Edie's Birth Story

When I woke up Friday, October 17th, I knew somewhere deep inside myself that I needed to rest. I went on a short walk, skipped my high cardio workout, took a long shower and decided to lie down in bed with a book. After reading for half an hour, I felt my stomach tighten alongside a painful cramp that felt similar to when I had debilitating PMS in high school. I glanced at my phone and returned to reading, willing myself not to get excited. Less than five minutes later it happened again. I quickly decided I’d try to let it play out for an hour and then go downstairs to get a glass of water. I replayed everything I had learned in our Bradley Method class, convincing myself I could probably make them stop and it wasn’t the real thing. I was four days past my due date, and first time mothers often stayed pregnant longer.

An hour full of contractions four to five minutes apart passed. I turned my book upside down, picked up my phone, and rolled from one side to the other and swung my leg off the bed to stand up.

It sounded like someone snapped their fingers across the room.

And then WHOOSH, the sound of water smacking the wood floor.

My next contraction came instantly and was much more intense. I held my belly, waited for it to pass, and then touched my face to feel the grin covering it. I was going to meet my baby.

But, I was Group B Strep positive, so instead of laboring at home until I just couldn’t anymore, it was time to go to the birth center for IV antibiotics. I waddled to the bathroom for a towel, leaking the entire way, and walked back to the bed on top of it to wipe up the mess I felt so proud to make before dialing my husband. It was just before four in the afternoon, and he was still at work 45 minutes away.

He answered after the first ring.

”My water broke!”

”Okay, I’m on my way!”

I piled all of our things together, including all of the camera equipment we would never end up using. Daniel arrived just under an hour later, told me he had called the midwife and she would be there waiting. helped me up into the car where I immediately shoved my pillow beneath my bottom and leaned way forward to have a contraction. No position felt comfortable, but as we drove down the highway during rush hour traffic and talked excitedly about meeting our baby that night, my contractions spaced out. By the time we arrived to the birth center, I hadn’t had one in almost twenty minutes.

We walked in the front door laughing, and I know the midwife on call didn’t mean to discourage me when she greeted us with, “I assume you are still in very early labor. You wouldn’t be acting this way if you were close.”

I thought back to my hundreds of squats a day plus all of the other work I’d done to prepare and really believed I was about to meet my baby. “No, I’ve been having strong contractions.” I felt the need to defend myself.

She led us back to room one. We dropped our bags around the room and I sat down for my first round of antibiotics.

”You guys just need to be back in four hours for the next round,” the midwife said as she removed the tube from my hand.

”We are supposed to leave?” I said, secretly fearing this woman had no idea what she was talking about—I was still having contractions, even if they were far apart—and that my baby might fall out in a parking lot.

”You guys go see a movie, get dinner. Does that sound fun? Do you think you could relax for a movie?”

”Definitely not,” I said, looking down at my amniotic fluid-soaked pants.

”Oh, right That might be a mess. Go walk around, eat something. Have you heard of castor oil? Grab some of that at Walgreen’s on your way back. I don’t want to wait until we are closing in on the 24 hour mark to try to get things moving. I’m not going to check you until you get back.”

So to Target we went, where I waddled around squishing water in my shoes and not caring at all because I WAS IN LABOR and I WAS ABOUT TO MEET MY BABY. Daniel didn’t care either—he was far too busy filling out cart out of anxiety.

”Do you like these towels? Okay let’s get like eight!”

”Do we need new coffee cups? We can always take them back later.”

”What about books? Do you need something to read?”

”She said we could watch a movie in the lobby later. Let’s get three or four just in case.”

We paid for our things and filled a bunch of bags that would end up staying on the floor of my car for the next three months as I stayed home with my newborn.

My contractions had picked up in intensity as we walked, so I ended up walking circles around our car in the Chipotle parking lot while Daniel ordered our food. We half-watched Moonrise Kingdom in the lobby of the birth center as I forced myself to take bites and bounced on a yoga ball.

After my second dose of antibiotics, the midwife checked me for the first time. I was at four centimeters. She gently suggested we try to get some rest for a few hours because she thought we might have "a long day ahead of us." At this point the idea of a long labor actually hit me, and I prayed she was wrong. She mixed my bottle of castor oil into some orange juice, and I chugged it before I could think twice. We took a hot shower and Daniel rubbed my back so I could try to relax.

We got out and I tried to settle into a position I could tolerate, but contractions were coming every two minutes at this point and nothing I did felt relaxing. Lying down was the worst possible thing I could do, so I ended up sitting up cross-legged and rocking back and forth through each contraction. At some point I added in a low hum. About an hour after crawling into bed I had to get up to empty my bowels from the castor oil before making my way back to my seated position on the bed. Daniel was in and out of sleep and I felt a strong, quiet connection to my baby. It was only us in those overnight hours, and I felt at peace with what my body was doing.

The midwife came back once in the middle of the night for more antibiotics, and then again at dawn to tell me her shift was ending an another midwife was coming in to be with me and she would probably check me shortly after arriving. She listened to me through a contraction and suggested I get in the tub while I waited, and I had no idea baths could be as hot as she ran it. I alternated between lying back and rocking back and forth on all fours, but the water didn’t soothe me the way I had read it did for so many other mothers.

The new midwife came in as I was getting out of the tub and we filled her in on how things were going. She sat on the bed with me through a few contractions and suggested we take a short walk by the lake out behind the building before she checked me. I didn’t think I had it in me, but I was willing to do anything to meet baby. Daniel helped me get dressed and we went outside, where we made it maybe all of twenty feet in what felt like three hours. My contractions were on top of each other at this point, and I couldn’t take two steps before stopping to lean on Daniel. We got back to our room just after seven in the morning and Teresa checked me. I was dilated to seven centimeters and incredibly relieved to hear I was definitely in active labor. I asked her how long she thought it'd be before I hit transition and was ready to push, and she said something about thinking we could have a baby by 9:30 because the process of getting from seven to ten was generally pretty quick.

I dropped onto the floor and began crawling around the birth center on all fours. Eventually a class started out in the lobby and I only found that out because I crawled into the room humming and met the eyes of a dozen or so women. I didn’t care. Transition hit me like a brick wall and I found myself back in our room paralyzed on all fours on the bed. I was crying and couldn’t keep myself from shaking, but I didn’t feel cold.. My hums had transformed into Tarzan-like noises, and Teresa came running in with Alice Ann, the midwifery student we'd had the privilege of getting to know a little at our last few prenatal appointments. The held back my hair and rubbed my back and promised me this was transition and that meant we were getting close to meeting baby girl. It was right at ten in the morning.

"I bet we have a baby by noon!" Teresa said as Alice Ann filled the tub again and Daniel helped me undress and lift my thousand pound tree stump of a leg over the edge.. Teresa told me to try hands and knees because discomfort probably meant Edie was moving down and putting pressure on my bottom. I stayed in the tub as long as I could stand the heat while Daniel wiped cold towels along my neck and rubbed my back with lavender oil. I thought I felt the urge to poop, which was what we were waiting on. My team helped me out of the tub and onto the toilet, where nothing came out.

I told Teresa I had planned to try squatting, so she brought me a birth stool to sit on. I began pushing through each contraction. I asked Teresa how I could know if I was doing it right, and she told me to use the same muscles I would during a bowel movement. Alice Ann placed a hand mirror under me so I could see my progress. I stayed on the stool for a while, and my contractions started to space out. We talked a lot in between them until I realized things were stalling. I asked what I could do to "get her out faster," and Teresa told me to walk around the room to see if that helped like it did earlier that morning. I took two steps and a contraction came on strong, so I hurried back into my squat on the stool and pushed. I ended up doing this little get up, take two steps and sit back down to push dance for the next hour. Nothing was changing, so Alice Ann suggested I remain standing and slow dance with Daniel through the pain. He supported me through contractions as I stood in a wide-legged squat and leaned into him.

At this point I started to feel discouraged, like I wasn't doing it right. Teresa offered to check baby's position. I got on the bed and she waited for a contraction to feel for Edie's head. This is when we found out she was stuck behind my pubic bone, which wasn't moving at all when I pushed. My pelvic floor was too tight. Teresa told me to turn on my side and push for two contractions and then roll over and push for two more to see if we could wiggle her down. Side lying made me feel I would die right then and there, and I remember asking if they could just pull her out. They kept telling me I was going to bring her down and each push moved muscles and made progress. I asked if they could see her head, and they told me they couldn’t.

It was two or three o'clock in the afternoon by this point, and I was really starting to doubt their encouragement. I was mostly starting to doubt myself, and I began saying things like, "I can't do this." I had never felt so exhausted, and we still couldn't see baby’s head. I was losing focus. I asked if I could just go to sleep and start over tomorrow, but I knew that wasn't possible with the pain I was in. I begged them to let me take a break and get in the shower so Daniel could rub my back.

We stood in the shower for an hour or two and I squatted and tried to push with each contraction. I was crying again and Alice Ann brought me the birth stool to sit on under the water. I told her I couldn't do it. "And I'm not just saying that--ask Daniel, I'm an incredibly determined person but I really have nothing left. I can't push anymore--my body is done." She kept telling me to say, "I can do this" out loud, but I wouldn't. I crawled off the stool and onto the floor, where I stayed in the hands and knees position for a few minutes before collapsing against the wall. I couldn't see. "I'm going to pass out. I'm passing out," I told them, and Alice Ann asked me if I would drink tea if she made me some. I said, "I don't know," and Daniel started forcing me to take sips of water.

I asked if this is what it felt like to be dehydrated because I didn’t recall ever feeling this way before. I realized I'd had less water in the past 24 hours than I usually drink over the course of an hour any given day, and I'd been up all night having diarrhea. "I have nothing left," I told them again. By this point it was past six in the evening. Teresa suggested I get back on the bed and push on my side again and she'd check to see if I was using the right muscles. Daniel helped me across the room and I got on the bed, but I couldn't get myself to really push. "I know we're doing this all naturally, but would you be up for an IV of sugar water? It's not a medical intervention--you just need some energy." Teresa asked. I told her I didn't care at this point and I would be up for riding over to the hospital and getting cut open.

"It's been over 24 hours, isn't my time up?" I asked, wondering if she had forgotten the rules. She told me I could do it.

Alice Ann hooked me up to an IV while Daniel rubbed my back, and I soon found myself starting to talk and joke around again. I asked Daniel to take my top leg and hold it, and I began pushing on my own. Alice Ann said, "Yes, Jordan! Good!" and Teresa said she was going to use her fingers to push against the muscles I should be using. The feeling infuriated me, so I pushed back with everything I had. She said I was moving the muscles around my pubic bone so it could move out of baby girl's way. I alternated sides and pushed again, but her head still wasn't coming down. I moved to all fours. My contractions started to space out again, and after a while they were over ten minutes apart. I had more energy, but my body was over it.

"Why are they slowing down?" I asked. Teresa said my uterus was tired--I had been pushing for almost twelve hours at this point and contracting since yesterday. After a long stretch of very few contractions, she brought in a tincture to put under my tongue and an electric breast pump. My mind had come back around, because I remember asking if it was sanitary. They assured me it had just been boiled.

Twenty minutes into pumping, my contractions were back even stronger than before, one on top of the other. I began pushing again and asked at what point we would give up and transfer. Teresa said we would evaluate in an hour, but we could have a baby by then.

Alice Ann had been checking Edie's heart rate every fifteen minutes, and baby girl wasn't phased at all by the long labor or crazy contractions. Teresa encouraged me it was probably due to my rigorous exercise routine throughout my pregnancy, and Alice Ann told me most women would have been transferred for a c section hours ago due to the baby getting stressed out. As the night went on, they would laugh each time they listened to her heart beat. "She's just hanging out in there," Teresa said.

Sometime around nine, she said, "Okay, I hate even suggesting this and you're going to hate it, too. But this is our last resort. We're going to do hospital position for a couple of contractions--just a couple, okay? Get on your back and pull your legs wide."

I did as I was told. I pushed and made all kinds of crazy noises. It was uncomfortable. Teresa asked me if I could hold my breath while pushing, and I tried it. Daniel was rubbing my arms and shoulders when she yelled, "Yes--a full head of dark hair!" And he immediately jumped up to stand behind her. I pushed again, and he exclaimed, "I see her, babe! She has a full head of hair! I see her!" I asked him if he was telling the truth and he was so excited, I had to believe him. That was all I needed--the reminder that she really existed--I had to get her out so we could meet her.

I went into another realm—totally in my body—and crawled off the bed without thinking. The fetal ejection reflex finally took over and it felt like baby girl was trying to fall out of my bottom. I squatted beside the bed and my body pushed and Alice Ann grabbed the mirror and put gloves on.

"I had planned on catching her, but babe, do you want to catch her? Can Daniel catch her?" I asked while trying to to catch my breath. Alice Ann said she would back him up but he could catch her. She showed him where to stand and put his hands.

Teresa told me to look down at the mirror with my next push if I could keep my eyes open.

"My baby! I see my baby!" The world stopped. I put my hand on her head and felt her wiggle under my palm.

”Is there anything I need to know about the ring of fire?” I asked.

Teresa said it was coming soon and to just listen to her instructions.

I asked what I needed to know and she said to let her crown and then let off--let her rock back so she could stretch me gradually, and then push her to crowning again and hold her there. Then I could do little grunt-pushes and ease her head out.

"But I can talk you through it when we get there," she said.

I wasn't up for waiting, because I held the next push as long as I could until she crowned, sucked in a big breath, and pushed again, then did as I was told with the little pushes.

I heard Alice Ann and Teresa both saying, "Good! Good, Jordan!" so I figured we were doing okay. But overall my body was just doing her thing without me.

Daniel asked if it burned and I said, "It burns, but it's not that bad." I felt more calm than I'd felt all day--I was working to bring my baby out.

And suddenly, her cone head was between my legs and I noticed how much bigger it was than I expected. I felt her sticky hair with my fingertips.

Alice Ann reminded us to let her turn her head and throw up and that she would be out with my next push. I could only see the back of her head but Daniel says he saw her do exactly as Alice Ann said. Teresa said I could bring her out whenever I was ready.

At 11:08 p.m., 31 hours after my water broke, I took a deep breath and held it. I don't remember what that last push felt like, the next few seconds overshadow almost all of the hard work in the hours before. I stood up, spun around, and my husband handed our first baby to me.

"It's a boy!" I yelled in shock. I felt between her legs before I could see her. Everyone burst out laughing as I realized it was just the umbilical cord.

Eden Faye scrunched up her face and cried, and I let the relief of everything we had done together wash over me. Alice Ann helped me lie back on the bed and began wiping blood from my thighs. I brought Edie to my breast for her first latch, and when the cord stopped pulsing, Daniel cut it. Teresa bent over to check babys latch and I felt an overwhelming flow of warm liquid between my legs.

”I think I am bleeding.”

Teresa called for a shot of pitocin but I continued to hemorrhage and they ended up giving me a second dose. She explained how tired my uterus must be after that labor. After the bleeding slowed, she checked me for tears. Nothing that warranted stitches.

Joy, the nurse who had joined us at some point before baby made her debut, checked our vitals and left us alone to bond for a few hours.

I sat up and tried to examine every inch of my baby. My vision was still barely there, but I knew she was beautiful. Daniel told me he was so proud of me. I told him I couldn't believe we did it after all of that--I really didn't think I was going to be able to. At some point he closed his eyes and left me alone for the first time with our new daughter.

Alice Ann and Joy came back to check our vitals again and to take Edie's measurements. She weighed seven pounds, four ounces and was nineteen inches long. Her head is was in the 99%.

They told me I had to pee before we left. I felt an overwhelming love for Joy as she held my hand on the walk to the toilet and gently wiped more blood from my legs and feet as I tried to push out a little pee. She walked me back to the bed, where I put a diaper and clothes on baby for the first time. She flailed her limbs and I felt terrified to break her. It probably took twenty minutes.

Joy sat down beside me on the bed and went over things we needed to know to go home. Daniel got the infant car seat out of our car and brought it in. We buckled Edie in hugged our team. Joy helped me up into the backseat to sit next to my baby, and Daniel drove thirty mph the whole way home while I stared at my girl in the early morning moonlight.

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Before Edie

Five years later, I can look back and see I went into labor with more than a giant chip on my shoulder. It was closer to a canyon. My first trimester fear of a cesarean sent me down a rabbit hole of research that ultimately led me to believe hospitals were anti-women and anti-baby and if I wanted any chance of a surgery-free birth, I would have to avoid any and all interventions at all costs. My original OB didn’t help matters when, at my twelve week prenatal appointment, he answered my questions about crafting a birth plan with this story:

“Let me just stop you right there and give you an idea of how this goes. For example, last night I was on call and we had a woman come in in active labor. After about an hour or so, she was dilated to 8 centimeters. We checked her again 20 minutes later and she hadn’t progressed at all, and my shift was nearly over. I came in and said it was time to talk about getting this baby out. She hadn’t progressed in a bit and I was concerned she may not dilate any further and that it could result in her baby becoming distressed. I told her we could go ahead and prep for a cesarean and meet her baby very shortly.”

“Was her baby in distress?” I asked.

“No, everything was fine. I was just 15 minutes from going home, you know.”

“Did she ask any questions? Was a c section what was best for her and her baby?”

“Most women don’t ask questions. They just trust what their doctor is saying,” he explained with a smirk I kind of wanted to smack right off of his face.

Was I being hormonal, overdramatic? I thought maybe so. But I left that conversation with a feeling of disgust deep down in my guts. And my morning sickness had mostly faded by this point , so that wasn’t it. That doctor did not care about me or my baby at all. I crumpled up my paper loincloth thing, pulled my yoga pants up over my beer gut of a pregnant belly and stormed out of that office, never to return.

But this birth story starts even earlier than my twelve week prenatal appointment. That chip I mentioned earlier began manifesting itself before I can even remember, I am sure.

What I do remember, though, is spending much if not most of my childhood feeling like I was supposed to hate my body. I perceived this in the way my mother looked at her own half naked form in the mirror, said something like, “Ew, “ or, “I am disgusting,” loud enough for me to hear, changed her outfit a dozen times only to conclude, “I look fat in everything.” She probably had no idea how deeply I was absorbing her self-deprecating habits and adopting them as my own, but this is how I learned to view myself. If I ever said, “You look pretty, Mama,” she would reply, “Ew, no I don’t.” I obviously didn’t know what I was talking about.

Our cabinets were always overflowing with boxes of sugary cereal, every Little Debbie’s snack on the grocery store shelf and an assortment of chips and dips. Dinner was usually a bowl or two of cereal and/or a can of Spaghettios. Cooking was for fancy people. I believed vegetables came from cans and were saved for special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, where it was custom to shove them around on your plate to make it look like they had been tried and forgotten, because, well, there was pie! Pies, actually—every kind of pie you can think of. Why waste any room in the elastic of your pantyhose waistband on soggy vegetables?

Despite what was available to me and our fend-for-yourself mealtime policy, my mother often got in moods where she made me feel, well, straight up terrible about myself.

“Jordan, do you really need those?” she asked upon entering the kitchen as I opened a box of cookies for an after school snack. I was probably seven or eight, and there was no fruit in the house. I look back now and think, What were my options, Mom? But then all I knew to think was, I guess I don’t.

Later I would examine myself in the mirror in the same way I had watched my mother do hundreds of times before. I pinched my stomach and looked at the posters of teeny tiny pop stars on my bedroom wall and thought, I am disgusting.

I was nine the first time I made myself throw up after a meal. I had been experimenting with skipping dinner for months. No one noticed, since we didn’t eat together. Some days after going straight from school to Girl Scouts to soccer practice I felt unbearably hungry, and I had read about bulimia in one of the magazines my mom purchased religiously every week. I remember she always read our horoscopes out loud and acted excited when they predicted something positive but claimed, “Good thing we don’t believe in this stuff,” when they didn’t. My poor mother, a young thirty-something herself then, still trying to figure herself out, like I am today. And poor young me, who took everything she said as absolute truth.

I lost twenty five pounds in about a month. I was in the third grade. I came home and did all kinds of ridiculous jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups, and whatever else I had seen on TV during the time I once used to read a book over a bowl of cereal at the table. My parents praised me—”You must finally be out of your awkward phase!” (I wasn’t—fifth grade was coming.) My teacher bragged to other mothers after school. “Have you seen how skinny Jordan has gotten?”

I have arrived! I thought. This is how I am supposed to be.

The next school year, my period made her unwelcome first visit when I was out in the backyard playing baseball with my little brother. I ran inside to pee, pulled down my panties and screamed, “Mom!”

”Oh, Jordi. You are a woman now!”

I was ten, and suddenly forced to sit still while my mother shaved my legs and tweezed my eyebrows. “I was never this hairy,” she constantly reminded me. “And my sweat never smelled this bad.” I was disgusting, again, and I couldn’t figure out how to control it anymore. Puberty was bigger than any after school workout routine or puked up dinner. I started wearing sweatshirts over my t-shirts to try to hide my armpit sweat and my weird new boobs my mom told me she “really hoped would fill out more eventually.”

By fifth grade, my weight was up again. “Oh, Jordan, you would be so pretty if you weren’t so chunky,” my aunt visiting from Iowa told me. She was holding both of my hands and looking at me closely, her eyes full of pity.

Later that year, I went out for club soccer after my longtime recreational coach insisted.

“You will be bored and frustrated if you keep playing at this level,” he told me in front of my father. Decision made.

After my first tryout, the coach pulled me aside and walked me over to my parents.

“I am going to go ahead and sign you to the team,” he said. “Because I know if I don’t, our rival club will. They tend to like bigger, more aggressive girls. But you are probably even bigger than any of their players, and slower because of it. I am going to take you, but I need you to lose 15 pounds this summer.”

My dad shook his hand, signed the papers, and I was on the clock to lose weight. After all, my dad was now paying big money for me to play, and if I sat on the bench because I was fat, well, that would be a massive disappointment. I had to go all in on controlling my eating.

I lost 35 pounds that summer.

My middle and high school years were full of similar experiences and more experimenting with disordered eating. I was a size five my freshman year, which most of the time felt almost tiny enough but not quite right. When I broke a vertebrae and ended my soccer career the next Spring and then followed up my injury with a nasty case of mono, I ended up bedridden and out of school for something like two months. By the end of it, my pant size was in the double digits and my self esteem was impossible to locate.

I was also, conveniently, in my first physical dating relationship. All that time I once spent at soccer practice and other extra-curriculars was suddenly free. I filled it by lying on the couch with my new boyfriend, who often skipped school to come be with me even earlier in the day so we had more hours to just lie there. My body that once belonged to my mother and then my soccer coaches transferred ownership to this high school boy with greasy hair who taught me too much about it, but it was all always for him, not for my own pleasure. I never really let him see me, though, as the voice in my head screamed I was grosser than ever and he would surely run if he knew what I actually looked like. We spent our days together fully clothed, hands roaming under shirts and waistbands, and I could only hope he was picturing something he liked instead of the reality I knew and hated underneath my oversized sweatshirt and pajama pants. I look back and feel like I somehow gave all of myself and nothing at all to this boy.

We broke up senior year and continued messing around off and on until he moved away for school. I wish I could hug the girl who snuck out onto her trampoline in the middle of the night because she didn’t value herself enough to say no. She didn’t know love then because she hated herself, and she was sure the only thing that could make it feel worse was someone else hating her, too.

I started a long distance relationship with a close friend halfway through college. I was determined to be desirable to him because I felt like he was way too good for me. Maybe if he could love me, I could feel worthy of love. Maybe I could love myself.

Three and a half years later, we married. I put on lingerie for the first time and felt flushed and embarrassed when he arrived back to our rent house after running a few post-wedding errands. I believed sex was mostly for men and my body now belonged to my husband. I enjoyed making him happy because, again, I believed he was a better human than I was and I was somehow proving something to myself.

Two months into marriage he went on a five day trip and came back to me wearing fishnets and heels, our house lit only by a few candles. I was still afraid to let him see me, but I knew he wanted to. I wanted to try for him, to meet him halfway.

I didn’t know we were actually trying for something else. Ten days later, I took a pregnancy test after a week of obsessively googling early pregnancy symptoms. I had been diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis years before, another bodily disappointment of mine that didn’t surprise me at all at the time, and we weren’t careful because we believed I probably couldn’t get pregnant without medical assistance. I came out of the bathroom with a pee covered piece of plastic in my hand, trying not to have any particular look on my face, but failing.

”No,” he said, his eyes wide. “No, no, no, no, no, no, noooooooo!”

He wanted to travel, enjoy our early marriage season. We had only been living together a few months, our wedding memories still fresh and sweet. I didn’t care—I was a mother immediately, in that very moment. Come on, body, I begged silently. Please be good enough for this.

I had changed my diet a few months before the wedding (to lose weight) and discovered I had a few severe food sensitivities that had been making me sick for most of my life. The weight came off easily, as it never had before, and I was no longer running to the toilet after every meal. Even so, I was terrified to balloon up during my pregnancy as I always pictured I probably would if I ever carried a baby. I controlled what I ate, quit my job and worked out for six plus hours a day. I told everyone I was preparing for the unmedicated birth I had planned, and I was, but at each prenatal appointment the midwife would say something like, “Wow, you didn’t gain anything!” or, “You only gained one pound again,” and I would jump with joy inside. My new husband wasn’t ready to have a pregnant wife so early on, surely he would lose all interest in me if I became a flabby pregnant wife.

We found out our baby was a girl after a week of hell, believing she had a potentially fatal birth defect and getting transferred out of the birth center to a high risk hospital doctor. After our original anatomy scan, we were told baby would be born with her vital organs outside of her body. The survival rate was fifty percent after a cesarean, and if she lived she would immediately be sent in for multiple surgeries and a long NICU stay. I spent a week in bed sobbing, sure I was killing my child prematurely with stress but unable to cope with the idea of her imperfection after growing her for five months. After the doctors realized I wasn’t going to stop calling to try to get my appointment moved up (they scheduled it six weeks out!), they got me in for a second opinion before the ultrasound clinic even opened the next morning, a week after we received the original news.

”Your baby looks perfect,” the doctor told me as I lie there on the table, cold gel covering my belly. “And she is definitely a girl.”

On our due date, I stopped answering family members’ phone calls. It was clear I was disappointing them, like I was somehow sitting at home squeezing my legs together so my baby couldn’t come out to meet them. I was actually spending all of my waking hours doing the opposite. Stairs, curb walking, sitting wide-legged on my yoga ball, squats, squats, more squats. I wanted to meet her more than anyone.

Birth story coming this week <3


The Way I Speak to Myself


Talk to your child the way you wish you had been talked to as a child.

You may have heard some version of this at some point, especially if you are currently parenting young children.

Talk to yourself the way you wish you had been talked to as a child.

Have you ever heard that? I haven’t, but it’s something I have found myself practicing throughout my healing journey the last couple of years. I hear myself speak kind affirmations and encouragements to my daughters each day, and it has slowly turned into the way I talk to people in general. Including myself.

My subconscious voice has spent decades telling me, “Stop crying,” “You’re fine,” “Your feelings are too much,” and all kinds of variations of, “You are not beautiful.”

But in hearing myself say the total opposite to my girls, and watching them soften in my arms and then stand up stronger and more secure in themselves each time, I found myself wanting that. I found myself wondering if I could go back and talk to four year old Jordan during specific emotional experiences. So I have dedicated a lot of my yoga and meditation time doing so.

I told her it was okay to cry. I told her it wasn’t fine and that her feelings are valid—of course she feels that way. I told her she is just right, not too little or too much or too anything.

And then I did the same with my twelve year old self. I told her it was okay to feel isolated and confused in going through puberty earlier than all of her friends. I told her it was not okay that her soccer coach told her to lose fifteen pounds, and that someone should have defended her. I told her it was not her fault she does not feel good in her body, because she was not responsible for feeding herself. And I told her that, even so, she is still beautiful.

And you know what happened? I felt myself soften. I felt myself become stronger and more secure, and I began to look at myself differently in the mirror. I felt the urge to pour out the love I felt within myself on everyone around me. I even heard myself say, “I feel pretty today,” to my oldest, just like she says to me on a regular basis. I started to acknowledge my own feelings just like I do theirs, and give myself the space and grace to feel them.

We all have our wounds, and some of them are so deep that it feels like we will never do anything but sit inside of them, unable to crawl out—especially if they came at the hands or words of someone else. I had panic attacks that made me feel like I was going to die for a season when all of mine bubbled to the surface after my first daughter was born.

But healing is possible, and you have the love within yourself to love yourself. It is okay and valid and perfectly understandable to feel angry, sad, or disappointed that someone else who should have fulfilled that role for you did not do so in the past, but your five year old self is still there, right where you left her. You can go to her and love her the way she wanted to be loved. And then you can move on peacefully.

I had no idea it was possible to change my inner voice, but here I am. Speak to yourself the way you would speak to the most pure, magical child. Things can and do change.