This is the story of Baby Amelia’s birth to her amazing Mama Brittany and her Papa Jake. Brittany is a childbirth educator and doula at BabyLove, a Lamaze Childbirth Education center and so much more!
The Birth of Amelia Inez Olson, our first beautiful daughter, June 6th, 2010
The day before I went into labor was my birthday. Jake and I slept in as long as we could, then he made me an awesome breakfast in bed. We even took a luxurious nap, because we could, and then we were off to lunch at Famous Dave’s-something I had been craving the whole time I was pregnant!
I had been having braxton-hicks contractions for about a month or so; they were pretty strong so I didn’t think anything of the contractions I was having all day on my birthday, and whenever I got up to use the bathroom that night-which was a lot! Throughout the evening I could feel the contractions were stronger than I was used to, but I didn’t pay much attention and just kept sleeping through it all. I was seriously convinced Amelia was going to be late, so we weren’t expecting her for at least another week. We got up about 10 that morning and started making breakfast. I went to the bathroom, and when I stood up I felt some liquid dripping down my leg. At first I thought it was maybe some pee dripping down my leg, but it just kept coming. I still doubted it was my water breaking and kept wiping, but it just kept coming! I finally went out and said to Jake “I think my water just broke.” and I laughed and laughed.The rush of emotions that came over me was so strange and wonderful. I felt unbelievably joyous, and couldn’t stop crying and laughing. Jake was in a bit of shock; we both couldn’t believe we were actually finally going to get to meet our baby! After nine months of waiting, it seemed like I was just going to stay pregnant forever, and now on this beautiful summer day we were going to get to see her perfect face.
I called Aly-our midwife-to let her know that my water had broken. She told me to just go along with my normal day and call her when contractions were getting a bit stronger and more regular. I tried to finish breakfast so I could keep my strength up, but the contractions were coming fairly strong and fast already. I wasn’t trying to time them because I thought we were just in early labor, and I didn’t want to get too ahead of myself. Jake started running around the house in a mad rush trying to get absolutely EVERYTHING done. From making tea, to making the bed, and doing the dishes. I finally got him focused on what we needed to do-get ready to have our baby! We got our bed all made and the tub set up, and I worked through some more contractions. I decided that my birthing ball was the place to be; it felt good to just sit on that big ball and roll my hips around. I timed a few contractions and they were coming exactly three minutes apart. However, I didn’t say anything to Jake because I thought it was just me, that there’s no way only an hour into labor that contractions were already coming three minutes apart. Then things started to get a little harder. I went on the bed for a few contractions and leaned over a bunch of pillows while Jake covered me up and cuddled me and rubbed my back. Things were really getting intense really fast! I couldn’t handle the bed anymore so I went to the shower to feel the relief of some hot water. Before I got in the shower I sat on the toilet for a few contractions. These were so different. I could feel my body working sooo fast wen I sat down, so I got in the shower for a change of pace. This felt good for a while, but there wasn’t anything for me to really grab onto or lean on so I got out and back onto the ball. Jake had called Aly again and after she listened to one of my contractions in the shower, she decided it was time for her to come on over.
Out of the shower I went back onto the ball. Jake sat in front of me and I leaned on him and he just rubbed my back and told me what a great job I was doing. He really was amazing. At this point I had lost all track of time and put all my focus into the contractions. Then my mom and her husband Chris showed up. Chris was going to take our dog to her breeder for a little doggy vacation, and my mom was going to stay for the birth. She tried to help me through a few contractions, bless her heart, but she just wasn’t cutting it. I HAD to have Jake, he knew exactly what to do. I started to feel pretty nauseous and kept telling Jake I felt like I had, to puke but nothing would come. When it finally did we weren’t ready, and poor Jake had to catch it in a bucket. I was getting a little anxious wondering when Aly was going to arrive, but the second she walked in the door I just felt at ease (she arrived around 1:30pm). Her presence alone was so calming, and knowing she was there to take care of me I knew I could simply focus on labor and getting Amelia out. We did a few more contractions on the ball, and Aly’s helper Sarah showed up. I had never met her before but I am so glad she was there. She also really helped to put me at ease and seemed to know exactly what I needed to hear. The contractions were getting really strong and close together now; I thought my belly was going to burst from the power of my uterus, and I even think I swore at this point. Just as I was thinking I couldn’t handle any more contractions on dry land, Aly announced that my tub was ready!
Oh the sweet relief of the tub! It was so calming and natural to be in the water, and it helped me to forge through the increasingly ferocious contractions. Aly kept telling Jake to have me drink water and powerade, and my mom was trying to feed me some bananas and toast. Though I didn’t want to eat or drink anything I know this helped me keep my energy up and have more energy after the birth to cuddle and enjoy my daughter. In the tub I worked through the hardest part of labor. Jake kept his hands on me and we just kept smiling at each other, knowing we’d get to meet our baby so soon. Though the contractions were very strong, I got a minute or two in between each and it seemed like heaven. I was deep in labor land at this point, letting my body do all the work. It felt so surreal and perfect. I never knew my body was so powerful, and it felt so right to just go with what it was doing. Aly and Sarah were in the other room listening to me, allowing Jake and I share this really special time. About an hour or so after I was in the tub I started feeling pushy with each contraction (probably around 2:30-3ish). I told Jake to let Aly know I was ready to start pushing, but she was right there, saying she knew and to just work with my body. Sarah checked my baby’s heart rate intermittently, which was strong and stable the whole time. Amelia was a warrior with me.
Pushing felt wonderful. Working with my contractions helped me feel productive and strong. I let my body guide my baby down, and I knew we were working together to meet each other. I was still getting good rest in between these contractions, and for that I am forever grateful. After pushing for a while, Aly checked to see how far down the baby was. She said she could feel the baby’s head was right there, and I knew if I focused and worked hard through the pushes we would get to meet our baby soon. It was getting very real and rough at this point, but Aly and Sarah helped me stay focused. Aly told me to make low moans and noises and to remember to breathe, and this helped me to stay calm and focus on pushing my baby out. Being able to make any noises and move in any way I wanted made me so much more comfortable and trusting of my body and the process.
Her little head was sooo close! Aly told me to reach down and touch my baby’s head-it was so squishy and warm, I couldn’t even believe it was her. Her head went back up a little and Aly said this was normal, but I didn’t want all of our hard work to be for nothing! When she was crowning it felt very strong-Sarah told me to just feel the baby’s head stretching and getting both of us ready for the birth. It wasn’t the “ring of fire” many women describe, just an immense pressure and energy. Aly told me to breathe and push slowly, and with just a few more pushes her head was out! I could feel her! One more big push and there she was! She was born at 4:29 pm, just hours after my water broke. Aly put her in my arms and all I could say and think was how amazing and beautiful she was. I cried with so much joy, and all of the hard work of labor was forgotten when I saw her beautiful face. Sarah checked her heart and Aly gave her a few breaths and rubbed her back, and then she cried the most beautiful cry. It sounded so perfect. Jake came over to look at her and he couldn’t believe how perfect she was. Wait, I thought! Was this a boy or a girl?! I checked and at first I thought she was a boy because the umbilical cord was between her legs, but then we saw she was unmistakably a girl. She surprised everyone! The first Olson girl for quite some time, and I was pretty convinced she was going to be a boy the whole pregnancy, even though Jake said he knew she was going to be a girl.
We got out of the tub and into bed to enjoy our first moments as the three of us. Wow! What strong feelings of love I had for her from the start. She just looked around at us so calm and content, and she nuzzled my chest and latched on like a pro. She was just so perfect. My mom got to hold her and she was so proud of the both of us. We originally didn’t know if we would want her there, but we were all so glad it worked out that she could see Amelia’s birth. Aly waited until the placenta was born and then she cut the cord, the last connection of hers to the womb. What a special and real moment, now we had to meet all of her needs, which took a bit of practice but we finally got it. Aly and Sarah worked hard and cleaned everything up, while my mom made some of the amazing food trays she’s so famous for. Jake fed me while Amelia nuzzled and nursed-it felt so good to eat and have her in my arms, where she fell asleep shortly after-our perfect little angel. Her newborn exam was performed right on our bed. Sarah checked her head and reflexes, heart and feet, among many other things. Everything was just as it should be; how blessed we were to have a healthy beautiful baby. As everyone finally left and we started our first night as three, I reflected on the pure awesomeness and joy of the day. A 6 hour first birth, surrounded only by those I love and trust, in the comfort of our home. Perfect.