So baby Peter was born 12 days early on June 1 at 8:04pm.  He weighed 8lbs. 1.5oz. and measured 20.5 inches. So the story goes like this:

On Sunday before Memorial Day I was feeling pretty achy and crampy when I went to bed.  That night I had a dream that I woke up to see the bloody show.  On Monday I wrote it off as nothing but continued feeling achy.  On Monday night I got up to use the bathroom and lost my mucus plug.  30 minutes later I was having a decent amount of bleeding.  I called the midwife on call and she advised that it might be the bloody show but that it could be 48 hours or a week so just keep on doing what I was doing and get plenty of rest. (more…)

Nicole shared her birth story before- but felt like she learned some things in that journey she wanted to share with you. Her original story can be found here:

The funny thing about it is, I knew I was wrong. From the very beginning of my failed castor oil self-induction, I knew it wasn’t what I should be doing. Since I knew what I was doing was wrong, I had to sneak to do it. I polled friends about it – secretly. I surfed the net for castor oil recipes; then I deleted my searches. I made it a point not to mention it to my midwives or the doula team.  I wrote C.O. on my grocery list and snuck it into my cart – I didn’t even want to write the words. As the cashier scanned it, I was praying she wouldn’t ask any questions.  I didn’t want anyone to see or ask or even know about it because deep in my heart I knew I was wrong.

So, how was I able to convince myself that the wrong thing to do was the right thing to do? I let emotions carry me away. Fear, jealousy, desire to control, impatience – ugly dragons I thought that two years of motherhood had slain.

Impatience. Just about everyone gets there eventually. It’s not that I was “over” being pregnant. Compared to my first, this pregnancy was textbook and easy. No complications, no health scares, no high risk. I just wanted to meet my little girl. My first pregnancy had ended sooner than expected – why shouldn’t this one?

Control. I’ll admit it; I’m more comfortable when things conform to my plan. I like to make plans and see them happen – no, MAKE them happen.  I’m not really the type to sit around and wait for something to happen to me. Usually in life, that works in my favor. I should have learned by now that it doesn’t work that way with my pregnancies or my children.

Jealousy. Hurts to admit this one, too, but I had a friend who was due two days before I was and she had already had her baby. It sent me over the edge and I pouted like my toddler. I wanted my baby out and I wanted her now! Ugly, isn’t it?

The strongest ugly emotion, however, was fear. For some reason, I just didn’t believe that my body was going to go into labor on its own.  Silly, because it’s pretty much inevitable. I just feared that It wasn’t going to happen and that if it did, I wouldn’t know. Just how I wouldn’t know, I don’t know. And if my body did go into labor on its own and I knew it, I would get to the end of labor and not know how to push. Silly again because that’s pretty much inevitable, too.  I was just irrationally afraid.

That cocktail of emotions led me to make a cocktail of castor oil and orange juice and guzzle it down before bedtime the night before my due date.  I went to bed and started contracting about two hours later. I was so excited that everything was going to happen just the way I wanted it to. After about an hour of 10 minute apart contractions, I woke my husband to tell him what was going on and snuck into my closet to call Teresa. I wanted to sleep, but was too excited, so I went downstairs for a glass of Baileys on ice.  Just the way I planned it. I continued contracting through the night, so when the sun rose, we called Teresa and Intown Midwifery. I just knew this would be happening soon.

I got in my bathtub to soak and relax. When the water got too cold, Greg gave me a massage. This labor thing wasn’t so bad so far!

Teresa arrived and the day dragged on. When we decided to start timing my contractions, they were still only at 7 minutes apart. This was in the afternoon. Teresa suggested that Greg and I fool around some to see if that would help. No change in the pattern. Then, Greg and I went walking around the neighborhood. I was having 5 minute apart contractions at that point, but as soon as we got home, they fizzled out. I went to take a nap and my contractions slowed to 15 min apart. At that point, Greg offered me some more castor oil & OJ. That outed me to Teresa, so she asked to have a moment alone with me. She talked to me about castor oil and why she was against it except as a last resort and that it doesn’t work for most people until they’re past their due date. She prayed with me and cried with me (well, I was crying at least). We chatted for a bit and since my contractions were slowing down so much, she asked if I wanted her to head home for the day. I told her that would probably be best and I went to sleep.

I kept contracting through the night — but only once or twice an hour. My last contraction was at 6:30 or so on Saturday morning. When you try to control the uncontrollable, you quickly find out who is really in control.

I made myself get out of bed, but I was beating myself up pretty bad mentally. I blamed myself for being impatient and messing up and possibly harming my baby, and exhausting myself and was totally rethinking my natural childbirth plans. After 30 hours of useless contractions, I was just tensing myself up during every single one. I really didn’t think I could do it anymore. As tightly as I was squeezing my butt cheeks on each one, there was no way a baby was coming out!

In the end, my story turned out well. More wonderfully and beautifully than I could have written it myself.  I found myself in labor later that afternoon after a 9 hour break.  After a total of 37 hours of actual spontaneous labor and a bit of Pitocin at the end, my daughter made her appearance. It leaves me to wonder, however, that if I hadn’t worn myself out in practice rounds, if my body (and mind) would have been better prepared for the real deal entirely on its own. I’ll never know; I’m done having babies….
So, my words of wisdom from my journey – before you decide to take matters into your own hands or succumb to any interventions, make sure you address your fears. Dismiss any feelings that don’t correspond to reality and evidence. You need to give yourself permission to have these feelings, but not to let them rule over you.

Alden came into this world like thousands of babies do every day, but delivering him was a unique experience for me.  Here’s how I remember Alden’s birth day.

When I was 35 weeks pregnant and literally minutes after finishing my last project at work, I came down with a fever.  The fever continued, and I generally felt on the verge of getting the flu for a week.  At my 36 week OB appointment, the doctor told me to rest the next day in an effort to reduce swelling and beat the low grade fever.   (more…)

Estelle’s Birth Story — at least the way I remember it…

This is the way I remember it. Feel free to help me correct the record if you were there and clearer headed than I:

The day before my due date, on a Thursday (39w6d), I started to get really antsy, so I started polling friends and surfing the net about castor oil. I went ahead and bought some and some ice cream so I could make a CO milkshake and go into labor. I waited all day to make it — then I chickened out! Then I got in the shower and decided that I. wanted. a. baby. right. now. So I went downstairs and poured myself a glass of OJ and with a tbsp of castor oil. Then, I went to bed…..

I woke up at 11 with my first contraction and was very excited. Could this be it? I waited an hour before waking Greg up — contractions every 10 minutes or so for an hour! Sweet. I called my doula to let her know I was going into labor, but I was planning on trying to sleep that night and I would call her in the morning. At 1am, I had a glass of Baileys on ice and then headed for bed. I kept contracting all night and by 6am, they were 8 minutes apart. I called Teresa, my doula, who lives about an hour away so she could head over. Then, I got in my bathtub to soak and relax. When the water got too cold, Greg gave me a massage. This labor thing wasn’t so bad so far! (more…)

Let me first start off with a disclaimer- doulas do not catch babies. We do labor support but not any medical support… so catching babies is outside of our scope of practice. Have I caught babies before- well yea… if you have been labor support for the number of years I have been- and doula’d for as many babies as I have- it happens! I have been at 476 births and this one is the story of my 472nd birth. It will go down in my claim to fame column! 

I caught a baby once that was being born quickly just after the mom emptied her bladder- she was on her way from the toilet to the bed when I kept the baby from hitting the floor. This was at a hospital. I caught a baby once that was being born quickly in the tub after the mom had just been declared to be 7cm. The nurses were in the doorway and told me I was doing a great job since the baby’s head was already resting in my hands in the tub. I caught a baby once that was planned- it was my youngest grand daughter. The midwife stood next to me as I gently guided her out of my daughter’s body and into her hands. But this birth was beyond my wildest imagination! (more…)


Dear Teresa,
I want to share with you and anyone else you’d like just how happy my husband and I were that Charlotte Scott was our labor doula for our first child’s birth this February. We first saw Charlotte at one of your Meet the Doula teas, although my husband and I didn’t talk to her or any other doulas that night. Instead we went home, talked about her and the positive feeling we had about sharing our birth with her, and decided to get in touch. I was intrigued by her calm, gentle nature and the fact that she loves drumming, as we do too.
When I first wrote Charlotte, I expressed my concern that a labor doula might take the “place” of my husband and asked her to explain how she felt their roles would differ. Charlotte was sincere and genuine, and said she could already tell that my husband is my rock and would be my anchor through my labor, but that she would be there for both of us. We knew she would support our vision of a calm but powerful and spiritual birth for our daughter. We decided to hire her, and at our prenatal at our house Charlotte’s presence was instantly calming. It was incredible! We were again certain that her wisdom and experience would be a great asset to us through my labor. (more…)
So, to begin, Henry wasn’t ‘due’ until March 18th, and as a result,  throughout the majority of my labor, I kept thinking, “Surely this isn’t the real thing. He’s not due for 3 more weeks. Everyone says that you have your first baby later than you expect. Surely this isn’t the real thing…” 🙂
Jeff pastors the art community at our church and was having a big art event on Friday night called 5×15, where 15 artists of varying mediums share for 5 minutes each. I helped Jeff set up, putting out chairs, hauling big coffee carafes up on counter tops- not the sort of thing I expected to do the night I had a baby. Also, the day before, we had gone on a 3 mile hike with the dog up in Ellijay, so who knew? Anyways, about halfway through the event- say on artist #7, I guess, I started feeling a lot of heaviness under my belly. It was during a dance performance and I was so anxious to get up and stand that those 5 minutes felt like forever. Even after standing up, I just didn’t feel like I had enough space for the baby. I told someone later that evening that I felt like my architecture needed another story. That’s really how it felt. As the evening progressed, I began to feel more and more heaviness and very “full of baby,” so to speak. I also began to feel incredible anti-social. Although so many great friends were at the event, I began to feel like I honestly did not want to talk to anyone besides Jeff. It was a weird feeling. As soon as things were finished, I bee-lined it for Jeff’s office and hid. I didn’t think I was in labor at all, but I just wanted to take the weight off and get away, so I did cat/ cow poses in his office to try to relieve some pressure. I also went to the bathroom a whole lot, thinking, “Maybe I ate something weird at dinner… maybe this is just gas pain.” I was still in complete denial. (more…)

One of my doulas recently had this birth experience. Ironically with the same group of midwives as mine but at a different hospital. Let’s read about the dots she made sure she followed.

Labor began in the early hours of day one. She calls this the start of labor because she could no longer sleep through the contractions. She left for the hospital a little more than 9 hours later. Her contractions were 2.5 minutes apart for just at an hour and she was feeling some pressure in her bottom. (more…)

I’d like to preface this story with a note about contractions.  My body is extremely sensitive.  I feel Mittleschmerz when I ovulate, and I start feeling Braxton-Hicks contractions starting around 16 weeks into pregnancy.  I get lots of those practice contractions as I get further along, culminating in about 6 an hour starting around 34 weeks up until I deliver.  I get so used to them, I don’t notice them much.  So when I describe contractions in this story they are the real thing.  The pain starting in my back and lower pelvis and them circled around me, with a definite peak of intensity.

On Tuesday, May 18, 2010, 3 days past my due date, I went to Dr. Fountain’s for my weekly check-up.  I didn’t undress, since everyone at the office knew I didn’t get “checked” at my visits.  Dr. Fountain came in, leaned the chair back, and I pulled up my shirt.  He said, “Whoa! That’s going to be a big baby.”  He measured me and listened to the heartbeat, then he asked with a wink if I had considered being induced.  He already knew I’d say no, which I did, so then he told me that he guessed the baby was going to be 9lbs.  He knew that size wouldn’t be a problem, since my last baby was large, but he also knew I really had a fear of tearing.  I tore really badly with my first baby and discovered that it wasn’t that bad, but I really wanted to minimize the risk this time.  I asked if he would check me.  When he checked, I was 3 cm dilated.  Since I was already past my due date and a bit dilated, I asked if he would sweep my membranes to try and get things started.  I had old blood spotting that evening, but it was just from the doctor poking around.  I also made love with my husband and stayed on my back afterwards to let all the happy prostaglandins bathe my cervix.

The next morning, Wednesday, May 19th, at about 5:30am, I got up to use the bathroom and noticed that I lost the mucus plug on the tissue and had started having real bloody show.  Later that morning around 10am, I took my daughter, Lily, to the park while Kenny went exercising.  Once I was there for about half an hour, I started having contractions about every 10 minutes, but they weren’t too bad, just annoying.  I got excited mentally, but tried to keep things in perspective, since it was just early labor, but I knew that it was starting.  About an hour later when Kenny met us at the park, I was starting to have to breathe through some of them.  He packed us all in the car and we headed home for some lunch.  The contractions steadily got stronger and stronger, but they stayed between 7 to 10 minutes apart.  We called Teresa, the doula, to tell her that things were starting, but that we didn’t need her.  We also called my parents and sister to put them on alert.  I went to bed after lunch and Kenny entertained Lily.

I woke up around 4pm, and had a snack, and sat to watch a movie.  The rest of that day is beyond memory for both my husband and myself.  We know we ate and got Lily to bed, but we were concentrating on contractions, so we don’t remember much.  We tried to go to bed at the usual time, around 11pm, but I didn’t sleep well at all because the contractions were coming about every 7 minutes.  Kenny downloaded a contraction timer onto his iPod Touch so that we could keep better records.  Some were easy and I just breathed steadily, and some were strong enough for me to wake Kenny and have him massage my back.  I would lie down between contractions and try to sleep, and when one came, I’d get on my knees and put my head down on the pillow.  I started to be afraid to go to the bathroom, because urinating always brought on a very strong contraction, but I kept drinking after every contraction, because I didn’t want to get dehydrated.  I finally decided that squatting while urinating felt much better, because contractions felt better that way, so I got a big Tupperware container and would just squat over the container to urinate.  It was a little funny, because sometimes I could feel the baby move into my pelvis while I was urinating, and then a big gush of urine would come out as he squashed my bladder.  At some point during the night, Kenny mastered his mantra that saved me in contractions.  He’d lean in close to me and say, “You can do it…  It’s only 6 breaths….  That’s right, this is the worst one, and you’re doing it…  Okay, just a couple more and it will be gone…. Yes, this is the last one…  You did so well.”  If I really went wild, he’d get in front of me and breath with me, or just grab me and pull me into a labor posture while he crooned his contraction speech.  It was very intimate.

We called Aunt Kim at 6am before she left for work, and told her to come and pick up Lily, because we were sure we would be having the baby soon.  She came over and my contractions were about every 5 minutes.  Aunt Kim got to see a couple of contractions, and then she took Lily back to her place for the day. We all thought that I’d be having the baby any time that day.   I noticed that somehow in the middle of the night, the baby had turned from Left Occipital Anterior to Right Occipital Anterior, which is not the best position for delivery.  I tried laboring in many positions to try to turn him.  At noon, I was still having contractions about every 5-7 minutes, so my Doula suggested that I call my doctor and see if he could check me to see if I’d made any progress.  We got an appointment and Kenny drove me to the office to see Dr. Fountain at 3:30pm.  Doctor fountain said I was still 3 cm, but that I was almost fully effaced.  He told me that I’d probably have the baby soon, but that he’d see me at my regular appointment on Monday if I didn’t.  I didn’t say anything to anyone, but I was horrified and devastated to think that I’d have to bear the labor until Monday!

We went home and continued to labor.  I tried to labor in many different positions to get the baby to turn back to LOA.  I had contractions in lunging positions, in knee-chest positions, and spent lots of time making figure 8s on my birth ball.  Kenny was really good at coaching my breathing.   Aunt Kim brought Lily back to our house that evening, and then Laura Bogle, our friend, came over to get Lily.  It was interesting, because when Laura came over my contractions slowed down and then stopped, but about 30 minutes after she was gone, they came back.  At 10pm, my Doula, Teresa, came over and she suggested I drink a large glass of wine and I also took a Tylenol PM sleeping pill.  Again, my contractions eased up, and eventually faded away while she was there.  She sat with me and we chatted while I drank the glass of wine, then I crawled into bed and she gave me a nice massage with calming oils.  I slept well that night, only waking about once an hour when a very strong contraction hit, and I slept until 9am.

When I woke up on Friday, May 21, my contractions were gone!  I was so disappointed.   I just took it easy and tried to relax so they could come back.  I got a few every hour, but they were spaced apart by about 12-15 minutes.  That evening around 5pm, the Bogles dropped off Lily, and Kenny and I took everyone out to dinner at the Cracker Barrel (Amanda’s favorite restaurant) as a thank you.  Lily slept at home that evening.  It was nice to see her and snuggle on her a bit before putting her to bed.  Kenny and I had sex again, knowing it might be our last time for a while, and I laid in bed afterwards to let the semen bathe my cervix.  I slept for a bit, but woke up around 10pm because the contractions got very strong again.  I got up out of bed and sat on my birth ball so that I could lean on the bed.  I didn’t want to wake Kenny, because he had been getting just as little sleep as me, so I labored as quietly as I could.  It’s a good thing that he’s the heaviest sleeper ever, because some of the contractions were strong enough that I had to moan out loud to get through.  By 1am, I was miserable.  I was mad at Kenny for being able to sleep, I was mad that he could sleep through my moans, and I was mad that I was the awake in the middle of the night.  I didn’t want to wake Kenny, even though I knew he’d stay up with me, so I was mad at myself for being too nice.  I drank a glass of wine and took a long bath to try and ease the discomfort of the contractions.  It helped slow things down again so I could slip back into bed and lay down through contractions.

Saturday morning, I was really tired again after having no real sleep, and the contractions were very strong, so Lily went to spend the day with Mimi and Didi.  I labored all day, with contractions coming every 5-7 minutes.  Most of the day was Kenny and me watching movies.  When a contraction would hit, I’d crawl onto the coach, so that my knees were on the cushion and my arms and head rested on the arm.  Sometimes I’d rock, sometimes I’d just relax.   Sometimes to break up the monotony, I’d walk in circles around the living room and do effleurage on my abdomen during contractions.  Thankfully, the baby decided to turn himself into a better birth positon and was laying on my left side by now.  I called my Doula and my doctor around 4pm and told them I didn’t know how much longer I could labor like this.  I asked them if I should come in and get my water broken to speed things up or try to get some rest.  Both of them told me that there was no right answer, but that once my water was broken, I’d be on a timeline, and that if I was already tired, speeding labor up might not be what I really wanted.  Dr. Fountain said that he could prescribe a sleeping pill, but that if I went into labor, I’d be groggy, so he suggested that I use my Doula Teresa’s advice and take the Tylenol PM sleeping pill and the wine, because both of those things could metabolize in my system much easier and wouldn’t make me or the baby groggy.  Kenny and I decided to try to sleep, and decided that when I woke up, I could come into the hospital and Dr. Fountain would break my water to try to speed up labor.  The doctor promised that even if I woke up at 3am, he’d come in and break my water.  Kenny went out and got me Spicy Basil Eggplant from the Vietnamese restaurant down the street and we had a nice dinner, then I took the pill and drank the wine at 7pm and I went to bed at 8pm.

IMG_2298I woke up at 12:03am on Sunday when my water broke on its own.  I jumped out of bed as soon as I felt it, and most of the water went on the floor.  We were very thankful that we’d put a water-proof liner of the bed.  I didn’t feel any contractions, so Kenny and I casually got our things ready and called my parents so that my mom could meet us at the hospital.  We figured that we had at least a few more hours to go.   My contractions started up pretty intensely while we pulled the car out.  We got in the car and called Teresa, our Doula, at 12:26am.  During the car ride to the hospital, my contractions became 1 ½ minutes apart.  Kenny experienced every man’s dream and got to run two red lights and go way over the speed limit.  I could tell he was enjoying himself, even though he was a bit nervous about my contractions being so close.  We got to the hospital at 12:45am. Kenny had to check us in because I was really working through some contractions.  In fact, I didn’t even make it far into the lobby, before I grabbed a chair and squatted in the floor to get through the contractions.

IMG_2301My mom arrived just as we did and we told her to go move our car and bring in our things.  They got me into a wheelchair at 12:57am and ran down the hall.  It felt nice to have the air rushing past me.  I got into the bed at 1:07am

and my wonderful nurse, Lakisha Kerr, checked my cervix.  I was 7cm.   Kenny and I looked at each other astonished!!  Someone said, “Where’s the doctor?”


I turned around in the hospital bed so that I was on my hands and knees.  I did a few more contractions while they put my ID bracelets on and asked me some questions, and when she checked again, I was 8cm.  My mom came into the room with our bags and my birth ball and one of the nurses said, “She’s not going to need that ball.”  I didn’t see much of anything happening, because I was sitting backwards on the bed on my knees, concentrating on Kenny’s face.   Kenny was up by my head, helping me breathe through contractions.  The nurse never questioned my being on my hands and knees, which was really nice… and good, since I wouldn’t have moved even if she did.  I had been laboring most of those days in that position, and that’s how I was comfortable.  I could hear them start to run around and someone said, “Find the on-call doctor.”  The nurse told me to tell her if I felt any pressure.  All of a sudden with one of the contractions I felt the baby move down into my birth canal and I said, “Pressure!”  It was a magical feeling.  I thought, “This is it!”  They told me not to push, and I knew that they were trying to find someone to deliver the baby.  All the pain was gone.  I looked up at Kenny and smiled.  I remember grunting and groaning and lots of breathing, and then they told me it was okay to push.  They had found a midwife, Susan Doyle, to deliver the baby.IMG_2322

I felt great!  I remember smiling at Kenny and him smiling back.  The sensations were very unusual and exciting; I could actually feel the baby moving down through my body.  I felt very powerful.  I felt the twists and turns of his body moving in mine, and then he started to crown.  When I felt the baby’s head start to stretch me, I reached down with my right hand and felt his head.  His head felt wet and squishy, and at first I wasn’t even sure it was a head.  It certainly didn’t feel like my head, but I figured it must be him, since I felt no sensation when I touched it.  I applied pressure to his head and the midwife helped move my perineum over his head so I wouldn’t tear.  I did baby pushes and breathed away some of the contractions so that my body could stretch.  I remember telling myself to relax and go slowly.  Nothing hurt at all.  I loved it.  It took 4 minutes from crowning until I was ready to deliver his head.  They told me I could push his shoulder out on the next contraction.  After another minute, I felt the contraction and gently pushed, the midwife got his shoulder and told me to give one more push.  The rest of him slid out and I wanted to see him, but I was turned around, and couldn’t move until they cut the cord.  He was born at 1:34am.  His APGAR score was 8.  Once the cord was cut, my doula, Teresa, helped me turn around and sit on the bed.  They handed me the baby, and he lay on my chest and we covered him and me with blankets.   He wanted to nurse right away.  I felt wonderful and happy.  My doctor came in immediately after the birth.  I was sad that he missed it, but it was nice to see him.  We all sat there bewildered that the last part of labor went so quickly.  I hadn’t even been at the hospital for a full hour yet!  I don’t remember delivering the placenta at all, probably because I felt so good and was talking up a storm with everyone in the room.  I do remember the pain as my uterus contracted.  They were almost like labor pain!  The nurse showed me how to massage the muscle so that it would help shrink.

At about 2:30am, they moved me to the recovery room upstairs.  Nurse Lakisha brought a wheelchair over to the hospital bed.  I stood right up and got in.  That felt really good.  I felt in control and healthy when I was able to stand on my own without pain or help.  Once I sat down and looked at the bed, I was amazed at how much blood was on the bed under where I had been sitting.  Everyone told me that it was totally normal, but I didn’t realize that one loses blood like that for the birth.  They estimated that I lost 200cc of blood on my chart.  They handed me the baby and we wheeled past the nursing station.  All the nurses smiled and one nurse called out, “That’s how to have a baby, honey!”

Once we got in the room, my recovery nurse introduced herself.  I requested cereal and whole milk for a snack, and once it came, I ate it with enthusiasm.  They asked if I needed pain medication, and I said no, because I felt awesome.  I did take a pill that they said was routine to help with postpartum blood loss.


We had decided that Gavin was not to leave us for any reason other than emergencies, so Gavin’s nurse came into our room to do his checks.  She was wonderful.  Her name was Vicki Hyde.  The first thing she had to do was a blood test on Gavin since he was so big, just to make sure his blood sugar was okay.  She never questioned us or made any remarks when we told her that we would not be administering the eye ointment, the hep-B vaccine, or having him circumcised.  She asked Kenny if he wanted her to wash Gavin, and he said that we’d like that.  She washed him right there in the room with us so that everyone could watch.  She had a really nice personality.  I’m glad that Gavin’s first experience with nurses and hospitals was with her.
s pregnancy and birth experience was very empowering and rewarding for me.  It makes me want to do it again, but I know that every birth is different, so if I do this again, I’m not going to set any expectations in mind.  I’m just going to stay relaxed and let my body do what it does, because it knew just what it was doing this time.


Brielle Cain Davis’ Birth Story

I first started feeling contractions on Wednesday morning, April 14, 2010 at approximately 3:30 a.m. I decided to get up and do some work until I had to get dressed and ready at about 9:00 a.m. I had a midwife appointment and a sonogram scheduled later that day. I went through the rest of the day not feeling any more contractions.

At around 8 p.m. I went into Brielle’s room to do some last minute finishing touches and I felt a little bit of water leaking out. I thought to myself that my water may have broken, but there was no gush like you hear about on TV/movies. So I realized I had a few last emails I wanted to send to my bosses, so I got on the computer and worked until about 9 p.m. The contractions started to get stronger and more regular. I admitted that I was actually in labor and thought that I better get focused on giving birth to Brielle. I went upstairs and asked George to start timing the contractions while I rolled around on my exercise ball. The contractions were about 8 minutes a part. I watched Glee and some other show we had on DVR. George went to sleep for about 45 minutes! Lucky him! When he woke up the contractions were about 6 minutes apart and getting stronger. I asked for my wine, which tasted pretty good, but it seemed to slow down the contractions, so I only drank about 3 good sips. In order to manage the pain, we danced, changed positions, and I sounded.

When the contractions got to be about 4-5 minutes apart I got into the tub (probably about 11:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. and got some relief. The contractions seemed to slow down so we decided to get out of the tub for fear that my labor was slowing down. By about 1:00 a.m. the contractions were less than 3-4 minutes apart. George insisted that when they got to 3 minutes apart we were going to the hospital. I said 3 minutes apart for an hour and then we should go. He compromised and said 3 minutes apart for 30 minutes and then we would go. I acquiesced. We called our doula, Persis, and asked her to meet us at the hospital.

We arrived at the Atlanta Medical Center’s labor and delivery floor at 1:47 a.m. We had to wait approximately 30 minutes for a room to be prepared for us, so I had to labor in the hallway. Lots of sounding and dancing went on in the hallway. My midwife checked me at 2:30 a.m. and said I was 3-4 centimeters dilated. For those familiar with birth, that meant I had 6-7 centimeters to go until I would be ready to deliver Brielle. Suffice it to say I was crushed. My contractions were 3 minutes or less apart and pretty strong at this point and I could have more than 6 hours to go! I cut George a dirty look and lamented that we had come too early. Everyone assured me that I had not come too early and that everything was going to be fine. My midwife also advised that she wanted me to wait until I was 6-7 centimeters dilated before I got into the tub. George and I wanted to have a water birth if possible.

We spent the next 2 hours laboring between the hallways of the labor and delivery floor and our room. We had a great view of Atlanta’s night skyline. I used that view to distract me and manage the pain of the contractions. I knew she was moving down the birth canal and I was pushing a bit during each contraction. At about 3:30, I asked the nurse if she could get my midwife so she could check me to see if I could get into the tub. I needed pain relief which I knew the water would give me. The nurse suggested I wait an additional 30 minutes since I had just been checked at 2:30 a.m. I agreed, but about 10 minutes later the contractions were so intense and coming so closely together that I just knew that I had to have progressed to at least 6 centimeters and I really needed the tub! My midwife came and said I was definitely 6-7 centimeters and that I could get into the tub. I asked, “can I get in while you fill it,” I was a desperate woman. She said yes, so they wheeled in a deep inflatable tub and began to fill it with water. I got into the tub and continued to have strong contractions every 2 minutes or less. I began to feel the intense need to push. My midwife said then it is time to push. During transition I doubted myself and my body’s ability to push out my baby without harming myself. My midwife assured me that I could do it and George gave me lots of encouragement and told me I was doing it and doing a great job. I gave 2 pushes and delivered Brielle’s head. The third push delivered the rest of her body. I was never so relieved as to have her out.

My midwife caught her under the water and told me to grab her and bring her up. I did just that and she landed on my chest making the screaming face with no sound. Once she caught her first breath she began to cry, with sound. It was a great smooth birth. We were very excited that we were able to have a second healthy baby via a vaginal birth with no drugs. She was born April 15th (Tax Day!) at 4:47 a.m. My labor was approximately 8 ½ hours. I dilated 6-7 centimeters in 2 hours. Brielle weighed 7.65 lbs. and was 21 inches long. She is a great baby. She sleeps pretty well and doesn’t cry a lot (well, that is compared to Carter).