My own birth photographer, Emily, has become one of my best friends.
She is my hype girl, my photography business bestie, and just an all around amazing person. So when she texted me a picture of an early ultrasound photo with the question "Soooo, do you have any openings in December? 😉" I was ECSTATIC! I was so honored to be by her side as her doula, photographer and videographer.
Fast forward to the wee hours of December 14th. Emily is in labor, I am getting ready to head out the door to make the drive from Cheyenne to Denver...... and I realized that all roads in and out of Cheyenne were closed due to high winds and white out conditions. There was no possible way for me to get there. I was seriously heartbroken, and made the swift decision to call my backup, Beka, who quickly joined Emily and supported her through a beautiful birth.
Here is Emily's birth story, in her own words:
"Getting pregnant was not in our plans for 2022.
It was a HUGE surprise when I took the test to confirm what I had already anticipated and felt. To say it was a moment of mixed emotions would be an understatement. After a moment or two of panic, we began to get excited for our journey to parenthood.
My first symptoms were nausea and vomiting and it progressively got worse. Being a birth worker, I had in mind where I wanted to birth, and quickly scheduled an appointment at Seasons Midwifery and Birth Center in Thornton.
Seasons was nothing short of amazing and I loved my care there with the wonderful staff and midwives. Unfortunately they were abruptly shut down during my third trimester, which caused me to transfer care. It was such a hard transition because I LOVED Seasons so much and couldn’t imagine birthing elsewhere. After many discussions with friends and fellow birth workers, I settled on Birth Center of Denver. And they were just as amazing. "
"I went about my normal activities, but felt off. Not sick or tired, just off. I even told my doula, Danielle, that. I had a chiropractic appointment, my 38 week midwife appointment, and a pedicure with my cousin that day, and ate my partner’s Mom’s spicy food. I think that combination helped kick start it all.
As I was getting ready for bed, I finished brushing my teeth and laid down in bed. As soon as I laid down, my water broke - but I didn’t believe it at first! I told Alex, ‘Either my water just broke, or I peed myself.’ And quickly ran to the bathroom to figure out what happened. I changed my clothes, put a pad on, sat on the birth ball to feel if more water came out. Nothing happened for a few minutes so I decided to go to bed and see if labor would wake me up. That was 11:00 PM. "
"At 1:50 AM a contraction woke me up. I ran to the bathroom to discover more water leaked on the pad and I had bloody show! Yay! My body WAS in labor! We called the midwives to let them know, and began timing contractions. They were 2-3 minutes apart and slowly getting more intense. At 3:30 we called the birth center to tell them we were going to start heading their way since we were 45 minutes away from them. The whole car ride I stayed in my zone, breathing through contractions. Closing my eyes. Only opening them to see how far apart they were. They were still 2 minutes apart. I couldn’t believe this was happening!"
"We arrived at the birth center right around 4:30 AM and I cried as soon as Alex parked the car. It was such an emotional release to be at the birth center, IN LABOR, getting ready to have our baby.
My contractions were getting more intense, and I wanted to get in the tub as soon as I got checked in. They checked me, I was 100% effaced, dilated to about 4, and baby’s head was at a zero station. Hence why my contractions were ALL in my hips. I got in the tub and man, that really helped. My main doula was not able to make it due to road closures, so she sent in her back up, Beka, who is a good friend of mine as well. Contractions were getting more intense and I was getting very vocal. I could tell Alex was nervous but trusted the process as much as he could. He really did amazing.
I asked for Nitrous Oxide for pain management, and that my BEST friend for a while. I had to get out of the tub to start using the nitrous, and things sped up so fast."
"The intensity was building."
"At 7am, they had the shift change and I was hollering at that point for more relief. I was exhausted, couldn’t rest between contractions because they came so fast, and I was just done. The midwife told me that they need to check me to make sure if we did transfer, that I wouldn’t have a baby on the way. She checked me, I was at 7cm.
After I heard baby’s heartbeat and listened to the midwife’s and doula's calming and supportive words, I decided to keep trying at the birth center. Rocking on the birth ball, squeezing the comb, using the nitrous, and hip squeezes. Then I got in the tub and felt pushy. At about 8 AM the midwife checked me - I was fully dilated and baby’s head was LOW."
"They say when you're in transition, you go into another world."
"Boy was I in a WHOLE other world. After getting checked, my body FINALLY gave me a break. It was such an out of body feeling. Alex was there holding my hands, cheering me on with positive words, Beka keeping me grounded and documenting the whole thing, with the midwife and nurse close by.
I began to push around 8:10/8:20 AM. Originally I envisioned pushing as breathing baby down. There was none of that 😂. I pushed with all my might and as loudly as I could have been. It was wild. I checked myself after a few pushes and felt baby’s head. I knew we were close. I was moving around the tub in different positions, and eventually landed in hands and knees. Then I heard the midwife tell Alex, ‘Alright Alex come over here to catch your baby’ he responds, ‘Okay let me take my watch off’ 🙄
After a couple more pushes, Alex catches her, and passes her with the midwife in the water into my arms. My baby girl was here. Born at 9:09 AM. Her cry was so beautiful. Her cord was thick and juicy. And she was SO CHEESY!!! That's what happens when you have a 38 weeker 😅. I couldn’t believe it. Alex and I cried together looking at our beautiful baby girl. So much hair. Chubby cheeks. Taking it all in. "
"A few minutes after Rosie was born, the midwives helped me out of the tub with baby girl and walked over to the bed. Something I felt was impossible, but that’s adrenaline for ya! We snuggled in bed together for a few hours and soaked in what the f*ck just happened. The midwife team did what they needed to to make sure we were ok, then gave us our golden hours as a new family of three. The only part that was rude was the postpartum contractions. Those are rough!!!"
"My main doula, Danielle, arrived, and we cried together."
"Eventually they did the newborn exam, let me rinse off, ate my favorite meal from Syrup, and took a NAP. Sheesh. That nap was crucial! We went home at 3:00 PM that day to start our life as a family of three. Life was so good.
I am SO proud of myself. I had the birth I envisioned, with a few changes, but overall exactly what I wanted. Birth is wild, intense, emotional, loud, and so f*cking beautiful.
Creating a birth team in a birth space with trusted providers makes ALLLLLL the difference. I felt so safe, supported, and cared for the whole time, and so did Alex. He was nervous as heck the whole time, but damn he was amazing. I’m so grateful for this experience and how much it will change my doula role in future births."
That's the story! Welcome to the world, Rosie.
While Emily was birthing like a badass, I was speeding down the interstate like a crazy person after the roads opened, hoping I could make her birth in time. I missed it by about an hour. It all worked out because Emily had AMAZING support and documentation from Beka of Manawa Birth (pictured below). Didn't she do a phenomenal job documenting the first half of this birth story? Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Beka!
Thank you for reading along! If you are a past or present client, and would like to share your birth story on the blog, please let me know! Until next time,