Ella’s Entrance

On Monday, July 23rd, our sweet Ella decided to come into this world a bit earlier than expected.

Her official due date was August 5th but as I mentioned before, she was measuring a bit big. I hoped she would come early {like her brother} but I also tried to prepare myself to be pregnant until August 15th {42 weeks}. For about a week leading up to her birth I would feel some pretty ‘real’ contractions but nothing was regular about them. Then the weekend before her birth, I was pretty uncomfortable and even told David I thought she would come on Sunday.

But…Sunday came and went with no Ella. I did pretty much all I could to keep busy and even took a 3 mile walk with Turbo and Elijah to help things along. Then that night, I was woken up by several painful contractions which I thought were still false labor.

Monday morning I got up around 5:30 a.m. {exhausted} and decided to get ready before Elijah woke up. Around 6:30, right as Elijah was calling my name, I started to have some regular contractions and decided to track them with an app on my iphone. After logging them for about 30 minutes, I noticed that they were about 3-4 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute. I was beginning to think that this was the real thing but was still remained a bit skeptical.

When I went into labor with Elijah my water broke and then the contractions started so I definitely knew that something was happening and it happened FAST {8 hours!}. This time, I doubted it. I didn’t know what “real” contractions would feel without having my water break. Sounds silly, but it’s true.

I made myself a smoothie for breakfast and tended to Elijah. It’s almost as if he sensed that something was happening. He was needy, whiney and defiant all morning which is not like him. It became difficult for me to care for him and deal with the contractions at the same time. But I still didn’t believe that it was the real thing. Finally around 8 I decided to call my mom and see what she thought. After talking with me for a little while she decided to leave work and come up to Denver to take care of Elijah. She thought it sounded like I was in labor and recommended I call David.

Once everyone was here, I was focused on doing all I could to “help” the labor continue {I was still not convinced} so I walked up and down our stairs for about an hour. My mom kept telling me to call the midwife but I didn’t want to go to the hospital just to be sent home. Finally, she and David convinced me just to call to see what they thought. Unfortunately my midwife didn’t seem to think that it was happening but recommended I come in just to be checked. Well after that call, I really didn’t want to go in and waited until about noon to even start heading towards the hospital.

On the way there David was hungry and I wanted another smoothie so we stopped by McDonald’s {healthy, aren’t we?!}. It was in the car I realized how much walking up and down the stairs actually helped me to cope with the pain. The contractions in the car were no fun!

Once we got to the hospital, they were so busy that they didn’t even have a room for me in triage or on the labor floor?! Apparently, July 23rd was a good day to be born. 😉 We had to spend around 20 minutes in a waiting room. It was here, while pacing back and forth, that I realized that I may be in actual labor because it was beginning to be difficult to even move while having a contraction.

I finally got a triage room and was checked. I was dilated to 4 cm, 100% effaced and Ella was at station -2. I guess it WAS a good thing that I went to the hospital after all. I was transferred up to the midwifery floor {around 1 p.m} and got a very beautiful room with a great view. I was allowed to stay in my own clothes, to be off the monitor, to eat & drink, to not have an IV and to walk around.

My birth plan per se was similar to the one I had with Elijah. I wanted to go as far and as long as I could without an epidural. I had even told David that if I asked him for one, that he should try to coach me to go 5 or 10 minutes longer to see if that would help me keep going. I told my nurse what happened last time with Elijah and asked her to have me checked before I got the epidural  just to see how far I was before making that decision.

Around 3 p.m. we started watching Ellen on T.V. and all I remember is that the contractions started to become VERY intense. So intense that just the noise of the T.V. and the audience was extremely irritating. It was at this point that David’s help became essential to me. As I sat on the birthing ball, he would push on my back and pelvis to relieve some of the pressure while counting with me and coaching me to breathe and relax. When I let the pain wash over me and tried to relax, it was much easier to cope. Then around 4:30 I began to feel nauseated and to feel some intense pressure. Sitting on the ball wasn’t helping at all now and I was losing my focus. At 4:50 I looked at the clock and told David I didn’t want to do it anymore. He asked me if I could try to make it to 5. I obliged and continued to fear each coming contraction. My nurse came in and I told her I was wanting the epidural. Thankfully she graciously stuck to our plan.

She suggested I try to get in the bath tub {for some relief} while she paged the midwife to come check me. She started running the water and I tried to relieve some of the pressure by going to the bathroom. Once my midwife came in, she checked me and I was dilated to 9.5 cm. It was almost time to have this baby. 🙂

Since my water had not yet broken, she asked me if she could break it and I said yes. Initially it felt good but then another contraction came. And it was horrible. I was laying on my back and immediately flipped on my side to get some sort of relief. Then I started pushing on my hip and clinging to the bed. I felt paralyzed by the pain. From that point forward, it was extremely painful and I wasn’t able to get out of the bed. The urge to push was undeniable, the contractions were unbearable and I was not coping well. It hurt so badly that I even screamed a few times, which I DID NOT EVER want to do {ugh!}. But it was almost like my body had to relieve the pain in some way and I didn’t even realize I had screamed until after I had stopped. So embarrassing.

My nurse, David and Anne, my midwife, were trying to coach me through what to do but nothing was helping. Finally my midwife told me I had to calm down and listen to her. I still kept saying how much it hurt and asking the Lord to help me and pushing but I don’t think I screamed any more. I have never wanted something to be over so much in my life. I knew that for the pain to stop I had to keep going through it. The burning sensation I felt with her head coming through was painful but not as bad as the contractions.

About 15 minutes after my water was broken, my sweet Ella was born at 5:20 p.m.–all 8.7 lbs and 20.5 inches of her. I got to hold her immediately and she barely made a peep–she was breathing just fine and taking in her new world.

I had always heard about the ‘natural high” that people supposedly feel after their baby is born but this was not true for me. It didn’t even feel like the endorphin high I get after I go for a long run. I am not sure why it was this way for me but the pain continued for about an hour after she came out. Thankfully though I didn’t tear at all this time and my placenta delivered easily.

I truly can’t believe that I gave birth to my little girl with no pain medications. It was something I always wanted to do but didn’t know if I could. It hurt a lot. It was not fun. But it was so empowering. I know that there can be so many more painful things in life than labor. Even though it is often the standard for the worst pain, I am sure that losing a child or a limb could be equally as painful in other ways. However, this experience taught me that with the help of others (my sweet husband, amazing midwife and kind nurse), I was able to do what I wasn’t sure that I could.

I am so thankful that the Lord allowed me to experience a natural labor. I am thankful that Ella and I both are healthy. I am thankful that I work at an amazing hospital with a wonderful midwifery practice. I am thankful for my sweet nurse. I am thankful that I have a husband who coached me and labored with me so well. I am thankful…so thankful.

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11 thoughts on “Ella’s Entrance

  1. Wow! What an inspiring story! Great birthing story. You’re so strong and she is super cute! Looks like she’s dancing in that last photo ;). I know what you mean about voices getting irritating. That’s one thing I remember with Mirabel’s birth. I had my hypnobabies CD/recording playing and the lady’s voice got on my nerves so bad that I had to turn it off.
    …and it’s perfectly ok to scream, especially with no epidural! My biggest fear is pooping while pushing, but I know it’s pretty common so I’m trying to not get so worked up about it ;).

    Going up and down the stairs–I’ll have to remember that one (we have stairs too and viewed them more as a hindrance until now!). Thanks for sharing with us!

  2. You are awesome! It is crazy how everything gits so irritating when the time comes. I am proud of u and am so glad they checked u this time around. I’m excited to give you a hug and hold her!!! She is out! Time to celebrate!

  3. Congratulations Ali! That’s so awesome that you were able to get through it with David!! I hope in about 4 1/2 months that I’ll be able to say the same thing with our twins! Congrats again!!

  4. what an amazing story this is, thank you sooo much for sharing so open and honestly! I am not in the least bit surprised you were able to go the distance, Ali–you have always been such a stud. Ella is blessed to have such a strong mommy. Still can’t believe she came so suddenly (I bet that will be a trait of hers in years to come, which will be so fun to watch). She is absolutely precious, and your photos are just down-right phenomenal. Wishing I could hop on a plane right now to give you both hugs, kisses & love! (but will do it instead in spirit via blog comment) 🙂

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