I can't believe I'm finally writing this post, with a 3-week old baby girl sleeping at my side! It felt like we waited forever for this little lady to make her appearance, and now I can hardly remember what life was like before her. She has absolutely turned our world right side up, lack of sleep and all. I never knew you could love someone so fiercely, so quickly. I'm so incredibly thankful that Kelly Kuntz Photography was there to capture our sweet Peyton's arrival! I promise all of the photos below are PG ;) Also, this post definitely includes some of the most unflattering photos of me ever shared online, and thanks to the IV fluids I was pumped with I got extremely swollen during labor, but hands down these photos show the best day of my life yet and I'm so in love with them! If you care to hear about our birth story, keep reading, otherwise just keep scrolling down to the photos!
Throughout our whole pregnancy, our sweet girl was measuring large. As in the 95th to 99th percentile large. I had really wanted to do whatever I could to avoid a c-section and the larger our peanut grew the more likely a c-section became. So because of her size, we decided to be induced at 39 weeks in hopes of avoiding a c-section or delivering a 10+ pound baby. On New Year's Eve we loaded all our hospital bags into the car, triple checked the car seat, and went out for one last date night before heading to the hospital. We grabbed a pizza at Bridger Brewing, spending the entire time talking about what the next 24 hours would bring and how our entire world was about to change. At 7:30pm we arrived at the hospital and checked into our room in Labor & Delivery. They started me on a cervical ripener overnight to help prepare my body for labor. I was advised to get as much sleep as I could since the next day was sure to be tiring, but between the nerves, emotions, and the endless train of thoughts rushing through my mind, sleep was hard to find. Brandon passed out on the couch next to me as I watched a Harry Potter marathon on tv as the New Year rang in. I managed to get a few hours of sleep overnight, and at 5am on January 1st they started me on Pitocin to help get contractions going. It didn't take long before things started to move into full gear. We spent the morning breathing through contractions, Brandon encouraging me through every single one, massaging my back when it got painful, and doing everything he could to support me. Around 10am I texted our birth photographer Kelly and told her that things felt like they were getting more intense and I asked her to come around 11am. Shortly after texting her I was hit with the most intense back pain accompanying every contraction. It felt like my whole body was being ripped apart and no position or breathing technique was helping. I knew the epidural wasn't far off, but I wanted to wait until Kelly arrived and was able to get a few photos of us laboring pre-epidural first. Brandon thought I was crazy for waiting, but I wanted some photos to remember that hard part of the day too. Once Kelly arrived we asked for the anesthesiologist to come administer my epidural, I just couldn't handle the pain any longer and I was becoming completely exhausted.
After receiving the epidural I felt so calm and the pain totally ceased. Brandon's family had driven to town to meet Peyton upon her arrival, and since things had slowed down post epidural they swung by the hospital to visit for a bit. We hung out for awhile but all of the sudden I started to not feel well. They took off back to their hotel to wait for little miss, and we asked for a nurse to check my progress. Turns out I was fully dilated to 10cm and 100% effaced - it was GO TIME! However, I still didn't feel an urge to push so they decided to let me "labor down" for an hour and let Peyton start moving down on her own. I made a quick video call to my parents to update them on my progress and then after that hour passed it was time to start pushing, around 6pm. We spent over an hour pushing when my OB came in to check my progress again... I'd barely made any. I remember feeling so defeated in that moment as she spoke to me about the possibility of a c-section if I didn't start making more progress. We knew that because Peyton was so big there was a chance she wasn't going to fit through my birth canal. I was terrified of that and wanted a natural birth so badly I just sat there crying at the possibility of a c-section. My OB manually turned Peyton into a more ideal position for birth and said she was going to give me another 2 hours of pushing before checking again for progress. I remember just laying there praying that things would start progressing and that our little girl would arrive soon. I felt like I couldn't handle much more of the pain. Around that time I was hit with a serious wave of nausea/vomiting and that seemed to really kick things into high gear! Our OB came and checked us again and we had made significant progress since the last time she checked! So another hour and a half of pushing through the most intense pain of my entire life, surrounded by an amazing team of nurses and my amazing husband continually encouraging me, after 17+ hours of labor and nearly 4.5 hours of pushing, I felt Peyton finally enter this world and with a loud cry they placed her on my chest at 10:19pm. I threw my head back in tears, overwhelmed with relief and the most intense love I've ever known. I remember looking at her purpleish-blue face for the first time and thinking she was the most perfect thing to have ever existed.
We spent the next few hours snuggling our sweet daughter and trying to wrap our minds around the fact that this perfect little girl was all ours forever. It felt so surreal, we had waited for that moment for so long and when it arrived it didn't even feel real. It was absolutely perfect and seeing Brandon hold Peyton for the first time was enough to make my heart explode! He was the best dad right from the very start!! Brandon's family came up to meet Peyton, even though it was nearly midnight by then. Tears flowed as the first time grandma, grandpa, and auntie met their granddaughter/niece for the first time.
It was the most exhausting and emotional day of my life and by far the most perfect. I cannot believe our sweet little girl is finally here!!!
I also have to give a HUGE shoutout to our OB, Dr. Waring! She was absolutely amazing through our entire pregnancy and delivery. Also, I'm pretty sure only the coolest OB's fist bump new dads to say congrats! We are seriously so thankful for her, along with our amazing team of nurses that supported and encouraged us through Peyton's delivery. Bozeman Health has an outstanding L&D crew!
The first photo below I took of Peyton when she was just one day old to officially announce her arrival! All the other photos below were taken when she was two days old by the hospital photographer, Pam Western of Bella Baby Photos. We are so in love with this little girl!!!