If you know me personally, you know that my unmedicated hospital birth story is one I am always willing to share. It was such an empowering experience for me. I want to share my experience with other women to inspire them and encourage them that they can have a similar experience. Childbirth has become something many women are terrified of and feel extremely unprepared for. I want to help change that by sharing my first time mom unmedicated hospital birth story. So strap in, here is my full, unfiltered experience!
On My Due Date
It was my due date and SO many people were texting me asking- Is baby here yet? How are you doing? Are you dilated? Any updates? Are you scheduled for induction?
I wanted to have the good news they were all looking for! I wanted to be able to say “things are happening!” or “we are on our way to the hospital now!” but it just wasn’t time yet. Though they were all well-meaning messages, I couldn’t help but feel a little frustrated.
I had taken time during my preparation for a natural birth to practice mindfulness which focuses on accepting the present. The mindful meditations I had done had helped me accept that I couldn’t completely control when she would be born, and I was okay with the idea that she would get here when she was ready.
My body knew what it was doing, and I didn’t have to stress that she wasn’t coming on the exact estimated date the doctors gave us.
Even though I had done those practices, I woke up Monday feeling a little defeated. The whole way through pregnancy when I would tell people I was preparing to have an unmedicated hospital birth, I would get surprised looks and not a ton of encouragement. I was starting to feel unsure if natural birth was going to be possible.
Since my care provider was a Midwife, they weren’t checking my cervix for dilation and they weren’t pushing me to schedule an induction date. They were in full support of letting nature take its course. They said that if at 41 weeks I was still pregnant, then we would talk about it.
Are You Scheduled for Induction?
Well, pretty much everyone I knew who had recently had their first baby, was induced. And now I was going over my due date… The feelings of confidence from my mindfulness practice were fading and I was beginning to feel that induction was imminent. Would I really have a natural birth? Negative and unhelpful thoughts were crowding my mind. On top of that, I was a little concerned about what was happening with my body.
All weekend long, I was experiencing an increased amount of discharge, some of it bloody, and I determined that I was losing my mucus plug. At the beginning of the weekend, this was a source of excitement! It was something I felt like I could gladly pronounce as an update when people asked me how I was doing. But after 3 days of it, I was worried that it wasn’t just the mucus plug.. maybe it was amniotic fluid leaking..? (I can be a little overly anxious hahaha)
So I called the nurses at the doctor’s office Monday morning and explained what was going on. She encouraged me to get in as soon as possible that day. They had an opening 40 minutes later and we live about 30 mins from the office. When I told Levi we needed to leave in 10 minutes, we both hurried to take a shower and then decided it was probably a good idea to bring everything we might need for the hospital in case they sent us there.
Last Check-Up Before Baby!
We packed up the car, got to the appointment, and luckily everything was fine. It wasn’t amniotic fluid, it truly was just mucus, and the midwife was not concerned at all. She told me to make another appointment for the next week and that she would see me then if I was still pregnant!
When we got home, I decided I needed to get myself out of the funk I was in. I needed to regain the confidence and empowerment I had felt about doing this birth naturally over the last 6 months. One of the most helpful resources I utilized in preparation was a mini course with a Birthing Coach. (Here is a link to her website to access her materials, free support group & her INCREDIBLE book that I cannot recommend enough).
I went back and did one of the journaling activities which helped me address all the new feelings I was confronted with that I hadn’t had when I did the activity earlier in my pregnancy. She also had a recorded EFT tapping activity that I did that helped me clear those negative feelings and replace them with positive affirmations. After doing this, I felt good about things again. I knew I couldn’t be pregnant forever. My body was preparing for birth. I could make it a positive experience, no matter what ended up happening.
Then I ate a huge lunch…(like half a pizza 😅🤣 not joking) I was SO hungry. And then I took a nap. When I woke up from the nap it was about 3:30pm. I noticed as soon as I woke up that I was having cramps as I had been having for a week or longer, but these ones seemed to be coming and going more consistently than they ever had before. I took note of it but just continued on with our evening.
Things Are Getting Serious
At about 7pm I started timing the cramps. They hadn’t stopped coming and going since I noticed them earlier that afternoon and now they seemed to be getting a little stronger. Levi fell asleep on the couch, but I was now starting to really think labor was happening. I went for a walk to change my scenery and to see if walking made these, what I now determined really were contractions, go away or not. It didn’t. They were now starting to truly feel like a “wave”. They would build, build, build, and then fade, fade, fade. It just still wasn’t that painful so I didn’t know what to think!
Then at about 11:30, they did start to get uncomfortable. They were peaking and the peak was equivalent to some of the worst period pains I had experienced before. I woke Levi up to tell him that I thought I really was in labor now. I called the midwife to let her know, and she told me to go to sleep 😂😂😂 she said I could take some Benadryl and Tylenol and try to get some rest because at this point my contractions were only about 35 seconds long, every 7ish minutes.
Get Some SleepI took the medicine and tried getting in bed. I would feel myself barely enter a comfortable sleep when I was then awoken by the start of the next contraction. This went on for the next 5 hours. (Which looking back, it did not feel like that long!!) Levi would start the contraction timer when I would mutter “start the timer” and then end it when I would say “okay done”. Needless to say, neither of us got a ton of real sleep. I started getting extremely uncomfortable now. Each time a new wave would come, all I could do was focus on breathing deeply and envisioning what was taking place inside my body. I envisioned my cervix opening and my baby moving her way down. The affirmations from my birthing coach I memorized were repeating in my head- “I soften, open, and release with ease”, “I can do anything for a minute”, “My body knows how to give birth”.
Can I Really Do This?My legs started shaking uncontrollably. I wasn’t relaxing enough between the contractions. This is when I started doubting everything. I had no idea how far along in this process I was, but I didn’t think I could keep doing this. I told Levi, disheartened, that I didn’t think I could do this without an epidural. It was about 3:30am and I was contemplating if it was time to throw in the towel, go to the hospital, and just get the pain relief.
He knew how important it was to me to achieve this goal and how much preparation I had put into it so he had me to get into a warm bath (one of the tools I had discussed with him for pain management). As soon as I got in the tub, my legs stopped shaking and I was able to fully relax between contractions. Levi was doing a great job of keeping my spirits up and encouraging me. He brought in some of the printed affirmation cards I had and set them out for me to read and remind myself.
Contractions were now around a minute long, some of them longer than a minute, but some of them still shy of a minute. But they were now averaging 5 mins apart. The midwife was super chill when I called her again telling her this 😅. She said if I thought it was time to come in then we could, but to try and do as much at home as I could. Well, I was definitely at the point where they were getting pretty intense and they were close enough that I felt like it was time to go, but my water still hadn’t broken. My biggest fear though was going in too early! So I was just hoping and praying that we wouldn’t get sent back home.
Arriving at the Hospital
We arrived at the hospital at 6am. Walking from the car to the entrance I had to pause and bear through 2 contractions. They were now only about 3-4 mins apart. They signed us in, took us up to the labor and delivery floor, and the nurse came in to check me. I was so prepared for her to say I was only dilated to a 4 or something like that.. I was gonna be pissed and have to just opt in for the epidural. BUT NO! She said “wow, you did a lot of work already. You are at a 7, almost an 8”.THAT was what I needed to hear. Holy. Moly. I was already this far along??? I COULD DO THIS! That gave me the boost of energy and excitement that I needed to keep going. They got us into our room & I stripped down. I got in the birthing tub as soon as I could so I could relax between contractions. I was having a hospital natural birth!! The midwife advocated for me and the least invasive procedures throughout the whole process. I wasn’t hooked up to a machine, I didn’t have to have anything strapped on my stomach, and I didn’t have to stay on my back in the hospital bed to labor. Actually, I didn’t do that at all.
I moved around to find the best position and ended up on all 4’s on the hospital bed. I braced the back of the bed for support. Luckily, my water broke as I started involuntarily pushing with the contractions before I got up onto the bed. It felt like a huge water balloon bursting! After that happened, things really picked up.
I remember saying “I can’t do this, this is too much”, to which my midwife responded “You ARE doing this! And you are doing amazing. You are so close to meeting your baby.” I remember asking about pain medicine, was there any way I could still get some relief? She responded, “by the time we get the epidural administered and it kicks in, you could already have pushed out this baby. You are so close”.
Pushing & Seeing Baby for the First Time
I didn’t open my eyes once during that last hour of labor. I was so focused on breathing and completing this task that I couldn’t have any external stimuli interfering. The midwife said she was starting to see hair! The top of her head was visible. Okay, I could do this. I could feel her coming further and further out with each push until finally; her head was out and with one last big push her body was out.
I will never get over that moment. It is forever imprinted on my mind. This brand new, beautiful baby girl with a full head of brown hair was still connected to me and immediately placed on my chest. All of that hard work… now I had my reward.
We both were emotional. I did it. I had actually birthed this little baby with nothing other than my own strength. My body knew what to do through the whole process and it was incredible.
Feeling Empowered from my Unmedicated Hospital BirthThe rest of that day I just couldn’t believe it. The whole experience kept running through my mind over and over again. I never thought I was capable. I never thought I was good at coping with pain or medical procedures. Everyone told me how terrible the pain was and it was unthinkable to do without an epidural. People commented on my small body and how difficult it would be to push a baby out of it. But somehow, I just did it.
I am proud of myself. I proved to myself that I am capable of more than I think & that I can overcome limiting beliefs I have about myself. My birth story didn’t have to be my mom’s, my friend’s, or even Hollywood’s horror story. And I fully believe that the same goes for every woman! Childbirth doesn’t have to be scary. It can be the experience you want it to be if you prepare for it.
I am blessed that there were no complications and it all went so smoothly. I know that there’s a good chance my future birth stories won’t be exactly like this one. But I’m grateful for this empowering experience that I can pull from in the future. I feel passionate about sharing my story to help other women feel empowered to do things they never thought they’d be able to do. Especially when it comes to natural childbirth in or out of a hospital. Don’t let what people think of you or even what you think of yourself hold you back!