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Birth Stories Blog

"I started begging them to take out the epidural so I could walk"

By Sam

I exercised every day of my pregnancy and followed an organic diet and only increased my calories by 300-400 a day. I had an easy uneventful pregnancy. I debated on having a home birth but my husband did not feel comfortable with that and we ultimately decided to go with an old school solo OB with 35 years of experience after changing from a large OB practice with a high c-section rate.

On Monday April 25th at my 41 week appointment-I was 0 dilated and 60% effaced. The Dr. was comfortable with me going to 43 weeks as long as a weekly NST was fine and it was at the 41 week appointment.   I went into labor around 4 am on Friday, April 29th but it was all back labor-actually it was all my tailbone and lower back and my hips kept locking up making it hard to move. They were about 10 mins apart and almost exactly 1 minute in length. My husband goes to work at 6am so I sent him to work thinking I would have a long day ahead of me and wanted to be alone to labor as long as possible.  I started walking and squatting and bouncing on the ball-reading online trying to find something to get them closer together.   They eventually got to 7 minutes apart around 9am.

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Thank God for the Shift Change: Sara's Story

On January 3, 2009 at 2:41 am, I woke up thinking, I might have to use the bathroom. I got up and water started gushing. On my way to the bathroom, I called to Seth “Seth, my water just broke.” He moaned from bed. “I am NOT kidding!”

Seth jumped out of the bed “Are you serious?!” He threw on some clothes and got into gear. “Do we need to call the hospital? What about Celeste, should we call her?” He came to the bathroom where I’m still sitting on the toilet. “Is that your mucus plug?” he asked pointing to the bathroom floor.

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Amanda's Story: Hospital VBAC

A VBAC story… her doctor told her that her first c-section was inevitable because her 10 pound son was too big. Then she went on to have a 10 lb., 4 oz. baby vaginally.

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Tammy's Midwife-Attended Breech Hospital Birth in Germany


Weight: 6 lbs., 12 oz.

Length: 50 cm (20 inches)

Head circumference: 35 cm

Mother’s Height: 5’ 7”


Birth location: Hospital – note that in Germany, the birth is attended by midwives in hospitals unless there is a need for intervention. I didn’t meet a doctor until about 10 minutes before the birth. She was only there as a backup incase there was a complications in getting the baby out.

How was your pregnancy?
My pregnancy was excellent. I was active all the way through, and there were no complications other than the breech presentation. I was definitely tired at the end, but with 35 extra pounds and not a lot of sleep, it was to be expected.

How did you feel about your upcoming birth?
I was quit relaxed. I did a lot of meditation and yoga practices focused on being open to the experience. I was comfortable with the choice we made regarding the hospital and midwives. Though I really wanted a natural delivery, I was also open to the reality that having a breech baby automatically increased the chances of complications. I was prepared to do whatever needed to be done to bring her into the world.

Description of your birth experience:
Light contractions started about two days before the birth. About a day after they started, we went to the hospital. I was only 1 cm dilated, so we went back home to labor. A day later, the contractions started coming much closer together and they were getting a bit stronger. We went back to the hospital, and I was 2-3 cm dilated, and they suggested that I stay since the ammonic sac was under pressure and could break. Given that she was breech, it was better to be there.

Shortly after arriving at the hospital, the contractions began getting stronger. My husband and mother were in the room with me the entire time. I labored in a very comfortable room. I spent most of the time on a mat on the floor. Every time a contraction came, I would lean on a big birthing ball and make a sound, usually ‘haaaaa’. My husband massaged my back through most of the labor because it helped ease he pain. My mom supported him. The midwife was with us most of the time but gave us space. AT one point, she asked if I wanted and enema, and she also asked is I wanted something the help the pain at one point. I old her that if I can keep yelling, I would be OK, and she told me to feel free to make as much noise as I wanted.

As the pain became more intense, the midwife helped keep me calm and focused on using sound. She also began to jiggle my hips gently (I learned later that this was to help the baby descend). I was only monitored periodically, and the baby’s heart rate was strong the entire time. As I became tired toward the last hour of the 7 hours of hard labor, I was drifting to sleep between contractions. The midwife suggested that I lie on my side on the birthing table so I could rest more easily. I slept momentarily between contractions until my water broke (about 30 minutes before the birth). I was already fully dilated at this point and we were just waiting for the baby to descend. The midwife thought it would still be a few hours at this point (though she didn’t tell me that at the time), but my water burst and things began to move forward.

After the water broke, the contractions became much stronger, and I was screaming with each of them. I was starting to get the urge to push. The doctor came in around this time and introduced herself but understood when I just stared at her. The midwives were discussing the best way to have me deliver while I was screaming. As I started feeling the pressure on my bowels from the baby descending, the midwife told me that they would like me to come onto my hands and knees after the next two contractions. Once on my hands and knees, the baby came out in two contractions. The doctor was down by my feet observing but did not take part in the delivery at all. There was no episiotomy and no tearing.

The baby was perfectly healthy. The midwife cleared the fluid out of her face, and I sat back on my heels. They left her on the table for me to pick her up. I held her against my naked chest, and they wrapped us up and helped me lay back down. We stayed like that for over an hour. The midwives cleaned up and then left me, the baby, my husband and mother alone in the room. About an hour or two later, the midwife came back and did the first exam of the baby and also let my husband hold her (again, with a naked chest). We also tried breast feeding in this time.

My hospital offers an out-patient option for delivery. Since we had a very smooth delivery and we were all healthy, I asked if we could go home. The midwife recommended staying at least 4 hours after the birth. I cleaned up in the shower, and the midwife used that as a chance to see how mobile I was to see if it’s Ok to go home. So, my girl was born at 5:00 AM, and I was home in my bed by 10:00 AM. The midwife came the next day, and every day for the first ten days, to check on us (that is something typical in the German system).

How did you feel after the birth (first month)?
I was surprised how good I felt the day of the birth and for the first week. I was definitely weak, but the only pain I felt was in my throat on the first day from all of the screaming. My perineum felt weak but not sore. About five days later, I felt terrible and tired, but the next day, that was gone as well.

How did you feel six months after the birth? One year? Now?
I’m not there yet, we are only at 6 weeks.

What did you learn from this birth?
I learned that the whole birth experience is so far out of our control! I was truly blessed to be able to have the birth that we had. Everything went just right. However I can see how if it didn’t I would have definitely needed help with the pain.

I can see how important it is to have a trusted team for the birth. The midwife gave me some homeopathic tablet to help regulate the contractions, but at the time, she just told me to stick out my tongue. I did so and took whatever she gave me even though I had no idea what it was. I trusted her completely and did whatever she asked me to do. She also respected my wishes for a natural birth and she supported that.

Any words of wisdom to impart?
Your birth story is yours to cherish and learn from. Whether ideal or not, it is yours to carry and learn from. It is something you will share with your child forever.


"HOLY CRAP, it’s the baby’s head! What do I do?"

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By Lucy 


Charlotte’s accidentally unassisted HBAC

My first baby was born by cesarean after a 42-hour labor counting from after my water broke. Although I do not consider it an unnecessarean since my midwives and I at the freestanding birth center tried every midwifery trick and position to dislodge her as she was found to be stuck in the birth canal at -1 the entire time due to a wonky position and her hand being up near her head, I knew I could birth vaginally the next baby, as my body had gotten to 9cm and 100% effaced.

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I’m 16 and I caught my own baby

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By Kassedi

On September 16 at around 11:00pm, I started having what I thought were really strong braxton hicks. My partner got me some cheese crackers and water because I was hungry, which I nibbled on until I wasn’t very hungry anymore.

Since they were a little on the strong side I tried hands and knees to take pressure off my tummy. I drank a tiny, I mean tiny, glass of red wine thinking it get my blood flowing, nada. So, in denial, I try to sleep. I slept for 45 minutes before waking up with irritating back pain. I lay in bed for hours— still in denial— thinking “it’s just another bad night of sleep due to my growing belly.”

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16 and Pregnant... and Bullied into Obstetric Interventions

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By Jeanette C. Florio

I was 16 when I got pregnant, which was completely unexpected. I had 3 prior miscarriages and at the most recent one, I was told I’d never be able to carry a pregnancy to full term due to some complications with my uterus being narrow or something (they never went into detail with me). My boyfriend at the time was also told he would never have kids due to low sperm count. We never assumed it would happen, though I can say we both wanted it to happen. I moved in with Billy after my father started doing drugs again when I was 15. It took my father 2 weeks before he noticed I was gone. Soon after I moved in I got a good paying office management job. 6 months latter I was pregnant. Of course at 16 and pregnant every one told me to abort the child right away, I was too immature to care for him. The only person by my side was my mother. 5 months into my pregnancy she took me and my boyfriend to Las Vegas and signed for me to get married.

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Jillian asked for more time and had her baby vaginally

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My water broke when I was 36 weeks pregnant with my son. I arrived at the hospital about an hour or so after to find out I was about 6 centimeters. At that point, the doctors (as well as I) thought that everything was going to happen rather fast. I wasn’t contracting much so they started pitocin and I got an epidural. At that point, I was closer to 7 centimeters.

I was in a bed on my back the remainder of my labor. Hours would go by with only very little change, half a centimeter at a time. I was discouraged, especially when I saw the look on the doctor’s face. At one point my son’s heart rate did dip, so they gave me oxygen and I changed positions. His heart rate then remained fine the rest of my labor.

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