Does it sound normal that I had a lot of fun at a birth?! I mean, I love witnessing new life being born. The couples are always amazing. But I have never belly laughed for hours with a laboring couple and their parents before. This birth was such a great experience. Dad was super supportive, mom was a total rock star, grandpa tried to avoid my camera at all costs and Noah’s sweet nana almost brought me to tears with her excitement. It was an amazing day!
Ellie’s birth was incredibly special. I was informed of her impending arrival within weeks of conception. It was amazing to experience the entire duration of her pregnancy with her beautiful momma, Alicia. It was so much fun to attend her shower, see her ultrasound photos and hear the excitement in Alicia’s voice as she announced what her name would be. I had so much anticipation building up to the day as we planned how they wanted her birth captured, which pieces were important, how big of a part music was going to play, and how if we all had it our way, baby girl would decide to arrive when there was beautiful natural light coming through the windows (a photographer’s dream!). Ellie’s entrance into the world was quick and dramatic, beautiful and calm, all at the same time. Please enjoy her birth video and then hear from Alicia’s own words as she tells her birth story.
The Birth of Ellie Brynn from Danielle Good on Vimeo.
In Alicia’s words:
However, I was in transition and didn’t know it. Poor Phil was trying to drive and I was nearly ripping his arm off while working through some of those surges. By this point it was much more intense than I had imagined, but I was still able to breathe deeply and trust my body. We got to the hospital at 6:40 and parked in the lot by the ER entrance. I barely made it a few feet from the car and had another intense surge. After working through it with Phil and Jacie, we picked up the bags to start walking and stopped to work through two more surges before getting to the door, and then again when we got inside the door.
We briefly stopped at the registration desk to sign papers and check in. A wheelchair was sent with a nurse to take me to the OB floor. The surges continued one on top of another through all of this. We rode up the elevator and I ended up standing because I just couldn’t sit comfortably. I worked through a surge as we got off the elevator, took a few more steps down the hallway towards our room and worked through yet another surge. By the time we got to the room I realized that this was it. OB nurses and staff quietly poured into the room to get everything ready for Ellie’s arrival. I labored mostly with my eyes shut to focus on breathing and to concentrate on relaxing, so I didn’t realize much of anything else going on in the room. In between surges I tried to relax to conserve my energy and allow my body and baby Ellie to work as efficiently as possible. They placed a hep-lock IV in my hand, but did not attach anything, just like I requested.
Laboring freely without being attached to anything was important to me. At 7am I was dilated to 7cm. I labored laying down for 30 minutes or so, breathing through surges as best I could with Phil and Jacie’s help, visualizing baby Ellie making her way into the world. Phil stayed close to my face while holding my hands. When I labored with our first born, Logan, somehow I realized that Phil’s scent was calming to me. I love the way his face smells, and it’s not a cologne or soap fragrance, but his natural pheromones. It really is as funny as it sounds, but it worked well for us during Ellie’s labor too. The surges continued to gain intensity. I was repeatedly asking for something to take the edge off (which makes me laugh now); but it was simply too late (thankfully). By 7:30 I was dilated to a 9, but didn’t feel any urge to push yet.
Our room did not have a tub like I thought I’d want, but even if it did, we probably wouldn’t have had time to fill it and use it. I decided to labor in the shower under hot water to relax and let gravity help bring Ellie down. From the ride to the hospital to getting in the shower, I started to doubt that I could birth Ellie naturally. I even told our Jacie, “this is wicked” at one point. In the shower I firmly pressed my forehead against the wall and continued to work through surges. The shower was the perfect sanctuary for my “come to Jesus” moment that I was indeed going to do this. There was no other way out. There was no time for any other means of pain relief, even though deep inside I truly did not want it anyways. I could barely stand as I felt Ellie coming down lower and lower by the seconds.
I was only in the shower for about 10 minutes when I squatted down because it felt good, only to realize that I felt my body pushing. I got out and dried off to go back into our room where they had set up a birthing stool. This meant so much to me because we had briefly discussed it with Cassie at our appointment the day before and she remembered. Just that small thing made me feel heard and supported. With Phil at my left shoulder, I tried to push with my body on the birthing stool and it just didn’t feel right. I trusted what my body was telling me. As I squatted to kneel onto the floor my water broke at 7:42 and there was meconium in the fluid. Cassie was positioned in front of me, down at my level, and she calmly requested for the NICU staff. Shortly thereafter a few pairs of extra feet poured into the room. I knew what that meant, and I would have expected for that to freak me out, but it didn’t; there was no fear. I trusted that Ellie was fine and that we were in the best of hands. Fear of something being wrong didn’t even enter my mind in that moment. I kneeled onto the floor in front of the birthing stool as they took it away. Moving to the bed wasn’t an option, Ellie was coming quickly. Phil moved to the front of me along with our nurse, Ashley. The staff quickly moved to put towels out on the floor under me and completely prepared for delivery there. I kneeled down onto my hands and knees, resting my head on our sweet nurse’s shoulder in front of me and waited for a surge. And waited. And waited. It somewhat frustrated me because we were all just hanging out there waiting. Jacie assured me that it was okay. My body was just taking a breather before the moment of Ellie’s arrival. I attempted to come back up to my knees to rest in a different way and the surge finally came.
All with one surge and push, Ellie was born at 7:48am. Cassie caught Ellie and passed her under me into my hands. I pulled Ellie up to my chest and craddled her in my arms. She was so warm and squishy, pink and healthy. Phil knelt down in front of us to meet our Ellie and see her sweet face. She let out a big cry immediately, which was encouraging to hear because of the meconium that was in her fluid. Her cord was short but was just long enough for me to hold her in that moment. The discomforts of labor and birth were completely gone. It was serene. We moved to the bed, and after a few moments there Phil cut her cord so she could quickly be checked out and returned to us. She was perfectly healthy, 8lbs 13oz. Her size hadn’t even entered my mind the entire labor or delivery. I had maintained a mindset throughout my pregnancy that my body was created and beyond able to birth however “big” she was. Trusting my body and Ellie did wonders for eliminating fear and allowing my body to do what it needed to that morning. Between that and laboring in the dark for several hours at home, there’s no wonder she was born so quickly. She happily nursed for the first couple hours while we studied her and savored every detail.
Ellie Brynn arrived in just under 6 hours of labor, but it didn’t seem like hours at all. I’m glad we got to labor at home the way we did, just like I had imagined and hoped for. The soft glittery dusting of snow that morning tickled my heart with joy. The sun was rising as we labored, and Ellie was born within the hour after it had arrived for the day. Her name means “light” so it was beyond appropriate for her to be born at that time. Just like the sun rises, it symbolized “all things new”. God knew we would have a midwife all along, even as I fretted about not having one in the beginning. Cassie, the midwife we had just met the day prior, came on at 7am, within the hour of Ellie’s arrival. Danielle knew the pediatric nurse for Ellie, which made getting those first moments captured a piece of cake. No detail was without purpose. It was so healing, so redeeming. We spent the day quietly savoring her newborn newness and taking photos with her, of course.
We have a daughter now. Our son, Logan, has a sister. Logan arrived with Nana later in the afternoon to meet his sister for the very first time. The wonder in his eyes when seeing her will always melt my heart, especially the way he quietly said “hi” to her. He’s so in love with her, as are we.
This gorgeous couple (and their awesome pup, Brodi!) and I met up at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. It was my first time there and Wow! that place is beautiful. I can’t wait to go back with the fam and spend a night there.
I also can’t wait to meet little Noah in just under a month! His will be the first birth videography story to kick off 2015 and I am so excited to see where the rest of year takes me! I had my very first birth video almost exactly a year ago today, so also a huge Happy Birthday Nolan! This last year of diving into video has been such an amazing time. I love who I’ve gotten to meet and the stories I’ve been able to tell. Many more to come!!
Until then, please enjoy a little preview of the A family’s maternity photos.
My friend Erin and I met in an online forum for pregnancy and all things related when I was due with my last baby and she was due with her first. Even though we didn’t even live in the same state, we became friends and met up a few times. When I moved to Colorado, I knew it would be even longer before I would get to see her again! March 17th, the morning of her scheduled induction (yes, the morning of!) some of her friends were messaging with me about doing a birth video as a surprise and I decided to pack up my kids and drive to Omaha! It wasn’t until I entered Nebraska that I sent her a photo of the road sign. To say she was surprised was an understatement! My mom lives to close to where she was delivering, so I dropped everything and headed to the hospital.
She had the quickest induction I’ve ever seen and besides the epi not taking full effect for a bit, she labored beautifully. Her one request, that he wouldn’t be a St. Patrick’s Day baby.So they held off for a little bit until midnight struck. Sweet Cole was born at 12:59am and is absolutely perfect.
Congrats sweet friend! Love you! The Birth of Cole Malachy // Danielle Good Photography from Danielle Good on Vimeo.
Just look at those perfect wrinkles!!!
The next morning, I returned for a Just Born session and to catch big brother Grant coming in to meet Cole. He wasn’t super interested at first, but then daddy sat him next to momma and Cole and he was very intrigued to touch his toes and little fingers. Then, Cole let out one of his epic double sneezes and sent Grant flying off the bed! It was so sad and hilarious at the same time! Erin says Grant has finally gotten used to the sneezes, so I guess he wasn’t too traumatized!
I was so unbelievably excited when I got the email inquiry to photograph my first birth since moving to Colorado. I have been wanting to really get into birth photography and more importantly, videography. I loved meeting this sweet mom and dad when they were just 2 weeks out from their due date!
Two and a half weeks later, I was driving to their home when K-Love’s “Verse of the Day” came on. It was Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. Something about it just stuck with me the whole day, and as momma’s labor progressed and I witnessed her immense strength, the verse felt extremely fitting for the day. She was simply put, an absolute rock star. I’m still in awe.
Doula: Erika Jones of Nurture the Mother
Birth Center: Mountain Midwifery Center