I tried so many things to go into labor in my last month of prodromal labor, it’s hard to say if any of it had an effect on when I went into labor or not, but I’m sure none of it hurt… I went to L&D at 36 weeks with early labor contractions, traceable and consistent but non-progressive. This was to go on for 5 weeks, every evening. Once I approached 38 weeks, I walked daily, squatted for positioning, took early primrose, then borage oil nightly for my last month, and from 40-41 weeks I had acupuncture, castor oil twice, b&b cohosh tincture and chiropractic adjusting.

I was 41 weeks, 1 day when the magic finally happened. I had been at 3cm, 50%, 0 station at my last appt. The day I went into labor was the day after the new moon. I woke up Thursday morning at 1:30am with what I knew were far more intense contractions than the ones I had been having with all my early labor over the last 5 weeks. These ones were immediately taking my breath away. Already I had to focus on just breathing, because it felt this natural reaction of wanting to hold my breath because they were so strong.

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I went in for my apt on the 20th (Tues) and was 3cm at 80% so Alisa (the best midwife ever) stripped my membranes. That night I started having light contractions…all night. So Wed we went for 3 yes 3 walks. Once in the AM around the hood with hubby then at the park with hubby and Raena (BFF/Doula) and then the track at the HS I graduated from, the I went to go get checked 3 and 80 still…not enough to break my water and start real contractions.

I was ordered to rest on Thursday, so I sat at home and rested ALL day with small contractions. Then Friday came and so did regular contractions. I had them 3-5min apart lasting 60-90sec all day, because we just went about it as if was a regular day. Shopping going to Chick-Fil-A where Raena met us. Her hubby took our kids after we let them play. I had contractions until 11PM when they just stopped. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

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Marley was born at the Austin Area Birthing Center in Austin, TX using the Bradley Method.  Marley was positioned “sunnyside up”  and we worked for days with the hard labor.  It started late in the evening March 7.  The next day, my husband’s birthday, we were sure he would be born.  We tried walking, I walked about 2.5 miles to and from the state capital. I did fine on the way there but on the way back I was in pain.  I remained in pain for days. I was in hard labor for two full days at home.  Every 5 to 10 minutes I was doubled over in pain.

Finally on March 11, things started to progress.  We arrived at the birthing center at about 9:30 am.  When we got there, our midwife was so kind and encouraging.  Soon after arriving I got into the tub.  Due to my long labor I had stopped eating and taking fluids and our midwife really started to get stern with me about drinking fluids.  After a while my mother came in and rubbed my back while I labored in the tub.  During this time my husband took a short nap.  He had gone days without sleep while I labored at home.

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It’s Friday, August 22nd, 2008, and I am a lumbering giant of a woman. I have enjoyed this second pregnancy, filled with wonder and awe and excitement, but now, after 40 full weeks of wonder and awe and excitement, I am tired.

I almost decline an invitation to Todd and Lucy’s barbecue at their Laguna Beach home. Today, I’ve noticed copious amounts of mucus and an increase in Braxton-Hicks. But not wanting to miss a summer evening hanging out with some of our best friends from college, my husband Patrick and I decide I can manage one more night out. We get to their house, and within the hour, Julia and Jared and their kids arrive from Arizona. The kids play well together while the women make beach plans for the next day and the men play Guitar Hero.

As we pack up to leave at 10 p.m., Julia speculates on my condition. “I don’t know if we’ll see you guys tomorrow—you’ll probably go into labor tonight.”

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Harlee Anne was born Tuesday June 9th 2009 at 1:33pm. 6lbs, 9oz 19.5 inches long. Apgar scores of 9 each time.

I woke up at 6:30am and had mild contractions. Thought-eh, here we go again-this had been going on for days. Immediately I sat on my exercise/birth ball and made large circles with my hips and when the contractions got painful I bounced up and down-hard (let’s shake that baby down!) I yelled and cried and let it out but got through them. I remembered my Hypnobabies scripts and “imagined my baby sliding quickly and easily down the birth canal.”

At 9:30am I figured I better get a shower in case this was it. After my shower I woke up my husband (he was mad I had let him sleep for three hrs, but hey he’s a grump in the morning. I still have no clue how he slept through all my yelling!) He began timing them and got excited. I remained reserved (yes I’m pessimistic) that it just would fizzle. He timed them for 20 minutes each hour-they just got closer. He got really excited and was running all over frazzled, packing last minute items. I had to remind him to feed our pets about four times.

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As many times as I have been pregnant and given birth in 10 years, it would surprise most people that we planned our sixth. Our others were not planned and happened out of God’s plan, instead. We went through the motions of purchasing the fertility monitors and basal thermometers- I joined the charting websites and forums and for a whole month did everything exactly as it was written to do, and then some. And then my period came.

“Forget it.” I thought to myself. Trying to conceive made the whole practice so robotic and unromantic. You start to look at the sexual intimacy as a tool all of a sudden whereas it just came naturally, before. The next month my best friend was undergoing a major immune system transplant while he battled testicular cancer so I went up to help him while he was in the hospital. There are so many similarities between a cancer patient and a birthing mother in a hospital setting, it really put things in perspective on that level. And the thing is- a birthing mom by default, is not sick needing treatment, she is undergoing a transformation.

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I don’t even know where to begin. Things flowed so smoothly that it’s hard to call any point a starting point. A week before I started labor I lost my mucus plug. I’d been downing red raspberry leaf tea and doing evening primrose oil nightly for a few weeks. I was gently getting to know my cervix during that time, and was so pleased when I started to feel changes down there. The mucus plug and then the bloody show the following night really excited me, not because it meant labor was terribly close but because I had never had signs like these with Ray.

I battled a few days between anxiety over when things would start, and how much I was doing (and not doing) to help things along. My body gave me gentle reminders; on days when I was not very active I would have the most show and practice labor, the following day if all was quiet and I tried taking walks and upping my activity things stayed quiet. After a few days fighting my brain and reminding myself that labor would come with NO HELP from me, I settled down and relaxed. If my body didn’t seem to be getting “busy”, I would take it as a day of rest and relax.

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*This birth story is told from the point of view of the father’s Aunt, who was also their doula*

My journey began on August 1st when Amanda and Jonathan called to ask if I would be their doula.  I was completely taken by surprise!  Being a doula for family is not “a right,” it is an honor.  Most people choose not to have a doula who is related to them, simply because it is just not comfortable.  Birth is a very intimate time in a couple’s lives, and I truly understand the importance of having those around you who make you feel comfortable.  (I just never dreamed that when they asked themselves who would make them comfortable during birth, they thought of me!)  In the end, I was completely blessed to be present for the birth of my great nephew!

September 23rd at 2:48am:  The phone rings, and it’s Jonathan.    I answered the phone “you’re right on time!”.  He giggled a little and let me know that Amanda was  having contractions a minute long and it had been that way for a few hours.  I had a feeling that the phone would ring that night – so much so that I went to bed at 9:30 P.M. (an unheard of time for me!).  I told  my family I had a feeling I would be getting a call at 3 or 4 in the morning.

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I had been having prodromal labor (labor that starts and stops, often referred to as “false labor” however there is nothing false about it) for about 2 weeks.  On Thursday August 6, I started having contractions at 10pm.  They were nothing terrible and pretty easy to breathe through but strong enough that I wasn’t able to sleep.  I was up all night with these contractions that were not getting stronger or closer together.  I was ready to chalk it up to prodromal labor.

When Josh and Jack woke up in the morning, I was still awake from the night before.  I was pretty tired but unable to sleep through these contractions.  Josh suggested we take a walk and see if they picked up.  We walked and they started to slow down.  I was pretty discouraged at this point but thought if it is meant to happen, it will.

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I knew from the moment I found out I was pregnant that I wanted a completely natural birth.  I was due on November 26th but had a feeling early on in my pregnancy that I would have him earlier than that.  I had read somewhere that a more accurate due date is to count 5 months from the first time you feel baby kick.  I felt him kick on the 16th of June so that’s the day I picked (Nov. 16th)

I had an appt. on the morning of the 16th and my Dr. checked me to find out I was dilated 1/2 cm and 50% effaced.  She said that it was pretty normal and it would still be a little while before baby came.  I left and went on with my day.  I walked everyday of my pregnancy and that didn’t change the closer I got to my due date so as usual, I went out for a 2 mile walk at around 1:30.

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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:


Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices
 
HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing