Millie's Birth Story

So week 41 rolled around and I was advised to have a non-stress test and an ultrasound to measure amniotic fluid. During the ultrasound we were adamant about not seeing anything-we figured if we had waited this long without seeing our babe we could wait longer. We went for the non-stress test. I was hooked up to machines (you can about imagine how thrilled I was) and found I was having contractions every 5-7 minutes. I was only feeling my belly get tight. I didn't know how to read the test sheet but I could certainly tell these contractions meant business. The nurse was fairly certain we weren't going to make it to Bellevue when the time came. We smiled and said we weren't worried.

After our test we went home, ate lunch, and watched Planes Trains and Automobiles. I decided to time my contractions. I had to do this by putting my hand on my bump to ensure I felt them. After four contractions each one different than the next, I got bored and quit.  At about 7:00 p.m. I started noticing a lower back ache that would come and go. I sat on my exercise ball for a little bit and then we went to my parents. While over there I noticed the back ache getting stronger and coming and going more often. I went to the bathroom at about 8:30 and found some bloody show. I came out to Jerrel waiting for the bathroom and said "I think it's time to go." We told my parents gave them hugs, ran home, grabbed our bags and called the midwife. She said if we wanted to wait a little bit we could or we could come now and hang out. I told her because of our distance I thought we should come. We loaded the car and hit the road. Jerrel called his family and told them we were on the way.

So many people wonder about the ride. They think it must have been terrible. I turned the radio to the Christian radio station, everything else sounded like noise. While in the car I prayed, sang with the radio and rode each wave as it came. At the peak of a contraction I would tell myself that it will come down. I would remember it is from me and I was being empowered by God. I focused on the fact my body was fearfully and wonderfully made to do this task. We stopped to pee after about 2 hours. Whew that felt good! After that break I started to do some counter pressures, rubbing my own back and pressure points in my hands and feet. I found these very comforting. At about the 3 hour mark I was able to fall asleep between contractions. It was so refreshing and made that last leg of the trip fly. When we got to the Bellevue exit I called the midwife, Heather. She asked where we were and how I was doing. She asked me to rate my contractions, I said a 7. She told me she thought I was in early labor so I could go hang out at the hotel, go to my aunts, or meet her at the birth center so she would check. I asked if we could meet and check my progress. When I got off the phone I told Jerrel "She thinks I only in early labor. I hope I'm not in early labor. If I'm in early labor we might be in trouble."

When we got to the birth center and Heather listened to baby, took my blood pressure, and asked about our drive. She asked me to let her know when I had another contraction. Within just a few minutes I let her know and she listened to baby again-all looked good. Then she checked me. She looked at me and said "You are at SEVEN! How are you so stoic?" I replied, "Good genes? My mom went in late with me too. I just have to do this. I can't whine about it." Heather then asked what I wanted to do, walk, sit on the ball or get in the bath because I was staying and we were having a baby. I wanted nothing more than to get in the bath. I walked around the center while my bath was running and stretched out my back and legs. I then got in the tub and it felt SO wonderful. We turned on the radio dimmed the lights and begun the process of laboring in the tub.

At some point the student midwife, Whitney showed up as did the nurse, it was wonderful to have so much support around. After a while in the tub I began to get pretty uncomfortable. I thought getting out and walking might help-nope. One contraction later I was back in. A midwife suggested I get on all fours to help alleviate my hip pressure. I tried it and it did help, until the next wave came and she tried to do some counter pressure in the middle of my back. This is when I almost lost it. I fell to my knees from all fours and almost cried. It was so intense. She immediately told me I was doing so good, I could do this, I was strong. I told her I knew I could do this-that was just very intense. I laid back down in the tub and continued my labor there. Heather came in and asked if things were getting close. Whitney explained the situation and said yes. They listened to baby and waited for another contraction. I was tired so I had stopped humming with them. They made a comment that apparently I was having a long break between them. I quickly informed them that I had had two...just decided not to hum. Oops.

Later on I got hungry so Jerrel got me a cookie, the midwives thought this was so funny. I took one bite, a drink of some juice they gave me, and seemed to have new energy. Some time later I started to feel nauseous, Jerrel put some peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball by my head. I could grab it if I needed otherwise I just caught a wiff every now and then. It helped emmensly. I now see that was transition-the time was coming to push. Whitney mentioned that if I felt the urge to push that I should go ahead and do so. I thought I felt it so I started to push. After a few pushes a bulge came out-my water broke-what a relief. After I started pushing I felt so much better, it felt good to be doing something and I found the pressure and ache in my lower back and hips was not near as noticeable while pushing.

It was while pushing that I was so amazed by my body. A contraction would come, I would tell my body to start pushing but the length of the push and how many pushes was not up to me. My body took over. Heather asked how many kids my mom birthed, I answered "Three."  Heather was surprised because if she was as good as I was doing she should have had more. Another time Heather said "You are doing so good Jess, amazing." "It's not me. It's Him." Flashed through my mind. I continued to push with each wave with my support system telling me how good I was doing, making small conversation in between, and my husbands hand on my shoulder. It was this positive environment that helped make this birth possible. Anywhere else, I'm afraid I would have became annoyed and frustrated. I knew that this is how birth was supposed to happen. Peaceful and positive.

Right before crowning the nurse, Linda told me try to move to my side put one leg up and make low noises with each push. This lady? Well, she knew what she was talking about. In this position I could push on the area of my hips that ached. Genius. I remember looking right at Heather and Whitney and saying "If my hips would just stop aching I would be totally fine." Heather just laughed at me. The whole pushing phase I only remember pressure and a stretching sensation. I do not say that to sound prideful or to show off. I am only being truthful.

It came time to prepare to catch baby. Everyone had made their gender guess and girl was the consensus. Linda asked if we had a camera, Jerrel ran and got it from my bag. So thankful for the pictures she took!  Jerrel was unsure if he was going to catch but I told him he had to-he would regret otherwise. They explained the process. Heather told me about 10 or 15 mins left or 1 or 2 pushes and we'd be done. I said "Total?" She said "YES." I could do that I thought. They asked if I wanted a mirror. I thought I would say yes, but I was concerned it might distract my focus, that seeing might cloud my mind and I wasn't done yet. When the final push came Jerrel was ready to catch. I pushed, they had baby's head and while they were turning babe so shoulders could come out I had an extremely flattering moment and yelled "GET IT OUT!" And so he did, he takes direction well. I was so tired and just wanted to hold my baby and I'll admit that part kinda hurt.

Jerrel moved babe to my chest and we immediately looked to see that our baby was a little girl! She fussed a little and I said, "It's ok, Momma's here." I praised Jesus and then cried while I said "Jerrel, she's ours." We laid in the tub for a while, they put a warm cloth on her and we just looked her over. She didn't have much vernix on her.

Jerrel and I brought our baby earth side, together. How awesome is that? Makes me misty eyed still. 

Blurry! But Jerrel holding Millie for the first time! She may or may not be hunting for food!

They cut the cord once it was done pulsing had me hand her to Jerrel so I could get out. I was pretty wobbly when I stood and that's when I delivered the placenta. They helped me get to bed and we saw baby girl was already hunting for food so the nurse gave me a few basics of breastfeeding...while baby was already latched on. She ate within 15-30 min of birth..she was hungry and has been ever since it seems!

They checked me all out listened to baby and said when I was ready we could weigh her. They were amazed on how big she was. We decided then we should count her fingers and toes-we were too excited to find out gender and kiss her before! After about an hour we were curious on her weight- 8 lbs 5 oz. WOW! We called our parents and told them the news..but we didn't have a name yet-she didn't look like any of the names we had picked as our top contenders! The nurse suggested we order breakfast from the cafe next door and take a nap. We did just that.

The midwives came in and told us they had to go to the hospital to assist another birth and that the nurse Linda would take over and help us discharge. At the birth center you stay an average of 4-6 hours after birth. Some people have asked why they kick us out so quick. We didn't feel kicked out whatsoever, it's just how they work. The nurse helped me to the bathroom a couple times. The last time Jerrel helped me. We got our early discharge instructions, I got dressed, dressed baby, loaded her in her seat and we headed off to my Grandmas', we returned the next day for a check up.

They hang a flag outside the center after each birth! Fun! It's a girl!

We received this hat as one of our parting gifts, too big then...fits her today. But we aren't talking about that! Millie made this face when we got to Grandmas. So squishy.

We decided on Millie the next day after we were certain our original top 3 names didn't fit. Millie had been tossed around before but this time it stuck. Her middle name is the same as mine and is also my Grandma Smiths middle name, but is the name she goes by. Millie as it turns out was the name of a great aunt I never met-we didn't know that until after we named her.

So that's MIllie's birth story. How she got in our arms. And as I look at her now, propped up beside me on the couch I want to tell her this: Mills, the story of you getting to my arms is how birth should be and it was worth it. All of it. You made me momma, thank you.

And so, I experienced this, I lived it, and I wrote about it...but I still feel like we drove to Bellevue went to Target and bought her. It's such a wonderfully bizarre thing, having a baby.



  1. Nancy ConleyMay 07, 2014

    Thanks for sharing. What a wonderful experience for all involved. Love that the birthing center is available. What a gift those midwives have and are to the world.

  2. I truly enjoyed reading this. Thank you! God bless you and your precious family always.