Ellery’s Birth Story
I knew Ellery would be coming early, I wrote it often in my pregnancy journal and so she did! On February 23rd, I posted on my favorite mothering board my guesses for my baby’s birthday, weight and length and I was only off by an ounce and ½ an inch. I got her birthday right! A few days later , I went to my second hypnosis for childbirth session and in that session Ellery “told” me that she was coming on March 12th. It wasn’t that March 12th was in my mind from the previous days, I had chosen March 12th on a whim not really even thinking…after all it was a guess. On March, 7th, I had my 37 week prenatal visit during which I informed my midwife that Ellery would be coming “this weekend”. She laughed and told me any day but Friday. Her husband was in a performance and she was hosting an after-party. She was kidding of course, but it ended up affecting my labor, in a good way I believe. A couple days before her birth, I started to feel pain when walking, or changing positions. I had to have Cameron pull me up out of bed sometimes because I just couldn’t do it myself. I could hardly climb the stairs in the house. I knew it was about time. But I still had my doubts that March 12th wasn’t going to be the day…that I would probably go to 40 weeks!
March 10th came and my water broke at 7:30pm. I was upstairs in our bedroom with Cameron and I was telling him how much it hurt to lift my legs to put my pants on (I’m doing this while attempting to get into pajamas pants) and right there, a foot away from Cameron, a stream of fluid started pouring out of me onto the floor. He said “You’re peeing” and I said “No I’m not, I can’t stop it”. After a few seconds and after a very wet spot on the rug, it stopped. What just happened? Did I pee? It felt like I was but when I tried to stop it from flowing, I had no control over it. Cameron went and got some tissue and soaked some of it up to smell it to see if it was pee or amniotic fluid. We couldn’t decide what it was. But in hindsight, the tissue was still clear even though it was soaked with the fluid. Panicky feelings set in. Adrenalin kicked in full blast. I started to talk to Cameron about my worries while he calmly set up a station on a shelf in our closet. The station you ask? Well it was lots of medical stuff from his paramedic bag. Cameron was going to be ready for an emergency whether or not there was one! I got online and started looking up stuff about water breaking during labor. I still didn’t know for sure. Should I call my midwife? Should I wait and avoid making a fool out of myself? After all, I wet my pants every day over the winter whenever I coughed! I called my mom to let her know she was now officially on call to come over and be with the kids while I labored. Cameron went and poured me a few sips of wine which I drank with hesitation. Finally around 10pm or so, we paged my midwife. The wine calmed me down and I started to get sleepy. I knew if my water did break, I had plenty of time to start having contractions. When Valerie, my midwife, called back Cameron was the one to speak to her. She told me just to rest and call her if things started to happen. I slept four hours. I woke up to pee and when I wiped the fluid was slightly pink. Just a dot of it, but knowing this, I couldn’t fall back asleep. I wanted to know what was going on with my body. I called my mom who informed me that she was coming around noon. Cameron slept in. I called Cameron’s dad around 7am because he was due to head out of town on a business/leisure trip to Florida. He cancelled his flight and was now waiting at home for Ellery to arrive. Cameron’s mom was in Seattle. She couldn’t come home right away because she was visiting my sister-in-law and her family. After I made that call to my father-in-law, I started to worry that maybe this wasn’t “it” and I was getting everyone all ready and hyped up for nothing. I was especially worried that he cancelled a trip! I tried to wake up Cameron so he could panic with me but he was too tired. A couple hours later, I noticed some stronger than usual Braxton hicks and I went to use the bathroom again and noticed I was losing my plug. I used the bathroom again at some point in the morning and there was some bloody plug. This was it!!!! It wasn’t until that moment that I realized my water did indeed break the night before. But I felt I had time. I wasn’t having any real contractions. My midwife called and I gave her my update. I knew she had a big day ahead of her. I was so worried that I was going to interfere with her husband’s night and the party she was hosting. I know that my body was holding back because of this worry. I also knew the next day was March 12th! I had to hold out to prove my prediction true! Maybe it was both things. But my body was certainly easing into her birth. Around 10:30am, Cameron and I headed out to go shopping. Kaya was at school and Cody was with our babysitter. We went food shopping and went to the Target too. I got some spring clothes for the kids because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to go shopping for quite some time and also knowing they were going with my in-laws on vacation when Ellery would be about a month old. By the time we came back, my mom was there. My contractions stopped. Flashback of my labor with Kaya! My mom informed me Ellery definitely dropped….when I did look down, I noticed myself that my belly was very different. I noticed when I lied down, I was able to squeeze the fat on my belly…it wasn’t taut anymore. In fact, I was worried it looked so much flatter than it was before. The play-stands I ordered for the kids arrived that morning, so I proceeded to put them together around 2pm. My mom and Cameron helped! Kaya was home from school by then. Then, I started to get really tired. I went and took a nap. At some point I started to visit the bathroom often. Another flashback! My body was emptying to get ready! I started to have contractions but they were not consistent and didn’t feel strong enough. I wish I could remember more details of that afternoon but right now as I type it’s hazy! I know I was having inconsistent contractions and laughing with Cameron and my mom through them towards the evening. I eventually got on my bed and I listened to music and my hypnosis cd. I was still contracting on and off. I remember my mom kept coming in and asking me how I was doing (stop asking me will ya!). I know Cameron was still in denial. He kept telling his family when they called that it could be a while. A while!?!? I gave up trying to convince him that Ellery was on her way! My mom put the kids to bed. Cameron was just hanging out and checking in on me often. All I know is my first painful contractions started around 8pm or so. They were 20 mins apart, then 15, then 8, then 16, then 5, then 11…..by this time, it was around 11pm. Our room was ready by the way. The tub was set up but empty. The table for my midwife was set up with all the supplies. Ellery’s first clothes and diaper were all ready to be worn. My mom and Cameron were asleep! I stuck through some pretty painful contractions on my own. Then I decided to call her. I knew the party was over with. I wasn’t interfering with anything! Valerie would be relieved! I called her around 12:30am on March 12th! She said we’re on our way! Good God…she’s on her way! Is this really happening!? I got Cameron up. I woke up my mom. This is it guys! And then I was gone! By the time they arrived exactly an hour later, I was kneeling on the side of my bed, in a calm daze of painful contractions coming every 45 seconds apart. My back was starting to hurt. I was a little worried as I had horrible back labor with Kaya. My midwife and her assistant, Gail, set up their bags and got some coffee and came back up and said, let’s fill the pool. Okay, sounds good to me! Where’s the hose? What hose? Well, my midwife forgot to tell us we needed to buy a hose to fill the pool! DOH! So she filled the master bathtub and I eagerly slid into the nice fairly hot water. It felt so good. The lights were out, candles were lit and some meditation cd was on. I was in some serious back pain. I rode the surges for days it seems. I was naked. I never thought I would labor in the nude, I’m a pretty modest girl…but I felt different somehow. I wasn’t worried about anything. I was so focused on giving birth. Gail came in and talked me through the contractions for a while. She also willingly got her arms soaked while she bent in the tub to give me hip squeezes to alleviate the back pain. I loved her I decided! I owed her big time! I never met her before that night but somehow I loved her. My midwife visited the bathtub several times. I heard Ellery’s heartbeat a few times. I heard Cameron talking to me. I saw Cameron leaning over me with a look of concern. I started getting very vocal during the contractions. I was moaning and moving up and down, side to side in the cramped tub trying to ease the back pain. At times, I felt panicky. I wanted all the pain to go away. I wanted to go to the hospital and get an epidural. What was I thinking, thinking I could do this without medication? How much longer? What if the pain never went away? The water was getting cold. Valerie let most of it out and refilled it. I was given sips of water…some of them I was told had a diluted homeopathic remedy for my back labor. Cameron was back leaning over me. I started to feel helpless…begging him in my mind to save me. Time seemed to go on forever. I sat up and leaned against the tub faucet. The back labor became bearable. Then I wanted out of tub. I don’t know why. I just wanted out…. fast! There I was naked again leaning against the blanket trunk at the end of our bed, my dimpled rear end out for all to see. I begged for hip squeezes from Gail & Cameron. I looked up a few times to see my midwife sitting on the bed over me….her face I’ll never forget. It silently told me… “You’re doing it”. “You’re almost there”. “Don’t be afraid”…She was watching over me like some birthing angel. Out of reach….but right there with me. I was afraid I wasn’t going to make it…I was going to collapse under the pain. I started asking her in a helpless voice…”how much longer? I’m so tired” “how much longer” Valerie asked if she could check to see how dialated I was…I said with hesitation. What if she told me 5 centimeters? I’ll be devastated because I can’t do this much longer. The pain was constant. I didn’t feel any relief from contractions. There was just one constant contraction taking over my body. I couldn’t control it. I felt her hand inside of me, I heard a voice…10 it said! Ten??? Wait, ten? I did it!!! Now what? Take the pain away now….I made it to ten! Someone asked me if I had to push….I don’t know, do I? I asked “what does it feel like? How will I know when I need to push? Valerie said, “You’ll know”. I stood up and saw blood streaming down my leg. Cameron was standing beside me and I leaned on his shoulders. I let the weight of my whole body lean on his shoulders and I slowly collapsed to the floor. My head was between his legs and I was squatting with my behind on the floor. I was talking to Ellery. Get out Ellery. Come out! Come out Ellery. Come out nowwwwwww. I started to thrash around a bit on the floor. I didn’t know what to do, what to think, where to go. I still wanted to know how much longer. I wanted to run from the pain. I started making this sound…it was a sound I’ve never made before. It was loud. It hurt my chest. I was seeing African tribal woman in my head giving birth by themselves in the jungle….then I heard Gail “Erica, Erica! Put that down in your body…You’re going to make your throat dry…put all that energy down to your baby”. So I did. But now I had to go to the bathroom. I was about to poop the biggest poop I’ve ever pooped “I think I have to go”…“I have to poop” I exclaimed….Do you have to push? Someone asked…No!!! I have to poop. “Okay let’s get you into the bathroom”. I never made it to the bathroom, by the time they held me up to stand, I was there again. I was in another world. I could hear them, I couldn’t see them. I was alone with Ellery. I leaned on my legs just above my knees and pushed. Why isn’t the poop coming out? I know I have to go! Suddenly, something came out…what was that!? Is it Ellery? I’m still in pain...how much longer!? I looked down and asked “what is that?”. Valerie said your fore-bag of water. It looked like a water balloon was hanging out of my body. Get it out I yelled. Take it out! She broke the small bag and the water fell to the floor. I have to “go” still! Go ahead they said. By then, there were towels and sheets and padding under my legs. Gail was just behind me sitting on the blanket trunk. Cameron and Valerie were on the floor under me. Valerie asked if I wanted my mom there for the birth. I don’t care…whatever! She can come in! I was alone again….pushing this big “poop” out. I didn’t care if I made a mess…I had to get it out! I heard Valerie say “her head”….then I saw Cameron’s hand go near my body, near her head. Then I pushed again…man! This is a huge poo! Then I felt it! I felt it! I forgot all about it… the ring of fire! “She’s right there, Erica”. Owwww, it hurts. I push again. When’s this poo coming out, I’m thinking and then….RELIEF!! RELIEF! RELIEF!!! 3:45 am. I sat down on the trunk. It came out! Thank God! A few moments later, I looked down into my arms, I heard Valerie say “Erica!! Look down at your baby”. My baby!? Where!? Oh my God, my baby! I did it!!! I did it! I had my homebirth! I have my baby! She’s tiny. Look at her tiny tushie. Her little chicken legs. Look at her hair! A whole head-full like Kaya! Oh she’s so tiny! I try to calm down inside. My body is still birthing it feels although the pain is gone. It took me a few more moments to come back to and realize I just gave birth…I wasn’t pooping. I was pushing her out of me! So that’s what the ‘urge to push’ feels like..ahh! Now I know!
She’s crying. She’s pink. She’s loud. She’s Ellery! Ellery Saige!
The rest of the story: I got onto the bed. I stared at my baby. She stared at me. She’s beautiful! She looks just like the baby in my dreams! Just like her! I started to cramp. I birthed the placenta. That was a pain! Cameron and Valerie helped. I never saw Kaya’s placenta….this was pretty awesome! I saw the membrane, the sac, that housed Ellery for 37 ½ weeks. Wow! There was blood everywhere. I nursed Ellery. I was struggling to get her to latch on right. I was a little nervous. I had such a hard time in the beginning with nursing Kaya. I wanted this to be perfect. Valerie checked me for lacerations. I had one. She got to sewing me up. Cameron watched. My mom came in and watched. Somehow, I could care less. Ellery was on my chest and I did it! I was so proud of myself and Ellery! We didn’t need meds. We did it together! Valerie and Gail brought me a platter of fruit and cheese to eat. I ate. I ate a tiny piece of the placenta while Valerie and Gail had fun making placenta prints. Cameron took pictures. Ellery got weighed…7lbs 2ounces. She looked so much smaller to me! I got in the shower. Felt so good! I got back in bed. Valerie and Gail hung around for a bit then started packing up. Don’t leave! I need you two! Kaya came in & met her sister with excitement! Cody woke up eventually and finally got to see “Baby”. My father-in-law came! Phew, he didn’t cancel his trip for nothing! After the excitement was over, I slept. Yeah right! I wanted to sleep! I haven’t slept in a month….but in that month, I’ve fallen in love…in love with Ellery…with God for creating such a beautiful life and entrusting us to nurture & love her…the life that I birthed naturally from my body that was her vessel for 37 ½ weeks.....Ellery Saige.
Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys