Saturday, 8 February 2014

Our Baby Girl Birth Story!

As you probably all know, I was blessed to deliver our baby girl, Elisabeth, into the world this past Thursday.  It was a joyous moment, but obviously precluded by the expected pain and drama! Each birth story is so unique, and I am excited to be able to share hers with you while it is so fresh in my mind.


While Jake was born relatively quickly for a first baby (or so I'm told), and my midwife had been telling me that this second one could come very fast, I must admit I didn't quite believe her.  I didn't want to get my hopes up for a quick labour, and I knew women who had multiple births with the later ones being similar to their first.  Well in this case - my midwife was right!

We were planning a natural birth at home, just as we had with Jake.  I went into labour with Jake exactly 14 days after his due date, and so we thought there was a good chance this baby would be late too.  So when I woke up Thursday night (two days before she was due) with cramps, I figured it was just that - I took some Gravol and expected to fall back asleep.  I didn't, and when I got up to go to the bathroom I found that an hour had already past - and I was still crampy.  Weird.  I continued to lie in bed and over the next hour the constant cramping changed to obvious contractions with rest periods in between.  I started to think I might be in labour.  But it wasn't very bad, and I knew pre-labour could start days before actual labour, so I wasn't convinced this was the real deal.  This inner dialogue went on for the next three hours or so until Andrew woke up around 4am.  By then the contractions had gotten difficult, where I was having to focus on relaxing and breathing through them.  Andrew, figuring he was going to go to the bathroom and head back to bed, realized things had changed when I quietly asked "Are you awake?...I think I'm in labour..."!


After this things become a bit of a blur.  Contractions had definitely gotten more intense and, thinking I was in for the long haul, I wanted to have a shower to feel nice and fresh for the day!  We decided Andrew would shower first (to get the bathroom nice and warm!).  I got through the next few contractions but by the time Andrew came back I thought we should call the midwives.  We called the pager number and were told our midwives would call us back within 15 minutes.  I had been feeling like pushing for a little while now, but didn't think it was possible I was ready to be pushing our baby out, so I didn't think too much about that.  I got to the bathroom, with my plan to have a shower - but contractions were pretty intense now and I wasn't sure if maybe I was having trouble making decisions.  "Maybe we should just fill up the bathtub?  Or start filling up the birth pool? Or should I just get in the shower?"  Andrew was doing an amazing job of supporting me through contractions while also getting the bed ready with some layers of plastic and old sheets, and also calling my parents to have them come pick up our toddler.

Ten minutes later (it seemed like forever), the midwives called back.  I was quite worried they weren't going to feel it was time to come yet, as I didn't feel like I had any really strong signs the baby would be here anytime soon.  They asked a few questions, including whether my water had broke.  It hadn't - and up until now I had totally forgotten about that.  I was devastated!  I figured I couldn't be having this baby soon if my water hadn't broke.  With Jake, the midwives ended up breaking it, and it was still 4 hours later until he was born.  I ended our phone call with a plea: "I just want you to be here", and our midwives, who I found out later were frantically getting dressed and ready to head over here, were planning to do just that!

Andrew continued getting things ready, while I struggled through contractions in the bathroom.  I had given up on the shower idea, and wanted to get back to the bed - but didn't have the unction to make the (seemingly long) trip down the hallway to get there.  I was having an inner dialogue with myself that had everything to do with how far along dilated I would be when the midwives were here.  I figured if I was at 7 or 8, I could handle it - 5 or 6, on the other hand, and I was thinking an epidural sounded pretty nice - although I REALLY didn't want to head out into the cold, into the car, and into the hospital!  I was praying over and over "God, please let my water break, please let my water break.", as I knew that had to happen before I had the baby.  The midwives had told me on the phone that if my water broke, the baby could come really quickly and I should lie down on my side and breathe through it.  Whether the midwives were going to be there or not - having the baby ASAP was exactly what I wanted to do!

I started leaking clear fluid, but I had expected a gush and so I wasn't sure this was my water.  With my next contraction, I couldn't help but push, and I could tell I was pushing something!  I eventually figured my water was breaking, and I think just around that time the midwives arrived.  They took a quick look at me, one of them told Andrew the baby would likely be here in a few minutes, and they headed to the bedroom to try and get ready!  I got myself to the bed, threw myself down, and they got a heartrate for the baby, who was very low.  With my next contraction I pushed again and everyone exclaimed "I see the head!".  I couldn't have asked to hear sweeter words!  I asked something like "Will she be out soon?" and our midwife replied with a hearty "Oh yes!".


It was probably 4 or 5 more pushes, with me getting a little frustrated because the head was moving out, and then receding back in - which Andrew was encouraging me was a good thing, slowly stretching things out.  He says then on one push he saw the head again and then all of a sudden it popped out!  With the next contraction out slid one shoulder, and was quickly followed by the whole body!  Our midwife caught her one second, and the next second exclaimed "Oh no!  Andrew wanted to catch the baby!".  In the chaos we'd all forgotten about that, and joked that with things happening this fast, Andrew might HAVE to catch our next child! :)  Our daughter was born 9 minutes after the midwives arrived!

From there, if you've had a baby, you know the drill.  I was blessed to have her put right on my chest, snuggling her close to keep her warm.  I birthed the placenta, got a few stitches, and marveled at the fact that I had done it.  This living person came out of me.

My parents, who had arrived shortly after the midwives to pick up Jake, were told in the commotion that there was no time and to wait in the living room.  My mom says she heard one big push groan from me and then the sound of the baby crying!  Jake slept through the whole thing.  He woke up probably about an hour later and Andrew brought him to the bedroom.  He was tentative of all the people at first, but was quickly interested and excited to see the new addition to our family.  In the past week he has developed an obvious love for his sister - inquiring first thing when he wakes up "Baby? Baby?", patting her gently when she's crying, asking to hold her on his lap, and loving to give her his little finger to hold in her even littler hand.

Sydney Ellen Photography

Considering the two, this was a totally different experience from my birth with Jake, and yet they were both wonderful.  Elisabeth's birth went from four hours of nothing notable, and super quickly transitioned into very intense this-baby-is-being-born-right-now contractions. With Jake I spent the day working myself slowly up to the fact that I was going to be delivering him eventually.  However, I got to have the home birth I planned this time, and it really was so wonderful.  To be snuggled right into my own bed with my whole family and not have to get up and go anywhere was so special.  But most of all, we thank God for our healthy girl.

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14 comments:

  1. Stephanie--
    This brought teas to my eyes!! What a blessing to read. Thank you! Such a blessing that those 4 hours of "nothing notable" weren't difficult for you, yet were the real thing. Believe it or not, even being the mama to almost 9, I *still* have that "inner dialogue!" So hard to tell, and until I"m in transition, I doubt that this could be real labor, lol! Our seventh baby was born 12 minutes after arriving at the birth center because I just did not believe I was in labor. Needless to say that was one excruciating car ride :)

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    1. Thanks so much, BambI! Great story yourself! Will be thinking of you as your time comes to deliver the little one you're carrying too! :)

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  2. And how could I forget?....Congratulations!!

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  3. Congratulations, I'm so happy you were able to deliver her at home the way you were hoping to be able to! :). Beautiful story!

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    1. Thanks so much! It really was wonderful. Would love to hear your stories next time we're together! :)

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  4. Congratulations with your new baby girl.
    So nice to read your story, it brought back many memories for me.
    The boys (3) were all born at home, (in Holland that was the normal thing)
    but Joyce was the first to be born in the hospital, a whole differend new experience.
    Children are a great and wonderful gift from the Lord.
    Hope you are soon well a gain.

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    1. Thank you Rita! It certainly is different, at home vs. the hospital!

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  5. Thank you for sharing. Beautiful story! Congratulations :) She is so gorgeous. Isn't it incredible to watch your kids fall in love with each other?
    For me. the labours have gotten quicker with each child but I'm not so sure it could get much quicker with the next. 15 hours, then 3.5 hours and the 1 hour! I always marvel at women who managed to get their birth story written so soon. I take a while to process it all. I'm almost done it now, 3 months later lol!

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    1. Tessa I'd love to read yours when you're finished! If you remember - share the link here!

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  6. What a beautiful story of new birth! I get chills every time. Elisabeth is gorgeous - what a sweet family you have. My two youngest were born at home, after 6 uneventful hospital deliveries, and they were my most wonderful births. Enjoy your Babymoon!
    Stopping by today from A Mama's Story

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    1. Oh how wonderful! Praise the Lord for your 8 blessings!

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  7. I'm dropping by from Growing Home. Thank you for sharing your beautiful birth experience. I am currently 21 weeks with our fifth child and am looking forward to holding this little one in my arms. For such a swift labor and delivery, it sounds like it really was a wonderful experience. Blessings to you!

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    1. How great to hear! I hope it goes really well and will say a prayer for you and your baby!

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  8. I just love reading birth stories! What a beautiful blessing girl you got out of the whole ordeal. I had my 1st at home with a midwife and my second last July in a public hospital here in Costa Rica. Talk about dramatic difference between those situations! Thanks so much for sharing your story. Enjoy your sweet family this week, Stephanie!

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