It was a Wednesday evening, May 1, 2019. My husband, Aaron runs a lawn care company and had been rolling lawns that day since the rain had finally paused. After dinner, at around 8:30 PM we decided to go sit outside on the back step. Our week had been a little switched up since Aaron had to work around all the rain we’d been having. I had been extra tired and had slept in a lot which meant that Aaron often left for work before I got up. We sat on the back step and laughed together, talking about our week as the birds chirped their good night songs and the last rays of sunshine sank below the horizon.

After sitting outside for a while, we went to bed, still talking. I was lying on my back and as I turned over to get up to go to the bathroom (again) I felt a little “pop.” I told Aaron that my water had just broke and to quickly grab some towels. It was 11:20pm and as I walked into the bathroom, I smiled at Aaron and said, “Well, here we go.” My midwife had given me a due date of May 1, but since I tracked my cycle pretty closely, I didn’t really expect to go into labor until around May 6.

I called my midwife, Jeanie and she didn’t pick up. I called her several more times and still nothing. I thought she might be sleeping and decided to wait a little before calling again. Several minutes later my phone rang and our plans quickly started changing. Jeanie told me, “You’re probably not going to want to hear this but I have two other moms in labor at the birthing center.” After asking how things were going she said we can either come to the birthing center or she could call around and see if any of her friends were available. I told her I’d like for her to check with her friends and we hung up.

She called she back a little later and said everyone was busy with their own births. We had planned to have a home water birth and had everything set up by this time. Unless we wanted to deliver him at home by ourselves, our only option was to go to the birthing center. It was kind of a fast change of plans but Aaron and I both felt comfortable about going to the birthing center.

Everyone had always told me that I should try and sleep when labor first started because I would be tired later. It seemed like the logical thing to do so we went back to bed. I wasn’t really having contractions yet at this point but was definitely starting to feel crampy. We were lying in bed, trying to rest, when I asked Aaron if maybe we should get up, pack our stuff, and even go to the birthing center right away so we could get settled in before my contractions became too bad.

We decided to do that and started gathering our clothes and filling the diaper bag with our first little diapers, wipes, and his first outfit. We finally had all our stuff packed along with smoothies, hard boiled eggs, apples, and my water bottles. We stopped in at my parent’s house where my dad and sister were just ready to leave for their bread delivery route. We stood out in the driveway with Dad and he shared a little bit about how it was for him when I was born. Then, I went inside and talked with mom a bit before heading for the birthing center.

As I got back out to the car, I had a pretty strong contraction and decided to wait until it passed before getting into the car. They weren’t very hard at this point but were pretty regular and coming every few minutes. It was 2:10 AM Thursday, May 2, and by this time I was glad we had decided to go now instead of waiting until later when I knew I would have been a lot more uncomfortable.

We stopped for gas and I laid my seat back to try and rest a little. The ride wasn’t too bad and except for a bit of bumpy road, I was able to rest pretty well. We got to the center at 2:45 AM and I was happily surprised. The center looked more like a house than a doctor’s office.  It was a long rectangular house built into the front of a hill with a walkout basement. A paved walkway sloped upward from the driveway to the front entrance.

Aaron pulled up to the walk and the assistant midwife, Barb came out of the house to meet us. She took me inside while Aaron brought our stuff. Barb led me to our room which was down the hall just past a little open kitchen on the left. Our room was simple and comfortable with a large Jacuzzi in the corner facing the door which had been filled before we arrived.

Once all our stuff was inside, Jeanie checked me and I was dilated to 3 centimeters. They tucked me into bed, then, after making sure we were comfortable, Jeanie and Barb turned off the lights and left us to rest. I lay in bed for a little bit but my contractions were getting strong enough that I wasn’t comfortable very long.

Aaron got the birthing ball Jeanie had mentioned earlier and I sat on it with my arms folded on the bed and rested my head on my arms. I was able to sleep a little between contractions in that position but the ball wasn’t comfortable very long either. Next, I walked around the room for a bit but then sat in the rocking chair that sat in a corner of the room. I propped my head up so I could relax and spent several hours there, rocking and napping between contractions.

After several hours, my rocking chair started squeaking and for a while I could make it pause for a little bit by rocking all the way back. Finally though even that didn’t work and it became so loud I couldn’t stand it anymore!

Around 6 AM I felt really warm and my face was flushed from the contractions so I asked Aaron if he wanted to go outside with me for a little bit. It was a bit chilly but felt really refreshing! When I went back inside, Jeanie and Barb were getting up and preparing to make their rounds to check on everyone. They checked me around 7am and I was dilated to 7. That was a great feeling because I hadn’t really known what to expect and it was encouraging to know that I was making good progress. Jeanie advised me to get into the tub if I felt ready and that was a welcome change.

I was really tired by now and I knelt, facing the edge of the tub with my head resting on an inflatable backrest that suctioned onto the tub. At this point I kind of zoned out, half asleep and also very much in my own world. Aaron was sitting by my head at the edge of the tub and at some point someone brought him breakfast. I was feeling pretty hot and flushed again and I vaguely remember asking for a cold washcloth for my forehead.

The next few hours are pretty blurry but at some point I turned around into a sitting position with my arms on the edge of the tub to support myself. Aaron held my arms and helped hold me through the contractions. I don’t know how much time passed but at some point both Jeanie and Barb were staying in the room with us.

I felt calm and was still pretty zoned out. I heard them talking and understood what they were saying but it was almost like another world in the background. Aaron would encourage me every so often, telling me I’m doing a great job. and Jeanie was also sitting by my side, quietly encouraging me.

Some time had passed in that position when Jeanie told me that I would start to feel pressure soon and that was a signal to start pushing. I started feeling a slight pressure and began to push. At first it seemed like nothing was happening but then she told me to push like you would for a bowel movement. I immediately felt a difference when I pushed. I don’t know how long I was pushing until Jeanie said she sees a lot of hair! I was kind of surprised she could already see his head and it made me happy to know that he had a lot of hair! 😉

I kept on pushing with the contractions, resting in between. At first it didn’t feel like anything was really happening and it seemed that when I did push it would progress but then seemed to slide back again. Soon though I would push and it started feeling really tight. I would try to relax before pushing again because he wasn’t moving backward now. This is where it got really intense and he started crowning. I understood why it was often referred to as “the ring of fire” and time seemed to slow and yet pass so quickly at the same time.

I didn’t really know how long it would take yet or how close he was and I think that helped me to just relax and engage until it was over. After several long hard pushes, his head was finally out. Jeanie told me to push again and with one last painful push, he came out with a rush! That last push was the most painful part but it  passed with a rush and he was born! I asked what time it was and was surprised to find out it was only 10:58 AM. Thinking back, that seems like a long time to be in the tub but it passed quickly.

At my checkups, Jeanie would comment on my cute little bump and tell me I’ll probably have a little 6 lb. baby but as soon as he was born, she laughed and said, That’s no 6 lb. baby!” 🙂 They rapped his chubby little body in a towel and placed him on my chest. He cried right away and a little bit in my arms but then he relaxed and I just held him. I laughed and cried at the same time, realizing I had just GIVEN BIRTH and that I was actually holding a little human in my arms. He was such a beautiful little baby and he was OURS! I felt so much pride, wonder, and awe in that moment. I quickly asked Barb to take a photo of us, with Jaden on my chest and Aaron leaning over me.

After holding him on my chest for a bit, Barb took him while Aaron and Jeanie helped me to the bed. I changed into a gown they provided and then Jeanie helped me to get him started nursing right away. For the next two hours Aaron and I sat on our bed, enjoying our little miracle while he explored his new world with wide eyes. I ate a little bit of Aaron’s lunch of mashed potatoes and gravy, chicken, and apple pie but wasn’t super hungry yet. Jeanie came in a little later, weighing and measuring him. I might have had a tiny belly but he was no 6 lb. baby! He came in at 8 lbs. 5 oz. and 20 ½ in. long. He had big boy hands and long feet like his mom and dad.

We called my parents and sent the rest of our family and friends a text and photo and then we just enjoyed those first few hours as a family of three. I was supposed to rest but after giving birth, I had a serious adrenaline rush. I convinced Aaron that I could rest better at home so several hours later, we bundled up our little boy and went home.

Giving birth wasn’t easy at all but it also wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be. Aaron played such a big part in my birth experience and his support brought a lot of peace and support. There’s a lot of fear around birth but the truth is, we as women were designed to give birth. If you’re an expecting mom, I want you to know that you have what it takes! God created your body perfectly and equipped you with everything you need to bring your baby into the world and you can have a great birth experience!


Want to see more like this? Check out our spring maternity session.


My Water Birth Story - Karen Elise Photography

Jaden Myles | Birth Story

  1. Anna Chupp says:

    Thanks for sharing!! Love your story – we ended up going to the New Eden birth center for the very same reason !!! It worked perfectly… the other lady had her baby about an hour after we had ours …. had we decided to try it at home Mary would of had to rush off or maybe not even been here at all …. i love that you were able to relax & let your body do the work …. this last time I really focused on that too …. it will be more painful as soon as we start tensing up because we are fighting against what our bodies are trying to do !!
    Love all the new born pictures!! Jaden is adorable 💙💙

    • Karen says:

      Oh wow! Somehow babies all want to come at the same time! 🙂 Thanks! I’m absolutely loving this time!

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