"On the night you were born,
The moon smiled with such wonder
That the stars peeked in to see you
And the night wind whispered,
'Life will never be the same.'"
Aven's Birth Story
On this night two years ago I stirred with fear that I would go into labor while Evan was gone. He was home that night but had a flight to catch at 1pm the next day and I knew I was in early labor. For all you birth junkies out there (or just curious folk) my outer sac had a tear and I was leaking fluid, I was bound to start active labor in the next 24+ hours.
With fair warning that labor was going to start I made sure to call my parents so they could make it to the birth. My mom tried to make it to my first birth but missed it by 30 minutes since the drive from CA to AZ was 8 hours and I only labored for 7.5. They lived about 3 hours from me in Philly and I couldn't chance her missing it again.
I tossed and turned all night in hopes active labor would start. I woke Evan up at 7am in tears. Then I woke my midwife up, who so graciously flew into Philly to be with me for my birth, for some motivation & extra help. We decided to strip my membranes and send all my love and good vibes to my baby girl. Two hours later I had my first contraction.
I felt my entire uterus squeeze and I knew it was time to work. So I squatted and chanted to myself "knees wide, open your floor, breathe deep." That lasted all of three contractions before I needed fresh air. We bundled up, walked outside, and that's when it hit me. "Today is November 15th. Today is my Mother-In-Law's birthday. Holy crap. Today is the only day my birth photographer can't make it because she has a wedding." I don't recall the disbelief being the reason the pain was so surreal or the freezing temperature, but my contractions were close and long and we decided the best place was back in the house.
The house was warm but loud. My dear dad, bless his heart, had no idea what kind of serene environment I needed. Nor did my two and a half year old. So upstairs we went to create that lovely birthing space every birth junkie dreams of. Sweet music, diffusers going, candles light, pretty bralette and robe, bath running. It was so beautiful that I almost forgot Evan's flight was taking off in 3 hours.
Evan. My love. My rock. My birth partner. He knew exactly what I needed and I only wish I had been able to document it better to remember those moments. He helped me embrace each and every contraction. He danced with me. Held me. Gave me counter-pressure when and where I needed it most, but our time was up. It was time for him to go. I will never forget this moment. I was in the bath, Evan sitting on the edge staring at me with his whole body, giving me everything he had, squeezing my hand and whispering "Sorry, I'm so sorry. I have to go now." My heart sank.
Evan's phone rang and he left the bathroom for a minute. He came back in and told me they are delaying the plane for maintenance!! The entire team and staff already boarded and coincidentally the plane needed maintenance?! I believed it then but I see you now, whoever you were, I see you.
It was go time. I believed in me, my baby girl believed in herself, and together we believed in each other. With the help of a little bag breakage I went from contracting on my bed a few times to "I have to poop." And we all know what that really means, all meaning everyone but me because I was convinced I was going to poop while pushing and I refused to do so. I got up and went to the toilet, tried pushing and very quickly found out I was wrong-wrong-wrong. I screamed for help and all at once, my mom, husband, midwife, midwife's assistant rushed in with the birthing stool, and moved me from the toilet to the stool before pushing anymore.
Evan's hands were ready but his eyes were telling me he was in wild disbelief this was actually happening. I stared at my mom and told her I couldn't do it, she stared right back with her eyes full of tears and told me how I could and am. One more push and baby girl was out into her daddy's hands and onto my chest. She was here! And Evan caught her! We waited for the cord to stop pulsing completely before Evan cut the cord and kissed us goodbye. Thankfully someone from the team was waiting outside so Evan could leave right away. I don't know what actually happened when he boarded the plane but I picture a standing ovation.
The next two hours of recovery was quite a blur for me. I believe the lack of sleep, rush from oxytocin, and pressure of having her before he left threw me into a grateful haze. I had this beautiful healthy baby girl and all I could say was "oh. my. god", over and over.
Aven Kate Mathis was 9lbs 8oz & 23" tall. She was spoiled rotten for two years & is now running the house with her sneaky ways and sweet heart.