The day started out bright and early, or should I say, dark and early, since it wasn't even light out when we woke up, or even light when we left. I was feeling all of the feels that morning when I woke up, ate half a bowl of chocolate granola with almond milk, arranged the letters on the felt letterboard that said "HELLO BODHI WILLIAM", got ready and finished packing the last few items I would need into my bags for our trip to the hospital. I felt so nervous, yet so calm on the drive to the hospital, holding my husband's hand as he drove us to the hospital in the dark on that cold morning, not one carseat in the back of our car, but two! Mostly nervous just because our family dynamic was about to change hugely, and I was wondering how Bella would handle the big changes, and kind of nervous because well, I was about to push a baby out and I was determined to do it all natural and pain med free this time. Calm, because I knew deep inside, that everything was going to be okay and it was going to be perfect. Of course there was a lot of excitement too because, we were getting ready to meet our sweet baby boy for the first time, and a little bit of sadness because I soon would no longer feel his sweet kicks inside my belly. Like I said, all of the feels.

My mom was in her car driving behind us to the hospital, and met us there, she was able to come up to Pennsylvania from Missouri to be able to assist me with my birth and be here to meet Bodhi when he arrived, and my little sisters (I say little, but two of them are taller than me by several inches lol) stayed back at our home to watch Bella for us.

We arrived at the hospital, walked through the emergency room doors to sign in for our scheduled induction at 39 weeks and 1 day. Since I had gestational diabetes this pregnancy, my midwives suggested I be induced to avoid complications from the gestational diabetes if he arrived later, and at 39 weeks and 1 day along, I was officially more pregnant than I had ever been. With Bella, I went into labor on my own at 38 weeks and 5 days.

After signing in and registering, we went upstairs to labor and delivery, my husband and my mom by my side, I was slightly misty eyed at that point and with a catch in my throat I said "I'm here for a scheduled induction", again all of the feels. Before I knew it, I had a small room to start my labor in, was given a hospital gown, was hooked up to the monitors to hear Bodhi's sweet little heartbeat, had an IV inserted, having a contraction here and there on my own, and after a conversation with Lydia, my midwife (mostly about whether I wanted to eat a light breakfast and wait an hour to start the induction or start it now; I  was hungry but opted to start the induction asap) and a cervical check (I was 4 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced), I was started on pitocin at the lowest dose.

Thankfully I chose to forgo breakfast at the hospital and only had eaten a light snack of orange sherbet, beef broth and ice chips since arriving, because after being on piticon for about half an hour or so my dose was increased and out of nowhere, I ended up throwing up very suddenly (I can personally now attest to the fact that orange sherbet and beef broth don't taste that well together lol).

Contractions increased soon after, but then slowed down again so my dose was increased again a couple of times until they steadily increased. Before I knew it, my contractions were getting pretty regular and were increasing in intensity so I was moved to the room where Bodhi would be born! Holding onto my IV pole, I walked the hallway down to my new room pausing slightly for a contraction, while Frank and my mom walked behind me, my midwife and two nurses and carrying my bags.

I soon was settled in a large labor and delivery suite, I immediately had Frank open the blinds of the two big windows to let in all of the sunshine that was now streaming through the windows. My labor contractions were getting a little closer together and intensifying so I labored on a birthing ball, bouncing lightly to help with my labor pains. My lower back was starting to hurt pretty badly at that time and my mom and Frank both took turns massaging my lower back to help with the pain and it helped so much. I had brought some organic lavender baby lotion so we ended up using that on my back along with lavender, frankincense and gentle baby young living essential oils. Frank might also have been sliding around the room on a wheeled stool while my mom was massaging my back hahaha (pretty sure he was a bundle of nerves and needed to work off some nervous energy).

After a bit, my labor slowed again, and after talking it over with my midwife I felt I needed to take a small nap to get some energy and then the plan was to break my water afterwards, I remember telling her I was going to nap for half an hour and then wanted to get this party started haha. I fell asleep in about a minute and then after napping for 25 minutes I woke up with a start and the feeling that I wanted and needed to meet this baby boy as soon as possible! A few seconds later I had my strongest, most painful contraction yet! I had Frank go down the hall to the nurses station to tell them and my midwife that I was ready to have my water broken.

While we waited for the midwife and nurses to come to my room, and he texted my mom who had gone to the gift shop and to get a bite to eat to come back as well, I got up and walked around a little, trying to ease the pain of my contractions, mostly the back pain, and had Frank snap a few photos, since at that moment I realized I hadn't taken any bare belly photos, and I wanted a few, even if I did have monitors hooked up to me and IV lines running from my hand. I wanted to capture the stretch marks, my nearly absent belly button and the roundness of my baby boy belly. I wanted to capture and remember those last few moments as just the two of us together in that room before it all sped up and everyone entered.

My midwife did a cervical check to see my dilation and at that point I think I was around 5 centimeters dilated and 90% effaced. Water was broken minutes later and within seconds of the warm amniotic fluid flowing out, my contractions rose in intensity, my back was searing in pain from the back labor I was experiencing and I knew I needed some kind of relief but didn't want to use any kind of drug/medication to ease my laboring pain and also didn't want an epidural like I had with Bella. I wanted to be able to move around and labor naturally to make my birth as easy as possible. My mom applied more essential oils to my back (the same 3 she had applied earlier) and my midwife started filling up the tub with warm water so I could labor in the water (one of the desires that topped my "birth plan") and made a "water pillow" from a large plastic bag filled with air.

The tub was filled, and I stepped in and sat down to the most wonderful feeling pain relief. The water was so soothing, so calming, and even though I was in a lot of pain with each contraction, the water relieved the pain immensely. After laboring for around an hour in the water, the pain began to get even more intense, each contraction was taking over my body and all of a sudden I wanted out of the water.

I was in the transition stage of labor and needed a change of scenery, as much as I loved being in the water, I was ready to get out. I wanted some kind of pain relief but I remember telling myself in my head "you can do this April, you haven't come this far to give up now, there will be relief once he's born". Well, more like I told myself "shut up April! You haven't come this far to give up now, you can do this and you'll have relief soon as he is born".

With that, I made my way back into bed, doubling over from the pain of each contraction as I walked from the tub to the bed, holding onto my midwife and Frank also helping me along as my mom was on the other side of the bed starting my diffuser that I had brought along with the same 3 oils I used throughout my labor. I was 7 centimeters dilated and 100% effaced by that time and I said "that's all?!" when Lydia, my midwife, told me I was at 7 centimeters. Haha. I kind of felt at that time that 7 was so far away from 10.

Each contraction into me with waves of pain, and my mom who was patting my forehead with a cold wet rag, kept reminding me to not let the pain take over, to let the waves wash over me, not through me, to envision myself walking on the beach, a calm beach with the waves rushing to shore at my feet and washing back out to sea again. There were times I could do that, but there were times I felt like a lion in the jungle and needed to roar, roar the pain away with a scream. So I did. Both ways worked, and I eventually closed my eyes, labored through closed eyes, shutting out the outside world and just focusing and concentrating on bringing this beautiful baby into the world.

I was a solid 9 centimeters for what felt like hours, but was really only about 20 minutes, I felt the urge to push, and my body started spontaneously pushing on it's own. My midwife eventually was able to help my body push the remaining lip of the cervix away during a huge contraction to help me finally get past that 9 centimeters to 10. Lydia my midwife on my right side holding my leg while I labored and Frank to my left, holding my left.

20 minutes of pushing. I flipped over on my side to push since I didn't want to lay on my back to push and each contraction brought the most searing back labor, but every contraction, each one stronger than the last, brought us one contraction closer to meeting Bodhi. Frank moved up closer to the head of the bed while my mom took photos since I had wanted those first moments captured and he took over patting my head with the cold washcloth while everyone told me to keep pushing, keep going, that I could do it.

I felt him crowning, and a second later was hit with exhaustion while everyone was telling me to keep pushing. My body needed to stop and take a second though, both physically and mentally, I paused for a second, bared down and with that one last strong contraction, I pushed one last mighty push and Bodhi was birthed into this world. When they say catching the baby, my midwife really did catch him with the intensity that I pushed him out. 

All of a sudden, in an instant, at 3:51 pm on December 1st 2018, my world was forever changed. I was a mama to a little baby boy. Our Bodhi William.

It all happened so fast and the most beautiful little boy was placed on my chest. He cried a tiny little cry and raised his tiny head up and looked at me. One of the best moments ever. Truly words can't explain the love that filled my heart, all of the feelings of joy that rushed into me as I held him for the first time. Holding him skin to skin with me on my chest, his tiny heart beating against mine.

We chose delayed cord clamping so we waited about 3 minutes for Frank to cut the umbilical cord, and a minute afterwards, I birthed my placenta. I tried offering the breast a few minutes after that, but he wasn't interested just yet, he just wanted to be held by his mama a few minutes more. So I did. I held him until he was ready and then I offered the breast again and he took it so well. Of course he fell asleep a few minutes later, but being born is exhausting. He nursed again about an hour later, and we had around 2 hours uninterrupted skin to skin. Weighing, measuring, it all waited while we just snuggled.

Family came to visit, my in-laws and sister in law, my sisters, stepdaughter, and Bella all came to meet baby Bodhi. Halfway through their visit, it was time to get his weight and length... while he looked so tiny laying on my chest, he was almost 8 lbs! He weighted 7 lbs 15.2 ounces and was a tall 21 inches long! We were all so surprised at how much bigger he actually was than he looked.

With that, everyone was on their way out, and Frank and Bella went to get dinner for us (he got pizza from one of my favorite places), and it was just Bodhi and I. Snuggling and healing, in utter bliss. Before I knew it, Frank and Bella were back and pizza was what was for dinner, and I was then moved to the mother and child unit in the hospital to the room he and I would occupy for the next 4 days (while he was closely monitored while waiting for little body to learn to regulate his blood glucose levels on his own).

I think I got maybe an hour and a half of sleep that night, but how could I sleep when I had a tiny little love that needed snuggled and stared at? I couldn't help but look at him all night, and all morning, and all day... come to think of it, I haven't put him down much this past month or really stopped staring at him. I'm also pretty sure I was on a natural high for the next few days, looking at that sweet baby boy, and I felt so empowered that I had gotten the natural and med free birth I wanted and had gotten to labor in the water like I had wanted so badly. I felt on top of the world and like I could do anything, and I also realized how strong I actually was. I'm just so thankful. Thankful also because we had a healthy baby, a complication free birth, that my two best friends, my husband and mom (who should seriously consider becoming a professional doula) were there to help guide me through it, along with an amazing midwife who felt more like a friend than anything during the entire process and two amazing labor and delivery nurses, Dayna and Payton.

I just can't get over how precious our little Bodhi is, and I can't stop thinking about how blessed I am... and how babies don't keep. They grow oh so fast and he is no exception. So I'm taking all of the time to just hold him and enjoy his littleness.

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