a app to time contractions, but it wasn’t working, and I remember it annoyed me and I told him  to ” just do it the old fashion way!”

 

I remember Steve telling my midwife how tough I was, and it made me proud. I thought about all the things I had read about this time. I was gonna be superwoman, no drugs, no gas,  just me and my inner Mama strength.
I knew my body could do it, I knew I could manage the pain. I internalized, I breathed, I imagined each contraction being a good thing, it meant I was gonna meet my baby soon.

Things got really painful, I listened to my body and instinctively went on all 4’s,

I told my midwife I wanted to be checked, something didn’t feel right and sure enough,  baby was posterior.
I laboured on the bed now and  I took note that I needed to remember to  tell my sister in law to  –  ” screw the V-bac, and just go for the C- section!!”


- It's so good to see Steve's so happy at this moment  :0

I remember the baby was moving and squirming during and in- between contractions, which made things even more uncomfortable but they told me it was a good thing, it meant the baby was trying to move into the right position.
I remember yawning at one point and telling them I just wanted to have a nap.
I remember thinking everything was taking way too long. (my labour was only 3 hours )

I remember all of a sudden I could’t find a position that felt comfortable I was on all fours, my back, my side. I remember all of a sudden I just started pushing and sure enough, baby had moved and I was ready —

This is the part that I want to remember for the rest of my life.

I remember pushing and feeling so aware of what this meant.
I felt in control.
I knew it meant I got to finally meet the little person I had dreamed about for the last 10 months.
I finally got to find out who were.
I got to finally  meet my baby.

I pushed,  not long, until finally the tiniest little body emerged. I remember looking for their parts and actually envisioned a little pee pee because that’s what I knew and that’s what I had thought this whole time I was having.
I thought I knew for sure I was having a boy.

I couldn’t see and I remember  crying out,  ” what is it, what is it?!”
And I’ll never forget my husbands words –
“It’s a GIRL!!   honey,   it’s a GIRL!!!!”

“A– girl!”

 

I brought her to my chest, and we cried, me and my daughter, together.
I kissed her wet hair, and  I’ll never forget how she smelled.

 

Time stopped at that moment .

— – – – – – – – – – –

 I will never forget what it felt like, I’m not sure I can even put it into words.

I almost felt like it couldn’t be true.
I felt like my heart was going to explode with a different feeling of love I had never experienced yet.

I had a daughter.

I remember closing my eyes and rocking her back and forth whispering “my baby.. my baby…”


I felt instantly maternal as I held her wet, little body against mine.
I was still in shock, in fact I think I made them check 4x that it was actually a girl, and didn’t believe the until I saw for myself.
It was true, everything I had always dreamed of was true, I had a little girl.

I looked over at my husband beaming and I just wanted to kiss him, so I did.
I thanked him for giving us a daughter, and together we locked eyes with hers and fell in love.

I didn’t know until after, but no one came in for a hour. It literally felt like 10 minutes.
No one took her away to be weighed or poked, or prodded. They just left her with me, her Mama to nurse, and I just stared and stared and stroked her hair and cheek.
We wanted the boys to meet her first, with no distractions.
They walked in and I’ll never forget Levi’s face when he saw her.
or the funny little things he said ” Hey Emmy, you can pet her if you like”
Or when he talked to me in a hushed and very concerned voice ” Mom, do you have pants on under there? Where are your pants Mom?!! “

 

My new family of 5, my two boys and my little girl.

Then we allowed everyone else in, and the pictures pretty much say it all…..

We had originally planned for Steve to go home that night, I hadn’t even packed him any clothes. His parents were away, and thought it would just be easier for everyone that way. But once the night hit, there was no way I wanted him to leave us.

I wanted us to fall in love with her together.
I asked him if he wanted to have skin to skin with her, and he brushed it off with , ” I’m too hairy, it would probably be itchy for her..”
But he did, and what I witnessed was something I hadn’t prepared for or ever thought of truthfully…
I didn’t know how different it was for a Dad to fall in love with his little girl.

 

I was  looking forward to our first night together. I wanted to re-live her birth in the quiet of the dark night.
I promised myself I wasn’t gonna sleep. I knew the first night is one of those treasured times in life, I had my whole life to catch up.
There was also no way she was gonna spend a minute in that basinet.

I laid her on my chest/ tummy, and she curled up and got the hiccups like she always had in my tummy.
When it hit me.
It was her all along.
I went back to the beginning.
I re-lived my pregnancy, how sick I was, how I thought I was gonna lose her…
I went through a lot of feelings, emotions that night, and to be honest it took a good week for me to sort out just exactly it was, that I was feeling.
And what I was feeling was this:

I felt like I didn’t deserve her.

Let me explain –
Growing up, I never felt —  happy.
Now,  I’m not about to write a tell all book, but there’s a lot of things about my childhood I don’t like to talk about.
Things mostly only my sister knows.
And these things change you. You picture life different, you live different.
I never thought I would have a happy life, because as a child, that’s just something I had never really known.
It was almost like, I thought I had used up my three wishes, and life couldn’t possibly give me more than that.
My present life was so much more blessed than I ever thought it could, or would be.

It also stirred up a lot of emotions with my Mom. 
I missed her so much, it hurt. The gut wrenching  kind of hurt.
I’ve gotten good at living life without her now, it’s been 8 years.
The sharpness of her death, has softened just a little bit with time.
But now, we had this Mother – daughter thing in common.
I ached to talk to her and show her my new baby girl.
I imagined what she would have probably said, and what it would have looked like when she held Harlan in her arms.
For her to see the little outfit she had knitted for me as a baby, now on her Grand daughter.

I was also scared I was gonna mess her up.
That maybe the junk from my child hood will find it’s way back into our happy life…

But it hit me one night when I went for a walk all alone, just me and her, that —
DO deserve her.
I’ve gone through a lot of hard times in the past, and now God is just spoiling me.

He gave me her because he knew I needed her. Not just for dressing up, or having a shopping buddy… But because of all the real and true reasons.
All of these, that I am keeping between me and God.

She’s the sprinkles on my cupcake, the cream in my coffee..
One fine without the other, but for me, a bit dreamier.
She’s my frosting.
I always imagined  having two boys and a little girl, and I deserve every.single.one of them 🙂

By admin

10 Comments

  1. Reply

    Jen Doenz

    Michele, your words are so beautiful and admirable! I cried my way through this touch post and found myself relating so much in what vision if my own journey included another addition. Thank you for sharing, you are beautiful on the inside and out and all your children are nothing but blessed to have you as their mommy! Enjoy every minute and hope you’re all doing well 🙂

  2. Reply

    Jen Doenz

    Michele, your words are so beautiful and admirable! I cried my way through this touching post and found myself relating so much in what vision if my own journey included another addition. Thank you for sharing, you are beautiful on the inside and out and all your children are nothing but blessed to have you as their mommy! Enjoy every minute and hope you’re all doing well 🙂

  3. Reply

    Shari

    Such a lovely post Michele! I’m so glad that you decided to put yourself out there and share your joy. God has blessed you indeed and you do deserve it. You have such a darling family; so thrilled for you! God is good, all the time.

  4. Reply

    Sara

    I just have to say, I loved your story. It is so raw and beautiful. You hit one with me. I swear my son was born in that same room you had your daughter. It just looked familiar. Wishing you and your family of 5 all of the best!

  5. Reply

    Heidi

    Oh, this is SO beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story, and your heart. Amazing. Also, Roxanna is a dear friend of mine and she did a beautiful job! The combination of your words and her images had me crying through most of it. Thank you for this.

  6. Reply

    mel

    This is beautiful Michele. Brought tears to my eyes–and kind of makes me want another baby (don’t tell Duncan!).

  7. Reply

    Jenna

    Beautiful Michele. This brought tears to my eyes.

  8. Reply

    Garcy

    That was the most beautiful birth story Michele. Thank you for being so honest and vulnerable. Thats what makes you so stunning and inspiring. I teared too, those birth photography photos were phenomenal. I’m so happy for you guys. You ARE and will continue to be an incredible mom/wife. xoxo

  9. Reply

    Mariko

    So so beautiful Michele. It takes so much courage to share and open up your life in this way. I found myself with tears in my eyes and finished reading with love in my heart.

  10. Reply

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