Saturday's Story: The Birth of Baby C

Saturday, June 20, 2009
This is the story of the birth of Baby C (from monkey's on the bed and life with cutie face):

When I became pregnant with Baby C, I knew I wanted to try for an all-natural birth. I’m a pretty hard-core runner and, for some strange reason, derive real pleasure from testing my physical limits. A natural, no-medicine childbirth sounded like just the thing for me.

I’m also a nerd (and a cheapskate), so I requested as many natural childbirth books as I could find at my local library. I must have checked out 15 birthing books—most written in the 1970s! There were two books, in particular, that I renewed as many times as I could—Pushed and Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.

Reading Pushed convinced me that I wanted to try for an all-natural birth. Reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth inspired me and gave me the confidence to do it.

Ina May is a very skilled and experienced midwife. She operates her own natural farm and birthing center in Tennessee (and, I’m not going to lie, I fantasized about going to her farm and giving birth to Baby C). One of the biggest aspects of her book is mentally preparing for your pregnancy. Ina May includes scores of real-life birth stories in her book so that you can know what other people went through and glean advice and encouragement from them.

Part of mentally preparing includes visualizing your own labor. Being a competitive runner already gave me an advantage—I was able to visualize myself running races before race day so I used that to start thinking about how I wanted my labor to play out. I imagined myself able to handle the pain and flow with each contraction. I thought I was good to go, for sure!

August 7th dawned hot and humid in Atlanta. I woke up early and went for a run (I was still trying to eek out a run 5 days/week—about 4 or 5 miles). My nesting instinct had kicked in so I spent a lot of the mid-morning cleaning up our apartment and getting it ready for the arrival of C.

In the afternoon, I took our cat, Churchill, for a walk (he is an indoor cat but goes outside with me on a leash and loves it!). It was around that time that I felt waves of pressure that were definitely not Braxton Hicks! I walked Churchill for a while and just got used to feeling the beginning of contractions. I was pretty sure they were contractions but I didn't want to jinx myself (I really wanted a baby born on 8-8-8) or cause my husband, J, to freak out so I didn't say anything. They stayed steady and light and far enough between that I wasn’t worried anything would happen too soon!

J, my husband, came home from work and we went to our regular Thursday-night-date-night digs—a sports bar called Taco Mac. While sitting at the bar, I confided to J that I thought I was in the very early stages of labor. Of course, he was a little incredulous but decided to share that info with our bartender (she is also our good friend so we would have told her anyway!). I remember thinking that I needed to enjoy dinner because it might be the last date-night I had for a while!

Since we weren't expecting C until the 15th/19th (varying due dates), we really weren't too prepared for her at home. We came home and I cleaned like MAD, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, etc. I knew this would be the night that we’d be headed to the hospital and I wanted everything perfect and shiny and clean for the day we returned with our little babe.

I remember jumping up on our countertops to put things away (we live in a teeny-tiny apt with an even teenier kitchen so we maximize our 10-foot ceiling vertical space!), and getting down on my hands and knees to scrub the kitchen and bathroom floor. I thought that physical labor would help speed up childbirth labor and I think it did!

Then I finally sat down and checked out what google had to say about contractions and labor. All signs pointed towards the fact that I was actually in labor. By this time it was nearing midnight so I thought I should take a lay down and see if I could ride a few out while trying to get some rest.

Finally, around 1:30 AM we timed the contractions to between 4 and 5 minutes apart so we called the doula and told her I was definitely in labor. We asked to labor a bit more at home before she came over. I decided that was the time to take a long relaxing shower, shave, dry my hair, and straighten it! Who knew when I'd be able to do that as a carefree non-mom again!?!? Never!

Around 3 AM, Lacy, our doula arrived and she had me bounce on my exercise ball while timing the contractions. J called our doctor and he requested that we get to the hospital as my contractions had picked up to being a solid 3 minutes apart. So, we finally packed it all up and headed to the hospital around 3:45 AM. We got lost along the way (whoops!) and ended up getting to the hospital around 4:15. Contractions were still coming every 3 minutes but they were losing their intensity somewhat. So far, everything was feeling great!

I got checked about 15 minutes after we arrived and I was a good 4 if not 5 cm and 80% effaced. Our morning nurse was CRAZY but she was nice enough and let us quickly monitor the baby before releasing us to roam the hospital halls as labor continued. I had to get checked every 45 minutes for 15 minutes of baby monitoring but, other than that, I kept walking with J and Lacy (our doula).

While walking the hallways and using my exercise ball, I went quickly to a 6. Unfortunately, my nurse informed us that the exercise ball was a hazard and a risk and I was only allowed to use it if I signed a permission form. Needless to say, the permission form never materialized.

After that, the hospital environment seemed to slow me down quite a bit. I finally reached 9 cm and my doctor broke my water. At that point, I didn’t care—anything to speed it up a bit! Immediately after that, the urge to push began. Around 1:25 I started pushing and it was soooo weird and hard at the same time.
Now, let me tell you, up until that point, I thought labor was not hard at all. I was riding high on the endorphins and felt great. All that visualization and preparation had paid off! Until I realized that I had merely glossed over the pushing—from what I read, pushing was easy and natural to most women. The stories I read never talked about pushing besides how much of a relief it was to finally push.

WRONG—pushing was, by far, the hardest part for me. J was AMAZING through the whole process but he was even more incredible during the pushing. He and my doula stayed right next to me and allowed me to crush and squeeze their hands to death as I pushed. It took about half an hour but, at 1:54 on August 8, 2008 (yup! 08-08-08), baby C came into the world! Yay! I was so relieved and couldn't stop shaking or shivering.

She came right up to my chest and started suckling, which was great. They were a little worried she wasn't crying enough so they took her off my chest and warmed her up a bit and suctioned some fluids away and then they brought her back to me. J stayed with me the whole time and didn't even want to go check on her despite our insistence! It was great, though, and we finally all bonded as a family once she rejoined us after her wipe down/etc.

All in all, I found the 1st and 2nd stages of labor super doable and the 3rd stage or pushing overwhelming. Now that I'm a bit more mentally prepared for it, I think I could do better on the pushing part but, all in all, I'm so thankfully that God let us have a natural and relatively easy labor and delivery! What a blessing to our family she is! We praise God daily for giving us a healthy and incredibly happy child!


  1. I enjoyed your story. You look like a very happy family. Thanks for sharing.
    Terri (aka Lincoln's Grandma)

  2. Ooh, Congratulations!!
    Ina May was a huge inspiration [encouragement] for me too with my natural birth


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