Nellie : birth story

37 weeks and I was getting so impatient. For days I was having contractions and went to bed each night feeling like it might be the one! But every morning I would wake up still in my bed, still with a baby in my belly.

My mom came up to help with Carter and Clare so while they were at school, I stayed busy with projects around the house. I painted baseboards, organized the garage, and even installed this tile!

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I went in for my scheduled appointment and when she checked I was 90% effaced. Over the next few days I kept going back in to get checked and stayed pretty much the same- 4cm dilated 90% effaced. The baby was so low though!

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I was just so anxious to meet our little babe and knew from experience with my other pregnancies that she was ready. The date I had in my head from the very beginning was May 12- so when that day passed I started to doubt and second guess the intuition that I’ve always trusted. It just made each day even harder, wondering when she would really be here.

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On Wednesday night I knew I was driving myself crazy just sitting at home tracking contractions so I decided to go to a high fitness class to distract myself. And during the cooldown I could feel my contractions change and knew it would be the night!

When I got home, Matt and I went for a walk around our neighborhood. He just kept saying that if I’m not really in labor he needed to go to bed haha! And I don’t blame him because all the previous nights I’d said the same thing.

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So we went home and Matt tried to fall asleep while I sat in bed wondering when we should go to the hospital. My other labors were all really quick so I didn’t want to wait too long. I texted my midwife and she said to labor at home for a while until I couldn’t easily breathe through my contractions. But I decided we should probably go in anyway!

When we got to the hospital my midwife met us in the waiting area and we went back to a triage room to be monitored. I had only dilated to 5cm so we waited another hour and walked around to see if I was making any progress. When we got back they decided to admit me because I was finally dilated to a 6.

When we got to our room, I got settled in while my midwife filled the tub. When I got into the water I felt so comfortable. Each contraction would come and I’d close my eyes to breathe and in between we would all laugh and talk like nothing was even happening!

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After a while we started talking about where I wanted to deliver and we decided to get out of the tub in case there was an emergency.

My entire pregnancy I was terrified that something would go wrong. So while I was in labor I constantly asked if she was ok. My midwife asked if I wanted to have the fetal monitor on and they turned up the volume so I could hear her heartbeat the entire time and feel reassured that she was ok.

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Once I got out of the tub I had a lot of bleeding but baby sounded good and everything seemed normal. I wasn’t sure if I should start pushing and didn’t fully trust my body. I was working through a lot of doubt during labor and at the very end of my pregnancy. It was a scary feeling to not trust in myself like I always had.

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So I tried to push for a while but just didn’t feel like it was the right time. I kept telling them that i didn’t want to push, I just wanted to breathe. Then I instinctively decided to relax and take a nap. When I woke up, my midwife asked if I wanted to break my water. That usually speeds up the process at that point since I was dilated to a 9.

Once she broke my water, my contractions became really intense and I started to panic. I told Matt that I wanted an epidural because I couldn’t do this!! They offered to give me iv pain meds but I knew that’s not what I wanted. So for the next few minutes (felt way longer) I just cried and couldn’t breathe through the pain.

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But then all of a sudden I knew I needed to push!! I flipped around and started screaming because she was coming! At that point I had no control over what was happening. My midwife told me to stop pushing so I wouldn’t tear but I just couldn’t stop and after only 2 pushes she was here!!

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She laid her on my chest and I just remember saying “is she ok? Are you sure she’s ok?” And she was absolutely perfect.

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This was something I’ve never been able to experience- holding my baby and enjoying everything about her right after birth. With all of my other kids I severely hemorrhaged and Clare went to the nicu right away. So holding her and not letting go was the most amazing moment.

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They still had a hard time delivering my placenta and when it came out, they realized that I’d had a partial placental abruption which is an uncommon and very serious complication which usually causes the baby severe distress and leads to an emergency c-section. No one could understand how we didn’t show any signs until after delivery. But I know that we had special help from the other side to get this baby here I’m so grateful for that.

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Giving birth is such a sacred experience for me. Having the opportunity to guide a sweet spirit from heaven to earth is the most amazing spiritual moment and I always feel so connected and close to my Heavenly Father during this time and overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift of motherhood.

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Ashley Hansen