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Our Ella Joy

Updated: Jul 16, 2020

"What is this? Kyle, what is this?!"

I felt a trickle of water run down my leg while I was busy making coffee at home on Saturday. I was currently 40 weeks pregnant and trying every midwives' tale in the books to help encourage our baby to make her entrance into the world (drinking date smoothies, applying Clary Sage Essential Oil to my feet, walking, etc).

I didn't expect to feel only a trickle when my water broke but I was fairly certain that my water had broken. I contacted my doula to let her know what had happened and tried to patiently wait for more signs of active labor. We went on a long walk, Kyle cleaned the house and we finished gathering the last minute things we wanted for our hospital stay.

Pretty much all day Saturday nothing really happened. I called my mom around 10 pm to let her know that I thought my water had broken. Being a first time mom I just didn't know what to expect and I was getting emotional on the phone because I didn't want to be wrong! We were so excited and ready to meet Ella Joy and I was going to be really embarrassed if my water hadn't broken. My mom assured me that my water had broken and said she would plan to come up the next day unless something changed.

I woke up at 4 am with contractions. I woke up at 5 am with bloody show. At 6 am I started timing the contractions to be about 6 minutes a part, but they were inconsistent. Deb, our doula, lived about an hour and 30 minutes away so she decided to come to our house after I texted her. Deb told me to wake up, eat breakfast and start a "normal" day. I made some eggs with sourdough toast and my favorite No Coast Coffee.

Kyle and I then started reviewing different labor strategies to help Ella get in position. Deb brought several Scripture cards and we played worship music throughout the house. We went on a walk, snuggled the pups, made mac n cheese for lunch and I took a long nap. At 4 pm we got in the car to head to the hospital. We stopped by Smoothie King, said goodbye to Deb (due to COVID-19 restrictions Kyle was the only person allowed in our room) and met my family in the parking lot of the maternity wing at the hospital.

We had a mini-baby shower in the parking lot before officially walking in the hospital. My parents and siblings delivered gifts for us that they had been saving for months. Everyone was able to feel Ella move, which made my mom especially happy.

We walked into the hospital close to 5 pm and they had to treat us like I was COVID-19 positive. I had taken the COVID-19 test 5 days and 2 hours before we checked in, but the staff insisted I had to retake the test because apparently it expires every five days (I was negative both times). The test I took was the "bad" one and it took my breath away.

I felt like I was living in a Monster's Inc movie. They put us in a tiny hospital room and I was overwhelmed with stress and emotion. Nothing about the hazmat suits and tiny hospital room was relaxing. One of my labor wishes was to labor in a tub, which wasn't an option at our hospital. The next best thing was a shower, which they told me would be available, so when I walked in the room and didn't see a shower it made me sob.

The staff proceeded to give me an IV, monitor Ella's heartbeat (it slightly peaked to 180 and so they wouldn't let me take the monitor off after the initial 20 minutes) and told me I had to lay down while we waited for my negative COVID-19 test results. The contractions were more intense and I felt miserable laying down while we waited. I also had to take a drug test. Two hours later the staff confirmed my water did break and we were able to move into our permanent room.

Our room was on the ground floor and even had a sign posted with the room number so it was easily accessible for our family to stop by. We are insanely thankful for that gift! It made it so easy for our family to check in on us and then later visit after Ella's birth.

After we checked into our new room the doctor on call and nurse went over my birth plan and checked dilation. The doctor said I was dilated to a 1-2 and 80% effaced. I started antibiotics since I tested positive for Group B Strep. After my second round of antibiotics the staff said they would check to see if my dilation had progressed. I tried to sleep some but the contractions were increasing in intensity.

The second time the staff checked me they said I was still dilated at a 2. I felt completely frustrated with almost no progress and such a long time had passed since my water broke on Saturday afternoon. Around midnight/1 am the nurse discussed using pitocin to help my labor progress.

I was completely devastated. I didn't want any artificial enhancement to my labor and had heard how pitocin makes your contractions even more painful. I called my mom before they hooked me up to pitocin. I was scared about the increased pain and frustrated with not being able to follow my birth plan. The nurse said most people will increase your pitocin dosage every 20 minutes but that recent studies show it takes about 45 minutes for the pitocin to actually work it's way through the body. The nurse started me at 1 milliliter and it increased to 5 milliliters overnight.

I did not sleep at all the night. The contractions were definitely increasing and the pain was becoming more intense. Eventually we switched to the daytime staff. This is where I 100% believe God was looking out for us. Our nurse and the doctor on call were straight up gifts from the Lord. I cannot imagine them not being present for Ella Joy's birth.

Joyce, our nurse, basically stayed with me during most of her shift and was willing to give me the freedom to follow my birth plan wishes and labor however I wanted. She helped me really focus and breathe through the contractions. Kyle was also amazing at helping me get through each contraction.

As labor progressed and Kyle wasn't able to update the family as much my momma would stand outside the window of our hospital room and listen for Ella's heartbeat monitor and to see if she could hear me too.

I dilated to a 5 and the rest is a blur. I reached a 7 and they dropped down my pitocin dosage to 4 milliliters. Right before transition labor a tornado warning went off. Our nurse walked in our room and put a tiny half-mattress up in our window. She said, "I'm not sure how this is going to help, but this is what I'm supposed to do and we aren't moving you."

Transition labor is absolutely wild. Our doula said once you reach transition the pain doesn't really increase so Kyle encouraged me with that as we started transition labor. I kept feeling like I needed to poop and went to the bathroom regularly because it helped me relax more than anything. My body started shaking all over as the contractions increased in intensity. At one point I started involuntarily pushing on the toilet and Joyce told me to get up because she didn't want our baby born on the toilet.

We tried some pushing on the bed but I felt like laying down was horrible. I finished out most of labor standing and using the bed to hold me up against the pain of the contractions. Joyce was worried I would break the bed because I was pushing down on it so hard, but she let me do my thing. I pushed standing up until it was 100% "go time."

We tried pulling the scarf while pushing and then our doctor came in with another nurse and a nursery worker. Our doctor was so kind and empathetic. Her tone of voice was absolutely soothing and I thanked God for sending just the right person, especially since my midwife was not able to attend.

At one point the doctor came in while we were in labor and saw Kyle and I slow dancing and said, "Oh my! They are so cute."

I pushed for about 1 hour 30 minutes. It was wild and difficult. My doctor put me on oxygen to make sure I was breathing well and taking care of Ella. She was following my birth plan by giving a perineum massage to help prevent tearing. I kept complaining about it the whole time and the staff kept reminding me that they were doing what I asked for! Our doctor kept apologizing for the pain. My sweet husband had tears in his eyes.

At one point they could see her head and had me feel it to try and encourage me that we were almost done. I asked what color her hair was since I was born with dark black hair and Kyle and I are both blonde. The doctor said it was hard to tell Ella's hair color since she was covered in so much fluid and goop. I also had heartburn while in transition labor and they said "once you push her out you won't have to deal with that anymore!"

The staff asked what her name was and kept cheering for Ella Joy each time I pushed. It was the perfect celebration.

"Come on, little Ella Joy!"

"We are so ready to meet you"

"Today is your birthday! We want to celebrate"

The doctor at one point mentioned that she had a big head, which wasn't the most exciting news for me to hear. She said, "maybe she won't be little Ella Joy after all, maybe she's a big Ella Joy."

I pushed a few more times, each time getting closer and closer until finally I saw that sweet head, face and body of our Ella Joy.

"You are good, good, oh, oh" from King of my Heart was playing when they placed her on my chest (I still had my pillow fight champion pj shirt on) and we were just so amazed by her presence and arrival. I pushed out the placenta in one push.

Ella came out pooping and I also bled quite a lot so was blood and poop everywhere (I even found more dried poop on my elbow a couple of days later that I'm sure was from birth).

I had bilateral labia stitches but overall my tearing was basically nothing.

We did five minutes of delayed cord clamping. Kyle cut the cord. The nursery worker took out first photo as a family of 3. We enjoyed over and hour of skin to skin with our precious baby. It was magic and so beautiful to have all that time just the 3 of us.

Ella Joy was born on May 25, 2020 at 6:25 pm. She weighed 7 pounds and 3 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long.

We are so so so in love with her. We cannot stop thanking God for her gift of life. We are so thankful to be her parents. So many dreams are in our hearts for this little life before us.

Ella Joy, may we teach you to follow Jesus and His voice first and foremost. We love you so much.



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