We were right in the middle of building our home, Lance was anticipating a possible career change, and Cambridge, our youngest, was still just a baby when we found out I was pregnant. The timing seemed impossible and I couldn't imagine how in the world we would be able to make it all work. But as do most things that seem too difficult to handle, everything worked itself out. Our incredible friends and family stepped in to help watch our children for the few months I was in bed, help abounded to finish work on the house and Lance, after leaving the company he'd been with for 4 1/2 years and that we had purchased equity in, found that he was happier and more fulfilled working for himself.
Now, in retrospect, Lance and I are both in complete awe that the timing for having our sweet Eleanor Elizabeth could not have been any more perfect!! The Lord truly does have a hand in our lives and He knows better than we ever could how to help us be the kind of people he needs us to be!
Anyways, I digress.... on to the birth story! I had been having contractions and braxton hicks for months before Elle arrived. 3 weeks before she was born I was already dilated to a 2 and 70% effaced. My midwife said she would be surprised if I made it to my due date. But then we kept waiting and waiting. Finally I just decided to quit being antsy and just relax a little!
Then came her due date... everything seemed just the same as before. I finished up almost all the laundry in the house, cleaned, went grocery shopping and to the bank. I was in the middle of making dinner when I felt my first strong contraction of the day. Then a few minutes later, another one. I had had so many false starts to labor that I really didn't think anything of it. We all sat down for dinner and by that time I had had another strong contraction. I told Lance and I thought this might be it, but then went another 30 minutes without another contraction. By 7:00 we headed outside as a family to let the kids ride their bikes and work on the sprinklers. That is when the contractions started coming more regularly. We called and text family to let them know I may be going into labor, then continued working in the yard. I would have to wait between contractions to lean down and turn sprinkler valves on for Lance.
With Cambridge, I had gone from a 3 to delivered in an hour, so my midwife said to come straight in if I thought I was in labor. She didn't want that baby delivered on the way to the hospital! So I figured we better go in just in case. My dad came over to put the kids down and by this time, the contractions were regular and strong enough I knew it was the real thing. We got to the hospital at 8:00 and both of our moms arrived shortly after. I was at a 4 and 85% effaced. 30 minutes later, a 6. At this point I got into the jacuzzi tub to help with the contractions. My experience with Cambridge's birth had been so incredible, I had decided right after having her that my next birth would be natural, so getting the epidural wasn't even an option in my mind. I had done a lot of research and studying to prepare myself for it.
The jacuzzi was amazing! It eased the contractions so much and made them completely doable! Lance was also an incredible support through all of this. He was perfect at reminding me to breath deeper and stay calm. His calming energy is a huge part of the reason I was able to get through the contractions. It felt like I was sharing all of it with him and he believed in me so perfectly that I also believed in myself 100%.
In no time I was feeling pressure and could tell it was time to deliver! I got out of the tub, and sure enough I was complete. It seemed like a dream! I couldn't believe how easy it was to get there and it didn't seem real that our baby was about to be born. "Two pushes and your baby will be here!" My midwife said and Lance and I just locked eyes and became so emotional. When I first started pushing I just could not believe it- I was feeling zero pain. Zero. It seemed too good to be true and little did I know the hardest part was about to come!
After about 10 minutes of no pain whatsoever, but also no progress, the midwife realized that our little baby was posterior, meaning instead of presenting with the top of her head, it was her face presenting. This makes it much, much harder for baby to get under the pelvic bone and out. At this point, the pain, pressure and back labor came so strong, I didn't know what to do with myself. I would push as hard as I possibly could, with every once of strength I had but we could not get that baby to turn. Finally, after 30 minutes of pushing and trying to turn her, she flipped all at once and was out 2 pushes later!
Everyone talks about the "ring of fire" when you deliver naturally. I honestly didn't feel that a single bit because the pressure on my back was so strong.
If you were a fly on the wall during my labor and delivery, you wouldn't even believe it was the same one. The first 3 hours were so incredibly calm and peaceful, with my birth team and I just chatting and laughing between contractions and the last 20 minutes were just like in the movies... screaming, heavy breathing, lots of pain. If she hadn't been posterior, it honestly would have been the easiest labor and delivery you could imagine!
But she was here! They pulled her up onto my belly and she was so calm and peaceful. She just lay there looking all around. At this point I was shaking uncontrollably all over from the immense pain and everything was a little blurry. I couldn't believe she was here and that I had gotten the natural birth I had wanted so badly. I had done it! It was so empowering and exhilerating to experience it all, as raw and real as it was!
Truly the best feeling in the world to snuggle that sweet babe and to have her here safe and sound.
This picture absolutely melts me. I love this incredible man of mine.
We are so thrilled to have our little Eleanor Elizabeth here! She is named after two incredible ladies. Eleanor is Lance's grandma Pat's middle name and Elizabeth is his mom. At 6 lbs, 9 oz she is my smallest baby.
The next morning my parents brought Crew and Cambridge to meet their new little sister. This picture about sums up their visit:
Cambridge looked at baby a couple of times, but was more interested in the candy and toys Grandma Mary brought. Crew was so excited to meet Elle and wanted to give her (smothering) kisses and hugs forever.