22.1.14

welcome baby Elin & a birth story

BIRTHANNOUNCEMENT
birth1
birthtwo


A week ago yesterday our sweet baby was born. My due date was Saturday so I wasn't expecting to go into labor just yet. But that morning soon after my husband came home from work, I noticed mild contractions roughly 5 mins apart. I asked him to start timing them, just out of curiosity, and they were almost exactly 3 minutes apart from each other. Being still very manageable we all headed to the grocery store near our house to grab some snacks and for labor-in case this was the real thing. we bought my favorite superfood smoothies, fresh pineapple (my favorite) and white tulips. As we shopped each contraction slowly became more intense but it felt so good to be up and walking around that we finished up before heading home.
Maybe I should explain, before I go any further, that we have been planning a home birth with this baby. I had my son naturally and without drugs but in a birthing facility. I did a lot of research and found that home birth is incredibly safe and has many wonderful benefits. So you can see I wasn't in a rush to leave the store, I was happy to have my early labor among the product aisle.
We kept in contact with our midwife and doula about my progress and decided we'd meet at our house soon to have her check in on me. Soon we were back home and even though my contractions were consistently 3 minutes apart still and growing in intensity, I was happy to carry on a conversation, unload bags from the car and trim flowers I had bought to put in a vase. I'd pause as another contraction would come on, leaning over the table or on my husband. It was so relaxing to be in my own space, among my own things and moving at my own pace. It felt great to move around and keep walking, albeit slowly. It felt great to light some candles and put on comfortable clothes, to put on some of my favorite lotion to just relax.
Within an hour my contractions were taking up all my energy and attention, they were powerful. I'd hang on my husband during them and relax my knees, remembering to stay soft and let each one do its job to dilate. Sometimes I'd tense up with surprise at how intense each new one was, but I quickly reminded myself that they were doing a great job in me and not to be afraid.
Jeremiah and I went for a short walk behind our house. The cold air felt amazing and I loved just walking, talking with him. He was so encouraging and supportive, as were our midwife and doula too. I had 3 big contractions on our walk and soon felt like we needed to go back inside. By this time I asked for the midwife to check my dilation. I had been hesitant to be checked earlier in case I had not dilated much, I didn't want to feel discouraged but I knew I was close to transition and was too curious not to know.
Well it was a good thing I did have her check me because I was 9 cm dilated at this point, almost there!
I was still feeling pretty good and pretty encouraged by this news but really wanted to get into the birth pool our midwife had set up for me. The warm water was relaxing and supportive. I had a few more strong contractions, these were serious. They moved over my whole body like a wave and I kept imagining them to be like waves in the ocean, passing over me and opening my cervix, getting closer to bringing my baby out. On my knees in the water, with my husband sitting behind me, I savored those little breaks in between each contraction. After 3 or 4 of those I suddenly felt the overwhelming urge to push. In my mind I yelled a little "yay!" as I could feel baby's head suddenly passing through. I've heard some moms say they didn't like pushing, but this is a stage I always liked. It's so very intense but also feels incredibly productive.
Two pushes and the baby's head came out. I remember our midwife whispering "feel your baby's head" and I reached into the water and felt her soft, fuzzy head. It was so encouraging, she was almost here! Two more big pushes and she was completely out! I opened my eyes which had been closed for the last half hour and saw this our perfect baby girl in my arms. She was here, and so quickly! I kissed her soft wet skin and rubbed her back. My husband and I talked to her, telling her how happy we were to have her here, how beautiful and perfect she was and how thankful we were for her.
It was pure euphoria, an incredible high and rush of emotions. This is what it's all about, this very moment. I savored it and tried my best to memorize her new smell and little sounds. There, still in the water I nursed my baby for the first time. She latched right away and everything was right in the world! We had a wonderful, supported birth and now a perfectly healthy, responsive and beautiful baby. These first moments of birth that I've experienced with both my babies are the highest and most blissful moments I've experienced in my life. I wish every mom could have an experience like this, it was a gift!



I hope you all don't mind my being so personal. I feel a bit exposed but at the same time I think it is so important for people to hear positive birth stories from moms who enjoyed their births. It wasn't panicked, it wasn't rushed, it wasn't interfered with, it was a perfectly normal, healthy act and it was all mine. I loved building a relationship with our caring, knowledgeable midwife these past few months.
I feel so blessed and hope that for some mom out there my story will encourage them also.

Needless to say to those of you who have kids, this first week has been a slow one. Lots of nursing, lots of trying to sleep, a whole lot of laundry and even more little kisses from mom, dad and new brother. We all love little Elin so much and are happy to share a bit of her with you.

Thank you all dearly for listening. And I hope to be posting regularly again soon (fingers crossed).


*a couple resources about home birth you may find interesting
BMJ article on outcomes of home births
Home birth safety article
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth (highly recommended!)
The Business of Being Born

48 comments:

  1. Your birth story brought tears to my eyes, what a wonderful experience you had! And Elin is absolutely beautiful. Sending you big congratulations hugs from Malmö, Sweden and thinking of you and your family! /Niki

    ReplyDelete
  2. I want to start crying at my desk! This is exactly how I want to give birth, and it's so warming reading your story. Congratulations!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my, Jennifer, such a lovely story! We send so many sweet congratulations to you and your family!

    xo

    www.PlumPrettySugar.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Whoa Jennifer, what a beautiful and perfect moment, this sounds exactly how it is supposed to be. Much love to your sweet family! X

    ReplyDelete
  5. So happy for you and happy to read what a positive experience it was for you. You did amazingly well! Many congratulations to you all xx

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congratulations and thank you for sharing such a beautiful moment. It took me right back to the birth of my little boy seventeen months ago, the pure euphoria of greeting your new child is a true gift and a memory I will always treasure.
    Warm regards,
    Faye

    ReplyDelete
  7. I had tears in my eyes while reading this! Congratulations and welcome to this world sweet Elin!

    ReplyDelete
  8. My precious Jennifer! Thanks for sharing. I can't wait to meet this little one! I hope we can see you next time we are in Boise. Know you are dearly loved and that years don't dim the memory of you and Misty huddling on the bed supposedly doing homework together. I love recalling that moment in time! XO

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow. Wow wow wow. What a wonderful birth story. Makes me think of mine (my first son born four years ago and my second will be one in February).

    What an amazing little baby Elin <3

    ReplyDelete
  10. congratulations and lots of love and happiness with your newborn, sounds like an amazing experience and I have to agree, giving birth at home is so relaxing ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congrats! She's a cutie and I like the spelling of her name.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This sounds like a very special and even a bit magical experience. The way you wrote it down is very honest and beautiful. Thank you for sharing it Jennifer!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Congrats!! She is beautiful!! I loved your story.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love your birth story. I had a natural labor with my second child and I love your thoughts about staying soft, it describes it perfectly! I need to type my son's out as he's quickly approaching his second birthday. I had a birth photographer with him though and love reminiscing over the photos. It was such a loving moment for me.

    ReplyDelete
  15. She is beautiful, congratulations!!
    The pictures of Elin and Israel is lovely xx

    ReplyDelete
  16. Such a lovely story Jennifer!!
    Welcome to this world Elin!

    Big hello from Croatia.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you Jennifer for sharing these beautiful and honest moments! And for the beautiful pictures of your little family. Lots of love & happiness to all of you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. What a beautiful (and encouraging) birth story. Thank you for sharing. Congrats on Elin!

    ReplyDelete
  19. How wonderful! I miss my babies, 2 already in college and my baby in high school. Nursing is such a wonderful bonding time with babies . I remember my first born when I was feeding him in the quiet of the night and feeling so tired, but looking down in my arms to such beautiful blue eyes staring at his new mom and the wave of fierce love , wow. ENJOY! Pat

    ReplyDelete
  20. Huge congrats to you and your gorgeous family!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Congratulations to your beautiful babygirl!! And wonderful story you are sharing! Thank you! :) It was exactly what I needed to read, sitting here nervous expecting my third child any day now (due date 31 january). Now I feel a little bit more calm :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Congratulations! Welcome to Elin!
    And what a wonderful story!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Really beautifully written birth story and so happy for you that everything went so smoothly! Reading this I felt like it was just yesterday when I gave birth to our little boy, but actually it's exactly 8 months today! Time goes so fast, so enjoy these moments with your gorgeous new baby, she looks really gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Congratulations! Elin is a beautiful name (and girl!) Thank you for sharing your story - I had both of my children at home and agree that it has lots of benefits and feels very safe. Enjoy your family time - and no blogging pressure!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Beautiful birthstory, my eyea teared up a little while reading! My birth was also all natural and I would not want it any other way and hearing about your homebirth experience makes me want to try that the next time. I also agree with you on how important it is for mothers-to-be to hear positive birth atories, I feel like there are so manu negative ones that it makes you nerveous and afraid rather than excited for the birthing experience which is a miracle.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Congratulations!
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience; it's calming and encouraging.
    Love and happiness to your family from Denmark!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Amazing! Thank you and all the best!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thank you for sharing your experiences. My due date is in five weeks and it feels good to read your words.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Beautiful. Happy tears in my eyes for you and your family: Thank you for sharing these lovely, intense moments...- a big reminder to us mothers who have given birth to our babies - It´s such a precious gift we have got... Thank you. Love from Norway, hm

    ReplyDelete
  30. congratulations to you, on such a beautiful little wonder. and welcome elin! I simply love your name.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Congratulations! I'm so glad you were able to have the birth you wanted!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Congratiluations to you and your husband! Such a cute little one!

    ReplyDelete
  33. What a glorious picture of the birthing process you have painted. Little Elin is beautiful! Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Wow, your home birth sounds completely different than the usual hospital experience! Congrats on the new little one. She looks so cuddle-able in her sweater!

    ReplyDelete
  35. this is absolutely the sweetest and loveliest birth story i've ever read. i'm so glad you had such a positive experience. if i was to ever have a child, i'd definitely want a home birth too. also, elin is a wonderful name!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Congratulations on your sweet little baby Elin. She is perfect. Thank you for sharing your oh so personal story with us, I love hearing the magic in a mother's voice after having a child. It's an unbelievable experience. x

    ReplyDelete
  37. Congratulations, again, guys! We are just so happy for you! What an amazing birth story you have and I am so glad that you shared it because natural birth is a terrifying thing, but after having experienced both, I would absolutely go natural again. Wishing you wonderful and beautiful days together as a family of four!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Just beautiful. What a gift to be born into a peaceful and loving home. So happy for you, and your new family of four.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I just happened upon this blog by accident and was very moved by your beautiful story. How inspiring to hear your approach to child birth and such a personal experience, thank you for sharing this it was a pleasure to read. Congratulations and I wish you and your family all the very best!

    ReplyDelete
  40. What a beautiful birth story. II'm so glad it was such a peaceful and calm experience for you. I had my first home birth recently as well, it is such a wonderful feeling to be at home surrounded by people you love. Congratulations on the birth Xxx

    ReplyDelete
  41. Eek! She's adorable. ANNNND we share a birthday :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. beautiful reading

    congratulations with your lovely Elin

    <3

    ReplyDelete
  43. congratulations and respect on entirely natural birth giving!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Jennifer, your experience is very touching. I'm far away from being a mom now, but I recently became an aunt and my sister in law gave birth to my little niece in water as well, with my brother holding her every single minute, and she felt amazing. I believe it is really important women like you, who decided to have a home birth, to share their stories. We should realize that giving birth is one of the most beautiful things a woman can do, and it is a pity to be drugged and in a place that you don't feel like home when in labor.

    Congrats again! Your baby is adorable and I really enjoyed reading your words!
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  45. Jennifer this is incredibly inspiring for my next experience so thank you for sharing your story! What a precious baby!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Amazing, amazing, amazing story. Thank you for sharing and yes I completely agree that women need to hear more positive stories because half the pain we experienced is a result of our own fear and tension (as I know you'd agree!). I did a hypnobirthing course for my son's birth and it was wonderful. Next time I want to move around more though. I'm looking forward to my next labour, how many people can say that! Congraulations, Elin is BEAUTIFUL. Well done.

    ReplyDelete