Eloise | Nashville Home Birth Photographer
I'm thrilled to share the birth story of Eloise Reed with you. Eloise sure did keep me on my toes, arriving to meet her mom and dad three weeks before her estimated due date. She also arrived quickly, making for an excitingly unexpected home birth. I'm so happy I was able to capture this beautiful rainbow baby's first moments.
We had waited for this day for what felt like forever. And finally, on October 9, 2014, at 37 weeks, 1 day, we were going to get to meet our sweet rainbow baby. I was awoken at 3am by a gush sensation, and despite the fact I had been through my water breaking to begin labor before, I still wanted to think maybe I had peed the bed. It became very clear that the water continued to come and that our little one was going to be making an early debut.
My husband awoke shortly after I got up and we started making phone calls. My parents would be taking Clayton (our 3 year old) when I went into labor and luckily they picked up. We let them know to be on notice. I told Todd to go back to bed as I wasn’t yet feeling anything and I tried to lie down, which didn’t work. My mind immediately went to everything I needed to do and all of the people I needed to inform of my early labor as I had another week left of work commitments. So, in the early hours of the morning, while in labor, I started my e-mails. I finally got ahold of my doula at 6am and called the midwife on call to let her know I was in labor. At this point I still wasn’t feeling any contractions but felt as if something was changing.
By 7:30 am, while on a phone call to a client, I felt my first contraction. By 9am my doula, our photographer and my friend Ashley had gotten to the house to provide support to us during labor. One of the first things my doula said to me when she got there was that she couldn’t catch any more babies this year. Throughout the early hours by myself I kept thinking about how this morning would be the last morning of just Clayton and I, which caused the most emotion for me that day. I was so happy he was able to be at home with us for a few hours that morning before my mother came to get him. He seemed so excited to be getting a baby sister and to become a big brother.
As the morning progressed my contractions became more regular and a little more intense. This labor for me was much different than the three-hour train wreck that was Clayton’s birth with contractions occurring one right after another. This birth was more typical with contractions occurring with nice breaks in between them. Once the contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart is when I had to focus on my breathing during each one rather than being able to laugh and joke through them. I remember being very thankful for my prenatal yoga practice as it allowed me to really focus on my breathing, be introspective during my contractions, and focus on each contraction bringing me closer to meeting our little one. Part of this for me was using different positions to allow me to get through my contractions. I found it very helpful to lay over the birthing ball and rock on hands and knees on the rug. I enjoyed this position so much that in between contractions I asked my husband to vacuum the rug so I could lay on it.
After a pretty intense contraction I remember lifting my head from a hands and knees position and asking my doula, the wonderful Brittany Anderson, how all of this would work in the car. It was hard to believe with the intensity of the contractions that I would be getting in the car. At this point, I knew it was going to have to happen, I just couldn’t comprehend how. I remember standing up and resting my entire weight up against my husband. I was so tired, as I had been up since 3 am, that I laid my head on his shoulder. In that moment it seemed as if I fell asleep for a minute or two. As soon as that contraction was over my doula said we would probably leave for the hospital in an hour or so. I couldn’t believe how I was going to continue with the contractions as they were for another hour and I felt like I needed to be doing something different.
I looked at my doula and asked if I could go upstairs and get in the tub. At this point it was 2pm. I didn’t even get to the base of the stairs without having another contraction. I remember my friend Ashley asking if we needed to stay in the bathroom downstairs and my doula replying that she remembered me telling her I had the perfect bathtub to labor in. So we made it upstairs and into the bedroom down the hall to then have another very intense contraction. I changed into my bikini and got into the tub. The first thing I noticed through the contractions was that the bathtub wasn’t filling up so my doula grabbed a cup that was sitting around and started pouring water over my back. Two contractions later I started feeling lots of pressure and thought I may want to try to go to the bathroom. At this point I couldn’t even get out of the tub – Todd had to lift me. As soon as he set me down on the floor I had a contraction I almost lost control of. Everyone reminded me to make sounds with a low tone and I was back in control thanks to their words and some horsey breathing. I made my way into the toilet closet and by this point it seemed as if I was so deep in my own birth bubble that I didn’t really have any knowledge of what was going on around me. My husband told me later that he was trying to get me changed out of my bikini and dressed, although that was the last thing on my mind.
The pressure continued and as soon as I sat on the toilet I immediately stood up, called for my doula and said I needed to push. As my husband switched places with our doula I was told our little ones’ head was out. And at that point my body had taken over. It knew what to do to bring our little one into the world. One push and one minute later, while standing up in the toilet closet with my hands pushing up against the walls, our little one was born and caught by our doula. I remember holding her up against my chest while our doula rubbed her back and feet to make her cry. I kept asking over and over if she was ok. She choked and coughed a little bit but then let out the most wonderful sounding cry. She was ok and I was ok. We had all rocked an unassisted, unintended home birth, something I had always wanted but didn’t feel as if I was ready for. As soon as Eloise was born, around 2:25ish, my friend called 911 so the paramedics could come transport us to the hospital in case of an emergency. Luckily they weren’t needed for one but they transported us to the hospital by ambulance just in case.
I have no regrets about how Eloise came into the world. Everything happened the way it needed to and we have one heck of a story to tell her when she gets older. She came into the world in the most natural way possible surrounded by love and support.Throughout the whole ordeal I only remember feeling a sense of calm and control. That if I succumbed to what my body was able to do naturally then the process of bringing our little one into the world would be easier, and it was. I am so thankful for my husband, my wonderful friend and our doula who provided me with the emotional (and physical at times) support needed to help Miss Eloise make her grand appearance.