Why Natural Birth? A Birth Center Water Birth Story

To see this family’s homecoming story, visit here.

Let’s see. How do I possibly explain the details of this experience and the feeling of creating a life in a way that isn’t cheesy and antiquated? I’m not sure that it’s possible but I’ll try. First off let me just say that a natural birth, preferably a water birth, has always been a desire of mine. It’s literally on my bucket list. With Lily I researched and studied natural births and prepared myself mentally and physically. Unfortunately I was unable to achieve a natural birth with Lily, and so I was even more motivated to deliver my son without intervention. When people ask me, “Why in the world would you want to deliver without medication?” I struggle for an answer that is concise, appropriate, and meaningful. Here is my best answer in all its complexity.

I was reading the Bible one day, focusing on starting in the beginning and understanding every detail of God’s creation. As I read about each new creation I noticed a pattern; they kept getting better and better. Then God makes Adam, literally breathing life into his soul, molding him from the dirt, and intricately and delicately designing every part of his anatomy to work in perfect unison. Could anything be better? As I read, I discovered, YES. After God made Adam he still wasn’t satisfied. So then he made Eve, woman.

When I read this and really thought about it, it dawned on me. Eve was the crown of creation. After making woman God was finally satisfied. This says something, doesn’t it? This means woman is the crowning jewel of God’s work, and thus we should hold ourselves to standards indicative of a level of admiration, and respect for Gods work. I then read more about women in the Bible, specifically the proverbial woman. This woman is a hard worker, she is faithful, and she is persistent, among many others. I decided to dissect this even further and really become the “proverbial woman” through this pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

When I read about Eve deceiving Adam in the Garden of Eden and studied their punishments for disobeying God I found one thing to be quite interesting. The punishment for Eve is translated into saying that for women, they will have pain in childbearing. For men, they will toil the Earth with hard work all of their days. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for Eve’s punishment has been incorrectly translated to “pain” when actually, it’s the same word as Adam’s punishment- hard work. When I learned this I was encouraged. God didn’t command that our births would be painful, but he DID say they would be hard work. And this, I felt, was exactly in line with me molding myself after the proverbial woman- a woman of hard work. While I knew it would be hard work,  I also wanted to be aware of what my body was designed to do, and know that I was capable of growing and delivering this life exactly as nature had intended. I knew that the pain could not be stronger than me, because it was from me.

Additionally, I reflected on my personality. I tend to dream big and conquer little, often changing my plans mid way, or giving up when I am simply tired of putting in the effort. I knew that If I ever wanted to achieve my goals in life, I would have to put an end to this. So I forced myself to be reliant on God and 100% faithful to his will. I knew that this would be a test of both my physical strength and my spiritual strength. Again, I was becoming the proverbial woman- being faithful.

So, with my intentions in place, my heart in the right direction, and my mind focused on the goals at hand I began this amazing journey. My pregnancy was fast and easy, and I honestly can’t complain about much. Then my last month came around…….

Michael had left on a training trip to Mississippi on the weekend, after I had had a week full of Braxton Hicks contractions. I was due in 2 weeks. I had not experienced Braxton Hicks with Lily and so I was sure that they were leading me to labor early. On the following weekend, I started a slow leak of amniotic fluid. This, coupled with the contractions, made me believe my labor was imminent. Michael flew home from Mississippi that night, as well as my mother in law, Tracy from Utah.

I was slightly nervous, and feeling under pressure for labor to begin, as I felt that I had inconvenienced them by making them fly out last second. That night, nothing happened. The next day went by with few contractions, and then at night things picked up. We went to the Birth Center at about 4 in the morning thinking it was time. We came home a few hours later as contractions had fizzled out. But, I was a stretchy 3 cm!

For the next 3 weeks I continued to have contractions on a regular basis. Three minutes apart lasting for up to 5 hours. Nothing I could do would kick them into gear, though, and make them more intense. The clock kept ticking. At this point I was becoming very discouraged, and very anti social. I wanted to be left alone, and just prepare myself mentally. I knew I had to get focused. I felt that my attitude was hindering my body from letting go, and progressing.  At 8 days past his due date I had another midwife appointment. The midwife said, I had gone back to 1 cm, but my cervix was very soft, and as soon as I had some strong enough contractions, it would melt away like butter. This was encouraging.

So a few days later I got the urge to get a pedicure. I needed to relax and my feet were so swollen.  So, I went and got pampered and it seemed to do the trick. Within a few hours I was having rhythmic contractions with regularity, but without intensity. I was lying in bed focusing on the contractions, thinking I could somehow will them into becoming stronger when I felt a loud BANG. I was startled at first, and honestly thought the baby had kicked my rib so hard that it broke. Instead I realized my water bag had broken. FINALLY!!

I still had only slight contractions at this point so I took a shower, and Michael and Tracy cleaned up the house and got Lily ready. We arrived at the Birth Center at 11:45 as I had to receive IV antibiotics. When we got there Jana, my midwife, said I could go back home, and be back in 4 hours for the second midwife, because my labor wasn’t really hard yet, and laboring at home is always more comfortable. About 1 hour after getting home things started picking up. Michael was trying to get some sleep, so I tried to get in the bath tub to ease the intensity. Things were becoming painful and I finally had to really breathe thru contractions. I said a few times to Michael that I thought I was going to be sick. Another 20 minutes or so and I knew we needed to leave, even though we didn’t NEED to be back for 2 more hours. In the car I was extremely uncomfortable. I sat in the back seat on my knees leaning of the seat back. I was really working through contractions now.

When we arrived at the Center and I began to walk in contractions almost immediately intensified. Just walking a few steps was really bringing them on. Jana checked me and I was 5 cm, and was admitted. I received my second dose of antibiotics, and while I was getting them I was holding Lily, who was very cranky from being woken up at 3:00 in the morning. The entire time I held her my contractions stopped, almost like my body knew that I needed to give her attentions, so It gave me a break.

As soon as I got up to go upstairs to my room, however, contractions came back with a vengeance. I stopped for pressure waves 3 times on the way up to the room, and when I got up there, I collapsed onto the bed. At this point I could not get comfortable, and I began to be vocal with my contractions, groaning and breathing through them heavily. If I had been at the hospital, I would have asked for an epidural. I asked Jana immediately if I could get into the tub, but since she had seen my contractions fizzle earlier, she thought that I wasn’t far enough along, and I would stall my labor. She hadn’t realized that I had been having severe contractions all the way up the stairs. So, I lied on the bed. This is when I got sick.

After emptying my stomach contractions came on stronger than ever. I tried lying on my side and called to Mike to come and rub my back. My hips and stomach were being smashed with pressure at this point, and I need his strong hands for counter pressure. Up until this point, he had been dealing with Lily so I had really been laboring on my own. He lay down behind me and applied pressure. The room was dark and there was music on. I think that having him near me allowed me to really enter unto a vulnerable state and I finally really relaxed. I think I even stopped making noise at this point and totally spaced out, concentrating on the music and focusing on the contractions. Michael was talking me through each wave, making sure I was relaxed, and telling me what a great job I was doing. I realize now I was crazy to think I could have ever done it without him being there.

After about 15 minutes of this, contractions came like a thunderclap with an intensity that told me I needed to get in the tub now! I sent my mother in law to get Jana, who I think was still skeptical of me getting in the water. After 2 contractions in the water I knew I was getting close. At this point I couldn’t tell where one contraction ended and another began, although I’m told I was completely lucid in between contractions and carrying on conversation. My friend, and birth photographer, Tatum showed up at this time and turned the lights on, which I desperately loathed at the time, but knew they needed to be on or I couldn’t have pictures, which I wanted more…..

I asked Mike to have Jana check me again, as I was feeling totally overwhelmed with the intensity and the pain. When she checked me her words were,  “Wow! you’re super dilator” and I think everyone was surprised to know I was 9 cm. It had been 1 hour 20 minutes since we arrived. Jana went back in her office to do something, and all of a sudden there was THE NOISE. Anyone who has had a natural birth or watched one probably knows what I am talking about. It’s that roar/groan/gag/squeal that your body just makes uncontrollably when you are about to push. Well, I made the noise and in came Jana and my mother in law- they both knew what that meant.

At this point I was on my hands and knees. I desperately wanted something to lean up against so I could get some better leverage, but the pushing contractions were so strong I couldn’t move. This is where things get pretty fuzzy. The burning and pain was so incredibly intense that I seriously questioned my sanity in deciding to deliver this way. I muttered the only sentence I had said in the last hour and a half, “my gosh this hurts.” When I felt myself losing control, I remembered my intentions to myself, and gave a few strong pushed. After about 8 minutes total I was holding my son in my arms.

cord still attached

 *Maternity and Birth Photography by Tatum Kathleen Photography.


  • Shara

    Absolutely gorgeous. Loved the story, the photos were brilliant, and the emotion was raw. Congratulations and THANK YOU for sharing!

  • Debbie

    I totally hear you on the roar of a pushing woman 😛 ! Mine manifested in a loud, commanding, not to be argued with “I gotta push!” and I lifted my own lefts as if I had just stuck my finger in an outlet and that was the involuntary muscular reaction. Great story momma, congratulations!

  • April McGallion

    Thanks so much for sharing. Beautiful picture and stories. I couldn’t help but feel a kinship towards you because I too had a plan for a natural birth with my Lily that didn’t work out and made me so much more motivated to have a natural birth with my son. Congratulations!

  • Kimberly

    I remember the noise. I do! It is so fresh with my last baby (he’s almost 4 weeks old) the feelings and the loudness that came out of me.

    Congrats mama! You did great! 🙂

  • DoulaSophie

    I love your story. I love how you wrestled with the translation of pain in the Bible when it talks about pain in childbirth. Something I wrestled with as a doula when reading orgasmic birth and discovering that birth can be experienced as pleasurable. Puts a different spin on it and totally makes sense when the real translation should be more related to toiling and hard work. Thank-you for sharing honestly and fabulous photo’s….love love love them 🙂

  • Brittany

    Great story! I just gave birth two days ago to my little girl so all the details, noises and feelings are still so fresh. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who was very vocal and made roaring noises while my body pushed.

  • Dina

    Need advice/support!! My 2 year old just self-weaned himself from the breast… I’ve noticed him gradually decreasing over the last 6 months (down to only one short feeding before bed), and especially decreased over the last few weeks. But today, for the very first time, when I went to nurse him, he clearly said “all done!”. I tried several times, but he did the same thing each time. I know this is natural and normal – he is 2 years 2 1/2 months, after all. But I cant help but be an emotional wreck about it! I’ve been crying non-stop for the last hour and am so upset about it. I don’t want to talk to my husband about it, as he just won’t understand. Why do I feel like this? How can I deal with this? Any advice or support is very appreciated!

    • Andrea von Schoening

      Dearest Dina,

      I can only offer support. I admire how tuned-in you are to your emotions, and suggest that you let your tears flow freely. The end of breastfeeding is a loss – a significant transition – there is no doubt about it. I have noticed that motherhood is a series of these losses … where we are called to let go, of more and more, as our children gain independence, bit by bit. My son just turned 18, and my advice would be: Grieve the losses, so that you can be most present with the new and current stage … because it is also passing and will end. The bittersweet truth about parenting, where you celebrate your children’s new abilities and growth while at the same time having to let go of things that you have loved about the past stage of childhood.

      You are a beautiful Mama who gave her son a wonderful gift – as much breastfeeding as he wanted! I understand your sadness – it makes perfect sense to me. <3

    • Rachael

      I read somewhere that there is a hormonal reason for being upset when you wean, so take heart – its a totally natural and normal response, though I know its not easy. I felt the same way when my daughter weaned at the same age. I knew it was silly – 26 months was a pretty good innings – my best yet! But your feelings actually aren’t silly at all. They’re a normal natural and largely hormonal response to something that is actually a pretty big deal. xx

  • Rene

    Beautiful story and You looked amazing the whole time! Such strength and beauty in birth! I can hardly wait to experience it myself – Of course by that I also mean I’m terrified! (no babies over here for another year or so!)

  • Debbie

    Thank you for sharing your story, I am 4 months along in my first pregnancy and to hear stories like yours is making me more confident in my body and mentally preparing me to do what God created my body to do. You are a beautiful person inside and out, even while giving birth!! Congratulations and Thanks again!

  • Vita

    Wow! Amazing birth! Brought tears to my eyes! Reminds me a lot of the birth of my little girl too. I made sure the whole midwife-led unit would hear that my baby is coming 🙂 Totally understand your wish to lean on against something, I felt exactly the same. Jealous about your hair though – I look a total mess in my post-delivery photos, as if I’ve been through a tornado and back 😀 Lol

  • motherjoy

    Is that the older daughter?? How sweet that she was there and you can see her joy, she cant wait to touch that baby!

  • Angela

    Your reasoning for a natural birth is almost word for word, my reasoning for a natural birth! Your story is so touching, and your pictures are beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  • Rachael

    I love birth. Lol. I know its hard work and it hurts and all, but its so powerful and I really feel like I’m doing something amazing that I was custom designed and intended to do! (Funny that;)). I’ve had 4 births, all natural. I have been blessed with amazing midwives at our local, and Obs who fully and enthusiastically support my belief in and desire for me to birth naturally if medically possible. My last birth was at 2am after a 6pm induction that I was so nervous about that I had a tribe of women praying for me! I always liked the idea of a 7 hour labour. Long enough to not feel rushed, but not so long as to tire you out. Anyway, here we were, hubby right with me as my coach and interpreter (after 4 births he can read me like a book and knows the moment I go into transition and exactly where I’m up to at all times), a midwife sitting quietly in the corner saying encouraging things and stepping in only when asked, and a wide eyed young dr who was training to be an obstetrician. This would be his first delivery! My ob was in bed. We didn’t need him 😉 turned out this young dr knew a bunch of people I had gone to Bible College with before I got married. So in that quiet and dimly lit little room we talked about mutual friends and common interests between contractions. When I told the midwife that the baby was coming she assured me I still had a way to go yet. I looked at hubby and said, “she may not think so, but this baby is coming NOW!” Cue that groaning and roaring you talked about! A few good pushes (on my hands and knees leaning over a chair – yeah, i get that!) and out came my little Talitha (Aramaic for “little girl” and what Jesus would have said to the little girl he raised). The poor young dr was so surprised I’m not sure he was quite ready. He fumbled a bit (got the cord a little tangled trying to pass her to me) and looked totally blown away by what had just happened. A quick txt to my friend who promised to not stop praying till she heard I was finished, and we were done. It was awesome and empowering and exactly right. 🙂

  • Alehson

    This is my exact reason and explanation for wanting an all natural child birth someday! Thank you for putting it into words so others could understand this reasoning! Congrats! Way to go mama! Beautiful job and beautiful family!

  • Sarah Rodger

    What a beautiful story!!! I LOVE how you talk about birth being hard work rather than painful. I am a huge supporter of reimagining birth as energy and work rather than as pain and suffering. Thank you for the information about the translation from Hebrew as well, spirituality is so very important in birth.

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