Harlow's Birth Story

Well, here it is! The doozy post I have been holding out on! If you don't like details about the human body STOP RIGHT HERE! But, do scroll down and look at the photos ;).

^^^ Day Before Harlow Made Her Debut ^^^

May 15th, 2012 was just like any other day as a HUGE past my due date pregnant gal. My feet were swollen, my body ached, and I was bored of bouncing on the ball all day. John couldn't sit still any longer and the house was pretty much spotless so we headed to Lowe's to find him a project to get into. We were already 5 days past our estimated due date of the 10th and had been trying everything to encourage her to get this party started! I mean we tried everything.. rolling and bouncing my life away on the exercise ball, drinking tons of red raspberry leaf tea, jugs of water, primrose oil, massages on all the "pressure points" that are supposed to induce labor, and loads of sex (TMI?). Needless to say she was stubborn like her momma even in the womb! You'll see what I mean as you get further into this post.
While at Lowe's, I started to feel some surges (contractions if you're not a Hypnobirthing momma), some of which made me stop and breathe a little deeper. That evening at around 8 or 9 they came on stronger and closer together so we started timing. John and I set up our bedroom with music (Norah Jones, Jack Johnson, Xavier Rudd, Bob Marley, Adele) and candles. We lay there in bed holding each other filled with love and peaceful vibrations. Just typing this brings me back to how sweet that last time as only the two of us really was. I made my way in and out of the tub, as the weightlessness of the water really helped ease the strength of the surges, and John and I tried to sneak in tiny naps between the stronger sets. Time goes by a lot slower when you are watching the clock, that's for sure! At about midnight we called our midwife again and she urged us to stay home until we were 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long and for 1 hour straight before heading to the Birthing Center. The surges seemed to slow down a bit to sleep for a couple hours. At about 5 AM they were back in full force and I'm sure my neighbors were loving us then! But hey, sound releases endorphins, right? At about 8:30am our midwife called to check on us and I let out a great wail from the tub, you know..just getting through that one minute long surge. ;) She told us to go ahead and come in.
Here comes the fun part. The car ride was HORRIBLE! I was cursing the California Highways the whole 45 minute long ride from the back seat of our 4runner, which all of the sudden seemed uncomfortable and bouncy as ever. Covered in a blanket because I was mad at the sun for coming up (I wanted a candle lit, nighttime birth so badly). When we arrived I begged John not to make me walk. He went in to let them know we had arrived and that I didn't want to get out of the car...yes, the car that I was just cursing. They all came out together and tried to convince me to make my way into the exam room so they could check me. I wasn't having it and demanded I go straight to the comfy bed. As I wished, they put me in the downstairs room, right next to the waiting room, where probably a dozen soon to be moms could hear my every wail. Those poor mommas. 8 centimeters dilated, we made our way upstairs to the "suite" which had the wonderfully huge spa tub and was tucked away out of earshot for the waiting room visitors. The warm bath was amazing! Here I was, right were I imagined..except with bright daylight. John was amazing, pouring water on my belly, rubbing my head, neck and back. He noticed before I did that my water had released so now it was serious game time. At 12 noon I began to breathe the baby down (push).. this lasted for a couple of hours and every time I felt her move down during a surge, as soon as it was over she would slide right back up. (Stubborn!
like I said!) Our midwife encouraged me to try and feel her head, holy beautiful moment of which I will never forget. She was SO close! I was touching our baby!
After a couple hours in the tub and baby not making progress, it was time to try something different, which I fought of course. I moved onto the toilet for a good 30-45 minutes, which I guess is a more natural way to birth..nothing. She still wasn't coming down any further. This is when I started to give up, I begged John to take me to the hospital, maybe I wasn't tough enough for a completely drug free and natural birth after all. Nothing was happening and all I wanted was a break! He encouraged me like no other and we decided to drink some water, have a protein bar which surprisingly gave me a huge burst of energy. We moved to the queen sized bed covered in plush pillows and I held back one leg with all my might as John spooned me and held the other..with all his might too. Our midwife suddenly turned into a drill sergeant coaching me on how to push and what muscles to use, and before I knew it I was being introduced to "the ring of fire" HOLY FREAKIN MOLY!! No one, not even in our birthing classes prepared me for that! It was a good thing though because it meant her head was crowning. Here's the kicker, not only was her head crowning but she had her arm up by her face. It's called a nuchal hand and is considered a breech position since it it so hard to birth a baby naturally that way. So, that's what was taking her so long! Harlow Michele was placed on my chest at 4:30 pm, after 4 hours of pushing and 16 hours of completely drug free and natural laboring. She was warm and squishy, unlike anything I had ever felt before. Pure love. Pure innocence. Perfection.
We held her skin to skin, heartbeat to heartbeat for about a half hour during which we waited to cut the cord (delayed cord clamping) and do her initial health checks. I birthed my placenta which was kept for pill encapsulation and had to get a few stitches.
I will say this, giving birth naturally without any pain meds is extremely tiring and not easy at all, but it is worth it and I would do it again no questions asked. It was amazing.

If you are a soon to be momma, daddy, auntie, uncle, grandparent or even just a friend of someone having a baby soon, I suggest watching "The Business of Being Born", as well as reading "Birthing From Within", "Hypnobirthing" and you tubing a few Hypnobirthing births so that you can see that labor and birth is NOT a medical emergency! We were made to do this and I for one feel like a warrior woman now.. right of passage? I think yes.

Harlow Michele Ellson
May 16, 2012 at 4:30pm
7lbs 11oz and 20 inches long

^^^ Fresh from Heaven ^^^

^^^ 3 Months Old ^^^

^^^ 11 Months Old (now) ^^^



  1. Tears flowing through that entire post! What a beautiful day that was. It has changed our lives forever! You, my sweet baby Elise Nicole, came into this world a warrior and have remained one for 27 years!
    All my love and light,
    Mom aka Lolli (Harlow's very proud Grandmother)

  2. Very sweet story. Can't believe she almost 1yrs old. What a cute family.