There is something magical about bringing babies into the world. The whole process, from beginning to end, points to something greater than us. I can’t help but think of creation and the Creator. Man could not have thought this up but only a great God with a divine design.
It’s amazing and humbling to me to think that I’ve been given the great privilege of carrying three sweet babies in my womb and then gave in to my body as it labored them into this world. I praise God for each pregnancy, each labor, and each delivery. They were all different, life changing experiences. Their stories I will carry in the depths of my heart for the rest of my life.
This is the birth story of my 3rd child, my 1st son, Ezra Noble Mundell.
Following in the steps of his “little big sister”, Ezra decided that coming after his “due date” was a good idea. Although I don’t put much expectation in the “due date”, once I was 5 days after, I was beginning to feel like I might be pregnant forever. Thankfully, I have the best midwife, birth assistant (Marianne and Charlie) and girlfriends who gently reminded and encouraged me that I would not be pregnant forever and that soon I would be holding my boy.
They were right. 4 days after my due date I spent a couple of hours dealing with what I thought were “real labor contractions”. Those contractions, probably prepping my body for the next evening, stopped when I went to bed. I woke up discouraged and antsy. I knew the time was soon but now feeling nothing, I felt like it would never happen again. (If you’ve ever experienced going into labor without intervention you might know the feeling I am talking about..it’s excitement mixed with anticipation mixed with nervousness mixed with wondering mixed with a bit of impatience and awe).
Now 5 days “past due” and irritable I took myself for a walk around the lake. Music calms me and I needed the almost 3 miles with worship music blasting in my ears. This walk was more difficult than the others and that made me feel good. I knew it was any day now!
After walking I came home and went on with the day as usual. Playing with the kids, cleaning, laundry, etc….I snuck a nap and tried to enjoy the day.
It was “family game night” so we piled in our bedroom with an alphabet game and began to play. I began feeling contractions around 6 pm. As we ate dinner, played games and read stories I noticed my contractions coming a bit closer together and growing stronger. At one point during the game I noticed myself closing my eyes and focusing on what my body was doing. I knew this was “it” but I hesitated to get excited, because I did not want to get my hopes up.
Nate began timing contractions on some app on his phone (yes…there’s an app for that) and he started saying things like, “Well maybe you should call Marianne (our midwife) and just let her know…”. I kept declining (because I am stubborn like that), but I decided that in order to make Nate happy I would call “just in case”. We called her between 7-8 pm and let her know what was going on. Contractions were anywhere from 5-11 minutes apart and growing in intensity. She said to keep her posted and that she would come whenever we needed her. I hung up the phone and Nate smiled.
We put our girls to bed and let them know that their brother might be coming soon. They prayed for me, my labor, and their baby brother. They reminded us that they must be woken up to watch his arrival. We, of course, agreed. They were so excited! Us too!
Random facts I want to remember:
-Aurora picked out her favorite Cinderella night gown to wear to bed that night because she wanted Ezra to see her all dressed up. SO sweet!
-Eleanor prayed that brother would “come fast”…I agreed with that prayer!
I went back in our room and noticed that I was becoming more uncomfortable and needed to focus on what my body was doing. Again…because I didn’t want to get my hopes up I just continued on this way for a few more hours. Nate knew I was in labor and I did, too….I just didn’t “admit” it yet.
I was still talking through contractions, but they were certainly growing in intensity. During this time I made several trips to the bathroom, my body getting ready for birth. With each passing moment I focused on resting, praying, and mentally preparing for labor. Nate was beaming and laughing and giggling like a little kid. If you know Nate you know this is what he does when he is nervous and excited!
Nate is my hero. While I was laboring on the yoga ball he was prepping the birth tub, getting my “delivery clothes” ready, heating my rice sock (for my back pain), and making sure my i-tunes play list and laptop were ready to go. All while speaking and praying encouraging words over me. My man is amazing at births!
Somewhere between midnight and 1 am Nate called Marianne and let her know that she should probably head over. She lives close to us and came over after the phone call. She arrived in about 15 minutes and began to carry in her supplies. Shortly after she arrived she called Megan and let her know I was in labor. Megan served as our birth assistant. Charlie, who also works with Marianne and Megan, had been with us through the whole pregnancy, but she was away at school on this night. We were so sad she would not be at the birth, but so happy that Megan could be. My girls love all of these ladies and so do we!
I kept laughing and saying things like, “If I am not in labor I am SO SORRY we woke you up!” Still not admitting my labor was in full swing I suppose..HA. We all talked and laughed and carried on while I breathed through contractions on my yoga ball. Nate sat on a chair behind me and was great at helping with my back pain.
I asked Marianne if she needed to or was going to check me to see what was happening. She said it was up to me. I waited a bit and then felt like I “needed” to know. I wanted to know where I was at and was eager to hear the results.
7 centimeters dilated! Marianne commented on how extremely low Ezra’s head was and that brought me much encouragement. It was time! I practically jumped off my bed and in complete silliness said “YES!” with a little fist pump in the air. Yep…a fist pump…that’s how we roll in the Mundell home…haha.
We were in our new addition to the house, our bedroom, and Nate said “Okay, lets get off the new carpet!”…yes he was kidding…and this is how my labors go…how my life goes…we laugh all the way until the end. Even while experiencing the deepest, hardest parts of labor Nate can still make me and everyone else laugh! For this I am thankful!
We called my friend Jennifer and she came right over. I love her and am so glad she was here with me. I don’t have siblings and my girlfriends are truly like God given sisters to me. She got her in about 20 minutes. She came to take some pictures, support me, and watch my girls as they watched the birth. Her being here with us was such a gift! We also called my friend Heidi. She lives farther away but came in right after Ezra was born. I’m so glad her and Preston could be here and meet our new guy.
The birth tub was full now, but I didn’t want to get in right away. I stayed on my yoga ball for a while. I enjoyed talking and laughing with Marianne, Nate, and Jenn and when I would have a contraction I found myself closing my eyes and focusing on my body. As time went on I found myself needing to stand up and move around. Still enjoying conversation in between contractions but less and less time was coming in between each one.
I loved singing (or mouthing) the words to my favorite worship songs as they played from the laptop. I had read somewhere that having music you could sing along to is a great help during contractions and this was certainly true for me! It felt great to stand up and lean forward while Nate applied pressure to my back. I did this for a while longer and Nate was so gracious as he followed me around with hot rice sock in hand.
With the contractions coming longer and stronger now I decided it was time. We woke the girls and they sleepily crept out of their room and onto the couch and in the tub I went. WOW…the water felt amazing and almost instantly my back pain let up. That was a huge relief. At this point I knew Ezra was soon to arrive. Although the pressure in my back was relieved, my contractions were so intense that I found myself being much more vocal than I was with my other births. Not screaming or yelling…just louder than the others. This was the first time that I labored through the middle of the night and I found myself feeling dizzy and tired. That dizziness then led to throwing up in a bowl a few times…not my favorite…but I felt a little better after I threw up.
Random things I want to remember about this point:
-My husband ROCKS. I really NEEDED him to be close to me. He was sitting behind me outside of the tub and I just needed his face next to mine. He whispered in my ear that I could do this and how great I was doing…just typing this brings me tears of joy…I love my husband! He was probably so physically uncomfortable trying to do what I needed him to do but he never left that spot! Megan, Marianne’s assistant and my girls new hero (she taught the sibling class we went to and they just love her!) was smart and brought the yoga ball over for Nate to sit on. Thanks, Megan!! (Charlie, who I mentioned earlier was away at school. We were so sad she was not here but so happy Megan was! These ladies are just wonderful!!)
-Jenn brought so much peace to the house. Not only was it delightful to have a friend to chat with during labor, I was able to focus 100% on my labor, knowing that she was caring for my girls. While in the deepest, hardest parts of labor, I heard her saying to the girls “You’re mommy is okay! She is so strong!” I didn’t worry about them one bit. Jenn entertained and encouraged them through the whole night and that brought me much joy!
-Marianne was AMAZING!! She used her sweet voice and words to carry me through each contraction. Her words and presence supported me when I felt my weakest. I knew that she trusted my body and just knowing that she was there, that she believed in me, carried me until the end. I love this woman and am so thankful for her!
-At one point Marianne suggested I try to feel Ezra’s head and at first I couldn’t feel anything…a bit of discouragement set it..but then only moments later during another intense contraction I reached down and could actually feel something! I remember saying something like “I’m so glad you told me to do that…I was discouraged but now I felt something and am encouraged”…ha..rambling on…even while in labor…that’s me! My water still had not broken so what I was feeling was the bag of waters.
-God is so good. While feeling extremely weary, the song “Your Grace Is Sufficient For Me” played from my laptop. I did not plan this…God knew I needed those words! This was one of my favorite parts of this labor. I “sang along”…”Your grace is sufficient for me, Your strength is made perfect when I am weak…” ahhh…tears as I type and think of this moment. At the end of myself, surrendered to the process, knowing I can’t do it alone…only through the grace of God!
I was still sitting in the tub ,but I knew it was time to push. If I remember correctly, I pushed while sitting but I was so uncomfortable that I willed myself to move. It was time. I knew it was time. This is what is awesome about birthing…your body just knows what to do!
My contractions were intense and I found myself on my knees. I think I was on my knees in the tub for 10 minutes. I may have pushed during this time…I don’t remember.
Because of my position, Marianne suggested I stand up. She did not want Ezra to be born in the “air” and then go under the water. I welcomed this suggestion, as I was standing when I gave birth to our 2nd daughter. Standing brought much relief but at the same time, intense pressure with the urge to push.
I stood, supported by Nate, with Marianne and Megan standing by. Jenn and Aurora stood, Eleanor sat on the couch…..and it was time! Nate says I was standing/pushing for about 5-10 minutes before Ezra was born.
Random facts I want to remember:
-I heard Jenn praying while I was pushing. I couldn’t tell you what she said but that girl was praying and I loved it!
-The excitement on Aurora’s face was so beautiful.
Ezra’s head was out and Marianne announced that he was in the caul! Amazing! I had only seen photos of babies born “in caul”. I obviously couldn’t bend down at that moment and see anything but I could feel him.
Then, in a matter of minutes, Ezra was here! Like music to my ears, Marianne said “Ida, reach down and hold your baby!”. I think I still had one hand on Nate’s shoulder and I remember Marianne saying “Both hands!” and then in that sweet moment I was holding my boy! Nate and Marianne helped pull him up on my chest. I was still standing in the tub at this point. Marianne noticed the cord was tight around his body and she “unwrapped” him for us.
Marianne and Megan helped me transition from tub to couch and the rest is like a dream! I remember kissing my baby, laughing, crying, showing him off to his sisters, and feeling a giddy kind of joy that I will never be able to explain to you..it’s something that, I believe, can only be understood once you walk through it yourself.
And friends, talking to my girlfriends here, PLEASE let yourself experience this! Birth is normal. Birth is powerful. It’s not something to be done for you or to you. It’s something that you were made for! I sit with millions of words, but none good enough to express the bliss and love that filled our home in the moments after Ezra’s birth.
Random facts I want to remember:
-My all time favorite song was playing, ”Oh Lord You’re Beautiful”, when Ezra was born.
-Ezra came out with Nate’s hair. Seriously people. Nate couldn’t be happier! 😉
-Ezra was quiet at first. Just like Aurora….NOT like Eleanor. Marianne got him to cry and it was a joy to hear his sweet voice.
-Ezra latched on and nursed great! God’s design is just breathtaking.
-Aurora and Eleanor began bringing their favorite toys out to give to their new brother. It was so sweet.
-Aurora also read him a book. I love my sweet girls.
-I always want to remember the 5 of us snuggled on the couch right after Ezra’s birth. Sweet, sweet moments.
-Aurora LOVED the placenta. She said that the placenta and watching brother come out were her favorite parts of the whole thing. Megan was FANTASTIC with the girls and included them in all of the “post delivery” stuff.
-Aurora said she wants to be a midwife like Marianne when she grows up. (and an “ice cream girl”, a legoland employee, a missionary, and a picker. The girl wants to do it all
After his birth, we spent much time snuggled on the couch together. All of us. All together. From the beginning. This is why I love home birth. It really shows you how “normal” birth is. When it’s not an emergency, it’s not an emergency! It’s a beautiful event that deserves to be viewed that way….as beautiful.
My life long best friend Heidi and her husband came into the house moments after Ezra was born. Just like after Eleanor’s birth, the ran around for us and got us some breakfast. They brought the girls back special “big sister donuts”. The girls were happy!
Megan helped me in and out of the shower while Nate held his son for the first time. Afterwards we all moved into our bedroom where Marianne completed Ezra’s newborn exam. Shortly after that Marianne and Megan left. These women are just fantastic. Jenn, Heidi, and Preston also left and then it was us 5.
The girls were so excited they could hardly stand it! Even though they had stayed up all night we had a hard time convincing them to take a nap. They wanted to soak in every moment of their baby brother and so did we! Ezra, Nate and myself snuggled to sleep in our bed and the girls slept on the floor in our room. Another sweet moment, for sure.
This was, by far, the most exciting all-nighter EVER! 😉
I posted this random thought on my facebook and I’m reposting here because I want to remember these words….
”Random thought after home birth number 2: There is something so amazing about coming to the absolute end of yourself, physically feeling like you can’t do it, but mentally knowing that you can. ..reaching the absolute height of raw emotions and then…in an instant…pure bliss and joy as you pull your baby up to your chest! Friends…there is NOTHING like this surrender!”
So that’s the story. And the stats…
Ezra Noble Mundell
Born at 4:50 am
8 1/2 pounds, 21 inches
Born at home with Daddy, sisters, Marianne, Megan and Jennifer present for his arrival.
“Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you;
you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.” -taken from Psalm 127, The Message
The birth tub in the living room.
My awesome friend, Jenn.
These ladies are amazing! Marianne, my midwife and Megan, her assistant for the birth.
Giving in to labor…
My sleepy girls fresh out of bed.
They brought their favorite lovies to attend the birth…so cute!
Checking my vitals.
Watchin’ momma work on bringing brother into the world.
My support..he kept the mood light.
Right where I needed him.
Sweet girls waiting patiently.
I love this picture..hand in hand.
Adorable…the little, big sister.
Marianne checking Ezra’s heart beat.
I love home birth…my girls just played as normal while I labored.
The most hilarious picture of the bunch…I had just willed myself to change positions while experiencing the hardest part of my labor. I said “it’s soon…he’s coming soon!!” and look at Nate’s face…welcome to my life.