Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Noah's birth story - revisited

Good morning friends!

This morning I have a very personal post for you.

I wrote my birth story here. It was actually the second blog post I did on my blog.

Sharing it was deeply personal and I didn't share any of the actual birth photos, but photos surrounding the days following. I recently stumbled upon the photos taken by my doula Christa and I felt it all again, hard.

The photos were only taken with a cheap point and shoot camera but they are beautiful to me.

It is a dream of mine to be present at a birth and to capture those images of strength and intense emotion and  finding these images 16 months later brought the beauty of it into the forefront of my mind.

I have since had a miscarriage which was hard but there will come a time when I venture out on that crazy roller-coaster and bring another of God's little spirits into this world. I know when that happens that I will want photos to remember that intense feeling of bringing a fragile life into the world.

Because I want to have my birth story and images all together in one place on here I will re-post my birth story again (with a few edits and extras) along with the photos which I hold sacred.

I was so excited to find out that I was pregnant as it was very much planned. I went into it with anticipation but I found that I encountered some struggles throughout my pregnancy. I have a history of depression and anxiety and it became so severe by the end because of the pregnancy hormones and side effects that I truly believed that the only way that I was capable of giving birth was to have a complete epidural or a planned cesarean section. I had been taking one-on-one birthing classes with Christa to increase my ability to have a natural birth and so this frame of mind (a big fat deep hole) that I had, left me feeling devastated and completely powerless. Christa was also the doula (a coach that focuses on the mother) who was present at the birth and was an amazing help in the whole preparation and birthing process.

I continued to try hypno-birthing and meditation leading up to the birth and by learning about my body’s true capabilities and the wonderful benefits of having a natural birth, I still held onto hope that with the help of Christa and my husband that I would find my inner strength. Even with all of this preparation I always felt the worst was around the corner. I would also try to sit and meditate and imagine what my perfect birth would be, no more than 5 hours of labouring, ending in a natural delivery.

In the weeks leading up to his birth I was drinking raspberry leaf tea like a crazy person and walked as much as my tired body would let me to help bring this baby into the world. I even remember running up and down the street and jumping up and down, what a sight!
I had been having silent contractions for a week prior and I was starting to feeling crampy on my due date so by that night my pressure waves came suddenly and strong and I was no longer able to sit, so I paced the room. Regan, had gone to bed and so I decided to time them myself before I woke him up. Within that first hour I was already experiencing 1 minute contractions for 4 minutes apart. I was astounded that I was as far along as I was. I woke up Regan and he timed my pressure waves which were becoming longer and closer together. I was coping by steadily breathing and rocking on my knees on the bed and then on a beanbag. After consulting with my midwife, Jo, several times over the phone I knew that it was time to head to the hospital, I called Christa and told her to meet us there instead of coming to my house first. I was expecting to labour at home for a while before I went into the hospital but it felt like this was the REAL thing and so off we went. 
Once in the delivery suite I knelt on the bed gripping at the headboard as the intensity grew. This was it! This was the real thing and I went inside of myself, breathing and focusing. I used all of my energy to keep my birth canal relaxed. I could not talk, move or even focus my eyes for the rest of the labour as that required more energy than I had. 

I then decided to go to the bath as that is where I planned to give birth. Before I got into the bath I reached transition, where you feel that what is required is beyond your capabilities but is soon followed by the urge to push. I was sick but was encouraged as I knew it was just one step closer to the end. It was at that time that I asked for an epidural and a C-section and felt like I was about to be taken from this earth but Christa assured me that my body was doing everything it needed to do and that I was doing so well.
I then got out of the bath and was checked by my midwife and told that I was 7-8 cm dilated and that I was doing great. prior to labour I didn't want to be checked as I was scared that if I wasn't far along it might discourage me but at the time I needed this affirmation. I knelt on pillows on the floor over the couch and after pushing for a while my waters broke with such great force that it splashed everyone! I was startled but also excited as I felt that it was another step closer! In that dimly lit room I had only 3 people, relaxing music and a determination to push this baby out naturally! They all massaged me to calm me. I had Regan and Christa either side of me and Jo was ready to catch bubs.

After pushing for a while they recommended that I try standing up and leaning on the bed to help the baby come. I felt discouraged, I remember even saying to Regan "Why isn't the baby coming?" My body was doing what it was meant to be doing. With each contraction I felt my body heave and involuntarily push,but I was also using every inch of energy that I had to assist Noah to enter the world.

When they put a belly monitor on to check the baby’s heart rate and called in a pediatrician it suddenly switched on the protective tiger mother instinct and I gave everything. Finally I felt the head crowning and for my own assurance I lent down and felt the baby’s head with my hand, he was coming!!! I gave a few almighty pushes and after what seemed an eternity, his head emerged. Then after a few more pressure waves I continued to push and his body followed. The feeling of that little body coming out was so bizarre but the relief was amazing. He was born on August 3rd 2011 at 5:15 am.

With Regan and Christa by my side, my midwife had caught Noah in her hands and as she passed him through my legs, told me to pick him up. I was scared that I would drop him as he was slippery but as Regan helped to pull him up to me Regan and I wept. I cried from the relief but more for the joy that I felt! Then Regan and I kissed and I have never felt closer to him then at that very moment!

I had done it! I had a beautiful little boy and I had done it completely naturally and not just any baby but a 5 kg (11 lb 2 oz) baby and for my first child with a labour spanning 5 hours. This had gone against all of the stats that I had heard about child birth from TV and other mums. I had heard that it is usual that your first birth will be very long and that if the baby is that large that they will usually have to give you a C-section. I was even told that if they knew the baby was that big that it all may have gone differently.
Regan and I lay on the bed with Noah snuggled on my chest and marveled at every little finger and every little toe. I had fallen in love all over again and with a baby that I had only just met. After a few hours of cuddling they had to take him away to intensive care because he had fluid in his lungs which cleared up after a few days in a humidicrib . I felt exhausted but I felt empowered, proud, closer to my husband and so grateful to Christa and Jo for helping me to have the birth I truly wanted. I know that if I had an epidural that I would not have been able to push Noah out, I needed all of my power and feeling to be able to do that for him. I felt like I had given him the gift of life and the best start to that life that I could possibly give him given the circumstances.

So that’s it … my story … the day that my life changed for the better. The day I became a stronger, more exhausted but more alive person.


  1. Love all these pictures - you are glowing! So nice to reflect on such important, special times. x

  2. These are really special Elle and I felt some of the joy and emotion that was evident in your faces even as i looked at them Thanks for posting Love Mum

  3. Oh wow, Ellen, this post made me all teary! especially the images of you and Regan. What a beautiful story, thanks so much for sharing. xox

  4. What a magic story! And such beautiful, raw, loving images. These will be treasured by many generations. I would love to have my next birth photographed (not pregnant yet..but we plan on having more if we are blessed). I have had to have emergency caesarians with both my babies so the safest route for all would be a planned c-section for the next bub. I would so dearly love to embrace what it is...the way my body can bring a baby into this world and have someone record it for me. I might very well give you a call one day! HOpe all is lovely and thanks for sharing x

  5. Oh my goodness these photos evoke such strong emotions. You are a truly gorgeous woman Ellen. I am in awe of your strength. Will was almost 5 kilos but I had an epidural. I so want to give birth without any drugs the next time around.
    Thank you for sharing such personal feelings. xxx

  6. what a sweet story :) and beautiful photos. you can see how much the two of you love each other and how happy you were on this day!


  7. Beautiful! Awww, this has brought so many memories back for me, thank you.
    Jude x

  8. Beautiful, Ellen. You've been so strong. xo


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