birth

Our Labor Letters To Ramsey

Labor was just the beginning and here are our letters we wrote for ours.

 

Brittany Elizabeth,

God is bigger than your labor.

I don’t say that to make your labor less than it is; not even close. But what we might usually say, things like “God uses suffering to make us more like Himself,” or even that “Jesus suffered, too,” may not actually bring comfort. They are true, certainly, but they do not take away what you are enduring.

When I say that God is bigger than your labor, I mean that His purposes in it are far greater than you can possibly ever begin to fathom. He has, in His infinite wisdom, chosen you from before the foundation of the world to bear Ramsey into it. You. Not someone else. We aren’t going to be meeting Ramsey on the street someday with a completely different set of parents. No. You are his mother. You are the women chosen to endure this labor, to have carried him for ten months, to be the first to hold him close, all for God’s glorious purposes.

What those are, I can’t say. I can only hope, and pray, that His purposes are to redeem our Ramsey, to save his soul and draw Ramsey to Himself, that we might call him our brother. No matter what, however, the God of the universe has intervened in time to use you in bringing Ramsey into the world.

What an absolutely marvelous privilege.

Not only that, sweetheart, but He has taken something cursed by sin, childbirth itself, and redeemed it. Every second of your labor aids in Ramsey’s birth, aids in his development, aids in bonding the two of you closer together. These are the thoughts that should spur you forward, that with every contraction, every push, every bead of sweat or sharp pain, you are faithfully obeying the Lord as He has called you, and even in this moment taking such wonderful care of your son. For that, I am grateful to you beyond measure.

What a gift it is to have gotten to walk alongside you in this. We’re still pups, barely scraping our 30s. and I know that we will look back on Ramsey’s birth as such a pivotal, defining moment in our marriage and in our family. From here, we begin to take faithful steps forward in what God is doing in our lives. If you had asked me when we got married what it all would have come together like, I never would have been able to imagine this.

God is bigger than your labor, He is bigger than our marriage, than our family, than all things. And for that we can rejoice, to know that in enduring through this momentary pain an eternal glory beyond comparison awaits, where with perfected hearts we can see clearly what God was and is and always will be doing.

I am so proud of you. I love you.

You’re my hero, Brittany.

_________________________

Ramsey Sinclair,

It’s here.

 

The moment you’re Daddy and I have spent 9 months dreaming, learning, and preparing for is right now. Soon, (very soon!) every memory, joy, and challenge that has led us to being your parents will be surpassed exponentially by the gaze of your sweet face. The wonder and utter astonishment you have provided your Daddy and I is hard to express in words. It’s strange to believe that for almost a year of my life I have gotten to spend my days having known yours by only one way and here very soon all that will change as your Daddy and I will get to experience the rich culmination of your arrival as it’s made complete to us by sight. That what started with you being known solely inside of me will end with you being known even more intimately by us both

You are our touchable expression of understanding our Savior’s gospel in ways we couldn’t have known by any other means before. What a privilege it is to be chosen to labor for you, Ramsey Sinclair. It’s an intimacy our God has chosen specifically only my heart to know and if there is one thought I want to remember right now in this moment it’s that: just as I was designed to carry you, I have been uniquely designed just as much to bring you here and it’s worth it. You are worth every tear shed, every intense pain my body undergoes, and every prayer cried out to our Lord because the the joy of your coming far outweighs it all.

We cannot wait you to be here. You’re Daddy has been so diligent in prayer and his care to us. He would even wake up early each morning to make us breakfast and would spend his evenings reading books preparing his heart for being your father. He is so attentive to us and has loved us well through this pregnancy. In fact, he so lovingly is probably reading this to me now, rubbing my back, and telling me how great of a job I have been doing. He is the best encourager that way and if there is one thing I want you to know about him it’s that with him leading and protecting us, we are safe and led strong under his care. There will not be a thing to big he will not lay down his life for to uphold his call as husband and father to us and there will be no emotion you feel he will ever be to busy to hear and hold in the highest esteem to care for. And soon…I will get to see you held by him.

Thank you for changing our world’s entirely. Every bit of it is worth it getting to become your Mama. We’ll be seeing you soon, my little love.

-Mama

photography by The Montoya Collective

birth

Ramsey Sinclair Birth Story: Part I of III

I look back on our sweet little man’s birth often now with the fondest of memories. It did not go at all how we planned, but I love it all the more for that. A little context to our story: Hans and I went through Bradley Classes (husband-coached labor) and set out for an all-natural (pain-med free) labor and delivery.

With that in mind, here is the story of how our incredible son was born…

©Keely Montoya | www.keely-yount.com

The morning I went into labor, I actually had no clue that’s what was actually happening in my body. It was February 10, at 7:45am, after Hans left for work that I experienced what I now know to have been my first contraction. Braxton-Hick’s contractions were rare for me to feel in my pregnancy and at all my doctor’s appointments I wasn’t showing any signs of progression or dilation to think labor would be coming soon. In disbelief, I still went to work.

Upon arriving, I was still feeling the tight pains, but somehow I was managing to convince myself that maybe these were the “practice contractions” I had heard about. I continued to labor at work, making frequent trips to the bathroom. Then, a doozy hit: a pain where I couldn’t catch my breath and had to call Hans to coach me through. It was at this point I started to seriously consider that this might be the real thing! After letting others in the office know, I was encouraged to head home and labor there even if it might be false. I told Hans and he had my Mom, who works nearby, come and pick me up to meet us at our house.  I updated my sister at her work with what was happening. They all would serve as support for Hans in my labor.ramsey-27

My contractions were VERY unpredictable. I would go from some lasting a minute to others that would peak (or double peak) and last 5 minutes long. At this point, the frequency of my contractions were just as unpredictable. I would go from experiencing what I described to be “two mini ones back-to-back” to experiencing longer ones that would come and go every hour, or sometimes less. This had us all very confused and still uncertain that it was actual labor, but we all decided to prepare ourselves now just in case. So while I took a quick shower they were all tying up loose ends around the house. Hans called the hospital to describe my symptoms from earlier and while waiting to hear back, I was able to eat a quick meal. Then, another big contraction came. Hans decided it was best to go to straight to the hospital because of the unpredictable nature of my contractions, and it was a good thing we did, because while on the way the nurse called back and told us to go straight to labor and delivery. This was around 5pm.©Keely Montoya | www.keely-yount.com

The labor floor was full upon our arrival, so I actually had to labor on our birth ball we brought from home in the waiting area while a room was being cleaned. At this point my contractions were becoming very frequent and getting more intense by the minute. The nurse came and checked me out and said I was almost 100% effaced and dilated already to a 3. We decided to stay at the hospital and I was admitted. I was started on a penicillin drip after finding out that I tested positive for Strep-B and would have to continue every 4 hours until our son was born. Our nurse inquired more about our pregnancy and was stunned to hear that I had not been progressing at all before today, and told us that with the way my contractions were progressing and looking we could have a baby before midnight that night. At this point it was 7pm.©Keely Montoya | www.keely-yount.com

We were all so excited, and in utter shock. Every emotion began to set in, and the reality that the time to meet our son might be very soon was just too much to handle.

©Keely Montoya | www.keely-yount.com

But little did we know what we actually had ahead of us…

Related Links:
Ramsey Sinclair’s Birth Story: Part II of III
Ramsey Sinclair’s Birth Story: Part III of III
photography by The Montoya Collective
birth

Ramsey Sinclair’s Birth Story: Part II of III

My labor for Ramsey lasted a total of 37 hours. Basically, it could be broken down into 3 separate labors: that was the amount of times my body would have to dilate back up to a 10.ramsey-22

The first labor lasted about 21 hours and went exactly how we had learned labor would go from all our classes.  My contractions were frequent and continuing to double peak and everything was running smoothly. Then 3am hit and another check from the nurse showed after all that time, I barely had progressed from when I was first admitted. This would be 8 hours later. They kept rechecking because it was hard to get a good read on my cervix, but sure enough there wasn’t any advancement.

©Keely Montoya | www.keely-yount.comFeeling deflated, the Lord would simultaneously use this as one of the most defining moments in my entire labor. I remember turning to Hans and starting to process my defeat out loud through tears and sharing how “I know we said this, but I’m not progressing…” or “I’m not as strong as you think I am” and begging for an epidural. Instead of feeding into the fear and defeat he just listened and looked at me (with us both starting to tear up) and asked everyone if we could take a moment to ourselves and pray.

©Keely Montoya | www.keely-yount.comThis is when I broke down even more. Hans just quieted my mind and held my hand. He told me how much he was proud of me and that he would continue to be no matter the decision that was made. Getting a moment to breathe, we sought the Lord. After praying, I told him it was time to read the letters we were encouraged to write by our birth instructor for when this moment would come. (Mine was written to Ramsey and Hans’ letter was written to me.) The life being spoken over me and my son through those letters were just what I needed to focus with a renewed sense of purpose amidst the chaos. And with them, I looked at Hans and told him I am going to do this, without the epidural.

©Keely Montoya | www.keely-yount.com2 hours later, I very suddenly became dilated to a 10 and began to push. My water broke while pushing and with that my body also regressed back down to a 6-7, which can happen to some women because the bag of waters can give a false reading making the cervix appear more open than it is.

The news surprisingly didn’t leave me discouraged, but rather I remember feeling a determination come over me like never before. Our letters were being repeated in my head over and over, and I was ready to do anything to see our little guy get here swiftly and safely.

ramsey-92The second labor lasted 9 hours. As I began laboring, I remember my mother timing all my contractions, Hans having to contort his body just right, hovering over the hospital bed rails to comfort me, and my sister consistently providing all the encouraging words to help me mentally focus on how the pain was “temporary” and that “I can do this. Just get through this one.” The combination of them ALL was so vital. At this point, moving around wasn’t an option anymore for me because of the intensity of the contractions, so I labored on the bed for the entire 9 hours sitting upright. I forgot at what point during that period that it happened, but I suddenly became very nauseous and began throwing up several times and the labor shakes started to set in.

©Keely Montoya | www.keely-yount.com

Oddly enough, with all the set-backs my body was having to undergo, I would frequently just have to quiet my mind and remember the Lord and what He went through so I could call Him Father, and how this was my example of sacrifice for Ramsey to be called his Mother, a thought to carry me through parenthood. And as Hans and I would say to each other with each new obstacle-“it’s all going to be so worth it.”

©Keely Montoya | www.keely-yount.com

When it came time for pushing the second time and everything was getting prepared once again, I was in a mixture of disbelief and wonderment that we actually made it and had the “natural, pain-med free” labor we were hoping for. Hans and I took in a moment to relish that as everything was getting prepared. After 27 hours, we were about to meet our son for the first time.  Through tears from us both, Hans started to whisper in my ear all the wonderful things we will soon get to do with our boy and how this all HAS been so worth it. Then I began to push; after pushing for a while, the nurse checked me again and noticed a lip on my cervix that had became swollen (ironically enough from all the pushing), so where I was once a 10 I regressed back down again to a 6-7.

ramsey birth photoI couldn’t believe it and remember having the thought that I had no time to feel defeated, but rather to gear up again because I was bound and determined to bring Ramsey into this world naturally, but where man plans his ways…the Lord establishes his steps. After laboring a bit longer I was checked again and showed no progress and our doctor, with concern, came to talk to us about what our options were moving forward. That either I could tough it out some more and see if with more time I would progress and my cervix would soften or receive an epidural to essentially force my body to relax by being numb and get some rest, or I would need a C-section.

©Keely Montoya | www.keely-yount.comHans cleared the room again and took another moment to pray and discuss what would be best for getting Ramsey here. Weighing all the options and knowing how close and intense my contractions were (they couldn’t be measured because they were going off the chart with maybe a 20-30 sec. break in between), it was clear to us that my body wasn’t being given much time to relax in order to open like we hoped, and we were open to an epidural, but first wanted to try changing positions to see if it would help. After a few more contractions we decided an epidural was the best route to go for us. It was another 3 hours that would go by before I was able to receive it, however, making it a total of 30 hours of a natural, pain-med free labor.

ramsey-120

©Keely Montoya | www.keely-yount.com

One of the hardest parts of my entire labor was baring those contractions all while having to hold perfectly still so the epidural could be administered and the fact I couldn’t have Hans nearby to hold his hand made it all the more difficult. He would tell you that those were some of the hardest parts for him, seeing me in such excruciating pain and he could only watch. Once the medicine was finally administered, I was checked once more by the nurse and showed I still had not progressed from a 6-7. Leaving me to rest, we were all praying the epidural was hopefully going to remedy the situation.

©Keely Montoya | www.keely-yount.com

At this point, we were all just waiting to see…

Related Links:
Ramsey Sinclair Birth Story: Part I of III
Ramsey Sinclair’s Birth Story: Part III of III
Our Labor Letters To Ramsey
photography by The Montoya Collective
birth

Ramsey Sinclair’s Birth Story: Part III of III

ramsey-95The last labor was 7 hours long. I was able to nap for a couple hours, much to the relief of my family. I remember while falling asleep seeing my sister comforted by Hans as tears were streaming down her eyes, and feeling as if everyone in the room simultaneously took a giant breath to see that after so long of fighting I was given the gift of rest. They are all so strong to have endured alongside me with such grace, gentleness, and encouragement. It wasn’t easy for them, by any means, in their own labor they would walk alongside me. I am forever grateful to them.

ramsey-99

Upon waking up, I was checked again and told I was dilated to a 10. My cervix had softened, and the lip that was once there wouldn’t be an issue anymore and it was time to push.

ramsey-167The sun was setting, ending the day of February 11th, 2016, but inside the four walls of our hospital room we were all preparing for a new beginning. One that would change the rest of our lives in all the best ways it needed to be from here on out.

While everything was getting prepared once more, Hans took me close and read Colossians 1: 9-14. (I love how he never ceases to seize a moment.) Then afterwards, I had him re-read our letters he had read to me before at the beginning of our labor. There was something about getting to slow down and see those words through an entirely knew context now that we were at the end. They meant more. More than if our labor had gone as planned. Even though the mind-set we wrote them in originally had a completely different outcome. The truths written down were just as true and needed.

ramsey-164

With a full heart and great anticipation, it was go time. We were about to meet our Ramsey Sinclair Saunders and hold him. He would be ours and we would be a family of three for the rest of our lives…

ramsey-204

ramsey-184The moment our son was placed on my chest is an image that will stick with me for the rest of my life. After waiting so long, and going through all the highs and lows of our labor, what I dreamed about was becoming a reality right before me and I didn’t know how to handle it. I remember my first words out loud being “you were so worth it” while looking straight at Ramsey’s eyes because it was. He was worth every twist, every turn, every contraction, every prayer cried out to our Lord, and every hardship we endured because he was HERE! I could actually look at him and touch him and I was overcome. The goodness of our Heavenly Father was too much in this being an actual reality He’d given me that I flat out ugly cried (in a room packed full of about 15 people.)©Keely Montoya | www.keely-yount.com

My son is such a fighter and so brave. Upon coming out to meet the world we found out that he had his umbilical chord wrapped around his tiny, perfect neck the Whole. Entire. Time. For 37 hours, he endured with his Mama and so strongly came out with such a sweet gentleness and calm that everyone in the room took note of it to mention. Our little man didn’t even let out a cry at first, but just lifted his tiny head off my chest to look straight up at Hans and I with an expression of curiosity (a face that is still one of our favorites today) as if he was finally getting to meet the voices he has learned and known for 10 months in my womb.

ramsey-198

After my delivery, I unexpectedly began to bleed heavier than normal that had the doctor quite concerned and they started me on a Pitocin drip right away. Hans was able to do skin-to-skin with Ramsey in the meantime while the doctors were tending to me.

ramsey-247I love his Daddy and the way he wasted no time in sharing the goodness of our Father in the gospel with our little guy and after they shared in what would be Ramsey’s first prayer…for Mama. By the Lord’s grace, plus modern medicine, I was able to recover and no transfusion was needed.

And for the rest of the night we simply got to be our new family of now three.

ramsey-221

ramsey-249

ramsey-236

ramsey-226

Related Links:
Ramsey Sinclair Birth Story: Part I of III
Ramsey Sinclair’s Birth Story: Part II of III
photography by The Montoya Collective