As I sit down to write Eliza's birth story, I feel a bit frozen, like I don't even know where to begin. Her story began long before the day of her birth, and many words describe her story, one of the biggest of these words is THANKFUL. I am so thankful. Thankful for her, for her health, for the way she belongs in our family, for her amazing delivery and for the joy that I know she's going to bring to this world.
My pregnancy with Eliza was extremely non-complicated. Yes, I had horrible morning sickness that lingered into the second trimester, off and on sciatic pain and low energy, but besides "normal" side effects of pregnancy, my pregnancy with her was near perfect.
At my 33 week appointment, I mentioned to my midwife Natalie that I thought Eliza was still head up. Right there, she did an ultrasound that confirmed yes, this baby was breech. That day, I left her office with a pamphlet in my hand for "breech babies" and reassurance that almost all babies turn on their own before the 37th week.
A few weeks went by and I wasn't really concerned because she had time. My other babies turned before they were born, so it seemed natural that she would get into a good position to be born as well. At my 35 week appointment, an ultrasound showed that she was still breech. That day, I left the office a little more concerned and with some homework. At home, I scoured the internet in search of natural remedies for flipping a breech baby. Spinning Babies became a great resource for exercises that could help flip a breech and I also started seeing a Chiropractor who specialized in The Webster Technique.
The days with her breech really wore me down mentally. With my other kids, during the last few weeks of pregnancy, I practiced my breathing for their births, I spent time imagining how things would go, I was purely excited and confident of a beautiful birthday. With Eliza, it was different and it was hard. The more research I did, the more I learned that Doctor's and Midwives just don't deliver breech babies anymore. If you have a baby that hasn't turned, it's an automatic c-section and that's all there is to it. I called all around, speaking with many different midwives and many different hospitals. Delivering a breech naturally just wasn't possible. At this point, I didn't know what to picture. I wanted to picture that perfect birth experience, but that was difficult to do, when I was constantly hoping she'd turn and thoughts of having a c-section were in the back of my mind.
37 weeks came and she was still head up. Natalie the midwife suggested finding a Doctor that had a high success rate, for externally flipping a breech. Long story short, she found an amazing Doctor, at a different hospital who was highly recommended and the next day, I headed in with my favorite support team (Sally and Jeremiah). The "flip" was successful and if you'd like to read more in detail about it, the post is here.
After she was in the correct position, I was extremely relieved and also still a little concerned that she could turn back around. I spent lots of time walking and bouncing on the exercise ball, in hopes that she'd become really engaged in my pelvis and not have a chance to turn back around.
The days approaching my due date were joyful, as I was very aware that soon, I'd be a Mommy of 3. I tried to grab all the extra hugs from Judah and Paisley that I could get and I tried to soak in those last moments of them being my only little ones. Time passed quickly and soon it was Thursday, my sister's Birthday-the day that I'd hoped to deliver Eliza.
That morning, I went in to see Natalie. She stripped my membranes and then I stayed active for the rest of the day. I thought we'd have a baby that day, but nothing happened. Friday came and went. Then Saturday (my due date) and Sunday, which was Easter. I never imagined that we'd be celebrating Easter as a family of 4, but we did and it was such a special, beautiful day.
Monday morning, I continued to go over-due and my husband went to work. I was big and uncomfortable and getting a little frustrated. I'm a firm believer in babies coming out when they're ready and yet, I was ready. I wanted her here and I wanted to feel comfortable again.
Tuesday morning, I went in to see Natalie again. She's my favorite midwife and she was going off-call on Wednesday morning at 8am so, I really wanted to have this baby while she was still on-call. She delivered Judah and Paisley and I felt like I just had to have her deliver this baby as well. Again, she stripped my membranes and sent me home.
Tuesday evening, I started to feel a little different. Throughout dinner, I had a little bit of a crampy feeling and while we put the kids to bed, I started having short contractions that weren't too painful, but pretty close together.
After the kids were in bed, I laid down on the couch and started to feel discouraged that things weren't really progressing. At 10:30pm, I decided to just go to bed. If I was really in labor, I wouldn't be able to sleep and regardless, sleep is good.
Sleep came and around midnight, I woke up with a contraction. Still, it wasn't too painful. More contractions came and they were close together, but short and not too intense. My other birth experiences were short (9 hours and 4 hours) so, I decided that we'd go ahead and have my Mom come over and have Sally come over, too. As I called to have them come, I felt worried that it might not be the "real" thing and that I might be bothering everyone in the middle of the night for nothing.
Around 1am, they arrived at our house. I put on makeup, gave my Mom all of the last minute instructions and through contractions, I kept busy tidying up, checking my hospital list and packing last minute items. I wanted to labor at home as long as possible.
1:30am came and we decided to go ahead and leave for the hospital. I felt unsure of how real this labor was, and worried that I'd get there and be sent home. Contractions were consistent, but still short and not too intense, although they did come every 2-3 minutes.
The drive to the hospital was terrible uncomfortable. When I'm laboring, I want to constantly be standing and swaying, not sitting in a car. As we drove, I texted a few close friends that had told me that wanted to be praying for us. Sally followed us to the hospital and as we all walked in together, we paused many times for me to breath, sway and breath through contractions.
At 2:11am, we checked in and the nurse was waiting for us, with Natalie. I can't say enough wonderful things about Natalie, she knows I have quick deliveries and she had the gals at the birth center skip the whole triage process. Immediately, we were taken to our room and she checked me. I was a 6, which was good enough for me. At that point, I was just happy that labor was going well and that it was the "real" thing. I changed into the hospital gown that the sweetest lady for our home group sewed for me and then a few moments later, I decided that I'd like to work through contractions in the tub.
I got into the tub and couldn't get comfortable. After just 2 or 3 contractions, I told Sally and Jeremiah that Natalie needed to check me again. She came in and said "You're just about to crown", as in...my baby was about to come out. No wonder I couldn't get comfortable.
Walking from the tub to the hospital bed was hard, really hard. Imagine walking with a baby literally between your legs. As I laid down on the bed, Natalie looked at Jeremiah and asked him if he'd like to deliver our baby. Before he could even answer, she handed him a pair of gloves and told him to get ready.
Before I started to push, I asked if we could all pray. Sally prayed out and Natalie (who happens to be a christian), laid her hand on my arm. God was there with us and I could feel it!
Pushing was hard, really hard. I never felt my body totally take over and consciously, I had to decide to push her out. Thankfully, it only took a few pushes. I remember vividly that I whined and complained a lot during that time "This is so hard. It hurts so bad. I don't know if I can do it." Well, duh! Having a baby is hard work!
At 2:49am, just about 30 minutes after checking into the hospital, Eliza was born. She was perfectly healthy and I got to hold her and feed her for about an hour before they even cleaned her off. We were all immediately in love with her and everyday, the love grows.
She is so sweet and after almost 3 weeks, I already can't imagine what life was like without her. She belongs in our family and we're so thankful!
Recovery from her birth has been fantastic. Immediately, I was able to walk around and feel so much more comfortable. Nothing hurts and besides having baby weight to lose, I feel fantastic.
Judah, Paisley's and Eliza's "Birthdays" were 3 of the best days of my life. I'm so thankful that I have an amazing midwife who supports me and believes in making the welcoming of a baby, the most special time. For awhile now, I've wanted to become a doula or possibly even a midwife, when my kids are a little older. I want to be there to support women and help them have the birth experiences that they've always hoped for. It won't happen anytime in the near future, but it's a dream of mine.
Thank you for reading Eliza's story and for celebrating with us.