"It is said that women in labor leave their bodies...they travel to the stars to collect the souls of their babies, and return to this world together." - anonymous
This is your birth story
My sweet girl, I've been longing for the day that I get to write your birth story. I wrote your brothers birth story in what seems like so long ago, and now here we are again but this time this one is for you. Even though it will be some time before you can read it, I hope when the day comes that you get to read this you will understand just how special you are to me and how wonderful your birth was.
On Monday January 8th, 2017 (your due date) my wonderful midwife Elisha came over for my weekly check in. I had been having prodromal labor for what seemed like an eternity... in reality it was a week or so, but every single night I would have contractions that became regular and then dwindled off in the morning. However, on Monday morning I thought my waters were slowly leaking so Elisha came by early just to check incase we needed to start antibiotics. She checked and I was about 2cm dilated but my waters had not broken. Elisha did some acupuncture on me as we chatted and laughed about birth and completely random things. Your dad had come home from work to watch your brother while Elisha was working her magic with the acupuncture and then we came downstairs and she tells me to go climb Valentine mountain. Obviously I laughed thinking she was joking, but nope... dead serious so of course your dad and I hopped in the car, your grammy came to watch Jackson while he napped and then we made our way to Valentine mountain. It had been a long time since I'd been up there and I completely forgot how LONG the hill was before you even get to the stairs, but me being my stubborn self was determined to make it to the very top of the mountain and take a picture so I could show Elisha that yes, I climbed ALL the way to the TOP of the mountain on my due date in the pouring rain and that you'd be making your appearance soon (hopefully, anyway).
We got home that afternoon and the contractions hadn't changed much since the morning. We ate dinner, got your brother to bed and then headed to bed ourselves. Your brother must have known that you were going to join us very soon because he slept through the entire night for us and both your daddy and I got a full nights rest. I remember laying in bed that night rubbing my belly thinking about how I was going to miss feeling those little punches and kicks and dances you did at night when it was just me and you laying there awake. I wondered if you'd be a little boy or a little girl and I was just so excited to finally hold you in my arms.
The next morning we woke up, my contractions started to become a bit more regular around 8:30/9 in the morning so I called the midwife and she said she'd come by when they became more regular. I called her about half an hour later when they had become every 4 or so minutes apart and they definitely were beginning to get more intense. Luckily I managed to eat a yummy breakfast that daddy made and we put your brother back down for his nap just when your grammy arrived at about 10:00am. Elisha arrived somewhere between 10 and 10:30 and the contractions were manageable but definitely getting much more intense. I watched as they set up the birth pool and spent the majority of my time on the birth ball or jumping on to the couch to sway and rock through the contractions. At around 11/11:30 Elisha checked me and I was 3cm dilated. She didn't tell me this though because at this point my contractions were really intense. I was in the birth pool with your dad and brother and the water was such a relief. Your gramma, grammy, Elisha, Oceane, daddy, mommy, brother and our photographer, Rachel, were all anxiously awaiting your arrival and surrounding the room with so much love.
This labor was much more intense then your brothers as I had essentially every type of pain relief I could when I was in labor with him. This time I chose to have a water birth at home with no pain medication. Your daddy was amazing, he was with me every single moment riding each wave and surge with me, squeezing my hips and rubbing my back for me, he was with me through every second of your birth and I am so thankful for his support. Elisha was incredible, each time I began to lose control she somehow brought me back to where I needed to be and helped me to find that little bit of strength that I still had left inside of me. Oceane sang a beautiful song to me while I laboured on the couch and Rachel, whilst taking our beautiful photos, offered so much support to me and helped me get grounded as well. I made my way to the bathroom to walk around after getting out of the pool at about 12:30ish and my waters broke in there. The contractions were at their peak at this point and I was so exhausted but Elisha told me I was going to get to meet you soon and to get back into the pool and knowing that you would make your way to me earth-side was the thing I kept telling myself in my head over and over to get through the remaining 40 minutes.
As I began to push, my body knew exactly what to do. I found a voice within me that I had never heard before and I literally roared you out. Our poor neighbours probably had no idea what was happening as I'm sure they heard me, but it felt so good to roar and make noise and just let my body do it's thing. Elisha and I had a conversation on Monday about being noisy in labor. I had said to her "I was pretty good, I didn't make much noise with Jackson's birth" and she responded by saying to me "but why does that make it good, not making any noise?" and this stuck with me, because she's right. Why do I assume that being quiet during labor makes my birth any better than someone who made noise? Making noise and roaring/screaming/groaning is a primal urge that happens during childbirth. Holding back from this can hold you back from finding that space within ourselves to trust our body to know how to birth our babies. So many of the births I've been to each woman has been so peaceful and beautiful in labor, but making noise doesn't take away from the beauty of birth, it can enhance it and there's beauty in that. Every woman will find her way during her birth whether that be quiet and stillness, or loud and full of emotions. Regardless of how a woman births her baby, your birth taught me to trust my body and my baby and that is what I think is most important.
At 1:08pm you were born into the loving hands of your daddy and midwife. You made your way earth-side fast, and my entire labor was 4 hours. The intensity of going from 3cm to 10cm in one hour is something that I cannot explain to anyone, but you were worth every single second of it. I had asked everyone to not say your gender until I held you in my arms and had checked for myself. As I held you close after you were born studying your beautiful face and hands and toes and everything about you, I decided to check what you were. To my greatest surprise, you were the little girl I had dreamed and hoped for. You are beautiful, healthy and 7lbs 11.5oz of perfection and looked just like your big brother, Jackson.
We spent a few minutes in the pool as a family when Jackson joined the three of us in the pool. Those first few moments of your birth I will cherish forever. Your whole entire birth is special, but getting to hold you in my arms with your big brother and daddy beside me brings me so much joy. I always dreamed of having a daughter, Jaana and I'm so glad that you're mine. You are the most perfect addition to our little family and I cannot wait to see what the world has in store for you. Being at home and birthing you in this space so full of love was so special. I felt safe and surrounded by so much love and support while I worked to bring you earth-side. Elisha was phenomenal. I cannot say enough good things about her and the other midwives at Ten Moons Midwifery. Rachel took amazing photos of your birth and I am SO grateful that we were able to have her there with us.
My beloved girl, Jaana Alexis, thank you for giving me the birth I always dreamed I could have. While it was painful and I struggled, I am proud and feel strong. You were worth every second, every breath, every single contraction and I would do it over again in a heart beat, knowing that I would get to hold you in my arms. You are such a special girl already. You have already brought so much love to our family. Your daddy, brother and I love you beyond measure, truly. I know it will be awhile before you can read this, but I just want you to know that I am so so blessed to have you as my daughter and I truly cannot wait to watch you grow into the amazing woman you are meant to be.
Welcome earth-side baby girl. You are SO loved.
All my love,
Thank you to Rachel Snyder from RS Imaging and Design for capturing these beautiful photos of Jaana's Birth.