Birth Stories

Waylon Nash's Birth Day

January 9th

On Tuesday morning, January 8th, I woke up and thought,"You know what? I'm going to lay in bed and read all day today. I'm over 9 months preggers; I have that right!"

And so I did. I laid in bed and read The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling (love her), drank copious amounts of water, and slept whenever the mood hit me.  My husband had been leaving work early for the past week, just in case it was "baby go time," and he arrived home around 2 PM.

"Have you gotten up at all?"

"Nope, just laying here in my jammies."  He smiled, kissed my head, and retired to our home office to get some work done.

I had been feeling Braxton Hicks for the past three months, so I thought that was what I was experiencing around 5 PM, and I got up to go to the bathroom.  My husband was still in the office down the hall, and I almost called him to the bathroom, because something felt different.  At this point, we were only four days past our guess date, and I was expecting to wait a little longer. But I thought, why not, we'll time these pressure waves and see what happens.

I can't remember now the time they were apart, but they were pretty regular.  But at 6 PM a strong one hit, with more pressure than the others, and I called Patrick into the bedroom.

"I am pretty sure we are in birthing time."  We called Mary Anne (my midwife, the best midwife EVER) around 7 PM, because my pressure waves were six minutes apart, lasting 45 seconds to 1 minute each time.  She said to get ready for bed, the waves might start getting further apart, letting me sleep, until the next day, when they would pick up again.  Which kind of bummed me out.  I was ready to meet my baby (and figure out if little Baby Cakes was a girl or boy!).

Right after we called Mary Anne, our doorbell rang.  We had visited a new church the previous Sunday, and the pastor thought it was a good time for a visit!  Patrick went outside to chat with him while I sat and rocked my hips on my birth ball.  They spoke for two pressure waves.  When Patrick came back in, I asked, "Did you tell him your wife was having a baby?"

"No... I wasn't sure if you actually were."  Which made me laugh pretty hard, until the next pressure wave came.  The next time I went to the bathroom, my mucus plug came free, but with no streaks of pink or red.  In fact, I had no bloody show at all until my baby was born.

Around 11 PM that night, it felt like my pressure waves weren't stopping.  Almost as if they were continuous.  I had Patrick call Mary Anne again, because I had been expecting to go to sleep for awhile, and obviously that was not happening.

Our phone call was not really informative to Mary Anne, because I couldn't tell when the pressure waves were starting and stopping.  My legs had also began to shake pretty hard (did not realize that was important at the time).  So she decided to come over and check me out to make sure everything was alright.

I tried to lay down again, but when a wave hit, breathing and relaxing through it with a bit of panic (I was convinced something was wrong), was becoming very hard.  Mary Anne arrived, and instant calm went through me and our house.  That's just how she is.  She has this aura of "I know what I'm doing and everything is going to be alright" about her.

She checked me in our guest room as soon as she arrived, around 11:30 PM.  I was at 9 cm and the baby was at +2 station.  And my legs shaking, she said meant the baby's head was in my pelvis.  At this point, she told my Patrick we needed to get the pool filled immediately, and she called her assistant, Lindsey, to come on over.

I was almost laughing at this point, and time started to really fly for me.  I laid on our guest room bed until they told me I could sit in the pool if I wanted, breathing through all my pressure waves, using my hypnosis to numb my torso and feel only pressure and peace.  Excited, anxious, happy... I had so many emotions running through my mind!

In the birthing pool (set up in our baby's nursery), I immediately felt the pressure in my pelvis relax somewhat.  The warm water was amazing.  Our hot water heater gave out, so they had coffee pots and pots boiling water on the stove to fill it up.  Another laughable moment.  Lindsey was taking my vitals and checking the baby, while Mary Anne set up emergency only things and after birth supplies.  I felt so at ease with them there, and knew everything was going to be ok. 

There were a few moments in the pool when I felt too hot, and they brought me a cold wash cloth.  They also were reminding me to drink the water and gator aid they brought to me.  I began to feel nauseous around the first time I felt the need to push, and asked for a bucket.  But pushing took away the urge to be sick.  I fought the need to push at first, because honestly, it felt like I was going to poop.  As soon as I told them that, they laughed at me, said, "It happens," and showed me the net that solves that problem.

So I pushed in earnest.  I got on my knees, legs spread, held onto the handles of the pool, and really pushed.  Soon, Lindsey told me I could feel the head, but I was so focused on pushing the baby out, I didn't even want to stop to feel.  My husband, at this time, had become what I was holding on to, concentrating on, to bring our baby into the world.  Lindsey said, "We have a head out!"  and with the next push, the baby was here, at 2:54 AM on January 9th!

I felt as if only an hour had passed since Mary Anne had arrived.  Hypnobabies had me trained for that.  One of the mantras is that every twenty minutes will only feel like five minutes to you.  And it did.  Trust me. 

I hadn't bothered to check what gender our little one was, I was too busy professing my love to him or her.  Patrick was the one who yelled out, "It's a little boy!"  I will never forget the way he said that sentence as along as I live. That moment was the absolute best moment of my life, and we were both fairly tearful.

The rest of the night passed so quickly, the placenta came, I had to be catheterized, but no stitch-requiring tears, I had a shower, and little Waylon Nash got the hang of nursing right away.  I couldn't believe we were a family.  

As for Hypnobabies, I am so glad I went through that course.  Not only did the time pass quickly, but all I felt was intense pressure in my pelvis region and lower back.  Also, since you have to visualize your birth over and over again, mine went EXACTLY like I had envisioned.  It was a beautiful and wonderful experience that I would not trade for anything, and that I would do again in a heartbeat.

Clarence Hank's Birth Day

July 19th

After the birth of our son, Patrick and I decided to wait two or three years before trying to conceive a second child.  So, when Waylon was six months old, we felt confident enough to sell our house and move in with Patrick’s parents while we waited for God to show us our new home.

After four months of living in their attic (and not finding a house), some wonderful friends of ours, Havan and Alicia Tucker, gave us their good news.  They were pregnant and due at the end of June in 2014.  We were elated for them.  A mere two weeks later, after missing my period, we found God had decided we would not be waiting any time before our next child.  I was pregnant with our second baby, due in mid July. 

Our prayers increased, as we wanted to deliver this baby in our forever home, not a rental or my in-law’s attic. I experienced another easy, complication free pregnancy (barring morning sickness the first three months and a stomach bug that sent me to the ER with dehydration).  Our baby was healthy and growing fine…  and in April, we found our house, just a little ways down the road from the Tuckers!  We closed May 1st and began moving in on May 8th.  The house was a foreclosure, so we needed to clean, paint, and repair many, many things.  It is still a work in progress!

On June 21st, my 36th week, we received a text from Havan that he and Alicia would not be available to hang out for the day as we had planned.  Cora, their beautiful daughter, had decided to make her debut a week earlier!  Meeting and holding her was wonderful, as was seeing my best friend become a mother, but her birth made me eager to meet my own precious bundle.

As it was my second baby, and Waylon had only been five days late, everyone kept telling me I would most likely go early.  I ignored all this, until 39 weeks.  I think every mother reaches that point when you just want to hold your child, and you don’t want to yearn any more.   I was in great shape, and not uncomfortable, just so ready to meet my new baby.  And find out if we were having a boy or girl!  Hypnobabies helped so much with clearing my mind in those moments I gave in to the anxiety of “I’m not in labor yet!” and helped me just to feel excited that it would be soon.  On my due date, I was all smiles, knowing my child knew when the best time to come would be, and God would keep us both safe.  Alicia and Cora took Waylon and myself for breakfast that day, as a celebration.

That night, as we tucked into bed around 8pm, I began to have pressure waves.  Every 6-8 minutes, lasting about a minute, I could feel my uterus bearing down on the baby.  We called Mary Anne, our midwife, because Waylon had come so quickly, but she said to keep monitoring them, as she expected I would go to sleep and they would taper off and stop.

They finally did around midnight, stretching out to 30 minutes apart.  The next day, Patrick decided to take the day off work, just in case, to help me with Waylon and ready the house.  It was so nice to just enjoy being with my little family of three (the last day as a family of three!).  A pressure wave, nothing intense, would happen every 30 minutes to an hour.  I just kept myself calm, knowing tensing up would slow everything down.  Even if it didn’t happen today, I would not be pregnant forever, and our baby would arrive soon.  We decided to go to Walmart in the afternoon, to get some of the necessities on our list for the house.  We also made arrangements for Tony and Sue (Patrick’s dad and stepmom) to come get our dogs for the weekend, in case the baby did decide to come.

At 5:30pm, I got in the shower with Waylon to give him a bath.  After I passed him to Patrick, I let the hot water run over me, relaxing all my muscles.  An intense pressure wave hit, so I flipped my switch and breathed through it.  As it passed, I turned off the water, grabbed my towel, and began to dry off.  Barely two minutes later, another wave hit, just as intense.

I got on my knees, breathing and smiling through it.  I knew, somehow, my body and baby were ready to birth.  I yelled for Patrick as the waved subsided, and told him we needed to pack Waylon’s bag to go with his grandparents, as well.  His smile was amazing as he texted his dad, and I started packing a bag.

When Tony and Sue arrived at 6:30pm, my waves were 8 minutes apart.  I was talking and laughing after every one, then flipping my switch and breathing through each wave, going to my special place.  I imagined my cervix opening each time, hearing my thoughts and body and baby only.  As we packed up Waylon and the dogs with Patrick’s parents, my waves began to drop down to four minutes apart, one minute each.  We called to let Mary Anne know, and she told us everything sounded great, and to let her know when it had been going on for an hour.

Patrick and I went back to our bedroom after that, and I laid down on the bed to rest.  Soon, we called Mary Anne back.  My pressure waves were not so intense, although they were still 3-4 minutes apart and lasting a minute.  I told her to come, but not to call her assistants, Becca and Tanya, yet.  As Mary Anne walked out the door, she called us back, to remind me how fast I went last time, and that her assistants were also an hour away.  Laughing with Patrick, we decided for her to “call the cavalry” and get everyone to our house soon!

While on their way, the intensity of my waves increased, but I felt so calm and confident.  Patrick gave me counter pressure whenever I asked, and we started getting our bed prepared, our after birth meal ready, and the tub blown up.

Mary Anne arrived around 9pm, with Tanya and Becca about 30 minutes later.  I was at 7-8 cm and the baby sounded great – heart rate dipping during waves but rebounding back as they subsided.

The next few hours I alternated from the bed to my birth ball to all fours – just whatever felt right to me in the moment and the most comfortable.  My waves actually started to space out a bit as well.  They suspected the baby was facing out, and not towards my spine, as they should.  Mary Anne came into the bedroom while I was resting to suggest a certain position to lay in and turn little one, but I had naturally put myself into it!

I snacked on bananas and sipped labor-aide and water to keep my strength up and my nausea at bay.  But I only felt “in labor” when my pressure waves started.  Otherwise I was joking and laughing with everyone.  There was talk of Patrick becoming a doula with how knowledgeable he had become about birth and how attentive he was to me, discussions on other birth experiences, and laughing about anything and everything.  I felt so strong and empowered… just wonderful.  I knew my body could do this, would do this.  Hypnobabies is such a wonderful program for that!

Around 11pm to midnight, I decided to get in the tub.  Luckily, our hot water heater held out, and we were able to fill it straight away from the tap and not boiling pots on the stove!

Just like with my first birth, easing into the water felt amazing.  I felt I could just fall asleep with the relaxation I experienced.  Every hour, I had to get up to urinate, and Becca commented on how easily I popped in and out of the tub or around the room. Like I wasn’t almost at 10 cm and ready to push out a baby.  This made me feel even better!

Not long after being in the tub, I asked Mary Anne when I could push.  She said when I felt ready to, as long as it didn’t hurt.  I began to push with my next wave, and it felt good to ride along with my body.  I did feel some resistance, so Becca checked my cervix.  She couldn’t feel a lip, so I would push a little with each wave.  Around 1am, Mary Anne asked that I have a wave on the toilet.  Boy, did I!  Being out of the water and sitting up, this wave was so intense, and the nausea hit me hard.  I had another within a couple of minutes.  I started to crawl back to the tub, but the nausea was so strong, I did not want to get back in the warm water.

They began putting pads and towels underneath me as I crouched by the tub on all fours.  Patrick had been amazing this entire time, never leaving my side and doing anything for me I needed.  He is one reason I was able to be so strong through each of my births. 

Tanya gave me some peppermint oil to smell on a washcloth and a peppermint oil pill to melt in my mouth.  This helped the nausea almost disappear.  But at this point, I knew the baby was moments away, and I did not want to move far.

Mary Anne had me get on my back so she could check my cervix.  She found a tiny lip, and said you would have to have great finger strength to find it and push it out of the way.  She did just that, then said I was free to get in any position I wanted.

I went back to all fours, as this was the most natural and comfortable for me.  As each pressure wave receded, I pushed at my own pace.  I felt incredible fullness, but no pain, as the baby hit the birth canal.  I pushed at the end of another wave and the baby began to crown, hearing Mary Anne and Becca saying, “We see the head!”

I remember grunting and groaning at this point, but not in pain, just in extreme exertion.  I also had been speaking to the baby the entire time… “Come down, baby”  “Mama is ready for you, baby”

I felt a lot of stretching and even more fullness as I pushed out the baby’s head and shoulders.  Becca and Patrick began unwrapping the (very long!) cord from around the baby’s neck and shoulders.  I could the little one starting to cry!  With the next push, the baby was out and Patrick was able to help catch!  They put the baby between my legs, and I saw my little boy, Clarence Hank(or Clank, as we nicknamed him), for the first time.  I held him to my chest as they took pictures and got us ready to transfer to the bed.

On the bed, they cleaned us up, and I began to nurse Clarence, named after my papa.  He had a little trouble latching at first, as he was crying so hard!  Soon he caught on and happily contented himself at my breast.

I birthed the placenta easily as well, finding quite a bit of calcium and a marginalized attachment.  My perineum was completely intact.  One of the best perineums they had seen in awhile, they commented laughingly.  Patrick and I both had to laugh over this.  We had been stretching and massaging it since 35 weeks.  Preparation is so important, vital, to a birth.  I exercised daily, and was religiously careful about what I ate and drank.   In fact,  I only gained 22 pounds during this pregnancy.  I also took herbs and drank certain teas to prepare my uterus and cervix for birthing.

Clarence Hank was born at 1:37AM on July 19th, 2014.  Weighing 7lb 8oz, 19.25 inches long.  He had a head full of black hair and deep blue/grey eyes.  He was beautiful.

I found my second birth to be so much better and easier than my first, which is saying a lot!  I loved my first birth as well.  My confidence level was definitely higher this time.  Without Mary Anne, Hypnobabies, and God, neither would have been so wonderful.

Toby's Birth Day

November 14th

Becoming a mom was the hardest thing I have ever done.  I am trying to remember exactly how it felt bringing life into the world.  The body is a funny thing – as the days following birth pass by filled with snuggles, kisses, and cooing – it becomes harder to remember those moments.  I want to write out my unique birth story but I am not sure who my intended audience is... this detailed story is mainly for myself and wanting to remember before these beautiful days make me forget it all.

 

When your baby bump begins to show, many people give well intended – but not requested - advice.  As a soon-to-be mother with a strong stand on having a home birth, I was not going to be persuaded any other way.  This is my story of birth, which was not exactly as I planned but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  I am honest with people when I say, “it was the hardest thing I have ever done” because it was… but when asked if I would do it again, “I would a hundred times over”.  I have never felt more empowered but absolutely vulnerable in my life.  I looked to my midwife and her assistant for advice and expertise.  If they had said, “we need to do a C-section” I would have done it in a heart beat if that was what was best for my baby and me.  I love having a midwife and home birth because the attitude is “no two births are the same”.  Its completely individualized to your body and what it says. That’s what I wanted for my delivery.  I wanted my body to direct the birth of my son without any unnecessary intervention.  If intervention was necessary I am not against medical intervention but I wanted as little intervention as possible.

 

Sean and I were surprised in March of 2016 that we were expecting our fist child in November of 2016.  As life would have it, Sean was offered a job in June of 2016 and began working in Nashville, TN.  After selling our house in Chattanooga, TN in September, we moved into an 800-square foot apartment in my 9th month of pregnancy.  It was a huge time of change and transition.  Needless to say, I had every excuse under the sun not attempt an “apartment birth”.  Luckily, Tobiah was a great baby in the womb and allowed me to do everything I needed to and even waited a week late to arrive.  So the apartment was in order, every box was unpacked, and I had all my birthing and baby supplies at the apartment.  My midwife in Chattanooga was very helpful by connecting me with her best friend in Nashville who took me on in my 36th week of pregnancy.  Sean and I were also able to take a six week hypnobabies class in Readyville, TN to assist with the distance between Nashville and Chattanooga.

 

Our six-week Hypnobabies class supported everything I was looking for in my birth experience.  Hypnobabies encourages positive thoughts regarding childbirth and believing in the power of the female body.  The class objectively presented information about the common birthing interventions done in the hospital.  This class is almost a “yoga class” for birthing.  The goal is to quiet the body while remaining calm and positive in the mind.  This class affirmed my desire to have my son away from the hospital and on my own terms at home.  This was important after our big move right before Tobiah’s “guess date” – we use different terminology after completing Hypnobabies.

 

Our guess date of Sunday November 6th came and went.  The following Sunday I woke up feeling crampy and drained - like I was about to start my period.   I could tell something was different because during my ten-month pregnancy I never woke up feeling sick.  I ate breakfast which made me feel better but I was also leaking fluid, which I assumed was my water leaking – something we talked about in Hypnobabies.  I decided to go to church but needed to visit the restroom quite a bit during the service.  By the time we got home and I got out of the car, I had no doubts that my water had broke as I hurried into the apartment after feeling a rush of fluid.  I texted my midwife who told me to take a nap and get some rest.  Sean and I took a small nap but were hoping to get a goodnight sleep since I was feeling good without any pressure waves (contractions).  I was thinking everything might start ramping up by Monday morning – Sheryl, our midwife, knew better.  We began telling friends and family Toby would be here in the next 24-48 hours!

 

Around 6pm Sunday night pressure waves started, and I was excited to know Tobiah’s arrival was getting close.  I only had a pressure wave every hour till about 9pm when we laid down to sleep… Then the waves started to gear up.  In the beginning, it was hard to distinguish a wave from Tobiah kicking since he became very active and his movements caused my muscles to contract.  Lying down helped me to feel the pressure waves and Sean started timing length between waves and duration.  At 11:30pm Sean let our midwife know we were having them about 5 mins apart and lasting about 1 min each.  Sheryl arrived at the apartment at 1am.  Time really did warp for me.  I just took every wave at a time.  All I knew was they were getting longer and stronger which meant Tobiah was getting closer to being in my arms.  I did notice the sun coming out the next morning and knew we with through the night without that “goodnight sleep” I was expecting. 

 

Giving birth at home was such a peaceful experience.  Sean was by my side the whole time giving me words of encouragement and giving me sips of water to drink. Our midwife and assistant were very hands off… They were available if anything was needed but really it was just Sean and I through each wave and the midwife or assistant monitoring Toby’s heat rate and my vitals when needed.  Around 8am I felt the pressure waves really getting strong and I remember looking at Sean during these and saying “I don’t know if I can do this”.  It was so helpful to have him coaching me and encouraging me.  I was expecting these strong waves but had no idea how they would feel after almost 12 hours of labor.   During Hypnobabies class we talked about transformation (transition)… I am not sure if this was my transformation or not.  I was trying to listen and respect when and how my body wanted to give birth.

 

When it came time for Toby’s arrival - I will be honest - I was worn out.  I also was not prepared for what birth would be like with a “cervical lip” or Toby kicking and turning with my waves inside the womb.  My midwife and her assistant were so calm and confident which was wonderful.  I stayed positive because of them but I was mentally unprepared for birth… looking back it makes sense with your first child there is no way to completely expect something you have never experienced before. 

 

People always ask – was there ever a time you wished you were at the hospital.  There was never a time I thought about being in the hospital or thought about wanting pain medication.  Thoughts I did have were feelings of inadequacy because of the “complications” I was having and I didn’t know how to make right.  Ultimately I just wanted my baby in my arms and my inexperienced self wondered if I could make that happen.  These exact thoughts are why ten times over I would give birth at home no question if I had to do it again.  By the time Toby was ready to enter the world, I was vulnerable and unsure of myself and would have agreed to any intervention at that time.  If I had agreed to vacuum or forceps in delivery I would have been greatly disappointed afterward.  It was hard work… I had no idea bringing a baby into the world would feel like pooping a bowling ball but I figured out that was what I needed to do and I gave it all I had. 

 

I would like to say I “breathed him out” but I pushed – hard.  After pushing about 10 times with the intensity described above, Toby’s head was out and I had to rotate to all fours to push his shoulders and the rest of his body out… finally into my arms!  I was elated to have him finally on my bed in our home.  When I thought about Toby’s arrival I envisioned bawling from a surge of emotion, but honestly I was too worn out and tired to be emotional.  It was a mountain top experience.  Sean always compares our birth story to climbing Mount Everest.  Half way up we had doubts and confusion, but once we successfully had Toby in our arms – it was all worth it.  I had my baby in my arms looking around the room so alert and blowing little bubbles with his mouth. He had a head of hair and perfect eyebrows.  He was beautiful and I was so happy with the way we brought him into the world.  All will and grit – no intervention needed. 

 

The room was so pleasant following Toby’s arrival with him in our arms and Sheryl and Beth cleaning the crime scene.  I have never had a child in the hospital but the atmosphere following our home birth had an advantage I wasn’t planning on.  I am not even sure I realized how pleasant it was until people pointed it out when they came to visit. No one was invasive.  No one was whisking Toby away for protocol.  No one strangers were holding my baby in his first hours of life.  I wasn’t being forced to breastfeed on someone’s watch.

 

I was dealing with bleeding – nonstop which made me feel like my body was making up for the ten months I dodged a period.   I was able to walk and move around, but I got lightheaded easily.   Looking back this would have been the one “assignment” I would have given someone.  During our Hypnobabies class I tried to envision the hours and days following the birth.  My advice to any woman considering a home birth would be assigning someone to help with getting around and getting ready postnatal.  Otherwise the transition into motherhood was smooth and Toby has been such a perfect baby.  Having help the first night was crucial for some sleep.  I didn’t even pull an all-nighter when I was in college – and this girl loves her sleep.  Tobiah did well with breastfeeding and sleeps like his momma.  Our biggest blessing the days following birth were meals provided by friends, family, and strangers.  Not having to leave the house and go grocery shopping was a huge deal, but the day to day activities in the house were smooth – or seemed smooth to me.

 

Overall I am passionate about women choosing to have babies in their own home.  I am an advocate of home births with a strong personal connection as of November 14, 2016.  I will be a cheerleader for any woman bringing life into the world.  I just want to change the norm from scheduling inductions to allowing your amazing body which created a human for months to decide when your baby should be born.  I want to challenge the idea that birth is an unnatural process that warrants intervention.  I want women to educate themselves about the standard protocols done in hospitals which may contribute to the “fetal distress” described by every woman I know who has a hospital birth.  The domino effect is the same almost every time - starting with inducing, giving Pitocin, needing epidurals, using a vacuum, performing C-sections. I want the very necessary and important interventions provided by hospitals to be used for their purpose – to save lives and provide positive outcomes for those who need it.  Let’s challenge the new norm and the possibility that hospitals are providing negative outcomes for those who don’t need it.

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