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Arabella’s Birth Story ~ Part 3

February 24, 2012

“Be not ashamed women, … You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul.” ~Walt Whitman

My labor was fierce and the love that was born out of it was that much more. My chest seemed to swell with love instantly. I like to imagine the scene from ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ where his heart grew 3 times it’s size. But I wasn’t Grinchy before! That’s how it felt, my earthly body could not hold my growing heart. Not only did I love my child but I suddenly loved her father more than ever before and had enough left over that I loved every person a bit more. Thank you oxytocin! (To read about ‘the love hormone’ oxytocin, click here.)

The new exhausted little family. I'm not exactly chipper looking, but you can ceratinly see I am reaping the rewards of the 'love hormone' rush. I would have shared it with Nick if I could have. 🙂

Betty handed Arabella to me all covered in vernix and her sweet little cry stopped immediately.  She laid on my chest until the cord stopped pulsing and then Nick did the honors. We rubbed the vernix into her sweet, fresh skin and wrapped her up so Daddy could hold her. (Read more about the wonders of vernix here.) Betty and Joy did vital checks and the newborn exam with us all together on the bed.

There are many reasons why I wanted to labor and birth at a birth center. It is no big secret that I hate hospitals and being a patient and I challenge authority at almost every opportunity. This birth allowed me to have a choice – in everything. We never felt rushed or disturbed in the whole process. Birth is honored and trusted. We did not have any interventions due to how long my labor lasted and we were able to opt out of unnecessary but routine newborn procedures such as bathing, eye ointment, and being whisked away to be placed under the warmer. Being with my baby and bonding was important to me and I didn’t have to sacrifice one minute of it.


Nick and Arabella sat beside me while I delivered the placenta. To quote Joy, it feels kinda like pulling out a big, soaked tampon. I know, I scrunched my nose at that image too – but the point is it did not hurt! And now for the part that may make a few of you queasy, you know, assuming anyone reads this besides my whole 2 followers. I wanted to see the placenta. This fascinating organ that grew inside my body alongside Arabella, supporting and nourishing her. Betty brought it over and showed my the smooth fetal side with the amniotic sac and cord. She flipped it over and showed me the maternal side which was bumpy and textured and a rich color of red. It really was beautiful. For the next hour or so Joy came by every 15 minutes or so to check my vitals and massage my uterus . I love Joy, I do. I do not however love a uterus massage.

Joy helped me out of bed to get cleaned up and I had to hold on to her the whole way to the bathroom. My body was just shaking and quivering all over – part fatigue and part high on hormones. After a quick clean-up and a new pair of lady diapers she wrapped me up in a big, cozy robe and fluffed me back up in bed with my baby. Joy sat in bed with Arabella and I to help us with our first breastfeeding lesson. I had read plenty and watched videos of how to get the correct latch and how to make a boob sandwich for the baby but experience beats study any day. I’m proud to say Joy made Arabella’s first boob sammich! Hey, it’s a lot to be holding your wobbly newborn for the first time and coordinate all the proper latching components!

Despite the wonderful help we did not have the magical first feeding in the first hour she was born. Arabella was simply not interested in eating. I joked that she must be full of poop since there was meconium present at birth. (Don’t worry, she didn’t aspirate or have problems.) We latter had the full of poop confirmed when Nick went to change the first diaper and meconium was coming out like play-doh out of a play-doh squeeze. It was totally awesome!  She was ravenous after that!

Before being released you have to eat a meal and keep it down. Nick went to the store and used this time to call his family and friends to share the happy news. When he returned he fixed one of my favorites – breakfast for dinner! Double score, I got fried eggs since I hadn’t eaten them during pregnancy. It was delish!

Our team, my mother, Nick, Betty, and Joy sat around with Arabella and I just taking in the miracle of life. I felt so grateful to be in the presence of such loving and warm people. Betty reviewed my labor notes briefly with me and discussed my care for the next 3 days until I came back for our post-natal check-up. It was then I learned how very close I came to a c-section. She told me there were a couple of times in my labor that she started to consider a transfer but that every time I would show her something that made her wait. She said she could see me fighting for it and watched me turn it around both times. Had I been in the hospital I would have most likely had a c-section; that was my biggest fear going into birth. I will be forever grateful for Betty’s trust in me and my body to birth Arabella.

All that remained was getting me and the baby dressed. We dressed in warm, comfy clothes and then packed up our things. A mere 4 hours after Arabella’s birth we were on our way home!

That is our story. I was born a mother. And this exquisite child was born from me. The transformation of heart, mind, body, and life.

This is the path/walkway to the birth center.

* I’d like to add that this is my story. And my next birth will have a completely different story all it’s own. I did what felt right for me and I’m proud of what I accomplished. Whether a birth takes place at a birth center, a hospital, an operating room, at home, or even in the car – it is to be honored and celebrated. What I’m getting at here is that your story is unique to you. Connect to your story and embrace it with a loving heart.*

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2012 10:54 pm

    I love your comparison to the Grinch! There is no high like an Oxytocin high…I don’t even think climbing Everest could compare. You should be sp proud of your strength and endurance…a beautiful birth story!

  2. Valarie permalink
    February 25, 2012 1:28 am

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful story :o) & I would say in that 2nd pic of your exhausted little family…while you do look exhausted your eyes tell a different story…that’s pure in love I see there. & I love the diaper part of the story (playdoh reference)…reminded me of Elizabeth’s 1st diaper change. Except hers shot out in projectile fashion all over me & even in my face when I lifted her tiny lil legs to wipe her bottom. I don’t think I ever laughed so hard nor will I ever forget that 1st diaper change.

    PS. You’re gonna be the BEST of the BEST at helping other mommas along their journey into motherhood…I am so proud of you!

    • February 29, 2012 2:57 am

      Ah! You saw it! Yes…although I am wiped out, I was soaring on a love high. 🙂 I would love to hear your story mama. Perhaps we should arrange a phone interview? I have dreams of expanding this page to include other mamas birth stories too.
      And thanks, you’re the sweetest!

  3. Jo-Beth permalink
    February 28, 2012 3:35 am

    I just learned so much about the hormones released during and after birth – thank you so much for posting that link!

    And as I said before, I’m loving your story.

    • February 29, 2012 2:58 am

      JB- aren’t you on the road? An avid learner, I bet you don’t tire of reading medical stuff ever! Labor and birth really are fascinating! ❤ you.

  4. November 5, 2012 7:05 pm

    This was such a wonderful story Sarah. I’m glad you felt like you could put that out on the internet for everyone to read. So, encouraging.


  1. Arabella’s Birth Story ~ Part Two « sarahNdipitous motherhood

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