Life has been way too crazy, so I haven’t been able to blog in quite some time.
Since April 2019 we have moved homes, welcomed sweet Hollis into our lives, completed our reno (thanks to the team at Marvel Cabinetry & Renovations; more on that in another post!), hosted a ton of family from out of town and most significantly, raised over $235,000 for ‘The Love for Lewiston Foundation’ in honor of Lewiston! So, to say we have been “occupied” is an understatement!
I can’t believe the year is already more than half over, and despite how frenetic our lives seem to be, I committed to doing more blog posts, more journaling, more writing. My office is a disaster and my bookkeeping is still waiting for me, but today I was compelled to make sure this post went live.
I tend to cram a lot into a day. If you have been following me for any length of time, you would know that this is my pace – FULL ON. I have energy and so I use it and pack it full of all things. I am finally sitting at my desk (which is a $5 IKEA table I got at a garage sale), my office is littered with books, files and pictures but I cleared a spot on my desk big enough to get my laptop open and finish this post.
So this is the story of our rainbow baby:
Hollis arrived at the perfect time. I was 5 days overdue with him when they finally broke my water. I was getting so impatient! Having been given 2 due dates I chose the earlier of the 2. If I had gone with the second date he would have only been considered a day late. Anyway, here is how it all went down.
Thursday April 25, 2019
3:30PM – Call from the hospital came in.
Here is the convo;
Hospital: “We have a bed ready for you and you can come on in.”
Me: “My husband is in an important work meeting so I’m not sure we can get there right away.”
Hospital: “No problem, no rush. You can come after work; have dinner together and make your way in.”
.*Me: “Sounds good! I will wait until my hubby is out of his work meeting and we will see you after dinner.”
The Marvel crew was still doing a couple last minute things to our house, so I drove over to make sure they had everything they needed. If I did have this baby then they could at least keep on working! I did a walk through with the team, got it all sorted out, and raced home to have dinner with Swayzie and my mom. Hot Ronnie was just finishing up work and was going to meet me home.
I received a call from the hospital saying that we had to come now or they had to give away the bed. We were only 10 minutes away so we were able to pack up and get there quickly. Of course, it was the first night of the NFL draft – which in our house is a pretty big deal. Poor Hot Ronnie though, I asked him to leave for the hospital right as the Miami Dolphins were choosing players – what a wife I am! But I was so sick of waiting. I really wanted to find out if our little one was a boy or girl. I have to say that the drive to the hospital was so weird – there was no rush or major panic because I wasn’t having insane contractions like my previous births!
We checked into the hospital at 8:30PM and we got taken back to room 8 right away – if you have ever had room 8 at Rocky View you will know how bad it is. I laughed because it is literally the ugliest hospital room I have ever seen! It has these massive blue tanks outside the window. Our birth photographer, Kristina, was not going to love this and knowing how fast my labor happens, she was already on her way!
Kristina is a total babe. I met her at our church – she leads worship! She is such a talented song writer and photographer and combines the 2 in real time birth stories. It is the absolute best thing you could spend your money on. When we have more kids, I will do this for them as well. What a gift to have and be able to share with our children.
Now to give you some context I had told my parents 2.5 weeks earlier that they had to come right away as my OB thought I was going to go into labor very early. I had been 2cm dilated for over 3 weeks. My parents came but my dad ended up having to leave and head back to the farm for seeding so he was not in town for this.
After settling in to room #8, I was 3-4 cm dilated. Hot Ronnie wasn’t super stoked on how this was going down. It felt unfamiliar to him. With both of our other kids, my water never broke but I started contractions and things moved pretty quick – especially for Lewiston. Needless to say, Hot Ronnie was hesitant, but I asked him to trust me. I totally needed a sign that we were doing the right thing, we shouldn’t wait any longer and that it would be okay to induce labor.
Amazingly enough, I got a text from my friend and pastor from the church we attend saying she was praying for me – for our baby. It was exactly what I needed. So I called the team and told them to do it, to break my water. Of course, I knew the drill and that if I did not start progressing it would mean oxytocin or a c-section. (All my births have been a 100% natural. I have a really high pain tolerance and I’m a bit stubborn, I guess – ha!)
At that point, we headed down to the cafeteria for a walk and said that when I came back I would come back 6cm dilated. We walked and talked in between the contractions which had started, thankfully. It was a super special evening. We talked about all of the things – dreams, plans, our futures, fun memories – it almost felt like a romantic date. We headed back up to the room to get checked and just like I promised, I was 6cm dilated.
As we headed back down to the cafeteria to continue walking, I promised the team I would be 8cm when we came back up. So, we walked and talked and sipped on red gatorade – athletes drink this shit so I think it is super appropriate as this is literally the most athletic event you can participate in. I came back up and they checked me again. 8cm!
At this point I was pretty tired so I headed into the shower. I just let the hot steamy water run down on me. Poor Hot Ronnie was wearing jeans and getting soaked but not once did he complain or get mad. I am pretty direct when in labor – I knew exactly what I wanted and so he supported me exactly how I needed it.
At this point I was done. I remember saying that I wanted to give up and just be done. I could feel my body running out of steam. I was only 2.5 hours in at this point – so anyone one who has gone on and on for hours & days – hats off to you sister! You are a true warrior and hero.
I was so dang exhausted at this point; I needed an end game. So I myself decided it was time to push….. I gave it a little test run in the shower and honestly, I ended up shitting….everywhere! Not really what I was going for, ha! No one prepares you for these things – just giving it to you straight. At this point, it was about 11:55PM and I had told the team I was going to deliver by midnight. Oh boy.
After I cleaned up, the doctors asked me to come out of the shower and get into the bed. I was screaming pretty loud in the shower from the pain and so I think they were starting to get slightly worried!
Remember, I had taken nothing and was trying to avoid an epidural. I walked out of the shower and hopped up onto the bed.
I told the team lets do this and I gave one big push and yelled – “is it out yet?!”
They yelled back: “no not yet. You’ve got to hunker down!”
And so I did just that and with one more massive push our babe came out. All I wanted to know was it a boy or a girl and so I yelled out “what is it!?” they told me to look down. He was right between my legs.
“IT HAS BALLS!”
That was it. That was the very first thing I yelled to my son – “It has balls!”.
A little baby boy who has balls and was screaming loud. I loved it. I loved every part of it. It was an emotional experience. I was so worried that when he came out this “healthy” pregnancy was going to blow up in my face. Like something tragic would happen. But he had all his fingers and toes, a beating heart and breath in his lungs – he was here!
My fast 3 hour labor was pretty smooth. I did start to hemorrhage a little right after delivery but the team worked quickly to get me an IV and got everything under control. Our medical team was awesome that night – our nurse Shirley was hilarious and perfect. She was asian and cracked jokes about how bad of a driver she was! Ha! Bless you, miss Shirley, for keeping it light and taking such good care of me. I love how much joy she brought to ugly room #8. The lead OB was great as well. She made sure baby Hollis and I were well taken care of and that everyone on her team worked awesome together. I am so grateful for medical professionals who go above and beyond for their patients.
Once we got the bleeding under control, I felt like I could finally soak up the moments. Our little baby had so much hair on his head – which explains all the heartburn I guess. His hair was practically black. Once all the medical staff left the room, Hot Ronnie and I just slowed down and really started to take it in. I was able to actually process everything that had just happened.
We decided to name him Hollis – we had about 3 names in the running. I was scared to name him this as I thought everyone would think that I was an obsessive fan of Rachel and Dave Hollis – which I am, but in a healthy way, ha! It was actually at their marriage conference ‘Rise Together’ in September of 2018 that we made a commitment to each other. We wanted an exceptional marriage. We worked through some ugly stuff – the tough stuff. We said things that we had both held onto and went all in that weekend. On that drive back from Austin to Houston, to catch our flight to Calgary, we debriefed all that we had learned, and what we were going to put into practice. It was an incredible experience.
At the conference we were about 8 weeks pregnant and no idea if the baby was a boy or girl or healthy or had SMA like Lewiston. So once the noise of all the doctors and nurses settled down we decided that our sweet little boy, our third child, would be named Hollis Lewiston Olstad. Hollis for me is the courage to go after big scary dreams and pursue it with all you have and Lewiston is to honor our little lion who is watching down on us from heaven. I loved what the name means to us and finally decided to say “screw it” to what others would think of me. After that marriage conference we felt like a new chapter had truly started for us. It was the start of something new and personally having the influence of Rachel and Dave Hollis has been a rocket under my butt to get after it. To dream big, to do the hard work, and to never stop giving up on your dreams even if it is “taking too long.”
Hollis was born at exactly 12:12AM on April 26, 2019 weighing in at 7lbs 13oz and 21inches long. He got a broken collar bone during the labor and cried straight for 45 minutes once he was out. I remember them giving him a big smack to clear his lungs and he showed us all how strong he was. I let him settle on my chest and just stared at him in awe.
He is now 3 months old and it has been better than I could have ever imagined. Swayzie truly couldn’t care less about her little brother but she is starting to come around and interact with him more.
The whole experience was amazing. Kristina captured the whole thing and I could not have asked for a better way to have it documented. I didn’t even know she was there most of the time. My favourite part of having her with us was the song that she wrote for us. It is for our family, but I truly believe this song can speak to anyone. My favourite line is this…”be the light; bring the joy; run towards the roar.” That is my prayer for Hollis, Swayzie and truly everyone. Living like this can change it all. You can download the song here on Apple Music or here on Spotify Proceeds from this song will go towards the LOVE FOR LEWISTON FOUNDATION. We are aiming at 1000 downloads. It’s one of the easiest and cheapest ways to support the foundation and honor Lewiston and his legacy.
If have made it this far. Thank you. HOLLIS’S BIRTH VIDEO is a must watch. I promise you don’t see anything crazy. It is captured by the best – Kristina – this song she wrote plays in the background of the video and still pictures. It’s perfect. I am honoured that you care about our family and follow our journey. Thank you. The work we do is possible because of you. So now go be the light, bring the joy and run towards the roar.