Pregnancy comes with surprises and that was no exception for Taylor, a first-time mom.
But that didn’t mean she didn’t prepare herself. Once she found out, she read a lot of books
and took a couple short online classes. She learned information from her coworkers who have
recently been through childbirth. After she contacted me, I taught her how she could apply the
knowledge she gained and birthing techniques.

Taylor also thought of a creative way to tell her parents about her news. She invited them
over for dinner and afterwards, she gave them each a gift to open - a fishing lure that said
“grandpa’s fishing buddy” for her dad and a music box that said something along the lines of
“future grandma” for her mom. Then Taylor visited the rest of her close family and friends and
told them.

“They were all so excited!” Taylor said. “I told my co-workers with an ultrasound picture on
my manager’s slideshow at our monthly staff meeting. That was fun.”

During her pregnancy, she craved anything that had to do with potatoes – French fries or
mashed – she wanted them all!

The Day it All Started

Taylor didn’t expect her baby boy to arrive so soon. Other children in her immediate family
were notorious for being late and her son wasn’t due for another three days. When her water
broke at work, she didn’t think it was a big deal because it wasn’t a “big gush” like she thought
she’d have.

“I’m glad he was early and it was unexpected,” she said. “It gave me less time to freak out
about my first birth and allowed me to dive right in and do it!”

On October 21, 2022, I received a text from Taylor. She told me that her water broke and
her doctor had advised her to go to the hospital to check on the situation.

At the time, her contractions hadn’t started, but she remembered nurses being in the room, including a midwife who happened to be working. It seemed to her in no time that she went from 4 to 10 centimeters.

“And my doctor wasn’t even at the hospital yet when I started pushing!” Taylor said. “It felt
a bit crazy, but I knew that I was well taken care of.”

An hour after Taylor arrived at the hospital, her spouse, Devon, texted me to keep me updated. The hospital admitted her, the medical professionals gave her a pill to help soften her cervix. A few hours later, her contractions began at two in the afternoon.

I asked Devon if Taylor could talk through them; they told me the contractions were getting pretty tough. Each one lasted about 45 seconds and were 3-4 minutes apart, a great sign of an active labor. So I
grabbed my doula and camera bags and was on my way.

Pregnant woman laboring on a hospital bed. She is breathing through a contraction while her husband is holding her hand

Photo taken by Kristen Schell Photography

When I got there, Taylor and Devon were by the bed. Her parents were in the room hanging
out. Devon and Taylor got into a rhythm every time there was a contraction. She would reach out
for their hand, then she held it and breathed through the contractions until it was over. Then she
would let out and try to rest a bit until the next one came. Eventually, when the contractions got
stronger, Taylor and Devon asked their parents to leave. But the anticipating grandparents were
too excited and stayed in the waiting room.

As usual, I would check to make sure everyone was drinking water. I also offered different
ideas of comfort measures to try and gently remind Taylor to breathe and be floppy like a rag
doll. Her spouse was on it. They were in tune with her and was there for her every step of the

Taylor, Devon and I went for a walk around the floor, then we came back to the room. Her
contractions got more intense so I suggest a shower to help her body relax. The only problem
was that something was funky with the water heater. It took at least 20 minutes to warm up.

Once she got in the shower, it seemed to help. Then things got more intense, a good sign that
she’s in transition. She wanted to get out of the shower, so she did. After she walked to the bed,
she said, “I have to push.” 

“Okay, so that’s fine,” I said. “We’ll let the nurse know when she comes back in.”

“Ohhhhh, I have to push!” Taylor said when the nurse came in.

“Don’t push!” The nurse told Taylor, then asked if she could do a cervical exam to make sure
Taylor was complete and Taylor consented. Sure enough, Taylor was fully dilated and baby was
“right there.” So the nurse called in for the staff to come in and suddenly the room was a flurry
of staff ready for baby to come. 

Taylor described her contractions as more painful than she expected. As they intensified
between 6-7 p.m., she had a few moments where she wasn’t sure she would make it without pain
medication, but the support she received from Devon and me helped her push through. It seemed like they hardly let go of her hand the whole time.

“I’m not someone who gives up easily or abandons my initial plan unless it’s absolutely
necessary, so I wouldn’t say I surprised myself,” Taylor said. “I knew I could do it and wasn’t
going to give up.” (I mean - she did run marathons in the past so she is determined when she sets her mind to a goal). 

Still Taylor had her moments when she was getting exhausted with all her pushing. At one
point, Devon looked down and saw the baby’s head about to pop out. “Taylor he’s here,” they said.
“You’re almost done. Keep going!”

After Taylor heard that, her energy returned as she pictured holding her newborn. In
retrospect, she wasn’t sure exactly how long she pushed for but didn’t feel for very long. One
time, she remembered the baby’s heart rate dropped but after she switched positions, the heart
rate returned to normal.

“Zero complications with anything else.” she said. “I felt really prepared, which is how I kept
so calm.”

When her baby emerged, Taylor expressed the immediate love and connection she felt
towards him. Since her whole family loves music, she named him Miles Emerson.

Devon cut the cord, and the new parents enjoyed the first golden hour during which Miles also had his first examination.

The new parents invited both sets of their parents to meet their new grandson (They were in the waiting room the entire time!) Miles was six pounds, 13 ounces, and 20 inches long, born on a gorgeous fall day of seventy degrees.

“He’s a spitting image of his dad – dark hair, exact same nose and facial features,” Taylor
said. “I’m hoping his eyes stay blue like mine!”

Congrats to the new parents Taylor and Devon on birth of their son, Miles!

Like always, I only share photos that I have permission from the birthing person.

About the Author Kristen Schell

Kristen is a birth doula, photographer and childbirth educator. She wants to help families feel inspired by what birth can be. It can be beautiful, empowering, supported, and evidence based.

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