Cheryl’s First Birth: 9 Days “Late,” Birth Center, Supportive Water Birth

Such a great story! I love how supportive this mama’s team of midwives and husband were during labor. I also love how patiently this couple waited past their EDD so they could have the birth they planned. And this baby was clearly not “late”–perfectly healthy and just right!

We were so blessed to welcome little Liam into this world on July 24, 2012. Our birthing experience was wonderful! Our little family felt so close and there was so much love in that room. I’d been having practice contractions that would last for a couple hours then disappear since around 36 weeks. My estimated due date (July 15) came and went. Clarke and I walked all over farmer’s markets, the mall, and the cemetery and ate some delicious (but ineffective) eggplant parmesan to try and “induce” labor. Babies truly do come when they’re ready. I think natural induction methods really only work if you and baby are totally ready. Clarke and I went to a midwife appointment on Monday July 23 at noon. I was 41 weeks and 1 day so the midwife asked if I wanted her to check me and see if I was dilated enough to strip my membranes. I was 3 cm and 80% effaced! They stripped my membranes and did a non-stress test (which was perfect) and we went home.
By the time we got home I was already having pressure waves (contractions) about every 15 minutes. They told me to take a nap when we got home so I got in bed and slept until 4 when I woke up with much stronger pressure waves. I still hadn’t said anything to Clarke, not wanting to get his or my hopes up. By 7 pm the pressure waves were every 6-8 minutes and very strong and spreading into my back. I told Clarke that I thought this was probably going to happen in the next day or two (ha!). I’d heard so many stories of first time moms birthing for 24 hours or more so I was preparing myself for a long labor and telling myself to stay at home as long as I could. I decided to get in the tub to see if it slowed down. The tub really helped me relax. Clarke read me some hypnobirthing scripts and really helped me stay calm, happy, and relaxed. By 9 pm the pressure waves were every 3-5 minutes! I finally called the midwife and she said she’d meet us at the birthing center in an hour. During that hour I started having back labor so I spent some time on my hands and knees and Clarke REALLY helped me by applying counter pressure to my back and hips. I was so excited when it was finally time to leave…until I got in the car. Luckily the birthing center is only about 15 minutes away and we arrived at 10 pm.
When we got there our midwife Shemin and two other midwives (Karly and Aundria) were waiting for us. They checked me and I was happy to hear that I was 6 cm and fully effaced! We decided to go outside and walk around for a little while. We were walking for a total of 15 minutes when I felt a really strong wave coming on and my water broke! After that the pressure waves were a lot stronger and even closer together. I decided I wanted to get in the nice big, deep, jetted tub and it was sweet relief! Being in the tub allowed me to change position so much more easily and the water really helped me to relax my muscles and progress more quickly. Clarke stroked my arms and read me some more visualization scripts. He did a great job supporting me and helping me stay calm and relaxed. At about 1 a.m. I told Clarke to get Shemin because I was starting to feel “pushy”. She came in and checked me. I was at 8 cm and in transition. Liam’s heart rate was a little bit high and so they asked me to get out of the tub and into bed because they needed to monitor him for an hour. I really recommend NOT lying in bed during labor. They said that if his heart rate didn’t slow down they’d have to transfer me to the hospital…It seemed impossible to get in the car at this point. I couldn’t imagine how I could
handle that so I really started praying that everything would resolve itself quickly and we could stay. I got nauseous at this point and threw up a couple times during that hour. I so appreciated all the support from my wonderful husband and my amazing midwives Shemin, Karly, and Aundria. I discovered that I am a clingy, touchy person during childbirth. I was always wanting someone to hold my hands, stroke my hair, apply counter pressure to my hips, etc. and I was so grateful for all the support I had. I started feeling a lot of pressure in my hips as the baby descended and continued to feel the urge to push. I pushed through several of the contractions during transition and while I think it wore me out a little bit, I also think it helped Liam descend faster. After monitoring Liam’s heart rate for an hour it was normal again! This was such wonderful news! I really started wanting to push so they checked me again and said I was complete! That urge to push really is uncontrollable! When you gotta push, you gotta push. I got back in the tub and started pushing at about 2:30 a.m. Shemin massaged my perineum with oil and helped me stretch and Clarke was there washing my face with a cold wet cloth and holding my hand. My focal point was Aundria who I felt such a wonderful connection with. I would look into her eyes as I pushed and she would tell me “you’re so strong, so strong.” I can’t tell you how much that helped me. The support I felt from Clarke, these women, and my Heavenly Father was so amazing and I’m so grateful to them all.

Soon after I began pushing Shemin told me to reach down and feel the baby’s head! It felt so soft that I couldn’t believe it was his head, but it gave me the motivation to keep going. Soon I heard Clarke say, “Look at that hair!” They could see his head! I felt like I was so close! I felt like I just needed to do one more push to get him out…but unfortunately he was pretty stuck at this point. Clarke said with each push he’d come down a little more and then go back up a bit. I knew this was the “ring of fire” I’d heard so much about. The pressure was very strong and there definitely was a burning feeling. At this point I was loudly vocalizing with each push. I was SO loud! In between contractions I’d say, “I’m sorry! I’m so loud!” And they’d laugh and say it’s fine and normal. I remember asking Shemin, “He’s coming out with this push right?? He has to!” And Shemin would calmly reassure me that he might but he might not and it’s ok. That it would be soon.

The pressure kept getting stronger and stronger with each push and then during one I heard Shemin and Clarke say, “This is it! Big push and he’s out!” I was SO determined to get him out with that push so I bore down with all my strength. Suddenly the pressure and burning was gone! His head was out and the rest of him just slipped out. The relief was instant! They placed my beautiful baby boy on my chest and I felt the most love and peace that I have ever experienced. Liam was so calm that he didn’t even cry for a few seconds. Then he started quietly
whimpering. His eyes were wide open and he was so calm and alert. I looked at Clarke and we both had tears in our eyes. We were a family and we couldn’t believe Liam was finally here! We let the cord pulsate for a few minutes before Clarke cut it and took Liam. He was so sweet holding his little boy for the first time, just staring at him in awe and quietly talking to him and calming him.
My midwives helped me get out of the tub and into bed to deliver the placenta. The placenta was much easier to get out than the baby, but I was so tired that it took me a few pushes to get it out. I had some labial tearing so Karly stitched me up while they checked out Liam. My parents came by and we spent a couple hours talking and staring at and cuddling baby L. It was wonderful! My parents left after a couple hours and we had some family cuddle time and some breakfast. At 9 we decided we were ready to get ready and head home. We got Liam dressed and put him in his car seat. He looked so tiny in there! We went home and enjoyed the day resting
and enjoying our sweet beautiful baby boy.

Liam Carter Holdaway was born July 24 2012 at 4:05 AM at Bella Natal Birthing Suites in Orem, UT. He weighed 7lbs 5oz and was 20 inches long. I was in active labor for 12 hours, transition for about 2, and pushed for 1.5 hours.

We had an amazing natural, spiritual, birth. It was the most wonderful way to begin our lives together as a family. Daddy, mama, and baby Liam couldn’t be happier.


meeting liam.JPG


Speak Your Mind