Own Your Birth: My Hope For Expectant Moms

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.


Throughout your pregnancy, you’re bound to hear a plethora of birth stories.  Birth will be depicted to you as hard.  As easy.  As joyful.  As worrisome.  You are bound to hear some horror stories as many among us wear them like a badge of honor.  What kind of experience will your birth be?  Well, here’s something you may not hear much.  It’s entirely up to you.

That’s right. You get to decide.  Birth is not an abstract thing that only the medical community can administer.  It’s a spiritual metamorphosis as much as a physical one.  And matters of your spirit are DECIDEDLY UP TO YOU.

Learn, Learn, Learn and Plan, Plan, Plan

I approached my first birth much like any curious mom-to-be.  I gathered and read schools of information on options.  Carl and I attended workshops and birth classes from both the hospital and the local yoga studio.  We took hypnobirthing.  We hired a doula.  We wrote a birth plan.

I was aiming for a natural birth, but I was open to intervention (upon my consent) if deemed medically necessary.  (I’ve attached my actual first birth plan if anyone is interested – or just looking for a template.)

I went into labor on a Monday night at 6:30pm.  And so my joyous foray into motherhood began.  We actually had our last hypnobirthing class that night, so we went.  Our doula taught the class.  Every 6 minutes, I would have a contraction, but these were early days and I knew how to deal.  I was able to get some sleep that night between contractions, so I pretty much slept 5 out of every 6 minutes.

On Tuesday morning, we went for a long walk on the boardwalk near our home.  We had our favorite Italian subs for lunch.  We went to the park in the afternoon.  Later that night, we had a nice, quiet dinner at home.  I think I may have had a glass of wine.  Still, the contractions came every 6 minutes.

Stick To Your Plan

Things started to heat up on Tuesday night.  Carl was giving me a massage and I felt our little girl corkscrew down.  In her descent, she turned herself to the posterior.  And so both active labor and back labor began.  I did not get much sleep on Tuesday night.

By noon on Wednesday, we were ready for the hospital.  We walked around the outside of the hospital for a while.  We knew we would soon be inside for the long haul.  I was examined and admitted.  I handed over my birth plan and prepared to be strong.

Let Go of Your Plan

Things progressed that afternoon and before too long I was 8 cms dilated.  Then 9 cms dilated.  Then 10 cms dilated.  My daughter was still up high though – unable to descend in her posterior position.  By late night, I was exhausted.  I had been in the late stages of labor for hours.  I had stuck to my birth plan thus far, but it was time for help.  My doctor urged me to let her break my water so she could check my baby’s position and I consented.  As we had suspected, my daughter was still face up and just couldn’t fit down that way.  My doctor knew I was beat and suggested an epidural so I could sleep for a while.  At midnight, I consented.  I did not have the energy to will my daughter to turn at that point.

I slept for 6 blissful hours – 10 cms dilated with my water broken.  As I’d anticipated, my contractions stopped as a result of the epidural.  In the morning when I was ready, I needed a shot of pitocen to get things started.

Own Your Birth

I pushed for 2 hours before my daughter turned.  Another hour and she was out.  What was the longest morning of Carl’s life seemed like only moments to me.  Our daughter was born Thursday at 11am.  Although exhausted, I had completed the greatest achievement of my life.  Although long, the entire occasion was peaceful and joyous – beginning to end.  Although much of my birth plan never became a reality, I had called the shots – with Carl’s loving support behind me.  (In fact, Carl was so wonderful that we asked our doula not to come.  We didn’t want anyone interfering with our flow.  And she had done her job so well that we didn’t need her.)

On one hand, I wish all of you expectant moms a speedy birth.  On the other hand, I wouldn’t trade my birth experience for anything.  It was mine.  I owned it.

Squeeze Out Every Drop

So this is my birth story – probably not unlike so many others you’ve heard.  But, my message is this: Prepare.  But most of all, OWN YOUR BIRTH SPIRITUALLY (even while you submit to it physically) and it will be the birth you need.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon June 12 with all the carnival links.)


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About the Author

Just a small town mom trying to make the world a better place for my kids. One small change at a time.

13 Responses to Own Your Birth: My Hope For All Expectant Moms

  1. Loved this post! Very motivating and empowering. My favorite lines: “Birth is not an abstract thing that only the medical community can administer. It’s a spiritual metamorphosis as much as a physical one. And matters of your spirit are DECIDEDLY UP TO YOU.” Fully agreed! Matters of the spirit must ONLY be decided on by you.

    • Andrea says:

      Thanks so much Jennifer. Our babies tend to decide on the physial characteristics of birth all on their own. At least we get to choose the spirit!

  2. Sheila says:

    It’s hard to prepare spiritually when you have no idea what it will be like. But you’re right — that is the most important part! This second time I had a much clearer idea how to do that, which was mainly visualizing my happy birth every evening. It truly was wonderful, just as I’d imagined!

    • Andrea says:

      Hi Sheila. It is so much easier the second time around, isn’t it? You raise a good point – I don’t really give any tips on how to prepare spiritually. I think the key is just being open to the journey with your baby. It takes two. Thanks for your comment.

  3. This is great, and I’m sure very healing for mamas who need to go back and own what happened in their births. For some reason, I like the image of you and your daughter hanging out in the hospital bed overnight, her tucked high inside, and you getting some rest before pushing. It really does sound like a good birth.

    • Andrea says:

      Thank you Lauren. It was the best. (Of course, the next one was the best too.) As much as I wanted a natural birth, what I really needed was that sleep – and my little one seemed to be in no hurry.

  4. Shannon says:

    We had a similar experience in that y birth seemed to me to be speeding along while DH felt quite the opposite. I realized that I didn’t communicate with him almost the entire eight hours as I was so totally focused within. Poor guy!

  5. Thank you for this post Andrea, it’s so reassuring when you say that we decide what our birth experience will be like. I am also attending a birth class and reading tones of books!

    I love it how you own your birth even though you had to adapt to the new situation. I am also looking forward to the spiritual side of this experience next month. So empowering!

    • Andrea says:

      Alinka, I hope you get what you need. I was very lucky that the nurses at both of my births were very respectful of my choices. I like to think I was up for the challenge regardless, but it was very nice to feel like I was being listened to throughout. I wish you the same good luck!

  6. Kellie says:

    What an amazing birth story and what a message of confidence. I couldn’t agree more about the importance of owning your birth.

  7. Andrea says:

    Thank you Kellie.

  8. Tat says:

    Wow, that would have felt like the greatest achievement in the world! It is an amazing experience to hold on to.

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