The best day of my life...

Rise up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’, (“This is my message to you-ou-ou:”)

Singin’: “Don’t worry ‘bout a thing,
’Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
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The morning of March 25th, five whole days past your due date.  I was SO sure you were going to come early, so those last five days seemed to take forever.  

It was a Sunday and I woke up just before 6AM from a sharp pain in my abdomen.  Light menstrual cramps began. I didn't want to fool myself into thinking you were going to make your way into the world just yet.  Yet the cramps kept coming.

Omar was at the gym, and although unsure if you were coming, I texted him and said "I think we are going to become parents today!".  

He got home and I layed on the couch and we started timing contractions.  

At first they were 10 minutes apart. They slowly began getting stronger and closer together. We called the midwife to give her the heads up. She told us to keep on timing contractions and if I could get some rest, to do so.

Of course I couldn't get any sleep. I was too excited. I texted my parents and my grandma around 10AM to let them know that I thought I was in labor and we would call when we were on the way to the hospital.

As my contractions got stronger, Omar was bouncing around the house anxiously cleaning and getting things organized. Thankfully my hospital bag had been packed for weeks.

Omar drew me a nice warm bath and very sweetly helped me get in.  I told him I needed some happy music and the only good music on his IPOD (in my opinion :-) ) was Bob Marley.  So I soaked in the bath singing along to "Three little birds", "We're Jammin", "Is this love?" , trying to picture myself as a mother and the adventure of birth ahead.

The midwife told us we should go to the hospital when contractions were 4-5 minutes apart and lasting over a minute. Around 3:15PM we made the call. Omar packed up the car and helped me in.  

The worst part of my entire labor and delivery was that 15 minute drive to the hospital. I was in SO much pain because my body had to be seated upright. I was squeezing my pillow and crying with every strong contraction.  Omar called my parents while I cried in the background.  

Of course we parked on the total opposite side of the hospital.... We hurried inside and a security guard pointed to the direction of the delivery ward. We were checking in at the desk and I remember being so angry that I had to talk to anyone... I wrapped my arms around Omar as a contraction hit and I remember feeling an instant AMAZING relief on my lower back. It was Debbi! My midwife. God her hands were magical! 

Only one delivery room in the hospital had a giant jacuzzi like tub for soaking. We knew this from the start but also that it might not be available. Thankfully it was! 

As soon as we got in the room Debbi checked me and I was 7 cm dilated! (I wonder what could have happened if we would have waited any longer? :-) )

Its so funny how you can be so self concious about your body, but let me tell you, when you are in labor you just don't give a $%^&!

I stripped out of my pajamas and got into that jacuzzi tub and floated around like I weighed absolutely nothing and could care less if the nurse saw me with my naked butt in the air. (I had gained over 43 lbs at this point)

The tub made the contractions not so painful but I remember feeling really hot and it was time to get out. The hospital had rules against birthing in the tub. I could only labor in it.

99% of the labor it was me, Omar, my midwife Debbi, and one nurse. The nurse was the sweetest lady in the world.

Contractions REALLY started to get painful at this time. I don't remember the exact time because it was flying by. I had my arms wrapped around Omar's shoulders, bearing all my weight down on him, slightly bending my knees and swaying back and forth. He was so strong the whole time. I really appreciated his strength and encouragement. He made me feel like a birthing champion! 

Debbi would place her hands on my back with every contraction and it just relieved the pain SO much!

Right around 6:45PM I felt the urge to push. I said "I have to push" and jumped on the bed. The nurse went to get my mother. I said she could be there when Kennedy was about to be born, but not while I was laboring, I probably would have chewed her head off.

Omar held my hand. My mom had one foot and the nurse had the other and Debbi was in the middle telling me what to do.  

The urge to push is incredible as much as it is indescribable. Hands down the strangest sensation of my life.

About two pushes before she made her arrival, I was ready to throw in the towel. I thought it was taking forever and I was just done. "I can't do it" I said. But her head was RIGHT there. Omar saw her head crowning and started crying out of joy. The look on his face was so sweet, he was scared and proud at the same time. They encouraged me and I kept on.

I was only in the pushing stage for 17 minutes, and then at 7:03PM I delivered the most beautiful 8lb 5oz, 10 fingered, 10 toed, completely healthy baby girl with a ton of dark silky hair on her head.

Completely un-medicated, 100% natural, not even an IV in my arm. We did it!  I couldn't have asked for a better labor and delivery. We are truly blessed. 

They quickly wrapped her in a towel and put her in my arms. WOW. So THIS is what I have been carrying inside me these past 41 weeks? Its so amazing how quickly your motherly instincts kick in. And it is SO true when they say there is nothing stronger than a mother's love. I have never felt love like this in my entire life. I couldn't even cry, all I could say over and over again was "My baby! My baby!". 

I was on the best high of my life. I felt like I could conquer any challenge in my way, as long as I had my baby girl by my side.

Miss Kennedy Maria Aziz- 8lbs 5ozs 20.5 inches

Miss Kennedy Maria Aziz- 8lbs 5ozs 20.5 inches

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I fell in love twice that day. Once with my baby girl and once all over again with her daddy.

We immediately had our first breast feeding session. I needed a lot of guidance from the nurse. I read a ton of articles and a book about nursing positions, tips, tricks etc. But for something so natural, it really is extremely difficult. (We had a few troubled times in the first few weeks but I am happy to say she is almost 6 months old and exclusively breastfed)

After what seemed like forever- Family and a few friends came in to meet the little lady. It was like a party in my delivery room!

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And since that night, I haven't been away from my baby girl for longer than 10 hours (photographing weddings, I wish I could bring her along in her ergo carrier to be honest).

I refused to have her taken out of my eyesite at the hospital. They wheeled me down with her in my arms for her to get her very first sponge bath. (Unfortunately my camera was in the delivery room, I was too enthralled with my new bundle anyways) My dad and my stepmom watched the entire bath from the viewing window and it took all the strength I had not to cry whenever I made eye contact with my dad. This was such a special moment for me and my family!

Omar met us in our recovery room. And then life started! I probably slept 2 hours the entire stay at the hospital. I couldn't take my eyes off her. I kept repeating to Omar "That came out of me". We were amazed. Any doubt in my mind about the miracle of life and God, was immediately erased. She made me a believer.

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xoxo