The category for an archive of births.
When I was asked to create an article for our newsletter about Healthy Weight Week, I hesitated for just a moment. After all, my BMI puts me far outside the “normal weight” range! I agreed to write about Healthy Weight Week because I am both a healthcare provider and a woman who has struggled with her weight throughout her lifetime. While I know the health benefits of maintaining a normal weight, I know all too well the health effects of being outside of it.
My Struggle with Weight
Although I am in the “obese” category according to my BMI, I am at the healthiest weight I’ve been in 20 years. It is no exaggeration to say that my weight has been an issue for me almost my entire life. Manipulation of food and dieting is so widespread in my family that they have become a sort of pastime for many of us. What I have not learned to address until recently are the reasons that I manipulate food and consume it for uses other than the nourishment of my body. Food has been a comfort to me in hard times, and been a part of the celebration at joyous events. It has required vigilance and great effort on my part to find other ways to cope with difficult times and celebrate during the happy ones.
Motivation for Change
Change is difficult and, at times, even painful. One must have some sort of motivation to initiate and sustain change. New Year’s resolutions, graduations, and job interviews have been some motivators in the past. Those events have been strong enough to help me to lose as much as 30 pounds in the past, but when the occasion passed or “life got in the way”, I would go back to my old habits and re-gain every bit of weight I’d lost. A few years ago, I fell in love with my fiance and found my biggest and best motivator: becoming a mother. My desire to some day have a healthy pregnancy and be the best mom I can be led me to make drastic changes in the way I eat. It is also what drives me to get out of bed early in the morning to exercise!
At my highest weight, I was more than 130 lbs away a “normal” BMI. Setting that as my goal would have been way too overwhelming. Evidence has shown that even small reductions in weight (5-10% of body weight) can cause improvement in blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and reduce the risks of other chronic diseases. Making several “mini-goals” along the way can help us eventually reach our ultimate, “big” goal. Other evidence-based tools to help with weight loss are: keeping a food diary and having a workout buddy. Keeping a food diary helps us to keep track of what we eat- even if we’re not counting calories. When we’re aware of what we eat, we can begin to make needed changes. It makes us accountable to ourselves. Having a workout buddy has been shown to increase the frequency with which people exercise. When we have someone waiting to meet us on the walking trail or gym, we’re more likely to show up!
Now You Go
Whether it’s welcoming the New Year or celebrating Healthy Weight Week, I invite you to think about what healthy changes you’d like to make in your life. What are your “mini-goals”? Don’t forget to let your nurse practitioner or midwife know about your health goals when you have your next visit. We’d love to cheer you on!
by: Jennifer Leonard
I was 39 weeks and I had contractions off and on for a few days. I had been walking in the evening to help ease things along, as I didn’t want to shoot for a *third* 42-week pregnancy. The night of November 2nd I was up yet again with contractions that were going from 2-3 minutes apart, to 3-5 minutes apart, and just got further and further apart until they were gone about two hours after they started. I went to bed frustrated. I had many nights like this over the past week, and it was tiring me. During the day I was pretty low-function due to the lack of
sleep, and it was tough to keep up with the seven other kiddos I had at home. I was pretty ready to meet our #8!
After waking up November 3rd, I made breakfast for everyone, and started our nice lunch of Lasagna. My parents, sister, and nephew came over to eat with us and have a visit. During lunch I noticed that I was cramping and just feeling “off”. Then I started getting lower back pain, and lower belly pain, along with some serious tightening in my belly. This raised the alarm for me. I knew that if this was the real thing it could potentially progress quickly. My labors had been getting closer and closer together the more kiddos we had.
I started timing things, and they were 2-3 minutes apart. Having already experienced this at night, I was really hoping to feel things get stronger before we headed in to the birth center. Things got a bit more serious; I had to pause during contractions now and was doing some good labor-breathing through my nose. I told my hubby we needed to call the midwife. She told us since they were so close together that we should definitely head in. My sister took over care of my kiddos, and my mom planned to stay the night with them for us. They are amazing women!!
On the drive towards the birth center hubby and I laughed between contractions (typical for us), and he guessed I’d be a 4/5, while I was thinking the worst– I’d be told I was only at about a 2. ::snort:: Things got more intense, and I started to feel a bit more pelvic discomfort as we came up to the front of the birth center. We pulled into the parking lot, and I paused a few times on the way in, breathing through some tough ones. We walk into The Green Room and I don’t look like I’m even in labor. Things slow down for a moment. It’s a full three minutes before I have a contraction, and that one is pretty mild compared to the ones I had on the way over! Carey checked me and informed me that I was definitely a 4/5 and that baby’s head was nice and low, with the bag of waters “rightvthere”. Whew! Hubby is goooood! I guess he would be after 7 children, huh?!
I labored for a little while, sitting on the ball, and walking aroundbour room– then I got into the tub and things got more interesting and *fast*. I told everyone I was starting to feel pushy, but somehow it didn’t feel like this was going to be as easy a delivery as my last. His head felt huge to me somehow. I told them I wanted out of the tub— so Carey and hubby helped me onto the bed where I pushed while on my hands and knees. Ohhh yes. This was *much* different! I would push, and his head would come down, and then slide back up after I stopped pushing. Any woman in labor will tell you that this feeling is such a defeating feeling. You feel like you did all that
work…… for nothing. Ugh.
Carey suggested I get into a different position, so I managed to get on
my left side and I tried that way. I am *so* glad I listened to her wisdom! I pushed another time and a half and his head was coming out now! Whew! With the next push, his head was out, but so were his hands, and the cord was wrapped all around him like a ribbon on a present, and he was born *in* the bag! Ack! I can’t see what’s going on but Carey, the nurse, and my hubby are all acting excited about what’s happening. Carey got to un-wrap my son, like a present, and remove the bag from his
face so he could breathe. She placed him on my belly, and he immediately started to cry. We captured his precious first cry on video, and I have listened to it over, and over, and over.
What a miracle he is! Our 8th child, our 2nd son!
Thomas Eugene LeonardIII
was born on November 3rd.
We got to the birth center just before 4 pm,
and he was born at 6:23 pm! He was my fastest, but most difficult labor, and is our precious little gift. Having a baby born with his hands on his face, the cord all in the mix, and *in* the bag like that was so very intense. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I am so thankful for WBWC! This is our 3rd baby born there, and if we have a 9th, we will definitely choose to have him/her at WBWC! I love this group of wonderful women and feel blessed to have been able to share my births
By Mary Ellen Wells
Your due date (April 28th) came and went, as I expected (your brother was two weeks late). I planned to have you at the Women’s Birth and Wellness Center, which is a midwife practice, one of only two in our state. The Birth Center is low intervention, so I don’t have the option of any pain medications unless I want to be transferred to the hospital. I was a little nervous because my first delivery (with your brother Kai) was long and difficult, and I ended up with an epidural so I could rest before pushing him out. Many seasoned moms told me the second one would be easier, so I trusted I could do it. I really wanted a simple, no-intervention birth, because I felt it was best for you.
On May 9th, I was only dilated to 2 cm, so the midwife did a membrane sweep. It was really painful, but would hopefully get things going. Contractions didn’t start, though. On May 10th, I went in at 10 am for a second membrane sweep (Sarah did this one). I was 4 cm dilated. It was excruciatingly painful, but I started having contractions around 11 am. They were between 3-5 minutes apart and went on all day. I describe them as mild, so I just went about my business. I didn’t think you would come by that night.
I had been frantic getting things ready at work, in prep for maternity leave. At 2 pm, I did a webinar for my new students. I sat outside on the deck at our house and actually had my contraction timer going and took a pause every few minutes for one to pass. My students probably had no idea, and I really didn’t take the contractions seriously either. I still thought it would be another day or so, and I was dreading the thought of induction, so I blew them off. After the webinar, I had a conference call for work that lasted until around 4 pm. After I got off the call, I told your Dad that I had been having contractions regularly, and he said, “You might want to call the Birth Center.” I called and talked to Emily. She said to get in the tub and see if they eased up. And, to call back in an hour either way. I got in the tub and they didn’t ease up. I called back at 6 pm and she said to come on in and get checked. She was calm and she made me feel better and not panic.
We asked our neighbor Karen to come over and watch your big brother Kai. Everything was calm, and we said goodbye to Kai, made a few phone calls, and left for the birth center. It was only seven miles away. Once we got there, we got set up in the blue room. Sarah checked me and I was still only a “loose four, tight five”. I was surprised I had hardly dilated any more since that morning’s sweep. She said for us to go get dinner and come back around 8:30 or 9 pm. She did say that she thought I would turn the corner quickly. I was still in doubt, and reality just didn’t set in. I really thought it would be a few more days. So, Johnny and I went to the Mellow Mushroom on Franklin Street. We sat outside and the contractions actually started getting stronger. I told the waitress to bring our pizza in a to-go box. Within five minutes, I started having really strong contractions. I could barely breathe through them. Johnny gave me the keys and said he would wait for the food and I started walking to the car. I couldn’t even make it to the car. I hung on for dear life to the dumpster behind the building, about 30 feet from the car. Johnny got our food and found me back there. I told him I couldn’t walk to the car, so he pulled up and I crawled in. I couldn’t sit down. I was on my knees facing backward in the passenger seat, hugging the headrest and moaning loud through each contraction. I called the birth center and said “get the tub ready, I’m on my way”.
Johnny raced to the birth center with the flashers on. Thankfully it was only a mile or two away. We got there and I felt paralyzed with each contraction. I had to have help getting out of the car, but I walked into the birth center. I felt like I had to go to the bathroom and sat down on the toilet. Sarah checked me right there and said I was at seven centimeters. All of a sudden, I had an overwhelming feeling of distress come over me because I remember that it took hours to get from seven to ten last time. Each contraction was excruciating, and I didn’t think I would be able to make it for “hours”. Johnny, Sarah, and Lorraine helped me get in the tub. I couldn’t even make myself lie down because the contractions were so intense. Sarah used the Doppler and said your heartbeat dropped and she wanted me to get on all fours on the bed. Johnny helped me out of the tub and I did like she said. Within a minute, I felt an enormous urge to push and said “I have to push”. I didn’t know what was going to happen since I was only at seven centimeters a few minutes before, but my body just took over and started pushing. I let out a primal yell and to my disbelief, Sarah said “the head is out”. After another push or two, you were actually here. Sarah was great. She was so calm and knew just what to do.
I was just so overcome with emotion. All I could do was fall on the bed and lie there. I saw you lying there beside me and they were wiping you off. You looked so still and weren’t crying (just like your brother). And, I asked “is he alive?”. It’s funny because I asked the same thing with your brother. Shortly after, we cuddled and you started nursing like a champ! You came out so perfect and I was amazed. Your head wasn’t even mis-shapen. I guess because you were only in the birth canal for a few minutes. You were born at 8:47pm, only 11 minutes after we arrived at the birth center. You were truly an amazing delivery. I could not have asked for any better. Oh, and we still got to eat our pizza just a bit after you were born!
Thanks so much to your dad (Johnny Wells www.johnnywellsphotography.com) for taking some amazing photos to document your arrival.
by Lindsay Osterhoudt
So it was Chandler’s 6th birthday. I did not sleep very well the night before because my arms kept falling asleep, and I just couldn’t get comfortable. I got up before 6 a.m. and decided to go get doughnuts for breakfast as a special treat. I also went into Harris Teeter and bought 10 juices because they were on sale B2G3. I also picked up some fruit. Chandler didn’t have school that day, so after breakfast I packed lunches for everybody and we headed to the Durham L&S Museum.
Luckily we are members, and since we got there at 9 a.m., we were able to stay one step ahead of the crowds. A few of my friends checked in with me throughout the day, and I kept telling them no signs of baby and that I didn’t think it would be today.
Fast forward to just after 4 p.m.
All of the boys (and I) were out playing in the yard. I had been having contractions on and off this day, but had been for the last month, so this was not much different. Some of them were stronger than previously, so I called Derek and asked if we could meet a little before 5 p.m. at Red Robin. Chandler wanted to eat there for his birthday. I loaded up the boys in the car, and we headed to Red Robin. Derek met us there at 4:50, and we were about to be seated when I decided that I should use the bathroom first. After using the bathroom and noting that these contractions were maintaining their intensity, I informed Derek that staying for dinner was probably not a good idea. I really was looking forward to my burger though! I said I thought we should head to the midwives. Derek asked if I was going to drive (remember, both of our cars are at Red Robin). I think I said, “Hell no,” and I guess that’s when Derek thought I was serious.
We all loaded into the van and proceeded to Chapel Hill. Derek called the midwives, but it was after 5 p.m. by this point, so they had to page the on-call midwife. By the time she was able to call us back (we think they transposed a digit of Derek’s phone number, tried our home phone, found my file, and then called my cell), we were only 20-25 minutes away. The midwife (Sarah) said we were going to beat her there! Sarah made some calls and made sure there was somebody there to let us in when we arrived. Luckily there is a student midwife (Carey), who actually attended the birth and caught Jamison, who lives nearby and was there when we arrived. I did have Derek stop and buy some PowerAde, since I didn’t have any cold ones with me. When we left for Red Robin earlier that afternoon, I had no idea that we’d be driving straight to the birth center!
We got to the birth center and luckily, Diane was not far behind us. She was able to take the boys off our hands while my labor intensified. They took all my vital signs, and I had them check me to see how far along I was. I was a good “6”. This is the least that I’ve ever been upon arrival, and honestly, I felt a little silly on the car-ride to the birth center because it felt like my labor could stop at any time, and this could be a false alarm. Good thing I trusted my gut. I had Carey fill up the tub, and I was a little hesitant to get in because I’ve never “labored” in the tub…I’ve just gotten in and pushed the baby out. I finally got in and didn’t really like “laboring” since my legs were getting cramps. I asked Carey to break my water (a first for me) and she did and said I was about a “7”. After what seemed like an hour (really only 11 minutes later) I was holding a baby in my arms!
Everybody was amazed at how big the baby was and of course were dying to know, boy or girl!?!? Derek announced that we had another boy. He sure had me fooled. With the severe morning sickness this time, I would have bet it was a girl. Obviously, I’m meant to have boys, and that’s okay. He fits just perfectly into our family 🙂
Carey had guessed the baby would be about 7.5 lbs. Boy was everybody amazed when Jamison weighed in at 8 lbs., 14 oz. Almost NINE POUNDS!
Chandler was very excited to meet his new baby brother. What a special bond these two boys will have, sharing a birthday.
So, I’ve had four boys, born in the same room, in the same tub. Definitely a birth center record. Carey is holding Jamison in this picture. She is a student midwife and will be fully licensed after she completes her testing in May. Sarah is behind her in the black shirt.
Jamison was born at 7:02 p.m. and you have to stay for four hours after the birth. We were ready to leave shortly after 11 p.m., but Jamison spit up all over the car seat as soon as Derek put him in there. We had to start over! Then Jamison decided he needed to poop. Needless to say, we left shortly after midnight and came home with our newest, precious, baby boy!
by Tanya Bacon
7:30 AM on December 29, I woke up having to pee and experiencing a little contraction. No problem, I was used to it by that point. I got up, did my business, put some food in Tucker’s dish, and sat down to eat cereal and watch TV on the computer. I also got on Facebook to see that my baby application had updated on my page-“40 Weeks Today!” “Ugh. Mornin’ world,” I posted. I finished my cereal and decided to start revamping the birth bag. I got up and walked the 4 steps to the table where my paper was that had a list of what we needed…when my water started breaking. I grabbed my towel and waddled quickly to the bathroom carefully holding the towel to me so I didn’t “break” all over the carpet Keith had installed THE DAY BEFORE. When I got to the bathroom around 8 AM, I heard Keith waking up.
“I think my water just broke!” I yelled.
“Really?” he asked as he ran into the bathroom. “Are you ok?”
I felt an incredible urge to poop, but I couldn’t. I went from toilet to tub to toilet to floor to tub and back and forth for a while feeling so very uncomfortable and wondering why I couldn’t walk around. It was my understanding that I’d be able and wanting to walk around during the 1st stage of labor. During this time, Keith was calling my mom and the Birth Center, letting them know that my contractions were irregular and we weren’t sure how far apart–maybe 4-5 minutes? Every time I heard that, I’d scream, “Closer! Continuous!”
There really was no break in between. Alright, maybe a tiny one, but not much. Finally, Keith called the Birth Center and told them we were coming in NOW, and they agreed that was best. He called my mom and told her to meet us there instead of our house. He came in and said, “Tanya, after this one, you HAVE TO get up and we need to go!”
That is when I started frantically yelling for him to find things to bring with us (and we had just moved, so he didn’t know where anything was).
“Put Tucker in his cage!”
“I can’t find him!”
I looked behind the toilet where he had been hiding earlier-labor is scary! Nope, no Tucker dog.
“Check under the bed!” Yup.
I finally got the gumption to get up, barely put clothes and slippers on, and waddled my way quickly to the door. My eyes darted at things to grab on the way out, but I clung to my pillow instead and climbed into the car. The carseat was in the back now, so my seat could only go back so far. I ended up with one knee on the door and one hitting the shift. My oldest sister called Keith’s phone on the way-I think I freaked her out because I was in mid-contraction and screaming . I remember wanting to push a NOS button on the car and bypass the 10+ lights.
“Half way,” Keith told me.
“Great, then I might have the baby in the car!” I thought.
I still kept feeling that urge to poop. Finally, around 9:45 AM, we arrived. Keith let me out and helped me in-I’m not sure if he even parked the car really! A man held the door for us and BOOM! another contraction.
“Do you guys know where to go?” he asked.
We thought so, but he helped us as the midwives were coming out to meet us. We were escorted into the “extra” room because families were just leaving the other rooms and the midwives were quickly trying to clean them.
“WATER BIRTH!!!” I yelled.
They checked me-not very hard to do since I was pretty much stripping as I walked in. (It was chilly outside, but I was so hot and clothes were feeling SO uncomfortable!)
“Ok, she’s in 2nd stage and pushing!” I heard Emily, the midwife, say.
“So THAT’S why I wasn’t walking around!” I thought.
After a few pushes, the tub and room were clean, so we ended up waddling over to the other room. I just started going, not really knowing where to go, and Keith chased me with a blanket trying to keep me covered up. I didn’t care-I was in the zone and just wanted this baby OUT and in my arms! I kept reminding myself she’d be here soon and I wouldn’t have crazy charlie horses in my leg/hip or contractions anymore after that.
In the tub, the water was warm. I almost immediately felt more relaxed-well, as relaxed as you can feel in 2nd stage labor. The next little while was a whirlwind. The pressure built up more and more, but through it, I felt my little girl’s head more and more, too.
The “ring of fire” was terrible. I think because of the location of it, it was the worst pain I had ever felt. I felt like I was just going to rip apart. (I’m just being real with you, like the poop comments.)
In the end, this is how I remember it:
“Tanya, look at me! Next time you feel a contraction, PUSH!” Emily told me.So I did. Hard. In an instant, things almost went south. I had no idea why, nor was I frightened by it, but I was told to get up out of the tub and onto the bed. My husband, the midwife, and the nurse all lifted me up and helped me onto the bed. Apparently, I had a little baby head coming out during this.
I heard, “Call the midwife! Call for oxygen!” It got a little more frantic in the room for a minute. I made it onto the bed and thought, “I have to do this NOW or this is going to get bad!” I pushed once–maybe twice–and felt an enormous, almost gooey pressure leave my body. I looked down and saw the most purpley-gray baby with dark hair! She was screaming!!! She was HERE! Almost immediately, she was skin-to-skin with me and we had a blanket over us. I just wanted to hold her, have Keith hold me, and go to sleep.
The blood clots were “fun.” I had to have Pitocin and Cytotec after she came out so that I didn’t bleed out. But I had no tears, only “skid-marks.” It still burned a little, but not nearly as bad as tears would I’m sure.
Our Daisy Lynn was born at 10:52 AM, not much more than an hour after we made it to the Birth Center. She weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces and was 21.5 inches long.
I found out afterward that the cord was wrapped tightly around her neck. The midwife tried to pull it off, but it was way too tight. That’s why I ended up on the bed. I didn’t hear my mom crying on my husband’s shoulder and almost hyperventilating, or her praying out loud. I’m convinced though, that because of her prayers, along with ours and those of our family and friends, God saved my little girl. I am SO very thankful that God saved her. We are SO BLESSED to have her.
By Mary Rider
As far as I know, I hold the record for number of babies born at Women’s Birth and Wellness (although for some it was Piedmont Women’s Health Center). My husband and I have eight children and the last five have been born downstairs at the center.
The last time started just like all the rest. On May 2, 2005 I was 39 weeks pregnant and my water broke. I had been worried I wouldn’t have time to get to Chapel Hill from Garner because as each baby has come, my labors have gotten shorter and shorter. But I noticed when I lay down, the contractions pretty much stopped. So as long as I didn’t walk around, I wasn’t in labor! The thing is I had some work to do and wanted to get it done before the baby came so I wouldn’t have to be worrying about it with a newborn!
So I laid in bed and paid a few bills and every time I got up to go to the bathroom or get a drink, the contractions would return.
About lunchtime I told my husband I thought we’d better get ready to go. We’re not too quick at getting out of the house, and I didn’t want to wait too long or we’d be stuck in traffic on the way to Chapel Hill.
My dad, who lives at the beach, was in town. So he went and picked up the kids from school, and my friend Debbie Biesack picked up Bernadette from her high school.
Once we got to the center things went pretty quickly. I had given birth under water to the last four (an experience I highly recommend. It’s the most relaxing way of laboring I have found!) and so Sher asked me if I wanted to get in the tub. The one drawback to the tub is that it’s so big it takes a long time to fill. I really did want to get in the tub, but by then I knew there was no time for that!
So for the first time in a long time, I gave birth in the bed. My dad never likes to be in the room right at the moment, my mom made it a few minutes late, and Brianna, the oldest, was too far away to make it in time, but the rest of the family was all in attendance along with a few friends thrown in for good measure!
I remember it being a busy day at the birthing center, with two other births going on at the same time and someone calling in, just starting labor! (Was there a full moon? I don’t remember.)
As always, once our little one had made her way out into the world, everyone got to hold her and get a good look at her and admire her beautiful red hair. Then she went outside with her dad for a few breaths of fresh air, and I sent someone to get me some food because birthing is a lot of work, and I had built up quite an appetite.
But this time something was different. After a few hours, our little one started having some troubles. By then Maureen had come in too, and so she cleared everyone out and we talked about what was going on.
As I had suspected for many months (but hadn’t confirmed with prenatal tests), our baby, Mary Evelyn, has Down syndrome. The most devastating part of this discovery was that her heart wasn’t working correctly, and she had to go to UNC Hospitals. We told the older children what was going on and sent everyone off with my mother to stay with friends in Carrboro.
There is no way to express the fear and pain of the next few days. The ambulance came and took my newborn baby away to the hospital, and we really didn’t know if we would ever see her again. I followed in another ambulance a little later, and my husband drove.
At UNC Hospitals, it was no time before we had a better idea of what was going on. Although Mary Evelyn’s condition was serious, and she had to spend several days in the neonatal ICU, her heart condition was treatable and eventually (in November 2005) corrected with surgery. Today she is a healthy, happy little girl who greets everyone with a smile and a wave and is currently crawling around the house, taking books off the shelves, a seemingly favorite past time of most of my children at that age!
Would I have done anything differently if I had known that Mary Evelyn would be born with health problems? Most certainly not. The loving and professional care we received from Sher and Maureen was extraordinary and while the hospital folks were nice, concerned and professional, the birthing center is home for us.
By Patrick O’Neill
As a father of eight children, I probably have more stories to tell about the birth experience (from the less-intense father-side) than most men. Five of our children (Veronica, Timothy, Ann, Michael and Mary Evelyn) were born at the birth center in Chapel Hill, and another daughter (Bernadette) was born in 1988 at the “original” birth center in Siler City. My oldest daughter, Brianna, is also the business director, so we have an intimate connection with the center — both the offices upstairs (where our children have watched countless birthing videos, and the “Arthur” animated video for years) and of course the downstairs birthing rooms (I think we’ve been in all three!) Although our last child was born May 2, 2005, it seems like we’re there all the time. (And I love reading the interesting bumper stickers in the parking lot.)
My wife, Mary, has had four of our babies in the water (in those big bathtubs in the birthing rooms), and that’s just one of the many amenities we have appreciated in choosing to experience our family’s most intimate moments in the center as opposed to a hospital. For example, when our daughter, Moira, was born in 1994 in a hospital (prior to WBWC), a nurse came into the room with designs on leaving with our newborn daughter to take her somewhere else (I have no idea where). We said, “No, thanks, we’d like to keep her with us,” something you would never have to worry about at the birth center, where contact between parents and newborn is sacred, and anything that has to be done is handled bedside.
I especially appreciate the emphasis birth center founder Maureen Darcey places on honoring the birth process as a natural, essentially non-medical experience. Maureen’s role, and that of the rest of the midwives, is to assist a mother in a miraculous, natural event. When my children have been born, I’ve had total confidence that Maureen and staff have matters under control (and since I have been a major player in helping my wife throughout the delivery process, I appreciate the way the midwives have integrated me into the process in a meaningful way).
With such a large family, you can imagine the crowd accompanying us to Chapel Hill on the days when Mary’s water breaks and a new baby is on the way. When we’re there, we basically take over the entire downstairs as the time passes, waiting for the birth of a new baby sister or brother. That’s also a special part of having a child at the birth center, where the birth experience is open to all, and the entire family is welcome. At all five of our birth center births, siblings have cut the umbilical cords of the newest member of the family (some volunteered to do the cutting, but then backed out as the process unfolded, but another kid has always stepped up to the plate).
The birth center has been a blessing to us. It is a place where the miracle of childbirth is allowed to unfold in all of its natural wonder.
by Missy Swanson
I was hopeful when I found out I was pregnant with my third baby. I thought, “Maybe this will be the one!” I wanted to enjoy my pregnancy and have a calm, beautiful birth. I’ve always dreamed of being one of those graceful, “magical-life-is-growing-within-me” type of pregnant ladies. As a birth center nurse, I see inspiring, beautiful laboring women all the time, but so far, that hasn’t been in the cards for me. My first two pregnancies and births were pretty straightforward, but 42 weeks of pregnancy with each child reduced me to a miserable, whiny lump. With my third pregnancy, in addition to the normal pregnancy complaints, I developed gestational diabetes and placenta previa, and my baby preferred to hang out sideways in my uterus. Since I had two complications that made vaginal birth impossible, I was sure I’d end up with a c-section. And if I didn’t need a c-section, I was concerned about getting the baby delivered by 41 weeks, which is the recommendation for moms with gestational diabetes. So picture a worried, exhausted, night-shift-working, pregnant mom with two preschoolers. Then take away her donut. Graceful? No. I was just trying to get by.
Everyone reassured me the placenta previa would probably resolve by 28 weeks, but at 32 weeks, my placenta was still too close to my cervix. Finally, an ultrasound at 38 weeks showed I was good to go for a birth center birth. I still had a sideways baby, but one who was now occasionally trying out a head-down position. By 40 weeks, the baby was head-down most of the time.
I decided that I would wait until 41 weeks and 2 days before having an induction. I made a plan with the midwives to do a castor oil/herbs/acupuncture induction at the birth center. If that didn’t work, we’d go to UNC in the evening. As I approached 41 weeks, we were doing all sorts of things to try to get labor going – acupuncture, membrane sweeps, spicy food. I was having some mild contractions, but nothing too serious. A bumpy hayride on a field trip with my kids’ preschool the day before my induction seemed to do the trick: shortly afterwards, I noticed a little bit of fluid leaking. We had an appointment at the birth center that afternoon. During the car ride, I was pretty sure my water had broken. Since there was no dramatic gush, I wasn’t certain. When we got there, Kate confirmed that I was leaking amniotic fluid – I was actually going to have a baby! My husband Andy and I decided to take the kids out to eat, drop them off with my parents, and wait for labor to start.
After dinner, my contractions had really spaced out, so we went back home. We’d stick with our original plan of castor oil in the morning if I didn’t go into labor before then. At home, I relaxed in the tub for a bit. After a while, I started having some stronger contractions and decided to get into the shower. I couldn’t have timed it better. In the shower, I had one massive contraction, and suddenly felt a lot of pressure. I had a brief moment of panic – was I feeling pushy? – but then the pressure was suddenly relieved as my water broke with a gigantic sploooooooosh. It was a huge flood, like in the movies. Then my contractions stopped all together. Once I was sure I wasn’t going to be giving birth in the shower, I was grateful my water broke there and not in the living room. I did not feel like mopping that mess up.
We went to bed but didn’t rest too well. The next morning, we got out of bed around 5:00 and were ready to get things going. Andy did his best to mask the castor oil in a chocolate shake, but I am still gagging just thinking about it. We laid down to rest until about 6:30, until I started to feel some results from the shake. I got into the shower around 7:00 and started having contractions about every 2 minutes. They were short but intense. Around 7:30, I decided it was probably time to head in, since we live over an hour away.
I was very glad that my wonderful friend Sarah (who caught my son Elliot and was there for most of my labor with my daughter Violet) was on call. I called her and let her know what was going on. Once we got in the car, though, the contractions spaced out and then stopped. I was starting to think I was never actually going to go into labor. I called my sister, Becky, who was planning on coming for the birth, and told her it might still be a while. She decided to head in anyway (she was coming from Winston-Salem), but I told her to be prepared for a long day. Since I wasn’t contracting anymore, we made time to stop at Dunkin Donuts on the way as an incentive for the baby. “Please get born, little one!” I begged. “Mommy can have donuts again when you’re born!”
We arrived at the birth center a little before 9:00. I sadly informed Sarah and Helen, the nurse, that I was no longer in labor and would probably be pregnant forever. We made a plan – Sarah would check my cervix, bind up my belly, start some herbs, and I’d keep my acupuncture appointment. Hopefully that would get me into labor.
I was only about 4 cm dilated and the baby was still not engaged in my pelvis, but Sarah was able to stretch my cervix to 6 cm. She bound my belly and gave me a dose of blue and black cohosh, and Andy and I went to walk around the parking lot around 9:30. Almost immediately, I started having contractions again. They quickly became intense and close together, but were only lasting about 30 seconds. I told Andy, “These are too short to be real labor contractions,” and figured I would be in for a long day if I was finding this difficult. The contractions seemed way more painful than my first two labors. With each contraction, I would lean on Andy, and he would make a low humming noise that was really soothing to me. Becky arrived while we were walking around the parking lot. She walked with us and kept me laughing between contractions.
Around 10:00, we headed back inside to check heart tones again. I was starting to feel a little bit of pressure at the peak of my contractions, and they were definitely getting stronger. I knew I couldn’t handle lying down for acupuncture, so we cancelled my appointment. We came back to the peach room and put on some music. Now the contractions were really painful, and I was feeling a lot more pressure. Becky went to get Sarah to come and check me again. Now I was 8 cm, but the baby was still really high. The humming wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I was over it; it was time to get this baby OUT. A few minutes later, I was feeling an urge to push. I still had a little cervix left, but with Sarah’s help was able to push through it. I was screaming like crazy and reminding everyone between contractions that “this hurts, by the way!” and wondering if maybe could I have that C-section now, please.
I was determined to get this child out as quickly as possible. I grabbed behind my legs, curled my chin to my chest, and tried to mentally coach myself to do everything we tell people to do when a baby needs to get born fast. I kept asking Sarah what was happening, with the hopes that her answer would be, ”The baby is being born right this second!” She calmly guided and encouraged me, and reassured me that the baby was moving down, and no, it wasn’t taking forever. “You’ve gone from 8 and -2 station to complete and +2 in about 10 minutes!” she told me at one point. She may have been lying to keep me from demanding a hospital transfer, but it kept me going for a little longer.
After about a million years, Sarah told me, “Only one or two more contractions and this baby will be born!” I was grateful, because I didn’t think I could handle much more than that. Sure enough, I soon felt that unique pain that could only be crowning, and heard myself screaming that very special crowning scream. And then I reached down and pulled Oliver William to my chest. It was 10:37 am. He was born head-first, weighed 8 lbs., 1 oz., and was absolutely perfect in every way. So maybe the beautiful, calm birth thing didn’t work out for me either, but that sweet little boy was worth it.
by Holly Wengenroth-Mealer
Labor actually started on Friday, 12/29/11. I had light to medium contractions from seven am to nine at night. For most of the day they were thirty to forty seconds long about five min apart. They got more intense as the day went on. We went in for a labor check just to see how my cervix was doing. It was disappointing to hear that at one p.m. my dilation was about the same as it had been the day before. The midwife said that my cervix was quite a bit thinner, but the dilation remained the same.
We went home and the contractions got a little stronger in the evening but didn’t feel progressive. At around seven pm the midwife called back to check in. She said to take some Tylenol PM and go to bed. It will progress or stop but it isn’t in my control and I needed to relax. We went to bed and woke up contraction free on 12/30. Honestly I was quite upset. I felt like I did a ton of labor for nothing. I was really irritated/angry/disappointed.
We decided that we were just going to ignore it, since it stopped anyway. I went out with my sister and ran some errands. Stephen went to the range with his father. He got home around six and we were getting ready for dinner. (We had a dinner appointment with the whole family that evening; twenty five people…) My water broke! I called the midwife and she said to relax, it could take between 24-72 hours for a first time mom. So Stephen got me some mom diapers and we went to dinner. We got there and I went to sit down. I heard what I read on google described as a distinct popping sound, so I ducked out to the bathroom: blood in my diaper!!! I went out to call the midwife to check in and while on the phone I had the most god awful contraction, EVER! I ran in and grabbed Stephen. I said: We need to leave, now.
On the phone the midwife had said to call back when my contractions were 3-5 minutes apart for an hour. I remembered Maureen telling me in an appointment: if your water breaks and you start having contractions, I would head right in. So we went home and I got in the tub. The contractions were very strong and from seven (the first one) to eight they were exactly consistent and very strong. I could still talk through them but it was closer to barking than talking. Stephen made me drink a protein shake (we missed dinner) and water. He sat with me by the tub timing contractions on his phone the whole time. He called the midwife back at eight. She seemed hesitant to ask us to come in right now. He had her listen to one of my contractions… I realized that he had the phone out so I made it sound just a hair more dramatic than it was (I knew I needed to go.) At the end of the contraction I said, “Listen, if we don’t leave right now I’m not leaving. We will have the baby here.” The midwife said to head on in.
We drove there (about 40 min) and I had regular contractions the whole time. We got there around 8:45; Stephen helped me walk in. I walked right through the door by everyone, took off my clothing and got in the shower. They tried to let me know that wasn’t the right room and they would get the water going in my room. I knew any room that had water was the right room so I just got in the shower. Stephen sat with me for a few minutes and then brought everything into the room and got it all set up. Finally they let me get in the tub. I sat in the tub and the contractions continued. They did an exam, but I said I didn’t want to know how dilated I was. I thought it would slow the process and/or freak me out about how long I had to go. Honestly, at this point I was in a state where I couldn’t hear or see anything. It was just contractions and pauses. I do remember Stephen telling me that he loved pizza, a joke from the Bradley class. It was great. He made sure the whole time that I was drinking, remembering that hydration keeps it going.
All of a sudden I realized my stomach was heaving up in the water and I was pushing! It was about 9:50. After the second push the midwife came in and asked to check my dilation again, because she heard me pushing. She said something to the effect of “Oh wow! You are ready!” Stephen held me up in the water the whole time I was pushing. There was one time they asked me to push and I said no. I remember feeling his head coming and thinking: oh heck… this is not happening!!! But it did and at 10 pm after five or six pushes, 7 lb., 7 oz. Lucius Alexander Mealer more or less came flying out.
I remember them putting him on my tummy and thinking: but I didn’t have transition!!! I didn’t think I couldn’t!!! I didn’t get to ask for meds! I think I was just so in the contractions that I could only breathe and pray. Stephen got to be with me the whole time. It was wonderful. Three hours and a baby! No appreciable tearing, no stitches, no complications. Mommy and Daddy got to snuggle in the bed with him and it was fantastic!!!
I was ready right afterwards to think about baby number two! We are so glad to have had such a positive experience. It wasn’t frightening or any of the things you are told to expect. We might have lucked out, but we think that knowing what to expect and being educated was a huge part of the positive experience.
by Casey Bradburn
When I found out I was pregnant I was excited but also a little shocked and scared. We had barely even been trying for a few weeks. And we weren’t even really trying; we were just finally to the point where we figured if it happened it would be great and we wouldn’t try to inhibit it anymore. My immediate family members have had numerous issues with pregnancies so I thought it would take quite a while to get pregnant. I guess I thought wrong. My husband, Cole, and I now joke that we are probably so fertile that all Cole has to do is wink at me from across the room and I’ll likely get pregnant again.
With the good news I called my parents, brother, and sister. They all live 15 hours away so telling them in person wasn’t really an option. I was nervous to tell my sister, who is ten years my senior, and had been having trouble getting pregnant. After a long pause she finally told me that she had just found out that she, too, was pregnant and due the day after I was. Our mother had been begging for grandbabies for well over a decade and my sister and I talked about how crazy it would be for our kids to possibly be born in the same week. My sister didn’t want to tell anyone else about her pregnancy yet and get their hopes up too soon. I also thought this would be best because our mother’s name is Joy and she certainly lives up to it with her excessively jovial tendencies. The sheer thought of how chipper she would be to hear that she had her first two grandchildren on the way at the same time sort of gave me a headache.
Now that the immediate family had been informed the next step was to figure out how and where we wanted to give birth. The biggest decision was to figure out whether I wanted to go with a hospital birth, home birth, or birthing center. I did a lot of self searching as to what I wanted the birth to be like. Cole and I try to avoid all medicines and interventions when possible so we knew we would like the birth of our child to be natural. Also, the last thing I wanted to do was to be lying on my back in a hospital with my feet in those horrendous stirrups and with a ton of devices hooked up all over my body. No thanks. After doing our due diligence researching the safety and philosophy of going with a traditional hospital birth versus using a midwife, we decided that a midwife would be a better fit for us. The birth center had great reviews and I liked the thought that they were close to and had privileges at the nearby UNC hospital in case any major complications did arise.
We took a tour of the birth center when I was around seven weeks pregnant. On the way back to work I nearly freaked out by myself in the car thinking that this was real. And it was probably going to hurt pretty badly. That was not a fun realization to have sneak up on me when I wasn’t expecting it to get so real so quickly. Then I decided that I just wasn’t going to be pregnant anymore. I would somehow wish it away and we’d try again later when I was more prepared. My mind went back and forth and I finally somehow calmed myself down by telling myself that a.) pregnant ladies sometimes go straight crazy and often can’t think sensibly and b.) some of my ridiculous friends have competently given birth so it really was something I could manage (sometimes I’m a jerk). But seriously, if 20 bazillion ladies had given birth in the past then I certainly could too. I am strong-willed and stubborn and I was suddenly determined to absolutely dominate this birth. Actually, this determination didn’t come until much later on, but thankfully it did or else my birth story would likely be very different.
Cole and I spent the next months enjoying our last days as non-parents. Our friend Wes basically moved in with us to design and paint our son’s very detailed Zelda nursery (which is awesome, went viral, and became very popular in the video gaming community). When we weren’t working or spending time at home with Wes we were staying busy. We were taking a 12 week Bradley Method birthing class, reading a lot of pregnancy books, buying all the baby essentials, trying to agree on what kind of parents we wanted to be, and making promises to each other that our relationship would remain a top priority. And, of course, we were spending an increasing amount of time at the birth center as the months went on. I enjoyed the appointments with the different midwives and always looked forward the most to hearing my little man’s heartbeat—fast and strong. We seemed to have the most appointments with three midwives: Emily, Maureen, and Kate. After having a couple of appointments in a row with Kate, Cole had a feeling early on that she would be the one on call when I went into labor. I dismissed his feeling, figuring that there was a one in six chance for any of the midwives and that our son would ultimately choose. It all just depended upon which day he decided to grace us with his arrival.
Around 38 weeks I finally went through the nesting phase which Cole was pretty sure would never happen because in the 11 or 12 years we’ve been together he has never seen me become Suzy Homemaker. I also wanted to go through all my pregnancy books again and mentally prepare for what seemed like it was going to be a marathon when I sometimes didn’t even feel ready for a 5k. At the 39 week appointment, on June 29, I told Emily that I was pretty sure my son was going to come soon. Cole and I left the birth center and I texted my sister to see how her 39 week appointment went, which was also that morning. She immediately called me and said that her water just broke at her appointment and she was waiting for contractions to start and was heading to the hospital.
I was concerned about her and my future niece, so I woke up at 5am the next day, Saturday June 30, and started a text conversation with my sister-in-law since she was at the hospital, too. I tried to wake up Cole, who had promised to make breakfast, but he was exhausted and said he would make it in a couple of hours. We both easily went back to sleep.
Then just before 9am I got up and my water immediately broke with a gush. Holy ish! My sister and I were going to possibly have our babies on the same day. I started walking around the neighborhood until there was too much liquid and it was dripping down my leg (labor is super sexy like that sometimes). Cole called the birth center and Kate was indeed on call that day, just as he suspected. My contractions hadn’t started quite yet but Kate said they generally do soon after the water breaks. We had planned that as soon as the contractions started being consistently between 2-3 minutes apart we should head over. Considering the fact that my mom and sister both had very long first labors, I figured that I’d be the same way and it would probably be much later that night before it was time to go to the birth center.
Contractions started sometime around 10:30a.m. Cole and I were excited and spent a lot of time trying to compile a music playlist for the labor. I soon decided I’d had enough with the playlist since my contractions were getting stronger and closer together. Then my body decided it needed to suddenly rid itself of everything I had eaten that day. Uh-oh, I remembered hearing something in our birthing class about that meaning labor was progressing. I had always heard how long labors usually lasted with a first child so I was surprised at how fast everything was moving along. One good thing that I had going for myself was that I was getting adjusted by a chiropractor, which generally makes labor go more quickly, but this still seemed to be moving almost too quickly.
By 3:30pm my contractions were very strong and more painful. They had been around 3 minutes apart for close to an hour and had just started getting closer together. That week broke heat records and each day was between 102 and 108 degrees. That was certainly fun while nine months pregnant. Of course, as luck would have it, my company car for that time was a black car with black leather. Cole loaded the car and started the engine so it could cool off. We figured we’d call the birth center and head in. We called and talked to Kate again and she advised getting in the bathtub for a while to see if that slowed everything down. I was just ready to have my child but I got in the tub to see what happened. In the bathtub the contractions were still painful but they felt a little more manageable. I’ve always had the ability to fall asleep in really awkward places so in the few moments between the contractions I was so calm and at peace with everything that I was falling asleep in my bathtub. Then I realized that I had no idea where my husband was. I remember screaming at him to come time my contractions for me. He came in and sat on the toilet beside me and I would hit his leg to inform him when to start and stop the timer (you remember the part about labor being super sexy, right?). The first few contractions slowed down but then they quickly sped back up. The last one was under two minutes and we thought it was time to call back and get ourselves to the birth center. I called Kate back and after she asked a few questions she told us to head in.
Cole repacked and restarted the car then realized that our dog probably needed to eat and go out right then or else we’d have to ask one or two friends who had keys to our house if they were available and could take him out later. I remember half-yelling at Cole, “You can take him out but I’m not kidding when I say that you need to hurry your @$$ up about it.”
Finally, everything was taken care of and we were on the way for the 50 minute drive to the birth center. New parents are never the smartest and for some reason we had put the car seat in the base behind me which made the front seat completely vertical. I couldn’t imagine being any more uncomfortable. In the car was the first time I really had the thought that maybe I didn’t want to go through this naturally and drug-free. I somehow had the peace of mind to realize that I must be close to second stage labor if that was how I was feeling and I intrinsically knew I could accomplish this feat.
We arrived at the birth center just before 6pm where Kate and Lydia were waiting for us. Kate checked me and I was already at 9cm dilated. No wonder I was miserable on the car ride; I was going through transition during the drive. I definitely don’t recommend that! Soon my body was starting to push on its own which was quite a strange feeling. Kate asked how I felt in the bathtub at home and I said that I was relaxed and kept falling asleep. We figured maybe I’d be most comfortable in the bathtub so I tried to move to it. I remember being past the point of caring about anything other than having my baby. I had a sports bra and a really cute bikini top in my bag, but didn’t even think about grabbing them. I just stripped down and got in the tub. Jeez, what a sight to see. I was a completely naked and fat pregnant lady with a few light tan lines and a lot of large, reddish-purple stretch marks. Let me just tell you that I have the utmost respect for anyone who can deal with that mess all day.
Once I was in the bathtub, just like that, it was time to start pushing. To me, pushing didn’t hurt nearly as badly; it was more of a relief and gave a purpose to the contractions and something to focus on. I pushed for less than an hour and only the last few pushes, when the baby’s head was crowning, were really painful for me. But then guess what happened at 7:21pm– my son, Cillian Luke Bradburn, was born and that pain was gone. It was replaced with my son in my arms and an exciting new world ahead of me. I got to hold my amazing baby boy and watch my proud husband shed a few tears of amazement. Within an hour after Cillian was born I was back to my normal jokester self. Within a few weeks I wondered what I ever did before the little man was a part of my life.
I certainly don’t feel like I could have gone through the labor and delivery as easily without the support and encouragement from Cole and Kate. I’m telling you, though, once you’ve accomplished that—once you’ve been coherently aware of and physically in charge of your birthing process—the whole world is suddenly within your grasp and you’re empowered enough to realize that absolutely anything is possible.
To sum it up with a quote, “Labor is hard work. It hurts. And you can do it.”
by Danielle Brockman
When I found out I was pregnant, I was super excited. I couldn’t wait to see my husband when he got home from work. I called and told him on his lunch break; he texted me saying he was trying not to cry he was so happy. So we kept our little man a secret until Thanksgiving. We wanted that time to ourselves, so Thanksgiving we went to my grandma’s first, as always. I had a fortune cookie made that was as big as my belly, and I had my grandma and dad open it together as we all sat in the kitchen after eating. My grandma pulled the little poem out and read it; she cried, saying, “YOU’RE TRYING TO TELL ME YOU’RE PREGNANT!” As I looked at my dad, we were both teary eyed. I knew the excitement they had was priceless. Once we got to Sean’s mom and dad’s (where we were staying at the time til we got our place finished) everyone was there. Time to eat came around and everyone had to say what they were thankful for, so when it was our time we had his mom go into the kitchen and open the oven and a small bun awaited with a saying inside. After about three times of reading it she just yelled in joy, “You’re pregnant!” over and over again. The joy of being able to finally tell everyone was out. I was 9 weeks or so, I believe.
I had called the Birth Center before anyone knew and set up a tour. We had to beat around a bush so no one could figure it out. We loved the place and staff the minute we walked in. It was so home-like and child-friendly, which is awesome. At our first appointment, we got to hear that tiny heart beat where my little man stayed on my left side for a long time. Allison did my exam, and she guessed I was 11 weeks. Well, on December 30 I had my first ultrasound at UNC, and I turned out to be 14 weeks along, so I was then due June 20th. At the first ultrasound, I will never forget the lady saying, “Promise me if I tell you this, you won’t go out and buy anything.” I said, “Sure, what’s wrong?” She showed us it was a boy. Already we could tell, bright-eyed on the screen. I cried, “Finally a little boy is to be born on my side as far as grandkids!” The moment I saw that first picture, I was in love with this small baby who was growing so much and fast. Once we had our second ultrasound on January 27, we knew for sure ITS A BOY… So happy we were gonna have a little boy! We went and had lunch to celebrate. I called my dad first to tell him he was getting his 6th grandchild and first grandson.
Sean and I got married on March 17 after being together for almost 7 years. I started going to Group Prenatal Care at the Birth Center, which I enjoyed more than ever — meeting great staff and couples, learning all there is to know.
One day I was at work on a Monday, due within two weeks (yes, I worked until the day I had him). I was going to the bathroom way more and felt like I was leaking. I had been running around so much, I couldn’t tell. I called the Birth Center nurse, and she said to come in and be seen. I talked to my manager, and she had me take the rest of the day off to rest. I went in at 11ish, and Patti did an exam to make sure no fluids were leaking. There were no fluids leaking, but she found baby hair, and it made me just so happy to know time was getting closer. She told me even better news: I was 3 cm dilated already! I called my husband and told him our good news. He was happy.
On that Thursday during Group, I asked to be checked again. Allison was so kind and checked me and answered the questions I had. I was 4 cm and 100 percent thinned out. I went on with working and my daily routines.
On Saturday, June 16, when I woke up at 7 am to use the bathroom, I felt crampy. I thought if I went back to sleep it would go away. Well, at 9 am, my normal time to get up, as my husband and I lied in bed, I felt even more constant cramping, so I knew I was contracting. I called the on-call midwife. The cramps were back-to-back as I walked around to ease them, so I was told I could come in and be checked.
At a little after 10 am, we arrived and met Sarah, our midwife. She checked me, and I was 5 cm along, which really bummed me out. I was told I could go walk; well, after a few minutes of walking, I was ready for a nap. Since I knew what I was feeling was real (it was pre-labor), I called my boss and let her know I wouldn’t be back into work.
At about 2 am, after trying to rest and only being soothed by a hot shower, I had Sean call Sarah and let her know my status. My contractions were 30-40 seconds long and 1 to 2 minutes apart. So we agreed to meet up at the Birth Center at 3am. I took another hot shower to soothe what I was feeling for the horrible car ride ahead. We didn’t tell anyone I was in labor. Once we arrived, we went in and met Sarah and Nicole. I was checked once again and was told I was 9 cm! I got to get into the birthing tub to ease my labor, but my back labor was stronger. Not even 45 minutes had passed when I wanted to try to nap, but I couldn’t lie on my side. I got checked one more time and was at 10 cm dilated. Sarah helped move a tiny part of my cervix and had me do a push.
I got back into the tub, and I pushed for two and half hours while Sean and Sarah replaced cold rags on my forehead and chest. I wanted so badly to sleep, but I couldn’t, so Sarah had me get out and onto the bed on my left side. Not even 20 minutes later, at 6:41 am, my son, Cage Walter Brockman, was being delivered by Sean and Sarah. He weighed 7 lbs., 13 oz. and was 19 inches long. What a great Fathers’ Day! We called our families to let them hear Cage cry, worked on lactation, and then at 1:50 arrived home to shower and nap. Today Cage is a healthy 11-pound, 12-ounce smiling little boy. We can’t thank the staff enough for their help!