The Birth of Lorelai Leslie
My sweet baby girl will be 2 years old on Sunday. I can not believe how quickly time has passed. The tiny little nugget that came speedily and fiercely into the world on my 33rd birthday has grown into a smart, sassy, kind, polite, creative, caring and loving little girl who I wouldn't trade for anything. She has taught me so much, not only about being a mother, but about who I am as a person. I have grown and changed for the better because I have her in my life, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to call her mine.
Because I'm reminiscing so much these days, I thought I would share Lorelai's birth story with you. If you know me, you know I love to talk about her birth, because it was such an empowering and amazingly wonderful experience for me. I see it as my mission in life to educate and encourage other women so they too can have beautiful, relaxed, fear-free, empowering births of their own. So I hope you will read this and feel my joy and strength and, if you find yourself preparing for labor soon, find encouragement that you too can (dare I say it?) enjoy giving birth.
My "due date" was October 22nd. I had a very uneventful pregnancy, if you don't count the vast amounts of anxiety because this was my rainbow baby after a miscarriage in 2015. My birthday is October 28th, and from the very beginning I always said I didn't want to share my birthday. I wanted us each to have our own day. So, of course, Lorelai being her strong-willed self right from the beginning, had plans of her own. I woke up at 3:30am on October 28th with contractions that were different from the ones I had been experiencing off and on in the evenings for the last week or so. I just knew I was in labor. I laid in bed timing my contractions until they became too painful for me to continue laying down, and then I got up and ran a bath. I knew that if this wasn't really labor, the contractions would stop when I relaxed in the tub. But they didn't.
So around 5am I texted my midwife (Linsey) to say that I was in labor, but I knew that it would be a while yet (we were planning a home birth.) Around 8am I woke Kyle up with a "We're having a baby today!" and told him to go finish whatever he needed to do at work, because this was it. He got up and left, and around 830, my contractions slowed down to the point that I could go back to bed. I woke up to painful contractions again around 1130, and called Kyle to come home. He made me biscuits and gravy for lunch (since it was my birthday and that's what I wanted!) and then we went to the pool to swim for a bit, because I was still having contractions, but nothing was changing. That is how the afternoon went. I swam, I curb walked, I sat on my birth ball and swayed. I kept moving, and contractions kept coming, although not really changing. Around 6pm, my amazing friend Elizabeth arrived at our home, because I had asked her to be our birth photographer, and I felt like things HAD to start happening soon! Around 7pm I talked to Linsey again, as the contractions had started to get more painful and closer together. I was having to breath through them and hold onto Kyle. She said I still sounded like I had a while to go and to call again in a couple of hours. (I didn't know it at the time, but Lorelai was baby number 3 in 3 days for Linsey, and she was trying to rest before coming to our house for what we all assumed would be another long night.) Around 8pm I got in the shower to let the water run on my back, because contractions were getting very intense, and I hoped that would help. I wasn't in the shower for very long before I realized that my contractions weren't stopping. I told Kyle he needed to call Linsey - I needed her to come NOW!
This is where things get kind of hazy - I had really gone within myself and was connecting with my baby and my body - I knew we both had a job to do to bring her into this world. Eventually I remember thinking that I really couldn't stand up anymore, so I turned off the shower and knelt on the bathmat next to the tub - kneeling on hands and knees was the only position I could tolerate. Kyle was so great and sat on the toilet seat next to me, squeezing my hips through each wave and rubbing my back and murmuring over and over "I am so proud of you." Linsey arrived at 915p and watched me through one contraction, and then immediately starting filling the birth tub. She realized very quickly that things were moving faster than any of us had anticipated. While we waited for the tub to fill, I remember shouting "Linsey, I think I'm pushing!" and she said "I think you are too, honey!" My body just took over! It was the most amazing thing! Because I surrendered to the natural process of my body, I didn't have to even think about pushing. My body knew exactly what it was doing. It knew the exact right time to push, and needed no help from me or anyone else. Just about 4 pushes and her head was born, my waters breaking as her head emerged. One more push and her whole wiggly body slipped out into Linsey's waiting hands. I never did make it into the birth pool, she was born right there on the bathroom floor. It wasn't the peaceful water birth that I had planned, but it was perfect anyway. I roared my baby into the world like a complete badass, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
(Here's a picture from her first birthday, sitting right in the spot where she was born. We're going to take another one on Sunday if she'll let me!)
Lorelai Leslie was born at 10:23pm (just about an hour after Linsey got to my house!) on October 28th, when I was 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant. She weighed a tiny 6lbs. 12oz, and was 21in long. She rocked my world, and while I gave her life, she gave me so much more - she gave me the gift of motherhood. It isn't always easy or beautiful, but it has taught me so much about myself. She makes me a better person every day, and I could not ever thank her enough for helping me grow into the woman I am today.
So that's my story. What is yours? I love hearing other women's birth stories, so if you'd like to share, please don't hesitate!