Hosea Wolfe: A Birth Story

Some initial background information: At my 37-week appointment I was dilated 2 cm, 50% effaced, and baby was positioned very low. Chad asked me if that meant I was going to be in labor early, but I didn’t ask the midwife because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. J

The day I went into labor was picture perfect. Wendy and I had a good time at my parents’ house and she had fallen asleep in my arms for her nap. Then later that evening for her bedtime, I laid on the floor next to her crib and held her hand until she fell asleep. I remember thinking “This would be a good note to end on, if…” After putting her to bed Chad and I started a game of Bananagrams. My contractions started slowly around 9:30 p.m. and I decided to time them with an app “just for fun” because they did seem slightly long and regular. I had heard that in order to dilate your cervix contractions needed to be a minute long. Mine were almost always a minute or in the 50-second range. Chad and I played two games of Bananagrams and then I started watching the movie Trolls on Netflix. Around 11 p.m. I was still having regular contractions and they were getting a little closer together, probably 8-9 minutes apart. We were both lying in bed at that point trying to sleep, but my mind was running wild and I couldn’t sleep. I kept wondering if I should get up and walk stairs or do something to try and induce labor. Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t because it ended up going fast enough for my liking:) My stomach was growling so I decided to get up and have a sandwich, again, “just in case”. Not long after, probably around 11:30 p.m. I asked Chad (who still hadn’t fallen asleep either), “Can we just act like this is real?” He said yes and we immediately got up and started packing the hospital bags, cleaning up our bedroom and apartment, and setting up the bedroom for the baby to sleep in our room with us. I called the midwife right around midnight and I was happy to find out it was Diane on call that night. Mercy Hospital only has two midwives in their program and I slightly favored Diane. I told her my contractions were about 5 minutes apart, a minute in length, but I could still talk through them. I told her I wasn’t sure when to go in to the hospital because I had been induced for my first labor. She asked me if I had bloody show or if my water had broken, and I said no to both. Diane told me to focus more on the intensity of the contractions vs. the length apart. She told me to let her know if we are going in to the hospital because she lives about 20 minutes out from the hospital, which I had remembered from my previous appointments. Chad and I kept getting the apartment ready and I remember thinking “so this is what it’s like to labor at home”. J

Things were getting more intense; I had to stop when a contraction occurred and really focus on my breathing to get through them. Although I was still unsure if it was too early, at 1:14 a.m. I decided to call my parents and then the hospital. When I called my mom her phone seemed to ring forever, finally she answered, “The time has come” I said with a nervous giggle, and she asked, “Are you serious?” I explained that my contractions had started around 9:30 p.m. and were steadily getting closer together and more intense. She said they would come over. I took a hot shower because that helped a lot in my labor with Wendy. It helped a little this time, as well. I called the midwife and told her we’d probably get to the hospital within the hour. My parents got to our apartment and I quickly jotted down some random instructions for them to have while watching Wendy. Chad was still scurrying around getting some things together in our bedroom (can you tell we were not expecting to go 2 weeks early?!) My contractions were intense but I was able to smile between them and keep conversation with my parents. I kept saying things like, “I hope this is real, I’ll feel bad if I called you over here for a false alarm” After what seemed like forever, we were finally out the door around 2 a.m. and headed to the hospital. Since Chad had been rushing around our apartment and honestly pretty unhelpful with my contractions I was worried about how this labor was going to go, but as soon as we were in the car with everything ready he was fully attentive to my needs and pain. I felt pretty positive until it started raining. Our windshield wipers have not been working for the last year and once it started raining we panicked. If it rained hard we would have to pull the car over and wait for the rain to clear. After cussing, we decided to pray J Luckily the rain did end up going away pretty quickly and I think I only had one contraction in the car on the 15 minute drive. Upon parking the car, however, I had another bad contraction and had to squat through it next to the car until it passed. Once I was able to walk again we went into the hospital to check-in. Again, this felt like it took forever, and I had a couple contractions during the check-in process. I told the lady at the desk that I wanted a doula to help me through my labor (Mercy Hospital has a volunteer doula program). She said she would let the nurse and midwife know and she led us to the Triage room. When we got into the room I was upset, thinking I would be delivering in the dump of the room that the Triage room was. The nurse reassured me that I would definitely have a much nicer room to deliver in J I had to weigh myself (for the last time that pregnancy!) and they needed to check my dilation and monitor me to make sure my contractions were consistent. While waiting in the bed, I started crying. I was in a lot of pain and hated laying down to be monitored. When Diane walked in she said something like, “Oh no, tears?” and I masked my weakness (lol) by saying, “I just wanna hold the baby”. She checked me and told me I was at 4 cm and fully effaced! She said I was officially in labor and would get admitted, etc. I told her and the nurse that I wanted a doula. I also complained about lying down in the bed… I wanted to get on with the rhythm of my labor and start moving and coping through contractions!

Finally, (it was actually only like 2:40 at this point but everything felt like it was taking forever) I was wheeled upstairs to the delivery room, and I was shocked at how huge it was. It also had an amazing view of downtown Des Moines. When we got to the room the nurse had to ask me a ton of questions about my health. I was a little annoyed but saw it as a good distraction at the same time. Then…There were two big things that “went wrong” with my labor and they both happened around the same time. The first is that I was told I was Strep-B positive. I was tested at my 37-week appointment and they were going to tell me in person at my 38-week appointment. They did not expect me to go into labor this early. Finding out I was Strep-B positive really threw me off. I had done some research on antibiotics and I did not want to get them, but I knew since I didn’t have the time or energy to explain all this to Chad, I did not want to fight this battle, and I agreed to getting the antibiotics. I could tell Diane felt really bad that I was thrown off by the information. It was surprisingly painful to get those injected, but at the same time, it took my focus from my contractions to the burning pain in my arm. The second thing that went wrong was that there was no doula for me. A couple of the doulas were on maternity leave and I think one was out of town or something. So it was just me, Chad, the nurse, and Diane. I had to shrug these things off and keep focusing on getting through each contraction. (Random side note: The nurse’s name was Alicia and I felt a weird sense of protection from her because my sisters name is Alicia)

At this point in time I was swaying from side to side through contractions and Diane was helping put some pressure/massage on my back. Chad was helpful too. When a really bad contraction was coming on, I decided I wanted to try the medicine ball and I got frustrated with Chad and said, “go get it, hurry!” and I remember it was funny watching him scurry for the ball in a panic to get it to me, but I was in too much pain to laugh J and then I only used the ball for one contraction. After the antibiotic was injected, I believe they checked me again and I was at a 6; I was freed up to get in the Jacuzzi. I was so excited. Diane told me, “Now Chelsea, don’t be surprised if this causes things to move a lot faster, and you might feel more pressure.” Chad and I went into the bathroom and Diane had set up fake candles around the Jacuzzi and she dimmed the lights for us. The Jacuzzi was huge compared to the one I had for Wendy’s birth. I was really excited. Chad started up my Spotify playlist (same playlist I had for Wendy’s birth! Some Christian music) and I swayed a little in the tub and we talked in between contractions. The pressure definitely increased and I started to feel the urge to “poo” which made everyone decide I should get out of the tub and back to the hospital bed just in case the baby was coming. Diane checked me again and I was at an 8. Getting close! I kept saying, “I can’t do this, I can’t do this” and Diane and Chad reassured me, “you can do it Chelsea, you ARE doing it”. They applied more pressure and massage to my back. I was on my knees facing the back of the hospital bed like I did for a lot of my labor with Wendy. I believe I was in transition when I said, “I want to push!” and Diane told me I could try if I wanted to, but I said, “but I’m not getting the natural urges like I had with Wendy…Is there any way we can speed this along?! Can you break my water?” I had to move onto my back, and Diane was able to break my water for me. It felt really nice and warm for a minute but then the next contraction was super painful. Only a couple minutes later the real, natural urge to push came along and I was pushing! I remember at one point thinking, “I think this is the ring of fire” lol. The staff said, “If it’s a girl you’ll be able to put a bow in her hair!” I pushed for a total of around 20 minutes and he was born at 4:50 a.m. The labor in total was 7 hours. Chad announced it was a boy, and I cried and said something like, “Seriously?! We have a son!” I couldn’t believe how tiny he was, and that is one of the other first things I said. When they weighed him he was 6 lb 15.6 ounces, so they rounded up to 7 lb. Diane pointed out there was a knot in the umbilical cord and Hosea’s pediatrician alluded that it could have been part of why he came early, and his coming early could have prevented some bad things from happening. (Side note: I wish we had gotten a picture of the knot in his cord. Next time maybe I’ll hire a birth photographer!!) After Hosea was born I told Diane, “you were my midwife and my doula.” She was seriously amazing and stayed with us and engaged the entire labor. I am so thankful that I have had two very positive birth stories, and two very healthy babies. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.2017-06-14 04.38.202017-06-14 03.39.092017-06-14 08.03.42


Wendy Lorelai: A Birth Story

In order to begin my birth story, I need to start on Thursday, February 25th. That evening, Chad and I were going to bed and we both noticed that “Choo Choo”, our unknown baby, was not fulfilling the fetal kick count requirement of 10 kicks in an hour. Chad was a little more concerned than I was; I just thought the baby was being lazy! Despite Chad’s concern, we went to bed as normal. In the night, I woke up to pee around 4 a.m. When I got back into bed, we re-addressed the kick counting issue and I began to worry a bit more, trying to think if I had even felt the baby moving at work that Thursday. Looking in our fridge, I grabbed a can of juice and a cookie. I was hoping that the baby would respond to the unusually high sugar volume! After lying in bed for maybe 20 more minutes, we still did not feel kicks or movement. We decided to call the hospital’s midwives and they told us to come in. We packed our hospital bag, adding some last minute items, just in case.
When we got to the hospital Friday morning, I was surprised to find out that they had cleaned and prepped a delivery room for me. They were only going to run a few tests, but they needed a place for me to be during that time. They hooked me up to a fetal monitor and tracked the baby’s movement for about an hour. It turns out I was already having mild contractions that were about 8 minutes apart. The nurse had us order breakfast (again, I was surprised by this lol) and I ordered a high protein meal (omelet with ham, sausage, pepper, and cheese), with the possibility of going into labor in mind. They ordered an ultra sound for 8:30 a.m. that morning, so I alerted my bosses that I would be late to work and depending on results may not be going into work that day. I was frustrated that I was going to be late to work!
After the monitoring and breakfast, Chad and I went down for the ultrasound, which was another fetal movement test. Chad and I had fits of laughter over the fact that I was wheeled down in a wheelchair. It was nice seeing our baby on the ultrasound, but hard to see a good profile since the womb was so tight at this point! We told the technician we still didn’t want to know the baby’s gender although she might not have been able to see the “parts” anyway.
We didn’t have to wait long in the hospital room before the midwife had some results for us. She said that our baby scored a 4/8 on fetal movement, “So, I think we should have your baby today!” I immediately cried. I was happy and sad at the same time. Although my body was showing signs of early labor (contractions were now naturally about 7 minutes apart), I wanted to experience the thrill of telling Chad I was in labor and going to the hospital when it was time. I wanted to labor at home as long as possible. I didn’t want the painful experience of intensified contractions from induction.
The drug they decided to try on me was Mesaprostil, which is an induction pill that simply ripens the cervix. If that didn’t work, I think they were going to try cervadil then pitocin. I took the pill at 10:45 a.m.
I called my boss, letting the office know my maternity leave officially started. Chad and I made some phone calls to family, letting them know that we were going to be having our baby and that we would keep everyone updated on progress. I had texted our Doula earlier that morning when we decided to go into the hospital to get checked. I called her and let her know that we were officially getting induced. I told her about my mixed feelings and she encouraged me that what is safest for the baby is best for me as well, even if it wasn’t as natural as I’d hoped.
After getting hold of my sister around 12:30 p.m., I realized that during our 15 minute phone call I had 4 contractions. When I told my doula that information she decided it was a good time for her to join us at the hospital. I ordered a cheeseburger for lunch and Chad and I went down to the Hospital’s Starbucks to get him a coffee. My contractions were starting to feel like pretty strong period cramps. They were progressing quickly and when my doula arrived to the hospital they were between 3-4 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds long. The next several hours involved doing lots of natural tactics I had read about that would help “move the baby down.” I drank lots and lots of water and we walked around the hospital. I tried napping but couldn’t nap through the pain, and lying down was the most painful position for me. Bouncing on the medicine ball and listening to worship music ended up working as my 20 minute power “rest”. As things became more painful, my biggest pain relief was taking hot showers. It also helped pass the time. Before we knew it, it was evening (7pm) and time for the hospital staff to change shifts. As the hospital staff was changing, I noticed things getting more intense on my end. I had more “bloody show” when I used the bathroom, which was a good sign that my labor was progressing!
When I got examined by the new midwife on shift, Kris, I was at 5 centimeters, which made me very happy! Enza suggested I try the jacuzzi tub. Once you’re past 5 centimeters, getting in the jacuzzi tub will not slow down your labor. Enza turned her candles on, dimmed the lights, and got the tub ready. I got in the tub and would move my hips side to side during contractions. I read that could help move the baby along, but in that moment I wasn’t pulling from a book; I was following my Body’s instinct. Shortly after getting in the tub I needed to get monitored again. I wasn’t happy because lying in bed was very uncomfortable for me. Since things felt significantly more intense since the last time I’d been checked, I requested to get checked again. The nurse said I was at a 6. I told myself this was good, I was progressing.
Going back to the jacuzzi tub, we took each contraction as a team. I cried out to God for help. I asked Him to be present. I said a phrase from Ina May Gaskin that really helped me, “women all around the world are birthing with me right now.” I told my body to open up. I held Chad’s hand. I groaned. I told the baby to come out, “we want to meet you baby”. Chad reassured me we will meet this baby and find out what it is! Enza poured water over my belly. Chad groaned with me in my pain! Enza brought peace to the room. Chad reassured me that God is with us! Enza brought rhythm to my breathing.
I began asking for the epidural. Enza suggested I try a position on the bed that had helped me earlier in the day. It was on my knees, with my arms propped up against the back of the hospital bed. I felt better in that position, and thought gravity’s pull might bring the baby to me faster. The pain was horrible and the contractions were closer together. I kept saying “this is terrible!” I begged for the epidural, “I want it, I want it, I know I sound like I’m 3 but I want it!” Enza said, “Chelsea I will support you in whatever you decide, but I know in our meetings you expressed that you really do not want the epidural.” It wasn’t the logic that convinced me, but the fact that nobody blatantly told me “yes” or “no” to the epidural really helped my illogical self. After that, I kind of dropped the subject.
Chad says I wasn’t necessarily screaming at this point, but it was probably between a groan, growl, and scream during contractions. I did ask for nitrous oxide or “gas and air”. I signed a waiver and the nurse set it up for me. Apparently gas and air doesn’t even help with pain. I do believe it helped me to mentally get through transition, though. Transition is kind of the peak of pain, where most women want to give up. I felt the need to vomit, was shaking, and I felt crazy. I remember spitting my gum out onto the back of the hospital bed!
I started feeling the urge to push. Enza told me not to push yet, and I told her I couldn’t not push. I had to. It was an unavoidable instinct my body had! I was pushing and I felt a huge gush of water! My water broke! That was good and bad. I knew the water breaking would make my contractions worse which made me really nervous. At this point, though, I was pushing, and looking back that was one of my favorite parts of labor.
Pushing ended up taking 40 minutes, which felt pretty short, and I was very happy with that time. I remember saying, “can’t you just pull it out?!” I remember everyone saying, “look at the (baby’s) hair!!” During pushing, the nurse was monitoring the baby’s heart rate, and I could hear that the baby’s heart rate was very low. I was kind of in a fog, and in “the zone” at this point. I remember worrying slightly about a c-section, but then just trusting that they would tell me if that needed to happen and my job was to push hard unless I was told differently. They ended up telling me to switch positions, so I turned over and laid on my back and birthed the “traditional” (unnatural) way that you see in movies. I definitely did not prefer this position, but it brought us our baby safely! And to be honest, me hating that position was motivation to push because I wanted to get being in that position over with.
Wendy came into this world at 2:08 am. Chad announced “it’s a girl”, and he revealed the name we had agreed on as well. I was 100% certain that God’s goodness and grace got me through my labor. We were exhausted and in love.


Initial testing


Waiting for ultrasound


After first hot shower


5 centimeters!




Time stands still


Our family ❤


Some Catching Up…

Chad and I haven’t blogged in a while so I thought I would post some pictures we have taken over the past couple months. I try to blog pictures that the Facebook world hasn’t seen yet, so hopefully some of these are interesting!

One of my recent work achievements (if you can call it that..) was becoming a Notary! When clients come in to sign their Estate Planning documents I am the Notary on their Wills, Trusts, Health Care documents, Powers of Attorney, etc. I enjoy getting more time with our clients!


We made a trip home to Iowa this July. It was wonderful. We got to see our new niece, Eleanor, and our new nephew, Weston.


Another July event was our 3rd Annual Christmas in July party! Chad and Kevin did most of the decorating while I was at work which was a really nice surprise! We had a great time and plan to continue this tradition. IMG_20150724_190008472
The weekend of our Christmas in July party, we got a visit from my brother, Caleb, who was out here for a business trip. We played disc golf and had dinner together and got to show him our apartment, which was still decked out in Christmas stuff. I’m so thankful for visits from family! Caleb was the great photographer of our pregnancy announcement picture, too!


My parents also visited us this summer. We climbed a mountain with our car (lol), and took some pictures up top with them. They treated us to a getaway condo in the Berkshires, then spent a couple nights near us in Rockport, MA. I think they appreciated all of the trees we have in New England, but are luring us to come back to the cornfields ASAP! 🙂


Now, just a few random pictures:

Most of the frosting came off my donut in the bag 😦



A couple of my cravings. Texas Roadhouse was mainly for the rolls. Chik-Fil-A was really early on, around 8 weeks before my disgust for chicken kicked in.



Selfie at work:


16 week “bump” (I’m almost 18 weeks, now):


Chad entered and won a drumming contest at Guitar Center this past week. This was part of his competition, lol.


Pretty sunset at our Bible Study’s picnic recently!



Hoping to be more consistent with blogging… I’m sure once the baby comes we’ll annoy everyone with a ton of pictures 🙂


Hali Comes to Town

Hali is one of my good friends from U of Iowa. She came to visit me last month and we had so much fun! The best part of having visitors is having an excuse to see things we haven’t seen before. We conquered a lot in 3 days. The Freedom Trail, Sam Adams Brewery, Salem, Rockport, Harvard, Mike’s Pastries, and even a couple games of Clue!



Sam Adams Brewery

Sam Adams Brewery

Harvard Art Museum

Harvard Art Museum

Good Ole Clue

Good Ole Clue

What a cutie!

What a cutie!


Florida 2015

Our family has vacationed on St. George Island since I was in junior high. This was the first time we got to share it with Chad! It was a great trip. Our family likes to approach vacations in a very relaxed way, with lots of naps, food, and conversation. ❤









“No Pier Pressure” by Brian Wilson — Album Review

Brian Wilson‘s newest album, No Pier Pressure, is doing weird things to me. It’s messing me up emotionally–really, I’m serious. Certain moments from this album have been playing over & over in my head since I first spun the record earlier this week. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time music moved me this much. Typically, if I’m moved at all by a song, it’s due to the lyrics. While some beautiful lyrics are paired with beautiful sounds in No Pier Pressure, in general, the lyrics take a backseat to the sounds. This isn’t new, though–Wilson has always had a knack for capturing emotion in sound (even in his earliest days with The Beach Boys).

Below is my track-by-track ranking of No Pier Pressure (Deluxe Edition), with a few thoughts thrown in for each one. I hope you will consider listening to this album, as it is quite possibly the last LP we’ll get from the musical legend that is Brian Wilson–but if not, at least consider giving a few of my top song picks a listen. 🙂

1. Just masterful. The pre-chorus & chorus are breathtaking, both musically & lyrically. The background vocals absolutely floor me–I can’t get enough of them. (I also love the subtle organ pulse in the pre-chorus–very reminiscent of The Beach Boys’ Love You album. Oo, & those synth-horns are super tasty.) The heartbreak in this song is palpable: “But now you’re gone and I gotta get on with my life…”
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The Lord begets me.

The Lord, he gets me.


The begotten God has got me,

the begotten God has not forgotten me.


The path he trod for me,

will not be lost on me.


Jesus was pure, he purified my soul.

Jesus was pure, he left me desiring more.


My Father opens his hand,

my Father opens his hands to me.


by Chelsea Ryan

But Nuggs, I wanted that coat!

Can we just talk about how it’s already March? Holy cow. That is crazy, time really does go faster as you grow older (and like your job and like your husband and like your life).

Montreal was amazing. I am so thankful for our talks in the car, cuddles in the hotel, and all of the things we got to do and see while we were there. Happy 2 year anniversary to us!

It’s Sunday evening, the beginning of the week, and I already feel like I could use a glass of wine. Car troubles are the worst! Here’s to a new (used) car that will hopefully last several years for us.