Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sweet Pea is Four.

Ella turned 4 years old today.

Four years ago from right now, 10:28am, I was in a ~hard~ induced labor, naturally. My god, I wish epidurals worked on me. I get no credit for making it through naturally because I got an epidural, it just didn't work. So yes, I endured all the pain of a pitocin labor for 22 hours, but I certainly didn't want it.

At this time, I still had another 9 1/2 hours to go. It was the most painful experience of my entire life, hands down. Worse than breaking my leg in half on top of the mountain. Worse than ripping all my ankle ligaments apart in my friend's front yard. Worse than ripping all my girlie parts open, requiring plastic surgery, when I fell on a chair when I was 8 years old. Worse than waking up from any of my 15 surgeries in that post-surgical pain. Worse than OHSS.

Good lord, I'll never forget that pain. The old adage "You forget the pain the moment the baby is put in your arms" is utter and complete bullshit. I remember the pain more than I remember the baby being put in my arms. Okay, so I was lying a bit about that one. Laying the baby on my belly, all covered in goo, will be a moment impressed in my memory forever.

Actually, the birth was a much different experience than I had ever imagined. First, I wasn't ready for the actual amount of pain I was in. It was so overwhelming and I couldn't do anything about it. I actually told the doctor while pushing that I had changed my mind and wanted to go home. And I was 100% serious. I was beside myself in pain. I got through it, yes, but damn.

The second part that was strange for me was when Ella made her way out. I saw the films, I knew what birth looked like, but it wasn't like those films. Because it was my first baby, I was unsure how I would react. Due to this, I decided against a mirror. I let my doula and husband take a look, but I didn't want to watch it. I'm very visual and was afraid that would be stuck in my mind forever.

When she crowned, the nurse asked me if I wanted to touch her. I was in so much pain I just wanted her out. I didn't want to stop and touch her head. In fact, I found that a little freaky. I have a baby sticking out through my vagina and the next moment was a moment I'd been waiting for. I had waited 6 months from getting married to get to the starting point of trying for a family. Another 18 months of trying to conceive. 9.3 months of gestation. All for the next moment. So no, I don't want to stop to touch the top of her head. I want her out. Now.

Then, when Ella's head made it through, they stopped for a moment to clean her mouth and nose out. She immediately started crying like most newborns do. The weird thing was - she was still INSIDE me! Her head was sticking out from between my legs, her entire body inside, and she was crying. Bizarre if you ask me. When I had Allison the next year, they didn't stop and do this with her, so I don't know how common it is to have this happen. Since it did happen to me, I can tell you how creepy this felt. Having a crying baby head sticking out of my vagina.

After the crying head thing, with no more than a simple sneeze, the rest of the baby came sliding out. I remember thinking how odd this was because it was ~so~ hard to push out her head, pushing out her entire body should of required some work. But apparently it doesn't, as both babies slid out easily.

And this is when my first born daughter was given to me. She was laid on top of my belly, still attached to the placenta via the umbilical cord. In that single moment, I knew I would give up my life for this little being. I was overwhelmed.

Tom cut the cord and Ella was swept up and taken over to the warmer to get cleaned up. As Tom went over to watch the process, I then had the uncomfortable process of continuing the birthing process as I delivered the placenta. That thing doesn't simply slide right out after the baby - you still have to contract and deliver it. It was painful, but comparatively speaking, it was a cake walk.

I also felt a great sadness the baby was no longer safe inside me. And I was keenly aware of the change of focus from me to the baby. Just a moment ago, I was the center of every one's attention. Now it was on the baby. Only my OB sat with me, but really, he didn't have much choice as his arm was currently inside me trying to help the placenta come out.

A few minutes later, I was given the baby back, all bundled up in a blanket. Everyone in the room promptly left, leaving our new ~family of three~ time to meet each other. Ella was wide awake and very alert, as she had no medication in her from my labor. She latched on to my breast and I fed my daughter.

And while I'll never forget the pain, this moment was worth it.

Happy birthday my dear Ella.

You are my everything.


~Joe said...


Spicy Sister said...

Such a beautiful story. Such a beautiful baby. Such a beautiful mama.

Thank you for sharing. I am totally not crying over's just my allergies, I swear.

So sweet.

But the crying baby head sticking out of your vagina? Yeah, that's kinda freaky.

jamie said...


Jen said...

I love that story. Very sweet and yet so funny. While I'm not afraid of labor, I am admittedly kind of weirded out by the whole thing.

Happy birthday Ella! 4 years old...that almost seems impossible.

KatieM said...

Oh hun, that was beautiful...I had tears! She is a beautiful little girl.

Happy Birthday Ella!

Margelina said...

Beautiful, Nancy. You brought me to tears. Sometimes in the craziness of everyday life, we can easily forget...and it really is the little things. Thank you for reminding me why I am trying for number four.

Morgan said...

Happy birthday to Ella! WOW, such an amazing and beautiful little girl...except she's not so little anymore huh?

Anonymous said...

Happy 4th MISS Ella!


jenn said...

I have a tear as well. What a beautiful story- as only you can tell it! And what a perfect newborn she was! (and of course a beautiful little girl)

Happy Birthday Miss Ella- don't grow up too fast on your mommy!

annacyclopedia said...

Ella is a beautiful little girl, but a *ridiculously* beautiful newborn. Incredible!

Happy 4th anniversary of motherhood, and thanks for sharing your birth story.

Lori said...

This is a beautiful post, and I appreciate so much living vicariously through you.

Happy birthday to Ella!

Kim said...

I never had a vaginal birth (3 c-sections)so the story was really strange to me. I have seen births on TV and thought nothing of the crying baby head, but if it was actually happening to me I think I would have freaked out just a bit!

JamieD said...

Those are all such great pictures! I really like the professional ones, but the pic of Ella sitting up looking straight at the camera so soon after being born - she is just beautiful! And she still it!

Anonymous said...

Aww, that is beautiful Nancy. Happy birthday Ella!


Kaci said...

::sniff sniff:: That is beautiful Nancy, funny and beautiful. Happy Belated Birthday to Miss Ella.

Sarah R said...

Happy birthday, Ella! Sorry my post is belated but I read it at work and didn't have time to reply earlier.

I enjoyed reading all about the birth. What a great birth story it is! She is just gorgeous.

Sarah R said...

I forgot to most favorite moment in the WORLD was when the doctor placed Andrew on my chest to breastfeed for the first time. They put a heated blanket over us and despite all the action in the room, it felt like just Andrew and I existed, in our own little world. Your birth story brought back those wonderful memories (and reminded me how mad I am that DH didn't turn on the camcorder until they were doing Andrew's bath about an hour after his birth!).

Wordgirl said...

Oh Nancy.

Did ya have to make me cry???!

Happy belated birthday Ella -- you are a very lucky little girl. And your hockey team rocks.



Rhonda said...

you only know my from passing comments on my dear friend Denise's blog, but i was inclined to read your's today. I hope you don't mind and don't feel like I am an intruder.
great post and Happy Birthday to your little Ella. I have tears welling up thinking about all of it!

Jen_1980 said...

I love your birth story. I love the pic of Ella at the hospital with the hat on. It's amazing at how she has the same facial features just more mature now.

I'm starting to feel a little bad as I read all the comments about how beautiful the story is and I just keep thinking about the pain part...well that and how AWESOME it is to have your baby put on your chest afterwards (awesome!).

My epidural didn't really work either ( did help with contractions - back labor- on the left side, but never on the right). When it was time to push, I could totally feel it. Of course, it was only 6+months ago, so I thought I would eventually forget like everyone says you do, but I guess not. I didn't have the crying baby sticking out...that would have been weird!