Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story

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I was one of those women who looked forward to the whole process of birthing a baby. I read about it and mentally prepared myself as much as I could. I planned on having a natural birth and use non medicinal methods of pain relief, such as my essential oils and massage. A few weeks before I was due, I packed my hospital bag and waited.

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

The week of May 15th was when my blood pressure started to rise. It wasn’t crazy but my midwife wanted to stay on top of it. I was also a bit swollen, but nothing to be alarmed about. As the days passed by, there wasn’t much change in my stats but my pressure was still high so they suggested I go in that Friday to be induced.

This was one of my fears.

My heart said to decline because I knew our boy wasn’t ready yet. I had a feeling I was going to be late. And I felt fine. There wasn’t any risk to the baby. But to be cautious, I went along with what my midwives wanted to do and agreed to check in on the 20th.

That day my husband, Dan and I celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary and tried to prepare for the journey ahead. My Grandmother came over in the evening to stay with our two dogs and my best friend Meg planned on coming in from Jersey Saturday to stay over. We hoped to be home Sunday with our baby boy.

Sadly, the labor was everything I didn’t want it to be.

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

I was admitted at Stony Brook around 8pm and was monitored for hours. I had been 3cm dilated at that point. Finally, they moved me to my room where I would be for the birth. Soon after, they gave me cervidil to get the labor moving. I was super tired and just wanted to go to sleep, but due to the iv I had to pee a lot during the night. So without much sleep Saturday came around, my due date, and I was starting to feel contractions.

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

Now, if this was naturally happening, I really feel like I would of been able to get through it. At least go longer than I did. But since I was induced, the contractions weren’t so much as waves as they were lightening bolts once after the other. It was horrible. I tried everything I could to surpass the pain; different positions, moaning, the yoga ball, but none of it really worked. Dan also helped by massaging my back, applying ice packs, and using the oils when needed.

He was a great support system, but damn was it unbearable.

Eventually, hours later, my body was literally shaking. This was my point of no return. I told Dan I just couldn’t take it anymore. The back pain was severe and I just wanted it to stop. So I asked for the epidural. Another thing I didn’t want. I was happy the pain was gone, but not so cheery about the catheter. Already this was feeling nothing like a birth and so much like a hospital procedure. Oh what fun.

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

So time passed by, very slowly. I had a few visitors which was nice. My Grandmother, Uncle and Aunt came by for a bit to keep me company. I was told my contractions were still strong and all looked good so far. I hated that I couldn’t eat anything. I was stuck eating lemon ices which did nothing for my hunger. I was just so uncomfortable. Towards the end of the day I was 8cm so I hung out for awhile hoping I would get to meet my baby soon. After some time, the midwife came in and decided to break my water, in hopes that it would speed things up. But…it didn’t.

A few hours later there was still no progress. My contractions were strong and continuous, but I just wasn’t dilating any more. So next they tried this procedure that would help to track the exact level my uterus was contracting. They stuck the thin device in and nestled it next to my baby’s body. Everything was still looking good at that point, as it was before. My levels were on point, just waiting for me to dilate more. And the night passed, even though I hardly slept.

The morning came and at this point I was so done.

I was exhausted, hungry, dirty, sweaty, and very uncomfortable in my skin. Laying in this bed for so long gave me such anxiety. I just wanted all of it to be over. A new midwife came in, the one I originally wanted to be with me, and said there wasn’t much progress and suggested giving Pitocin as one last try. So, here was yet another intervention I didn’t want. But what could I do. They were feeling the baby’s head but it just wasn’t in the right position. After receiving the Pitocin, we waited an hour or two and still nothing. That is when the last resort was recommended.

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

The words I really didn’t want to hear. C-section. When I was told there was nothing else to do, that surgery was the best option, I just cried. And cried.

I cried all the way to the operating room.

And then I cried a little bit more while I was getting all set up. This was certainly not what I had imagined or what I wanted. This whole experience was simply everything I didn’t want. And at this point, I wasn’t happy or excited.

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

And as I felt the pressure of the doctor pulling my baby out, I wanted to puke. It wasn’t painful, but damn was it intense. Like someone was digging through my insides. It was horrible.

I didn’t feel human. 

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

And then I heard him crying. Somewhere on the other side there he was. My boy. Everyone was cheering. Someone yelled, “Look at that hair!” I was getting so anxious. Then to hear he was 9 pounds…whoa. I hated being so far, but so close.

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

During the surgery, I was cut farther than I should have and I lost more blood than expected. Of course this had to happen. Because everything else went wrong, why would it stop now. And yes, I still wanted to puke. I was sick to my stomach.

But Elliot was finally here.

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

Every mother wants to see their baby right away. And we should. Carrying a child for so long definitely deserves that. But for C-section births, thats not the case. This truly upset me. So Dan was the first. And as much as I am happy he had that moment, it was a bit upsetting I had to wait.

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

Finally, they brought my boy over to me.

His little chubby face was such a relief. To see him was like seeing sunshine for the first time. Too bad I wanted to puke all over. I just couldn’t have the moment I longed for. I was so afraid that I would throw up on him because I felt that sick. No one should feel that way when meeting their baby for the first time. But I tried my best to get through it and just focused on the beautiful little human before me.

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

Our first moments didn’t last long. He was swept away so I could get all stitched up.

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

Soon after I was in recovery with Dan waiting for my room to be ready. My midwife brought my baby in and I could finally hold him. Hi there my sweet Elliot. And what a little cutie he was. I tried breast feeding for the first time, which was somewhat successful. I was just really out of it.

Once I was sent to my room, the next 3 days seemed like such a blur. I hardly slept so I was delirious. Elliot was with me the whole time so I was constantly breast feeding. There was someone in my room like every hour or so to do something. Whether it was to give me medication or take my blood pressure, I basically had no privacy. Dan was working so he would come see me at night and some family visited to see the baby as well. I was able to get the catheter out and take a shower a day after the surgery. That was nice, but I just wanted to be home.

The whole time all I wanted was to be home with my baby. Boy, do I hate hospitals.

Because I lost more blood than expected during the surgery they suggested I get a blood transfusion, but I declined. I just couldn’t take any more procedures or tests at that point. I was restless and anxious. Seriously, I think I started to lose my mind. And being in the new body I had was tough. I was sore, weak, and very uncomfortable. Not to mention, bleeding a lot. I felt like I was never going to get out of that place. I told them to give me iron pills and that was that.

Now I just have to say, Stony Brook hospital is a great place to have a baby. The nurses were very nice and supportive, as well as the doctors and pediatricians who cared for Elliot. I had my own room with a nice view and the food wasn’t so bad. I just didn’t have much of an appetite after all I’ve been through. And since I was breast feeding everyone and their mother was all over me. Touching my boobs and showing me how to do it. ugh.

Let’s just say your body just doesn’t feel like its yours anymore.

And then finally….it was time to go home! Checking out took longer than I wanted, but driving home in the car with my husband and son was a good feeling. Home never felt so good. I took a long ass shower and scrubbed myself till I felt like I shed skin. I just wanted to wipe away that whole experience. But the truth is, it will never be forgotten. My birth story was one where everything went wrong. I am thankful my son was okay in the process and there wasn’t any emergency interventions, but shit it was rough. I look back now and cringe. But it’s all over and now I have my sweet boy. And he is so amazing.

I feel very blessed.

Those first few weeks at home were challenging. I will be honest and say the birth did a number on me. Mentally, I just wasn’t right. And healing didn’t help. I continued to breast feed but tried supplementing a bit because Elliot lost 1 pound when he left the hospital. The doctors were making a big deal about it so I wanted to make sure he would gain it back. Another incident where I should have just listened to my gut. I knew he was fine. And he was. But his feedings were starting to be very overwhelming and I decided to just stop. I wanted to enjoy my baby and heal, not get anxiety and drive myself crazy. And thankfully, he is doing well on the formula and is thriving perfectly.

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

It took me about 6 weeks or so to feel somewhat healed and a few weeks for the swelling to go down and my carpal tunnel to go away. Nowadays I feel more like myself, just weak. I lost most of the pregnancy weight, just have a small post baby belly. I know it will take me some time to fully be normal again and feel comfortable in my body, but for now I am doing my best to adjust to motherhood and enjoy every minute with my son.

And that is most important.

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

Meeting Elliot Gray: A Birth Story - Photo by Lauren Elle Photography

Huge thanks to Lauren Elle for capturing the whole experience and for taking photos of our family in our home days after. She did a great job and I feel lucky she was able to be a part of yet another milestone in our lives.

Still Feeling the Bern

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Watching Bernie’s speech the other night at the DNC convention was bittersweet to say the least. I have to be honest and say I shed tears knowing it might be his last. This is a man who ran an honest and amazing, eye opening campaign that made history. A man who has a big heart and truly cares for the American people. A man who takes pride in the planet and wants to take care of it. A man who fought for civil rights and continues to do that today. I wonder what would have happened if Clinton ran a campaign like his? We all know the outcome of that one.

I have been a loyal supporter of his through this election and I still am now. So to all the Bernie fans who boo him, where is your loyalty? I know its upsetting that the wrong candidate will get the nomination. And it sure as hell is disappointing that our system is broken, which we all knew for a long time. But just think of how he feels right now. Bernie is doing what he feels is right. He always said he will not break up the party. Don’t you think he is heartbroken like all of us?

Just imagine for second, how far he has come. He created a fucking political revolution for God’s sake. Thousands of people supported him at rallies and events. This man started something we will all remember. And that should mean something to all of us. I say, FIGHT to end and be heard. Even after this rigged election. He led us all to the light and now its too late to silence us. We all have the right to vote for who we feel is the best candidate for the job. Not just settling for which one is not the worst. And even though big money, greed, and fraud played a big part in this election, we are now stronger than ever, thanks to Bernie Sanders.

So I will continue to FEEL THE BERN and Bernie fans should too. It is through all of us that his revolution continues. And we need to FIGHT till the end. The system needs to change and only we can do it if we keep fighting for it. I can’t think of anything else that would make Bernie prouder than that. This country is OUR country. And its time to take it back.

Spaces and Places Minted Art Challenge

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Since having a baby, I haven’t been driving myself crazy on Minted submissions. But I did enter a good amount of photos to the Spaces and Places Art challenge that just ended. There were some I re-submitted, as well as a bunch of new pieces I felt suited the challenge well. Voting is now open and ends August 18th. Just click on each image to place your vote. Enjoy!

The Province House

Short Cut to Church

Onward

The Time Teller

Summer in the City

The Back Door

In the Shade

Vintage Carousel

Wooden Bridge

Avonlea

Bayard Roof Study

New England Sky

Lighthouse on the Water

House by the Water

Fire Fly

The Road Home

Red Barn in Autumn

Water Penny

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