Becky, age 28.
To read the story of my first natural birth posted on this blog, click here. The week before our second daughter was born, we walked and walked and
walked hoping labor would start, but it didn't. At my appointment that
week, I was at a one.
At my next appointment (39 weeks) I asked my doctor if she would strip
my membranes and she did. I was at a 3+ and 70% effaced then and she
was sure I would start having contractions within 6 to 12 hours. This
was at 9:30 a.m.
By one to two hours, I was cramping a lot and by noon I had had a few
contractions. They came every 12 minutes until 5 p.m. From 5 to 6 I
cleaned the house and they started to come every 4 to 5 minutes. I
was surprised to see they were coming that quickly, but I was pretty
sure I wasn’t dilating super fast because they weren't increasing in
pain. But of course I didn’t want to deliver in the car so we packed
up everything and dropped my other daughter off with my parents. We
headed downtown (where the hospital is) and decided to grab some
dinner just in case we couldn't eat for awhile. The contractions
slowed back down to every 12 minutes and only occasionally would come
every 4-5 minutes. We walked around the block a few times after that.
We kept debating what to do since I was nervous labor might be
stalling. We finally decided to just go to the hospital and see where
I was at and what they said. We got to Labor & Delivery at 9 p.m.
They put the monitors on and when a contraction came on, the nurse
felt my belly and said,“WOW, that one is hard.” I said, “Yeah, I hope
they’re doing something good!” Then she checked me. I was 3+ and 70%
effaced. I was SO disappointed. 9 hours of contracting and I hadn’t
progressed at all.
She told us to walk around for an hour and
then she would check me again to see if I had progressed. We walked
around and they started coming every 4-5 minutes again, and when I was
checked again, she said I was definitely at a 4 and that because I had
progressed, she’d call the doctor and see if they’d let me be
While we had been walking that hour, I had a thought come to my mind
that I should try squatting. I pulled out pictures of squatting
positions from some labor info I had brought. I found that there were
two that really helped. One was my husband sitting on a chair and I
would squat back into his legs and rest my armpits on his legs. It
helped with the back labor and also said it helped the baby descend
more quickly. The other one was when we were standing, he’d hold his
arms out and I’d drop back onto them and he’d hold all my weight under
my armpits. That one was physically exhausting for him so I tried to
do that one only while walking the halls if there wasn't a chair near.
The nurse ended up having two emergency deliveries and came back 2
hours later at midnight. She checked me and I was at a 4+. Talk about
My husband kept telling me, “As soon as you get to a
5, things are going to go SO fast.” I wanted to believe it because
it’s true for most, but I just couldn’t believe it for me. Our nurse
came in and said the exact same thing. I told them I'd like to
believe it, but I would only be able to believe it when I saw it. The
nurse asked how long my first labor was and I said almost 20 hours.
She said, “We’ll definitely beat that; things go so much faster the
second time.” (In the end, it was a total of 18 hours, so I did beat
it, but not how I had hoped…!) The nurse was able to call the doctor
then and she admitted me. She went in and out doing admitting stuff
and then came in and said she’d like to check me because she’d seen
that at a peak of a contraction it had sharply dropped which usually
meant more pressure. She said I was at a 5.
From 12 to 12:40 a.m. we walked more and then were monitored again. I
was pretty exhausted so I suggested we should try to sleep through an
hour of monitoring and see what happened. I didn’t sleep, but at
least I closed my eyes and rested from 1 to 2 a.m. It was needed. My
husband slept too and I was glad because I could tell he was exhausted
At 2:30 a.m., I was at my end. She checked me and I was at a 6 and
90% effaced. Every time she checked me it was really painful and she
had such a hard time reaching the cervix. I was alone and in so much
pain and suffering and so confused at why things were going so
terrible. The contractions were SO hard and painful and were doing
almost nothing. The contractions I had been having at 4-5 cms were as
hard as the ones I remember having during transition with my first.
We walked for another hour and at 3:30 a.m., I was at a 6 still, but
the cervix was not posterior anymore. I asked if breaking my water
would help and she said she’d call my doctor at 6 a.m. and ask her. I
was really not cool with that because that was still a couple hours
away. She came back a few minutes later and asked if I would like her
to call now. I said yes. She called my doctor and my doctor had her
check me during a contraction. At 4:30 a.m. I was at an 8 and was
completely effaced. The contractions started to come almost on top of
each other, and I fell back into my husband’s arms during all of these
contractions and squatted. We rocked back and forth a little while
squatting and it helped. My doctor came in and broke my water at 4:55
a.m. After a couple more contractions, I was given the go-ahead to
I started pushing at 5:19 a.m. I pushed on my left side and curled my
body down so hard every time I pushed. With my first, they helped me
count every push, but this time I was just going almost nonstop for
minutes just trying to get her out. For some reason, I really thought
that it would be very quick, very few pushes and she’d be out. So
many of friends have had the quickest pushing experiences their second
time around and I just figured I’d be the same, especially since I was
really pushing and curling hard. I kept thinking I’d hear, “There’s
the head!” and never did. I finally said, “How much longer?” The
doctor and nurses said, “That depends on you” and I got the vibe I
wasn't as far as I thought. During one push my doctor told me to
grunt and blow really hard. I immediately thought that this must be
the head and she was trying to help me not tear as it came out. I
felt my doctor stick her hand in me and felt intense pain, so when the
head didn’t come out I was confused all over again at why this was
taking so long. (I found out later that she reached in and turned the
baby because she was posterior.) I kept pushing and heard, “I see
hair!” and that was when I knew that I wasn’t even close. I was so
disappointed knowing that I had so far to go still.
I cried in
between contractions and begged to not have another one come quickly
because I needed to rest and get ready for another one. I wanted more
than anything to just die, but since that wish wasn’t granted I curled
my body as hard as I could and pushed with all my might. As I pushed,
I held onto the bed bar with my left hand with all my might (which
ended up making my iv needle hit a nerve and made my hand numb for
over a week). When my husband, the nurse, or my doctor would cheer me
on and say they could tell it was a good push, I was so grateful to
know that I was progressing. I kept feeling stretching and insane
burning pain. I was sweating horribly. Finally I heard that the head
was out and I tried to touch it quickly but couldn’t because the pain
was so insane and intense. I beared down as hard as I could,
screaming I’m pretty sure, and felt the shoulders pass and felt the
rest of the limbs come out at 5:47 a.m. I honestly don’t know that
I’ve ever been more relieved in my life. It was over and she was
here. I was SO happy to have her out. I knew the afterbirth would be
terrible too, but that didn’t matter because SHE WAS OUT! I was
They had told me that they’d let her lay on the delivery table for 1.5
minutes after birth to let the blood from the cord enter her before
they cut it and I was really happy to let them do that. I really
couldn’t see her that well over my back, but what I could see, I
thought, “Oh she’s so small!” I reached my right hand and put it down
hoping to feel a leg or something and instead was thrilled to feel her
fingers wrap around mine. It made me the happiest ever.
minutes passed, they cut the cord, and put her on my chest. She almost
immediately stopped crying and was so calm.
I was bleeding so they started a bag of Pitocin to get my uterus to
contract faster and they began punching it down. I was really in
control and totally okay with it instead of kicking and screaming like
with my first. I was holding my child!!! They let me hold her for at
least 10 minutes which I loved. They took her and weighed her and she
was 7lbs. 8oz. I was thrilled... only 2 oz smaller than my first and
the same length. I was grateful I had had my membranes stripped and
had delivered her at that size instead of bigger considering how hard
it had been with her that size. My doctor began stitching me up and I
began to shake. And shake and shake and shake. I laid there and shook
for probably 30 minutes. It was horrible and I wished I could stop.
They would occasionally tell me to take huge breaths so I wouldn’t
hyperventilate. They gave Camille to my husband during that time and
I was happy that he was holding her. After finishing stitching, they
gave me lots of fluids since I was really light headed and almost
Around now, the nurse told us that they found that Camille had been
posterior and that my doctor had turned her in the birth canal and I
immediately said, “NO WONDER IT TOOK SO LONG.” I know that when the
head isn’t pushing on the cervix correctly that labor is usually
longer and that there is a lot of back labor. It made sense why the
rocking positions hadn’t felt right and why the squatting positions
A bit later I was then told I either had to go pee or that I’d have to
have my bladder emptied with a catheter. I was really light-headed,
but didn’t want a catheter so I said I’d try. My husband and the
nurse helped walk me to the bathroom and on the way I dropped quite a
few really large clots. I sat on the toilet and almost passed out.
The nurse had my husband hold me on the toilet while she grabbed a
wheelchair. Because I was losing too much blood, they put another bag
of Pitocin on. I actually wanted that so that I could stop bleeding
so I was fine with it. The only problem was that the cramping it
created made me almost pass out again. I laid there for probably and
hour, looking insanely pale (according to my husband), and feeling
like I'd die. Finally at 9 a.m. I started to bleed normally and was
able to go to the postpartum room. In the postpartum room I ended up
almost passing out a couple more times, but by noon I was on the
uphill climb and did well from there, thankfully!
To be honest, I was a bit traumatized about how it all went. With my
first, I was elated with how the natural birth went. This time was
honestly a horrific memory for me for a couple weeks, but time is
definitely healing my emotions and feelings. As my doctor discharged
me, she suggested looking into pain relief the next time. And to be
honest, I am interested into looking into pain relief if things go
similarly next time. If things progress quickly and normally I’m sure
I’ll be much more willing to try it again. I want to research ways to
push better. I think I had created a sureness in my mind that I’d be
contracting for no more than 10 hours and that I’d be able to push her
out in a couple pushes. Everything I’ve read said it should be half
the time of your first labor and that since you know how to push, it
happens so quickly. Hopefully that will all come true next time…! As
I think about her birth and labor & delivery in general, the more I
think about how incredible it is that a body can even do that... it's
almost superhuman to think of passing a child through your body like
1. When did you decide you wanted to deliver your baby naturally?
After the birth of our first baby, I knew I wanted to do it again.
2. What reasons or factors went into your decision?
I had done it before and it was wonderful and it feels right for me.
3. What did you do to prepare for natural childbirth? (midwife,
classes, methods, books, etc.)
I re-read all the info I had saved from my first birth. I took all
that info with me to the hospital, just in case.
4. What was the hardest part of your experience - before, during, or
5. What was most helpful to you during labor to help make pain from
The squatting positions I mentioned as well as some other ones I tried.
6. What do you wish you would have known going into delivery?
Not to expect things to go fast; it gave me false ideas and hope and
made the labor seem even longer than it was.
7. Is there anything you would have done differently?
I don't think I would have gotten an epidural, but I do think I would
have spent almost 100% of the time squatting had I known she was
posterior. Or I wish I could have had other ideas of how to deal with
the posterior contractions.
8. What did you feel were the positive benefits to your natural
childbirth - were the benefits what you expected?
I feel empowered.
9. Is natural childbirth something you recommend to other mothers, or
something you'd do again?
Yes and yes (I think! Ha!).
10. What advice do you have for other mothers interested in natural childbirth?
Read all these stories and all the other ones you can get your hands
on. They are the best prep for childbirth, in my opinion. Also, I am
100% supportive of a hospital birth. Find a doctor who supports it
and birth in a hospital. There are just too many things that can go
wrong at home.