How can it get much better than this?? An incredible family, adoring siblings, a beautiful snowy day, and the most awesome support team at the Mountain Midwifery Center!
PLEASE click on “View Full Post” and take the time to read Jena’s lovely birth story before or after watching their birth video. So much depth, beauty and love reflected in this sweet, sweet family. Oh, and you don’t want to miss big sister’s face when she meets baby for the first time on video. Priceless.
(While not very graphic, this film does contain video footage of Naomi’s actual birth outside of the tub after slight shoulder dystocia. It is amazing!!)
I really cannot say how beautiful of a family this is. We clicked so well from our very first meeting, and they were so excited to have a film capturing not only Naomi’s birth-day, but also as a sort of time capsule of their life together as a new family of five. Their two older children were the sweetest siblings I’ve ever seen, absolutely OBSESSED with their baby sister from the moment they laid eyes on her. I shed many a tear piecing this beautiful birth video together, and again when I read Jena’s birth story that she sent to include here. It warms my heart so much that my mommas have been taking the time to write out their in-depth birth stories, and are willing to share them with you all! A big reason why I am so passionate about what I do is for women all over the world to see all kinds of birth stories. I remember even before I became pregnant with my daughter, I watched every birth video I could get my hands on! I read everything I could, I asked tons of questions, I soaked up every “birthy bit” I could! It was so helpful to read others’ stories, see the options that are out there, and educate myself. Now, as a full time birth photographer, I feel so blessed to get to actually witness in person each of these stories! Especially in this circumstance, it was so cool to see every helpful position her midwife or doula got her into, the Rebozo techniques that were used, the “figure 8” hip technique, and watching the calmness and skill of the midwife as little Naomi’s shoulder was stuck in the tub after her head was born. Amazing moments to witness and capture on video!
I am confident that Jena’s beautifully-written, inspiring birth story will bless a few more lives out there, and the beauty is breathtaking in the last paragraph of her story.Read on!
“It was December 23rd, the Monday before Christmas, and I sat in the exam room talking with Gina, one of the midwives at Mountain Midwifery Center. My pregnancy was a few days past 38 weeks and I felt so ready to meet our third baby. This pregnancy was my third, and had been the most physically difficult for me. All I wanted was to get through the labor, meet our sweet baby, and begin the process of recovery so that we could resume life again.
For the past three weeks I had been experiencing crampy Braxton Hicks contractions and losing small bits of mucus plug. Now, I was 1.5 cm dilated and 60% effaced so I felt good knowing that my body was preparing for labor. Together with Gina, my husband and I discussed the option of sweeping my membranes while our older two children waited quietly. As we talked I realized, that it seemed better to let my body ripen a while more on its own timetable and wait until after the holiday.
When we finished my appointment, Gina clapped her hands and laughed with us, saying that she was on call for the 25th so maybe she would get to be there when our daughter was born. Somehow that soothed my jitters and impatience. I remember in that moment feeling comforted by her excitement to be a part of our special day, whether it worked out that way or not. Over the next week and a half, my oldest child kept asking if the midwife would “sweep” my “memory” in the next appointment so that we could see what our baby looked like. With a smile I replied, “yes.”
A week and a half later, on the Thursday before my Saturday due date, I went in for my next checkup. By this time I was dilated to 3cm and 70% effaced. Melissa agreed to strip my membranes and informed me that I may experience cramping. That is exactly what happened. After my appointment, we stopped for lunch on the way home. I couldn’t eat my meal because of the cramping and my appetite had completely left. We went home and I rested.
At 1 am I couldn’t sleep any more due to the intensity of my crampy contractions which were coming every 15 minutes. It was just long enough for me to fall asleep and get reawakened with the next one. I felt sure that I was in early labor since the contractions were different than they had been for all the previous weeks, although they still didn’t have a recognizable pattern. I tried to sleep them away, and eventually morning came. Still no baby.
Friday passed by in the same manner as the afternoon before. Cramps, resting, lots of water, yogurt and other mild snacks to keep myself nourished in spite of my loss of appetite. Several times I called to talk with the midwife on call, Laura, to see if I could better understand why my contractions didn’t seem to be taking on a pattern even though I felt like I was in early labor. She encouraged me to stay hydrated, keep resting, and call when my contractions got closer or more intense. I was excited that I was closer to meeting our little girl, but nervous and afraid that this would all fade off and leave me pregnant for another week. Eventually, Friday night I went to sleep and was able to sleep well for several hours. The snow started to fall during the night from what I recall.
Again I woke restless from contraction pain at 1 in the morning. In bed, I timed my contractions for a second night, not wanting to wake my tired husband unless it was the real thing. My contractions lasted anywhere from 45 seconds to 2 minutes and were coming every 4 to 15 minutes. I had a very long first labor, and a very short second labor but this was confusing to me. I had a hunch that this labor would be even shorter than my second and I didn’t want to be one of the moms who had to deliver on the side of the road, so after several hours of this I woke Adam up to see what he thought. We called the midwife and Melissa advised me to take a hot shower and then call back if the contractions became more intense or started to get closer together.
I’ll always remember that 5 am Saturday shower. The way the white tile reflected our vanity lights and through the window I saw nothing but the sheer blackness of night that is about to birth yet another dawn. The hot water felt so good on the ache of my lower back and I finally understood why so many women talk about taking a shower when they are in labor. It helped me remember that I was a small but vital part of womankind taking part in a holy ritual that has changed women into mothers since the beginning of time. My two other precious children slept peacefully in the room down the hall, and I felt nestled into a haze of miraculous wonder at the gift each child has been to me. I knew that I was getting closer to bringing this third baby into the world soon and I thanked God for allowing me to do it. Dawn began to break outside our shower window as I dried off, and Adam stayed nearby checking to see how I was managing.
By 7 my contractions were steadily humming along. They were still not as long or as close together as I thought they needed to be in order to call the midwife, but, they were becoming more intense, and the snow was already several inches deep. We called to give an update and this time Gina answered the phone. After discussing the details of my progress with her, she suggested we come in as soon as I felt ready. After several more contractions we decided to go to the birth center partly to ensure we would not get stuck in snow by waiting too long, and partly because my intuition told me that I would be able to focus much better in the environment that was prepared for us. So at 8, we pulled out of the driveway. Me, Adam, my two kids and my mom. So that was it. I knew we would have a baby in our little infant carrier next time I was in this driveway, and that thought brought me peace.
When we arrived at the birth center, the snow was still falling. My older two children stayed with their Grandma in the waiting area. They were so excited to meet their baby sister soon, and watch movies in the meantime! Gina escorted Adam and me to the tent room, explaining that it was the only room not already in use. I was so happy that I could be in that room since I always thought it would be special to deliver there. It is such a beautiful and cozy room which I found warm and comforting! As we settled in, Adam read some of my favorite scriptures to help me focus and remember the things that are most important to me. I really clung to the truth of Psalm 16:8-9. “I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is filled with joy, and my mouth shouts his praises! My body rests in safety.”
Over the next several hours, I labored with the loving support and strength of my husband, my mom, my friend Nili, and the staff who were there; Gina, Susan, and Kari a doula from Cocoon birth, Inc.. Our photographer even jumped in to give me a cool cloth and a pep talk a few times. I was able to use a hanging hammock, a birthing stool, a birth ball, along with a good old fashioned walk to help bring my daughter into position. Naomi’s head was tilted slightly during most of my labor (and probably during the majority of my pregnancy), which caused uneven pressure on my cervix, and therefore inconsistent contractions. At one point, Gina gave me several doses of an herbal tincture to help my contractions along. I was becoming slightly discouraged, since I had envisioned a “fast” labor and in my mind, this was becoming a slow progression. However, my labor did continue to progress, and everyone around me was very encouraging and helped me to stay calm.
After letting my body work for a while, Gina suggested that we used the Rebozo to help my daughter turn her head into a better position. She wrapped the fabric around my tummy and between contractions, quickly pulled it back and forth while I held onto Adam for support. Shortly after that, Kari helped to guide my hips in an exaggerated figure 8 maneuver. I stopped for contractions, then we repeated the hip swivel. When we stopped for another contraction I sat down for a minute. I clearly remember feeling my baby turn her head, and lock it into position. Her head locked in and my contractions immediately began another level of intensity.
Over the next space of time I rested on the bed, rotating from one side to another between contractions. Gina checked my progress and I was about 8.5cm and 80% effaced. At that time, she talked with me about the possibility of breaking my water and Adam and I agreed that would be beneficial. When I came out of the bed, Gina came close to my face and called to me several times. She pulled me out of my focused birth work, having me open my eyes and look at her. She must have seen that I was starting to feel discouraged about the labor taking longer than I expected. She had me repeat her, saying, “I can do this.” Gina reminded me that I was strong and capable, and although I felt the weakest in that moment, I hung on to those words of hope.
I climbed into the birth tub, after she broke my water, just in time to transition into pushing. My bag of waters was ruptured at 4:22, and after 6 or 7 minutes of pushing (about 3 or 4 contractions), my daughters head began to crown. As she started to crown, and her head emerged, Gina reminded me that the burning sensation was safe, and that my skin was just stretching. That really helped me not to be afraid. Its funny. Even when I have done this two times already, that moment of delivery is so intense, the emotions felt the same as if it were my first baby.
After five pushes, I felt my daughter’s head crowning, when Gina said, “Jena, you need to get out of the tub!” I thought to myself, “What on earth is she talking about? I’m about to push the baby out! I can’t get out right now!” She was insistent, and so I tried to stand. I couldn’t lift my leg, but Adam was pulling me out of the water, along with Gina, Susan, and then it seemed like the whole team of people in the room were lifting me out of the tub and onto the floor. What I didn’t realize was that, my daughters head was already out but her shoulder was caught behind my bone. Gina didn’t want her to take her first breath under water, so it was important to act quickly.
During the shift from the water to the floor, my baby’s shoulder was able to dislodge from behind my bone, and in the next push, she was out! What a welcome relief and a joyful meeting! I sat there on the floor, in shock that after such a long nine months and several days of intensely waiting to meet this beautiful baby, here she was in my arms! Naomi barely uttered a cry. She quietly gazed at me, and looked around the room. I couldn’t believe how observant and quiet she was! Within a few minutes, I was helped up and into the bed where I just cuddled in awe and amazement at the miracle I was holding. Adam and I were so happy to see our daughter, and after I delivered the placenta, we brought her older brother and sister in to meet her.
Yosef and Ariella were enamored and immediately fell in love with their new sister, Naomi. They really enjoyed listening to her heartbeat with the stethoscope, looking at her tiny fingers, toes, and ears, and even finally getting to see and touch the umbilical cord they had read so much about. Naomi began nursing and her brother and sister thought she was so cute and happy. They kissed their little sister so tenderly and wanted to stay with us to get to know her while I had some apples, crackers, cheese, and water. Soon, we sent them out to play while I took a relaxing herbal bath and Naomi had her first checkup. Adam held her on his bare chest and she had a little snooze after her checkup.
We are so blessed to have Naomi in our family and to have experienced such a wonderful birth at Mountain Midwifery Center. Thank you to everyone who supported me during this special time of bringing a little person into our family. I felt so special by all of the care and support given to me by everyone on call that day, and by all of the staff at MMC who I worked with throughout my pregnancy. I am so grateful for the role each of you took in encouraging me, and helping me through the birth of my daughter.
That day, the snow was falling like flakes of gold from heaven. It reminded me of my wedding day which was foggy with damp cool rain. Many years ago, I was told by a good friend that when we see precipitation, it is to remind us of the miracle that heaven can touch earth. It is a blessing. I remember looking out of the window in my birth room at various points throughout the day, and finally in one last reflective gaze before we left around 9 that night. Each time, I felt the peace of quietly falling snow, and felt the love of God. I was reminded of His great care in that, He arranged every detail of that special day. In the day He brought my second daughter from heaven to earth, He let me do it in the room I had always hoped for, with the blessing of pure white snow softly descending from the sky. He placed each person in the room that He knew would be encouraging in the way I could hear it. All special gifts that no one else even knew were hopes in my heart. What a blessed woman I am, and how grateful I feel. The greatest gift of all, is my newest addition, Naomi Yonina. Our little dove was born at 4:30 pm on January 4, 2014.”
Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Puyallup, Washington birth photographer & videographer