My Elle Belle ~ The Homebirth Story of Eliana Elizabeth

A Milestone and The Homebirth Story of Eliana Elizabeth.

My sweet baby girl turned 3 today. She is such a love joy to me. I love everything about her. Her bright smile. Warm eyes. Her joyous laughter. Sweet disposition. The way she blows me kisses and catches mine. How she snuggles me in the early morning hours. Even how she still misses and holds on to her "nursie" when she cuddles me even though I weaned her 6 months ago. I love her passion for life and how excited she gets about everything. I love how she wants to be obedient. And that she never hesitates to say sorry when she is corrected. I love that she loves pink! Even though it is not my favorite color. I love the special bond we share because we are the only 2 girls in the house. I think it is so cute how she says, "You are a girl and I am a girl." I love how she calls me her best friend (along with everyone else in our family). She is so precious to me.

Eliana's birth name means, “My God has answered” and her name is a daily reminder to me that He hears my prayers. My pregnancy and Elli’s birth were special because they were a time of growing in faith as I trusted the Father to guide me through my own prenatal care and observation and deliver her unassisted at home. I truly believe the hands of Yahveh brought this baby girl into this world and He, Himself, breathed on her the breath of life. And I am reminded of how thankful I am that He hears and answers!

To mark this special milestone, I want to share Eliana's birth story. I have my whole pregnancy documented in a journal, but I will share beginning at about 38 weeks.

(Warning: this story contains intimate details about childbirth, please read only if you feel comfortable with that kind of information.)

From my pregnancy journal:

38 Weeks, 5 days ~ I am adding this afterwards because I think it was significant. I started having contractions that night. Thinking it was labor, I drank a cup of Valerian tea, just as the midwife book I was reading suggested, and tried to get some sleep. Looking back, I don’t think I was quite ready for labor. I was a little scared. And I realized that I better be ready quick. I remembered the verse I was given: 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

January 21, 2007 ~ 39 weeks and curious if I am having any cervical changes, I check. Right at the cervix I felt a firmness and gently pressed against it... and felt baby's head bounce! And then settle back against the cervix. I have never experienced this before- it was kind of cool! I did a search and there is a term for this- ballotable- pronounced buh-lot-able.

It was a neat feeling- because I could feel baby move. I mostly was checking to see if it meant that baby was not engaged yet... I don't even feel like I've dropped. Still feel baby real high. 

I am ready for some action... Anytime after today will be my longest pregnancy. Gonna take advantage of it and see if I can figure out all these belly bumps... If head is down, then what is that round bump I feel on my lower left? ...Maybe the shoulder but feels too round. I'm sure the bottom is on my upper right... 
I bet there is a term for that position too!

January 22, 2007 ~ 39 Weeks, 1 day ~

3:58 a.m. ~ My water broke at 2 am - lots of gushes. No contractions yet... but we are all set up and ready to go. Going to rest now, just in case baby takes his or her time getting here.

Didn’t sleep well… too excited.

  • 8:04 a.m. ~ No contractions yet

  • 10:01 a.m. ~ Still no contractions. Just read up on PROM. 24-48 hours is considered ok in midwifery world. But that women can go 4 days without complications. Taking the necessary precautions, but would be more at ease if I could monitor FHT...

  • 10:12 a.m. ~ I checked after my shower a bit ago, and definitely feel some changes going on... but not sure what kind exactly. I did check to see if baby was still ballotable, and baby bounced, but didn't come back! I was very gentle! Still too high. But- hopefully babe will still come quickly!

  • 12:43 p.m. ~ 10 1/2 hours and no regular contractions. I am feeling some menstrual type cramping.

  • 2:29 p.m. ~ I realize that this whole pregnancy has been a walk of faith... why would the birth be any different? I decide to trust and wait patiently for the birth of this baby . . .

The Homebirth Story of Eliana Elizabeth
Date: Monday January 22, 2007
Time: 11:54 p.m.
Weight: 6 lbs. 14 ounces
Length: 20 ¾ inches

2 a.m. Monday morning my water broke with a gush of fluid. The amniotic fluid was clean smelling, clear, slightly pink tinged, with flecks of vernix. I experienced 3 gushes with leaking in between over the next hour, but no contractions. We got out of bed fully expecting to have a baby by morning. We set up the birthing pool, but did not fill it. We had all the birth supplies out and we were ready to go. By 4am, I still had not had any contractions so we decided to try to get some sleep. I couldn’t sleep. Labor had commenced with my water breaking three times before, but not this time. (ETA: I realize now that I may have been induced (given pitocin) before to speed things up and delayed labor may have been normal for me had there not been intervention). I read in my book about PROM and precautions to take to prevent infection. Drank lots of Emergen-C, RRL tea, and ice water.

10 ½ hours later still no contractions.

I was surprised to say the least. But, my whole pregnancy had been a walk of faith as a result of deciding to have a homebirth. Why would the birth be any different?

On and off throughout the day I felt some slight menstrual type cramping, but no contractions. Towards the evening I began having some contractions that felt like braxton hicks and were unevenly spaced and more than 20 minutes apart.

19 hours after my water broke:

Luke asked if he should go get a few things at the store, and I felt that he should stick around. We went to bed around 9pm. I began to have some mild contractions and Luke timed them for me. They were about 10 minutes apart. I tried to sleep but couldn’t so we decided to get up around 10pm and we put a movie on.

I leaned against my blue exercise ball and contractions started coming 8 minutes apart. By 10:25 they were coming 6 minutes apart and I suggested to Luke that he start getting the pool ready. By 10:50 they were coming 4 minutes apart and getting more painful. At 11:00 Malachi woke up and Luke tried to get him back to sleep. Jordan woke up at this time and came out and sat on the couch. I went to take a shower to get ready to get in the pool. I had 2 very intense contractions while in the shower. I got out and checked the pool. It was not done filling yet, but I couldn’t wait to get in. I got in and the water felt so good.

After the next contraction, I was getting too hot and asked Jordan to cool it off and bring me my water bottle. He put ice in the pool and then adjusted the tap, as it was still filling. I tried to find a comfortable position in the pool in between contractions. I wanted the baby to come out in front of me, so I tried sitting holding on to the handles. When the next contraction hit, it was so painful that I flipped over to my knees and cried out loudly. I think this is when I hit transition. Luke came running out. It was 11:38 pm.

Malachi settled down after he saw me in the pool. He came over and I hugged him, reassuring him.

I leaned against the pool and asked for Luke's hand and told him I couldn’t do this anymore. I needed him right there with me. He reassured me. I held his hand tight through the contractions. It was so very intense. I asked Jordan to give me drops of Bach’s Five-Flower Herbal Formula (Rescue Remedy) in between the next 3 contractions.

The next contraction hit and it felt different. I had no idea if I was fully dilated, so I pushed very gently. I still was holding on to Luke’s hand and I reached down with my other hand to feel. I laid my hand flat over the outside and it felt real soft and squishy. I felt a rest after that contraction and the next, and pushed very gently during the contractions, as it just felt better to do so. The third contraction hit and I felt the smallest head press against the palm of my hand. I tried to pant and not push to ease the head out. But, I couldn’t stop it! I said, “baby is coming!”

The head came out and I quickly felt for the cord around the neck and tried to lift it, but baby spiraled out of the cord and into the water behind me in one quick smooth motion. Jordan lifted her out of the water and she cried as soon as he lifted her out. I flipped over putting one leg over the cord and then he handed her to me. She was pink! And breathing! I rubbed her and suctioned -just in case. After I knew that she was ok for sure- I peeked and saw that she is a girl!

Malachi was so surprised! He exclaimed, “Baby!” Dylan came out right after she was born. Nathan followed shortly after. All the boys were so excited to see her. Jordan was very proud that he caught her. He describes the birth as being shocking, fast, exciting and unexpected.

It was so intense and yet the most beautiful moment of my life.

I sat in the water holding my baby girl. She was perfect! She was covered with vernix. I rubbed her face. She was very alert. I offered her the breast and she began to nurse. I kept her body under water to keep her warm. Asked for a towel to wrap around her. And more towels to wipe her head and face. Malachi got in the pool at this point. He splashed a little and I tried to keep her face dry. I had Luke put more warm water in the pool.

After about 35 minutes I was ready to get out of the pool. The cord had stopped pulsing and was white. I asked Luke for a clamp and scissors and had him hold open a towel. I laid her on the towel and clamped the cord about 3 inches from her. (After I cut, I realized I didn’t clamp twice and cut between, so I quickly clamped my side of the cord. I also realized later that I did not give Luke the opportunity to cut the cord. I didn’t think about it. I just wanted out of the pool).

Daddy got to hold his baby girl for the first time. I went into the bathroom and asked for the bowl to birth the placenta. I hadn’t had any contractions since the birth, so I massaged my uterus. I asked Jordan to get the Placenta Out ready. I kept massaging and felt something. So I squatted over the bowl and felt the placenta coming out. Partially out, I could feel it was still attached. I waited a moment and then it fell into the bowl. I examined it and it looked to be intact. I noticed a small white spot that appeared to be a calcification on the maternal side of the placenta. The cord looked normal, however I did not inspect it too closely. It looked like it attached normally in the center of the placenta.

I got in the shower and cleaned myself up and then wrapped a chux pad around me with a prefold inside and walked to my bed to lay down. Luke brought me baby and I nursed her again. I continued to massage my uterus to make sure it was clamping down. I experienced normal blood loss. I didn’t feel weak. I rested in bed and asked for something to eat and drink. Recovery was normal. I didn’t feel any burning down there but checked for tears later and there were none. I used a cold pack the first day. (My midwife, who was not present at the birth told me later that I did the right thing in massaging my uterus, however this is debatable among those who homebirth).

I had mild contractions for the next few days. My milk came in on day 2 and contractions got as intense as they were in active labor. I had to breathe and concentrate through them. I used Contract Ease (an herbal tincture) every 2-4 hours that night... it didn't take away the pain at all... but it relaxed me so I could rest between them and cope better through them. It made me very sleepy and once asleep, I slept through them.

A few numbers:

Number of weeks of pregnancy: 39
Number of pounds gained: 27
Hours my water broke before I went into labor: 19
Total time of labor from 1st contraction: 2 hours 54 minutes
Total time from transition to birth: 14 minutes
Number of contractions until baby crowned: 2
Number of contractions until baby was out: 1

The cost of the birth: $250 ~ birthing pool, supplies and 2 midwife appointments (@ $50 each).

The amount of love I feel from the Father: infinite

I really should post my pregnancy journal sometime as it is an amazing testimony. I am so grateful to how the Father led us every step of the way and that he allowed us to have a safe homebirth and a healthy baby girl.

Father, thank you for the sweet blessing you have given us. You have forever changed our lives.