Nine years ago today I shared this photo. If you know our story, then you know how much Kevin and I HATED each other here. Yet every time I see this photo I smile.
I smile because it reminds me why I married the man I hated.
Kevin and I were not together when Laynie was born. In fact, we broke up not long after I found out I was pregnant. Kevin chose to date someone else for the remainder of my pregnancy; and I was beyond bitter about it. When I knew that Laynie was about to arrive, I did not notify him. After Laynie was born I had my sister send him a text that said, “Laynie is here and you can come to the hospital… with family only.”
Once he was there, I asked him to take this picture for one reason only. I felt like Laynie deserved one photo of her birth with both parents. We had all been busy taking our individual photos; trying to be cordial even though things were totally awkward. I swallowed my pride and asked him to “do this one for Laynie.” I really thought this would be our little girl’s ONLY family photo…. But God….rich in mercy had other plans.
If you watch the video below, you’ll see why I married the man I hated.
Forgiveness IS possible.
God’s grace IS sufficient.
Since this video, we’ve added another biological child, Nya, to our family.
If you had told me 9 years ago, that Kevin and I would eventually reconcile, I would have laughed in your face. Our one family photo, eventually turned into more than I can count.
I never could have imagined that God would redeem things this way; but that is the beautiful thing about God. We see impossible circumstances as the end. But God sees them as the beginning of the new story Heis writing.
If you would have told me that Nya would arrive on her due date, June 9th, I would have told you that you’re crazy. Jolicoeur babies never come early or on time. I blame their father for this. My mother in law went TWO WEEKS past her due date with Kevin. This explains why he never feels the need to be on time… but that’s a different blog for a different day. 😉
Baby Jolicoeur #4 was different.
I had steady contractions most of the day on Friday, June 8th. However, they didn’t follow the 4-1-1 rule, so I didn’t call my midwife. I told my husband that the baby could come that weekend, but I wasn’t getting my hopes up. Go figure, I woke up around 2:30 am on Saturday with intense contractions. They were 10 minutes apart, lasting for a minute each time. So I updated Kevin, and decided to try to go back to sleep.
I woke Kevin at 4:30 am since my contractions were about 5 minutes apart. I called my doula and my midwife because I could no longer labor quietly. (We currently live in a two bedroom apartment and I didn’t want to wake the kids. Especially Josiah since his bed has to be in our room.)
My mom and sister-in-law arrived at our apartment around 5 am. My SIL stayed with the boys and my mom came with Kevin, Laynie and I to the Dallas Birth Center.
We got there around 5:30 am. By the time I climbed their stairs to the birth room, I was ready to get into the birth tub. And my team was ready too.
The birth tub helped the labor pains tremendously. Unfortunately, I had back labor because Nya was “sunny-side up.” Kevin spent the next four hours providing counter pressure on my low back with every contraction. He got one bathroom break and I thought I was going to die through that contraction.
My sweet Laynie was such a source of encouragement. She handled the playlist for me, sang to me, and told me repeatedly, “Mom, you’re beautiful, strong and you can do this.” She brought me water to drink and Lara bars to eat.
After being in the tub for a quite a while, my midwife checked me and I was dilated to 8 cm, but my water had not broken. On top of that, the baby was still extremely high. I asked her what I could do to help speed things along and she told me what I already knew… I needed to get out of the tub and and let gravity help things along.
Once I got out of the tub, I made the decision to allow my midwife to break my water since our baby was still high up. After that happened, things picked up. My midwife told me that she thought it would be best for me to lay on my back so she could help turn the baby. If you’ve ever had back labor then you know that being on your back is the LAST position you want to assume. It was BEYOND painful because Kevin could not apply counter pressure for me.
However, as my midwife did her thing, the pain in my back went away. It shifted from my back to my….well, you know. After pushing for close to 30 minutes, my midwife placed a precious, gooey baby on top of me. She covered the baby with a blanket, and I was so relieved that labor was over that I forgot to ask about the gender.
After about a minute, my mom finally asked, “What did we get?” To which my grinning midwife replied, “I don’t know, who wants to look??” Laynie didn’t want to look, so my husband did. When he announced that it was a girl, the midwife snapped this shot of Laynie…
She was SO excited that she cried. She’s wanted a sister for so long. “The Lord answered my prayer!” is what she told me later that day. Waiting to find out the gender was SO worth it.
Nya Renee Jolicoeur was 20 inches long and weighed 7 lbs 12 oz (my biggest baby yet!). We got the name Nya from my college roommate; it means purpose and bright. And my sister’s middle name is Renee; and it means reborn.
And as crazy as it sounds, we made a last minute decision to encapsulate the placenta. It has made a HUGE difference in my postpartum recovery. I highly recommend it.
Nya is my fourth child, but my first to be born through natural childbirth, with no medication. I had Laynie vaginally with an epidural. Gideon was an emergency c-section. And Josiah was supposed to be a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), but ended up being a repeat c-section because my OBGYN was out of town. And, unfortunately, I didn’t have the support to fight for it. This is why Kristine Tawater (my midwife) means so much to me. No OB wanted to take a VBA2C case without their own rules about how I could give birth.
Kristine gave me the freedom to birth how I wanted. <3 And the result was an amazing experience, delayed cord clamping, immediate skin-to-skin, more people around me for support, going home that same day, and a faster postpartum recovery.
I’m so thankful for the support of Kristine, Keisha and Michelle. Their knowledge and guidance through this process was invaluable. I could NOT have done this without them. (If anyone is looking for a midwife, Kristine Tawater at the Dallas Birth Center is AMAZING!)
I’m also thankful for my husband who was present from start to finish. He never left my side…or my back. 😉 And my daughter, mom, sister and friend Linzy who were so important for moral support. They believed in me and prayed over me when I thought I couldn’t go on.
Nya Renee, you were worth all the pain, fears & tears. I wouldn’t change a thing about your birth. (Well, except for the back labor… I would have changed that.)
I’m also happy to share with the world, that we got Nya’s blood work back. She does NOT have PBD!! We are so thankful for another healthy baby.