Family | Elise's Birth Story

March 11, 2019

Elise Indietta Stange
March 6, 2019
8 lbs 7 oz
21 inches

Tuesday, March 5, 2019
7:30 PM
Before putting the kids to bed, we all sat together after family prayers and Andrew gave me a priesthood blessing. He blessed me with comfort and strength for the labor the next day as well as comfort in knowing that our other children would be taken care of while we were gone. I was very grateful for that promise and it helped me to get my mind in the right place before and during the labor.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
6:20 AM
Andrew and I woke up and got ourselves dressed, and I made sure I had everything I'd need (and then some), ate a piece of toast, woke up the kids, piled everyone in the car, and off we went!

7:00 AM
Andrew and I had decided that he and the kids would drop me off at the hospital to get started while he got the morning routine taken care of with the kids, then dropped them all off at school and our friends, the Droge's. So I got out of the van, hugged and kissed the kids goodbye for the day, lugged my bags into the elevator, up to the third floor, and checked myself in. They set me up in the natural labor and delivery room since I told them I planned to deliver unmedicated (apart from the Penicillin for the GBS and Pitocin).
It felt a little funny checking myself in, but my nurse, Kelsey, was very welcoming. She asked me when the last time was that I had been checked. I told her a week ago and that I had been at about a 2. She decided to check me and announced that I was dilated to a 4 (so all those Braxton Hicks weren't for nothing!) but that she was having trouble determining my effacement because... let's just say it was hard to reach and they had to get a second opinion. It wasn't pleasant, but they figured I was about 80% effaced.
They started me on the Penicillin. With being GBS positive (Group B Strep), I needed to have two doses of antibiotics four hours apart from each other, so they didn't start the Pitocin right away. I went into the bathroom (IV in tow) and decided to do a little makeup and touch up my hair a bit while I waited for the first dose to finish and for Andrew to arrive. He and the kids called me at about 8:00 to say goodbye and good luck again. I loved that my children were old enough to be aware of what was going on and to hear their supportive, excited voices! Chelsea had drawn a picture for me that I brought to the hospital, complete with Mommy lying on a bed with a big belly and a worried look on her face. The nurses loved it!

9:15 AM
Andrew arrived around 9:00 and they started me on Pitocin at 9:15. We talked and walked around the hospital halls once, Andrew read a book, and I watched a little bit of Downton Abbey. That first little while on Pit. is never very painful, just mostly uncomfortable. Andrew and I did decide on a name while we waited. We knew quickly that we would name her Elise, but when I asked him how he felt about my Grandmother's name, Edythe, as a middle name, he asked "weren't there other family history names that you liked, too?" I mentioned a couple of others and we decided to go with Indietta, a variation of my Great Great Grandmother's name, Sarah Indiaetta Young Vance who was a midwife with a group of Arizona Pioneer settlers. She delivered over 1,500 babies and never lost a baby or a mother.

11:30 AM
They finished up my second dose of Penicillin and with both doses out of the way, my Doctor, Karen, gave the okay for my water to be broken. She asked (over the phone) if I would be okay if one of her colleagues did the honors since he was already there at the hospital, otherwise I would have to wait an hour or so longer. I said it was fine, so in he came, determined that I was still dilated to 4 cm, asked me a few questions about myself, and before I knew it, my water was broken and I knew things would really start moving along at that point.
I texted my friend Kallie, who was planning on coming to record the birth and gave her an update and told her I'd let her know when they checked me again.
The contractions started to become a little more painful then, but I could manage the pain if I breathed deeply and kind of compartmentalized the pain. When a contraction would come, I would breathe and think to myself, "my head doesn't  hurt, my arms don't hurt, my legs don't hurt..." and just focus on what didn't hurt, rather than what did. It helped quite a bit! At least, to a point.
I tried a couple of different positions, kneeling on my knees and sitting on the edge of the bed, but in the end, the best place was just sitting propped up on the bed.

1:15 PM
I texted Kallie again at 1:09 and told her that I was going to have the nurses check me in a minute because it was "gettin real." At 1:14, I texted her again. "7! Come!" She lived in Bountiful, so I knew it would be close, but decided right then that I wasn't going to worry about whether or not she'd make it. I had other things to worry about.
I started moaning during contractions so I knew we were getting really close. I started to feel really hot and the tingling that I've come to expect with my births did come, but not nearly as bad as I remember with my other births. I think because it was such a quick transition, plus I was really concentrating on breathing, specifically to keep the tingling away.
Kelsey asked Andrew if we'd ever done any counter-pressure. She showed Andrew how he could push on my bent knees to help with the pain. I have no idea why it works, but it does. The moment Kelsey started the counter-pressure, the pain significantly decreased. Andrew gave it a try, but he didn't have quite the immediate effect that Kelsey had. I still feel badly about this, but I got a little short with him a couple of times during the contractions because his hands weren't in the right spot, he wasn't pushing hard enough, he was pushing too hard, asking me questions during the contraction, etc. He stopped pushing too soon during one contractions and after it was over, I said to him, "You don't stop until I tell you to stop!" Luckily, Andrew is very understanding and says he wasn't offended at all. I also said after one particularly painful contraction, "I don't want to do this anymore!" I'm pretty sure I said that during Alexa and Barrett's births, too.
During one of the contractions, my eyes were closed, but I heard Kelsey say, "Oh hey!" I opened my eyes briefly and saw that Karen (Dr.) had walked in. I was surprised she had made it there so fast, but I didn't dwell on that thought for too long because that's when I started noticing that if I pushed a little bit during the contraction, it didn't seem to hurt as much. About two contractions after I noticed Karen's arrival, my moans became more like yells and I asked if I could push yet. I opened my eyes and saw Karen rushing to get her plastic booties over her shoes and she and Kelsey slid the plastic sheet underneath me, which was quite the feat considering that I was totally unwilling to lift my hips off the bed at all.
Another contraction later and Karen told me I could push, so I did. It was kind of a wild thing. I didn't really know what I was doing, or if I was even pushing right or at the right time. I just knew that it was hurting (ring of fire) and that the only way through it was to push.

1:35 PM
The first contraction/push ended and I opened my eyes to see my legs shaking uncontrollably. I could feel that baby's head was right there and when the next contraction started, I thought that maybe I had delivered her head, but no one said anything, so even when the contraction ended, I pushed, closing my eyes and tucking my chin, like I've heard and seen so many times at the births I've photographed (and from my own experience, of course). I heard Karen say "one more push." I pushed, and then I heard her say, "Open your eyes."

1:36 PM
There she was! Karen was holding her in her hands and I could see my beautiful baby girl's exquisite face! I immediately thought she looked like Alexa. I smiled and laughed - a huge contrast with what my face and voice were doing only moments earlier - and said "She's here! Oh! I'm so glad I'm done!"

Andrew cut the cord, which had been tied in a knot by some pretty impressive acrobatics on Elise's part, and they put her right on my chest. It felt just as good as I had fantasized/remembered, holding her tiny body on my chest. Andrew fetched my camera from its bag and snapped a few pictures before they whisked her away for her APGAR scores. We were surprised when they told us she was 8 lbs and 7 oz! I had guessed 7 lbs 11 oz and Andrew had guessed 7 lbs 13 oz. She's definitely the biggest baby we've had!

The whole thing happened so incredibly fast that there was no way Kallie could have made it, even though she left immediately when I updated her on my progress at 1:15. She arrived right as I started breastfeeding and it was plain to see that she was disappointed at having missed the birth. I was disappointed, too, but there was no point in dwelling on it, especially since the best, and most important part was what was now snuggled up in my arms. She did get a bit recorded before she left. Andrew had to go, too, to pick up Chelsea from school and the other two kids from the sitter's. It occurred to me as he was leaving that he hadn't even held our baby yet! They had needed to check her levels and when they gave her back, she wanted to eat. That made me feel a little sad, but Andrew was okay with it.

5:00 PM
Andrew wasn't able to come back with the kids until a bit later since Alexa had dance class at 3:00 and they were all pretty hungry after that. I was okay with that because it gave me time to gather myself together a bit before they arrived. I texted my friend Lyssi and asked her if she would be willing to drive over and take pictures of the event for me and I'm SO grateful she said yes, despite it being her wedding anniversary (Happy Anniversary, Lyssi and Whitby!)

I don't think I can accurately describe just how excited I was to introduce the kids to their new baby sister! I don't think I stopped smiling for more than a second throughout the entire visit, and it was SO nice to not have to worry about taking pictures.

Alexa was first through the door and her little face was just aglow! Chelsea had her hand up to her mouth, something she's done since she was a two-year-old when she feels shy or especially excited/happy. I think the best way to describe Barrett was interested and happy. I don't think he really grasped everything, but he knew that this was a very happy moment and he was excited about running and jumping all around the hospital room (good thing I had a large recovery room!)
Elise handled it all with poise and good grace. She slept through the entire experience, every poke, prod, and handing around from person to person. Must have gotten used to noise while she was still in the womb!

It was like Heaven on Earth to me. My fourth baby had finally arrived! We were a family of six, and we loved each other! Nothing else in the world mattered except that we were together and we loved each other. I never want to forget that feeling.

Elise did really well that night, and the next day we spent snuggling, entertaining visitors, notifying family and friends, taking her first bath, checking vitals (of course!), and taking pictures. By about 5:00, we were ready for discharge! Andrew and the kids came and picked us up and took us home.

 Photo c/o Alexa

My mom took great care of us over the weekend, babysitting while I took Elise in for bilirubin checks (two extra days of pokes for little miss. ouch!), cooking, cleaning, breaking up fights, playing, and every other act of selfless service you can think of. Andrew's brother and his wife, Karl and Maya, visited us on Thursday night, my sister, Becky and three of her children came to visit on Saturday, and my sisters, Debbie and Carrie, sister-in-law, Kara, and my Dad came to visit on Sunday. It was so wonderful to share my newest love with them all!

And here we are! Monday, March 11, and everyone is still alive! My parents went home this morning and everything is going well. Looking back on the last week, I am overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude. I have felt so much love from family and friends and am so excited to be starting this new chapter of our lives!

Elise, I don't know if your older sisters will ever stop fighting over which one gets to hold you first or when Barrett will stop trying to force your eyes open when you're asleep, but let that be proof that you've been born into a family that absolutely adores you. We love you, little Elise! Always and always!


Susan is a birth photographer/videographer serving Chandler, Arizona and surrounding cities. Considering a photographer for your birth? Contact Susan for EDD availability.

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