Birth Stories

I went to my first meeting last night of our new birth and beyond networking group. It was so great meeting other ladies who are "birth junkies" and who are interested in things like babywearing and breastfeeding. It was so funny because I rode there with my two best girlfriends and when we pulled in there was another mother going inside with her newest bundle of joy in a Moby wrap and both of my friends said "A WRAP!" The things we get excited about... :)

After the meeting, I was thinking about natural childbirth and what I've written about it on this blog. I got to looking today and realized I haven't written about when I gave birth. I thought I had...but it's hard to remember what all I've written. So click below if you want to hear more about my birth experiences and why I feel the way I do about childbirth. I also got kind of wordy but wanted to make sure I didn't leave out anything.

I've had two very different birth experiences. My first birth was a hospital birth with an OB/GYN. My OB was a nice person but his office treated everyone as "high risk" - I had an ultrasound at almost every visit for no real reason and other procedures done for people that are overdue when I was definitely NOT. I was relatively young (I had just recently turned 19) and knew very little about birth.

Prior to my due date, I was told my baby was going to be "big" repeatedly and was given a membrane sweep. While visiting my parents - actually just as I was walking into their house - my water broke. I called the doctor and he told me to go to the hospital just so they could check things out. When I got to the hospital, I was having very easy contractions. They put me in bed and put the monitor on me. My labor slowed down. After a few hours, they starting giving me Pitocin since I "wasn't progressing." The Pitocin made the contractions hard and worse - they were terribly painful but I didn't want to get any pain medicine. I wanted to stay aware and know what was going on. However, I ended up getting a pain shot because the nurse I had wouldn't stop pressuring and harassing me about it. ("Aren't you in pain? I'd be in pain. Are you sure you're not in pain? You look like you're in pain. You can just get a little shot and you won't have any more pain. It'll take the edge off. I promise, it'll help.") The shot made me feel weird and fuzzy, but not out of pain. They did allow me to get up and walk for a little bit and sit in a rocking chair. I finally felt like I needed to push around 5 AM. I remember asking hubby to get the doctor and the nurses coming in & telling me, "The doctor is stuck at a train. Just hang on." When he finally got there, they had me lay flat and did guided pushing - where they tell you when and how long to push.

Finally, my son was born, and he was so precious - dark haired, bright blue eyes, long toes & fingers. They placed him on a chest for what seemed like a few seconds. I ended up tearing and needing two stitches so as I was fixed up they whisked him off to get his vitals. I could hear him hollering as they stitched and kept feeling like I was going to puke. When they finished stitching, they told me to get out of bed. I said, "I don't think I can yet," and the nurse said, "Too bad. Get up so we can move you to your room." They wheeled me down the hall into another room and then I was put to sleep, literally, with a sleeping pill. I didn't see my son until sometime late that afternoon after he'd already been given a bottle - even though I had expressly said I wanted to breastfeed. I attempted to breastfeed anyway, and was told by the Lactation Consultant to "JUST DO IT" over and over. I think she was going for a tough love approach but I was honestly struggling and couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. She gave me some nipple shields and pamphlets, and left. I tried to breastfeed for another day or two but had issue after issue and gave up. My recovery after the birth was slow - people commented on how wan and horrible I looked for weeks. I love my son dearly and do not regret having him in the slightest but that birth experience left a lot to be desired.

I got pregnant with my second child a couple years later and not too long after I had watched a little documentary called "The Business of Being Born." After watching it and doing my own research into all the different types of births, I knew I wanted something different. I was able to find a practice that had midwives in my area. The midwives helped me to make a birth plan and to find a natural childbirth class where I learned about different relaxation techniques, water birth, and different positions to labor in. The midwives and nurses in their practice listened to everything I had to say and tried to meet my every need as much as they could. I loved that they always remembered me and my family at our appointments.

My second birth went a little differently than what we'd planned - but don't they always?! My baby girl was overdue and we were running out of time for my husband to be able to attend the birth - he only had a certain amount of time in which he could take off from work. That was pretty much a must for us, so we opted to have my water broken by one of the midwives when I was 41 weeks. After a few hours, I was still only dilated to 2. We tried several different natural methods to get things going (walking, birthing ball, movement, etc.) but nothing changed. My midwife then suggested the Pitocin. She was afraid if I labored too long that the hospital staff would try to force a c-section on me. I definitely didn't want that but I was terrified of Pitocin because of my previous experience with it. The thing that made me decide to go ahead with it, though was that my midwife told me they would let me be in control - they'd turn it on and when I noticed it starting to work, I could tell them to turn it off. That put me at ease knowing that she was working with me. That tiny bit of Pit was just what my little one needed to get going.

Although I wasn't able to have a completely drug-free birth like I'd planned, the birth experience itself was so much calmer and soothing than the previous one I had went through. I was able to listen to music, talk with my family, turn down the lights if I wanted, eat and drink - all while feeling so much more aware and in control of what was happening. Instead of feeling sick, defeated and rundown, I felt empowered, strong and focused. My contractions were smoother and easier to manage. My midwife coached me but wasn't overbearing. At 3 AM, I started pushing and my daughter arrived at just 3:30.

After having her, the midwife put her directly up on my stomach and I was able to cradle and hold her until we decided to let her get cleaned up. After she was cleaned up, my husband and I were able to sit in the room and bond with her until I was ready to rest for awhile. My labor and delivery were absolutely wonderful. The only part of my hospital experience that was bad was afterwards - I had very poor care at the hospital, not from my midwife but from the nurses and other staff members:

- After they'd taken my daughter to the nursery, a nurse told me to call them when I had to go to the bathroom and they would assist me. Awhile later I pushed the call button. No one came. I pushed it several more times and still no one came. I went into the bathroom myself and there were no pads. I was bleeding pretty profusely so I tried pushing the call button again and still no one came. So I walked to the nurses station (bleeding all down my leg) and was told, "I don't know who your nurse is!" while the other nurses just sat there and chatted. Nice. So I took some pads off a cart in the hallway and took care of myself.

- A few hours later while I was taking a shower, someone began pounding on the door. I jumped out (with shampoo in my hair still) and opened it. A nurse pushing a crib said, "Here's your baby," and left. I was dripping wet, in a towel. While I was getting toweled off, my daughter started smacking her lips - feeding cue! I looked underneath the crib (where the formula and bottles are for those who are formula feeding) and there was nothing. I pushed the call button - and of course nothing happened. (I mentioned to the nurses later that I thought my call button was broken and they checked it and said it was fine.) So I walked with my squalling baby down to the nursery and knocked on the door, told them I didn't have any bottles and they acted like I was insane. They gave them to me, grudgingly.

- The rest of the day, nurses came in frequently and alternated between telling me that I was either feeding my daughter too much or that I wasn't feeding her enough. They lectured me for not feeding because "she needs to get on a schedule." Uhhhh...what?

- When my midwife came to check on me, I told her all about what had happened and she was shocked. I told her I could have cared for myself better at home and she agreed. She immediately went out to talk to some of the different people. She came back in and asked if I wanted to leave and I readily agreed. She talked to the pediatrician (who didn't want us to leave because of the blood draw they have to do on newborns within a certain period of time) and finally got him to agree that we could leave - I've never been happier in my life! I left the hospital early, resolving to put all the nasty postpartum care behind me. I felt totally alive and awesome about how things had gone during my birth. My recovery after that was much quicker as well. I plan to have more children in the future and I am looking forward to more good births with a midwife.

My experiences with birth have made me passionate about educating others on childbirth and helping them to have the kind of birth that they want and that they feel is best for them and their child. Obviously everyone has different opinions and ideas about what will work for them. I support other people's birth decisions as long as they have looked into them and educated themselves. Every woman deserves to give birth in a way that she chooses and that is best for her and her baby.


  1. When I was in the hospital yesterday I spoke to the nurse about natural child birth and she really told me that I could do it. I hope I to have an awesome supportive nurse when I do deliver. Thanks for sharing your birthing experiences.

  2. Well I am crossing my fingers & toes for you! I think if you have somebody there to back you up on what you want, you'll do great...are you sure you don't want me to come? LOL :D

  3. LOL, well, Ive got 2 sources so far. Dave actually mentioned natural and I was like YOUR NUTS..but actually got to thinking about it and he really is my rock, plus my Mom has already done natural with my 8lb brother and she says I can do. I talked that nurse at the hospital and she said I can do it and if I already have my mind set to it..then I can do it. Plus I tend to stay at home as long as possible and then go and hopefully Ill be past the point of the epi and I wont have a choice the matter and just focus on getting her out. :)

  4. I remember that, we both yelled "Wrap!!" at the same time. We have our priorities and interests, you know ;) Great day and a lot has come of it. :)

    Katie S


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