Posted by: Morgan | October 21, 2010

Emma’s birth – From the eyes of her mama

***Note: I wrote this when Emma was 3 months old, in April of 2009. I just reopened it up and decided to post it for people to read if they want. For that matter, I want to read it again!***

I was due February 14th and, though my midwife did not think I would go past my due date, at our appointment the last week of January she definitely said she didn’t expect me to go into labor any time before the 10th of February. I was 50% effaced, but not dilated at all. With this in mind, my mom bought a ticket to come out and be available for the birth, and I didn’t rush to get anything done that would be done the first week or two of the month.
On January 31st I pulled myself out of bed around 10am. As I was heading to the bathroom, I felt my water break. At first I thought I had just not gotten to the bathroom quick enough and kept going on with my morning. After a few minutes, though, it started clicking and I called Caleb at work. We decided to have me call my midwife, Kathy, but that he would stay at work until I actually started feeling contractions.

Kathy was quite surprised, but said to watch for contractions and if nothing changed by 3pm to give her a call. Caleb got way too antsy at work and ended up coming home by 11. My mom went crazy in California, trying to rearrange her ticket to get to Iowa in time for the birth. She was abe to switch her ticket, but not until the next day, Feb 1st, coming in at noon. She told me I had to wait to go into active labor until she got there, and I laughed and said sure.

We called Kathy at 3 with nothing to report and she advised us to go about our day and evening as normal, calling when contractions were close together for at least an hour. We watched a movie (The Mummy II… perfect labor movie, right?!), went to Walmart, and went to bed with nothing happening at all. By this point I had lost a lot of the jittery-ness and was slightly flabbergasted that I was so close and yet it was still taking forever. 🙂

During the night I woke twice with light contractions that got close together for quite awhile. We called Kathy once again, and she said if they continued to let her know, otherwise she’d come by around 10am on the 1st. They stopped and I slept the rest of the night. She arrived the morning of the 1st, and checked me for the first time in a week. I was 80% effaced and dilated 2cm. I still hadn’t really started contractions at all yet, so she gave me two herbal capsules to use to stimulate labor. If I hadn’t started anything by noon I was to take one and then another four hours after that. She left and I kept cleaning the house and waiting. Noon rolled around and I took the first capsule, followed closely by my mom arriving at 12:30. It was so wonderful and amazing that God worked the timing out for her to be there.

At 1 my first contraction came. I was on the phone and had to completely stop talking and drop the phone on the couch. I never had a build up in the contractions, with them coming every couple minutes, and lasting for at least a minute, right from the beginning. After an hour of definite contractions, we called Kathy and she sent my doula over, following under an hour later. They both checked me when they arrived, deciding I was 100% effaced, but only 4cm dilated. They waited while Caleb and I focused on first stage labor for a little over an hour. I tried all the different positions we had practiced, but I couldn’t fully relax through the contractions with any of them. I ended up sitting on the floor facing Caleb while he sat on the couch. He held both my arms and during each contractions I would lean back and completely relaxed every muscle so that I wasn’t holding myself up at all. My doula held the birthing ball behind me for some of the contractions for me to lean back onto. We quietly worked through over an hour of contractions like this. Caleb tried talking me through relaxation visualazations, but I really did not like that, and ended up talking myself through the colored mist and waterfall visualizations.

Around 4pm, Kathy and Monica determined we were doing really great getting through each contraction and they left for a while to let us labor together, and to call them if we needed them. Within 15 minutes I started feeling nauseous and burping a lot. We kept going through the contractions, but I was getting slightly more frantic during each one, not able to fully relax. After a half hour of it getting progressively harder to relax, I ended up jumping around through one contractions into different positions, trying to find where my body wanted to be. It was then that I started feeling that it was too intense and that there was no way I could finish it. I cried and wanted to stop. Caleb commented that it sounded like I was in transition, and to have my mom call Kathy. We got me into our shower, which helped calm me and relax me through a couple more contractions before they returned. Kathy checked me, on the advise of Caleb that he though I was in transition.

Honestly the hardest part of my labor was when she checked me and I was only at 5cm. After two hours, and what we had thought was transition, and the intensity, to realize I was only half there was very frustrating. Kathy let me get into the birthing pool, and Caleb with me, which helped relaxation immensely. I think between contractions I actually fell asleep on Caleb’s shoulder. I learned later that Kathy almost had me get back out, as my contractions slowed for awhile, but right as she was about to move me they picked right back up, at the same intensity they had been previously. I ended up on my hands and knees in the pool, moving in a circular motion through each contraction.

I lost complete track of time, but I believe I was in there about an hour when I got an VERY intense urge to push. I supressed the urge and just went through the contraction, but told Kathy. As I had been at 5cm an hour before, and it had taken at least two hours to get to there from 4cm, she said she didn’t expect I was really ready to push. She said to wait and she would come check me. I remember thinking of Bradley class when we discussed the different urges to push, and determining that this was the third, most intense, urge and that no matter what next time I was pushing! Kathy came over and checked me right as another contraction began, and she was in complete shock, as I was fully dilated. She gave me the go ahead to push, while she and the doula bustled around getting ready for stage 2. I heard later how completely shocked they both were at how fast that part had gone. Caleb commented proudly to me afterwards that he was right, it had been transition, something he learned in Bradley. We learned even more that we can trust my body to truly tell us where I’m at.

I ended up pushing for 30-40 mintutes, I think, although neither of us are quite sure. It didn’t feel that long, which is good I guess. The water was wonderful, and I can honestly say that if I can ever help it, I will have all of my children in water. My arms and legs were able to float in between contractions, and the warmth was amazing. At one point Kathy had us both stand up, to let gravity help, and my entire body felt like lead. Caleb was amazing the entire time, but definitely at that point. I was facing him, with my arms around his neck, leaning against him. At one point, though, during a contractions I ended up lifting my feet completely off the ground, and he just held me there. Crazy amazing, as far as I’m concerned. I guess we decided to go all the way with ‘Husband Helped’ birthing. 🙂 I was very glad to be back in the water after those few contractions.

Apparently right before I started pushing my mother-in-law had called from Texas. My mom joked to her that she should pick up dinner and head on over. A few minutes later she called back and let my mom know that Pizza Hut should be there within the hour. I wasn’t aware of any of this, but the delivery guy showed up right in the middle of the pushing stage. I had put a sign on the door that said not to knock, but all I knew was suddenly there was someone banging on the front door while I’m trying to work through a contractions. I remember them banging really loudly and me screaming ‘NOOO! GO AWAY!”, although the video we have shows that they barely knocked and I just quietly moaned for them to leave. When I learned later what had happened, I did have to laugh, although at the time I was not too happy. I just feel bad for the poor delivery guy! My mom was able to get him around to the back door, and just said “We have someone who’s sick” to explain. Ahh well.

Emma was born at 7:20pm on February 1st. She was born in the birthing tub under water, and brought up to me after she had turned and I gave one more push to get past her shoulders. As I’m sure you all know, that moment when I first held her was so surreal. I really couldn’t connect that the quiet little purple person in my arms was really my daughter. She had apparently been pushed against my pelvic bone for a few weeks, so her forehead was pushed flat from the crown of her head to her nose. With all love I can truly say she looked like a little gorilla. 🙂 She was completely quiet when she was born, only giving a little blurb of a cry after a few minutes of being rubbed down. Her eyes were wide open and she just looked up at me. Looking back, I know that her clarity and calmness was because I had not had any drugs in my system.

We moved to our couch to cut her cord, begin nursing and deliver the placenta. She latched on immediately, like a little pro. Only when Kathy took her away to weigh and measure her did she really start to cry. The moment she was handed back to me and placed on my skin she stopped crying and just looked up at me. That was the moment I remember just being in awe and realizing I was a mom. I cried for the first time when Caleb took her into his arms. She was 7 lbs exactly and 19 inches long.

She turns 3 months on May 1st, which is pretty crazy to me. Last week we weighed her at 14.8 and measuring 23 inches. She is definitely a fattycakes, which we get quite a few comments on. My favorite is ‘well fed’. 🙂



  1. Wow, I’ll bet that pizza delivery guy still remember YOUR house!!! Great story, Morgan!

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