May 15, 2016

The incredible tale of the birth of Ella Claire Smith: a calm quiet girl who entered this world faster than lightning.

It was a sunny Saturday morning, May 14, 2016. We were up getting ready to leave the house and go grocery shopping. A friend of mine has a cleaning business and was going to clean our house as another preparation for the birth that would seemingly happen in the very distant future. We realized we didn't have everything we needed for her to clean so Collin decided to run out to the store to grab a few supplies. I really didn't want to go; I was unsure of why exactly. He left at 9:35 AM. I had no warning that my baby was about to come to me. As he was walking out the door I felt a couple of pains, then denial, and then after a few more pains looked at Freddie and Hattie and had some sort of out of body experience and I knew. I checked myself and there was the head and the waters were still intact! I started the bathwater, put a plastic sheet on the bed, and gave the phone to Freddie, instructing him to, "call daddy and tell him to come home--the baby is coming; I can feel the head." Freddie was very helpful and did exactly that right away. This was 9:46 AM. Then I called Jessica, our midwife, and my friend Bethany and told her we have to reschedule the house cleaning. Big surge! Followed by a small moment of panic, and I got in the tub. I knew I could handle it if I could get into the water. Freddie turned off the water for me. Hattie wanted a Band-Aid and he got it for her. I was nervous but I turned on Hypnobirthing and let go. I felt as if my body and the baby were one entity working together, and that I was another, meant to give in, breathe, allow them to work, trust in them. I did. Collin was home at 9:52 AM and asked if he should fill up the birth pool. I said, "no time." He was taken away to help the kids and apparently Bethany was at the door. I was on my own and it felt very right. One strong surge, a gush with the waters breaking, and a long push with lots of breathing. I didn't know if I could endure but I also knew it would be fast. I felt down and the head was halfway out then out! Collin walked by and I called to him and shushed him. He was so surprised to see the head and gasped for joy. He held one of my legs up just lightly as I was on my side in the tub and was tired. The water had called to me and I think it made it all possible. Collin called the kids in, and there were excited cheers. It was the four of us and I was beyond happy about that. They just watched quietly, so excited! But it was almost 5 of us now! Our baby was just head out, but wiggling back-and-forth, trying to get out! It was amazing! Collin checked everything out to make sure all was safe and coming smoothly. Another big surge and big push and the whole body was out. I lifted the tiny baby to my chest myself, so glad it was over and we had our little one. I asked, "girl or boy?!" And Collin, so excited hat we could know, looked and announced, "a girl!" A minute or two before 10AM. We were all overjoyed. Altogether. We took pictures and videos. It felt so sacred that it was just us. Jessica arrived just minutes later, at 10:02AM. The whole thing start to finish, was about 15 to 20 minutes and birth about 8 or 10 minutes. 

Right after she was born, we all got so weepy. I'm humbled to dust just looking at her. She looks just like Freddie and Hattie.  I'm so blessed to have another healthy child and to have had an amazing birthing experience just as I envisioned. 

Jessica was wonderful. She was the right person for us every step of the way this pregnancy. She believed in me, advised me, encouraged and empowered me. I feel that because she believed in me so much I was able to do what I did on my own. It was incredible to be in my own home. Peaceful and right. Comfortable and easy. 

God had such a hand in all of this. He led, guided and taught me. He taught me to trust in him. He knows me so individually, as if I am his only precious child. He gave me another of his children to care for. It's a miracle. He trusts me too. 

Collin is dewy-eyed, happy, and loves us all. He's supportive and kind. Freddie is protective and helpful. He helped Collin cut the cord and would not be satisfied until the baby was nursing. Harriet loves the baby. Kisses her and says, "I love you," and tells everyone, "this is mommy's baby." She often runs into my room where we are lying in the bed together and asks, "mommy where is your baby?" And wants to hold her or wrap her or see her or kiss her. Freddie loves to help change her diapers and loves to hold her by himself. At one point I heard him say proudly to himself or whomever was listening, "a home water birth!" Neither of them were scared or startled or uneasy at the birth. They were well prepared but also it was just so natural and beautiful and exciting! After the birth they both went off to watch some TV and then went to play with a family in our neighborhood for the afternoon. 

Jessica and her assistant Liz, gave Collin and I time together with just our daughter for a while. I put her on my tummy and she crawled up to my breast and I helped her start to nurse. She and I are learning to nurse together. It's a whole new experience with the two of us and we are figuring it out. After a while she was weighed and examined and found perfect in every way. The afterbirth pains are strong but not unbearable. The placenta and cord were healthy. I had to deliver the membrane in several pieces but all is well. There was no tearing or trama of any kind. My midwife believes I experienced something called the Fetal Ejection Reflux, this amazing thing that can happen in undisturbed births where it goes so quickly like this. Read more here...

This little girl is our smallest child yet -- 7 pounds, 8 ounces and 20 1/2 inches long. 

We have received many wonderful texts and messages wishing us well from friends and family. And we have received an overwhelming amount of support from our neighbors. It's extremely touching to us that people we have known for less than 10 months have rallied around us, so eager to help in any way. Today the kids have been so sweet and little balls of big emotions. Such a big transition this will be and I suspect it will get harder before it gets easier, but no matter what, I'm grateful beyond anything. My mom arrived late last night, which is exciting for everyone. I feel good and I'm so tired. Ella has been sleeping well, pooping, peeing, nursing, smiling, making adorable cooing noises. She's everything we could have hoped for. Now pictures. 

This is me at Collin's cousin's wedding the night before---I had had a few surges that felt very much like warm ups, but wasn't uncomfortable and had no clue I would have my babe in less than 12 hours (but this is a pattern w me.)


  1. Nikki! I got chills reading this! So happy for you and your other four. :) So excited that it was so beautiful... and fast! Wowza! What a woman!

  2. I'm in tears, love you so much and so happy for you!

  3. That picture of Hattie snuggles is precious!!!

  4. What a sacred experience! I don't think I've ever met anyone who had such a quick and easy birth. I think little Miss Ella just loves you all so much that she couldn't wait any longer to be with your family. So impressed by how intuitive and calm you were and with how Freddy stepped up like a man to help you and Hattie. That boy is very special for sure.

  5. What a crazy and beautiful birth! You are amazing. So, so happy for you and Ella is gorgeous. Congratulations, honey!

  6. Wow! What a beautiful, amazing story! She is so beautiful. So happy for your family!