Since we're taking a break from 31MOM for 2017 I thought I'd keep you all updated on what is going on "behind the scenes" so to speak. As many of you know, the reason we took a break from the magazine for 2017 is because of the arrival of our dear little Eleanor. 

Life with Eleanor has changed our lives forever and I couldn't be happier. I'll definitely keep sharing on our journey this year with updates as we learn and grow. 

Eleanor's Birth:

Eleanor's birth was fast and uneventful. I started having irregular contractions early on in the day. After brunch, Zech and I went for a 3 mile walk down the autumn road. There were only a few leaves left on the trees, the sun was shinning, and it was a beautiful day. We talked about how this could be our last walk together until after the baby arrived and were so very excited about the possibility. 

My midwives were busy with other clients that day so I didn't bother to tell them about the contractions. In fact, I didn't tell anyone except Zech. We weren't at all worried. Leading up to Eleanor's arrival we had talked a lot about what we hoped the birth would be like and really tried not to get to stuck on our expectations but just enjoy and embrace whatever happens. I think that was what made our experience so pleasant. 

As the day wore on and evening was beginning, I was preparing dinner for my mom and sister (they were visiting us). As I was making dinner I got a call from a family member who wanted to know if I felt like having someone do some accupressure to get labor started. I agreed and thought it would be fun to see if I would notice a difference in the contractions. At this point I was nearing 43 weeks pregnant so I definitely didn't mind trying things to get labor started. After I got done with my appointment we came home and had dinner with my sister and mom. The contractions were still fairly far apart and I wasn't at all timing them. Still, no one knew that I was even having contractions. Every once in a while I would have to take a moment to breath but it wasn't consistent with the contractions so we continued about our evening. 

After my family left for the evening, Zech and I went to bed. That lasted for about 30 minutes before I decided it was just too uncomfortable. I asked Zech if I could take a bath and he reminded me that sometimes water can slow down labor. I couldn't have cared less, I just wanted a nap. We filled the bath and talked about the possibility of being in labor and when we might want to call someone. I sat in the bath for about 30 minutes before deciding that it was also too uncomfortable. I texted Rachel, my SIL and doula, and let her know what was going on. She let us know that she would head on over and that brought me a little comfort. At this point we started timing contractions and they were about 5 minutes apart. That seemed a little strange to me and I figured we must just be tracking them wrong. We went to the living room and I sat on the couch while Zech worked on setting up the birthing pool. I definitely needed a bit of encouragement and help breathing during contractions so I was having a hard time being patient for Zech to blow up the birthing pool. He worked on that for another 30 minutes or so before my water broke. When I told him it broke, his response was "are you sure?" Uhhh...yes I'm sure. He immediately gave up on the birthing pool and came to help me. Rachel showed up shortly after that and I was relieved. I was beginning to worry we might have to deliver the baby ourselves and we really weren't prepared for that! Zech called the midwives and let them know that they really needed to get here fast. We had texted them an hour or so before just letting them know that we were having contractions, but like I said earlier - they had other clients in labor as well. Zech and I were used to the idea of a 30 hour labor just because that is what we heard was pretty normal so once again I reminded myself that we were probably just beginning and to take it easy. 

I kept trying to breath and find positions to relax in. My original plan was that we would set the birth pool up upstairs and have the baby there. However, I found myself on the living room couch unwilling to budge one bit. I finally switched to kneeling on the floor and holding Zech in front of me. My body started "pushing" on it's own and I was having a hard time relaxing. I did not want to start pushing before the midwives got there but my body seemed to be doing it itself. When the midwives arrived a short time later they set up there equipment and then took a seat. After hearing me breath through a couple contractions they asked me to change posistions so that they could check to see how baby was doing (my back was against the couch so no one could really tell what was going on). When I turned around, the midwives said "oh! there's its head! You can start pushing." I was relieved to hear that they could already see her head but it still didn't really "click" for me that we were close to being done. After only 1 1/2 hours later, Eleanor was born. She was immediately handed to me and she didn't scream or cry. She was breathing great but she was just happy and content and apparently didn't feel like crying. ;-) We got to cuddle for an hour or so before they cut her cord and we started getting cleaned up. Zech holding her for the first time was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. I still love to just sit and watch them interact with each other. Eleanor definitely loves her daddy and he surely adores her. 

Our birth story summed up, Eleanor was born healthfully at home. She weighed 7 lbs 15 oz. She was 21 inches long. She arrived only 5 hours after we realized we were in labor.

There are so many other little aspects of her pregnancy, birth, and our recovery that were answers to prayer but I couldn't possibly share them all. All I can say is that God abundantly blessed us with Eleanor. Everything about her is a miracle and I am so incredibly thankful to have her in our lives. We waited 2 long years for her arrival and she was definitely worth it. Worth every loss, every sleepless night, every blood draw and test, worth all the tears, she is worth it all. I don't understand God's ways, or why some babies go to heaven before their families are ready, but the last two years have taught me that faith is trusting God even when we don't understand his plans...and being okay with that. God's ways are higher than our ways and surely he works everything for our good.