My little girl and me

me & my little girl

me & my little girl


Family pictures

Our happy little family of three

Our happy little family of three

We snagged Daniel & Kimberly’s specially-flew-in-from-Three-Hills one day before the wedding for a photoshoot of our own, and were delighted with the pictures he got! This is one of our favorites! Many thanks to the aunties and the uncle who made fools of themselves getting the little girl to smile for the camera!

Elianna’s Birth Story — Day 4

Day 4 – January 13/11 (I don’t believe this.  At the beginning of Jan, Rachel told me to have the baby on her birthday.  I laughed, and said no way, there was no way the baby would wait that long.  But here we are, Jan. 13.  Rachel’s birthday.  But will the baby actually come today??  I was starting to doubt it would EVER come!)

At 9am they hung the Pitocin and soon Dr Lindsay came in to talk about how Mom was running out of time. They stared turning up the Pitocin every half hour as they usually do. Mom and Dad slept for a bit until the contractions started getting quite strong and woke Mom up. Though I really didn’t want an epidural because it increases the risk of a C-section for a first time mother (or the Pitocin, OR the induction, for that matter!), I knew I didn’t have the strength go through a fourth day of labor and still have enough in me to push the baby out.  Jerry & I talked it over, and decided I needed a break – I would take the epidural.  At 12:30pm the anesthetist came and Mom was able to get some relief after many days of pain and discomfort. Mom was feeling no pain so Dad and I took turns running down to the cafeteria and grabbing some lunch.  Ahhh!  Epidurals are AMAZING!!!  No more pain, just blessed numbness.  After 3 days of labor it was a welcome and much-needed break! 

         I texted Mom & Dad to let them know that I was ok (they had come to the city for other stuff and were waiting around to meet their grandchild.  Dad texted back that he was shopping and Mom was downstairs in the hospital cafeteria!  So I sent Jerry down to bring her up.  Grandma came to visit for a while.  We watched the contractions on the monitor.  They were spiking like crazy but mom wasn’t feeling any of them, which was good. Then Grandpa came up too. They visited for a while and then left so Mom could get some rest.

Mom was checked at 2:45pm and was 6cm and by 5:45pm she was 8cm.

Grandpa went to go get some food and was gone for a long time and had all kinds of stuff with him when he came back. This apparently is very normal for Grandpa.  🙂  They settled in down the hall in the lounge, and because things actually looked like they were happening, we called your Grampy and Grammy Eagles to come from Valleyview also. 

At 7:40 the resident doctor came and checked Mom and said she was still at 8cm and that you weren’t really descending anymore.  Then your heart rate started going up.   Whenever Mom had been on monitors we had been watching your heart rate have good variability.  Whenever it was above 150 we’d joke you were a boy and below 150 we’d joke you were a girl or maybe it was the other way around… but your heart rate had been well within the normal range.  Now it was going up to 175-185 and even higher.  It even hit 200 a couple times.  This was concerning.  Dr Lindsay came in and checked you. He said your head was forming a caput, which is a swelling forming from being in the same place for too long. This, combined with the high heart rate, worried him.  He wanted to get a second opinion from Dr Mulnar but he thought that we were probably looking at a cesarian birth. The nurses began to ready Mom for the c-section.  They asked me what all I had eaten that day, so they would know for surgery.  I laughed.  I had thrown up every single thing I had eaten the whole day, except one piece of toast.  After 9 full months of sickness, this baby was obviously going out with a bang!  Dr Mulnar came in to check the situation and agreed with Dr Lindsay that a cesarian birth was probably the best way to go.  It was neat was kind of neat to have Dr Mulnar do the delivery, because he had been the Dr who delivered your Mom 23 years ago.  And by the way, your due date was the same day as her birth date too – though you definitely took your time coming and picked your OWN birth date!

By this time your Dad’s parents were there too. All the grandparents waited in the father’s lounge for you to make your appearance. There was paperwork to sign and forms to go over. Dad got some scrubs and a cute hat. Finally everything was ready and at 9:42pm they wheeled Mom off with Dad following behind.

         Jerry had to stay outside of the operating room till they had me all prepped for surgery.  They had to give me another epidural, and I was afraid because Jerry wasn’t there to hold me still and Janeya wasn’t there to breathe with me and help me stay calm while they poked something in my back that could paralyze me if it went wrong!  But the nurse (I think her name was Heidi, or Teresa?) held me very still talked to me and all went well.  Until the needle-guy asked if I still had feeling in my stomach, and if, when he pinched me, it was a “sharp” pain.  Well, at that point I couldn’t decide what was “sharp” pain, but I definitely knew I could feel it, so they decided to put me completely under.  Jen (my favorite nurse was assigned to look after the baby after the C-section!) came and asked me if I wanted the baby to have eye drops, and I said no, we already decided not to.  They put a breathing mask over my face and that is the last thing I remember. 

Mom and Dad had chosen to be surprised by your gender but had thought you were a boy.  The look of pure joy on your Dad’s face as he came back to the room carrying you was so beautiful.  “It’s a girl” He said.  He was so surprised.  The grandparents were so happy to see you.  No one was allowed to tell anyone else your gender though because Mom’s epidural hadn’t been adequate and it had been necessary to put her under general anesthetic.  Dad wanted them to wait till she knew.  Dr Mulnar said you had been facing the wrong way and your neck had been extended making it basically impossible for you to come through the canal.

Here you were now, 8 lbs 11 oz and 19¾ in — a beautiful baby girl.  Everyone was so excited to meet you.

I am so honored and blessed to have met your family and to have been a part of this special time your lives.



Elianna’s birth story — Day 3

Day 3 – January 12/11 (Missed all the good birthdays, kid.  WHY are you taking so long?!?!)     

Everyone woke up the next morning amazed that Mom hadn’t gone into labour on her own during the night! We decided to get ready quickly this morning and try to be at the hospital early to catch the doctor before office hours to find out what was happening. Mom was sick this morning and it made it hard to get ready but we were at the hospital by 8:25am.

The Doctor checked Mom and there was very little change and he put more Cervadil in. They hooked her up to the monitors for the two hours of monitoring.  I decided to go home and see my hubby and kids and have a much needed shower.

A few hours later Dad called to say Mom was in a great deal pain again.  I went to the hotel and found Mom in the tub, having back pain and pressure and finding it hard to relax. We had been suspecting for most of the labor that you were posterior (facing the wrong way) but had so far been unable to get you to turn. We watched old Daniel Boone movies stopping every few minutes to breathe through contractions.  Nevertheless, Daniel and his good friend Gabe proved to be fairly good distraction – though I don’t remember a single thing from the episodes we watched!

Suddenly at 3:25pm the water broke.  Hallelujah!!!  We texted “the masses” that progress was finally being made.  Then things got intense.  Mom started feeling pushy around 5:30 so we decided to head back to the hospital. I was starting to get scared that, after all our joking about it, I WOULD give birth right there in the motel room!  The urge to push was SO strong.  They got me ready as best they could, stopping often and we finally managed to get into the van.  I was relieved that my water had finally broke and FINALLY something was actually happening.  This would be the night!  Too bad the baby didn’t get a cool birthday, but oh well, at least it would finally be over!   The walk down the motel hallway seemed like an eternity.  The desk attendants watched me slowly, painfully walk out the door, and held their breath, I think!

I have had other induced labors that went like this and when the water broke the baby came soon after.  I was really hoping that was the pattern this labor was following.  However I was aware it might not be and that sometime women feeling like pushing long before they are fully dilated.

We decided to take my van as it was easier to get in and out of then the car.  Mom began to sing softly to herself to help deal with the pain.  The original idea I had of laboring at home for as long as possible and then driving to GP was completely stupidity.  The grand total of 5 minutes to the hospital was pure torture.  And WHY did the streets have to be so snowy and icy and BUMPY?? 


“Fear not, I am with thee, oh be not dismayed,

For I am thy God and will still give the aid. 

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,

Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand. 


“When through the deep waters, I call you to go,

The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow.

For I will be with thee thy trouble to bless,

And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”  


Singing those lines over…and over…and over.  I think I vaguely remember Jerry running a red light or something.  We told Janeya that if she got a ticket in the mail, she was to make sure to tell us and we would pay it for her. 

Jerry dropped us off outside the hospital and went to park while Janeya and I slowly made our way upstairs.  Pure adrenaline.  “Stand up, Lois.  Walk.  Just walk.  And breathe. It’s ok.  You’ll make it.  You have to.  What, are you doing to stop right here on the sidewalk in the snow and have the baby??  Just walk.  You have to.  You have to do it.  Just go,” I lectured myself all the way up.  When we finally got to Triage the door was locked and no one was answering our calls.  The nurses at the maternity desk were just visiting away, not paying attention or anything.  I leaned against the wall and wondered how they could go on with their lives when I was standing right there, so obviously in pain, and no one was coming to help us. 

We finally were let into Triage (I don’t remember who came to help us).  I told Janeya that there was no way I was going to lie down on that awful table-bed and be checked and monitored for 2 hours again.  I wanted a bed in Labor & Delivery, ‘cause this baby was coming, and if they didn’t get me a bed fast enough, I just might have it right there on the floor in Triage.  Finally they led us to a room in L&D and we settled in. 

The nurse checks mom and she’s only 3 cm, and to top it off we have Nurse Grouchy. I was confused why the urge to push was so strong if I was only 3 cm.  They said it was because of the Cervadil, and that the contractions were stronger and more painful now because my water had broken.  Strangely, I was not super discouraged after finding out I was only 3 cm when I was thinking that this baby might be arriving pronto-like.  Hey, my water broke – that was PROGRESS, and after 3 days, that was exciting!   Mom gets into shower and stays there for a while.  Thank God for showers in the hospital!  And for those saints, Jerry & Janeya, who sweltered and sweated and stayed with me.  She is checked again at 9pm and she was 4-5 cm.  So we are hopeful that there is some progress, even if it seems slow. I texted Auntie Esther – “The baby’s coming soon!!!” (“soon” becomes a relative term on the 3 evening of labor, you understand) The nurse starts talking about the choices of pain medication when all of a sudden things get crazy elsewhere on the floor and all the nurses are busy for a while.  The heat from the shower was making me weak and dizzy so I moved back to the bed, sitting on the edge of it. 

At 11 Mom is a 5 and gets a shot of morphine.  It has been a long haul and she needs some relief.  The morphine really helps with the incredible urge to push she keeps having.  Mom and Dad have been using a staring contest/blowing technique to help with the urge to push.  Jerry went to get a Pepsi at some point.  A short while later, I claimed it – to push against the small of my back during contractions.  The coldness helped so much!  We had some excellent nurses that night – Jen especially.  I liked her.

At 2:45am the nurse checks Mom again and said you are low but she was still 5 cm. The contractions are slowing down, and the nurse tells us they will probably want to start Pitocin to get regular contractions going.  Mom decides to walk around the hospital for a bit first.  We do some stairs and walk around for quite a while but the contractions don’t really pick up.  When we got back to the room Dr Lindsay was there.  He had been called in to do a delivery but had missed it and was in a rotten mood.  Boy, was he ever grouchy!  He wanted Mom to start the Pitocin and suggested that I was influencing her to go against medical advice. Mom assured him I wasn’t and that she just wanted to get some sleep first. After all it was 4 am.  They brought a mattress in for Janeya, Jerry crawled in my bed, and we all went to sleep for a few hours.  I sleep surprisingly well till 7am, when the nurse came back in to talk about my options for further inducing and pain medication. 

Elianna’s birth story – Day 2

Day 2 – January 11/11 (ok, so 10/11 didn’t work, but man, 11/11 would make a FANTASTIC birthday!  Come on, Baby!)

By 8:30am we all were up and moving.  The hospital called, wondering where Mom was.  They were expecting her to show up for a non-stress test and so Dr. Lindsay could re-induce her if she wasn’t in active labour yet.  Dad promised them we would be in after breakfast. We got ready, and went down to have some toast and coffee. It was one of those hotel continental breakfasts where they should just say “Stay with us and we”ll give you a doughnut!”  Mom and Dad texted their “fan club” that was waiting with baited breath for news of the baby.  My contractions had pretty much stopped, so it was nice to get a bit of a break, but I was disappointed too.  When we did finally show up at the hospital around 11am they made us wait in the triage waiting room for a while. Finally they put us in the little curtained area.  The grouchy nurse wanted Mom to get up on the bed so she could check her. Dad thought it would be hilarious if he got up on the bed and covered himself with the sheet. I agreed it would be quite funny, I just didn’t think Nurse Grouchy would agree!

The nurse checked Mom and there was no change.  We got in trouble for having removed the Cervadil and were told that we would have to start all over again. I think they were extra upset because they thought Janeya had removed it, and they resent non-medical people interfering in their birth process.  I quickly made sure they knew that WE had done it, and Janeya had nothing to do with it.  I had to go throw up in the bathroom, and was crying because I just wanted to be DONE already.  Or run away from the hospital, ANYTHING to escape another round of Cervadil!  Jerry comforted me, and we decided to go do some walking with Janeya in an attempt to get things going.  But right then the doctor showed up, anxious to put in more Cervadil and hurry off.  Mom asked if she could spend the 2 hours of monitoring in the chair rather than the bed so she was more comfortable.

Once they finally cut Mom loose we stopped by Tim Hortons where Dad messed with the drive-through guy a bit, and headed back to the hotel to eat.  Grandma and Grandpa Siebert stopped by to see how Mom was doing. We settled in and began to watch the Incredibles.  Mom starting having contractions again. She was so tired and didn’t want to go through another night like last night.  At 6pm Mom called in to the hospital. She was supposed to come in at 7:30 for a non-stress test and she decided if she was in a lot of pain to get a shot of morphine then.

However, once we got to the hospital her contractions stopped.  Mom was monitored for 20 minutes and then we walked around for a while.   We decided to go have supper and went and had great Chinese food.  That was a fun memory!  Then we went to Superstore and walked around and found the most hilarious singing creatures that we played with for a while.

Finally we headed back to the hotel, everyone was tired.  The front desk clerk couldn’t believe we were back again with no baby! We stayed and talked to her a bit and then head on to the room and got ready for bed.

     Had a good 6 hours of sleep.  Man, did I ever need that!

Elianna’s Birth Story – Day 1

I imagine some of you are wondering why the period between when you heard “Lois went to the hospital!!” and “Lois FINALLY had her baby!!!” was so long.  So here is Elianna’s birth story, as told by Janeya, our wonderful doula, and with my input here and there in italics.  It is quite long (talk to Elianna if you want to complain — and let me know when you do, because I’d LOVE to join you! lol), so I will post one day of it at a time.

Dear Elianna,

         I am writing to tell you the marathon story of your birth. Your Mother had contacted me about half way through her pregnancy, interested in how I might help her during her labour and birth with you. Your parents were going to have to travel almost 2 hours from home to have you in Grande Prairie, since first time moms weren’t allowed to have their babies at the Valleyview hospital. They travelled into town several different times so we could get to know one another and discuss what Mom and Dad were hoping to have happen during the labour and birth.

         Life was crazy for your parents in the time leading up to your birth.  Mom and Dad were renovating a trailer and moving, they had visitors coming for the holidays, and Mom was still unable to shake the nausea that had plagued her the whole pregnancy.  Then your Dad hurt his knee acting in the Christmas play at church. The doctor thought you might be coming around the middle of December, but we were hoping you would wait till after Christmas before making your appearance.  Well, Christmas came, and then New Years came and went, and still you hadn’t showed up.  After a while the doctor became insistent that you needed to come soon.

         Mom finally conceded to being induced at (41 wks, 5 days) and so they rented a hotel room in Grande Prairie and set up a “home base” there.

         Since the weather was so bad around then, we knew it would take us forever to leave home early Monday morning in time to be at the hospital by 8am.  So we left home Sunday evening, and drove to Grande Prairie while calling various people we knew to see if we could stay at their place overnight.  Finally I called Dycks, and it was fine with them.  We visited a bit, then headed to bed.  As usual, I had a rough night, between being sick and uncomfortable.  However, it was exciting to know that the next day, I would finally meet you!  Or so I thought….

         Betty & Teresa fed us a delicious breakfast before we headed off to the hospital in the morning.  We had high hopes for the day. 

DAY 1 – January 10/11 (that would make a good birthday, I thought!)

Monday morning around 8am Dr Lindsay put in the first dose of Cervadil.  The nurses hooked Mom up to the monitors that recorded your heartbeat.  Jerry & I played card games on the bedside table while we waited, and sometimes I read, and sometimes I just laid there, or we talked.  It was VERY uncomfortable on that table-bed.  Finally the requisite 2 hrs were up and then they went back to the hotel.  Around 1:30pm Mom was a little crampy but doing fine. We spent the afternoon napping (Jerry) and trying to nap (me).  I ended up pulling out my computer instead, and getting on Facebook for distraction.  I chatted with my roommate’s mom, and several others.  Around 3pm, the contractions were coming every 5-10 minutes or so.  I was getting quite tired, so I got off FB and managed to sleep a little in between them.  When I got up, I got in the jacuzzi tub.  I had found a place online to track your contractions, so Jerry set it up and started monitoring them for me.  By 6:30 the contractions were more intense and 2 minutes apart, but only lasting 30 seconds.  I didn’t think I could handle it much longer without help, so Jerry called Janeya (who we had been texting throughout the day to keep her updated) and asked her to meet us at the hospital at 70:30, when we had to go for another non-stress test.    

I got there first which was fine because my favorite nurse was on shift in triage and we were able to chat for a bit.  Mom sent me a text saying it was hard to get ready when you were having to stop every 2 minutes.  Mom and Dad arrived at 8pm. Mom was hooked up to the monitors.  Baby looked good and the contractions were close together but short.  We headed back to the hotel, with me leaving my van at the hospital.

The hotel room was great, with a huge jacuzzi tub.  We joked that Mom should just give birth there in the tub. I headed straight for the bed, and knelt on it, crouched over.  Janeya made a bee-line for me and started putting pressure on my lower back, which felt AMAZING.  Dad went and got us A&W to eat. The contractions continued to get longer and stronger. The A&W food made Mom feel a little ill (what’s new?!) so Dad went to see if he could get Mom some toast.

The lovely woman at the front desk not only let him have toast she told him she’d leave the fridge unlocked so he could get toast when Mom needed it.  Mom complained that you were jumping on her bladder, which she referred to as “your favorite trampoline”. Both your parents were so good at keep a sense of humor throughout the entire time. So many jokes were made that simply wouldn’t translate well to paper.  Jokes about air soft guns, or “being too Mennonite for guns.”  Mom especially was able to stay cheerful all through her labor.

The contractions became almost constant for a while, then spaced back out again a bit but still pretty close at 2 minutes apart.  Mom got into the tub trying to get some relief from the contractions. The pain became very overwhelming for her and because the nurse had said that if they became constant the hospital would probably remove the Cervadil, Mom and Dad decided to remove it themselves around midnight.  About an hour later the contractions had slowed enough that Mom could rest and we all laid down and tried to sleep at about 2am. The hotel personnel had brought in a cot for me to sleep on.  They really were wonderfully accommodating.

I was able to sleep a little, maybe about 3 hours, but was always interrupted by contractions.  Because I was lying down and sleeping, they would catch me off guard and were much more painful.  I would wake Jerry up, he would help me through it, and then we’d try to get back to sleep.  Around 6 I got frustrated with it all and gave up on sleeping.  Lying down made the contractions more painful also.  I wrapped myself in a blanket and tip-toed over to the chair by the window, where I pulled open my computer again.  I got quite a few “WHAT are you doing on Facebook!!?!” reactions from people online, mostly my “eastern people.”  It was rather funny!  The contractions were coming regularly, every 5 minutes, and lasting about a minute.   They had told me to come back to the hospital when the contractions were 5 minutes apart, and lasting a minute, so I was hopeful. But I didn’t want to go back to the hospital just yet. 

To be continued…

Today is a good day

June 3, 11 -- Our world at 7 AM

June 3, 11 -- Our world at 7 AM

Yes, that is what we woke up to this morning.  I didn’t believe Jerry at first, but when I finally dragged myself out of bed and stuffed my glasses on my face, I was horrified to see he was actually telling the truth, not just trying to shock me out of bed.

Seriously?  Snow?  In JUNE?!?!?!  After our much-delayed spring, and we were impatient for summer.  Now that summer is actually here and we are thoroughly enjoying the hot sunny days, this was NOT a welcome view in the morning!

But it got worse.

June 3/11 -- 8 AM

June 3/11 -- 8 AM

I decided that in order to avoid depression, I had to think of something good in this day.

AH!!!!  Maybe, just maybe, if we’re REALLY lucky, this bit of cold weather will kill our monster mosquitoes.  Come to think of it, last night was the first night of uninterrupted by mosquitoes night in a while.  AND uninterrupted by Elianna!  Sweeeeeet!  And then maybe the million little tiny baby grasshoppers I noticed yesterday will be destroyed…yes, maybe this snow could be a good thing??

But then it got worse.

June 3/11 - 8:30 AM

June 3/11 - 8:30 AM

I put my baby girl down to sleep for her nap and decided I may as well make the best of the day.  I’ve been putting off making bread for a week, since it’s been so hot, and putting anything in the oven makes the heat even worse.  But obviously, it is most definitely not going to be a scorcher today!  So I started mixing bread.

And it got worse.

June 3/11 - 9:30 AM

June 3/11 - 9:30 AM

I started thinking that maybe the snow almost looked pretty?

It kept snowing.

June 3/11 -- 10 AM

June 3/11 -- 10 AM

It was at this point I decided that, contrary to my first impressions, I actually like the snow today!

I feel like I’m getting to enjoy the “just before Christmas” days that I did NOT enjoy this past year.

…Time spent in our little home, just enjoying the coziness (we moved on Dec. 18, so there wasn’t much time to enjoy being cozy amidst the packing and pregnancy and renovating and dealing with Jerry’s injured knee)

…a house that smells yummy from baking (I most definitely did not have time for baking, or energy, and most food smells were NOT yummy at that point!),

…huge pretty white flakes (I was too busy trying to unpack before the in-laws arrived 6 days later, and trying not to slip and land on my built-in basketball when I was outside in the snow)

…a non-pregnant body that has energy (HALLELUJAH!!)

…no dashing away from my work to find My Pail

…feeling complete because our little one is asleep in bed, and “we” are “three” now — not the “incomplete two” that we felt as we neared her due date (because really, when one is so sick, and so near the end of pregnancy, you are obviously not “two” anymore and that stage was SO not fun and there wasn’t much enjoying going on)

Mmmm…yes, today is a good day 🙂