I’m a big wimp. I always have been. In fact, I wouldn’t even learn to ride a bike as a child because I was afraid I’d fall and get hurt. My mother always said that they would have to hook me up to an epidural the moment I found out I was pregnant.

However, something in me changed when I found out I was expecting Adelle. I couldn’t imagine jamming a needle in my back, pumping drugs through both of our bodies, and taking a vacation from experiencing birth. I knew I wanted to try a natural birth and I my husband and I both knew we wanted him to be a participant, not merely an observer, of his child’s birth. After a good bit of research, we opted to take Bradley Method classes. After our twelve week series was up, I felt confident and ready to handle whatever labor I had.

I began having contractions (not Braxton-Hicks) on Sunday afternoon. They were consistently 15-20 minutes apart but never progressed anywhere. I could tell my body was working hard and trying to go into labor, though. I tried to just ignore them the best I could and continue on with my life.

I had an appointment with the midwife at 3:00 on Tuesday afternoon and by then I was 50% effaced and already at 3cm. She gave me the award for “the most promising cervix of the day”! By 5:00 my contractions were already about 7-10 minutes apart and my labor had actually really started going. I called my best friend and my Mom who lived out of town and told them to come on up because I was sure I’d be having the baby soon.

My labor progressed pretty quickly, but when I decided to rest around 10:00 it slowed back down. Discouraged, I went to bed at midnight thinking maybe it wouldn’t pick back up again… I was pretty bummed and really tired already. But by 12:30 my labor did a quick jump and I flew into very active labor. My mom arrived around 1:00 am just in time for us all to go to the hospital.

When we arrived at the hospital I was at 6cm and was really working to relax through each contraction. At 4am the midwife checked me – 8 cm and a bulging bag of waters. I finally gave my consent and she broke my water for me and I was jet propelled right into transition. Thankfully, transition was very quick and after 20 minutes I felt like I wanted to push, so the midwife told me to go for it. This is where the really hard part started for me.

Everyone talks about how painful first stage labor is. For me, it was no problem. It was second stage that was really difficult. I ended up pushing for almost 4 hours before she was born. I am actually really surprised they let me go that long, but Adelle was handling it fine so they let me keep going. During the last hour she would crown every time, but she just couldn’t quite make it the rest of the way out. I was so exhausted that I would halfway fall asleep between contractions and then try again.

Toward the end my husband and I had both pretty much given up. We were asking the midwife to call the doctor to come vacuum her out. But she just kept encouraging us and saying that she knew I could do it because I was so close. So she would just suggest a few more pushes before we called the doctor and I would keep trying. To my amazement, she did finally come out. I was stunned! I am so thankful for my midwife! She never gave up on us, even when we had. Thanks to her, Adelle was born without any drugs or interventions. It was the most amazing thing ever. My husband and I both started crying and they laid her right on my chest and he told me we had a little girl. It was too perfect.

So, after third stage, they cleaned me up (and stitched me up) and after that, with some quick instruction, I nursed her right in the delivery room after she was born for a good 30 minutes. She was hungry!

Of all the things I’ve ever done in my life, I am the most proud of giving birth Adelle. I not only had a beautiful birth experience, but it changed me. Who knows… maybe one day I’ll teach myself how to ride a bike.

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Jo
2 children, Bradley Method natural childbirth instructor