“It was as though having a baby made all the fairy tales come true for her. As though she were a painter who discovered a color all new to the world”–Don Miller
You would think a quote like this would only effect the new mamma. The first time mamma. I can’t relay enough how true this sits in my mamma heart of four now. And how new it all still is with number four.
Only this new comes with confidence. Confidence that we’ve done this before. Confidence that I am mamma and I can raise little girls. Confidence that I can go through labor and birth a beautiful baby. Confidence and natural acceptance.
If I had to describe the birth of Hallel Righteous Ember with only a couple of words, those are the words I would use; confidence and natural acceptance. From the early morning hours waking to contractions, to the last minute preparations as we waited for the contractions to grow stronger, to the final quick moments in the pool where she would breathe her first, all with confidence and natural acceptance.
It wasn’t something I planned. And I don’t mean it in a cocky way, It was the peacefulness of knowing that we’ve done this before, and the things to expect weren’t surprises anymore. They became the necessary and gave me the freedom to live through the moment and allow what was intended to happen, to happen.
Around 4:30am on March 8th, I finally got out of bed. Giving up hope of sleep and accepting the idea that this baby just might actually be coming two days early rather then 10 or 11 late. I intended to grab my bible and spend a few minutes dedicating the day to the Lord.
Intentions are good. But sometimes littles wake up. And our little T, knew something was up. She lay in bed with me–as she is custom to doing when she wakes up in the night–and I sang to her while I stroked her hair, trying to lull her back to sleep. In the dark, I spent that time with the Lord I was seeking, with my Torah and her big eyes watching my every move.
Soon enough it became clear that she wasn’t going back to sleep and I wasn’t either. So, down the stairs it was to begin last minute preparations of sanitizing and cleaning, and putting together things like straws and Emergen-C for later in the day. I wasn’t completely sold that the contractions wouldn’t stop, so I waited to wake Josh or call the midwife.
Around the time Josh did wake, Torah fell back to sleep, and the two of us were able to share the moment of realization that this baby just might be coming today.–it’s the moments like that that make marriage special–Josh got to making us a good breakfast, as I’m terrible about eating when in labor, and at that moment I felt like eating, so we jumped on the opportunity while it was there. I got back to my preparations.
I found a spot in a spare room in the house where I was able to labor and think and pray. I wrote. I took a few photo’s of the birth room, that I had now finished setting up, and I read a few “birthy” things that only made me tear with emotion as I was accepting the task at hand.
As the other littles woke up and were informed of the days happenings, they became eager wanting to help. I took a moment with them to pray together, and ask if they had any questions about the day. Z prayed that I wouldn’t have any more contractions so I don’t hurt, but was mostly concerned about when Grandma and Aunt Hannah were coming.
The next happenings of the day kind of begin to blur together. Sandy, the midwife, arrived and began setting up her instruments. Unlike my previous labors I found no issue in talking through and around contractions. Previously, they took all my focus and concentration, not that they were harder, but I think more that I was still learning how to prepare. This time around the contractions came and went, and as I needed to stop and focus I did, but for the most part during the day, conversations were had. Littles were attended to, and life happened around as we all geared up for the afternoon’s events. I felt strong, confident, and was more prepared for the day just letting it naturally happen to me then any time before.
It was around 2pm that Sandy checked me, as I was feeling ready to find relief in the pool. 7cm dialated and about 75% effaced. Oh, and one other thing, my cervix was still very posterior.–for the non-birthy out there, it was back towards my back far, making a lot more work to reach 10cm as we waited for the cervix to come down–to remedy the posterior cervix, Sandy suggested the thing I hate most, labor on my back. With an added bonus of hugging the baby into my belly to get things pointing in the right direction.
I’ve learned that sometimes a bit more pain now, means less hours in it. And at least I had the pool for relief.
Which it did. Bring relief that is. Immediate relief. To the point I almost went to sleep. Well, until the next contraction came. On my back. With my baby hugged. And things quickly progressed into the labor that comes like waves. The kind where you can’t do anything but accept them for what they are, and allow your body to do what it needs to do naturally, to cope with the waves as they come.
I’ve become accustomed to saying “Jesus” over and over. Those waves of contractions and pain my body is giving can only be accepted when I have given all hope and ability into His hands. I never plan to pray through the contractions, but it’s what comes naturally, and I’ve decided I really like that about my births so far.
In addition to the prayers I also found myself singing slowly as the contracting waves hit my body over and over. As I near the end of this labor, the more focus I needed, and the more I found the relief in finding a way to call on the Lord.
The song that came out was an old hymn–How Great Thou Art–I don’t think I sang all the lyrics right. I didn’t really even mean to sing at all. The song just came, and with the contractions my heart and mind focused as I sang.
It was only about 45 minutes–I think.–and I began to feel the great urge to push. Unlike my previous births, this feeling came on strong, and me with out the ability to stop it. I murmured to Sandy I wanted to push, but really there wasn’t much stopping at this point.
She wanted to check me, and when she had, finding that baby was definitely ready to come and I was at 10 cm, she gave me the okay. And I pushed.
I pushed with intensity. Partially because it’s all I could do at that point. There wasn’t another option. And partially because I’ve always appreciated the pushing part of birth. It’s when I can finally combat the waves with some kind of action. Any kind of action that will bring some kind of relief.
3:58pm birth of head.
4:00pm birth of body.
And into the world Hallel Righteous Ember came. 7lbs 12 oz. 19 inches long.
She chose to breathe her first underwater–which is uncommon and unusual. Making her a purple color. And making me more grateful for my midwife then ever before–as if I wasn’t already. After waiting for the cord to stop pulsing, Josh cut the cord and Sandy scooped up Hallel in her arms and began sucking the liquid and mucus out of her lungs. The whole situation reminded me of Hosanna’s birth, where she had breathed her meconium and after being tubed was sent to a NICU for two and a half weeks. Only this time around I was grateful for the wisdom and understanding and care brought on by a trained midwife. One who doesn’t go off of procedure or hospital duties. She worked hard, and pulled a lot of goo out our babe’s mouth. She lay her upside down on my lap and rub her back to pull the liquid out–the same thing she had said she would do when we first met her, and I asked her what would happen if my baby breathed meconium again. And sure enough, Hallel was okay.
And so there were herb baths to be had. And meals to be ate. And a babymoon to begin. As our Brindle Tribe settles into a family of six. Four girls. Two puppies. And a turtle.