Archive for November, 2015

motherhood & healing

So we’re approaching Brantley’s “two weeks on the outside” day (Thursday), and I wanted to jot down some additional thoughts I’ve had about him and my labor/delivery.

While I was pregnant with him my labor fear was pretty high. I kind of have not fun pregnancies (let’s be real, I was still puking with this kid at like 36 weeks). So on top of just general pregnancy fatigue, the way I felt most often while I was carrying him could be summed up in one word: depleted.

I couldn’t get enough rest, command myself to find enough energy, nourish myself in a satisfying way (hungry or sick all the live long day). Also: 2 and 4 year old in my care.

I try intently to keep a positive tone while pregnant, because the more pregnancies I have- the more people I know who aren’t able to carry life or lose their babies. I never want to be someone who takes this for granted. So, while it is taxing, I try to not bug anyone with the hard moments when asked how I’m feeling and just focus on what’s going well. All of that to say, as I was nearing the due date- I felt like I didn’t have the energy to go through birthing a baby, especially given the way my previous birth went. 

When I had Timothy, I was very focused on having him naturally. My decision to do this was for a few reasons but I really wanted to have a different experience than I did with Brooklyn (which by the way you aren’t owed a reason but many people feel inclined to a reason). I was met with a good deal of support, and a few negative comments about how that was dumb to try that/you don’t get a medal for not using drugs/why would you put yourself through that, etc.

So, whenever I shared about Timothy’s birth, I shared about how I was so happy to accomplish my goal, but I never really gave myself permission to say: it was really traumatic.

If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time you probably know I dealt with post partum depression after I had Timothy, and I think a large part of that was due to a false pressure I put on myself to convince everyone his birth was a fairy tale. 

It was, without a doubt, empowering and beautiful but it also left me somewhat traumatized as everything happened so fast and I felt like I needed to be silent about the mental battle in that delivery room and the weeks that followed lest the naysayers throw an “I told you so” in my face. I am so confident still in my decision to follow a natural birthing plan, but I’m no longer afraid to talk about the shadows that may lurk in one of the brightest moments in my life.

So as I neared Brantley’s arrival, I was really nervous to maybe plunge into a mental abyss again, and so I prayed, a lot. And I allowed myself permission to reconcile my thoughts about Timothy’s birth- I was okay with our story and not meeting anyone else’s ideal/version of sanity (because yeah: “you’re totally insane” has been said to me more than once about the whole no epidural thing). I let myself process.  

So a few days before Brantley was born I came to peace with embracing whatever was coming and not bringing my past birthing experiences into it, and letting it be whatever it would be- on its own.

So when I had Brantley, I went into it allowing myself to totally absorb all of it, instead of just trying to have a “good natural birthing experience”. 

It healed a part of me I didn’t know needed healing. 
His birth was so many things. Intense. Fast. Furious. Beautiful. Challenging. Healing.

The way my children have come into my life has deeply and uniquely shaped each of our relationships.

Brooklyn was my surprise, I loved her in an overwhelmingly protective way. She came into my life without any “trying” on my part, and that made me grow up in responsibility and protectiveness very fast. If I could not have given her consideration to be made, I dang sure was going to give her everything I could as soon as I learned I was carrying her. I hadn’t prepared to be a mom to her, but she has shaped so much of how I handle and experience motherhood. I will fully embrace whatever unexpected things come and I have seen the goodness in doing just that through her precious life.

Timothy I had to fight for. I had to explore fertility options for him. I fought for a different birthing experience. I fought to love him, really. When depression took over after he was born I had to make myself bond with him, it didn’t come naturally. Holding him in the late night hours as I was balling my eyes out. Reminding him I love him even though I couldn’t fully feel it. Trying to be attuned to his needs even when depression told me not to care about anything. That fight led to an incredible bond. Everyone knows he is my side kick. He is always in my arms (when they are free). I love him fiercely and will fight for him, always. 

Brantley so far has been my refreshment. His life has made me revisit why I love being a mom. Made me appreciate the little things, the tiny moments of joy that set flames to keep you warm on the darker days. I went through such a shadowy season before he arrived. Carrying and delivering and loving him has been life-giving to parts of me that just a few months and years ago felt very dead. His tiny life has brightened my days and I love him dearly.

I may not have been seeking the title Mom when it found me, but I feel incredibly honored to hold that title. So thankful for these three unique blessings in my life.


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Brantley Griffin Rinaldi

I wanted to write about Brantley’s birth while it’s fresh on my mind. It happened so fast I’m not even sure I’ve processed it yet but I want to write while I still remember. 🙂

For a day or two before his arrival I was feeling the emotional/mental fog set in. I didn’t “know” he was coming soon, but I felt similar to how I felt before my labor with Timothy started. Extra sensitive to what was going on. A few nights preceding Brantley’s arrival I hugged Timothy a little tighter and told him I would miss him if I wasn’t there when he woke up and I couldn’t wait for him to come see his baby brother at the hospital. I remember doing the same with Brooklyn before T came. Something about that 2 year old age- they are aware enough to know you’re gone but not enough to understand why. I don’t leave my kids often so it was just on my mind to give him some extra attention this week.

Though my mind was gearing up for labor, I really didn’t think my body was. I felt as pregnant as I had been feeling and didn’t really have any labor signs. I felt good enough to hang/serve at Awana just 6 hours before I was in labor, so I really felt physically unaware of his arrival.

After putting the kids to bed after Awana I decided to call it a night, usually I have to eat dinner after I get them down but for whatever reason I decided we would eat at church beforehand so I just went to bed.

I woke up around 12:30am from a contraction, this has been pretty normal for a few weeks. Poor sleep and infrequent contractions. As I was laying there trying to go back to sleep I realized there may be a pattern to pay attention to so I started logging their frequency.

Once I figured out they were four minutes apart and realized they were strengthening I decided to wake Joseph. I knew it was time. I called the hospital to make sure they would admit me and then we called my parents.

My contractions still aren’t horrible at this point, but I’m having to pause in conversation if I’m experiencing one. I was still mentally together though.

By the time I finished packing my bag, writing notes to my parents about the kids schedules, and my parents arriving – we left for the hospital around 2:30am and were checked in our room around 3:15am.

I’m not really sure at what point labor shifted but I remember filling out paper work in L&D and thinking oh boy this is where the pain comes haha. I could still answer all the questions I needed to for the most part, I could just feel my aggitation rising that I had to talk to anyone. 

It’s probably about 3:30 by the time they check me and I was pleasantly surprised I was 6cm. By the time I was 3cm with T I had already lost my mind I think. I still felt together for the most part (losing it here in a minute, don’t worry). One thing that helped was counting down from 60-1 every contraction. My friend recommended that to me and it was a different distraction / coping technique than I had used with Timothy and I found it very helpful – I always knew the 1/end was coming. 

I’ve lost track of time at this point but Joseph is asking me do I need anything (because he was gonna visit the restroom) and I snapped at him to not leave my side and then hurry inbetween contractions. Haha. Looking back on things I say and the way I act during labor is embarrassing sometimes. 🙂 When I reached the point of snapping I knew this baby was coming sooner than later.

I told my (amazing!) nurse I was feeling a lot of pressure and she checked me again (I think this was around 4am?) and I was just at 7cm. Devastation! I wanted to fall apart and shortly did. 🙂 again, feeling the embarrassment as I recount all this.

The next part of this happened so fast, I don’t know the timeline, but I had a baby in my arms at 4:23am.

Within minutes of her telling me I was 7cm I was like “hey yeah I’ve gotta push” but a lot more frantic and with some screaming. Everyone in the room was like nope, you can’t, don’t, you have to wait. And I was like “you guys don’t understand #sorrynotsorry I’m gonna push”, except with more yelling and no hashtag. I have never felt my body not able to control what it’s doing, so this made me lose my mind. I wanted to stop because they suggested I did but I literally could not control what my body needed to do. With that first small push my water broke and the doctor arrived (shoutout to Dr. Sweeney for being my favorite doctor ever and also for being on cal). Next thing I know nurses are shifting me into position for him to catch the baby (because remember, #sorrynotsorry I had to push…and continued to). And then I went into that state where I only know what’s happening with me and the baby and no one else in the room and I heard Brantley scream and then I felt his snuggly body lay on me.

He was so sweet, and chunky, and soft.

He weighed in at 8lbs 13oz and 22 inches long.

I love him.

When morning rolled around there was a beautiful sunrise. I was so excited because Brooklyn had been hoping for a sunny day. 

She was thrilled to meet her brother. She cried with excitement as soon as she walked in.

Timothy had food on the brain (always) but kept saying “I wanna hold you baby nant-ney!” He’s not about that selfie life.

I won’t bore you with the rest of our stay. Just wanted to write down while it was still fresh on the brain.

Thank you so much for all of the congratulations and well wishes.

We have loved having this little guy added to our life.

I feel so special that I get to be his mom. I cannot wait to get to know him. ❤


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