Wednesday by Leah: Jonah’s Birthday!

– Posted by Leah
(Read Mark’s Version of BabyRoX’s birth, Here.)
So last Wednesday, as some astute readers have surmised…there was no Wednesday by Leah post because Leah was in LaborLand! But I hope today’s post will make up for that missing one…

Wow, I’m not sure I can come up with the words to fully describe Jonah’s birth. Awesome. Intense. Empowering. Exhausting. The most incredible, amazing thing I’ve ever done.

That still doesn’t really describe it.  But it’s a start.
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
I have to give a huge shout out to my most wonderful partner and husband. Mark was with me every step of the way…at least every step that I needed him.  (There were chunks of time when I wanted to labor alone.) And our phenomenal doula Becca gets another huge shout out, because she was also with me every step of the way – and with Mark, helping him support me in the best ways. She had a magic carpet bag or something full of soothing little comforts, like fuzzy socks and lavender oil. Becca somehow intuitively knew just what I needed at different points.  I don’t think I talked for much of my labor…at least the last half of the 13 hours. I was somewhere else entirely.  Deep within myself, working with Jonah, floating/drifting/pulsing/melting/surrendering…and, finally, pushing through each contraction. 
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
I wasn’t really aware of time…it felt more realistically like 4 hours to me, but somehow 13 passed from the onset of regular contractions to Jonah’s arrival. I went from having 2 hours of am-I-in-labor, mild, irregular contractions to much more intense ones that came 2 minutes apart and lasted a minute long. Bam! No slow build-up to the more frequent contractions for me. I dilated progressively – not as quickly as one might think given the frequency of my contractions from the start – but my body did just what it needed to do. My wonderful midwife and her assistants would check me periodically and listen to Jonah’s healthy and strong heart rate. But they mostly just let me labor and stayed out of sight. They filled the birth tub with 140 gallons of hot water. They gave me Vitamin B drops and Becca kept me hydrated and fed me honey sticks. And I just kept on relaxing into the contractions one after another. I didn’t get much of a break between them so I didn’t really break out of my relaxed state until near the end, when I felt the enormous pressure of Jonah descending and the fatigue of laboring for 10 or 11 hours and I was ready to switch into active mode and get him out. Squatting, walking, and finally getting in the tub and pushing pushing pushing for around 45 minutes.
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
The tub felt amazing when I got in – the intense pressure bearing down on my bum eased up. I was around 8 or 9 cm dilated at that point and after about 15 minutes in the tub, where the contractions mercifully spaced out and gave me a short, blissful break, I was ready to push. But I was also insanely hot. Becca and Mark kept me cool with icy, lavender-scented rags. Mark gripped my hands and steadied me with each forceful pushing contraction. And slowly Jonah descended. This part seemed the longest to me – the previous 12 hours of labor were nothing compared to the pushing stage. Partly because I wasn’t in my relaxed state anymore, but I also think the forcefulness of the contractions and the intensity of the pressure factored in to making this relatively short stage of my labor seem so long.
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
Finally I felt Jonah slide out of me. That was just… WOAH. Our midwife told me to reach down and hold my baby, but I was gripping onto Mark’s hands and reeling from the intensity and force of birthing my precious boy, and I said, “No – You get him!” Somehow someone passed him to me and I sat down in the tub in complete shock and relief and joy, holding my son. 7 lbs, 19.5 inches, perfect and beautiful and with a super strong grip. Once the cord stopped pulsing, Mark cut it and I was able to bring Jonah to my chest (short cord! he could only reach my stomach with the cord attached) and start nursing. He latched on right away and nursed for a good hour. What a little champ. I delivered the placenta, then got out of the tub and headed to bed for a check-up and some stitches, with Jonah just nursing away!
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
It was amazing. I was so thankful to be in my own home. To be surrounded by such a skilled, supportive birth team. My midwife Charlotte, her two assistants – Rachel and Chasery, our doula Becca – they each brought something special and important to the birth. To making me feel cared for, strong, and completely capable. Mark somehow managed to tweet, take pictures, drink coffee, boil water, eat Thai food, check on my mom who was waiting in the parking lot because she is a crazy mama who loves me too much…and yet never not be there for a second that I needed him.  I don’t know how he did it and I’m eager to read HIS version of our birth story.
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
Not once during my labor did I ask to go to the hospital, or ask for pain medications, or say I thought I was dying.  None of those thoughts even occurred to me. What helped tremendously, aside from the incredible support I received was a.) being in a space where I was most comfortable, which for me was my own home. Being at home really helped normalize labor for me – yes, it was intense, but hey, I’m just chilling at home with Borat on TV, b.) being able to relax, thanks to a combination of a background in meditation, hypnobirthing techniques, and the Reiki I received distantly from my Reiki Master, Cyndie and my aunt Terri, and in-person from Mark and Becca, and c.) understanding and remembering that this was a temporary experience. Becca, Mark, and Charlotte would occasionally say “You’ll meet your baby soon!” or “Jonah is coming!” and it would remind me that the contractions weren’t going to last forever. At one difficult point near the end, when the pressure bearing down on my tailbone really made me think it was going to crack, I saw myself fast-forwarded 12 hours and holding Jonah…and I realized that labor really was almost over, and I just had to put up with a bit more intensity and push past the pain and it really would all be over and I would be holding my son.
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
Labor was not some horrific, pain-worse-than-death experience for me. It was painful, yes. But it was a totally manageable pain. A temporary pain. A pain with a beautiful purpose. A pain that drove me deeper inside myself than I’ve ever been, that made me realize the strength of my mind and spirit…and the strength of my physical body. I don’t want to be in labor every day, that’s for sure. But would I do it again in a heartbeat? Heck yeah. Labor wasn’t easy, but it also wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it might be. And again, I have to thank my wonderful birth team for making it such a fantastic experience. For making me feel so loved and so empowered. Charlotte, Becca, Rachel, Chas, and Mark – you. are. AWESOME.
Natural Home Birth | Water Birth | Midwife | Doula | Atlanta | Georgia | LeahAndMark.com
The next morning Mark and Jonah and I were snuggled up on our ComfySack. I had some hot cocoa, Mark had a cup of coffee, our kitties were curled up next to us, we were staring at our beautiful son…it was a perfect lazy morning with an impossibly perfect new family member…and I sat up and said, “OMG, if I had given birth in a hospital, we would still be there now!” It seemed so strange and… unnecessary. And just not at all how I would want to spend our first hours as a new family, with nurses bustling about and hospital smells and the like. And then I walked into Jonah’s room to change his diaper, and remembered giving birth there the night before. I can’t wait to tell him that he was born is his room. That his first experience outside the womb was of warm water, gentle hands, dim lights.
That he never had to leave his parents, that he wasn’t jostled by strangers or scrubbed or given shots or had goop put in his eyes. The people at our birth were people I knew. People I had seen for my prenatal care. Not some rotating group of doctors or midwives. My blood pressure was taken by the same woman who took it during my prenatal visits. Jonah was weighed and measured by the same woman who measured him every month of his gestation. Jonah was born surrounded by people who were excited to meet him, who had played a role in his growth and development up until his birthday. People I trusted. People who knew me, who knew my husband, who knew and respected our wishes for the type of birth and care we wanted to receive.
Few things in this world are perfect. Jonah’s birth .. it was. Perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing.

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  • Tristan Brenske 16 Nov ’11 at 7:52 am

    I am so incredibly excited for you! leah, you are a champ. what a beautiful way to bring your baby into the world. you both are awesome. <3

  • Tristan Brenske 16 Nov ’11 at 7:52 am

    I am so incredibly excited for you! leah, you are a champ. what a beautiful way to bring your baby into the world. you both are awesome. <3

  • Rebecca Sewell Smith 16 Nov ’11 at 1:03 pm

    Leah, what a beautiful story. It brought me to tears. You will forever cherish this experience. May you and Mark continue to be blessed.

  • Rebecca Sewell Smith 16 Nov ’11 at 1:03 pm

    Leah, what a beautiful story. It brought me to tears. You will forever cherish this experience. May you and Mark continue to be blessed.

  • Rebecca Sewell Smith 16 Nov ’11 at 1:03 pm

    Leah, what a beautiful story. It brought me to tears. You will forever cherish this experience. May you and Mark continue to be blessed.

  • Brei Stevenson 16 Nov ’11 at 1:14 pm

    Beautiful, thanks so much for sharing.

  • Brei Stevenson 16 Nov ’11 at 1:14 pm

    Beautiful, thanks so much for sharing.

  • Beka Carson 16 Nov ’11 at 1:24 pm

    Beautiful! Congratulations!

  • Beka Carson 16 Nov ’11 at 1:24 pm

    Beautiful! Congratulations!

  • Meagan Thomas O'Neal 16 Nov ’11 at 1:26 pm

    Aw! This brought me to tears too! What an amazing experience! I love you all and I am so glad for Jonah’s wonderful journey into this world!

  • Meagan Thomas O'Neal 16 Nov ’11 at 1:26 pm

    Aw! This brought me to tears too! What an amazing experience! I love you all and I am so glad for Jonah's wonderful journey into this world!

  • Whitney Huynh 16 Nov ’11 at 1:28 pm

    This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. You are awesome…all three of you!

  • Whitney Huynh 16 Nov ’11 at 1:28 pm

    This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. You are awesome…all three of you!

  • Judi Ellingson 16 Nov ’11 at 1:41 pm

    What a beautiful testimony of the incredible experience of having a home birth, Leah. I’m so happy for you all! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. Gorgeous pictures, too! Maybe birthing should be your photo specialty? πŸ™‚ Congratulations and lots of love to you all.

  • Judi Ellingson 16 Nov ’11 at 1:41 pm

    What a beautiful testimony of the incredible experience of having a home birth, Leah. I'm so happy for you all! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. Gorgeous pictures, too! Maybe birthing should be your photo specialty? πŸ™‚ Congratulations and lots of love to you all.

  • Amelia Rutter 16 Nov ’11 at 2:53 pm

    Wow, Leah! Thank you for sharing! What an incredible experience. Congratulations to you and Mark. Enjoy every moment with Jonah!

  • Amelia Rutter 16 Nov ’11 at 2:53 pm

    Wow, Leah! Thank you for sharing! What an incredible experience. Congratulations to you and Mark. Enjoy every moment with Jonah!

  • Marjorie Merges 16 Nov ’11 at 3:17 pm

    Absolutely amazing!

  • Marjorie Merges 16 Nov ’11 at 3:17 pm

    Absolutely amazing!

  • Marjorie Merges 16 Nov ’11 at 3:17 pm

    Absolutely amazing!

  • Jolene Hall Ward 16 Nov ’11 at 3:57 pm

    Your such a brave women! I’m so happy for you and Mark!

  • Jolene Hall Ward 16 Nov ’11 at 3:57 pm

    Your such a brave women! I'm so happy for you and Mark!

  • Amber St 16 Nov ’11 at 5:11 pm

    Thank you for such a lovely story! What an amazing experience!

  • Amber Struthers 16 Nov ’11 at 5:11 pm

    Thank you for such a lovely story! What an amazing experience!

  • Elle Cardenas 16 Nov ’11 at 5:54 pm

    Hey Leah, saw this on face space as a link from Jacqueline and just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS! wow, I can’t believe you have a baby! But he’s such a beautiful baby boy and this post was awesome to read! I’m so happy for you both! And btw, I still have your spoon : ) Take care and best wishes!

  • Elle Cardenas 16 Nov ’11 at 5:54 pm

    Hey Leah, saw this on face space as a link from Jacqueline and just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS! wow, I can't believe you have a baby! But he's such a beautiful baby boy and this post was awesome to read! I'm so happy for you both! And btw, I still have your spoon : ) Take care and best wishes!

  • Jo Arellanes 16 Nov ’11 at 6:11 pm

    Wow. Simply amazing. <3 <3 To you three. <3 <3

  • Jo Arellanes 16 Nov ’11 at 6:11 pm

    Wow. Simply amazing. <3 <3 To you three. <3 <3

  • Lauren Smith 16 Nov ’11 at 7:15 pm

    This made me cry! What a beautiful, beautiful story. I am so happy that Jonah arrived safely and in to a happy, loving environment that you and Mark have worked so hard to create. What a lucky little boy.

    • Lisa Bumblauskas Adebiyi 16 Nov ’11 at 8:40 pm

      Wish there was a love button for them. League writes so beautifully. I’m so happy and excited for them.

  • Lauren Smith 16 Nov ’11 at 7:15 pm

    This made me cry! What a beautiful, beautiful story. I am so happy that Jonah arrived safely and in to a happy, loving environment that you and Mark have worked so hard to create. What a lucky little boy.

    • Lisa Bumblauskas Adebiyi 16 Nov ’11 at 8:40 pm

      Wish there was a love button for them. League writes so beautifully. I'm so happy and excited for them.

  • Laura Scholz 16 Nov ’11 at 7:27 pm

    What a beautiful birth story! Thanks for sharing!

  • Laura Scholz 16 Nov ’11 at 7:27 pm

    What a beautiful birth story! Thanks for sharing!

  • Stephanie Shea 16 Nov ’11 at 8:44 pm

    chills, Leah. and a tear at the end. I’m in awe of you and Jonah and Mark. Thank you SO much for sharing your experience.

  • Stephanie Shea 16 Nov ’11 at 8:44 pm

    chills, Leah. and a tear at the end. I’m in awe of you and Jonah and Mark. Thank you SO much for sharing your experience.

  • Stephanie Shea 16 Nov ’11 at 8:44 pm

    chills, Leah. and a tear at the end. I'm in awe of you and Jonah and Mark. Thank you SO much for sharing your experience.

  • Jessica Pirkle Callan 16 Nov ’11 at 8:55 pm

    So happy for you πŸ™‚

  • Jessica Pirkle Callan 16 Nov ’11 at 8:55 pm

    So happy for you πŸ™‚

  • Jessica Pirkle Callan 16 Nov ’11 at 8:55 pm

    So happy for you πŸ™‚

  • Shelli Crouse 16 Nov ’11 at 10:06 pm

    I started tearing up before, but after this line, “I can’t wait to tell him that he was born is his room” it was official! What a beautiful story… So, so perfect in every way! πŸ™‚

  • Shelli Crouse 16 Nov ’11 at 10:06 pm

    I started tearing up before, but after this line, “I can’t wait to tell him that he was born is his room” it was official! What a beautiful story… So, so perfect in every way! πŸ™‚

  • Shelli Crouse 16 Nov ’11 at 10:06 pm

    I started tearing up before, but after this line, "I can’t wait to tell him that he was born is his room" it was official! What a beautiful story… So, so perfect in every way! πŸ™‚

  • Judy Bytheway 16 Nov ’11 at 10:33 pm

    So happy for you guys! Your baby will have amazing parents! πŸ˜‰ Congratulations!

  • Judy Bytheway 16 Nov ’11 at 10:33 pm

    So happy for you guys! Your baby will have amazing parents! πŸ˜‰ Congratulations!

  • Monchalee Steiger 17 Nov ’11 at 1:01 am

    Thank you for being you, for wanting to have this kind of amazing experience, for creating the miracle you created and for sharing it all with us. We are all so happy for you and Mark and OneTwo and ThreeFour and most of all, to have Jonah with us! I love you guys.

  • Monchalee Steiger 17 Nov ’11 at 1:01 am

    Thank you for being you, for wanting to have this kind of amazing experience, for creating the miracle you created and for sharing it all with us. We are all so happy for you and Mark and OneTwo and ThreeFour and most of all, to have Jonah with us! I love you guys.

  • Monchalee Steiger 17 Nov ’11 at 1:01 am

    Thank you for being you, for wanting to have this kind of amazing experience, for creating the miracle you created and for sharing it all with us. We are all so happy for you and Mark and OneTwo and ThreeFour and most of all, to have Jonah with us! I love you guys.

  • Addy Choi 17 Nov ’11 at 4:12 am

    *tears* at reading both your story and Mark’s. Thank you so much for sharing your 13+ hr “labor of love” journey. Awesome.

  • Addy Choi 17 Nov ’11 at 4:12 am

    *tears* at reading both your story and Mark's. Thank you so much for sharing your 13+ hr "labor of love" journey. Awesome.

  • Phillip J Oakley 17 Nov ’11 at 4:51 am

    I can feel your joy from here! Congratulations to the three of you πŸ™‚

  • Phillip J Oakley 17 Nov ’11 at 4:51 am

    I can feel your joy from here! Congratulations to the three of you πŸ™‚

  • Valentina Vitols 17 Nov ’11 at 5:57 am

    Congrats, congrats, congrats! Thanks for sharing this with us, guys! May your little guy be blessed with a life filled with love, health and happiness <3

  • Valentina Vitols 17 Nov ’11 at 5:57 am

    Congrats, congrats, congrats! Thanks for sharing this with us, guys! May your little guy be blessed with a life filled with love, health and happiness <3

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