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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query elsie's birth story. Sort by date Show all posts

Elsie's birth story

You know how they say every pregnancy is different?

They're right.

And you know how they say every labor and delivery is different?

They were right again.

I cannot get over how right they were. My stories with Ivar and Elsie are so different, you would wonder how we come to the same end result: a baby. But somehow, each birth story ends with a tiny bundle with whom I am wondrously in love. This tiny little Elsie, all snuggled up in a ball on my chest after every feeding, has grown my heart bigger. Amazing how there is always room for more and more love.

My birth story with her begins on Wednesday. I felt like things were beginning...I had some back pain, some moments where my belly tightened. But nothing notable until the middle of the night on Wednesday. Then the contractions were worth timing. They weren't unbearable, but they were in my back and it wasn't any fun either. Spaced about 10 minutes apart, I kept thinking of all the stories I have heard of baby #2 just "shooting out of me" and since we were three days overdue, I decided to call my mom so she was here with Ivar if things progressed quickly.

She arrived at 4:30am and by the time she walked in the door I was packed and ready. Except my contractions had stopped. So we all slept until 6:30 when Ivar decided it was time to start the day. He was noisy and agitated. He never wakes up that early and was crabby about everything. At one point I heard him say "mama's phone" and this is only noteworthy because it would be four days before I finally found where he had hidden "mama's phone." An unfortunate time to lose your phone and phone numbers...just before having a baby.

My blessed mother took Ivar home with her at 8:00 so that Rory and I could sleep. We slept until 10 and woke up new creations.

We went to my scheduled OB appointment together. I was sitting in the lab as they took my blood pressure and was telling my nurse that I had been changing my underwear hourly since about 4:00 the day before. I laughed and made a comment about how bodily pregnancy is and how strange some of the symptoms can be, bodily, like peeing your pants slowly. But the nurse didn't really laugh, and soon all of the other lab techs had turned their heads to look at me. They kept their eyes on me as my nurse said, "that's probably amniotic fluid. Your water may have broken."

Big Difference #1:
Now if you remember, my water breaking with Ivar was quite dramatic. I liken that moment to a fire hydrant being drained on a hot summer day. It was an unmistakable moment during my labor with Ivar in which I cycled through every pair of pajama pants and ended up sitting on a black yard bag all the way to the hospital. But this was so slow. Nothing like I expected.

The doctor did two tests and told us she was sending us straight to the hospital. It was such a surprise. I was having no contractions. I was feeling great. We had already planned on having Taco Bell for lunch. But now I was going to have a baby instead. We ran home, grabbed the suitcase, told our neighbors we were about to have the baby, and drove to the hospital.

They took me to a room right away. My nurses were waiting in there for me. I went to the bathroom to put on my hospital gown and made a joke about having closed the door...I knew we were about to all get to know each other beyond the need for privacy.

They hooked me up to pitocin and told me I could have my epidural whenever I wanted. I was dilated three centimeters and I was going to have this baby quickly so I didn't have to wait any longer to have the epidural.

It felt like cheating. I didn't feel like I had earned it yet. But I took it.

Big Difference #2:
After my epidural with Ivar I have often commented that my epidural was the best moment of my life, followed six hours later by the birth of my first born son. And I'm sort of exaggerating when I say that and sort of completely serious. My epidural with Ivar was along the lines of euphoric.

But this time it was a little different. I got the shot and immediately felt nauseous. Started throwing up pretty soon after and threw up even through the pushing. I lay back and I could feel the epidural moving up my body...my chest felt tight and then my tongue felt fat. I told the nurse and she had me sit up immediately so gravity could help the epidural back down. I couldn't move my toes and when it was time to push I had no idea where I was supposed to push.

I remember with Ivar's epidural I still could feel the contractions a tiny bit and knew exactly where to direct my pushing. But this time I just tensed my body as hard as I could, bearing down and hoping that what I was doing was sort of in the right spot.

It also made my skin itch. I was so itchy.

It wasn't as awesome as Ivar's, but I still plan on having an epidural with my future babies. I know I was having some strong contractions, but I didn't have to feel them. So I'm still a fan.

My labor progressed slowly. Rory went to get subway and came back with a Real Simple magazine for me. We watched HGTV and Rory read parts of the paper to me. It was very low key. We were just waiting for the nurse to tell us we were progressing.

After seven hours it was discovered that I had a second bag of water. They called it a fore bag, and I have no idea what that means other than the baby was pushing hard to get into position, but this second bag was slowing things down. My nurse broke that bag and told me we would have a baby very soon.

Our doctor appeared with her purse on her shoulder, made a comment about the traffic on 62, set her purse and bags down, and told me we were ready to have a baby.

Big Difference #3:
I pushed for ten minutes. TEN MINUTES! I pushed for two hours with Ivar. But this baby was ready.

Rory had told the doctor that he did not want to make the gender call. It felt like too much pressure. So it was the doctor who announced, "it's a girl!" And I was overcome with happiness.

I cried the ugly cry. Couldn't believe my ears. I had done a pretty decent job to convince myself it would be a boy, mostly because I knew I really wanted a little girl. And I was nervous about feeling something less than joy when the baby came. But when she said it was a girl, I could hardly believe it. The past nine months I have bought a few items for a little girl...hoping. And then she was laying on my chest.

Elsie was beautiful. She looked so much like Ivar to me, just after he was born. I was taken by her fingers...they are so long with beautiful nails. She kept them by her face and snuggled in a little ball on my chest.

The ending of this birth story is the same as Ivar's. Our hearts were overflowing, we were instantly in love. Elsie is wonderful. She sleeps a lot, eats a lot and fills her diapers like a champ.

We're gonna keep her.

still waiting...the beginning of a birth story

I was having some symptoms over the weekend so that when I called my doctor on Monday morning, her nurse wanted me to go to the Birthing Center immediately. We called Grandma and got the kids situated. Then Rory and I packed our suitcases and drove to the hospital.

They put me in a hospital gown, hooked me up to a monitor to hear the baby's heartbeat, took all my vitals and I got right to work looking through the cafeteria menu. This is always a highlight for me when giving birth. After the baby comes I eat off the breakfast menu for every meal until we go home: omelets, oatmeal, hash browns, bacon, sausage, orange juice and french toast. Over and over and over. I've been looking forward to this part of giving birth ever since getting pregnant again. I wanted to call in my order for oatmeal, but Rory insisted that we wait and make sure we're actually staying before calling room service.
So they checked to see if I was leaking amniotic fluid. The test took a half an hour and I just kept feeling these swells of excitement to meet this baby. It was the exact enthusiasm I felt as a little girl looking forward to my birthday or to Christmas. I just was so, so excited. I knew that if it was amniotic, they would want to get things going immediately and I would be meeting this baby within hours.

You might remember in Elsie's birth story that I went to my 40 week appointment and told them, "Pregnancy is so weird. I just keep slowly peeing my pants..." And they rushed me to the hospital after testing that my water had actually broken.

So here I was, same boat, different kid. The nurse finally came back and said, "well, it's not amniotic fluid. you can go home."

And I laughed so hard, "oh my word. does this mean the baby is just on my bladder?" And she nodded.

I got dressed and Rory and I took what he later called The Walk of Shame. Four nurses all popped their heads over their computers to see the woman here to deliver her 5th baby, who came in because she'd just peed her pants. Oh dear.

Not coincidentally, we now both had a hankerin' for a big breakfast. We drove around for nearly an hour, every single diner closed once we got there, or had stopped serving breakfast. Finally we ended up at Perkins and I decided that I will now switch from Whole 30 to a new eating program called Whole Waiting, where I can make any food choice I want while waiting for baby. So we shared a mammoth muffin to begin our meal of omelets and eggs benedict and hash browns, and split the pancakes. All of it was so good.
Then we went home to nap for an hour so I could sleep off all that gluten.

We went to our doctor appointment later that afternoon, and she said we could induce Sunday night if things didn't begin before then. Rory and I left and went to walk around a nearby nature center for a few hours. It was a dreamy afternoon and full of really great conversation. Then we went to the grocery store to defeatedly stock up on meals for the week. My folks were ready to bring our kids back, but I asked if they could stay until after dinner. I just needed the whole day off. And I wanted my house to stay tidy for just another hour or two.

And now today we spent the day in a haze. All the excitement of yesterday wore off. I slept a lot. Hattie and I ran errands for a while and ended up at Culver's sharing another scoopie of peanut butter cup custard. I swung by my good friend Allyson's house who loaded me up with home cooked meals including a loaf of bluberry lemon bread.

Tonight Rory took the recycling bag out and told me he had it lifted over the chicken fence before he realized he was about to dump it into the chicken yard instead of the recycling bin. And that sort of sums us up right now.

What is strange is that we have been here before. We absolutely should be used to this and know how to handle these extra days. But it seems it doesn't work that way.

Birth and Death...it always amazes me how we truly have no control over the timing of both. There is a good kind of surrender that simply has to happen, knowing and trusting that God holds all time in his hands. And I trust him.

I just may eat a lot of ice cream and blueberry lemon loaf in the meantime...

family of four

We just got a CD of pictures from Marlene and Madison's 50th wedding anniversary party. I have to go through them first, but I can't wait to share them! It was such a fun night. This picture above is from that evening and I love this little capture of our family, my belly, and this little slice in time before we add another. 

My technical due date has always been the 27th. But when the ultrasound tech said the 23rd, I grabbed hold of that date because it was our anniversary and I liked the sound of that...a baby on our 10-year. I also liked it because it was sooner, and every pregnant woman ever will pick the sooner due date versus the later. But that 27th date was the more accurate, the one my midwives have stuck to, and so the 27th it is. I'm not even overdue yet. I could easily still be pregnant on Monday. 

I told Rory I am fine waiting. I actually am really enjoying these days. The kids and I are having some sweet time together and I'm trying to love on them as much as possible. I'm fine waiting. It's the doing that's bothering me. I wish I didn't have to do anything! Like walk up the stairs to help the kids work through a sharing issue. Or unload the dishwasher. Or make any meals for anyone. 

But it turns out, that's my gig, and a girl can't just sit around and blog all day (though you'll notice I've been quite wordy lately! I have a feeling that will come to a screeching halt here when there is a baby in my hands instead of a laptop.)

Last weekend I told Rory, "If this baby is still inside of me next Saturday, let's take the family to the Renaissance Festival. It's supposed to be a gorgeous day." Rory looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "Gross. I cannot think of a more unsanitary place for you to be if your water were to break." And that's said by a guy who loves the Renaissance Festival, used to work there, had his bachelor party there and has been telling Ivar all about knights and armor and castles all summer getting him ready for their father-son outing. But I am definitely not invited. We'll see what we do with ourselves instead. This morning Rory asked what my plan was for today and I said, "I'm going to go look for gourds and little pumpkins to decorate our book shelves." Then I heard myself and confessed, "Clearly I'm at the stage where I am just making up things to do."

So we'll keep making them up. Always aware that something very painful is just around the corner, followed by welcoming the newest member of our little family.

Until then, you can read Ivar's birth story here and Elsie's birth story here. (I just read through these myself and realized Elsie came 3 days after her due date! I have been telling everyone she came one day early. Good thing I wrote out their birth stories!)

purple and pink and princesses: elsie turns 3!




When Elsie was born the doctor announced, "It's a girl!" and I was overcome with joy and happiness. I was elated in that moment, and now three years later, I still cannot get over how my love can continue to grow and grow for this little girl who has been entrusted in my care. It's probably the most concrete evidence I have found of a Loving God...that our own love can grow and deepen, even when it seems you cannot love any more that you do. Surely we love because He first loved us.

We celebrated in style, capitalizing on Elsie's favorite colors. Recently I went through her clothes and sorted out anything that was not purple and pink. Because those clothes simply never get picked. She knows what she likes and I'm rolling with it. We made princess crowns and I made this Sophia the First cake, which ended up a bit more hilarious than awesome, but Elsie was mesmerized by it and that it all that matters.

We had both families here for a summer picnic and enjoyed a stunning Sunday night in the country. Some saw the barn for the first time, some played kickball, some wrestled with kittens, some prepped food and some cleaned it all up. Elsie is one blessed girl to be surrounded by so much family love!

(You can read Elsie's birth story here, and about when she turned one and then when she turned two.)

Tiny Heart


My great grandma's name was Bertha. She came to America from Sweden when she was 19. She worked for a while and then went back to Sweden to get her little sister and her niece, Ebba. The story of these three women, coming to America has completely captured my imagination. There are terrible trials and hardships...and they were alone. Bertha's little sister died after just two years in America of typhoid fever and Bertha had to write a letter to her mom and dad back in Sweden telling them the crushing news.

I've been reading all about my family's history: from farming in Sweden to homesteading in Southern Minnesota. My Aunt Jan compiled numerous interviews, newspaper articles, and personal narratives into one incredible page-turning book. (Cousins. If you haven't read the Bredberg History book we all got at Grandma's party, get it out. Start at the part that begins with Great Grandma Bertha. You'll be so proud to be her great grandchild!)

Sadly, I'm years late in realizing what a treasure I have had in my possession. Aunt Jan gifted these books to all of us years ago. I never read mine. Now she's gone and I am spellbound by our family story. I wish I could call her and thank her. I wish I could sit down with my grandma and ask more questions.


In an effort to seize the day, I called up Ebba's daughter, Ferne. Ebba was the niece that my great grandma brought back to America with her. Ferne has always been a part of my life, at every Bredberg gathering I can think of. A great storyteller and a great big personality.

I took Elsie on Saturday to visit with Ferne and her daughter Chris in South Minneapolis. And we heard many more stories. I asked more questions. And I have a feeling we just skimmed the surface. I can't wait to go back and hear more.


But maybe my favorite new piece of history that I learned is this: Ferne, holding Elsie above, was best friends with Elsie Cash, my grandma's sister and my baby Elsie's namesake. Elsie was Ferne's maid of honor. Their farms neighbored each other and they had special signals to greet each other by flashing their car lights towards the other farm, or flicking the kitchen lights at the end of the day. Ways of saying "good night" and "hello." When they were young they did a demonstration speech together for 4H on making bread and Ferne said, "we can't remember who said it. I thought she said it, she thought I said it, but one of us said, 'You'll know your dough is ready when you can touch it and it doesn't stick to your hands or your feet.' Oh we laughed about that."

This was a treasure. To get to know a bit more of Elsie Cash and to watch 98-year-old Ferne hold my Elsie.


Ferne is a writer, speaker and poet. My dad sent this poem to me when he heard I was going to visit her. I thought it was the perfect poem to share today, on Valentines Day.

Tiny Heart
by Ferne Nelson, 2002

My tiny heart began with a gentle beat
Close to my Mother's heart

Upon my birth the beatings became stronger
Giving vigor to my infant body

Through childhood, youth years and adult life
There has been a steady beat

Increasing activities made demands
My faithful heart worked well

It has sustained me these many years
and I've had love and joy

Some days the gentle beat will return and take me
close to the heart of my Lord