Pause and Reflect // {The birth of Seyla Rose}

Thank you so much to Meghan for sharing this amazing, multi-layered story. It has been such an honor to walk this journey with you. One of the favorite aspects of my “job” is that I have hour long visits with families so that I can hear about what is going on in all of the various layers of mama’s lives. All of those things weave into pregnancy and birth, because they are part of who each mama is and how her life is unfolding at the moment. I love that this story really illustrates that. Meghan, you are a beautiful and strong mom and you have brought Seyla into your family and into the world with such grace and beauty. Thank you for sharing this story for others to enjoy.

Here I sit with my new 6 week old baby on my lap as I type. I have been wanting to write my birth story since she was born. From the moment she was in my arms I wanted to share every detail of her birth. But life happens and I seemed to have gotten distracted with three kids, two dogs, a bearded dragon and husband who works full time and is on the volunteer fire department!  So tonight I picked up my laptop determined to at least start her story. Although I’m certain I may have lost some of the details in my sleep deprived mommy brain I’m going to do my best to remember it all, because I want to remember every last detail of her amazing entrance. There’s a lot of back story to her birth and her name so if you get bored, fast forward to her actual birth story.. I swear it’s there!

January of 2013 was a rough month. My hubby and my two little ones (who were 2 and 4 at the time) got sick with the upper respiratory flu. It was brutal but everyone came through it and before long we were back to our high energy family. Except for me. I was so tired but chalked it up to the fact that I had been up with two sick kids for a week and was going on little to no sleep. But the sleep deprivation didn’t subside and as I was packing up my daughter to take her swimming  my hubby suggested pizza for dinner, and I almost gagged right there, I kind of wondered what was up. In my head I thought there’s no possible way I could be pregnant. Except I was. After talking with my midwife and feeling very anxious about how this could be possible and having no idea how far along I was, we set up an ultrasound. I was almost 8 weeks pregnant and there on the screen was another flickering little heart. Overwhelmed with emotions but feeling so happy to see that amazing flicker we left a little stunned! Plagued by sickness, spotting, exhaustion, time after time of not being able to find baby’s heartbeat, very little fetal movement and lots of anxiety by this mama I was happy when our 20 week ultrasound came. However with that ultrasound brought more anxiety for me as I had just had some dear friends lose their sweet baby girl at 21 weeks and another who had lost her twins at 12 weeks. I walked in those doors taking a deep breath praying that our baby was healthy. We walked out with an envelope in our hands telling us the gender and news that my placenta was anterior (which explained the lack of fetal movement) and being assured that our baby GIRL was very healthy and moving plenty.

My husband and I, but mostly me, struggled sooo much with our decision of where we wanted to delivery this baby. After a traumatic first birth of my son at a hospital with a postpartum hemorrhage we delivered our second baby at Health Foundations Birth Center in St. Paul. A beautiful water birth and an entirely different experience than our first opened our eyes to what birth could really be like. Learning to trust my body and those around me rather than trying to fight it. With Emelyn I also had a postpartum hemorrhage although nothing in comparison to what Jameson’s was and the recovery was so easy with her. We had decided on having a home birth and hired Kate Saumweber Hogan of Twin Cities Midwifery as our midwife. Until the anxiety set in. What if I hemorrhage again? Will it be an awful experience at home if that happens? What about my older two kids, what if they see mommy bleed like that? So I did double prenatal care with Kate and at Methodist until I found my peace. My peace did come. At home was where we wanted to be. Kate was so great in helping me through this process of emotions. Never once making me feel pressured to make a decision and never once making me feel as though I had to choose a home birth. She was gentle and patient with me/us as we took our time making this decision. Once the decision was made we never looked back.

At 30 weeks pregnant my sweet Jameson (4.5) fell off the glider at the park and broke his arm. It was by far the worst day/weeks of my life. His arm was broken badly and resulted in 8 hours of sitting in the ER at Regions until he had surgery. That pain in my heart is something I will never forget. We had a long road ahead of us but we took it one day at a time. Until the next week when he went in for his 1 week post-op appointment where we learned that his bone had shifted and he would need surgery again. My heart sank again as I stared at my beautiful little boy who should not have to go through surgery twice in one week. We transferred his care to Gillette Children’s under the care of Dr. Koop. He performed his surgery the next day and we honestly couldn’t say better things about the staff at that hospital. Everyone was so gentle and caring with Jameson and really made our stay there as best it could be. One more surgery to get a cast on, another visit to get his cast off and a final visit a week after Seyla was born and Jameson is back to himself! He won’t have to go back for his arm for another year! During that time my family was worried that I would go in to pre-term labor due to the stress, lack of sleep, lack of hydration and eating but baby girl remained as strong as ever. Her heartbeat was always great and she would give me movements to remind me she was okay.

With an anticipated guess date of September 12th I couldn’t help but laugh. September is a busy month in our house. My sister’s birthday is the 2nd, Jameson’s birthday the 21st, my inlaw’s anniversary the 22nd, my husband’s (Zach) birthday the 23rd and mine the 24th. But this year we added another life event to the calendar. My brother was getting married on Jameson’s birthday September 21st. I kept thinking “baby will come early. I can NOT miss my brother’s wedding and Jameson’s birthday”, especially since both Jameson and Emelyn were in the wedding! It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t be able to be there. Some way, some how I would be there. Kate and I talked about it so much towards the end. We made plans and talked about it at almost every visit. And then my guess date passed by. I wondered how this could be! I was doing acupuncture, with the amazing Erika Sullivan of Acupunture Healing Arts at Enlightened Mama, I was getting adjusted twice a week by the amazing Amber Moravec of Naturally Aligned Family Chiropractic, and Kate did a membrane sweep twice which I was certain would put me in to labor but nope! And then when I went in for my 41 week appointment I couldn’t stop crying. My brother’s wedding was in 4 days and I wondered how I would be able to go with a newborn. I remember that Kate said “maybe she will just wait to come until after!” I wanted to cry right there! Being pregnant another day sounded awful, seriously awful. I went through these crazy emotions of crying one minute, laughing and dancing with the kids the next, being straight up pissed, feeling content and trying to let go of the control, and then the cycle would start all over again. Again, Kate my amazing midwife was so patient with me and gently reminded me to trust my body and trust that she will come. I was certain she never would! We made a plan to try and get things going the following week if I hadn’t had her. Kate encouraged me to dance her out at the wedding and just have fun. A few people in my life would remind me that this was out of my control 🙂  I couldn’t force her to come, although I sure was trying, and rather to accept that. My mom had made frequent trips from up north to be here because we were certain each week that week was “it”! She came down the week of my 41 week appointment on Tuesday, stayed until Thursday early morning where she literally drove 3 hours back up north, picked up her husband and bags and came back to the cities for my brother’s wedding!


I went to bed the night of the 20th feeling ready for Jameson’s birthday and the wedding celebration. I had in my head that I would have fun and enjoy that day with all of my family and forget about her coming, just for that day, and enjoy being present with my loved ones. Seyla had other plans. I woke up at 2:30am with my first contraction. I got up to go to the bathroom and laid back down. I had a moment where I wondered if this could be it but quickly pushed it out of my head. Until another contraction came and then another. I got up to see if they would continue and sure enough they did. They weren’t really painful but they were the real deal, I could tell this was it. I went in to tell Zach and I looked at him and said “I think this baby wants to share a birthday with her brother”. I couldn’t believe it. How could I possibly have two kids on the exact same day 5 years apart! I told Zach to stay asleep and I would wake him when I needed him. I texted my sister. I texted my mom. I showered and I talked to baby. Telling her it was okay to come. Telling her I wasn’t upset that we couldn’t go to the wedding. I was excited to meet her and hold her. 9 days past my due date and the day had finally come. I was excited and nervous. But I rode each wave with her knowing that soon I would have her here. I talked to Kate just to check in and told her I would call her back when I felt ready for her to come. I called my mother in law at 5am and told her no hurry but to slowly start getting ready to come over, that today was it. My mom arrived soon after that. The house slowly came to life with people arriving for the birth of this baby girl. My sister in law to help with the kids, my mother in law with her bags of food to feed everyone, my mom with coffee in tow to get through the morning tiredness, and my sister who I was so happy could be a part of this day with me (she lives in Madison and has a 4 year old but was in town for the wedding!!). Kate showed up and my girlfriend who is the process of doing her doula training. Zach and the kids woke up at 7am and in between a contraction I was able to say good morning to my birthday boy and tell him he would have the coolest gift ever. He walked out groggy eyed to a room full of his favorite people. And me, I labored how I needed to. Walking in and out of the room as I needed and being by myself more than I thought I would want. My sister and my husband rubbing my back and holding my hands. Crying with every contraction. Not because I was sad or scared but because she was coming. She was coming on Jameson’s 5th birthday. I was so emotional. The contractions weren’t lasting that long but they were coming consistently. I was able to watch Jameson open his presents and the kids helped fill the birthing tub. My dear friend Jen Olson of Jennifer Liv Photography arrived to capture all the moments I never want to forget.

Everyone was there to support me and to welcome this baby. The most important women in my life were there with me to support me and push me when I felt like I couldn’t go any more. These women (my mom, my mother in law, and my sister) were with me 5 years ago on that same date at that same time to support me as we welcomed Jameson in to our life. It couldn’t be more perfect. And the picture of Jameson’s cast. That photos makes me tear up every time I see it. I intentionally left his cast sit out as a reminder that when I felt like I couldn’t go any more he would give me strength. Because if my 4.5 year old can sit with a broken arm for 8 hours I can do this. He was my strength.

Her labor was amazing. We laughed, we cried, I whined to Kate, A LOT, but we laughed more. It was simply amazing. Before long the monster contraction came, the one that sweeps you off your feet, where you feel completely out of control, out of body but you know baby will be here soon. In the water I went…

And the pushing, oh how hard the pushing was with her. I so badly wanted her out in three pushes but it was longer. I pushed for 45 minutes and it was intense. I was reminded by all the women around me and my sweet husband that she would be here soon. In to labor land I went. Focusing on each push and surrendering to the pain.

{this photo is one of my all time favorites from her birth. Look at the wonderful support I had, and how hard I was working. Labor is tough but a woman’s body has incredible strength and with the right support you can get through anything}

As soon as Kate told Zach to switch places and get ready to catch baby I knew it was real, she would be in my arms soon. Zach caught her. His second daughter, our third baby, born at home surrounded by love and support. She was here.

She was perfect. 9 days past due and she was in my arms. She pinked up so fast and we could tell she was a healthy size. My heart expanded for a third time right there in that moment. Our beautiful baby girl.

There was no bleeding, no postpartum hemorrhage. All the research Kate had done and being so proactive resulted in this beautiful water birth, with no trauma and minimal bleeding. My wonderful homeopath, Jennie Hoglund of Spark Wellness who helped me find a remedy for my anxiety and hemorrhages. Kate and CaraLin, there are no words. There are not enough thank you’s. You are truly amazing midwives. Kate, thank you for taking such good care of me. For being the support I needed leading up to her birth, during her birth and after. Thank you over and over again.

Baby girl latched on immediately. I’ve never seen a baby nurse as well as her right off the bat.

She was a healthy 8 pounds 9 ounces, 21 inches long, a chest of 13 ¾ and a head of 14 inches. She was healthy. And we were in love. No birth celebration would be complete without brownies, candles and champagne! And that hair! Look at all her beautiful dark hair! Neither of my other two had hair like this!

My Jameson. Look at how sweet you are. I look back and I think to myself, Seyla had a plan. This day was meant to be her birthday, of course it was. This day was my re-birth. It was a way of healing a birth 5 years ago that was traumatic and left me terrified to do it again. This birth has helped me to heal. To trust the natural process of childbirth. This is my do over on a birth I wanted but never had, until that day. My sweet sweet Jameson, we can already tell that you will have this amazingly cool relationship with Seyla. You look over her and Emelyn already and your dad and I have a feeling you will protect them always.

Her name. It took us three days to name her. The day after she was born Jameson sat in bed holding her and looked at me and said “can we name her now mom”. I asked what he thought her name should be and he said “her name should be Seyla. She looks like a Seyla”. Seyla had always been my favorite name, for a long time. I never took it off lists, even when Zach vetoed it off the bat. It grew on him and he quickly became fond of that name. I never could get out of my head the meaning behind the name Selah (traditional Hebrew spelling). It means ‘pause and reflect’. Her entire pregnancy, Jameson’s arm, going past due, her beautiful birth… it all was a time to pause and reflect. So on day three we decided on Seyla Rose… the name we had months ago but just weren’t certain it was her. It’s her. She’s calm. She’s content. And every day I take a moment to pause and reflect on all the good in my life.

{photo credit Kari Jensen of living lifes moments photography}

{photo credit Kari Jensen of living lifes moments photography}

{Photo taken by myself…}

{Sweet Seyla Rose, 7 weeks . . . photo taken by myself}

5 thoughts on “Pause and Reflect // {The birth of Seyla Rose}

  1. Meghan, your words are so beautiful! The passion and gentle strength that you write with had me right there with you. I really felt your every sadness and your blissful joy as your story so artfully unfolded. I’ve always known what a devoted and loving mommy and wife you are, but I love knowing that you’re also a very talented writer and storyteller! Don’t forget to use that gift to write things like this for each of your children as their lives unfold over the years. You convey so much mother’s love and it’s so warmly related. I wish every child in the world had just one moment in their lives where they could feel as loved and cherished as yours will always feel, captured in these heartfelt words!

  2. Megan, what a beautiful story. I’m so glad I got to read it. Love all the pictures, but my favorite is the one you took of all three of your beautiful children.

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