From a birth plan to a birthday: UF Health North Birth Center looks back at first baby delivered
A “long, pulling cramp” shot through Elizabeth Borders as she was watching a movie on a warm March evening. This was the moment she had been waiting for. One week overdue, Elizabeth knew her daughter was signaling it was time to make her way into the world.
“Oh my God, I think I just had a contraction,” Elizabeth recalled. Not wanting to jump to conclusions too quickly, Elizabeth and her husband, Jamie, waited a few minutes to see if it was really time. Once they were certain, they called their doula, Vonda Bartlett.
A natural birth had always been Elizabeth’s intention, but she quickly realized her birth plan wouldn’t be embraced as easily as she had hoped at her obstetrician’s office. At her initial visit, Elizabeth learned that her doctor was part of a larger practice of seven obstetricians who rotated delivery duty.
“I began to worry that my birth plan would be hopeless in a hospital,” she said. “I had hired an amazing doula, who I knew would advocate for my birth plan, but something still didn’t feel right about having a hospital birth.”
Even though she was unsure about giving birth in a hospital, Elizabeth moved full-steam ahead with her plan for a natural delivery. Thirty-six weeks pregnant, Elizabeth made her way to a birthing class directed by Cindy Williams, a licensed midwife at the UF Health Birth Center, which was scheduled to open the following week. Meeting Cindy in this class is where everything changed for Elizabeth.
After that, Elizabeth had one goal. “I had to find a way to give birth at this new facility,” she said. “I woke up the next morning on a mission.”
And Elizabeth, determined as ever, accomplished her goal. On that warm March evening, Elizabeth, Jamie and Vonda met Cindy at the birth center. They got settled into the delivery suite, where they set up music, lavender scents and candles. When Cindy checked Elizabeth, she was already 9 centimeters dilated.
When the contractions started to become painful, Vonda suggested Elizabeth get into the tub. “The truth is the tub at the birth center felt amazing,” Elizabeth explained. “So amazing that I actually felt like I was no longer in labor.”
Cindy assured her that she was still in labor and she could begin pushing whenever she was ready. After some pushing, Daisy Cameron Borders was born at 9:59 p.m. on March 15, 2015.
As soon as Daisy was born, she was handed to Elizabeth and Jamie for immediate skin-to-skin contact. They were encouraged to delay the cord clamping as Daisy’s time with her parents was made a priority. Elizabeth and Jamie were able to hold her before weight and height measurements were taken, along with the standard newborn testing and shots — just as they had wanted from the beginning.
Five hours later, Elizabeth and Jamie took Daisy home, but still had access to expertise from the Birthing Center. “I was able to talk to … Cindy the next day on the phone, and then a midwife came to our house for a postpartum check-up,” she explained.
Elizabeth continues to rave about the UF Health Birth Center. “I absolutely had my dream birth,” she said. “At the Birth Center, I didn’t have a cookie-cutter birth. With a midwife, I’ve never felt more heard and understood. It was a birth tailored to my specific medical needs, not following a standard hospital checklist.”
One-year-old Daisy has six teeth and is learning her first words. She can say “ma ma ma” and “da da da.” Jamie takes her to the beach every morning to see the sunrise. She loves green beans, avocados and eggs.
“Daisy is hilarious and her laugh is infectious,” Elizabeth said. “She loves dogs and kitties, and her favorite things to do are going to story time at the library and swinging at the park.”