Greyson's Birth Story

Sunday, April 29, 2018
Greyson's birth story begins weeks before his birthday. I was having occasional rhythmic contractions beginning around week 34 and probably once a week until he came out. Being a doula, I knew they weren't strong enough to be "the real thing" but that didn't stop me from being concerned when they'd happen, sometimes for as long as 2 hours! Once I made it to 37 weeks my stress over these practice contractions lessened and just viewed it as my new normal. 

I took this belly picture at 38.5 and was prepared to have the baby stay in for another few weeks (honestly!). 

Fast forward a few days, it was a Saturday, and had to go pick up Vivian who had stayed the night at Kevin's parents house the night before. I was up before Kevin watching Call the Midwife and doing a little living room work out of air squats, wall push ups, and bouncing on my birth ball. I didn't start feeling anything until we were on our way to pick up Vivian, it was pretty similar to what i had been feeling the weeks leading up, but these were noticeably more intense. Everything was still very manageable so I expected it to stop just like it always did! I gave my doula Katie a heads up since she was out of town (pretty sure I even sent a "but it'll probably stop soon anyway" text haha). 

My "practice contractions" lasted until around 8pm that night so I took it in stride and went to bed with Vivian around 10/11. Since Kevin was downtown working her and I slept in my bed.

It was a little after 2am when I woke up suddenly flipping out of bed and right into bending forward onto it. I was having a full on contraction and it. was. HARD. 
I begin vocalizing pretty quickly to help cope and move around to try to get comfortable and Vivian woke up pretty soon after that and asked me to put Aladdin on (haha!). She also said "mom, can you be more quiet you're hurting my ears."! I was trying to get on my ball but it just didn't feel good, at this point I was still kind of in denial (CLASSIC "Bria in labor" guys,  I do it every time.) and called Kevin... who didn't answer! So at this point I'm thinking I'll be delivering my own baby in my bedroom with my 4 year old yelling at me to be quiet. 

Kevin calls back shortly after he missed my call and tells me he's on his way home. When he gets home I get into the shower and stay in there until the hot water runs out. While in the shower I'm timing my own contractions while Kevin sat with Vivian (who is still awake at 3am) and calls our doula. Contractions were so uneven and weird. Lasting anywhere from 20 seconds-1 minute and 30 seconds, breaks were also all over the place. Super hard, then not bad, then so intense again. All I'm thinking is "this baby is facing the wrong way" and that this labor was going to be long and hard. 

I finally get out of the shower and call our midwives, I get Laurie on the phone and whimper through tears "I think I'm in labor". She listens to me moan through a big one and suggested I make my way to the birth center.

All the while I'm laying on the living room floor with my butt up in the air and my chest down trying to back the baby out of my pelvis so it could get into a better position, but I couldn't sit still! I knew what I would do as a doula in this moment but as the birthing person I was so far into labor land and so consumed with just getting through the pain, there was no way!. So when people ask me why I didn't just be my own doula.. that's why ;) 

Kevin calls Katie back and my sister in law who was going to be with Vivian at the birth center only to find out she was already on her way (thank God because she lives 45mins away). We were waiting for Katie and I started to get worried about the car ride and potentially not making it so we decided to all meet at the birth center. 

The car ride wasn't the worst like it was with Vivian! I had a sock with double tennis balls on my lower back and I just pushed against the front of the foot bed into them and it was the most "comfortable" I was the entire time. 

We got to the birth center with Vivian and my SIL behind us and Katie pulling up as we parked. Katie had told us she called our photographer, Paige and she was on her way (thank god because I had totally forgotten to call her myself!). I can't remember too much about what happened when we first got there, I just remember feeling so out of control and kind of embarrassed about it. With Vivian I was so calm and meditative the entire time, this time was so different, it HURT this time and was all in my butt. 

I spent sometime on the toilet, got into the tub for awhile, on the bed with my butt up again, and on the birth stool. It was so hard to find something that gave me relief, so I just kept moving. I kept apologizing to my birth team because I felt so bad and that it was taking "so long" haha and one of our midwives reminded me that it hadn't even been an hour since we got there. Sitting on the toilet felt the best so we settled on the birth stool and I started to let him move down. 

My entire body was shaking, my foot was bouncing up and down rapidly (something I normally do when I'm really sick), and I wouldn't let Kevin leave my side. Again, I was in shock at how different this birth was than Vivian's. I was feeling a lot of pain and so much pressure in my back and butt that I was afraid to push into it (maybe feeling like my butt was gonna just fall out? haha!). When I finally got into the groove, I could feel my body pushing the baby out. I was working so hard to just relax my pelvic floor and not just hold my breath and bare down. 


Leaning over during contractions with Kevin holding me up and Katie doing double hip squeeze helped so much. It felt as if they completely held my body together, and all I had to do was soften and breath. Then just focused on waiting for that amazing "ring of fire" knowing that it wouldn't be long after that and I'd be done. Once that hit, the fetal ejection that occurred was so strong I could feel my entire body moving the baby down. 

And he was coming down fast, it took everything I had to not bare down.
Kevin was kneeling in front of me since he was catching the baby, and the midwives around him looking on and checking fetal heart tones. 

Baby's head out. 

I didn't notice everyone talking because I was still in the middle of contractions and breathing him out, but the midwives saw that he had a hand right next to it's face and in order to protect me had to help Kevin side it's arm out. 

Baby born. 

As he slid out I took the most significant inhalation that I'll never forget. While it's on video it wouldn't have to watch it for me to recall the exact sound of my bodies first breath after my second baby was born from it. 

I did it. My baby was here. 
At 6:36am.
4.5 hours of hard labor. 

Kevin raises our baby to my chest and as I stretched my arms to receive him my eyes got drawn to the cord. It looked so thin and delicate. It was then that I saw the gender of our baby for the first time. While not knowing the gender was a huge part of my pregnancy, it didn't occur to me once before that moment to guess or even care really, what our baby was. You would think it would be the first thing out of my mouth, but it wasn't. 

After catching my breath and recovering from the initial shock I told Kevin it was a boy
I couldn't believe it, and said "oh my God it's a boy!" like 3 or 4 times, haha! 
Waiting for the gender was 100% the best choice for us, we would definitely do it again. 

Right after he was born I asked that Vivian be brought it. She was hanging out in the waiting room with my SIL, she had come in at one point when I was in the bath but stayed out there for the most part. She came in very shy (which is very unlike her!), and I don't know if it was because she had such little sleep or all of the commotion (not to mention her mom still sitting on the birth stool with all the stuff that comes with birth out) but when I told her "this is your brother!" she was not impressed haha. She had said it was a boy from the very beginning so maybe it wasn't such a big surprise in her eyes ;) 

My in-laws got there and came in and were greeted with "it's a boy!" and it all just felt like a dream. Vivian hung out while the midwives cleaned me and the room up, and we all just sat there in awe of this new little guy who was ours forever. Vivian kissed his head and sang "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to him in her soft little singing voice. 

The midwives tucked me and Greyson in and our doula went home along with our birth photographer, Paige. My FIL brought us breakfast burritos from Whole Foods and I snacked on yogurt pretzels and chocolate covered almonds, and sipped on coconut water. The midwives came back in to do the newborn exams right on the bed with us, Kevin and Vivian both got the help with it. We were so shocked to find out he weighed 9 pounds 8 ounces! No wonder it felt so intense!!

Once all of the newborn and mama checks were done we packed up and walked out of the room where I had spend many long nights assisting other mothers bring their babies into the world as doula. I remember thinking, "this time I walk out with my own baby".

Overall the birth was definitely challenging and it shocked me with it's difference from Vivian's. But I wouldn't change it for anything. It was exactly how it needed to be. When I find myself doubting my worthiness or abilities I watch the video of Greyson being born and am instantly brought back to that moment of strength. I hear that huge inhale like I had come up for air from the spirit world where I retrieved the soul of my baby and I'm reminded that I can do hard things.

Greyson Christian Sommer
November 19th, 2017
9 pounds 8 ounces
21 inches

Vivian at 4

Monday, June 5, 2017
Slowly getting back into the habit of documenting our lives and I wanted to do a quick update on Vivian! She turned 4(?!) early April and she is so much more of a handful then ever. It's so weird and cool and heartbreaking but amazing to see how shes changed when I look back to her newborn days, even just a year ago she was so different! 

She hasn't been to the pediatrician since her 3 year check up, but shes about 50 pounds and tall for her age. Seeing her around other kids her age and it's clear that she hasn't quite outgrown that "90th percentile" life that she's been in since birth quite yet ;). She love to play with her baby dolls, a basic "Baby Alive" doll (affectionately called open-mouth baby) , and her Bitty Baby (closed-mouth or big baby). She has some of her old clothes and some preemie clothes that we've collected from kid resale places and newborn cloth diapers that are constantly scattered about the house, but she loves to dress an undress them. When they cry she promtly picks them up and hushes them "shhh it's ok sweetie heart". She makes them pillows from dish towels, and makes sure they have plenty milk by nursing them or giving the occasional bottle when she needs the break. 

She also loves any toy set that has about 1 million tiny as heck pieces and play dough that somehow always ends up caked into her pants. 

Since it's summer here in Boise we've been trying to enjoy our backyard before it gets to be too hot to stay outside long. She has a small collection of sprinklers that we run through and she likes to make mud in containers. We got a small planter garden going this year and she likes to help water and see the plants grow (and pull the strawberries before they're ready...). 

She has officially entered the tantrum stage, I'm pretty lucky to say she has never really been one to melt down until right before she turned 4! But the luck ran out and this mama is struggling on managing in a calm manner, and most days I fall short. We're figuring it out together and I'm beginning to learn what shes really asking for/trying to say when she has tough moments, all while giving myself some grace to fail and try again. 

Going outside is still this girls love language and is one sure way to calm and make her happy. We've been going to parks as much as possible and have started to test hikes. We end up carrying her and we're not too upset about that because it gives us a better work out haha!

A big advancement for us has been Vivian sleeping though the night a couple times a week. At 4 years old it might been unfathomable to other parents how we managed to survive, but we knew our child and knew that she needed comfort. We listened to her needs and cherished that fact that she needed us in the middle of the night and our patience paid off when she just randomly started sleeping in her own bed (alone!) all night long. Waking in the morning I have to ask Kevin if she really slept all night "again"?! 

Overall, she's a total dream. She is kind and intuitive to others needs and feelings. She is energetic and wild and so much fun. She makes everyday better and harder, and so much deeper than we could ever imagine!

Seeking Authenticty

Thursday, May 25, 2017

For quite sometime I had been feeling a churning in my soul for something and was having a difficult time figuring out exactly what it was I was wanting.. needing in my life. Anxiety is something I have struggled with my entire life, the earliest I remember experiencing it is 6 years old. Throughout my childhood I struggled to cope with it effectively and it began to effect my life and my relationships. Today, I find that I am so much stronger than I ever thought possible because I had to feel my way through 14 years of some of the most difficult years of my life to have the chance at having the beautiful life and family I have today. 

  The anxiety never left, I simply chose to stop feeding it and start creating a life that I wanted to live. 

The older I get the more I learn about myself and just how much suffering we can create that contributes to our own pain. We are very much the masters of our reality, and the only ones who can create a better life for ourselves and our families. 

This lead me to the idea of authenticity. Authenticity is defined as "original and not false or an imitation", being true to yourself. As the years come and go and I watch myself grow older and my daughter change right before my eyes and I can't help but look back and think of all the times where hustling for my own worthiness, acceptance, and love took priority over doing what I felt was genuinely me. 

I had always believed that I always did the best I could, and I still believe that. But now, I know more and I know better... so I want to be better. I want a deeply authentic life.

I want real connections with real people. I want experiences not things. I want to feel content with everything as it comes and goes, knowing that I am following the compass of my soul and whatever comes will be right and true. 

I want to share this journey in a community where we are all just trying to be our best selves. I want to put something out there that doesn't create a perpetuation of perfection or make someone want to buy their way to someone's approval through an online shopping cart. 

I want to be messy. I want to share my flaws and my fears and give myself grace upon grace despite those things that may make me feel as if in not already completely worthy and lovable as I am. 

There isn't enough time to spend your life any other way, and I am so ready to begin again.

A Little Imagination.

Saturday, August 29, 2015



  I feel an overwhelming sense of happiness when I catch Vivian in the middle of playing pretend and using that little imagination of hers. I recall the hours of time I spent playing outside as an explorer or hunched over my Barbies (hours and hours people, only stopping to use the bathroom and eat). 

I also feel responsible for fostering that imaginative play! Today there are so many digital means that we use (I'm not above putting on Daniel Tiger to buy myself some time to take a shower!) to entertain our children, but it's those hours playing with plastic figurines that I know we'll both remember forever.

Thanks for reminding me how to play sweet girl!

That Time my Heart Melted?!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

This little girl loves her daddy.
And him? I saw that time look in his eyes the very first time he held her..

These two people are my world.

There really isn't anything more to say.

Getting into the Summer Swing.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

It feels like summer is already going by too fast so we've been making the effort to really get outside and soak it all in. Vivian and I spend most of the time outside in the back yard running through sprinklers (she counts "shree, shree, shree….. GO!") then laying on a quilt until we're dry and warm only to have her grab my hand and say "again!". 
We eat entire watermelon or pineapples in a day, and find all kinds of new and odd combinations to put into smoothies which end up being put in popsicle molds. 
We water the garden and the grass (let not forget mommy)!
Then when we've had enough and little girl decides it's time we go inside to nurse and fall asleep for a much needed nap.

Sometimes when we're laying on the quilt still wet from the sprinkler I'll look over and see Vivian looking at me and we'll whisper a little back and forth. I'll take note of her squishy cheeks with little drops of water on them and the cute way her eyes squint when she turns to the sun. A part of me wishes I had my camera in those moments and aches at the thought of this moment fleeing, but the other (more present..) part of me stays still and just takes it in. It's these moments that I know I'll remember most vividly when I'm old and gray, maybe looking at my baby holding her baby.  

So yay for summers (HOT summers.. it's supposed to be around 110 later this week…) and all of the sweet baby faces you can get!

Vivian at 2

Thursday, May 21, 2015
While I haven't blogged here in a while, 
I wanted to write a short post about Vivian being two.

Vivian turned two last month and it was like a switch turned and all of a sudden she was a toddler.

For example..
She's started talking a lot, we can have short conversations most of the time.
She has pretty epic melt downs and everyday I think "this is it.. what everyone warns you about..",
wrong. It gets worse. 
She is getting sneaky and is figuring out how to work the system (think fake crying and opening one eye to see if your looking/reacting).

…and yet she is getting even sweeter than I ever thought possible.
I'll bump into her while walking and she says "sahee".
She will kiss each scrape and bruise and after tell you that it's "ahhl bet"
Her smile…?!! The cheesiest little grin in the world, and it's uniquely her.
After nursing in the middle of the night I'll roll away from her and she moves in closer to spoon me, my mama heart has secretly come to need that in order to sleep.. sometimes I eagerly await her "maaaaa" cry in the middle of the night so I can sleep until morning with her.

She is exhausting, exhilarating, charming, challenging…
& lovely in every single way.

Vivian Alexandra Sommer,
 I can not believe that you are ours forever.
My life changed in so many ways the day you were born.
You saved me.
I will spend the rest of my life showing you just how grateful I am for that.

Love you always,

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