On this page, we share birth stories our clients have written and sent to us. Permission is given to share these birth stories and pictures. We hope you find them as inspirational as each of our clients have been to us.
Welcome sweet baby boy. Your mamma is so beautiful, strong, and courageous. She is kind of a hero. Your daddy? He sure knows how to stand by your mamma. He’s kind of your mamma’s hero. I think you’re going to like them. It was an honor to be with them as they welcomed you into their arms. Here is your story:
Our baby boy was born at 10:28am on July 24, 2014, a day after his due date. He weighed 7 lbs 3 oz and was 20 ¼ inches long. I was in labor about 17 ½ hours, and he is our first baby. We had the unmedicated birth we had been preparing for, but it went differently than we thought it would. We knew that labor always has elements of surprise, and we were anxious to see what ours would be. I read many of the birth stories before I went into labor, and they encouraged me that I could do it. I want to encourage other women that they can do this as well.
I felt like I was preparing for labor like I had our training for the marathon we ran because I was doing a lot varied activities consistently. Frank and I had attended the Bradley classes, and I was doing a lot of exercise a day (walking, swimming about twice a week, and a lot of prenatal yoga). I was just so miserable that these activities made me feel better at least while I was doing them. I also had been going to get weekly adjustments from the chiropractor, which I believe really helped the baby align properly. I was following the Brewer diet with at least 80 grams of protein a day. I also had been listening to Hypnobirthing CDs everyday for about the last month of my pregnancy. These came with a Hypnobirthing book by Mongan that I found fascinating. Finally, I was drinking a quart of red raspberry leaf tea a day.
I had been to my weekly checkup on Monday, three days before I went into labor and asked to get checked for the first time. I woke up one night the week before and was probably experiencing contractions, but I did not realize it at the time. For me the contractions felt more like menstrual cramps and I just felt achy. My doctor could not determine how much I was dilated because the baby was at negative one station. The baby dropped so low he could not figure the dilation, but he told me he thought it would be soon.
On Wednesday, my due date, I had been experiencing some bleeding, so our doula, Marcie Hadley, asked me to call her. After a brief conversation, she said she could sense the tension in my voice, and she thought I would probably go into labor within 24 hours. This really freaked me out, and about an hour later around 5:00, I started feeling the faint cramps that by now I realized were contractions. I called Frank’s cell phone, but it was not working at his school, which left me feeling unsettled and nervous. We are both teachers and he was working his school’s registration. I had to call the front office to reach him, and he hurried home. We both were not sure if this would be real labor or not. When he got home, we determined that it could be real, so we took a short walk with our dog, and I prepared dinner and we ate it. The contractions during this time were weak and very manageable. I showered and we were watching TV when the contractions got stronger. We decided to ask Marcie to go ahead and come to our house. Marcie arrived around 8:00, and until midnight I labored at home. I used the hypnobirthing CD and the birthing ball to relax through them. Frank used an app to time the contractions.
Around midnight we decided the contractions were about 5 minutes apart, so we headed to the hospital. The ride to the hospital was difficult because the contractions were stronger in the car, and I couldn’t move much to cope with them. When we got out of the car, I felt confident, but two seconds later walking into the hospital, I started to cry, and I was scared. These were signs that made Frank and Marcie think I was farther along than I was in my labor.
Our preregistration helped us enter the hospital with less paper work. When we entered the labor tub room, the nurse also could not determine how much I was dilated because of the baby’s head-just like my doctor. She had to get another nurse to check me, and they said I was only 1-2 cm. I couldn’t believe it was so little, but Marcie was very encouraging, reminding me there were many signs that worked together to move labor along and dilation was just one of them. My contractions also slowed down more now that I was in the hospital. The problem for us was that I had to be 4 cm dilated to get in the tub. Therefore, I labored in the shower for about an hour because showering always relaxed me at home. The shower in the labor tub room at Brookwood has a wooden bench that takes up about half of the shower. I suppose they figure it won’t be used much since there is the tub, but it was incredibly hard to move around in the shower with the huge, hard, bench in the way. I was checked again, and I was 3 cm. Trying not to be too frustrated, I labored in different positions on and around the bed. I started getting really nauseous, and with the contractions came vicious reflux like I could throw up. Marcie used peppermint essential oil to help my stomach, and it worked, and I never actually threw up. Finally, after another hour, they checked me again, and I was finally 4 cm.
When I was in the tub, I had to keep one arm out of the water to keep the hep-lock port dry. That took some concentration. While I was in the tub, I listened to the Hypnobirthing tracks that helped me relax and meditate on what my body was doing. I know that my practice with these helped me focus and speed labor in a way that I could not have done without them. Marcie and Frank held my arm and iPod out of the tub through each contraction. Between contractions, I frequently fell asleep, and I had to work to hold my body up in the water so I wouldn’t go under between each one. After two hours, I got out of the tub, and they checked me. I was 8 cm. I stayed in the tub for about 2 more hours. I found that moving during my contractions in the water helped me cope with them. Marcie reminded me to drink water, take deep cleansing breaths between contractions, and get out to go to the bathroom periodically. My contractions were much stronger when I got out of the tub, so I know the water and my relaxation tracks really helped my perception of them.
I don’t recall knowing when transition hit. It was like I was in my zone (like when I exercised), and I was somewhat oblivious to anything happening outside my body. I did realize that the contractions seemed to not ever end. I wasn’t getting a break any more between them, and they seemed much stronger. I looked at Marcie and Frank and told them I couldn’t do it any more. I didn’t feel like I had much left to give. They prayed for me and encouraged me that I could do it. Frank and I had joked about the word “expulsive” that was used in the Bradley book to describe contractions in transition and what that meant exactly. My contractions totally became expulsive because not only did I have the cramps and back pain, but also my body kind of started convulsing, while I was still in the tub, and I could not control it. It felt like my transition lasted extra long and was extra difficult, but Marcie said it lasted about an hour, which is normal.
Around 10:00am, I felt the urge to use the bathroom. I didn’t know exactly what I was feeling, but I knew I needed to get out of the tub. As soon as I got to the toilet, my water broke in a very explosive way. At this point, I felt like I was giving over to my body completely. I was completely vulnerable, and I did not have much control over how it was moving. They had told me that once my water broke, the baby would come quickly because of how far down he was already. That proved to be true. I was still in the bathroom, and they were calling for my doctor. I was on my hands and knees, and I couldn’t help but start pushing. Frank told me I had to get to the bed, but I couldn’t move. He picked me up and moved me to the bed. Then, we had to stall so the doctor could get there, so Frank made me blow in his face to prevent pushing like Laura Reeder taught us. When he arrived we called for the squat bar, and they positioned me with it. I realized this is not what I wanted, and I asked to be moved to the end of the bed to squat on the floor. They were not prepared for this so Frank had to stand behind me and hold me up while I squatted and pushed. Dr. Huggins suggested I use the birthing stool so Frank would not have to hold me up, but they had to look for it. I ended up using it to deliver Beck.
I knew I was not breathing the most efficient way while I was pushing, but I was so ready to deliver the baby, and I was so exhausted, I just kept doing it. I was taking a huge breath and exhaling and then pushing instead of pushing with the exhale. About 30 minutes later his head came out, and I thought the rest of him would just come out, but then I had to push out his shoulders. My doctor did the perennial message while the baby was crowning, so I did not tear much.
When he came out, they gave him to me, but he was somewhat blue and not breathing much or moving at all. When I yelled this, the doctor waited a moment to confirm, and then cut the umbilical cord, and whisked him off to a nurse in the room who woke him up and got him moving. Since he knew our plan was to have Frank cut the cord, we knew something was seriously wrong. All of this was horrifyingly surprising to me because his heartbeat and vitals were completely normal throughout my pregnancy and labor. After they determined he was breathing, they gave him to me for skin to skin and breastfeeding. Frank also did skin to skin. We kept him for about two hours. My body was cramping especially my legs and I was shaking uncontrollably. Frank had to massage my legs because the pain was intense, and it took a few hours for my shaking to go away. I found out later this was normal and was the result of the adrenaline and hormones going through my body.
Since Beck had trouble breathing when he came out, they took him to the nursery to monitor his breathing closely for about two hours. Frank went with him, and my mother stayed with me in the recovery room until they came back. The doctor hypothesized that since he was pushed through the birth canal quickly (about 30 mins), he may not have gotten all of the mucous compressed out of his nose/lungs. This combined with the energy he was using during labor could explain his state at birth. The nurses and doctor were wonderfully encouraging during this, and somehow I really believed he would be okay, and he was. Words can’t describe how thankful I am. When he returned from the nursery, he was fine, and we had no trouble breastfeeding. The nurses in the labor tub room were wonderful and basically left us alone to do our thing. They even were able to check the baby’s heartbeat periodically without me getting out of the tub.
I know that I could not have made it without medicine without my husband, Frank, making me feel like he believed I could do it. Attending the classes together and our attitude of teamwork in labor helped us bond in a new and special way. Also, we would have been lost without Marcie. Even with all of our book knowledge, Frank and I would have been looking at each other clueless for what to do next without her. She suggested positions to speed labor, had essential oils, and her intuition was something we lacked.
I have to admit that in the 2 weeks or so after delivery, I was thinking I was crazy for having chosen to deliver without medicine. Like a nightmare, I would close my eyes and relive transition and my baby barely moving when he came out. However, a friend told me that I don’t know what state Beck would have been in if I had received pain medicine or an epidural. It is likely that he would have been worse off with these. There’s no way to know. This made me feel better, knowing that I did everything I could to ensure he was safe and in a natural state throughout labor.
Now that I am 2 months away, I am completely sure that I want to do unmedicated labor if we are blessed with another child. My recovery has been so fast, and for an impatient, busy-body person like me, I have enjoyed getting back to many of my normal, pre-baby activities. The Bradley book said that labor is painful and we can decide when we will have the pain-during or after labor. I have experienced how going through the pain of labor during it has helped me be able to take care of my baby better and be emotionally and physically available as much as possible since the moment he was born. Even though I was the one who actually went through the pain, and it was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced, I felt like Marcie and Frank were there with me, and we were working together. I never felt alone. To me, childbirth is a miracle no matter how it happens, with or without medicine. However, it was amazing to witness how the body could do what God designed it to without much medical intervention.
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If reading these birth stories is encouraging, you may also enjoy http://birthwithoutfearblog.com/.