Birth stories are unique to each beautiful momma experiencing it.
I worked with a labor nurse on a travel assignment who kept a note with a tally of her deliveries. I wish I had done the same. I have labored and delivered so many women. Each of them holds a special place in my heart.
Like B, who I met at a travel assignment and God just aligned us at the perfect time. She was a natural patient and if you know me, that is my thing, and I was her nurse.
Most places I work, I am that nurse. The one who gets the natural patients assigned to them. Everyone knows, that I love it and I have no problem being in the room with them all day if needed.
You guys, I am so honored to be a part of your births. I want to share with you these birth stories shared with me. Leslie’s story is a perfect example of the highs and lows of birth, the expectations of labor experience, and how you must go with the flow.
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Join me every Saturday as a share a Birth Story from real women like you. If you would like to submit a birth story (and pictures preferably) please head to this form. If you have social media accounts or a blog, include links and I will link back to you. Let’s use our stories to educate women who have not given birth and to share the ways in which our births evolve us into the mothers we are today.
The Beginning of Labor
I woke up in the middle of the night with terrible menstrual cramping like pain, and for the first time in my life, I couldn’t have been more happy to be cramping like crazy.
I was so excited I woke my husband up and said, “ I think we’re going to meet Baby M today.” We referred to our Baby as Baby M the whole pregnancy, because we waited until birth to find out the gender.
Next, I texted my doula to let her know I was having what I felt like were contractions. After speaking with her, she felt like the intensity and the pattern of my contractions meant my baby may not be in the optimal positions so she gave us some maneuvers to try and reposition the baby.
These were pretty uncomfortable, but I had already flipped her from breech to head down a couple of weeks before, so I was willing to do whatever it took to keep her in a good position so I could have a natural, unmedicated, hospital delivery.
Related post: Preparing for Labor
After doing the maneuvers my doula has instructed, the contraction intensity really lightened up and the contractions weren’t as regular. I was a little disappointed but knew this could be a long process, so I drank lots of water and turned my labor playlist back on and drifted back off to sleep.
My doula arrived a few hours later and my contractions had pretty much stopped altogether.
She had me and my husband walk all around the house up and down the stairs, while I stimulated my nipples. My husband and I joked about how if the neighbors looked in through the windows they would be in for a real show ( all our neighbors are 60+ and very sweet, conservative people).
After a couple of hours of this, things weren’t really going anywhere. My doula asked me if I had thought any about drinking castor oil. I had originally thought I wouldn’t because I had read about it causing the baby to have a BM in utero and then the baby swallowing the meconium, but after we discussed further I decided at 39.6 weeks I was ready to meet my baby.
I had always heard how terrible it was to drink, but I just chased it with some homemade Gatorade and it went down fine. About 30 minutes later I was nauseated and becoming best friends with my toilet.
I really thought, well this was a stupid idea, but an hour later I started having regular strong menstrual-like pains again. Again, I got super excited and started bouncing on my exercise ball.
After about 3-4 hours of this and no progression, my doula decided that she was going to go home and told me I should go to bed and get some rest and that we could ramp things up tomorrow.
This was at about 8:30 PM and things had all gotten started at about 1 are that morning. My parents had brought me over some dinner so I and my husband ate, and decided it was time to get some more rest.
My husband headed off to the bedroom and I told him I’d be right there that I needed to grab my bottle of water. As I reached out for my bottle, my water broke. I remember I was so glad that I had put on a super maxi pad a few minutes before.
Let the Party Begin!
My next contraction was about 1,000 times stronger than anything I had experienced before. I took off my maxi pad to make sure my fluid was the right color and hopped in the shower to let the hot water run over my stomach. My husband called my doula and she was there within a few minutes.
(I love that she knew what color the water was supposed to be. CLEAR!!! Think clear. BLood tinged is also normal. Green or brown is not!) Education is the key to surviving labor! We endorse a couple online course including this one by Hilary.
My contractions were about 1-2 minutes apart and this point and VERY strong. My doula was rubbing my back and I kept telling her I need to poop but I don’t want to get out of the shower. She told my husband to make sure the car was packed up because it was definitely time for us to go to the hospital.
She said the popping sensation you’re feeling is probably a sign that it’s almost time for you to push and that your baby’s head is engaged. I remember thing there’s no way I’m ready to push, my water just broke a few minutes ago.
The worst part of my whole birthing experience was going through a transition in the car.
We made it to the hospital in record time, without hazard lights flashing the whole way. By the time we got to the hospital, I wasn’t able to speak through my contractions at all.
I was the most uncomfortable I had ever been and remember being so glad that we had done the pre-registration a couple of weeks before because it allowed me to go straight back to L&D.
A poor security officer wheeled me back in a wheelchair while I was working through my contractions, and I’m pretty sure I scarred him for life. Once we got the triage area for L&D I couldn’t talk at all and didn’t even want to think about laying on my back to get checked, but my doula helped me and coached me through the check.
Trish here: I can’t beleive they didn’t take her straight to a room!)
The nurse couldn’t believe I was already 9.5 cm, and quickly got me back in the wheelchair and headed back to my room. Once we got to the room it went time. My doula had me get on my hands and knees to finish dilating my anterior lip.
With every contraction, I vomited, and I could not have been happier to see the doctor when he came and checked to see if I had dilated to 10cm.
Once we confirmed I had, I flipped over to the back and sat up and began using the birthing bar to help me begin to push. Once I started feeling the ring of fire my doula had me get on my side and the active pushing began.
I remember thinking I don’t know how much longer I can do this. My doula seeing my exhaustion had me reach down to feel my baby’s head as it came back and forth, stretching me a little more each time.
The doula told the nurse she probably needed to get the doctor because the baby was starting to crown.
I was thankful my doula had made me make a birthing plan because everyone stuck to it and allowed my oils to keep diffusing, my music to be playing, no one ever told me once to push. The lights were left low and it was a calm environment. Four pushes later my husband announced that it was a girl and she was being laid on my chest.Grab Your FREE Birth Plan Template HERE
The next couple of hours truly were like a dream. Caroline just latched on and started feeding while my husband and I just looked at her in amazement.
The bond you immediately make with your baby is like nothing you could ever imagine or put into words. I was so thankful for those first couple of hours with Caroline just on my chest and my husband at my side. It was pure bliss and joy. I think the pictures help capture that.
Leslie thank you for sharing your beautiful birth story. I was hanging onto every word. I am so proud of your strength and resilience. Way to go for being an educated momma!
I want to point out a few key aspects of Leslie’s birth which stand out to me as beneficial in her pursuit of natural birth!
- Hired a doula who educated her.
- She was educated!
- Stayed at home for as long as possible.
- She never wavered!
- Changed positions.
- She listened to her doula’s suggestions and followed her lead.