Birth Day

At my 39-week appointment my doctor told me I could “go at any moment” and based on Syd’s speedy arrival when I arrived at triage at 4 cm and delivered 2 hours later I knew what he said was true. He actually went so far as to call all his partners who were on call for the weekend to tell them that I was 4 cm and to not delay coming in to the hospital (most wait until they get a dilation report from triage before heading in) if I called them in over the weekend.

Friday I spent working from home and resting.  To speed along some of the contractions I was having Royce and I went on a walk to the neighborhood shops to get some coffee in the afternoon. Since they were getting pretty regular (not painful yet but what I remembered having with Syd before my water broke) we decided it would be best to head into the hospital so when we got home we packed up and went in around 5 pm. After waiting in registration for a while I got to triage and hooked up to monitors and sat on a bed. And then things sorta stopped. I had a few contractions but nothing spectacular. So I stood up since they wouldn’t let me walk around…but that didn’t help much either. I hadn’t dilated any further so my doctor told me I could either go home or be admitted to L&D if I would let them break my water. Being the anti-interventionist… I chose to go home and we were home by 8 pm.

I had contractions throughout the night on Friday and into Saturday morning. About 8 AM I started walking. Since our contractor was coming over to discuss our bathroom remodel I was stuck pacing up and down my block but it was sufficient to bring on some regular and strong contractions. At 10 AM I decided to see if they continued if I laid down to rest. And continue they did…very strong and about 5-6 mins apart which allowed me to practice some of the pain coping techniques I had read up on. I was in contact with my Doula this entire time and I decided to labor a bit more at home before going in to the hospital since home is way more comfortable than being hooked up to monitors and confined to a hospital bed. At noon I decided I should take a shower and that really kicked things into high gear and now the contractions were every 2 minutes apart and I had to really stop and focus for each and every one. I then called my Doctor and Doula and said I was heading in after I finished my lunch of toast (I learned last time to not eat heavy food before labor!).

When we got to the hospital around 12:30 I was 9 cm and was moved immediately to Labor and Delivery (just as I wanted!). My Doula arrived shortly after and so did my doctor…in her gardening clothes! Things went pretty smooth, I was focused/incapacitated during the contractions but once they were over I could converse and answer all the stupid questions from the nurses. Thankfully, unlike last time I got breaks between contractions which was needed to recover since they were so painful. I had to push longer for Ingrid purely for the reason that I didn’t feel the urge to push so I had to just find it and go with it which is a lot harder than it sounds. The doctor also ended up having to break my water because I had a forebag that was preventing it from breaking naturally. This wasn’t discovered of course until I had started pushing. I’m not sure how long I had to push, seemed like forever but at 2:23 pm Ingrid was born! Which to a Mama who chose to not get an epidural is the BEST feeling in the world.

Ingrid’s labor was totally different from Sydney’s which I had sort of expected from what others had told me. Sydney came super fast and my pain went from a 0 to a 10 in a matter of minutes when my water broke. Ingrid’s just casually walked up the pain scale over the 7 hours I was in labor. This delivery was also less traumatic on my body than Sydney’s was and for that I am super thankful because my recovery has been much shorter.

In all, this natural child-birth experience was a complete 360 from what I had with Sydney. I prepared, I had a Doula, I took prenatal yoga from a teacher that focuses on preparing for labor, I read up on natural child-birth pain coping techniques…and I used them…and they worked. It’s funny how I turned full circle of what I wanted after my experience with Sydney where I swore anyone who wanted no pain meds was insane. With this delivery I wanted as little intervention as possible to avoid a c-section and I’m very thankful I got that. I’m also thankful that the L&D nurses and my doctor were supportive of my decision to go naturally. The minute I was rolled into L&D the nurse announced to the team that I didn’t want an epidural and not a single soul mentioned pain meds to me, or offered them to me, or asked me if I was ‘sure’. Yes it was painful but I (and many before me) survived and the reward in the end was worth it!

PS:  For those contemplating or considering natural child-birth, or just those really who want to prepare for all situations that may be tossed your way (don’t assume you will get an epidural!) I strongly recommend reading Birthing from Within.  The beginning chapters are a bit hokey (birth art…huh?) but the pain exercises are really very helpful.  If you have a Doula they should tell you to read these chapters and you should talk with them about which techniques you would like them to walk you through on birth day.


  1. Glad your birthing experience was exactly as you hoped!

    Though from my experience, the moment baby is born is the best feeling in the world for ANY mama, epidural or no. The 2 hours I spent pushing with Naomi with contractions coming on top of each other and no rest was the most strenuous work I have ever done (or likely ever will do) in my life!

    • Ya I can’t imagine pushing for that long. I only pushed through 4 contractions for Sydney and I think maybe 30 mins for Ingrid (my Doula will probably note in her birth story she writes for me). Two hours is a long time! There was a moment where I ran out of steam right as her head was about to come out. I know all I needed was one more push but I didn’t have it in me and I needed to rest. Needless to say that was the most uncomfortable rest period of my life! But it motivated me to push really hard the next chance I got!

  2. This is awesome Julie. I’m so happy that you were able to have this experience and it sounds like you worked hard to create it. You never do know what exactly will happen with childbirth… and so when someone is able to have a good experience, I’m always excited – and thankful – to hear about it. I’ve been very fortunate with my two, and personally they are the greatest two experiences I’ve had in my life.

    So glad you’re enjoying a speedy recovery with #2!

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