Birth Photography Roundup: A UDA Mother’s Story

Look at more photography from Elizabeth Ashdown here.

“You know that saying ‘be careful what you wish for?’ Well it’s apparently true when you joke that you’re giving your partner a small human for Father’s Day!”

We welcomed Zekiel Cyr Griffith into our family at 2:10pm June 18th!

Around 7-7:30 am I started noticing that I was uncomfortable and had slight cramps. I’d had cramps all day Wednesday, so I didn’t think much of it. Got some breakfast, and decided to get a hot shower. You know the list eat, walk, nap, shower… Well, that didn’t help much but it didn’t change much either. So I figured we’d sit on couch and watch cartoons and let Chris sleep in. By 9:30 am, the cramps had gotten stronger and I started thinking it might actually be today (so much for letting Chris sleep!) I wasn’t comfortable sitting so I walked around the back yard with Ror trying to see if that changed anything. Still uncomfortable but my cramps/mild contractions were maybe 30 second in length and had varying intervals between; from 2 to 10 minutes between! I called my midwife and she suggested I take a bath and soak. Since I couldn’t get comfortable being in 1 position it took me until 11 to actually get in the tub, after wandering the house making sure every last thing was ready for our home birth. Instead of a relaxing tub, I got back labor! I spent 30 minutes or more on my hands and knees in the tub trying to get comfortable! Poor Chris, he came up to check on me and found me stuck in the doorway of the bathroom, mid contraction with tears in my eyes. I swear I went from “Huh, this might happen this evening” to “oh crap, this is happening NOW” within 30 minutes! So, Chris called our midwife and helped me get downstairs,  all while filling the birth tub and managing a 2 year old! Babe, you’re seriously amazing!

“Our birth team arrived between 12 -12:30 to find me, completely naked, laboring on the stairs and Chris literally doing laps around the house checking on me, the toddler and filling the tub.”

Our birth team arrived between 12 -12:30 to find me, completely naked, laboring on the stairs and Chris literally doing laps around the house checking on me, the toddler and filling the tub.  Although the stairs gave me relief, and a great position to have my hips squeezed (thank you Adrianna!!) that birth tub is fantastic!!! Warm and soft and even the floor is inflated to provide comfort. (Seriously, if you decide to have another baby in the future, consider this!!)

Anyway, by the time I got in the tub around 1 pm my contractions were very regular and getting stronger. I can’t tell you exactly when transtion hit time wise, but I can tell you that drugs weren’t on my mind. Instead I told Chris, “I never want to do this again.” Apparently even if your birth is much more comfortable and relaxed and you truly have control over your body and how you handle the pain, you still hit that wall and think why on earth would anyone do this again?! I will tell you Adrianna was totally right about the low tone moaning! With each contraction I would take a deep breath and start to exhale right before it peaked. With each exhale I would moan and make it as low as I could.  The lower the sound, the less the pain! I even napped between contractions!!!! It was amazing. And when you let yourself get through your contractions like that you really do go into labor land and are kind of separated from yourself. I had to remember to do this each and every contraction, but it made such a difference!

Anyway, around 2 pm it was time to push. I’m not going to lie, I was Terrified to push since I tore so much last time. And I regret letting that fear surface and take control when I was pushing because I lost the ability to get those low tones and trust my body. As Z crowned I screamed! Which did send my toddler running from the t.v. back to the birth tub, so it worked out in the end. 2 pushes in (maybe 3) and his head was out. But I was sore and shaky and convinced that I had torn so when Adrienne said 1 more push I literally responded, I can’t! It wasn’t that I couldn’t as much as I was afraid and that made it impossible to direct the energy where it needed to be. A few deep breaths and encouragement from all, I pushed that last time and Z was born!

“I wish I had believed in myself in those final moments as much as I had the 9 months leading up and as much as everyone else in the room believed in me.”

I tell you this in detail because I wish I had believed in myself in those final moments as much as I had the 9 months leading up and as much as everyone else in the room believed in me. Don’t let one experience dictate the next. They may be completely different!

Z  was born totally healthy and I didn’t have a single tear. Z was 7 pounds, 19 inches. (Almost a full pound lighter than Ror and 2 inches shorter! And I was in labor 15 hours with Ror, pushing for 1.5). It’s just amazing how different this experience can be the second time!

“It also helps to have an amazing team that you trust.”

It also helps to have an amazing team that you trust. Both Adrianna and Adrienne were comforting, supporting, and just absolutely incredible. And I loved that the banter we had in class with Adrianna continued while I labored. It was fantastic to be able to laugh, joke and enjoy ourselves during the whole process. Granted I missed a good portion of the conversations but it was great for Chris and I have a few  photos of him and Adrianna laughing and joking while I am in the tub! Home birth is also amazing because you are home. I went from tub to couch where I was able to nurse Z, eat, have fun with photos with our stellar birth photographer Elizabeth and just enjoy the moments. Adrianna helped me get cleaned up and up to bed, all tucked in with my new little squish. Sorry, I just can’t tell you how much I wish I had done this with Rorrin and I know that we will do another home birth if we have more kids! (Despite what I said during transition!)

Congratulations to all of you who have your babes in your arms! To those still waiting, believe in yourselves and each other. Find what makes you most comfortable through labor and know, it really is when you are just done, when you can’t anymore that you’re at the end and your babe is almost here!

“Find what makes you most comfortable… your babe is almost here!”

By Rachel Winsley

Thank you for visiting my profile. I look forward to knowing you and your growing family. It is my wish that as you think about this time in your life your mind, heart, and memories are filled with the love of your partner, the support of your doula, and the trust earned by your healthcare team. I look forward to hearing about your experiences, fears, and hopes for this birth as we tailor a birth and postpartum plan tailored to your specific needs. With the right education, support, and preparation I know that you can have a beautiful birthing time. If we aren't the perfect fit, I'll provide thoughtful referrals for other doulas. It is my hope that you will find the best doula for you, even if it isn't me. Good luck your your birth journey!

I am a birth doula, childbirth educator, lactation consultant, and military veteran. I worked exclusively with military women from 2007-2011. I have participated in continuing education to support birthing women with previous trauma every year since I started. I now work with a wide variety of women with diverse backgrounds and experiences. I enjoy guiding and empowering pregnant and birthing women throughout their birth journey. I have experience attending women through unmedicated birth, home birth, hospital birth, VBAC, birth at advanced maternal age, using epidural as a tool, special needs birth by cesarean, and vaginal breach birth with multiples. I have worked with couples practicing a wide variety of childbirth education and coping methods such as Hypnobabies, Bradley, HypnoBirthing, Birthing from Within, and Mindful Birthing. I can provide excellent referrals to midwives, OB/GYNs, chiropractors, IBCLCs, and a myriad of other helpful practitioners spanning from Salt Lake City to Logan, Utah. I feel that a good doula will work to maintain a positive working relationship with your provider(s), so as to foster a safe and peaceful birthing environment. I also run a scholarship program for combat military veterans who can demonstrate financial need. I pushed an initiative to have home birth covered by the Veterans Administration, and can help you through the process of having your claim paid. In some circumstances, I am open to bartering/trading for services. If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call or take a look at my website

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