eden on the scene

eden arrived on a sunday morning, which is incredibly appropriate since sundays have long marked the most special and sacred day of the week in my family.  a perfect day to be forever blessed by the arrival of my first-born.

eventually ill write more about how i felt in my heart as eden was arriving, but this post is more practical information about her arrival.  when i was getting ready to have her i loved reading birth stories so i could get my ahead around labor.  

its long, so no offense taken if you don't read it all.  also, i won't know.  

this is how it happened...

robert and I had a great visit with some out of town friends on saturday the 10th of august, and they left at around 4:45 in the afternoon.  as soon as they had left i began having what i thought were early contractions.  i was thrilled that Eden was on her way, i could hardly wrap my mind around it!  i called taylor, my fantastic friend and doula, and asked her what i should do.  she said to watch a movie and drink some wine.  SO, since i had no idea what type of wine robert would bring home from the grocery store without me, i decided to go with him to martin’s and get some wine.  we got a bottle of cupcake malbec and headed home.  i kept having steady contractions every ten minutes that were one minute long.  robert and i watched oblivion and drank wine while the contractions kept coming.  by around ten thirty the contractions were 5 min apart and lasting a minute each, and so taylor agreed to head over in the next hour.  she arrived around 12 and said we would stay home till my contractions were steadily 3 or 4 min apart.  we checked in with meghann, the midwife on call (who i was really, really hoping would be on call because she has been the midwife that i have bonded with the most and is the best and reassuring me and calming my fears).  she said to let her know when they were closer together and more intense.   robert and taylor were both helping me through contractions by pushing on my hips while i was leaning on my birth ball.  robert was doing a great job of helping me, and learning how to push the right way.  he was a fantastic partner.  at around 1:30 my water broke. 

contractions were consistently 2 minutes apart and lasting between 1 and 2 minutes each.  it was really starting to get intense.  i called meghann again and she told me that she would meet me at the hospital.  robert loaded our 50 million bags into the car while taylor helped me work through a few more contractions.  contractions in the car were horrible but robert drove smoothly.  i threw up several times on the way.  on our way in to the hospital, taylor mentioned that people might think robert was an african polygamist with two pregnant wives (since she was also visibly pregnant).  i laughed.  i vaguely remember buzzing the intercom and having someone ask me how they could help.  i responded “yes, id like to have one baby please”.  i thought it was funny.  soon we were in the very spacious room and i was in my backless gown waiting to be checked.  success: i had already dilated to a soft 4cm.   i was SO thankful to taylor for keeping me home from 5pm till 2am and helping me labor in peace.  it was now around 3 am.

the contractions were staring to get really intense at this point and i really needed someone to help me through each one.  robert was wonderful and helped me by pushing on my hips during each rush. at this point i got into the small shower and labored in there on my ball while robert sprayed warm water on my lower back.  taylor and robert talked me through my progression and were great supports.  i stayed in the shower for 30-45 min and then got out and dry again to continue laboring in the room.  at around 5 am i was checked again and was at 6cm.  at one point i was groaning/singing through contractions and it occurred to me that i sounded like i was about to sing the opening line from the lion king, which i told everyone in the room.  i did not actually ever do it out loud but it made me smile when i was going through a rush and robert occasionally sang some of it. 

i was told that my family had arrived and asked if i wanted to see them.  elise and mama came in the room for a bit to say hello.  elise and mom took turns sitting near me and holding my hands.  i tried to relax through each contraction so that my body could do what it needed to do, instead of tensing up like i always see in the movies and on TV.  my body knew exactly what to do.  God made it that way. at some point robert was instructing me about breathing (which i did not want to hear) and i reached back and smacked his head a bit.  i did not mean to smack him, i was just trying to communicate during a contraction for him to stop talking.  sorry robert, did not mean to hit you!  after a while dad and adam came in too to say a quick hello before taking up residence in the waiting room.

eventually they all left and i was checked again, at about 7 o clock.  the night nurse, char, left and geneviève came on.  she was a fantastic nurse.  at this point i was told could get into the tub and it felt amazing.  the first contraction in there was SO much easier on me than the ones out of the tub had been.  i labored in the tub as i moved through transition.  meghann kept putting the mobile monitor on me, which was awesome cause she could put it in the water, and i remember listening intently each time to hear her heart beat and gazing over at the monitor to see the number.  meghann would look at me, knowing what i was looking for, and assure me that the hear beat was fine. 

contractions were hard and fast, lasting between one and two min and really really intense.  at one point geneviève asked me the baby’s name and when I said eden, I started to cry and I felt eden move so much when I said that.  meghann confirmed that when i said her name, she moved down a bit.  i was able to doze off between many of the rushes, which was so nice in the warm water.  then i would be snapped back to reality with another one.  robert and taylor both got to rest a bit which was good because they had been working really hard with me.  after about an hour and a half in the tub i got out because it was getting cold.  i labored some more on my birthing ball and robert helped me through each contraction again.  i was checked and i was told i was progressing really well (meghann was all about telling me HOW i was doing without exact numbers.  i think she could see i wanted to know the numbers but knew it would stress me out if i was calculating things too much in my head.) 

after a while the tub was refilled and i got back in for the last hour or so of transition.  this last hour was the most intense.  the contractions were so strong that i had to really really groan through each one.  i thought my head might burst a blood vessel.  i got into a pattern where i would rock my hips through a contraction and move my head from my chest upward (like a lion roaring and of course thinking of the lion king again).  i had to push through some of them even though i was at about a 9.5 because i could not get through them any other way.  like i had heard from so many friends and stories, pushing actually felt good and it was an outlet for all the intensity.  i had some small bit of cervix that was keeping me from being a full ten, so meghann really wanted me to wait if i could so that i would not tear badly.  i remember the only thought that kept me going was that i knew that, just as each rush had a start, each one would end.  and i knew that God had created me to be able to handle the contractions.  it was hard work and eventually i began to cry.  not really crying, but just leaking water from my eyes because i was so so tired.  i could feel with two contractions specifically that my body was really changing and that i was getting close.  i could not keep from pushing.  taylor, meghann and robert were all so encouraging. 

throughout transition robert kept making marathon analogies about how close i was to the finish.  eventually i told him that i was not interested in hearing any more of them.  (i hope i said it nicely, i may not have). 

at around 10 robert predicted that i would have her at 11 or just before.  it seemed that meghann thought that was totally possible, so I began to have a renewed sense of strength.  but at the same time i also was thinking “oh no, i know that i can get through contractions, but how will i ever get through pushing her out?”  i was feeling afraid.  meghann said that i could stay in the tub and keep riding out the contractions, or i could get out and have my baby.  i chose the latter.

i got out and got onto a birthing stool. this made the pressure really intense.  meghann had me push through contractions, but she and taylor told me that now, instead making noises to get through the contraction, I needed to hold my breath and push all the energy down when i was contracting.  i did this a few times in each contraction and i began to feel myself opening up.  meghann would tell me when to stop pushing sometimes because she did not want me to tear.  amazingly, i was able to follow her advice and control when i pushed.  she asked me at one point if i wanted to feel the top of the head, but i said i could not cause i was trying so hard to brace myself on the stool and because i was afraid i would feel her head and want to push too fast.  (also i just think i could not get my mind around the fact that she was coming out, i was afraid).  i did reach down and feel the top of her head at one point and it was soft and covered in hair.  it really became real to me then. 

i was sweating so much while pushing that i was dripping from my head onto meghann.  then i would get really cold between contractions and need a blanket.  i remember thinking that i could not believe it was possible for eden to come out.  i felt that i was going to explode.  it was not that the pushing hurt so much as it was that i thought i would break open and die from the pressure.  i had to push as hard as i ever thought possible, and then push through that so that i could feel her moving down.  i did not even notice the pain of the contractions anymore, only the pressure.  elise and mama came in at this point.

eventually meghann said that i needed to move to the bed.  so i moved to the bed, though  am not sure how since i was thinking it was not possible.  i pushed for a while on hands and knees but my legs kept cramping up to the point where i could not hold myself up.  i had thrown up so much during the last 18 hours, i had not kept any food or water down.  because of this, i moved to my back.  i felt some really good progression while on hands and knees and knew she was coming out soon. 

i was helped to my back and then i really began to push.  but my legs were cramping again and i could not hold them up and open like i needed to do.  it was crazy but in all the pain of pushing, i was really overwhelmed by the leg cramps in my hamstrings.  this is how they felt all through pregnancy and now i have something to explain how painful they were.  they were so painful that i was more focused on them than the pain of pushing.  i told meghann i could not hold my legs up and she said i had to.  i told her someone else would have to hold them up so robert and geneviève held them up for me.  i pushed insanely hard and her head was born.  meghann told me to wait and not push anymore, the cord was wrapped three times around her neck.  i waited for further instructions.  finally she told me i could push again, and as i did, i felt a huge relief as eden’s whole body just slid out, at 10:52…just before 11, like robert had predicted.  she cried two little cries and then before i knew it, she was on me, eyes wide open, sucking on her hand. i think i thought i would feel an overwhelming sense of love or just start weeping, but what i felt was disbelief.  i kept saying “i don’t believe it, i cant believe it, she is here” over and over.  i really could not get my head around the fact that my tiny human had just come out of me and was now on my chest.  my mind was absolutely blown.  robert was there right next to me as i delivered her and watched her be born, as did mom and elise.  after about 10 minutes someone asked if we had actually checked if it was a girl.  we all laughed and meghann confirmed that she was in fact our daughter.  robert cut the cord.  

the next thirty minutes or so was a blur of me holding her and trying to tough it out as meghann talked me through delivering the placenta.  she then stitched up my small tear with 4 stitches and pushed on my stomach a lot to make sure i was getting everything out. once i was cleaned up, someone took eden and cleaned her up enough that i could focus on trying to feed and so that dad, adam and greta could come in.  when i went to put eden on my breast, she head-dove and latched right on.  the nurse said she had the latch of a three month old and i felt overjoyed that it had worked so quickly.  i kept feeding her for a while.  we had a few moments of just greta and our family talking and it was really really sweet.  i love greta dearly and am so glad she was able to be a part of eden’s first hour of life with my family!

(meanwhile julie, pregnant with carter, and due three days after me, was in labor with him across the country and delivered him later in the evening.  so eden and carter share the exact same day of birth!)

(also, I had been determined since early on in my pregnancy that my first splurge once eden arrived would be a chocolate milk shake from Chick-fil-A.  eden was born on a sunday morning.  what a dirty, rotten trick Chick-fil-A.)

the next hour was a blur of nurses coming in, weighing her, washing her, foot printing, giving me opiates, and passing eden from person to person.  mom held her first. we took family photos and talked and smiled and enjoyed eden’s first two hours of life.  at some point i called paul and grandmom to tell them the news.  elise sent out the announcement via e mail and the text messages and e-mails started to pour in with congratulations!  eventually everyone left, with promises of coming back later.  greta stayed and took photos of our little family after i had been able to put on a nightdress and clean up a little bit.   i remember thinking that i did not know if my legs would work when i tried to stand up, but they did. 

at around three we transferred to a recovery room, room 42, where we met our new nurse, tiffany.  as we rolled through the hospital, everyone was congratulating me and i felt so so proud.  we got all settled in the new room and were only there for a few minutes before christine, sloane and elizabeth arrived.  It was so incredible to see them because it felt like we had just been visiting christine and sloane in the hospital.  sloane was precious and kept pointing at the baby and wanting to touch her.  eden was passed around and loved on and christine and elizabeth brought lots of goodies including chocolate covered bacon for me to snack on.  shortly thereafter mom, dad, adam and elise came back.  they just stopped in shortly to bring pizza and see us again.  elise and adam had to go back to durham and mom and dad eventually left while we continued to visit with elizabeth and christine.  eventually they all left and rested for a while before meghan and kevin came by.  at this point i had not slept since i woke on saturday morning and i was exhausted so we said goodnight to the capeharts.  i nursed eden and sent her off to the nursery, which i had thought i would not do but i realized that i would be so concerned listening for her breathing that i would not sleep if she stayed in the room.  every time she was quiet, i would unwrap her and look at her belly to make sure she was breathing.  tiffany took great care of her and brought her back throughout the night twice to feed. 

eden’s entire birth process was so surrounded by providence.  meghann was the midwife on call, and the one i had been praying to have the whole time.  she was outstanding and i could not imagine having done it without her.  geneviève, tiffany and brooke were all fantastic nurses on staff. because it was a weekend, elise and adam could come up and not worry about elise’s saved maternity leave.  because robert was not back in school yet, he had flexibility for the next few weeks to be with me.  we got to have the baby and get home before darlene and mary, our rwandan family, arrived.  the list goes on and one, all attesting to God’s incredible goodness to us.  robert was incredible and i was so blessed to watch him become a father.

and thus she arrived


  1. Beautiful Birth Story, Laura! So proud of you! :) You conquered this, with the Lord's help and a little help from your friends! Well done.

  2. I am so glad you took the time to write this all out. I loved being able to know what each step of the way was like for you, thank you for sharing. (Also, the chocolate covered bacon was from Elizabeth...!)

  3. Laura! I am so proud of you. i know unmedicated labor is so very painful. You endured what, about 12 hours of it. Good job! (no judgement) I found it to be the most powerful and amazing work I have ever done. God is good in all things. He created us to do amazing and wonderful things "...His glory to proclaim"


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