Beautiful home-birth surrounded by siblings
Our baby girl’s story starts before birth really, so I am going to share from when she was still in heaven first, as Rena says.
Lenna means “lion’s strength” and Shayne means “God is gracious.” So there is no better name for our sweet baby girl because of what she means to us.
Months before we knew we'd have baby Lenna, I was praying for a baby. Asking God if we could have another sweet one that I could mother more joyfully as God intended instead of being so wrapped up in other things that caused me stress and made me grumpy to my most precious little ones.
At the same time, I wanted that, I wondered how I'd juggle another kiddo with the 3 that we had and everything else. But I think my desire was heaven sent to help me get my life and priorities more in line with God’s purpose and will.
So I was praying for a baby and family fulfillment one day at church, surrounded on all sides by full families - parents, littlies, and babies.
And I heard a voice say, “You will have a baby and I will give you strength. You will name your baby a name that means strength to remember this.”
I was amazed! And happy and nervous. I wish I could remember what day it was.
Not too many months later in June 2017, we found out that we would be having our new baby.
My pregnancy was pretty smooth, almost like that of my first baby, though I had more nausea the first trimester than with the others. Since having my last babes, I was much more into healthy habits so I ate better, exercised most days at home and used positive birth affirmations. And I do think it helped in labor and birth!!
We planned a home birth like our last two, after having our first at a local birth center. My so-called due date was February 20, but I felt along the way that baby may arrive early.
My midwife kept telling me that she had wonderful feelings about our birth. And thinking positively about it myself helped me feel less nervous about the unknown which I struggle with!
But I still wondered if this birth would have all the hardest parts of the last ones? Intense back pain for nearly two days with my first because she was posterior, and prodromal labor with started and stopped for more than a week with my third. Both were exhausting and daunting, and I didn't want to repeat either one.
So when I woke around 3 am on Feb 13 feeling crampy every 10-15 minutes or so, I was thinking it's nothing. It’s bound to stop and start like this for who knows how long.
So I slept off and on until about 5 am, did my quiet Bible and reading time, exercised and went to work like any other day. I was having contractions or surges all day pretty steady but still far apart and just thinking it would be days away. I talked to friends on the Senate floor about work and our birth coming up soon, but not telling them I wondered if it could be today!.
At about 2:00, I called Scott and suggested he take anything home he might need for the next day cause baby might be on the way. Still wondering though if it would all stop like it did with my baby boy. I remember a pretty strong surge as I went to the school to pick up Ella, my daughter and acted like nothing was going on.
So, we went home and set up a twin bed in the living room which I used in the past to rest on after birth and for a few days to avoid stairs up to our bedroom. The kids were super excited to set it up.
Ella had basketball practice at church so Scott took her to that. At that time, the surges were coming about 7 minutes apart but I still was thinking, this seems too easy compared to the past. I was not sure it was really going to happen. I still had nice breaks from pain in between the surges. We had supper and I read books to the littles in between them.
Scott and Ella got home at 7:30ish and we got the kids to bed. They were asking why I would stop, pause and go quiet when contractions hit. Scott said I was getting ready to have the baby. They were excited but went to bed. Rhett was sleeping on the living room floor. Scott started setting up the birth pool in the dining room...
I had texted my midwife Sandra McCurdy a few times since 2:00. At around 8:00, she asked me to track some surges in the app called Full Term. It is really handy and I wish we had it with our other babies! So the surges were averaging more like 4-5 minutes by 9ish pm. And Sandra said she would be on her way. She arrived and said I could get in the pool.
Scott had been talking to my mom about coming up and my sister was texting whether we’d want her to come to watch the kids. We had planned for them to stay with her as in the past, but it just worked better to leave them sleeping in their own beds. She arrived around 10:00 and went and slept with Rena upstairs.
When the midwife checked sometime earlier, she felt as though I was fully dilated and could push when it felt natural. But something just didn’t feel right as I look back on it now. And then she suggested that I get out of the pool so she could check me again more easily. She discovered that some swollen tissue had hidden the cervix in part, so I wasn’t really ready after all.
And at that time, I was having intense back pressure again as with Ella. No break between surges. She suggested that I lay on my right side on the bed for 45 minutes to see if the baby would change positions. That was probably about 11:30.
At this time I was tired, more so emotionally, because I had felt like earlier I was in the pool and baby would be here soon. When I had to get out and found that my body wasn’t really ready after all, it was disappointing and messed with my mind making me think it was going to be again that start and stop pattern for hours or days.
But, then I could tell the surges were stronger. Sandra was suggesting that I just breathe through them and not push. I did that for several contractions but just felt this need to start to push about the time she had thought she’d check me again.
After just two pushes, our sweet baby girl was born with a hearty cry at 12:33 am on February 14, 2018, a Valentine baby! I was in disbelief really. Going from hard back labor pains begging Scott to push on my back to help make it through while squeezing my poor mom’s hands to having our baby there in such a quick time.
I remember just saying thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.
Sandra said after that the cord was wrapped around our baby girl. So she was working on that (apparently it was wrapped around each shoulder and her tummy) and got her untangled and into my arms.
Sandra later said it was divine intervention that I was not in the pool because it would have been harder for her to untangle the cord from our sweet one.
It was a few minutes before I even thought to ask if our baby was a boy or girl. I was just happy the baby sounded healthy when she came out! But we had a peak under the blanket, and I knew the girls would be so happy for another sister.
We waited a little while before Scott cut the cord and then Sandra helped as the placenta was delivered. I snuggled and fed baby Lenna Shayne (named Shayne after my twin sister Kara Shayne). Kara came downstairs sometime around then.
Then, Scott wanted to wake Ella up to meet her sister. So about an hour after Lenna was born, she met her oldest sister. A short time later we heard footsteps from Rena coming downstairs after she woke alone and a little cry from Rhett who didn’t like waking alone either. They both came down and met Lenna. Rena snuggled right up beside us. I had been excited about that moment because Rena patted our baby and talked to her often in my belly.
The midwives did a baby check and weighed her. She looked perfect in every way and weighed 6 lbs 13 oz and was 19 inches long. I had hoped for but never said it, that I’d like a little snuggly peanut baby again, and she’s proven to be all I hoped for, healthy and happy most of all.
Lenna Shayne, our Valentine sweetheart, is such a precious gift and addition to our family. The perfect symbol of God’s graciousness and strength for us.
Happy birthday baby girl! We love you so much “sweet soul” as Rena tells you loads of times per day and are very thankful God sent you from heaven to us!