A few months into the pregnancy, my husband James and I decided that we wanted to have a natural childbirth, and we signed up for Bradley Method Husband Coached Childbirth classes. We created a birth plan and brought it to my OB’s office and the doctors there seemed to be very willing to accommodate our natural birth preferences. There was even a Certified Nurse Midwife working with the practice who we could choose to have our appointments with and have at our hospital birth. We were following the diet and exercise plan from the classes and our pregnancy was progressing perfectly.

At 28 weeks I was required to take a Glucose Tolerance Test. They called me and told me that my blood sugars were so high, I was automatically being diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes with no further testing. This diagnosis changed the way my pregnancy was treated from that point on. I didn’t have to change my diet much in order to control the blood sugar, and I stuck to my regular exercise every day.

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I had been feeling a little bit “off” on Monday and Tuesday, but tried not to dwell on it or let it get my hopes up or anything.  I had a few braxton hicks contractions that were uncomfortable, but not painful, and again, tried not to think anything of it.

I had a midwife appointment Tuesday afternoon.  Even though I know it doesn’t mean much, I asked her to check me because I was curious.  I was 2.5cm dilated and 40% effaced.  Interestingly, Lena had been transverse and posterior, meaning she was facing the side and front instead of the back.  Facing backwards is optimal for labor and birth.  Well, Lynda could tell when she checked me that her head was actually anterior, which is what we want.  So, she basically had her head turned to the side, which was good.  Lynda offered to strip my membranes.  I entertained the thought, but really just wanted this labor to start on its own.  So, I declined and grudgingly set up a 41 week appointment for next week.

I went to sleep that night resigning myself to further days of pregnancy.

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Sunday 10th of June, I noticed bub wasn’t moving all that much, so I rang the delivery suite and they told me to come in to get bub monitored. It was about 4.30pm and Matt(my husband) had started dinner, so we got the kids organised and took their dinner over to my mum’s house. On the way to mum’s I started having some painful contractions, but I put them down to being braxton hicks because they were so irregular. I had also gone into hospital on the Friday due to prelabour and this felt much the same.

We got to hospital at 6.15pm, drank some juice and sat around. The contractions started coming more frequently, every 2 mins and were fairly painful. Bub gave a few good kicks and we had to wait around to be examined before they would let me go home. At this stage the braxton hicks were getting a bit bitey but I didn’t have my hopes up after only being 1cm dilated on Friday. The midwife wanted to do an internal check before I was allowed to go and said I was 3cm. Just as she was telling me the bag of waters were bulging, they popped and I was 4cm, she told me I wouldn’t be going home.

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My plans for this birth were to have an unassisted home birth. I have a history of precipitous labor so it seemed like planning for not making it to the hospital was the best idea…unless I felt differently when I went in to labor.

I’ll begin with Wednesday. I had slept about 3 hours. Up every 5 minutes to pee. Then Lizzy (2.5 yrs) woke up. No sleep. I was going to blow off my DR appt, but that little voice said go and get your iron levels checked. So I dragged myself, my 2.5 yo and my 5 yr old to my appointment.

Now, fast forward to some scenarios…

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I believe my contractions started while at my mother-in-laws for Mothers Day.  It was Sunday night and we were at her house until about 10:30pm.  When we got home I was exhausted and went straight to bed.  After lying down for a few minutes I asked Joe for a glass of port wine to help me fall asleep because the contractions were keeping me up.  I didn’t think these were real contractions though, since I had been feeling Braxton Hicks for weeks I thought that’s all they were. My midwives had told me to take naps everyday and that if I thought labor was near to make sure I go to sleep even if I have to drink two glasses of wine, so that’s what I did…  and good thing!

At about 1 am Monday I was awoken with stronger contractions.  I got up went to the bathroom, walked around and tried going back to bed.  I think I was in denial that this could be the day!   An hour later I was up again, this time with hunger.  I grabbed a bagel and started pacing around while eating it.  I decided that I would not wake Joe up until I absolutely needed him, and at 3am I NEEDED him.

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Most of my pregnancy was very uneventful. I felt great, and with the exception of some round ligament pain, never even got that uncomfortable. However, Baby Miriam decided we needed some more drama in our lives when she turned breech around the start of the third trimester and stubbornly refused to go head down. We spent weeks trying all the normal tricks–breech tilt, inversion, chiropractor, acupuncture, massage, Turn Your Breech Baby cd, music, ice, flashlight, headstands, homeopathics, and of course lots and lots of prayers.

Finally, when I was almost 38 weeks my midwife referred me to an OB for a version. I had an ultrasound done first where it was discovered that my amniotic fluid levels were quite low. Too low to attempt a version, and low enough to cause concern that something else could be wrong. The OB said that most of his colleagues would recommend I get a c-section that night since my baby was full term and breech.

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We’re so excited to have Baby H home with us!! She was born at 7:30pm on Tuesday night (July 13th), two weeks before her expected due date. We’re so blessed that everything seemed to go just the way we had hoped!

It was about a 24 hour labor that started with really mild contractions at around 8pm on Monday night. I thought for sure it was Braxton Hicks at first, and after the first 4 or so, we started timing them and they were 20 minutes apart. As the evening progressed, they gradually increased in frequency and intensity. I used contractionmaster.com to keep track of when they were coming (great site!). By midnight I was timing them at 12 minutes apart as we busily sorted her clothes and blankets to get them washed “just in case” this was for real. That was a task I had originally planned on doing when I started my leave from work, which was still a week away!

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Naomi’s birth story actually starts months before her birth. When we announced her due date – April 28 – we realized that the weekend before she was due (April 23 and 24), I had a bat mitzvah student who would become bat mitzvah that weekend. This girl  (M) and I had gotten close during her studies, and she informed me (in a way that only a 13 year old could) that if I didn’t make her bat mitzvah, she would kill me and steal my baby.

I assured her that Toby was late and I wouldn’t be having a baby until May. She told me that she didn’t mind if I went into labor at her Saturday night party, but I had to make it to her service Friday night, the Torah reading Saturday morning, and at least make it to dance with her once at her party Saturday night. I promised her I would.

Fast forward to the weekend of M’s bat mitzvah. I made it to Friday night services, where her mother expressed disbelief that I was “still here” and we ended the night with nary a contraction. M reminded me that I wasn’t allowed to go into labor until the next night (because I still had her morning service and the party!), and I assured her I would be there.

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In order to fully explain my VBAC birth I need to quickly explain my first birth. Although I prepared for my first birth by taking Bradley classes and hiring a doula, I did not end up with the natural vaginal birth I wanted.

After a 40 hour labor, 4 hours of pushing, and multiple attempts at vacuum extraction all with no medication, I ended up having a cesarean section. It wasn’t until they cut me open that the doctor realized that the reason she wouldn’t come out was that she was posterior and in brow position, which basically means that she had her neck cranked and was looking out the birth canal. Unfortunately the vacuum they had tried was pulling on her forehead instead of the crown of her head, and she came out with a gigantic purple bruise and a large scab in the middle of her forehead.

I was devastated, and spent the next year and a half mourning the loss of the natural childbirth I so desperately desired. When I got pregnant for the second time, less than a year later, I knew I had a lot of emotional healing to do. I was positive that I wanted to try for a VBAC, but I was actually scared to let myself believe that I could do it. I was terrified of getting my hopes too high and having my natural childbirth “stolen” from me like I felt it was the first time.

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Our daughter Lauren was born at home on her due date, a Friday morning late in May.
In the week leading up to our due date, I could feel my body getting ready for the birth.  I knew the baby had dropped because I could feel the pressure of her weight come off my pelvic bone and shift more towards the back of my body.  Early Wednesday morning the mucus plug slithered down my leg.

I went to see my midwife on Thursday, the day before our due date, and she told me that if I didn’t deliver in the next 10 days she would have to turn me over to a doctor to be induced in the hospital, which was the last thing we wanted.  She suggested there were some natural methods of induction we could try and since I felt my body was ready, I agreed to let her stretch my cervix. This was somewhat painful, but the pain faded within about 30 minutes.  She told me that she could feel the baby’s hair, which made me realize the baby inside me was not the tiny fetus from the ultrasound pictures, but a full term baby.  At the end of the appointment, she asked me if I felt I was ready to have the baby.  I replied casually that I was.

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About this website

Birth is inspiring, amazing, and empowering. This website shares a collection of real natural birth experiences from you, the readers. Births the way nature intended. No pitocin. No epidural. Just the beauty (and intensity!) of the human body at work. Whether you've had one natural birth, five natural births, or are considering natural birth in the future, our hope is you will find courage and joy in these stories. Enjoy.


Recommended Reading:


The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth
 
Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth