home birth

Elizabeth Ray

Photo by Rachel Hudson Photography

Photo by Rachel Hudson Photography

The day before our precious daughter was born I uttered the words, “I think I’m ready to have this baby!” I had my last prenatal appointment and had a day full of errands like making the essential CostCo run, grocery store shopping, and picking up our cloth diapers. My nesting was complete! (three days before my due date) Labor kicked in around midnight while finishing up laundry and watching “Call the Midwife” (how appropriate). A warm bath didn’t stop my contractions and I did the best I could to rest though I didn’t sleep much. I let my husband sleep and rest in anticipation of an eventful weekend. 

I waited to call the midwife until the next morning when my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart. I called our doula, Erin, and she made her way over. I was so relaxed and at peace laboring in the comfort of our home. I preferred to do most of my laboring while standing and walking about the house. Taking showers and allowing the warm water to alleviate any back pain I had. It was the first beautiful spring day here in Chicago and stepped outside to breath some fresh air and take a short walk with my husband. 

At 2pm Amy, our midwife, arrived. I was checked for the first time and was already at 9 centimeters! She gave me a high-five and told me that whatever I was doing was working. I got the go-ahead to jump into the birthing tub. I was so relieved! Little did I know that my labor was about to take a turn. As soon as I got in the tub I had hit transition and the pain (along with my moaning) increased considerably. I had my doubts at this point and leaned over the tub to vomit. Not my finest moment! 

As this was happening our midwife assistant, Annie, walked in with a smile on her face. I was in my own world and walking up the summit alone. Thank goodness for our awesome birth team reassuring my husband that everything was okay. I let out a scream and he would look at Amy as if to say, “HELP!” She would smile back at him and say, “That was a good one!” She built confidence in my husband when he felt completely helpless. 

I knew the end was near. Amy said that our baby had hair and I could reach down and feel the head. I was on my hands and knees in the tub during delivery. Pushing was totally instinctual and loved the beauty of my body taking over and doing what it was created to do. Amy footballed our baby to me and I reached down and picked her up. What a relief it was; I did it! I had this baby totally naturally without any interventions in the peacefulness of our home. I was so overjoyed and relieved that they had to tell me to look and see if we had a little boy or girl. It was a girl! Dan instantly jumped in the tub to greet our new baby girl. She was born at 5:55pm

I was so hungry! I held my baby girl and my doula handed me an energy ball (a snack I had made) while waiting for my placenta to deliver. Daddy got to cut the umbilical cord. Baby was handed to Dad while I got out of the tub and helped into bed. I had a very small tear to fix. Breastfeeding was established. I couldn’t take my eyes off of this little miracle! Erin fixed me my postpartum tea and I ate turkey bacon and berries.

Two hours after her birth Ellie was given her newborn exam. She weighed 8 lbs. 1oz. and was 20 3/4 inches long. She was perfect! After making sure Mama and Baby were well and everything was cleaned up we were tucked into bed for the evening. We were now a family of three; may God have all the glory!

We couldn’t have done is without our amazing birth team! Special thanks to Amy, our midwife, Annie, our midwife assistant who came on a moments notice, Erin, our doula and prayer warrior, Lisa, our childbirth instructor and assistant and everyone at Gentle Birth Care. We had an amazing and beautiful experience. Gentle Birth Care took the time to listen to all my questions and first-time-mama concerns. They were very hands off and had confidence in my body and the birthing process; all while professionally managing my pregnancy and the health of my baby. I truly believe this was the best way to bring our little girl into the world.

May 3, 2014 | 5:55pm | 21 inches | 8lbs. 1oz. 

Music "I Wish" by Heather Headley