Natural Birth

Med-free hospital birth story

Hi, everyone. Here is my birth story! I typed it into my email so the formatting might be weird. 

Short version: Baby Truman was born May 20 at 3:04 p.m., 13 hours after my water broke and after 3 hours of pushing. He was 6lbs13oz. We had a midwife-attended, medication-free hospital birth. I had one small tear that didn't need stitches.

Very Long version: All week I had been having Braxton hicks and intermittent contractions. It felt like my uterus was hard all the time. At my appointment on Friday the midwife said she could feel the baby?s head low In my vagina, but my cervix was still too high for her to reach. On Sunday things started to feel a little different. The baby was moving a lot and my contractions were just different. They weren?t stronger or more regular, I?m not sure how to describe it! I figured it was because I had been on my feet a lot the day before. I made garlicky shrimp and biscuits for a late dinner, and we watched Cave of Forgotten Dreams while I sat on my fitness ball or did figure-8s with my pelvis. I regretted that garlic later! It was all over my hands and coming out of my pores. I didn?t want to go to bed and get indigestion, so my husband and I sat on the couch for a while watching my tummy move. Around 2:00 I felt a small gush of moisture, like the extra discharge gushes I had been getting for weeks, and decided to go to the bathroom to check it out. My undies looked normal, but a few seconds after peeing I had a second little trickle that definitely wasn?t pee! My water broke! I called and talked to the midwife on call, and decided that since I wasn?t having regular contractions yet I should just stay home. My husband and I went to bed but I couldn't sleep.

About an hour after my water broke I started getting real, regular contractions. I started timing them on my app, and they were roughly around 5 minutes apart almost immediately. I got up to take a shower to see if that would help. The contractions persisted. Eventually I woke up my husband and told him we should go. He got ready and got everything in the car, while I got dressed, squatting through contractions, and throwing up twice. We arrived at the hospital around 6. I had 4 more contractions between the car and the birth center.

The L&D nurse who checked me in checked my cervix and said it was really soft, almost fully effaced, and she couldn?t feel the far side of it but guessed I was 6-7 based on how soft I was. We were both surprised! Maybe this was going to be on the easy side! I labored for a couple more hours, in the bed but moving positions a lot, when the next midwife and a different nurse came on-shift. At around 8:30 the midwife checked me again and said she had good news and bad news. I asked her to wait for me to get through a contraction before telling me! The bad news is the first nurse was wrong and I was only 3 cm, but I was fully effaced. I decided to just focus on the second part. A while after that they suggested I move to the water birth room, and the nurse wheeled me down the hall.

I labored in the tub from about 9:30 to 11. It wasn?t as relaxing as I thought it would be, but I guess it worked because in that time I almost completely dilated. My husband tells me I was in some kind of hypno zone state! I had to ask him all of these times because I really don?t remember anything other than moaning through the pain and relaxing in the moments of no pain. The midwife thought it would be best at that point form me to try to move around. We walked over to the bed and tried a few different positions. I remember kneeling facing the raised back of the bed. At one point I squatted on the floor and then kneeled. It felt like I was kneeling for a short time, but my husband says it was quite a while, and the midwife actually got on the floor to look at was going on up there! They finally convinced me to get back in the bed, and after the midwife checked me she said I could push when I felt the urge. I could see the clock so I know it was noon. I sat up with the birth bar for a while, then was on my side, then curled up pulling my knees back. This part was so intense. I remember feeling like he was so close for so long, and I was so, so tired. I just sobbed in between contractions. I was getting three or four pushes per contraction. My husband kept bringing me cola and water to drink in between contractions. At one point I was moaning ?ouuuuuuuuuuut? during each push. I thought over and over to ask for something to take the edge off, but before I could get the thought to my mouth another contraction would hit. Finally I said I needed to take a little break, and I breathed through a couple of contractions. I think it was during the two after that that I pushed him out. He was born at 3:04 p.m. They put him on my chest and I just cried and laughed. He was really purple, but crying heartily, so they waved the oxygen tube under his nose. I was bleeding a lot so they gave me a shot of pitocin before delivering the placenta. I had one tiny tear that didn?t need stitches. They ended up taking the baby to the nursery for extra oxygen and warming. The nurse brought me a Popsicle for my sore throat and an ice-filled diaper for my nethers, and wheeled me into our recovery room. I?m not sure how long it took for my husband to come back with the baby, but I think it was about an hour. I was walking around a bit, but I strained my rib pushing and taking full breaths was painful. I got into bed with him and we had some of the skin to skin snuggling we missed out on earlier.

I gave birth right at the shift change, so I didn?t get a chance to talk to our L&D nurse until she checked in on us the next day. She said she was so proud and amazed that I did it completely without pain meds, and that even there, where most births are midwife attended and epidurals less common, she could count on one hand the women who don?t have any pain relief at all. I was really surprised by that! She said she kept wondering if I was going to ask for some, and was honoring my birth plan by not offering any!

The birth was so different from so many of my expectations. I think I?m still working through it. It?s hard for me to think about without crying. From birth stories and films we saw in childbirth class I thought we would have some early labor time to walk around and ease into it, and I thought I would be more conscious instead of going into the animal-like trance state I fell into, but it got so intense so fast. I also thought I would feel a sense of euphoria and tremendous accomplishment after, especially doing it med-free. I was happy to see my baby, but it was sort of like, well, I did it and it hurt and still hurts and now he?s here! Maybe that was a bit of a let-down? I didn't really prepare except for reading Ina May Gaskin's books, reading a lot of birth stories, taking prenatal yoga, and taking a childbirth preparation class at the hospital. I read some of one of the Bradley books, and some of Marie Mongans (sp?), but neither of them seemed like something I could see myself doing. I can't help thinking I could have had a "better" birth if I had prepared better, and I'm disappointed with myself for thinking that because it pretty much went the way I wanted. I'm sure most of this feeling is hormones!

ETA: Holy cow this ended up being long! Sorry. :/
Lilypie First Birthday tickers
BFP #2 9/5/2012 -- Born 5/20/2013 -- Welcome, rainbow baby!
BFP #1 1/24/12 -- No HB 2/16/12 -- Misoprostol 3/10/12
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Re: Med-free hospital birth story

  • Wow... Your story is so amazing. Congratulations by the way. I have been talking to my husband about doing something like this when we have our baby in feb. He constantly tells me that I am too much of a wimp that I will for sure be getting an epidural. I DO NOT want one at all when I am going through labor. What made you decide to go through this with out meds?? and HOW did you do this all without caving in to the meds or epidural?? I am very interested?? I am only 5 weeks along and have just started learning about pregnancy and all that jazz. So I may be a little premature in talking about this. But I am very interested in all this...  Thanks for telling your story. :) 

  • You did such an amazing job and congratulations on your new LO! I totally know what you mean about the animalistic trance state, I spent the better part of 7 hours there, my labor was 36 hours total. I did Hypnobabies which teaches eyes open childbirth hypnosis but I had my eyes closed for those last seven hours. Except when I was moving around the room I also tuned out almost everybody around me. If I needed something I would just grunt "water" "toilet" "toast" haha! I totally expected to be laughing, talking, awake, aware between contractions and it didn't turn out that way.

    I too have had thoughts about how it could have been better or how I could have prepared more but at the end of the day I stuck to my birth plan (no meds, no interventions, immediate skin to skin, delayed clamping and rooming in among others) and my baby was perfectly healthy.

    Birth is different for everybody and you experience was totally normal and natural. Some of us just need to go into ourselves during birth and concentrate on our bodies. I loved your story and it serves to remind us that we are animals. We do have all these higher thinking abilities unlike the rest of the animal kingdom but reproduction and birth are event in which our animal instincts and traits surpass our thinking brains. Your story is beautiful and you are a wonderful mammalian Mama!!


    baby development
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    Married May 14, 2011 DD born Nov 10, 2012
    On our way to 2u2, due June 22


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    June '14 April Siggy Cute Animals!

  • image kymbochic:

    Wow... Your story is so amazing. Congratulations by the way. I have been talking to my husband about doing something like this when we have our baby in feb. He constantly tells me that I am too much of a wimp that I will for sure be getting an epidural. I DO NOT want one at all when I am going through labor. What made you decide to go through this with out meds?? and HOW did you do this all without caving in to the meds or epidural?? I am very interested?? I am only 5 weeks along and have just started learning about pregnancy and all that jazz. So I may be a little premature in talking about this. But I am very interested in all this...  Thanks for telling your story. :) 

    I'm not the OP but I thought I would chime in...again :-)

     For me one of the most important things that allowed me to have a natural birth was that I had my husbands full unwavering support. I am a really independent person but with all those hormones raging I was so much more dependent on his encouragement. If he had called me a wimp he would have been in the dog house for sure...literally outside, in the snow, in the dog's house while puppy and I shared the big bed.

    I studied Hypnobabies and as part of the program I had to distance myself from any sort of negativity about birth including negative birth stories, dramatic TV depictions of birth, dissenting opinions or the dreaded "let me tell you about my awful 42 hour labor..." So I would say your DH needs to stop calling you a wimp and start telling you how incredibly strong, capable and wonderful you are.

    As far as caving to the meds during labor, I never even thought about them. I was in a freestanding midwifery clinic where pain meds aren't available and I used the hypno-anesthesia taught by Hypnobabies. I didn't feel any pain other than a 3 second burning as my baby crowned. The hypno-anesthesia taught is medical grade, the same kind that people use to have surgery without conventional anesthesia.


    baby development
    image image
    Married May 14, 2011 DD born Nov 10, 2012
    On our way to 2u2, due June 22


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    June '14 April Siggy Cute Animals!

  • I loved your story, thank you so much for sharing! In kind of late to the prep phase, and am studying hypnobirthing on my own. I'm due next month, and was wondering if it was possible to do med free with only the amount of prep I'm able to do. Thank you for showing me that the answer is yes!
    Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers BabyFetus Ticker
  • Congratulations on your baby boy!  You did a great job, mama!

    Regarding that euphoric feeling that we're all supposed to get after birth, I didn't get it either.  I also didn't have that rush of overwhelming love that we're supposed to immediately have for our babies.  For me, it took a few weeks to fully bond with my DS, and it was gradual, not immediate.  What you are experiencing is unpleasant, but normal, and it will pass.  I bet that with time you'll look back at your birth more and more fondly.

    BFP#1:  3 year old DS, born 3/5/11

    BFP#2:  EDD 2/11/14, MMC confirmed 7/15/13 (growth stopped at 6 weeks), D&C @ 12 weeks 7/25/13

    BFP#3: EDD 6/11/14 - We're having a girl!

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  • Congratulations!!  Great story.

    I had a similar story in that my expectations were way off from what actually happened and how it felt, and I also didn't have that overwhelming love right away.  I was overwhelmingly tired for 2 weeks instead. :)  I was on a bit of an adrenaline high after giving birth, but otherwise the first 2 weeks was just a whirlwind that I barely remember.  Once I came back to life so to speak, though, I fell in love with DD and feel it get stronger every day. 

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  • April!April!
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    Argh! Sorry to post this and disappear! Thank you for all of your lovely comments, ladies. It's so helpful to hear others have had a similar experience. 

    Lilypie First Birthday tickers
    BFP #2 9/5/2012 -- Born 5/20/2013 -- Welcome, rainbow baby!
    BFP #1 1/24/12 -- No HB 2/16/12 -- Misoprostol 3/10/12
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