Emilymae

Emilymae’s story: it has been the fastest week and one of the best i have ever had.

here is the story – all of it. feel free to skip through and just look at the pictures and captions if you’re not into the details. but for those fellow birth nerds and natural mommas out there, please enjoy my sweet memories of our emilymae’s arrival.
here goes!
last sunday was a busy day and lots of walking. i was feeling a little crampy by the evening but didn’t think much of it. i woke up at 3:15 am for one of my many midnight trips to pee and noticed i was spotting. i wasn’t quite sure what to do and was a dash startled. i texted a friend in central time zone to ‘talk it out’. i went back to sleep for a bit, got up again a little after 5 and realized i was spotting more. i decided to call the midwife on call at the birth center. no concern – try to rest. by then chris’ alarm was going off and he was up getting ready to head to crossfit and then to work. he had a 9am meeting he needed to be at so he said he’d check in with me before and after.
in the meantime anabelle and i went about our morning at home and my crampy-ness began to gain a little steam. i got in touch with my doula, checked in with the sitter, chatted with my mom, made rocky road fudge (the same treat i took for the nurses when anabelle was born), helped jumped my neighbors lincoln navigator (true story!), and played whatever shows anabelle wanted to see. the surges were starting to require me to pause and focus. i remember telling anabelle “one second, mama has an ouchy tummy right now” and she would patiently wait for me.
i was glad chris called when he did and even more happy when he said he was coming home to check on me since the meeting was done. i told him that i couldn’t promise that this was ‘it’ but i knew something was definitely happening. it was almost 11. i called the midwife, brita. she said she was planning to be at the birth center at 1 but could go earlier if needed. i didn’t think we needed to leave quite yet so i told her i’d be in touch later.

– – – – –
still at home, in between contractions

chris and anabelle helping me through a surge

another little break

and back to another surge
it was so sweet to feel anabelle’s loving little hands on me at the same time i was feeling chris’ strong warm calloused hands that are so familiar to my skin.

– – – – –
once my doula and sitter showed up, surges were strong and it wasn’t long before we decided to go ahead and pack up the truck and get ready to go. looked like we were going to be meeting brita at 1. it was a strange feeling to leave anabelle that day. she was going to spend the night at my doula’s house and then come home the next morning to meet her little sister.
ok, time to pack up and head to the birth center!
the surges continued throughout the drive but i was still able to chat a little in between. chris was in the back with me while my doula drove us. one more surge right before opening the front door of the birth center and then i just waited in the foyer while chris let the staff know we had arrived. it’s so nice to not have any sort of intake process. no paperwork, no generic questions. you just head to the room you prefer and your midwife meets you in there. awesome.
birth centers – what a grand idea!
we headed upstairs to one of the birthing suites and brita came in to chat. she said i was welcome to go for a walk outside or she could admit me and i could just move around the room as i chose. i was ready to stay in ‘my’ room.
after a quick exam she told me that i was 5cm. that’s great! with the support of my doula, chris, and brita, i continued through surge after surge, more and more intense. i was still spotting. brita encouraged me to keep my vocalizations as deep as possible (anything vocally deep is not my strong point as you might know) in order to help focus the energy deep and low in my body. she even moaned along with me for the next few surges. in between i could hear the great playlist chris had put together for me that was playing from the next room. it went from ‘fun’ to ‘cat stevens’ to one of anabelle’s favorite sesame street songs and then the unicorn song – a perfect assortment. thanks, muggy, for putting that together.
chris and i joked about not being ready to take a baby home that day. we weren’t expecting her to come a week early.
– – – – –
my amazing doula . . . and angel . . . alexis.
(and fabulous photographer – can’t thank you enough for all of these incredible pictures!)

was awesome to have him here this time

– – – – –
i moved around, changed positions, sat on the ball, leaned on the ball, lay on the bed, hands and knees on the bed. surges and more surges. threw up. my low back ached, my hip flexers were burning. i remember thinking about how intense the surges were in the middle of them and hearing my own sounds and increasing volume. as soon as the surges were done my brain would switch to ‘oh ok, that one is done. i can do this.’
– – – – –
time for the tub!
i cried when the midwife asked if i wanted to get in the water. i felt a wave of relief at this point knowing that baby was almost here and that, no doubt, i could do this!
– – – – –
it was about 4pm. the water felt hot at first when i stepped in. once i was sitting i remember saying ‘cozy’. i wasn’t talking much now.

i wanted to try to help delivery the baby so i was trying to keep myself in a reclined position which was not exactly comfortable during my surges.

brita explained to me how the water birth would work, how i needed to keep my bottom low, and what we would do if i needed to get out of the water.

she said i was at 9cm. my water hadn’t broken yet but my bag was bulging. she told me small pushes during surges were fine but that she wanted to check me again before the real pushing happened. she asked if i had any urge to push but i figured i wouldn’t question it if i did. it’s an unstoppable sensation so i was pretty sure i wasn’t there quite yet.
well, before i knew it i needed to throw up again. i moved as quick as i could to my knees, got sick and then hollered ‘push push push push!’ (brita thinks that my water must have broke as i got sick) i scrambled back to my bottom, leaned into chris as brita yelled for the birth assistant. there was no stopping this now! i grunted, i screamed, i pushed with all my might. i could feel all of it. it was incredible. i couldn’t remember any of this with anabelle. i was so much more present this time which is what i had prayed for.
i could hear chris in my ear – “she’s coming! i see her head!”
i felt her make her way and then she seemed a little stuck halfway out. my brain said ‘you can’t stop there! go go go!’ i took more deep breaths and gave it all i had, letting out my own momma roar.
she was out!
i reached for her . . had to close my in hands smaller. she was teeny!
are you ready? here she is!

no words for these two shots

just had a baby – no biggie!

– – – – –
we waited for the cord to stop pulsing and then chris got to cut it. they thought emilymae might need a little oxygen at first but then realized her body was getting nice and pink, her face was just purple . . a tough time with my pubic bone they suspect and she came out with her left hand up by her face. we snuggled for a few minutes in the tub and then they all helped me to the bed to get settled a little before delivering the placenta. that might be the part that surprised chris the most. he was expecting ‘fluid’ but all the mix of fluid, blood, etc sort of caught him off guard. my placenta was in great shape. it was a small one but really healthy. the umbilical cord was on the smaller side too. wonder if emilymae got all she could from it and was just ready to come out.

her little face cleared up a lot after her vitamin K shot a few hours later.
the cramping after labor was really intense – like reverse contractions. extra bonus of the day . . no stitches! hooray! they set me up with a sweet pair of depends, ice pack included, and a heating pad on my back (once emilymae was done with it).

we had some of our snacks we had packed and watched emilymae wiggle and squirm. i nursed, we grinned, took more pictures, i threw up again (took the pain meds before my belly had enough food in it – dang), we sent out lots of texts, called our parents, laughed, kept grinning, kissed, high-fived, and marveled in what a day we had just had . . . and the sun hadn’t even set yet!
we got to hold emilymae for at least an hour or two before anyone took her for an exam. and she never left our comfy little room. they were pretty sure she was around 37ish weeks gestation but all of her vitals were great so no concern. she was perfectly teeny, just a little bundle of awesome!
– – – – –
our incredible midwife, brita.

– – – – –
we continued to love on each other as the birth assistant checked our vitals here and there. we filled out some paperwork, she gave us some instructions for home, asked if we had any questions, and at 9pm she walked us out to our truck, gave us a hug, and sent us on our way.
– – – – –
driving home from the birth center

at 9:45pm we were sitting on our couch, holding emilymae, enjoying a quick bowl of cereal before settling in for our first night together – cozy and together at home. it was so special to have those hours just the three of us but we sure were excited to see anabelle the next morning!
thank you best start birth center for providing a space for mommas to embrace the power of their own fascinating and incredibly designed bodies, for trusting in the process, and for cheering on the families who choose this birth option.
i could shout it from the mountain tops!
so, that’s what i remember. it was empowering. it was incredible. it was magic!
i have never felt stronger, braver, prouder, prettier.

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