Timber Azariah | Birth Story

This time around, the birth story is a bit different… because my husband Paul wrote the majority of it! I love his detailed account, and I’ve added comments through out the story (marked by my initials “SK”)

—Our wonderful birth photographer is: Lauren LaBoyteaux . I highly recommend her!! She is calm, creates incredible photographs of birth – and is just the kindest woman. I’ve hired her for our past 2 births.

Timber’s Birth Log

Paul Fancher, Wednesday October 11, 2023

It seems good to me to record an orderly series of the events that transpired leading up to Timber’s birth, for the benefit of the other couples in our extended family who are expecting and for a record of what transpired to bring about such a good experience from a scheduled induction.

Before today, we received a formal diagnosis of gestational diabetes which was obviously present but well within the tolerance of Sylyna Kennedy, our midwife, and of the other providers working with us. One week ago, the doctor above our CHM, (certified nurse midwife) made it clear he wanted Shanna-Kaye to have a scheduled induction today. The induction was scheduled for midnight (amidst some confusion about which midnight it was scheduled for) and we began making preparations for birth to begin no later than 12:01AM Wednesday morning.

We spent the week we had using what natural, holistic, botanical, and alternative means we were familiar with to encourage and stimulate progress in Shanna-Kaye’s dilation and effacement, which was measured at  2cm and 50% effaced the day she was informed of the scheduled induction. Shanna-Kaye had two birth prep massages, a chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, a light foot massage by me, Clary Sage applied to her ankles practically every night, and Geranium mixed with a little Rose (which made it a little uncomfortable) applied to her perineum Monday evening, along with certain other common natural methods of inducing labor (walking, etc.). The common denominator between all of these methods was that none of them were intended or designed to artificially induce labor, they were only intended to stimulate, prolong, and stabilize labor that was already ready to begin or, more often, already in progress.

It’s worth noting that, as we drew nearer to the date of the scheduled induction, it became more and more evident that Shanna-Kaye preferred to be induced rather than to go into labor spontaneously.

The day arrived, Mom was watching the kids, we left for Longview around 7PM, arrived around 8PM, grabbed some blueberries from Aldi’s and went to Wild Honey Creamery to eat some high quality ice cream. After that we walked for a while, then went to Walmart. After Walmart we parked and watched a full feature-length movie in the car (Love’s Last Resort). By the time we finished it was 11:30PM, we drove to the hospital and checked in at midnight. 

{SK} Watching that chick flick helped a lot – because being able to emotionally be preset and have fun and laughter is a huge part of getting ready for birth. I was able to completely forget that we were waiting to check into the hospital, and just enjoy the movie – which hasn’t happened in a really long time. 

Last bump photo before starting birth!

[SK] We got a room at 12:30AM

[SK] IV & Blood Work between 12:30AM and 1:20AM

[SK] 3cm dilated and around 50% effaced

[SK] Pitocin started at 1:30AM

[SK] Contractions currently 20 minutes apart

[SK] Baby boy running away from the monitor

[SK] Slept/Rested from 1:30AM to 2:45AM

[SK] Woke up at 2:45AM. I can tell that the waves are starting but they don’t hurt. I feel wet down there. (That was from being checked) 

2:45AM – I’m awake and recalibrating me: my right leg needs a lot of attention. SK is still asleep. The nurse came in a few minutes ago and increased the Pitocin from 4mil to 8mil.

2:54AM – SK is fully awake. I got her ice chips, she’s thirsty. Things are changing, but she’s not in pain and is thanking God. She can tell it’s doing stuff to him.

[SK] Texted Amanda (the doula) and Lauren (the birth photographer) the first update.

2:57AM – Contractions, but it’s not painful

[SK] Paul laid down to rest on the bed.

3:34AM – The nurse came in a few minutes ago and increased the Pitocin from 8mil to 12mil and let us know Sylyna Kennedy (the midwife) had left her home and would be here in less than half an hour. Sylyna is here, she got here right after the nurse told us she had left her house. SK and Sylyna and the nurse are talking. 

3:39AM – At a 4, 70% effaced. Sylyna offered to break water, SK looked at me, I encouraged her to decline, she declined this time. Sylyna diplomatically communicated that breaking water would be a good idea.

Sylyna encouraged SK to move to the birthing ball. SK moved to the birthing ball around 4AM and used the strength she normally has around this time of day for getting me out the door to move labor along a little more. 

We have been through a lot of trauma this year, I have been through a lot of trauma this year. Several waves of negative emotions related to past events surfaced at the same time as waves of positive emotions related to present events. At least one wave of past emotions was almost overwhelming. I had to make the conscious decision to focus on the positive present emotions, and found God had designed me where I was able to do so.

5:02AM – Finished laboring on the birthing ball and laid back down to rest. I texted Amanda and asked her to come, then texted Lauren, then called them both, they are on their way. Amanda will be here in about half an hour, Lauren will be here in about an hour.

5:18AM – SK just woke up from a nap, Amanda is almost here, I’m sitting down to eat breakfast

Sylyna came in at some point

I took a nap

6:34AM – I just woke up

7:19AM – Sylyna checked again, no progress, Sylyna offered to break water again. Pitocin has been at 20mil for a while (it was eased up gradually, then it stayed at this level until after the baby was born)

7:36AM – Sylyna breaks SK’s water, it was easy to break because there was a bulge in the bag

{SK} At this point, I had stayed at 4cm for 4 hours. My body was feeling the birth waves (aka contractions) and they had strengthened, but not gotten to the pain point I was expecting. 

Everyone was in the room – my midwife Sylyna, nurse Jessica, Paul, my doula Amanda, and birth photographer Lauren. We talked about what was next – and Sylyna talked with me about the fact that the next step was to break my water, because we had already used as much Pitocin as we needed to, without it moving dilation along in the last 4 hours. Basically, adding more Pitocin would not be helpful in progressing birth, and could have adverse side effects. I communicated that I was “comfortable” – and both Sylyna and Amanda said “well you got to get uncomfortable to have this baby.” I agreed, and when Sylyna broke my water – she barely touched it and it broke. 

It started leaking as I sat up on the side of the bed, and I felt it leak 4 times… and then it GUSHED all over the floor. We were getting somewhere! 

Signs of Transition

{SK} Transition for me is usually marked by a few things: throwing up, birth waves intensifying more and more, and the “I can’t do this” feelings coming on suddenly.

This birth was different. I went thru throwing up 3x, each time feeling like “this is not enough to be real” – even though my body was trying. Side note – throwing up while laying down contracting is difficult. I was so grateful for the “throw up bags” – because I was less afraid to throw up. The birth waves did get stronger, and different – but it was more of feeling like my body needed to be shifting positions constantly. I believe that’s from Timber not being in the ideal position, as he had been moving from side to side the few weeks before birth, and was transverse before that. 

I knew I needed to listen to my body to birth him well – and was praying in my head that God would put him into the position he needed to be in for birth… and let my body handle HOW to get him there. 

The position that was the most different in this labor was laying on the bed, with legs open on each side (like a butterfly) and pressing my back/body into the bed. It sounds so weird- but for some reason, it gave me a place to anchor and for whatever reason, that’s what was needed. 

8:55AM – dilated to a 6, 80% effaced

Shanna-Kaye labored in many different positions. She seemed to move from rest to active labor, from active labor to transition, from transition to pushing, from pushing to rest, then repeat the cycle all in 15-20 minute intervals. Roughly each time she completed a cycle she changed position. Once Sylyna broke her water, she stood up and labored standing through one complete cycle. She seemed uncomfortable pushing while standing, then she moved to laboring on her back in bed with her knees up. She moved her knees, her hips, and her lower back a lot, but she seemed uncomfortable in active labor on her back, so Amanda encouraged her to change position again. She shifted to laying on her left side, then we put a peanut ball between her legs, then she labored through another phase of transition and probably another phase of pushing. Amanda and I could both tell she was making minimal progress for her effort, so I encouraged her to change position again. She sat up and labored a little sitting on the edge of the bed, then she stood up and turned around and labored with her elbows on the bed and her feet firmly planted on the floor. This position gave her whatever she needed to push the baby past the last major barrier to birth, which she felt, which was when she told me to get Sylyna.

9:28AM – Born!!!

Sylyna had clinical scheduled for 8AM-12AM (which is probably why she wanted to break SK’s water and stimulate the birth to happen before her clinical began) she was close by but not on site. SK went from a 6 and 80% effaced to saying “Call Sylyna” within 30 minutes. I told Amanda to call the midwife, she notified the nurse, the nurse opted to see for herself before calling the midwife (though it made no difference in the end), and SK immediately started pushing the baby out. I communicated I would catch the baby, the nurse communicated more firmly that no, she would catch the baby. SK finished a contraction, the head was not visible, the nurse encouraged SK with my support to get up on the bed. SK climbed onto the bed on all four’s. The next contraction came, Timber’s head came out, then his shoulder, then the nurse unwrapped his umbilical cord from around his neck, then the rest of him came out and he was born in a single contraction. The nurse caught the baby. The Hospitalist (an older gentleman with a very calm disposition) cut the cord, and the baby was here 🙂 Sylyna did arrive about 3-5 minutes after he was born, check in, make sure everything was good, took care of a few details related to the hemorrhage prevention, and went back out. SK noticed she was sad that she wasn’t at the birth.


I went from standing by the bed, and laboring thru a birth wave, to all the sudden feeling him drop down. I said “Call the midwife!” and felt another wave where I felt him crowning. I was very surprised how sudden it was, because I was expecting a long period of more painful birth waves – which hadn’t happened.  My doula got the nurse, who came in – saw me, and told me to get up on the bed, so he wouldn’t be born on the floor – and I thought “okay, I’ll try!” 

This was the first time I’ve birthed on hands and knees. It was very helpful with his position, and I’m thankful for that. This was also the first time we’ve had a baby born in one contraction. 

When he came out with the cord wrapped, she told me to slow down… and my thought was “I can’t really do that…” 

Ps. Jessica – you were a rockstar! 

I leaned on the bed, and felt his body move down thru the birth canal, and once he started coming it didn’t stop. It felt different, and long, but not near the discomfort that my last baby’s birth had. 

(I later learned it was because of how he turned while coming out. He started coming out head facing up, then a shoulder, then he twisted and went head down as he came out…. All in one contraction.) 

(PS we have some truly incredible photographs of his entrance into the world – kudos to our birth photographer Lauren! As they are more private – I opted to not share those online – but MAN they are amazing.)

Since I was on hands and knees, I couldn’t actually see him once he was born – and it all happened super fast. Trying to get moved around while having a baby still attached was amusing to watch I’m sure. I started moving one way to turn around, and everyone’s like “no no, go the other way!” And my thought was “I’m kind of blinded here – cause I can’t actually see anything but the bed right now…”

Once I got turned around and sat down, baby boy was on my chest. He had a serious grumpy face – and started crying real tiny newborn tears within a minute or two. It was so cute and funny cause he clearly did not appreciate being evicted from his tight warm womb. 

The nursery nurse encouraged me to nurse Timber well before she would check his sugar levels. I was thankful for that, and he nursed for a good 45 minutes after birth. 

{Paul} Due to the gestational diabetes, Donna the nursery nurse encouraged Shanna-Kaye to diligently feed Timber before she ran his vitals. The cord clamping was delayed, so he got plenty of blood from the cord. Timber ate well after a few minutes of getting used to the idea. I soothed him during the initial vitals exam by putting the back of my thumb against his nose and top lip, then letting him rub his face against it, which (along with the heated table he was on) put him to sleep. He was grumpy like we just woke him up, but then he wasn’t phased either time they cut him to take his blood sugar. I find this exceedingly high pain tolerance concerning, but that matter will be further explored in time.

I took a nap around this time. When I woke up, the nursery nurse was getting Timber’s vitals. That went well. The birth photographer took pictures during the birth, the vitals, and of the three of us after the birth. SK fed the baby, ate lunch, I ate lunch, and I/we slept some more. We were moved from labor and delivery to a different part of the hospital for observation. Timber slept for 80% of it, ate for 15% of it, and studied us for the rest of the time. After we got situated in the new room, I let SK sleep for a while while I kept an eye on the baby. During that time the charge nurse came by and took Timber to the baby lobby (I asked to accompany them and she allowed it) to take his blood sugar again (that’s the second time where they cut his heel and he didn’t audibly react). 

Timber ate a little more around 6:00. SK started feeling the pain. She specifically asked for warm water, since she had learned at some point during ehe past few births that drinking or eating cold things exacerbated postpartum pain, and eating and drinking warm things soothed postpartum pain.

Shanna-Kaye started using painkillers around this time for pain management. 

The nurses changed shifts. Second shift got SK some food. We watched the Bible study online live. Timber and I went back to the baby lobby near the end of the Bible class for his next blood sugar test. He had a dirty diaper, pooped really big while we were there and wet himself, which were really good signs.

After we got back from the baby lobby, I went to get food. SK asked me to pick up ice cream (which didn’t cause her any pain, perhaps because she was using the painkillers) and I picked up some Chick-fil-a for me to eat. I ate, Timber ate, Sk ate ice cream, and we watched “Timeless Love” on Pureflix.

I ended up sleeping on the couch. It was no more comfortable than sleeping in the bed with SK had been with Selah. If there is ever a next time, I’ll just sleep in the bed with SK.

I slept pretty much straight through the night. SK got a good six hours of sleep.

The next morning, pain management pills continued. SK ate oatmeal. The hearing test went well. The hearing test nurse gave us another really good tip for fussy babies: a lot of fussy babies that are still fussy after the usual things are checked are fussy because their ears are agitated (and she told us how to fix it). Blood sugar testing is going well. 24 hour testing is scheduled for 9:30. The celebratory lunch is scheduled for noon, and we are expecting to be discharged today around lunch.

Timber has been throwing up what looks like amniotic fluid. The pediatrician was not alarmed by this at all. 

9:30 – blood sugar testing, 24-hour vitals, and bath time (which Timber hated)

10:00-11:00 – nap time for everyone


annnnd that’s a wrap!! We went home Thursday afternoon around 3pm, just 36+ hours from when we arrived at the hospital.

Thankful for my entire birth team – my husband, and God for answering so many prayers for a redemptive birth.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our son’s birth!!

Thank-ful for Jessica, my amazing morning nurse! She was so upbeat and excited about his birth.

and Amanda Patton – I could not do this birthing thing without an incredible doula like you by my side!! Love you!!!

Click here to see the brand new baby photos in the hospital

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