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Birth Stories Blog

Lindsey's Story- 9 lbs., 2 oz.- Hospital

9 lbs., 2 oz.

21 inches long

Head circumference of 36.5cm (chest measure 36cm as well)

Hospital (in Ontario)

Mother's Height: 5'2"

My name is Lindsey and this is the story of my second labour and delivery experience. My pregnancy was rough pretty much right from the start, we were pregnant with twins and lost one due to a major fall, I had extremely low blood pressure and was put on bedrest at 15 weeks. I went into preterm labour at 26 weeks (which had happened with my previous pregnancy as well) but luckily it was stopped and I ended up carrying to term. I had a lot of complications but being my second pregnancy I was confident that things would be ok. I had a drug-free hospital birth with my 7lbs 8oz daughter, Paisley,and was expecting the same thing this time around. I was nervous about making it to the hospital because my first birth was a mere 6 hours and we live over an hour and a half from the hospital. I also got into a few debates with my OB (who was not my primary care giver, my family doctor was) about the size of the baby. I kept insisting he was going to be large and he kept insisting he would be no bigger than 7.5lbs.

Up until my due date I was very against inductions but I started to consider it, as long as no drugs were put into my bloodstream and my water was not broken. I went to the hospital four days overdue and had cervidol put in, which is to 'ripen' ones cervix. Six hours later I was put on the monitor and they werent getting the babies heartbeat properly so I had to hang out there. After a few hours my mom showed up at the hospital and my husband went out to breakfast with his family and thats when all the action started. My first contraction was at 10:45am, as my husband was leaving, my mom and I were sitting in the labouring area just chatting with me all hooked up to the machines and the doctor came in to talk about what the next step would be in the induction 'process'. I refused any drugs and told him to just "Let it ride" for a bit. At 11am (with a loud 'POP!') my water broke. The nurses came in and helped me get changed and went to move me down the hall to a birthing room. I skipped down the halls, dancing and laughing all while having regular contractions (five minutes apart at this point) and my husband returned to the hospital. We got to the birthing room and started taking bets about what time the baby would be born at and everyone else said after 3pm and I stood firm at before 1:30. So the next bit is pretty boring with me sitting around chatting with people and then feeling a contraction coming on. I would breath slowly allow myself to start smiling when I felt my contraction peak. The nurses thought I was hilarious and said I was the only one they ever had who skipped down the halls and smile through hard labour.

At noon I was checked and was 4cm dilated and then I was checked again at 12:50 and I was 8cm. I really wanted to get things moving (and I really wanted to win the bet) so I decided to go sit on the toilet to help my body relax and to bring the baby down. My husband and a nurse helped me to the bathroom and I instantly felt the need to push, by this time it was 1:15. While walking back to the bed I was laughing and saying "I win guys!". But even with joking around I was starting to realize that no matter how much my doctor had tried to convince me, he was wrong. The feeling in my pelvis was overwhelming and I knew this baby was big, I was told that my baby was two inches up in my birth canal and would be out in about half an hour if I pushed really well. I layed down on the bed and with one push I instantly felt that familiar burn, I wasnt really listening to what the nurses were saying so I pushed again and they all started yelling at me to stop. I hadnt realized but with the first push a third of his head had came out and the doctor was nowhere to be found. They grabbed a resident that was walking down the hall and he washed his hands and threw on his gloves. At this point I stopped having contractions and just continued my breathing, I actually put my feet down on the bed. The doctor showed up a minute later while the resident was trying to hold me together and a nurse was holding his head in. They held him there for 6 minutes trying to get my body to stretch naturally but it just wasnt happening, I had already tore up into my urethra, and down almost to my anus. My right labia was nearly tore off and I tore across my left as well. At that point I asked the doctor to give me an episiotomy, I think my exact words were "Just get him out of me!" so he cut me and in one more push I guided my sons head out. I then reached down while the doctor made sure his cord wasnt around his neck and then with one more push I pulled my son to my chest, the time of delivery was 1:25pm. This put my entire labour at Two hours and 40 minutes, which made me happy to be induced because I definately wouldnt have made it to the hospital in time.

I needed a lot of stitches to repair my tears and episiotomy but I surprisingly healed quicker and easier than I did with my daughter (who I just had an episiotomy with). We had a rough go at first because of the quick birth, our son, who we named Nevin, was in the NICU for four days due to his sugar levels plumeting after his cord was cut, but physically we both were fine. My brothers were all large babies weighing in at 9lbs, 9.5lbs and 10.5lbs, I always wondered how my mom did it but I know now that it isnt any more difficult. I actually preferred giving birth to my son because of his larger size because my body had an overwhelming feeling of urgency to get him out. I would also like to add that I was not a typical age when having my kids, I was 18 when I had my daughter and 21 when I had my son. Both were completely drug free and unassisted (meaning I delivered them). Nevin is now three months old and is thriving. He weighs in at 19.5lbs and is exclusively breastfed, which I believe has helped with my recovery as well. I have scars both inside and out and intercourse isnt as comfortable as it used to be just because of the pain but it will get easier in time Im sure. I had an amazing experience and I wish that more people could understand that this is what womens bodies were designed to do!! Convenience for a doctor does not mean its easier or healthier or safer for you or your baby.








Jessica's Story- 10 lbs., 4 oz.- Unnecesarean

10 lbs., 4 oz.

Length: 19 1/2 inches

Head Circumference: 14 3/4 inches

Transfer to hospital from home

Mother's height: 5' 9"


How was your pregnancy? Great, normal. No problems whatsoever.

How did you feel about your upcoming birth? Excited, empowered, and a little nervous. I also felt unsupported by everyone except my husband and midwives. Our family was very much against my VBAC attempt.

Description of your birth experience:

The Birth of Ellie Kay
Here's a little background on me: My first birth was a disaster. I was unnecessarily induced at 41 weeks because my doctor told me it was time to "get this baby out", and I, being the naive first-time, trusting woman I was, believed her. After 4 doses of Cytotec (which I was told was Cervidil, and now have scarring around my cervix from) I finally dialated to 1cm. I was then put on pitocin. After a few hours I was dilated to 2cm so they broke my water. Contractions worsed and became one right on top of the other. I couldn't handle it, with my dreams of natural childbirth flying out the window, I got an epidural. Then I'm sure you can guess the rest: the dropping of the heart beat, the stopping of pitocin, the restarting of pitocin, again the dropping of the heart beat= emercency c/s and a broken woman. My son was born October 11, 2005 at 9:03am. He weighed 9lbs 5 oz. and was 21" long. This time I was not going through that again. I believed in my body. I wanted to have this baby in the safest way possible, and a repeat c/s was not safer for either me or the baby. But there was a problem--no hospitals in the area allow VBACs. So, we explored the homebirth option. We met with a wonderful midwife and planned to birth our baby that way. But labor and birth don't always go as planned and my HBAC turned into an CBAC. Even though things didn't go as planned this was a very healing labor for me. Here is my story:

I was 41 weeks 1 day pregnant and had finally come to terms with the fact that I was going to be the first woman ever to remain pregnant permanently. It was Wednesday May 14, I hadn't had any sort of contractions or any labor signs all day. That night we were watching "August Rush" (great movie by the way) when my water broke in a huge gush (what a strange sensation! and mess!). It was clear!! It was about 9:45pm. So, I got cleaned up and called my midwife, she said to call her when contractions started. Contractions started around 11:30pm. They were 5 minutes apart and about a minute long. Nothing too terrible but it made sleeping hard. I called my midwife around 12:30 to let her know that contractions had started and were regular. She said to call her back when they got closer or when I felt that I needed them to come. So, I tried to sleep in between them all night. They never got closer but they did increase in intensity so around 6am we decided to call the midwives, and my mother-in-law. We then sent my son off to his great grandmothers' house.

My midwives arrived around 7:30-8ish. They checked the baby's heartbeat and everything looked great. By this time some of the contractions were 1-2 minutes apart and some were 5. They were much more intense. By about 1pm I was feeling sort of pushy at the end of the contractions so we decided to do the first vaginal exam (I was also feeling pressured by my mother-in-Iaw and all my family who had been calling every half an hour at this point. They kept asking her how many centimeters I was dilated and she had nothing to tell them so she put pressure on me. My plan had been to have no vaginal exams at all because I knew what would happen if I did….and it happened just how I thought it would). My midwife checked me and I was at a 3-4. I was devastated. This was as far as I progressed with my son when they decided to do the c/s. I was defeated, I was a failure and couldn't do it just as everyone always suspected. Contractions stopped. (oh how powerful our minds are!). My midwife suggested that I rest for a bit and see if that would help me. It didn't, I had given up. I even told them I wanted to go to the hospital. So, my midwives sat me down and gave me a sort of pep talk. Reminding me that I was the only one who could have this baby and that I had to decide to do it. They suggested that my husband and I go for a walk around our back yard for a change of scenery and some fresh air. It was just what I needed. We walked and walked and talked through my feelings and everything. (my husband was so wonderful throughout the entire labor!!) I was ready to have this baby. Contractions started again. But we were back to 5 minutes apart and not too intense-- like they were in the beginning. I'm not sure what time it was at this point, I think probably around 5pm or so. Being upright caused the contractions to strengthen and become closer together but I was so very tired I couldn't stay standing through more than 3-4 contractions before I had to sit down. And then the contractions would slow and space. It was frustrating. This continued throughout the night and the next day.

When my midwife had done my vaginal exam she had told me that her rule is that the baby be born 24 hours after the first vaginal exam when the waters have broken. She feels the risk of infection after that point is just too great for mom and baby, and I agreed. My first vaginal exam was at 1pm on Thursday. So, at noon on Friday we did another vaginal exam to see how far I was. I was at a 6-7!!! Wow, I couldn't believe I had made it so far. I was elated, but at the same time so very sad. There was no way I was delivering this baby in an hour. So, we had to make the decision to go to the hospital which would result in an automatic c/s.

My husband and I were at peace with the decision. We knew it was time and couldn't risk the health of our baby. I am angry that the hospital wouldn't even consider anything other than a c/s since I am a VBAC.

Once we made the decision to transfer my labor again stopped. I felt like I was having my period--just uncomfortable cramping. I get kind of fuzzy right here because everything got a bit chaotic. We had to pack bags for me and my husband for the hospital; the midwives were packing up their stuff. My mother-in-law and sister were calling everyone and telling them we were going to the hospital. And I just kept thinking this can't be happening, I planned everything right, I did everything I was supposed to. Why is this happening to me? It was crazy.

My midwife drove my husband and I to the hospital. The entire car ride there she went over everything that we would be encountering at the hospital and reminding us and helping us to remember what we wanted to refuse for Ellie (eye drops, vit. K shot, heb b vac, etc). She also told me there was no reason I couldn't have a HBA2C, and that she had just done one a couple weeks before with a woman who had a similar situation to mine. That was like a healing balm to my wounded heart. There was hope.
She dropped us off at the hospital (they knew we were coming, she had called ahead) and the nurse took us right up to L and D. The second I walked into that hospital I was terrified. This was the last place I wanted to be! I started shaking uncontrollably at this point. This would continue until I was in my room about ½ hour after the surgery. I think it made it scarier that I was getting cut open for no reason. There was nothing wrong with me or the baby, and yet I was headed for surgery. My life was being put in danger for no other reason than a hospital policy. They never even checked my cervical dilation, nothing. Just immediately started prepping me for surgery the moment I stepped into that room.

Back to the story…..
So, they took me into a room, made me strip out of my nice comfy clothes into a cold hospital gown, strapped the monitors on me, and gave me an I.V. Then they said that the doctor and anesthesiologists were having a debate on when to do the surgery. They could either do it at 2:30 (it was about 1:30 at this time), or the next opening would be at 5:30 that evening. Looking back now I wish with all my heart they had not been able to get me in at 2:30 and I could have walked the halls and maybe let labor continue more…who knows what could have happened?? They decided on the 2:30 surgery. This is where any choice I had over my body was completely taken from me. I asked for an epidural, they said no, you must have a spinal. I had had an epidural with my son so I knew how I reacted to it and didn't know how a spinal would affect me---it wasn't nice to me, after surgery I itched all over for the first night, and had headaches for the first few weeks…nothing like that happened with the epidural I had with Timmy. I also wanted the catheter after the spinal…no we can't do that. Okay I want Patrice (my midwife) to come with me to recovery so I don't have to be alone (after surgery I was told that I would go to recovery for half an hour, while my husband went with the baby) no sorry no one can be with you in recovery.
I wish I had had some fight left in me. But I was so tired and vulnerable I couldn't do anything but say okay. I was also so scared at this point that I was shaking so hard the entire bed was shaking. They kept asking me if I was cold over and over. "No you idiots I'm terrified you're going to kill me!' Is all I kept thinking.

So, they wheel me off to the operating room and my husband had to go sit in the doctors lounge while they prep me. He told me later that by the time they came and got him they had already started the surgery. I don't know, I couldn't feel or see anything. I would rather not remember this part, but I will record it so others can know. They wheel me in the room and then I had to climb up on that operating table, by myself. That was really hard, everything in me was screaming not to do it, but what other choice did I have? They put the spinal in and laid me down and did all the washing stuff, etc. I felt some pulling and pushing sensations as she left my body. She immediately began screaming, the doctor said It's a girl! I'm ashamed to say that when they showed her to me I thought, that's not my baby. They may as well of pulled a tumor out of me and told me to love it. The anesthesiologist had to take my hand and make me touch my own little girl. That is the worst feeling in the world, to be so indifferent to your own baby. I never want to feel that way again, and I wish I could forget those first few moments--how awful is that? This is what the medical community does not understand.

My husband went with her and they finished my surgery. It seemed like an eternity before they were done.

My nurse was great. She completely broke the rules and brought my husband and Ellie to the recovery room with me where I got to hold and nurse her for the first time. It was wonderful. I'm so thankful that she did that. All my nurses were wonderful and supportive. If I hadn't been forced into surgery it would have been a lovely hospital to birth at.

This labor was so healing in so many ways for me. I learned a lot about myself and my own strength. I know if I had not been "on the clock" that I could have birthed this baby. I cling to that knowledge now, for it is the only thing that keeps me going and struggling through my feelings.

Ellie Kay came into the world perfect and screaming at 3:04pm on Friday May 16, 2008 41 hours after my water had broken and almost 40 hours after labor began. She weighed in at 10lbs 4oz and 19 1/2 inches long.

Recovery this time is so much easier. Which I am thankful for. I think because this time it was my own decision to go to the hospital even knowing that it meant a c/s has made a huge difference. I am so proud of myself for laboring for so long. I really gave it my all....time just wasn't on my side. But-- there is always hba2c!

How did you feel after the birth (first month)? I was depressed. I was in pain. I felt like a failure yet again. All the feelings and thoughts that I had worked so hard to overcome from my first birth came flooding back. But at the same time I was so happy for my little girl. Breastfeeding was going well (it didn't work with my first) and I think that was my saving grace. I also felt some empowerment from this labor. I had gone into labor ON MY OWN. I had lovingly labored for 40 hours for my little girl. I knew that I could have birthed her. Her head was perfectly round, no molding whatsoever as she moved through the birth canal. Those are the things I choose to remember. I am not broken. My body is not broken. The medical system is.

It was REALLY hard not being able to pick up my toddler for those first 6 weeks. It broke my heart that if he got a bump or a scrape and needed mommy HE had to climb into my lap to recieve any sort of comfort. And he is a toddler so of course he couldn't understand why mommy couldn't pick him up and why mommy couldn't play with him. It's a hard enough adjustment for a little boy to get used to a new baby let alone having to get used to a mommy who can barely do anything but nurse the baby.

How did you feel six months after the birth? One year? Now? My little girl is 6 months old today. I am ANGRY. I am furious with a hospital that can force women into surgery for no medical reason. My belly still hurts sometimes when I laugh real hard, or cough real hard, or sneeze. I cannot bear to look at my belly even though the scar is barely visible, I know it is there. It is a reminder that I couldn't do it (vaginal birth) yet again. I waffle back and forth between blaming myself and my body's inabilities and blaming the medical community for forcing this on me one more time. I also look forward and dream of my next birth, and pray that it will be a successful VBAC. I would also go through it all over again for my little girl. It's hard to describe all of the emotions that run through me, they are so complex and mixed.

What did you learn from this birth? That I can go into labor on my own. My body isn't broken. I can labor. I could have birthed. I. CAN. DO. IT. I wish I had listened to that little voice in my head that kept telling me no vaginal checks. I wish I had told my midwife about my fear so she could have helped me resist the pressure to be checked. I really believe that is where everything started going wrong. I will not have ANYONE other than my husband and my midwives at my next birth!

Any words of wisdom to impart? Trust yourself, have faith in your body. You can do it--for your baby and for you. No matter the outcome, there can be healing. There can be peace. You can get through it.



Beth's Story- 9 lbs., 4 oz.- Birth Center

9 lbs., 4 oz.

Birth Center

Mother's height: 5' 6"


Hi my name is Beth and I had my 2nd baby 11 months ago. I'm 5'6 and135 without the baby weight. Normal healthy build. I had an okay pregnancy but I was in pain, my diaphragm was killing me. I couldn't eat much because if I did I had a sharp pain in my chest, (my diaphragm.) I had a midwife and she told me that he was a small to average size baby about 7lbs.

I went into labor and had a nice smooth labor. Painful but moved well. I went from 2cm. to delivery in 3 1/2hrs.When I was pushing out my son, (in the tub at the birth center) I thought everything inside me was going to break, I had no pain relief by the way. I pushed and pushed and he was just taking forever, (about 30 mins.) My daughter came out in 2 contractions about 5 min of pushing so this was an eternity to me. Anyway he came out and it was such a relief. They weighed him and he was 9lbs 4oz. I thought well no wonder that was so hard to get him out. And now I knew why my diaphragm was so pushed up there was just no room in there for him he had to take up all the space he could.

My daughter was 7lbs 14 oz. It was definitely a big difference. I had no tears or rips and healed very quickly. My vaginal area didn't look stretched or anything. I also shrunk back down to normal size within a week, except with a little fat around the middle. My midwife told me that everyone at that birth center in the month of November had babies over 9lbs. Must have been something in the water. She told me that a lady 5ft had a baby 10lbs the week before me. It's more work having a big baby but no reason that you would have to have a caesarean or an episiotomy.



Kathy's Story- 9 lbs., 2 oz.- Home

Posted here with permission from Kathy at Woman to Woman Childbirth Education (womantowomancbe.wordpress.com).

9 lbs., 2 oz.

Home (Unassisted- Midwife en route)


Even though my state allows non-nurse midwives, the closest one I could find was well over an hour away, so when it seemed like I was heading into labor on Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, I called her to let her know she should come. Apparently, my uterus just didn’t like what I had eaten for supper, because by the time the midwife and her assistant came, my contractions had almost stopped and were not strong. You’d think I’d know real labor from false labor the second time around, wouldn’t you? :-)

Real labor started on Monday afternoon — Memorial Day. Even though the contractions were strong, they were only about every 7-15 minutes apart. Having had one false alarm, I didn’t want to make the midwife drive that far again for another false alarm, so I decided to wait until the contractions were every 5 minutes or until my water had broken. Contractions continued every 7-15 minutes apart all night long. I had to breathe and vocalize through them. And my husband had to sleep because he had to get up in the morning and drive. (He was driving a big rig at the time, and had a load that needed to be delivered that day. I found out later that it would have been just fine if it had been delivered on Wednesday. He says he told me that; I told him next time don’t listen to me when I’m in labor.) :-) What was going through my mind that morning (probably some 15 hours after labor started), is that I still hadn’t settled into a reliable pattern, so I didn’t count that I was in “real” labor, and it was likely that I wouldn’t go into “real” labor until he got back. I was afraid that he’d stay home all day, and nothing would happen, and then he have to go when I was right in the middle of labor, or just after the baby was born, and I didn’t want that. Besides, I had stayed up all night in the living room so he could sleep, and if he didn’t go, then my night of laboring by myself without him even being awake to rub my back was wasted. (Like I said, “don’t listen to me when I’m in labor” — that was the muddled labor hormones talking.) So, off he went.

I was so tired, and just felt completely defeated. Nothing was going as I had planned. We were staying with my mom at the time (not where I wanted to be); my midwife was over an hour’s drive away, and I had already disturbed her once (not what I wanted to do again); and then my husband had to leave. Plus I hadn’t gotten much sleep because of the blasted contractions. I was able to sleep between some of them, but it was quite a restless night. I called the midwife around noon to let her know what was going on, but I didn’t really let her know that I was in labor — I guess I wanted her to read my mind?? What I told her was that I was having some contractions, but they weren’t in a regular pattern, and I’d call her when they settled into a regular pattern or when my water broke.

I put my older son down for his nap (he was 19 months old at the time), and continued with the blasted labor. The contractions hurt so bad! When I was in labor with my older son, I thought “epidural” one time, and that was it. This time, I thought “epidural” with every contraction for several hours. I tried every position I could think of, including several positions I thought would be horrible, but nothing else was working. None of it worked. What I really needed was somebody to apply counter-pressure to my back. A nice chiropractic adjustment probably would’ve helped. I had pubic symphysis disorder, which I think may have contributed at least somewhat to the labor pain. Whether it was due to fetal malpositioning, PSD, just my bad luck, or something else, I don’t know. In my first labor, I opted to get a labor pool, but it didn’t seem to help that much, so I opted not to get a labor pool this time — and I was wishing for it something fierce!

Finally, about 3:30 in the afternoon, my water broke. YES!!! FINALLY!!! So I called my husband, the midwife, my mom, and my best friend to let them know that something was finally happening. Remember that my midwife lived over an hour away; plus she had to arrange for child care. My back was hurting terribly during contractions, and it really felt like I need to use the bathroom. Of course, I knew this was a classic sign of birth being imminent, so I resisted the urge. Until the thought popped into my mind that I hadn’t gone to the bathroom all day, and maybe if I emptied my colon, it would relieve some of the pressure!

My mom had come home right before this, bringing my brother’s two kids; my sister also had just arrived with her three kids; and my other sister’s kids popped in from next door. Lovely. My memory is a little muddled at this point, but I must have briefed my mom on what was happening, and I think the midwife called in to see how things were going at that point. Anyway, my mom flipped out — she’s very nervous about birth anyway (was knocked out against her wishes for all four of her births, so has no memory of anything except contractions, going to the hospital, and waking up with a pubic shave and a big episiotomy) — and she starts crying, and hustling the kids off to my sister’s house next door. I go to the bathroom to try to relieve some of the pressure I’m feeling [all you seasoned birthers are probably smiling right now -- or am I the only one who can make myself believe that I'm not really pushing, I'm just going to the bathroom?]. My sister comes into the bathroom and tries to make me get into bed, so that I don’t push (per the midwife’s orders). She didn’t realize that I had been in labor so long — thought that when my water broke was when labor had started, and thought it was a premature urge to push and/or a precipitous labor. [Ha! I wish!] By that time, I had pushed one time, and felt the baby’s head move way down. I knew there was no stopping it!

About this time, my husband calls to see how things are going; the midwife is calling in on another line (as she’s racing down the highway trying to get there in time — no way!); and one push has put the baby to crowning. My mom is trying to handle two phones at once, and is crying and flustered; my sister is trying to get me to stop, and I tell her there’s no way. And then my mom hangs up on my husband!!! When I found out later that had happened, I was furious, but what could I do?

I’m not really sure if the first push put the baby at crowning, or if it was the second push, but anyway, the next push birthed his head, and the next push birthed his body. I was in hands-and-knees position, and my sister caught him. She handed him to me, and we started drying him off with towels. About this time, a lady from church (a former nurse) arrived. My mom called her all flustered when it became apparent that I was going to be having the baby without the midwife, and she dropped everything and left her 5 children (the oldest was old enough to babysit!) and flew down. Seth wasn’t breathing yet, but he was looking around and looking at me. Everybody else was kinda freaking out, but I could tell everything was just fine — he was still getting as much oxygen from the placenta as he was before he was born, so I knew he was all right. When they started rubbing him briskly with the towels, he cried in irritation, and everybody else breathed a sigh of relief. He started nursing immediately.

His birth time was around 4:30, about an hour after my water broke, but nobody looked at the clock right then. It could have been much earlier if I hadn’t tried not to push. About 10-15 minutes after that, I pushed the placenta out. We were all still in the bathroom, so clean-up was a breeze! Just wipe up what little blood there was with the towels, and toss ‘em into the washing machine. (We kept them until the midwife got there, so she could verify that it wasn’t a hemorrhage — my mom thought it was a lot of blood, but I could tell that it wasn’t very much. It’s just that a little goes a long way. A “hemorrhage” in a vaginal birth is more than approximately 2 cups of blood — visualize 2 cups of red food coloring spilled onto your floor, and it looks like a lot.)

We didn’t have an ultrasound at all, so we didn’t know if he was a boy or girl until birth. When he came out, my sister said, “Oh, he’s beautiful!” and I said, “Oh, he is a boy?” which is what I had thought most of the time. She kinda laughed and said, “I didn’t check!” So I looked and was the first to find out for sure that he was a boy. He seemed so small! I thought he was about the size that my older son was at birth, which was 7 lb. 5 oz. I called him, “My itty-bitty boy.”

Anyway, we wrapped the placenta in a chux pad and put it in a plastic bag to keep from making a mess with it, and I went to bed with my newborn son. Somebody brought my other son back over, and he wasn’t too sure immediately about the baby, but liked him pretty quickly. At some point, somebody called my husband or he called back — anyway, he heard that the baby was born, and everything was okay. About an hour after birth, the midwife and her assistant got there and checked everything out, and did all of the post-birth stuff (weighing, measuring, etc.) My husband was delayed by a car wreck or construction or something, so didn’t get home until about 3 hours after the baby was born.

When the midwife and her assistant saw the baby, they said, “Oh, he’s big!” But then, they’re used to seeing newborns, whereas it had been almost a year since I had seen a newborn baby. He was 9 lb. 2 oz. Born without a tear, only “skid marks.”

The birth was quite a bit different from what I had expected — so much for visualizing how birth will go, huh? Even though my water didn’t break until the end (and it had broken at the beginning of my first labor), the contractions were just as painful, if not more so. I was alone. Sometimes I see women writing that their “perfect” birth involves them laboring alone, outside under the moon or whatever. No, thanks — been there, done that (well, not the “outside” part), and don’t want to do it again.

Let’s just say that I completely understand why women seek the care and comfort of other women during labor. But my main regret is that my husband wasn’t there. In thinking about giving birth the second time (even prior to Seth’s conception), I always envisioned my husband receiving the baby as I pushed him out. Instead, he was the last person in the family to see him — my siblings and all their children saw him before my husband was even home. I’ll have to make sure my husband knows this next time around (if there is a next time) — don’t require me to think very much during labor! When I’m in labor, it feels like my brain is underwater — sights and sounds are muffled, and I’m pretty much “submerged” into labor. Listen to me when I say things like “rub my back,” but anything that requires more thought than that is subject to tremendous error! You learn something new every labor.



Gina's Story- 10 lbs., 1 oz.- Birth Center

10 lbs., 1 oz.

22 inches

34 cm head circumference

Birth Center (in Florida)

Mother's Height: 5’ 4”

How was your pregnancy?  AWESOME!

How did you feel about your upcoming birth?  Anxious, excited, ready to see baby

Description of your birth experience: 

After laboring through the day, visiting with family, making spaghetti sauce, and having lunch, it was time to get down to business.  We called our mid-wife (Vicki) around 3:00 pm just to let her know that we were probably going to have a baby that night.  We called back around 6:00 pm because the contractions were getting longer and shorter between contractions.  Vicki listened to my breathing and told me to climb into the tub, chill out, and let the contractions get even more intense.  Because Nathaniel was sitting in the middle of my lower back, I could not lay down or sit in the tub.  I had been standing for the majority of my contractions the entire day.  But, we tried the tub to see if I could somewhat sit back – no way Jose!  That did not work at all.  So, out of the tub I climbed.  I labored until about 8:00 pm at home and my husband called Vicki to let her know that my contractions had reached the desired length and timing.  Vicki listened to me over the phone and told us to come on up to the Birth Center.  So, my husband, my sister (and her 7-month-old who was still nursing) climbed into the car with all our gear and off we went.  We arrived at the Birth Center about 45 minutes later at 9:00 pm.  By that time, I was ready to have this baby!!  Vicki examined me and I labored on a birthing ball until the tub was finished filling.  Because I could not sit down, I had to labor in the tub on my knees the entire time. Not entirely the relaxing experience I was hoping for but better than standing.  My husband, sister, and Vicki kept reminding me to keep my moaning low and to breath through the contractions.  It wasn’t too bad in the tub and Vicki would check me periodically.  After one check, I decided it was time to start pushing.  I kind of got excited at that point because I figured Nathaniel would arrive about and hour or so later.  Well, 2-1/2 hours later, I was still pushing.  I was tired and apparently looked exhausted because Vicki suggested we think about going to hospital to possibly get some rest.  As she went to call the on-call doc, my husband and I discussed it.  This was about 2 a.m.  My sister and best friend (who arrived shortly after we did) kept cheering me on and telling me that I could do it without the hospital.  While I appreciated that, the hospital was sounding better, the more tired I got.  When Vicki came back, we were discussing the hospital option, when I had to push again.  And, while I was pushing, it hit me – I would have to do this in the car the whole way to the hospital.  I finished that contraction and asked Vicki to check me because there was no way I was doing that in a car for 30 minutes!!  She checked me and could feel quite a bit of his head.  That gave me the incentive I needed to push the little man out.  After finally figuring out what I need to do to get the little man out, I pushed for 30 more minutes and he arrived.  As he crowned, Vicki had me breath through the pushes while she tried to wiggle his hand away from his head.  He wasn’t having any part of that and out he came with one fist beside the temple on his head.  Of course, I tore a bit because of his elbow but Vicki did a wonderful job stitching me up and I can’t tell that I tore at all.  When Vicki weighed him and told us that he was 10 pounds, 1 ounce, I was shocked and said “Go me!!”

How did you feel after the birth (first month)?  Sore for the first month but able to get around and do anything that I needed to do.

How did you feel six months after the birth?  Wonderful. No problems at all.  One year?  Wonderful. No problems at all.   Now?  Wonderful. No problems at all. 

What did you learn from this birth?  It reinforced my belief that I can do anything – it made me realize that I have the power within me to tackle anything if I set my mind to it.

Any words of wisdom to impart?  Relax, do pre-natal yoga, listen to your body, find a trusted mid-wife that will help you deliver in a natural way.


Heather's Stories- Four Big Babies!- Hospital and Home

Baby #1: 9 lbs., 11 oz.

19 inches

14” head (I think?),

"Short, very plump baby."

Hospital with CNM

Mother's Height: 5’3”, 125 lbs prior to pregnancy. 

Term Pregnancy weight 150 lbs


How was your pregnancy?

Healthy. Active. Sick first trimester.

How did you feel about your upcoming birth?

I was DETERMINED to not have a lot of interventions. I read Bradley book. I shopped around hospitals and practitioners and switched to a CNM with good stats at 7 months pregnant. This determination was CRUCIAL to my successful outcome.

Description of your birth experience:

First birth. Very long labor (total 30 hours, but only active 8 hours). Labored with her posterior, born anterior. Labored mostly at home, went to the hospital at 7cm.  No tearing! CNM manually removed placenta which was painful and traumatic for me without warning or reasoning why.  However she documented my chart with “spontaneous birth of placenta” – no way.  She went in up to her forearm and grabbed it.  It was excruciating.  This almost demolished my entire amazing birth experience.  It was this reason and the crazy invasive treatment of my healthy newborn without informed consent that inspired me to homebirth my next three children.  I feel that any other place or any other practitioner might have elected surgery.  Even though I was totally opposed to introducing drugs and stated clearly that I did not want them offered, a nurse kept saying “you don’t need to be a hero, we can give you something to make it easier”.  I was really upset at this and had to fight with myself during transition to deny the drugs.  It was the best decision of my life.  No way did I want to get on the slippery slope of drugs that would likely lead to surgical birth.

How did you feel after the birth (first month)?  

Tired, sleep deprived, but no depression, capable. 

How did you feel six months after the birth? One year? Now? 

Excellent.  This “baby” is now 8 and watching me study to become a CPM (homebirth midwife)

What did you learn from this birth? 

The importance of education, empowerment, the importance of claiming the rights of my body and my infant’s body was almost impossible in a hospital setting.  You really turn over your right to choose when you are on hospital grounds.  You are essentially powerless unless you arm yourself with about as much knowledge as practitioners have. 

Any words of wisdom to impart?

Women out to be convinced that how we birth will help us with the transition to motherhood.  It is a spiritual experience that is totally achievable for most women.  It is crucial to claim your own experience and demand informed consent always, whether you are dealing with your dentist or your OB, or your midwife.  Claim your baby with primal instincts and arm yourself with knowledge and true statistics.  Do not become part of the cycle by allowing comments to scare you that have no factual basis. 



Baby #2: 8 lbs., 5 oz.

21 inches

Home (waterbirth)

How was your pregnancy? 

Good. Normal.

How did you feel about your upcoming birth? 

Excited about homebirth with CPM.

Description of your birth experience: 

short active labor. Intense transition. Quiet waterbirth. Peaceful.  Birth of placenta was normal, natural – even though I had some fear about this.

How did you feel after the birth (first month)?  Excellent!

How did you feel six months after the birth? One year? Now?  Excellent. This child is now 6.

What did you learn from this birth?  HOMEBIRTH rocks and more women could EMBRACE this!!!!! 

Any words of wisdom to impart?  Homebirth with a licensed, skilled CPM is AMAZING.   Totally do-able.  There is nothing “special” about me that enabled me to do this.

Baby #3: 10 lbs., 2 oz.

"Another big head, big chest girl"

Home. Birth on bed

How was your pregnancy?

AWESOME. Bliss. Worked hard on improving my diet!!! Omitted dairy, wheat, sugar.  Turns out this was biggest baby yet!

How did you feel about your upcoming birth? 

Excited, pumped up. Nervous, too about the potential to bleed.

Description of your birth experience:  LOTS of false/puttery labor for DAYS.  During active labor, I wished I was back in water like #2 (but this midwife was not totally comfortable with water, I think).  Pushing took way longer than expected. Turns out she was HUGE!   NO TEARING!!!!!!!  Midwives hands and skills were greatly appreciated!!!!  They knew just how to coach me.  I’m glad they were there.  Unassisted birth would never be for me, I would have torn the hell out of myself.  Birth of placenta was fine again. 

How did you feel after the birth (first month)? Tired, lost a bit of blood this time.  Otherwise AWESOME – BLISS!!!!!!!

How did you feel six months after the birth? One year? Now?  Bliss!

What did you learn from this birth?

Homebirth still rocks. Trust in homebirth midwife just as important as selecting OB/CNM in hospital.  I decided I wanted to become a midwife.

Any words of wisdom to impart? 

Women can shop around CPMs like they should OBs.  Support homebirth.  Don’t fear birth. 

9 lbs., 6 oz.

23 inches

Home,  Water!

Term weight: 160 lbs.


How was your pregnancy? 

Normal.  I worked on my diet and reducing sugar since my babies were all so big (and I was little). 

How did you feel about your upcoming birth?  A bit more nervous about potentially bleeding (just because I’ve had more big babies and I’m getting older -33)

Description of your birth experience:

took a while for active labor to kick in. I craved for water and had to fight midwife a bit to use the pool as much as I wanted.  Huge Baby ended up being born posterior!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Slight tear from malposition, but no stitches needed.  The malposition kept me at one despite my knowing I was in very late active labor.  Midwife kept telling me I was only at 1cm.  I finally got to labor some alone with just husband and mother in pool and then my water broke and he came falling out.  Almost no time for midwife to catch!  She didn’t have time to don her gloves!  It was awesome and a power from God.  I was glad when it was over.

How did you feel after the birth (first month)?  Awesome. 

How did you feel six months after the birth? One year? Now? Really great!


What did you learn from this birth?  Trust and talk with God when things get scary.

Any words of wisdom to impart? 

Turn yourself over to God. Allow each birth to be your spiritual teacher.  Allow each baby to come into the world as they intend.  Heal yourself through birth.


Sara's Story- 10 lbs., 1 oz.- Hospital

10 lbs., 1oz.

21 inches


Mother's height: 5' 6"

How was your pregnancy?

great!  I was huge, but happy up until the last 2 weeks when I was overdue

How did you feel about your upcoming birth?

nervous and excited - We took hospital classes and Bradley classes, so we felt overprepared and yet incredulous that my body could really do this.

Description of Sara's birth experience:
On Tuesday the 17th Sara had a doctor's appointment and found out she was 85% effaced and 1cm dialated.  She started having some regular contractions that definitely felt more serious in the evening.  We went to bed to get a good night's sleep in case the time for the hard work was soon.  Unfortunately for Sara, sleep was going to be difficult.  Laying on her side made it difficult to deal with contractions.  She needed to be sitting up either on the couch or the birthing ball.  So the only sleep was grabbed in between longer gaps between contractions which by morning had spaced out and pretty much stopped altogether.  So by noon an hour nap was definitely in order!  Later in the afternoon on Wednesday the contractions came back becoming more intense and  closer together.  They were somewhat painful putting pressure low in the pelvis and in the lower back.  Then Darren massaged her back and the counter pressure from the birthing ball also provided relief.  Side lying was still not an option.  When walking Sara definitely had to stop and focus to get through the contractions.  By midnight they were between 2 and 4 minutes apart lasting at least a minute each for quite a while, so we decided it was time to go in.  Upon arriving at the hospital at 1:30 am, we had the 20 minute strip and it became apparent the baby's heart rate was depressed.

Sara immediately had to lay on her left side with an oxygen mask and recieved IV fluids to help the baby, making it difficult to deal with contractions. Fortunately the condition quickly improved and it was found that positioning made the most difference.  For Sara the best position was sitting up in the bed so she could lean back and relax but yet stayed upright and the baby thankfully didn't mind this position either.  So until 10:00 am we labored this way until finding out that we were 90% effaced and 2cm dialated.  Ugh!  They recommended breaking the bag of waters which we decided to do after much discussion.  This immediately brought an additional cm dialation and made the contractions ramp up and be more consistent and stronger.  They were very intense and by 5:00pm on Thursday Sara had had enough.  She said she was
interested in pain meds depending on how far along she had progressed.  Well, upon hearing that she was still at just 4cm and 90% effaced, epidural seemed the way to go.  And oh, what a great decision!  We were both able to get some good naps in and finally got a break from two days of hard work.  A few hours later the doctor suggested pitocin to ramp things up and we readily agreed.  We knew that epidurals typically go hand in hand with pitocin.  We also wanted to  get things moving and preserve the vaginal delivery option.  Sara could feel the pressure of the contractions, but no pain, so she was still able to rest.  Until about 10:00pm when she was measuring 6cm and swore her epi had working.  They turned it as high as they would go and Sara was taking all the bonus doses she could to no relief.  In fact the pain got worse!   Well, at 11:30 the reason for the additional pain was discovered.  It was finally time to push!  Oh, the sweet relief!  It was a bit hard to learn how to push but soon the head was down and Sara could feel the sensation of the head coming out and going back in.  The doctor was stretching the perinium to help pave the way for the baby.  Suddenly the room was in a flurry and everything was changed into a delivery room and on the push the head was out.  Then the shoulders were born and baby was placed on Mommy's tummy at 12:45am on Friday!  The birth of the placenta was more painful than childbirth as the nurse and doctor were massaging the uterus VERY  vigirously.  But there was no stitching necessary as there was only a minute tear.

How did you feel after the birth (first month)?

I was pleased with the birth experience.  Despite having many more interventions than I had desired, I was very happy with the decisions we made.  I was also happy that we were able to have a vaginal delivery.

How did you feel six months after the birth? One year? Now?

Six months after the birth I was in horrible pain from tendonitis in my wrists from carrying around my heavy baby!  But I've always been satisfied with my birth experience.  I don't think I would do anything differently.

What did you learn from this birth?

It is helpful to be informed of your choices and the possible outcomes of these choices.  The more knowledgeable you are, the better decisions you can make regarding your birth experience.

Any words of wisdom to impart?

Don't walk past the nursery when you are in labor!  Those babies look so big!  Little did I know.
Have faith in your body.  This is a great mantra!
You get to decide.  If you are in the hospital, make sure you ask for the time and information you need to make decisions.  Don't let the doctors and nurses decide for you.


Vicki's Story- 9 lbs., 15 oz.- Home

9 lbs., 15 oz.

HBAC (Followed by five more HBACs!)

My story isn’t so much a birth story as a story of many births.  After having three uneventful hospital births, I found I was pregnant for a fourth time – with twins.  These little babies were perfectly content to be breech right up to the end and so it was determined that a cesarean was the only way to birth them.   I was allowed to go into labor on my own, so that is good.  The c-section was less than wonderful.  I could not hold the babies for at least 4 hours after the birth and spent two of those hours all by myself in recovery.  I wish I had recovered.  Instead I was left with a horrible infection in my incision which turned into toxic shock syndrome.  I almost died and breastfeeding was impossible.  I could not nurse due to the meds I was on and when I finally could nurse, I had nothing.  I made it work, though, and once my supply came I was able to nurse them for a full year until they weaned themselves.

Now for the beautiful part of the story.  I became pregnant with number 6 and *knew* that I wanted better.  I decided to birth at home with midwife.  It was the most peaceful and calm experience.  Our daughter was 9lb. and 15 oz. but didn’t cause one bit of a problem coming out.  Her birth was healing for me in so many ways.  The c-section left me feeling violated and angry.  For some reason, her calm birth seemed to wash all of that away.  Now I feel a passion to protect other women from that same thing, but I no longer feel pain for myself.  I have since gone on to have 5 more born at home – all wonderful safe births.  (Even though I heard that I was the talk of the OB nurses at the local hospital with the last one.   They thought I would surely die! LOL  Funny thing is, I did almost die after giving birth once….. in their very own OB ward after my section!)

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