Sawyer's Birth Story

For anyone who hasn't heard, our sweet little baby boy came on July 4th, 2013.

Here is our birth story.

Aaron and I agreed that we wanted to have an unmedicated birth. In order to achieve this goal, we did a couple of things that we felt really contributed to our success. First, we attended a birthing class called Hypnobabies. Second, we chose to give birth in a birthing center. If it weren't for these key decisions, I don't think we could have had the birth experience we really wanted.
My "guess date" was June 29th, so technically I was 5 days "overdue" when I went into labor on July 4th. At my 40 week visit, I asked the midwives if there was anything we could do to speed things along because we really wanted him to be born while both of our parents were here in Seattle. The midwife said she could strip my membranes that day, but she recommended waiting until my 41 week checkup. That would have been Friday, July 5th. We decided to wait it out and see if it (he) would come before then.
So we waited :) On the night of July 3rd, we had pizza (thanks to Shannon) and I listened to one of my Hypnobabies MP3 tracks called "Come OUT, Baby!" I started having some pressure waves (contractions) while listening to the track, so I made Aaron come walk with me to try and get things going, but we were lazy and tired and decided we would just go to bed and let nature take its course.

At around 4 AM, I woke up to a nightmare that I had been induced and I was in my birthing time (labor). It turns out my dream was real (except for the induction part). We started timing the pressure waves and then called the midwife. After two hours, my pressure waves got more intense and we headed off to the birth center at around 6:30 AM. This is when I really had to focus and use the tools I learned in the birthing class.

After taking my vitals and helping us settle into our room, the midwives left us alone. The birth was such a special experience for me and Aaron. He was an amazing birth partner/daddy doula. One thing we really enjoyed about Hypnobabies is that it puts a lot of responsibility on the birth partner. Aaron had done a lot of preparation for birth beforehand so that during the birthing time he would know exactly what to do. He read relaxation scripts, practiced different massage techniques, and read up on different birth positions. During the early stages of labor, he would look for signs of tension and help me relax. He stayed by my side the entire time and was completely focused on keeping me comfortable and relaxed.

He was seriously the best birth partner anyone could ask for and I couldn't have done it without him. He spent so much of his time studying and preparing for birth, and it really showed during our birthing time. I feel that it brought us together in ways that nothing else could. I depended on him completely, especially when I started to doubt myself and become discouraged.
Throughout my early stages of labor I listened mostly to Aaron's voice reading me relaxation scripts and giving me cues, like "relax" or "peace." The early stage was much more difficult than I had anticipated. I started to get exhausted and shaky, and I vomited. I thought I was at transition, but when the midwives checked I was only at a 7 (this was at 11:30 am). Fortunately, the student midwife had used Hypnobirthing (similar program) in her own birth, and she was a hypnodoula before becoming a midwife. She looked me in the eye and said "Jessica, you have strong pelvic muscles and you are tightening them, making it hard for the baby to descend and diliate your cervix. You need to find positions that use gravity to your advantage and focus on relaxing your pelvic muscles." Earlier, Aaron had suggested a squatting position, but it increased the intensity and it made me scared, so I chose not to try anything that increased the intensity. After hearing the midwife suggest this, I decided this wasn't going to be as easy as I thought. This was going to be the most intense, difficult, life-changing thing I will ever do and I had to get my mind in the game. This was the turning point.

Aaron helped me into a good squatting position and we asked for my mom and sister to come in and help. I listened to a Hypnobabies track and REALLY focused on relaxing and using my off-switch (completely relaxing your entire body). I started transition and I wasn't even aware of it because I was so deeply relaxed. My water broke and that was when the pushing urges started. The urges came during pressure waves and I just let my body take over. Transition and pushing were easier for me than the early stages. I think that once my mind relaxed, my body was able to take over and do what it needed to do.

The midwives were AMAZING and had me get into different positions during pushing, which utilized my muscles and helped my perineum stay intact. I was on the birthing stool while pushing him down the birth canal, and then I got on the bed and tried a couple other positions (lying on side and hands/knees). While I was pushing, Aaron would stroke my arm and whisper sweet, encouraging words in my ear. He would say how proud he was of me, and how amazing and strong I am. I focused on how much I love him and how much I love our baby we created together. It was such a sacred, bonding experience for us. Pushing was an indescribable experience that can only be felt to understand. Going completely natural had the advantage of knowing how to push since I could feel EVERY single movement of my muscles and the baby. It took me about 25 minutes to push him out and during that time Aaron would give me updates on my progress and the midwives coached me beautifully so that I wouldn't tear.

When Sawyer came out at 1:25 PM Aaron joyfully yelled, "It's a boy!" I looked down and saw my sweet little baby looking at me. I pulled him up onto my chest and admired his beautiful face and full head of hair. I knew that every single moment was worth bringing this precious spirit into the world. I looked at Aaron and could see that love mirrored on his face as well. Oh how I love that man.

Aaron said that as soon as he was out he started sticking out his tongue, just like in the ultrasound. As you can see, Sawyer is a hairy little man. His eyebrows and hair connect at his temples, he has sideburns, and he has a hairy back and arms. The midwives nicknamed him "monkey."

At first I wanted to have an unmedicated birth just for the experience, and I didn't want to experience only half of it (early stages). I wanted to feel the entire thing: early stage, transition, and pushing. Plus, I wanted to say I did it and prove everyone wrong that said I would be on my knees begging for an epidural.
I guess I thought of it like any other kind of feat of human strength; like a marathon, climbing a mountain, etc. However, birth gave me an experience that I wasn't expecting. There was one point during the birth that I felt I was in my own Gethsemane; I hit a breaking point where I felt like I really had to conquer the natural man and give in to the pain. A point where I had to say "not my will, but yours, be done." (Luke 22:42) I know that it isn't even close to the suffering and importance of the Atonement, but giving up my will, desires, and comfort in order to give life was very sacred to me and it made me feel closer to my Savior.

This feat of human endurance and strength wasn't for me anymore, it was for someone else: my baby.
The pressure waves got so intense that I just wanted to cry and run away, but I knew it wouldn't stop and I just had to gather up all my courage, strength, and determination in order to get through the intensity. It was a deeply spiritual experience for me and I am so glad that I went through it.
I know that all women experience birth in different ways, and those experiences are just right for them.
My personal birth experience was just what I wanted and needed.


  1. I have been waiting for this post! This is so great, Jessica. There is nothing in this world compared to giving birth and the emotions and experiences that go with it. I ended up having a C-section with my first, so when I actually had a VBAC I just remember feeling so PROUD of myself! I couldn't believe that I had done what I did (although I got the epidural). This was seriously so beautifully written. You really opened my eyes to what an unmedicated birth is like. So many congratulations to you and I wish I could hold him!

    1. Thank you! Doesn't it make you feel so good about yourself? It's such a neat feeling to know that you worked hard to get your baby into the world, and pushing is HARD WORK, epidural or not!
      I'm so glad that you enjoyed reading it, I was debating whether or not to write about something so personal, but it really helped me to read other women's birth stories and I wanted to do the same!

  2. Congratulations! Rely on the Lord every day, remember to put him first with prayer and scripture study as you adjust to being a new mother. You will find that as you put the Lord first you strength as a mother will be added and you will be able to meet the demands of this new calling.

  3. YAAAAAY! Congratulations mama!! You're post has given me inspiration! I've been having a lot of contractions lately so my anxiety level has been off the charts. I'm so happy for you guys. Enjoy your little angel :) Can't wait for more pictures!

    1. You can do it, Alexa! My mom gave me some great advice that really made a big difference. She said during every contraction just focus on getting through that one, just think "I'll I need to do is get through this one." Also, bring the ultrasound pics of your baby. When I got discouraged Aaron would show me the pictures and it would remind me what I was doing this for and get me excited to see our baby!
      Good luck! I'm so excited for you to get your little boy :)

  4. Such an encouraging emotional post Jessica!!!! We are also going to be delivering at a Midwife Group/Birthing Center. I am so scared and excited about the fact that I can go into labor any day now (my 'due' date is Aug 4th). We've been reading The Bradley Method and Ben has been practicing his birthing coach role, as well as the relaxation techniques. I hope that my story ends up turning out similar to yours!