We realize that next week, Elli turns 8 months old. Annnnndddd, we’re just now sharing her birth story, and first photos. Could be second child problems. Could be the fact that we resumed weddings 3 weeks after she was born. Could be that life with 2 is pretty crazy. Or it could be that we’ve just been enjoying (surviving) this phase of life, and are just now deciding to share her story! Whichever reason it is, we didn’t want to let a whole year go by before we tell a little bit of Elli’s story. Just like we did with Shiloh! And as a bonus, we’re also sharing our sweet welcome home session, and newborn session, with a little nursery sneak peek!
If you’ve been here awhile, you remember that I had to be induced with Shiloh. (If you missed that story, you can read a little more about our story on this Instagram post) Since I needed to also be on the same medication for my pregnancy with Elli (blood thinner injections, once a day), we scheduled an induction and planned when I’d stop medication.
Elli was born August 23rd, 2021. She came in weighing a whole pound more than her brother, at 6 pounds, 15 ounces! Those chunky cheeks you see in the above photos? Definitely born with them, and they’re still here for anyone wondering 🙂
We checked into Prisma Health Patewood Hospital Sunday evening, August 22nd. This was our second induction, so we knew the drill. We took Shiloh out for dinner at California dreaming, then put him to bed like normal. The grandparents came to spend the night at our house, so Shiloh was none the wiser that anything was happening. (Side note – keeping him on his normal schedule, like school, and in his own bed, made all the difference in our opinion!)
They gave me medication to get things going overnight, but by Monday morning, August 23rd, I hadn’t made as much progress. I was dilated and had some contractions but they were further apart. They started Pitocin to get things going at 9am.
And aside. This was a different hospital, and different OB practice. Each and every birth is different. If I’m honest, I would have preferred to wait on my body to respond to the medication before taking these next steps, but I assumed things would be the same as they were with Shiloh. Not even close.
Anesthesiology came in and placed the epidural at 1pm. I made mention of my last experience with the epidural (only worked on one side, then worked too well and I couldn’t feel contractions, pressure, etc. when Shiloh was born). And my OB waited a bit to come in and break my water at 1:30pm. Spoiler alert, I could feel everything. I let my doctor know, and the nurse started to monitor. Contractions were getting harder and harder to breathe through, and I was still able to feel everything. Not ideal when you’re anticipating a different result! Ryan will tell you I was not doing well at managing it. Over the next 3 hours people came in, checked the lines, the IV, and the anesthesia tech came back in to do the ice test (basically placed cold ice over my stomach, thighs, arms etc. to see if I had the cold sensation. I did.). At that point, he offered to redo the epidural placement (absolutely not, no thank you), but I knew I was close. I declined, he put something else in my IV line to try to help with the pain, but nothing was touching it. 30 minutes later, a new nurse gently comes in to start prepping for baby. I had the peanut ball for all of 1 minute before I yelled this baby was coming right now. I apologize, unnamed nurse, for startling you. I, too, was unprepared! Doctor comes in, nurses prep, and with 20 minutes of pushing, and 4 hours after my water broke, she was here! Arriving at 5:15pm, at 19 inches long and just shy of 7 pounds.
First thing we noticed was her dark, dark hair (the heartburn thing must be true). I remember her wet-sounding cry. Ryan cutting the cord (actually I don’t remember that but he did). And a different kind of shock that we made it through this fast labor, that baby girl was here, and she was ours. She had a few bruises on her head from the fast and furious labor/pushing, but she was perfect. Only she didn’t have a name, yet! You laugh, but it wasn’t until almost noon on Tuesday the 24th that she had a name!
Let’s talk about her name. Ellis Paige. This is what I wrote to Elli in her baby book:
Your name is a symbol of hope, redemption. In Hebrew, your name is derived of Elijah, whose role in the Bible was to restore the Hebrew faith. You, sweet Ellis, have restored a faith and hope for us. Your name represents freedom. A beacon of hope. Hope fulfilled. Dreams come to life. That’s what you are, and you are aptly named. Your dad let me name you. You are the fulfillment of a hope I thought was dead, a dream I thought I’d never see come to life. A fulfillment of a promise, prayer come alive. You are my miracle, baby girl. I love you.
I think of Ellis Island, and what it represents to the world, to those who were lost, broken, and in need of rest. Those who came with promises of hope, filled with dreams, and a vision for the future. That’s what I see when I look at Elli. We are so grateful for God’s good gift!
We let family know via text that she was here that night. And once we had finalized her name the next morning, we sent out our first photo and shared her name and stats. And promptly checked ourselves out of the hospital after our 24 hour stay. We spent that first night at home, just the 3 of us, and had special plans in mind for Shiloh to meet his baby sister.
This might have been my most favorite thing. Due to Covid, we knew Shiloh wasn’t going to be able to come to the hospital. I made a plan with Sabrina Fields (who did Shiloh’s newborn session!) to come to our house and photograph the moment of our 2 babies meeting. I had this amazing scene in my head and it was everything and more. One of the most important moments captured and we are forever grateful to Sabrina for being there for us! Shiloh had gone to school as normal Wednesday morning, and Ryan went to pick him up while Elli and I waited at home. I greeted Shiloh at the door, and we sat down and read his favorite book, Pout Pout Fish. Ryan left to go get Elli, and I told Shiloh we had someone we wanted him to meet. In walks Ryan with Elli in his arms, and as I said, “Shiloh, this is your sister, baby Elli!”, Shiloh reached out his arms to hold her. My heart shattered and grew all in the same moment. Shiloh was born to be a big brother to this sweet little girl. His tender heart, his adoration for her, was apparent from the moment they met.
Elli struggled with jaundice, in part due to the bruising she experienced during birth. After lots of repeat bilirubin tests, she finally passed without needing additional care or a hospital stay. So thankful!
We had Mallori Ma come and photograph our family at home about 1 week after Elli’s arrival, and they are so, so wonderful. Thank you, Mallori, for these precious memories! We’re so grateful to have so many talented photographer friends!
And a little nursery tour at the end! Since we didn’t have Elli’s name picked out until after she was here, her room wasn’t quite finished. If we’re being honest, we’re still missing 1 or 2 last pieces to complete her space, but this is what we have for now! Instead of an overall theme, we went with a feel – we wanted something classic, natural, and something that could grow with Elli. We picked a black and natural color palette, with hints of mauve, and bohemian accents with macrame throughout the space!