Giving birth really is indescribable. While I was pregnant I did a ton of research (probably too much actually!) and talked to anyone I could about their "birth story" and experience. I wanted a natural birth so badly, if circumstances allowed, and I was going to prepare myself the best I knew how. We were blessed to live 10 minutes away from a birthing center and the day I found I was pregnant I set up my first appointment with a midwife. It seemed like the perfect fit since my husband wasn't quite on board with having our first child at home, and I wasn't too on board with a hospital setting. We loved our midwives and everything about the place! I can't recommend birth centers enough! I kept telling people it's like a cozy hotel. They made us feel so comfortable and educated about pregnancy and birth, we took classes and had appoinments (which to me felt more like chatting over coffee with a friend...how cool is that?).
When I hit 39 weeks I really thought I was going to have her any day. It consumed my thoughts and made me very antsy! You start thinking of every scenario like "what if my water breaks during church and I die of embarrassment?" or "what if I can't get a hold of my husband at work and he misses the birth?". But soon, I had reached my due date...then passed it by a few days and still no baby. I was getting annoyed. You feel tired, uncomfortable and huge! And I think what had me most concerned was that if I hit 42 weeks I had to be transferred to a hospital instead of the birth center...I was not about to let that happen! So I took everyones silly advice (once you reach your due date people feel the need to text you everyday with tips on how to get the baby out. Some days its funny, and other days you want to throw your phone.) Anyway, my sister in law Kailey was on her way from California to try to make it for the birth. She has had 5 kids and she's just one of my favorite humans ever! I was praying she could be my doula, but she only had a few days to stay with us. I went to my 41 week appointment and they confirmed my fear...I wasn't dilated and there was no progress. So we went on a long, hot walk (this is sweaty Florida and I'm a whale at this point) and Kailey gave me a pedicure that night. She said "just wake me up if you go into labor tonight" and I laughed sarcastically like "I wish!".
Sure enough...bam! At 3:30am my water broke, which I hear is actually kind of rare. I woke up Sam, who sprung out of bed and called the midwife. She told us to go back to bed and rest because it would be a long, slow process. Well that was far from the truth, ha! Contractions began right away and they were strong and close. I kept thinking I was supposed to be playing cards and cooking, while I had this early labor part. But no, I was soon throwing up and then hunched over the exercise ball doing all my breathing and calming methods from class. I couldn't believe the pain was this intense already and I kept thinking "if I have to do this for 20 hours I will surely be dead". I did all I could to get through the next few hours, I got in the hot shower, timed the contractions on a fancy app, held Sam's hand, bounced on the ball and basically writhed in pain on the bed like a crazy person...all while breathing long, slow breaths and closing my eyes. Sam thought I should continue laboring at home, we didn't want to get to the birth center and have me be at a 3. But I just kept telling him "I think we should go soon, wake your sister up". Kailey came in to watch me go through contractions...she's done this a time or two so she knows! Eventually I told her I felt pressure in my butt and that seemed to be the magic words. We were off and into the car in 2 minutes! The contractions were so strong and painful, I was in my own world just trying to breathe and hold off on pushing this baby out in my tiny Nissan. I couldn't believe I already felt like I needed to!! I had no concept of time except for the fact that the sun was up. It was the worst drive. Ever! I hobbled into the center and the midwife checked me. At this point I think everyone was worried I was just being a wimp and had a lot more time to go. But hallelujah I didn't...I was at a 10!!! I believe her exact words were "welllll, your cervix is gone!", which really threw my husband off, but she cleared it up showing him 10 happy fingers and started filling up the tub. Ive never seen him so excited and giddy! Looking back it was so precious, but at the time I didn't have any energy to spare a smile. I had always wanted to have a water birth, but I never imagined arriving and immediately getting in the water and pushing!
I pushed for about an hour and a half. I have definitely never felt anything like that in my life! So. much. PAIN. Haha! But it was an empowering pain and it gave relief a lot more then contractions did. I remember when her head was crowning I said "ugh this is so uncomfortable", which had everyone chuckling and agreeing it was probably more then uncomfortable! Sam's encouragement and excitement really got me through, he blew me away the whole time. Best birth coach ever! I knew this was the moment we had been dreaming of and it was all going to be worth it to meet our sweet girl. I could do this, God designed my body to do this. Sure enough, her head finally was out and a few moments later her body! I delivered an almost 9 pound baby naturally...in water! It was truly, truly amazing. Sam kept calling me a badass, which I thought was so funny, but you do kind of feel like you could do anything after that. It was pure magic as they set her on my chest and I saw my husband tearing up and beaming-that first time Dad glow that you just want to remember forever. Eleanor June was born at 9:50am and she was 8.13 and 21 inches long. My total labor/delivery was like 6.5 hours! They felt the need to remind me I should be careful next time or I just might have her at home. After a few minutes Sam got to cut the cord and they gave her to him for some skin to skin time while I got checked and cleaned up and into the bed. The three of us got to snuggle together and let us be.
I will remember that painful, wonderful day for the rest of my life. The day I became a Mom. The day our prayers were answered and we were a family. Thank you Jesus for this gift. I won't take it for granted.