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Pelagia's Homebirth Story - 02/04/2008

Back in the beginning of 2008, we were preparing to have our 3rd baby. This is her birth story, never written down before.

Pelagia's homebirth story

A Glimpse into Our Life in 2008

Looking back to 2008, our life was vastly different than it is today. At the time, I was a 21-year-old mother of two adorable little girls, with our oldest set to turn three in May and our second only 19 months old. We were eagerly anticipating the arrival of our third baby, due on April 3rd.

During this pregnancy, we had purchased a row house in the heart of a charming village, but we had yet to acquire a car. Instead, we relied on our trusty bikes and a bike trailer to get around. My then-husband worked as a cleaning assistant while I stayed at home to care for our children. Our oldest daughter had just started kindergarten at a nearby Freinet school, adding to the hectic pace of our days.

Amidst the chaos of our daily life, we moved into our new home two months before my due date, with the anticipation of welcoming a new baby into our family. It was a busy and stressful time, but also a time filled with excitement and hope for our future.

The moment her soul entered my body

When we learned that we were pregnant with our third child, our youngest daughter was only ten months old. While it wasn't planned for this soon, we knew instantly that this baby was meant to join our family. The energy surrounding this new life was majestic, grotesque, and awe-inspiring. I instantly felt it when our DNA collided again. We knew in our hearts that there was no stopping this baby from coming into our lives.

From the very moment I felt this new soul enter my body, I was completely and utterly IN LOVE. I had an unshakeable feeling that this baby was another girl. A strong one. And she was all mine. She had chosen us, and the connection I felt with her was instant and profound. I loved her spirit from that very first second.

I remember us staying at the wooden chalet in the forest that we knew so well. This place held a special significance for my then-husband and his family, who had spent many summers there over his childhood years. In the future, we would spend our summers there too, but at that moment, it was the first time we had a family vacation.

I remember standing outside the cabin. A breeze through my hair, the sun on my face. That's the moment I felt seed meeting the egg. That's the moment her soul entered my body. Even now, fifteen years later, that memory remains crystal clear in my mind, and the overwhelming feeling of love and connection will stay with me forever.

Announcing Our Pregnancy

In those days, we were always eager to share the news of our pregnancy with everyone early on, including our close family and friends. This time around, however, things didn't go as smoothly as we had hoped. Sadly, both sides of our families were less than thrilled, expressing concern that it was too soon for us to have another baby.

The comments were hurtful, especially because we were overjoyed to welcome this new little soul into our family. It was difficult to accept that our loved ones were not as enthusiastic about the news as we were. It left an impact that I will never forget. In the past, we had faced opposition for starting a family at a young age. Strangers tend to have an opinion over other people's lives and are not scared to share that. This also affected my experience during our firstborn's hospital birth. Our close family however always had our backs. When the world stood against us, they were on our side. So hearing their negative reactions and noticing that they too had their doubts this time was a sensitive subject. It left me with a loneliness that would take several years to shake off.

Despite the hurtful remarks, our newest addition had already claimed a special place in my heart. I felt fiercely protective of her and couldn't wait to meet her. At that point in my life, I was still finding my voice and lacked the confidence to stand up for myself. It took time to overcome the sting of their words, but eventually, I came to understand that their reservations were born out of love and concern.

A Pregnancy Filled with Forgotten Memories

With three children under the age of three, my days were a blur of constant activity and responsibility. Looking back on that time, I realize that I don't remember much from that particular pregnancy. Though it went smoothly, my focus was mostly on caring for my two young children and ensuring that they were happy and healthy.

At the time, digital photography was just emerging, and we were saving up for a camera when our old one broke. This meant that we didn't have a camera for a year, and as a result, I have no pictures or video footage of us during that pregnancy. It's my biggest regret, and I wish that I had captured more of those special moments. The shift from analog to digital photography was a significant one in our family because of low finances, and it was challenging to keep up with everything while also caring for two young children. I'm still sad about not having any keepsakes from that time. My first pictures of her were when she was already 5 weeks old.

In addition, social media was not yet the ubiquitous presence that it is today, and most people connected through online message boards. Information about parenting and natural parenting was limited and often hard to come by, and we were finding our way on our own, relying on intuition and limited resources. It wasn't easy to make friends online and I didn't have any friends in the real world. Natural parenting was just starting to gain a following, but there was no one to truly share our journey with, no one to share real life with. When memories are made on your own, without sharing them with others, they sometimes get lost in a remote corner of your mind.

As a result, memories of that pregnancy are sparse, and I often feel a tinge of sadness when I think about it. However, I also understand that our life at that time was hectic and chaotic, and I was doing the best I could with what I had. It's all part of our story and the journey that led us to where we are today.

The Only One Who Knew It Was a Girl

True to our past and future pregnancies, we chose not to check the gender of our baby during this pregnancy. Despite having a strong intuition about the baby's sex, we opted to forgo an ultrasound to confirm our suspicions.

What I found amusing was that I was the only one convinced that our baby was a girl. Everyone else in our life, including my then-husband, was convinced that we were having a boy. As the mother, I had an unshakeable feeling that we were welcoming another girl into our family, but others were adamant that we were due for a son after having two daughters. They were so convinced that they tried to sway me, but I never wavered. Despite being the only one with that intuition, I trusted it completely.

A Vision of Strength and Independence

Throughout my pregnancy, I had vivid visions of a strong, fierce, and independent woman. In my mind's eye, I saw her as a free spirit, a warrior, and a womanly female, confident in her own strength and sure of what she wanted in life.

To me, this little one was destined to be a force to be reckoned with, a true inspiration to all who knew her. Her spirit embodied all the qualities of a strong, determined woman who could take on any challenge that came her way.

As the pregnancy progressed, my intuition and connection with this little one only grew stronger, and I couldn't wait to meet her and see her grow into the incredible person I knew she was destined to become.

The Story of Her Name

If our third child had turned out to be a boy, we already had a name picked out, one that had been with me since I was just 14 years old and came to me during a vision. My then-husband had agreed to this name as it was given by the Universe to me.

However, the process of choosing a name for our third daughter was not as straightforward. When I was pregnant with our first daughter, I had a vision of two little girls walking hand in hand, not too far apart in age. I knew their names would be Troia and Atlanta, and when our first two daughters were born, that's how things went. We gave them the given names. That vision itself would come true a few years later too.

But in that same vision, I also sensed the presence of a third daughter, though I never saw her. She had a name too: Maya. For months during this pregnancy, we believed that we would be welcoming Maya into our family, but as time went on, the name didn't feel quite right. In the final months of my pregnancy, we decided to let go of the name and look for something that better suited our baby. (The name Maya would later on come back to our family, fulfilling the prophesy, but not in the way we expected. That's another story all together.)

It wasn't until one fateful night, while watching the movie Captain Corelli's Mandoline, that we found the perfect name. The main character, Pelagia, was a strong-willed, free-spirited woman who embodied the energy and spirit of our baby. Tears streamed down my face. It was a moment of pure synchronicity, as though the universe had given us this name. Despite the challenges we faced in choosing a name, we knew in our hearts that Pelagia was the perfect fit for our little one. The Universe had said so.

April 1st, 2008

Our baby was due on April 3rd, so there was a very real possibility that she could be born on April Fool's Day. This thought haunted me throughout my entire pregnancy, as my childhood experiences with a prankster brother had left me with severe anxiety of this day.

As April 1st approached, I could feel a shift in my body. I knew that my baby could possibly come that day, and I gathered all of my mental strength to prevent it from happening. Though my body was ready, I refused to give birth on this day. I kept my legs tightly shut, determined to hold on until a safer date.

It was a tense and nerve-wracking day, but ultimately, my efforts paid off. Our baby did not arrive on April Fool's Day, and I felt a wave of relief wash over me. Though it was a small victory, it meant the world to me, and I was grateful for the chance to welcome our little one into the world on a different day.

April 2nd, 2008

The morning after April Fool's Day, we had a scheduled appointment with the midwife. During the check-up, we discovered that I was already 4cm dilated, even though I had not experienced any noticeable signs of labor the day before. It was a clear indication that my body was ready to give birth. The midwife suggested sweeping my membranes to give the process a nudge, and though I was hesitant, she had already done it before I could respond.

After the appointment, we decided to spend some time with our parents. The girls and I stayed with my parents so I could have some help, while their father went to his to have a little nap, as he started his working shirt very early that morning (so he could come with me to the midwife appointment) and needed some extra strength before labor would start. As the day went on, I started to feel restless, without any noticeable signs of labor. Just restlessness, starting from wriggling on my chair to walking around my childhood home the rest of the afternoon. Eventually, I felt the strong need to go home, so my parents drove us back.

Once home, we went about our usual routine of dinner, bath time, and getting the girls ready for bed. During Atlanta's nursing session, my first contraction hit. I had hoped to get the girls to bed before labor progressed, but it was not meant to be.

Things escalated quickly after that. Waves of contractions came crashing in one after another, and the midwife was called. The girls were brought upstairs, but the energy hanging around made them upset. Back downstairs, they watched me go through more of the contractions, but got overwhelmed by the sounds that I made. I tried to comfort them, which only made the contractions more intense. Finally, we decided to bring the girls back upstairs with their father and let me focus on giving birth.

Only 20 minutes later, the midwife arrived, and with her coat still on, I called my then-husband to my side. Within moments, our baby's head was born, and shortly after, she made her entrance into the world. The background music to my birth was the sound of two crying, overwhelmed girls upstairs, who were simply too exhausted to understand what was happening.

It was a chaotic and overwhelming experience, but looking back, it's also a funny and memorable moment in our family's story.

A Beautiful Healthy Whirlwind of a Daughter was Born

With her on top of me, I tried to recover from the intense 20-minute labor that had just taken place. Giving birth in such a short amount of time may sound easy, but it's actually more intense than most people think. The natural birth process is designed the way it is for a reason - hormones come in one after another to guarantee the safe passage of the baby. Nature did a wonderful thing designing it that way. However, if you go through the entire hormonal process in only 20 minutes, your body experiences all the little details of the natural birth process all at once. It's pure chaos, both inside and outside of you.

Moreover, it takes a while for your brain to process the fact that you've given birth. While your body is still processing the start of labor, your baby is already there. As I said: pure, pure, pure chaos.

But she was there, a beautiful girl, as I had known she would be. She weighed a healthy 3680 grams and was 52 cm long, a big difference from the sister before her who had arrived a month too soon. This baby was ready to tackle life.

After That

After introducing the new addition to the family, life started to settle down. The girls were tucked in bed (seeing that both mom and baby were doing well brought a sense of comfort to them), and mom had a chance to bond with her baby.

Shortly after, I called my parents to share the good news. It turned out that they had just arrived home, and if it weren't for the sounds of the baby in the background, they might not have believed that she had already been born.

Pelagia turned out to be an unusually calm baby. She slept for six hours straight on that first night, and continued to do so for the next seven months. Unlike most newborns, she didn't lose any weight and even started gaining weight from day one, which is why I allowed her to keep her six-hour sleeping block at night. Her easygoing personality made life much smoother for the family.

In the weeks and months following her birth, postpartum was pure bliss. The presence of a baby like Pelagia allowed for a smoother healing process, and life with three little ones became a beautiful adventure.

From Blissful Bliss to Whirlwind Chaos Once Again

After those first 7 blissful months, Pelagia's whirlwind nature broke free once again. At just 7 months old, she began walking on her own without any assistance. My 20-minute birth baby had changed into a 7-month-old walker. From that moment on, the peaceful nights became a little less relaxing as she started waking up multiple times a night, a pattern that would continue for the next 3 years. But because I had those easy first few months, I was well-rested enough to handle the sleepless nights that followed.

Whenever I share Pelagia's birth story with those who know her well, they are not surprised to hear that she was born in a chaotic 20-minute birth. To this day, she remains that same free-spirited whirlwind. Her birth was true to the person she would eventually become.

Despite the chaos of her birth, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Pelagia was a surprise from start to end, an amazing surprise at that. I'm grateful that she decided to come into our lives when she did and didn't give us any choice in the matter. It's the best thing that could have happened.

Pelagia Andromeda Aella - 02/04/08

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