We had our baby 4/26 at 2:01am…she weighed 7lbs 6oz and was 19 inches long. I was able to have a natural childbirth in the hospital. Everything followed my birthing preferences besides the pushing. I did the J breathing/pushing for almost 3 hours and I couldn’t get her head to stay out so I asked for advice and the midwife said don’t breathe out when I pushed so I tried that for like 30 minutes and she was born! The midwife and doula said it was the quietest birth they have ever seen. The doula said she couldn’t tell when I transitioned and couldn’t believe it. And the nurse said it was the most peaceful, beautiful, natural birth she has seen! My partner said our birth should have been filmed for a HypnoBirthing video!
Happy new year! Henry arrived at 4:07pm on Christmas Eve, 10 days past his guess date. I went to a fetal monitoring appointment in the early morning of 12/23, where one of my midwives suggested we induce based on how Henry was coping with the surges. We did a foley balloon and low-dose Pitocin until my body took over naturally with labor. However, things moved slowly and they eventually broke my water late that night. The surges became very intense, and I found it challenging to relax my body while experiencing labor shakes – something I didn’t know was a thing! It took 8 hours of labor to dilate from 6 to 7 cm, and by 5am the next morning I decided the best thing to do for me and baby was to get an epidural. I reached 10 cm at 1pm and he arrived three hours later!
My birth definitely strayed from what I imagined (no at-home laboring or water birth), but ultimately I’m so happy I listened to my body and did what I needed to avoid a c-section and healthily bring Henry earthside. I listened to rainbow relaxation throughout labor, and it made an immense difference in my ability to cope. I also visualized breathing Henry down, and the image made the last few hours feel transcendent. Wishing everyone a safe and happy birth experience!
Our little lady, Rory, was born Nov. 27 @ 7:12 am, just 3 days past her due date. Weighing in at 6 lb. 12 oz and 20” long.
I went in on Monday evening, 11/22, to be induced due to gestational hypertension diagnosed the Friday before. By Tuesday morning the hospital was understaffed and I had not made much progress, so I was sent home. I was scheduled to come back Friday at noon. I did everything I could (besides castor oil) to get her to come out but to no avail. On Friday we went in. I still hadn’t made much progress, so they put in a foley bulb/balloon and started me on low Pitocin. I took a bath and bounced as the contractions got more intense. Things started progressing:
Foley ball finally came out after a few hours.
Slept a couple hours.
Had some back labor.
Got into the tub and listened to rainbow relaxation – I think this is what really set my labor into motion.
After the tub I tried to do anything to get my back labor to subside. It’s 5 am at this point, and I wake Michael up and tell him it’s pretty intense and I am going to have the nurse check me and just ask about an epidural.
She checks and I am at 7 cm and says just tell me if you want an epidural. I said no… just asking. They never asked me again about the epidural knowing my birth plan and how much I wanted an unmedicated birth. I ask about the nitrous and they wheel it in. That didn’t help! Haha.
It was too hard to control my breathing and moaning with it so they took it away. They called active labor at 6 am, took me off Pitocin and I went into hands and knees position with rocking my hips back and forth. That did the trick for my back labor and got Rory to turn.
I took full advantage of the breaks in between contractions to rest and breathe calmly. During the contractions it was best for me to breathe moan through them and when I felt her coming, it was easier if I moaned as low as possible.
My Dr. finally came in 5-10 min before Rory was born. They had me turn and flip on my back because it hurt too much on my side.
4 more contractions and she came flying out right into Michael’s hands. Whole body!
The nurses said they have not seen someone be so in touch with their body and breathing, or someone so coherent. I never went into a state of being able to dismiss everything around me. I was talking through the whole thing and asking questions. I think that’s just the type of person I am.
We did have a bit of a scare after but I don’t want to scare any of you since her birth was so amazing and exactly what we hoped for. Short story: I had placenta accreta, which is pretty rare. All is good now.
I am so glad we took this class. I would not have been prepared or informed enough to know I could do this unmedicated. Thank you, Kadie, for all your help and guidance. And thank you to all the other couples for sharing everything you were/are going through.
While I did have some practice labor (Braxton Hicks) at various points during this pregnancy, going into the last few weeks of the pregnancy, I wasn’t feeling any practice labor. On Friday, February 26th, I had a pelvic floor PT appointment at 10 am. We were practicing Pelvic Floor relaxation for various labor positions, to see what would work best for me. Toward the end of the appointment, as I laid back to try a reclined position, I felt a stream of fluid start to pass. It was noticeable, but not a ton. I finished the appointment and even grabbed a sprinkle doughnut at the shop across the street. When I arrived home, I had more fluid when I stood up from the car, but then the fluid stopped. Having already had a “false alarm” of my water breaking the prior weekend, I was hesitant to jump the gun, so kept an eye on things for awhile. About an hour and a half later, around 12:45/1, I lost my mucus plug, and started to feel very light, intermittent contractions – 15 minutes apart or so. At this point, I called into the midwives, and they advised that I come in to check the fluid, as I was Strep B positive and needed an antibiotic IV if my water had broken. It was about 1:30pm at this point, and a half an hour drive to the birth center, so we arrived there around 2:30pm.
At my exam, they said that my waters hadn’t ruptured, and sent me home to keep an eye on things, thinking I’d be back perhaps late that evening, if not, definitely over the weekend. We left the Birth Center at 3 pm, hurrying to pickup our preschool daughter, in Friday rush hour traffic. My contractions at that point were still light, and only every 10-15 minutes. Nothing that caused me pause or discomfort – I’d just let my husband know that another one was coming.
By the time we arrived to pickup our daughter at 3:30, they had progressed to every 5-6 minutes apart, and caused pause. I still walked from the car to pick her up, pausing once to breathe through a short wave. I was feeling relaxed, and confident in the upcoming birth at this point. We decided to go to the grocery store to pick up some snacks for labor, and the birth center, but in the car as the waves were becoming more intense, I asked my husband to drop me off at home and he and my daughter could go to the store. I was home from 3:45-4:15 on my own, and hustled to pack some final items into our go-bags, anticipating that I wouldn’t be in a good position to finish this later. When I arrived home, I could still walk around the house packing last minute items, pausing occasionally to breathe through a wave. By 4:15 my husband and daughter arrived home, I was stationed next to the couch, leaning over it for contractions, with the Steeldrivers blasting on the radio, each wave required my full attention to breathe through. I was focusing on positive acceptance of what was coming to my body, changing positions occasionally to see what would work for me.
My husband quickly asked me how far apart my contractions were, but I wasn’t sure. He placed a timer app next to me, and we saw that they had reached a consistent 3 minutes apart. He called our Doula and told her to head in our direction. The next 20 minutes are a blur, but he called our friends to take our daughter. He also called the birth center back (1.5 hours after leaving) and after just hearing me on the phone, they told him to come directly in, I was in active labor. My husband got the bags in the car, and everything ready while I labored next to the couch, trying different positions. Forty five minutes later, at 5pm we were ready to leave, and things were intense. I waited until a contraction passed, then walked to the car and waited for another before getting in quickly to start the drive. With two car seats in the backseat, I had only the front passenger seat, and little room to maneuver. I tried kneeling backward and hugging the seat but it was not helpful, and settled into the seat, mostly arching my back during contractions and progressively pounding on the door. I focused my breathing between contractions, hoping to delay or soften the next wave – which helped some. Google Maps predicted the drive to be about 45 minutes (it had been a consistent 20 without traffic during the entire pregnancy). My husband managed to make it in 30 minutes. During that entire drive, I only opened my eyes once, and I would guess I went through 8-10 waves of contractions. Beyond my breathing and keeping things in the present, I was thinking about two things during the drive. 1.) If this is un-medicated childbirth, maybe I’m not cut out for this?! 2.) It will become more manageable when we get to the birth center. I’ll be able to walk, use the birth tub, our Doula will be meeting us there, etc.
My husband pulled into the parking lot around 5:30, in the front row space, and as I stepped out of the car with he and a nurse to support me, I expected a feeling of relief as I was able to move. When I stood upright, I could feel the weight of the baby drop further into my pelvis, and things only became more intense. I walked into the birth center repeating “I don’t like this. I don’t like this.” to myself like a mantra, looking for a place to stop and be able to return to my “zone”. At this point, it was just 2.5 hours after I’d been at the birth center and sent home. We entered the closest birthing suite and I saw the bed all made up, as well as papers on the floor next to it. I immediately went to my knees next to the bed, so that I could lay my upper body over the side of the bed and continue laboring. At this point, things were VERY intense, and I was beginning to feel a little panicky, thinking that I couldn’t handle this for another 6 hours. The midwives were VERY calm, and quickly got to work. Within 5 minutes of arriving the primary midwife let me know that the baby’s head was there, and I could start pushing when I was ready.
WHAT?! This was both shocking and comforting information, to know securely why things had been so intense – I’d essentially gone through transition in the car – but also shocking to know that our baby boy was ready to arrive already. In the end, it took 12 minutes of pushing for Julian to arrive, though it felt like seconds or minutes to me. The first few pushes were the most intense, it was as if I was pushing to poop, but there was nowhere for the poop to go, just this intense, intense pressure on my anus, an indescribable pressure. But then, as my baby boy moved further down in the birth canal… it was suddenly gone, entirely, and I could just feel Julian as I pushed. I could feel him move forward, as I pushed, and then backward slightly as I relaxed. After about two of these, he just slid out. In retrospect, I wish I’d reached down to feel his head as he was emerging, but I didn’t even think about it at the time, as things were moving so quickly. The midwives caught him, and passed him between my legs so that I could bring him to my chest. I was still in my street clothes, not even having had a chance to change. I brought him to my chest and began talking to him immediately so that he could hear my voice. He was talking too – he came into the world crying big healthy cries.
Julian arrived 17 minutes after arriving at the birth center, and in around 3-4 hours of labor, depending on when you’d count it as starting. The midwives classified it as a “precipitous birth”. While our doula ended up being a non-factor at the actual birth, she did get an amazing video of Julian’s arrival.
Laurel was born on January 20, just a day after her due date! 7 lb, 7 oz, and 20.25″. Here’s our birth story, which was not ideal in a lot of ways, but we all made it out healthy and happy in the end, which is the most important thing 🙂
I first started having spaced out but regular contractions in the early morning of January 19th, our baby’s actual due date, around 3am. They were 12-15 minutes apart and not very strong. I slept through as much as I could, but they were strongest when I tried to lie down, which made sleep difficult. As I got up and started moving around through the day of the 19th, they became less regular and I thought maybe it was just practice labor and I still had some time to wait. I definitely did not anticipate baby arriving on her due date!
Evening of the 19th, we went to sleep, but again the contractions ramped back up as I tried lying down, and I was soon out of bed and pacing the apartment, bouncing on a yoga ball, and spending some time in the shower. Contractions steadily escalated from 12-15 minutes apart to 3-4 minutes apart by about 3am on the 20th. After about an hour of 3-4 minute apart contractions, we decided to go in to the hospital. I was managing really well with my breathing techniques, but felt like I was at the edge of being able to keep it under control during a car ride and wanted to get resettled at the hospital before the contractions got too strong to manage without the aid of being in the shower / Luke’s support.
At triage, they monitored contractions and watched baby’s heart rate, and the midwife on duty came to consult. She did a cervical check and found I was only 2-3 cm dilated. My blood pressure was slightly elevated, but it went down upon a second reading and so she did not want to admit me. She encouraged me to take a sleeping pill and go back home and try to rest. She said I shouldn’t return until the contractions were more like 2 minutes apart, and I was in enough pain to be “vocalizing more.” (Ugh, too successful with my breathing I guess!) Although I wasn’t super keen on this, I let myself be talked into it, which, in hindsight, was not a good plan.
Nonetheless, back home we went, me increasingly under the effects of the sleeping pill they gave me. Unfortunately, I could not sleep, as contractions continued to be the most painful when lying down and were only getting increasingly intense. I was also developing some serious back pain along with the contractions. The next 7 hours while under the influence of the sleeping pill were unpleasant, to say the least, as I was SUPER tired and groggy, much more than I had been before, but also less and less able to actually sleep. I tried taking a bath for a while, but ultimately found the most comfort in the shower, where the water could be directed right on my back where I was in the most pain but I could be standing and use the walls to lean against for support. I’m not sure that spending several hours in the shower while under the influence of a sleeping pill was the safest thing, but we all survived.
Around 10am, the sleeping pill was FINALLY wearing off, and I decided I really needed to go back to the hospital. When Luke called they were not super keen on us coming back since my contractions were still about the same spacing (3-4minutes apart), but I used the excuse of saying I needed help with pain management and they agreed to let us return.
Back in triage, my blood pressure was again elevated, unsurprisingly as I was now in pretty significant back pain, and felt like I was starting to really lose my control over the labor as a result of both the car ride and now being forced to lie down on the hospital bed for the required check-in monitoring. A new midwife was now on duty and she did another cervical check –THANKFULLY I was about 6-7 cm dilated and so they were happy to admit me this time.
The admitting process took what felt like FOREVER. First we had to wait in triage for a room to be ready, and then after being formally admitted I had to have several tests. I wanted to try nitrous for pain management before anything else, and ultimately wanted to use an inflatable tub for labor & delivery. The nitrous required a negative COVID test before you could start using it. Also, because my blood pressure was elevated, I had to have preeclampsia labs before they could set up the pool. We had a great nurse who managed to get the testing done fairly efficiently, and I was able finally to at least get back into a shower while waiting on the various lab results. Luke provided amazing support mentally and also by tirelessly putting pressure on my back where I was having the most pain. The covid test took 1-2 hours to come back, but as soon as it was negative, I was able to start using the nitrous. I found that really helpful as the labor progressed, and I’m really glad it was an option. I felt super in control of how much influence I was under, and it was nice that it both worked quickly but also faded away really fast so I didn’t have any lingering drugged up feelings. The shower and nitrous couldn’t be used simultaneously, but I think it was good to just change things up. While using the nitrous I spent some time standing and squatting with the bed as a stabilizer and also some time on a yoga ball both of which were helpful. I started feeling some urge to push around this time, and they did another cervical check finding me to be 9 cm dilated.
The preeclampsia labs took longer to come through, but I was eventually allowed to get into the pool maybe around 3pm? Honestly, time was such a blur for me at this point. The pool was an amazing relief, especially for my back which was by far the worst of my pain throughout the whole experience, and something I was less mentally prepared for than the contractions themselves. I think that the baby was just in some kind of weird position that was pinching a nerve or something, I am not really sure. I pushed in the pool for an hour or so, but was having a hard time getting any leverage and wasn’t feeling very productive. Also, bizarrely, my water still had not broken! I could feel it bulging out of my cervix and feel the baby’s head through it by this point. Aside: it was really cool to feel my baby so close, and I’m glad the midwives encouraged this 🙂
Because I was a bit stalled out — and also getting really tired at this point! I’d been mostly awake for over 36 hours at this point — the midwife suggested trying to change it up. I think this was the right call, and I’m glad she was there to state the obvious! I might have just stayed in the pool forever. So, I got out and spent some time in hands and knees on the bed, and a little bit of time on the toilet – where my water finally broke! – and used the bars on the wall in the bathroom to get some leverage for strong squats which felt really good. However, my legs were really starting to wear out at this point. We decided to move back to the bed, and try laboring on my side so that my legs could have a break. Baby arrived soon after at 5:38pm!
Baby had a bit of a rough start with lots of fluid in her lungs (maybe because my water broke so late? I was in a total time warp by that point, but Luke says he thinks it was only about 15-20 minutes from water breaking to baby arriving), and ended up needing to be on a CPAP + oxygen for a few hours. They did this first in labor and delivery and then moved her to the NICU. Unfortunately I also lost a lot of blood (a bit over a liter) as my uterus was slow to contract and I had a second degree tear which required quite a few stitches, so I had to stay in the labor and delivery room and couldn’t be with the baby. Luke did stay with her the whole time, which made me feel better that she wasn’t alone, but not being able to really be with the baby right away was the absolute hardest part of the whole experience for me, and something that for all my labor and delivery prep, I was really unprepared for. I had thought a lot about contingencies like considering using medication, or the possibility of needing a c-section, but separation from the baby was not something I had really considered in advance despite also being something that just wasn’t in my control!
I’m happy to say that Laurel was a very strong baby despite her initial fluid filled lungs, and she was off all oxygen and breathing assistance by 12:30am although she remained in the NICU for monitoring until the next morning. As a result of the NICU stay, we didn’t get started breast feeding until about 12 hours after delivery, and she lost a lot of weight in her initial 24 hours. This prolonged our hospital stay as the hospital pediatricians were extremely alarmed by it and wanted her to gain some weight back before they discharged us. They also halted breast feeding just as it got started, diverting me to pumping and feeding her with bottles of my milk + supplementing with donor milk on a regimented once every 2 hours schedule. Thankfully, Laurel ate like a champ, gained 2 ounces between hours 36-48 of her life, and so we got out of the hospital at the end of the second day. By that time, though, I was in a pretty crappy emotional state, to be honest. The NICU stay was super traumatic for me, I found pumping to be both physically and emotionally painful, I was super distraught about not being able to just breast feed my baby, and I was concerned about Laurel’s weight and health!
But, everything got better quickly after this point 🙂 We had our first pediatrician visit the morning after our discharge. We had chosen our pediatrician before Laurel was born, and due to scheduling availability, ended up seeing the Dr. there on Saturday the 23rd. I am SO THANKFUL FOR HER! She immediately calmed us down from the anxiety that the hospital pediatricians had left us with, saying that she was not actually that concerned about the weight loss given the whole situation, and that while we would monitor Laurel’s weight closely and she wanted us to come back in on the following Monday for a check in, that she also wouldn’t expect any baby to be back to birth weight until 2 weeks old, and there was no reason to think Laurel would not get there. She also helped me relax about the whole feeding situation, and helped us get back on track with breast feeding by suggesting I try to breast feed first at every feeding time, then offer formula in a bottle, and cutting out the pumping if it was making me super miserable. She also set us up with a lactation consultant, who came out to our apartment later in the week. I would so recommend both of these wonderful humans if you need a pediatrician or a lactation consultant!! Following their advice, Laurel is now doing GREAT! She gained back a ton of weight just in our first 2 days at home, and was back to birth weight at only 8 days old.
Laurel is 3 weeks old today, and we couldn’t be happier. She eats and sleeps and poops a LOT, of course, but also loves looking out the windows, and checking out our faces, and stretching after naps.