Friday the 15th of June was a very special day for many reasons. It was the culmination of three major events for the Wells family! It was our daughter Savannah’s 5th birthday. Also, we were having an Art Gallery opening at our business that evening and we expected a large turn out from the public. And if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, let’s add to the mix the beginning of labor of our third child.
One day Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and said to them, Let us go across to the other side of the lake. So they started out. As they were sailing, Jesus fell asleep. Suddenly a strong wind blew down on the lake, and the boat began to fill with water, so that they were all in great danger. The disciples went to Jesus and woke him up, saying, Master, Master! We are about to die! Jesus got up and gave an order to the wind and to the stormy water; they quieted down, and there was a great calm. Then he said to the disciples, Where is your faith?Luke 8:22- 25.
I had been running all over town trying to fill the day with memorable activities for Savannah. After a busy day celebrating and lavishing Savannah it was time to change gears and to get my head into the game of “Opening Night.” Around 5:30 I started the drive into town. On the freeway I started having a few contractions about 15 minutes apart. I was concerned because traffic was thick and I could imagine the contractions progressing into a “roadside-freeway-birth” instead of what we had prepared for an at home “waterbirth.”
We knew we wanted to deliver with our midwife, Cathy Rude! She had delivered our first two children at home and this time we wanted to try to birth in water. Cathy has delivered several babies in my family and my cousins and I joke that we miss being pregnant because we miss seeing Cathy on a regular basis. We wish we could just see her for all our healthcare needs! She has such a way of making you feel special… she is a gift!
Back to the traffic drama. My contractions didn’t progress so Savannah(5), Canyon(2.5), and I arrived at the party around 7:00. The art opening was a huge success and I was pleased we made the trek into town. There was great music, art, food trucks, friends, and tons of guests. Jeremy and I were thrilled that everything came together successfully! I had a few more contractions over the next few hours at the party but I was able to relax and enjoy the evening.
Around 9:00 The kids and I came home and took baths and got into bed. Jeremy closed down the party and came home around 11:00. It was his turn to relax in the bath from a hard days work but at 11:30 I told him to get out of the bath because I needed him. Contractions started hitting me like waves, coming on every 3-5 minutes, and lasting about a minute. Could this finally be labor?
I had three due dates; June 4th, 8th, and the 10th. These dates were measured from ultrasounds because we were unsure of the conception date. Needless to say we had been ready to have this baby for about a month and being past due was making me crazy. We were so excited something was finally happening. We decided to straighten the house and call our friend Lynsey, who was a photographer, and asked her to come on over. We thought this might actually be it!!!
Jeremy got the entire house ready for birth: He started by getting our bed ready by putting a plastic drop cloth and clean sheets on the bed. Next, he filled the birth pool with water. He put two large pots onto the stove to boil extra hot water. Then, to create a peaceful environment, he lit the entire house with candles. Also, he put on home videos of our children on my laptop computer and paired it with soothing soft music. Everything was perfect for birth.
Lynsey arrived around 1:00 and we decided to go for a walk around the neighborhood. Stopping to lean on Jeremy during a contraction was such a comfort to me. We returned home. I could tell our baby was still posterior so we got on the bed and tried the spinning babies rebouzou technique.
We called Cathy to let her know labor had started. Yet, I was still unsure that this was really the night. She advised us to lay down and try to sleep because if it was not “true labor” we could actually sleep and rest. We got ready for bed. I took on one contraction lying down and I couldn’t stand the pain. I told Jeremy there would be no sleeping tonight! The contractions were hard and intense so we decided to try the birth pool. It was everything I read it would be like. The warmth cradled my body and eased the pain and slowed my contractions. I had been at a 7 with the pain intensity and the pool brought relief to a 5.
I labored in the pool all night. Jeremy kept filling the pool with hot water and putting counter pressure on my pelvis. He prayed for me during every single contraction. He helped me swim through the pain. He was such a comfort and soothing balm to my soul. His hands steadied my frame, his voice centered my thoughts on God and his love kept encouraging me forward.
At 4:30 he called Cathy to come. She arrived around 5:20. I was bewildered. I couldn’t understand how it was morning already. In the birth pool, time had melted and this meager vessel had transported me gently into labor land. In the water I was floating through the waves of labor and I was able to lunge and stretch into positions that would not have been possible with full gravity inhibiting my movements. Cathy really wanted to check me so I allowed her to find my cervix. In my heart I wasn’t convinced we were even in active labor yet. I still believed we had such a long journey ahead. I was sure I was only dilated 1 cm. because the pain was greatly lessened compared to my other labors. Cathy revealed that I was dilated to 6 cm. Tears of joy and disbelief flooded my eyes. My body would give me my daughter this day indeed! I surrendered to this truth and got my head, heart, and soul into the pool with me.
I addressed the fact that I believed the baby to still be posterior. Cathy suggested specific lunges to encourage our baby to turn. After several contractions in that position I felt her turn. Cathy confirmed this movement by checking where her heart tones were located. Baby girl had turned! We all gave great praise to God. She was in optimal position for birth.
Cathy asked to check me again, I was hesitant but agreed. Once again I believed I had not progressed past 6 cm, but I was now 9 cm! By this time with both previous births I had been throwing-up for hours and had to have an IV to help with the onsets of dehydration. Also, I had a cervical lip and Cathy had to physically help it retract with ice… Both times! This labor was so foreign from my past labor experiences; instead of exhaustion I was filled with peace.
With the next contraction Cathy told me that one sounded different and asked did I feel like I needed to push? I said yes. She told me to try to bear down with the next contraction. I did, and it felt like an explosion ripped through me. My bag of waters had broken. I had never experienced this during labor. It was shocking. Not painful, just other-worldly.
The next wave of contractions increased in pain to a full 10. I was shaken by the power. I was losing my resolve. Suddenly I didn’t want to deliver my baby. Everyone told me I could do this. I told them that I didn’t want to do it that Jeremy could do it!
Thankfully my dear friend J, read to me a scripture about Jesus being in a small boat with his disciples during a raging storm. The disciples awoke Jesus from a deep sleep fearing for their lives because the storm was so intense. Jesus told them to be not afraid and he told the waters to be calm.
With each proceeding contraction I had them read me that scripture. I was in my boat with Jesus. I was afraid of this raging storm. If I focused on His face and His voice calming the waters I was enveloped in, I found I could actually breathe through the pain and surrender.
I found a position on my hands and knees that helped me hold onto the contraction longer. The next contraction I felt my baby girl kicking off the walls of my uterus trying to swim down. So I used her movement and pushed longer than I thought possible. She crowned and shot straight out of my body in one fluid movement. Jeremy passed her to me and she arose from the waters with her eyes open. When I brought her to the surface for air she cried out. She was covered in rich creamy vernix. She was beautiful.
I was in total elation and shock. An angel had just come out of my body. All the pain was replaced with pure joy. Jesus is indeed faithful. He had calmed the waters in my little boat and the water mixed with my blood and tears relinquished new life into my arms.
I held Sierra Faith in the water for a long time. She was just beautiful! Finally, I deliver the placenta and let it pulse out. Jeremy cut the cord. Sierra was taken out and measured. She was born at 8:41 and was 7 lbs 10 oz and was 20 inches long.
God is so amazing to give us such a beautiful baby girl!
We are so thankful for how Cathy served as a guide for our family. God used her faith, her wisdom, her leadership, and expertise as a fragrant mist to cover our birth. Truly God is so Good!!!
All photos courtesy of Lynsey Creative