Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Eliyah's birth story

So, it has taken me over 3 weeks, but I am finally posting Eliyah's birth story for those of you who are interested! :)

Baby Ervin (the name for our little one prior to birth since we didn't know whether it was a boy or a girl) was due to arrive on March 15. Everyone says that it is rare for a first-time mom to go into labor early, so I was prepared to go at least until the 15th if not later! My dad had booked his flight to come here for March 18th anticipating that Baby Ervin would be here around that time.

On Friday, March 4, Mike and I went to some friends house for dinner (the Nicholas'). After dinner, they put their girls to bed and we sat around the table drinking coffee and talking for quite some time. Around 10:15 I felt a trickle of fluid and automatically knew that something wasn't quite right. Since we had never been to their house before, I had to interrupt conversation to ask where the bathroom was. Sure enough, by the time I got to the bathroom I was really wet, and I wasn't sure what to do! Surely this couldn't be my water breaking! Only 10% of women have their water break BEFORE going into labor--and I had not felt a single contraction. I went back to the table and told Mike that I thought my water had broken. No one thought it was real! I had to tell Mike that I thought it would be a good idea to go home and call Sarah (our doula). Thankfully it didn't take much convincing and we left quickly, because once we got in the car more and more fluid continued to come out as we drove home. I was so thankful for the plastic GAP shopping bag that was in the back seat, because I didn't want to seat of the car to be a huge wet mess! By the time we got home, I was completely soaked--it was rather comical actually and we were laughing about it all the way. :)

We had called Sarah on our way home, and she had told us to just relax and try to get a little rest. I knew that if I called the midwife they would want me to come in immediately, and if I wasn't in active labor (and I still wasn't feeling a thing!) they would send me to the hospital and try to induce labor which is not what I wanted. So we just went home. I took a shower while Mike made sure we had everything we needed for the Birth Center. We didn't call our parents or anyone, because we weren't sure when active labor would start and we didn't want to get everyone too excited if it was going to be a while before the baby came. We went to bed and tried to get some sleep. Sometime during the middle of the night I began feeling little twinges (slighlty less painful than menstral cramps). Mike was supposed to be the manager for the opening shift at Starbucks that Saturday morning, and since it was so early in the morning, he went on it to open the store and then called another manager in to finish out the shift. While he was gone, I called my mom to let her know that my water had broken and that we were probably going to have a baby soon! He was home around 8 am and we called the midwife at 9. I was still feeling slight cramps that were roughly 8 minutes apart. The midwife wanted me to come to the Birth Center so that she could just check to see what was going on. We packed the car and dropped Zoe (our dog) off at my mom's and headed to the Birth Center. We got there around 10:30 and she did a swab to see if what I had felt the night before was indeed my water breaking. After examining the fluid, she said it was definitely my water breaking and she wanted to check my cervix. Mike and I both anticipated that I would be around 2-3 centimeters dialated since I was still only having menstral-like cramps. I think the midwife was as surprised as we were when she checked and told us that I was 7.5-8 centimeters! At that point we called our parents and our doula because we knew baby would be here sooner than expected!!

Our moms and Sarah arrive around 11:15, and I was still able to walk around and handle the contractions very well. Almost immediately after they got to the Birth Center though, I must have gone into the "transition" stage of labor because the contractions were very painful (I actually, finally, felt like I was in labor). I labored in the tub for about an hour and a half, with Michael right there doing everything I asked him to do! The counter pressure of him pushing on my lower back during the contractions helped so much that I continued to ask him to push harder--the next day we realized there was a bruise from where he pushed as hard as he could! :) He was the BEST!

Around 1:00 I began feeling the urge to push, but I couldn't really get my footing or anything in the tub, so I moved to the bed and leaned on hands and knees over a birthball. I could feel baby's head with my hands and was basically begging her to come out! :) Finally her head began to emerge and was halfway through when the contraction I was pushing with stopped. That point was probably the most uncomfortable time during the entire labor experience--I wanted to push her the rest of the way our so badly, but was waiting for a contraction and for my body to tell me too. I must admit that was the only time I was praying for another contraction! :) The next one finally came and with it came our beautiful baby GIRL!

Michael was able to catch the baby and bring her up to my chest! At first I couldn't tell what gender she was, and asked them to turn on some lights because it was dark in the room during labor. We were so shocked and excited to find that God had given us a baby girl! Our moms were standing outside the door and when they heard it was a girl, my mom screamed with excitement!

So Eliyah Hope Ervin was born on March 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm!

She was perfect, beautiful, and tiny!

Here are some pictures of her birth--don't worry I won't post anything graphic

Many people did not understand why I wanted to do a natural birth--why go through all that pain when modern medicine and technology allow you to simply numb it? I was faced with tons of questions and concerns about the way Mike and I were choosing to bring our baby into this world--medication free, not at a hospital, etc. Sometimes it was hard to satisfy people's questions.

However, after this whole experience, I wouldn't change a thing about it! Was it hard? Yes. Was it painful? You bet! But isn't it the case that most of the time in life when we go through something difficult or painful, the end result is one of the most precious things we've ever experienced? I know that is how God teaches me best, and this experience was just the same. The pain of labor and delivery isn't something that needs to be gotten rid of, it is something that needs to be experienced! Honestly, the pain was gone the moment I saw this precious little girl's face and it was all worth every second! Don't get me wrong, I still remember that it hurt--a lot-- but the joy that came after the pain was priceless! A natural childbirth may not be "for you", but I encourage you to at least consider it! I didn't think I could do it either, but God created women for childbirth and many times we can do more than we give ourselves credit for! :)


  1. Great story! Brings back some of my own precious memories. :) Congratulations on a beautiful baby and a job well done. And praises to our God for his goodness. Cheers for new life!

  2. Praise the Lord for a safe, healthy delivery. We're being even more "radical" than you by having a home birth - I'm glad that you got to birth at a center! :) Just a few more weeks before we know the gender of our baby, too. ;)

  3. Congratulations on a natural birth! There are more of us out there than you may think. :) I got lots of negativity and questions because of my decision to go natural also, but you're absolutely right, it's totally worth it! So happy for you guys. Such a beautiful birth story!

  4. Lovely story and adorable baby, Rachel. :-)
    I love seeing others in our generation choosing to birth much better for mom and baby! We didn't know the sex of Chloe, either, and I went into labor a week early, so I was totally identifying with you at the beginning of your story! My water never broke, though...she was born "in caul" at home. :-)

  5. Rachel, thank you so much for letting others into this intimate and miraculous experience! How beautiful and strong you are! This is such an encouragement to me, and it reaffirms the ideas I have about the birthing process (when it happens to me). P. S. We can't wait to meet her! Let's plan a get together soon.

  6. I loved reading your story of the big day Rachel, it was truly a wonderful experience to be there, and you were the woman!!!

  7. You did such an amazing job, Rachel! You and Mike made a great team. :-) I was so honored to be there to support you. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your special story. <3

  8. Wow, what an incredible experience! I was SHOCKED when I got to the part where you were a 7.5-8. I remember thinking I was at least an 8 with my second child when I was really a FOUR. Granted, he was asclyntic so the contractions were much stronger than usual, but still! Thank you so much for sharing your story!


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