Birth Story

"Lovely controlled birth; hands and knees in tub."

Those are the words that my midwife wrote on my birth records under "Delivery Comments."

I'm not sure I would use the word "controlled" to describe my labor experience. After all, it involved plenty of screaming and moaning (and singing, incidentally...). But I WOULD describe it as fast and furious and...overwhelmingly positive. I really couldn't have asked for a more pleasant experience (as far as labors go, that is).

Here's how the day played out:

Friday, March 13, 2009

10:00 a.m. I am sitting out in the backyard in the sunshine  - watching our 2-year-old play in her playhouse and drawing smiley faces with sidewalk chalk on the wall. I tell my husband rather nonchalantly, "I'm feeling some pressure down below, almost like the head descending. No, not like Braxton Hicks. But it really could be nothing..."

Noon. My husband and daughter go grocery shopping. I post on my blog and do some work. We eat lunch and discuss everyday things.

3:00 p.m. We decide to head downtown to take care of some business at the Secretary of State office. In the elevator, I stop and say, "Hold on. Just a minute. I'm feeling a little pressure. Okay, I'm fine." After that, we drive to Walgreens to buy a birthday present for our next door neighbor's daughter. The contractions are coming regularly now, but I don't want to jump to conclusions too soon.

4-something. We arrive home. I tell my husband to put our bags in the car and suggest that we clean the house..."just in case." He busies himself with laundry and dishes and vacuuming (in a frenzy, I might add), while I make enchiladas and build block towers with our 2-year-old in her room. At one point, I get on my hands and knees.

5-something. The intensity of the contractions begins to heighten (I would later tell the midwife that my labor began at 5:00 p.m.) We sit down to eat dinner and I jump out of my seat every 5 or 6 minutes to lean against the wall. My daughter asks, "Are you okay, mommy?" "Yes," I say, "mommy's okay."

My husband and I have a conversation kind of like this:

  • Husband: Should I call my parents?
  • Me: No, not yet. I'm not sure this is it.
  • Five minutes later...
  • Me: Call your parents. We have to go...NOW.

6:30 p.m. We meet Tim's parents in-town (they were out eating dinner) to drop off our daughter. "Do you think you're close?" my father-in-law asks through the car window. "It's hard to say," I  answer back.

7:00 p.m. We arrive at the birth center. It's quiet and peaceful there. The nurse greets us kindly and tells us that she's getting the room ready. I walk around the main area, stopping to lean against the wall with each contraction. When the contractions come, I sing. Not words. Just notes. "You're a singer," the nurse says gently, "Your voice is beautiful." "Actually, no," I smile in between pains, "only in labor." Somehow it seems to help.

7:30 p.m. The nurse asks if I would like to try to get in the tub. I say, "yes." The warm water feels surprisingly good. I sit. When the contractions come, I always say, "here comes another" and lean forward on my hands and knees while Tim massages my lower back and caresses me gently with his fingertips.

8:00 p.m. The contractions intensify. My singing turns to screaming, panting. In between, I pray aloud, "Lord, help me. Lord, you are good to me. Help me to trust you." And I talk to the baby: "I love you, baby. I can't wait to meet you." And I say, "I'm scared, Tim. I'm so scared. I don't know if I can do this." But I know I can. I know the baby will be here soon.

8:15 p.m. My water breaks during one of my contractions. Blood oozes slowly into the bath water, tinting it red. I am on my hands and knees. The urge to push consumes my body. I give in because it is the only thing that I can do. I feel like I might explode or pass out. "Pant. Quick pants," the midwife guides me. I try to breathe...and then I push. I feel the baby's head, then the body...then a cry. I am in immediate euphoria.

8:30 p.m. My husband is holding her. He passes her through my legs, umbilical cord still attached. I hold her, mesmerized by the miracle. "She's beautiful," I say. "She's here."


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84 comments on “Birth Story”

  1. I really like your birth story (and your blog in general) !
    I am not a mama yet, but I don't know if I would feel confident enough to give birth to my first baby anywhere else than in a hospital. Regardless, there are no birth centers in France, and that is where I live so... I am especially afraid of the pain during labour. In the hospital I would like to have my baby delivered, they have a special kind of epidural which allows you to move during labour, and not being pinned down to your bed , so that is already something...

    Anyhow, I think you will like this slideshow of a home birth (I don't know the person, I just stumbled upon this vid on the web and found it amazing). It is full of poetry, the pictures are outstanding and reflect perfectly the emotion of the moment for this family. It brought tears to my eyes... Hope you enjoy it too !

  2. I finally had my first natural birth with my 3rd in March of '08. It was incredibly quick, but so beautiful and the recovery afterwards was AMAZING. I was skeptical too, but thankfully called the midwife after the 4th contraction to tell her that I "thought" I might be in labor. It was a good thing she came right over because he was on my chest less than 40 minutes later! :)

    1. So glad you had such a wonderful experience! I am forever singing the praises of midwives, birth centers, and natural many wonderful benefits (including quick recovery time, as you mentioned).

  3. Stephanie!! That birth story is so much like my experience with my last (Ellie)! I had her at the birth center also! Two water broke at Costco and I had to get out of the tub(I needed to pace). ((hugs))

  4. This is beautiful Stephanie. Very sweet! I pray that God blesses my husband and I with a little one someday soon. I can only imagine the feeling of being a mother.

  5. I am 15 weeks pregnant now... and have been arguing with myself over the birthing center vs hospital. I simply do not do pain well - (as in - I passed out both times I got my ears pierced... and once when I tried to give blood, hit the floor when they pricked my finger - never made it to the big needle) - however, being pregnant, that "passing out" thing has faded - I let them poke and prod on every visit now and stay awake! It makes me wonder if I could go drugless.... and then, the fear comes back again... I just don't know if I could do it! I am amazed by those of you who have done it already - the stories are always so wonderful - not filled with the insanity of hospitals....

  6. thank you for sharing. such a beautiful story. i'm hopeful to use the birth center in the hospital i'm at here in nyc.... hearing wonderful stories truly makes me believe it's all possible. blessings.

  7. Wow, what an amazing birth story. Did you give birth naturally to your first as well?

    I gave birth to my daughter (my first) naturally in a birth center in June of last year. I wanted to have a natural birth like some people want to climb a mountain or run a marathon. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever done.

  8. Wonderful birth story! I think that the more of us who share our positive experiences of natural childbirth online, the more others will see that the more medicalized kind of birth is not the only option most women have. Now I feel inspired to post mine...:)

  9. Love the birth story! Sounds a lot like the birth story of my first daughter (only I didn't get in a tub - wish I had heard more about it then)... if you enjoy reading birth stories - and a good chuckle, check out the birth story of my son (you can get there by clicking on my name). It was certainly interesting! :) God bless! Thanks for your insightful blog. I've enjoyed reading!

  10. I just saw The Business of Being Born. This is a beautiful story. You should've been featured in that documentary!

  11. She is stunning! What a beautiful labor/birth story, Stephanie! Congratulations to you and your family! I would love to have a labor/birth experience like yours.

    Thanks for sharing your story with us! She is beautiful! LOVE HER UP!

  12. that is so precious, thanks for sharing! I'm expecting baby #8 in 3 weeks and I'm wondering can I do this again? I've had all mine at home with a midwife, but I'm still a little nervous. I know God made my body to do this. your story encouraged me, thanks!

  13. Yes!! I'm so glad you had such a great birth experience with the midwife!! I loved having you at home with a midwife. The Lord continues to bless us!! Love you!

  14. Oh, I cant wait to meet her in person! Im so happy that the birth went smoothly. You look great, mama! Good job! ;)

  15. Two of my three girls were born in the same birthing tub at the birth center. With baby #3 we had to deliver at the hospital and it just wasn't the same:(

    I also has short labors. It's intense but the pain fades as soon as the baby debuts.

    Congratulations, I can't wait to meet her:)

  16. =D That is a beautiful story! And a beautiful baby! Congratulations! Thanks for sharing, I'm so close to tears right now, but in a good way =P

  17. That has to be one of the most beautiful birth stories and look at the look on your face in that photo... pure bliss, instant love!


  18. Hi Steph,
    I haven't visited your blog in about 8 months but I thought of you and wondered if you'd had the new baby yet. Congratulations! What a blessing she is. I cut back on my blog reading and kinda went cold turkey.

  19. Thank you for sharing your wonderful birth story, Stephanie! I loved reading it. Many blessings to you and your family. I am so happy for you!

  20. CONGRATULATIONS! She is SOOOOOO beautiful and what a wonderful birth story. I am so happy for you and your family. yay!!!!!!

  21. She's going to LOVE reading this one day. Torri still likes me to tell her the story of her birth every year on her birthday (and she's 14 now!) only the details have gotten fuzzier as the years have passed. I wish I had written the whole thing down then. You'll be so glad to have this...

    I'm so happy for you that your experience was so peaceful. In hindsight at least. :)

    She's a beauty. Just like big sis!

  22. bringing tears to my eyes (in a good way-not because i am feeling your peak of pain)
    i love the way you shared this....
    congrats again

  23. Congratulations! I am glad all is well and I bet you are feeling much better! You and baby look beautiful!

  24. Congratulations!! I'll be back to read your post.

    In answer to your questions on my blog, Gabe takes most of the pictures. Nikon D50. No class. He uses Aperture to enhance some of the photos.

    I love your little girls! :)

  25. what a great experience! Each time I read a story like yours I think to myself that maybe (just maybe!) I could do it that way too!

    Thanks for sharing her with us, she is absolutely beautiful!

  26. Wow, a three-and-a-half-hour labor! That's great. I'm glad you feel it was a positive experience, and you got a sweet baby out of the deal as well. Good for you! Congrats again.

  27. What a fabulous description! As a mom of three that prefers inducement and drugs, for a brief moment I think "Wow, I should have one more and try it this way!"

  28. beautiful...and's how all births should be....

    And I was so impressed with how quickly it went and how calm you seemed.


  29. Wow! What a beautiful birth story!! I'm so thrilled for you all and thankful for a peaceful birth! :)

  30. What an awesome story. I'm trying not to be jealous as I mentally prepare for my second C-Section... oh well, I guess being tumor free and healthy for my babies is more important than being able to experience natural birth. At least with you and Steph from Adventures in Babywearing sharing your stories I can imagine what it might have been like... although, hubby thinks I would have been begging for an epidural :)

  31. Thank you for sharing your birth story and giving us the detailed play by play. What a moment? Childbirth is incredible and I'm so excited you also had a natural childbirth. (As did I) Despite the pain, I truly felt like if I did not do it naturally I would be missing out on this "life experience". Congrats on your baby girl. Can't wait to see more pics!
    xo colleen

  32. Thank you for sharing this story. Beautiful... Can you read the tears in my eyes? We are so happy for you all. I love that you sang- what a special thing to remember and share with your (possibly musical:)) daughter.

  33. Congratulations! It sounds like it went so well. I love that you wrote it all down! We are so happy for you guys. She's beautiful just like her big sister!

  34. Beautiful story. Sure beats my story of showing up at the hospital screaming in pain and totally chaotic. You look great too - I can't believe you're blogging and everything so soon after the delivery. You are awesome!

  35. You did it Stephanie! We had talked about this after Kayla, and you did it! Congratulations! We are very happy for you and thankful to the Lord. How much he loves you to now bless you with two tender responders!
    Love Always

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