megan steven's birth story

 I woke up at 40 weeks and 5 days STILL pregnant after several false alarms and prodromal labor all week. I dislike being pregnant and have a huge and heavy belly since I have big babies and I'm short so, trust me, I was terrible to be around! I was set to be induced at 41 weeks because I just knew I couldn't bear to go over as I had with my son. We had moved states 3 months earlier, so this was a hospital birth and I had no birth plan as opposed to my midwife and birth center birth plan! (I went backwards, I know!) I knew I could do it naturally but I was so tired and huge and just worn down after a move and an energetic 3 year old, that I said to myself if I needed an epidural, I would just do it and rest. Well, at 6:00pm I started having the same old contractions (after have my membranes stripped that morning at my doctor! Ouch.) but after an hour they started getting more intense. I had my parents take my son for a sleepover and started watching a movie with my husband while bouncing on the birth ball. By 8:30pm I knew it was real and told my husband at 9:30pm, I wanted to go in. So about 9:45pm, we got to L&D and I was STILL 4 cm as I had been for a week but 90%. I was honestly discouraged thinking I would be sent home again and in pregnancy purgatory forever and that I would never know when I was actually in labor! I started to walk with my husband around the unit for 45 min or 17 laps (they told us it was a mile) and by the end I was unable to stand through the contractions and needed to start moaning . With the recheck I was 5 cm, 100% and I knew it was real. We checked in the room and I got antibiotics for GBS while bouncing on the ball. Things got intense from there and I told my husband maybe I wanted that epidural and he said ok, let’s try the water in the tub first. I headed there and hot water is medication to me! Then, I hit transition so much sooner than expected and told my husband that I felt faint and like I was going to puke. When I started saying "I can't do this, I feel like I'm going to die" my husband said he knew this was going way faster than our first labor. This only lasted 20-30 min and then I had the urge to poop and just then the nurses walked in to check on me because I had been moaning/screaming quite loudly.

My husband told them it was time and they half carried me to the bed. When they checked I was almost a 9! I was screaming for meds then and lost my cool a bit but it was too late. They did give me Nubian but it did NOTHING. The midwife got there and I was on my hands and knees trying to fight the same urge to push and after only a few contractions it was time. I pushed his head out pretty easily and then I felt his shoulder get stuck on my pubic bone and I became terrified of tearing upward. The midwife knew I was in a bad position and they literally flipped me over and told me I needed him out NOW and to stop loosing my mind. I actually felt so much better on my back and I regained my cool and pushed him out in one or two pushes. I soon realized she was in such a hurry because he was blue and not breathing. The handed him to the pediatric team and they kept stimulating him and his second APGAR was perfect but my husband said he has never been more terrified in his life. I was kinda unaware but just kept asking, where is my baby? Is he ok? I knew he wasn't placed immediately on me that something wasn't quite right. He ended up being perfectly healthy and HUGE, 9lbs 11oz birthed naturally with not a single tear! I felt amazing afterward and still feel great. The whole labor was only about 6 hrs with only 3 being terrible! Our son is fat and happy, eating and sleeping most of his first 2 weeks. And, I felt like superwoman. I love how proud my husband is/was of me and he just kept kissing my head and telling me thank you and good job. I’ll always treasure both our labors together. As all the nurses said, he was an amazing coach

The funny thing is I had a birth center birth and a baby who would not nurse (see my previous essay "not natural") and a hospital birth with no immediate skin to skin and a baby who LOVES to nurse (though we are working on a shallow latch issue). It's funny how different babies are! 

We are so grateful for God's goodness (after a failed IVF attempt this summer and this cycle that was almost canceled due to poor response) and kindness. For this child we have prayed...

We are proud to introduce Tobias Porter Stevens. Born 8/8/17 at 2:38 am at a whopping 9lbs 11 oz, 22 inches!

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*If anyone needs a listening ear as they are going through infertility or the IVF process please feel free to contact me. It can be a long road and sometimes having someone who understands is incredibly valuable! You can also comment here with any questions and I'll respond!  megstvns@gmail.com

an honest look at postpartum depression pt 1

"When the Bough Breaks" is a new Netflix movie  documenting the lives of mothers who have battled postpartum depression. Although I have only watched one small part pf it so far, I thought it would be a good idea to give an honest look at what PPD has looked like in my life. Healing takes on many forms and one form for me is expressing myself. My hope is that by sharing some parts of my story will in turn help another mom who might have gone through something similar.

With this being my second time experiencing postpartum depression I thought originally that I would be going through the same journey as I did with Calvin, but this has not been the case. This time around I realized right away there was a problem. As soon as Leo was born the anxiety hit my body like a train.

I remember my mom bringing Calvin and Max to my delivery room to meet Leo and the fear rising inside of me that germs were going to overwhelm my newborn. I was nervous about where Calvin and Max would touch the baby, I was nervous about my home and how my clothes would be folded, nervous about when I would sleep next, and the list goes on.

The thing with PPD is that for someone who has not experienced it, these types of thoughts seem outrageous and maybe even pitiful but for the mom going through it these are sometimes thoughts we cannot just turn off. 

No amount of help or encouragement at home could help ease the anxiety and depression going on inside of me. The only benefit this time around is that I knew the signs and so did my husband. I am going to be really honest here now so please read this without judgment and instead see how serious postpartum depression can be, especially if it goes undiagnosed and untreated (with or without medicine):

Each morning following Leo's birth I woke up not really wanting to live or get up. My morning thoughts were often dark and the anxiety I felt was overwhelming. I remember hearing Nick's alarm go off at 7 AM and me crying into my pillow that I did not know how I would be able to handle a day of caring and loving my 3 beautiful boys and my husband.

There was nothing expected from me besides keeping the kids alive and yet at the same time I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I would sit and nurse for hours on end and would become so bitter at all the moms I would see on Instagram who had put on makeup, wore trendy clothes, and had a perfectly calm baby sleeping in their wraps. How could they do it and I was unable to? How did other moms do it without family around and still manage to get out of the house with all of their kids?

Even the days where I thought I had the energy to get out of the house I quickly became consumed with laundry from the non-stop acid reflux, way too many blow outs, shirts getting dirty outside from the older boys and the list of things I needed to complete due to my obsession with order and cleanliness.  To top everything off I was neglecting to take care of myself. I showered every day and even had something clean to put on but I kept wondering if I would ever have the time or energy to do my hair or makeup again. When would I not be pregnant or nursing so that I could wear a normal bra? When would I fit back into my jeans that I purchased before finding out I was pregnant?

A doctor in the documentary said something profound that "most moms think in order to be a good mom we have to take care of baby first and we forget to also take care of ourselves." 

I am starting to slowly make sure I am putting myself into the equation. The little things like going for a daily walk after dinner (sans kids), doing a home workout, a cup of coffee in my room while the kids watch a show, a pedicure, etc. all these things are helping me slowly but surely take care of myself. I may never be "Gina before kids" ever again but I can work on who I have become.

This Netflix series has also shown me that women who prior to giving birth have already dealt with mental disorders (for me OCD) that these women are way more susceptible to experiencing postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis.  Postpartum depression NEEDS to be talked about. Let's have the conversations no one is having.

Part 2 of this honest look at postpartum depression will be coming at you whenever I have time to type again ;) My husband will soon be writing on a guys perspective of taking care of and noticing the signs of a wife who is suffering from PPD/PPA.

Please feel free to share your story with us too, anonymously or not. Email me through the contact page if you are interested. Thank you for letting me open up about what I have experienced. 

outtakes aka real life

outtakes aka real life

juggling 3 kids is HARD.

Juggling 3 kids is HARD, actually juggling any amount of kids is hard! This transition for me has been a bumpy one and I have seen more than ever my sinfulness and my weakness. 

Nick and I were talking the other day about how the beginning weeks with a newborn are hard on a marriage. Throughout our marriage, I would say Nick and I do well at communicating. We are both talkers and enjoy conversations about food, theology, and life in general. But the first 3 months with each of our kids have been difficult for us. We both are sleep deprived, irritable, and vulnerable. A normal 2-minute conversation can take over an hour with all the interruptions from our little offspring. On Memorial Day we went on our first walk alone since Calvin was born and it was such a breath of fresh air. We love our kids—don't get us wrong—but before them it was just US. Trying to remember that it was he and I before we became "the Davis Family" is something that takes conscious effort each day. (Side note: thank you to my best friend AW for reminding me of this. You're the best!)

It's hard being a mom and a wife because I want to give everything my 100% and can't. If I was to make a list in my head of what is important to me many things are on a equal playing field and I cannot realistically give everything my full attention. I am convinced that if I was getting a good nights sleep  I could conquer so much more. It takes a lot out of me to not get overly jealous of the moms who have kids who sleep more than 5+ stretches at night (see update below on a gift Leo gave me). Leo has had some good nights and some that were just plain awful. His reflux is the culprit in the middle of the night and he wakes because he is spitting up everywhere despite me keeping him upright for 20 min after a feeding and trying to not fall asleep at the same time.

Through it all God has been gracious to me. I used to rock Leo to sleep for every nap and Calvin and Max would be doing who knows what in the living room but thankfully Leo has learned to put himself down. Right now Leo is up for an hour at a time and then I put him in his room with the sound machine and place him on his tummy and he is out in under 5 minutes. He naps anywhere from 35 min-3.5 hours and I try to soak up every minute of it when he is sleeping since he still has some colic throughout the day.

At the same time I cannot believe how fast time is going. Leo is almost 12 weeks old and it feels like I was just giving birth to him yesterday. God knew I needed sleep because last night he slept 9.5 hours straight (I still have bags under my eyes) and is now still sleeping after a quick feed. It is only 8:15 AM and I already had a decent breakfast, drank my coffee, put the dishes away and am typing here on the blog which is far and few now a days. 

Juggling 3 kids is HARD, but this is what I signed up for. I wanted to be a mom my whole life and I've been blessed to have 3 healthy boys. So whether you have 1 kid or 5 kids, know that you are not alone. Being a mom will stretch you in ways you never thought possible but there will be a time when our homes are quiet and the kids are all grown up. We will be wishing for the days when noise was non-stop and our days were filled with chaos and laughter. God's grace is sufficent and in our weakness, He is strong. 

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