This birth story shows the incredible strength that a mama has when she puts her mind to something--it also shows the importance of patience and trust. As a doula, I love seeing mamas dig down deep and find strength they never knew they had--it is amazing and an honor to watch. Dear Baby Eva,
When I first met your mama, I thought she was one of the most beautiful people I had ever seen—soft spoken and kind, she was poised and glowing from the inside out. We quickly began talking, and like old friends, I felt like I knew her. I understood her desires for a natural birth, especially after she had come so close during the birth of your sister. She was determined, and had taken every measure possible to ensure her success—chosen a midwife, hired a doula, taken a childbirth education class, and taken good care of her body with healthy food and regular exercise. She was ready to meet you, and I knew right away that she was an excellent mother. I could tell that your Daddy worked hard to provide for all of you, and that he loved each of you very much. He looked at your mama, with eyes full of love, hoping that she would have the birth experience that she desired. I could tell that he was not just going through the motions, but that he really wanted to serve her. I was so excited for your birth day to arrive. I knew that it would be spectacular.
We waited, and we waited, and we waited some more. Your mama labored, and labored, and labored some more, but never quite enough to go into active labor. Your due date came, and your due date went, and your mama’s sister even welcomed her baby weeks early! I tried my best to encourage her, reminding her that you would come when you were ready…that you were worth the wait. Of course, she agreed, and about the time she felt like she would never go into labor, her water broke. Around 9pm on the 29th of August, your mama and daddy were picking up some take-out and your mama texted me and said her water had broken. I don’t think I have ever been so excited! Her fluid was clear, so I told her to go home and eat, shower, drink water and try to rest. She had been contracting throughout the day, and luckily when her water broke, the contractions continued to intensify.
During the next 2 hours we continued to talk by text, and I sent her to the bathroom to shower once some company had gone home. This helped her to focus and settle into her labor, and before long she called and said that the midwife wanted her to come into the Birthing Center. I left my house, and actually got to the hospital first—I could not wait to see your mama and daddy meet you!
When your mama and daddy arrived, your mama was ready to get to work. She was laboring well, transitioning into active labor, and taking her contractions one by one. She labored on her side in the bed for a bit while you were monitored, and then she went to the bathroom. While she was in the bathroom, your daddy leaned down and asked me if there was anything else he could do to help her. “I feel like I am not helping enough, is there anything else I can do?" Concern filled his eyes, as I assured him he was doing everything he could.
Your mama was having some issues with pressure in her bottom, so she asked if she could get in the tub—the water made her weightless and this helped ease her pain and helped her relax. She leaned over the side of the tub while your daddy put a cold washcloth on her face and offered her water. He rubbed her shoulders and back, held her hand and reassured her. I offered her words of encouragement as the contractions continued to intensify, and she bravely faced each one. She labored beautifully. The room was quiet and peaceful, as the sound of swirling water mixed with the sound of a woman laboring in expectation. She labored in the tub for about an hour and then got out, trying a few more positions, but eventually went back to the tub—it was her safe place. Before long, she began to labor harder, breath heavier, become less aware of the people and sounds in the room. She began to ask when it would end, and doubted she could do it, and I assured her that the end was drawing near. As the contractions came one right after the other, the midwife asked if she could check her cervix. She got out of the tub and came over to the bed, and was pleased to hear that she only had a rim of cervix left. After pushing through a few contractions, she was complete and ready to deliver her baby. This part was supposed to be the easier part—she had pushed your sister out quickly and easily and we were all expecting you to be born after just a few pushes. She pushed, and pushed, and pushed, and pushed—I have never seen a woman work so hard during labor. At this point, your mama was exhausted, but she kept going. You were not able to watch it with your own eyes, but I hope one day your daddy will tell you about it. I am sure one day you will face an obstacle that seems ten times your size—you will want to give up. You will want to take the easy road. You will want to walk away. I hope you will remember your mama and you will dig down deep, and you will finish with grace and beauty. After more than an hour of pushing, the midwife confirmed that you were being born in the posterior position, or “sunny side up.” Watching your mama was amazing and inspiring—through lots of hard work, your head finally emerged and your sweet face was looking right at us. Hello sweet Eva, welcome to the world!
You were placed on your mama’s chest, while your daddy took in every inch of you, falling in love with his second daughter. This is why I love labor-- at some point every woman has to decide if she is going to turn back, or plow on. If she chooses to plow on, she has to reach down deep and find something she never knew she had inside of her. Not only does this strength birth a baby (even a stubborn one like you!) but it means the woman will never doubt herself again. Your mama is this woman—I hope you learn from her.
Sweet Eva, I pray you always keep your sunny side up…I am so thankful you get to be loved by your wonderful family. What a blessed little girl you are!