Nursing a cold two weeks before my due date, I found myself napping in the middle of the day. All it took was a sneeze. At first I wasn't sure what had happened, but after heaving myself up out of bed it became clear: My water broke. In that moment I was flooded with warmth and excitement. I wasn't expecting to meet our little one so soon, but I didn't feel panic or fear. Drew came home from work early and we felt so full of life. And so we waited for my labor to begin. We were wide eyed and smiling the entire day into the evening. As the sun began to set and labor still hadn't begun we began to realize that we might be playing a waiting game for a while. And so... we tried our very best to appreciate one another and soak in those last hours of being just us.
I didn't sleep well that night. I felt electric with anticipation but still the contractions wouldn't come. The next morning we woke and I was still pregnant. We thought that we would surely be having a baby that day. We spent our time checking in with the midwife, going for long walks (we even climbed a little mountain!), and speaking to one anther about how having this baby would change us. We were ready. But, our little baby was not. Late in the afternoon on the second day our acupuncturist came over and worked on me. As she left she told us it typically took 24 hours for the treatment to help bring about labor. That night I took a long shower and got into bed. I was exhausted from all the walking and the intense emotions of the day. I slept well that night and woke up the next morning well rested and determined: We would meet our baby that day.
It was Drew's birthday so I let him sleep in until 8am (ha!) and then decided it was time to get things going. As we headed out the door for another walk I made sure to be be extra sweet to D. He had joked weeks earlier that all he wanted for his birthday was our baby and here we were facing that reality. It was incredible. After our walk we called the midwife who gave us a run down of our options. We only had 24 more hours of waiting before we would need to transfer our care to the hospital (Oregon state law), which was something neither of us wanted. So, we decided to help things along by taking castor oil.
The texture of the oil on the way down was disgusting, but I barely noticed as all my attention was turned towards getting the baby to come naturally and at home. Within 30 minutes the oil began working and I was glued to the bathroom. The effects of castor oil are unpleasant at best, but I wasn't phased and, honestly, at the time I didn't think it was that bad. The castor oil had run its course by around noon. Drew and I laid on the bed waiting for contractions to start, but still nothing significant was happening. I began to get discouraged. All my worst fears were beginning to become more and more of a reality. Drew spoke to the midwife who suggested we try nipple stimulation and then to get back to her. We gave it a go, and within 5 minutes intense contractions were coming. They were 45 seconds long and a minute a part. I was able to speak through the first four and then I was overtaken by labor. Even though things got intense quickly, I never entertained the thought of not being able to handle it. I had waited for two whole days for our baby to join us and was willing to go through anything to meet the tiny person.
After about 45 minutes of us laboring by ourselves Drew decided to call the midwife. They arrived about an hour and half after labor had started and were greeted by me throwing up in the bath tub. It took them no time to assess the situation and realize how close I was to having our baby. They worked hard to set up our bedroom and fill up the birthing tub. As I waited for them to get the rooms ready for delivery, I spent lots of time swaying back and forth slow dancing with Drew. In those moments he was my guiding light. His strength and calm kept me going. His love for me and awe in the process was evident even in the haze of labor. I will be forever grateful for his support.
Finally the bed was ready for me, but the tub was not. Being on the bed was excruciating. Contractions were rolling over me one after another and my body began to push. I felt out of control and wild. I would brace myself against the wall during each contraction and collapse into the pillows to rest for 20 seconds before the next contraction would hit. Right as the assisting midwife called that the tub was finally ready, Drew whispered into my ear that he could see the baby's head.
I made my way to the tub and as I got in I felt instant relief. The contractions were still intense and the pushing sensation was still taking over, but labor felt manageable. The midwife instructed me to start pushing with each contraction and just like that our sweet little baby's head was out. My body gave me a minute long rest and finally with one last contraction I pushed our little one's body out. The midwife caught her and immediately handed her to me. We were elated and so in love. Our baby didn't cry at first, she opened her eyes and stared up at us for what felt like eternity. And then, she closed her eyes and began to wail. It wasn't until she started crying that we realized she was a girl. Our girl. Our little Eulalie Vivian. In that moment it all made perfect sense. It had been her all along. The best birthday gift Drew could have ever asked for.
My labor lasted a mere 3 hours. And though it was short, it was the most incredible thing I've ever done. We spent years dreaming about our child and now she is here. In that moment life completely changed. Just like Dorothy discovering the land of Oz, everything seems more alive and vibrant now. Every creature has a purpose, every blossom is full of potential and we are now acutely aware of it all.
|Drew giving words of comfort between contractions|
|Mother, daughter and husband|
|beautiful little one and her amazing tree of life|