Hi! My name is Ashley Cook and I’m married to my best friend, Brandon. We have two children, Annabelle (17 months) and Emmelyn (2 months). I am a stay at home mom/childcare provider and Essential oil lover/educator.
With our first daughter’s birth I was on the path to a routine, run of the mill pregnancy/labor/delivery at the hospital with whatever was recommended. A little ways into my pregnancy I was introduced to the idea of a doula, and Rachel Chavez – AKA world’s best doula – enters the scene. Between Rachel and a few groups I was a part of, I learned more and knew I didn’t want to simply go with the flow. I set my mind on a medication and intervention free delivery at our local hospital. My pregnancy went off without a hitch and labor turned out to be very much so not what I expected. It was long, very long. After 40ish hours I turned to the epidural. 3 hours later I had a misplaced Epidural that could no longer be used (and later caused a 7 day epidural headache). Annabelle was born in the early morning hours as we approached 45 hours of labor.
When we found out we were expecting Emmelyn just 5 months after Annabelle’s birth – I knew I would never have another epidural. I scheduled my first appt with the same care provider I used with Annabelle. My husband and I went to the appt and had our dating ultrasound, but as we left, I knew I didn’t want to proceed with care there. I made an appointment with Brookhaven the following week. At my consultation with Misty and Kai, I felt so relaxed and left knowing I wanted to deliver my baby with their assistance. We planned a birth center birth until 20ish weeks and then switched to a home birth.
My pregnancy was much like my first with the exception of this time I had a baby already who limited my sleep and rest. 😉 Annabelle and I went to my prenatal checkups and enjoyed building the relationship with the Brookhaven staff.
At 38.5 weeks (12/2) I was at home with Annabelle and the 4 children I was watching when I started having contractions. After several hours of them being consistent and throwing up twice, I decided it was time! I called the parents and asked them to come pick up their children and my husband came home from work and set up the birth tub. I let my doula, Rachel, know what was going on and then called Misty. I gently labored thru contractions until about 11pm then decided to sleep for a while if I could. Well, my body wasn’t ready. I slept soundly until 8am and woke up to nothing happening. My husband asked how I felt and I responded, ‘Too good”.
The next 13 days were spent waiting and trying to enjoy every second with Annabelle. My mom arrived from Montana on Thursday 12/15 and I was sure that I would be ready soon. We spent the day Friday together visiting the farmer’s market, went grocery shopping, and enjoying our time together. While at the Dayton Farmer’s Market I had my bloody show. My heart skipped a beat as I excitedly texted my husband and Rachel and let them know that ‘We are having a baby soon – FOR REAL’! We continued our evening and had dinner with friends. I used essential oils and basked in the feeling that the end was near and that our baby would be here soon. As we put my daughter to bed I wondered if tonight would be the last night she was our only child. I went to bed around 10 and slept really well until waking up at 2:30am to very strong contractions. They felt just like my contractions when I was in labor with Annabelle! I labored alone in the bathroom from 2:30 – 3:30 while timing my contractions. I was hesitant to call anyone yet because 1) I didn’t want to cry wolf again 2) I thought I was in for another long labor and didn’t want everyone sitting around watching me. After realizing they weren’t going away and were getting stronger, I texted Rachel and Misty and let them know things were intense and that they needed to make their way to my house.
I woke my husband at 3:30 and told him he needed to start filling the birth tub, and then woke my mom so she could get Annabelle, who had just woken up, back to sleep. From 3:30 – 4:30 I labored in my living room, moving back and forth from leaning on the door frame to leaning on the back of my couch. My Mom and Brandon applied pressure to my lower back during contractions and my mom applied Copiaba essential oil to my back and pelvis. Brandon tried to get me to get in the tub starting about 4:40 but I kept pushing it off because I wanted to wait until Misty got here to check me and see how dilated I was. At about 4:55 I got in and oh the relief. The warm water was such a source of comfort and helped me relax and let the contractions happen without tensing up. I rotated between thinking ‘I can do this, every contraction brings me closer to my baby’ and ‘I can’t do this, there’s no way I can do this for 44 hours (like my first birth)’.
Misty, Savannah, Rachel and Bessie (our photographer) all arrived right about 5:15. They got everything set up and when I was checked about 5:30 Misty shared that I was between 8 & 9cm. I was so overjoyed and cried out – I can do this! I can make it the rest of the way! Rachel and Brandon were holding my hand and applying pressure to my back, my mom was supplying cold compresses for my forehead and neck, and Misty and Savannah quietly prepared for our baby’s arrival. About 5:55 Misty told me that she thought if I got out of the tub and used the restroom that I would be complete and ready to push. I slowly stood up and made my way to the bathroom, but once we got there I couldn’t sit down, I was ready to push. We quickly – well as quickly as I could – got back to the tub and I was ready. Misty and Savannah listened to my baby’s heartbeat and found that it was low while I was standing up leaning on my husband. They asked me get back down in the tub and see if that helped. It did! Emmelyn was happy again and I was ready to push. I started pushing at 6:08 and sweet Emmelyn was born at 6:12am on Saturday, December 17, 2016.
Sitting in the tub as I held Emmelyn for the first time was surreal. I held her and took in all of her tiny features as my wonderful support team surrounded us. I delivered my placenta soon after and got out of the tub and moved to our couch. Laying on my own couch, in my house, was such a wonderful way to recover. Rachel and Misty helped me with food and drinks as I nursed Emmelyn for the first time. As I sat there watching Emmelyn’s newborn exam, I was once again so thankful for the love and care we received thru Brookhaven. We waited for Annabelle to wake up – somehow she slept thru everything – so that we could get a few pictures with her before everyone left. Misty, Savannah, and Rachel helped fix breakfast, cleaned up everything, and left my house having assisted us in having the birth I dreamed of.