The End: Birth

So I have to say FIRST… before the long story and before even MORE photos…

Please watch this slideshow.

Heather Essian – my amazing friend and photographer – put this together.

She asked me to ‘pick a song.’  I chose ‘This Woman’s Work’ by Kate Bush.

If any of you have seen ‘She’s Having a Baby’ you will understand why this song was special.

(AND it’s a John Hughes movie… if that tells you anything about how AWESOME and quirky it is!?)

I adored the movie as a child and that song has ALWAYS conjured up emotions – related with child birth, an adoring spouse and ultimately: LOVE.

Thank you Heather – for devoting hours and hours for us.

We cherish these moments and will always be albe to remember exactly how our sweet E came into this world!

(to see a better version: CLICK HERE - if anyone can tell me why it isn’t showing the text (or full size please let me know!)

Well, if you read my last birth post you know that Paul and I went to bed at 11pm Sunday (14th) – with my midwife, Donnelyn, predicting that I would go into labor just after relaxing and lying down.

So was D right?

Of COURSE she was!

I woke up, once again, with contractions – at MIDNIGHT!

I tracked them for an hour and they were 4-7m apart, this time lasting a full minute and pretty intense.

Got in the bath and had nice and even contractions, so they were NOT slowing down.

Donnelyn came around 2:30 and the contractions had been nice and steady.

Progression wasn’t quick – ya know I kept hearing ‘OH BABY NUMBER THREE will be FAST!’

Well, not necessarily – considering numero uno was an induced birth leading to a cesarean and numero dos was pitocin induced VBAC…

So, my bod had never ‘labored’ on its own before…

I was also very eager and anxious, which probably slowed things down at times.

At 3:30 am I was 3cm and 90% effaced… the contractions started to intensify, but were not quite ‘unbearable.’

The key Donnelynn told me: MELT INTO your contractions. Don’t fight them, don’t tense up, don’t make high pitch noises.

Just… relax.

Well, of course that sounds EASY right?

Ha, not quite.

I would have to tell myself (or have Paul or D tell me) to relax, melt in, let go.

One of the best things Donnelynn would say: “You don’t EVER have to go through THAT contraction again… IT’S OVER.”

Each one would be GONE before I knew it.

The thing I had a hard time with… HOW MANY MORE would I have to endure?

4:30 am roles around and it was time for my family and my photographer to join us.

My husband… I really could not have done it without him.

He guided me through.

He held me.

He caressed me.

He loved me.

He spoke to me.

He prayed for us.

He laughed, he cried, he was the perfect husband and father!We were so tired.

The day before was exhausting – because of early laboring.

Then waking up at 12am… in true labor.

This is 4:30 am.

:)

So glad that our new DVD player has our ‘Pandora’ account on it!

We had the John Mayer station playing… lovely!
Sweet Donnelyn…

At this point I was able to talk in between contractions.

I was even able to SMILE for a bit:)Saying something silly I am sure.

We joked because I told Heather – I didn’t get any smiling photos of her (she had a very hard labor).

So we made sure to be silly in a few…

and like I said – it was not QUITE intense yet.My mom and sister…
I wish I had known – to warn them that I wasn’t going to be as ‘friendly’ as the epidural births!

At one point I stopped wanting to converse… or really have anyone around.
Paul’s pockets were my BFF – I remember wanting to find them.

When a contraction would creep up, I would put my thumbs in his pockets and lean on him.

Donnelyn and Sue told me to open my legs as much as I could.

I would sway from side to side or move my hips to find comfort.

This also allowed baby to descend more.

Look at this BIG belly!!!!

It’s weird, to see it now – now that I have her in my arms and not in my womb.We first assumed that this would be the final portion… in the tub.

While I was in the tub, I began to get VERY tired.

In between contractions I would dose off.

This sleeping really frustrated me, I thought: “How can I be progressing if I am falling asleep?!?!”
Once again – a SMILE for the camera… only for the camera:)

I told Paul to go grab some coffee – he was just as exhausted as I was.

My mom and sis stepped in to comfort me.
Then I felt it was TIME to get some energy – get OUT OF THE TUB for a while – and WALK AROUND!

I really really wanted things to progress.

So we went on a walk – up and down the street – right at sunrise!

It must be just around 7am at this point.

My sister came with me – it was hot and muggy, but a beautiful day.

I love how my sis and I are mirroring one another.

So true to ‘US.’:)

At this point… I was 6cm, 100% effaced and 0 gestation.

We were getting there!

I was nearing transitional stage!I came back in and was so tired.

Paul was too.

What I love about Donnelyn is that there is NO RUSH.

She is a firm believer in listening to your body.

So we napped, for a short time.

Through the contractions, I lay there – with my husband – peaceful and in rest.

Little did I know that it was about to get harder and more intense.
Our children woke up… not knowing any of this had been going on.

Though, I wasn’t in the mood to see them.

I was in more pain, and wanted to stay focused.

Parx didn’t quite understand.

My family did a great job at keeping them entertained.

This is where I became more ‘stand-offish.’

My conversations lessened A LOT.

I wanted some gentle guidance through contractions.

I wanted to know how much longer I would be laboring.

I was ‘over it,’ but not giving up.

Now, I type all of this – not wanting to sound like it was miserable – it was definitely HARD.

I hated it and loved it.

It is WORK, it is LABOR – hard, intense and beautiful… as every ounce of pain brings me one step closer to my little ‘baby.’

I kept praying to God, “Get me through Lord, help me God, Be with me.”

Sometimes whispering, other times in my head.

I almost forgot to mention – my devotion to HIM – through all of this.

My God – creating life through us… bringing this baby from my womb to my arms.

I prayed – for his hands to assist in the laboring. Reducing pain and bringing baby to us – with no problems.

At this point I was an 8… she suggested some things I do to assist in water breakage.

My water didn’t break though.

Not yet at least.

So, this is the point where I was emotionally ‘done.’

I was EXHAUSTED.

I felt ‘stuck.’

Stuck in this… ‘you are in labor, but baby is NEVER going to come’ moment.

Just before this photo I was in the tub, holding Paul’s hand – and crying, with zero energy and few tears – as that would take more work to create them.

I remember Paul left the room, I am sure he said something to Donnelynn.

It was time to get out of the tub [again] and get this thing going.

D, checked me again and we were SO CLOSE.

She decided to help – help my body move along.

She meant BUSINESS.:)

She did some manipulating…

She put me in some positions.

She knew this mama was MORE THAN ready to meet baby Jenkins.

I remember her telling Paul how to stand and that I was going to come over and hang on his arms – while in a squat (sexy huh?).

I waddled over and leaned my back on his belly.

Once the contraction came – I squatted down and hung.

D, helped by putting pressure on my belly.

I remember saying, “I WANT TO PUSH!!!!!”

(I have NEVER felt that feeling before, it was amazing – and scary)

She responded with, “Do what your body tells you.”

So I did. I pushed!

I felt Paul shaking and heard his breathing – he was nervous, excited, scared… perhaps crying for me?

D responds with – okay only 5-10 more.

I thought ‘ARE YOU CRAZY?’

Then the next contraction came and we did it again.

Once again – it was time to push – at least that is what it felt like.

We only did THREE of those and BAM it was time!!!

The baby was ready – my body was ready – I was going to meet him or her so soon.

D told me that if I wanted to have the baby in the tub, we would need to go in there now.

So now I was REALLY was waddling over to the tub.

I had Heather get my sister and mom… I knew they would want to be in there for the birth!

The only problem – our bathroom is NOT roomy.

We had two midwives, their apprentice, the photographer, my mom and sister squeezed in a small area.

The next contraction came… and by golly I loved knowing that it was FINALLY time to push.

I could feel it.

The urge, the desire to get this baby through the birth canal and into my arms!

One of the most special moments of the entire day is… when Donnelyn looked at Paul and said,

“Paul, I want you to repeat everything I say…

she may not hear me,

but 

SHE WILL HEAR YOU.”

She was right. I would hear my husband.

He was my rock. He was my love. He is the father of my children.

So, I listened.

I never thought I would make noises… but I did.

Even though pushing is painful, it was NOT the most painful part of the labor.

This was the FINAL portion of the ENTIRE process.

Pushing – is easy!
As I pushed I could feel each little thing happening.

At first I thought I felt the crowning, but in fact it was my bag – of water coming through and breaking.

 A nice cushion prepping my body for the soon to come head…

Then I felt it, the head coming, crowning.

I remember D telling me ‘if I tell you to stop pushing, stop.’

I kept thinking to myself – if she asks me to stop – there is NO WAY I can stop!

Luckily for all of us, she NEVER said STOP!:)

So I pushed… again…

My baby’s head was out.

I knew, that was the hardest part – get that body out and baby will be HERE!

So I pushed again… and baby came into the water.

This was when I finally opened my eyes and looked down as I watched her come into the water.

I started saying – over and 0ver – ‘My baby, my baby, my baby!’

I looked at Paul – he was red. He was crying with me.

We were so happy – and in shock that it was OVER.

Our baby was here!!!
Then I was in reality and heard my mom say ‘WHAT IS IT????’So I felt down under the bottom and said, “I think it’s a girl?” and they helped me pick the baby up…

‘IT’S A GIRL!!!!!!’

See us smiling – Paul said, “YOU GOT YOUR GIRL!!”
Parker and Pierson came in.

I told Pierson, “It’s a girl.”

I did see disappointment on his face.

I know he really wanted a brother.

He never told me he was sad, he said – Mommy, I am happy I have another sister.

What a strong boy.:)I did start losing blood after the birth.

D got me out of the tub, prior to the placenta delivery.

She wanted to be able to measure how much blood I was losing, rather than in the water.

Unfortunately it was more than they would want.

I became quite colorless and out of it.

I got a little bit of tunnel hearing – not being able to focus and passed the baby over to Paul.

The good thing, D was ready to take care of me.

I did have an IV, some pitocin and some chlorophyll to assist in replenishing.

Once that IV hit about half to three quarters empty I started feeling MUCH better.

Amen and thanks to my team for being proactive and watchful!

I love that my team also included the children in the Newborn screening!

So special for them… see Pierson listening to his baby sister’s heart?:)
Parx meeting her sister for the first time!
My daughter:

Eden Meredith Jenkins

7lbs 10oz

20.25″ long

Born on August 15th, 2011

at 11:08 A.M.

In our Home.

Would I do it again?

Yes!

Did I think that right off the bat?

No!

I wish I wouldn’t have waited so long to swap over.

I didn’t know what to expect – nor did I prep my family enough.

I do not feel ‘finished’ yet with children.

Paul may be done?

We will have to re-evaluate our family situation when the time comes.

I am so thankful for everyone who supported me in this decision.

There can be people who will tell you ‘you are crazy’ and that ‘it’s unsafe.’

Maybe I was crazy – but I am very happy and confident in our birthing choice.

Donnelyn, Sue and Melissa took great care of US – all of us!

They gave me space when I needed it.

They helped me through painful moments.

The advised me and helped when we were frustrated, exhausted and overwhelmed.

They intervened when necessary.

They provided us with love – prayer – and a beautiful birth!

We are blessed and Edie is a great baby – happy – healthy and perfect!

She has completed this long wait, as a perfect addition to our family.

We are all IN LOVE!

Special thanks to PAUL – for your AMAZING DEVOTION to your laboring wife.

My family – for being there and loving us… and all of the support BEFORE AND AFTER baby Eden joined our lives.

For our midwifery team for carrying us through and making our health and desires priority… and keeping us safe.

The infinite amount of blessings and prayers we received from our friends whom we have met and yet to meet!

You have all been so wonderful for Paul and me – in this journey.

We love you all!!!

(if you want to get even MORE into my birth story… here is a video moments after birth!)

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by Arden Prucha

show hide 62 comments

Tara Eveland - Amazing! this is the most gorgeous thing ive ever seen! congrats to the familyAugust 16, 2013 – 7:30 am

vanessa H - Ohh Arden thank you so much for sharing the pictures and video!!! IT made me cry like a baby!!! God bless your beautiful family!!!August 15, 2013 – 8:01 pm

Richelle - You are the most amazing inspirational woman I know!August 15, 2013 – 7:46 pm

someone - That’s selfish of you to put you’re baby’s life at risk like that. Home births have have triple the mortality rate. Consider yourself lucky.March 13, 2013 – 1:13 pm

Kacey - This literally brought tears to my eyes! Gorgeous!August 13, 2012 – 10:51 am

Kelly - I am literally crying with joy seeing these pictures. So beautiful and so inspiring:)April 18, 2012 – 4:09 pm

jackie - Wow this is such a precious birth story it really makes me feel like I too can have a VBAC and maybe even a HBAC. I also had my first pregnancy induced ending up in a c-section something I wish,hope, and pray to avoid this time around thank you so much for sharing.February 27, 2012 – 12:42 pm

Nicole D - This is gorgeous and very touching…thank you so much for sharing every moment with the internet. :-) February 19, 2012 – 6:17 pm

Taylor - Areden this is inspirational and amazing!! CongratulationsFebruary 11, 2012 – 11:16 am

april - omg I cried reading ur story cause u guys could just see the love every one in the room and the song was a a beautiful touch … I am so happy for ya’ll I am glad it went well.. wishing ya’ll the best cheers! <3 stay in love forever…September 18, 2011 – 10:59 pm

Sarah P. - Congratulations! What a beautiful birth story!September 16, 2011 – 11:33 pm

saundra - I just had to say what a beautiful birth experience you’ve shown through this. i had my third child 2nd vbac in the hopital just a few weeks ago but am planning a homebirth for any future children and really it stuff like this that make me know that it’s right. thank you for sharing and congratulationsSeptember 8, 2011 – 1:09 am

Katie Griffith - I just wanted to say how beautifully you’ve documented natural home birth! I’m having my second and am having a VBAC home birth w/ midwife.. With my first I was also induced and ended with a c-section. I’ve kept a blog for documenting my progress, exercise, and weight gain (then weight loss:)). I’ve linked your slideshow to my blog and had amazing feedback from friends…Love how modern you made natural childbirth look. People need to see birth from this viewpoint! LOVE IT!! thanks for sharing. AWESOME stuff:) Best, KatieSeptember 5, 2011 – 8:01 pm

Sheridan - Beautiful! :) September 5, 2011 – 3:06 am

Carmen (Coqui) - I am in tears. So precious. Eden, welcome to the family. Love. God Bless you.September 4, 2011 – 10:17 am

Carmen (Coqui) - I cried. Precious. God Bless you. Enjoy. Eden, welcome to the family. LoveSeptember 4, 2011 – 10:15 am

Brianna Verdolino - Arden, this is so beautiful! (and wonderfully documented!!)
I found myself wiping tears, more than once, while reading your story.
Welcome to the world, baby Eden!September 4, 2011 – 5:37 am

michel bond - love.September 4, 2011 – 4:22 am

Dad - Breathtaking. What a wonderful experience. Thanks to all of you for sharing.September 2, 2011 – 10:28 am

Hannah @ Treasuring It Up - This is truly gorgeous! I had a hospital birth with my first and a home birth with my second. Nothing compares. Thank you so much for sharing this – and the photographs!!! *gasp* Just absolutely stunning! What an incredible keepsake for you and your daughter.September 1, 2011 – 10:55 pm

Tiffany - Thank you so much for posting and sharing this story. I had a little girl 11 months ago today thru a traumatic c-section. I have been doing research to be prepared to have a VBAC with our next birth. We hope to start trying Oct. of next year. Your story has touched me and empowered me to know that I can do this the way nature intended. You are a strong beautiful woman. Congrats.September 1, 2011 – 1:03 pm

Laurie - Amazing! Never have I wanted to experience a home birth, but now after reading this I do. You can feel the connection you and Paul had during the labor. Congrats on your new addition!September 1, 2011 – 12:38 pm

Jill Scavincky - SO SO SO SO Beautiful!!!! Congrats to you and your entire family! Births like that make you want to have 10 more babies, huh? Well… almost ;) September 1, 2011 – 9:22 am

Deana - Love the slide show and the pictures! Amazing! Congratulations, Arden.August 31, 2011 – 11:41 am

Heather Thorne - What a beautiful post, Arden. I got teary-eyed watching and can’t wait to be a mommy some day. Heather captured it perfectly. May God continue to bless you and your beautiful family!!!August 30, 2011 – 11:04 pm

Karin - So beautiful..and so beautifully documented. Congratulations!!August 30, 2011 – 8:30 pm

DaNella - AWESOME POST!!! I had my second at a home birthing center. It was an awesome experince… Much the same, labored all night, and then took a walk through the neighborhood at dawn… but it was in september, so I kept stopping to stomp accorns… lol She is almost 15. Can I ask the photographer, what blog service you use? I LOVE how all the photo’s show.August 30, 2011 – 6:07 pm

Jackie - Arden, I too was extremely moved by your photos, story and video. I loved be included! As a mother of 3, I welcome you to this special club. All my love!August 30, 2011 – 4:33 pm

Kristin Peaks - Arden – I cannot begin to express to you how AMAZING this post is. Your photos made me feel like I was there. And the video!!! Wow, it is so cool that you let us into your world like this. What an honor to feel like you shared this amazing day with me.

BEAUTIFUL!

kpAugust 30, 2011 – 3:52 pm

Rebecca Fuqua - Congratulations. That was beautiful. Donnellyn is my mother-in-law and delivered my 3rd baby at home. She’s pretty special. I have an Eden too. Eden Renee. My 2nd daughter with a sister only 21 months older. The sister thing is really precious. Enjoy!August 30, 2011 – 2:53 pm

Joie Salas - Absolutely Beautiful <3 I literally teared up at my desk! Amazing!!!!August 30, 2011 – 2:07 pm

Yvonne - that is the most beautiful account of a birth i have ever seen. thank you for sharing it with us and many congratulations to you and your family :) August 30, 2011 – 1:17 pm

Emily Tate - Arden this is so beautiful. I love that you were truly honest about the experience…not trying to claim it was all sunshine and roses, but even in the difficulty it was so worth it. Congratulations!August 30, 2011 – 11:35 am

trisha - What an amazing journey! Thank you for sharing with all of us. And that song is perfect!August 30, 2011 – 9:50 am

Kristy Lourance - Arden I have followed you through this entire pregnancy & this has brought me to tears. So moving, so emotional, so amazing & so sweet. I love every bit of it & I am so proud of your strength. Congratulations! Thank You for sharing this!August 30, 2011 – 9:28 am

Erin Askenasy - Oh Arden, this post just brought such tears to my eyes. Absolutely beautiful and thank you so much for sharing such a private and emotional moment with the world. It is a beautiful and miraculous thing! :) August 30, 2011 – 8:42 am

Richelle - I just watched the video of Eden’s birth. So beautiful! I cried! Thank you for sharing! You are such and inspiration to me as a photographer and a Mother.
What a beautiful family you have Arden! Congrats!August 30, 2011 – 8:30 am

Amy - Arden – this is truly the most moving, most REAL, most amazing photography journal I have read/watched in a very long time. I feel so blessed for you sharing it with us. Your friend (Heather) did an AMAZING job documenting this memory and YOU did an amazing job Arden! Hugs ;) August 30, 2011 – 8:28 am

Mariko - Absolutely amazing! I am so planning to do something very similar with our third one. Thank you so much for sharing!August 30, 2011 – 2:35 am

Hilaree - This was one of the most extraordinary exhibits of human emotion I’ve ever seen. SO GORGEOUS. Every moment was captured perfectly. Heather did such an astounding job- I felt like I was there! And I cried! For your pain, for your joy, for your family, for your LOVE. I am so proud of you, brave and beautiful woman, wife, and mother of three! I love you. Thank you for sharing :) August 30, 2011 – 12:31 am

Shawna - I am so happy for you- I loved it! Thank you so much for sharing. I am so glad you were able to do this! Birth is so amazing…I love that in home birth you really do it “all by yourself” and I think you get the privacy and credit you deserve!August 29, 2011 – 11:52 pm

Jen - Beautiful post.
I had a natural birth as well and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Way to go and congrats on the new addition.
You have a beautiful family.August 29, 2011 – 10:43 pm

Heidi - tears running down my face…that is all I can say…what an emotional experience you have just shared with people you don’t know….the tears are still running….how beautiful it was to watch xAugust 29, 2011 – 9:47 pm

Robin Griffith - I think for every mother out there, it brings them back to every birth they have had or even experienced. That is such a beautiful piece of art that you will be able to treasure for the rest of your life. It could not have been done any better. I thank you for sharing that with us, so I could also share in your joy and also remember back to all three of my babies coming into this world. Thank You.August 29, 2011 – 9:07 pm

Jennifer V - I have no words. This is so beautiful and amazing, what a miracle. Thank you for sharing such an intimate experience, I am in awe.August 29, 2011 – 8:51 pm

Carrie - Arden – this is so beautiful. I don’t know you,but you manage to make such a connection. The whole birth story, the images, your family ,everything is just beautiful! You are a very lucky woman to be surrounded with such love and such support. Best of luck to you and your family – I can’t wait to watch them grow!August 29, 2011 – 8:14 pm

Debbie Smith - Crying!! This is the most beautiful blog post I have ever seen or read!! thank you for letting in and enjoying your family experience. WOW WOW WOW!!!August 29, 2011 – 7:39 pm

Tiffani - So perfect, Arden! Congratulations on a healthy baby and a beautiful and natural birth! You did awesome and your photographer did an awesome job of capturing it all. Enjoy your babymooning :-) August 29, 2011 – 7:30 pm

Jessi Slicho - WOW, way to make a girl cry. YOu are truly amazing.August 29, 2011 – 7:15 pm

Heather Essian - LOVE LOVE LOVE!! I’m still so proud of you friend! I feel so blessed to have been a part of it all. Praise God for your healthy wonderful home-birth!!August 29, 2011 – 7:03 pm

Samantha - So I just cried through the entire slideshow and photos about the birth. Congratulations!!! She is perfect! Your family is so perfect! We are so excited for y’all!August 29, 2011 – 7:00 pm

Adrienne - So beautiful, I’m all teary! Heather did an amazing job documenting this. And you, Arden? Well, you just rock.August 29, 2011 – 6:14 pm

Jenn Sawtelle - So beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. I adore your song choice. Loved the movie and the song when I was a girl and I still do. One of the most moving songs ever and, paired with your birth story and Heather’s gorgeous photos it is even more moving. God bless your family and your new baby girl, Arden.August 29, 2011 – 6:10 pm

Amber - So so so precious! I am bawling, thank you for sharing this Arden.August 29, 2011 – 6:09 pm

Life with Kaishon - This was so beautiful Arden. I am thrilled for you. I love this chapter in the book of your life.August 29, 2011 – 5:57 pm

Susan Wolfer-Lennex - Arden…I’m in tears. This is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story!August 29, 2011 – 5:51 pm

Lakey Lou, almost ONE update - […] and moved into just a week before having our first daughter – Parker. This is the home I home-birthed our second daughter, Eden, in. The home where we have made great friends with some wonderful and cherished neighbors. Paul and I […]April 14, 2014 – 2:55 pm

Alexandria VA Birth Photographer | Meghan Hale Photography - […] I would spend hours reading her tutorials and looking at her images.  One day I came across this post of her own birth shot by a friend.  I was so blown away by the beauty in the images.  You can […]November 4, 2013 – 8:31 am

Edie is ONE - [...] Happy BIRTHDAY (a few days early) to my precious – 2nd VBAC-Water-born-home-birth BABY GIRL. [...]August 12, 2012 – 9:34 pm

Merry Christmas 2011 » Arden Prucha Photography - [...] time and questioning we were blessed with a healthy home birth and beautiful daughter: EDEN aka EDIE or Easy [...]December 24, 2011 – 4:22 pm

eyelets: Meet Arden Prucha! | Eyefull Photography - [...] NOTE:  Since I first posted this interview…Arden gave birth to her 3rd child.  Is was captured beautifully by one of her friends and fellow photographers, check it out here. [...]November 18, 2011 – 10:27 am

Beautiful Birth Story Photography | Being Pregnant - [...] Birth Story: {Arden Prucha Photography} [...]September 13, 2011 – 11:40 am

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