Monday, August 9, 2010

The Birth of Annabelle Marie

Saturday, August 7th started as a normal Saturday for us. I was feeling pretty tired in the morning, so Scott took Evelyn to the farmer's market while I slept in. Evelyn and I had spent a lot of time just hanging out around the house the couple weeks prior as a result of potty training and excessive heat warnings, and I was really wanting to get out and do some walking to encourage labor. I had been having contractions every day for a few days, but nothing that would get very strong or regular. After Evelyn's nap in the afternoon, we headed out to Oak Park Mall to see if that would help at all. I didn't have any contractions while walking, but it felt nice to get out of the house and get a little exercise.

When we got back home, I left to pick up a movie and some carry-out for dinner. Once Evelyn went to bed a little after 8, we got the house picked up a little and then started the movie. During the previews I had a couple of contractions, but they were very light. Scott got up to hit play on the DVD player once the previews were over and as he was coming back to sit down I had another contraction and then felt some wetness. I told him I thought my water broke and sure enough, as soon as I said that, I felt a gush and told him to grab something and quick! It was about 8:45 p.m. The couch was spared thanks to one of Evelyn's doll blankets, but I was soaked. There was no doubt that it was my water and this baby was coming soon!

We called my midwives and doula to let them know what was going on and started getting the house ready. Sarah (the assistant midwife) lives near us and got to the house pretty soon to check on us. She listened to the baby and brought in the birth supplies. Susan (the CNM) arrived shortly thereafter. My contractions were coming sporadically and picking up a little bit in intensity and my water was still leaking in small gushes.

Angie (doula) arrived around 10:30 p.m. as labor was starting to pick up. Around 11-11:30 I decided I wanted to head upstairs because the contractions were getting stronger and I wanted to really focus on relaxing. I figured the quiet, dark, and calm environment of our bedroom would help me do that. I labored in a lot of different positions: hands and knees, standing, kneeling, on the birth ball, etc.

Around midnight is when active labor truly began. The contractions got much more painful and I decided to get in the birth tub.

The water felt wonderful! My contractions were still pretty sporadic though, despite growing in intensity. I kept waiting for them to get regular, but instead they just got stronger. I would have a few of them in a row with hardly any break, and then sit around and wait 5-10 minutes for the next one to come.

Around 2 a.m. I started to feel a little pushy at the end of my contractions, but didn't believe that I could possibly be close to being fully dilated. I checked myself and didn't feel like I was anywhere near fully dilated, or that I had made much change at all. I had Sarah check me to gauge what was going on though since I'm no expert at it. She told me that I definitely wasn't fully dilated yet, but that I was progressing. She then left the room with Susan for a while and I continued to labor in the tub. When they came back in the room, they let me know that they thought the baby might be in a odd position, thus the intensity of the contractions and pushy feelings despite the fact that I wasn't all that far along (about 4 cm at this point I later found out).

That was quite the emotional blow to me. If you've read Evelyn's birth story, you know that it was her position that led to all kinds of problems with her birth. Angie and Scott really got cheering me on though and let me know that we would get her moved and everything would be fine; this was not the same as Evelyn's birth.

They set up a birth stool that is used to help with poor positioning (I would rather call it torture chair because it was so uncomfortable!). After a couple of contractions on it with Suzanne helping the baby get repositioned I was ready to burn that stool. But, she told me I just had to do four more contractions on it. I made it through three and then told them I was having no more of that. Suzanne then had me walk up the stairs sideways to further help her get positioned properly. It was a lot harder to switch her position because my water was broken which left her with less mobility in there.

Contractions from about 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. were definitely transition-type contractions. Some of them were double peaking and the intensity was incredible. I told everyone several times during this time that I couldn't do this anymore and that I wanted to be done.

At 4 a.m. Suzanne asked if I wanted her to check me again. I definitely wanted a gauge of where I was and how much of this I had left to do. She had me sit back on that dreaded stool to get a good perspective of where baby was and how I was doing. I was sort of 8 cm. My cervix was still posterior, and was all the way dilated on the back, but had this big 2 cm lip on the front over her head. During the next two contractions she had me push while she pulled the lip over the baby's head. It only took those two contractions and I was fully dilated and she was very close to coming out!

She then took one of my arms and Scott took the other and they quickly got me back in the pool. From there I got to push whenever I felt like it.

Pushing was such a relief from the intensity of the contractions! It only took a couple of pushes and I could feel her crowning. I stopped pushing at that point and just breathed her out very slowly to avoid any damage. I was facing away from Scott though and I wanted him to catch her. So, once her head was out I turned around to face him. From there I pushed the rest of her out and Scott pulled her out of the water at 4:16 a.m. Her cord was wrapped around her body twice and she was completed covered in thick vernix.

Scott got out of the pool and changed so that he could take her and allow me to stand up and deliver the placenta.

We then moved over to the bed so that I could relax and let Annabelle nurse for the first time. After we had snuggled and nursed to our heart's content, Suzanne did the newborn exam to find out Annabelle's stats. She weighed 7 lbs. 6 ounces, was 20 inches long, and in perfect health.

By the time we got all of that done, I got showered, and the midwives got everything cleaned up it was about 6 a.m. Evelyn woke up at 6:15 and came in to meet her little sister for the first time. She is infatuated with her!

We are completely in love!


  1. What a beautiful daughter to join your other beautiful one! Congratulations!

  2. Wow, Liz!! Such an amazing birth story. You are so brave and strong to have a home birth. Congrats again!

  3. So happy for you! Praise God for such a wonderful birth and the new blessing to your family! Can't wait to meet her!

  4. You are absolutely amazing!!!! Congrats to you and your growing family :) I can't believe Evelyn slept through the birth!! Take care of yourself!

  5. Can I just say how my heart sank just a bit with the talk about her poor positioning?! I'm SO happy you were able to realize it was NOT Evelyn's birth and things changed with the help of your wonderful support team. What an awesome story and speedy birth! Congratulations and much love to you and your family!

  6. Wow, Liz!! Annabelle's story is so wonderful. It sounds like it went exactly how you wanted it too! :-) She is beautiful.

  7. What an awesome birth story. So glad that Annabelle has safely arrived and that you birth was such a wonderful experience.

  8. the second to last pic with Evelyn is awesome, I have never seen a bigger smile on a little girl!

  9. Thank goodness you were with a team who knew how to help you with Annabelle's positioning! I love Evelyn's face in that picture, it must have been like Christmas morning for her waking up to a new baby!

  10. Well-done!!! How fun to read and see the pictures too!! I love Evelyn's smile when she meets Annabelle!

  11. What a beautiful birth story! Thank you for sharing. Good work and congratulations!

  12. Evelyn's face is priceless! So excited for her and the family! Congrats!

  13. I showed this to Max and he said, "Baby Ann-bell" trying (crying). He imitated a crying noise and then squeezed his cheeks and said, "Pop!" Not sure what that meant. :)

  14. This is a great story. I am delighted for you. I was wondering how things were going. enjoy the wonderful moments ahead. Barbara Anderson

  15. Congratulations! I found your blog when I did a search for my daughter's name, which happens to be Annabelle Marie as well! Our Annabelle Marie was born October 12, 2010. :) Wonderful birth story and great name choice!