Redeeming birth: Emberlee's birth story

I have to get this out of my head now while it is still fresh in my memory.

I had been having contractions every day for a week, for only about 4 hours in the evening. They were not intense, but not Braxton hicks contractions, and each day that passed, the more intense and close together they were. Saturday night, a big storm rolled in and my contractions changed again. They got closer together, MUCH closer together and each one seemed to start off where the previous had peaked. I had about 10 contractions in about 30 minutes, so I let my midwife know I was in labor, and that I would call her when things got more intense. It was about 9pm that my contractions stopped, so I went to bed.

Sunday was pretty uneventful. I went to church and took the sacrament, but I just could not get comfortable and my back started to hurt pretty bad, so I had John take me home to rest right after the sacrament was passed. We had lunch with the family and hung out watching nacho liner and having fun. I started to get really uncomfortable and almost restless. My back was hurting again so I had John come and apply counter pressure and I got in the shower with some hot water and swayed my hips, which really helped. I felt much better and joined my family again. I was confused as to why I had not had any contractions at all that day. I was expecting to have another bought of them and then have the baby Monday. My family went to bed, and I got myself ready for bed and slept on the couch.

Midnight rolled around, and I couldn't fall into a deep sleep. My contractions started again and they were growing in intensity. I laid on the couch to reserve my energy and try to get some sleep, I figured it was a fluke and that they would stop soon. 1am rolled around and I knew I was in labor. I was running to the toilet a few times which I remember happening with Paxton. The contractions had become too much for me to try to sleep through, in intensity and in duration. I went and told John that I was in labor, asked for a priesthood blessing, and that I would come to him when I needed his help to get through my contractions. He gave me the blessing and went back to bed.

2am arrived and John got out of bed. I was still doing ok without him, and was actually afraid that these contractions were going to stop. I had gotten him excited and he was awake to just be with me. I had him get me a bowl of fruit and some water, and there came a point when I went ahead and asked him to clear the spot in our room for the birth tub and to double-make our bed ( our set of sheets, a plastic sheet/ water barrier, another fitted sheet on top). He happily did so as I continued to relax deeply through each contraction. I had no second thoughts or hesitations of fear. I had been praying fervently for peace, comfort, and to remove my fear, for the past few weeks in preparation for the birth. 

At about 2:45 I needed total silence during a contraction, and I would wait after the contraction ended to answer any of his questions or respond to his comments. Talking or making any kind of noise made me loose focus and would make the contraction more intense. 

It was at this point that I had John call our midwife, and I could hear in her voice that she was smiling. She was being equally as patient with this process as we were, and I was grateful to have chosen her as my midwife because she was genuinely excited and honored to take care of us. I continued to labor while we waited for our dynamic duo to arrive. I put on a nursing bra& a nightdress and labored in the living room mostly. Jen, our midwife, arrived at 3:15 and observed a few contractions and monitored Emberlee's heart rate during a contraction. Her apprentice, and my student midwife, Noelia arrived sometime around 3:30am due to some flash flooding in east mesa. She and Jen immediately set up the birth pool and all the other birth supplies. While they did so, I made the decision that I wanted to go for a walk. It was so beautiful outside- not even 80 degrees. A slight cool breeze, a full moon and sky full of stars were our companions. We walked six houses down from us. I would have a contraction every 50 feet or so, and I noticed that I would have 2 less intense contractions back-to-back, followed by a much more intense contraction a little later. John asked when I felt like I should go back , and I said I will wait until they get closer together. Almost mid sentence, I had another intense contraction and decided, yeah, I should probably get in the birth pool now. We headed back, and I did my best to walk through the 2 or 3 contractions that I had on the way. I went straight into the birth pool and relaxed. I started to worry that the water had slowed my labor, because I didn't have a contraction for a while. I took that time to quietly rest with my eyes closed, lounging in the warm water. Jen and Noelia excused themselves, and I asked John to offer a prayer. He offered a sweet sincere prayer to keep my heart and mind comforted, and I truly felt peace.

 I had a contraction and I could tell we were starting to get close. Each one peaked more intense than the next, and so I sat up and leaned on the edge of the pool to ease my back and hips a little. I asked John to bring Jen and Noelia into the space, because i felt like i needed their presence. I swayed my hips gently in the water, and I felt more and more pressure in my bottom with each contraction. At about 5:30 I remember saying that the contractions were really starting to suck, and that I was ready to be done. The only thing i could do to relax the rest of my body and endure the intensity was to moan deeply in the back of my throat. I had almost asked Jen to check my cervix to see if I could start pushing. I had been waiting for the urge to push to come, but I didn't want to endure more contractions . I waited anyway, remembering that my body had done this before, and everything had been beautiful already. It was maybe two contractions later that I felt her head enter the birth canal. I said " she's coming, John. Get in the pool please " he jumped right in and sat in front of me, rubbing my belly.
getting ready to meet her highness

I was kneeling, with my bum resting on my heels. I had contraction, and the urge to push took over. My body took over, and it was almost frightening how powerful my body was. The goal was to pace myself to allow all the tissues to stretch and ease the baby out. Instinctively I reached my hand down and applied pressure to my perineum because I felt like I had lost control of my body. The baby was coming, and I knew I needed to work through this part with as much patience and relaxation as the rest, no matter how uncomfortable it was. I re- adjusted my stance to a squat and stabilized myself using the edge of the pool.

in between pushes

Jen and Noelia coached and re-assured me to take it slow, to let baby stretch me out. I panted through a few more pushy contractions, and as her head began to stretch me, and my body became more and more powerful in delivering her, I started singing. It was the only thing I could do to keep her from bursting out and potentially ripping me in half. Every time my body would try to push her all the way out, I'd sing a line of " come thou fount of every blessing" and in between pushes, the words coming from my heart would comfort me. This was the most challenging part of birth, and it was almost over. I felt her head emerge, and I let her stretch me as I stroked her hair and continued to sing. I was singing for her, now. " prone to wander, lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart, oh take and seal it, seal it for thu courts above." There were no more words to sing, and I heard Jen say, "with your next contraction, push your baby out". I gladly did so, and she tumbled out of my body and swam to John. He caught her and brought her up out of the water, and Jen removed the amniotic sac from her head and neck. 

She had meconium everywhere!! There was so much poop! ( meconium staining is common and not usually a problem if it has been aspirated, in some cases there is need for additional care, but even then it is nothing serious, and the prognosis is good) 

I looked over at John and he was crying. We were so overjoyed that I can't even remember the specific things that we said. I kissed John and he looked at me in a way I've never seen him look at me before. He was in love with our baby girl, and in love and in total awe of me and what he just witnessed. I opted to get out of the pool and lay on the bed ( I had 2 or 3 BM's in the pool when i was pushing that where scooped up right away, but still..... Not a place I wanted to hang out and enjoy the baby)
total peace

We laid on the bed, got Emberlee crying a good cry to get any poop out of her lungs, delivered my placenta and cut the cord. We spent some time on me because I felt like I was gonna faint, and I was passing a lot of small clots. My bleeding was fine. Upon further inspection, my bum needed no stitches! 

It was a redeeming, sacred, incredible birth, and I have learned more about my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ through this experience. And I will do this again with the rest of our children! 

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