The Birth of Emerson Barbara

CindyPregnantI had been sleeping on the couch for about 8 weeks by then.

It was the only place I could sleep comfortably.  Something woke me up at about 4:00 am, I took a sip of water and turned on my ipod to help me fall back to sleep.  Suddenly, something felt wet.  I was worried that I could be bleeding, I checked and saw only clear liquid.

I went to the bedroom to change, when Erik heard me come in I said “Don’t be alarmed, but I think my water just broke.”  He asked me what I was going to do, and I told him I was going to try to go back to sleep.  I barely made it back up to the living room before I felt a gush of amniotic fluid and realized I was now standing in a small puddle.  I went back to the bedroom and told Erik, “I’m quite sure my water broke now.”  He got up as I called our midwife, Kelli to let her know what had happened.

Only 4 days earlier we had our 37 week home visit where Kelli came to check out the house and help us prepare for the homebirth.  I remember her instructions specifically to call her if my water breaks, but she said not to expect anything until about 41 weeks.  After she told me to check to make sure I could not feel the umbilical cord, she told me to just go about my day normally and she would call to check on me around noon or I could call her if anything happened before then.

I went out to the living room where Erik was sitting and we just looked at each other with a “what now?” expression.

I didn’t feel any different.  So, I started calling friends and family to let them know that our baby was coming soon and we decided we might as well start preparing for our baby.  We went out to the car to install the car seat base, we set up the bassinet in our bedroom, and I washed all the baby’s clothes.

Around 8:00 am we decided to go to the grocery store. While we were making our purchases the cashier asked me when I was due.  I said “Any day now.” and laughed to myself, but Erik said “Actually, she’s in labor right now.”  The cashier just giggled and Erik and I shared a laugh on the way out of the store.  When we got home, I prepared some food for Kelli and her assistant Maggie to eat once they arrived.  The time seemed to go by so slowly and I was just anticipating that any moment I would feel some sort of pain.

After lunch, we decided to take a walk around Lake Eola. We walked for about a mile when I finally started to feel a little cramping.  We headed home and I laid on the couch and started timing my very weak contractions.  I remember thinking to myself, “if this is all it is, this is going to be easy.”  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Around 5:00 pm, Kelli called to say that she would be finishing up with her last clients soon and she would come over to check on me after that.  She got to our house around 7:30 pm.  By then I was having more regular contractions, but still nothing intense.  In fact, when Kelli came in the door she said, “You’re still smiling, that’s not a good sign.”  Her and I went back to our bedroom and she started to set up her supplies and I wanted to her check my cervix.  She checked and said that I was 100% effaced, 1 cm dilated and the baby’s head was at plus 1 station.  I thought that sounded great because I knew some of the work had been done without any pain.

At that point, Kelli told me that we had two options.

We could either wait it out and it could take awhile before I go into active labor, or we could try some herbs that may help bring on more contractions.  She suggested that we try the herbs since I had already told friends and family that my water broke over 14 hours ago.  So she gave me some black and blue cohosh, she had Erik come into the bedroom and rub some scented oil on my belly and her and Maggie left the room.

It was no longer than 20 minutes later, I started to feel a little more intense cramping. I sat on the exercise ball while Erik rubbed my back.  We had the music that played at our wedding in the background and I was suddenly overcome with emotion.  Erik asked why I was crying and I sobbed, “I just want to do a good job.”  I know that was the start of the biggest adrenaline rush of my life.  I was just so anxious to meet our baby and I knew that my life would never be the same.

By the time Kelli and Maggie came back to give me another dose of cohosh about 30 minutes after the first one, they could tell that I was now in labor.  They helped me work through each contraction by breathing and moaning in a low voice.  My contractions were very consistent and intense lasting for a 90 seconds with 90 seconds in between each one.  The only way to describe what my body was going through is to say it was like an out of body experience.  It was as though this amazing, yet excruciating process was happening to me, but it couldn’t have really been me going through that.

As labor intensified, Kelli and Maggie checked the baby’s heart rate every 10-15 minutes.

Every time I heard the fast woosh-woosh I got  a renewed energy to keep going.  With each contraction, I would tell my body to open and tell the baby to come out.  I repeated over and over “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” and “Lord, have mercy.”

Around 12:30 am the urge to push took over my body and I knew I had to get this baby out now.  Kelli checked and my cervix was dilated to 9 cm.  She helped it open as much as she could and told me to push if I felt like I needed to. Eleven minutes later, I watched the baby’s head being born as I was in a hunched forward position on the bed.

The first thing Erik said was “look at the ear”, it’s so perfect. I was worried if the baby was ok. Kelli told me to feel the cord which had been around the baby’s neck and it was pulsating.  She said to push the baby out with the next contraction and it seemed like a few minutes before the contraction helped the baby’s body slip out with ease. The baby was placed immediately on my chest and covered with a  receiving blanket.

I looked between the legs and cried out, “it’s a girl!  My Emerson Barbara.”


Throughout the whole pregnancy everyone, including me, thought we werehaving a boy.  We had chosen not to have any medical testing done, so it was all speculation.  I was overjoyed to see my little girl staring into my face as Erik dialed my mom and I announced to her that it was a girl.  She was asking me so many questions that I couldn’t even answer, as Emerson let out her first cries.  I was just in awe at this little being that had just emerged from my body.

With the next contraction I delivered the placenta and after the umbilical cord stopped pulsating Erik cut the cord.  Kelli did a quick check of Emerson’s reflexes, weighed and measured.  Emerson was 5 lbs 14 oz, 18 ½ inches long.

Erik held our daughter for the first time while Kelli stitched my perineum where I had torn slightly.  (I didn’t even feel the tear).  Erik checked Emerson’s spine and gave her a slight adjustment before he handed her back to me for her first feeding.  Something I will never forget is that first latch on to my breast.  She knew exactly what to do.

The whole experience of feeling my body do exactly what God designed it to do, without any help and then to have my baby nursing from my breast without any help was nothing short of a miracle.  The whole pregnancy and birth was such a wonderful experience.  I never felt scare or nervous even when the pain was nearly unbearable.  I knew that this was part of God’s plan and that it would all be worth it when I saw that precious face.  And it was.

Nothing compares with giving birth to my baby in the very room where she slept peacefully between Erik and I that night.


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