There are really no words to describe Reagan. She is the epitome of strength and courage. She endured a pregnancy, birth cancer diagnosis and underwent chemo during her pregnancy, but has smiled through it all.
When I met Reagan she was searching for a birth photographer to capture the birth of Jude. We got in contact with each other, began chit chatting and hit it off. She knew she would have to be induced for her birth because she would need a mastectomy but wasn’t sure when. Initially she thought it would be around January 25th and sadly, I let her know I would be out of town the 20th through the 23rd. We hoped and prayed that her induction wouldn’t be during that time but we went ahead and planned on me being at her birth and set up her maternity session. You can see that here.
Not too long after that she let me know she would be induced on January 5th, right around her 35 week mark. It was exciting and nerve wrecking at the same time, but no matter what she powered through with a smile.
She kept me posted on her appointments through the weeks between her maternity session and her induction date and we celebrated – 5 weeks, 4 weeks, 3 weeks, 2 weeks, 1 week…until go time. The week of her induction she gave me updated timelines and let me know what was happening with her body and she prepared it for her induction.
On January 3rd we chatted a bit about her induction and I wanted to make sure she knew when she should contact me to make my way to the hospital, which was an hour away. I asked her to let me know when she was around 5-6 cm because we imagined her medical staff would be checking her frequently.
On January 4th at around 6pm she let me know she was going to pig out on olive garden and she would keep me posted through the night and into the next day.
On January 5th at about 7:30 AM I checked in with her to let her know that the 5-6cm mark is when I would make my way to her side and she let me know she was already around 3cm at 3AM so they had started pitocin at that point. About an hour later she let me know they broke her water and I knew I would need to leave soon. You see, things can either go really quick or really slow from this point but her awesome progression and her getting her water broken was a pretty decent sign that things were moving right along. She let me know she was going to go ahead and get her epidural and I let her know I was going to leave around 9:30 AM and that I would be there at 10:30 AM. I checked into one of my birth photographer groups to see what they thought and everyone encouraged that I head that way.
It was a quick hour as I headed towards Seton Hays Medical Center, checking my phone periodically and singing at the top of my lungs. I checked in about halfway there and she let me know she was going to try to nap and gave me JR’s number for when I got there. I arrived and immediately texted JR to let him know I was there and whenever Reagan woke up to let me know and I’d go say hi.
He came out and invited me in immediately. Reagan was resting, Jace was laying down with Reagan and she was in and out of rest. The rest happened rather quickly for a matter of four hours. We chatted a majority of the time. Reagan’s mom took Jace to take a nap and JR went to run a few errands while Reagan rested and I worked on a blog post.
Around 1230 ish JR got back and he went to grab some lunch and I followed shortly after him. We chatted while I ate rubber meat loaf and we joked about Reagan having the baby while we were at lunch. Well….joke was on us. Reagan texted us frantically because the nurse let her know she was a 10 and Jude would be there soon. She was ready to push.
We rushed back to the room to find her laughing and excited while JR was extremely nervous. We all guessed times Jude would be born, but none of us were close. Reagan’s nurse set up the stirrups, got her ready then pulled her legs down and told her his head was right there. She told her, “you really cannot laugh because he will come out.” So Regan sat tight with her legs closed (JR held them closed) while the doctors and the rest of the nurses ran in.
The doctor got prepped, pulled her legs back on the stirrups and told her to give one push. Half a push later she told her to stop and Jude was out. It was SO fast, like birth whiplash. Jude came out crying with those hearty lungs and he immediately got placed on Reagan’s chest. Both Reagan and JR were crying.
Jude was born at 1:48pm weighing 4lbs and 15oz. He was able to cuddle and nurse for a short while. This Monday, January 15th, Reagan went in for her double mastectomy in her beat against breast cancer. She is doing great, Jude is doing great, Jace is doing great and JR are doing great.
Guys, Reagan did not get checked the whole time I was there. Had I not left when I did, I would not have made it. WOO-HOO for intuition!! haha