This is my Postpartum Body

 This is my postpartum body. Nope, I'm not the same as I was "pre-pregnancy". I'm not the same physically, emotionally, or spiritually. I'm not the same at all. When Olive was born, she was little. Smaller than I had imagined her to be. In my mind, MY postpartum would be me floating on clouds, back to my pre-preg weight 2 minutes later, with a plump baby that latched on first try and the world was beautiful forever. In reality, it was hard. REALLY hard. We struggled with nursing and getting Olive to gain weight in the beginning. Breastfeeding became my one and only priority those first couple of months. I feel like I nursed that babe 24/7. Things like losing my "baby weight" and brushing my hair.... and wearing clean clothes... just didn't matter to me anymore. Watching Olive's little cheeks plump up, seeing her thighs turn to little chubs and watching her belly get full and round after eating was the single most rewarding thing to experience postpartum. I felt like hoping for my body to shrink while I was praying for Olive's to get bigger and stronger seemed really silly. So no, I didn't "bounce back". I am not at my "pre-pregnancy" weight because I am not PRE-PREGNANCY. I am WITH-BABY. We are happy and healthy and watching Olive experience EVERYTHING for the first time is so much more important to me than doing squats and crunches. Because believe me, I tried. I put her in her swing and did squats right in front of her. And she watched me, the whole time, her eyes never left me. And the only thing running though my mind while that was happening was that I should be holding her and teaching her how I am going to try to be kind to myself postpartum so that she can learn how to be kind to herself forever. So here I am. I grew this beautiful body so I could produce the milk I needed to help grow Olive's beautiful body. And it is so satisfying to know that I was able to do that  for her. We are being kind and gentle with ourselves. My postpartum body and her brand new body are incredibly fragile. and so are our hearts. Here we are. the happiest family ever. EVER.


Olive Elisabeth 12.26.2013

I am finally finding enough time to sit down and try to actually get things done around here. One important thing on my list was to write Olive's birth story. I feel like the pictures tell the story pretty well, so I wont say much. my contractions with Olive started early Christmas morning. And I mean real early, when Santa is still out. I labored Christmas day at home with Zach, we went on walks, opened presents and watched movies. It was quite a lovely Christmas. At 4 AM the next day, things got real. We decided it was time to call in the troops and at around 6:30, our team arrived. My Midwife-Mother, Becky - the Assistant/friend, Jade - My Doula/Sister, and Anndrea - My Photographer/Best Friend.

It was hard work. The hardest thing ever, probably. I know I could not have done it without Zach by my side. He never left me, and he was everything. I moved from the tub, to the bed, to the birth stool, and back to the tub a lot. I was even lucky enough to have Holly stop by to give me a labor massage and some kind and loving support. My grandmother even made it in time to see Olive be born.

There were a lot of times that I thought "I don't think I can do this." But then that contraction would end, and I'd find whatever strength there was inside of me to press on to the next.

Olive made her way into this world at 6:04 PM as the sun was setting right in the living room of our home. All 6 lbs 7 oz of her. I needed every single person that attended my birth. They were all instrumental in giving me the confidence to have my baby at home. It was hard work, it was beautiful, it was perfect.

Olive is more than we could have ever dreamed of. She's feisty like her mama and tender like her papa. We love her infinitely and can't imagine a world without her in it.

 Thank you Anndrea and Jade for taking such lovely photos.