Before I gave birth, I was fearful. I was worried about the pain and the complications, and I had a lot of self-doubt, but during the birth I wasn’t afraid at all. I was so comfortable with the people and the environment. One midwife told me to just surrender to my body during the birth process, and I think there’s real truth to that.
Worth the Wait: Jude's Birth Story
Elizabeth Carder’s son Jude Alden arrived late to the party…very late. Due on July 25, he didn’t make his appearance until August 5 (and now shares a birthday with father James!). Elizabeth, who recently moved to the Denver area with her husband, shares the story of how Jude arrived, and why she’s glad she chose Baby+Company in Wheat Ridge for her labor and delivery.
“I started out seeing a midwife at a hospital in Minnesota, and when we moved to Denver I switched over to Baby+Company. I was a little over halfway through my pregnancy at that point, and I knew I wanted a midwife and preferably a birth center. I felt more supported there than I did at the hospital, and I was reassured by the low levels of intervention and the high intimacy of care. I wanted to have a close relationship with the midwives who would deliver my first child.
Jude’s birth story actually starts about two weeks before he arrived. I was having prodromal labor, which at first I thought were Braxton-Hicks contractions. The contractions would drop off after a couple of hours, but I was sure he’d be arriving at any time. My parents came to town, and there was a lot of excitement and anticipation – it was hard to wait for him! Prodromal labor went on day after day, and by August I was so ready to have this baby.
On August 4, we had an appointment at Baby+Company where we tried several tactics to get labor started. I was approaching 42 weeks and didn’t want to have to be induced. I had a membrane sweep, tried some castor oil, and used the breast pump for nipple stimulation. When I got home, I took a long walk. I was already four or five centimeters dilated, but the contractions weren’t coming regularly.
At 2:30 in the morning, contractions woke me up for the first time. I waited a while and then woke my husband, James, who began timing them. I was trying to walk back and forth from the bedroom to the bathroom between contractions, but they became overwhelming fairly quickly. They were about two minutes long at that point. James, who had been giving me soothing backrubs, wanted to call the birth center. I thought we should wait an hour like we had learned in class, but he called anyway and the midwife said to come on in.
We arrived at four in the morning, and the environment was so sweet and serene. Our midwife and birth photographer were both pregnant, too, so there was a lot of belly! I could still joke around between contractions so I thought we had plenty of time, but things went from zero to one hundred very quickly. The contractions intensified, and within an hour or two of arriving my water broke and I felt like I needed to push. After an hour of pushing, Jude was born at 7:19 in the morning. As James caught our long-awaited boy with his bare hands, my mother took his place to support me behind the birthing stool. My mother held me as I became a mother – it was truly incredible.
Afterwards, we wanted to do the ‘golden hour’ of skin-to-skin contact, but I was hemorrhaging and my placenta wouldn’t come. It was more hectic than we expected it to be, but everyone was very calm and reassuring. It didn’t seem like a big deal; everyone was focused on making sure we had time together in bed. I recovered quickly, and we basically spent the whole day there just spending time with our baby boy.
The postpartum care was incredible. That day they checked us frequently and were super attentive and devoted. After we went home, we were certainly not forgotten. They called within 24 hours, which was reassuring and comforting, and having a midwife come to our own home was, frankly, an unexpected luxury. We didn’t even have to leave the house! I’ve been attending postpartum classes at the center, which is really unique; I don’t know that I’d have had that opportunity anywhere else. We’re new to the area, so we didn’t know many people. Some of these women are people I first met in the birthing classes, and it’s such a nurturing experience to see us all with our new babies, on the other side of things. We still meet regularly, and have formed a little Baby+Company community of our own!
Before I gave birth, I was fearful. I was worried about the pain and the complications, and I had a lot of self-doubt, but during the birth I wasn’t afraid at all. I was so comfortable with the people and the environment. One midwife told me to just surrender to my body during the birth process, and I think there’s real truth to that. Embrace the experience fully – all of the coexisting and often conflicting components that are so intricately intertwined. Trust that you’re made for this and you can do it. That’s true postpartum, as well. Jude hasn’t been a textbook baby, but I know in a very real way that he was given to us for a reason. I have to trust myself and know that I’m the mom for him.
My labor and delivery was a really gorgeous experience, and I feel very honored and grateful to have had everything happen the way it did at Baby+Company. The birth center model may not be right for everyone, but for us, this was perfect; I’m very lucky.”