5 Minutes with a Mom: Beth Day

Name: Beth Day

Children’s names and ages? Jonathan (6), Aaron (3), Eliza (2 weeks, pictured above)

We’d love to hear about your very recent birth story! My daughter Eliza was born 2 weeks ago on October 26th.  I had lots of contractions for several weeks before I finally started into labor at 3:00 in the morning.  I woke up right before a big contraction that broke my water.  I woke up my husband and we started getting everything ready right away—the water-proof sheet on the bed, the Jacuzzi tub filled, etc.  I have a history of quick labors (4 hours on average) so we called my midwife and my mother and sister right away.  They all arrived at the house by 5:00 a.m. when my labor became really heavy.

I climbed into the tub and stayed there, sitting sideways and bracing my knee on the opposite side.  We turned on a beautiful CD called “Tender Mercies” and I moved and swayed my hips to the music.

My husband and my mom held my hands and supported me through the powerful contractions, and everyone gave me encouraging words and prayers.  Around 6:30 I started to push spontaneously. I felt incredible pressure in my hips and back as I felt the baby turn and descend.  This was the first labor I had ever experienced when I was able to feel the sensations as movement and pressure instead of just pain.  It was amazing!

Quickly I felt the baby begin to crown.  I had torn with both of my sons, so this time I had instructed my midwife and my family that they had one job at this point—tell me NOT to push.  They all followed my instructions exactly—but following their instruction was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  It took all of my self control to keep myself from pushing.  Slowly the baby’s head eased out, and I reached down to feel the baby’s head.  Then I felt the baby kick against the top of my uterus—almost as if to push her own way out.  I did have to push the shoulders out, but I did this without any tearing!  The midwife moved quickly to unwrap the umbilical cord that was wrapped three times around her neck, then placed her on my belly where we all worked and prayed to help Eliza take her first breath. Finally she started to cry and began to pink up.

Eliza’s birth was truly empowering and a wonderfully positive experience.  Her birth was a miracle and I’ve felt since that Eliza is a very special little spirit who came from Heaven to bless our family.

We know you have a passion for other mamas and babies, too. Tell us about that: You might call me a “birth junkie.”  I have always had a deep interest in birth, from the time I was young.  My mother gave birth to 5 girls.  The first four births were extremely negative experiences for her—so much so that by the time she became pregnant with her fifth child, she was so scared that she didn’t seek prenatal care for almost 6 months.  Finally a friend told her about midwifery and home birth and she felt that this would be the right choice for her.  She had a wonderful home birth with my youngest sister.  I grew up hearing her birth stories and I came to believe deeply that birth works best when it is allowed to take the course that nature intended.  I’ve always believed that women were made to give birth and that the pain of labor can be not only instructive, but transformative.  My mom also taught me that women are strong and that “we can do hard things.”

Her influence was the springboard for my passion for birth.  After I graduated from college, I found out about “doulas” and knew that this was what I needed to do.  I trained and certified with DONA International and began supporting mothers in labor before I had ever given birth to one of my own children.

Tell us about BirthNetwork: After the birth of my first baby, I also became certified as a Lamaze Childbirth Educator.  Then after the birth of my second baby, I founded BirthNetwork of Northwest Arkansas so that I could connect women in our community with birth professionals and other experienced mothers who could help empower them and educate them about evidence-based maternity care.  I also volunteer on the board of BirthNetwork National and the Lamaze Institute for Safe and Healthy Birth. I love working with new mothers one-on-one.  I think the best part of my work is to see a mother who has just given birth holding her baby in her arms, beaming, and saying, “If I can do that, I can do anything!”  What a privilege and an honor to be a part of the greatest miracle in life!

Where are you from and how long have you lived in NWA? I grew up in Joplin, Missouri.  My husband and I met at Brigham Young University, married in 2003 and lived in Utah for a couple of years before returning to the area.  We have lived in NW Arkansas for 5 and a half years.

What’s your favorite kind of music right now? I love classical music.  I am also a violinist and organized a wedding quartet when I moved here.  I always have the radio tuned to the XM Radio Pops station.

What’s one of your best childhood memories? My best childhood memories are of working with my family outside.  I loved raking leaves in the fall, hauling hay for our cows, mowing lawns with my dad and picking green beans in the garden with my mom.  Those were the times when we felt the closest.

Do you have any special traditions you plan to continue with the kids for the upcoming holidays? Throughout the year, we have been keeping a Christmas jar where we deposit our extra change.  It’s about ¾ of the way full right now.  We plan on leaving it on the doorstep of a family in need, ringing the doorbell, then running away!

What’s your favorite restaurant in NWA? I really love the Greenhouse Grille.  Their food is amazingly tasty and amazingly healthy!  I’m always trying to find an excuse to go down to Fayetteville to eat there.

What are your personal hobbies? I love yoga!  I have taught prenatal yoga and power yoga at World Gym (and hope to get back to it as soon as possible).  I also love running but haven’t been able to run much since I injured my knee after running the St. George, Utah Marathon in 2002.  I really want to get back into running as well.  My other hobbies include reading, gardening, and I recently learned to knit.  It’s amazingly relaxing!

What’s something your friends might not know about you? I think few people know that I love to camp.  I just don’t do it much anymore because Arkansas gets too hot in the summer for it to be enjoyable.  My husband and I would probably camp a lot more if we still lived in Utah, where even on the hottest days you can drive up into the mountains to find cool, crisp evenings.

What’s something that has surprised about motherhood? I think that I have been most surprised by how happy I feel when I devote myself heart and soul to mothering my children.  As much as I love being a doula, teaching Lamaze, and working to develop myself professionally, none of these compare to being a mother, and I would give them all up in an instant if my children need me there.

What’s something you’ve always wanted to learn? I’ve always wanted to learn to be a really great photographer. Someday I’m going to buy myself a really nice camera and take some classes in photography and photo editing.

What’s something you never leave home without? A bottle of water.  If I ever forget one, I literally feel a sense of panic. I hate being thirsty.

How do you relax at the end of the day? My husband and I love to sit down and watch a DVR episode of Glenn Beck.  Love that show.

One word to sum me up … Optimist