Oh goodness! It’s been forever since I’ve been here. I’ve been itching to write and yet, not sure what to write. And so the weeks tick by.
I think I’ll just start with the story of welcoming sweet Eloise Faith Schwab into our lives. There’s so many stories surrounding waiting for her, her arrival, and these last few weeks. But let’s start with the story everyone wants to hear! How she got here!
I was very impatiently waiting for our little girl to decide to make her entrance for about three weeks. Though my five before her came after 41 weeks, I was really hoping and anticipating for this one to come a little early. I think the Lord just laughed at me.
Cue 42 weeks. I was so sick of being pregnant, so tired and sore and frustrated. I was also completely in denial that she was ever going to come. My midwife kept saying, don’t worry, she’ll come. I knew in my heart she would but my head was at war!
Resurrection Sunday was not like any other Resurrection Sunday I’d experienced! We hadn’t planned anything in the way of celebrating because we were sure we’d be recovering from having a baby. And yet, the day arrived and still no baby. The kids had been at a friends because we kept thinking, surely today is the day. And everyday would pass with no baby. So, all the kids came home for Sunday so we could enjoy some family time together and a nice meal. Thankfully, a couple weeks prior I had bought some chocolates for the kids so we handed those out, played games and had a nice supper together.
Throughout the day, I had contractions that were strong and caused me to stop but were sporadic. I figured they would just quit again anyway so I paid them as little attention as possible. That evening I texted my midwife at about 7:30 and told her I had been having contractions every 7 to 20 minutes that were strong. She decided to come spend the night, just in case, figuring if they did ramp up it would happen quickly. This was the third night she and my good friend who was helping out got to spend the night! I hadn’t had so many sleepovers with girlfriends since high school!
I had contractions all night that were sporadic and again, I was in such denial that this baby would ever come, that I just tried to get as much sleep as possible. Some were strong enough that I would have to get out of bed and stand. I don’t manage contractions well laying down. I need to be up and over them. But in between I’d lay back down and rest or even fall asleep.
Morning came, and wouldn’t you know it, everything stopped. Andrew made us all a nice breakfast and we sat around the table chatting. It was a really nice, quiet morning. But at the same time my level of frustration was at an all time high and all I wanted was to feel contractions.
My midwife and friend were amazing through all this. They were encouraging, uplifting, and loving. We decided to try to move baby a bit and get her in a better position as her head seemed a bit tilted. So, I got to lay in an open-chest knee position (you can look it up if you really want to know) for 45 minutes while they took turns massaging my legs and back. I actually felt baby drop out of my pelvis and shift. It was pretty cool!
After that we walked a mile and a half, had lunch, and then did stair lunges. Still no contractions. By this time I was pretty tired and we lounged around the living room for a while. Andrew had multiple fires going at work and decided, well if baby isn’t coming, I have to go help out at work for a bit. So he left and I decided to take a nap.
Of course, when I laid down contractions started. But I figured they would stop again so I napped. Then I started timing them because they suddenly seemed more consistent. Soon I felt like they were more intense but I was afraid to get out of bed for fear they would stop again. I kept praying, Jesus, please let these continue. Nothing like praying for pain to continue!
I texted Amber and Jenny, who were downstairs. I asked Amber to come upstairs and Jenny to call Andrew and tell him to come home. When Amber came upstairs I said, “These contractions are pretty intense and about 5 minutes apart but I’m afraid to get up because I don’t want them to stop, but I’m not managing them well laying down.” She stood by me, rubbing my legs and back and calmly talking me through each contraction.
Jenny called Andrew and then came upstairs. They took turns next to me and getting things ready around me. I kept thinking between contractions, where is Andrew? After a bit, Amber said, “I don’t think these are going to quit. You can get up out of bed if that would help you.”
I was skeptical because, honestly, I kind of expected them to quit again! But I got up and knelt by my bed and laid my head on the bed. They brought my birthing ball in and I sat on that and bounced between contractions. Andrew finally showed up and rubbed my back and hips with every contraction which helped so much. Shortly thereafter Amber told me the water was nice and warm and I could get in the tub.
I was like, really? Won’t my contractions just quit? I was still in denial, which maybe helped me manage the contractions! I told myself, two more contractions and if they are just as intense as these, I’ll get in the tub. Well, they were, so I headed to the bathroom. I had to pee and while on the toilet I started shaking.
Suddenly it hit me! Oh my goodness! I’m in transition! That was the point I realized I was actually in true labor and this baby was actually going to come! Crazy, I know.
I got in the tub at 7:20pm and had to start pushing within minutes of getting in. Amber had me sit back against the tub and hold Andrew’s hands. He was so great, encouraging me with gentle words. He was praying the whole time. There is nothing more heartwarming than knowing your spouse is praying for you.
Her sweet head was born quickly and then I thought, ok, good, one more push and she’ll be here. Then I pushed and pushed and pushed. And she didn’t move!
After a few minutes, Amber told me to switch to my hands and knees and put one leg up. At that moment I thought I cannot push harder. I’m not sure what else to do. I didn’t know this at the time, but at that very moment Amber was thinking I can’t do this; I have to do this; I’m the one in charge. And at that very moment Jenny felt like she needed to lay her hands on Amber and I and pray so she did. When she did that Amber felt a surge of confidence and I felt a surge of power and we worked together to bring Eloise into the world. It wasn’t easy but the Lord was with us in every moment!
At 8:21pm Eloise Faith Schwab came into the world and was snuggled up on my chest. Poor thing was a little bruised but healthy.
I was sobbing and shaking but so joyful she was in my arms. We all marveled at how big she was! I kept thinking I was going to have a small baby and an easy birth. Not so much!
It’s amazing in that moment how nothing matters but that sweet new life. Is she breathing? Does she look ok? Is it actually a girl? I always shocked at a mama’s brain. We can be almost ripped to shreds and yet think nothing of it; all our attention is on this tiny, precious person and if they are ok. We could be at a 10 on the pain charts, bleeding, bruised, weak, and hurting everywhere and yet all our attention is focused on someone else.
We shouldn’t wonder why mamas get burnt out!
Shortly after she was born we headed to bed and snuggled and nursed. My placenta didn’t want to come for quite a while and I could tell my midwife was getting a bit nervous. We all prayed aloud and asked Jesus to intervene and he did! Praise Him, it came and I could finally lay back in bed and crash.
There’s so much more that’s gone on these past few weeks, but for now, enjoy Eloise’s birth story.