Birth Story – Eleora Joy
Monday, February 24, 2014
Sitting down to write my birth story as Nina and Jill encouraged me to do so before I forgot, I thought about the things leading up to that day. Not just the pregnancy, buteverything. The changing of our season of life through growth and maturity; Joe and I waited seven years into our marriage to have a baby, and looking back, it was one of the best decisions we could have ever made. The fact that I never dreamed I would have a home birth until I did some research and watched The Business of Being Born. Our little girl came along at just the right time, exactly as God intended. It was in His timing, and His timing is perfect.Always.
Truly I think this story begins the night before. For the nineteenth time, I woke up to use the restroom. Unknowingly, there was a glass sitting on the counter in the bathroom, and I accidentally knocked it to the floor where it shattered into a million pieces. Joe woke up to help me clean the mess up, and we both returned to bed.
That was 2:30 am. Then the alarm clock went off. Time to go to CrossFit. I had been doing CrossFit my entire pregnancy, and decided a morning of sleeping in was worth it. We were both exhausted. Happily, I went back to bed. Again, the alarm clock went off at 7:00 am. This time, I had to get up. Another bathroom trip, plus I needed to get ready to go to work.
As I gingerly rolled off of our bed and stood up, untangling myself from my snoodle (pregnancy pillow) I felt a trickle of liquid running down my leg. Hmm. Just a small amount. But by that time my mind was racing, thinking, maybe this will be the day. Oh. My. Goodness. (I swallowed some nervous energy) So, I woke up Joe and told him I thought that I might be in early labor. But as I got to the bathroom, and lingered on the toilet, I felt more contractions. They were mild, but I had never experienced them before.Definitely in labor. I tried to keep track of the speed of the contractions, but it was difficult. I was preoccupied with thinking about how the day was finally here, and then, oops, the contraction stopped, and I forgot to stop the timer.I finally figured out that my contractions were roughly 4-5 minutes apart.
We called Jill, one of my midwives around 7:45 am, fully expecting to just tell her that I thought I was in labor. In her chipper way, she greeted me with a hello, and I told her my observations. She listened to me. She asked if I had the swab that would tell if the liquid I was leaking was amniotic fluid. Not hearing much hard breathing, she suggested trying to go back to bed. I agreed. That had been my plan after all to go back to bed if I was able. Then, mindlessly, I asked her whether I should go to work (Yes, I asked, and no, I wasn’t thinking.). Hahahahahaha. So, we hung up, thinking here we go. Going back to bed. I climbed back into bed, but I was not comfortable no matter what I tried. Contractions felt a little heavier, but not unmanageable.
At this point, Joe decided he would call the dog kennel for Tank, our Great Dane, go to the grocery for some fruit (because it was in my birth plan!), and get himself a coffee. We both thought that it was about to be a LONG day of labor, after all, my mom was in labor with me for 14+ hours, and by all counts I would probably take after her(boy were we in for a surprise). While I was trying to get comfortable on the bed, I listened to Joe calling the kennel. The lady answered, and he said, “Hello, this is Joe with Chase Card Customer Serv…” He laughed, and the lady on the other end did too. Oops. I think soon-to-be daddy was a bit excited. Dog kennel, not work. They had room. Joe went right over.
Joe left around 8:00 am to go drop off Tank (our Great Dane), and run those other errands. All the while, I was back and forth from sitting on the “throne” and on the exercise ball. Then, I decided to try on my knees in the hall, much like and awkward yoga, downward dog pose. Felt pretty good. But, things were getting strong. Like, super strong. I could not get comfortable. I was up. I was down.My body thought it needed to potty, but could not relax. (I still can’t figure out why on earth I wanted to sit on the toilet to labor at this point)
Finally, around 8:30 am, Joe came back to our little apartment, and there I was on the floor, fashioning noises that only women in labor make (of course all the while trying to remember a relaxed open jaw means less tension, I tried lots of ahs and ohs). I transferred to the exercise ball, changed into a nightie and sat… making more noises. He said he thought he should call Jill. I agreed. She said she would be along in about an hour and a half and would call Nina, our other midwife. Okay. Sounds great. She knows what she’s doing.
I spoke to Joe as I could through contractions (somewhat) and he got things out… plastic floor coverings, towels,chux pads, old blankets, birth music playlist, oh… “and I think it’s time to fill that tub.” Our hot water heater filled the tub (portable birth tub) maybe ¼ of the way before it ran out, so Joe was busy tending to me and filling pots with hot water on the stove and through an electric tea kettle. Dumping, refilling, dumping, refilling… he was such a trooper. I kept asking when it would be full enough to get in, and as soon as it was around 1/3 of the way full, I got in.
By 9:45 am, my labor by this point had gotten far more intense. Getting into the water was amazing. It was a whole new experience. Even though I was in pain, I could relax a bit. The water helped me feel buoyant. Lighter. Super woman. And then the contractions got heavier.
I won’t lie. Had I heard ambulance sirens, I might havebegged that I wanted a ride. In my head I went over whether I could do this at home. And I prayed silently for God to give me help. To help me relax. For rest between contractions. Those prayers were soon audibly heard while I was laboring.
At 10:05 am, Jill came in. I had just my sports bra on (for this extremely modest girl I must say, I felt extra careless as to my wardrobe) I was in the tub and in pain. The contractions didn’t have much space between them. Joe was still hustling around filling the birth tub. Poor guy. I yelled I needed him. He came in. Then I said go and keep filling. Then he’d come back. What a cycle. What ahusband. About 10 minutes after Jill had gotten there, Joe was able to stop filling the birth tub and just be with me. Jill squatted to my level and told me it was okay. She said that I could do it. That I was doing it. I mindlessly shook my head in agreement and another contraction came on. And another. And another (Oh and I don’t want to forget to mention all of the noises). Jill said she needed to check me, if that was okay, within the next 2-3 contractions. I was thinking, are you kidding me? I agreed, and she checked. I felt frantic. Like I was out of control of my body. I didn’t like that part, but I knew it was part of the whole process.Just let go. Jill checked me. She said I was 7-8 centimeters.Are you joking? That part comes in like 10 hours. Not now.Then she told me that this was as hard as it would get. Wow. Those were some much needed words. Seriously. This would be it. Jill went out of the room to call Nina(another midwife we had) and tell her she needed to get to our place (we later found out that Nina was at the right place on the highway to make a detour to our house, otherwise she would have missed it).
Contractions were so hard. So forceful and close together. I found myself praying out loud the same prayer over and over. “I need you God. Just give me rest. Rest. Please. Rest.” Then a huge wave of contractions came over me and Joe was there. I remember how hard it was because I bit his arm. He offered the bath towel, and I instead bit that briefly (oops, sorry honey).
And then those pushing contractions started. Whoever said they felt like having to go to the bathroom is a liar. It’s kind of like needing to throw up, only you’re throwing everything down. Everything inside of you is pushing down. DOWN. I must have looked frantic, because Jill told me to go ahead and push if I wanted. It would make me feel better (oddly enough it did).
Around 10:40 am Nina arrived. Jill told me there was a definite bulge and I could push for real with these contractions. I could even reach down and feel her ‘head’. I did. Things seemed easier. I think it was because of the thought that we were going to meet our little girl soon. It made things bearable. I pushed for twelve whole minutes (I know, who does that?) and she came out, into the water. She was in her bag still (how cool). Jill and Nina both realized that she was not head first, but butt first – frank breech. What? My body seemed to stop having contractions to push, so I was on my own. I tried pushing on my side as I had before, but that wasn’t working. I went to all fours. Still, I felt like I couldn’t. Nina told me to stand up, and told me I had to do it. You need to. Nina took charge. That must have been what I needed, because standing in the birth tub, I gave a couple pushes and we met our little girl. I was holding on to Joe as I was experiencing a rush of emotion. My midwives passed her through my legs up to me. I cuddled her onto my lower belly because her cord was quite short.
My midwives helped me out of the birth tub and on to the bed in the same room (very small room). After a few minutes of checking, Nina and Jill left us with our little girl. And all was right in the world at that very moment. I had done it with God’s help, Joe’s help, and our midwives help, and our little girl didn’t have a single scratch (nor did I).
7 lbs. 10 oz, 19 inches of beauty crafted by God’s hand. The Creator had completed his masterpiece. She now joined us earth side for the first time.
We named her Eleora Joy because it means “the Lord is my light.” In pondering all that had happened on Eleora’s birth day, I truly believe that her name and verse have great meaning. Nothing was out of place or went wrong (as it could have), as God was with us (all of us) that day; our stronghold and our light. I pray that the Lord will be her light, as God is ours.
This was birthing without fear.
The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear??The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?