Jude’s Birth Story




Baby’s Name: Jude
Mother’s Name: Jehnel
Birth Date: August 30, 2016
Birth Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Birth Size: 6 pounds, 6.5 ounces; 19.5 inches long

Ironically enough, the morning of Jude’s birth began with me already not sleeping (just a way of the universe prepping me for what was to begin!). I went to sleep around midnight on August 30th and everything was normal and nothing was out of the ordinary. I slept soundly for three hours and around 3:00am, something stirred me from my sleep. I was still in a sleep stupor and I didn’t even notice my contractions had began. Unfazed, I went back to sleep for another 30 minutes and in that short span of time, my body was already prepping itself for Jude’s speedy arrival.

Around 3:30am, I finally awoke fully and noted the time and the pains. At this point, because my due date was still 10 days away, I wasn’t entirely certain that this was “it”. Just a week prior, on August 23, I had my last weekly check-up and I was only measuring one centimeter for dilation. The midwife said I was right on schedule and that I may even exceed my due date. Just two days before I gave birth, I even had my last baby shower. I had those thoughts swirling in my head while timing the contractions. Around 4:00am, I woke my husband up and told him that I might be in labor. Funnily enough, he had the same reaction as I did; he mumbled a few words to me and rolled over to continue sleeping. I laughed at him and so with another round of rousing, he finally woke up and we started the day together, not knowing what to fully expect in the next few hours.

The place I gave birth (Charleston Birth Place) has a policy that mothers in potential labor must wait two hours from the time contractions begin before they can call to inform a midwife of the situation. My estimated call-time was to be 5:30am and by 4:30am, my contractions actually intensified and the pain grew stronger. I was determined to take it easy, relax, and calm down. I decided to hop in the shower and let the hot water ease my contractions and my hardening stomach. I may have stayed in the shower for about 30 minutes, before I realized I need to get out immediately or I might have our son in our bathroom.

Just my luck and TMI to come: my water broke as soon as stepped out of the tub; literally the exact moment my foot hit the bath mat. My eyes rolled so hard at the moment and before I could continue my frustration, an extreme wave of nausea hit me. So I’m in this stellar moment of my water breaking; having to sit down on the toilet because it won’t stop; my contractions getting even stronger; and to top off my stint in the bathroom, I vomited in the sink since I had no other option. This was literally the craziest 45 minutes of my life.

My poor husband was in the hallway and he had given me some much-needed space during all that (I actually would have really hated if he came in to help, despite the fact there was a point where I had no idea how I would get out of that bathroom, haha). We went back to our room and at this point, it was now around 5:45am so the green light to call the birth center was on. I called the number and it sent me to a call service, gave the name of any midwife that I could think of at that moment to the clerk that answered, and waited for them to return my call. After about five minutes, she called me back and we chatted about the situation at hand.

After her informing her of when the contractions began and that I waited the necessary two hours before calling, she asked me if I was able to wait until 7:00am or so before we all could head over the birth center, she and other nurses included. Politely, I said definitely not and she said she would be able to be at the birth center in 30-45 minutes, with a quick hop in the shower needed. More on my “calm voice” later in this story.

After the phone call, my contractions had grown even greater, reaching to at least four minutes apart (possibly even less) and they were extremely strong. So strong, in fact, that I had to give myself at least 20 minutes to gather enough strength to power through getting up, walking to the car, and sitting down. All these were too difficult at the moment and I eventually made it out of the house without screaming or crying out in pain.

Thankfully, we are only about a seven-minute drive away from our nearest birth center and even better, we avoided traffic down one of the busiest roads in our area. We arrived at the birth center around 6:45am or so and our midwife that I spoke to on the phone, Laurie, had just arrived herself. She met us in the parking lot and assisted me out of the car while my husband gathered my bag. I held her hand and made another trek inside where she led us to the birthing room. Each step was excruciating but I was so glad the end was near and she kept me calm and did her best to encourage the both of us, from the moment we arrived to the moment we left the birth center that same day.

We made it to the room and since she was the only one there at the time (the other nurses were on their way), the room hadn’t been completely prepped yet. The birthing tub had been filling and she was preparing the bed and any necessary instruments to have around for the baby and I, so I just leaned against the door with my husband, haha. Just before 7:00am, she helped me over to the bed and checked out how dilated I was and she immediately said I was at ten centimeters and I was completely effaced. Going back to my “calm” voice on the phone, she told me she was quite surprised that I had quickly developed to this stage because the phone call was also to help her gauge how much pain I was in and how far along I may already be. According to her, because I sounded so calm and pleasant, I might still have a few hours before the action. Jude definitely had other plans.

She helped me into the birthing tub and the warm water was so refreshing. It immediately calmed me down (as much as I could be at this point) and I tried to stay focused on letting the labor progress slowly still (especially to avoid tearing), despite already being at ten centimeters. Josh was in the tub with me, behind me and cheerleading his way through everything going on, including my screams. He was really my strength and stay throughout the whole morning.

I began to feel a great push and up until this point, I had really tried to avoid pushing because I wanted to be completely ready before that happened. I couldn’t ignore it anymore and I told my midwife that I needed to push and she told me to go ahead and before I knew it, she exclaimed that Jude’s head was out and I needed to do another big push to get his shoulders out. I pushed one more time and at 7:30am, Jude Palmer Oboza-Davison was born. She handed him to me and his back was facing me, and I immediately turned him around to look at my son’s face. Both of our eyes flooded with tears and that was the most moving and memorable moment of both of our lives at that point. We stayed in the tub for a few minutes just floating and holding one another before she asked Josh if he could get some towels from another room while she stayed with Jude and I. There were still no nurses due to traffic; but our midwife was amazing to have handled that alone!

I stepped out of the tub and while I cleaned up, she gave Jude to Josh and he held him on the bed for some much-needed skin-to-skin time. As I rested, she attended to Jude, cleaned him up, put a diaper on him, and Josh took the first picture of our boy and sent it out to our families. (The only ones in our family who may have had an idea were my grandparents since we lived with them and my grandfather was already awake when we left.) My dad responded first and then my mom was in disbelief, and finally my mother-in-law.

Around 8:15am, other nurses had arrived and we began the nursing process. We were all so happy that Jude latched on immediately and he actually ate for 50 minutes. Our parents, my grandparents, and my sister eventually showed up around 10:00am and they were all so smitten with Jude, and still very much in disbelief that the morning happened the way it did!

Around noon, we got to go home after he and I were cleared by our midwife and the nurses. We were visited by more family and everything about the day turned out so well. I was so glad to be able to walk around and move freely, and to head home after just five hours of giving birth. It was one of the biggest pluses of giving birth naturally without drugs and with the positive way that things panned out, I would absolutely do it again if we are blessed to do it again.

Jude’s birth and the story of him coming earthside is probably the most proudest moment of my life. After my pregnancy and labor, I felt empowered and it’s a feeling that has stayed to this day, almost a year later. My body was extended in all sorts of directions through those nine months, and the last few hours of my pregnancy led me to new experiences and newfound feelings of pride for my son and myself, motherhood, and love.




Jude’s Birth Story



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