As many times as I have been pregnant and given birth in 10 years, it would surprise most people that we planned our sixth. Our others were not planned and happened out of God’s plan, instead. We went through the motions of purchasing the fertility monitors and basal thermometers- I joined the charting websites and forums and for a whole month did everything exactly as it was written to do, and then some. And then my period came.

“Forget it.” I thought to myself. Trying to conceive made the whole practice so robotic and unromantic. You start to look at the sexual intimacy as a tool all of a sudden whereas it just came naturally, before. The next month my best friend was undergoing a major immune system transplant while he battled testicular cancer so I went up to help him while he was in the hospital. There are so many similarities between a cancer patient and a birthing mother in a hospital setting, it really put things in perspective on that level. And the thing is- a birthing mom by default, is not sick needing treatment, she is undergoing a transformation.

I think my husband and I managed to be intimate once that whole month and a week or two later a test confirmed that I was, alas, pregnant. It’s amazing what can happen if you just give it over and stop trying to control.

I had a great pregnancy, I did have some fears until the 23 weeks gestation which was the earliest a pregnancy has been viable. I had 2 prior miscarriages and it can haunt your whole first 2 trimesters later on. At 37 weeks I started my EPO (evening primrose oil capsules) and drank Red Raspberry leaf tea throughout my pregnancy. The EPO capsules can be taken orally and also punctured and taken vaginally. They have natural prostaglandins that help ripen you, but only when you are ready. I have had nothing but benefits from them during my previous births.

We, unfortunately, caught the stomach flu a week before I had Emmalia. It kicked me into false labor, which is very different from natural labor. The contractions make you nauseus and generally unwell. They are also sparatic. I received phone calls from my mother throughout the days, “So how are you feeling, you think it’s time yet?” My husband took a day or two off in case it happened during the day and still nothing. A week before my due date and him feeling pressured at this point to get back to work, I told him that night in bed, “Honey, dont worry. We are going to go to bed tonight and wake up, refreshed with me in early labor and then calmly go to the hospital and have a wonderful birth.” Little did I know how true that proved to be.

Early the next morning, I got up to use the bathroom and I was having my normal braxton hicks contractions as I had been having. I checked my cervix (yes, Im talented enough to do that) and I was still a good centimeter dilated. Nothing out of the ordinary. So I went downstairs to get a drink and I realized my contractions were pretty regular. Nothing hard but just regular… and healthy feeling, they didnt make me feel ill. I smiled and decided to disinfect the kitchen. If I was in labor- at least I could leave with a clean counter and sink?

In 20 minutes the contractions were the same, and I knew I was in labor. What I didnt know was how fast things were going to happen. I called my midwife and they told me they would set up my birthing tub at OHSU (Oregon Health Science University). This is one of the only hospitals in our area that provide water births. Their midwives are pretty fantastic too. I woke up my husband and helped get the kids together and as I sat down the contractions got closer and a little more uncomfortable. We headed to the hospital and I updated everyone.

Unfortunately, the tub wasn’t set up when we got there. They had some earlier mishaps with the tubes and so my husband helped troubleshoot and get things going. But that was OK, I was in heaven. I was elated and glowing ear to ear knowing soon I would enter through the door only women can go through in natural childbirth and see my little creation in my arms. As soon as the tub was ready, I was in it and getting comfortable. The nurses and midwives really had very little to do for this old pro but sit down on stool in front of me, chin in hands, listening to my stories of my prior births. Contraction after contraction went by and still, I continued. We would laugh often as funny parts of my stories would come, and I would randomly take a second to breath inbetween words- but nothing unmanageable.

I became impatient at this point because I felt like the fact my labor was so simple meant it was going slow. In most of my other births I was in a lot more discomfort, laying on my back in bed by that point. So I decided to get out of the tub, throw on a robe and walk around the small loop of the hall out front with my husband. After one lap I felt the curious need to use the bathroom soon, so we went back into my room just in case It was so bright and sunny! I had one wall almost completely made of huge windows overlooking the Portland Valley. As soon as I got back into the tub, I had a contraction and leaning on my chest on the side of the tub, my body just bore down.

“OH! Mywaterbroke…” I said, all in one breath. I then turned over and felt the need to bear down again. The nurse immediately came to check me and said, “Hold on, hold on, the midwife isnt here yet…” as she had stepped out for a sec to check on another patient. “I caaaaaaant!” I said grunting and my body did what it knew was best, and pushed the baby out in 3 pushes. The midwife’s assistant was there to catch as was my husband and kids.

This birth was so fantastic. Emmalia Antoinette was 6 lbs 15 oz and alert and calm. Everything was so perfect.

One of the things about having a perfect natural birth is not only the endorphins that lasted me a good 3+ days, but also the fact that it’s hard to say no to doing it all over again.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.


A married stay at home mom of 6 and photographer living in Portland, Oregon.