by Hannah, Elijah and Elliot’s Mom
The days leading up to Elliott’s birth were really emotional for me, I was getting more impatient by the second and by the day before my due date I felt hopeless. Elijah, my first baby, came two weeks early. What was taking this baby so long?! All week I’d been trying every old wives tale there was to naturally kick start labor and there I was, still very much pregnant. On top of being anxious for labor to start I also felt an enormous sense of pressure to give birth because my mom had been visiting with us from out of state for two weeks at this point and I knew every day I spent pregnant was a day less of her help once he was born. Also, Albert’s paternity leave started on my due date and was only two weeks long and I had a feeling I was going to go past my due date and have to be induced. Needless to say I was feeling pretty discouraged.
On the night of the 16th after saying my prayers I decided to talk to baby Elliott thinking maybe all he needed was a little encouragement. I told him that we were ready to meet him and receive him into our family. That mommy, daddy and Elijah loved him and couldn’t wait to meet him but if he needed to stay inside mommy for a few extra days that was okay too. After our talk, I listened to my HypnoBirthing® Birth Affirmations as I did every night but this time without the hope of waking up at two in the morning with labor pains. I decided to let go of the need to control and to instead, feel at peace with things as they are meant to be.
I woke up at five AM on the morning of the 17th and couldn’t fall back asleep. I was hot, uncomfortable and decided to start my day. I bounced on my birth ball for awhile, drank some red raspberry leaf tea and then laid on the couch and read some birth stories from Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth while I waited for everyone else to get up.
When my mom woke up she asked me what I wanted for breakfast and I felt like I needed something a little more hardy than cereal. Something super yummy and filling, so naturally I requested pain perdu. It was absolutely delicious! After breakfast I made my millionth bathroom run and made an exciting (and gross) discovery, I had lost my mucus plug! I shouted my finding to Albert and my mom from the toilet and tried not to get too excited, I knew it could still mean labor was days (or weeks) away but it was hard not to get my hopes up considering after I lost my mucus plug with Elijah I went into labor the next day. I texted our Doula, Nicole and let her know what was happening. She was optimistic labor would be soon (I’d had a cervical exam two days prior and found out I was 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced) and told us to keep her updated if anything started happening.
I decided that if anything was going to happen the best way to speed things up would be to go to the mall and walk around, so we did. The mall we went to is about 30-35 minutes away from home and by the time we got there I was already starting to have surges. I told Albert but didn’t think much of it. Not much longer after that I realized that these surges were coming in what seemed like a regular interval so I had Albert time them for me on his phone. To my surprise they were already five minutes apart and lasting 50-60 seconds, but I just couldn’t believe this was the real deal because I was still walking and talking through them and from what I’d learned inHypnoBirthing® Class this could still be early or even false labor. I figured if I got some water and sat down they would fade out as usual. Surprise, surprise they didn’t!
Albert and my mom started to get concerned because it had been an hour and my surges weren’t decreasing in intensity, so I agreed to go back home. The drive home was rough, the parkway was under construction, so saying it was bumpy is the understatement of the century. I started to close my eyes and go inward during my surges as they seemed to come in twos. I’d have one that lasted a minute and a few seconds later I’d have another that was about thirty seconds, they continued this way for about an hour.
For some reason I was STILL in denial that I was in full blown active labor, and insisted we stay home as long as possible. I managed to change into some comfy clothes and just like that the next stage of labor hit me like a ton of bricks, I tried several different positions but the only one that felt right was being on my hands and knees. I put my headphones in, turned the volume on high and listened to the HypnoBirthing® Birth Affirmations which really helped me stay focused. Albert was doing counter pressure and light touch massage, occasionally giving me a kiss, a sip of water and reminding me how well I was doing.
I was beginning to feel the need for some relief so I asked Albert to draw me a bath, and told him he should probably give our Doula a call. During the call I became vocal during a surge. “Is that her?”, she asked. Albert “Yes, that’s her.” Nicole told Albert gently but firmly, “If you guys don’t go to the hospital right away, she’s gonna have that baby in the bathtub.”
And with that we were out the door! Nicole would meet us at the hospital right away. Getting back in the car was miserable. I felt great in the water. I would’ve happily stayed in there and birthed my baby if they let me! From the backseat my mom was recording me on the camcorder she’d recently purchased, Albert was speeding down the parkway towards the hospital and I was trying my best not to have the baby in the front seat of our new car. Without any effort on my part my body was bearing down, and for such an incredible phenomenon the only way I can describe the way it felt is by comparing it to pooping. I remained totally calm and focused on my breathing. It felt like my body was trying to push out the biggest bowel movement I’d ever experienced. (Hey, nobody said birth was glamorous right?)
Talk about timing! As we pulled up to the ER doors a transporter pushing a wheelchair just happened to be near by and offered to wheel me to L&D, not thirty seconds after I sat down my water broke. I was shocked at the volume of liquid pouring out of me, it felt like gallons. Albert had to grab my birth bag from the car so he missed the dramatic journey to the delivery room (and almost missed the birth altogether).
When we got to the room it was full of scrambling nurses and the midwife, with no time to formally admit me, they helped me onto the bed and pulled my dress up to my chest. When I opened my legs my midwife saw I was already crowning. “I feel like I need to poop!” I kept saying. “That’s okay, go for it!” Said the nurse next to me. “Next contraction and your baby is out!” Said the midwife.
This was it, everything these nine months had been leading up to, we were finally gonna meet our baby! His head came out and it was the greatest sensation I have ever felt. Next, I felt my baby turn his shoulders and slide out. Elliott was on my chest when I heard a little cry and my heart exploded! Albert cut his umbilical cord. He was so beautiful, even more so than I imagined.
The next few hours were so filled with love, it was incredible. Our Doula collected our placenta to take home to encapsulate for us. She is such an amazing person, and I’m so glad she was able to play a part in this experience, if I ever had another child having her as our Doula again wouldn’t even be a question.
After she left, Albert’s parents, his younger sister and Elijah came to see Elliott, they were enamored with him as well. Of course, the most touching thing for me was watching Elijah interact with him. Watching him place his small hand on Elliott’s even smaller face while saying “Awe, my little brother!” Was such a wonderful and reassuring moment, as I had been worried about how Elijah would accept the new baby into his world. He was thrilled to be a big brother.
Once visiting hours were over and everyone left, Albert and I enjoyed the peace and quiet with our beautiful baby. Neither of us could stop talking about what had just transpired, we recounted each moment over and over and over, we were so happy and proud of the decisions we made surrounding his birth. We’d made a plan, prepared, and were able to have the birth we wanted for Elliott and ourselves and although it definitely wasn’t easy it definitely was worth it.