Elanora’s Birth Story {Part 2}

by Mama Chocolate on February 26, 2013

…continued from {Elanora’s Birth Story, Part 1} Go read it first if you haven’t yet. 

John was standing next to me to rub my back while he talked to Carol on the phone. I told him to ask her if she thought it’d be okay to go ahead and get in the tub already. I could hear her say something about Portland. PORTLAND?! She’s in Portland? That’s almost 2 hours away! This labor is going fast, what if she’s not here in time?!

John chuckled and said, “You weren’t supposed to hear that…” But Carol’s student midwife, Julia, (who I also love,) was going to come right away, we were going to be fine. Besides, John has repeatedly mentioned how he would be completely comfortable helping deliver our babies himself. If things happened that quickly and smoothly, I think that would be a pretty awesome experience for us.

We’re not medical experts, but we’ve been through two births together as a team already and we both grew up on farms assisting all kinds of animal births. Not the same, of course, but it makes you more comfortable with birth in general. John has delivered four breech calves. And that ain’t easy, folks. A calf weighs about 10 times as much as a human baby when it’s born, and they don’t come out butt-first very easily. Just so you know.

I digress. Julia got there within about 20 minutes and the other assistant midwife, Willow, arrived right afterwards and things didn’t happen that fast.

The water was helping me manage the contractions just fine and John was perched on the edge of the tub in his spot right behind me, putting the pressure I needed on my back during each one. I would get on my knees and lean up against the window sill next to the tub, sort of rocking and moaning through each contraction. Low, deep vocalizing helps me keep my whole face relaxed, and when your face is relaxed it’s much easier to keep the rest of your body from tensing up.

While John had been filling up the tub, I had texted my “birth team” and they were on their way. Carol was there by 7:30 and Katie and Victoria woke up around the same time. We’d prepared them pretty well for what was going to happen and, (despite the fact that I happened to be dry-heaving over the garbage can as they walked in,) they both quickly caught the excitement and were awesome about the whole thing.

Shortly after the girls woke up, everyone else arrived, including my sweet sister, Susannah, who immediately went to work documenting the labor for me, despite having horrible pain from having had her wisdom teeth out just days before (and struggling with complications from it.) She’s my hero.

As everyone gathered into the bathroom and bedroom to say hi, Katie (in her fairy costume of the day,) threw up her arms and, in a sort of confused wonderment asked, “Are we having a party in the bath tub?!” 

Victoria was similarly amazed, but obviously impressed. A party in the bath tub is totally something she would have planned.

Everyone, including me, laughed at Katie’s comment. Laughter during labor is awesome, and I’m so glad that my girls were there to remind me to keep it light-hearted. I was so proud of how well they handled everything, even during the intense parts.

I had been a little concerned about how Victoria was going to handle the whole situation. She is in general very clingy and needs her mama available at all times. (I pretty much never get to use the bathroom alone anymore…)

She was amazing! She just seemed to enjoy the party and know that important things were happening and all my support people did a great job of keeping her excited and entertained.

She had a moment of concern towards the end when I started pushing, but was reassured and then encouraged to cheer mama on and then she was fine.

I remember them telling me, “Go mama! Go!” in their cheeriest voices and it was amazing motivation. I realize that for some mamas, having kids around is a distraction and not helpful (and that’s perfectly okay,) but I encourage you to at least consider it, especially in a home birth setting! For me it was one of my most favorite parts and now my one of my best memories from the whole birth.

My midwife gave me a copy of her charts where she documented the timeline of things – I was counting on those to help me remember the progression of events, but unfortunately in the craziness that is our home (and our life) right now, I have absolutely no clue where they are. So things are going to get a little more vague.

My man was there with me the whole time. In between each contraction, I would sit back down and lean on him completely. I’m pretty sure I’m actually asleep in the above photo, and he is holding up my completely limp head. I caught little 2 minute naps in between contractions for awhile (weirdest thing ever.)

It wasn’t long before I was feeling quite a bit of pressure and guessed that I was fully dilated. I did some experimental pushes, but wasn’t feeling it. I got it in my head that if my water would just break, we’d be good to go and have a baby in my arms pretty quick.

I told Julia what I was thinking, and she instructed me on how to try to break my water myself. I tried several times and it just wouldn’t. I labored a little more, and still couldn’t get it out of my head that this would be over and done with if I could just get that cushion out of the way! So I asked Julia to help. It took her several tries, (even with the hook!) and it was declared that I had a “bag of steel”.

When it did finally break, it only took a couple more contractions to be in full on pushing. After the first push or two, when she started crowning, I had a moment of, “Whoa, whoa….never mind! Let’s not do this!” in my head. I’ve never had that feeling during the pushing stage before.

Pushing has always been so welcome to me after the hours of preceding labor, that, while it hurt, I never wished it to go away. I’m guessing the speed at which everything had gone just left my mind and body a little less prepared to embrace that part of the process. Fortunately, the moment was brief and at 9:53am, after about 4 or 5 growling contractions, she was gloriously OUT.

The cord was wrapped around her neck a few times, so Julia had to slow me down from just plucking her right up out of the water. (Give me my BABY!) As she rotated her around, still under the water, her little bottom popped above the surface and gave everyone a clear view! We had another beautiful GIRL!

She started to get everyone a bit concerned when she didn’t cry or breath for awhile, especially with the cord having been around her neck (it seemed like forever, but was probably only a minute or two at most.) She was turning more purple and then blue and even a little limp and it took a lot of brisk rubbing and Mama’s voice telling her to “Breathe, baby, breathe,”  for her to finally let out a cry and end the panic I had just started to let myself feel about 1 second before. *whew*

When she finally started breathing and crying, I was so relieved and felt the awesome “I-did-it!” rush. Then I realized how fast that had just happened. It was less than 6 hours from when I had woken up with the first real contraction – less than half the length of my other two labors.

We just chilled in the tub for awhile and baby and I snuggled and got to know each other a bit. We finally revealed her beautiful name to the family and our sweet Elanora Sophia became part of the “clan.”

Then came time for me to deliver the placenta (yay. not.) so Papa got his turn with our little beauty and helped Katie and Victoria get acquainted.

{This picture. My heart. That man.}

 Amanda, (one of my bestest friends since I was 6 or so,) came over and sat and chatted with me through the afterbirth process. I was very grateful for this. I hadn’t ever thought about it before, but besides the midwife helping me,  everyone is pretty much focused on baby by this point, and the placenta just feels like this chore I need to get over with ASAP, so I can get back to the party and my baby. She talked with me and helped me stay distracted from contractions that are just dumb. I already have the baby…and I still have to deal with this?!

I finally got to the bed and was able to nurse her for a long time.

She was a pro from the beginning, and we never had any trouble with her gaining weight. After supply issues, weight loss, and “failure to thrive” with Katie, I will never take easy breastfeeding for granted. So thankful for hearty, hungry babies that just know what to do.

After she got something in her little tummy, Julia checked her out and weighed and measured her (7lbs, 4oz, and 20 inches, our smallest baby yet!)

Carol checked for a tongue tie (it runs in the family) and found that Elanora’s needing clipping, so she took care of that. I am so grateful for the knowledge of my birthing team. Something like a tongue or lip tie can make the difference in a happy, easy breastfeeding experience, and some caregivers don’t even know or bother to check for it!

Katie and Victoria were fascinated and so excited about their new baby sister. Although Victoria still often wants to be my baby, too, I haven’t seen any jealousy or ill-will towards the new little person in our house.

One of Victoria’s favorite things to say about Elanora is, “Aw. She so CUTE. We keep her.”

Katie calls her our “chubby little hair-head baby.”

The poor little gal’s hat would not stay on. She has the tiniest little head (you won’t hear me complaining about that.) She is now 6 months old and has a 0-3 month sized hat that is just starting to actually fit her.

I LOVE this picture. These are my people.

I think my heart is going to explode.

I really did feel this good. It was amazing. Starting labor on a full night’s sleep and then doing it for only 6 hours? Can we do this again next time? Thank you.

And here we are: a family of five.

Victoria did have pants on at some point during the day, but apparently decided they were no longer necessary, and I’m really not sure what or who Katie is trying to imitate here.

I am so thankful for another sweet, healthy baby girl, brought into our family peacefully and without complications. Six months later, it’s still sinking in that we are the parents of three beautiful children. So much has changed in the past six years of our lives, and I wouldn’t want to go back for anything, (even if it means I sometimes more closely resemble a blithering zombie, than a rational human being.)

Also, apparently six months is long enough for me to get raging baby fever again while looking through newborn and birth photos. Oh my word.

(But do you see those tiny hands?! Her nose? Her sweet little mouth? Can’t you just smell that delicious newborn head?)

Whoops, I think I just infected you.


Also read:

Katie’s Home Birth Story

Victoria’s Home Birth Story


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy February 26, 2013 at 9:27 am

Such an amazing birth! Your family is Beautiful!
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Melissa B February 26, 2013 at 9:38 am

So beautiful…this story, and your family. :-)


Tiff @ Babes and Kids February 26, 2013 at 9:59 am

I love reading birth stories and yours is nothing short of amazing. How wonderful to be able to give birth at home and have your girls take part in it. You really are amazing! It does make me feel inpatient though, I just entered the 2nd trimester last week and cannot wait to have a baby in the house again!
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Roxanne D. February 26, 2013 at 10:43 am

So happy for you and your little growing family! That experience was amazing. Liam was looking at the pictures as I read and he was saying, “awww…” at all of them. I would love to have such a beautiful birthing experience. Congrats! :) Can’t wait to see even more cute baby pictures.
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Sarah Jane February 26, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I love reading how your daughters were cheering you on!! Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.
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Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom February 26, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Such an amazing–and fast!–birth! It’s a good thing you had a homebirth. You may not have made it to the hospital. :)
That really was a wonderful birth story and, even though your baby’s already 6 months, congratulations!
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brooke February 26, 2013 at 2:43 pm

You totally inspire me to have a natural birth next time! And… Yes…. You absolutely did just infect me. Baby fever is so contagious!!


Trisha W. February 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story.


Jeniffer Smith February 26, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Oh how sweet!! And, no, I was infected before I read this. Which is sad, seeing as my second daughter is just a week older than Elanora and 18 months younger than her sister…
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Liana W. February 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Beautiful story, beautiful family! Our first was fast and in the hospital. We’re going with a home birth this time around (late summer!) and I hope and pray that we have a similar experience again! Congratulations!


Emily @FamilyNLifeLV February 26, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Stunning and gorgeous!! You are so beautiful, I wish I looked that good while laboring!! What a beautiful family, beautiful pictures, and beautiful baby… And yeah, mines not even 3 months and I have baby fever. WHAT!?!
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Sarah February 26, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Beautiful birth story!! I can’t wait to hold another newborn!!!! :-)


Teresa Emmot February 26, 2013 at 5:55 pm

so beautiful. so inspiring… :) love this! and I did NOT know that they can take care of a tongue or lip tie at birth… that is good to know. seems all my children are born with lip ties. breastfeeding has been very difficult and went extinct very quickly after each of them were born. I am determined to breastfeed at least to a year if not longer this time. especially now that I know that it can be taken care of immediately. :)


Emilie February 26, 2013 at 8:19 pm

What a beautiful post! Beautiful pictures, beautiful words, beautiful family! My heart gets so full too when I look at my husband with my three boys. Takes my breath away!
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Pam Forster February 27, 2013 at 5:31 am

OK. So why did I read this first thing in the morning, you dear girl? Now I’m useless. Love you so much! Love your babies, and love how you love them!
“A party in the bath tub is totally something she would have planned.” Yes! :-)


Caitlin Chapman February 27, 2013 at 9:57 am

A beautiful, intervention free birth. A deliciously adorable baby. A 7 month pregnant me. Yes, I’m hormonal and crying. LOL these photos are INCREDIBLE documentation.


Deanna February 28, 2013 at 9:11 am

Thank you so much for your story. I love birth stories. I just had my 11th baby, 6th one at home on Sept.10th. Take care of yourself…


samyra March 1, 2013 at 6:11 pm

all i can say is wow


Alesha @ Full Time Mama March 1, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Love this. Perfect. So thankful for this little blessing for you and your precious family. And, you didn’t infect me, rather made the infection spread… I have big time baby fever! :) That said, my heart spills over when I look at my sweet family; God is so good!!
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