The Birth Story

This is probably going to be lengthy, so settle in if you want all the details.  If not, I’ll be back into more “normal” blogging soon.  :) I’m also linking up with Katie today.

My due date was Friday, August 1st.  On Monday, July 28th I went for a slow four mile jog to see if it would get things moving.  I had cramps and mild contractions off and on for a week at that point, and was tired of all the false alarms!

Later that morning I had an appointment with my midwife and learned that I was 2 cm dilated and that the head was very, very low.  She expected labor to begin soon.  She also swept my membranes to see if that might help kickstart things (this is basically loosening some of the membranes between the uterus and the sac the baby is in and will only help labor start if your body is ready).

Around 1pm I picked up L from summer camp and felt what I thought might a contraction.  Ten minutes later I felt another one on our way home.  They were extremely mild so I ignored it but let my husband know that I felt something.

At 2pm, I texted my midwife a heads up and started tracking contractions on scrap paper while I finished packing our hospital bag in case this was the real thing.  I still wasn’t convinced.

From 2-3:30 pm, contractions ranged from 4-8 minutes apart.  I could walk and talk through them so I let the midwife know we’d likely be home for several more hours until things started to pick up.

Labor contraction count

At 4pm, my husband was nervous that things we’re happening faster than I let on and made us an early dinner to have energy for the night ahead.  I was hungry and ate most of a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. As I got to the last few bites, a really strong contraction hit and I had to get down on all fours to relieve some of the back pressure.

After watching me, he began loading up the car but I didn’t want to rush it and have to labor for a long time at the hospital.  I called my midwife to get her thoughts (she was already on her way, suspecting things would go fast) and another really strong contraction hit. I decided my husband was right- it was time to go!

I laid across the back seat with a pillow and groaned my way through the contractions in the car ride.  There was NO way I was going to be able to sit upright at that point!

We got to the hospital and settled up in our room about 5:15 or so.  I now needed my husband to use strong counterpressure on my lower back with each contraction.  Thankfully, they were still about 4 minutes apart so I had a break between each.  But they were becoming much more intense than with my first labor!

I was checked and about 5 cm dilated.  This was actually discouraging for me, because with L it took 7 hours to go from 4 cm to 10 cm and ready to push.  I couldn’t imagine lasting much longer as these were so much stronger!

It turns out they were stronger because things were happening fast.  An hour later I was fully dilated.  I had moved to the shower to have hot water sprayed on my back (hubs jumped behind me to spray it and continue the counterpressure- he was amazing, by the way!) I was on all fours with a waterproof pillow under my knees- but it seemed to help.

At 6:20pm, I felt my water pop and suddenly had an uncontrollable urge to push.  My midwife asked me not to push yet- she needed access to the baby and wanted me up on the bed.  I didn’t think I could walk but somehow she and my husband got me back over to the bed.

The back pressure was so strong I refused to be on my back but got on all fours again and continued to push with the urge to do so.  She was out in five minutes, at 6:25 pm!

Pushing is by far my favorite part of labor.  I love that I can do something with the contraction, rather than trying to relax with it and ride them out.  And there is nothing like the feeling of that little being slithering from inside to outside- yes, there’s a bit of burning, but wow, what a miracle!

I couldn’t believe she was here. My first question was, “is she okay?” And then I kept repeating, “I can’t believe she’s really out! I can’t believe it’s over already!”

By the way – just a comment on birthing noises.  As awful as it always sounds in a movie, those “birthing sounds” are so natural. It isn’t necessarily the “I’m dying in pain” sensation that it looks like (although I’m not saying it is easy or comfortable- and the last hour of contractions this time around were rough). But I found it really helped me to express myself vocally, especially through the pushing stage.

In any case, I felt so lucky that everything went smoothly and I was able to have another natural delivery.  With my first, I passed out immediately after labor and lost too much blood so I missed out on some of the initial bonding.

This time, I was fine. Baby J was on my chest for the first hour and began to practice her sucking skills. They gave me some pitocin afterward to prevent over-bleeding and there were no complications.

And today our sweet girl is one week old!Baby day 6

Those of you who followed our journey know that it’s been a long one, from infertility to a failed adoption process to finally our little girl. We are so thankful that God has given us this precious gift!


Moms, did you find the contractions or pushing easier?


81 thoughts on “The Birth Story

  1. I’m so glad everything went so well! I wonder if you realized when you started tracking your contractions on that scrap of paper it would become part of her birth story (love the randomness of that). For me, I was surprised at how much of pushing was involuntary – my body was ready to get the job done!
    Coco recently posted..Ragnar Training — My First Double RunMy Profile

  2. What a beautiful story and I’m glad everything went well. One of my teachers in college was a midwife and I always told myself since, if I were to have kids I would want a midwife as well.
    Hollie recently posted..Wedding FearsMy Profile

  3. I absolutely love your perspective and story!

    It took 34 hours to get to 4 cm with our first, so I called a C-section. When they got in there, they learned there was no way she would have come vaginally.

    I’ll likely have a RCS (rural hospital), but am open to VBAC if little girl 2 would like that.

    Perhaps I’ll know what pushing is like. If not, cool. A healthy baby is my focus. The rest is details.
    Wendy recently posted..The Positive Stories We LiveMy Profile

  4. I love birth stories!! What a great are amazing going for a job at that point in your pregnancy. Congratulations again!

  5. Congrats! She’s so precious! I found pushing to be way easier than the contractions. Once I started pushing, the contractions weren’t really painful anymore. And I never had that “burning” feeling – it was like the pushing stage made all my nerves numb so I didn’t really feel much…just the urge to push. The contractions were painful and I ended up with a bruised back because I “forced” my husband to counter-push against my back contractions so hard!
    Kattrina recently posted..Eating more veggies and Evan’s favorite placeMy Profile

  6. Congratulations again, and thanks for sharing your story. My daughter is nearly 20 now, but I love stories like this… every one is a testament to a miracle, and although I had a very long difficult labor, I love remembering the details when I hear the stories of newer moms.

    Oh and yes, pushing was the “easiest” part! It was a relief (strange word for it, I know) to be able to DO something effective. It sounds like you had beautifully strong support too!

  7. What an amazing birth story! My second one was so much faster too! I pushed for 3 hours and 45 minutes with my first one. I thought he would never come out lol! My second one was out with half a push lol! The doctor almost didn’t make it in time! She is so beautiful!!! Can’t wait to see more pics and watch her grow up! :-)
    Mindy @ Road Runner Girl recently posted..The Weekly Chase #83!My Profile

    • It’s definitely doable! I really think it’s all about your confidence. There are some great natural birth books that helped me feel empowered before my first… if you go in saying, I can do this, my body can do this, you’re much more likely to have a good experience than going in with fear. And thank you!
      Laura recently posted..3 Strength Moves to Improve Your Running FormMy Profile

  8. I kept contraction notes that look exactly like yours (on scratch paper) with my first two. Great little keepsake. And yay for fast labors! E came out in 2 pushes! With Roman who was my only unmedicated birth, I hated the pushing- it felt horrendous but such relief when it was over. No matter how it goes, child birth is AMAZING! Enjoy your family time and newborn cuddles Laura!
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  9. You are amazing, and she is so so so beautiful! Congrats. I also found pushing a relief… Especially with my second, because they made me wait so long to push and I had been feeling the urge for a while!

    It is such an amazing experience… Truly a miracle! thanks so much for sharing :)
    Abby recently posted..Week in Review and Meal PlanMy Profile

  10. I love birth stories, and this is a wonderful one! So glad that all went smoothly for you – and I totally agree about the birthing noises. I am normally a very quiet person, but I made a LOT of noise when I delivered Carmine naturally – I couldn’t have been quiet if I had tried. Your body totally takes over, in every respect. So, so happy for you, and she is absolutely beautiful :-)
    Michelle recently posted..My 5th Blessing, A New PR, and Philly!My Profile

  11. Congrats Laura! What a beautiful family! I hoped to have a natural birth with the support of my husband and wonderful doula but after my water broke prematurely and my uterus contracting for literally 4 days straight, it completely stalled at 8 cm and I had to come to peace with interventions due to risk for infection and my loss of strength and sanity (after being in utter pain for 26 hours straight). The easiest part at the end was pushing for less than 30 minutes :)

  12. Congratulations!!! She is beautiful and what a Blessing!!! Praise The Lord!!! Sounds like your labor went smoothly which is great!!! Hope my next is much easier, the first time I was in labor for 28 hours and then 3 hours of pushing, it was not fun. Pushing wouldn’t of been so hard if she hadn’t been stuck on my pubic bone and I had more energy. Reading this gives me hope that things will be better next time :)
    Kris recently posted..6 months overdue Seattle Marathon RecapMy Profile

  13. Congratulations!!! Your daughter is absolutely beautiful! I had three very quick natural deliveries: 4 hours, 3 hours and 67 min. Like you the contractions were incredibly intense. I loved pushing – it was like at the end of a marathon when you can see the finish line and despite how much pain you’re in, you sprint (or push) as hard as you can because you know the moment you cross the line all the intense pain will be over and a new/easier pain (recovery/healing) will begin. Congrats again!

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