Mahlia Jane Casados | Our Birth Journey

I have always been one to share the different journeys I've taken in my life, whether it's a beautiful one or a difficult one. I find that it makes me more relatable, showing I am simply human and not just this business owner that spends her time shooting beautiful weddings and jet-setting the world (pre-covid, of course. Eyeroll). My life is so much more than that, and this is why I am deciding to open up about my journey through pregnancy and giving birth to our beautiful daughter.

Due to having endometriosis, we always figured it would be hard for us to conceive... I was already 34 and no baby, so I just assumed it wouldn't happen. After a pretty rough miscarriage, I finally was blessed with being pregnant again. We found out in July, but the first trimester and a large majority of the second I refused to admit to myself that I actually was with child. Everyone that knew kept asking if I was excited and if I had started doing research or had started my registry, and some were confused when they saw that my type A personality hadn't caused me to already start reading every book or browsing Pinterest for nursery ideas. In reality I was protecting my heart from being hurt with another loss. Every ultrasound visit I held my breath until my tech told me to let myself breath, she was growing wonderfully.

Around 25 weeks, I finally started planning and we painted the nursery, ( which you can see the final product here. ) and I started watching birthing classes, even joining mom groups on Facebook.

My pregnancy was no easy path. The bliss that people talk about just didn't happen to me. Don't get me wrong, I was over the moon excited to meet this little girl, but while I was healthy and didn't suffer from any major pregnancy scares or diseases like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes, I was in a constant state of pain and discomfort. It ended up causing me to suffer from prenatal depression, something I have never experienced before so I had no idea what was going on. I found myself dismissing my feelings as I tried to be grateful to have a healthy baby on the way, but that only made it worse.

The last month of my pregnancy was probably the most difficult, and I couldn't wait for her to arrive. By 37 weeks my doctor told me if I wanted I could be induced since I was so uncomfortable and having so much pain, but I wanted to wait until at least my due date so that my body could be more ready. So we scheduled my induction for March 10th, the night before my due date.

I started having contractions on Friday, March 5th, but they were inconsistent and not too painful, so I knew it wasn't time yet. Come Saturday night my contractions were getting more consistent and were starting to really hurt. I didn't sleep at all that night and I woke Brandon up at 4AM and said we needed to go to the hospital because they were four minutes apart, and I could barely breathe through the pain. When we arrived and they checked my cervix, I was only 1cm so they sent me home.

Feeling discouraged, I tried to eat breakfast and wait it out, but around 9AM, I couldn't handle the pain anymore. Back to the hospital! I hadn't progressed at all, which made me cry out of frustration. Thank goodness my doctor was on call because she was able to tell the nurses to just keep me, as I was already planning an induction. So they took me to my room and I got situated. After a couple hours, I was begging for an epidural as my contractions were one minute apart and so intense that I was shaking. The nurses kept checking me and my body had not progressed at all. How could this be? I had been having contractions for over two days, and an entire day consistently at that. They wanted me to try other pain management methods since they knew I had a long way to go. These allowed me to sleep in and out as my mind forgot about the pain, but it for sure didn't take the pain away.

12 hours later I told the nurses I wanted the epidural and pitocin because I felt like I had hit a wall. I was experiencing all the pain in my back, or back labor, because she was sunny side up and I was so exhausted and frustrated. They finally agreed and sent for the anesthesiologist. I always thought that an epidural was a bee sting pain while they numbed the area for the catheter and that was it. Oh, I was wrong. The doctor was back there trying to get the catheter in for 20 minutes and I could feel everything. I was also trying to sit still and not shake from the contractions that were coming every minute to not make it harder on him to find where to put the catheter. When he finally got the catheter in, I was able to collapse in to sleep about 20 minutes later when the epidural took hold.

The next morning they checked me and I was still at 1cm. An entire night of pitocin and I still hadn't progressed at all. My doctor decided to break my water to see if that would help and, thank goodness, it did! However the baby was crooked so I had to straddle a peanut ball to help her turn and my epidural had worn off where I could feel my contractions again. Every single one in my back and hips. They decided to give me another dose of the epidural to help me deal with the pain. Come 3:00 I was ready to start pushing! But my epidural had worn off where I could feel my contractions again but I couldn't feel anything from the waist down. So I couldn't push correctly. 3 hours later and they told me that if I wasn't able to get her out I would need an emergency c-section. All this work and pain and I might have to have a c-section? Hell no! Each contraction was 30 seconds apart and felt like a hot knife in my uterus and lower back. I actually passed out at one point from exhaustion and from the pain. I just wanted it to be over. One more hour of pushing and my doctor having to use a vacuum to assist in getting her out she arrived. FINALLY!! The relief I felt was instant. Turns out she was stuck in the birth canal. So her finally making her debut was a miracle.

I joke that my body was not meant for pregnancy. My hips too narrow, my birth canal too tiny, my pain tolerance too low. But I am so glad I made it out the other end and we have this beautiful baby.

Welcome to the world little Mahlia Jane Casados. All 20 inches, 7lbs 2 oz. of you.

(scroll to the bottom to see how we picked her name!)

How we came up with her name!

I was so indecisive when it came to naming our daughter. I had a long list on my phone and on my nightstand that I would add and cross off to on the regular. My sister Kim suggested at one point Melia, and I got excited because that was the name of our favorite resort to travel to in Cancun, and also the Bahamas. Upon doing further research on the name I found different spellings of the name were used in different cultures. Malia was Hawaiian, and meant Mary, which is also what my name means as well as Brandon's aunt Maria. My maternal grandmother was Mary Jane, and it was already decided that her middle name would be Jane no matter what, so this would also be a nod towards her first name as well. Jane is also my paternal grandmother's middle name, so not only is my business named after my grandmothers but I know my daughter would have that middle name in addition.

Melia was the Greek spelling of the name, after a water goddess who was the daughter of Oceanus. My heritage is Greek so I was really excited to learn this. Oceanus is on the Trevi Fountain in Italy, a place where we took our 5 year anniversary photos, so it holds a special place in our hearts. We also thought it was perfect that Mahlia started with Ma- which so many members of our family have names that begin with Ma- including my own name and Brandon's dad who passed, Mark. The ending -lia, has the same ending as Brandon's mom's middle name, Aurelia, which was also on our name list.

We decided on the Mahlia spelling because I wanted it to be a little longer of a name and slightly different than all the celebrities who have the name Malia or Melia.