“10 days” my midwife says to me as we sit in her office with the girls running around us, climbing on the exam table, and getting into everything.
“No way” my jaw drops. I stare at her, not aware of anything going on around me, even my girls basically destroying her office. it all seemed like a blur.
I was 40 weeks. 10 days is what she thought would be the day I would deliver my third girl. 10 days past my due date.
10 days seemed like an eternity.
“Why?” I ask her.
“No particular reason, I just have a feeling about these things” she delivered hundreds of babies so I’m sure her “feelings” were pretty good at this point.
Funny thing was I didn’t feel discouraged.
Actually more confident than you would assume. She would come when she felt ready, 10 days or 10 hours, I was ready either way.
My days were busy, I had no time to think about it. The evenings were a little different. After the girls went to bed I finally sat, every muscle in my body aching, and my heartburn out of control. I thought about what it would feel like to hold a newborn in my arms again. The excitement overwhelmed me.
It was no secret that this pregnancy was my hardest pregnancy yet (read about it here). With the morning sickness, depression, the back pain, aching muscles, heartburn, taking care of two active toddlers, I was ready for it to end. I felt guilty because I enjoyed being pregnant the first two times, I was thankful to carry this beautiful life inside of me but still ready for these difficult ten months to finally finish. Of course this pregnancy would last that much longer, fitting that theme of “difficult”.
Lucille was born a week early (Her birth story here) and Edith on her due date (her birth story here) and so with every day that passed after 39 weeks the comparisons began. I overanalyzed every little movement, practice labor, and still nothing.
I went in to see my midwife once again. I told her how my mother in law had the same due date with Scott as myself with this baby. Scott was born 5 days overdue.
Destiny has a way of repeating itself.
We both kind of chuckled as we talk about how funny it seemed. My daughter might take the same path as my husband, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the way it would happened.
My husband turned 38 this year, we had a very simple birthday for him, waiting for any sign that we would get to meet our daughter. Still nothing, a whole lot of nothing. I felt content with the little celebration we did have and hugged my family tight as I contemplated the idea of our final days as a family of four.
4am, contractions. Timed them. Very sporadic but a minute long.
Could this be it? Both Lu and Edith started the exact same way. My contractions slowed down quite a bit, some spacing ten minutes in between. My midwife said to call her when they became more consistent. There was no way I could go back to sleep. Downstairs I went to watch some tv and make some breakfast.
As the contractions started to get back on track I let Scott know that this was it. We called my midwife and my mom, the girls were still sleeping but I wanted her to be prepared. I called my photographer but still kept everyone on standby, things were moving slowly.
For some reason I had this preconception that this birth was going to happen really fast, one of those 3 hour labors I kept reading about. Both of my other girls had very gradual labors which I was very thankful for. Sure at the end I wanted things to speed up but having my contractions gradually progress helped me collect myself and prepare for what was to come. I thought this time would be different. I think my midwife did too, I heard a knock at the door and there she was. I was so happy just to have her there, she had a way of calming me.
We had a great morning, talking and laughing, telling stories. The girls were in and out of the house, time at the park and back home for lunch. I was in such a good place and wanted my girls there with me. I was happy, I would get to meet my newest girl today. The girls would get to meet their newest sister.
Things were moving, but moving slowly. During contractions I would squat to open up my pelvic bones to help her come down. The girls were rubbing my back and sitting with me. Scott was with me every time. Encouraging me and helping me breath. Hours passed and I was still laughing and talking, walking around the kitchen grabbing snacks to fuel me for the challenge ahead.
As I approached being fully dilated I felt a lot more uncomfortable. I didn’t want to talk as much and the girls seemed like a bit of a distraction. Scott and my mom took them for their naps as I started to crawl into the tub.
Time moved slowly.
I wanted things to progress faster but it just seemed like I was in the tub for hours.
Some moments I would be in such deep meditation. I had no idea who was there. I just focused on myself.
This was followed by pure frustration. I am not going to sugar coat this. My preconception of this fast labor really played with my mind. I was mentally and physically exhausted and this had a direct influence on how I was acting. I was frustrated and that is when all the doubt started to trickle in. You might think, 3rd baby, 3rd natural labor, 2nd home birth, she’s got this down. NOPE! I still had the same fears and apprehensions. Maybe even more this time compared to the previous births. I was pleading for help. At one point I even said “I don’t want to do this anymore”. I was not a pleasant person. I was in pain. I was tired. I wanted her out NOW! Even though I was fully dilated I still had a lip of cervix that was holding her back. I begged for my midwife to help.
My bag of waters were still intact. With a few pushes we were able to break it. As my midwife checked my cervix she told me that the baby’s head was right there. If she pushed the cervix back as I pushed she would come right after. At this point I wanted to do whatever it took… and that’s what we did. I have no idea how the girls slept as I screamed. I don’t know if the screaming was from pain or more from the effort I was putting in, but either way it worked. I waited for the next contraction to push her shoulders. At this point I had nothing left to give. My legs could barely hold myself up in a squatting position. Scott had to hold me up so I could give everything I could to my baby.
One last push.
“Grab your baby”
After that last exhausting, exciting and adrenaline filled push I looked down into the water. I wrapped my arms around her. Hair. All i noticed was hair. I pulled her out of the water and brought her to my shoulder, I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t laugh, all I could do was hold her in pure amazement. At this point if Scott were to let go I would have gone right under the water. What a huge analogy for the entire experience. He held me and I held her. Now that I think about it this really emulates our whole life. His support makes everything possible, he makes me a better mother.
We stayed in the water for quite some time. I stared at her just shocked that she was mine. My baby girl.
Go wake up the girls I told him. I want them to meet her. I couldn’t contain my excitement. I feel so blessed to have these pictures of them meeting their little sister for the first time.
What a blessing. She brings me such much joy this sweet girl. After two full days we decided on her name. Hazel Caroline.
Its actually a funny story how we decided on her name. Or should I say Lucille decided on her name. We were constantly asking the girls what names they liked and we only got responses like Cinderella and Poopy pants. Two days after her birth we decided we had been calling her baby long enough. We turned to Lucille and said “What do you think of Hazel?” “thats it, her name is hazel” We continued to give her other names we liked but Lucille wasn’t budging. Her name could only be Hazel. To this day if you ask Lucille about Hazel’s name she will proudly say that she picked it… and that she likes it a lot better than poopy pants.
You might be wondering why I choose to share so much. To write such details and give you an inside look into some of my most personal moments. When I was pregnant with Lucille I craved information and searched for any little glimpse of insight of what was to come. No one I knew was choosing a birth like this and so I wanted to find my tribe. I think by doing so I felt safe, I felt comfortable with mydecisions and I had other women to lean on during my times of need. This type of birth is so beautiful, I can not put into words the feeling, when you bring your baby into this world. The endorphins are unreal, I was on a high for days. I want other women to see the honest truth in childbirth. It doesn’t have to be scary. There will be moments that it will be hard. Most of all it is beautiful. I want you to know that you can come to me. Talk to me about anything, natural birth or not, I want to help ease your fears and help you realize that this can be one of the most beautiful experiences of your life.
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