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Birth Story: Skylar Rae

Our beautiful baby girl is here and we are officially a family of four! As I’m writing this post, she is almost one month old. Today I’m sharing our birth story.


On Tuesday, February 5th I reluctantly got out of bed and ready for work. I had to be at the office early for a two hour seminar. By the time I got to the office, I was exhausted and it wasn’t even 7:30 am. Not only was I tired, but my lower back was hurting. More than anything I just wanted to be at home in bed. At this point, I was 38 weeks and 6 days pregnant. As my due date approached, I found myself becoming more even more emotional and anxious.

Prior to the start of the work seminar, people kept commenting about my pregnancy and asking how I was feeling. Every time someone acknowledged me and the pregnancy, I was literally on the verge of tears. It was so hard to hold myself together. I was tired and overwhelmed.

I left that seminar a few minutes early and as I was walking back to my desk I broke down in tears. The fatigue, emotions, and back pain were all too much. I just wanted to go home. I called my husband and then my doctor. I talked to a nurse and she mentioned I should try laying down and monitoring the back pain, looking for signs of any consistent contractions.

I needed to get home, but my manager did not feel comfortable with me driving myself so she and another coworker took me home. On the way to my house, I started having some contractions, but they weren’t painful. By the time I got home, the contractions were happening every 3 to 4 minutes. I called the doctor again and was told to come to the hospital for a labor check. I thought this it. We were getting closer to meeting our baby girl.

Once we arrived in labor and delivery triage, I was hooked up to monitors and vitals were taken. The nurse checked me and I was only 1 cm dilated. I was monitored in triage for about an hour. Nothing happened. The contractions didn’t get stronger, in fact they stopped. We were sent home. To say I was disappointed was an understatement, especially since I had been having contractions off and on for a few days.

The next day, I woke up feeling normal (or as normal as you can feel being 39 weeks pregnant). I worked from home and had a productive day. Later that afternoon, I had an OB appointment.

At my appointment, my doctor checked me and I was 2, almost 3 cm dilated. After she left the room, I started getting dressed and then I felt a trickle of fluid run down my leg. I looked down and there were two very small puddles on the floor. My husband saw it too. Did my water just break???

We called the doctor back in. She checked me, but couldn’t tell it my water actually broke. She said if I continued to feel like I was leaking fluid that I needed to go to labor and delivery to get checked.

In the hour following my appointment, I continued to feel as if I was leaking fluid. I knew it was best to head to the hospital to get checked.

In the hour or so it took for us to leave the house, drop our son off at my parents house and get to the hospital, I started having contractions. Again, they weren’t very painful, but they felt consistent. Once I got to labor and delivery triage and hooked up to the monitors, it was clear that I was having contractions every 3 to 4 minutes, but they weren’t strong enough because I was able to talk right through them as the nurses asked me questions. A test was done to see if my water broke and then we had to wait about an hour for the results. If my water did break, we would be staying and having a baby. If it didn’t, we would be going back home.

As we waited in triage, I prayed that my water did in fact break and for stronger contractions…really anything to indicate that I was in labor. I was ready to have my baby.

The nurse returned with the test results. My water broke! On top of that, my contractions were getting stronger. We would soon be meeting our baby girl. My first labor and delivery experience was so fast, so I wasn’t sure what to expect this time around.

As labor progressed, my contractions started to get more painful, but I remained at about 3 cm dilated for a while. The only thing I wanted to do was lay in the bed and try to breathe through the contractions.

A couple of hours into labor, baby girl’s heartbeat began to decline and it was difficult for the nurse to monitor her. I was given fluid and oxygen while a nurse tried to place a fetal monitor on baby girl’s head. During that process, my water broke even more. I remember feeling a huge gush of fluid. The nurse wasn’t able to place the monitor, but eventually baby girl was stabilized.

After my water broke, I started to experience labor shakes, uncontrollable shivering and trembling. It literally felt like I was having a seizure and I had no control over my body. The nurse assured me this was normal and just the result of a fluctuation in hormones as I was transitioning through labor. On top of that, the contractions were coming one after the other and were getting more and more painful.

I could no longer endure the pain and my body was exhausted so I opted for an epidural. With my son, I didn’t have time for an epidural so I didn’t know what to expect. The epidural process went smooth and my pain quickly subsided. I was finally able to rest, but not for long.

I quickly progressed to 10 cm and was ready to push. When the doctor arrived, we could see the top of baby girl’s head. I only pushed about two times and she was born.

Skylar Rae made her debut at 12:22 am on February 7th, weighing 8 lbs 6 oz and measuring 19.5 inches long.

A Letter to My Son

Dear Jaden,

Happy birthday baby boy! I can’t believe you are one year old! Where has the time gone? This year has been one of the best years of my life, all because of you.

I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. That morning, I had no idea how much my life would change. You entered this world faster than we expected, but you were clearly ready and we were ready to meet you.

When you were placed on my chest, I was amazed by you and what I had just experienced. We had waited so long to see you and now here you were. I loved everything about you. After a few moments you opened your eyes and looked right at me. Our eyes met and something changed in me that moment. To this day I still don’t have words to really explain how I felt. But whenever I think about that moment, my heart almost feels like it could burst from being filled with so much love and happiness. Your birthday was such a great day.

You have brought so much love and joy to my world. I love how your face lights up when I see you in the morning. Your smile makes every sacrifice all worth it. I have loved watching you grow and develop over the last 12 months. You’ve surprised us a few times, like when you started snapping your fingers. What 9 month old just learns how to do that? And when you started crawling. You just came home from daycare one day and started crawling and you haven’t stopped moving since.

I love how we play and laugh together. Your laugh is so infectious. I love how independent you try to be. I noticed that quality in you within the first few months of your life (I think you get that from me). You are also so adventurous and curious and I hope you continue to be curious about the world around you.

You’re so happy and joyous (I think you get that from your dad). I love how you have the ability to make other people happy. It seems like everywhere we go you make the place a little brighter. People gravitate towards you and you are always willing to share a smile or a cute little “hi.” I already see the potential you have to make an impact on others around you. I pray that as you grow up your light will continue to shine and that you will continue to bring smiles to the faces of those you encounter.

I pray each day that the Lord will keep you and protect you because I know that your dad and I can only do so much. I hope that we can be good examples for you and guide you towards the Lord. I pray that you will come to know Him as your savior and that His will be done in your life. I know that He has a great plan for you.

I read these words this week in a devotional and this expresses the exact truths I hope you learn and live by:

“God loves you. He pours out extravagant grace to you every single day. God created you in His own image. You are His beloved child and He has incredible plans in store for your future. God wants the very best for you and His vision for your life will always be immeasurably more than you could ever ask, dream or imagine.”

Jaden, I look forward to watching you grow over the years and celebrating many more birthdays! I want you to know that I will always be by your side, cheering you on. And know that no matter how old you get you will always be my baby.

Mama loves you so much!

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Photo courtesy of Kelley Jordan Photography

My Pregnancy Story

Since I’m using this blog as a place to record my experiences in motherhood, I figured it’s only fitting that I start from the beginning and share my pregnancy story.

After getting married, Tommy and I knew we wanted to start a family, but in our minds timing was everything. We wanted to enjoy a few years of just being married, I wanted to finish graduate school, and Tommy wanted us to have more living space.

By April of 2015, we felt like we were ready to seriously start thinking about kids. I would be finished with graduate school in December and we had just purchased our first home. We prayed and decided that we would start trying to conceive.

In my previous post, I mentioned we found out we were pregnant at the end of August. I wasn’t expecting it, but the test was positive! I remember shedding tears of joy and then yelling for Tommy, waking him up way too early. After church I made Tommy take me to the store to get another test. I had to be sure. Test #2 gave the same result, POSITIVE. We were pregnant. We were going to be parents.

We had our first doctor appointment and ultrasound about a month later. At that appointment the pregnancy was confirmed and we heard the heartbeat! I was 8 weeks pregnant and Baby Sullivan was due May 5, 2016.

Early on, my major pregnancy symptoms were fatigue and nausea. I got lucky and never experienced true morning sickness. Throughout the pregnancy my cravings varied from week to week, but the most consistent craving was pizza! I could have eaten pizza every day, but of course, Tommy wouldn’t let that happen. On the other hand, one food that I could not stand was peanut butter. Just the thought of it would make me feel sick.

Right before Christmas we had our 20 week appointment where we learned the sex of our baby. Tommy and I were both super excited! We hoped and prayed we were having a boy. As we sat in the waiting room before the ultrasound, baby began moving and kicking like crazy, apparently, just as excited as we were. During the ultrasound, we closed our eyes as the technician prepared to reveal the sex of our baby. When she found the “money shot” we opened our eyes and there it was, we were having a boy! Our prayers had been answered. A few days later, we brought both of our families together for the big reveal. Everyone was excited to learn we would be adding a baby boy to the family.

Overall, my pregnancy was normal until the beginning of 2016. I ended up in the hospital twice, once in January and once in March, with vomiting and abdominal pain, but the doctors could never determine what was wrong. Thankfully, our baby was okay through it all.

The last few months of pregnancy seemed to go by pretty slow, but Tommy and I did all we could to prepare for baby’s arrival, decorating his nursery, organizing all of our supplies, taking birthing/parenting classes, and packing our hospital bags. Near the end, we felt like we were ready as we could be for his arrival.

At my 37 week check-up I was 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced. At that point, there was no indication that I would go into labor anytime soon. At my 39 week check, I was 2 cm dilated and baby boy was at -1 station. At this point I was anxious about going beyond my due date. However, I didn’t have to worry too long because two days after that appointment our baby boy made his big debut, five days before his due date.

Click here to read my labor and delivery story.

Labor & Delivery

Whenever I share my labor and delivery story with people they always tell me my experience was unique for a first time mom. On the day I gave birth, everything happened so fast and in a completely unexpected way, but that’s what I love about my story.

On Friday, April 29th, I went to work just like any other day. That morning I experienced one of the early signs that labor and delivery were imminent. I lost my mucous plug. That was a good sign as I was anxious about getting closer to my due date. After being at work for a few hours I started having back pain and cramps. Those symptoms were enough to lead me to make the decision to go home. A few of my co-workers predicted that I wouldn’t be back, but I was optimistic. I guess I didn’t want to accept the fact that I was most likely in early labor and that I could possibly have my baby that weekend.

Once I got home I spent most of that day resting on the couch with persistent back pain. Tommy ended up coming home to be with me. After some time of rest, we went for a walk and to dinner. During dinner, I started to feel what I thought were infrequent contractions. After dinner, we came home and I went to bed and slept just fine.

The next day, I woke up early feeling like I needed to have a bowel movement. I kept trying to go, but nothing was happening so I tried to go back to sleep. I had no idea that what I was feeling was a sign that I was in labor. Around 6:45 am I felt what I thought was a pop in my abdomen. I got up and went to the bathroom thinking my water had broken, but it didn’t. That’s when I felt it. A contraction! It was nothing like what I felt the day before. I knew this was the real thing. I started trying to time the contractions, but they began coming too fast. In our birthing classes, we were told to call our doctor when our contractions were 5 minutes apart, lasting for 1 minute each, for at least 1 hour. Well, I surpassed that point quickly. Those first contractions I felt were coming almost 3 minutes apart! I called the doctor and she told us to come to the hospital.

It felt like it took forever to get out of the house. The contractions were coming pretty quickly. I had to keep sitting down and I was still feeling like I needed to have a BM. We finally left the house and got to the hospital around 8:00 am. When I was checked in at triage I was dilated to 4 cm and the contractions were still coming pretty quickly.

I wanted to try to labor and deliver naturally, but I was still open to the idea of an epidural if I felt like I needed it. By the time we got to our labor and delivery room I was 8 cm dilated and I felt like I wanted the epidural. The pain of the contractions was pretty intense and I had no idea how long labor was going to last. Before the epidural could even be administered I felt the need to push! I dilated to 9.5 cm in no time. At that point, the epidural was off the table. I was going to have to delivery with no pain medication. With the guidance of the doctor and nurse, I began to push. After about 20 minutes of pushing, our baby boy was here! We welcomed Jaden Thomas Sullivan into the world on April 30, 2016 at 10:05 am. He weighed 8lbs 50z and was 20.5 in long.

Throughout the entire labor and delivery process the advice that kept me going came from one of my friends. She told me to focus on breathing through the pain of contractions, taking long deep breaths. That one piece of advice is what helped me to stay calm and relaxed during labor and delivery. I now share that same advice with other expectant mothers I have the privilege of talking to.

For me, it was so hard to imagine what labor and delivery would be like. Through my experience I learned that you are never really prepared for the labor and delivery process, no matter how many classes you take or stories you hear. Every woman and baby are different and that’s what I find so beautiful about pregnancy, labor, and delivery. No two stories are the same, yet every story is meaningful.