Ella's Birth Story
As a first time mom, every cramp, pain, or discomfort I felt in the final weeks I questioned. Our pregnancy teaches us about stepping into the unknown and surrendering. There truly is nothing we can control. I believe God has it beautifully set up that way. When August 29th rolled around I started to have some contractions. I wasn't sure if it was "the real deal" because they would come and go. I should've known it was approaching considering I ate 6 green chili chicken rallanos the day before. By 7:30 that evening I knew it was it. Contractions were a steady 10 minutes apart! I called our midwife to let her know I was in labor, she told me to give her a call when I was ready for her to head over. At this point, 10 minutes apart was a long enough time in between for me to think "oh that wasn't so bad." My husband started to set up our birth space in our bedroom, we were planning on having a water birth. His job was to set up the pool and put the plastic on the floor. I was laboring in the living room just listening to music and praying. 12:30 am rolled around and my contractions were a steady 5 minutes apart so we called our midwife to head over! This was REALLY happening. I had always thought about this moment the entire pregnancy, THE moment that we would be calling our midwife over because we were preparing to welcome our sweet girl into the world.
Our midwife arrived a little after 1:00 am. I was having a lot of back labor, Ella was posterior so she had me work through the contractions in a position that would encourage her to roll over. I was 3cm dilated and fully effaced when she had checked me. At that point Lorenzo and I went into our bedroom and our midwife slept on our couch in the living room. I loved being in the comfort of our home, It was so peaceful and such an intimate space for my husband and I to share. It was crazy knowing that these were the last moments that it would just be the two of us, I will for ever cherish having that intimate and peaceful space to share the last moments before Ella arrived. I had a music playlist playing and had the freedom to eat, drink, move around and allow my body to do whatever it needed to with zero pressure. What I loved about having a home birth was that it created an atmosphere of complete surrender and trust. Trust on a deep level. I fully trusted my body that I was made to give birth. I fully trusted the process and knew that whatever I was experiencing was exactly right and exactly where I was supposed to be. I didn't feel the pressure that I should've been progressing more, or that I shouldn't trust what my body was prompting me to do. There was a sense of perfection through it all.
I labored in the shower, sitting on the yoga ball, or sitting on the toilet most of the night. I told myself that fear meant excitement, tension meant power, and pain meant progress. If you ask my husband what he did during labor, he will tell you that he mostly kept bringing me food. Mama was hungry. He was such a strong presence to have in the room, and I'm so grateful for his unwavering support and encouragement through the process. Labor was intense. It's not a pain you can plan for or have any concept of until you experience it for yourself. But the good news is YOU CAN get through it. I started feeling an intense amount of pressure, and I could even feel her sliding down the birth canal through contractions. It was 6:24 am and I was texting my best friend Hannah, asking her for prayers for things to speed up, contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and starting to get a lot stronger and lasting longer. With this being my first birth I had no concept of knowing when the final stages of labor were, I thought I had hours to go. A few minutes later my husband went and got our midwife. She checked me and to my surprise said "Your 9cm dialated you can get in the pool, and if you feel the urge to push go ahead." WHAAAT. [Insert mental panic attack.]
At this point I couldn't believe that it was time. This was the most intense phase of labor for me. I have several friends that found the pushing phase to be relieving and enjoyable. I think what made this so much more intense for me was that I started to fear the contractions rather than welcome them. I was not as relaxed as I was prior, which made everything tense up. I was vocal. Quite vocal during this phase actually. And I'm so grateful that I was in a space that gave me the freedom to do or say whatever I needed to, to birth our baby. So many woman are fearful or feel embarrassed at moaning, or grunting while giving birth. I know I was prior to entering motherhood. Let me remind you what is taking place. You're BIRTHING a little human. So if you need to roar, do it mama bear and do it proud!
At some point during labor Ella had rolled over and was facing in a desirable position. I started pushing through the contractions but I wasn't fully committed. I had a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that she was really coming out and I could start pushing. I remember asking for food and my midwife said I could eat whatever I wanted as soon as she was out. And I felt so confused why no one would get me food! I also remember her saying, "Once you push her out, the pain stops." After she said that, it clicked! Two pushes later I delivered her head. Typically after the head comes out the body follows smoothly after. Immediately our midwife knew her shoulders were stuck (this is uncommon) and asked me to get out of the pool onto the floor. It was the strangest feeling standing up and getting out of the pool with a little head between my legs, but what can I say women are amazing! I'm so grateful for such an amazing midwife that knew exactly what to do and did so in a calm manor. Our midwife gently twisted her little body out as I pushed with all my might and sweet little Ella made her grand entrance at 7:53 am, on August 30, 2016. She was 21in long, weighed 6lb 11.5oz and had a head full of dark hair! She was born at exactly 40 weeks, on her due date!
We moved into our bed and shortly after she started nursing. Our midwife and her assistant did all the standard post birth exams for Ella and I and then by 9:30am they left for the three of us to get settled and bond. Words can't describe the peace and love we felt all day just snuggling this precious gift. Immediately your world changes, not only is birth physically exhausting but its also a whirl wind of emotions. We not only give birth to a baby, but to a new identity, a new purpose, a new life. I'm so grateful for the quietness and the peaceful atmosphere of our home after she was born. The transition didn't feel overwhelming. Even though I had been up for 24 hours, I couldn't sleep. My adrenaline was rushing and we just couldn't stop staring at her.
Giving birth was the most empowering and transformative moment in my life this far. I'm still in awe of the miraculousness of it all and how God made us to create and give life. I don't think it's possible to ever fully grasp our bodies ability to grow a perfect little intricately woven child and birth it into the world. I still can't wrap my mind around it. All I know is I feel so grateful every day that God entrusted us with this sweet little babe.