Cayce Williams was born in the late afternoon of March 2, 2010. She weighed nearly eight pounds and was perfect in every way. Immediately after birth she was placed on her mother’s stomach, eyes wide open, taking in the world around her. Her parents were able to look at her, hold her, and enjoy those first moments as a family together. Her mother had worked so hard for many hours in order to finally enjoy this moment.
Labor began early in the morning the day before. Contractions were tolerable and sporadic for most of the day, but Jenifer knew that her baby would be coming soon, so she spent the day in preparation for what was ahead, by packing and making food. Jenifer called her family, and they were soon on their way to witness this birth experience. She wondered if her water had broken, and contemplated going to the hospital to have things checked out.
Towards evening, Jenifer’s contractions became stronger and more regular. She decided to get into the bathtub to relax and to help her manage the stronger contractions. It was at this point, Sam’s mother came over to join them and that the doula was called. After a couple of hours in the tub, and many very strong contractions that Jenifer managed so well, she decided to move into the bed. Getting out of the tub was difficult, and Jenifer experienced some very strong contractions and nausea. Everyone wondered if she might be close to giving birth, and it was decided to head over to the hospital in Salem. Jenifer was not ready to get out of bed, though, so everyone waited for her and then supported her out to the car.
At the hospital Jenifer was found to be 2.5 centimeters dilated. Her contractions continued on regularly and intensely, and the hospital staff realized that she might be farther along than she was measuring because of a bit of scar tissue that was probably restricting dilation. The nurses opened up a room for her so that she could labor in the bathtub for a while. She was checked every hour for four hours, while having contractions about three minutes apart, and continued to remain at 2.5 centimeters dilated. To carry on without having progress was so difficult, but Jenifer continued to work so hard. She amazed everyone around her, including the staff at the hospital.
Towards five in the morning, Jenifer was checked again and was found to be closer to four centimeters dilated! Jenifer decided that at this point she would like to have IV medications to help make contractions more manageable. She had not slept in a very long time, and hoped that the medication would help her rest between contractions. She now labored in the hospital bed, on her side. She liked having her back and feet massaged, her head stroked, and maintaining eye contact with Sam, who never left her side. So many people remarked at what a close couple they were, how strong Jenifer was, and what an amazing support that Sam was to her.
By 10 o’clock, the IV medications were not as effective as they once were, and Jenifer felt like she needed more to get through. She was now seven centimeters dilated. Her back was hurting so much and she was very tired. The nurse and her doula suggested that she go to the bathroom and spend some time leaning forward, as that might help her baby to rotate and come down farther. This was, by far, the most intense part of Jenifer’s labor. She worked so hard, and everyone so admired her strength and determination!
After some time on her feet, Jenifer decided to get an epidural. Everyone around her supported this decision, wanting her to get some relief from her contractions. It took some time for the epidural to fully take effect, but it finally did and everyone was relieved that Jenifer could finally have some respite from the pain she was experiencing. Family members took turns resting, quietly visiting, and supporting the expectant couple.
At three o’clock, the nurse felt just a small lip of cervix over the baby’s head that she was able to push back as Jenifer pushed. It was time to start pushing! Although Jenifer was told that the first pushes were for practice, she did awesome right from the start. She pushed at the peak of the contractions, with Sam and her doula supporting her legs, and it wasn’t long before the top of her baby’s head was visible. By the time the doctor came into the room, Jenifer was nearly crowing. During the final pushes, all of Jenifer’s family came close so that they could see baby Cayce be born. It was an amazing sight! She came out with her hand by her face, surrounded by so many people who marveled at her and loved her.
It is always such an honor to be present during a labor and birth. It is such an intimate time for a couple and for a family, and I can’t help but be amazed every time at the miracle of it all. Sam and Jenifer were a very special partnership, and it was very evident to all that saw them together that they have an extraordinary relationship. I saw in Jenifer such a strong, strong woman. She truly amazed me, and I will always remember the grace and strength that she possessed during this time of her life.