Contractions started around 11:15 p.m. They came quickly, starting out
at 3-4 minutes apart from the onset. My kids were still up, it was one of those nights.
I kept thinking on previous nights that if I could just get them to sleep and get calm,
she'd be born anytime. So much for that. I watched their four little heads in a row on the couch.
I stood up to check on my youngest and my water broke. I'd called the sitter and midwife and I felt so calm and such clarity between the contractions. I knew things were moving very quickly. As soon as Coral arrived, we got into the car and headed to the birth center. I listened to a country song and sang my heart out between contractions. I'm not a huge country music fan, but my husband is and it felt fitting to have him "there" in that way.
When I first arrived around midnight, I was still calm and clear between contractions. I felt like I maybe wanted to get into the shower.
The intensity ramped up. After some toilet sitting and less than five minutes in the shower, my fabulous midwife asked where I wanted to have my baby and suggested that we may want to start heading there. This was around 12:15.
My doula helped me get through another contraction as I made my way to the comfy bed at the birth center. I suspected that Isla Jane (who I didn't name until on the way there!) would be large and I was interested in trying to birth on my hands and knees for the first time. My intuition was good, this position felt amazing for birth. I'm a loud birther. No serene, quiet mama here. At the same time, listening to my own groans and screams isn't super enjoyable and in this position I was able to vocalize into the pillows and not have to hear myself. There was so much power in these moments. My friend Kayla had flown from Georgia with her little boy to hopefully be with me when I went into labor because my husband was deployed. It worked just like we hoped it would. In a room full of women, I birthed my beautiful baby girl. I missed my husband, but the spirit in the room was nothing short of pure feminine power.
Her shoulders became stuck for just a moment. My chart notes indicate that I started pushing at 12:27. My midwife did a quick maneuver to help her shoulders free and she was born at 12:35.
They helped me to roll over and grab my baby, cord still pulsating and attached.
At some point during the hour and a half. I'd asked for something to drink. Something with flavor, specifically. Our bodies are so incredible. It sensed I needed a sugar rush to get through this fast and furious labor. Once she was out I was so, so thirsty. It was the best juice I'd ever had.
No matter how many babies I have, I'm always shocked that I just birthed an entire human being.
I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to have had such a good friend and source of energy and compassion at my birth. She cut the cord.
"She's here. We did it."
Through the labor we'd been working to get Will on Skype but his internet in Kuwait was spotty. I texted him for the final time at 12:16 am. Then we FaceTimed so he could meet our baby girl. I told him that I'd like to name her Isla Jane, and that since he wasn't there I felt it only fair that he agree. He was smitten.
My amazing doula had gone to Denny's (I think?) to get my after birth meal of a strawberry waffle. While putting this blog post together it occurred to me how much it resembles a placenta!
I love to have strawberry waffles after a baby.
I was so in love with this exquisite being.
"I was there when you were born."
I was absolutely shocked to hear that I'd birthed a TEN pound and one half ounce baby.
In case you're wondering, she felt just like the smaller ones on the way out.
I felt like the luckiest woman in the world.
All photos were taken by Laura Lynn Photography of Twentynine Palms, California.
Photos may not be copied, cropped, or reproduced in any way without permission from the photographer.