I am a little late on this (ok a lot late)...My baby is turning 4 next month! I started this before she turned 3, and it has taken way too long to finish it, so here it is...
One year ago....
"This morning she turned 3 I gleefully continued our birthday pancake tradition, adding exactly 3 m&m's to each. It's become a love of mine and my kids to have these on their special day. We sing happy birthday and blow out candles and everything, just the 4 of us. No waiting until the actual birthday party, we do a mini celebration each birthday morning, and I love it. This morning, I woke up to a little 3 year old, and her little 3 year old attitude. It's just as adorable as it is troublesome, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I smiled and said "Happy Birthday" and was met with a frown and a tantrum."
She's almost 4 now, 3 treated us well. I affectionately refer to her as my sassy little threenager, and she fits the mold well. She's strong willed and independent, but learning to be soft and sweet as she exits 3. I'm enjoying her more and more every day, and I think she would say the same about me! Here she is yesterday at the ice castles, having the time of her life!....
I think it's about time that I delve into her birth story. Something I wish I would have written weeks after birth, not years. But we as mothers do what we can with what we have, and it's not always perfect. Better late than never.
Her birth was one of the most empowering days of my entire life. Having my first daughter was the most eye opening, and very powerful expierence in its own right. It's the day I became a mother, and it rocked my entire world. However the day I had Elise, was the day I fell in love with the idea of birth being an empowering expierence. And mamas, once you are empowered, no one on the face of this earth can disempower you ever again. Once you get a grip on what birth really is, and what is isn't, you are never the same.
February 10th, 2014 around 6-7pm
My doula had just left our condo, but not before we snapped a few pictures of her and I and my pregnancy belly. We were about to leave for a date night and I was all dolled up and wanted to squeeze in one last pregnant photo op. We had also just taken maternity pictures the day before. That day was snowy and cold, and my photographer wanted to know if we wanted to wait until next weekend. However I had a gut feeling that would be either cutting it way to close to my due date (the 21st) or too late, so we went ahead on the snowy day.
Anyways just after my doula , Kim, left the condo we hopped in Ben's car and scooted across the main road to the movie theater. I honestly cannot remember what we went to see, but I do remember about halfway through I began to feel a slight cramping and tightening sensation come across my belly. Ben noticed me feeling my belly, and I could see the whites of his eyes, just staring at me in the dark theater, out of the corner of mine. He was concerned to the say the least. He asked me if I wanted to leave, and I thought about it for a second. In the end I figured we would finish the rest of this movie that only had about 40 minutes left on it, after all we were having a home birth and we lived across the street.
The intensity of the contractions never really picked up but the frequency did. Around the time I went home and got in my jammies, my water broke. It was around 11, or 11:30 when we called our midwife, Jessica, to get her opinion. She sleepily answered and told us to get some rest and call her in the morning or if the contractions woke me up. Around 6 in the morning I was either awoken by faint contractions or excitement, either way I didn't go back to sleep. Instead I waddled into my crafting room, got on my sewing machine, and finished making the cloth diapers that I intended to finished a week prior. I must have looked silly, in early labor, sewing cloth diapers. Nesting is as nesting does, I suppose.
We called our midwife, Jessica that morning to update her, and she instructed us that if we didn't have more news to report by 12pm, to come in and she would strip my membranes. I still wasn't entirely sure what that meant, but I definitely wanted something to get started, so I was all in for it. 12pm came around and we headed into her cozy, in home, office. She quickly checked the baby's status, and mine, stripped my membranes and we were off back home. It didn't take more than an hour before I started getting some really intense contractions.
I think around 1:30pm I or Ben altered my mother, doula and midwife that they were starting to pick up and intensify. My mom came over promptly, to help us with our toddler. She was accompanied by her sweet husband, who is a very tall, bald, biker looking guy and the thought of me in labor at home instead of a hospital put a thick layer of worry across his face. Even a twinkle of a tear started to form as he wished me well and left.
My mom came in as we started filling the pool, and she got started straight away with play-doh and cupcakes with my then 3 year old. My birth pool was nestled between my bed, and the large windows in our master bedroom. I had hung christmas lights all around my room, and I had my Hypnobabies on my headphones. It kinda kills me that I didn't have a photographer there, because I had a beautiful day birth. I live for the yummy light in a beautiful day, homebirth!
As the contractions got more intense, I remember my doula and midwife arriving at some point with me and Ben laying on our bed together. I was so lost in thought though that I couldn't tell you what I said to either of them, or if I said anything at all. But I do remember my 3 year old, Jocelyn, all of a sudden getting an "owie" and needing mommy's immediate attention. I held her in my arms, and rocked and soothed her through several contractions. I remember her finally being ok to let me let her go, and I continued to labor on my birthing ball.
Draped over my pillows on the foot of the bed, I bounced and breathed sighs of "peace". Peace was my calm word, that you learn about in the Hypnobabies course. It was my comfort zone. "Peace" I just kept saying in a low, grunty tone. It was the only way I could really persist on through the contractions at this point. Time and moments all blurred together. I remember Kim and Ben working together to give me love, and lower back counter pressure, as not Elise's head was very low.
At some point, I remember asking them if it was okay to get into the tub, like I was asking permission and waiting for someone to tell me to get in. They all asked ME if I wanted to get in. It's such a different thing to go from a hospital birth to a home birth. So many new things to get used to. I love it.
As I stepped into the tub, I remember thinking how hot it was. But as my aching back and belly reached and submerged into the water, I was instantly relaxed. However not for long as I was greeted with more contractions of course, however this time they were much more bearable.
I can't remember exactly how long I was in the water, but I know it wasn't very long before the urge to push started. Somewhere in between contractions, as I was leaning over one side of the tub eyes closed in concentration, I felt a hand sweep across my face and tuck my hair behind my ear. I felt it and thought it was probably Ben, but I was surprised to open my eyes and see my oldest baby staring back at me with the sweetest most loving expression on her face. She has always had a sweet, empathetic soul and I love that about her.
A few moments later, I think about 4 minutes/pushes I felt my sweet Elise start to come down and out. My eyes were closed the whole time as I kept pushing as my body alerted me to, I felt the ring of fire and I remember hearing my midwife tell me to slow down so that I would lessen the tearing but my body didn't get the message. The urge to push over took me and in seconds I was holding her in my arms.
I remember weeping tears of joy and the triumphant feeling that I had actually pushed a human out of my body. I did it without interventions, but I didn't do it alone. No, I did it with the help and love of what I can only refer to as my birth family. Because the word 'team' just doesn't fit quite right here. My husband, daughter, mother, midwife and doula all included. I will never forget that day for as long as I live.