The Intensity of the Pain Matches the Intensity of the Joy

by Mrs. BWF on May 10, 2012

I shared Whitney’s first birth story on the blog in 2010. One of the first birth stories I ever shared. It brings me such joy to now share the birth story of her second child.  It is so amazing to come around full circle with women and support them through their pregnancies and births. Whitney has been a wonderful supporter of BWF and is the talented woman behind Leaves of My Tree Photography.

~January

How to Naturally Induce Labor

There are many ways I could begin the birth story of my Austen Rose. I could begin with my first contraction on that cool and sunny morning, or I could begin in the week before her birth when I began experiencing prodromal labor for the first time, but I think I’ll begin with the crazy accurate predictions John had about both our children’s births. When I was pregnant with River, John said my labor would start with my water breaking, that it would be a fast birth, and that he would be born around dinner time. He was correct on every point. My labor did begin with my water breaking, I only labored for four hours, and River was born at 5:45 in the evening. This time, he joked that Austen would be born on a Thursday morning.

The night before Austen was born, I was up late watching Friends on TV. Now, I love Friends, but it’s not often that I catch it, and I hadn’t seen an episode during my entire pregnancy. Earlier, John had been looking up natural ways to induce labor and we were talking about how silly some of the suggestions were. Anything from eating tons of basil, to going on a bumpy car ride, to dining on Chinese cuisine, to putting mandarin oil on your heels. John said he figured that most of the suggestions on the list were just things that people happened to do right before their bodies naturally went into labor on its own. I joked that I had watched Friends the night before River was born, and here I was watching it again, just days before Austen’s estimated due date. If I went into labor the next day, watching Friends is a natural way to induce labor.

The First Contractions

At about seven o’clock the next morning on October 13th (a Thursday morning), River came into our room, half-awake and doing the zombie walk. I scooped him up and took him to the bathroom with me, because I knew he wouldn’t want to wait in the bed, and while we were in the bathroom I had a crampy contraction. I didn’t think much of it because I had been having a lot of prodromal labor; regular contractions lasting thirty seconds to a minute in length, some as close as five minutes apart. They would become quite crampy, but would hardly grow in intensity. I began to wonder if I would know when I was in labor. We made our way back to the bed, and shortly after settling in I had another contraction. A few contractions later, at about 7:15, I couldn’t fall back asleep and decided I might as well get up. We had our forty-week visit with our midwife Alisa at 9:00 and needed to leave the house by 8:30 so we could stop for some breakfast tacos on the way. Since these contractions were a bit more painful than what I had been experiencing, I wondered if today was the day, but figured I was just getting my hopes up.

I texted my friends who were supposed to come to the birth, and jumped in the shower where the  contractions continued. I remembered how I labored in the shower with River during those first contractions, and had to get out because they got stronger. All these memories from my first birth came back, and I started feeling anxious, excited, and nostalgic. Could today really be the day? I got out of the shower and slowly went about the morning in my towel, making coffee, checking Facebook, watching whatever was on TV on a low volume. At this point, whenever another contraction came I had to stand and walk through them, but they were still pretty mild and remained uneventful. I realized that since it was more comfortable to move during a contraction, it really could mean that I was in labor… but still, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. After all, three friends were coming from Austin, and it would kind of suck for them to pause their day only to have to return later on. Against my will, I kept thinking, This is the day! This is the day! From that, my mind kept going back to the Bible verse, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!” Over and over in my head. It was perfect. I wanted that to be on my mind on the day my daughter chose to grace the world, so I posted the verse on Facebook.

At about 8:00 I made a call to my midwife. I told her I had been having crampy contractions for the last hour, but that they weren’t too strong and I thought they were probably about seven to ten minutes apart (I hadn’t really been timing them). Seeing as how fast my labor was with River, I told her I wasn’t sure if I should try to make it out to the birth center… I mean… if I was really in labor. Which I probably wasn’t. She told me she had a full day of appointments so she wouldn’t be able to meet me later in the day, but that I could stay home and wait it out if I wanted — if I was in labor, she would come to our house (obviously), and if I wasn’t, we could just meet tomorrow if I was too uncomfortable to make it out to the birth center. I decided I didn’t want to miss our appointment just because of a few contractions, so I told her we’d see her at nine. I woke up John and told him I’d been having a lot of contractions and even made a call to Alisa, but that it could just be more prodromal labor. You guys, I was in serious denial.

I wanted to take a picture with River — our last picture together with him as an only child — but we were in a rush to leave, and I forgot. I will always wish I had remembered.

Maybe This is Happening

I got myself dressed (while thinking, This could be the dress I’m wearing the day I give birth to Austen), applied my makeup just so (Just in case… gotta look good for those birth pictures) and made my awkward hair look slightly presentable (I shouldn’t have gotten my hair cut. Really bad decision). When I got River dressed, I purposely chose his “World’s Best Brother” t-shirt that John’s aunt & uncle bought him, because he could be a big brother in a few hours. By 8:30, we were in the car and on our way to our appointment. At this point, sitting through the contractions was terribly uncomfortable. I started dramatically moaning and complaining through the contractions, and realized that yeah, I probably was maybe kind of in labor. We pulled into our fave cheap Mexican food place and my contractions were tough enough that I couldn’t tell John what kind of taco I wanted (disaster) and I had to moan and give hand signals while John ordered our food. I’m not sure the lady working the drive-through had any idea what was going on. If she did, that’s pretty cool. How often does a woman in labor go through the drive-through window at Chacho’s.

I realized at this point, there was no way I could make it to the birth center, twenty minutes away, and back. It was way too painful to sit. I called Alisa and she said she had just left her house and to go home, she would come over and check me — if I was say, a two, she would go to the birth center and come back when labor picked up, and if I was like, a five, she would stay until I gave birth. Great, I thought! My state of mind was “Yay, labor day!” This didn’t last long. When we got home it was about 8:45… read it: fifteen minutes later. Up until this point, I wasn’t even sure if I was really in labor. I had a hard time getting out of the car. The damn door tried to slam on my contracting belly and good lord, who knew holding a car door open on a sloped driveway mid-contraction could be so awful.

I had been in contact with my friends and family the entire time and my friend Samantha, who once again realized I was further along in my labor than I imagined I was, was on her way from Austin. Speeding, because she knew I was in labor while I didn’t. I was having trouble contacting one friend, so I hopped on Facebook to try to get ahold of her. I was forcing myself to eat a taco because I hadn’t eaten anything and I noticed my hands were getting shaky and I was losing my appetite — exactly the two things that happened when I went into transition with River. My contractions were growing in strength and intensity and pain, and half-jokingly, I would say, “This isn’t fair. How did I do this with River? I changed my mind, I don’t want to do this.”

The joking quickly turned to full-on seriousness. The contractions were so painful and I was feeling very sorry for myself. I started crying through and in-between the contractions. I kept repeating, “I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this. This isn’t fair. Why do I have to do this?” (Um, because you chose to do this, maybe?) They were so overwhelming and I felt so weak and helpless as they crashed into me. They were one on top of each other and I barely got a break in between. This happened so fast, I didn’t time to prepare myself emotionally. In the twenty minutes after we arrived home, they had gone from manageable to absolutely mind-blowing. John was running around the house, doing some last-minute picking up, stopping every once in a while to kiss me and tell me I was doing a good job, and Alisa had pulled into our driveway and was making calls, rearranging her day with her fellow midwives and clients. She had just talked to me a short while ago and had no idea I was so far along.

River was by my side the entire time. He was confused, but handling things well. Comforting him was surprisingly comforting to me. He didn’t annoy me like I thought he might when I went into labor. The past month or so, we had been watching homebirth videos on Youtube. He had gotten used to watching them and we talked about how mamas “roar like dinosaurs” when their baby is coming out. We would roar together and talk about how “Austen is coming! Austen is in Mommy’s tummy, but she is going to come out, and Mama is gong to roar like a dinosaur! Can you roar like a dinosaur?” This was Alisa’s suggestion and I’m so glad she guided us through preparing him. During my labor, if he ever got worried about why I was moaning and crying (and roaring) through contractions, I was able to separate myself from the pain momentarily and calmly remind him (in a slightly chipper voice, even) that Austen was coming and Mommy was just roaring like a dino. He was very attentive, calm, curious, and compassionate, offering plenty of hugs, and mostly just watching quietly. After one particularly painful contraction, he wrapped his little arms around me, saying, “S’okay, mama.” He kissed me. “Aaaaall better.” I want to never forget that.

 
And Then She Came, Fast and Furious

I was laboring standing up, leaning over a table in our kitchen and I started feeling “pushy.” I didn’t recognize the pushy feeling the first time, but knew exactly what it was this time. I started grunting through contractions. My water burst, and I yelled to John. He ran outside to tell Alisa, and she came in immediately. It was 9:20. She was about to check me when I started having another contraction. When it was over, we were all shocked to find that Austen was all the way down, and that I was definitely ready to push. “John, the pool!” I suddenly remembered this was supposed to be a waterbirth. But Alisa interjected — “John, there’s no time for the pool! Your baby’s head is right here!” She had to say it a few times for it to click. We were both shocked to learn I was much, much closer to having the baby than either of us thought. She was right there. I could feel her head. When did that happen?!
 
 
Meanwhile, I was trying to text my friend Kimberly, who had offered to pick something up from the store on her way to the birth, to tell her that she should just head straight over, because the baby was coming quicker than we thought. But it took about three-contractions length to send a simple text. 
 

Through this pushing stage, I kept reminding myself that the key to dealing with the pain was to stay calm, but I just couldn’t. I remembered that the peace that came during my labor with River was when I let go and worked with the contractions, rather than against them. But nothing was helping me get through this. I tried to stay relaxed and loose, but my entire body was tense with pain. My hands were in fists and I was very loud. I was light-headed from breathing so hard and being so tense, and extremely thirsty. Within minutes, there was that burning ring of fire. Honestly, I don’t even remember it. At all. I just remember those contractions. Alisa had to tell me to bend my knees and literally, before I knew it, she was here. With her little up-turned nose and dimpled cheeks and long toes, she was HERE! I didn’t even know! Seven minutes of pushing.

9:27 AM

Oh, it was a happy chaos. We were all laughing. Laughter, Austen. That’s what you were greeted with when you came into this world. We were all so overjoyed to meet you, little girl. You are wanted and needed and precious to us all. The entire room was filled with JOY. It was absolutely unbelievable. Alisa asked John to get towels. Austen screamed. Oh, my little girl. Dramatic from the moment she entered the world! She wanted nothing to do with breastfeeding and just cried as if her feelings were hurt. We continued to laugh and Samantha came through the door seconds later, and Kimberly, minutes. Austen smelled so sweet. I didn’t smell the sweetness with River because he was born in the water and it was washed off. But that brand-new, fresh sweet smell that comes with birth, I smelled it so strongly on Austen.

 

 
 
 
After the excitement settled a bit, Alisa suggested birthing the placenta. Oh yeah. That. I wanted to know the time to see how long it had been from birth to cutting the cord, mainly out of curiosity, and it had been twenty minutes. The time passed quickly — I thought maybe it had been five minutes. After Daddy cut the cord, we moved to the bed and did the placenta thing (I don’t even remember. How are memories so fleeting?), and then Austen had her newborn exam. She screamed the whole time, but liked being in the hammock when she was weighed (just like Brother) — a beautiful 8 pounds, 3 ounces.
Austen’s birth was very different from River’s, in almost every way. It was only two and a half hours from that first contraction to the time she was born, and it was only the last thirty minutes of labor that was extremely difficult — but I would take another birth like River’s any day. The pain was so intense. Before giving birth to her, I never would have though to use the word “excruciating” to describe giving birth, but I can say that giving birth to her wasvery painful. I do believe it is because I did not have the chance to prepare myself mentally and physically (putting on makeup doesn’t count).

Some people, when they see our birth video or pictures, have said I’m strong and that I was “amazing.” When I was pushing her out, I felt anything but. I felt overpowered by those contractions, completely out of my control, and on a ride about which I had nothing to say or do. Now, looking back, I am amazed at what my body can do. Women are strong and amazing — it doesn’t matter if your baby came via c-section or out the old-fashioned way. Just the fact that our bodies have grown and birthed a baby is amazing.When I watched the birth video two days later, it actually made me cry and feel terribly uncomfortable to see myself in such a state. It made me feel vulnerable and primal.

It was so different from having River; when I gave birth to him, during the pushing stage, I was calm and quiet and focused. With Austen I screamed. I considered not showing the video to anyone, because if it made me want to turn my head, surely it would make others uncomfortable as well. But that’s what birth is. It is difficult and painful and messy. It’s not pretty. But it is beautiful. (No matter how a baby comes into this world.) But the intensity of the pain was matched by the intensity of joy felt when she came. Alisa even told me she felt giddy when Austen was born. The word I’ve used to describe River’s birth is peaceful, and the word I use to describe Austen’s is definitely joy.

This placenta sustained a baby for 9 months! Look how strong that bag is!
 
 
 
 
This birth video will rock your world.
 
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{ 103 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynnette Gallegos May 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm

What beautiful words the midwife says at the beginning… “She has chosen this birth”… Made me cry with a huge smile!

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liz p May 10, 2012 at 3:02 pm

wow! what a dramatic entrance! that beautiful little girl will surely be a handful <3

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Whitney Canales May 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm

SHE IS! She really is… LOL!

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Lilly May 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Aw man this story had me in tears the entire time! Absolutely beautiful!

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Holli Webb May 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

This was amazing! Thank you for sharing that amazing video. My water broke after a very short labr also, and my baby girl was also born just 7 minutes later. Her dramatic enterance has matched her personality so far :)

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Erica May 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm

beautiful….I’m in tears!

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Rebekah May 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm

I love the roaring like a dino :) What a beautiful story!

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kelly May 10, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Wow, this is exactly what my second birth was like! I too was in denial fo the first part of it…my mom had to practically beg me to go to the hospital. And because of my denial or whatever, his birth was really painful, much more than my first born. Way to go, mama, well done. And fantastic photos, too! Love the expression on your face.

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Claire May 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm

From little ol’ New Zealand, so pardon my ignorance – but what on earth is a “breakfast taco”?
ps. Gorgeous story x

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Whitney Canales May 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm

A tortilla (round flat bread) filled with egg and sausage. Delicious when you’re not in labor! ;)

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Whitney Canales May 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Or, eggs and anything really! Mine that morning was egg and sausage.

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Andrea May 10, 2012 at 6:37 pm

That was beautiful! I loved watching your birth video, it really did rock ;)

Your labour reminded me of my son, my second childs birth as well. I knew I was in labour but it was my husband who was in denial!!! I had a very short pushing stage with him too, hopped into the tub at 4:08am and he was born at 4:16am. It was exactly as you describe, full of joy and suprise. Nothing like the long but peaceful labour with my daughter. Oh and he was a screamer too, and is still a bit dramatic now 19 months later ;)

Thanks for sharing your story, I am sure the memories of your daughters birth will bring you joy for a long time to come :)

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Lilly May 10, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I must say I loved the roaring like a dinosaur part also! :) we’re planning our first homebirth due next month and I’ve been trying to figure out how to get our little man ready for it, he’s 3…and I could totally see this working for him :) thanks for sharing that awsome idea!

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Bec December 13, 2012 at 8:47 pm

I’m with you Lilly, I’m going to try the dino roar too, we’ve been watching homebirth movies & my daughter knows how ‘her’ baby will come out but the dino roar is such a great way for the noise of labour to become a little more light hearted :) thanks for sharing Whitney! :)

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Angie May 10, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I hear ya on the quick labors. I had a fast and furious 2 hour labor much like this with my third child. After that I always cringe when people say “oh I hope I have a fast labor and delivery”. no ya don’t! Just like you said when labor goes that fast you just don’t have time to ease into it or mentally prepare. It is a crazy ride to be on, but in the end worth it of course. I just delivered my 4th baby three weeks ago and his labor was 4 1/2 hours. Perfect. Not too long not too short. Congrats and thanks for sharing your story. Loved reading it.

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Natasha May 10, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Amazing! Had me in tears. Watched with my 2.5 year old son and 5 year old daughter and they were both cheering! Thank you sooo much for sharing!

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Tami May 10, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I have seen lots of births and birth videos, and I never cry any more … except I was crying and laughing during yours! What a great video! Your face is really priceless on that push that gets her head out – you say you felt out of control but the look on your face is just beautiful. And then your joy at her arrival was wonderful to witness! And everyone else’s! Baby Austen has a wonderful start in life. Thanks for sharing this!

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Olivia Janae May 10, 2012 at 10:13 pm

This pulled every emotion out of me! Absolutely beautiful. Great support system, strong momma, beautiful little girl! I cried & cheered with you! Love this!

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Alyssa May 10, 2012 at 10:39 pm

This story mirrors my own daughter’s birth (who was, coincidentally, also my second, after a son). With my son, it was a 6 hour birth. I felt in control most of the time and went into “labourland” and was pretty calm about it all. I wouldn’t have described it as painful, just uncomfortable (to me, it felt like that gross feeling you have when you have bad diarrhea – so poetic!). With my daughter, it was three hours and every bit as intense and painful as what you described. There was no “labourland” and in fact everything seemed heightened which of course included the pain! Everything had to happen the same way as the first birth, but much faster. My happy labour endorphins didn’t kick in until *after* the birth when I kind of zoned out for a few hours. My daughter came out quietly, but then *SCREAMED* for a good half hour. She seemed pretty pissed to have been turfed out of the womb. And she’s still a little firecracker!

Thank you for sharing this. It IS amazing, no matter how it happens. Blessings to you and yours.

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Whitney Canales May 11, 2012 at 11:24 am

Yes, I could have written this! No laborland for me either, in the second birth… I can even remember thinking, “Why am I not in ‘laborland’??!” I was so painfully aware of everything going on, whereas with my son, I was in that beautiful foggy place of only being able to concentrate on my contractions. What a difference ‘laborland’ makes!

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Tora Spigner May 10, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Wow, that was amazing! Loved your story and the roaring like a dinosaur was priceless. I work as a labor and delivery nurse in a large hospital in California and love real labor stories like this! When your son hugged you after the baby was born, I started to cry, so sweet. You are a lucky woman, congratulations!

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toradora May 10, 2012 at 11:55 pm

absolutly beautifull. don’t have time to watch the video right now but just the still frame with your little boy reaching out to you is so beautifull. congratulations!

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Crystal - Prenatal Coach May 11, 2012 at 12:21 am

Awwwwwww I LOVE it! Congratulations mama!

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John Canales May 11, 2012 at 12:33 am

If you want to see more pictures of the post birth photos check my friends FB page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.290956637600224.89136.130423090320247&type=3

Originally we had our friend Irene Castillo of Expose the Heart photography to shoot the entire birth… but it happened so quickly. The shots that she did get were amazing though!

We are forever thankful that we were able to document the birth and share it with so many.

-John
Leaves of My Tree

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DoulaSophie May 11, 2012 at 1:57 am

absolutely beautiful, tears in my eyes. Felt a little sorry for little River when he started to cry but i am sure the joy afterwards made up for it. What an amazing Mama! Oh and I LOVE the midwife. what a funky lady :-)

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Alexis May 11, 2012 at 9:01 am

Congratulations!! 8 minutes of pushing with my little girl – there was a whole lot of screaming going on! And I feel you about feeling totally out of control and put in the back seat while your body took over. It took me a couple of months to come to peace with that part of it. I was almost embarrassed when I met with my midwife for my followup, even though she said the same as yours – great control and strength – cuz it sure didn’t feel like that at the time! And now I just see it was my body knowing what to do and DOING it, lol. You have a beautiful family and a beautiful story – great job, Mama!

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Holly Steffen May 11, 2012 at 11:57 am

Breathtaking. Brought tears to my eyes.

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Nikki May 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this raw and private moment! You were so amazing! The look of joy on your face was priceless. <3

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Jenni Rettig May 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Oh wow….what an amazing birth story and video! I am just in awe. And the moment when river walked over and hugged you, made me cry. He was so proud of his Mommy. It was so precious. Congratulations on your sweet, new gift.

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Kate May 11, 2012 at 12:31 pm

It’s crazy, even though you’re screaming your head off, your sounds don’t convey any of the fear that you hear from a lot of women who experience hospital births. You just sound like your “working.” It’s a really, really good video.

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Kadi May 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm

That was so beautiful! She was so real. Screams and exclamations of pure joy!!

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Heather B. May 11, 2012 at 6:44 pm

What a wonderful story and amazing video. It captures a birth that looks awfully similar to my own – horrendously intense, something I’d never wish for myself or anyone else, with water breaking (at only 5-6cm) and baby out in 17 minutes with one, and 12 with another. (My labors leading up to that point are long, though, then somehow switch gears.) I relate so much to her feelings and thoughts on the whole thing, yet seeing it also validates, in some way, what I went through in my last two births. Thank you for sharing both the intensity and the joy!

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Jessie Hill May 12, 2012 at 10:04 am

Whitney (and family!)
Thank you for sharing your amazing experience with me – watching it touched nerves that are still raw from my daughter’s birth 11 weeks ago (my second child, after a son!) It was my first vaginal birth and I did it at home, and it was so intense and painful – it was not quick – it exhausted me, but watching you made me remember writhing and crying that I couldn’t do it. Thank you for saying that it WAS excruciating and it WAS painful – you are helping me in my own healing and processing of my birth experiences – acknowleding that yes, it does hurt. I have often felt inadequate because so often the birth stories I read only tell of feeling calm etc.
But you also brought back a vivid memory of that moment – that instant – when the pain is over! You and your body did it and now you are holding that precious person in your arms. Your son made me sob. When he came over and gave you a hug that just released all my tears! Their instant acceptance and love as “the big brother” is so heartwarming.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. x

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Stephanie L. May 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

This made me bawl. So beautiful.

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Katie May 15, 2012 at 11:24 am

This is the first birth story that I have down right cried while reading. So Beautiful! Such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing!

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Lisa Coomer CPM May 16, 2012 at 10:58 am

Thank you, that was beautiful.. I am home birth midwife, I have been at over 600 catches.. I still cried watching this. Many blessings !!

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Head Northern Goddess May 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I loved your video – thank you for sharing Austen’s birthday with all of us! I found watching you inspiring and encouraging and I love how even though you felt out of control you kept your focus on what was happening the whole time! If you were freaking out, it sure as heck didn’t come across – instead you showed us a strong woman of courage who was in total control of her body and birthing process! LOVED LOVED LOVED when River came up and hugged you as you sat to craddle Austen – that just melted my heart <3 Congratulations to you and your family and may G-d bless you and your babies!

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Karen Lund May 16, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Wow! This woman’s births are similar to my own. She is perfectly describing so much of what I was feeling but could never put into words… brought up such emotion. I cried all the way through the video as I remembered my own home births. Beautiful! ♥♥♥

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Kate May 16, 2012 at 5:57 pm

What a beautiful beautiful birth story. I loved the way the story and photos were first, and then the video. My favourite part was the mention of – “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!”. Fantastic verse. Beautiful photography =)

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softletters May 16, 2012 at 8:15 pm

oh this is so beautiful! i also love the comment about the baby choosing this birth. i clearly remember feeling overwhelmed and making sounds (haha at such a mild word) that i felt were unlike anything i’ve ever uttered before while pushing. birth can be loud but it’s so beautiful! ah i just love so much of what you articulated here!

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Ranie May 17, 2012 at 12:50 am

THANK YOU for sharing your experience… Because you have been courageous enough to share your experience, my heart has been healed completely- finally. This past Feb., my VBA2C was anything but peaceful & far from what I had spent 10+ years preparing for. (My previous birth experiences have all been traumatic & this was the birth that was supposed to be “joyful”.) Fact is- it hurt way beyond what I thought was humanly possible… I spent the last 3+ months of pregnancy w/pelvic pain so severe that I was visiting my chiropractor 2 to 3x a week, just to get by… I had a month+ of intense prodromal labor, & after an AROM I really didn’t want- more than 10 hours of “real” labor w/contractions that were back to back w/li’l or no break, & nearly 2 hours of pushing… I was shocked that Baby was finally birthed, rather than delivered as had her siblings, because I had long since given up on myself… the pain was too much. Thank God, my doula & care-providers had not given up. My experience was an embarrassment to me (think- wounded, scared animal), until I read your story… I’ve been thinking- I could’ve & SHOULD’VE done it “better”. I realize now, that I worked damn hard that day, DAMN HARD, & I deserve to feel just as proud & joyful about birthing my li’l girl, the way that I did, as I would’ve had it went the way that I dreamed that it would’ve… (Did that make any sense??) No, it wasn’t ideal. Not even remotely close… But, I did it. And, though it’s taken me most of 3 months to come to this conclusion, I’d do it again- in a heartbeat. Having that li’l squishy baby that smiles every time she locks eyes w/me just melts heart. Every time… To see her doze while nursing, tummy full of plenty of mommy-milk… makes it’s worth the cost. That look of admiration, adoration & unconditional love in Hubby’s eyes… irreplaceable. He says we’re done… that he can’t, & won’t see me go through that again. But, when we first met- he also said he can be convinced. I’m not ready to jump on that bandwagon anytime soon, but I’m not against taking that leap… So, thank you. Thank you. :o)

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STEPHANIE May 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Omg…I’m supposed to be napping with my two boys right now but I can’t sleep…decided to read this story and check out the video. I had it on mute since I’m sandwiched in between the sleepyheads. Even with not being able to hear anything, I was in tears by 3 minutes. I felt like a psycho then read everyone else’s comments..now I don’t feel so crazy for crying! Haha I can only hope I look as beautiful as you when I’m in labor! (pregnant w #3) Thank you for sharing <3

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Kirsten May 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Wonderful! I just love how the MW goes with the flow and catches baby where mom is. Had this been a hospital they would have wanted her on the bed and would have disturbed her. Lovely! Laborland, what is that? I HB’d my 3rd and when baby decided it was time there was no lala land for me, very aware of what I was feeling :) Congrats mama!

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S Borchers May 21, 2012 at 1:35 am

I love how the dog is totally unphased in the background until someone different enters the house :) Screaming? Who cares?? That;s just a baby coming!

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Anjanette May 21, 2012 at 7:33 am

I love how the puppy is just chilling in the background the whole time until baby cries like, “yep. Most natural thing in the world. No worries.” :)

I’m expecting my third in 6 weeks. Would LOVE if my labor was this fast! Never know!

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Sarah May 22, 2012 at 12:22 am

This was absolutely incredible and very inspiring! Thank you for choosing to share your story and the video! I love the reminder that we can plan and plan our idea of a perfect birth but sometimes the kitchen floor will have to do ;) Thank you again!

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JM May 27, 2012 at 9:19 am

I’m a labor & delivery nurse and have seen over a thousand deliveries, but the beauty of this video brought me to tears. Totally amazing. :)

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Elisabeth Epperson June 1, 2012 at 11:30 am

Wow, I love this video. I labored for over 24 hours, experienced all the way to pushing but never got her out. I am a little scared of pushing next time now, but will keep this amazing video in mind when the time comes!

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Momi June 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Such a beautiful moment! I love the picture of her smiling with Austin. Congrats!

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Teresa June 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm

I loved this. I was crying the whole time while I read your story and watched it. I am a pregnant for the first time right now and all I can think about is how scary giving birth is going to be and this story has shown me that yes, it might be a little scary but it is also extremely beautiful. Thank you for sharing. This is the first birthing video that I’ve watched that has actually made me feel better when I think about what I’m going to have to go thru to have my son. You are amazing.

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josie June 13, 2012 at 9:08 am

Whitney, I don’t know if you will read this, but Thank You!!!

I have two amazing children already, but 10 years later found myself surprised with child once again. I am older, wiser, and more rooted so that has made the preparation for this baby much calmer. But I was not able to have my first two children without assistance. Had an emergency c-section with Najena, then labored for 10+ hours and opted for an epidural with Rey. I am trying to stay focused and determined in my decision to have my this new little girl entirely natural and unassisted if God is willing to see it that way, too. I remember going through transition with Najena, but at the last minute the dr realized she was breech and the cord was around her legs. Birthing her naturally would have risked rupturing the cord and/or placenta. I chickened-out of going through labor with Rey.
But witnessing your strength, and your weakness, helps me to believe in myself. Yes, I will waver. Yes, I will want to change my mind. But yes, I will survive and laugh and cry with overwhelming joy when Marian is finally in my arms.
Thank you, thank you thank you!

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lacy June 20, 2012 at 8:59 am

i giggled when her partner offered her the glass of water while she’s contracting and she’s like “uhHHHH notrightnow UUUUGHHH” but then i was crying one minute later when the baby REALLY starts coming and her vocalizations get so joyful! what a beautiful video. thanks for sharing!

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Holly September 22, 2012 at 11:12 am

Does anyone notice the dog in the background as she’s pushing? He/she is just patiently sitting out of everyone’s way. Awesome birth and video! I bawled my eyes out! I can’t wait for another pregnancy and home birth!

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Tina October 30, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Just picked this video off of Facebook and have to tell you that it was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen!!! I was sobbing UNCONTROLLABLY and smiling so hard my cheeks began to hurt. You are an amazing woman and mother for sharing this most personal experience with all of us. God Bless your beautiful family!!! Thanks…

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Ashfield November 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm

SO BEAUTIFUL! It reminds me sooo much of my birth!

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