Elliott's Birth Story

     All four of my pregnancies, labors, and deliveries have had similarities and major differences. At the beginning of our fourth pregnancy we decided we weren’t going to find out the gender of our baby during the pregnancy. Making this decision at the beginning made it easier on us to not find out during. Despite not knowing the gender, we were pretty convinced early on that we were having a boy. Our youngest, Callie, told us the week after we told her we were pregnant that we were having a boy, because God told her we were. Our son also was super hopeful to have a brother. 

    All of my pregnancies have been difficult, and after our third child I said we were going to be done. This wasn’t because I wanted only three kids, or because I felt done, but because I didn’t think my body could go through it again. In October of 2020 I started to feel like we were missing a child. I kept this to myself for a few months while I prayed about it. Someone I had been following on instagram had talked about her difficulties with each of her pregnancies (she has nine kids), but her ability to get pregnant despite the difficulties was because it was only 10 months, and we can do anything hard for 10 months. After hearing that, and spending a few months in prayer, I talked to Matt about it, he reminded me that I’m super miserable and in constant pain when I’m pregnant. But this feeling of missing a child wouldn’t go away, I couldn’t shake it. Matt honestly didn’t take much convincing, but it took us about four months to get pregnant. I got a positive test on April 21st, and I was so excited to tell Matt. But on Friday the 23rd I started bleeding a little. I was so hopeful it was just a fluke, and that I’d stop bleeding. Saturday it stopped, and Sunday it started again and was pretty heavy. I was devastated. On Monday morning after teaching a body pump class, I went to the bathroom and passed the baby. It was so teeny, and I could have easily missed it had I not known I was pregnant. I had a doctors appointment that week to confirm pregnancy and miscarriage, and my doctor told me we could start trying again as soon as we wanted, so we did, and got pregnant on my next cycle. May 25th I got a positive test, and for the next 4 months I was nervous I’d lose the baby, but I didn’t. This fourth pregnancy proved to be the hardest and most painful, but worth it. 

My due date was estimated for February 21st, but I was hopeful I’d go into labor earlier. We opted for another home birth, but I chose a different midwife this time. Grace was such an incredible choice, and I have been so thankful for her from the beginning. She put me at ease, communicated well, and was so kind! On Friday, February 18th I started having contractions in the evening. I typically start having Braxton hicks contractions around 33 weeks, but I hadn’t this time. I wasn’t sure if these were real, or Braxton hicks, but it felt like they were doing effective things. The contractions kept getting closer together, and when they were about 4-5 minutes apart, I called Grace. During Callie’s delivery I called my midwife too late because I didn’t want to make her come too early and I didn’t want her driving all the way out for nothing. With that experience in my mind, I didn’t want her to not be there. Grace came over around 2am, checked the baby’s heartbeat, and timed contractions for a while. Matt had inflated the birth tub when I started feeling the contractions, but when he went to fill it up it was half deflated. There was a hole in the side of it and the patches available were dried out. The contractions eventually petered off, and Grace went back home around 7am. I continued to have random contractions the rest of the day. Matt went to Oakland to pick up a new birth tub, got it back home, and set it up. We took the family to Martinez, walked a few miles, had dinner, and then went back home. 
Enjoying the beautiful February day in Martinez

For the next week we waited, discouraged and frustrated, but okay with the timing, as my midwife had gone out of town for a scheduled family trip. Her assistant came for my weekly appointment, which went well. 

On Friday afternoon, February 25th, my contractions changed, and I realized what I had been feeling that whole week were definitely Braxton hicks contractions, because these were very different and way harder. They started getting pretty close together, about 7 minutes apart. I didn’t try to go to sleep that night because the contractions were too close. at around 2:30am I called Grace, and she got to the house around 3:15. Matt started filling up the birth tub, which had been set up for an entire week by now. We worked through contractions again, and they again petered out. I was so discouraged by this time. The contractions were really hard, and a struggle to breath through, but they weren’t regular. Grace went back home, and we decided to stay home the rest of the day. I tried to nap, but the contractions kept coming, although far apart, and they kept getting harder. 

At 4:10 that evening the contractions were 3-5 minutes apart for about 45 minutes (Grace wanted them to be 3-4 minutes apart for an hour and a half), and then I had one 11 minutes later, and 7 minutes after that. I was irritated, what was I supposed to do with these? They were so irregular. At 8pm I was sitting on my pink chair in my living room, and while I had a contraction I felt a pop. I told Matt that I thought my water had broken, and when I stood up, I felt it coming down my legs. I went to the bathroom, had another contraction, and bloody show, and Matt called Grace. He was telling her what I was experiencing, and then gave the phone to me. She asked me if I wanted her to come now, or wait until we had gotten the kids to bed because she didn’t want to interrupt bedtime. I didn’t feel like I was able to make any decisions, so I told her that I’d talk to Matt and text her. I started having another contraction, handed the phone to Matt, she heard me having the contraction and told him that she was coming out now. Brooklynne got Cooper and Callie down for bed, then came back to the living room with us. She was uncomfortable with the noises I was making, so she put on Matt’s noise canceling headphones, and played in the living room and our bedroom. 

I had moved to the birth tub after that second contraction on the toilet because I didn’t want to have another baby on the toilet. The water made the contractions slow a bit, but regulated them, it unfortunately didn’t help with much of the pain. I had two at 7 minutes apart, two at 5 minutes apart, and then Grace got there. She checked the baby’s heartbeat, got her things ready, and then encouraged me during the next few contractions. I had finally had enough of it, so I told Matt and he told Brooklynne to go get her brother and sister. During the next two contractions I pushed. I got the baby’s head half way out, then the contraction stopped, I tried to push again, but that wasn’t going to work. At the next one I pushed the baby out the rest of the way, it was 9:08pm. I brought the baby up to my chest and Grace put a blanket on her. Brooklynne came over to check the baby’s gender, which we were for sure was boy, and when she said “it’s a girl,” we were all shocked! Cooper and Callie fell back asleep right away.

We stayed in the tub for 15 more minutes, I birthed the placenta, which was floated in a bowl in the tub, then Grace and Morgan helped me move to the bedroom. It’s crazy how weak my legs are after birth! I tried to get Ellie to nurse, but she was fairly disinterested. While Matt, Brooklynne, and Grace helped me, Morgan was in the living room cleaning up the birth tub, which was such a gift to us. She cleaned up the entire living room, it looked like nothing had happened in there just a few minutes before. Morgan stayed for about an hour longer, and Grace stayed until close to 1am. She made me tea and brought me something to eat, and kept me warm. A good midwife is such a gift, and Grace was amazing! I was blessed to have my family and a great birth team at the birth of our fourth child. 

Matt cut Ellie's cord, Brooklynne was going to, but as you can see by her face, she freaked.

Each member of our family has a double letter (Matthew, Annalisa, Brooklynne, Cooper, Callie), and we didn’t realize that until a few months after Callie was born. This added a level of difficulty to choosing Elliott’s name. We had decided on Elliot Matthew for a boy, but were very undecided on a name for a girl. When Ellie was born, we both knew we loved the name Ellie, but since we already had a Callie, we didn’t feel we could name her Ellie as her full name, but Ellie as a nickname for Elliott seemed perfect. We know it’s not a common name for a girl, but we love it. We gave her the middle name of Marie after my older sister, Bethany Marie.


Checking her weight

Baby Elliott is the perfect addition to our family, we’re so happy she’s here, and even though we were certain she was a boy, we’re so glad she’s not, as she’s exactly who we were missing.

7 lbs 12 oz
21 inches


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