london's birth story

I woke up on September 10th with a bolt of energy.  I was dressed and out the door before any of the kids were awake.  My contractions felt stronger that morning and I was determined to keep them going.  I began to walk/jog down to the end of my street with a mission to push it up the big hill at the end of the road.  About a half mile into my walk the contractions started to feel like they were going to pull me down to the ground.  I began to regret not bringing my phone with me and started making goals to reach the next house that I knew on my walk.  Thankfully I made it home without having to beg a stranger to call my husband to pickup his wife in labor on the side of the road.

The breakfast table was full of excitement.  I later found out the kids told everyone at school that day, "Mommy's contractions are stronger, we are having the baby today."  As a side note, having a baby is an excellent lesson in human anatomy and reproduction for children.  After my first round with labor at week 34, the last five weeks had crawled along for all of us.  Everyone was ready to meet baby 5.

Kevin and I walked the kids to school.  Faith went to play at my friend's house next door.  My mother made plans to make her way out to us.  I called my dear friend, Amber, who had committed to laboring with me and photographing the arrival of baby 5.  "I think this is it,  my contractions have been about 2-4 minutes apart for about two hours,"  I told her, "Kevin and I are going to head to the hospital and walk around outside."  I felt a need to be closer to the place of delivery and not get stuck having the baby at home.  Amber agreed to meet us at the hospital and off we all went.

After about a half hour of walking outside, I was getting hot and the contractions were getting stronger so we decided it was time to check in to the birthing inn and get this party started.  Unforntunately, once I was in the hospital everything started to slow down again.  I was at 4cm and 80% but the intensity and frequency of the contractions were not as strong as when we were at home.  So we hit the halls walking and doing lunges... or I should say, I was doing lunges.

I am not an indoor person and after a few hours I started to crave getting outside.  There is one hall at the Birthing Inn that has huge windows looking out into the garden.  This is where I labored with Tyler and after walking that hall countless times that day I was yearning to get outside.  The midwife agreed that I should go out in the heat and walk and see what happened.  Did I mention it was hot?   We have had a beautiful early fall here with very pleasant temperatures for a pregnant mama.  But that day it was 95 and humid.  The sweat started coming the minute you stepped outside.  

We were allowed to be outside as long as we stayed on hospital properity.  Thankfully there is an awesome walking path through some woods surrounding the hospital.  We began walking and then I jogged ahead with one thing on my mind... to find a hill.  We found a great hill for me at the end of the path and I pushed on to do some hill repeats.  Yes, I was motivated to get this baby out and the workout felt awesome.  Kevin and Amber sat at the top of the hill trying hard not to laugh at my nine month pregnant body running up and down the hill.  We did this hour workout together twice.  I continued to use my essential oils all day to increase the strength of my contractions.  I can say that I gave it my best effort.  At about 4pm I was tired and so very, very hungry.  I was now at 6cm but there was still no pain with the contractions, just pressure and the frequency still wasn't like it had been earlier that day.  It was up to me to call the next step.  My midwife encouraged me to listen to my body.  And my body was saying it wanted to go out for dinner.  So we called it a day, checked out of the hospital, and headed to a restaurant for one last date fully expecting to return sometime in the middle of the night.

When we walked in the doorat home the kids were all surprised and disappointed there was no baby.  We all got some sleep that night and woke the next day back to normal.  Faith and I went to our first community bible study meeting the morning of the 11th and then I ran a bunch of errands.  I sent my mother back home, made dinner, and did our normal bedtime routine.  My mother and I joked that sending her home would be the sure thing to get my labor started. And it worked.

A few hours later things started to pick up again.  My neighbor went out for a walk with me in the dark around our neighborhood.  I can back hot and hurting.  I walked in the door, looked at Kevin and said, "this time is really it."  I kept moving getting some chores finished up and then tried to rest some.  But the rest was not comfortable and soon I was up again moving around.  We called Amber and my mom to come back over.  Kevin and I walked around our street until 11:30pm.  I did not want to have our baby on September 11th and now with only a half an hour to go, I felt ready to get this thing going.  So back to the hosptial we went.

The midwife on call was Paula.  She is the same midwife who delivered Tyler.  I was so happy to see her and knew in my heart this time the baby was coming.  I wanted to have a natural delivery with Tyler and at the transition totally gave up.  Now, seven years later, I would have the chance to try again with the same midwife.  This time I was ready.  I had mentally prepared for my "marathon" and had my bag of essential oils to help with the pain and the emotion of it all naturally.  I came with the knowledge that the past seven years had made me stronger and I was ready to bring it.

After a few hours I was still at seven, water intact, and contractions slowing.  Paula told me I could go home...again...or I could decided it was time to jump off this airplane and have a baby.  It was the perfect lingo for me.  Kevin and I have talked so many times over the past four years about having faith and jumping off the plane into adventure.  This time my body said yes.  She broke my water and stripped my membranes at 3am.  I remembered the pain associated with this when I was laboring with Tyler.  This time around - no pain.  Once my water broke, we walked the halls again and I started up with the lunges once more.  It didn't take long for the intensity of the contractions to increase... we were making progress now. Every contraction was bringing me closer to my baby.

My husband is amazing.   Kevin was there with me every step of the way.  Encouraging at times without even saying a word.  We danced together in a syncopated rhythm.  It was an incredible experience to go through together.  One more adventure as a team.  One more experience bonding us even closer than before.  Right by my side every step of the way.

I labored in the room in the rocking chair and then down on the floor until the pain grew too intense.  Then I hit the tub.  With Tyler the tub just annoyed me, but this time I was able to let the warm water relax my body so the contractions could do their work.  All the while, Paula just listened and watched.  Without checking she knew when to move me to the tub, when to get me out, when it was time to push... all just by listening and watching.  I am so thankful that I could do this with a midwife.  She told me to listen to my body and to push when my body said to go.  I can't really put into words what that whole experience was like.  All I can say is that if you want to try natural childbirth go for it.... it truly was incredible.  I came away from that day feeling like I could do anything.  I came away with so much healing in my soul.  It was a gift after all the struggle from this past year. A gift I will cherish forever.

 I closed my eyes and pushed with everything I had and kept going until she was out.  Her head came with a cord wrapped around it twice.  Paula told me to stop as she quickly released our baby from the tangle.  And then one more push and she was out.  Paula handed my baby to me and said, "You call it".  I was in complete awe and looked to see "It's a girl!"  A girl.  A beautiful, perfect baby girl.  The tears came.  And not just from me but from her daddy as well.  After a few days of hard work, here she was... ours forever.

We named her London Jeanette.  After two of the most influential women in my life.  My mother Londa and my grandmother, whose middle name is Jean.  Jeanette means God is gracious.  Oh, His unending grace and the beautiful gifts that He has given to our family! One, Two, Three, Four... Five.  He has given us more than we could have ever imagined and our hearts are bursting with His Love.

Thank you to my dear sister in Christ, Amber.  Her constant support and encouragement over those two days was amazing.  Her sweet spirit helped to keep us calm and her words helped to keep me motivated to go on.  I will always remember her voice, "you've got this.  you are amazing.  keep going, sonya."  Her pictures tell a beautiful story for us to remember always.  There are many, many more that are just priceless gifts.

Welcome to Team Judkins,  London Jeanette.  We love you so much and look forward to being a part of your life.  May you always know you are loved and cherished not just by us, but even more by your Heavenly Father.

( the beautiful hat and banner are made by my sister in love Jessica... check out her shop at

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