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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ellison Jakeh's Birth Story

I just love birth stories. And I really cannot stop thanking God for the birth story that I get the privilege of writing right now. I'm not going to leave out any details and there's pictures of almost every stage. So this is your warning. If you don't want to see, just read the below short version!

 The edited/super short/not any fun to read version:  
Wednesday, April 18th
  • woke up with contractions around 4:30 am
  • dropped off Owen at Anne's at 9:00
  • appointment with Ray at 9:40 where he checked me/stripped my membranes and my water broke
  • walked over and got checked in at the hospital
  • got my dose of antibiotics for being GBS+ on the 10th floor
  • Jenna arrived
  • walked down the 4th floor
  • parents arrived and they all ate Jimmy Johns while I was being monitored
  • got in the tub at 12:15
  • Ellison Jakeh Pool is born into the water, completely naturally at 2:12pm
  • she was 20 3/4" long and weighed 8lbs, 9oz (one ounce smaller than Owen)
  • We fall in love.
The non edited/no details left out/it's a long read/makes me cry version:  
Birth preparations
I've had a lot of excitement and peace leading up to Ellie's birth.  I love thinking back to meeting Owen for the first time.  And especially since all the heart stuff got resolved with relatively little drama I really felt God's hand on what was going to happen, good or bad!  I spent tons of time reading natural birth stories and while there are some cooky ones out there, I tried to just focus on the main themes that kept coming up in the women's stories.  Things like something going wrong in their first birth that was a source of inspiration to get through this one (me being 'taken away' from Owen), water, wanting to feel everything, and lots of prayer.  I found myself praying lots over other women's birth stories.  Great friends who didn't get an opportunity to even TRY natural childbirth because of a variety of reasons.  What great inspiration to at least try to do this.

Tuesday, April 17th
Tuesday night was girls night for our awesome small group. I figured it might be the last time I see the outside world by myself for awhile, so I was excited to go. We ate at El Toro and despite the longest serving time I've ever had with Mexican food, the conversation was great with lots of baby talk (sorry to Rachel and Deanna)! The gals joked that I should just have a margarita since it was D-day! We went to Jill's afterward where I had a nice glass of wine (hey, she was fully cooked) and more good chatting.

Jenna flew into Bloomington and 9 and my dad picked her up and took her back to Peoria for the night. Only now have I started to hear how crazy most people thought I was for flying her here and just hoping things would work out time wise. And while yes, I prayed lots about this and had concern, I think I always just thought it would work out. (thank you Jesus)

Wednesday, April 18th
So I'm not sure if it was the Mexican food or wine or probably just God, but at about 4:30 I started noticing that I was having more than just gas pains. William had gotten up early and Owen was snuggled in bed with me after trying to get up at 3. I noticed the pains were coming kinda regularly so I got out my handy contraction app and sure enough, they were coming about every 7 minutes for about 30 seconds. I just stayed in bed, trying not to get my hopes up, and cuddling my little guy. I may have teared up thinking it might be his last day as an only child. I texted William downstairs and let him know he may not be going to work today.  How did people have kids before iphones? :)

Owen and I got up around 6:30 and we all just took our time eating breakfast and hanging out. My contractions were still pretty steady, so I started the barrage of phone calls. Since my go-to neighbor was still out of town, I called Anne D to give her a heads up about maybe having to watch Owen.  I called the midwives to ask if I should just keep my appointment with Ray that I had at 9:40.  They said as long as I wasn't progressing too fast, just come to the appointment.  Jenna, my mom and dad were going to wait until after the appointment for directions on when to come.  I took a shower, shaved my legs, and did my hair!  Haha.

At about 9, we dropped Owen off with Anne.  I cannot tell you how thankful I am for her!  She just loved on my little guy all day since my dad ended up staying with us, instead of picking Owen up as planned.  We took a couple pictures and gave Owen lots of hugs and kisses.  At this point, I was still walking and talking through them just fine.
our last picture as a family of 3
We arrived at our appointment and met with Ray and his student.  He checked Ellie first and said she was looking great, especially for likely being in labor.  He asked me if I wanted him to check me and strip my membranes.  He checked me first and said I was a stretchy 4-5cm.  Woohoo, already half way there!  He warned me that when you get your membranes stripped, there's a chance of your water breaking.  I said I knew that, but little did I expect the next minute feeling the gush of water.  Ray commented he was wearing nice pants and got out of the way just in time and then said "cleanup on aisle 4."  I asked the student if she'd ever seen that before and we laughed that she was witnessing all new things here.  Ray got me a towel and sent me off the hospital with best wishes for a good labor.

I made my way leaking over to the 10th floor at the hospital.  I had to stop a couple times, but overall was still feeling like these were super manageable contractions. When we got the 10th floor, they were scrambling to find a place for me.  Every room was full.  I quickly said that was ok, because we were headed down to the 4th!  They never questioned this. Hallelujah.  My nurse Krysteen was the same nurse I had with Owen.  She was FABULOUS!!  Cannot say enough great things about her.  She took me to a recovery room which was already being occupied by another lady waiting for a c-section.  Krysteen got all the paperwork started, got me monitored, and inserted my heplock in my arm.  It was nice not to have it in my hand and she said we'd just wrap it in saran wrap and I wouldn't have to wear a glove.  Yay!

Jenna had decided to drive on over as to be early as opposed to late.  She arrived around 11, just as we were getting ready to head down to the 4th floor.  They got a wheelchair, but I walked down just having to stop a couple times to breathe through contractions.  We introduced ourselves to Ellen, the midwife on call.  Wouldn't you know it, she was the only one I didn't see with Ellie.  But I will say now that she was AMAZING and the perfect person to help me deliver. 

I walked around a bit and sat on the birth ball when my parents arrived and they all ordered Jimmy Johns for lunch.  I got monitored for another 20-30 minutes where I realized I really hated laying down on the bed.  I asked if I could get in the tub as soon as monitoring was done.  
Ellen made fun of me as I brushed my hair several times before getting into the tub.  She laughed that I was 6cm and doing my hair.  I told her if she saw my hair for my first birth, she'd be worried about it too.  Ahh, instant relief when I got in the tub.  Not totally take away the pain relief, but it helped a ton.  Here's where I spent the next 2 hours until Ellison was born. 
For awhile, it felt good just to be submerged, laying on my side.  I'd grab William's hand for contractions, but still had a nice good break between them.  I tried to just turn to mush during these breaks and just completely relax. 

I remember still being able to talk occasionally and heard Jenna and William doing their share of goofing off.  My mom and dad continued to hang out in the room.  You could tell my dad really wanted to stay instead of getting shipped off to babysitting duty.  So thank you again Anne for making that possible!
Ellen asked if I wanted to lights lower, and then they turned on the weird red lights.  Jenna made it clear that I would hate the pictures.  I was closing my eyes anyways, so I told them to turn the regular lights back on.
my nurse, Krysteen in blue and Ellen in purple
With Owen, I really only wanted William to hold my hand.  But during the next hour or so, it helped to be on on my knees with William putting pressure on my lower back.  It was interesting that he had to keep pushing lower and lower as she made her way down.  I knew we were making progress.
Occasionally, I would get back on my legs or up on my knees and try to give her room to move down.  Work with me gravity. :)  I tried hard to stay "in the zone" and again really appreciate the small breaks between the pain.
They got me a couple pillows that could go in the water. I really appreciated being able to put my head down on something soft.  Things were starting to hurt pretty bad at this point, but I still felt pretty in control as long as William was giving me counter pressure and I reminded myself to not tighten or tense my muscles and let my body do what it was supposed to do.

At 1:12 (an hour into being in the tub) Ellen asked if I wanted her to check me which hadn't done since being with Ray.  I said yes.
This is not me pushing.  This is me being checked.  OUCH.  That business hurts.  Just adds insult to injury at this point. :)  I was around 8 and she could feel her head.  I remember feeling discouraged by this and thinking it would never end.  (little did I know the next 2cm wouldn't take that long).

Ellie looked good the whole time

Ellen reminded me that changing positions was good so I tried to go from back  to all fours, etc.  But it was getting pretty difficult.  I gave William and my mom instructions to write down times and quotes so I would have them document.  I stayed pretty quiet for the most part, but around this time I did say  "Oh wow, why did I do this" and "this was so much more fun with the epidural."  But looking at the times I said this, she was going to be born in about 15 minutes.  It's so true that when you want to cave and give up, it's almost done!
I vaguely remember them getting bustling around and getting gowns on and things out and thinking that had to be a good sign.  It also was feeling really good to start pushing and bearing down towards the end of a contraction.  Ellen asked if I was doing it or my body was doing it and I couldn't quite answer her.  I was pretty sure it was just me, but she said that it wouldn't hurt anything to push a little.  I remember looking up several times at Jenna who had a thoroughly disgusted look on her face.  I had warned her that I had eaten Mexican food and did not poop ahead of time. :)  Even I was a little concerned about the poop, but really when you're in that much pain, you really don't care about Ellen scooping a few things out of the tub.  (I told you I would tell you everything).
Within minutes though, I experienced my body pushing without any help from me.  It was all I could do to not curl up around her and push.  My one leg was pulled back close to me and kept hitting the jacuzzi buttons, causing the jets to go on.  I yelled "turn off the jets" not realizing it was me doing it.  So William had to hold my leg back a bit to keep that from happening.  I remember yelling at my mom to get in there.
I pushed for about 15 minutes.  It was the most incredible (and the most awful) feeling in the world feeling her come lower and then slowly out.  Pushing out the biggest poop of your life doesn't even begin to describe it.  Ellen said later that she was crowning for quite a while (that being relative considering I pushed for such a short time).
 I don't really remember feeling the "ring of fire" people refer to, but it all pretty much felt like fire, so I don't know if I just didn't pay attention to it.  I reached down once to feel her head, but it broke my concentration.  Her head finally emerged to much relief and then Ellen got right down in there and it felt like she was pushing her back in.  I remember yelling, maybe at her to stop?  Little did I know that Ellison had her cord wrapped pretty tightly around her neck and Ellen was just getting it undone. 
 Then, with one more big push, she came out!  What an amazing feeling and so incredible how the immense pain is just GONE.
They lifted her out of the water and onto my chest, looking quite purple.  But with a couple little rubs of the towel, she let out a great cry.
 Ellison Jakeh was born at 2:12:30pm and I fell instantly in love.
this one is nice and cropped so you don't see the water
We sat in the tub for awhile and waited for her cord to stop pulsating which took a bit.  We just cuddled and kissed and marveled at her long fingers and toes.  Eventually, William cut her cord and she became an independent little girl, free from the cord that had given her life the last 9ish months.
again, bad cropping.  sorry jenna
They wrapped her and I handed her to William.  Then we made the precarious journey from the tub to the bed, with the cord still dangling. :)  Within a couple minutes back on the bed and a good push later, I delivered the intact, huge placenta.  Yes, Jenna got a picture and yes, William touched it.  Gross and gross.    Ellen checked me out and said I had one tiny little tear, but said it would heal better and faster without a stitch.  Amen to that sister! 
Everyone came back in the room, they weighed and measured her.  8lbs, 9oz and 20 3/4", just one ounce less that Owen.  Kristy must have been feeling only part of her head, telling me she was likely a 7 pounder.  Maybe that was good motivation though thinking she was going to be smaller than O? She got lots of hugs and kisses and then latched on perfectly for our first session of breastfeeding.
And we became a family of 4.
While yes, we may have made fun of what my dad wrote on this board, this picture sums up this experience in it's entirety.   I really just cannot thank my "provider" enough for what a story he gave me this week.  A story I cannot wait to share with Ellison as she grows up.  God cared about the little details such as Jenna arriving, me getting a full nights sleep, and he gave me strength to get the birth I had dreamed about possibly having. I am a changed woman from this experience.  There really are no words you can type when talking about meeting the life God formed inside your womb for the first time. 

Ellison means "my God is the Lord."  And what better a story to prove that God really is in charge.
Thank you God for this story and how you've woven this new chapter into our lives.  Thank you for trusting us with this new little life.  Help us to teach her how to pursue you and the call you have on her life.  Help Owen feel cherished and not replaced.  Expand our hearts as we start the journey of raising two children.  Thank you for being a God worthy of being trusted and for proving yourself faithful a million times over in the birth of our little girl.


  1. Definitely crying after reading your story! Praise you, Jesus, for this amazing birth and beautiful addition to the Pool fam!

  2. Omigoodness..totally unexpected but I teared up reading about your journey. I'm so happy that you got to do it the way you wanted and I can't wait to meet her! She's darling!!

  3. This is a great birth story. An inspiration to many I'm sure! Giving birth totally naturally is an experience that is beyond putting into words but you did a beautiful job doing so. Thanks for sharing. I love birth stories :,)

  4. So Wonderful and Amazing! I am so proud of what you (and William) have accomplished with Jesus and this birth! I love reading stories like this! And they still haven't scared me enough to give up on my journey, which will soon be like your own! I love you all So much and can't wait to see your beautiful family soon!

  5. Love this! So amazing, I totally cried. I'm so happy for you that Ellie's birth was just want you wanted. God is amazing. Congrats to you and William!

  6. bwaaaaaah haaa (that's me crying). Thank you for sharing!

  7. So beautiful, Emily!

    - Jenny (millar) Steward

  8. Hey Emily! I am only just reading Ellie's birth story now--how FANTASTIC! Seriously, way to rock the natural birth, have a great and empowering experience, and come away with a healthy, beautiful little girl. I'm so happy for you, William, and big brother Owen! :)


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