On April 25th, my heart grew exponentially as our blessings increased from one amazing baby to two!
Even today, I have not yet mustered the confidence to share Marri’s 36 hour traumatic birth story. However, with God’s grace, we had a much easier labor the second time with our beautiful baby girl, Journei. Our awesome midwife, Alex Montgomery, not only safely delivered our little diva, but she showed kindness and support throughout her delivery that I will never forget.
For almost two decades, Alex has been delivering little miracles into this world. Which explains why her experience and expertise was everything to our family during this time.
Let’s rewind to 12 days before Journei’s birthday. Because Marri was born at 38 weeks to the day, I was expecting the exact same sudden entrance from Journei. Once that time rolled around, I had hospital bags packed, Nana on standby to babysit Marri, reservations at the dog school for cj, every baby outfit washed and ready for this little one to arrive.
As each day passed after 38 weeks, I not only grew more physically uncomfortable from a plethora of third trimester pregnancy woes, I mentally became defeated. Candidly, I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore and I wanted to meet this new addition that was keeping the family in suspense.
At the beginning of my 39th week, I wasn’t the most pleasant patient to deal with and I remember during one of my prenatal appointments, Alex came into the exam room filled with love and compassion and hugged me. She said, “I know you are ready just hang in there.” Each day of waiting I grew more and more discouraged.
This pregnancy was so much harder mentally, physically and emotionally than my first. Something my amazing husband and I learned with this experience is having two babies under the age of two would at times be fun and exciting, but it would also have its pitfalls, some of which would be his wife battling depression from the hormonal changes that came with becoming pregnant with back-to-back babies.
I went from breastfeeding 11-month-old Marri to being surprised by beautiful baby Journei with no time to truly regain my physical emotional and spiritual strength. Not to mention caring for little Shark daily which in all of its glory can be so exhausting sometimes.
During this long pregnancy, many times Coty and I neglected our marriage. We were trying to stay afloat with our duties as parents and as we tried to repair it we realized that our marriage revolves around God and each other and our children were a part of that blessing but they are NOT the center of us, God is, and they are an extension of this blessing.
Another stressful component of my pregnancy and Journei’s birth was that she was growth restricted, meaning she wasn’t measuring the proper gestational age and was falling behind on the growth curve. During our prenatal appointments, we had to participate in extra ultrasounds that resulted in us discovering our baby was small. I cried a couple times not knowing why my baby was healthy and growing properly.
On my last prenatal visit, after undergoing another ultrasound, I found out I would be induced because little Journei was not measuring the proper size for her gestational age and it was better for her to grow outside in the world than inside the womb.
They scheduled my induction for that evening, however, my body FINALLY began to go into labor naturally. I labored at home for at least 6 hours from 8PM-2AM prior to waking Coty up with the “it’s time” pat on the back and beginning our commute to the hospital.
As we were driving, I told Coty “she is definitely coming” and by the time we arrived to the hospital I had to brace myself against him to walk in. I knew my body was progressing but I didn’t know how fast little Journei was coming.
By this time things are intense, Coty is counting my contractions and trying to help me cope but unlike Marri’s never ending birth where we could sleep in between them, Journei girl had a different plan. Coty, out of being a super dad and pure exhaustion from the many festivities of the day, was attempting to sleep in between the contractions with his head leaned against the hospital wall. That didn’t yield much success because they were beginning to stack on top of each other and become more and more intense.
We were admitted to triage where they check your cervix and monitor contractions to see if you are in active labor. When the nurse checked my cervix I was only 3cm (4cm is considered active labor) and she tried to send me home. I was livid, scared and annoyed. She also asked me to “walk around” and I was like “I would gladly walk out of here if I could” but I am in so much pain I can’t stand or barely breath.
Praise God, because right then, Alex walks in the room and immediately becomes my advocate. She knew I wanted a natural birth, without an epidural because my body didn’t react well the last time I had one (extreme chills, itching and a drop in blood pressure). However, the way those contractions were hitting me I wanted any type of relief from the overwhelming pain.
30-45 mins passed and by this time I feel like I’m in full blown Hollywood scene of intense labor. The contractions are so powerful I literally laid out on the cold hospital floor just to survive the pain. Alex ordered pain reliever for me, reassured me that I would not be sent home and let me know they were admitting me. She also checks my cervix again and I had progressed from 3cm dilated to 7cm.
Now, here is the second funniest moment of my labor, as I am trying to breath through another uber intense contraction, Coty, who was helping me breath and survive the pain, tries to sneak and eat a banana. I laugh about his actions now, but in the moment, when I am progressing towards the transition stage (hardest part) of labor and going animalistic to deliver this baby, to look up and smell this strong and overwhelming scent of ripe banana made me want to throw-up. I screamed “get that banana out of your mouth” and as he quickly swallowed, he contemplated the sanity of his wife.
Alex, with her patience and resolve comes into the room and helps me bear the pain on the cold hospital floor. In order to receive any type of medicine, I had to have an IV ran through my arm. The nurse wanted me to get back on the bed to do this but Alex knew I could not stand, walk or even or pull myself up so she asked the nurse to allow me to sit on the floor and lay my arm on the bed. I will never forget the smell of saline solution as it began to run through my veins and I will never forget this amazing midwife who in my most dire moments was found ways to help me cope. I will never forget the smell of saline solution as it began to run through my veins and I will never forget this amazing midwife who in my most dire moments was found ways to help me cope with the overwhelming pain.
As they are wheeling me to my delivery room, I am doing everything I can to keep it together (full disclosure I am heading down hot mess lane at full throttle but that is the beauty of childbirth). Once we arrive to my room, I fall from the wheelchair onto the cold hospital floor, again, mind you I’m only in my hospital gown because I can’t stand the feel of anything touching my skin. The labor and delivery nurse looks at me like wtf and by this time I am begging for the “pain reliever” to get through. This nurse wants me to “get on the bed” but Alex once again convinced her it’s ok to administer my medicine on the floor.
The anesthesiologists comes to the room and begins prepping for my epidural. The light at the tunnel is beginning to shine! As I’m still on the floor in pain, the medicine I received only made my contractions giggle as they still hit me full force. In order to receive the epidural, I had no choice but to get on the bed so I had to dig deep, and and find the strength to pick myself up.
As the anesthesiologist begins my epidural, this is the moment when I realized my midwife will always hold a special place in my heart. She cradled me in a hugging position while telling me to breath and be still because she knows just how important stillness is for this procedure. Her resolve and patience, compassion in this moment is something I will always remember my entire life.
Welcome Baby Girl
After I take a brief nap, I wake up to a beautiful sunrise and Alex asking us “are we ready to have the baby?” It’s crazy because for 273 days of pregnancy, I was “ready to have the baby,” and at that moment when I am 9.5 cm dilated, I was like “Wow, it’s really time to have a baby.”
Hubby jumps up from his nap, helps me brush my teeth (because who wants to talk to their kid for the first time with hot mouth), and turns on the Beyonce Homecoming album.
We barely made it through the slaying intro and a few short pushes, baby girl enters the world with the cutest, most chill cry. More like a little whimper staying her arrival.
At 9:31AM, my tiny but might baby came into the world weighing 5lbs 14 oz and was 21 inches long. She looked identical to her father (swoop head and all), and she received a 9 on her APGAR scores and my heart was relieved. She was small but she was healthy and strong.
Coty walks over to her under the heat lamp and starts her first photo shoot I tell him to catch all her angles.
While our family grew from one to two, my heart exponentially grew with it. Coty and I looked at each other and said we have two whole kids ❤️.
Thank you Alex for everything you did to help me survive my second birth and for dealing with me as I went nuts trying to handle my contractions. Our family will forever love you and can never truly express our immense gratitude. You are one of a kind and truly gifted.
Thank you to our friends and family that supported and loved us through this time.
Thank you God for the gift of Journei and Jamaar and choosing us to be their parents.