I love this family! I have had the sweet pleasure of photographing her last two birth stories, and many other photo sessions for them through the years. Khristen is incredibly kind, sweet, and tender, and I've enjoyed getting to know her. She has had quite the experience when it comes to having babies. I'm going to let her tell her story here:
My husband Brady and I have been married for a little over 11 years. We knew from the beginning we wanted children, on how many we agreed to leave that up to Heavenly Father. We now have 4 beautiful children; Kaysha is 9, Mason is 7, Emmett is 2 and Brighton is our newborn. Our road to having children has not been easy. Infertility, high risk pregnancies, early deliveries, miscarriage. Its been hard, a huge mix of emotions, but its been absolutely worth it!
We struggled for over 4 years with Secondary Infertility to get Emmett, our third, here. So when we knew it was time for another, we started trying just before he turned one. Fully expecting it to take time again we were surprised when 5 months later, I was pregnant! We were so excited and a little shocked. Unfortunately, 2 weeks later, I started bleeding. After an emotional roller coaster of a week with multiple appointments and tests, it was in fact confirmed a miscarriage. It was a very difficult experience for us, including our older 2 children. It was difficult to explain to them, to help them process, just as difficult as it was for Brady and I. After the D&C, taking some time to grieve and physically heal, and getting the "Ok" from my Doctor, we started trying again.
Almost 2 months later, we were pregnant! I couldn't believe it. That positive brought on a new round of healing and peace. I had my blood tested every few days to check my hCG levels and confirm they were continuing to rise. Pregnancy after loss is full of emotions, it's a rollercoaster ride. It's full of extraordinary highs and anxiety induced lows. I had days where I could completely relax and enjoy every second of my pregnancy and days where every little cramp terrified me that I was losing this baby. I tried to keep calm on the outside but held my breath on the inside as we went to every appointmemt, praying there was still a heartbeat. Praying baby was healthy. Trying to ignore the "what ifs". But baby girl was great and healthy with a strong heartbeat, every single time. My pregnancy was difficult, heparin shots 2 times a day, every day, was not fun. Different complications through out, bed rest. So much nausea. But she remained healthy, and to me, that's all that mattered. I'd go through anything if it means baby stays healthy! With the difficulties of my pregnancy, our Dr's goal was to make it to 32 weeks and I would definitely be induced by 38 weeks.
On Saturday, March 31st, I woke up not feeling well (which wasn't new). As I got out of bed, I had a small gush. I said "thanks" to baby! Assuming she was using my bladder as a pillow. I'd been having contractions, but those started up around 24 weeks, so it was normal. I had a few more small gushes so we decided to time contractions. They were 5 minutes apart, again not new, and not real strong. So we decided to carry on with our day plans. We got ready and headed out of town. After lunch I really didn't feel well. So much dry heaving, and as badly as I wanted to throw up, I couldn't. I was miserable! But we continued with our day. My contractions got noticeably closer and stronger. My husband told the kiddos "Mom might be having the baby today!" There was a lot of excitement. We decided to be done with activities and head to the hospital to be safe. We got there between 4 and 4:30pm. I was checked and still dilated to 2.5 and 70% effaced. I was bummed! I'd been there for weeks and I was sure this was it! My contractions were regular so I was monitored. My husband and kiddos went to get some dinner. About an hour later I was checked again and now dilated to 3 and 80% effaced! Yes! I was told it was a big enough change that I'd be staying to have a baby. I started crying, I couldn't believe it! I was so happy, so excited, and so nervous. I called Brady and told him I was being admitted and we were having a baby! Him and the kiddos came back to the hospital and we decided it would be easier on the kids for them all to go home (about 75 minutes away) and I'd call when things got closer. All my other labors have been very long. So we said good byes and off they went. It was difficult not having Brady with me the whole time, but we knew it was best for our toddler. I was hooked up to my IV and put on antibiotics for Group Strep B which slowed things down a bit so I was also put on Pitocin. I walked around my room, used the yoga ball, filled put paper work for the birth certificate all while managing my contractions the best I could. I had an amazing, supportive nurse, Courtney, who checked on me frequently and offered to rub my back if needed. I was still doing ok, my labors don't get real intense till about 8cm. Around 10pm I was only at a 4, and my Doctor came in to check on me and break my water. That helped to get things going more. I also used the peanut ball which was fantastic! I was noticing my contractions getting stronger and coming closer together. I was noticing a huge difference from this labor to my other 3 labors. I called Courtney back in around midnight and said something was different. She checked me and I was 5.5cm dilated. I was shocked! This was how I felt when I get to 8. I called Brady and told him he needs to come back now! I also contacted Shanda, my friend and birth photographer. Courtney stayed with me, rubbing my back, helping with different positions and providing pressure during contractions. She called Dr. Stevenson and told her things were picking up. Contractions were so intense and so frequent. My Doctor arrived between 12:30-1am. She also helped with different positions and providing pressure. These 2 women were so wonderful, I'm so grateful to both of them. At one point, Dr. Stevenson said "How will Brady react if he shows up and you've had the baby?" We didn't think he'd make it in time! I was checked again around 1:30, I was fully dilated except for the top of my cervix due to a scar. We changed positions to put more pressure there, so I leaned over my Doctor while Courtney sat behind me doing pressure and rubbing my back. Brady walked in shortly after 1:30, I was so happy to see him! He had our kiddos who were full of excitement. My older 2 and Brady offered words of encouragement. My Dad arrived sometime before 2am to take our 2 year old, they played in the hall. Finally Brady was by my side. I was able to start pushing. Again, such a huge and more intense difference from my other 3. Dr. Stevenson said "She's got a lot of hair!" I reached down to feel her head crowning and it gave me a huge burst of strength. I didn't push for long though, before I knew it baby girl was on my chest! She was sunny side up which was all the difference I was feeling. I couldn't believe she was finally here! I looked at Brady who was crying with so much love in his eyes and our older 2 kids who were beaming with happiness. It was a unique, beautiful labor and delivery. Shanda arrived moments after she was born. Our toddler came in soon after and was instantly in love with his new baby. Our sweet girl was finally here, after all we went through. Brighton Aurora joined our family April 1st at 2:08am. Weighing 6lbs 4.8oz 19.5in, our biggest at 36 weeks! Healthy and perfect.