Clarke and Cheryl+Liam and Zuri

Clarke and Cheryl+Liam and Zuri

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Liam's Birth Story

It's long, but I wanted to share Liam's birth story!

Liam Carter Holdaway’s Birth Story

We were so blessed to welcome little Liam into this world on July 24, 2012. Our birthing experience was wonderful! Our little family felt so close and there was so much love in that room. I’d been having practice contractions that would last for a couple hours then disappear since around 36 weeks. My estimated due date (July 15) came and went. Clarke and I walked all over farmer’s markets, the mall, and the cemetery and ate some delicious (but ineffective) eggplant parmesan to try and “induce” labor. Babies truly do come when they’re ready. I think natural induction methods really only work if you and baby are totally ready.
Clarke and I went to a midwife appointment on Monday July 23 at noon. I was 41 weeks and 1 day so the midwife asked if I wanted her to check me and see if I was dilated enough to strip my membranes. I was 3 cm and 80% effaced! They stripped my membranes and did a non-stress test (which was perfect) and we went home.
By the time we got home I was already having pressure waves (contractions) about every 15 minutes. They told me to take a nap when we got home so I got in bed and slept until 4 when I woke up with much stronger pressure waves. I still hadn’t said anything to Clarke, not wanting to get his or my hopes up. By 7 pm the pressure waves were every 6-8 minutes and very strong and spreading into my back. I told Clarke that I thought this was probably going to happen in the next day or two (ha!). I’d heard so many stories of first time moms birthing for 24 hours or more so I was preparing myself for a long labor and telling myself to stay at home as long as I could. I decided to get in the tub to see if it slowed down. The tub really helped me relax. Clarke read me some hypnobirthing scripts and really helped me stay calm, happy, and relaxed. By 9 pm the pressure waves were every 3-5 minutes! I finally called the midwife and she said she’d meet us at the birthing center in an hour. During that hour I started having back labor so I spent some time on my hands and knees and Clarke REALLY helped me by applying counter pressure to my back and hips. I was so excited when it was finally time to leave…until I got in the car. Luckily the birthing center is only about 15 minutes away and we arrived at 10 pm.
When we got there our midwife Shemin and two other midwives (Karly and Aundria) were waiting for us. They checked me and I was happy to hear that I was 6 cm and fully effaced! We decided to go outside and walk around for a little while. We were walking for a total of 15 minutes when I felt a really strong wave coming on and my water broke! After that the pressure waves were a lot stronger and even closer together. I decided I wanted to get in the nice big, deep, jetted tub and it was sweet relief! Being in the tub allowed me to change position so much more easily and the water really helped me to relax my muscles and progress more quickly. Clarke stroked my arms and read me some more visualization scripts. He did a great job supporting me and helping me stay calm and relaxed. At about 1 a.m. I told Clarke to get Shemin because I was starting to feel “pushy”. She came in and checked me. I was at 8 cm and in transition. Liam’s heart rate was a little bit high and so they asked me to get out of the tub and into bed because they needed to monitor him for an hour. I really recommend NOT lying in bed during labor. They said that if his heart rate didn’t slow down they’d have to transfer me to the hospital…It seemed impossible to get in the car at this point. I couldn’t imagine how I could handle that so I really started praying that everything would resolve itself quickly and we could stay. I got nauseous at this point and threw up a couple times during that hour. I so appreciated all the support from my wonderful husband and my amazing midwives Shemin, Karly, and Aundria. I discovered that I am a clingy, touchy person during childbirth. I was always wanting someone to hold my hands, stroke my hair, apply counter pressure to my hips, etc. and I was so grateful for all the support I had. I started feeling a lot of pressure in my hips as the baby descended and continued to feel the urge to push. I pushed through several of the contractions during transition and while I think it wore me out a little bit, I also think it helped Liam descend faster. After monitoring Liam’s heart rate for an hour it was normal again! This was such wonderful news! I really started wanting to push so they checked me again and said I was complete! That urge to push really is uncontrollable! When you gotta push, you gotta push. I got back in the tub and started pushing at about 2:30 a.m. Shemin massaged my perineum with oil and helped me stretch and Clarke was there washing my face with a cold wet cloth and holding my hand. My focal point was Aundria who I felt such a wonderful connection with. I would look into her eyes as I pushed and she would tell me “you’re so strong, so strong.” I can’t tell you how much that helped me. The support I felt from Clarke, these women, and my Heavenly Father was so amazing and I’m so grateful to them all.
Soon after I began pushing Shemin told me to reach down and feel the baby’s head! It felt so soft that I couldn’t believe it was his head, but it gave me the motivation to keep going. Soon I heard Clarke say, “Look at that hair!” They could see his head! I felt like I was so close! I felt like I just needed to do one more push to get him out…but unfortunately he was pretty stuck at this point. Clarke said with each push he’d come down a little more and then go back up a bit. I knew this was the “ring of fire” I’d heard so much about. The pressure was very strong and there definitely was a burning feeling. At this point I was loudly vocalizing with each push. I was SO loud! In between contractions I’d say, “I’m sorry! I’m so loud!” And they’d laugh and say it’s fine and normal. I remember asking Shemin, “He’s coming out with this push right?? He has to!” And Shemin would calmly reassure me that he might but he might not and it’s ok. That it would be soon.
The pressure kept getting stronger and stronger with each push and then during one I heard Shemin and Clarke say, “This is it! Big push and he’s out!” I was SO determined to get him out with that push so I bore down with all my strength. Suddenly the pressure and burning was gone! His head was out and the rest of him just slipped out. The relief was instant! They placed my beautiful baby boy on my chest and I felt the most love and peace that I have ever experienced. Liam was so calm that he didn’t even cry for a few seconds. Then he started quietly whimpering. His eyes were wide open and he was so calm and alert. I looked at Clarke and we both had tears in our eyes. We were a family and we couldn’t believe Liam was finally here! We let the cord pulsate for a few minutes before Clarke cut it and took Liam. He was so sweet holding his little boy for the first time, just staring at him in awe and quietly talking to him and calming him.
My midwives helped me get out of the tub and into bed to deliver the placenta. The placenta was much easier to get out than the baby, but I was so tired that it took me a few pushes to get it out. I had some labial tearing so Karly stitched me up while they checked out Liam. My parents came by and we spent a couple hours talking and staring at and cuddling baby L. It was wonderful! My parents left after a couple hours and we had some family cuddle time and some breakfast. At 9 we decided we were ready to get ready and head home. We got Liam dressed and put him in his car seat. He looked so tiny in there! We went home and enjoyed the day resting and enjoying our sweet beautiful baby boy.

Liam Carter Holdaway was born July 24 2012 at 4:05 AM at Bella Natal Birthing Suites in Orem, UT. He weighed 7lbs 5oz and was 20 inches long. I was in active labor for 12 hours, transition for about 2, and pushed for 1.5 hours.

We had an amazing natural, spiritual, birth. It was the most wonderful way to begin our lives together as a family. Daddy, mama, and baby Liam couldn’t be happier. :)

 Our room at the birthing center

Loved that tub!
 Meeting Liam!

 Beautiful baby boy

 Proud daddy!

 Grandma and Grandpa

So in love with him...

Happy Family :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Liam Carter Holdaway

Liam Carter Holdaway is here and we are so in love with him! He's adorable and extremely sweet and cuddly! He was born on Tuesday July 24 at 4 am at Bella Natal Birthing Center. Everything went great and we had an amazing experience! I'll write up my birth story when I have more time. Baby boy's waking up and is hungry. Here are some pictures for you to ooh and ahh over. He's adorable. I know. :)

First family photo! We were so tired, but so happy!

Liam Carter Holdaway. We are so in love with this cute little boy!

He has the most amazing hair! I'm obsessed with it!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


I've told myself this entire pregnancy NOT to get hung up on my due date. It is after all an estimate and something like only 5% deliver on their estimated due date. But no matter what you tell yourself once they give you a date it sticks in your mind and without even meaning to you've already began considering it as something of a holiday or special occasion. And so last night I over reacted to every contraction hoping that July 15 would indeed be our little guy's birthday. Then with disappointment I woke up feeling comfortable and contraction free this morning. We got up and cleaned L's room and got all his clothes into his dresser which we finally finished (we refurbished an old old dresser and it looks awesome!! It will have its own post shortly complete with before/after photos)! I organized all his clothes and things, did some laundry, and cleaned up the house. This brought on a whole new wave of contractions which lasted a couple hours fairly consistently and then disappeared (again...unfortunately). Hopefully one of these times the contractions will decide to stay and we can get this baby born. I anticipated delivering later than my guess date, but having July 15 come and go is making me really want to meet my little guy.
I was being a teary sentimental mommy while putting away all his itty bitty adorable clothes...picturing my sweet baby in each little outfit. We love him so much already and can't wait to have him in our arms. Whenever you're ready baby boy!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pregnancy journal: full term

As of today I am 37 weeks and considered full term. This means I can officially go into labor and they'll let me deliver at the birthing center! Two weeks ago we had a little false alarm and my midwife had to send us to the hospital to deliver. Luckily everything resolved itself and we were able to go home. We were grateful for the hospital and the doctors and equipment that could help in case of an emergency (since he would have been 2 weeks early), but sad thinking that we wouldn't have the birth we had planned (at our birth center with my midwife). We are very grateful that our baby has now reached full term.

I've had a lot of inconsistent contractions and back pain for the last two weeks, but nothing too bad. Then last night I was having constant painful contractions and cramping for about 3 hours and then they calmed down and I had them every few minutes along with back pain for the rest of the night. I was able to fall asleep at some point and when I woke up I was sore and have had a few little ones, but nothing consistent. Last night we thought it might be the real deal. Changing positions, drinking water, bath, laying down...nothing made them go away so I tried to prepare myself for possibly having my baby soon. It was very painful, but on the bright side it was great practice for using my breathing and relaxation techniques. It was good practice for Clarke too in helping me relax and remain calm.

All this "false labor" (I don't really like this term because I'm thinking and hoping that these contractions have been productive in helping my body prepare for birth...let's call it "practice labor") has made me feel like I need to be ready at any moment. At the same time all these "false alarms" (I don't like this term either...oh well...) are having me feel like it's NEVER going to be real! I'm trying to stay open to any possibilities. It's possible that last night was the beginning and I could go into active labor in the next few days or I could just have prodromal labor for weeks and finally deliver at 43 weeks or something (this is an please come before 43 weeks!)...just trying to accept that I have no idea what my body's telling me for now. Also trying to trust that my body is just doing what it needs to to prepare and that real labor will start at the right time for us whether that's earlier or later than I may expect.

P.S. I know this was a pretty boring post and probably TMI, but I use this blog as a journal for pregnancy. The point is to document this experience not to complain or unload on others. :) I just wanted to say that cause reading through this I sound a little complain-y. Sorry about that and know that I am a very happy pregnant mama! :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Week 35 & 36

How far along: 36 weeks 4 days!

Total weight gain: 30 lbs.

Stretch marks? Ah! Little ones right around my belly button showed up the other day! Nothing major though.

Sleep: Week 35 was rough. I kept thinking I might be going into labor cause of all the back pain and tons of contractions. I'd wake up and with intense pain in my hip and back and cramping in the front with irregular contractions. But when I'd stretch and drink water they'd ease up and eventually they'd always stop. Then on Monday (the beginning of week 36) I woke up feeling GREAT! No more ouchy contractions or back pain. And I've actually had tons of energy this week and have been sleeping great!

 Best moment this week: We thought I was in labor on Monday (at 35 weeks 1 day) and were so nervous and scared. That wasn't the best moment. The best moment was seeing baby on the ultrasound and being told everything was ok and he was going to be able to "cook" a little longer! We were so relieved!
Other best moment: My baby shower! It was so much fun! Thank you Alishia and everyone who came!

Movement: Lots of it! Which is reassuring to me since last weeks scare.

 Food cravings: Water! And sweets (Dang it!)...

 Symptoms: Back pain, braxton hicks, contractions (I now know the difference between braxton hicks and real contractions), SWOLLEN! I swelled up so much this week. My feet and ankles and fingers are huge! And then this sudden burst of energy the last few days...nesting? I think so. I'm getting so much done! I love it!

 Belly Button in or out? Still in. Think it always will be.

Wedding rings on or off? They've been off for a couple weeks. I'm usually a size 4. I tried on my friend's ring (size 7) and it fits perfectly! Size 4 to a 7! Can you believe that?!

Looking forward to: Being full term so that I can feel safe and deliver at my birthing center even if baby did decide to come before 40 weeks. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Week 32

I thought this would be an easy and fun way to chronicle where I'm at in my pregnancy as of now. :) Got this from my friend Aubrey's blog (Thanks Aubrey!)

How far along: 32 weeks+3 days or just starting month 7!

Total weight gain: 22 lbs.

 Maternity clothes? I only have 1 pair of leggings that are actually technically maternity. I wear them a lot. Haha. Or I wear regular leggings and my regular jeans unzipped with a belly band. :)

Stretch marks? Not yet! (knock on wood)

Sleep: Ah yes. Sleep. We have a complicated relationship. Between the acid reflux, being way too hot and sweaty, having to pee too much, and the occasional braxtons hicks and round ligament pain, sleeping through the night has become unrealistic. It usually takes me about 2 hours to get to sleep. Then I'll wake up around 2 or 3, am up for about an hour or 2, sleep again til about 6 or 7, up for another hour or 2 and then I am able to go back to sleep til about 9. I'm soo glad I don't have to be up for anything early. I sleep much better during the day for whatever reason so naps are definitely my friend.

 Best moment this week: Baby's been really fun this week. He totally stays to my right side and actually bulges out a ton on the right. It's so funny! Best moment this week was laying in bed with Clarke watching my whole abdomen move and shift around and feeling and seeing baby kicking and punching like crazy in there. We love talking to him too. Especially daddy. It's precious. <3

Miss Anything? Being able to stretch and work out my abs. But that's ok cause I love being pregnant and baby L.

Movement: It's been almost completely on my right side. His butt or knee bulges out on that side especially when I sit down. He kicks a lot on that side too. Usually he's pretty still during the afternoon, but at night or in the early morning when I'm trying to sleep he goes crazy!

 Food cravings: Hmmmm...smoothies, ice, cold water, cold juice. I'm so hot and thirsty all the time so I want lots of cold liquids!

 Symptoms: Some back pain, braxton hicks occasionally, acid reflux to the max, HOT, and my fingers are getting swollen.

 Belly Button in or out? In. I don't know if it will ever really go out all the way cause I'm such an innie.

Wedding rings on or off? On...for now...but I just tried to take them off and they're quite tight I gotta admit. They might be coming off soon. Or at least one of them cause they get more stuck when they're both on together.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy of course! Especially when I do my hypnobirthing practice, yoga, and walks. Sometimes it's hard to get motivated to just do it, but it does give me a lot more energy.

Looking forward to: All I can think of right now is... HAVING MY BABY of course!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


My wonderful and smart husband Clarke graduated from the BYU Marriott school of Business last Friday. He's so excited to be done and I'm so proud of him. He starts his job working as an operations consultant for IHC hospitals on May 14. We'll be moving up to the south Salt Lake area sometime before that. But in the meantime...neither of us have school or work or any kind of schedule we're having a STAYCATION! We decided not to spend money on a trip somewhere, but that doesn't mean we can't have tons of fun right here at home! So we have 3 weeks to pack, move, get a lot of stuff done, but also to play! We have lots of stuff we want to do so we're trying to do one fun activity a day. On Monday after selling our textbooks we played some tennis! It's been forever since we've played and it was so much fun! This summer weather is great! I just hope it can last. Then on Tuesday we went for a little hike up Pleasant Grove canyon to a pretty waterfall. We both cooled off in the freezing water and enjoyed nature and being together. Wednesday was more chill. We spent most of the day cleaning at home, but we had a movie night later which was fun and relaxing. I also got to have a girls night with my wonderful, beautiful friends Alishia, Amy, Jess, Michelle, and Mckell! Girls nights are good for the soul. I need them every once in a while. Thanks girls! Anyway, we're enjoying our little break before Clarke starts work. On the agenda before then is: the zoo or aquarium with our cute nephews, fishing, more hikes, a camping trip up Provo canyon, and Tucahnos. Mmmmm...also whatever else Clarke has up his sleeve for my birthday tomorrow. Yay! Anyway, I need to go get Clarke up. Today's schedule includes a picnic, more tennis, and maybe even a little bike ride. We better enjoy this free time while we can! Here are some pictures from our beautiful hike... <3
Enjoying the warm day!
All wet!
Soooo cold!
I love waterfalls. This one didn't really "fall" it more "spewed". The water shot out and you could see every individual drop of water. It looked and sounded way cool.
The view...

Week 27

Week 24

Monday, April 9, 2012

Week 20

Week 18

Week 17

Week 16

Week 15

Placenta, Cord, Hypnosis, Oh My!

The title indicates that the topics discussed in this post are often thought of as "weird" or even "scary" ideas about birthing. Yes I'm actually considering eating my placenta. Ok. Swallowing a pill that has ground up placenta in it. That's not gross right? :) Well at first I thought so, but the more I research it and think about it the more I feel that nothing could be more natural. It's full of everything you need to have healthy hormone balance after birth. If I possibly may benefit from it, then why not? I just have to find a placental encapsulation specialist that will do it all for me so I don't have to see it til it's in un-gross little capsule form.
Also I found a really cool article about delayed cord cutting that I thought I'd share.
It's amazing how much blood, oxygen, and nutrients the baby can get by waiting to cut the umbilical cord until it's done pulsing. It seems silly to deny the baby those benefits! I mean why not?
Third thing I've been working on in preparation of baby boy's arrival is relaxation and visualization techniques. We're taking a hypnobirthing class from an awesome instructor, Fiona Judd. It's such a great way for dads to get involved and excited about birth and their role in the birthing process. Clarke's been amazingly supportive and we're both excited about practicing and using the techniques we're learning to achieve a great birth experience. I want to write a lot more but have run out of time.
I think I'll chronicle my birth preparation experiences in future posts. Stay tuned. :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cravings, Pinterest, & Counting Sheep

So lately I've been craving real "man foods". I told Clarke last week that I really wanted some wings or ribs (which is so weird for me, I'm one of the girls that gives "chic food" it's name). So we went to Applebees and got wings for an appetizer and ribs for the entree. I can't believe how much meat we ate that night. We've also made steak twice in the last two weeks! It's crazy that I want so much meat for the first time in my life, but it's good that I'm getting some protein and iron there. Pinterest. I'm so glad to have discovered Pinterest. It makes making dinner so much easier! I just go on and find a recipe that sounds good! It also gives me tons of wonderful ideas for the baby's room! I can't wait to find out if it's a boy or girl so I can start making pillows, decorations, and clothes! I also can't wait to find out where we'll be living come May so that I can start making better plans. Next topic...counting sheep...I actually have never technically done this. But I'm going to have to start because for the last few weeks sleep has evaded me. I can get to sleep initially, but then it's tossing and turning and waking up sick or hungry all night. And then of course I'm exhausted during the day. Getting through a school day is getting pretty rough, so hopefully these insomnia issues can be fixed. I've heard body pillows are the way to go during pregnancy. Maybe I need to get me one of those. Anyone love those? Other ideas to sleep through the night? Ciao...

Week 14!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Our baby!

This was back when the baby just looked like a little bean. We got to have an early ultrasound so they could give me a due date. I thought I was 10 weeks pregnant, but when we got the ultrasound they said I was only 7 weeks and gave us July 15 as our due date! I'm almost 14 weeks now so the baby looks more like a tiny person now than a bean shaped dark blob. But it was great having that ultrasound and hearing the baby's crazy fast little heart beating. I'm so in love with him or her already. <3

The bump