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Category Archives: Childbirth

#write31days ~ Day 24: Churching Ceremony

churching ceremony

In the extraordinary rite of the Catholic Mass, the Churching ceremony is still often performed after a baptism. The Churching ceremony is done in thanksgiving for the child that was born and prayers are said over the mother for healing after birth. It is truly beautiful.

Lucie’s Birth-Day


I’ve had this post in my drafts for a while now but couldn’t find a good time to post it. I almost did on Lucie’s first birthday, but forgot. Bonnie of The Koala Mom did a round up today of birth posts in honor of “Labor” Day that I participated in with Evelyn’s but I figured now might also be a good time to share Lucie’s birth-day story too. Happy “Labor” Day! It certainly is my most important work! 😉

An entire year later is probably not the best for remembering the fine details of things, but I don’t want to skip out entirely on recording my reflection on the birth of my second shining star.

As with Evey, I had serious prodromal labor with Lucie. About a month before she was due, I was already at 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. My body likes to do things slow and steady, I guess. I had a new doctor the last trimester of my pregnancy with Lucie as my original OBGYN decided to start doing home births and we didn’t feel that was for us. {As dedicated as we are to natural birth.} So my new doc — Dr. Dana Jacques — not knowing too well the history of my first, guessed I would go into labor fairly early with my second seeing as I was making progress that far out. But was pretty convinced it would be similar this go-around — Braxton-Hicks would be my constant companions for the foreseeable future and my little one would make her arrival closer to her due date. Call it Mother’s Intuition, if you will.

Sure enough, I came in for my check up two days before her due date and I was now 4cm dilated, fully effaced…but not in labor. As with Evey, I decided to go for the “sweeping of the membranes” as I really was ready to get this show on the road. Steve came with me to the appointment just in case that set things off and sent me to hospital immediately. But even after a couple hours walking around the mall, I was only beset with unpleasant cramping on and off. No consistent contractions. We picked up Evey and headed home for the evening.

The next morning, I started having contractions on and off. I didn’t want to hold out too much hope but it seemed like they might be consistent. Steve called into work to let them know he wouldn’t be coming in that day. We went out for a quick breakfast and dropped the car off at the mechanic to have it checked out. {It got left there for a while!} At this point, I was having them regularly and they were intensifying just the tiniest bit. We decided to go grab some things at the house for ourselves and Evey, and head to my parents’ house as they were only 15 minutes from the hospital while our home is at least 40.

We arrived just around noontime. My family was watching one of the World Cup games so I joined them on the couch. Still consistent contractions, but only about 10 minutes apart. I was a little hungry so I grabbed some of the pizza they were serving up for lunch as I knew oftentimes when one goes into labor it is hard to get a bite to eat and one can use all the energy one can get.

Because it was my second and my first had come in 10 hours, my doctor had said to get to the hospital when the contractions were consistent for at least an hour at 10 minutes apart. We had definitely hit that mark so we headed over after lunch.

They were beginning to become uncomfortable by the time we reached the hospital, but I wanted to walk as much as I could to help labor get moving along. We parked in the garage, a little ways from the front door despite our “pass” to park at the entrance, for this reason. We kept going down the long hallways when we got there, walking right past a woman I knew who was just visiting her son in the NICU. {She was due the same time as me but gave birth to him almost 3 months early.}

It was a busy day in the maternity ward. There were no empty laboring rooms available. I was placed in a triage room, but immediately, I knew I didn’t want to just lay there on the bed in that postage stamp sized, closet of a room. Since I was still at 4 cm, I asked to walk the halls so Steve and I began the seemingly endless trek up and down, up and down. With each wave of contraction that hit me now, I had to lean on the wall or Steve for support. They were coming on with strong force and consistent, about 3-5 minutes apart.

I was only able to do this for about an hour as it was exhausting supporting myself and managing the pain of the contractions. Fortunately, there was finally a laboring room for me to occupy. At this point, it was about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I was around 5 cm dilated.

Of course, one always want to hear they’ve made more progress than that. But one can jump from that point to fully dilated in a matter of minutes so I tried to comfort myself with that thought.

I took some rest on the bed. The force of the contractions at this point was overwhelming. They were coming every 1-2 minutes apart. Steve was trying to help me get through, reminding me to relax; I was nearly biting his head off because it was so hard, poor thing.

I alternated between praying the Hail Mary, which was both comforting and strengthening, and chanting ‘baby, down’ as the contractions rocked my body. I visualized her descending and making her way out. This really helps me and makes me feel like my contractions are being effective.

A short time after that my doctor got off work for the day and came to check my progress, sometime after 5pm. Still only getting close to 6 cm. She asked if I wanted her to break the bag of waters. I remembered this from last time: not exactly what I wanted, but what I did want was continual progression, so I assented. It seems to help when I stall.

The contractions, of course, became unbearable at this point. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to sit or stand. I alternated between the two. I thought about sitting on a birthing ball they brought me, but I just was so anxious with the pain, I couldn’t. Steve did an amazing job holding me up through all the pain, both physically and emotionally.

When I was hitting the wall, I lost my lunch. I began shaking uncontrollably. And the pressure began.

10 cm. Fully dilated. What every laboring mother longs to hear.

I knew I was ready to push.

They called for my doctor and I began.

At first, I was having trouble coordinating my breath and the push. It wasn’t very effective pushing. One of the labor nurses stepped in and coached me. She talked about imagining like I was about to dive under water for a long period of time, pulling as much air into my lungs as possible as I felt the contraction coming on. Then, slowly pushing the air out of my mouth and focusing my push on the point where the baby was to come out. After a few of these, her head began to emerge.

I definitely experienced the “ring of fire” and wanted nothing more than that beautiful head to break through the barrier. It took about 15 minutes of pushing and I felt her head slip past. The rest of her body came quickly after. 6:16 pm on Wednesday evening of June 25th, 2014. About ten hours of labor, same as her sister.

When they placed that precious girl on my chest, I couldn’t believe what a solid chunk she was already. She wanted to eat and knew right where to go for food. {This healthy appetite hasn’t changed, by the way. ;)}

With Apgars at 9, I was able to hold her for several hours before they washed and measured her. Steve and I chatted and admired our little Light — Lucie Marie — while the doctor stitched up a first degree tear I received. {My big-headed babies are a little brutal on the body.}


One of my proudest moments was walking with her isolette to my recovery room several hours after giving birth.

We had a longer stay than I wanted because I didn’t get a full dose of antibiotics for the Strep I was carrying so Lucie had to be monitored for 24 hours. Because that fell in the evening after office hours, we had to stay until the following morning.

One final note: if I could choose to always go into labor at the beginning of the day that would be wonderful. After laboring with Evelyn through the night and, then, Lucie through the day, it made such a difference when I was pushing finding strength after having a full night’s rest versus trying to do so when I should have been sleeping. But, alas, we can’t choose these things.


Team Girl, Team Boy…or Team Green?


There was no question when I was pregnant with Evelyn that we would find out whether we were having a boy or girl. Especially with our first, we wanted to plan out a nursery and pick out clothes based on the sex. I mean, we could have gone with yellow ducks and all, but it just wasn’t as exciting to me as picking out a closet full of smocked dresses or tiny suits with bowties.

When I was pregnant with Lucie, I thought about waiting until birth for a split second but the planner in me overcame it. And, well, what if we had a boy? I would need a whole new wardrobe! {Turns out I did anyway as they were born in opposite seasons so hardly anything that fit Evey when she was the same age is appropriate for Lucie now. With big ticket items, like high chairs and bouncer seats, we tried to go gender-neutral in the event someday we would welcome a boy to our family.} Steve was in favor of finding out too.

Our brother-in-law made a keen observation when, one day, we were talking about discovering the baby’s sex at the ultrasound. He mentioned that either way it was going to be a surprise — either at the ultrasound or when the baby was born. {I had the thought — well, maybe both because sometimes the tech gets it wrong! ;)} That kind of confirmed what we had chosen.

But, then, I was talking to a friend the other day on the phone who has chosen to wait until birth and she made a good argument for being more patient. She said that not knowing helps keep her focus on pushing as efficiently as she can while in labor because she JUST. CAN’T. WAIT. to find out! That’s a valid point too. If we’re blessed with other children, I might be persuaded to wait based on that reason.


What did you and your spouse decide? Why? Would you do it differently next time?

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