When I got off the phone, I couldn't stop smiling. My baby was coming. I felt my heart fill with peace - something that wasn't always present during this pregnancy. You see, this pregnancy was rough. Not only was I physically sick for more than half of the pregnancy but I was also emotionally and mentally unstable for almost all of it. I was diagnosed with prenatal depression and anxiety. I did not have it before getting pregnant, but from 8 weeks - 8 months I had what often felt like debilitating depression and anxiety. My doctors, midwives and counselor all thought it might be hormone related due to the extra estrogen my body was producing (I think they were right as it almost completely disappeared as soon as you were born). I was also diagnosed with thrombocytopenia - a condition that can happen in 5-7% of pregnancies that causes low platelet levels in the blood. Low platelet levels can cause issues with the blood being able to clot properly. Levels under 100 get refereed to a hematologist. Levels under 90 cannot get an epidural. Levels under 70 are often treated with steroids, and at 50 is where they really worry about the blood not being able to clot. My levels went all the way down to 66. I was so nervous about this, even though it is well managed when the medical team knows the numbers are low. And to add even more onto my stress I was gbs positive which meant I had to get to the hospital earlier than I had wanted in order to receive antibiotics every 4 hours that I was in labor.
But in all this, I had peace and joy.
My contractions started an hour later and we decided to head to the hospital once they were consistent.
On our drive to the hospital I listened to George Winston, my favorite pianist, and continued to listen to his beautiful music throughout. We arrived at 1:00am and by 2:00am I got my first dose of antibiotics and was told I was 4 cm dilated. Since it was the middle of the night I told Wes to sleep. I didn't see anyone else for the next 4 hours until my next dose of antibiotics at 6:00am. Those 4 hours I sat on the hospital bed in the butterfly yoga pose with the lights off. I didn't want to move into any other position. My contractions were getting pretty intense but were never closer together than 8 minutes a part - with many being 12 minutes a part. Although Wes slept, I held his hand and he talked me through the contractions when they were too much for me to get through on my own. The contractions were painful, yes, but they are a beautiful pain. Because each one brings me closer to you.
At 6:00am I was given the dose of antibiotics and was checked again. I was 6 cm and so disappointed to hear that. If things progessed in the same timing as the rest of the labor I didn't know how I could go another 4+ hours with the pain. Oh, and I hadn't even see my midwife yet. She was planning on waiting until the nurses called her when my contractions were closer together or just come in at her regular scheduled arrival time to the hospital at 7:00am.
At 6:45am - 45 minutes after being told I was 6 cm - I had a very intense contraction and my body pushed. At 7:00am my midwife Patty arrived. Did I mention I had not met Patty before? Half way into my pregnancy I switched care because of our move, to a group of 3 midwives and Patty was the last one I needed to meet but just hadn't yet. She was a wonderful and kind spirit as soon as she walked into the room. I promptly told her that at the last contraction I had to push. "Alright! Let me go put my things down and get some stuff together and we can see how things are going."
When she left I had another contraction and could not stop myself from pushing again. My baby, I felt you move down into the birth canal. Patty came back in and I said "I'm so sorry. I pushed again!" She laughed and said "That's ok! Let's check you." When she did, she confirmed what I knew - I was 10 cm and you were there and I was ready to push. "We're going to have this baby now." She said as she looked into my eyes. This woman exuded compassion and wisdom and connection. "When you push I want you to look at me and keep looking at me. I will help guide you in your pushes. You can push whenever your body tells you to."
I pushed two times. On that last push, at 7:34am, you were born. As I pushed I reached down and pulled you out and brought you to my chest. You were so peaceful. You didn't cry, you just stared at me. My heart grew a million times bigger in those first moments with you. Every thing else faded away. Daddy kept trying to get my to pick your name (since we went into the birth with 3 names) but I didn't want to think about anything. I just wanted to look at you. You nursed right away and perfectly and we got to spend an hour of skin to skin with you before they weighted you. 7lbs 4 oz, 20 inches long. Your daddy was instantly in love with you, and of course let you stay on my chest for awhile, but he could not wait to hold you and talk to you.
Bonnie Irene Ellis, you are so special. You are 2 weeks old now and I feel like you've been with me my whole life. We love you so much and we have loved you before we even knew you. My pregnancy was hard. So very hard. It was awful. But you, my sweet, are good. You are peace. And you are love.