Bridget’s first breath took ours away.
“Babies are a bit of stardust blown by the hands of God. Lucky the woman who knows the pangs of birth, for she has held a star.”
“At the time a child is born, the mother is born too. She had never existed before that moment. There was a woman, but not the mother. The mother is something completely new.”
No matter how much time passes, I still can’t put into proper words what my heart felt the day I met my daughter. It’s a true miracle. All of it. Pregnancy, birth, instantly gaining mom strength, growing a mother’s heart in one swift beat, knowing just what to do for your child, and being just who your baby needs to survive in this great big world. You. Solely you. You’re all they need. Your love, your nourishment, your time, your compassion, your gentleness, your kind spirit, and your patience. I should draw a massive asterisk next to “knowing” because none of us know what we’re really doing in motherhood. But I do KNOW with the upmost certainty, that your child is your child for a reason. You were called to be your baby’s mother. You are exactly what they need. And I KNOW with true confidence, they are exactly what we need. They are ours and we are theirs. And it is nothing short of the sweetest, most special gift. The gift of being given your child. The gift of motherhood. The gift of witnessing someone’s very first breath. The gift of the purest, most innocent love. There is no describing how I felt May 8, 2018 at 9:31pm. But I will tell you, just like George Strait says, “I saw God today.”
“…your child is your child for a reason. You were called to be your baby’s mother. You are exactly what they need. And I know with true confidence, they are exactly what we need.”
When she got placed on my chest, the world stood still. I can’t tell you how vivid that moment is forever engrained in the forefront of my my mind. I smiled, I cried, I laughed, and I said aloud, “This is our first hug.” What happened in hospital room 27 will be the most sacred moments that I couldn’t be more thankful for. It’s where I became a mom, where Drew became a dad, and where the three of us became a family.
I gained an entirely new perspective for motherhood being by Jacqui’s side throughout her pregnancy. From her preterm scare, to bed rest, and finally labor, I have infinite appreciation for moms everywhere. The unknown is what made me most anxious when it was go-time. I woke up on May 8th around the same time I usually do (around 8am) and I saw Jacqui getting ready for her day in the mirror. (This hardly ever happens before I am awake). Knowing something was up, I asked if everything was ok. She had mentioned that she thinks she was contracting all night long, but it may have been a dream. She said she would time her contractions throughout the morning, and that she had a feeling today might be the day. Around noon, she decided it was time to go to the hospital.
We were already all packed up so it was hardly a rush or panicked situation. Checking into triage was nothing new to us, and when the nurse came in to tell us that Jacqui was going to have a baby today, things got REAL. We couldn’t believe it. It was finally time. We were going to meet our Bridget. After texting our parents and being moved into her hospital room, we were mostly just trying to get a hold of what the schedule would be. Epidural, breaking of her water, Pitocin drip, when it would be time to push, etc…
“I was absolutely overwhelmed with emotion.”
The doctors told us to expect a few hours before Bridget would be making her arrival, just based on how far Jacqui had progressed during the afternoon. Bridget had other plans. Hanging out in the room watching TV, I will never forget when our nurse, Brynn, was making a routine check on Jacqui to see how she was doing, and looked at me to say “you ready to have a baby?”
Here we go! It was time to push. I had no idea what to expect. I had heard all of the tall tales from my friends about their wives going through labor. With Brynn telling Jacqui when to push and for how long, I was cheering her on counting the seconds out loud. Jacqui CRUSHED it. No screams. No yelling. Just persistent pushes for a solid 45 minutes to an hour. About 30 minutes in, Jacqui said to me “I’m just having some trouble catching my breath.” I calmly replied “that’s because you are birthing a human.”
“Moms, you are amazing.”
When Bridget made her arrival, as The Lion King was coincidentally on the TV in the background (The Circle of Life) – I was absolutely overwhelmed with emotion. Yeah, I cried. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed. Jacqui was a mom. I was a dad. Bridget was our daughter. She held onto Jacqui and looked at us and we both fell in love at that very moment. A moment I will never forget! Moms, you are amazing. Jacqui, you are the best mom ever already! I love you!
BRIDGET AUBREY BUTLER
When Drew and I dreamt of starting a family, we always said if we had a girl we want to name her Bridget Butler. We would get giddy just talking about her. We loved the beautifully unique, strong name, and the alliteration, Bridget Butler. She’s literally our dream come true.
When we started looking further into the meaning of Bridget we loved it even more. It means strength, power, vigor, and virtue. We want her to be a girl who loves life, helps others, shines her light, spreads love, radiates kindness, makes a positive impact on the world, and knows her strength. Bridget also is derived from an Irish name, which we love because Drew’s heritage is from Ireland. Brigid is a Saint and Bridget is our angel. It was also important to us to give her a middle name that began with “A.” This is because my grandmother, (who was known for teaching me how to smile), her middle name was Ann and Drew’s grandfather’s name begins with an “A” as well. We want to pay homage to them because we love them dearly. Their hearts are pure gold and we want our sweet Bridget to represent and honor both of them.
MAY 8, 2018 TIMELINE
I woke up at 6am (which wasn’t unusual because the final month + of pregnancy I was barely sleeping anymore thanks to running to pee 24/7 and it taking all my effort just to roll over and move positions in bed it felt like!) Anywho, 6am I woke up because I was dreaming I was having contractions. Sure enough, I was. I had preterm labor scares in the past and I was nervous I wasn’t going to know when I was really going to be in true labor. I kept being told I would “just know” and I hated hearing that, but it was the truth. So I was 4cm dilated for a full month before even going into the “real thing.” I was scared I wasn’t going to know how to count contractions or get to the hospital too late to get an epidural. (Yes, I got an epidural. I had nothing to prove to anyone other than myself, and was going to take the epidural to make myself as comfortable and happy as possible – and wow, it was AH MAZ ING! But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I will share more about epidurals in a separate detailed post). So, I pulled out my handy dandy app on my phone and started keeping track of my contractions. I was told 5-1-1 is when you go to the hospital. 5 minutes apart, lasting for at least 1 minute, for an entire hour. I wasn’t in any pain. It just felt like waves is how I would describe it. And these waves were not going away. I just knew today was the day.
Drew woke up and asked me what I was doing pacing around the house and getting my toilitres ready in the bathroom. I told him today was the day.
By this time the contractions were undeniably getting closer and closer together so I knew it was time to go in. I called my OB and we headed to the hospital.We had our trunk packed with our hospital bags and our car seat installed. We were calm, ready, and excited – hoping this was the real deal. Our drive was so calm and enjoyable – nothing like you see in the movies. We listened to our favorite music and I can still see in my head the two Cardinals we saw fly right in front of our car. I fully believe in signs and Cardinals are known for sending you love, support, protection, and guidance from loved ones who have passed. It was a very special moment. As if I didn’t believe it already, today was clearly the day.
Checking into hospital and getting to labor and delivery triage. They hooked me up to the monitors and examined me and were shocked with how beyond low she was and how far along I was. Another moment I will never forget, her telling Drew and I, “You’re having a baby today!” and her walking out the door. Drew and I immediately looked at each other with pure excitement, happiness, and nerves all at the same time. I’m welling up right now writing this, recalling that moment. He text our family that today was officially the day and now I officially have goosebumps all over my body thinking about this moment in time.
To lighten the mood a little bit we Googled what song was #1 on the charts for her birthday and it was Drake. (FYI, 2nd on the charts was Post Malone.) We laughed for a minute and then let our super excited nerves back in. You dream of this moment for so so long and then when you’re officially told it’s the day…there are no words. I had taken zero birthing classes and hadn’t let myself Google anything either (I was scared of what I would find.) I had the healthiest, happiest, most blissful pregnancy (minus one month of bed rest to help prevent preterm labor & 2 hospitalizations for preterm scares) and I was so ready to meet our baby girl and have her in my arms – I just hadn’t thought about the actual pushing part. Like I said, I knew I wanted an epidural and that’s all I knew. I debated about taking birth classes at the hospital and chose against it. I wanted to go with the flow and be in the moment. I knew I would do whatever I would need to do to meet my girl.
Got admitted to our hospital room. Hooked up to IVs, blood drawn, etc. Spoke to nurses and doctor about how we were going to move forward with our plan of action and estimated timeline.
Spoke to anesthesiologist and received Epidural.
At the time, Drew, my mom and our nurse were in the room. We were all hanging out, seriously having a great time. I wasn’t feeling a thing. They would look at the monitor and see major contractions and say, “Wow, did you feel that?!” and I would happily say, “NOPE!” It was great. Anyway, my nurse said she wanted to check me to see where I was at and she said immediately that I was 10 cm dilated!! I told her that she couldn’t be serious and she checked again and said yup. She called in the head nurse to double check and she instantly agreed. She told me it was time. I mentally couldn’t get over it! Talk about the most excited nerves you’ve EVER felt in your life!! My mom and I had a quick moment and said that was the last time she was going to see me before I was a mom. And it was.
Started “practice pushing.” What the heck is this?! Ya, I didn’t know either until experiencing it. It was just Drew, our nurse and I in the room during this time and she was having me do “practice pushes” aka describing how to most effectively push. So technically I was “really pushing” not “practice pushing” but it takes multiple sets of “practice pushing” to “get the hang of it” and feel confident in your pushes before you “really start pushing.” Wow, that was a lot of quotations. Anyway, after practice pushing for awhile and making significant progress with getting Miss Bridget ready to go, my nurse called my OB telling her it was time.
The Lion King happened to come on TV. I can’t make this up. Talk about a TOTAL Circle of Life moment!! We wanted to temporarily name Bridget Nala, but went back to our OG name 🙂 Maybe when she grows up, that will be her nickname. (And all of you have the in on why!)
Quick funny story: My nurse told me that it’s totally normal for the doctor to walk in and assess me and take her time setting up the table and getting in her delivery gear with first time moms because L&D can take awhile with new moms. She also said that if she comes in and instantly jumps in her delivery scrubs and the table gets set-up in no time, that’s when I know it’s real. Well, my OB came in and said WOW and instantly jumped into gear. It was real. And it was quick.
Bridget Aubrey Butler took her first breath and graced the world with her presence at 6 pounds 9 ounces, 19.5 inches.
The first hour we did skin-to-skin contact, soaked each other up and we couldn’t wipe the biggest smiles off our faces. There were tears and laughs mixed with disbelief, awe, happiness, gratitude, the most intense love and the highest high in the world. We wanted the first hour to be ours to experience and love on one another. It was an indescribably intimate moment in time I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
10:31pm – midnight
They bathed her, took all of her measurements, and documented her precious footprints. We then had our photographer friend come in the room to capture some of our first moments together. Then we let our entire family in the room to meet their newest addition. It was the beginning of a new generation on both sides of the family and you could feel the warmth and happiness radiating. Talk about a birthday party with an explosion of love! Drew, Bridget and I plus 8 of our dearest loved ones. It surely was a welcome to the world if I’ve ever seen one. And now I have goosebumps all over again. It was perfect.
Thank you all for letting me share my special story with you. Motherhood is the most cherished club to be a part of and I couldn’t be more grateful or honored to be a mom. I truly am blessed. Bridget is a dream come true and we couldn’t be more in love with her and being her parents.
Be on the lookout for everything mommyhood coming to the blog!
Most of the above beautifully special moments were captured by the kind & talented Jessica of Jessica Jane Photography.
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