Ava Hope's birth story

My due date of May 29th came & passed (which confirmed even more to me that Olivia being born on Noah's 1st birthday was indeed a sign from God as she was my only child out of 7 to come before their due date). I had been having timable contractions off and on towards the end of my pregnancy but still remained at only 1cm dilated & 80% effaced which is what I had been at since 36 weeks. My ultrasound at 38 weeks had estimated that the baby was already 6lbs 9oz which made my jaw drop considering my biggest babies were both 7lb 1oz and that was at 2 & 3 weeks LATE! So it was no wonder I was so uncomfortable at the end.

Sunday June 2nd I woke up around 2:30am which was pretty typical for me since around 35 weeks. I had only been averaging about 3 hours of sleep a night. Since I was wide awake, I turned on the tv, dug out my breast pump (that the midwife encouraged using to help bring on contractions) and proceeded to also bounce/rock on my exercise ball. I actually ended up with contractions 7-8 minutes apart for a good hour and a half but sadly they started slowing down. Later that day, we spent the afternoon/evening with my dad & stepmom. While the kids swam, I sat with an ice pack on the right side by my ribs as the baby was making me quite sore there. I was hoping the cold would also encourage baby to move down a bit as well. At least it helped dull the ache a bit.

That evening, I had been feeling crampy with some lower back cramps as well but I had had that off & on for awhile so I didn't think much of it. Since I hadn't slept much the night before, I debated taking the meds the midwife had given me so I could get a few hours of sleep but ended up deciding not to take it. That was probably a good thing I later realized.

I fell asleep around 10pm. About 11:15pm, I was all of a sudden jolted awake by a pretty strong contraction. My first thought was great, I finally got to sleep and now a useless contraction woke me up and I'll never get back to sleep. I actually debated at that point to take the medicine since the midwife said I could take it anytime before midnight. So I laid there and about 12 minutes later another contraction hit. I was watching the clock as I was close to taking the meds. I was still thinking I was just uncomfortable and these contractions weren't going to amount to anything.

By the time the 3rd contraction hit, I decided to get out of bed. The contractions were pretty uncomfortable while laying there and I thought I might as well get on the exercise ball & bounce a bit to see what would happen. So I decided to do some reading while on the ball. I eventually kicked on the tv for some background noise. I wasn't sure yet if this was for real, but I decided to pack my hospital bag for something to help kill time. Yeah, I don't bother packing till I'm in labor. Partly because there isn't a whole lot to take and partly because I feel like doing too much baby prep ahead of time could jinx something. I think that part goes back to getting so much ready ahead of time for Noah, then we got his diagnosis.

My contractions started getting about 7-8 minutes apart and to the point where I was having to breath through them. By this time, I figured if I am wide awake and in pain, Kevin should at least be awake with me! haha So it was about 12:45 when I woke him up. At least this time he didn't ask me if I was sure (I had to wake him when I was in labor with Erik and his first words were "are you sure"!!! ha) I was really hoping not to go into labor during the night because it would mean waking the kids. I've always gone into labor at night time with all my others so I guess this baby decided not to break tradition.

So we watched Duck Dynasty episodes while I continued to labor & time my contractions. They were definitely picking up in intensity but when I wasn't contracting, I felt great. I had tried an herbal supplement at the end of this pregnancy that was supposed to help with labor & also had post partum benefits so I was anxious to see how/if it would help (turns out it really was great! More on that another time).

Around 2am my contractions were to the point I couldn't talk anymore through them and about 3-5 minutes apart. I told Kevin to wake Sarah up awhile for her to start gathering things (the kids had already packed their hospital bag of snacks & books a few weeks prior! haha). I called the answering service to alert the midwife on call. They said if she didn't call me within 15 minutes to call back.

By this point I told Kevin to get the rest of the kids awake. I wish I could've seen their faces when he woke them up. He said the second he told Hannah, she flew out of bed with the biggest grin on her face. It didn't take them long at all to get dressed. The midwife hadn't called me back so I placed a second call. We wanted to wait until we were ready to walk out the door to wake up Olivia. I was praying she would do well being so young and woken up in the middle of the night. I still hadn't heard from the midwife and the contractions were really hitting so I said let's get going. Olivia did amazing being woken up. She didn't even fuss.

Just as we got in the car, the midwife called me back. My last 2 babies they pretty much tell me to come in whenever I feel ready as in their words "I've obviously done this a few times now & know what I am doing". haha On the way to the hospital, Olivia was saying "baby, baby", she seemed to understand what was going on.

We got to the hospital around 3:30am. Thank goodness most of the staff there remembered us as I know we looked like a parade walking in there with everyone. (For those that don't know, our kids were there for both Noah & Olivia's birth and were going to be there for this baby's birth as well).

I was thrilled (well, as thrilled as one can be in the midst of pain) to find out I was already 5cm dilated when I got to the hospital. I was sooo afraid of getting in there & them telling me I was still stuck at 1cm. Then the midwife palpated my abdomen to check on baby's position. She proceeds to say "wow, this baby is going to be a big one for you". Grrrreat. I was really hoping the estimated weight was wrong on that ultrasound. I admit I was nervous at that point for when it would come time to push. All my others I literally gave half a push, was told to stop pushing and out my babies came (yeah, don't hate. haha)

The kids did great during labor. Erik & Olivia napped at one point, the others read books or watched movies on the iPad. Several weeks ago, my stepmom had told me that her work was moving her back to the hospital I was delivering at & that she would be starting on Monday June 3rd. I said boy, wouldn't it be hilarious if I went into labor on her first day back while she was there? HA guess baby got that memo as we were there to greet her when she came to work that morning.

I was about 8cm along when they broke my water around 9am. I think if they had broke it sooner, I would have progressed even quicker but they were pretty busy that morning. I was really hoping that the midwife that was coming on was the one who delivered Olivia but I was just as happy with the one I had, who, get this, is a male midwife! He is also part comedian so as soon as I had heard who would be delivering me, I knew it was going to be a "fun" delivery!

Sometime after 10am, he checked me and said I was pretty close to fully dilated but he felt I was one of those who has that little "lip" of a cervix left that once I start pushing, would fully dilate me. So he got his things together & had me start pushing (I love having a midwife deliver, it's not as "clinical" as when the doctors deliver like my first 5 kids were. Much more relaxed and in any position that is comfortable for me.) I could tell as soon as I started pushing that this baby wasn't going to fly outta me like the others did. Bummer, I had to actually WORK this time to deliver!

I so would've loved to have had someone take a picture of what our room must've looked like at this time. Each of the kids had a camera ready and someone had a video camera waiting. Looking back at all the different pictures that came from the different cameras was really neat! Each of the kids had a different perspective & captured different angles of the same thing.

Once the baby's shoulders were out, the midwife had me reach down & finish delivering the baby myself which was a first for me. What an amazing feeling it is to feel your precious new baby in your hands as they are being born. As soon as the baby was out, I placed her on my chest (though we still didn't know the gender yet). After getting over the first few seconds of shock realizing baby was here, I moved the umbilical cord out of the way for the kids to see if baby was boy or girl (they announced Olivia's gender last time as well). Everyone yelled out girl and of course there were lots of grins going around.

When Olivia was born, Erik cut her cord. This time Susan had the privilege of cutting Ava's cord.
The midwife demonstrating how it cut it.

I knew Ava was a pretty big baby compared to my others but we were shocked to find that she was 8lbs 10oz & 21"!!!!! (born Tuesday, June 3rd at 10:21am, almost 7 hours after we arrived at the hospital). Those who don't know me in real life, I am not a very big person so this was a huge baby for someone my size. To put this in perspective, my "biggest" baby's were both 7lb 1oz & 19" and that was at 2 & 3 weeks late (Erik & Hannah). Olivia was 6lb 8oz & 18", so Ava was a good 2lbs bigger & 3" longer than her. No wonder she didn't just pop out and it took me 6 "long" minutes of off & on pushing to get her out! haha

They were a bit concerned about her blood sugar levels so she had her sugars checked for the next 14 or so hours after she was born. Thankfully they were ok. No one knows why she was so big. They said maybe I could've had borderline gestational diabetes though I didn't fit the typical criteria for it and had only gained about 20lbs with her. Maybe it was all the eggs & avocados I ate this time, who knows!

Remember how I said I had such a fun midwife?? In addition to his joking around and keeping things exciting, he took the time after my placenta delivered to give the kids a mini health/science lesson. Oh yes he did! He took it out of the bin & was holding it up and pointing out all sorts of things for the kids to observe. I'll spare you the pictures, but the kids also got photos of it as he explained things to them, including a hilarious one of the midwife posing with the placenta hanging in his hands! haha I truly appreciated how he included all the kids in the birth. I know not many bring their whole family in for a birth but the entire staff went out of their way to include the kids. The staff all seemed to get a kick out of the kids being there.

We were so amazed at how awake & alert she was for the first few hours after birth. Ava was just soaking in her surroundings. The kids all loved passing her around & loving on her. Olivia was enamored with Ava as well. I love this picture of her meeting her little sister for the first time. She must've pilfered one of her older sisters ipods right before this was taken! ha

The kids & Kevin hung out at the hospital till some time after lunch then they headed home to take care of the animals & put Olivia down for a nap. They came back at supper time, bringing along pizza. We started the tradition with Noah of having a pizza party at the hospital (we had gotten pizza for everyone to eat while I was in labor with Noah as we had a lot of people there for the birth). Me personally, I enjoyed the hospital food. I felt like I was more in a hotel than a hospital as I had a menu I could order off of whatever I wanted.

That evening, I was excited to find out the nurse I had overnight with Noah and whom I also ran in to a few weeks ago was working! I was even more thrilled to find out she was going to be my overnight nurse AGAIN!!! Knowing she was one of the few who met & touched Noah while he was alive and was also going to be with us again this time was comforting. What I haven't shared much yet is how much of a rollercoaster it is having yet another baby since Noah. One that was born in the same place as him, looking SO much like him, etc. A time filled with both exceeding joy yet mingled with the ever present grief all at once. So it was wonderful to have that connection with Noah through this special nurse who remembers him.

Ava & her big brother Noah. Check out the almost identical profile!

Overnight had gone pretty well except for the one point where I heard a gurgling noise coming from Ava. I snapped on the light & lifted her out of the bassinet. She appeared to be gagging & was turning blue around her lips. I grabbed the blue sucker to start suctioning out her mouth while calling for the nurse. She still seemed to be gasping a bit & not responding, freaked me out. Finally, she stopped & started pinking back up. A nurse from the NICU came to look her over & she seemed fine. They think that because she was born so fast, she didn't have all the fluid squeezed out of her and she was still trying to regulate everything. *sigh* Still shook me up a bit.

Wednesday June 4th I just enjoyed my morning of watching the Today Show, ordering breakfast & cuddling my sweet girl in between having people coming in & out to do testing and things. I had a neat conversation with the lady who came in to do Ava's hearing test. As typical, she asked if Ava was my first. So she was surprised to find out she wasn't and proceeded to ask about my kids. When I got to Noah, she wasn't phased at all and actually surprised me by talking about him further. I LOVE when people aren't nervous after they hear that one of my children have died & feel free to talk about him. Also turns out she homeschools as well so it was just encouraging talking to her.

Ava & mommy

A bit later, I was doing a mini-photo shoot with Ava when a gal with a camera walked in. She laughed & said she was coming in to see if we wanted hospital photos but when she saw my camera equipment she said I'm guessing that would be a no. haha She saw Noah's picture sitting on the table & asked if I took it and I said yes. She said it was a great picture and asked me the story behind it to which I shared with her. Just like the previous lady, she felt comfortable in talking about Noah with me. That morning, I felt that God had these gals stop by & mention Noah as a way to remind me that others may not always remember or include Noah in the midst of having a new baby, but that he is just as much remembered & included like all my other children. I needed that!!

Look at all that hair!

Kevin & the kids came in right before lunch time as I was planning to go home that afternoon so they didn't come in early for that reason. Yes, I could've stayed a second night but I like to get home after having a baby and be in my own surroundings. Of course, I was slightly tempted to stay as I love the nurses there, many of whom remember us (I guess having 3 kids in less than 3 years will do that haha). I also enjoy the hotel feel of things, being waited on & ordering "room service" BUT I still decided to head home to be with my family.

The hospital provides a special celebratory meal for 2 so we ordered that for lunch (Kevin had brought some lunch in for the kids). We had steak & crab cakes and sparkling juice brought in on a decorated table, complete with tablecloth and all.

Afterwards, we finished the discharged process & got ready to leave. As I walked down the halls with 6 of my 7 children, I couldn't help but to reflect on this same walk I did just less than a mere 3 years ago that was so excruciatingly painful. I felt the bittersweetness of it all, still wishing I would've left the hospital with my son but also feeling humbled that God brought Ava to us safely and feeling blessed she was coming home with us. My sweet rainbow baby Ava, what a gift you are to us!!!

My Pinterest-inspired photo idea!

Don't forget to submit your baby's name so we can remember them on Noah's birthday!


  1. Congratulations on your newest blessing! I have to say that I'm more than a little jealous at how great you look for having just had a baby. How special and touching that God brought people into your life during this time with whom you could also share Noah.

  2. Beautiful story to read! Thank you for sharing, yes, Ava is a wonderful gift! (a VERY chubby one!! Lovely...)

  3. Yeaaa I have been waiting for this!!!:) Beautiful fun birth story...I love that you delivered her and placed her on your chest. I am so happy to hear that everything went well and she is healthy. Love how you always find way to included Noah! The two day before and after photo shoot is AWESOME!!!

  4. What a beautiful story! Thanks for linking up at Babies and Beyond last week. I love the way you included Noah in your story and so thankful you had an awesome birth experience with nurse and a hospital staff the Lord knew you needed. Seeing your family is such an encouragement to me!


  5. I just LOVE birth stories! Congratulations! I also LOVE your before and after photo! I wish I had done that. It's such a fun idea. I hope you are enjoying baby and feeling well. Those first weeks go so fast!

  6. Love this story and the Pinterest photo!

  7. Beautiful story! What a blessing!! Thanks for sharing!


I enjoy hearing from each & every one of you! Thanks for taking the time to comment. :)