Birth Stories

Caleb’s Birth

Seeing as this was our second birth, we had some ideas about what to expect and what we wanted this time around. One thing we knew, was that we wanted Cynthia to deliver this baby again even though we no longer lived on Whidbey Island. We simply couldn’t imagine going through pregnancy and birth without her so we booked an airbnb and bought a ferry pass!
We thought we wanted our 2 year old to be present and hoped my mother would be able to come also. We could not decide if we wanted a “home-away-from-home” birth or to go to the birth center and ended up preparing for both.
We anxiously waited until our rental started and my mother arrived, both shortly before his due date, but he kindly stayed put! In fact, almost a week after his due date we had to start talking about monitoring and castor oil and were more than ready for his arrival!
I had been having contractions on and off since a few days before his due date but that happened last time too so we were not surprised. I saw my chiropractor and that evening baby finally dropped. A couple more days of contractions on and off. More waiting.
Finally, around 11:30pm on a Friday evening, some strong contractions woke me up and forced me out of bed. Everyone else was sleeping and I enjoyed having some time to myself to quietly work through the contractions and look forward to finally meeting this precious baby. By 1am I was no longer enjoying the time to myself nor was I quiet anymore so I woke my husband and mom to come help me. This was the real thing!
My husband called Cynthia to give her a heads up and then alternated massage and ice as the contractions came stronger and stronger. At this point we finally decided we would have a home/airbnb birth so soon Cynthia came over and got set up for the birth. It is really all a blur in my mind. Caleb was born around 4am, about an hour after the midwives arrived.
He was much bigger than his older sister – who managed to sleep through the entire thing! It only took minutes before Caleb was nursing and then he slept after his long, eventful night. We were thrilled to be a family of four!

Posted in: Birth Stories

Jazper’s Story

“It is said that a women in labor leave their bodies to travel to the stars to collect the souls of their babies and return to this world together.”

I woke up on my due date January 10th and told Keegan something felt different about these contractions then the ones I’ve been having and that this might be it! I went to the bathroom and discovered my bloody show and mucus plug we thought this was definitely it! We packed the last final things in the birthing center bag, put the car seat in the car, cleaned up the house and called the midwife to let her know things were getting started. As soon as I hung up the phone with her, the contractions completely stopped. All day.. not one other contraction. So we took a nap, went for a walk In the woods, swang on the swings in the park, went home and had dinner then went to bed. As soon as we laid down, contractions started again and this time they were painful and about 10-15 minutes apart. I didn’t sleep that night. Just coped with the pain, took a shower, tried ice and a heating pad, they grew stronger and stronger and by 8 am I was in a lot of pain. The midwife came over and checked me, said I was dilated two centimeters (two?! Only two?! Oh crap this is gonna suck) and We were told to call when contractions are 5 minutes apart so I waited through 9 minutes.. 8 minutes.. 7 minutes.. and then they stayed at 6 minutes apart for hours. I bounced on the birthing ball and buried my head in pillows when they got strong. I took a bath while Keegan sat On the side and held my hand. I called my mom on the verge of tears saying to come over because I needed her help. I was so tired already. And for awhile I thought “I’m too tired to do this, I just want to go to the hospital and get drugs already.” But my mom got to my house and was able to bring me a second wind and bring Keegan a break. I labored at home for a few more hours and was finally at 5 minutes apart around 330 so we headed to the birthing center. Its out in the middle of the woods, it was a beautiful, clear, and cold night and a full moon. We got there I went through a few more contractions got checked and was told I was at a 6 and then got into the tub. My slight heavy breathing and occasional few groans quickly turned into more painful moans. When I felt a contraction coming I would get on my knees, hold either Keegan’s or my moms hands, work through it with my eyes closed and then settle back down in the tub. I tried to rest in between as much as I could. A few times I even fell asleep. But there wasn’t much of a break and it was ALOT of work. I was very inside myself throughout the whole process. I was envisioning me and my baby, in a cave with a waterfall. I would imagine me telling the baby that we were gonna leave it soon and to trust me that it was all gonna be ok. And I would think about the opening of the cave getting bigger and bigger with each painful contraction. I was only 8 centimeters at this point but started feeling the need to push. Keegan got in the tub and at this point and sat behind me. Id been peeing and bleeding in there, one of the midwifes was scooping out my poop, and sometimes after a contraction I would throw up from the pain straight into the tub. He was a champ and all my bodily fluids didn’t seem to bother him one bit. The love I felt in this room was overwhelming. There was two midwifes and an intern in there with me as well as Dyanne (Keegan’s mom) and my mom. When I would get to the point of doubt and say “I can’t do this.” I had a whole chorus of people saying “yes you can! You are already doing it!” I was pushing and screaming and at some point I felt like I left my body and was watching myself give birth. I would push so hard that I would start to blackout and when I opened my eyes and saw all these people around me I’d be like “oh man I’m still here? This is still happening?!” After what felt like forever and a blur at the same time, she was telling keegan to get ready to catch the baby. 10:37 pm, 24 hours into labor and One last push and before I knew it my son had been set in my arms on my chest. He was beautiful, alert, perfect and content just looking at us as if saying “hi mom and dad, out of all the people in the world, I chose you guys.” After 6 hours in that tub, Me and baby were helped out and put in a wheel chair and wheeled to the bedroom. The cord pulsed for about half an hour then Keegan cut it and I delivered my placenta. We kept it to plant with a tree on our new property. The baby had a low temp so we did Skin to skin with me, then Keegan, then my mom. Tests, weight and such and finally at 4 am we got to take him home. The next day we decided to name him Jazper Silus Harshman. Half of me, half of my love and best friend. He made us a family and we couldn’t be happier. Giving birth was the most intense, empowering, painful, and spiritual experience I’ve ever had and I will treasure it forever.

Posted in: Birth Stories

Annabelle’s Story

My husband and I were so excited to be pregnant. I knew that I did not want a hospital birth and we did not feel comfortable with a home birth so we researched what other options were available and found Cynthia at the Greenbank Birth Center. That seemed like the ideal place and the first time we met Cynthia we knew she was a perfect fit. We ended up moving to Mukilteo shortly after meeting Cynthia but we kept going back for appointments and for the birth.

I had a difficult pregnancy with nausea and vomiting starting from before I missed a period until the last day before she was born. I also needed hormone supplements and regular monitoring. Especially after such a miserable pregnancy we could not wait to meet our little girl!

I thought my water was leaking a few weeks early so Cynthia graciously tested and found all was well, no leaking. I was due on a Sunday and the Monday before that I started getting regular contractions. All afternoon and into the evening they were getting closer together and stronger so we thought this was it! Around 9pm they slowed down and basically stopped by the time we went to bed. This happened everyday that week but I really wanted to let my body choose its own pace so we waited it out.

Saturday evening, when the contractions would usually lighten up, they got stronger and stronger. We were hesitant to think this was the real thing since we had so many false starts but they continued throughout the night and we kept in touch with Cynthia. Around 4am it was finally time to go to the birth center.

We got to the birth center and got settled in there then Cynthia checked me and found I was 4cm. We were disappointed since by now it was 5am and I had been in real labor since 10pm so we all figured we had a long way to go. We tried a few different things but I really liked being on my hands and knees in the shower best.

Suddenly, my body started pushing and I could not stop it! Cynthia checked me again and found I was 7cm – it was probably around 6:30am now. Since this baby was coming quickly we now moved to the tub and started filling it and preparing for her birth. It quickly became apparent that we did not have enough time to fill the tub but I did not want to move to the bed so we ended up having an empty tub birth!

The baby’s heart rate dropped, she had the cord wrapped tightly around her neck twice and they had to massage her for what felt like an eternity before she started breathing but then I had my precious baby in my arms looking up at me just after 7am. We then moved to the bed and birthed the placenta and then Daddy, Mommy and Baby got to take a nap together. Our baby Annabelle Joy weighed just 5lbs 14oz but 21in long – tall and thin like her daddy.

We could not be more grateful to Cynthia and her team for encouraging us to trust my body when things were going slow and when things were going fast as well as for the priceless prenatal and postnatal care. Overall, we had a wonderful experience and would recommend Cynthia to anyone!

Posted in: Birth Stories

A Photo Birth Story

A lovely photo birth story from Cherie and Tylor, thank you so much for sharing. *Some graphic photos.
“We are so thankful for the way in which we brought our son into this world… a dream come true! Cynthia and Crystal, a million thanks be to you and for you! Photo credit to Erin Nowak, owner of Sweet Sparrow Photography.” -Cheri

Posted in: Birth Stories

Zofia’s Story

ZofiasStory

Your “due date” was 19 June 2013.  We were kinda wondering when you would decide to make your appearance.  I had lots of practice contractions the night of 30 Jun and 1 Jul, that I thought both those nights it was go time.  Even the previous week I would have a night or 2 of contractions that I thought were “it”.  The night of the 2nd, there was nothing going on.  My water broke around 0500 on 3 july 2013.   It was just a little trickle here and there, with an occasional gush throughout the day, but with really no contractions until about 1400.  I started timing my contractions and they averaged 50s long about 4 minutes apart.  Your dad went to pick up your brother at daycare and I called Ayla to come over.  When she did, she timed my contractions and they were now 1.5 minutes long and about 3.5 minutes apart.  Cynthia called and said she was heading our way.  During the first phase I was downstairs with Ayla, circling the stairs doing pranayama breathing during the contractions.  My legs were starting to ache, so Ayla would massage them.  When Daddy got home with Zeke, they ate dinner and I went upstairs (because actually the smell of the meat was not sitting well with me).  I was already feeling pretty exhausted even though it was only about 1730.  I would lay down in the bed in childs pose to rest and then get on all 4s during the contraction.  Cynthia and Crystal arrived but were very quiet and let me do my thing while they set up.  Daddy was tending to Zeke and getting him ready for bed.  Ayla was helping me through contractions pushing my hips in and doing light strokes on my back.  I remember the contractions getting pretty intense but wanted to not think about it because Zekes labor was so long…I was planning another marathon again.  I would sit on the ball to relax between contractions and stand and sway during them.  Daddy came in and took over.  I think he was a bit shocked at the quick handoff from Ayla and wasn’t quite sure what he was walking into.  He was also prepping for a marathon.  Contractions were definitely intensifying!  I would go from hot during, to cold after.  My legs were also shaking a bit.  I was having double peak contractions, so Cynthia suggested I change it up a bit.  So I asked if I could go down stairs.  Daddy and I went down stairs.  I would walk around and he would try to clean the kitchen, when I would call him over to support me during a contraction.  We would stand and sway and I would lean against him.  I would think to myself a few different words like open, peace, relax, release and he would say those things to me too.

After a couple laps around the house again, I had to go to the bathroom.  Even if you have to go, there’s no pausing contractions and kinda felt a tiny urge to push.  They heard a little grunting from upstairs and came down.  Time to get her up stairs they said.  As we went upstairs, Daddy went to check on Zeke and I was have stronger contractions.  I was 8cm at that point and was told I could probably push my way to 10cm.  I kinda squatted at the foot of the bed (the place where I had Zeke).  But it was putting too much pressure on your head.  So I moved to the bed, and got caught having a contraction on my side.  Yikes! That was no fun!  I asked if I could go to the tub.  Yes.  Daddy was back at that point and they started to fill up the tub.  As I got in, the contraction feeling transitioned to one of just wanting to grunt and push.  I didn’t know how long this would take, since I pushed for 3 hours with your brother.  Daddy would tell me to relax in between pushing which really helped.  I had to release all my muscles to make this work.  I was thinking different things to myself.  Like “don’t push with your face” as someone told me a few weeks earlier.  I tried doing the HIC breathing during some pushing sessions.  I was starting to feel the ring of fire! Throughout the night, I would rub my belly in a circular motion during contractions or hold my belly.  I held my belly in the tub.  And I kept my eyes closed a lot in the tub because it was pretty red in color. (sorry, but it was and I didn’t want to look at it.) I reached down and I could feel your hair flowing in the water.  Soon your head and all the rest of you popped out.  The total time in the tub was 13 minutes.  Not too shabby little lady!  You came out and they put you on my chest.  Your daddy was right behind me the entire time (by the way, he was in pain too because I was “crushing” his foot).  Your eyes were wide open and you were very quiet (and purple).  Daddy said you looked at me and took your first breath.  Then you looked at him and started crying.  You scored an 8 on the scale.  I was shaking and shivering, but that was pretty normal.

I was waiting for the chaos to begin (like when your brother was born).  But it was all very peaceful and serene.  Everyone was calm and cool because everything was perfect.  Your cord blood was collected and then daddy cut your cord.

We moved to the bed and lay down to snuggle.  Still everything was peaceful.  We took pictures and looked at you in amazement.  It was a perfect birth.  I was so happy and it was everything I had hoped for.  I did tear a little and had 4 stitches, but that was a non-issue.

This is how a birth is supposed to go.  I was tired, but not like last time.  For the next 24 hours, I enjoyed the super high that follows a labor like that.  Such a feeling of love overtakes you and nothing else matters.  It is the most beautiful thing in the world and it’s too bad not everyone gets to experience it.  In total the labor lasted under 7 hours.  Our team left around 0000 on the 4th.

I think your great grandma (your namesake) was watching over me…

ZofiasStory2

Posted in: Birth Stories

A Destination Birth

DestinationBirthStory

As soon as I talked to Cynthia my mind was made up. She was so warm and inviting on the phone, showing a genuine concern for me. I felt she was someone I could really count on to guide me through my pregnancy.
My husband and I live in a somewhat remote area with very limited options for prenatal care.  Though Cynthia practices several hours travel time from us, her passion for midwifery and allowing our bodies to do what they are designed to do naturally, resonated with me.  It was an easy choice.

Throughout my pregnancy I was constantly impressed with the level of care she offered. At each appointment Cynthia explained what was going on with my body and my baby, giving me plenty of time to ask questions. I appreciated that she not only answered my questions, but educated me in a reassuring way.

As we approached my due date, Cynthia helped arrange a nearby cabin for us to stay in so that we could avoid the anxiety of a long journey from home once contractions began. Being our first, we didn’t feel rushed to check into the cabin, but we decided to about a week before my due date.  We are lucky that we did because contractions began unexpectedly the next morning.

My labor progressed quickly and Cynthia rearranged her day to accommodate our needs.The care and support I received throughout this process gave me confidence in myself. I am proud of my daughter’s birth and thankful for the experience and Cynthia’s guidance.

DestinationBirthStory2

Posted in: Birth Stories