Monday, September 1, 2014

a beginning. a new life. a birth story.

// photos and video by emma j photo //

i struggle with knowing how to write a birth story. on one hand, it is one of those human experiences that can only be experienced and felt, a testament to the realization once again of one being truly alive. and on the other hand, it is begging to be that others may bear witness to God's perfect sovereignty. and so that i may be transported back to the memories for years to come.

here i sit, listening to the playlist that i labored to, trying to articulate an experience that is other worldly...entirely intoxicating to me.

a song. a smell. so many little reminders can transport me back to the night that her journey began. to the morning and moments surrounding her birth. surrounding my birth as a mama yet again. the memories start to stir and swell until i am consumed by a rush of pure love.

i wrote over here a little about the waiting period for ellis. her perfect time was not until i was 42 weeks pregnant and there were some days that i had to wrestle with anxiousness as i anticipated her arrival. and now that the wait is over, there are times that i miss being pregnant. that i miss her being a part of me and having my body filled, literally, with life. with a new beginning, comes the end of something...the end of knowing her in my womb, is the beginning of knowing her as an entity separate from me. she is my heart, forever walking outside my body.

this is the beginning of witnessing her beautiful, enlightened, spiritual life. i am so honored to be hers.

the very first signs of true labor started to show themselves in the afternoon hours of the sunday before my 42 week appointment. i knew deep in my heart that i was having those true contractions that i had waited so long to feel...and yet they were sporadic and pretty spread out. i simply started to let ricky know when they came so that we could start to track them. and other than that, i went on with my day as normal...cared for our boys, laughed with my mom and emma, shared the sweetest glances with ricky, where we told each other so much without saying a word. we knew. we knew in our hearts that we were about to meet our girl.

around 7:00p.m., the contractions started to pick up in their frequency, showing a slight pattern, but still nothing to get super excited about. slow and steady seemed to be the name of the game. after putting the boys to bed, we watched a few episodes of the Mindy Project and then i decided to go take the first of many baths that i would take throughout the night. contractions were averaging around four minutes apart, so at 11:00 i txted my midwife just to give her a heads up. her response, "its baby day!" she encouraged me to try to get some rest and to let her know when i would like her to come.

from 11:00p.m. to 6:00a.m, i alternated between taking warm baths, standing and swaying beside my bed, and laying on my side with ricky lightly scratching my back through contractions. at times, i was able to drift off to sleep in the minutes between contractions. it was beautiful. some of the most sacred moments of my life. the house was still and quiet...everyone was at peace and resting.

music is a powerful worship experience for me. as is childbirth. so it only makes sense that for me, they would go hand in hand. i had a playlist prepared prior to labor that i would listen to and pray though before going to sleep each night. i listened to this playlist, along with the entire Bethel music, Tides album. I'm pretty sure I listened to Oceans by Hillsong, and For the Cross by Bethel Music easily 15 times each. being in such a worshipful state of mind, allowed for my heart, my soul, my mind and my body to remain calm and at peace.

by 6:00 a.m., my contractions were still spaced the same, but definitely picking up in intensity. i txted my midwives that i was ready for them to come and they arrived around 7:00 a.m. ricky began filling the birth pool. the house was beginning to stir so the boys came in to say hi, all while the morning light poured into our bedroom. i smiled as i had secretly wanted the final stages of my labor and delivery to take place in the morning light, one of my most favorite times of the day.

i decided to have my midwife check me at this point (the first time i was checked throughout my entire pregnancy.), and while we were all a bit concerned that i would barely be dilated, i was actually dilated to a 7 at this point. we laughed because my labor had been relatively slow and very manageable, so i didn't even really think any progress was happening. my heart rejoiced because i knew we were close. so very close to welcoming her into our arms.

at this point, i spent most of the time in the birthing pool. while i have had two prior natural births, this was my first in the water...and i would do it in the water every. single. time. i LOVED it! my contractions were still spaced pretty far, never really coming close like i anticipated they would...her birth was so different form my others in this regard. my water had also not broken, so we continued to wait and labor peacefully. my midwife prefers not to ever break the water, but after a few strong contractions, and being dilated to a 9/9.5, we decided to go ahead and break my water. my body started to push on the very next contraction. (ricky had actually stepped out of the room to do something with the boys, so they ran to get him real quick!)

while time stands still for me throughout the entire birth, it most definitely does while i am pushing. it is the most amazing out of body experience. i remember having a single moment of panic when i felt the intensity of the surges and thought back to my other pushing experiences (all were 1.5 - 2 hours long). i had to gear myself up, thinking this one would be just as long. i wasn't sure what position my body would be drawn to push in, but it quickly made up its mind on its own, as i found myself on my knees at the side of the pool, buried in ricky's arms. these surges felt so much stronger to me, and we would later realize why. ellis had her little hand up by her face, making for a slightly more intense pushing session. but after 20 glorious minutes, i delivered my girl and pulled her to my chest, as pure ecstasy rushed over me.

this moment right here is my favorite part of natural childbirth. it is purely delicious. the rush of hormones and emotions are intoxicating. i melted into it. allowed the moment to consume me. she was in my arms. this beautiful soul that i have know in my heart forever was looking into my eyes. our connection was electric, instant, so very strong.

this. this right here is the beauty found in the midst of and through pain. this is the joy that comes from sharing in suffering. this is the love that will inspire you to sacrifice everything. the depth of the pain, matches the depth of the love and joy. it is truly addicting and draws me into a more intimate depth with my God. on its deepest level, childbirth is spiritual. and i am humbled and grateful most in this moment, to experience it.

the rest of the day was purely magical, as has every day been since this soul was given to us earth side.

// our birth video //


  1. This takes me back and I am again so so thankful I got to be there. Miss you and love you all to pieces.

  2. I'm not sure if my comment went through, so I am commenting again...This is a beautiful birth story. Thanks for sharing! I am a new follower, and your birth story totally drew me in. Could you share your labor/birth playlist? I am currently pregnant with my third, and my second natural birth was pretty difficult mentally for me, so I am looking for ways to prepare for this third birth. Thank you!

  3. Hi! Beautiful read and video. Thanks for sharing! Could you tell me about the bath you took after birth with your baby? Was it herbal? I'm planning my home birth and you've got me curious! Thanks :) Jessica