Today we share with you the birth story of our first born, Rowen Rae. This episode tells a little back story of moving with the military promptly before she was born, and the wild and wicked fast ride that we took together bringing her earth side.
Thank you to our amazing doula, Trish, and our incredible midwife Shelrel. We have memories etched forever from this beautiful moment and our sweet girl has followed suit with her urgent arrival, even in toddlerhood. Also a huge thanks to our friends Karen and Mark who scooped us up and took us under their wings and into their family during our time in Alabama.
As mentioned in this episode, we honeymooned in Belize at X’Tan’Ha and highly recommend it!
I am here to answer questions by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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Below is a transcribed version of the podcast, alongs with photos. Enjoy!
Janelle: I could say good morning, but in our reality it’s a little late at night. Yeah. So welcome to this recording. I have my dear husband in the hot seat tonight.
Janelle: Hello. Tony Marion, thank you for joining me and a glass of wine because it’s been that kind of a day.
Tony: It was a long trip here.
Janelle: Cheers. So, we sit here tonight to share the birth story of our first born, Rowan Rae.
Tony: Miss Rowen.
Janelle: Sweet. Darlin. I want to share this story with you because it was such an empowering and beautiful moment in my life, but then also I have my husband here because I think he lends a pretty special partner perspective. So thank you for joining me.
Tony: Well, thank you.
Janelle: You want to rewind a bit with me?
Janelle: Kind of bring us all back to where this started. Um, we were living in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tony: Are we starting with Belize?
Janelle: Oh, you want to take it that far back? Only if you tell the really funny story that goes with Belize.
Tony: The monkey story. The fantasy, a conception of her daughter that I have.
Janelle: Versus the reality, quite different. Just to sort of paint the picture of it, we got married and you deployed a short six weeks later.
Tony: Yes. Yes.
Janelle: So they say the first year of marriage is the hardest.
Tony: So I left.
Janelle: That made it pretty dang easy to get through in some ways with you not being there. No one to fight with. But uh, that was a challenge, right?
Tony: All we did was work and pay off a lot of debt
Janelle: Our first year of wedded bliss you are. Yeah. Gone.
Tony: No honeymoon yet, right? Life was on pause on deployment.
Janelle: No honeymoon. We hadn’t done that. But your sweet, sweet father gifted us on that deployment with a honeymoon to Belize.
Tony: Yes. Yes he did.
Janelle: He said, here kids, go make me a grand baby. And that we did.
Tony: For the record. I didn’t think it was going to happen then. Yes, I do say I wanted to wait for one year of marriage.
Janelle: A real where you’re actually here and in person year for sure. And looking back then.
Tony: That wasn’t in the plans and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Janelle: Same. There’s just no other than, and she’s just who she was meant to be in that moment. And I love her.
Janelle: Yeah. So that was sort of the start to our introduction to parenthood. We went down to Belize, had an amazing time. So fun.
Tony: X’Tan Ha Resort
Janelle: Awesome, if you’re ever wanting to go to Belize, go there.
Janelle: We found out like the day before we left, so here we’d had this awesome time, lots of surf and turf Burgers, lots of.
Tony: Bed with wheels (laughter). No monkeys. I’m really still upset about that.
Janelle: He thought there would be monkeys pounding on the window like doing their battle cry,
Tony: jungle music going on. No
Janelle: But there was a bed with wheels.
Tony: A drink called the Panty Puncher and a bed with wheels.
Janelle: It was called the Panty Ripper, you re-dubbed it the Panty Puncher (more laughter) These people are probably thinking what on earth are they talking about?
Tony: Chi, Chi the bartender, thank you. I think?
Janelle: We found out in Belize and we actually took a photo there for our announcement and we submitted that and won another free week!
Tony: Yea, you she put that on your page
Janelle: I sure will. We came back from that trip just blissed out knowing we’re going to be parents and what a cool way to enter that.
Tony: I’m terrified. Terrified.
Janelle: We had an awesome midwife at Vanderbilt that we really connected with and then sadly we found out that we were going to be moving, unexpectedly, real quick.
Tony: Uncle Sugar
Janelle: Did you say uncle sugar? Ha! Uncle Sam. Ripped up those roots and transplanted us right down to the sweet little town of Enterprise Alabama?
Janelle: So lucky for us, our midwife had trained with other midwives in Dothan, Alabama. So she gave us the in like, Oh, if you want a midwife, go see these people. And we did and I loved them. Yeah, it was great.
Tony: Yeah, they all turned out to be pretty good.
Janelle: I preview this, I tell you this first five minutes, sort of this back story to show, you know, being a military family, it’s challenging, right? Like big monumental moments in your life and you’re uprooted and thats tricky.
Tony: It’s more like challenging with a dash of high inconvenience.
Janelle: Touch of anxiety, not knowing how it’s all gonna come together.
Tony: Uncertainty and then you just, figure it out. I will say that the people along the way, all those friends and everything along the way, that probably it, it’d be impossible without all that. You can’t do it alone. You really can’t.
Janelle: So February of that year, mid February, here we are coming up on Rowen’s birthday. We are transplanted down to Alabama and talk about a wild ride. You want to paint that picture of how that adventure went?
Tony: It was cheap on gas. It’s cheap on gas. I’ll start with that.
Janelle: Because our asses were towed.
Tony: we had the boat, our truck, the truck were loaded down with stuff.
Janelle: I miss the boat.
Tony: I miss the boat too. The Penske truck, the largest one that you can get, was fully loaded. And some of my dear, dear friends, as it usually always happens whenever you move. You buy pizza and beer. All you make your list of phone calls and your buddies are at work. You let them know and they all gladly, even though they may not want to do it or not, put a smile on their face and they go, all right, beer and pizza, let’s go pack you up.
Janelle: And that they did.
Tony: Yeah, they did that and.
Janelle: They Wynn’s housed us for the night. We stayed at their house after they helped us load all day.
Tony: It took a took a few days, and yep, you usually stay at somebody else’s house. You are just kind of uprooted a bit You were seven months? You were getting there.
Janelle: Six and a half.
Tony: You had to pee a lot. I remember that.
Janelle: Definitely, I remember joking: my weekly picture this week is going to be me peeing on the side of the freeway. Yeah. So was the reality.
Tony: I think we made it 60 some odd miles south of our location and the truck broke down, overheated and broken fan. Penske wanted to just give me another truck and just thought I could, me and my pregnant wife, could just throw our stuff from one truck to the other. I was pretty quick to let them know that wasn’t gonna work out.
left to right: Truck, towing the boat, our car that was just taken off the trailer that was being towed behind the Penske, and said Penske being hooked up to the tow truck…over 8 hours later
Janelle: It took three days and six people to load this one. What makes you think we are going to do this on the side of the road?
Tony: You have no idea the heart and soul that went into packing up this truck. It’s not going to happen with me and my pregnant wife on the side of the road. Everything I owned, and cars wizzing by. No, it wasn’t gonna happen. But uh, I did tell them they could deliver one of those tow trucks that tows semis or other tow trucks and they did that. Uh, that guy, I wish I remembered him. He saved our butts.
Janelle: He was so nice. He gave me ice cold water. We’d been on the side of the road for like eight hours at this point.
Tony: That guy was a hero. I wish I could find him again.
Janelle: I keep all those sort of papers. Im not that much of a squirrel, but important documents, I do keep.
Tony: Thank your tow truck driver though, that’s actually a hero job, right? Firefighters and there’s ambulance drivers, military. Thank tow truck drivers is the hero when you really need it. That guy that day was a special dude. Uh, so, but anyways, so he towed us to the front door all the way down to Alabama and he was, he was happy. You got the overtime. He was excited. He was getting paid extra and everything. Did anything, anything he could to help us out. Got us all there. Super Nice man. We didn’t have to pay for any of the gas or anything. I think we got our Penske truck rental reimbursed, most of it in line.
Janelle: We no sooner, we just turned the key on our new house just to say, okay, we’re here. Yup. Dropped a bag and then went and stayed with Mark and Karen. They were like our instant family, Nana and Pap.
Tony: They adopted us.
Janelle: They were our instant family there and they literally were the only people we knew in Alabama.
Tony: At the moment. Yeah.
Janelle: Aside from transient friends who are like in and out during training.
Tony: Ah, there’s a few here and there over the years. I mean, if you don’t know Mother Rucker, as we call it, the hub of all Army Aviation. So going back there and teach was a good chance to see everybody. But everybody goes through there, all these points in their careers. But the people that we did a meet there before, luckily in a wedding, we met mark and Karen and we were able to just to park it there, some odd hour of the night. They put us in our own room, gave us a hot meal. And ever since they were our parents.
Janelle: They truly were, they became our family there. And, and again, I always sort of paint this picture just to say, sort of the challenges that arose for us in, in birthing our first baby. So we, we dropped down in Alabama. We don’t know anyone aside from this one couple, so lovely, so wonderful. But then here we are in this house and we’re about to have a baby. We have an entire house to unpack and then we had to repaint the entire house. We had to rip out all the carpet because it had fleas in. It was this huge ordeal. So here I am.
Tony: The carpet did have to happen.
Janelle: Oh, the paint, that for me had to happen. This was going to be my home. I was bringing my baby to . You don’t mess with a nesting mama.
Tony: Yeah. A nesting mama is fierce…my wife nesting is a tornado.
Janelle: And that actually ended up putting me on modified bedrest because I was painting for like 12 hours a day. Went to one of my appointments and they were like slow down sister. Your baby is trying to kick the cork and pop herself out early.
Tony: Nothing like coming home to your wife in tears, with a paint roller in her hand every day.
Janelle: Yeah. So a lot. I saw all of this again, we say all of this because a lot of people enter into this chapter feeling like nested and prepared in this cool, easy like, oh we’re, we’re already planted. But that’s not the case for every family. Right. And I’m not only like shedding light on military life, but just for a lot of people they’re uprooted and it just makes it challenging. So that really is, is just such a such a source to say like, people need support, people need support in these times for whatever reason. And for us, this, this was ours. So let me just sort of backtrack a tiny bit. We were so blessed that our dear friend Trish.
Tony: Very much.
Janelle: Uh, Hi Trish. I love you. If you’re listening to this, she offered, hey, I’ll come be your doula down in Alabama. I’ll drive. I’ll drive. Cause she was going to Doula up at Vandy and then when we got moved, she’s like, nope, I’ll, I’ll follow you there. Bless her all seven hours of that trip. So to sort of fast forward a little wheat, we linked up with these awesome midwives, but we’re going to Dothan and that’s a good 45 minutes, hour away. Not Terrible but not close. First my mama, that felt like I can travel that far when I’m, you know, it’s about a normally a like 45 50. So we had prepared, we took Bradley classes for 12 weeks. We had our doula lined up hoping that she could make it once we said like we think this is it. And we met the midwives and we had met all of them except for one. And the day that our daughter was born, we had her. I had my 39 week checkup. Shelrel Berry. Oh Gosh, I have the best, best, best memories of her. Yeah. So we finally got to meet her. We go into that appointment and she’s like, mm, you’re five centimeters. 80% you’re, you’re probably having your baby today. Like get your stuff. I’ll hear from you later. She was like pretty confident. I’m like, you want to just strip my membranes just to make sure like a seal the deal. She so kindly obliged. I was ready to have this baby. Um, I had been having, you know, like pro dromal labor for about a week before. Didn’t do anything like aggressive, but I was like, hey, why not? Cause if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen. Um, and I remember leaving that appointment and I was like, let’s go to TJ Maxx. Let’s buy a shower bar or something because of the bathroom since we were redoing some stuff. And I remember feeling like kind of nauseous, like, hmm, I just want to go home. So we drove the whole hour home. We’d already had our car loaded up.
Tony: Yeah, probably, I dunno. Once they said that cause I knew kinda what, through the classes we had, what the dilation and all that meant and what sweeping the membranes meant and what could come after that. That’s when I started getting into.
Janelle: When you’re ready, you’re ready.
Tony: I started getting into the mode of, okay, I’m only paying attention to one thing. So a lot of these details like you remember more vividly than I do. I was more on the mindset of getting everything streamlined and getting out the door and where we needed to go in certain areas.
Janelle: But we went back home. I popped dinner in the oven. We went on a walk. Right? Yeah. I was starting to feel like I wasn’t having contractions but I was just feeling kind of nauseous. But we had the GoPro charged up and ready to roll cause that was our plan, my sweet man. Since we didn’t have time to find a birth person to
Tony: No. It was not strapped to my forehead, everybody asks me that, was it strapped to your forehead? No. Although I think the guy who invented the GoPro did that. But no, I had it on a stand in the corner up by her head. So there was no crazy shots.
Janelle: So we had everything loaded up and I remember I started getting some contractions. We started timing them. This was like, 7:30 at night. And I was like, hey, everything’s loaded. Can you go? We had just had dinner. Can you go down to Publix and get me some fresh orange juice and some chocolate milk? Cause I’m gonna want both of those after this baby pops out or maybe during labor, I don’t know. I had all my, we had 5,000 bags and this laundry checklist also.
Tony: If you give a mouse a cookie.
Janelle: If you give mouse cookie, she’ll want some chocolate milk and orange juice. So you better run your ass to get it.
Tony: Yeah. You gotta be ready to move on your feet.
Janelle: I called you and I was like, um, I think you need to come back. And you’re like, okay. So you came back, you had all this stuff I’d asked you to get.
Tony: And I thought that there was gonna be a baby on the floor.
Janelle: Do you remember what you saw when you walked in? I was talking to you that sort of bar top. I remember kneeling over that and just crying like, I don’t know if I can do this. They were getting hard.
Tony: On your stomach. Physically I can change the muscles, wrap around and squeeze. At that point I made a decision where I don’t care what you say, we’re getting in the car.
Janelle: We’re not there yet though. Cause I was like, let me get in the bath. I just, I’m feeling really strong, I just want to get in the bath and relax and at this point I just want to, you’re watching me and I’m working pretty hard and we’re timing them. And you had called Trish. Oh, let me back up to that. We called Trish when we left her appointment. We were like, Hey, I’m five centimeters, 80%, you should probably, if you want to head down, this baby’s probably coming tonight. And this sweet love with all of her mama energy. Yeah. She knew, she knew, she was already on her dang way down to Alabama to meet us. That just shows all the awesome ways we’re connected. She was on her way.
Tony: I was thankful I was not alone on the support side. That as a lifesaver.
Janelle: It’s incredible. Having that Doula support is just so, ah, I’m so thankful we had it. So back to the bathtub, we’re in the tub and I’m like, these are coming on strong. You’re checking in with Trish to see where she and Chris are, and you’re like, hey babe, I think, I think we should probably get going. And I’m just in tears. I don’t want to leave the tub, I want to be on the water. And you’re like, they’re going to have all this there. They have a tub that you were so sweet and supportive. And I was just like a blubbering mess. But I get out and I get in the shower. But then when I stood up out of that water, I was like, hmm. Something is, something is different, some things not.
Tony: They were getting pretty close.
Janelle: And mind you like first time mom, I had only been contracting for two hours and I’m thinking there’s no way. There’s no way I’m going to be able to do this. This is, this is wicked. But I get in the shower and I decided to, I check myself in the shower cause I wonder what’s going on up there and you know, I a nurse so that’s what you do. So I was like, Oh shit. Like this is… Something’s really happening. And you said, okay let’s go. And I get out and I just want to feel good. So I had to do my hair. I wailing in pain and then moaning, a moaning mess. And then I stop and curl my hair. And then back to being a moaning mess ad you say, get in the car, here’s your clothes, get in the car.
Tony: Get in the car!
Janelle: We get in the car and I remember that moment of, can you go get one of those puppy pads and put it down in case my water breaks. At that point I was starting to get loopy and I think you saw that cause I was…every time a contraction hit, I couldn’t speak. I called some friends to try to distract myself on the drive and that drive. You want to sum that one up?
Tony: 50 plus minute drive. Luckily it was in the evening, so there wasn’t that much traffic on the road.
Janelle: This point we’re talking 10:30 at night
Tony: I’m the driver, that’s what I do. I drive for living but in the air! But I did, I did it in 28 minutes. I remember exactly. I did it in 28 minutes. Pulled in the parking garage.
Janelle: You had the hazards on
Tony: We even went by a cop with the their lights on and everything and they just kind of just ignored me.
Janelle: I remember calling, who did I call? I called Julie. I called Mandy and Hylan. I think I called Lisa. I was in the zone and we pull up to that parking lot and I just remember seeing Trish and Chris standing there and you stopped by them, threw all the bags out. You didn’t throw me out but I like walked out and then you went to park the car and I remember hitting the suitcase and just squatting next to the suitcase and Trish was like, oh, mmmm hmmm. Yup. She knew this is intense and all I could think in that moment was… I just need to get to the chair. I just need to get to the elevator. Trying to time these contractions. Okay, if I can get to this next resting point then I’ll be okay, this next point I’ll be okay.
Janelle: One thing you remember is times. I remember specifically keeping track and it helps when you have it all on video too. Looking back on the video really does help. You can process it a little differently.
Tony: My biggest …you can go to the hospital and we did the walkthrough too.
Janelle: We pre-registered, we thought oh, we’ll just get right into a room.
Tony: We thought that was going to go faster.
Tony: We went there and it was all lost.
Janelle: Have you ever been here before? YES!
Tony: I’ll keep that hospital’s name out?
Janelle: I think it happens. It’s a common thing, right? I love the place we delivered at, but it’s common. Registration just doesn’t transfer.
Tony: It was good. That was a disappointing part. I remember being like, why is this taking so long?
Janelle: I remember having these contractions and someone’s nasty fake fingernail was laying on the floor. I don’t know why I remember that. The things you remember and I was like just focus on the fingernail but don’t look at the fingernail. It was making me want to puke but I was like I can’t stop looking at it. It was the weirdest grossest thing. We finally get back into the triage room and they say, oh, we’ll just hook you up for your 15 minutes and they can be, you can be off the monitor. Because I didn’t want to be continuously monitored. We get back there and time is marching on and it’s been…
Tony: To me it seemed like everybody is moving slower, because obviously we were in…
Janelle: Well looking back I was in transition in this triage room.
Tony: I remember being in panic mode and then all of a sudden you realize what mode you’re in
Janelle: I remember saying to Trish, I think my water broke, because I felt this gush and then, you know, she’s helping us try to see. It didn’t, but it was just, gosh, we were in that room and I hadn’t even been checked yet. And I think when the front desk lady like saw me having a contractions, every minute she was like, oh, someone get in there. I still remember the sweet nurse ,Charisma. She was so kind and so gentle. And she came in and she checked me and she was like, oh, you’re nine centimeters! And I felt like, HECK YES, I can do this. This is awesome. I kinda got the second wind of, okay, okay.
Tony: We didn’t see Shelrel yet. Right? We didn’t see her until we got to the second room?
Janelle: Yeah. So Charisma takes us back to our room and they brought us to the closest room. Sweet Trish was like, oh, I’ll wrangle all your bags and I’ll meet you there. All 500 of our bags and my clothes.
Tony: I think Chris was there too, right?
Janelle: He had gone on.
Tony: That’s right. Yeah.
Janelle: He had gone on to where they were going to be staying.
Tony: I remember he was a big help for getting all of our stuff out of the car.
Janelle: My Gosh, he helped us get it up to the room, to the triage room.
Tony: Thank you, Chris.
Janelle: Yes, thank you. Thank you, thank you. And then he was like, I’ll let you guys do your thing. But Trish. They have the circular thing in this hospital. Trish went one way and we went the other way so we literally lost her.
Tony: She texted me …where are you guys? Or something.
Janelle: I remember them unplugging the monitor. They still wouldn’t let me come off of it, but they threw the cords over my shoulder.
Tony: With your butt cheeks hanging out.
Janelle: Oh, I didn’t care at this point, but I still remember these cords sticking between my butt cheeks and I’m waddling down the hall, just trying to just make it to the bed before the next contraction.
Tony: Your wire thong. Sexy as hell!
Janelle: Like a wire thong going on, my butt totally hanging out. I did not care. I saw that bed, I saw that bed and I was like, just get to the bed, get to the bed, you can have this contraction. Yeah. And I did. And then I had a back to back one and my water broke like immediately. Do you remember that?
Tony: No, of course. I remember. That was one of the most vivid things I remember. It was, in the video too. I had my hand on your back. I was putting pressure on it. I remember the force of the break, not all of them break in this way. I know that. But you had the force of the water, the bag as it broken like ricocheted up my arm. I remember that. Boom.
Janelle: Yeah. And it’s such an intense feeling.
Tony: And I remember just, feeling what the hell was that?
Janelle: But I looked down and it was meconium stained and me, the NICU nurse was panicked at that because I’m saying, no, no,
Tony: I was fine until I saw you packing. I’m like, okay, are we supposed to panic now?
Janelle: Trish found us and I love when I look back to the video. I love, you saying “Her water just broke.” and she’s like “cool.” She was so calm, just like “Alright cool.” And then the next nurse came in, Michelle, I remember her incredible and she’s, oh, okay. And I think they saw me, I’m just so focused in and moaning so loud.
Tony: Yeah. And she wasn’t waiting. She was wanting to get out of there.
Janelle: Shelrel comes in, she checks me real quick and says, “Yep, you’re 10. ” We had literally just gotten into the room and they started setting up all their stuff. Then I was like, oh okay so I can, I can push now? And I seriously remember sweet Trish. I was standing at this point because they wanted to change my gown. There was poop stained water everywhere from my water breaking and everything.
Tony: This is all within 30 minutes too, of us arriving.
Janelle: Oh God. Yeah.
Tony: I think it was about right around the 30 minute mark.
Janelle: I’m standing and I have one leg up on the bed and just trying to get through this contraction Sweet Trish is squeezing my hips because I just wanted my arms around you. She’s squeezing my hips. My butt is in her face. She’s so sweet to do this for me.
Tony: For me. I would have had to been two people if she wasn’t there.
Janelle: That’s the difference, right? Having your doula there, you had someone to turn to, to process this with. And then also you can’t be all the things all the time. Here I am, “Hey, can you make sure the GoPro is on? Sorry, I’m sorry for that.
Tony: I juggled it.
Janelle: Shelrel was like, “Do you want to try the squat bar?” Because I knew I didn’t want to like labor on my back.
Tony: Shelrel, the midwife, was awesome by the way. I think when she decided things were going to happen, she said a couple words and a couple of waves of her hands. And I guess, it seemed like 10 people were automatically, I don’t think there were that many people around,
Janelle: It was just this beautiful rhythm.
Tony: She just orchestrated it alI. I remember she’s had a little glasses on. She pushed them up and, the epitome of a very wise person that had everything under control. Just seeing her calm, that was the thing that helped me out. Knowing that things were okay. She just had this very calm demeanor. I was good with having Trish there as backup as well. But when Shelrel was just simply said a couple of words and waved her hands and the whole room just moved.
Janelle: Well, I remember you saying after the fact, it was like, you’re swimming in a fish bowl with all these fish that you reach out to touch them. And you can’t touch them, but they’re all just doing their thing around you just floating beautifully.
Tony: I remember that very vividly. It was pretty cool.
Janelle: I knew I didn’t want interventions and medications and I didn’t really have a choice at that point.
Tony: I tried to take the interventions, I tried to take that. Can I just have it right here? I’ll take it.
New Speaker: I remember her saying, let’s try the squat bar. And they put the squat bar on and I’m pushing and pushing and pushing. Not much. It wasn’t many pushes before she came out. Five or less. It wasn’t that many. I’d have to look back on it.
Tony: Yes, it was one hour and one minute looking back on it. Exactly. One hour, one minute that Rowan came out from the time we got to there
Janelle: Which is wicked fast. So total, four hours labor for a first time birth.
Tony: Justified my panic to get to the hospital.
Janelle: Incredible. Whoa, just wicked. But I remember that feeling of, when they said you can push. I’d never done this before. And I knowing now having done this twice, I could have worked more efficiently with my body, but also looking back at, her birth went the way it was meant to. Right? Let’s see if I can get through this part without crying. Geez. Her head was crowning. And I remember saying, I feel like I’m tearing. And you guys were like, no, no, no, you’re good. And I was like, no, it’s like, it’s, this hurts like really bad. And her head came out and she had her cord wrapped three times around her neck and she couldn’t reduce it. She couldn’t slip it off it was so tight.
Tony: I remember they clamped it and they had to cut it at that moment.
Janelle: She was like, we gotta cut this cord right now
Tony: They still wanted me to cut it, which was like…
Janelle: She still let you cut it.
Tony: I went into tunnel vision. I remember the head and a loop of the cord was sticking out and she clamped two ends of it, threw the scissors in my hands and says, “Okay Dad, cut the cord. You need to move quickly.” So here, I don’t even think I remember cutting the cord, honestly. I remember Ethan, I remember the feeling of cutting the cord, but I don’t remember much with, with Row. It was so fast.
Janelle: It was, wicked fast. Then she comes. I finally push her out and she comes out and she’s…it’s just silent. I remember this feeling of…I remember the nursery nurse and she was like, “she…she’s okay. I wouldn’t be talking to you if she wasn’t okay.” But being in that moment, oh, not gonna cry. Um, watching her and going through this, it’s surreal, right? I’m sitting there and I’m like, I just…this baby just exited my body and she’s not on my chest.
Tony: There was an expectation of something else. We had the expectation of things were going to a certain way they just didn’t.
Janelle: Which, I, in that moment, I don’t even remember being, “she didn’t get to go to me”, but just feeling like, what just happened? What just happened? This person you’ve been growing and carrying is now outside of you. And then I can’t hold her. I can’t even touch her and I’m just watching her being worked on. And that was, that was…I was hearing everything and knowing exactly what it means because I am usually the person doing that, and panicking. I remember you holding your breath and.
Tony: Oh, I had no clue
Janelle: You’re like, “come on, come on.”
Tony: I knew something seemed as though it was wrong, just by the way you were acting and how she didn’t go to you. But at the same time I’m looking, I’m just, I just remember looking back and forth going, “What?” It was like a joke I didn’t get, it was like a punch line hit and it just went over my head and I didn’t get it. I was, it was just kinda hit by a car.
Janelle: She turned a corner real fast, within minutes. Once, as soon as she cried, which usually that’s, as soon as they get that air in and cry, then they’re okay.
Tony: Ever since, she’s been a lively one.
Janelle: I shouldn’t just say, okay. But you can see a change most of the time. And we did. She was kicking and vigorous and pink all over and just crying, like pissed off.
Tony: She did great.
New Speaker: Some time goes by and they’re trying to put the pulse ox on her and it’s not reading and all these things. But then also if, you know, from a medical perspective, they’re not going to sat 100% right away. There’s, if you look at it, especially according to neonatal resuscitative stuff and stable stuff, they don’t sat 100% right away, but. she was like, “oh no, she’s, you know, low nineties. “
Tony: And I’m like, no, that’s not normal.
Janelle: That’s normal for how many minutes it’s been.
Tony: And I’m like, oh, no. Low Nineties, what the hell does low 90’s mean?
Janelle: It takes a while though for them to climb that. So not to get too far into that, but she’s responding, she’s pink, she’s breathing, she’s not labored. And I’m just like, “I want to hold her.” And she was like, “no, no, not yet.” And she’s just laying there, calm. I remember looking over and, and Trish going, “she’s looking right at you” and you’re like, “Babe, look, she’s looking” Because I’m just crying. I just want my baby and she sweetly, thankfully, rolled the cart right next to me and I…I’m so thankful you were able to capture this. I was able to reach over and just touch her. And that was our first hello.
Janelle: Even though…it’s okay for me to feel as strongly as I do because this was my experience. It’s not better or worse than anyone else’s. But that was hard for me in that moment. And just wanting. I’ll never forget, and I shared this in a post and the feedback was just incredible. I was caught between mom and nurse. This is my child, but I know all these reasons of why she’s showing stability and all of that and why can’t I touch her, hold her, all of that. And I finally just fired off. And she was like, “okay, but I don’t think she’s going to be great at breastfeeding.” And I was like, MMM, okay. And those words, those were the initial teeth that sunk in that made it hard to process my birth story. So I say that because I think sometimes we’re not mindful of the words that we say and I don’t know that it’s ever appropriate to tell a mom as her baby’s going to breast for the first time, that she’s not going to be great at it. That’s, that’s not a good way to start it. But yeah, I think what she was trying to say was she’s been through a bit, don’t be surprised if she doesn’t latch right on the first time. But our little warrior princess was like, hold my…
Tony: Hold my binky. Hold my umbilical cord, I’m getting after this.
New Speaker: She put her on my chest.
Tony: She bounced straight over there.
Janelle: We took in this moment for a second. And then she just, boop! Did the breast crawl. No. Like an accelerated breast crawl. She knew exactly. She hopped right on. And I still remember Trish’s voice to like “Look at her. She knows just what to do”, like all this reassurance and you’re just like…
Tony: That was the weirdest thing for me. I was like wow. Cause like you see, you see it was like national geographic and go yeah a giraffe pops out and they can walk after they’re born. Okay. Got It. But a baby? How did that baby know to crawl right over there? It was just, that was like, that’s when things started really getting fascinating. Not to say they weren’t fascinating before, but it was just another level of things like accelerating forward. That actually, that moment right there, I was like, I knew okay she’s 100% okay.
Janelle: She’s alright.
Tony: Rowen is 100% okay. Because this girl has it. Like her mind is there and like everything’s functioning perfect now I can relax.
Janelle: Seeing her do that and then, here we are, it’s after midnight at this point. It had been…that business of me not being able to hold her one on for awhile. So it’s far after midnight. I remember when we got to that room before she was born, I was like, “I feel like this is going to go fast.” And none of us were prepared for how fast it went. And I don’t mean this in a negative way, but it was, it almost had an undertone for me, I’m not saying for anyone else. For me it felt violent too to a degree because I didn’t, there wasn’t a moment of process. It was just, BAM, she’s, she’s here. And it took me, it took me a minute to process that. A lot just happened. A lot just happened here. Um.
Tony: Yeah, I’d never pictured of it go that fast. Honestly. I always…all the stories we’d heard and our friends who had kids before, all the education we had is like, ah, you know, sit tight. This could be, this could take a day. Could take two days, you know? You don’t know. I didn’t think it was gonna take a couple of hours and be so violent. It was. She came out with some velocity.
Janelle: Well, yes she did. Cause she, it’s like she was ripping the wallpaper out of my…
Tony: Yeah, it was pretty bad tear, yeah.
Janelle: Whoa. So I had a sulcus tear that was literally like a corkscrew coming out. Not that everyone wants to know this.
Tony: There was a lot of blood.
Janelle: It was, it was. They had to give me…I didn’t have an IV, so they gave me IM pitocin because I was bleeding too much. And then the placenta came out, remember the placenta?
Tony: I remember her telling me that and that’s when I realized the gravity of things, the direction it could’ve gone.
Janelle: Part of me wants to share that part of the video. This is where I was like her birth happened the way it was supposed to.
Tony: Maybe you should show some parts. But, uh, if we weren’t at the hospital, that’s when I realized that we probably, I could’ve lost both of you
Janelle: I’m sure that everyone listening is going to process this differently. But I had a Battle Dora Placenta, so it wasn’t.
Tony: She explained it to me like a tennis raquet, where the cord come off the side instead of the middle.
Janelle: But it was more like, it was almost, I don’t know, just by the pictures, it looked like a little more intense than that. Like it could have just sheared off. But she said because of the cord, it was probably a good thing that the cord was wrapped so tight because she had thick meconium. So she’s like, that could have prevented her from inhaling it. Then also if she, if she’d been born on the side of the road because she was tethered in her cord, it could have pulled the placenta off.
Tony: Well it could have strangled her and then cord could have torn causing hemorrhage.
Janelle: I could’ve hemorrhaged And thats scary to process.
Tony: It could’ve been both of you?
Janelle: Yeah, she’s like, it could have been… That was my interpretation of what she said. I don’t want to put words in her mouth, but she said it just could have been a very different outcome. Very different,
Tony: She seemed pretty serious when she said it. So those are words I always held onto.
Janelle: Things happen in certain ways sometimes and sometimes we just want to process this and have a reason and all of that. But that gave me a lot of comfort in knowing, okay, that’s how it was just…that’s how her birth was supposed to be. Quick and fierce and she’s never deviated from that though. Row…
Tony: She’s a spitfire.
Janelle: She marched on in that same manner her entire life. She’s soft but so strong. She blazes the trail.
Tony: She’s definitely our little warrior princess.
Janelle: I still remember just these beautiful moments of pause after that we got. She did get to stay at my chest for quite a while and then the nursery nurse was like, “I want to scrub her down to get her to really open her lungs.” And I had mixed feelings on that because I didn’t want her bath to happen right away. But I was like, “Okay, like do what you need to do.”
Tony: I feel like we got talked into a few things that maybe we would’ve done differently, but under the moment when you’re…I think after all the hormones and adrenaline and everything going through your system for both of us.
Janelle: At this point it’s like 1:30 and they’d come in to do a ton of labs on her.
Tony: I’m almost willing to accept anything they tell you just to leave you alone so you can rest and get to the process.
Janelle: But we were very good at staying firm to what was important. They wanted to take her into the nursery to do all of her labs. And I was like, no, you can do all that at the bedside. I don’t want her out of my sight. So they did thankfully. I just remember I didn’t sleep and I didn’t sleep the whole time we were in the hospital until…YOU did. Oh, my..Oh my God. I almost forgot about that for a second. Can you believe that? That, I almost forgot about that? So this son of a gun over here?
Tony: That’s not the word she wanted to use.
Janelle: No, it’s like, he was like, oh,…she’s out. ZZZZZZZZ (snoring). He was OUT.
Tony: So once the adrenaline wore off and everything was good. Baby’s good. Mom was good. They are sleeping…I took couple of pictures…
Janelle: No, I hadn’t slept then.
Tony: Feeling like you’ve been hit by a train.
Janelle: I hadn’t slept yet.
Tony: You started to snooze, you started to. You were finally able to relax like a little bit. You weren’t as amped up as you were…anyway. So everything’s okay and my body shut down. My mind, everything. I passed out right next to her.
Janelle: Your sensibility shut down, you mean? Shut down? Here’s this woman who just…and Trish deemed me rocket mama, our sweet doula.
Tony: Guys, if you’re listening to this…never fall asleep. Just take caffeine pills.
Janelle: If he could give you any piece of advice, don’t fall asleep.
Tony: You will hear about it for the rest of your life. I passed out for like, it felt like three days.
Janelle: It WAS three days because we were in the hospital for three days and I remember. The only time it really made me mad was someone came in from the nursery and they were like, “oh we need to take her to go do this.” And I was like, “no, you don’t. I don’t want her…I want her with me.” And she was like, “Oh, I’ll wake dad up and he can go with.” I couldn’t. Every time I got to stand up, I would almost pass out. It was bad. But she nudged you. And she was like, “so do you want to go to the nursery or do you want us to just take her? Or do you want to just sleep? And you sat up and you went “SLEEP” and then he laid back down.
Tony: I don’t remember it at all. (laughter)
Janelle: I remember panicking. I don’t want her to go. And they took her and she was gone for like four hours. And I finally, I threw a pillow at you and was like, “WAKE UP! Wake up, go get our baby.” And you did. And I don’t even know what was taking so long.
Tony: I don’t remember it, not at all.
Janelle: They took her and we had to go get her. But I will say, I’m not saying that to be negative. We had a really good experience at that hospital.
Tony: We did. Thanks to our doula and Shelrel.
Janelle: Yeah, thanks to our midwife and our Doula. We had an amazing experience and I was very blessed that Rowen took to breastfeeding right away. We didn’t struggle with that in the immediate. But holy hell, when your milk comes in for the first time. Whooo. So on the drive back, there’s this…because you’re in, this is where flight school is. There’s all these young boys.
Tony: In the DEEP South.
New Speaker: There’s this (laughing). I’m going to lose a lot of people right here. Ha ha! There’s this strip club on the side of the highway. And I remember joking when we were driving by because I had these GIANT boobs and I was like, I might as well take a pit stop and I’ll start Rowen’s college fund early.
Tony: Go make some side money.
Janelle: Let’s just stop there. I’ll do little dance and we can start her college fund early. Because I’ve never had boobs like this in my life. They were just these giant, rock hard things.
Tony: If you ever see the Hangover, you gotta watch that. I think the second one, isn’t it? Oh, the neighbors. The neighbors. It’s the neighbors.
Janelle: Yes. It was like that.
New Speaker: If you’ve ever seen the neighbors, number two, watch that.
Janelle: We got home and sweet Karen like brought us dinner.
Tony: Oh yeah.
Janelle: For our first night home.
Tony: Mama came into action.
Janelle: Oh and that was amazing. And well, Trish and Chris had stopped back in to see us at the hospital.
Tony: Yep. We had some good help by then. Luckily, because we didn’t know. We did’t have out network there yet.
Janelle: We did’t have anyone. Lindsey. You had met Lindsey, she was working at the hospital, but that literally our only people to visit us in the hospital were Mark and Karen. Trish and Chris popped back by before they drove back up to Tennessee and that was it. I mean most of the time people welcome a baby and they have just rooms full of people there and people bringing them meals and doing all these things. And here we were like, brand new parents.
Tony: We are at the furthest corner away from where we would have all of that. That was, it wasn’t even an easy flight to get down there even. You’ve gotta fly to Atlanta and take a small jumper flight. It’s just expensive. And not that I thought that thre was a bunch of people that didn’t want to be there or anything. But I think in our nature we told people not to come until we got situated too.
Janelle: We wanted to take it in
New Speaker: I think we are the way we are when we wanted to make sure we got everything right. We soaked in all the hard parts and got everything set up before we had people into our space I guess. I don’t know. Besides the people that were already there, which was wonderful. We…we don’t, we don’t accept help that well, it’s kind of a bad habit.
Tony: Well, you’re almost programmed that way in some ways when you’re in the military because you’re just used to doing stuff on your own.
Tony: To a degree, depending on what it is.
Janelle: To a degree. A flip side of that is that there is always this amazing, beautiful help waiting there. You always know someone somewhere. That part’s been great.
Janelle: That sort of sums up our birth experience with Rowen. Four hours total.
Tony: Ever since she’s been a just healthy little firecracker. She’s our lovey girl.
Janelle: She’s just the best. THE BEST. But, can I just take a minute right now to say thank you for all of the incredible ways that you supported me. You knew what I needed and not to dive too deep in this, but. I, because of some past trauma that I had experienced, we knew that that could come up in labor and there was a moment that I remember. Crying out, “NO!” Feeling freaked out and you…grounded me. You put your face to my face, you pushed your forehead to my forehead and you just sat there in that moment with me. And all the ways that I thought things were going to go, I was just blown away at how it actually came to be. I could not have done this with anyone else. I was strong because you were strong and I love you.
Tony: I love you too.
Janelle: I’m very, very blessed that you support me in so many things.
Tony: Absolutely. You’re going to help a lot of people.
Janelle: I hope so. So if you want to send us out. What pieces of advice would you suggest from that first time perspective? Not Lending to Ethan’s perspective, but from your experience with our birth and Rowen. What would you share from a partner’s perspective that could be helpful? Don’t fall asleep?
Tony: (Laughing) Don’t fall asleep.
Janelle: Drive fast. (laughter). I’ll let you do it…
Speaker 3: If you’re going to drive fast, be accurate. No…ha. Um, don’t wrap your heads too much around what you think it’s going to be. If you get the image of exactly what you think it’s going to be, the second it doesn’t turn out exactly that way, which is most likely, it’s going to be something different. No matter, no matter what. Be prepared to kind of roll with the punches if you will. Be able to adapt and that’ll, that’ll take away a lot of the, I guess, anxiety in the process.
New Speaker: Just letting it unfold? Instead of being tied to an outcome or married to a plan.
Tony: Yeah. Let it write its own story a bit, I guess. I think what I had envisioned in my head and, and when it didn’t go that way…It just kind of tends to like make you raise an eyebrow, like, okay, what’s really going on here? It makes you second guess yourself a bit. Or at least, you know, wonder what’s going on. That. And have somebody else do the video.
Janelle: Oh my gosh. I know. I, I feel…
Tony: It wasn’t that bad because I linked it to my phone. I just pull it out of my pocket, everyone once in a while just to check the link to my phone. I just check the battery and make sure that the screen, it was pointed the right direction.
New Speaker: You did AMAZING. Can I just give you credit for that?
Tony: It did turn out. I will toot my own horn a bit. It was actually turned out for both births.
Janelle: Yes. And I am thankful that you did that because we didn’t have anyone to capture that. And I was just so thankful that you did.
Tony: We weren’t there long enough to really contact anybody to get that set up, even if we had want to. Which brings me to another point of being adaptable and ready to go. If you want to do this naturally. Which was perfect for our situation because I remember them saying they asked me, “Do you know if she’s gonna want an epidural or not? On the birth plan, which is by all means, definitely have that give that to him. That was on it. One sheet piece of paper.
Janelle: You can see it in the video. They’re reading through it thoroughly.
Tony: They looked at it and they were kind of nervous about the whole epidural thing. It’s not gonna happen. This has gone too far along the contractions are too close a, there’s too much movement. From what I remember. I don’t know. You didn’t have one with either one. But from what I understand, you have to be pretty still and all that kind of stuff. And I’m pretty far removed from any kind of medical expert to know what I’m talking about. So, we were prepared to go that route. Just be prepared for a few different things. I would say a few different outcomes if you prepare yourself for that and ready to kind of roll with the punches a bit. Uh, pack stuff but don’t pack everything. Yeah, we packed like two large suitcases and trucked them around. And I swear…
Janelle: Okay, one was snacks.We needed all of those.
Tony: That’s good even though I don’t think we…we didn’t even eat most of them, but I was asleep,
Janelle: Because you were sleeping the whole time. (Laughter).
Tony: We only used a few things…
Speaker 2: Part of that too…things went so fast, so we packed some stuff that we thought like, oh, we’re going to use…we want these tennis balls in case I need pressure in certain areas we want this massage thing
Tony: Yeah, that’s true. Yeah.
Janelle: But there was no time for that…
Tony: That was our bag, where …
Janelle: If we had time, that would have been nice. We brought low setting REI camping chairs.
New Speaker: If you have to hold me up, maybe we’ll be comfortable. Right?
New Speaker: If you’re my friends that listen ever at all. As you know. I’m what my friends call a geardo.
Speaker 2: You’re the gear guy. You have all the trinkets. All the trinkets.
Speaker 3: You can never be over prepared. Try to pack somewhat light really. You want to be prepared, but don’t worry so much about packing the house and taking that with you.
New Speaker: Or just have your baby at home.
New Speaker: Well, not in our situation. But don’t be afraid of that either.
New Speaker: It just didn’t happen. Well…Alabama didn’t allow it.
New Speaker: Yeah, true. Yeah. But don’t be afraid of that element either. Cause I think that would be something very cool as well. I’m sure that my lovely wife, you’ll get into that later on in the future.
New Speaker: You want to just try it ? Let’s just go for a third.
New Speaker: Nope, I’m good. I’ve got a boy, I’ve a girl. Love him to death and they’re very healthy. That’s one thing. I will say that, through all this, I am probably the richest man on the face of this earth. I have healthy family, the best wife I probably could ever find or one that would at least accept the third child, overgrown man-child, for a husband
Janelle: So, I guess I do have three kids,
Tony: You do have three kids, I don’t know why you want to add a fourth. And then, our kids, just learning what we’ve learned through having all of our other friends over the years …have had such difficulties and such tragedies happen that really… Our situation is the rare one. To kind of have a healthy…
Janelle: Such gratitude for that. I’m just thankful for what we have, you know? I’m very thankful for the two sweeties that we do have.
Tony: Yeah. No matter how our experiences went or, you know, they’re gonna vary from others, but the outcome is, is what’s really important with it all. If you get to walk away with a really good outcome and then… It’s worth it and it’s one of the best things on earth.
Janelle: Emotionally, I healed pretty quickly from that birth.
Tony: Well, I think Rowen did that for you.
Janelle: She, she healed me in so many ways, right?
Tony: When they come it, it changes your life. When they come into your world and you’re holding them for the first time. There’s things I’ll never forget and I remember the feeling, the smell and everything.
Janelle: It takes you right back.
Tony: And I’ve said this to many dads who are about ready to have their kids. You won’t understand what I’m saying now, but remember these words. When the kid comes out and you see that kid and you hold it for a first time, see it for the first time. It’s almost like you brain was just re flashed, just reset.
Janelle: Like nothing before that existed.
Tony: Nothing. You don’t remember the week before. It doesn’t matter what you did when you were a heathen in high school or whatever. It doesn’t matter. None of it, none of that. And that at that moment it’s like you forget a lot about it and then you just becoming a completely different person. Yeah. And you’re sitting there holding that kid and now, no matter what you thought of yourself before…now is when it really matters. Now, what you do really matters.
Janelle: You show up in a different way, from that moment on.
Tony: You’re never the same. You’re never the same. Right. It completely changes you. And for the better, I wouldn’t change that for the world.
Janelle: I wouldn’t either. And that’s a beautiful note to end on. I’m thankful for you. I’m thankful for this life that we have. So on that note, thank you all for listening today and come back for the next episode. You’re in for a treat with sacred birth stories. They follow us in this to share the healing powers of capturing your birth story. A link to the show notes can be found at thechosennest.com and I appreciate you listening. Subscribe. If that feels right, and we’ll see on the next episode. Thank you!