First and foremost, in case you don’t follow us on social media, Burke and I have a little announcement in the form of this sweet guy!

His name is Ephraim (Eff-rhem) Clark Shartsis and he was born on April 11th at 6:50 pm.

If you do follow us on social media, you probably saw the photo I posted announcing his birth. I was slightly puffy-faced, wearing a hospital robe and overall looking a little haggard, so it was a pretty safe assumption to think that was our first family photo. But it wasn’t. Actually, when I saw our real first family photo I think I scoffed a bit and said, “Well, no one’s ever going to see that one.” Then when while cruising Facebook during a 3am feeding/burping/cuddling session a couple days after returning home from the hospital, I saw that an old friend shared an article about C-Section awareness month. Looking back, I am definitely convinced it was my baby-blues hormones, but in the moment I felt so convicted to share our real first family photo that I’m holding myself accountable now despite my appearance in the photo.

As with all things, Ephraim’s birth didn’t exactly go as planned. Although I always thought Ephraim would come late, I was a bit dismayed when his due date came and went with zero signs of pre-labor on the horizon. Before we knew it, Ephraim’s induction-birth was scheduled for the day we would hit 42 weeks. With “Give birth” officially on the calendar, I said goodbye to the idealized all-natural birth.

On the morning of the 11th, Ephraim’s last medically safe day in-utero, we went into the hospital and everything progressed as scheduled. Burke and I filled our idle time reading the Bible and chatting about our sweet baby. When the doctor came in to check on us around noon, she was discouraged to see that the labor wasn’t progressing at all and continued to artificially stimulate the process. A few hours later, not only had labor reached a standstill, but the epidural was only working on half my body, I’d thrown up a few times, and most notably, Ephraim’s heart rate was dropping with every contraction. Scary. The doctor generously gave us a few more hours because she knew a natural birth was important to me (although I was pretty far from “natural” at that point!), but she wanted us to start thinking about having a cesarean section. After talking and praying about it, we decided the c-section was the safest option for Ephraim. He just wasn’t coming on his own.

Before I knew it, the anesthesiologist prepped me for surgery and tested the strength of the increased epidural dosage. When I informed the doctors that I was still feeling their sharp test-pricks, I requested more time for the medication to kick in, but instead I found myself undergoing anesthesia just as Burke joined me in the operating room. As my consciousness was waning, I distinctly remember trying my hardest to say something about Jesus, but it came out, “It’s like an airplane.” To my credit, between the chill and the white noise, it did feel like an airplane.

Eventually Burke’s voice broke through the unconsciousness and he must have said something about a baby. I remembering thinking, “Oh yeah, that’s why we’re here.” And with all my effort, I asked Burke if our baby’s legs worked. (I only felt actual kicks a handful of times throughout the entire pregnancy.) I didn’t hear the response, nor could I even open my eyes to meet sweet baby Ephraim. Burke says that when the doctor was pulling Ephraim out she looked at him and said his head was so big that he never would have come out any other way.

So while it’s a little funny that Burke, my mom and my dad all got to see Ephraim before I did, I am so grateful that everything went smoothly. Aside from getting a sweet baby on the other end, I’d say there really wasn’t a single thing on my birth plan that happened as I wanted. Honestly, I didn’t even get a back massage the whole day. However, our God truly is an amazing God and I am still amazed at the sweet little life He’s blessed us with.


Even though this post was long, tons of details have been cut out for brevity’s sake. Feel free to ask for more information if you’d like it!

Also, congratulations to Jesus C. who won the baby pool! Figures Jesus would know.