The Birth of Eloise.
This birth has left me feeling victorious. On top of the world. Strong. Powerful. Capable. Fierce. The rush of oxytocin that birth gives me is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I have more respect for my body and baby, my husband, and women around me who have gone before me and those who have yet to go. I am humbled before God to have been able to experience and assist Him in the marvelous miracle of childbirth. All glory be to God.
June 22, 2018. This was her guess date, or estimated due date. My first daughter was born on her estimated due date, so with this being my second birth, I anticipated this one to come before her guess date. But, that’s all that is, is a guess date. My labor caught me off guard when it started on June 23rd around 11am, after having next to no labor signs leading up to birth (unlike the birth of my first.) I began feeling some pressure in my uterus, like what a Braxton Hicks contraction would feel like. Unsure if this was labor, I resumed as normal, ignoring them as much as I could. As the day went on, this pressure sensation wasn’t disappearing. As a matter of fact, it was forming a timed pattern. I thought this could be “it” but still was unsure and informed my birth team to be on standby anyways. The sensations were still very managble and not requiring all of my attention. By 2pm, I was pretty convinced today was the day I would be meeting my baby! The pressurized sensations continued to pick up in intensity and were beginning to require my attention. My husband, Jacob, and I decided it might be time to start getting the birth pool blown up and filled with water. Together, we went over the birth checklist we had hanging on our fridge- things like blowing up the birth pool, grabbing the essential oils I had planned to use for labor, tidy up any little spaces in the house that needed it (if you’re pregnant or have ever been pregnant, you understand the urge to nest!)- things like that. During this early labor time, my mind would shift and think about my last baby, Jude, who I only carried inside of my womb for 8 short weeks. A wave of grief would wash over me, and after, a sense of joy and happiness. To have lost a child and always wonder who that child would’ve been, looked like, sounded like, is something you never forget. Even more so while you’re laboring with your rainbow baby.
By now, it’s about 4pm. Most of my birth team has arrived and my expansions (which is what I call contractions- this sounds much more welcoming to me than the latter) are requiring all of my attention, I know I’m now in active labor and this is it! I have been laboring around the house- draping my body on the counter, going to my hands and knees on the floor, hanging on a birth ball or pillows on my couch, hanging my body on my husbands, breathing through all of them and beginning to moan through some. I sipped on a smoothie, drank water and took some small bites of a granola bar, knowing my body was sure to need the fuel for what was about to come. My expansions now had me moaning and humming deep enough to vibrate my chest. These noises, you don’t even know you’re capable of making them. Making sounds that are so unique and primal is incredibly beautiful. It’s like your own birth roar, a noise that’s almost as if it’s a direct communication line to your baby.
Shortly after this, I got into the pool that we had set up in our living room. Above it, I had my birth affirmations strung on the wall. I meditated on these the weeks leading up to birth, reading them in early labor, and glancing at them in between contractions during active labor. Nearby, I had my oil diffuser wafting around familiar, grounding, calming scents. Worship music softly filled the air along with the soft & respectful voices of my birth team. In between expansions, I was able to focus on the soothing lyrics of the music, reminding me that God is my strength and He will never leave me.
As I am in the pool, my expansions kept coming, working so fiercely and beautifully to bring my baby to me! Shortly after I got in the pool, I got nauseas and puked. This was familiar to me as it happened during my first birth, too. I knew this meant “not too much longer until you get to meet your baby!” so, I welcomed it. I sniffed some peppermint oil to help the nausea subside and some orange oil for a pick-me-up as I was feeling somewhat sleepy. I remember telling Jake in between an expansion “I just want to nap!” Ha! My two year old daughter, Shiloh, was present during my labor, too! Popping in and out as she pleased. She was excited mama was in the birth pool. She knew this meant she could swim in it, just like we had promised her she could when we would talk about the birth of this new baby. Shiloh was offering me sips of her coconut water, which was the sweetest! She was also trying to offer me bites of granola bar during the peak of my expansions and getting mildly offended I wouldn’t accept it, per what my husband says. Bless her sweet, little heart.
As I was in the pool, I felt my bag of waters pop & continued to ride each expansion like a wave as it came, and embracing the rest I got in between each one. Jacob never left my side, similarly to my first birth. I held him as he held me through many of my expansions. He helped keep me grounded and focused.
The urge to push came mighty and fast. After a few more expansions, my baby was moving down and my body was opening to give her room to be born. I could feel her head! Feeling her head stretching me, and knowing she’s so close from crossing the threshold of where she’s been for so long to where she’ll be for the rest of her life, is a great encouragement. My baby was coming. I can do this. My body is so capable, so amazing. She’s almost here!
After a few powerful pushes, our rainbow baby, Eloise Johanna, entered this earth at 6:46 in the evening. I birthed her with such strength, fierceness, and resiliency. We welcomed her into a pool of warm water & flowers, and into a home beaming with love. At birth is when we found out she was a she! As I was holding her in my arms, my husband announced “it’s a girl!” We were thrilled and not at all surprised. I think we both instinctively knew we were welcoming another little girl to our tribe. And we surely are blessed to have done so.
We, as a new family of 4, sat there in the pool, celebrating the life that had been brought forth and now found in my arms. And my toddler… she decided to drink the birth pool water twice. Nothing bonds siblings more than drinking the water they were birthed in, right? 😉
Eloise, Jacob, and myself stayed in the birth pool for over an hour together. Jacob & I studied the detail of her and acknowledged the work it took to get her here. We snuggled with one another as I held our daughter in my arms, and as she nursed off my breasts. Might I say, too, that she was a champion nurser from her first latch! Praise God.
Elli Jo stayed attached to her cord for nearly two hours before we decided it was time to honor the separation process of her and her placenta, her “womb mate” as I call it. We did a cord burning ceremony right there in the comfort of our bedroom as Elli suckled milk. The process was slowed dramatically as opposed to cutting it, and it truly allowed us to honor the event taking place.
We were shocked to learn that Elli weighed almost a pound and a half bigger than our first daughter! Although, it certainly makes sense as to why I couldn’t breathe (even more so than my first pregnancy) now knowing I had over a pound extra of baby in my womb! My oh my, was it with it though.
The birth of our sweet little Eloise was everything it was intended to be. I give God all the glory.
Thank you, Heavenly Father for your hand at work in what is now my third birth. You are so merciful.
Thank you to my husband for never leaving my side. For giving me strength. For all that you do.
Thank you to both my girls who showed me how to love bigger than I could imagine and for showing me how truly powerful my body is.
Lastly, thank you to my birth team- all of you that were present, for surrounding me with love and for praying for me. For helping shape my birth experience and keeping my birth space sacred and intimate.
All photos were taken by the talented Brooke Collier at Sister Birth.
Thank you for reading!