How has motherhood changed me?
I’ve been a mother for almost 14 years now. I almost don’t remember what it’s like to NOT be a mother. I know that I’m happy. Growing up I always used to say that I wanted to be a mom. I sometimes daydream about life without kids, but in the end, that is not what I want.
About my family:
my husband and I have been married for 16 years. We have five children ranging from 14 years to 2 months old. The oldest three are boys, the youngest two are girls. For the most part, we are homebodies. We spend most of our spare time with each other at home, in our pool, or in our back yard woods. We enjoy archery, music, visiting with friends and family, and going to church.
2 hours ago
Every Christmas Eve we gather around the Christmas tree and open 1 present. It’s always pajamas. The older kids know it, and they roll their eyes, but we do it every year anyway. It was a tradition I had when I was growing up. Of course, my mom always sewed the pajamas and they all matched. I’m not that ambitious. But I like the tradition, and this way I can make sure the kids are in cute, clean pajamas for pictures the next morning.
Two years ago our family took a Hawaiian island cruise. We were able to visit several island and explore a bit. It wasn’t easy on mom and dad, but the kids loved it. They preferred time on the ship, as there was a kids club, and often chose to stay on board, rather than sight see on the islands.
There is a lot of information out there these days in regards to parenting. Most of it is contradictory, and often controversial. My advice is to research, find the pros and cons about both sides of the story. Put baby to sleep on their back or stomachs? Vaccinate or not? Babywear or strollers? Cloth or disposable diapers? Forward face or Rear face and when? Breast or bottle? Bathe daily or twice a week? Pureed foods or Baby Led Weaning? Read up on whichever subject to learn as much as you can (during those many middle of the night feedings!). Decide which one is right for you, and then go with your gut (even if it’s not the logical or popular choice). In the end, no one knows you and your child better than you do. Then, armed with all you can learn, you will be the best one to make the right choice for your family.
Beauty must haves:
I’m a simple girl. I don’t wear make up, I mostly purchase my clothes in second hand stores, my beauty routine is to remember to brush my hair and teeth. So what are my beauty must haves?? A husband that loves me for who I am, and not what I look like. My children that love me as I am (and they ask what happened to my face when I put make up on. Haha!). When I have that, it gives me the confidence I need to believe that I am beautiful.
Sarah was a wonderful photographer during my birth. She seemed to have the ability to instinctively know when to talk, when to blend into the background, and when to walk away. I never felt awkward or uncomfortable with her around. She was an important part of my birthing team, and I’m so grateful that she was there to capture the birth of my daughter.
Alice’s Birth Story, As told by Wendy Dewey
Saturday, July 25th, was like any other day. Lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, in a fairly regular pattern. Today they were around 20 minutes apart.
David decided that he wanted to go buy a new car, and at the last minute I decided to join him. We joked together, and with the car salesmen, that they had to be quick. My contractions were now 15 minutes apart, and I didn’t want to have my baby in the showroom. In reality, they were getting closer together, but still just Braxton Hicks.
After we bought the new car, we went to Five Guys for hamburgers for dinner, then headed home. My contractions were starting to get stronger, but were still very mild and around 10 minutes apart.
Once we arrived in town, we fed and harvested chicken eggs for our friends that were out of town, and then picked up some food from Wendy’s for our kids. After dinner, we put Donovan and Jocelyn down to bed, and I settled into my bed to watch some tv.
Around 10pm I had a huge contraction. It lasted for over two minutes and was really intense for about 15 seconds at the peak. It was as if I could actually feel my cervix being opened up. Wow!
Ten minutes later I got up to use the restroom, and I discovered that my water broke. This has never happened to me before, so I wasn’t confident in that conclusion. But, after an hour, I was pretty sure I wasn’t peeing myself that much!
My contractions started coming more regularly, and were getting more intense. After thirty minutes, they were now every 2-4 minutes, and I had to use my Hypnobabies to get through them.
Our friend Kimber was going to come stay with the kids, but at the last minute we decided to let the kids sleep at her house instead. At 10:30 she headed over to our house to pick them up.
I was very unsettled. This was very new to me. I didn’t know when to head to the hospital, and I didn’t want to sit anywhere because my water had broken. I sent text messages to my mom and my friends, Lindsey and Kim, to let them know that it was baby time. At 11pm, I made the decision to go to the hospital, just to see where things were and to verify that my water broke.
I was still dealing with prenatal depression, and I was struggling with feeling connected to my baby. I didn’t want to “do” labor, and secretly, I knew that I was going to get an epidural rather than use my Hypnobabies for a natural delivery. As soon as I made the decision to go to the hospital, my contractions stopped. Figures, doesn’t it?!
We arrived at the hospital around 11:30pm. We entered through the ER, and by the time we reached Labor and Delivery, I had soaked through my pad, soaked my sandals, and was leaving puddles of amniotic fluid everywhere. There was now no doubt that my water had broken!
We got checked in around 11:45. I was checked and was 5-6cm dilated. My photographer arrived an hour later. The three of us got to know one another better, while I labored in the bed.
I used my Hypnobabies, and it worked well, while I wrestled with myself about getting an epidural. David left the room for a while, and on his way out, I warned him that I was probably going to get it. He was a great support, and reminded me that it wasn’t what we had talked about. He was right, but I never was truly honest with him about how I was feeling.
While David was gone, I told the nurse I was ready for the epidural.
After finishing one bag of fluid, the anesthesiologist arrived and gave me the epidural at 2:07am. Wow! I understand what the hype is all about, and why women love these things so much! We all relaxed, turned off the lights, and napped for a few hours.
Around 5am I started shaking. Transition!! My nurse came in ten minutes later and I asked her to check me. I was complete! The on call doctor and several nurses came in the room and started setting things up. We joked about how long this would take, and they decided it would take two pushes.
At 5:21am I began pushing. Alice was still high, so I expected to have to push for a while. But, after the first two pushes, she was crowning. I didn’t wait for contractions to push. I just kept on going. In the next push her head was out. I had to wait then, as the cord was around her neck, for the doctor to cut it. In the next push, I pushed her out the rest of the way!
Alice Margaret Dewey was born at 5:24am on July 26th, 2015. Alice was placed on my chest and David cut her cord. She wasn’t pinking up as well as they’d like, so they took her a few minutes later to give her some oxygen and take her vitals.
Her apgar scores were 8 and 8. Alice weighed in at 6lbs 6oz. She was 18 3/4″ long. Her head circumference was 33 1/3cm, and her chest was 32cm.
David got to spend time with Alice as her vitals were taken. He took some photos and started sending out text messages to friends and family to share our good news.
At 5:45am, David brought Alice back to me (at which point we made the final decision to name her Alice), and we got to have some great bonding time and breastfeed for the first time.
Sarah N. Case is a fine art photographer in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. Sarah is enthusiastic about capturing the grace & intimacy of motherhood through photography. She is passionate about babywearing, breastfeeding and advocating for women’s rights to birth options. When she is not behind the lens, Sarah enjoys volunteering for organizations, such as The Carrying On Project and Honor Flight, with her husband and young son. To see Sarah’s most recent work, please visit www.tinysparrowphotography.com.
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