Positively Purple

Before I got pregnant, my white stretch marks made me the MOST self conscious young woman. I knew they could be worse, but I was so stuck on the images of women around me. I had them on my breasts and thighs and I refused to let them be seen by the world. Loving myself seemed so far away.

During my pregnancy, those friendly stretch marks turned purple and brought new friends to my body. I remember thinking to myself, These are so horrible, I’ll never be able to wear a bikini EVER again. I gained new marks every day it seemed like. I had them in places I didn’t even know about until my giant belly started to shrink. Looking back at it, I wish I had documented the growth of the stretch marks.

After I gave birth, I looked at my new body in awe. I shrunk from being 9 months pregnant to looking 4 months pregnant, and of course some bags under my eyes! Today, I am 2 months postpartum being close to back to myself.. But better. I have these stretch marks to remind me of what my body went through to get the perfect body I hold everyday. I feel the best I’ve ever felt. It’s one of the most amazing things I have experienced.

Today I wear these stripes with pride. They are all special and unique. I am the canvas to a beautiful pregnancy that resulted in the birth of a stunning baby girl. No woman should feel shameful of these beauty marks. Wear your postpartum body with nothing but positivity! Motherhood has made me a warrior. I can do anything I set my mind to. I am beautiful and strong, I am a mother.

WELCOMING EVERLEE ROSE COOPER

Towards the end of my pregnancy I was overwhelmed with a sense of urgency to give birth. I was like any other woman, extremely uncomfortable. I was wearing slippers to work everyday and practically lived in my maternity leggings. (These were my absolute favorite!) Anything I could do to cope with my huge circumference, I was game.

December 16th was like any other day to me. I went to work, casually ate a large pizza on  the floor of the office, and spent time with my best friend Bailey. I was 37 weeks at the time, but we had all predicted I was more like 39 weeks since I knew when I had gotten pregnant. After a long day, Dillon and I decided to call it a night around 10:30 PM. I was so excited to sleep after being up tossing and turning the night before.

I woke up at 11:45 like most nights to use the restroom. I did this almost every hour at night for the last two months of pregnancy. I like to call it my newborn training. As I was trying to get out of bed, it seemed even harder than before. My globe-like midsection felt so heavy and delicate. After a short struggle and finally rolling off our bed, I made my way to our bathroom. I was about halfway into the bathroom when I felt a stream of liquid going down my legs. Wow this is awful, I said after thinking I was peeing myself. After it slowed down, I still needed to go. Um- red flag. I finished up in there and ran into our room. Shaking Dillon, I said, HEY either I just pee’d myself or my water just broke! He and I started trying to decipher what I had experienced when the second gush of water happened. At that point, I was on my second pair of pants. We knew then that it was my water and that it was time to venture over to the hospital.

We arrived at labor and delivery around 1:00 AM on December 17th. I was still only 70% effaced and 2cm dilated. From there, it was time to walk. We started to walk the halls and time my contractions, which were pretty regular but really painless. I was in labor heaven- laughing and hanging out with family and friends. After a good 12 hours of labor, I hadn’t progressed at all. I was maybe at 3cm and my contractions had actually stopped. I tried everything to get things moving naturally from walking and squats to bouncing on a labor ball. Nothing. They started me on a drug similar to Pitocin and sent me back walking. Still nothing. Another dose, nothing. This baby was having some major stage fright! On my third dose, they doubled it. I finally started feeling contractions again but these were not the friendly ones I was having earlier! By that point I was shaking, and begging for the epidural I had said before I didn’t want. I went from nothing to off the charts, back-to-back contractions within 30 minutes of the last dose. Holy crap.

At around 2AM we finally called in the anesthesiologist to give me the epidural. I never thought I’d be thankful for someone stabbing me in the back. Dillon watched from the other side of the bed and after that it was a waiting game for it to kick in. At that point, we had no idea what I had progressed to since my water was broken and they didn’t want to risk infection. Once the epidural started to do its job, the nurses had me put one of those peanut pillows between my legs. I hated that damn peanut. I was able to fall asleep for a few hours. I woke up around 7AM with excruciating pain on the right side of my lower back. I rang for my nurse, telling her that I wanted to lay on the other side and get the epidural flowing more on my right. She denied that and told me to just press my button. Gee-Thanks. Time went on and the pain was getting worse. My mom and Dillon’s mom were frantically looking for someone to help me. Finally, we got a nurse to help. She noticed I hadn’t been checked in hours and checked to see my progression. Oh honey, she said, Her head is right here, you’re ready to push! It’s amazing to me to think that if we hadn’t insisted a nurse come back, I could have easily given birth right there! The nurse grabbed a couple other women and told us they were locating the doctor to let her know I was ready. Well that took about 15 solid, irritating minutes.

When she finally returned, things went quickly. They prepped the room for delivery and called the team. My sister Tiffany and my mother-in-law Stevanie each grabbed a leg. Dillon stood at my side with his hand in mine. My mom parked behind me, rubbing my head – She’s not into the whole blood and guts thing. A contraction was making its way up on the monitor and I gave my first push. My nurse was surprised on how much progress I was able to make with each push. I knew I was born to be a mother, I thought to myself. Everyone was able to see her head, and her head of hair. Dillon was the best labor coach/husband ever. He gave me so many words of encouragement and love. I will never forget how that felt and the intimacy of it all. After 25 minutes, the doctor came in for those last few pushes, you know, to catch the baby!? I pushed a couple more times before my midwife came in like a ray of sunshine. Remember me? It’s my first day back in the hospital, and I get to deliver your baby! She said. I felt so lucky. She took over and I gave my last push. Everlee Rose Cooper was born at 8:23AM on December 18th, Dillon’s birthday. How special to have your baby born on your birthday? I think my present for him trumped all others.

She came out perfect. I mean seriously. There wasn’t a mark on this baby, plus, her head was perfect and round. She had all of her toes and fingers. We are so blessed. She came out with a full head of dark hair, which explains mommy’s heartburn! She weighed 7 pounds and 6 ounces. She measured 20 1/2 inches long. She is perfect. They immediately placed her on my chest for skin to skin, Dillon and I were on cloud nine. The hospital I delivered at has a policy called ‘The Golden Hour’, which means everyone has to leave for an hour to give mom and dad time to bond with baby. I freaking LOVE this rule. We were both able to do skin to skin and process what had just happened. Our hour was up and the family members started pouring back in. We did it!

Over the next couple days we stayed in the hospital due to my water being broken for over 24 hours. We were eager to get home and into our own bed. It was wonderful. Fast forward to now- Not much has changed. She’s still the perfect baby she was the moment she came out. Dillon and I feel like the luckiest people on the planet. First we had each other, and thought we had everything. Then we had Everlee, and we have everything. Life couldn’t be better.

Now, if anyone from my labor and delivery is reading this (especially Tiff, mom and Stev), THANK YOU!

 

Love and blessings,

Haley

Want an uncensored version to my story? Let me know below, my labor and delivery story has much funnier content than what I decided to share!