“Hey pretty girl. Hey, pretty princess,” Sabrina Zielinski, 30, says to her 3 month-old daughter, Esther. Bright-eyed and smiling with her full lips and white teeth Sabrina looks down at the baby in a pink onesie, on a pink blanket on the tiled bathroom floor. Esther’s bright blue eyes look back up to her mother’s, as her tiny lips configure a smile. The sound of warm water flows out of the bathtub facet into a baby tub. Bottles of organic baby shampoo and organic baby conditioner rest on the side of the tub. Sabrina’s husband, Eric, 28, walks in wearing a white t-shirt and khaki slacks and takes over giving Esther her bath, while Sabrina finishes getting ready for Sunday morning church.
“Ok, we’re going to wash your little toes, and your little knees, and your little ham hock thighs,” Eric lists each part as he gently washes Esther with her organic baby shampoo.
It was two years into their marriage when Eric and Sabrina found out that they were having their first baby.
“We were so excited. We prayed for whatever was God’s perfect timing for children,” Sabrina said.
With a meticulous lifestyle that included a strict natural diet that included locally grown and organic foods, alternative medicine and a very active exercise regimen, Sabrina and Eric were used to a more wholesome way of life. It wasn’t until the seventh month of Sabrina’s pregnancy that they seriously discussed the benefits of having natural home birth.
“As first-time parents, having people there with me who have been through this, I knew I was going to be ok,” Sabrina said. “You need women around you, supporting and encouraging you.”
At two in the morning on October 1, 2008, Sabrina realized she was at the earliest stage of labor. Going downstairs and relaxing in the inflatable hot tub that was bought just for the birth, Sabrina tried to relax and reflected on the amazing task ahead of her. With out drugs, scalpels, stitches, and in the company of family and close friends, Esther Grace Zielinski was born in the Zielinski home at 7:17 p.m. weighing 8 pounds, 11 ounces and 21 inches long.
“We got the name Esther from my favorite book in the Bible. It’s almost the very first pageant,” Sabrina, a veteran of over two-dozen beauty and talent pageants said. “In the story, Esther wasn’t the prettiest, but God put her above average with His favor in her life, she became Queen Esther and went on to be a hero to her people. Grace is for the grace of God, and it is also Eric’s mom’s first name, so it worked doubly well.”
“Ok precious,” Eric says as he pulls Esther out of the baby tub and quickly wraps her in a soft towel, he dries her off, rubs Mary Kay lotion on her face, and begins dressing her. Trying to figure out where in the order of the diaper, white onesie, pink onesie, and dress does the baby tights go, Eric makes a decision and gives Esther to Sabrina so that he can finish getting ready for church. With final touch of “baby bling” Sabrina puts a pink bead necklace on the baby, and the family leaves for church.
Sabrina Ann Zielinski, 30, and husband, Eric, 28, of Midland, have been married since December 9, 2006 and are having their first baby. Returning from her Pre and Postnatal Fitness Class, Sabrina gets home just as Eric gets home from working at The Dow Chemical Company. The two greet each other with a quick kiss before starting dinner.
"We do a lot of recycling." Sabrina said. "Eric doesn't as much as I do, so sometimes I have to grab recyclables out of the trash. Every other week both bins are full to the brim."
Coming home after work, Sabrina picks up the recycling bins and trash can and carries them back to their house. Already in the ninth month of her pregnancy, Sabrina refuses to let her pregnancy slow her down.
"I plan on working until the day I go into labor," she laughs.
Attending a pre and postnatal fitness class at Hang Time, Sabrina and her friend, Kim Kosberg, 30, of Midland, stretch their backs over the exercise balls.
"These classes really help us focus on all the muscles used in the delivery," Sabrina explained, "which is almost everything, but not to such a high degree. Its a low intensity so even when you are nine months pregnant and humongous you can still do it."
At two in the morning on October 1, 2008, Sabrina starts to see the early signs of labor. Walking down stairs, to their basement, she climbs in the inflatable hot tub that was bought just for the birth.
"I want to wait before waking Eric up, because he will be in ultra focus mode," Sabrina says with a small wince of her eye, a reaction from a light contraction. "Being in the hot tub actually can lengthen the labor time, but it relieves the pressure."
Eight hours into labor, Sabrina uses breathing techniques to get through the pain. Sabrina's doula, Julie King, of Midland, P.T.A., C.M.T., I.C.C.E., sits at her side and coaches her.
"Yeah everything is ok," Eric says to Sabrina's mom on the phone, in a quiet voice. "She's dilated between four and five centimeters, so we're calling it five."
Right after Esther Grace Zielinski was born, Sabrina experiences breast feeding for the first time. Sabrina's mother, Donna Frawley, 58, of Midland, helps her first grandchild latch onto Sabrina.
"I hadn't heard from them since this morning, Frawley said. "The Lord said finish your dinner and go over there or you're going to miss it. I snuck in, got to see the last three contractions, and then I got to see my little grand baby being born."
One month postpartum, Sabrina is already working her way back to her normal body condition.
With one arm around Esther, Julie King checks to see if Sabrina is pushing down on her pelvic floor muscles.
"With Post Natal Fitness, you have to work on pelvic floor stregthening," Sabrina explains. "If you sneeze, cough or laugh you could pee you pants. So after you've had this beautiful baby your muscles are fatigued and stretched to the max and need to be restrengthened."
"Ok Precious, lets put your little hat on," Eric says to Esther as they finish getting ready for church on Sunday morning.
"Is there any other color besides pink," Eric asks. "You know what, you look really good in pink."
Special thanks for Ryan for giving me time to work on this story while I was in Midland. Taylor for always keeping her ear open and finding this story during her internship. Kohl for working his toning magic. And the Zielinski family for allowing me in their lives. Welcome to the world baby Esther.