My name is Beth. My daughter Eliza was born October 26th, 2010. I had lots of contractions for several weeks before I finally started into labor at 3:00 in the morning. In fact, I had been up all the previous night with contractions that were strong enough to keep me awake, but not strong enough to justify waking my husband or my support team of my midwife, my mom, and my sister. So that day I took a nap, went to the chiropractor and went to bed early, anticipating that labor would pick up again the next night. I was right.
I woke up right before a big contraction that broke my water. I knew it was time. I woke up my husband and we started getting everything ready right away—the water-proof sheet on the bed, the Jacuzzi tub filled, etc. I have a history of quick labors (4 hours on average) so we called my midwife and my mother and sister right away. They all arrived at the house by 5:00 a.m. when my labor became really heavy.
I climbed into the tub and stayed there, sitting sideways and bracing my knee on the opposite side. We turned on a beautiful CD called “Tender Mercies” and I moved and swayed my hips to the music. My husband and my mom held my hands and supported me through the powerful contractions, and everyone gave me encouraging words and prayers. I drank water with liquid chlorophyll in it as well as swigs of a chocolate-banana protein shake to keep my energy up.
Then my three-year-old son Aaron woke up and came in. When planning the birth, I didn’t think I would want the kids there. But I really loved having him there and he wandered in and out.
At one point (which I think was transition) I felt really mad that everyone was still talking. I was just mad at the pain. But I didn’t say anything. I just glared at the corner. Around 6:30 I started to push spontaneously. I felt incredible pressure in my hips and back as I felt the baby turn and descend. This was the first labor I had ever experienced when I was able to feel the sensations as movement and pressure instead of just pain. It was amazing!
Quickly I felt the baby begin to crown. I had torn with both my first and second births, so this time I had instructed my midwife and my family that they had one job at this point—tell me NOT to push. They all followed my instructions exactly—but following their instruction was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It took all of my self control to keep myself from pushing. I panted hard and screamed to stop myself, but even then my body kept pushing little involuntary pushes. Aaron was back in the room by this time and my mom told me that he was covering up his ears, but was amazingly okay with the intensity of the moment
Slowly the baby’s head eased out, and I reached down to feel it. The midwife told me not to stimulate the baby’s face too much, as she was still underwater, so I quickly drew my hand away. Then I felt the baby kick against the top of my uterus—almost as if to push her own way out. I did have to push the shoulders out, but I did this without any tearing! Then before I knew it, Eliza was out! The midwife moved like lightning to move in, grab Eliza, flip her twice and release the umbilical cord that was wrapped three times around her neck. Then she placed her on my belly where we all worked and prayed to help Eliza take her first breath. I was rubbing her back and saying, “Eliza, wake up!” and the midwife was stimulating her feet and praying. Finally my husband moved in and I said, “Bless her. Give her a blessing.” He put his hands on her head and gave her a blessing to breathe. As soon as he was done, she started to cry and began to pink up.
I stayed in the tub for a few minutes, then we wrapped Eliza in a towel and I held her as I got out of the tub and walked with her to the bed (still connected by the umbilical cord). I delivered the placenta about 30 minutes later and Eliza started nursing soon thereafter. She was a champion nurser! Then I got into an herb bath with Eliza. She liked the water. I was amazed that I could sit there in the tub and it didn’t hurt at all!! I not only escaped tearing, but I have had the easiest recovery as well. I was up taking a shower within an hour of the birth and I felt so good!
Eliza’s birth was amazingly empowering and positive! What a blessing she is in our lives! She is sweet and easy and extremely mellow (except when she is hungry). One amazing thing we discovered (after the birth) is that she shares her name with 7 different direct ancestors, including her great-great-grandmother Eliza with whom she also shares her birthday. We feel that she has some family members who are watching over her from Heaven. Another little miracle happened the afternoon of the birth. We asked Aaron what he remembered about the birth and he said, “When Eliza was in the bathtub, there was Jesus.” I don’t doubt that He was.