Bear's Birth | Birth Center Water Birth | Baby+ Co Cary, NC
I had the privilege of attending Liz’s birth. Liz is one of my best friends. It was such an honor that she wanted me there as she welcomed her third child into the world. Liz gave birth to twins vaginally for her first birth. She wanted to try to have an unmedicated birth at a birth center this time around. After going on a tour and meeting some of the midwives, she fell in love with Baby+ Co, a local birth center in Cary, NC. I was so excited for her, and couldn’t wait for her son to arrive.
On Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 at 10:35pm, Liz texted me to let me know she was having contractions. Just a few days before, she had a false alarm, so she wasn’t sure if this was the real thing or not. She said she had taken a bath to try to get the contractions to slow down or stop, but that they didn’t. She said the contractions had been going on since 7, but that they were super mild then. They were stronger now, and about 4 to 5 minutes apart. I suggested she drink lots of water and try lying down, and if they got stronger or closer together that it was probably the real thing. I also mentioned that the full moon was the next night, and babies like to come when there’s a full moon out. Liz decided she’d try to get some sleep while she could.
At 11:12pm, Liz texted, saying that the contractions had gotten closer together, but that she could still handle them. She said, she could talk through them, as long as she swayed her hips. Shortly after that her contractions began to space out again, between 6 to 8 minutes apart while she was lying down. When she would get up they would be back to back. Liz continued to try to get some rest, until she no longer could rest through contractions. At 1:02am, she sent a text saying the contractions were much worse and coming back to back. She had called the midwives and was waiting for a call back. When the midwife called Liz back she mentioned that there were two other women in labor, so she would not get a choice as to which room she could have. Liz said they were going to go ahead and leave for the birth center. I gathered my things together and headed on out.
I arrived at the birth center around 2:15am on May 4th. Liz and Daniel were in the very back room. Ironically, although Liz had no choice on which room she could have, the one that was available was the one that she had wanted. When I walked into the room, Liz was working through each contraction beautifully. The contractions were 3 to 5 minutes apart and fairly intense. I began to fill up the tub for her, because she really wanted to labor and birth in there. Around 2:30am, one of the midwives, Kate, came in to check Liz and see if she was ready to be admitted. Kate checked her and said she was 2cm dilated. Liz was so disappointed to hear that. She couldn’t officially be admitted until she was at least 4cm. However, Kate said to labor there for a little while, and she’d come back in two hours to see if she had progressed enough to stay. We talked things over. I told Liz that the fact that she was 2cm dilated meant nothing. I knew she would move fast, and she’d be meeting her baby boy soon enough. We decided to go on a walk outside to help move things along. On my way out the door, I ran into Jualeah, another midwife who was there as back up. She is one of my favorite midwives to work with. It was a beautiful night out with a cool breeze. We walked up and down the sidewalk several times. Liz would stop during each contraction and lean on Daniel. I would put pressure on her back to help with the back pain she was feeling.
After a little while things began to become even more intense for Liz. We decided to go inside. Once inside, she sat on the birth ball and swayed. She’d hold on and lean on Daniel during a contraction. I’d use counter pressure on her back or do a hip squeeze in order to alleviate some of the intensity. She’d vocalize beautifully through each contraction. A few times she mentioned that she couldn’t do this. We all reassured her that she could and that she was doing it. She was rocking every bit of it. She began shaking and vomiting. I knew this probably meant she was in transition. It hadn’t yet been two hours, but I thought it might be a good time to get the midwife. Liz really wanted to get in the tub for some relief. I walked out. I could hear that someone had just delivered. I knew Kate would be busy with her. I found Jualeah cleaning another room where someone had already given birth. I mentioned to her that Kate was suppose to be back around 4:30, but that it sounded like she was busy. I explained that Liz was ready to get in the tub, and that I felt she had progressed very fast and was pretty far along. Jualeah agreed to check her.
Around 4:30am, just two hours after Liz’s first cervical check, Jualeah came in. She checked Liz, and said, “If you pushed, you could have a baby right now.” Liz didn’t understand what she meant, so she said, “What?” I said, “You’re at 10cm.” Liz responded, “Are you serious?” I laughed, and said, “Yes. Did you still want to try for a water birth?” She did, so we began to fill up the tub. Liz labored on the bed for a bit while the tub was filling up. A little bit after 5:00am, Liz got into the tub. She felt so much relief once in there. She sat on her knees and began to give little pushes. Those little pushes just weren’t quite cutting it though, and Jualeah encouraged her to put some more effort into it.
She eventually changed positions to hands and knees. She gave a hard push and then her water broke. She felt relief, but then a lot more intensity as the baby’s head came down. She began to scream and panic some, as a lot of women do once pushing. She said, “I can’t do this.” I said, “You can and you are.” Daniel also continued to reassure her that she could do this. And then again, she screamed, “I can’t do this.” I said, “You don’t have a choice. Only you can do this and end this.” Liz gave me a very evil look at that moment. Lol she’s never given me an evil look before. I don’t think she appreciated me at that moment, but I felt like she needed to hear that only she could do this. Only she could push her sweet baby boy out. Only she could bring him into her arms. And she did. At 6:01am, Bear was born. Jualeah asked Liz if she wanted to catch him. She of course said yes. She leaned back as she pushed him out, grabbed onto him, and immediately brought him to her chest. She was so in love and still is.
Liz is an amazing woman. I’ve always known that, but watching her give birth to Bear, showed me that even more. She is strong. She is fierce. She is beautiful, and she was a warrior during his birth.
Check out Liz's version of her birth story here!
Photos courtesy of yours truly, except the one of me. Daniel took that one ;-)
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