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Resting & Soaking in Brand New Baby Cleo

Resting & Soaking in Brand New Baby Cleo

Cleo’s birth story begins in the middle of a February heatwave. My husband and I had escaped our 3 children (then aged 7, 4, and 2) for a rare date night, and during dinner he leans over the table and with a cheeky grin says “So, should we have another baby?” I laugh, because we both know that the answer is yes, and the real question is when. I tell him that having spent most of the last 8 years either pregnant or breastfeeding, I am utterly depleted and need to have some time to recharge my body and mind before we do it all again.

A couple of days later I wake up, expecting my period, but it hasn’t started, and I know. I just know. A pregnancy test later that day confirms it, and I sit on the bed and sob with shock. I want another baby with all my heart – but not now! I am gutted; I had wanted to feel ready, I had wanted to want to be pregnant. It takes me months to process this new reality, and I feel heavy with guilt over my ambivalence.

Our 4 year old daughter, desperate for a sister, wanted to know the sex of the baby, and we find out at the 20-week scan that we are expecting a girl. With two boys and a girl already, both my husband and I had also been quietly hoping for another daughter, and I finally begin to feel glimmers of hope and excitement.

But anxiety lurks. On paper I’d had dream births (including two home births), ranging from 2-4.5 hours, spontaneous labours around 39 weeks, no interventions, drugs or stitches. But the birth of my third child had been very difficult for me mentally; from the outside it seemed like a gentle home water birth, but in my head I had been in a war zone against pain, unwilling and unable to lose myself into ‘labour land’. My labour had stalled in response; I felt like I had failed, and struggled with worry that I might repeat the same mistakes. My son had also had long term and traumatic breastfeeding difficulties due to an undiagnosed tongue tie, and I was terrified of the possibility of facing that all over again.

As my pregnancy progressed, I found myself feeling increasingly listless. Unable to summon up interest for movies, TV, or books, most evenings I would end up simply taking a long bath before bed. It was only there, floating in the candle lit bathroom, that I felt safe enough to allow myself to dream and hope for this baby. As the months passed, I slowly worked through my fears and in my heart of hearts I knew that I was not going to be able to let them go – I had to feel the fear and birth anyway!

I realised that I had tried to have too much control over my previous labour, and because of that my mind had not surrendered my body to birth. I decided that I would not hire a birth pool or make any plans for where or how I would labour and birth, but rather let go and allow any possibility to happen. I surrounded myself with a birth team with whom I felt truly safe. I also planned for a month of postpartum rest, which would enable me not just to recover physically, but to have the time and space to focus on breastfeeding and deal with any potential issues as early as possible.

As my due date approached, I felt myself begin to pull away from the world, inwards towards my baby. I became so sick of pregnancy that I found myself no longer caring about what my labour might be like, and a slow and patient calm descended over me like a fog. At around 37 weeks I began experiencing gentle and occasional pre-labour contractions, mainly overnight, but nothing serious.

At 39 weeks, my mother-in-law visited for a few days, which was a special time of relaxing and enjoying the older children together. On her last morning with us, we both felt the urge to clean the house – she scrubbed the shower, while I dusted like a madwoman. We dropped her off at the airport on Friday morning, joking that now she was leaving, the baby would be born and she would have to come straight back.

That night, lying in a deep, hot bath, I had a long conversation with my baby. I told her all my hopes and fears, that I was ready to do my part in the work of birth, and gave her my blessing to be born whenever she was ready. I had a few mild contractions here and there, but went to bed feeling calm and relaxed. Still, I was unable to fall asleep easily, but tried not to let it bother me, and after listening to some relaxation practices I dozed off around midnight.

I awoke to a strong contraction, far deeper than the niggles I’d been experiencing over the past few weeks. I glanced at the clock: 4:25AM. My husband wasn’t in bed next to me, and neither was his pillow; he must have gone in to be with our almost-three-year-old. I lay back down, knowing that either things would settle down and I’d go back to sleep, or that if things became more intense it was worth getting some rest while I could! It wasn’t long until I felt another strong surge, followed by another – and lying down was not feeling like a reasonable option any longer!

I quietly tiptoed in to our younger childrens’ bedroom, where I found my husband in the bottom bunk, and woke him with “I think I might need you”. At 5am I texted my friend Diana (who was acting as my student midwife and support person) to let her know that I was beginning to have some contractions that felt like they meant business, but that for the time being we’d sit tight and let her know as soon as things were really on the move.

The contractions I was experiencing were quickly evolving from irregular pains to a continuous deep cramping, which intensified in waves, some strong enough to draw my full concentration, but others that I could talk and move through. I heated a wheat bag and held it to my lower belly, which was comforting. As my husband moved quietly through the house, bringing the birth boxes and towels into our main living area, I paced the length of the house through the living room and kitchen. Back and forth, back and forth. I found that I could not stop moving – If I paused, even momentarily, the pain became unbearable.

As water had been my refuge during my pregnancy, I had imagined myself labouring in either the bath or shower. Instead, I found myself seeking the darkest and quietest corner of the house, which at that time of night happened to be the lounge room. Anything brighter than the faintest light seemed overwhelming. Pacing back and forth, the pain remained consistent, strengthening on and off irregularly, but with no real breaks or pattern. I had a sense that things were moving quickly, and that my baby was at the helm and all I had to do was hang on for the ride! The pain was strong – but I felt stronger. I knew I could handle this for as long as I needed to.

At 5:45, even though there was no real rhythm to my contractions, we decided that we should call our midwifery team, just to let them know what was happening, and see what they thought about it all. During the seven-minute call to the triage midwife I had three good strong surges, and as she listened to me work through them, she decided it was time to send backup to be with us until my primary midwife arrived. My husband called Diana just before 6am to fill her in on things and let her know to come over also.

With sunrise approaching, our other children had begun to awaken, and one by one came out to see what was happening. Our oldest son quietly brought me a fresh bottle of water and reheated my wheat bag before retreating to his dad, brother & sister in the adjacent kitchen as I continued to pace the darkened living room. The deep cramping pain between surges relented, but they became longer and more intense, and I noticed the beginning of a slight ‘pushiness’ to my vocalisations. I instinctively reached down and could feel my waters bulging – I felt that it was almost time to abandon myself to pushing, and asked my husband to lay down the oversized plastic-backed picnic rug we had bought to cover the floor.

I could feel the baby moving lower and lower and knew that it was time to gather my strength to bring her into this world.

With my eyes closed in my darkened birth space, it seemed like it was in another world that footsteps were running up our driveway… a calm and friendly voice introduced herself as Shirley… the baby’s heartbeat pulsed through the fetal monitor… and then the urge to push took over completely. As I stood in the middle of the lounge room floor, I braced my hands on my knees and began to push. My waters broke with a huge pop and mid-contraction Shirley told me that she wanted to help me on to my hands and knees. It seemed impossible to move my limbs – “How… I can’t…” I gasped as she gently took my hand and told me I needed to lower myself to the floor. It was almost insurmountably hard, but I’m so glad she made me do it – I could actually feel my pelvis opening wider as I moved down on to my knees.

As my baby’s head began to crown, Shirley reminded me to breathe gently and just allow the next contraction to do the work. I felt the familiar burning as my body was stretched to its absolute limit, but only for a moment; as soon as her head was born, the rest of her body followed with soft slippery relief. Shirley calmly unwrapped the cord from around our baby’s neck as I took off my pyjama top and reached down to bring her up to my chest, just as the other midwives walked in the door! It was 6:31am – barely two hours since I had woken up, just ten minutes from when Shirley had arrived, and sixty seconds from waters breaking to baby in my arms!

My midwives fetched blankets and helped me lean back against the couch as my husband and the older children gathered around to meet the newest member of our family. I slowly began to emerge from ‘labour land’, becoming aware again of the world around me: the morning birdsong, light beginning to creep through the windows as the sun rose, the rich loamy iron smell of birth. I looked down to the baby quietly mewling against me, truly noticing her for the first time since her had emerged, and checked – really, yes really, the girl we had dared to hope for! My husband and I looked at each other; he nodded, and I said out loud for the first time, holding her up for all to marvel at, “This is Cleo!”

I brought my brand new daughter back to my chest and, knowing exactly where she had been born to be, she bobbed her head straight for my nipple and latched herself on. She stayed there, firmly attached and suckling contentedly, for the next two hours. We sat on the lounge room floor for a while, the midwives filling out paperwork and the children happily admiring their baby sister as we all chatted about the birth, filling each other in on what had happened from our perspective. I couldn’t quite believe that our little girl was here, how quick and smooth her birth had been, or how calm I had felt the whole time; I was high on oxytocin and everything felt full of light and love.

The placenta took its time, but once it had been birthed, all there was left to do was rest and soak in the baby! My older three children had been born overnight, however Cleo’s early morning arrival gave us the whole day ahead to spend getting to know each other as a family. Cleo and I spent her entire first day skin-to-skin, lying in bed together while the older children came and went. There were cups of tea in my favourite mug, joyous phone calls to family, and a beautiful blue sky to gaze at out the window. The world could wait for a while – it wasn’t the year I had planned, but now that Cleo was in my arms, I knew that everything was going to be just fine.

home birth, birth without fear

Birth story and photos submitted by Nicole J. 

Pressure-Free Home Birth After 2 Weeks of Braxton Hicks Contractions

Pressure-Free Home Birth After 2 Weeks of Braxton Hicks Contractions

My first birth was fast. After three hours of non-timable contractions my water broke. An hour later I arrived at the hospital at 5cm, and an hour after that I was holding my son. He had to be delivered by a wandering pediatrician because no one thought a first time mom could push out her baby in under 15 minutes after less than five hours of labour.

I read a lot of Ina May books after that birth and decided my next birth would be at home. There was no way I was dealing with getting to the hospital when my labour time might be cut in half. I found fantastic midwives that attend a lot of home births in my area.

My pregnancy was fairly uneventful, but full of contractions. I had been put on pelvic rest with my first son to keep from going into labour and needed it again this time. At 23 weeks I was on “as needed” bed rest and full pelvic rest. At 34 weeks we were given the green light but DH (Jonathan) and I waited another three as I wanted to make sure I got my home birth and 37 weeks is required for that.

After two weeks of Braxton Hicks and prodromal labor and being dilated to 3cm my midwife finally swept my membranes at 38w 6d. I had contractions until that afternoon but they stopped. I had a few sporadic ones throughout the day but nothing stuck.

That night (June 22) I woke up at 2:49am with a very painful contraction. I started timing and had a few more. After about 5 that were pretty regular I called the midwife (3:30am). She called the student midwife and they quickly headed ontheir way.

I spent contractions on my birthing ball and in between making the bed and giving Jonathan orders. They got to our place around 4:00 and madly set up. They checked me and I was at 6cm and very thin. They called the other midwife and told her to hurry and continued to set up while I labored on the bed, clutching whatever I could through contractions. Shortly after I started having small urges to push and knew my water was about to break. They got an extra pad under me and two contractions later my water exploded across the room (4:35am). The student managed to dodge it but boy was she surprised!

I enjoyed the feeling of not having the pressure for a little while as the contractions slowed for the pushing stage. The midwife was called again and told to run the red lights. A few contractions later and I was starting to push again(4:40am). The main midwife made it by then and was ready to help instruct Jonathan on how to push on my opening as Levi’s head quickly crowned. I started panting to slow down the process as I knew I would tear if I didn’t.

The worst pain was in my urethra. It felt like someone was shoving their finger up it and I was yelling at them to stop. As soon as the head was free though that pain was gone. Levi got his arm free and tried to swim and claw the rest of the way out. It was 4:46am. It only took 1 contraction to get him out. Levi had a good cry for about 10 minutes and then we got him to nurse. He was a pro!

He weighed 7.13lbs, 21.5″ long!

pregnancy, contractions

pregnancy, birth, childbirth, home birth

Brothers meeting for the first just an hour after birth.

brothers, baby, babies, birth, toddler

Submitted by Barbie R. 

Birth Without Fear {It is Possible}

Birth Without Fear {It is Possible}

Wednesday the 13th of February, I couldn’t sleep.  I went to bed at 9pm and I was straight back out at 9:30. I sat on the couch with Penelope and Shadow (fur children -dogs!), watching random stuff on TV and playing iPad bingo. At 12:30am, I felt a slight gush of liquid and I was a little suspicious.

Thursday 14th of February, mum and dad come over early, they were driving me to the doctor for my weekly checkup as I had sold my car but haven’t yet bought a new one. It was Valentine’s Day and we had plans to go to my doctor appointment, and then pick up the car seat, and then lunch at the new food market a Burleigh.

I mentioned to the doctor that I had a slight leak. So she gave me a quick examination and referred me to the Matu unit at the hospital. My Mum was super excited we were going to the hospital, as she thought that the baby was going to come sometime that day.

We met my dad after the doctor appointment and told him we were headed to the hospital, but first we had to pick up the car seat that was on layaway at Target. So we walked over and mum and I did a spot of shopping and browsing whilst in target, in no hurry at all! Dad was a little panicked and kept hurrying us along! Hahaha. We eventually made it to the Matu at Gold Coast hospital around lunch time. They checked me in and hooked me up to the monitors to check baby’s heart beat and if I was contracting at all. The midwife examined me and found that my waters had broken, but the baby’s head was pushing down so it was a slight hind leak.

The doctor had a second examination and agreed and so they waited for confirmation to induce me, I was strep b positive so they induce to avoid infection spreading to the baby. Dad went and grabbed some lunch from the cafe at the hospital. And they then decided that they would induce me that afternoon. Mum and dad were ecstatic as they were heading to port Macquarie for Talea’s (my niece) 10th birthday that weekend, and now knew they weren’t going to miss the birth. Mum and dad headed home to feed the dogs and get refreshed before heading back up later that evening.

I rang Daniel and confirmed to him that he needed to stop working and head home!

By 3pm I was in the delivery suite being hooked up to the monitors and IV ready for the Pitocin (inducing drug). Daniel arrived shortly after, and the waiting game began! They gave me 6mg and every hour increased the amount by double. I could feel slight tightness across my tummy at about 5ish, but was happy, laughing, and texting, talking on the phone and playing games on my iPad! Mum and dad made it back up about 4:30pm.

We would watch the monitors to see when a contraction would begin, the midwife (student – Sarah) said that an honest contraction would hit around or above 100 on the toco. By then I was hitting high 60’s and every time it would get higher we got excited! Hehehe. In between contractions the toco sat around 25.

At about 6:30pm a new midwife started (which we were happy about as the midwife was a slight douche before her, not the student one) Gemma! Who I happened to have taught her children in swimming lessons at Coopers! She was a lovely lady and I was so happy to have her looking after me and baby! She informed me that at 8:30pm she would give me an examination and possibly a membrane sweep.

Mum and dad headed out at 7:30ish to grab some dinner. And at 8:30 Gemma examined me and I was 1cm dilated, and she performed a membrane sweep to break the remaining waters to get the ball rolling. From then on the contractions began to become more and more prominent, although I was happily coping and still playing games on my iPad and texting Emma, Sarah, and Eileen! Mum and dad returned about 9 and we sat around chatting, (dad took pics and a mini video). Gemma said she would give me another examination at 12:30 am to see how I was progressing.

By about 10ish the pain during the peak of a contraction was strong and I couldn’t talk during it, I just breathed deeply and imagined meeting my baby boy. I thought about my whole 9 month journey and concentrated on relaxing allowing my body and baby to do what they had to do.

I turned over onto all fours into child’s pose and swayed back and forward side to side when the pain was intense. Mum helped me turn over. Not long after I asked Daniel for my iPod and headphones so I could listen to the relaxing playlist I had made.  This must have been around 10:30-11ish, and mum and dad left the room to wait outside.

Gemma had dimmed the lights and asked me if I wanted pain relief, she said I appeared to be in more pain and when I asked how much longer she thought I had to go she explained that I’d have a few more hours yet. So I agreed to try some pethadine and gas and air.

This was about 11:30pm, and when Gemma returned to administer the drugs, I let her know I had the urge to bear down and push, and with each contraction I could feel the baby’s head moving down – I knew it was time. The feeling was like needing to poop, but like you’ve had gastro or something and you get that uncontrollable urge in your muscles and you run for the loo! But with slight pain still around my cervix.

As I was not due for another examination until 12:30am, Gemma said it would be rare and fantastic if I was fully dilated, but she doubted it, and since I had the urge to push she would examine me, as giving me the pethadine would be detrimental to this stage of labour. Upon examination she found that I was infact fully dilated (making it from 1cm to 10cm in 3 hrs) and told me to go with whatever my body was telling me to do.

So with the next contraction I went with the urge and the pushing began. Once I began pushing, the pain seemed to disappear, and I knew it was down to business. Throughout the whole labour process it is all about breathing, concentrating and staying calm and relaxed, and waiting for this moment!

In between contractions I could hear the radio and I remember hearing Britney Spears and Will-I-am, scream and shout and thinking, “Britney has two sons she did it I can do it!” Hahahaha. What a weirdo!

Pushing and pushing, I got so hot and sweaty! Daniel was patting me down with wet paper towels and ice, I sucked on the gas and air a couple of times and hated it. It made me dizzy, like a drunk feeling and I felt like I couldn’t concentrate. I remember asking Daniel if he was ok in between contractions. I knew it would be a whole new experience for him! He has never seen a birth or really even talked about what goes on. He did fantastic! Supporting me and not fainting!

I quickly told Gemma that I don’t want to tear ( my lady parts!) and she assured me I should be ok, and to listen to her as I push. Pushing isn’t like it seems. On TV, birth shows, etc., they make it out that you’re really pushing on your own will, but you’re not.

You have no control over the urge to push. It’s really hard to relax your muscles and allow your body to do all the work. Yes, you push, but not forcefully, you push with the surges of your muscles contracting. Breathing and relaxing your jaw/mouth helps a lot, too. Cause with each surge you naturally tense up and hold your breath. And tensing your jaw/mouth tenses your cervix, therefore relaxing your jaw/mouth relaxes your cervix and helps everything to soften and open.

So what felt like 5 minutes was actually 40minutes. Gemma told me to stop the urges as much as I could and breathe quick short breaths as his head crowned. She held up a mirror and I saw the crown of his head. I was nervous as to what I would see, lady parts stretched open! But it was a beautiful sight, as strange as that can sound; the vagina truly is made for birthing, and is most beautiful and amazing when doing so! Daniel and Gemma helped hold my legs up with my knees pushed toward me for the last few contractions as I was exhausted and couldn’t hold hem any longer.

So a few contractions later and Bennett John Monro was born at 12:19AM on the 15th of February, he was almost a valentines baby, he missed the mark by 19 minutes. I remember Gemma telling me to look at my baby; I was so exhausted I almost forgot to look!

He was so little and looked so shocked! His arms were stretched out wide and he had his eyes wide open looking around! Gemma wiped him down and handed him to me. After a few minutes he began to cry; he had such a loud cry! Daniel and I were in awe! I said to Gemma, “is that really my baby? Is that what was inside me? I don’t believe it.” It really is a surreal moment when you see the little person that you grew inside you for 9 months.

We waited the extra few minutes for delayed cord clamping and then Gemma asked Daniel if he wanted to cut the cord, and before he could answer I yelled out, “I will do it, let me do it!” I had thought about it before hand, and told Daniel to go ahead if he wanted, but there was something bittersweet about cutting the cord myself. I had carried him and he was connected to me, I wanted to be the one to set him free. We were one, and at that moment became two; like catching a fish on your own rod, then unhooking it and setting it free with no help from anyone else.  Gemma gave me an injection for the delivery of my placenta and without even knowing it, it was out, I saw it, it looks like a plant! It’s an interesting thing.

image (2)

Mum and dad came in a little while later and dad was Mr. Paparazzi! I’m glad he was; it’s lovely to look at the pictures. Next time, I’d like to have it filmed, I think. Mum and dad rang Emma and Daniel rung his mum. Then, after a while mum and dad left, they were exhausted! And I attempted to feed baby Bennett. He wouldn’t latch and just kept crying, so eventually Gemma weighed him and dressed him, wrapped him and gave him to Daniel.

I then had a bit of blood loss. Gemma got me up for a shower and I fainted! Lucky Gemma was there to catch me. After I recovered she dressed me and I was taken up to the mat ward by about 4:30 am. Bennett was sound asleep. Waking up that morning at 6ish, I looked over to the little bassinet beside me and couldn’t believe that there was my son! The night before honestly felt like a dream!

After a less than desirable pregnancy (4months of vomiting) and saying I will never have another baby, the birth of my son was the most amazing feat I have ever accomplished, and I would give birth 100 times again (well maybe only a few more times to be realistic)!

mom and baby

Birth without fear… It is possible!

Wicked Awesome Birth Picture

Wicked Awesome Birth Picture

This birth photo is amazing for so many reasons. It’s birth as it should be most of the time, the photography is phenomenal, but also look at mama’s hand touching her baby’s head, the midwife’s hand just waiting to catch and not interfering…it’s just wicked awesome! ~Mrs. BWF

home water birth of baby

My son was born at home over two years ago, and I was fortunate enough to have Emily Weaver Brown photograph it. This picture is one that I LOVE and think is amazing. Wally’s labor was fast and his head came out as I was standing in the birth pool. It took another minute for his body to be born. My midwife hadn’t arrived yet, but the student midwife (who you see wearing gloves) showed up just as Wally’s head came out. Anyway, I thought this image shows a perspective of birth that you don’t often see. ~Jessica

One Mama, Two Births {Growing From One Birth at a Time}

One Mama, Two Births {Growing From One Birth at a Time}

I waited excitedly for 9 months to share my birth story because I knew that it would prove to people how great home birth really is and that is exactly what it did. When I was pregnant, what I hated the VERY most was reading stories of women who went natural and how “painful” it was because I didn’t want to think about the pain. Pain is only the body’s way of warning you that something is different, usually bad, but in the case of birth, it is only a warning that your life is about to become a lot sweeter so make sure you’re ready and not in the middle of the store when it’s time to push!

I have two beautiful children (at least I think so :D). My son was born June 8th, 2008 weighing 8 lbs 1 oz. I was a nursing assistant in the postpartum unit of the hospital my son was born in. I saw my doctor all of the time at work and had a great relationship with him. I knew all of the nurses and felt really comfortable at the hospital. I wanted a natural birth, but only knew of the hospital childbirth class.

I didn’t have support from the nurses, I didn’t have a doula, and I knew very little. I tried to relax and my way of relaxing was to lay in the hospital bed….now we all know how wrong that is! I should have been up and moving around, but I had no idea and no one suggested it. I just thought I was supposed to relax. Well, needless to say my contractions were pretty painful and I ended up with an epidural. It was an absolutely beautiful personal experience because I felt at home there, but it wasn’t the natural birth I desired. I didn’t feel violated and I wasn’t talked into anything that I didn’t really want. The only thing was that I originally wanted to go natural and I didn’t.

After that, I was determined to go natural with my next baby. I also wanted to be a doula and although not necessary, I felt it would help me feel more confident in doing so if I went natural. So I started looking into birthing center birth. After taking my doula class I realized that I could do it at home just fine and I’d be more comfortable doing so. So that I did. And here is my story:

At 5:00 am on October 18th, 2010 I had my first contraction that woke me up. I’d been having contractions since September 30th that I knew were prelabor contractions (which were annoying at times, but I knew they were just warming me up for an easier active labor), but these contractions were definitely different. They were more powerful. So I texted my midwife just to give her a heads up that I was having real contractions, but they were still 12 minutes apart and it would be a while. (She was actually a student midwife who was my primary care midwife and my good friend from 8th grade. She did everything and the licensed midwife just supervised.) I was able to get through them very comfortably in bed and *tried* to get sleep, but was too excited!

At about 7:00, I got up and started to straighten up my house to the way I wanted it for the birth (which was a great way to distract me and keep me up and moving). At about 8:00, my mom came over and my contractions started to get a little stronger. It was nice to have my mom and my husband both there to rub my back and squeeze my hips through the contractions. We visited on the couch, I nibbled on some snacks, and tried to drink a lot of juice to stay hydrated.

At about 10:00 ,I let Whitney, the student midwife, know that they were getting pretty strong and that maybe she should come over. Since she was also a doula, I thought it would be good to have another person there for support. My contractions were still anywhere from 7-15 minutes apart. They were unpredictable, the only thing they did was get stronger. I was in no hurry for her to come over, so she got to my house at about 11:00. I asked her to check my dilation and I was at a 3-4.

We visited in my living room and I’d stop every few minutes to moan in a low tone through a contraction. I found that moaning in a relaxed low tone controlled my breathing to keep me from hyperventilating, since I would otherwise breath too quickly. It also distracted me from the pressure. Then we’d go back to visiting. My photographer/good friend showed up at around noon and it was nice to just have another person there to talk to and support me. The contractions continued to get stronger and stronger, but never closer together.

At 1:00 pm I decided to get checked again and I was dilated to a 5 and my cervix was much softer. I wasn’t expecting much more than that. The contractions were getting a little more difficult so I decided to try to find a relaxing position on my knees, because the hardest part of the contraction was moving from sitting to a hands and knees position that made my contractions easier to get through. As soon as I moved to my knees after being checked my contractions were closer together, with a very little break in between. My sister showed up (she took her time since we thought it was going to be a while), and I had one more very strong contraction. I was waiting for it to end to say that I thought it was time to fill up the birth pool, when suddenly I had the urge to push!

I had absolutely NO control over the urge. I cannot comprehend how women even hold it in! My body just started pushing and I didn’t know what to think at first because I was JUST at a 5! Finally I just gave into the urge, peed my pants (lol) and my water broke. I stood at the edge of my bed, yelled for someone to take my pants off and pushed with all my heart. I was worried about what I was going to feel and I almost felt a little panicked, but it wasn’t as bad as I imagined! It just felt very warm and I don’t remember a whole lot of pain associated with it. A little stretching, but not super painful. I actually think pushing was the best part because I wasn’t just letting my body do it’s thing, I was actually doing something myself! When her head came out it felt SO good! But I knew it wasn’t over. Then the rest of her just slid right out and that felt SO cool! As soon as it was over I just had a sigh of relief and was SO happy! I turned around, picked her up and thought “man that was NOT as bad as I thought it was going to be! That was SOOOO EASY!!!”

Well, I was checked at 1:00 at a 5 and she was born at 1:16!!! I pushed for three minutes! The licensed midwife didn’t even make it in time because all of us thought it would be a while! Whitney did an amazing job and stayed completely calm and focused! She weighed 8 lbs 9 oz.

After working in the hospital as a nursing assistant for 4 years (I couldn’t bear it anymore after taking my doula class and learning all that I learned), it felt so invigorating to not have someone checking on me to make sure I was taking care of her correctly! I was completely trusted to be her mommy! And I could bathe her myself in a very calm, peaceful, skin to skin environment. It was absolutely perfect and beautiful and I feel no guilt attached to her birth whatsoever. I wish I could have given my son the same experience. Although it was a wonderful experience for me, I don’t think it was as wonderful for him. I will give birth to any future children the same way I did my little girl. It was so peaceful and I never felt like I couldn’t do it.

Pregnancy, birth, familyI also wouldn’t have felt as confident if I didn’t have 100% support from everyone around me. My family never even questioned me or gave me any criticism and I am overwhelmed with gratitude for that! I know so many people don’t receive that kind of support and it is very important to have people around you who have just as much faith in your body as you do. Granted, I’m sure they thought it was a little strange at first since they’re used to the hospital scene, but they never tried to tell me it was a stupid decision. And they all saw the benefits first hand and thought it was great.

I’m SO grateful for everyone involved! Birth can definitely bring family and friends closer together. But even if you don’t have a great support system, it doesn’t mean that finding one is impossible. That’s what doula’s are for! 😀 And that is precisely why I am one myself! Every mother and baby deserve a peaceful birth!

-Krista Eger

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