The Birth Story of Eila Jean

I've never been one to really be interested in reading birth stories from other mothers - that was until I gave birth to Eila.  Now I want to know all the details of everyone's birth.  Not to compare - but because birth is magical.  It's transforming.  It's empowering.  And let's not forget - it's a lot of hard work. Regardless of how your little one enters the world.  As cliche as it may be - birthing a baby changes you.  I can't explain how - but it does. And doesn't always go as planned.

the induction

While pregnant, we never really established a birth plan.  I wanted a natural birth - but wasn't against the use of pain management if I decided I needed it. I guess our plan was To go with the flow.  However at week 32 after a consult with an obstetrician it was recommended that we induce labour between weeks 38-40 as B-Ho (now Eila) was on the rather large side - sitting somewhere in the 95th percentile.  After some lengthy discussions with our midwife and attempting some natural labour inducing interventions - we decided to book an induction for June 18th, 2013 - at 39 weeks and 2 days.  I was comfortable with this date.  I knew the baby was big and healthy.  So after the last weekly biophysical ultrasounds, that started at week 36, we grabbed our bags and car seat and headed to the hospital on Tuesday June 18, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. and planned to have a baby that evening (or next morning) - oh how foolish we were.

We were admitted to triage around 2:30 p.m. where we sat and waited for the triage nurse to come and let us know how the whole process worked.  It was awkward.  We had no idea what to expect.  Luckily we were the only two in the room for the time being - so we had a chance to laugh about it.  Around 3:30 p.m. the nurse took my blood, put in an IV and told us to wait as there were roughly 4 other women in active labour and the OB on call was busy, to say the least.  So we waited.  And waited.  And finally around 7:30 p.m. the OB came in, checked my business (we were 2 cm dilated - exactly where  I had been sitting the past week) and determined that we would start the induction with Cervidil which would ripen my cervix and hopefully get things moving along.  The Cervidil was administered around 8:00 p.m.  we were transferred to what they called an anti-partum room and baby and I were monitored every four hours to make sure the Cervidil didn't cause any wonky reactions.  So, Steve and I ate some McDonald's and tried to settle in the single hospital bed for hopefully our last night before meeting B-Ho.

The Cervidil didn't really do much more than cause some period-esque cramping over night and some mild, irregular contractions.  The OB informed us that she'd be in in the morning (at the end of her shift) to check our progress.  Well apparently everyone and their grandma was having a baby because the following day we were informed that there were 9 other women in labour and we would just have to wait.  Finally by 9:00 a.m. the  - I was checked and had only progressed to 3 cm dilated - but not quite ready yet.  So we were again instructed to wait until 7:00 p.m. that evening. So we waited.  We waited All.Day.Long. with my contractions becoming more regular - but not that strong. We walked circles around the Labour and Delivery ward - because I wasn't allowed to leave.  At this point I was going a little stir crazy.  But both Steve and I remained in good spirits.  What else could we do really?!

Finally around 12 midnight we were moved to triage again to determine the next steps - were I was hooked up to the NST machine for four hours. I think because they forgot about me - but seriously every time I had to pee (which was every 20-30 minutes) I had to unhook the machine and carry all my wires with me.  Finally at 4:00 a.m. I was checked by the OB (we progressed to 4 cm dilated - with steady contractions) and we decided to move forward and break my waters.  FINALLY!  At around 6:00 a.m. on Thursday June 20, 2013 we were moved to a labour and delivery room, the OB came in and broke my waters and informed us we could transfer care to our midwife.  Without hesitation we called the midwife to let her know she can come as we were finally in active labour.  We were so ready to finally get this show on the road.

Active Labour & The Birth

Once my waters were broke my contractions started coming on pretty regular and started to increase in intensity.  It was in those moments that I was so thankful that I learned a few breathing techniques from yoga - otherwise I probably would have died.  They seemed to come on quick and by 11:30 a.m. the my midwife checked me and I was already 7 cm dilated!  All I could think was thank goodness.  The midwife suggested that I try labouring over the toilet - I wasn't sure about this - but what an amazing suggestion.  Steve sat behind me and with each contraction he would push on my back - I had pretty intense back labour - it seriously felt like my back was on fire.

I was so exhausted from all the long days that between each contraction I would fall asleep.  How this is even possible is beyond me.  I could tell my body just needed the rest.  All the exhaustion caught up to me and we noticed that my contractions started to slow down.  Around 2:00 p.m. (I think) I was checked again and if you could believe it - I actually reverse dilated.  I was now back at 5cm.  These are not the words a labouring woman wants to hear.

At this point our midwife suggested that we start some pitocin to start the contractions back up.  I think she could see the fear in my face - I am sure the whole room could.  I had read enough about pitocin to know that it brings on the contractions strong and hard.  I wasn't sure I would be able to manage the pain.  For a brief moment I contemplated an epidural - but I had come so far and knew with each contraction I was one step closer to getting that baby out.  So I agreed to the pitocin and never mentioned an epidural.  I was going to do this.  And I did it! 

I think around 3:00 p.m. I was hooked up to pitocin and the NST machine to monitor B-Ho!  If you can believe it her heart rate maintained pretty steady through all the commotion.  The contractions at this point were pretty insane.  I am not sure if it was because I was laying down - or if I was just so exhausted.  Finally around 4:00 p.m. I started getting the feeling like I wanted to push (FINALLY).  The midwife gave the go ahead to push if I wanted to - and I did.  It felt so much better to push.  And for the next 3 hours - I pushed. And pushed.  And she just wouldn't come down.  She was sitting snug on my pelvic bone.  The midwife suggested that she insert a catheter as my bladder was full.  I requested to attempt to get up and go myself - I am thankful that they let me try - even though they knew it would be impossible.  Once my bladder was emptied - B-Ho started to move down.  At one point Steve said to me "Oh I can see her!" and I immediately responded "Oh - is she cute?"  Haha I am sure at that point in the delivery - there was nothing cute about what he was looking at.

The whole pushing process feels like a blur - I had Steve pushing on one leg, the student midwife on the other, and the other two midwives working the baby down.  I spent most of the pushing period with my eyes closed. Finally the midwife said "She's on her way - do you want to feel her head?" I wasn't sure - but before I knew it my hand was down there touching my babies head.  What a surreal feeling. I'll spare you the details but with a few final big pushes she was out and up on my chest and we were staring each other down - both thinking "what just happened?!"  It was a moment I'll never forget.   

It was one of my proudest moments.  Actually it was my proudest moment.  I couldn't have done it without the support and encouragement from Steve.  He was amazing.  He was active in every part of the labour - from getting me water.  Pushing on my back.  Feeding me ice.  Wiping down my face.  To holding my leg.  I'll never forget the look on his face when he told me how much he loved her.  Seriously - watching your husband become a father is an insanely emotional moment.  Even when you're dead tired.

Eila was worth those long tiring days in the hospital, all the discomfort of labour and the postpartum period.  And because everyone always asks - of course I'd do it all again in a heart beat. But - I think I'll wait a bit first. Because mama needs time to recover from this 9lb 10 oz'er.


  1. Oh my gosh... her birth story! So beautiful! I remember being in the hospital after delivering Jack and stalking your IG waiting for B- Ho to arrive! So wonderful and AMAZING that you did it without pain meds through Pitocin contractions.

  2. All of this. Yes.

    I am tearing up reading it. ESPECIALLY the "watching your husband become a father is an insanely emotional moment. Even when you're dead tired" part.

    You are amazing - well done, lady! :) And I'm so glad I'm not the only one who wants to hear everyone's birth story. I am (suddenly) so excited to hear labour and delivery stories. It's brilliant and fascinating and, you're absolutely right, magical. :)

    Great, great post. Thank you, so much, for sharing!

  3. Aww this brought tears to my eyes. And you are superwoman because pitocin contractions are no joke!! I also pushed for three hours and blacked out between contractions. It was the hardest physical thing I've ever done. Your pictures are so precious Em :-)

  4. You're awesome, chica! Congrats on having an epidural-free birth. I love the pictures.

  5. You are incredible! I had planned a natural birth with my first but at 34 weeks became preeclamptic, which put me on bed rest and a lot of doctors appointments until they finally induced with Pitocin at 38 weeks. They started the drip at 9am and baby girl was born at 8:30 pm. That drug was AWFUL and I had to forfeit the natural birth plan (obvi) and went with the epidural within hours. GOOD FOR YOU for sticking to your plan! I wish I had been that strong! B-Ho is BEAUTIFUL.

  6. LOVE this! I have a 5 week til due date countdown going so I have been reading birth stories with a vengeance as of late. I know it will be different for everyone, but hearing these positive, empowered "I DID IT" stories give me confidence that I can do it too!

  7. This part made me laugh out loud (and cause everyone in my office to look at me funny;)

    "Oh I can see her!" and I immediately responded "Oh - is she cute?"

    Perfect reaction.

    Loved reading your story! Eila is so unbelievably precious. xx

    (Now I just have to tell my own baby fever to calm it down!)

  8. Em...I'm legit crying right now. Tears streaming. Ugly face. The whole shebang. I don't know if it's because there is bourbon and vodka in my system at the moment, but either way I'm just so happy for you and Steve! Congratulations on your little one - she's a doll!

  9. What a beautiful story, Emily! It sounds like, while hard, worth every single second.

  10. I loved reading this! You did a really amazing job :)

  11. Can so identify this - particularly the feeling of being forgotten!

    I am featuring this at this week's Friday Baby Shower and pinned it to my New Baby board. Thanks so much for sharing, Alice @ Mums Make Lists x


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