Julius "Jules" Azul Yildiz!

Julius “Jules” Azul Yildiz!

I am so overwhelmed with emotion – these are undecidedly the most beautiful, precious moments in my life. I sit gazing into the eyes of my little Jules and it’s an intoxicating feeling of love and gratitude. I just adore him, from his perfect little toes and fingers to the fuzz on his ears to his unbearably soft head and rosy lips. The way he reaches out and sleeps with his hand on my face or breast when I cradle him at night, how his little hands wrap around my finger when breast feeding, his warm, sweet breath and cooing noises he makes when he sleeps. How truly blessed I am to have such a beautiful family.

Today is his 6th day in the world. I feel fortunate to say that he is an excellent eater & sleeper, and hardly ever cries! Born at home on April 6 at 6:06 pm 10 days overdue, Jules arrived very alert and healthy. He weighed in at 8 lbs. 11 oz. and stretched 21 3/4″ long (he only lost a few ounces in the days following his birth, he’s nearly back to his birth weight already). He has deep blue eyes and a full head of light brown hair. We are so in love!

The immense love and support pouring out from our community is just such a beautiful thing. Our home is covered in flowers and our moms are here cooking and cleaning for us! Not to mention our incredible midwives who have been there unconditionally every step of the way. So much gratitude!

So – the birth story. I wanted to write down my experience before it gets any more foggy; it already feels like a dream!

By Tuesday April 2 I was already 6 days overdue and feeling so anxious to meet my babe. That afternoon I had acupuncture induction points performed – no action. The following day, Wednesday April 3, at a week overdue my midwives swept my membranes and checked my cervix, informing me I was already 1 cm dilated which wasn’t surprising because I’d had cramps and BH contractions for weeks. Later that day I took a long 4+ mile walk to Solano with Suzan in the dreamy spring weather. At 9pm Audrey came and gave me an incredible massage, which got me going for sure and I had light contractions all night.

On Thursday April 4 I ate a very spicy Burma Superstar lunch with mom & Erol, then took a long walk in the beautiful Berkeley hills. Contractions started to come every 12 min for about 40 seconds and around 10pm slowed to 1 every 20 min or so. They picked up in the middle of the night but then tapered off completely by 7am Friday April 5. This baby was definitely giving me a run for my money.

Calling Jules through Art

Calling Jules through Art

On Friday April 5 I rested all day, with several light contractions an hour. Pulling out all the tricks, I heard that a spicy mole would do the job so I ate delicious mole enchiladas from Comal at 6pm and then a lovely hour walk in the hills at sundown. I finished the baby’s welcome collage around 9pm with contractions picking back up. I had a hunch that until that collage was finished he wouldn’t come. That night the contractions were so strong I was up most of the night, sometimes they were so painful I’d wake up Erol and ask him to hold me. I got out of bed around 1am and lit all the candles on the baby alter (with the owl feathers and birth stones I had decorated with Suzan) and turned on Krishna Das. This helped me move through my contractions throughout the night.

By 6am Saturday morning (April 6) when the birds started chirping I was absolutely exhausted. I had managed to sleep for 2-3 minutes in between the contractions but still felt spent. I told Erol the contractions were close to 4-1-1 (4 minutes apart lasting a minute for an hour) for most of the night and he reminded me to take a relaxing, hot shower to see if they slowed. I did and they actually became more intense, and I became very emotional in the shower because I was feeling tired and frustrated that I was still only in early labor, not sure how long this was all going to take; I wanted to know that I was at least making progress. So I texted the midwives at 7:30am and she said they would come over, what a relief! They showed up at 9am and checked my cervix. Sure enough I was already 6 cm dialated! Yay! My mood immediately lifted. They said they were staying and that I was having the baby that day. That was music to my ears! And once my midwives cozied up in the living room and brought in all their gear, my body knew it was time to get to business. My contractions almost instantly picked up.

Magnolia we planted for Jules' Placenta

Magnolia we planted for Jules’ Placenta

I ate a protein rich bowl of quinoa and fruit cereal and rested in bed as contractions became more intense. The midwives suggested Erol and I take a little walk in the back garden to get baby moving. In my midwive’s words, “you will come back a changed woman.” I wasn’t sure what she meant by that but it was so true! We went out into the beautiful, misty, drizzling morning amidst the flowering fruit trees and jasmine, and did a few slow jaunts around the herb spiral. Every couple of minutes I’d put my arms around his waste and moan into him, letting the waves crash over me as I surrendered to the process deeper and deeper. I had hoped to labor in the rain, so I felt so blessed to have that environment manifested. We walked to the front of the house to see Jules’ magnolia tree flowering and I had a couple of contractions right there on the sidewalk which was probably strange for the passerbyes. Canela came to get pets in the back garden and it was surreal, as in my altered labor state I was in another world. Once we came back upstairs things picked up very fast and labor became quite active.

I spent some time laboring in the living room on the massage table and the waves were crashing over me so quickly and powerfully then that I had to go back into the bedroom. My mom had changed the sheets and made it incredibly cozy with fragrant, delicious jasmine all around, palo santo and candles burning and Krishna Das playing. Erol got into bed with me and did some light massage as I was swept away into a euphoric world. Erol asked me if the contractions were painful, and my answer was “I wouldn’t call them painful, more just intense sensations at this point.” And I meant that – labor wasn’t painful yet, it was just incredibly all encompassing and required 100% of my concentration and focus.

Jules Day 5

Jules Day 5

At that point I gladly welcomed the birth tub’s soothing warm waters. I probably spent a couple of hours in it, breathing and moaning through contractions, energy flowing up and down, up and down. The moments between contractions were the most sweet, blissful moments in the world where time moved slowly and intentionally.

My midwives suggested I get into the shower for a little bit to keep me progressing, so I made my way into the shower and leaned against the tub for what felt like only a few minutes, but being on my feet and then squatting with the water pouring over my back intensified contractions so much that I had to go back in the bedroom. The midwives asked me to sit on the birthing stool next to the bed, and that was when the absolutely insane urge to push began. I can’t even describe what that felt like – the contractions transitioned from powerful waves crashing over me that required my intense concentration and breathing, and moving baby downward, to waves that came so powerfully and painfully that I had to harness every last ounce of strength and will in my body to bear through them, and just when I thought it would be over the peak of the wave would hit me and move through an instinctual pushing from my belly down. It was really the strangest sensation – not even a “need” to push, but rather like the great divine spirit blowing a massive breath into my mouth, pushing so much air inside of me that my belly expanded so big and was trying to explode something out as everything expanded and became swollen, pushing pushing pushing even when the pushing felt impossibly painful & unfair. I was definitely not in control – it was a deep, deep surrender.

Daddy and Jules Day 4

Daddy and Jules Day 4

This pushing continued on the bed. The midwives asked me to move onto the bed because apparently since the second tub session baby’s heart rate was dropping, likely due to the umbilical cord being wrapped around his neck, and they made it clear that it was time to get baby out. My midwife asked me to lie on my left side with my right leg up, pulled down into my body in a frog leg position. After pushing in this excruciating position for a bit, my midwife asked me to look at her and listen very carefully to her every word.  Opening my eyes and taking in the scene for the first time all day, I saw three beautiful, powerful midwives, one putting hot ginger compresses on me with each push, and dousing my opening in olive oil, one coaching me softly, and one regularly checking baby’s heart rate. I saw my mom’s loving, encouraging face and I saw Erol’s sister Suzan’s soft, sweet, supportive eyes.  My midwife Kristen said, “Ashley, it’s time to have this baby. His heart rate is too low and we need to get him out. We’re putting an oxygen mask on you and we want you to take 5 deep breaths of oxygen for you and baby. Once you’ve done that, you’re going to push with all of your life three times, and the baby will be born.”

It was a bit scary at that point, but I trusted in the process and my midwives immensely, and began breathing in the oxygen deeply. I felt the bulging between my legs get so large, and burning like crazy, and was sure his whole head should have been out by then, but apparently it was only a small portion of it! Hearing that pissed me off so I pushed like mad, through the pain and the anger and the saddening thoughts that this would likely be my only child because, well, I just wasn’t sure I could muster the strength to do that again! They had me feel his head crowning and that was just crazy. And then just when I thought it would never end, I felt a slippery wriggle and out my little angel came!! I felt his olive oil coated, chubby bottom in my hands as the midwives put his little body on my belly and it was an unbelievable feeling of relief and awe and amazement all at once.  He did the “breast crawl” up to my breast and instinctively started nursing on his own! After pushing out the placenta (which was one of the bigger placentas my midwife had ever seen!) we spent that next hour in bliss, together, me and baby Jules and Erol and all the goddesses in the room.

Jules & Mama Day 1

Jules & Mama Day 1

Due to some tearing, and a lot of bleeding that wouldn’t slow even with a shot of Pitocin in my leg, my midwife took me to Kaiser to get a specialist to stitch me up. My blood pressure was so low after losing 1000 cc of blood they wheeled me up to urgent care and fixed me right up. It was a very unpleasant couple of hours of shots and catheters and stitching, but I felt grateful to leave with such an important part of my body intact 😉

Each and every moment since Saturday has been so so special. Having my little Jules is way more magical than anyone could have ever prepared me for. If I had known it would be so amazing I probably would have started a long time ago 😉

1 day old

1 day old

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