megan steven's birth story

 I woke up at 40 weeks and 5 days STILL pregnant after several false alarms and prodromal labor all week. I dislike being pregnant and have a huge and heavy belly since I have big babies and I'm short so, trust me, I was terrible to be around! I was set to be induced at 41 weeks because I just knew I couldn't bear to go over as I had with my son. We had moved states 3 months earlier, so this was a hospital birth and I had no birth plan as opposed to my midwife and birth center birth plan! (I went backwards, I know!) I knew I could do it naturally but I was so tired and huge and just worn down after a move and an energetic 3 year old, that I said to myself if I needed an epidural, I would just do it and rest. Well, at 6:00pm I started having the same old contractions (after have my membranes stripped that morning at my doctor! Ouch.) but after an hour they started getting more intense. I had my parents take my son for a sleepover and started watching a movie with my husband while bouncing on the birth ball. By 8:30pm I knew it was real and told my husband at 9:30pm, I wanted to go in. So about 9:45pm, we got to L&D and I was STILL 4 cm as I had been for a week but 90%. I was honestly discouraged thinking I would be sent home again and in pregnancy purgatory forever and that I would never know when I was actually in labor! I started to walk with my husband around the unit for 45 min or 17 laps (they told us it was a mile) and by the end I was unable to stand through the contractions and needed to start moaning . With the recheck I was 5 cm, 100% and I knew it was real. We checked in the room and I got antibiotics for GBS while bouncing on the ball. Things got intense from there and I told my husband maybe I wanted that epidural and he said ok, let’s try the water in the tub first. I headed there and hot water is medication to me! Then, I hit transition so much sooner than expected and told my husband that I felt faint and like I was going to puke. When I started saying "I can't do this, I feel like I'm going to die" my husband said he knew this was going way faster than our first labor. This only lasted 20-30 min and then I had the urge to poop and just then the nurses walked in to check on me because I had been moaning/screaming quite loudly.

My husband told them it was time and they half carried me to the bed. When they checked I was almost a 9! I was screaming for meds then and lost my cool a bit but it was too late. They did give me Nubian but it did NOTHING. The midwife got there and I was on my hands and knees trying to fight the same urge to push and after only a few contractions it was time. I pushed his head out pretty easily and then I felt his shoulder get stuck on my pubic bone and I became terrified of tearing upward. The midwife knew I was in a bad position and they literally flipped me over and told me I needed him out NOW and to stop loosing my mind. I actually felt so much better on my back and I regained my cool and pushed him out in one or two pushes. I soon realized she was in such a hurry because he was blue and not breathing. The handed him to the pediatric team and they kept stimulating him and his second APGAR was perfect but my husband said he has never been more terrified in his life. I was kinda unaware but just kept asking, where is my baby? Is he ok? I knew he wasn't placed immediately on me that something wasn't quite right. He ended up being perfectly healthy and HUGE, 9lbs 11oz birthed naturally with not a single tear! I felt amazing afterward and still feel great. The whole labor was only about 6 hrs with only 3 being terrible! Our son is fat and happy, eating and sleeping most of his first 2 weeks. And, I felt like superwoman. I love how proud my husband is/was of me and he just kept kissing my head and telling me thank you and good job. I’ll always treasure both our labors together. As all the nurses said, he was an amazing coach

The funny thing is I had a birth center birth and a baby who would not nurse (see my previous essay "not natural") and a hospital birth with no immediate skin to skin and a baby who LOVES to nurse (though we are working on a shallow latch issue). It's funny how different babies are! 

We are so grateful for God's goodness (after a failed IVF attempt this summer and this cycle that was almost canceled due to poor response) and kindness. For this child we have prayed...

We are proud to introduce Tobias Porter Stevens. Born 8/8/17 at 2:38 am at a whopping 9lbs 11 oz, 22 inches!

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*If anyone needs a listening ear as they are going through infertility or the IVF process please feel free to contact me. It can be a long road and sometimes having someone who understands is incredibly valuable! You can also comment here with any questions and I'll respond!  megstvns@gmail.com

How to Survive Postpartum Depression: A Husband’s Reflection

By: Nicholas Davis (my better half)

When Gina gave birth to Calvin, I was unhelpful and insensitive. I didn’t understand why she couldn’t just take care of our new baby while I was juggling a list of responsibilities. It was a simple equation for me: she takes care of him, and I take care of us.   

What We Didn’t Expect When Expecting

I have two older sisters who had babies and I never heard anything about postpartum depression from them. So, I naturally assumed that Gina would be totally fine like they were and we’d press on into parenthood like the billions of parents before us.

I had a lot of assumptions about mothers with babies, and they were wrong. I had an old school mentality about it: “Just suck it up and it will be fine.” “Power through it,” I thought.

But I was a jerk, this mentality is wrong-headed, and I’m writing this so that any husbands and wives reading our story would be forewarned and would not make the same mistake. Thank God that he sustained Gina through that first time around even when all of us—her family and friends—failed to notice what was going on. Postpartum depression is a real thing, so be sure to watch for it when you’re expecting.

Preparing For It To Happen Again

When we were pregnant a second time, I resolved not to let my wife go through postpartum depression alone again. Her mother, sisters, and I tag teamed to encourage Gina in every way that we could and to prevent her from having needless stress. 

This time, we encapsulated her placenta (a special thank you and shout out to Trisha for doing this for us!) and stocked up on essential oils and a host of other baby products to make known routines easier for us.

All of us worked together to try to calm her anxiety about managing two young kids, we brightened the home in small ways, we made a plan on who could take the newborn at night in rotation so that Gina could get a little bit of sleep before the long nights of clustered breastfeeding.  

With Max, remarkably, Gina experienced little to no signs of postpartum depression. We thought our efforts worked.

Sometimes Being Prepared Still Isn’t Good Enough

When our third baby boy was born, all of us were pros at this—and yet—all of our preparation wasn’t enough. Gina experienced severe postpartum depression much like after her first pregnancy, only this time the placenta encapsulation, the extra help at home, the oils and baby aids and everything just wasn’t enough.

Gina seemed a little lifeless to me. She would tell me that she was having dark thoughts. When we realized as a couple how serious this was, we decided to give medication a try.

Thankfully, we had success with a low dosage of antidepressants and it prevented her lows from getting too low. Her highs and overall enjoyment of life came back to her, and overall, we’ve been able to support one another in the raising of our now three children.

Helpful Suggestions For Dealing With Postpartum Depression

I’m no expert on how to deal with this, but I can share what we have learned by going through it and talking to others with similar experiences. Honestly, I’m thankful to God that this time around, he has provided us with an abundance of help, support, resources, and wisdom to manage expectations and keep Gina in a healthy state of both body and mind.

For husbands who don’t understand why they can’t just muscle through this, I’d recommend a few things.

1.     Get educated on PPD. There are organizations like Postpartum Support International who can provide resources and help for mom’s with PPD. Watch the Netflix show "When the Bough Breaks" to get a better grip on how your wife is feeling.

2.     Help your wife find a community of women or a group of friends, to talk to. She needs to share what’s going on with others whom she can trust and who aren’t in the home.

3.     Listen to some podcasts with your wife. We didn’t do this, but I wish we had listened together.  A podcast can help with understanding the challenges that parenthood brings to everyone. “Mom and Mind” is one that comes to mind. 

4.     Find ways to give your wife time away from the baby, even if it’s only for as little as 15 minutes a day. Suggest that she take a quick walk in the neighborhood, or binge watch Netflix undistracted, or take an hour to treat herself to the nail salon or out for a cup of coffee (either alone or with another friend). Depending on the degree of PPD, it may be best for her to meet someone at the coffee shop who can give her some encouragement. Coordinate with others to help your wife get through this. She is not alone.

5.     Remind her that this is only a short season. When she just had a rough night with baby, remind her that it’s only for a little while longer. Babies will grow up and she will have time and energy again for other needs and things. 

6.     Support her, even if it sounds silly. I still don’t think that Essential Oils are all that essential, but if your wife wants to buy oils to help with postpartum depression, buy all the oils in the world. Maybe they do help—I really don’t know. The smell can definitely have a calming effect in our household so maybe that can improve overall mood and help with more severe symptoms. The science behind that, or candles, or whatever else your wife might want to try, is worth trying. Support her in everything—be there for her and help her every single way that you can.

7.     Consider medication. As soon as Gina recognized she was in a dark valley again, she immediately asked for my feedback on trying antidepressants. I encouraged her to go for it, and we started out with a low dose to help lift her low points. It’s worked really well for us, as part of a holistic approach to postpartum depression.

Surviving? What About Thriving?

I wish I could promise more than surviving to those who are experiencing postpartum depression, but to me, surviving is thriving. There is nothing easy about PPD—it’s hard. It’s hard to watch your wife in such a state of weakness. It’s hard to try everything that you humanly can and still come out short on what she needs. It’s all hard. But surviving that hard together is thriving because it’s real life—and after a short number of those hard days can come another season of life without that hard. Even if it doesn’t come, we’re in this together—in sickness and in health, ‘til death do us part.

Editor's Note: This post follows "an honest look at postpartum depression pt 1." 

5 Ways I Pranked My Wife Today For #AprilFoolsDay

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So last year, she got me good. Really, really good.

My workday started with this:

Oh yeah, and before that happened she put the face of Donald Trump in my morning shower...

Good one, G! 


So this year I HAD to do something.

Here are some ways I loved my wife back today for what she did to me last year:

  1. Rubber bands around the water faucet 💦✅
     

  2. Enabled Autocorrect on her phone for common keywords ("No" = "I'm so tired")✅
     

  3. Endless typing on text messaging ✅
     

  4. Frozen iPhone home screen ✅
     

  5. And Posting this on her blog ✅

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She still thinks her phone is broken, to this very second. 😂

 

#AprilFoolsPaybackBaby

 

Love you ❤️,

Hubby