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In which I share the story of Evelynn’s birth

I want to be eloquent. And I want to give full justice to this moment but somehow everything I write seems inadequate.

So here are the bare bones of it and I’ll put some meat on them over the days and weeks and years to come.


Because radiant and optimistic life is here in the form of a small girl with a triangle mouth and dimples in her wrists and golden strands woven through fine dark hair.


And I can hardly breathe for the gratitude and the love for a milk-blissed baby girl.

As pretty much the entire universe knew, we were 5 days overdue. The night before she was born, I told Brian that I thought this baby was going to be bigger than Anne (8 lbs 11 oz) and Joseph (8 lbs 10 oz).

Turns out I was right.

I woke with my first contraction at 2:20 a.m. They started out at 5 minutes apart and so I woke Brian and, given my past history of quick labour, we called my mum and dad to get the tinies.  It turned out to be a good decision because Anne woke up almost immediately. Brian called our midwife, Joy, and she arrived just a few minutes after my parents did.  I will never forget how excited Annie was. She was absolutely vibrating with joy and anticipation (Joe was sound asleep) and on her way out the door, Joy, turned on the doppler to check the heartbeat and when it rang out, clear and loud at 135 beats a minute, Anne rejoiced at the bottom of the stairs and I heard her say, “Oh! I get to hear the baby’s heartbeat one last time! I can’t wait to see her!” They bundled the tinies into their car and we were left to the hours ahead.

My contractions were 4-5 minutes apart already. All I could think was how thankful I was that we had chosen to have a home birth because the prospect of having to get dressed and get in the car, drive 15 minutes to the hospital, do check-in at admissions while going through contractions under fluorescent lights in front of God and everybody just sounded horrible. But instead here I was – my own home, my own things, my own familiar nest. I was so relieved.

Our other midwife, Cheryl, arrived along with their midwifery student, Tania, to observe. By 4 in the morning, we were set up. Brian filled up the birth tub in our living room right in front of the fireplace. The room was dark and quiet. I asked Brian to turn on some scripture songs to listen to. I got into the tub and my contractions slowed right down to 6-8 minutes. So I got back out and walked a bit and they went right back to 4 minutes.

By 5, they were much stronger and I got back into the tub. I find great comfort in water and found that it made a big difference in my pain management. I would lean against the side of the tub into Brian’s arms for the contractions (he thanked his high school football coach often for teaching him a good three-point stance as he maintained it for almost 2 hours!).

At 5:30, I was 7 cms and got up to walk again. At that point, Tania was excited because she thought she was about to witness a birth without the water breaking. The baby was descending but my water hadn’t broken, the amniotic sac was just coming along. This was almost identical to my labour with Joe so I knew that that was not going to be the case. Sure enough, as soon as I stood up, my water broke and I immediately dilated the last couple of cms.

Joy asked where I wanted to deliver as we were right by my bed but I wanted to be back in the water as the contractions were more manageable there. I climbed back into the tub, the intensity increased and I blasted through transition in about 10 minutes. It was definitely requiring all of me to stay focused during this time and I am incredibly thankful for Brian’s support and the coaching I received from Joy and Cheryl to slow down the process to make it more manageable. Pushing began in earnest at 6:10 and at 6:15, our baby was born.

Joy and Cheryl passed the baby in the water through my legs to me and I pulled her up and out of the water, collapsing on the side of the tub.

My laughter was uncontrollable (probably a bit hysterical, if we’re being honest!) and Brian burst into tears. They covered her with a warmed towel and a hat and after a few moments, Brian looked to see if it was a boy or a girl. He said, “It’s a GIRL!” and that sent all of us off again into gales of laughter and tears.

I couldn’t stop thanking God for her. She was bright eyed and quietly alert. No screaming or scurrying. She gave a couple of little cries but just seemed happy to join the party and was simply taking us all in with her wise eyes.

The release and “high” of that moment is beyond words. Beyond words.

After a bit of time together, Joy and Cheryl wrapped her up in a dry, warm towel and passed her to Brian. He carried her into Anne and Joseph’s room and laid on the bed with her, drinking her in for that first half hour (he’s still a bit dizzy from that, I think, the old softie). Joy and Cheryl helped me out the tub, wrapped me up in blankets and we delivered her placenta and then got all stitched up. I had only a second degree tear this time, no doubt thanks to the amazing coaching and support I received. A baby that size can do some damage but I was overall very fortunate.

Then I went to my own bedroom and crawled into bed. That’s another nice thing about water birth – you’re squeaky clean! So I crawled into my sheets and Brian came in with our daughter. We began nursing right away while we called everyone to say that she had arrived, safe and sound.

When Joy came in to do the assessment, the bets began on how big she was. When the scale registered 9 lbs, 13 ounces, I nearly passed out in disbelief (how is that even physically possible?!) while Brian was absolutely gobsmacked that this girl had deposed him from his throne as The Biggest Bessey Baby (he was 9 lbs 12 oz). She was 22 inches long. And her head circumference was 37 cms. *faint* No wonder it was a more intense delivery for me! The entire labour was less than 4 hours.

My sister arrived first. She got a good snuggle with the baby in and heard the basic details before having to head home to nurse Ariana. Then my parents arrived with the tinies. They hadn’t told them if it was a boy or a girl, wanting to let us be the ones to say it. Sure enough, they appeared in my bedroom door, eyes as wide as saucers and the look at their faces when they saw her, when we invited them to come meet their new baby sister will stay with us forever. They were simply dazzled, counting toes, squealing over her every noise and twitch.

When we told my parents her birth weight, my mother really did burst into tears! It was quite funny. And then of course, she cried again later when we told her that we had decided to name our daughter after her. I loved being able to say her name out loud at last, Evelynn Joan, our radiant and optimistic life, our God-loving heroine was here at last.

They stayed for about an hour, all piled into the bed with us (talk about family bed!) and our beautiful midwives cleaned up everything! By the time they left at 9:30, the tub was down, the floors were cleaned, the laundry was going, the counters cleaned and everything tucked back in its proper spot.

At 9:30, Brian made me breakfast and we had a cup of tea (does food ever taste as good as it does after you work so hard?). We just opened our bedroom window to listen to the water outside in the creek and enjoy the fresh air. We laid Evelynn between us and simply thanked God, marveling over her every dimple and crease (there are a lot of them) and falling in love with her. She nursed most of the day and we just stayed in bed.  The tinies came back that afternoon for another short visit along with my sister’s family. We talked the whole birth over again and everyone got a chance to hold her. Joy came back that evening to check on me and Evelynn and all was well.

Since then, I don’t think I’ve left the house yet. Brian and I had a two day “baby-moon” on Saturday and Sunday, just us three to bond. Those two days will likely be one of the greatest memories of my life; just a peaceful, quiet, loving and intimate two days of learning Evelynn, nursing her, seeing her skin-to-skin for hours with her Dad, eating, being cared for and even watching Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday night. It was like life pressed Pause for us for those two days.

The tinies came home on Sunday night and now we’re finding our new normal. It can feel a bit overwhelming sometimes to think about next week but right now, I’m making my only business Evelynn and I guess we’ll figure out the rest (like how I am going to care for a newborn with two other tinies also needing their mumma by myself) later.  My milk came in yesterday and I’ve been a hormonal, weepy mess ever since but I can see the other side of it.

I feel a bit love-drunk. 

Thank you for loving us so well, friends.

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abundant life, enough, Evelynn, giving birth, moments, pregnancy
  • Canita

    So happy to read this. :)

  • http://sacredeveryday.ca/ Jenn

    I absolutely love birth stories! Shedding a few tears over here, you brought back so many precious memories for me of those first few days. Thank you for sharing!

    It’s so much fun having a big baby, home birth no drugs story. (mine was 10lbs 6oz). I love watching peoples jaw drop at the weight and then they say “oh you must have had a c-section or a least an epidural”.

    I love, love, love that first picture after she was born. The look on your face says it all! I just see your face and remember that feeling!

  • misty

    THRILLED to share in your joy, sarah!!! she is a beauty, her name is lovely, and i just love the images of your peaceful (albeit to a large baby girl!) at-home water birth and time to spend w/ your husband. praise him for such a welcome to this world for your new daughter.

  • http://profiles.google.com/pzy001 Tabitha Schultz

    Just beautiful. Birth always brings up huge emotion in me, so I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes and a huge smile on my face while reading this!! A couple of my friends had 10 pound babies this year – its amazing how our bodies are equipped for such seemingly impossible things – but then again, Gd tends to do all things well. Welcome Evelynn! Well done Sarah and Brian :)

  • Mizmelly

    Ah Sarah, so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. She’s just so beautiful and I’m thrilled you’re having such a gorgeous time bonding with her. Ah, blessings blessings blessings on you all. With huge love from Ireland, Miz M

  • MckDisturbing

    She is truly beautiful! And SO big – you have my undying admiration. Her birth story is just lovely as it is. I love reading them! Praise God for such a peaceful, wonderful home birth. Wishing y’all much love and grace as you learn to operate as a family with THREE sweet tinies.

  • Arianne

    Oh tears! How absolutely beautiful. So much like my third birth – quick water birth at home with a chill (big) baby at the end. I can hardly stand that pic of you smiling with her, it’s just so epic. Honestly, what heaven! My bebe tummy flips as I imagine getting to experience this again. Still praying for you and loving you from down in the South. Xoxo

  • http://thesavingmomparents.wordpress.com/ Jessica (thesavingmom)

    Weeping in wonder, joy and excitement for you. What a lovely, beautiful, heartwarming entrance.
    ~Jessica

  • http://www.alotofloves.com Marilyn (A Lot of Loves)

    That is the perfect birth story. How they all should be. Congrats again. I have tears of joy in my eyes for you all.

  • http://www.theopinionatedmama.com Janelle – The Opinionated Mama

    Thank you so much for sharing. I am so happy the Lord blessed you with a beautiful little one who is just perfect! God bless ya mama!

  • Angie

    There was nothing inadequate about your words. They were beautiful and I felt the love and amazingness of your experience. It was beautiful, as are you and precious Evelynn. Congratulations!

  • Jasville2

    So beautiful!

  • Jemelene

    Simply precious.

  • mylestones

    Oh wow. just WOW! You are amazing!
    And what precious, precious pictures and words to tell Evelynn’s birth story. I’m just so happy for you, friend, and admittedly, a little weepy too.

  • Madelyn

    Eloquently and beautifully told, Sarah. Tears in my eyes….

  • http://slightlymoredepththanateaspoon.blogspot.com.au/ Robyn (@slightly_deep)

    Such a beautiful story! You really make me see the merits of a home-birth :) And wow! That is a big baby! I’m used to 7 pounds or 8 at the most! I am in awe of you right now!

  • http://www.chambanachik-live.blogspot.com/ chambanachik

    She is so amazingly beautiful!

  • http://www.nunnallyfamilyfun.blogspot.com Melissa

    What a wonderful birth story. Thank you for sharing. I could feel the love reading your words. And the sense of peace just the 3 of you and your family visits. She is precious.

  • Carla

    What a beautiful story! I’m glad God blessed you with such a beautiful birth and babymoon! Treasure every moment!

  • Jenn Chiodo

    oh, that was a good read! i don’t think you need to add more meat to it. it’s perfect just like it is. so happy for you, my friend. she is adorable… look at those lips! i know it feels overwhelming with 3. i’m right there with you. having done it now for 6 weeks, i have to say…it’s not so bad. just move faster. that’s my daily mantra. :) anne will be a wonderful little helper for you which makes a big difference. and you’ll be surprised how all three can somehow fit in a big chair with you when you are feeding the baby. :) i love that we are kind of twinkies with these kids of ours. i just knew it was a girl. :) love you dear. hugs and kisses.
    -jenn

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      Oh, that makes me feel better. I love it too – makes me feel a bit closer to you.

  • http://thisgraciouslife.blogspot.com/ Jamie

    So beautiful. So perfect. So happy for you!!!!! Congratulations, good job, and so glad your home birth was so beautiful too. And this was written wonderfully… no problem not being eloquent enough!

  • http://www.redeemingthetable.com/ Kamille Scellick

    your flooding my heart & mind with Evelynn’s birth story and causing my body & soul to yearn for a third. She’s lovely!

  • http://hippiehousewife.blogspot.com Cynthia

    What a lovely story! It was beautiful to read. Your new little daughter is so precious. Congratulations again!

  • http://twitter.com/jess71004 Jessica Griswold

    Just gorgeous! What a marvelous birth. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • ninilettner

    She is just perfect! Congratulations!

  • the Sooz

    I absolutely love this…I can picture every moment. What a cozy little nest for this freshie to be born into.
    Beautiful Evelynn, we can’t wait to meet you!

  • Jess

    thank you for sharing your amazing story! I love homebirth stories and waterbirth stories (my kiddo was a waterbirth at a freestanding birth center … love, love, LOVED it!) There is nothing more peaceful and beautiful than stories like these! God bless you, Brian and your little ones!

  • http://somuchshoutingsomuchlaughter.com/ suzannah | the smitten word

    oh sarah, this had my in tears. rejoicing with you.

  • Tez

    *crying with joy*

  • http://queenlucythevaliant.blogspot.com/ Lucy The Valiant

    Oh! She’s so sweet!

  • Miranda

    Beautiful, simply beautiful. Thank you for gracing us with this.

  • http://www.johnalie.wordpress.com Natalie

    I am holding back tears. What a beautiful birth story Sarah! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Deborah L

    Gorgeous. There is NOTHING that compares to that euphoria. I think about my babies’ births all the time – each one is still so fresh in my mind. You’ll do wonderfully with your trio on your own – it can seem terribly daunting, but you will soon get into your own groove. Thanks for sharing such a peaceful, lovely story.

  • drgtjustwondering.blogspot.com

    Such a lovely and love-filled story. Blessings and congratulations all ’round. And having three tinies will get easier day by day. Soon – if not already – you will realize your life was just plain not complete without beautiful Evelynn. I loved raising three and you will, too.

  • http://sortacrunchy.net SortaCrunchy

    Well, I am absolutely sobbing, so I hope you are happy.

    Thank you for taking time from all of this to write the beautiful story for us. I love you, dear one. You are magnificent. (and so is she!)

  • Sarah R

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful, positive birth story! Evelynn is just precious!

  • Gina

    This is just so beautiful, it’s brutal. I’ve cried tears of joy reading it (and since finding out on Saturday!). I love you and am so proud of you. And the distance is killing me here. Blah!!

    Martin had a monster head, too. 14in (36cm?). 8-l

    • http://www.sarahbessey.com/ Sarah Bessey

      I love you and miss you, too. xo

  • http://contestmob.myopenid.com/ Sweepstaker

    She’s beautiful! Congratulations :) I love reading birth stories.

  • frugalgranola

    She’s so lovely! Congratulations! I love your beautiful home birth story.
    Blessings to you & your family in the coming days,
    Michele @ Frugal Granola

  • http://theoutdoorwife.com Nish

    I just love you. And her. And this. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

  • http://www.jetandplay.com JetandPlay

    Wow! Beautiful birth story. Congrats on your bundle of joy. May she bring you health, wealth and happiness. She is definitely gorgeous. Congrats again :)

  • Brenda Marin

    Thank you so much Sarah for sharing the story of Evelynn’s birth. She is so beautiful and I pray her life is just as you said filled with adventure and discovery!!! I apologize for being a bit late and telling you congrats, but I am so happy I have been able to share just a bit in this moment. Please know that your family and little Evelynn have people praying for her in Chicago!!! Love you all

  • Mary1912

    Beautiful!

  • http://runningscared.ca/UrbanMomtographer LindsayDianne

    I kind of wish that my birthing had been joyous and overwhelming like yours was. Instead of just plain 40 hours of terrifyingly awful.
    And how amazing it is that you had the strength to do any writing at all. You’re just incredible.
    Congratulations. She is incredible.

  • Brenda

    How wonderful! So nice to hear you had midwives. I get to shadow a midwife next month, I can’t wait! She’s gorgeous and you look so happy. Miss you!

  • http://www.worthingtonwords.blogspot.com Anne Worthington

    Um, how is it possible that I have a five-month old baby, and yet reading this makes me want to have another baby right this second?! Congratulations, Sarah, and welcome to the world dear sweet Evelynn!! Thank you for sharing her story!

  • http://jewelsandtreasures.blogspot.com/ jewelsntreasures

    Absolutely beautiful to read. Your description of a homebirth makes me long for one…perhaps one day!!

  • Stephanie

    Beautifully stated. I’m SO happy for you, friend. (And proud of you too). (You deserve a foot rub and a nap). (And homemade cheesecake).

  • Lynsey

    Congratulations!! Beautiful story and beautiful baby! I even made my dh read it to let him see how beautiful a home birth can be… ;)

  • http://americanfamilynow.wordpress.com Naomi

    What a wonderful birth story! Thank you for sharing! I gave birth to my second and third children at home with a midwife also. My second birth was under four hours and I found it so intense I actually hoped my third would be a few hours longer! It was, he came out posterior at 9lbs 9oz! I thought the midwife must be joking when she told me, I had joked he would be bigger but I didn’t think he would actually make it over 9lbs! Isn’t it amazing what a woman’s body can do?!

  • Michele_NYC

    Just found your site through a friend.  I love this birth story (I had two home/water births) and thank you for sharing it.  Also adored your recent post about your daughter saying she wanted to lose weight.  You’re an amazing, inspiring mother.

  • snood knitter

    just stumbled on your blog……. what a great birth story, I am a midwife in the UK and home birth is not so unusual here and very lovely they are too

  • http://wildflowerramblings.wordpress.com/ Amy @ Wildflower Ramblings

    What a beautiful birth story — my baby girl was also born in the water ♥

  • Elizabeth Keith

    Ohhh, I remember , my first home birth was the best. Ever. Poignant for sure, but my son was 10.3 and for a month I waddled anyway, ha.