The birth of baby M!

Oh this was such a sweet and dreamy birth. It was swift and hard, intense and healing. And I adore getting to watch big siblings meet their little siblings, such a treat! A huge huge thanks to this amazing family for sharing these photos. And tons of gratitude to Erica Morrow for capturing these images and being willing to share them here. Enjoy!

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Erica Morrow, owner of Slow Road Photography, is passionate about capturing all of the stages of new life, from beautiful bellies to birth stories to babies. Learn more at or find her on Instagram (@slowroadphoto).

Daphne’s Birth Story

Thank you so much to this amazing, strong, first-time mama for sharing this beautiful birth story! It was such an honor to get to help welcome this sweet little girl into the world!


Superbowl Sunday 2015 started just like any other day. The sun rose, the earth continued to turn, and yet, my life was about to change more drastically than I could ever imagine. All of the people who had told me things would change when my baby arrived never fully drove home the point of just how much. So when the contractions started low in my pregnant belly at about 11AM, I wasn’t ready for it. I was only 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant and I had been informed over and over again that the odds were high that I would go past 40 weeks for my first child’s delivery. I had just received my birth kit in the mail a couple of days prior!

1By late afternoon on February 1st, it was obvious that I was having some contractions. They were lasting about 20 seconds and coming every 15-20 minutes at this point. I was relaxing, eating and drinking and just trying to breathe deeply through them. My dad had come over to watch the game with us and I remember thinking he was probably pretty annoyed with my grunts and moans every half an hour or so. After he left, I popped in the bath to get a really good relaxation so that I would be able to get some sleep if things didn’t progress further. It did the trick, and after a long day of watching the Seahawks lose to the Patriots, enjoying the creative talents of that left shark during Katy Perry’s halftime performance and hugging my dad goodbye, I decided to hit the hay at about 9:30pm. Little did I know this would be the best sleep I’d get in the next several months.

During the night I woke up a couple of times with pressure waves but was able to easily go back to sleep. The next morning, I woke up at 7am and the contractions started getting pretty consistent, lasting 1 minute every 7-8 minutes. I worked hard to relax between them and eat and drink a ton so I could save & build my energy for the birth. Dustin was the perfect partner, getting me food and making sure I had water at all times. He did, however, have to leave me at home during the late morning hours to go to work and straighten a few things up before he was able to take some paternity leave time. I had good luck moving around and through each contraction, so when one began I moved around, bouncing on my birth ball, stretching my muscles and tried to get comfortable.

2Later on, we ate some tacos. I had Dustin make them kind of spicy to keep the labor moving along. My doula & my midwife checked in often, asking how things were going. One of the questions was whether or not I could speak through a contraction and my response was, “Depends on if you consider cursing, speaking!”At about noon we were instructed by my midwife, Kate, that we would want to put our plastic sheets on the bed, covering both the box spring and the main mattress, so that we could easily get everything removed and me back into a clean bed after the baby was Earth side. All I could think during this time was that we were about to meet our little boy or girl and how excited I was! Things were moving along, but they were really manageable so I was thinking perhaps it could even be another day before he or she came, but it wouldn’t be too long now, either way. I was about to meet my mini me!

My husband’s dad, John, came over to check in and bring over Dustin’s W-2’s so I could do our taxes. When I said I would get them done, hopefully before the baby arrived, everyone found it particularly funny, but I was still feeling good and I had about 8 minutes between waves, so I didn’t see what was so funny. Then an intense contraction hit and John took off.

Soon after that, my best friend Krystle brought her baby girl, Hazel over to visit me and brought me a Caribou sparkling tea as a little treat. This was at about 6pm on Monday, February 2nd. We were just sitting there enjoying each other’s company between my contractions. This was not like what anyone had ever described labor to me before. All I could think during my contractions was, “pregnancy is natural, normal, healthy & safe” and it seemed to help remind me that my body & my baby was doing exactly what it should be doing.

3Krystle had barely made it out of the driveway before I was having pressure every 3 minutes or so. Dustin called the doula at 7:21pm, and before he was off the phone with her, I yelled, “You should really call the midwife too. This is happening, and it’s happening quickly.” There was barely time between waves at this point to recenter myself and they had become much more intense. I tried the birth ball, although I remember moving around a lot trying to find a comfortable spot. I landed back in the bathroom on my hands and knees. Apparently, I was more comfortable there.I went into the bathroom often, because I was able to really let go when I sat on the toilet. So about every 7 minutes or so, I would make my way to the bathroom, sit on the toilet and contract and then make my way back out to the living room and to some of my favorite people. At about 7, I wanted to hold Hazel. I gave her a big hug and I remember vividly how excited I was to have my own little bundle coming so quickly. At that point, something seemed to switch and the waves began to get more intense. I took a deep breath of Hazel’s baby smell and said, “I think we need to call the doula.” Everyone agreed after seeing the next contraction.

Somehow, I moved into the bedroom. I do not remember how I got there but I believe it was because my knees were hurting from sitting on the hard tile in the bathroom. Of course, Dustin and Erica, my doula, who had just arrived, were encouraging me to continue to drink water and eat some snacks to keep my stamina up. I was not very interested, but I did as I was told. Dustin was holding my hand through every pressure wave and was so amazing. My doula, Erica, was rubbing my back and helping me with my Hypnobabies prompts. Piper was on the bed next to me touching my side and Dexter was on the floor looking me directly in the eyes. We were a team, that’s for sure!My midwife called back when she was on the road and wanted to listen to me during one of my contractions. She didn’t have to wait long. Something in the sound of my voice must have told her things were moving quickly because she began to prepare Dustin for the possibility that I would deliver the baby before she arrived. I remember them calmly talking about towels and about him just catching the baby should it arrive. I laughed at the idea of doing it alone, but she seemed confident that I would be fine so I went along with it. She ended up making it in the nick of time, though.

At 8:07pm I did begin questioning if I could do it on my own. Everyone immediately chimed in with encouraging words and making jokes and laughing.


At 8:17pm my midwife Kate arrived and began taking all the baby and my vitals. Everything measured good and she found it funny when I briefly mentioned going to the hospital. She encouraged me by letting me know the baby was coming quick. I wasn’t aware of it, but they were off in the living room filling the tub with as much hot water as we had. Because the baby was coming so quickly, they had to get all the burners running on the stove to heat up some water to put in the tub because we used up all the hot water and it was still only a third full. They got it to a level that at least could cover my big belly and gave the midwife the all clear.

By 9:15pm, I was feeling like I was going to push this baby out any minute, and was making lots of those pushing-type sounds. My midwife had me check to see if I could feel the baby’s head myself. I could!! At 9:20pm, I had a contraction and while I was grunting through it my water broke. So my midwife asked if I wanted to move into the birth tub. I really did, so I moved into the living room and stepped into the birth tub.

The moment I moved my tummy below the water I felt so amazing. The discomfort in my lower back & bum seemed to subside and my belly felt like it was floating. I remember wishing I had gotten in sooner!

I followed my instincts and got back on my hands and knees. Dustin got down outside of the tub and we sat face to face working through the contractions together. I began pushing during contractions because it felt right. Once the baby was crowning, midwife Kate encouraged me to reach down and feel the baby’s head. I did and at that instant I was filled with doubt. “There is no possible way that that thing is going to make it out of where it’s trying to come out of!” Everyone thought that was funny. I remember I was sort of laughing too, but mostly because it seemed like an impossible task. I remember thinking I just wanted it to go back in and stay back in. I could not believe they wanted me to push that thing out of that hole!!

5During this time, Kate was finding the baby’s heartbeat. She said it was great and told me that next time I have a contraction I should give it a good push and see what happens. We sat there for a moment, what felt like 5 minutes or more. My midwife added pressure to support my lady bits while I pushed and out came the baby. Kate pushed the baby forward under the water as Dustin and I reached in and pulled the baby out at 9:30pm exactly! I immediately sat back and placed this tiny purple human against my chest, while keeping the body mostly under water for warmth. The cord was still attached and was pumping more of the blood into the baby from the placenta, so we left it just like that for a couple minutes while we waited for it to stop pulsing. We wanted our little bundle to have everything it needed to get started just right!

7It was at this point that I had the opportunity to look to find out what gender the baby was, and I saw that she was a little girl! I remember being shaky and not sure so I asked the midwife to double check.
She confirmed that the baby was, in fact, a girl! I immediately began sobbing. I wanted a little girl more than I had wanted to admit and now that I knew I had her, I couldn’t hold back how happy I was! She was so perfect and I was so happy in that moment.

Once the cord stopped pulsing, I gave a good push and out came the placenta! That was an odd feeling. Very different than I had ever heard it described. 6Kate clamped the cord with the clamp that came in my birthing kit just the week before so that Dustin could cut it. Then she had me give my little peanut girl to my husband, skin to skin, of course, so that I could get out of the tub and go back to the bed to have our first latch. I felt like I had just run a marathon! My legs were shaky but somehow I made it back to my bed. We eventually had my first latch, looked over the placenta to make sure it was all in tact, had Daphne and my exams just to make sure we were both in great health, and I had my first shower.

9Finally, at about 1 in the morning on February 3rd, the midwife, the two assistant midwives & the doula headed out and back to their families. And we got to call our family and friends and give them the good news. Just thinking about it now, makes me cry. It was such an amazing 32 hours of birth. I was so blessed and I can’t wait to do it again! My little girl, Daphne Eloise, who we named the next day when the midwife came back to check in, is just the biggest blessing I’ve ever had in my life, next to Dustin and Dexter & Piper. Giving birth to her in my living room, with those 3 by my side the entire time was the most perfect birth and I wouldn’t have changed one moment of it.

If you are looking for a wonderful home birth midwife and team, please reach out to Kate at Twin Cities Midwifery. I would also encourage you to get in touch with my doula & Hypnobabies instructor, Erica at Blessingway Birth.

I can tell you I will only ever birth at home for the rest of my life if I can help it. It was such a dream come true. Just remember, pregnancy is natural, normal, healthy and safe!

Our Little Sailor Gal

Our Little Sailor Gal


This post first appeared on The Quest for Peace.

The birth of baby Olive!

So much gratitude to this amazing family for sharing these photos, and to Gina Zeidler for being there as their photographer and capturing these images! As you can see, there was so much love at this birth, and I love how well the emotions are captured in these photos. This mama worked so hard, with such an intense and quick labor, birthing her posterior baby girl! And check out that adorable and proud big brother! Love love loved getting to be present for this amazing birth, and getting to be a part of such a wonderful team.  (Click to enlarge each image or for slideshow.)

The birth story of baby Paul

Thank you so much, to this amazing, strong, first time mama for sharing this beautiful birth story! It was such an honor to get to help welcome this sweet boy, and to get to know this lovely family.


My sweet little boy, you have brought such joy to our lives. Your due date was Tuesday, July 29. By that time I was more than ready to meet you because I had been super uncomfortable for the past week to week and a half by then. Being pregnant with you was wonderful, but I wanted to finally meet you. I couldn’t wait to hold your hand, kiss your cheeks and see if you had momma’s toes!

On Wednesday, July 30 I woke up at about 4:30 am to what felt like little twinges or mild menstrual cramps. I went downstairs to eat something and after using the restroom I realized I must have lost part of my mucus plug. I decided to call midwife Kate at around 5:15 am and just let her know what was going on. She said I could be starting the labor process but I should just go about my day as I normally would and let her know of any changes later on.

After going back to bed and sleeping until around 9-10 am (the last good nap for a while!!), your dad and I woke up and I started about my day as normal with breakfast and reading a book. I realized that my “cramps” were a little stronger than they were early in the morning and I had the feeling that this was it! I was finally in early labor!

Throughout the day your dad and I finished up some small chores around the house such as hanging pictures and doing laundry. We went on a walk around 1 pm because I knew it was going to be a while until I could get out of the house again. Our walk was about a mile or so long and when we returned to the house my contractions were more frequent, about every 8-10 minutes or so rather than every 15-20 minutes. We continued to just relax as much as possible the rest of the day.

Dad ordered a pizza for him and a French dip sandwich for me for dinner as I was in not in the mood for pizza, and not feeling well enough to cook at that point. We ate at around 6 pm, and afterward I told Dad that I should call our doula Brenda to come over because the contractions were becoming more and more uncomfortable. After the phone call I ran upstairs, and unfortunately lost everything I had just eaten.

When Brenda arrived around 7 pm I wanted to go on another walk to get outside. We walked around the block and had to stop 9 or 10 times for each contraction. When we got back home Brenda and I decided to call Kate and let her know that labor was progressing slowly but the contractions were closer together and a lot stronger than earlier in the day. We went downstairs and turned on the television so that I could hopefully be distracted through my contractions.

Grandma (Obachan) Chiaki came over around 7:30 and stayed until 9 pm when she could tell I was no longer paying attention to anything around me during my contractions. The from then until midnight my contractions became stronger and lasted a little longer to the point where I couldn’t concentrate on anything but the contractions each time I had one. I would close my eyes, put my hands on my knees if I was sitting down or on the back of the chair if I was sitting up and breathe deeply until it passed.

Brenda suggested at a little after midnight that because I was so tired, maybe I should try a hot bath and see if that might slow things down so I could take a quick nap. I got into the bathtub at 12:30 am and quickly realized through the next few contractions that the warm bath water was making the contractions feel much stronger and more painful. After trying to relax for about 30 minutes I couldn’t stand being in the water anymore with how painful and strong the contractions were. At that point I decided, “Okay, if you’re ready to come out and meet Mommy, I’m ready to meet you! Let’s do this!!”

Brenda helped me get dressed and go downstairs so that Dad could get more sleep. I labored standing up after that because it was very uncomfortable to sit down any longer. At around 2 am I had to run to the bathroom because I felt as if I were about to not only throw up but also have a bowel movement. That’s when I started feeling the small urge to push. I was so tired, but so excited that you were almost here!! Brenda realized this and called Kate right away. Kate asked to talk to me, but right as I was about to speak another very strong contraction came upon me. I lost what I believe was the rest of my mucus plug. Brenda told Kate that she probably should come now. I told Kate I wanted her to come also.

At this point I lost all concept of time. What felt to me like ten minutes because of the pain of labor and contractions actually ended up being almost 45 minutes that it took for Kate to arrive. She asked me if I wanted to have my baby on the toilet or if I wanted to go upstairs. Of course I didn’t want to deliver you on the porcelain throne! I remember thinking, “I do want to go upstairs, but I don’t know if I can make it.” I must have said something along those lines because I miraculously with the help of Brenda made it up to the bathroom in between contractions. Part of me wondered what this “in between contractions” was, but okay!

After a few more contractions on the toilet and pushing a little, they helped me into the bathtub. From that time until your birth I labored hard and pushed with each contraction. I could feel your head slowly moving down into the birth canal and remember thinking “Oh thank God he’s almost here.” I pushed your head out and was vaguely aware that your Dad was in the bathroom and saw your head coming out. Kate urged me to make a few more big pushes to birth the rest of your body. I was so tired and fatigued but I couldn’t wait to meet you. When you finally were out all the way and they put you on my chest I started crying. Here you were! My beautiful baby boy! I had waited so long to meet you and you were finally here, laying on my chest!


Kate waited until your cord stopped pulsing and Dad actually cut the cord. After a few more pushes the placenta was out and we were free to go to the bed and snuggle. I couldn’t wait to wrap my arms around you again and just feel you on top of my chest.

I am so proud of the birth I had with you and so proud to call myself your momma. You are so perfect and there really is nothing like the love I feel for you. I love you so incredibly much, my little man! We are very fortunate to have had such a great birth team. Midwife Kate was so wonderful; always encouraging, uplifting, full of praises for me which was incredibly helpful and inspiring when I was feeling so tired. Our doula Brenda was truly such an incredible help. I told her over and over I could not have done it without her gentle words and touch, encouragement and physical help during the tough parts of labor. Happy birth-day, Paul!

Aubryn’s Birth Story

A huge thank you to this mama for the honor of attending her in pregnancy and birth. What a lovely family to work with. And a second huge thank you for writing this beautiful birth story and being willing to share it! Gorgeous photos by  Jennifer Liv Photography.


The Birth of Aubryn Clara Rae
5/4/2014 at 2:07 am
8 lb 13 oz, 20 in

Dear sweet Aubryn,

You are just over two months old now and the absolute light of my life! We have spent the last two months cuddling, nursing, and getting to know and love each other more and more each day. I could not imagine a more perfect little girl to join our family – your Brothers, Daddy, and I are so blessed.

This is the story of how you entered the world.

I decided as soon as I found out that we were expecting a baby, that I wanted to have you at home. I longed to be able to hold my baby immediately after birth and get all of the uninterrupted skin-to-skin cuddle time that I could handle – something I never had with your brothers. I wanted you wet, slimy, perfectly new, and placed in my arms for your Dad and I to awe over for as long as we wanted. I couldn’t wait for this experience!

The weeks leading up to your birth were filled with anticipation, and I’ll admit it, a good deal of effort to get you to arrive sooner rather than later. I ate lots of fresh pineapple and spicy thai food, had lots of “alone time” with Dad, chiropractic adjustments, we walked, and listened to the Hypnobabies “Come out Baby” track. Forty weeks had come and gone, and without very many signs from my body (other than a lot of braxton hicks waves) I thought it might be a bit before you would come earthside.

During my 40 week prenatal appointment, our midwife Kate had mentioned acupuncture as a gentle way to encourage waves if I was wanting something to start. She was completely fine with letting you come whenever you were ready, and didn’t think acupuncture was necessary, but that it also wouldn’t hurt anything. I decided to give it a go! I received my first treatment on Thursday at 40 weeks and 2 days. I was told many moms go into their birthing time a day or two later if they are favorable, so I was crossing my fingers this would be the case for me!

Saturday morning at 40 weeks and 4 days, I awoke at 3:00 am to some strong cramps and was having a hard time getting back to sleep. I put in the Hypnobabies “Deepening” track to relax. It was the first time I didn’t fall asleep listening throughout my pregnancy which made me think maybe the crampy feelings were the beginning of my birthing time. I decided to listen to my “Fear Clearing” track too in case this really was it!

At 4:30 am I woke up your Dad and asked him to stay home from work as I was pretty sure that my birthing time had begun. I wasn’t sure how to anticipate things going (your brother Aksel’s birth was so fast, and I didn’t want Daddy to be away in case your birth was similar – though I was visualizing at least 10 hours so that I could enjoy it for longer!). Your Dad was extremely excited and couldn’t fall back asleep. We decided at around 5:15 am to set up our birthing space in case things picked up quickly. Daddy set up the tub right in front of the fireplace, and I put out all of my birthing affirmations from our Blessingway. It was the most beautiful place to have a baby!


At 6:00 am we decided to give Kate a call and let her know that things had started. Waves were coming consistently, but I was still easily able to walk and talk through them. We ate breakfast and played with Brevick and Aksel for a bit. I bounced on my ball while listening to my “Birthing Day Affirmations” cd. After a while Daddy decided it might be best to have Brevick and Aksel go to Grandma’s so that he could focus more on supporting me. At 9:30 am Grandma and Jessi picked up your brothers and took them garage sale-ing for the day! We had the house all to ourselves – it was so quiet and peaceful!


Because I had been up for a long time already, I thought it would be good to rest for a bit. I put on the “VBAC success” Hypnobabies track and was able to get some sleep. I woke up after a half hour and your Daddy suggested that we go for a walk and enjoy the gorgeous weather! We went outside and my waves became much stronger. They were coming about 5 minutes apart and were feeling quite intense, so we never made it out of the driveway! During waves I would lean over the car while your Dad applied pressure to my hips and back. I was using my “Peace” cue and really trying to stay as loose and relaxed as possible.

The day was going by really fast and it was already 12:30 pm. Your Daddy put a pizza in the oven for lunch and we both ate and enjoyed the excitement knowing that you were on the way! My waves were coming and going anywhere from 5-10 minutes apart and I was starting to wonder if you were in a posterior position. Daddy and I tried doing a side-lying release and then I spent some time leaning over the birth ball while listening to the “Turn Your Posterior Baby” hypnosis track to see if that would help you to rotate. I was definitely feeling a lot of back pressure and wanted to make sure you didn’t end up “stuck” in a bad position.

At 1:45 pm I got into the shower hoping that the hot water on my back would feel good. My waves were not increasing in intensity or frequency, but instead staying about 5-8 minutes apart. My doula brain started to second guess whether or not this was really my birthing time . I decided to check myself to see if I could tell whether or not I was making progress. My cervix definitely felt open (which it hadn’t at all the day before) so I knew the waves were doing something!

After the hot shower, Daddy thought another walk might be nice. I wanted to try to get out of my head and not over-analyze what my body was doing. We walked for about an hour and my waves became consistent again at 5 minutes apart, lasting at least a minute. I was doing belly lifts and swaying during each wave while your Daddy was helping me by saying “Relax” and reminding me how strong I was. Several neighbors were curious about what we were doing and looked a bit concerned that I might have you in their front lawn!


At 3:30 pm we came back home and I decided to take another shower. The hot water felt so comforting, as I was still having quite a bit of back pressure. I used my “Peace” cue and really focused on sending my hypno-anesthesia all around you, my cervix, and my back. I would think to myself “open, open, open”, affirming that I COULD do this!

I got out of the shower and decided to lie down on the couch to see if I could get anymore sleep. I put on “Easy First Stage” and my waves spaced out to 10 minutes apart. I think it was just what my body needed in order to get some sleep! I slept for about an hour, and when I woke up things were different. My waves became stronger and started to feel more productive. Your Dad could tell something had shifted and thought it would be a good time to update our birth team. He texted our doulas Lindsay and Holly, and I called Kate to let her know we were ready for them to join us. I wasn’t sure if I should call our birth photographer yet, because it was her daughter’s birthday too, and I didn’t want her to miss the festivities. I decided to wait and see how things were progressing once everyone else arrived.


Lindsay showed up around 6:00 pm, and shortly after Kate joined too. My pressure waves slowed down a bit once there were other people in my birthing space – this was something I knew could happen, but definitely didn’t expect! Kate checked on you and your heart tones were perfect! Lindsay jumped right in with Hypnobabies cues to help me during my waves and I started to feel more comfortable. When Holly arrived she adjusted my pelvis and my waves began to pick back up. They were around 4 minutes apart. We decided it would be a good time to call our birth photographer so that we didn’t miss capturing all of the important moments coming! Jen and our second midwife Aly arrived around 7:30 pm and were so calm and quiet that I didn’t even know they were there!


At around 8:00 pm Kate asked me if I was ready to get into the birthing tub, and I thought that sounded heavenly! The tub was filled in record time! As soon as I got in, my body completely melted. It felt so good to be surrounded by the warmth of the water. I spent some time in the tub by myself, which was just what I needed to let go. I was listening to “Easy First Stage” in the background, and using my lightswitch to shut “off” during waves. It was amazing to be able to connect with you all by myself, knowing that our birthing team was just right up stairs when we needed them! They were busy decorating your birthday cake – one of my favorite parts of your birth!


After some time by myself, I asked Daddy to join me downstairs. He was such an amazing support – rubbing my back, helping with my Hypnobabies, and encouraging me by telling me what a great job I was doing!


After a couple of hours in the tub, I decided to check myself again. I am so amazed at how much more open my cervix was and how awesome it felt to touch your bag of waters! It had been quite a while since I had gone to the bathroom, so Kate suggested that I get out of the tub and try to sit on the toilet for a while. The change of “venue” might be good for bringing you down. While sitting on the toilet I had a lot of bloody show and mucous release. Everybody was excited to see the changes in my progress! My waves were staying about 5 minutes apart and I was still having a lot of back pressure. I wanted to get into the shower again to see if that would offer any relief. While in the shower I began to feel a lot of pressure and started to make grunting sounds through the waves. When I got out, Aly suggested trying some belly lifts for a while to bring my waves closer together. Daddy would lift up my belly, and Lindsay would do the “Relax” cue and recite mini birth prompts to help my body remain loose. I could tell you were trying so hard to get into a good position because you were moving like crazy! Your movements were intense and quite uncomfortable at times. I was really trying to keep my body soft and open to give you the space to turn!


Midnight arrived and Kate offered to check me to see if there was any cervix left. I had been having “pushing” type waves for a while, so I thought it was a good idea! When she checked there was just an anterior lip of cervix left. I decided I wanted her to hold it out of the way while I pushed to see if I could push past it. James was reminding me to use my “Peace” cue, while Holly and Lindsay placed cool rags on my forehead. After a few pushes on the couch, I was able to move you down quite a bit and wanted to get back into the tub.

The water felt great and I was able to completely relax in between pressure waves. During waves I would grab onto the side of the tub and bear down with as much strength as I could. At around 1:15 am I began to feel a bit frustrated because I couldn’t “feel” you coming down anymore despite how hard I was pushing. You were moving around so much, and trying so hard to find your way out. Holly checked my sacrum and gave me another adjustment to try and get everything lined up just right. Kate checked me again and said that I was making progress and that she could see your bag of waters every time I pushed.  Your extremely bulging bag of waters was likely a big part of the reason  I felt like my pushing wasn’t doing anything, but I definitely wanted it to stay intact as long as possible!


My back pressure was getting very intense, so Aly applied counterpressure to my tailbone, which really helped to provide some relief. I continued to push for a while and was getting tired!  At 1:45 am Kate asked me if I would be willing to try some clary sage to bring my waves closer together. I was up for anything! Lindsay and Holly were massaging pressure points on my hands, and that along with smelling the clary sage instantly brought my waves to 2 minutes apart. I suddenly felt like my pushing efforts were doing something since you no longer had time to sneak back up in between. Kate and Aly thought you might be a bit asynclitic, so they suggested some pulsatilla to help you get lined up. They put a tiny bit under my tongue and you immediately started kicking and I felt a big shift in your position! I was pushing and you were now coming! I had planned on getting out of the tub to try pushing on the couch for a while, but knew that I needed to stay put if I wanted to have the waterbirth I had been visualizing.


At 2:00 am Daddy took over applying counter pressure to my tailbone. He pushed really hard into my sacrum just as a pressure wave was beginning and I felt a HUGE pop.  Your bag of waters released and right away I started to feel you crown. In one pressure wave your head went from about +2 station to half way out. The sensation was incredibly powerful and Lindsay was right in my ear reminding me to relax and send my “peace” out in front of your head. Kate helped Daddy get his hands into position to catch you. After another wave your head came out and I could feel you twisting to line up the rest of your body. Kate had me lunge on one knee to get your shoulders through and you slid right out into Daddy’s hands! He pushed you through my legs and I quickly grabbed you and gently brought you out of the water and up to my chest.



At 2:07 am on May 4th we would finally meet face to face for the first time! That moment that I picked you up out of the water was pure joy, beauty, ecstasy, relief – an absolute flood of every good emotion one can experience!


I leaned back and stared at you in complete amazement!  My baby was finally here, in my arms, exactly how I envisioned!  You were covered in yummy vernix and your Daddy and I gently rubbed it into your back, while you let out little cries and whimpers. You were perfect in every way! After a few minutes your cord stopped pulsing and I birthed the placenta. We got out of the tub and snuggled on the couch skin-to-skin. As soon as you were on my chest you were ready to nurse! You latched right away and were so content gazing up at me, learning where your new home was.

While your Dad and I were loving up on you, Kate and Aly were getting some things cleaned up and checking in on both of us to make sure all was well. I did have a little heavier than normal blood loss so we decided it was best to get a shot of pitocin to prevent any further bleeding.  Despite your incredibly fast crown I didn’t have any tearing which was awesome! You and I had all of the uninterrupted snuggle time that I had so longed for before you were born.


While we were snuggling, Holly and Lindsay were busy making us some eggs and toast. Holly fed me while you happily nursed. After about an hour and a half I was finally ready to give you up for the newborn exam. You weighed in at a whopping 8lb 13oz, 20 inches long, with a 14 inch head. I couldn’t believe you were so much bigger than your brothers!


At around 4:30 am we were ready to settle in for a nap. We moved upstairs to the bedroom and our whole birth team celebrated your arrival with a champagne toast. Afterwards they tucked us into bed and we drifted off to sleep listening to your tiny newborn coos! Your birth was so healing, so triumphant, so empowering, and absolutely perfect in every way! Thank you for such an amazing experience sweet girl!



Birth Story of baby T

Thank you so much, strong and patient mama, for sharing this incredibly beautiful and captivating birth story. It was such an honor to walk this journey with you, and help you welcome this sweet babe into your family.


It had taken me a good long while to adjust to the idea of this pregnancy.  I was blessed with 2 beautiful, healthy, happy kids and I felt that could truly be enough for us. The year prior to getting pregnant I would watch my kids playing and at times get overwhelmed with this feeling that there was someone missing. I saw a third in this sibling group, a little girl was supposed to be running with them. I didn’t know if our life would ever make sense to have a third, so tried my best to push that feeling aside when it presented itself.  So, when we found out that a little spirit had joined us, I wasn’t shocked but I sure had a lot of questions about how we were going to make this work.

Having been through this twice before, I found myself surprised by how ill prepared I felt in the weeks leading up to the birth. This pregnancy had been a time of incredible transition for our family in so many aspects, I tried really hard not to lose sight of the fact that we were also needing to make room for another little person. I had spent months in yoga preparing my body and mind; we had spent the whole pregnancy finding the right birthing team and I felt like we were very successful. I was going into this birth with the most amazing woman lined up to support me. I felt as though I had a fool proof plan! But I still felt unprepared. I couldn’t pin the exact reason, but was feeling alone – not ready but totally ready to be done all at the same time. I was missing my mother who had passed away since my last birth and I simply didn’t know how I was going to do this without her. Not just deliver this baby, but to be a mother to 3. She had always been my go-to and I didn’t know what to do without my main resource for all things mothering. I felt so prepared and at a complete loss all at the same time.

I had made the mistake of deciding baby would be arriving early. I have no idea why I made this decision. My first two pregnancies both surpassed their guess dates by several days and this babe had given me no indications that this time would be any different. My son’s birthday is also in October, so I thought baby having its own birth month would be helpful as the kids grew up. I had chosen September 30th to be the day babe should arrive. It felt like a good day. But the 30th came and went. I was still pregnant on October 1st. I got over this fact relatively quickly, telling myself that there was still almost a full week before the ultrasound guess date and 10 solid days before the real guess date…so the 30th really seemed silly to get my hopes up on. I wrapped up work on Friday October 4th, incredibly grateful to be done and eager to get to meeting baby. We hadn’t found out gender and this pregnancy was truly different from each of my others. I was eager to put the guessing to rest and meet this little one! Surly you would be coming SOON! I tried to enjoy that weekend as much as I could without feeling anxious. We were almost to the 6th! And therefore that seemed much more reasonable that baby should be coming! Alas, the 6th came and went and I woke up on the 7th – still pregnant. I woke up uncomfortable. I was having prodromal labor pains that were waking me during the night. Hard to sleep through, hard to re-position. Each and every day I was slowed with these contractions. Uncomfortable, irregular and what I was convinced were unproductive. As the days went by and there was no change – I started to lose hope. I felt the days of my maternity leave ticking by and my sweet baby was no where near being in my arms. I met with Kate on the 9th. Days into erratic pains and little sleep but still a day before THE guess date. She did her best to offer comfort and understanding, but again my patience was gone. I wanted my baby. I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. I tried so hard to be stoic at that appointment, to not sob the tears I was holding in. I felt so silly to be this impatient when my date hadn’t even come up yet. I wanted to be patient, I really did. I wanted to allow my baby the time he/she needed to develop and come when ready…but my patience was wearing THIN. I left Kate’s office on the 9th quite certain I was never having this baby. Kate offered her gentle reassurance that she almost NEVER needs a 41 wk appointment sheet, so she was pretty confident she would be seeing me before then – but I challenged that statement in my head, I was going to be pregnant forever.

I had started to get specs of doubt in my body and its ability. Why why WHY was my body giving me all this erratic pain and not doing a damn thing?! It hadn’t done this before! This was my third pregnancy and nothing was like it had been before. Was this birth going to be has difficult as my last? More difficult? The memories of my son’s birth kept popping in and out of my head, day and night. I had tried to have him at home also, but I just couldn’t do it. My body stalled at his birth, after after 15 hours, 6  or so at 8cm I had waved my white flag and asked to go the hospital. I knew I had given it my all, but I felt like a failure. He was born a short while later, healthy and beautiful – but not at home. I was so confused as why his birth was so much more difficult than my first. Everyone talked about how the second usually goes so much more quickly – easy! This was not my experience. I told myself over and over that each birth is different, each child has their own journey and story. My heart knew and believed this to be true; but my head was having a hard time buying it. What if my body couldn’t do this? What if this labor stalled again? I know I didn’t have it in me to labor like that again, I simply couldn’t.

THE guess day arrived! The 10th! It was here! And I was still pregnant. I had lost a little more hope than the day before. I did everything I knew I was supposed to do. I walked the lake every morning, got adjusted, went to yoga. I couldn’t have asked for more gorgeous surroundings during this time. This whole week was perfect MN fall. Crisp colors, cool air, bright sunshine.  And every morning, I still woke up pregnant. On Saturday the 12th I was overcome with sadness. I had wasted 1 full week of maternity leave and still had no baby in my arms. I felt myself shutting out the world. The non stop texts and facebook posts “No baby YET?!” – I was being reminded everyday of the obvious and I simply couldn’t take it anymore. On Monday, the 14th, I declared that I would be one of the lone souls that needed that 41 wk appointment sheet at Kate’s. My phone ‘pinged’ and I reluctantly checked the message. It was an email from Kate. Sending love and warm thoughts. Encouraging me to be in this place with my baby because my baby needed me to be there with them. Attached was this article. I read the article and sat in my living room and finally cried. The sobs I had been holding back since the previous Wednesday. I held my hands to belly and did my best to let go. Let go of everything I was fearful of because this baby’s story did not have to be a repeat of it’s brother’s and I had to allow him/her to create it all on their own. I went to bed that night feeling a bit more at peace. The sarcastic survivalist in me held onto the mantra that this was never going to happen, but I fell asleep that night for the first time in a week not fully believing it.

At about 4:30 I was awoken with a contraction. It was a new contraction, not full blown like I know labor to be, but definitely a stronger statement than anything the week before offered. About 15 minutes later, there was another one! I did my best to rest, dozing in between, but they continued – steadily 15 minutes apart until the the rest of the house woke up. I got up and went about the day. Mid morning things were continuing, not picking up but staying the same. 15 minutes apart and feeling productive – FINALLY. I touched base with Kate mid morning and my doula, Brook. Nothing was really changing, I was starting to lose hope. Around lunch I mustered the motivation to take a walk, I knew I had to. The fresh air was beautiful. It was a cloudy day, drizzly and cool but the fresh air was incredible, I remember that. I got home and laid down. The walk didn’t make a difference either, so I had resigned that today would not be the day either. About 2:30 Kate called to check in, she was heading to a home visit so just wanted to let me know she would be a little further away than normal should anything pick up. “Go” I said. “I don’t think anything is changing today”. I had a contraction while on the phone with Kate, it didn’t feel like it had been 15 minutes since the last one, but I was sidetracked with the conversation. I remember Kate’s sweet voice “OK, well call me if anything changes. Sometimes changes happen real slow, and sometimes things change real real fast”. I promised her I would. We hung up and 2 minutes later I had a contraction. This one threw me over the side of the bed. WOW – I was NOT expecting that! 2 minutes later, I had another one and another one and another one. Hope had been rekindled!!! I made my way into the shower. Tried to relax and let the water cover my belly. I couldn’t stay in there too long because the contractions continued at a 2 minute pace and were growing in strength. I made my way out, got some fresh clothes and tied my hair up. I remember thinking: I can’t get to the stairs to get Kevin! Kevin had been doing an amazing job keeping the two big kids downstairs with him while he worked but I felt like it was time, I needed him with me – but I couldn’t get to him! I sent him a text to please come up. He arrived quickly and stayed with me for a few more contractions, I was needing his counter pressure on my hips now. I was swaying and singing quietly, I could not get comfortable. About 3:30 I knew it was time to call the team. I couldn’t think to call, I spent my couple minutes between contractions resting and trying to regroup. I felt myself slipping into “the zone” very quickly. I heard Kevin on the phone with Kate and quick follow up call to Brook, it was time! The house grew chaotic, it was getting hard to focus. The big kids were informed that today was the day, their excitement was piercing. Kate arrived and did a wonderful job rounding them up with helping set up the tub while I waited for my sister in law to come and collect them. I just remember feeling like this was the show and I needed it to be quiet, and quiet NOW. I heard my sister in law arrive, more squeals and giggles from the kids and in mere seconds of the door closing behind them, it was like a vacuum of peace filled the house. Brook arrived soon there after. I remember placing my hands on belly and telling baby “this is it!” I had moved off the birth ball into the bathroom with Brook for several contractions. I was over come with heat, uncomfortable heat. I didn’t want anything on anymore. I was instantly exhausted. I remember feeling like this was moving really fast, it was too early to feel this exhausted. I moved back to the bedroom and laid in bed. The bed had been transformed and I remember laying there feeling that it had never felt more comfortable. My first thoughts of fear crept in. I was exhausted. Contractions were fast and furious and I was simply exhausted. I was just starting and simply didn’t know how I could do this for 10,12 – 15 more hours?! I laid there for I don’t know how long, but I did my best to breathe. Deep long breaths with each wave. The room had grown dark. A soft light was on. I had lost all track of time. I had been informed that Kate’s assistant Kelly had arrived. My dearest friend had also arrived, everyone was there: we just needed baby. I remember opening my eyes and in the softly lit room seeing Kate’s peaceful face smile at me from the corner. “You are doing amazing, Carrie. Just amazing” I heard her say, and I would close my eyes and go back in the zone.

After awhile I was getting words of encouragement to change position. I had been there a long time and it was time to move. I was not a fan of this idea. I did not want to move, I was good where I was! But the encouragement continued, so I compromised and rolled to my other side – this appeased the crowd. Brook and Kevin were a truly amazing team together. I could not have continued on without Kevin’s incredible pressure on my hips and heat to my low back. Brook took my hand with each contraction and was the strong voice of reassurance: stay with your breath Carrie, just breathe. Rumblings among the team was that it was time to get in the tub. Encouragement that it would help with the pressure, it would be warm: a position change would be so good right now. I simply wasn’t interested. I heard Kate ask – Carrie, are you OK having your baby in bed then? I answered YES. I was certain that I was no where near ready for the tub, it was too early. I was scared it would slow things down as it had each time before. As the contractions kept coming I was losing my grip. Exhaustion prevailed and I simply did not think I could go on. I remember crying out that if this isn’t transition I couldn’t keep going. I let Kate check me, which I didn’t think I was going to want, but I needed something – SOMETHING to give me hope. “At least an 8” I remember those words. “You’re at least an 8 Carrie, I really think its time to think about getting into the tub – it will help with all pressure from baby’s head”. My heart sank a bit in that moment. 8. This is where my body stalled last time. This was the point I had given up last time…

I labored a bit longer. I heard whispers and side talk – “HOW ARE WE GOING TO GET HER INTO THE TUB?!” I knew they knew it was time but I simply couldn’t bring myself to move. Awhile later I was told I had to go to the bathroom. I didn’t want to move, but this suggestion seemed logical to me, more so than the tub, so I agreed. Brook walked me through the dark hall. I hovered over the toilet in the dark for 1-2 contractions and then I felt it, heard the burst. OH THANK GOD I thought, my water broke! As I walked out of the bathroom something in me said – YOU NEED TO TURN LEFT. GET IN THE TUB NOW. So I pushed across Brook gently to turn her toward our living room and I reached the tub under her support. I got in the water and sank onto my knees. OH MY GOD! RELIEF!! The water felt SO amazing. Warm and soothing, heavenly. My first contraction in the water felt 100x worse than all the others. I didn’t know how I was going to keep going. The next one came and my body just pushed. I pushed with every ounce I had. Once that contraction passed I simply decided I could not keep going. I looked up and looked at my dearest friend of 25 years, I shook my head, I said the words: I’m done, I can’t do this. She touched my hand and whispered: Yes, you can. You will. The next contraction came and I was determined that this would be it! And out came the head! I felt my body jump up from the water in response to the sensation. My hips were quickly covered in gentle hands to cue me to stay submerged so baby stayed submerged. What felt like an eternity later, my next contraction came and I pushed out my precious precious baby into Papa’s hands. I reached through my legs to pull her forward, untangled the cord from her neck a few times and laid her on my chest. In that moment we met our baby GIRL! Oh God, she was gorgeous! And my first thoughts were of me eldest, how she would be so incredibly thrilled to have a baby sister! I was so overwhelmed with joy it is a blur. I leaned back to kiss Kevin, he was crying. Our third child and he had never cried before, but he was crying. October 15th at 7:54pm our baby girl had decided THAT was her moment to enter this world. And she picked her perfect moment. I simply couldn’t believe it. After all those moments and thoughts spent in fear over a repeat long labor, our little girl came cruising earthside in 4.5 hours!

These moments of bliss were fleeting. Kate moved in to do her initial assessment. Our little girl didn’t look great. She was so calm and beautiful to me, I was mesmerized. But I knew in the back of my head, she wasn’t giving us the cry Kate was looking for. After a bit, it was decided that it was time to go the hospital. My heart sank. I knew my baby fine, I didn’t want to leave, but I knew she wasn’t reacting the way we needed her too to stay home. Kate said it was time to go and I trusted her so we went. Baby never fussed. She looked quietly and contently at met. She stayed on my chest the whole way to the hospital. In the ER,  the moment they took her off my chest and laid her on the exam table – she landed. The scream that came out of our baby girls lungs was loud and clear and BEAUTIFUL. I thought to myself: if only you had done that a half hour ago!!! We stayed a couple of hours. Allowed some tests to be run and everything came back all clear. Kevin and I were so incredibly grateful that our whole team joined us in support at the hospital. We finally crawled into our bed about 2 am, Kate tucked us in, started my postpartum herbs and left the three of us to be.

We hadn’t agreed on a name prior to meeting our girl. We had two front runners, my husband and I each leaning a different way. At the hospital I had over heard Kevin telling folks he knew her name. He declared he knew it the moment he saw her. I had laughed to myself thinking no way, I am naming her like I had named the others! So there we lay, in our bed, in the quiet of night and I ask “So what’s her name then?” He teared up again and surprised me: Tennyson.  It wasn’t either of our front runners but a name he had turned down for our girl list earlier in the pregnancy. But that night my husband had declared that this was who he knew her to be, and he was right. Tennyson is the only name I could picture on the perfect little face. In the book I had found it in it meant Storyteller. And it felt most fitting. Her pregnancy was such a lesson for me in patience. In allowing the pregnancy be about her and not me or my previous experiences. Her name felt right for the babe who was intent on making it her story, her way, from conception through pregnancy to birth and beyond. She is the calming spirit who completes our family.  The little girl spirit I felt following my kids the year before, had made her entrance and we simply could not be more thrilled.

Pause and Reflect // {The birth of Seyla Rose}

Thank you so much to Meghan for sharing this amazing, multi-layered story. It has been such an honor to walk this journey with you. One of the favorite aspects of my “job” is that I have hour long visits with families so that I can hear about what is going on in all of the various layers of mama’s lives. All of those things weave into pregnancy and birth, because they are part of who each mama is and how her life is unfolding at the moment. I love that this story really illustrates that. Meghan, you are a beautiful and strong mom and you have brought Seyla into your family and into the world with such grace and beauty. Thank you for sharing this story for others to enjoy.

Here I sit with my new 6 week old baby on my lap as I type. I have been wanting to write my birth story since she was born. From the moment she was in my arms I wanted to share every detail of her birth. But life happens and I seemed to have gotten distracted with three kids, two dogs, a bearded dragon and husband who works full time and is on the volunteer fire department!  So tonight I picked up my laptop determined to at least start her story. Although I’m certain I may have lost some of the details in my sleep deprived mommy brain I’m going to do my best to remember it all, because I want to remember every last detail of her amazing entrance. There’s a lot of back story to her birth and her name so if you get bored, fast forward to her actual birth story.. I swear it’s there!

January of 2013 was a rough month. My hubby and my two little ones (who were 2 and 4 at the time) got sick with the upper respiratory flu. It was brutal but everyone came through it and before long we were back to our high energy family. Except for me. I was so tired but chalked it up to the fact that I had been up with two sick kids for a week and was going on little to no sleep. But the sleep deprivation didn’t subside and as I was packing up my daughter to take her swimming  my hubby suggested pizza for dinner, and I almost gagged right there, I kind of wondered what was up. In my head I thought there’s no possible way I could be pregnant. Except I was. After talking with my midwife and feeling very anxious about how this could be possible and having no idea how far along I was, we set up an ultrasound. I was almost 8 weeks pregnant and there on the screen was another flickering little heart. Overwhelmed with emotions but feeling so happy to see that amazing flicker we left a little stunned! Plagued by sickness, spotting, exhaustion, time after time of not being able to find baby’s heartbeat, very little fetal movement and lots of anxiety by this mama I was happy when our 20 week ultrasound came. However with that ultrasound brought more anxiety for me as I had just had some dear friends lose their sweet baby girl at 21 weeks and another who had lost her twins at 12 weeks. I walked in those doors taking a deep breath praying that our baby was healthy. We walked out with an envelope in our hands telling us the gender and news that my placenta was anterior (which explained the lack of fetal movement) and being assured that our baby GIRL was very healthy and moving plenty.

My husband and I, but mostly me, struggled sooo much with our decision of where we wanted to delivery this baby. After a traumatic first birth of my son at a hospital with a postpartum hemorrhage we delivered our second baby at Health Foundations Birth Center in St. Paul. A beautiful water birth and an entirely different experience than our first opened our eyes to what birth could really be like. Learning to trust my body and those around me rather than trying to fight it. With Emelyn I also had a postpartum hemorrhage although nothing in comparison to what Jameson’s was and the recovery was so easy with her. We had decided on having a home birth and hired Kate Saumweber Hogan of Twin Cities Midwifery as our midwife. Until the anxiety set in. What if I hemorrhage again? Will it be an awful experience at home if that happens? What about my older two kids, what if they see mommy bleed like that? So I did double prenatal care with Kate and at Methodist until I found my peace. My peace did come. At home was where we wanted to be. Kate was so great in helping me through this process of emotions. Never once making me feel pressured to make a decision and never once making me feel as though I had to choose a home birth. She was gentle and patient with me/us as we took our time making this decision. Once the decision was made we never looked back.

At 30 weeks pregnant my sweet Jameson (4.5) fell off the glider at the park and broke his arm. It was by far the worst day/weeks of my life. His arm was broken badly and resulted in 8 hours of sitting in the ER at Regions until he had surgery. That pain in my heart is something I will never forget. We had a long road ahead of us but we took it one day at a time. Until the next week when he went in for his 1 week post-op appointment where we learned that his bone had shifted and he would need surgery again. My heart sank again as I stared at my beautiful little boy who should not have to go through surgery twice in one week. We transferred his care to Gillette Children’s under the care of Dr. Koop. He performed his surgery the next day and we honestly couldn’t say better things about the staff at that hospital. Everyone was so gentle and caring with Jameson and really made our stay there as best it could be. One more surgery to get a cast on, another visit to get his cast off and a final visit a week after Seyla was born and Jameson is back to himself! He won’t have to go back for his arm for another year! During that time my family was worried that I would go in to pre-term labor due to the stress, lack of sleep, lack of hydration and eating but baby girl remained as strong as ever. Her heartbeat was always great and she would give me movements to remind me she was okay.

With an anticipated guess date of September 12th I couldn’t help but laugh. September is a busy month in our house. My sister’s birthday is the 2nd, Jameson’s birthday the 21st, my inlaw’s anniversary the 22nd, my husband’s (Zach) birthday the 23rd and mine the 24th. But this year we added another life event to the calendar. My brother was getting married on Jameson’s birthday September 21st. I kept thinking “baby will come early. I can NOT miss my brother’s wedding and Jameson’s birthday”, especially since both Jameson and Emelyn were in the wedding! It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t be able to be there. Some way, some how I would be there. Kate and I talked about it so much towards the end. We made plans and talked about it at almost every visit. And then my guess date passed by. I wondered how this could be! I was doing acupuncture, with the amazing Erika Sullivan of Acupunture Healing Arts at Enlightened Mama, I was getting adjusted twice a week by the amazing Amber Moravec of Naturally Aligned Family Chiropractic, and Kate did a membrane sweep twice which I was certain would put me in to labor but nope! And then when I went in for my 41 week appointment I couldn’t stop crying. My brother’s wedding was in 4 days and I wondered how I would be able to go with a newborn. I remember that Kate said “maybe she will just wait to come until after!” I wanted to cry right there! Being pregnant another day sounded awful, seriously awful. I went through these crazy emotions of crying one minute, laughing and dancing with the kids the next, being straight up pissed, feeling content and trying to let go of the control, and then the cycle would start all over again. Again, Kate my amazing midwife was so patient with me and gently reminded me to trust my body and trust that she will come. I was certain she never would! We made a plan to try and get things going the following week if I hadn’t had her. Kate encouraged me to dance her out at the wedding and just have fun. A few people in my life would remind me that this was out of my control 🙂  I couldn’t force her to come, although I sure was trying, and rather to accept that. My mom had made frequent trips from up north to be here because we were certain each week that week was “it”! She came down the week of my 41 week appointment on Tuesday, stayed until Thursday early morning where she literally drove 3 hours back up north, picked up her husband and bags and came back to the cities for my brother’s wedding!


I went to bed the night of the 20th feeling ready for Jameson’s birthday and the wedding celebration. I had in my head that I would have fun and enjoy that day with all of my family and forget about her coming, just for that day, and enjoy being present with my loved ones. Seyla had other plans. I woke up at 2:30am with my first contraction. I got up to go to the bathroom and laid back down. I had a moment where I wondered if this could be it but quickly pushed it out of my head. Until another contraction came and then another. I got up to see if they would continue and sure enough they did. They weren’t really painful but they were the real deal, I could tell this was it. I went in to tell Zach and I looked at him and said “I think this baby wants to share a birthday with her brother”. I couldn’t believe it. How could I possibly have two kids on the exact same day 5 years apart! I told Zach to stay asleep and I would wake him when I needed him. I texted my sister. I texted my mom. I showered and I talked to baby. Telling her it was okay to come. Telling her I wasn’t upset that we couldn’t go to the wedding. I was excited to meet her and hold her. 9 days past my due date and the day had finally come. I was excited and nervous. But I rode each wave with her knowing that soon I would have her here. I talked to Kate just to check in and told her I would call her back when I felt ready for her to come. I called my mother in law at 5am and told her no hurry but to slowly start getting ready to come over, that today was it. My mom arrived soon after that. The house slowly came to life with people arriving for the birth of this baby girl. My sister in law to help with the kids, my mother in law with her bags of food to feed everyone, my mom with coffee in tow to get through the morning tiredness, and my sister who I was so happy could be a part of this day with me (she lives in Madison and has a 4 year old but was in town for the wedding!!). Kate showed up and my girlfriend who is the process of doing her doula training. Zach and the kids woke up at 7am and in between a contraction I was able to say good morning to my birthday boy and tell him he would have the coolest gift ever. He walked out groggy eyed to a room full of his favorite people. And me, I labored how I needed to. Walking in and out of the room as I needed and being by myself more than I thought I would want. My sister and my husband rubbing my back and holding my hands. Crying with every contraction. Not because I was sad or scared but because she was coming. She was coming on Jameson’s 5th birthday. I was so emotional. The contractions weren’t lasting that long but they were coming consistently. I was able to watch Jameson open his presents and the kids helped fill the birthing tub. My dear friend Jen Olson of Jennifer Liv Photography arrived to capture all the moments I never want to forget.

Everyone was there to support me and to welcome this baby. The most important women in my life were there with me to support me and push me when I felt like I couldn’t go any more. These women (my mom, my mother in law, and my sister) were with me 5 years ago on that same date at that same time to support me as we welcomed Jameson in to our life. It couldn’t be more perfect. And the picture of Jameson’s cast. That photos makes me tear up every time I see it. I intentionally left his cast sit out as a reminder that when I felt like I couldn’t go any more he would give me strength. Because if my 4.5 year old can sit with a broken arm for 8 hours I can do this. He was my strength.

Her labor was amazing. We laughed, we cried, I whined to Kate, A LOT, but we laughed more. It was simply amazing. Before long the monster contraction came, the one that sweeps you off your feet, where you feel completely out of control, out of body but you know baby will be here soon. In the water I went…

And the pushing, oh how hard the pushing was with her. I so badly wanted her out in three pushes but it was longer. I pushed for 45 minutes and it was intense. I was reminded by all the women around me and my sweet husband that she would be here soon. In to labor land I went. Focusing on each push and surrendering to the pain.

{this photo is one of my all time favorites from her birth. Look at the wonderful support I had, and how hard I was working. Labor is tough but a woman’s body has incredible strength and with the right support you can get through anything}

As soon as Kate told Zach to switch places and get ready to catch baby I knew it was real, she would be in my arms soon. Zach caught her. His second daughter, our third baby, born at home surrounded by love and support. She was here.

She was perfect. 9 days past due and she was in my arms. She pinked up so fast and we could tell she was a healthy size. My heart expanded for a third time right there in that moment. Our beautiful baby girl.

There was no bleeding, no postpartum hemorrhage. All the research Kate had done and being so proactive resulted in this beautiful water birth, with no trauma and minimal bleeding. My wonderful homeopath, Jennie Hoglund of Spark Wellness who helped me find a remedy for my anxiety and hemorrhages. Kate and CaraLin, there are no words. There are not enough thank you’s. You are truly amazing midwives. Kate, thank you for taking such good care of me. For being the support I needed leading up to her birth, during her birth and after. Thank you over and over again.

Baby girl latched on immediately. I’ve never seen a baby nurse as well as her right off the bat.

She was a healthy 8 pounds 9 ounces, 21 inches long, a chest of 13 ¾ and a head of 14 inches. She was healthy. And we were in love. No birth celebration would be complete without brownies, candles and champagne! And that hair! Look at all her beautiful dark hair! Neither of my other two had hair like this!

My Jameson. Look at how sweet you are. I look back and I think to myself, Seyla had a plan. This day was meant to be her birthday, of course it was. This day was my re-birth. It was a way of healing a birth 5 years ago that was traumatic and left me terrified to do it again. This birth has helped me to heal. To trust the natural process of childbirth. This is my do over on a birth I wanted but never had, until that day. My sweet sweet Jameson, we can already tell that you will have this amazingly cool relationship with Seyla. You look over her and Emelyn already and your dad and I have a feeling you will protect them always.

Her name. It took us three days to name her. The day after she was born Jameson sat in bed holding her and looked at me and said “can we name her now mom”. I asked what he thought her name should be and he said “her name should be Seyla. She looks like a Seyla”. Seyla had always been my favorite name, for a long time. I never took it off lists, even when Zach vetoed it off the bat. It grew on him and he quickly became fond of that name. I never could get out of my head the meaning behind the name Selah (traditional Hebrew spelling). It means ‘pause and reflect’. Her entire pregnancy, Jameson’s arm, going past due, her beautiful birth… it all was a time to pause and reflect. So on day three we decided on Seyla Rose… the name we had months ago but just weren’t certain it was her. It’s her. She’s calm. She’s content. And every day I take a moment to pause and reflect on all the good in my life.

{photo credit Kari Jensen of living lifes moments photography}

{photo credit Kari Jensen of living lifes moments photography}

{Photo taken by myself…}

{Sweet Seyla Rose, 7 weeks . . . photo taken by myself}