I'm not sure when exactly, Lizz and I first "met" on Facebook, but I know that it was sometime around when I first started offering Birth Stories. I remember her commenting on one of my birth photos and saying something to the affect of "When I have my next baby, I will be hiring you to document it." Jumping ahead to April of last year, I received an email telling me that she was 11 weeks and would love to talk about a Birth Story. I was so excited and immediately started counting down the days until October!
Shortly after her initial inquiry, we scheduled a time for me to come visit their home and talk about all of the details. We decided it would be best to meet at their home since they were planning on a home birth. Now, despite being Facebook friends, Lizz and I really didn't know each other. All I really knew about her was that she had the most adorable baby girl with the chubbiest cheeks I'd ever seen. But when I came over for our first meeting, we hit it off as if we had been friends our entire lives! We sat on their front porch and talked about everything birth, breastfeeding, her previous labor and birth with Clover, and even my own struggles with infertility. We sat there talking for over 2 hours and I truly think we could have talked for another 3 if I hadn't needed to leave.
Over the course of those remaining 7 months of her pregnancy, Lizz and I became great friends and receiving that text on November 3rd telling me it was time...well, you would have thought I was heading to my OWN birth! I was so excited!
When I walked into their home, the first thing that hit me was how calm and peaceful it was. A hypnobirthing track was playing and banners of affirmations were hung on the wall to remind Lizz that she was made for this and could do it. It was perfect!
Tristan was so awesome! Whatever his laboring wife needed, he was right there to make sure she was taken care of, both physically and emotionally. But Tristan wasn't the only support Lizz had that day. Little 2 year old Clover was incredible! Lizz told me a couple of weeks before her labor began that she had been reading books to Clover, letting her watch videos of women in labor, and making sounds similar to what she might expect to hear from her mama when labor finally started. Lizz said that once the pool was set up, Clover would walk by it and start moaning as if she were in labor, and it was clear that she got it. Clover is an incredibly smart little girl, and she took all of that which she'd been taught and she ran with it. She was truly like a miniature doula for her mama. As you probably saw above, she rolled Lizz's back with a foam noodle, but she also had a cup from which she would pour water on her mama's belly and back, she rubbed her belly, moaned and breathed to "help brother come", and offered emotional support through hand-holding and kisses. And when things seemed to start picking up on Lizz's end, and Clover could hear and see that her mommy needed extra support, she would get up from watching her cartoons and say "I'll let you hold my hand." <3 Absolutely the one of the most precious things I've ever witnessed!
As labor became more intense, I was so impressed by how wonderful the midwives were. They offered support and advice whenever they felt like Lizz needed it, but they also did a wonderful job of sitting back and watching as she labored with her baby boy. They were also so great with Clover. Changing her diaper, sitting her down to eat and watch some shows, playing the continual game of "smell the essential oils", and reassuring her the couple of times she needed to know that Mommy was doing okay.
As for Lizz, she is a rock star! She stayed in-tune with her body. She talked to her baby boy, listened and really took to heart the suggestions that the midwives would make, and she stayed focused on her goal every step of the way. She also somehow managed to continue looking gorgeous throughout all of it! She showed incredible amounts of strength and courage that day and it was beautiful to witness!
Lizz labored at home all day and pushed for a quite a while before she made the decision to be transferred to Mission hospital. Her baby boy, Bishop Kai, was born perfectly healthy via c-section at 9:15pm on November 3, 2016! He was a whopping 9 lbs. 15 oz. and 21.5 inches long! He was simply a big guy who just needed some help being born.
I went back to the hospital the following day to do a short Fresh48 since I wasn't able to get many pictures of Bishop that night. You can see a few of those pictures along with their complete Birth Story in the video slideshow below! It truly is a beautiful story and you definitely will want to watch it!
Lizz and Tristan, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of such an incredible day in your lives. I absolutely loved watching you all become a family of four and helping to welcome Bishop into this world!