Rivers Glory Elder
born Friday, February 10th at 4:43 pm
8 pounds, 5 oz / 21 inches long
this is her story.
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and RIVERS in the desert” Isaiah 43
the weeks leading up to her birth, everyone would ask me, “what’s your birth plan?” and honestly – I didn’t have much of one. I knew I wanted to get an epidural, and I knew I wanted to have a vaginal birth but I feel like I was holding it all with open hands. Lucky for me, I’ve been watching friends and family have babies for a decade+, so I knew that things didn’t really ever go “how you plan”. So I think for me, I wanted to go in with as little expectation as possible. I was hopeful and expectant for a beautiful day meeting my girl, and I knew there would be pain – but that’s all.
There were a lot of things towards the end of pregnancy that I was afraid of. I hated getting “checked” for dilation. I was terrified of it. I wasn’t looking forward to getting the epidural, or the dr breaking my water. But something I realized was we have so much power in our thoughts + words. It wasn’t doing me ANY GOOD to keep telling myself that I was terrified. So I decided to change my tune. I would tell myself, “you can do hard things”.
a few weeks before my due date, I was at a local women’s conference called You Are. One of the speakers quoted one of her favorite sayings – “the glory of God is man fully alive”. That morning, I feel like I had a vision if you will about having an encounter with Jesus in the delivery room. I wanted to be expectant to meet Him there! I did not want to focus on the anxiety and fear, but instead on Jesus presence in the room. plus, since by that point I was pretty sure her middle name was Glory, it just fit!
It all began Thursday night, February 9th when we went in to be inducced – hard to believe she was living inside me in these photos. I miss feeling her kicks, her hiccups, and dreaming about what she would be like. My mom came in town before we left home and brought my baby book – we had fun looking through it and reminiscing on her labor and delivery with me. One last photo has a family of 4 before we headed out the door. I honestly had no idea what to expect as far as labor goes, only what my friends have told me and let me tell you – there are a lot of things no one tells you…..
They started some meds Thursday night and I got all cozy ready for the night (aka, NOT so cozy in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV). Besides getting up probably 10 times to potty, I slept great. I started feeling contractions early in the morning and around 5:30am they started my pitocin. Around 7:30 they broke my water, and it was 8:30 by the time I got my epidural. I truly am glad I got to expierece contractions for a good 3 hours, but once they gave me the epidural I was a happy mama. I’ve heard my college friends talk about the “hospital days” and “birth day” as one of the most joyous days of their lives – and I was excited to get to see what the fuss was all about.
The afternoon was spent in the room with Stephen, Asher, our parents and my sister – telling stories, guessing how big she’d be and what color eyes and hair she would have. We laughed, I napped, and they talked about food A LOT (so mean). ha. the photos, by the FABULOUS Ashley Monogue, tell the story pretty well of how the rest of the day went….
Here’s the rest of the story.
While the family was waiting in the waiting room, I pushed for about an hour. I was getting so tired- falling asleep. We were listening to my “carry camp” playlist then we had to take it up a notch: trolls soundtrack 😂 then some 90s rap. I had the oxygen mask on. After about 45 min dr g came in & said I had a bit to go so he went to do some rounds. Then he came back and checked me — he asked why I was squirming…I could feel it! My legs right before weren’t numb and I was feeling lots of pressure. Think my epidural was tapering off but it was too late to add more. So he told me she was stuck on my bone, and he would have to use the vacuum to guide her out. He told me it was time to push harder than I’ve ever pushed. This part to me lasted forever but Stephen said it was only about 2-4 minutes. He was enthusiastically counting as I was pushing and then I was screaming. But they started to pull her out & I was determined!! I did not want to have to go c section route & I think that was running through my head. Dr. Gayle pulled her out, and SHE WAS HERE and SHE WAS PERFECT!
This was right after they gave her to me! I love this moment. Me & my girl. I couldn’t stop crying. We both were. It’s so surreal. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but so completely worth it. She’s here & she’s perfect. I wanted this skin to skin time and I got it! The best part of the day was right after she came out. I have video, and you can hear our sobs. I can’t even begin to pretend to tell you what those first moments were like. After waiting for so long…
Giving birth is both joy & pain. It hurts like hell, but tastes like heaven. I would do it again in a second if it meant her every time.
I feel empowered. I did it!! I told dr Gayle, “I don’t feel like a sissy anymore”. I can do anything with Gods help.
After we had our moments with her while the doctor stitched me up, Stephen went to tell the family that she was here. We hadn’t 100% decided on her middle name until right after she was born. We looked at each other, and we just knew. it was GLORY. The Glory of God has been displayed in her story, and we pray it continues to be displayed in her life. The family didn’t know her middle name yet, so I told him to let someone know he was coming in there so someone could video him telling them her full name. PRICELESS!
Before everyone could come in, he got our amazing friend Ashley Monogue to come and take some images of us. I went back and forth of wanting her in the room while I actually gave birth, but I think I was so nervous about the whole situation that I didn’t want to worry about one more thing. I did however, think about said photos during pushing – as a former photographer, I knew we would soon be losing our natural light! I was determined to get great photos on birth day! I wanted some of just us with her, then the rest of the family.
I, of coarse, had to change into my pretty robe. I think the way I looked in these moments was totally the Lord, a natural beauty that was not from me.
I love the makeup smeared on my face. No lipgloss. No jewelry. Didn’t even brush my hair. This was real. And I love it. I love that it’s captured in photographs forever.
this moment. introducing Rivers to her big brother + sister. Everyday Asher would ask “when is Rivers coming out”, and my sweet Camp as soon as he walked into the room, he was concerned about his mama. “mama, are you ok? did the baby come out of your belly?” When I think about the three of their relationship as they grow older – I can’t help but weep. Our story is out of the norm, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Adoption first, then 5 years later, this precious gift we can ALL celebrate together. All the love for my people.
I couldn’t love my people anymore. Stephen was my rock. He was by my side every step of the way. He was strong and encouraging when I was tired. He was emotional right alongside of me. He watched every minute of Rivers being brought into the world and said it was the most beautiful thing. He deserves some sort of award!
Stephen says he’s never seen me more peaceful, happy, or myself. Mom says I’ve never been more beautiful. I’ll take it. I love being a mom. this newborn season has already been so sweet to me. The Lord has given me the desire of my heart. To Him be the glory and praise!
If you know my story at all, you know my mom struggled through 5 years of infertility before she had me. She also endured endometriosis. I was HER miracle baby! We have always had a special bond over this, and THIS VERY MOMENT was very long awaited for. She never wanted to give up hope for me to experience this kind of love and I’m so thankful she has been by my side through every treatment, every loss and set back, and now this indescribably joy!
I counted and we had 12 people at the hospital while she was being born, and a few more family members (and a handful of good friends!) that came that night/the next day. This too was something I always dreamed of. It meant the world to me that they dropped what they were doing, and came from near and far to be with us! Also, my rockstar sisters Rachel and Mary Helen totally took care of Camp + Asher for us the entire weekend while we were in the hospital. Nothing quite like family!
“oh you’re my favorite thing / oh the love that you bring…it feels like I’ve opened my eyes again, and the colors are gold and bright again/ theres a song in my heart, I feel like I belong / it’s a better place since you came along / it’s a better place since you came along”
– Rachel Platten, Better Place