In the days leading up to the birth of EllieMae, I had been having contractions irregularly that would, right on time, wake me in the middle of the night, as well as my husband, Jeremiah. They would last for a few hours and then flitter away as if nothing had happened. I was sure I was going to be pregnant forever. I had never been this pregnant before! With my first baby, Oliver, he had made his appearance into the birthing pool in our home at 37 weeks and 5 days after a long, but peaceful three day labor. So as I headed into the third trimester of my second pregnancy, I fully expected to be holding my beautiful baby girl in my arms by at least 39 weeks. I was absolutely positive that I would go into labor early.
Contractions came and went…along with my due date. It was at 40 weeks and 5 days that I woke up from an afternoon nap, exhausted and feeling as if the room and my body were on fire. I could tell that my blood pressure was high and decided to check it out. Looking at the numbers on the machine, I was sure it was wrong. There was no way it was so high! I checked it 3 more times. Then, I called my midwife, Debi.
She asked me to run over to her office and we would see what was going on. By the time we got there, it had settled and was much lower. I was so uneasy, and was ready to have a cervical check to see what was happening. To my surprise, I was already at 4 centimeters! I asked her to go ahead and do a sweep and try to get things to progress. My husband and I hopped in the car and ran to grab some food before heading back home to tuck our little boy into bed for the night.
Once home, I put on some music and began to pick up around our bedroom. It was now close to 10:00PM, and we were getting ready for bed. My son and husband lay in bed, watching cartoons and chatting, while I danced around the room to music and did some light cleaning. It was then that the rushes started to come over me. They were light at first, but within minutes they became heavy and hard and I was finding it difficult to speak through them. My beautiful 22 month old son came to my feet and asked to dance with me to the music. He swayed with me, holding my hands as I moved through the contraction.
After my husband laid my son to bed in his room, he made me a bath so that I could relax and get through some contractions easier until it was time for the midwives. Once I was in the water, I knew I couldn’t stay there long. I twisted and turned and wiggled and cried out. Nothing made the rushes ease. They were coming quickly and they were intense. My husband sent texts to the photographer and the midwives, as my contractions were coming two to three minutes apart.
“Surely this will slow.”
“It can’t be happening this fast.”
“This isn’t how birth happens!”
I told myself these things as the contractions kept coming, one after the next. No breaks. No breathing. This was a battle I had never felt before, not like this. My previous labor had been so long and gradual, that I had time to catch my breath and talk myself through each contraction. This was a different ball game.
By a little after 12:30AM, the midwives had arrived and were setting out their things. Debi looked at me and asked, “Are you feeling like you need to push?” With the fiercest voice I had ever used, I shouted, “Yes!”
Moments later, a contraction began, and I bent over the bed to rest my arms and find some form of relief. My eyes came up and I saw the face of my wonderful photographer, Rebekah, peering through the crack in the door over her camera. She was videoing this moment in time that I was feeling so broken. I was glad to see she was there for this and after the split second I thought that, I felt a gush. I knew I had peed myself on camera! It wasn’t until after the birth, that I realized that it was my water breaking.
As politely as a woman in labor can do, I excused myself to the bathroom. Once I sat down, the rush that came took me somewhere else. I was looking down on this violent scene that was so quickly pulling my baby down. I felt the most intense pressure and my body took over where my mind couldn’t function. It wasn’t until I reached my hand down and felt my baby’s head that I knew she was really coming. This was it! It was almost over, and the pain would leave me! I felt so much relief. I was about to meet my baby girl and this was all with it. I shouted, “She’s coming!”
Debi asked me if I wanted to deliver her on the toilet. The only thing I knew I wanted was for her to be out here with us. Debi and Jeremiah grabbed under my arms and helped me to the bed. The room was buzzing. People were moving and grabbing things and preparing for the birth that was moments away. As my husband put on his gloves, I asked where my mother was. One of the midwives ran to the living room to get her. My mother later told me that the midwife had shouted, “If you want to see this, you better get in here!”
I continued to push, as the room was spinning around me. I reached down to feel my baby’s head slide out of me and I laughed out loud shouting, “That’s my baby!” In what felt like a mere second, my husband lifted my baby girl up and into my arms.
She was here, a short three hours after the contractions started. A tailspin of emotion filled me and I was taken back by her beauty and the unbelievable similarity between her and her big brother. She was perfect. I was filled with an unspeakable joy!
We spent the next couple of hours nursing, snuggling, taking an herb bath, and getting to know our newest family member.
She is the perfect addition to the family we are building. Everything we didn’t know to ask for and more. She is peaceful and patient and perfectly on time.
Photography by Rebekah Mustaleski at Growing Wings Photography.