Elli's story:

Elli was born on November 6, 2009. Michelle was my midwife, and I believe I was one of her very first clients. Having worked alongside her family in Asia for a few years, our family had the pleasure of watching Michelle grow up. We were able to follow her journey through midwifery training, and it was such an obvious choice that she would be our best suit for a midwife. That was a decision we will never forget.

Elli was my 3rd pregnancy, and because of where we lived in Asia at the time, prenatal care was extremely limited and we weren't able to determine the sex of the baby ahead of time. My first 2 pregnancies were pretty 'by the book', except that they were both posterior births which was excruciating back pain for me during labor. The other interesting thing about my pregnancies was with my first born, my water broke prior to contractions. With my 2nd, my midwife was able to break my water to bring on labor after we watched my due date come and go.

When we had tried a few other natural things to jumpstart labor to no avail, we picked a date and Michelle decided to break my water to see if I would follow the same trend for the 3rd time. I remember feeling discouraged because it seemed that it wasn't working. I would have a few minor contractions, and then it seemed that I went a long while without having any. She was very encouraging, and I believe at some point we started to pray. It wasn't long after that, that the contractions began to pick up again.

Michelle was very diligently keeping record of what was happening, and I remember as I was focused on laboring, she mostly sat quietly on the side sending out words of encouragement. Occasionally she would come to rub my back, or check my blood pressure, pulse or something concerning the progression of my labor. The entire process from the time she broke my water, to delivery was just a little over 4 hours. So once the contractions picked up again, it wasn't long at all until I was in the final stages of labor.

I had a little birthing pool set up in the living room. I remember climbing in the pool, laying there for about 2-3 contractions, and realizing in my own mind that labor would be over soon. I also remember thinking how much quicker and easier this one was going compared to my previous 2. No posterior positioned baby this time.......and boy, was it a life-saver for me!

The next thing I remember was feeling that urge to push, and along with that came a sense of urgency to get to the bed before I ended up having an un-planned water birth. Michelle urged me to try to relax and breathe through that contraction. She checked me, determined that I was fully dilated, then I was helped to the bed to deliver.

I remember being on all 4's to push. She asked me if I wanted to try a different position, but I didn't. That one felt right to me, and that was the last that was mentioned about that. There were a few good pushes, and I remember feeling my baby coming down, and then sliding back up. I was voicing some frustration about that and wondering why the baby wasn't coming out. After what seemed like forever (although it was really less than a half hour if I remember correctly) our baby was born with the umbilical chord wrapped around her arm. So perhaps, that was the 'pull'. Her little arm was pulling her back in by the cord after each good push. It might have also caused some placenta separation because there was a good amount of blood.

My next memory was looking down to see our baby, realizing that we had a girl.....and shouting joyously over and over "It's a girl! It's a girl! Travis, we have a DAUGHTER!!!"

We rolled over, snuggled, and she almost immediately started breastfeeding without any trouble. That was also a huge blessing, because my first 2 boys both had a rough first week of learning how to suckle. But she was a pro.

Michelle handled the amount of blood with strength and wisdom, kept all of us calm, and was able to help me birth the placenta without any issues. She did some massaging (definitely not my favorite part....ha) and thankfully the bleeding was able to stop before any major issues arose.

We spent the rest of the early morning hours phoning family back home to deliver the news of a healthy 6 pound baby GIRL.....the first granddaughter on both sides of our family! Elli got her first bath, I got a shower, and we all snuggled up for a few hours of rest before Elli got to meet her brothers. Then the kisses started, and they haven't stopped yet. She is an incredibly loved little girl, who was brought into the world peacefully, naturally, and surrounded by love!

~Mandy