The Birth of Aeris
Her story began on 2/15/2013 – that was the day that I found out that we’d be welcoming a new member into our little family of three. After the first ultrasound, we found out that she would be arriving on or about 10/31 – the day before daddy’s birthday!
We chose Breath of Life for my care because of the experience that I’d had with my first delivery. The hospital was by no means bad, and the midwife did her job well, but it just wasn’t an environment that I felt comfortable in. I wanted to be comfortable; I wanted to feel at home. That’s why a birth center was right for us.
Throughout my 39 weeks and 2 days of pregnancy, I visualized a serene birth experience. I wanted candles, aromatherapy lotions, a flowing dress, and to walk around outside in labor. I wanted to float, weightless in the tub while I birthed my baby. All of that went out the window when my labor began, though, and I was lucky even to make it to BoL in time!
I had come home from work at midnight the night before and slept peacefully until 10 am, at which point I woke up but stayed in bed. I had a few small contractions, but nothing to tell me that I was in labor until that fateful moment at 11:45am when I felt a pop and a gush! I told my husband to bring me a towel, because my water had just broken and I didn’t want to leak all over the bed. I made my way to the bathroom where I first tried to call my mom – no answer. I called my doula and close friend, Tracy, and told her to get ready because the contractions were getting regular. Then I made the call to Vikki – she urged me to stay home another 15 minutes, because they’d had 3 laboring moms that night and she was still getting the room ready for me! At that point, 15 minutes felt totally doable.
In reality, however, 15 minutes later I was rocking my hips on my exercise ball and moaning through contractions that were getting ever closer together and ever more intense. My two-year-old daughter, Sofia, tried to keep me happy during the labor by bringing me her Minnie Mouse toys and asking if we could watch Little Einsteins. I remember telling her that we could as soon as the baby was born. We were frantically trying to get in touch with someone to come care for her at that point, as both of my parents were at work and we knew that neither would be there in time. Finally, I told Fred to go change Sofia’s diaper and that we would just take her with us.
He changed her and got her buckled into the car as I got dressed and made my way to the front door to leave – I dropped to my knees at the door and started chanting “don’t push, don’t push” over and over again, urging myself to get off of the floor and get to the car. We got into the car and made our way quickly up East Bay from our new apartment (we had just moved exactly a week before!) to the birth center. We pulled in at the same time as Tracy and my dad. As soon as Vikki let us in the door, I took off towards the birthing rooms, knowing that my favorite room was the one that was all ready for us. I peeled off my shorts unceremoniously as I got into the bathroom and could have dived headfirst into the warm water of the birthing tub! Instead, I stepped in carefully and quickly, feeling an immense sense of relief as I lowered my body into the water. I felt so light! I really wished at that moment that I’d had that experience with my first birth as it made such a difference so immediately.
Clinging on to the cold tile edge of the tub, I asked for pain relief. I wanted the laughing gas, and I wanted it then. Everything just hurt so bad and I just felt like, in that moment, that I couldn’t do it on my own. Tracy took to rubbing my hips and back and Fred held my hands in front of me, letting me use his arm for a pillow. He tried to tell me something and I shushed him (sorry!) I was too in the moment and in tune with my body to break out of it. I visualized my daughter moving lower in my pelvis as I felt a huge wave of pressure and pain wash over me and I knew that it was time to push.
We had arrived at BoL at 12:50 pm – at 12:58pm on 10/26/2013, and after just 4 big pushes, she was born – Aeris Aaliyah. 8lbs 14.5oz, 21” long. She was incredibly gorgeous – perfect, just like her big sister. I remember crying and saying, “she’s born!” and proclaiming that I had done it and that she was beautiful! That was seriously the best feeling! I was on cloud nine for a long time – I still am, really. I did it!
After Sofia’s birth, I was head over heels in love with her, but disappointed in my body and myself for a long time for not having been able to do everything on my own, unmedicated. This was my moment of redemption – my body could do it, the circumstances just weren’t with me the first time.
Vikki checking us out
After some placenta issues, during which daddy sat skin-to-skin with his newest little girl, I got to move out of the bathroom and into the bed, where I was given fluids to help me recuperate, and I sat for a long time, just cuddling. Sofia came in at that point to meet her sister. She proclaimed that she was black and purple! Aeris came out with so much dark hair that it was the first thing Sofia noticed about her! She was instantly in love with her, just like daddy and I. We relaxed for a while after birth, and ultimately ended up taking Aeris to All Children’s instead of going straight home – the one down side to a quick labor like I had is that sometimes not everything is expelled from the baby’s lungs as they’re born, as was the case with Aeris. Vikki just didn’t feel comfortable sending us home, and I thank her for that – it would have been terrible to go home with something being wrong instead of just going and getting it treated as soon as possible. Our pediatrician backed her up on it, as well, and with two opinions from two care providers that we know and trust, I couldn’t in good conscience go against that recommendation!
Meeting her big sister, Sofia
Aeris – who was Baby #500 born at BoL – ended up spending 7 full days in the NICU at ACH in St. Pete before coming home to her mommy, daddy, and big sister. She’s doing amazing now at 2 and a half weeks old and is the perfect addition to our family. She is so loved <3
Snuggling with Daddy, Fred, at ACH in the NICU
Home at last!