I never imagined that I would give birth to a baby before 40 weeks. And I was right, ha ha.
I had joked a week or two ago that it would be funny if she came on Labor Day. Not only was it such fitting day, but it is also my older sisters birthday.
So as I crawled into bed Sunday night, I told J I was pretty sure this baby would be here within the next 24 hours. I didn’t have any signs, symptoms, or early labor, just a very strong intuitive feeling that I would be holding my baby soon.
I woke up that morning at 2:40 AM and went to the restroom. At which point I realized I had lost part of my mucous plug. I went back to bed, and woke again at 4 AM. This time, I had lost all of my mucous plug. I tried to go back to bed, but sleep would not come.
I was having mild, early labor contractions. I knew it was game day.
And Labor Day.
I bounced on my birthing ball in the living room looking at the beautiful city of Honolulu before the sun rose.
My other births were pretty progressive. Once I started having contractions, it was game on and study and rhythmic and I had a baby in my arms few hours later. As I passed the time durations of each boy’s birth, I felt myself growing more and more frustrated and disheartened.
I tried to nap for a bit with Sweet M, but it was futile.
Of course, he was ever wise, and supportive, telling me that I could do this, that I was strong, that the end result would be amazing.
Per usual, he was correct.
A little after 3pm, still with nothing steady or strong enough to really feel like the end was near, I went ahead and texted my photographer to head on over as she was an hour away. I also called my midwife as she was bringing the birth tub and I figured maybe if I had the tub it’d take my mind off things.
I labored in water with Miss H, but ultimately brought her into the world on land. I never desired to climb into the tub with B, so it became a swimming pool for Miss H. I assumed I’d never want the water with M and didn’t bother (and that’s all I wanted in the moment.) But with this baby I’d been envisioning bringing her right into the world in the water. Finally.
My midwife and her assistant arrived a bit after 4pm. I continued to labor on as my midwife and her assistant, as well as J, set up the birthing tub.
I sat on the toilet to pee and had another contraction, and I felt the baby move down involuntarily. It was no longer my ball game, my body and baby were in full control.
“I think I need to push,” I said calmly. I learned later that my midwife and her assistant didn’t think I was anywhere close to being ready to push because I was so calm and composed.
I climbed into the birth tub and had one mild contraction, which pushed her down further and my waters burst, chunks of vernix flying through the water. It was followed closely by another mellow contraction that I would never have imagined had the power to do anything, but pushed her right down to crowning with nearly no effort from me. This was, of course, the least pleasant part because the ring of fire had been created.
I held my hand over her head and sat like that for a few minutes, stroking her hair, prepping myself to push her into the world. At this point no one even realized she was crowning as it was a completely hands off birth; I wanted to do everything myself.
“Okay,” I whispered, and the next contraction pushed her little head out. Miss H held a flashlight pointed into the water, J and the boys gathered by; Sweet M safely in JJ’s arms.
I reached down, pushing her shoulders out and bringing her onto my chest.
It was 5:25pm.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have great birthing experiences with all my babies, but this one takes the cake.
I experienced less than half a dozen intense contractions. I barely pushed my body at all to bring her into the world. It was the calm and peaceful water birth I’d wanted forever. And I did it all myself.
Absolute perfection, of course.
And her name? Seriously the easiest and also most difficult baby’s name to come up with.
Freja Lorelai Endellion
We’d decided on Freja (Fray-ah) when I was preggo with M. I always have my heart set on Spanish names for our kids, but then we never have any that we both love. Other than Mr. B’s name, of course.
But the name Freja just kind of fell into our laps and was perfect. It’s from Norse mythology, and the Norwegian blood in me runs thick (or at least it feels that way in this Hawaiian heat!). The Anglicized version of Freya is fairly common in most of Europe, so it’s not a completely out there name either. It’s strong and feminine and we both loved it immediately.
J chose Lorelai. I think it’s a given where he got that from. And I wasn’t protesting.
I flip flopped the whole pregnancy for her second middle name (all our kidlets have two middle names). In the end I went with Endellion (En-del-lee-en), which hadn’t been on my short list at all, but just felt right. It means “fire soul” and is also a Saint name.
And so she is our little love goddess. Our perfect 4th baby. The very person we needed to make our family complete.