Ellie was born on April 3rd, 2013. It was single-handedly the most difficult and exhausting experience of my life, but it was perfect. I can't imagine not having her with us; she has already brought so much joy and new wonder to our lives. This is her birth story.

After trying almost everything in the book to induce labor, I think Justin and I finally came to the conclusion that Ellie had inherited both of our stubbornness and was just going to stay put until she was good and ready to make her grand entrance. On April Fool’s Day, I had an appointment and found out that absolutely no further progress had been made as far as my body prepping for labor. With that bit of info, we gave up and decided to just ride out the rest of the pregnancy in patience. Of course, as soon as we made the choice to stop being so anxious and trying to get things started, things got started.

My water broke at 1:15 a.m. that evening. Very mild contractions began as soon as I got out of bed, and were immediately 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute each. Everything I had read and heard had told me that consistency was key, so we got very excited. I called my midwife, Nicole, and let her know what was going on and she told me to try and get some rest before things really picked up. However, when I got back into bed, my contractions jumped to only 3 minutes apart. We took this as a sign that things were moving very quickly for me and called Nicole back after timing them for a few more hours. I had to hand the phone to Justin because I was already to the point of not being able to walk or speak during contractions. After listening to me, Nicole told us to go ahead and come to the birth center. We ran around pulling things together, grabbed the bags I had packed weeks prior and were off. We had been trying to call my Mom and Dad, as my Mom was supposed to be there for the delivery. After trying and trying with no answer ( they were still sleeping ), we decided to run over to their house really quickly to wake my Mom up. We got her and were on our way again.
Once we reached the birth center, my contractions increased significantly in intensity and would remain that way for quite a while as I labored. Justin helped me through each one by applying tons of pressure to my back and hips, as well as simply encouraging and comforting me. He was my rock throughout, and I never would have made it through without his support.

After learning that I would have to wait until I had progressed to 5 centimeters to labor in the birthing pool, we found other methods of pain-management, as I was laboring med-free. I was made to go walk, which was absolutely terrible. The last thing I wanted to do was walk around, but pushed on and spent some time outside. I remember thinking it was such a gorgeous day and how I wished I could enjoy it more. So many hours, and yet they seemed to blur past as I hunkered down and rode out each contraction. I was definitely under-prepared for the intensity of the pain, but managed to hold out through each one and catch my breath in-between.

There was a sweet woman, Angela, whom my family knew from many years of relationships with her kin. She just happened to be working at our birth center as a doula. She was there that morning attending another woman in labor, but kept popping over to check on me and give me additional support. Once the other woman had delivered, Ang came and stayed with us to lend a hand in helping me through. She was such a huge part of my birth experience, in a very positive way. She held my hand, she worked together with Justin as they applied pressure to my back and hips, she brought me water and made me drink it, she whispered encouraging words to me during contractions, she physically held me up when I would have otherwise collapsed from the intensity... on and on, I can't say enough about her God-given spirit of love and servant's heart. Angela, in addition to Justin and my Mom, made it possible for me to keep going.

After many more hours, I was finally allowed to get into the birthing pool. Such sweet relief. While the hot water didn't completely alleviate the pain, it really did help to distract my mind and provide a weightlessness that helped buffer each pang. I labored in the pool for a while and alternated between there and the hot shower. Water in general was definitely my friend throughout the whole process. Evening drew near and I was drinking fluids constantly to stay hydrated after spending so much time in the hot water of the pool and shower. However, the contractions had become so strong that I began throwing up whatever I took in. I think my midwife saw this as a sign of impending transition, as I was told to get back into the pool in a certain position. After a few contractions, I suddenly felt the very strong urge to push, so I let her know. She told me if I wanted to, I could go ahead and try pushing so I did. Being able to push through each contraction helped take my mind off the pain and made it easier to get through them. I pushed for a while and then we really got down to business. My midwife had me pushing semi on-cue and it was so difficult to make myself stop when she told me to not push. The feeling was overwhelming; so hard to stay in control of.

Justin leaned over the edge of the pool and held my hand, letting go to put as much pressure as possible on my back when needed. My mom came to the side of the pool where I was and I wrapped my arms around hers. She supported me and encouraged me from there, while Justin cheered me on from my side. I felt like I had been pushing forever when someone said, “She’s right there!”

I heard that and it sparked a second ( or third… or fourth. I had lost count ) wind in me and I gave it all I had, convinced that I would be holding my baby girl very soon.
I pushed and pushed. Time passed. I was told to stop and rest, then start up again. I began to feel that something was wrong, as nothing was happening. My midwife checked me and discovered that I had swelling that was preventing Ellie’s head from coming down all the way. I was 8 cm dilated at this time. They began trying some different techniques to help things move along, but nothing worked. At this point in my labor, I felt like I was losing control and felt, quite literally, as though I was going to die from the pain. A discussion was quickly had, and the decision was made to transfer me to the local hospital so that I could receive a nerve block to help me sleep and hopefully finish progressing ( I would find out much later that a c-section was being seriously considered ). I said, “Whatever gets her out safely. That’s all I care about now.”

Justin got me into the car and we made it to the hospital ( right down the road ). I got into my room and can’t remember changing into the hospital gown or climbing onto the bed. The single memory I have before the anesthesiologist arrived 45 minutes later is clutching the bedrail for dear life and feeling like I was going to die.

The man finally came and I received the nerve block. It was strange, as I could still feel everything and move around if I wanted to, but the pain was relieved. When I finally closed my eyes and fell asleep, I had been laboring for about 23 hours. I looked over at Justin before drifting off and was overcome with gratitude and love for him and his endurance in supporting me. I would not have made it so far if not for him. He slept on the armchair and my Mom sat next to me. Ellie still hadn't been born, so I hadn't yet been able to comprehend even the idea of having to watch your baby in such pain. My mom helped me stay strong, but I can only now get the slightest idea of how strong she had to be herself. Mom was my other rock.

I woke about 6 hours later to dull pain and realized that the nerve block was quickly wearing off. I had also received a round of Pitocin ( the dreaded labor drug from Hades ) so knowing the pain would be back in full-force very soon was not exciting to me. I called the nurse and told her I was beginning to feel the contractions again. She said she would put in a call to the anesthesiologist so he could fix me up. She left, and the next 2 hours were spent getting through the contractions that returned in all their glory.

I had once again reached the point of pure agony when my midwife walked in, checked me and announced that I was ready to go. Everything was set up and I was told to begin pushing. At one point, Justin told me she had hair. That was all I needed to bring the long journey of pregnancy to an end.

10 minutes later at 8:18 a.m. Ellie Madelynn was born, weighing 7 lbs. 9 oz and 20 inches long. Her cry was music to my ears. They immediately placed her on my chest for skin-to-skin and I cried as I held her tiny body against mine. She was so perfect, so small and the relief I felt was unbelievable. 

Justin cut her cord and we just sat there, taking in the wonder and beauty of our little girl.

While she was whisked away to get cleaned up and weighed, I laid back in the bed and just breathed. I made it. After 31 total hours of labor, I had brought our baby into the world and I could not be any prouder. I labored unmedicated, slept with the nerve block and then finally delivered her unmedicated once more. It wasn’t my birth plan exactly, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now, as she is laying on my lap staring up at me, breaking into that adorable, gummy grin every once in a while, I feel so blessed and amazed at what I’ve accomplished. I think about the women I know who would give anything to be able to have the same experience, but can’t. I think about my own Mom who has gone through so much and done everything for me right from the start. I look at Ellie and despite the screaming and demand of around-the-clock breast feeding and impressive poop-splosions, I realize, “My mom did this for me.” 

I realize that Ellie won’t be this tiny forever, or even for very long. I realize that it’s only for a little while that she’ll need me like this; that she’ll fit so perfectly and easily into my arms. And so, that makes the seemingly-endless nights a little more enjoyable. Because I know it’s only for a short time it will be this way. She’ll always be my baby, but babies don’t keep. I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts and soak up every precious moment she gives us. 

    Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
    Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
    Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
    Sew on a button and make up a bed.
    Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
    She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

    Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
    (Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
    Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
    (Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
    The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
    And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
    But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
    Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
    (Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

    The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
    For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
    So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.

    I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.


  1. Okay I about started crying reading this! You are an amazing woman and mother! Way to go Justin and your momma too!

  2. That was beautiful, Megan. You have quickly discovered the undefinable love that a child awards us. May you, Justin and Ellie live a lifetime of joy, laughter and good memories together and may Ellie come to know her Savior at a very early age. Love & Blessings!