Hi guys and Happy 2021! It feels like forever since I’ve posted on the blog…but in between having a new baby and the holidays, things had to slow down and I’m completely okay with that. If there is one thing I’ve learned since becoming a mom, it is to give myself grace and time to adjust without putting extra pressure on myself to perform. With that, I finally feel ready to share Eller’s birth story with you!
It has been almost 6 (mostly) blissful weeks with our sweet little Eller James (or Eller bean as I like to call him). Time has both seemingly stopped and flown by at the same time and we are all adjusting SO well to having this new small addition in our family. We all feel as though Eller has always been here as he has easily transitioned into our family and has captured all of our hearts.
Like I’d mentioned while pregnant, leading up to the birth of Eller, I had SPD which caused me to hardly be able to walk. Because of this, I had been seeing a team of different physiotherapists to help manage my pain and also make sure that Eller was in the best position for a delivery that I was hoping and praying would go unmedicated and smoothly, unlike how Edwin’s went.
I also took a hypnobirthing course after being inspired by my friend Jacquelyn’s birth story*This course helped me SO much in trusting my body and making me feel positive about giving birth again after a traumatic experience the first time around. I highly recommend hypnobirthing to anyone who is hoping to have an unmedicated birth or who has previously had a traumatic birth.
Anyway! My massage therapist and I were both hell-bent on getting me to 37 weeks and delivering around that time simply because my pain was becoming almost too much to handle. With that, I booked a final massage and acupuncture appointment 3 days after I turned 37 weeks…little did I know I would be canceling those appointments!
The day I turned 37 weeks pregnant, my mom was over visiting for a couple of days and I remember feeling super exhausted and a little crampy. The following day, my mom left, and Jamie and Edwin went on their weekly grocery run. There was nothing abnormal about the day and I spent most of it on my laptop finishing up work and then took a relaxing bath. I felt completely normal and was sure Eller wouldn’t be arriving for at least a couple more weeks. Even that night, I made dinner and went to bed with NO signs or thoughts that I would go into labour.
A little after 12:30 that night, I woke to a little dribble leaking out of my who ha, lol! I thought “oh, that’s strange” and then thought “OMG, is this my water breaking!?” I didn’t have this experience with Edwin, so I was completely taken aback and also thought that maybe it was some discharge happening, but this felt different. I decided to push down a little bit to see what would happen and when I did a huge gush of water came with it! I immediately got up with the biggest smile on my face and started making my way to the bathroom while leaking and making a puddle of amniotic fluidly lol! I figured I’d wake Jamie and surprise him with the news but of course, he’d woken up too and started walking to the washroom before I was barely out of bed. I said…” babe my water broke!” and he was like “OK LET’S GO!”.
Because I had group b strep, I was told to be sure to head to the hospital if my water broke. However, I was determined to labour at home for as long as possible because I was comfortable there and my previous hospital birth made me want to stay home to ease anxiety and negative thoughts. We decided to call Jamie’s dad so that he could be here for Edwin no matter what and I finished packing my bag, called my mom and sisters, took a shower, and literally finished up a blog post to be published the next day. I was having very slight contractions at this point and knew I didn’t want to go to the hospital yet for fear of being sent home or stalling my labour because of stress hormones. While I was finishing up my blog post (around 3 am) I was bouncing on my exercise ball trying to get things moving, however, I wasn’t contracting at all on the ball. As soon as I finished the post and got up off of the exercise ball, things started moving. I still thought the contractions weren’t that bad and I said to Jamie “let’s just try to get some sleep because we don’t know how long this is going to be.” We decided to lay down in bed and that’s exactly when my contractions started to unexpectedly intensify and I couldn’t talk during them. I knew that that meant that my labour was progressing quickly and maybe we should get our butts to the hospital.
I told Jamie it was time and I immediately put on my hypnobirthing relaxation track and listened to that during our drive in. While in the car, my contractions didn’t stop or slow down in intensity but because I had my relaxation tracks on, I felt like I was handling them like a champ. I decided that we should get some food to fuel up for what I was anticipating to be a long day ahead. We arrived at Starbucks around 4:50 and had to wait 10 minutes before they opened. At this point, I was leaning over the back of the car seat on my knees having VERY intense contractions. I managed to tell Jamie what I wanted and then we got through the drive-through at Starbucks while I was contracting and making lots of sounds. The guy working must have thought we were absolutely crazy. Jamie even had to stop the truck at the end of the drive-through so I could get through a contraction. He yelled out the window to someone behind us “SORRY but my wife is in labour” LMAO!
During the drive from Starbucks to the hospital, Jamie had to stop the truck about 3 times so I could get through my contractions without the car moving because it was so much worse for me when it was. We arrived at the hospital at around 5:20 AM and I walked in and waited while Jamie was parking. I cannot tell you how much the hypnobirthing track was helping me at this point. We walked through the hospital and I kept my eyes completely closed and just focused on the relaxation track. Jamie guided me through the halls, and I stopped and leaned on him for support every time a contraction happened. Even the security guard asked us if we needed a wheelchair, but Jamie insisted that I wanted to walk and was ok, which was absolutely the case.
We arrived at registration and I was able to sign the forms while we waited for a nurse to come to assess me. Once the nurse arrived, she took me into an assessment room and read my birth plan. I noticed she immediately dimmed the lights for me and was SO darn supportive of my plan. I remember her being so positive and very affirmative that I could do this unmedicated. After she gave me a Covid test she checked my cervix. I was only at 3cm but the nurse insisted that she likely stretched me to 4-5. I was a little deflated at this news and assumed that meant I’d be in for hours and hours more of labour but the nurses all said that they felt that this was going to go quickly. I was admitted and taken up to labour and delivery. I also threw up before going upstairs which I wanted to mention because that is also apparently a normal reaction to pain which I didn’t realize.
On my way up to L&D I was intensely contracting and had to stop many times along the way. Once I got into my room, I decided to get into the hospital gown, and I got onto the bed in an all-fours position with the hospital bed propped up and me leaning over it. It was the only position I felt comfortable in and the best position to bring the baby down and in the right position. I remember at this point being sooo tired and my nurse, who was the sweetest human ever, got me a popsicle to bring my sugars up. In between my contractions, I ate my popsicle and never enjoyed anything more, haha! I was also hooked up to my antibiotics which was an ordeal in and of itself because the needle was just not finding my veins…ouch! After that was all set up, I stayed in the bed for a while in that position and just focused on my relaxation track and envisioned myself bringing the baby down and breathing with every contraction. This made such a huge difference in relaxing my pelvic muscles and making sure that I didn’t tense up when a contraction hit but just simply let my body surrender to the feelings.
After a while, the nurse suggested I get into the bath and I agreed it was a good idea. The sweet human that she is, set up a salt lamp and dimmed the lights for a perfectly relaxed atmosphere. However, the only thing was that the water in the tub was FREEZING. Jamie put a towel over me to keep me warm and I tried my damn best to block out the cold and focus on my contractions that were really intense at this point.
My nurse was able to get one kettle full of boiling water into the bath and went to heat up another one when I said, “I think I am feeling these contractions in my bum!”. Which I was told is the signal that the baby is coming soon. Also, Jamie had been squeezing my hips together during each contraction and it helped SO much however, as soon as I felt this pressure in my bum and he squeezed my hips I asked him to stop because it became uncomfortable. Anyway! The nurse quickly set up for delivery and after a second contraction where I said “I AM DEFINITELY FEELING THIS IN MY BUM”, she ran over and she and Jamie literally scooped me out of the tub because I did not want to move, and got me up on the bed.
It was 8:30 at this point (I have video footage with a timestamp lol) and everything happened so quickly after I got onto the bed. The doctor came in and I heard the nurse say “she doesn’t want to be told when to push” and I remember feeling so validated. I felt Eller’s head pushing itself out and a huge amount of pressure where I needed to push. I felt the infamous “ring of fire” which made me scream at the top of my lungs and at 8:34 Eller James was born after very little “pushing”. After he was born, I felt immediate relief and I was in pure shock that he was here and I flipping delivered him (mostly) by myself with a lot of championing on Jamie and the nurse’s behalf. Eller was born after about 8 hours of labour. This is significant because during one of my hypnobirthing classes, I visualized myself having an 8-hour labour and that was exactly the number that my body allowed me to have. Crazy right!?
I was checked by the doctor and was so damn happy to hear that I hadn’t torn (this was a big anxiety of mine after going through an episiotomy/forceps delivery with Edwin). The doctor delivered my placenta which felt super weird coming out and the nurse did a stomach pressing thing a few times which I remember being very painful. However, I had my sweet little Eller James in my arm who had also found my breast within two minutes, just like his big brother. I couldn’t have felt prouder than I did in those moments.
It’s now been 6 weeks with Eller in our lives and while there have obviously been some post-partum emotions and hormones happening (mostly because of sleep deprivation) I am in such a better place mentally and feel so aware and not with a fog-like I felt for so long with Edwin. I healed sooo much quicker this time around aside from feeling weak and having a weak core/pelvic floor that I am working on healing. I am constantly trying to talk, sing and interact with Eller when he is awake, I always kiss him and tell him I love him, and even during the middle of the night feedings, I relish the snuggles. All of these things took me SO long to do with Edwin so having this experience now is just incredible.
My hope by sharing this birth story is that anyone who is scared of birth or has had a traumatic birth experience in the past knows that it truly can be different. Your mind and body are made to do this!! My thoughts about birth are forever altered because of my experience with Eller, and while I don’t plan on having any more babies, I am so proud of my body and everything it has accomplished both with Edwin and Eller.
*Jacquelyn goes into a lot of detail about Hypnobirthing in her birth story blog post, so if you’re interested in this method, I highly suggest reading her story. While I did take the course and read the Hypnobirthing book (highly recommend) I only used/mentioned a couple of the techniques like the relaxation track and there is SO much more to it than that.
Ps: You can read Edwin’s birth story here. Candance Berry shot these photos and they are still some of my most treasued photos. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, I was unable to ask her if she wanted to capture our second birth. These photos s were captured by Jamie. While they are beautiful, I’m so sad he couldn’t be in many of them but am still so grateful to have a few images of Ellers birth.