September 28th 2016
The day started out pretty normal. I was 38 weeks pregnant and anxious to meet our baby but didn't really think it would be anytime soon. Zelena and I headed off to Bible study that morning, and a group of ladies prayed over me that I would be content and that baby would arrive in God's perfect timing. I left feeling at peace that baby would come when the time was right.
My mom had come to Edmonton to help me get a few groceries, because when your hugely pregnant with a toddler in tow, you need all the help you can get. I also met with my midwife in the afternoon for a completly routine check-in. I had no idea I would be seeing them both again later that night!
As I was making dinner, I had a few contractions but nothing noteworthy. My husband Levi came home and we ate together. Looking back, I just felt so grumpy and short tempered. I wanted everyone to go to bed so I could take a shower by myself. Eventually, we got through the normal nighttime routine and Zelena was finally asleep. We watched one show and I was ready to call it a night.
After a lovely and restful sleep—the first one I had in what felt like forever—the contractions woke me up around one in the morning. I didn't think it was necessary to wake up Levi quite yet, so I decided to hop in the shower. Eventually he woke up on his own and started timing my contractions. They were close but not painful, so I still wasn't sure if this was the real deal or not.
I called my midwife to let her know something might be starting. I felt so bad for waking her up but she said to call her back with an update in 20 minutes. Levi and I watched an episode of Brooklyn 99 (one of our favourite shows and always guaranteed to get us laughing). Looking back I'm sure that helped me dilate. Levi paused the show every time a contraction came.
I had felt like a completely different person than earlier in the evening. I felt rested, at peace, and so happy that we were seeing some progress. After the show, we called our midwife. I told her things were progressing and I felt more sure that this was it! I also called my doula, Cristy, and my mom, and told them that they better start the trip over considering they were both about an hour's drive away. I tried to tidy up a bit, but just ended up labouring in bed with the peanut ball while Levi got to work setting up our birth pool. I had a candle lit and was listening to a playlist filled with some relaxing instrumental music as well as some of my favourite worship songs.
I was contracting frequently but they still weren't painful. I was just in my own little world, breathing through each contraction as they came. Around 3 am, the team all arrived. Mia, the midwife, got her stuff set up and then I asked her to check me just to confirm I was actually in labour. It turns out I was already 4 cm dilated! I thought I had better get out of bed and keep moving so I got up and started walking around the house hoping things would continue to progress. As my mom and Levi continued to fill up the pool, Cristy made me a little snack and helped me through the contractions with her amazing double hip squeeze. Around this time, Zelena woke up. We cuddled and had our beautiful last moments of just us. When I was told the pool was ready, I was so ready to get in. Once I got in, the hot water helped me relax right away.
Soon after I got in the pool, I wanted Levi to come in the pool with me. He hesitantly went to change in to his swim trunks, but then quickly fell into a rhythm of supporting me. The lights were dim, music was playing, and everything was perfect. I felt so supported wrapped in the warm water and my husband's loving arms. With the perfect team of people surrounding me, I focused on the words of the worship songs and sang along in between the contractions. I just kept singing, "I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like / But I've heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night / And you tell me that you're pleased / And that I'm never alone // You're a good good father / It's who you are, it's who you are, it's who you are / And I'm loved by you". These words gave me such peace knowing I wasn't alone through this. Zelena would kiss me and say, "Good job, Mommy". She was a perfect mini doula.
When transition hit, I remember saying, "I can't do this anymore!" Both my midwife and doula looked at me and said, "You are doing this and you're doing amazing!" It wasn't long before I felt like I needed to push. I think everyone was a bit surprised because it had only been a couple of hours since I was 4 cm but Mia said I could follow my body's lead. I pushed for the next couple of contractions. Mia took a quick look, and sure enough, the baby was crowing. She asked Levi if he was ready to catch and he said "sure", but he didn't think she meant right away. Later he said that he thought he had longer to prepare, but he caught our sweet baby flawlessly. He took her in to his arms and told me we had a baby girl!
I was so surprised! I thought we would have a boy, despite hoping for a girl all along. Levi passed our girl to me, Zelena joined us in the pool, and we had our first moments as a family of four. Sitting in the pool, our baby girl still had yet to cry. She was just perfectly calm and content. It was like she didn't even realize she had been born. After we were all cleaned up and settled in bed, my mom made me breakfast and we enjoyed bonding as a family. We decided to name our sweet girl Aliza Rose. Aliza means "joy" in Hebrew, and we know that she will bring so much joy to our lives and the lives of the people around her.
Miss Aliza Rose was born at 5:43 am on September 29, weighing 7 lbs 8 oz. My birth experience was perfectly uneventful and I could never have asked for a better one. I am so thankful for everyone who supported me: my mom, my midwife Mia from Beginnings Midwifery, my doula Cristy, and my amazing husband.