Tag Archives: birth story

The Slow and Speedy Birth of Raylan Emerson

5 Aug

It’s been over two months since my third child came into this world. I’ve been wanting to write about his journey here, but it feels exhausting to even stop and think about it. Maybe because I am afraid I won’t have any of the right words, and I will just write in a clinical, fact-only way that I despise. I will try my best to capture it. Keep reading if you are interested.

There is no better way to remember how little control you have then to have children.

From the moment of conception, from seeing those 2 lines on the pregnancy test, you are thrown onto a chaotic ride that just doesn’t stop. Often there is vomit too.

The funny thing about babies is that as small as they are, they are very much their own beings. You get to carry another within you. A vessel, a “mother” ship. Hate it or love it or both, it is a crazy thing.

Starting at about 36 weeks, I thought I was going into labor. I had intense contractions, that got longer and stronger, only to fizzle out. Prodromal labor is exhausting, physically, but more mentally. It’s like knowing you are about to meet the love of your life and they keep standing you up!

Towards the end, I listened to this podcast my dear midwife, Kelsi sent me. The woman speaking talked about how physically your brain is mush, especially towards the end of your pregnancy. She said instead of being annoyed or ashamed or always condemning yourself, (guilty) embrace it. While you can’t remember what you did 5 minutes ago or the name of your favorite movie, your body is preparing you for something that goes way beyond intellect or black-and-white thinking.

Birth is other-worldly, and we lose part of that when we treat it clinically and make it all about the numbers and the dates and everything lining up just right.

We play into fear and wonder why the pain is too much.

Even as I am writing this, the cynical side of me is rolling her eyes, “Come on! Get over yourself. Everything isn’t magical, some things just SUCK. It is painful. It is hard. It’s part of our lot in life as women who chose to birth children.”

But is it? Or have we just been conditioned to think so? Have we been conditioned to approach the most intimate, earth-shattering, spiritual moment in a way that is clinical and fear-driven?

I decided to have this baby at home. I felt comfortable with it, I trusted my midwife, husband and (most of the time) myself. I knew from the two previous births I could do a natural birth. I knew since I had a 12 hour labor with my daughter and a 6 hour one with my son, this one could be pretty quick. (HA! I had NO idea!) This baby was the wild card. I didn’t know the gender and had no idea when he/she would come.

For about a month, I thought I was in labor almost every day. It was hard to plan anything. It was hard not to get my hopes up, then be disappointed. It was hard to ignore the contractions and carry on with every day life, but I knew I needed to to stay sane.

My due date came and went. Both my other kids were born at exactly 39 weeks. This one was taking their time. I learned once again to stop and breathe and be ok with the unknown. (Lesson of my life right there!)

My birthday came and went. On top of everything, our hot water heater broke and leaked all over the downstairs (my birthing area) we had already decided to move and got permission from our landlords to break our lease early. So we would start moving on June 1st… this was the end of May.

Finally, at 41 weeks, I saw some REAL signs of labor in the toilet. I cried with joy as I text my husband who was at work. Contractions sped up that day and got really intense that night. Then, as always, I went to bed exhausted and they stopped.

Then that morning at about 4 am, I woke up with more contractions. It was May 29th and I was technically 1 week and 1 day “over due.” I told Jean-Thomas today could be the day, but maybe not. By now he had heard that dozens of times, but he decided to take the day off just in case.

I was having contractions pretty consistantley, but I wanted some alone time so I told Jean-Thomas he should take the kids to the YMCA. They left after breakfast and I did some cleaning and some sitting and lots of eating.

It got more intense. Kelsi text me to check in. I told her I was ok for now. My friends Danielle and Kyrstan text me saying if I needed to kids to come over, they could come get them. I said maybe later.

Then everything sped up. I thought about texting Jean-Thomas to come home from the Y, but they hadn’t been gone that long. I think I was still in denial. Just then he text me and told me Wyatt had wet himself and he didn’t have a change of clothes so they were coming home. I told him that was probably a good thing.

I got hit by a wave that made me moan outloud. I realized then this was for real. I text Kelsi who said she was on her way. I text my friends back to see if they could get Wyatt.

Jean-Thomas got home at about noon with the kids and some lunch. I ate quickly and headed downstairs. I could barely walk down the stairs at that point but I managed to get down and onto the birthing ball my friend had lent me. I could only think about getting on my knees and leaning into the birthing ball to rock. That was the position I stayed in, almost trance-like, just rocking through the pain.

Jean-Thomas started blowing up the birthing tub and filling it, I just wanted to get in the water so bad, but I had a feeling I wouldn’t need it. Kelsi arrived at about 12:30 with another midwife, Mary. Kyrstan arrived to pick Wyatt up. We had decided ahead of time my 5-year-old Aurelia would be there for birth. She was a great helper, telling me gently to breathe and offering me sips of water.

I stayed on my ball, rocking, and realized that the sounds coming out of my mouth were changing. Everyone was still trying to fill the tub.

“I don’t think I need the tub…. I need to push!”

I can’t quite recall what I said after that, but I know I cried out to Jesus and asked for His strength. Kelsi had me move my leg positions a bit, and after a few pushes, my baby came out into the world.

I grabbed him and checked and realized he was a boy.

“I knew it! Hi, Raylan!” I managed to say.

He came fast and furious after only about an hour of active labor, but he had weeks of practice beforehand.

He was perfect and I felt strangely calm, at peace, and even strong.

I am so happy we chose to have a homebirth. If we hadn’t, he probably would have been born in a car!

I am so happy I approached this birth assuming the best and really had a beautiful experience.

Raylan Emerson Louvier

Born May 29th, 2019 at 1:20 pm.

9lbs 3oz

19.75 inches long

13.25 inch head

14 inch chest

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The Birth of Wyatt Everest 

25 May

When I sit down to try to write about my son’s birth, it seems so clinical, like I am just reciting facts, something that happened so someone else. It’s a funny thing about having a baby. Most people want to know stats and numbers: how much did he weigh, how long he was, how long were you in labor, what procedures did you need to have in order to get him out. 

What we don’t really talk about, probably because it feels impossible to express, is the searing, white-hot pain where you feel like you body is splitting wide open and your’e not really there in the moment because if you were completly present you couldn’t bare it….

A week ago, I thought I might be going into labor. The cramps were tight and frequent and my belly felt heavy, like an invisible weight was pushing from the top and bottom. I tried to time a few contractions but couldn’t tell where they stopped and started. I decided to walk through it and see if they got worse. I made jambalaya for dinner, all the while watching the storm tracker on my phone to make sure the tornadoes on the radar stayed far away. The last thing I needed was the stress of going into labor in the middle of a storm. The cooking process slowed down the contractions and I knew then it wasn’t time. The tornado watch was lifted and I felt a sense of relief. The next day was Friday and I would be 39 weeks, the day I had guessed he’d come. I figured I was wrong and still had some time. 

I woke up at 4:30 am with pretty heavy cramping. I got up, peed, ate a granola bar, and realized there was a rhythm to my contractions. My contraction timer app confirmed it: 9 minutes apart. Jean-Thomas woke up and asked if I was ok. I replied,

“We were right. Looks like we’re having our son today.” 

By 7:30 contractions were at 7 minutes apart, so I got up to get ready. My 3-year-old Aurelia ran into the room. I told her that her brother was coming today, and she exclaimed, 

 “Is it the 4th of July?! Yay! I am so exciting!!”

Jean-Thomas fixed us scrambled eggs and toast which I inhaled hungrily with watermelon and pineapple. Contractions averaged 5 minutes apart , so I called my midwife, Cheryl, and we headed out. Aurelia stayed with my mother-in-law. I got all emotional saying goodbye when it hit me it would be her last day as our only child. 

The drive to the birthing center was about 30 minutes. Once I got in the car, my contractions slowed down to 10 minutes apart. I was worried that I’d called too early and it was just gonna fizzle out and we’d have to turn around and go home. But Jean-Thomas reminded me (again) to breathe, and once I relaxed they picked back up to 5 minutes…. just as we pulled in. We headed inside to the birthing center. I changed into something comfy and got set up in the room. Cheryl and LaQuita checked me and I was already 5cm dilated. Relief swept over me. Wyatt was on his way.

I labored for awhile. Walked around, tried different positions. By 12:30 or so I was hungry for more than snacks, so Jean-Thomas called his parents who dropped off Chic-fil-A for us. I ate that original sandwich with no pickles and Polynesian sauce quickly, knowing it was about to get intense. I was right. 


Cheryl checked me and I was dilated to an 8! She prayed over me and I just started weeping, recalling the birth of my daughter and how she was rushed out of my arms to an ambulance when she couldn’t get enough air in her lungs. Cheryl reassured me this was a different birth and everything would be ok. 

I calmed down and got in the tub. Blissful relief. The water has such a calming, healing affect. I wanted to stay in, but after awhile in the water, I had to get out of the tub because I wasn’t progressing. I labored for awhile on the toilet which was so uncomfortable and miserable. I stood up and a strong contraction hit and I could barely stand. I grabbed onto Jean-Thomas and started to lose it emotionally.

“This is too hard.” 

He spoke encouragement and truth. I tried to believe him.

I went back to the tub. Fire. Hot. Burning. No relief. I reached down and could feel his head! More pushing… So much pain… so close…. The next events are a blur. The chronological order and details lost in the emotion and pain. 

When the only way your pain can express itself is in deep, guttural cries that come from an entirely different place, wild and raw nature. And you hear these moans escaping your body as you try to embrace the pain, and you don’t even recognize yourself. 

Cheryl was yelling directions. I was out of the tub, on the bed. Oxygen was placed on my face. Then I distinctly heard a phrase that made my tired heart sink and almost give up:

“Call 911… just in case.”

“Ok. God. If I am transferred it’s ok. As long as baby is ok.” I prayed to myself quietly. 

I heard my husband praying hard. Cheryl told me baby needed a little help getting out and she was going to give me an episiotomy. I told her, anything to get him out. 

More pain. People in the room. Change of position. Blur.

Shouting: “PUSH!”

A whisper, beneath it all: 

“Your Grace is sufficient for me. Your power is made perfect in my weakness.”

In that moment you know you’re too weak and you can possibly do it and you pray the most desperate prayer….then, like a lightening bolt feel your entire soul and body let go and finally release this child it’s been nourishing for nearly a year. 

And it’s over. 

The tidal wave of relief. There is nothing in existence like that moment. Your body relaxes, and suddenly you’re back, in the room. Things come in to focus, and then your child is laid on your chest, and all the pain the universe has to offer simply pops like a bubble and only this moment matters.

This moment.


My son. Wyatt Everest Louvier. 

We were ok. Baby got checked and was cleared. I needed stitches, but I didn’t have to go the the hospital. The EMTs who had been waiting around were sent away. 

I had birthed our second child the way I wanted. Peaceful laboring with no drugs or intervention, only water, music and prayer and lots of deep breathing. 

This time, I got to bathe my weak body and brand new baby in a warm herbal bath. I got to rest in bed and eat breakfast food (the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted) while Wyatt was weighed and measured. I got to watch with joy as my daughter met her brother for the first time.


I am so beyond grateful for our incredible, attentive, and loving birth team. I know without their knowledge, discernment and hard work, this may have ended much differently.

“There is a power that comes to women when they give birth. They don’t ask for it, it simply invades them. Accumulates like clouds in the horizon and passes through, carrying the child with it.” -Sheryl Feldman

Wyatt Everest Louvier 

Born on May 19, 2017 at 4:23 pm.

(At exactly 39 weeks on a rainy Friday afternoon just like his big sister.)

Weight: 9 lbs 4 oz 

Length: 20.25 in

Head: 13.75 in

Chest: 14.13 in! 

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