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  • Writer's picture Harlie Cloyd


Updated: Apr 1, 2020

I was 37 weeks pregnant and had been at the miserable point for at least a month — hips aching, feet swelling, back hurting, not sleeping, hot flashes, and iron levels low (aka extreme exhaustion). I was sooooo ready to finally have my baby boy in my arms.

And then, on October 9, 2018 at 2:30 a.m., it happened…


Remember, at this point in my pregnancy I wasn’t really sleeping much at all. I woke up at 2:30 a.m. thinking I had to pee, yet again. I got up out of bed and immediately fluid starting gushing down my legs. I totally thought I peed myself, but it wouldn’t stop! That’s when I realized what was happening.

“Braton! Wake up! My water is breaking!!”


It took him a minute to register what I was saying. After all, HE was sleeping like a baby *insert giant eye roll here*.

But when it did register, he jumped out of bed and started frantically searching for who knows what (everything we needed was already packed and ready by the door), while I waddled to the bathroom to clean myself up.

It took us about 10 minutes to get dressed & loaded up in the car. I was super disappointed because I had planned to labor at home as long as possible, but when you’re water breaks first you don’t have that option. We called the hospital to let them know we were coming.

Our part of the state had been experiencing record amounts of rainfall that week, which I think is only fitting that “River” should come into the world during that time. We were worried that the hour long drive to the hospital would take longer because of the heavy downpour and road conditions, but God was watching over us. If you looked at the radar from the time we left the house to the time we got to the hospital, you would see a little split in the storm. We were the only car on the road and the storm seemed to have split just for us.

The drive to the hospital was one of the biggest things I was anxious about. Now, tell me God doesn’t care about our every worry, no matter how small.

I was having pretty frequent & long contractions, but not unbearable pain-wise. Because my contractions were so long and so close together we decided to call our families and tell them to get to the hospital ASAP. That was at 3:20 a.m.

Little did we know, I was in for another 21 hours of labor. They totally could have taken their time getting there. Sorry guys!

When we got to the hospital, they put us in the holding room to check me out and make sure everything was okay. I thought I’d at least be a 3 by then… I mean, 2 weeks ago I was dilated to a 1 at my OB appointment. Nope! STILL only dilated to a 1. That’s when we realized this might take awhile.

To this day I am still salty about my water breaking so early. (salty? does anyone still say that, or am I revealing my age? ha!)

We got checked into a room, and the nurses suggested Pitocin. I declined. Part of my birth plan was to avoid Pitocin at all costs. Dr. Jones said I could hold off on Pitocin as long as I started to progress.

Well, I didn’t.

At 9 a.m. I was still only at a 1, despite my best efforts to work the baby down. Dr. Jones gave me another 2 hours to see if anything happened, and if not, we would have to use Pitocin. You see, when your water breaks you only have a 24 hour window to have the baby before the threat of infection starts increasing. We gave it another 2 hours. Still no change, so we started on Pitocin.

That was literal actual Hell. I went from having frequent and painful, but manageable, .contractions to having back to back, excruciating contractions.

I knew labor wouldn’t be easy but writhing in constant pain and vomiting was not what I had in mind. I endured that for 4 hours before waving my white epidural flag.

If I had been progressing quickly on the Pitocin, I probably could have held out. But after 11.5 hours of labor, 4 of which were absolutely horrendous, I was STILL only at a 3. I was done.

Give me the drugs. If this is going to take me forever, I want to at least be comfortable.

The epidural was nice from a pain standpoint, but not 30 minutes after getting it, I began to shiver uncontrollably. I’m not sure if this was a reaction to the epidural or just crazy hormones, but I almost found myself wishing the back to back contractions would come back.

However, with the epidural, they could turn my Pitocin up higher, and I FINALLY started to progress more.

At 8:45 p.m. I was dilated to an 8. At this point it had been 18 hours since my water broke. Remember the 24 hour time frame? Yeah, well that was starting to really breathe down our necks. I had developed a fever and both mine and River’s heart rates were elevated.

Dr. Jones was concerned I was developing an infection, so she gave me 45 minutes to dilate the remaining 2 cm or else I'd be going in for a C-section.

At 9:30, 45 minutes later, I was allllllmost to a 10. So I started to push.

By this time my epidural had begun to wear off (I had said I wanted to have natural childbirth when we first came in, so I didn’t have a continuous drip). The fact that my legs began to feel a little less like bricks and I could actually feel what was going on with my body made me really happy.

You may think I’m crazy for being happy about feeling everything, but that was something that was really important to me in the beginning.

I pushed for 2 hours with every contraction.

By this time I was utterly exhausted. Braton literally had to hold me up for each push. The nurse would count to 3 before each push, I would take a deep breath and hunker down, and Braton would get his weight behind me to push my torso up.

Bringing our baby into the world was most definitely a two person job. I wouldn’t have made it through those 21 hours without my husband.

On October 9, 2018 at 11:30 p.m. our son, River Ray Cloyd, was born. He weighed 8 lbs 1 oz, and measured 20.5 inches long.

I didn’t know this at the time, but later I found out the cord had been wrapped around his neck. Dr. Jones had Braton cut it really quick, and immediately the nurses took him to the warmer to help him breath. It didn’t take too long before he let out a wail though, and then he was brought to my chest.


I will never forget the first moment I held my sweet, BEAUTIFUL baby boy.

We had skin to skin time for an hour or so and established breastfeeding before any family came back to meet him. First, Nana & Papa and Gigi & Pops came in to meet their first grandchild.

None of us could get over how beautiful he was. We thought for sure he’d be all squished up and cone-headed after 2 hours of pushing. Pops (Braton’s dad) revealed to us every time he prayed for River during my pregnancy, he would pray for him to be beautiful — and he absolutely was. Again, tell me God doesn’t care about the details.

Then all of our siblings came back to meet River — Uncle Dawson, Aunt Chrissi, Uncle Lane, Aunt Leah, Uncle Brycen, Aunt Brittani, Aunt Brennley, and Aunt Brailee. River is one very loved and very blessed little boy.

River’s birth is my proudest moment to date. I’m proud of my body for everything it went through during pregnancy and birth. I’m proud of my husband for being such an incredible rock during labor and delivery. I’m proud of him for being the BEST dad to our son. I’m proud to have such wonderful and supportive families. And I’m proud of my sweet baby boy. Just so proud.

Thank YOU for reading the story of how my rainbow baby made his entrance into this world. It wasn’t easy getting to this point, but it was definitely worth it.

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