VERY Wordful Wednesday: Isora’s Birth Day

I thought I would save this one for a WW post since we are fortunate enough to have hundreds of lovely pictures of my birth thanks to our unobtrusive and yet incredibly helpful midwife Shelie, who also happens to be a fantastic photographer. So if you’ve been wondering what a natural birth looks like…here it is. In all it’s un-medicated (but slightly Photoshopped) glory!!

For months before Little Nugget was born Michael and I kept answering the inevitable question about when she was going to arrive by saying “Any day but St. Patrick’s Day is fine with us”. But in the weeks and days leading up to her birth I started replying “This girl is going to come when she wants to come. Probably on St. Patrick’s Day.” Because that’s one of the busiest days of the year if you own a liquor store. And when you’re having record high temps, the holiday falls on a Saturday AND you’re liquor store is on a college campus? Well…let’s just say Busiest. Day. Ever.

I just had a feeling that she was going to come on March 17th. So when I woke up at 6:30 that morning to a strong contraction I wasn’t the least bit surprised.

Michael was showering and getting ready to go and open the store by 7am, Cedella was up and watching cartoons and my contractions were coming steady and strong at about 10 minutes apart. I must have been having contractions in my sleep, but thankfully I got a solid 6 hours that night, so I was feeling good and calm.

By the time he was ready for work Michael took one look at me breathing through a contraction and decided to call his brother to open the store. We are so incredibly thankful my BIL Andre came into town for the weekend to work. We couldn’t have had such an amazing birth experience if Michael was worried about what was happening at work.

And just like that, by Michael making the call to stay home, it was like we both silently acknowledged what was about to happen and we kicked into labor mode.

I woke up my sister Tracey and my Mom around 7:30am to get them up and on the road asap. Knowing how fast my labor progressed with Cedella, we were just hoping that they would arrive before we had to make our journey to the Birth Center. Then Michael called the Greenhouse to let the midwives know we were in labor and we were happy to hear back from Shelie in just a few minutes. Next he called our doula Kelle to let her know it was Birth Day. She had woken up that morning without rhyme or reason at the crack of dawn, somehow she must have known it was the day. She was set to meet us at the GBC.

While we waited for my family I took a shower, packed our bag and got Cedella dressed for the day. Then I let the contractions take over and lay down on the couch to ride them out and rest a bit.

By the time my sister arrived it was 9:30 and contractions were about 4 minutes apart. Once we got Tracey up to speed on what was going on and got everything in the car it was 10am. As we left I told her we’d be home by dinner time.

We got outside the house and it was nearly 70 degrees at 10am. A brilliantly warm and sunny day. In March. In Michigan. We could hardly believe it. Thankfully the drive to the Greenhouse was much more manageable and quicker than the ride to Detroit with Cedella.

When we arrived at 10:30 Kelle was already there getting acquainted with Shelie and Audra, our midwives. The peach colored room was ready for us, and the bathtub was even filled. We entered the room and it was full of sunlight and perfectly warm. Michael put on some music, my Mom and sister Kylara arrived and I went immediately into focused labor mode.

I wasn’t ready to get into the tub yet, so I tried the exercise ball. And moaned through a few contractions on the ball.

Then I decided to get up and walk around again and hit the toilet, cause apparently I love to labor on the toilet, it’s quite comfortable if you’ve never tried it.

I love this photo of the two of us. I was holding onto his arm so tight and had my head resting on his neck.

For some reason that morning he put on cologne, which I hadn’t been able to stomach for 90% of my pregnancy. There he was, on Birth Day, with stinky cologne on. He said he would change his shirt, took it off and preceded to wipe his neck with the stinky shirt. All of us started laughing hysterically. Why would you wipe your stinky neck with your stinky shirt? Men.

Then the next contraction struck and it was officially transition time. This was one of the strongest and longest contractions I’ve ever felt. Intense is an under statement.

But I moaned through it and breathed nice deep yoga breaths and decided this baby was about to come so it was time to get in the tub. We never specifically planned on having a water birth. We just figured if I was in the water and had the baby, cool. If I was on the toilet or on the bed when she came, so be it. But in the moment I just felt the need to get in the tub and so that’s what I did.

The beauty of the Greenhouse are the women. Specifically in our case, Shelie & Audra. They let me do what I wanted and stayed, primarily, out of the way as I just did my thing. Kelle and Michael supported me through every contraction, both physically and emotionally, holding me up and telling me what an awesome job I was doing. They are the most amazing birth team a Mama could ask for.

Before long my Mom returned (after driving Kylara back to our house), once again, just in the nick of time. Quite suddenly I felt an overwhelming urge to push. Kelle, knowing me, quickly grabbed the midwives and for the first time that day they checked my cervix. Or rather they looked with a mirror and could clearly see the baby’s head engaged and ready.

In my mind all I could think of was how close I was to seeing my daughter. I just kept repeating it in my mind. Through every contraction. She’s almost here. She’s almost here. One more contraction and she’ll be here. When they directed my hand down into the water to feel her head I got a huge boost of energy and knew she was close. And then I pushed. Not straining purple-faced screaming like you see on TV. I would take a deep breath, bear down and grip the sides of the tub as hard as I could and pushed.

And then there’s the moment they call ‘The Ring of Fire’, where your baby’s head is right at the perineum and putting so much pressure on the very delicate and very small opening of your vulva and it hurts like nothing has ever hurt or will ever hurt again. I yelled ‘Oh MY GOD IT HURTS SO BAD!!!’ And it did. There’s no way to sugar coat that moment. It sucks.

Kelle and Audra instructed me to slow down, take a deep breath and relax, otherwise I would tear. Against all the physical urges of my body I stopped pushing for a moment and collected myself. I let out the deep breath and pushed at the same time and before I knew it her head was out and with the next breath her shoulders and body slipped out into Audra’s waiting arms.

At 11:55am on that gorgeous St. Patrick’s Day Isora slid into the world. A mere hour and a half after arriving at the Greenhouse. It was absolutely miraculous.

She was totally covered in sticky white vernix, so much so that it was like she had a thick layer of cheese all over her body. And just like her sister she had a full head of hair.

It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. Hearing her, the second she came out of the water, wailing her little infant wail. Finally holding this little person that I had grown for all these months. Seeing her face for the first time. We were so certain it was a girl but didn’t actually look until Audra said ‘Is it a girl? Did you check?’ And sure enough. She was all girl.

While still in the tub, waiting to birth the placenta, Isora rooted around and found my nipple and started nursing. Her umbilical cord was still pulsing and she was nursing, how cool is that? She just amazed me from the very first latch.

She had the most purple little hands and feet. And such beautifully delicate long fingers and toes.

While I birthed the placenta Michael got some much deserved bonding time with his little lady.

Eventually the ladies helped me to the bed where I was swaddled in warm blankets and given a glass of water and allowed to just snuggle, skin to skin with my little lady.

I was so thrilled to see Heather, my friend and child birth coach, had arrived and would be my post-partum doula. She got me a glass of tea as Audra checked me out and determined I had a very small 1st degree tear. She gave me the option to have it stitched or to promise I would stay in bed with my legs closed for three or four days. I chose the second option (after having an awful time healing from the stitches the first time around).

After my exam Audra brought the placenta over so we could check it out. She said I had one of the healthiest and largest placentas she’d ever seen. (And my friend Jaime who encapsulated my placenta confirmed…biggest batch of placenta pills she’s ever done. Crazy, huh?) Michael totally nerded out on the placenta. In fairness it was really impressive how my body grew a separate organ in order to grow a baby. So miraculous.

While we relaxed in bed Kelle went and got us all lunch. While I ate Michael was holding the baby skin to skin when he felt warm liquid spread across his chest. After he mopped up he put the baby back on his chest and a few minutes later got shit on. Poor Daddy. It was quite hilarious.

And after we ate, probably about an hour after she was born, Audra examined the baby and performed her Agpar tests. And cause she was just so incredibly impressive, she scored a 9. Michael got to weigh the baby.

Once I felt ready for it, Heather had run an herbal bath for me. I climbed into the warm water and just totally relaxed. Eventually they gave me the baby and she had her first bath with me and finally opened up her eyes. Shelie caught this one just perfectly.

After a few hours it was time to fill out the birth certificate and give our daughter a name. The thing was we had two names in mind, one I loved and one Michael loved. My name was Malia. Michael’s was Isora. In all my oxytocin/adrenalin/hormonal bliss I decided that Michael could have his choice, since I got to name Cedella.

But he also promised that no matter what I got to name the next baby. And now it’s written down for everyone to see…there’s no going back on that promise Mr. Eyebrowz.

I was feeling so incredibly strong and relaxed that once all the paperwork was filled out we decided it was time to go home. Shelie and Audra very patiently walked me through the rules to going home.

First, second, third, fourth and fifth rule? GO TO BED. That was their most implicit instruction. Go home and get in bed.

They reminded me that though I was feeling awesome at the moment I was going to crash at some point and that I should be in bed when that happens. And that because I had the small tear I needed to stay there. For days. With my legs closed.

I was allowed to sleep, rest, nurse the baby, eat, drink lots of water and go to the bathroom. That’s it. No laundry. No up and down the stairs. Just resting.

Audra told us that she would be over the next afternoon to check on us. And with that, at 5ish we loaded up the car, put our little Isora in her carseat, climbed in and took our little daughter home.

We were home by dinner. And of course I didn’t go to bed right away, because we had to introduce Cedella to her baby sister. The hormones were still raging and I felt amazing and couldn’t believe how wonderful everything had gone.

And then Cedella’s reaction…the absolute joy and wonder on her face when she saw Isora for the first time. It just made me well up with pride. We did this, Michael and I and all of our wonderful supporters, we made this little family. It just felt so incredibly perfect.

But when I did get into bed I just totally and completely crashed. And stayed in bed for nearly five days. I still can’t believe how unbelievably beautiful Isora’s Birth Day was. Simply amazing. It was all I could have asked for and more. I’ve never felt more empowered, more important or more capable in my life. I couldn’t have done that without Michael, Kelle, Shelie, Audra and Heather. They really helped me have the most wonderful Birth Day for Isora!!

And to Tracey, Mom, Kylara and Andre. Thanks guys. We could not have done this without you guys either. That’s what family is for, right? Love you guys…

Happy WW to you all!!



  1. I’m so proud of you! As someone who stalks natural birth stories, this is probably the most beautiful one I’ve read. I seriously have a lump in my throat. All childbirth should be experienced this way…the professionals and support team on the sidelines, out of the way, cheering the mother on, letting her do her thing. I hope your story inspires other moms-to-be!
    Teresha@ Marlie and Me recently posted..Wordful Wednesday: Baby Dreamscape

  2. Lydia says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this amazing story. Seriously, tears running down my face. I feel like I was totally short changed with my babies births after reading this!
    Lydia recently posted..Wordless Wednesday- Blue B

  3. I’ve got major goosebumps reading this! I love Isora’s Birth Day story – and the pictures are priceless. CONGRATS! :)
    Stacy Uncorked recently posted..Easter Egg Family Time

  4. Jme says:

    Thank you for writing this beautiful birth story. Like others have written I was touched and cried. I hope my child’s birth day will be similar to the peace and happiness experienced with your birth of Isora.

  5. Brittany says:

    Beautiful, thanks for sharing this personal but amazing journey with us. I felt tears I read through your story. Congrats and best wishes for you and your newest addition.
    Brittany recently posted..Wordless Wednesday

  6. I am in tears reading this. What an incredible story. Thanks for sharing the words and the amazing pictures. You are a rock-star!!
    Kelli @ Momma Needs a Beer recently posted..Is it a Community or a Competition?

  7. Kim says:

    Absolutel beautiful! Makes me want to labor all over again.
    Kim recently posted..Mommy-a!

  8. debi9kids says:

    what a perfectly beautiful birth story.

    I had no idea you could take a bath right after delivery. Wow. I would’ve totally done that had I know! Sounds so relaxing!
    debi9kids recently posted..clouds are lifting. it isn’t cancer.

  9. robyn says:

    ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR BIRTHING STORY!! Had to finish while wiping the tears… :)

  10. That is amazing, and so so beautiful. There’s nothing I love more than a good birth story. Yours succeeded in making my afternoon! I feel a little teary eyed now, excuse me while I go ask my hubby if we can have another baby…

  11. What a cool birth story and experience! I’d loved this! Thank you so much for linking up with me!
    Karly @ Three in Three recently posted..Why I love to give things away but rarely enter giveaways.

  12. What an awesome story!! That sounds like the perfect birth day for little Zorie. Congrats again on your new family of 4!
    Jocelyn | ScooterMarie recently posted..6 years ago today…

  13. Laura says:

    Beautiful! I loved reading your birth story! They always make me a little teary. I’m so glad that you had such a peaceful birth and that you have such beautiful pictures to document it all. Next time around I’d like to have a water birth and maybe a home birth. Sorry we didn’t get together this trip. We’ll be back in June maybe we can get together then? Take care and enjoy those sweet girls!

  14. April says:

    This is why I say ‘yes’ to drugs…dear lord that looks painful!!! You get the birthing metal, hands down!

    Beautiful though…thanks for sharing!

  15. What a lovely birth story! Congratulations! She’s gorgeous and so are you. :)
    Kristi {at} Live and Love Out Loud recently posted..Leap Into Spring Photo Challenge: Easter/Eggs {Plus Photography Composition Tips}

  16. Char says:

    What a beautiful birth story. Congratulations to your beautiful family!
    Char recently posted..Simple. Style.

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