Lily Beth’s Birth Story
April 22nd 2012
My Birth Team: Christopher Fare, my midwife Cathy Rude, her assistant Amanda, and my lovely friend and photographer Holly Tinklenberg
For a week or two before going into labor, I joked about my water breaking right as we cut into Grace’s birthday cake. Who knew how close to that I would actually be! It was Grace’s birthday and I honestly thought that nothing would happen that day. I was 38 weeks and 1day pregnant and Grace was born at 38weeks. In my mind there was just no way that this baby would be coming at the same time Grace had.
We spent the whole day focused on Grace. We played with Grace, had a family bbq, and watched her eat all of the icing off the top of her cupcake. This was all around 3:30 I think. Afterwards, we decided to do some shopping and see what fun things we could find for the birthday girl. I remember Chris refusing to let me drive because “your water might break” and I was so sure at the time that there was no way my water was going to break today. I was having contractions but they weren’t noticeable at all, the same ones that I had been having for weeks.
At about 5:30 we were shopping at Target. I had one hard contraction that caused me to stop for a
second, but it went away quickly so I didn’t think much of it. I took two steps and decided that I needed to go to the ladies room, and told my family that I would meet them when they were done checking out. I took two more steps forward and felt a small gush. I hurried to the bathroom thinking that there was no way that my water had broken, especially not 2 hrs after having Grace’s cupcakes! My family was waiting for me at the entrance to the store and as I walked to the car I quietly told Chris that I thought my water had broken and that I would text Cathy as we were driving home to give her a heads up.
After arriving home I went straight to the bathroom to change and call Cathy. I was absolutely certain that my water had definitely broken and that baby would be coming soon. She recommended that I try to take a nap since it looked like we were going to be having a late night and I had been up all day.
I tried my best to sleep but I was feeling incredibly excited and anxious, so I just relaxed in the bed and watched food network. Chris would come in every so often and encourage me to go to sleep and call if I needed him. Sometime around 8:30 the contractions really kicked in. I was still able to talk through them, but they were strong and in my back. I had Chris come in and press into my back to try to help me continue to manage them and text Cathy to keep her updated on my progress. An hour or so later I took a shower to see if that would slow my contractions down or if they would lessen in intensity at all. They didn’t, but the hot water felt wonderful on my back, since that is where I was still feeling all of my contractions. I’m not sure how long I was in there, maybe 45 minutes, but we knew that it was time to leave when I got out.
The drive to the birth center was exactly what I expected it to be, painful. I leaned my seat back to
try and make myself more comfortable, but knowing that I was confined to the car just sucked. I was so happy when we arrived and got out of the car as quickly as I could. The contraction I had in the driveway of the center felt so much better compared to the ones I’d had in the car.
Cathy was waiting inside for us and the birth room was all ready with the exception of the tub, which was still filling up. We took my vitals and listened to baby through a couple contractions, everything was looking great. Cathy checked me and I was at 4cm, so it wasn’t quite time to get into the tub yet. I sat on the labor ball and rolled through my contractions for about an hour, and during that time Chris gave Holly, my photographer a call, to let her know that she should start heading our way. I chatted with Cathy and her assistant Amanda in between my contractions and remember feeling really happy and comfortable, almost forgetting that I was in labor!
After a while I couldn’t just sit on the ball anymore. Cathy went to take a quick nap around 11:30 or so and I climbed into the bathtub and used the shower head to run water down my back. Holly arrived shortly after and we would talk and joke between my contractions.
Once my contractions began feeling like they were one on top of the other I climbed into the pool. I wasn’t laughing or joking anymore, I kept trying to get ahead of the contractions and had lost all sense of time. I leaned on the edge of the tub while Chris rubbed my back and Amanda and Holly took turns pouring hot water on me to help ease the feeling of back labor. As soon as a contraction would finish I would roll back over to try to rest, drink something, and clear my head. But it felt as though as soon as I had rolled to my back that I needed to roll back over again, I just could not get ahead of everything. During the contractions I know that I was being very vocal with my pain, which I had never done before, but it just wasn’t possible for me to stay quiet. Chris said later that I was probably waking up the neighborhood. After a bit of this, I was feeling exhausted and lost. I never once felt like I needed medication or that I needed to leave for a hospital or anything, but I knew that I wasn’t supposed to be feeling the way that I was. Cathy told me that I was fighting my contractions, which was why I was hurting so much and that I needed to just relax in the pool, allow my body to turn to jello, and float. Everything clicked from there. I thought to myself “oh duh, you should have thought of that” and with the next contraction I did exactly as she told me. I relaxed completely and immediately felt the difference, it was incredible! I no longer felt in pain, although I was still having back labor. My body was doing its job and within what felt like seconds I felt myself progressing.
I’m not sure how much time passed between that point and when I got out of the tub so it could be
drained a bit and refilled with warmer water. I sat on the toilet and continued to allow myself to just go limp and lean against Chris. While sitting there I felt in control again, not over my body but over my mind, it was easier for me to stay relaxed even though I was beginning to feel sick.
I moved to the bed and laid on my side with Chris behind me and I’m almost certain I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow. I woke up with every contraction and Chris would remind me to relax and when the contraction was done I would try and drink something before falling asleep again. Cathy checked me and I was at 8cm, almost there.
I don’t know how long it was between that point and when I felt my body beginning to push. It was very strange to wake up and feel my body doing that, but I knew that was what was supposed to happen. I whispered to Chris that I needed to push and he let everyone else in the room know. Cathy checked me again during the contraction and helped me get past the last little lip of cervix that was left. I continued pushing on my side, but I’m not sure for how long. 2 or 3 contractions maybe? I knew that we were making progress but I felt as though I couldn’t get past a certain point in that position.
Cathy asked if I wanted to get back into the tub so I could have the water birth that I had imagined
for myself, but I didn’t want to leave the bed. With the next contraction we moved me into a
lunge “runners” position and I felt as though I was able to push better and my back labor went away! After another couple contractions I knew that this was going to be it. I don’t remember feeling any pain, not even the ring of fire, I just knew that I was almost done. I pushed as hard as I could out came her little head and after one more good push, there she was. Our little Lily Beth was born at 1:56 am with a full head of hair. I looked down through my legs and saw Cathy holding her. I remember thinking in my head, “how the heck do I flip over” but by the time I had finished the thought I was laying down holding her on my stomach. My baby was finally here and in our arms.
I delivered my placenta and began bleeding more than we would have liked me too, so Cathy gave me a pitocin shot and massaged my uterus and the bleeding stopped. Lily stayed on my chest while all of this was happening and Chris and I were so focused on her that we hardly even noticed what was going on with me. We waited for the cord stopped pulsing before Chris cut it, and after he did he got to hold and cuddle her while Cathy began working on my stitches. While Chris was out grabbing me an after labor meal I decided it was time to try and feed Lily and she latched on right away and stayed latched on until after Chris had gotten back. She was, and still is, my little breastfeeding champ.
As I got ready for our bath Chris and Cathy weighed Lily and did a more thorough exam. She was 8lbs even and 20″ long, which I could not believe! When they handed her to me in the tub I kept looking at her thinking that there was no way she was 8lbs, she looked so tiny. We soaked in our herbal bath and I held her head as her little body floated in the water. Then I held her to my chest again as we brushed what little vernix was left out of her hair. If the water hadn’t started getting cold I could have sat in there with her for hours!
After the bath I dressed to get ready to go home. This was one of the most exciting parts for me
because I hated my hospital stay after Grace was born. Chris went out to get the car warmed up and make sure the carseat was installed right. I waited in the dark waiting room of the birth center and let Cathy hold Lily for a minute. Then we gave Cathy one more hug and headed for home and our comfy bed.
Lily is now almost 8wks old and I can hardly believe it has been that long already. I will forever have the most wonderful memories of Lily’s birth and the amazing care that my birth team gave me. I really cannot thank them enough!
This birth has been a wonderful learning experience for me. Most profoundly, it has been an affirmation to continue to rely only on God’s infinite wisdom to direct my path. I have also realized things about my body and expanded my ability to let down my guard and trust others. Finally, I believe this story is indicative of how conventional medical birth practices have the potential to serve as a hindrance to natural childbirth in some cases.
With my first pregnancy, despite overwhelming criticism from others, I chose to have unassisted prenatal, birth, and aftercare. I was completely satisfied with the experience and outcome of doing things “unassisted” and had no logical reasoning of my own to approach my second pregnancy any differently. However, a small voice inside me, prodded me against my own inclinations to seek assistance, and I listened to that voice. I decided on a midwife who I had met with a few months prior that had detected a blighted ovum and had referred me to a sonographer to confirm. From that brief interaction, she seemed to be professional and honest. So when I became pregnant a few months later, I met with her again. She let me know what her recommendations and requirements were and assured me that aside from the requirements that she could allow me as much independence as I needed during the birthing process. It took me a while of turning it over in my mind and meeting with her regularly for prenatal care, but by the end of the pregnancy, I was fully comfortable with having an assisted birth experience.
During the last few weeks of pregnancy, I noticed that the baby’s position seemed to be favoring my left side in a way that was pressing against my pelvis with a shoulder. I had a few fleeting thoughts that there was some sub-optimal positioning but didn’t entertain them too much and thought when labor began and the baby fully dropped she would take on the best position for delivery. After discussion with my mid-wife, light research, and watching the birth video, I have been convinced of evidence pointing to a case of shoulder dystocia. I also now believe that the shape of my pelvis lends itself to a lunge position for delivery. I have never been subjected to pelviometry but do share a body type with my mother. Through the practice of pelviometry, a doctor determined my mother’s pelvis to be inadequate for vaginal birth and as a result all of her childbirths were by scheduled caesarean. I suspect that had she attempted a vaginal childbirth while supine she would have demonstrated a failure to progress, a seeming confirmation to the efficacy of pelviometry. With my first childbirth, I attempted to push while lying supine on the bed for 2-3 hours with no fetal descent into the vaginal canal. It was not until I stood up and cocked one leg up on the bathroom counter that I was able to make progress with my pushing with final birthing position being a full lunge on the floor. Even so doing, the progress that I made was gradual, and with each inch that I was able to push the baby down, my body would suck the baby back in a half inch. This prolonged emergence happened with both my first and last births and both babies had significant molding.
On Friday morning at 2:30 a.m., as I lie in bed mustering up the physical resolve to leverage myself out of bed and to the bathroom once again, I felt a short jab and pop, and then warm fluid gushed out. Instantly realizing that I would be meeting my baby very soon, I waddled to the toilet trying to contain the liquid and woke my husband by telling him that my water had broken. I then called my midwife, and explained that my water had broken. She said to let her know when contractions started. About 10 minutes later I felt my first wave and began timing them. By 3:45, they were coming around every 4 minutes and lasting 1 minute, I texted this information to my midwife and she was on her way, arriving around 4:30 a.m. along with another midwife. At this point, the contractions were too intense to talk through but bearable. Within 1 hour, that changed and I began having difficulty coping gracefully. One of the midwives suggested I sway my hips as I leaned against the door frame and she pressed on my outer hips. I found that helpful through several contractions. Around 5:30 a.m. I asked the midwife to check my cervix and she said I was around 7 cm. Very soon after that, I began to feel very trembly and vomited several times in a bedside trash can. Around 6:30 a.m., I asked the midwife to check my cervix again and she noted that I was 9-10 cm dilated, very stretchy, with a little posterior lip. I felt no urge to push at this time and actually found it painful to bear down. I was also physically exhausted and wanted to sleep very badly. The contractions were still coming every 2-3 minutes and lasting about 1 minute in duration, but I found them somewhat more bearable and was able to lie on the bed resting between them. I rested this way for nearly 3 hours, having no urge to push or bear down. Around 9:45 a.m. I got up and tried to push with each contraction, but my efforts seemed to be useless and very difficult to make. For the next 20 minutes or so, I went back and forth to the toilet and at last felt myself bearing down, so I pushed along with it as I stood over the toilet. At last I felt the head descending into my vaginal canal and I continued pushing down with all my might with one leg cocked up on the toilet seat. Within a minute or two, I was crowning and the midwife told me to get on my hands and knees on the floor. The body did not deliver immediately and the baby’s face was very blue. The midwife was attempting to help deliver the body as it seemed to be stuck and instructing me to continue pushing, she also advised me to put one of my feet up near my hand, so that I was in a lunge position, I had to use my husband’s foot as leverage because my own socked foot was slipping on the bathroom floor. Finally with some coaxing and traction by the midwife and mighty pushing by me the body slid out! My baby had significant molding and was very blue. The midwife rubbed and massaged the baby as she began to cry and pink up.
Final birth stats and summary: 19.5 inches long, 6 lbs 14 oz, the labor lasted apx. 7-8 hours with 3 of those hours being after transition, apx. 15 minutes of pushing
Mine is not your typical birth story.
It really begins 26 years ago in Amarillo TX. My mother had me (her second baby) at home on a water bed, all ten lbs six oz of me. Because I was such a large baby and the surface on which she chose to labor, mine was a traumatic birth. But regardless of the circumstances we made it.
My mom gave me a paper that had hers and my Father’s expectations of what my birth would be like complete with soothing music candles and a relaxed atmosphere.
Growing up hearing my birth story as well as my sisters (a 9 lbs baby also born at home)
I knew I would follow in my mother’s footsteps, and could not wait to become a mommy.
With my first pregnancy I contacted a midwife and even had my first check up with her only to miscarry in my second month. My body let me down. During a Dr’s visit following the miscarriage I was diagnosed with endometriosis and was told the chances of me conceiving were slim and that I would struggle carrying a baby to full term.
Years went by and I laid my dream of having a baby in God’s hands, only to find that I was pregnant! I set out right away to find a midwife and asked a handful of my friends to recommend a good one and three who did not know each other highly recommended Cathy Rude. I quickly contacted her and we set up an appointment. I knew right away meeting her that she was exactly what Andrew and I wanted in a midwife. She was sweet, gentle, nurturing and knew her stuff. She was also laid back and knew how to laugh (a must for us!)
The first sign that you were on your way appeared on Friday, November 4th, one week before your due date. I was so excited that I would soon meet our darling baby! But when Saturday came and went without so much as one contraction, I was convinced that you weren’t on your way after all. Sunday brought me a new energy, and I spent the morning shopping for Christmas gifts and then reorganizing the utensil drawers in the kitchen (last-minute nesting?). At 2 o’clock that afternoon, after a short nap, I drove to my friend Barbara’s baby shower where I received many predictions that you were certainly a boy. As I listened to her guests ooh and aah over all the little baby things Barbara received, I remember feeling a desire to completely relax and focus my concentration on you. I suddenly felt a small gush of water and knew for sure that you were on your way!
On Thursday, March 27th I lost my mucous plug. Later that evening, my husband Corey and I were on our way to a young adults bible study group get-together; it was about 6:45pm, and I began to have contractions that were much stronger than the Braxton Hicks ones I’d been having for over a month (which had been quite strong). I turned to Corey and said, “um…I think maybe I might be going into labor…” He immediately turns the car around frantically to head back home. So I say, “but I’m not sure…so I guess we can still go to the get-together.” The entire night I still had the strong contractions pretty regularly (about 10 mins or so apart), but they weren’t very painful, just very uncomfortable, so I thought nothing of them, and just thought “Yeah! More Braxton Hicks! And this time they are even stronger!”
This would be our fourth birth, and we were very excited! My husband, Mark, and I were so thankful for another blessing from the Lord. When we were feeling very frustrated as parents, and were prepared to stop having children after having two, the Lord surprised us when we prayed for His guidance. His answer, that very week that we were praying, was “have as many as I bless you with!” This was an answer that didn’t match up with what anyone around us was doing. But we knew that He would help us in our frustration and lead us down this new path. He was certainly faithful in doing so, and we were excited to welcome another new life from Him since that answer to prayer!
Our previous births were steps (unknowingly) taking us toward having a water birth at home. In 2000, our first son was born in a Phoenix hospital with the help of a midwife. Besides the joy we felt regarding his birth, it was a terrible experience due to the interventions that were taken. Our midwife was part of my OB/Gyn office, and she may as well have been an obstetrician, due to her philosophy on birth. My husband would go into the bathroom to cry at times because of the pain I was experiencing. My son was posterior and the pitocin amplified the pain and took the breaks down to practically nothing between contractions. On top of that, the pitocin brought on nausea and vomiting. After three hours of pushing and threats of a C-section, I was given an episiotomy and finally gave birth to our son, Pierce.
If you are considering homebirth and looking for a midwife who will give you
exceptional care and attention, I truly believe that you do not need to look further than
Natalie Wommack. We had a wonderful experience working with Natalie. Here is our