My Second Birth : Another Natural Birth in a Hospital Setting

This June we were so happy to welcome another little boy into the world! I love the crazy, empowering, and miraculous experience that is childbirth. As I look back, it’s interesting to me to see the differences between my two birth stories. You can read my first son’s birth story here.

Birth is Beautiful

It’s important to remember that all births, women, and babies are unique. Your birth story may not look like mine. Your birth may have been un-medicated or with an epidural, vaginal or C-section. The thing we share in common is that we are both mothers, and we love our babies. I truly believe that is what is most important.

Personally, I have loved going the un-medicated route with both of my boys.

Here is my second birth story:

At 5:30 I woke up with light contractions that seemed to be sort of regular, but nothing to exciting. I tried not to get too hopeful, because this had been happening off and on for a couple of days. As I woke up I realized that my water had broken.

I woke up Levi and we started to get ready to go to the hospital. We showered, packed our bag, ate breakfast, and I snuggled the toddler. All the while I was having light contractions about 6-7 minutes apart. My goal was to labor at home, but I guess I was too excited and I knew that because my water broke I would actually go into labor. We left the house about 7:00-7:30.

I always tend to feel awkward telling the front desk, “I’m in labor,” when I am clearly calm and not “hee-hooing” or whatever (so movie cliché). But, in we went and told them my water broke.

When we checked in, they confirmed that my water had broken. I didn’t go into active labor till 11:00 am, so for a while we were just kind of hanging out with occasional contractions. We watched Netflix and walked in the tiny labor and delivery wing.

Active Labor

Finally things started to progress. Since my water broke before I went into labor, they didn’t let me get into the tub, so I showered for hours to manage my intense contractions. I would stand in the hot shower, or hold Levi and sway. He would whisper encouragement to me and stroke my hair or back. At one point I switched to the bouncy ball while I was being monitored, but that was really uncomfortable. Back into the shower I went.

Eventually that evening I was dilated to about a 9.5, but the baby still had to move down quite a ways. After the doctor checked my cervix I was so tired I just decided to try laying on my side and relaxing into every contraction. The hot water in the shower was wonderful, but since I was standing or sitting I couldn’t fully relax. The contractions were really powerful at this point, but with Levi’s help I started to really relax and was managing them well.

I relaxed so well that I started to fall asleep in between contractions! The contractions started to space back out while I slept. I was so exhausted that I needed this little rest before I started pushing. Throughout the whole process I felt so much strength and power enabling me and helping me. This totally unexpected nap was one example of all the little blessings that showed me how much divine help I had during my birth.

Birthing Positions

After a while I kind of realized that I needed to be upright for gravity to help move the baby down and out. I had a really hard time pushing for my first birth, so I knew I needed to do something different. I didn’t want the sports game environment with everyone telling me what to do, when to breath, or talking loudly. I didn’t want to squat because it took so much work and energy with my first.

I decided to be leaning on the propped up hospital bed, kneeling on my hands and knees. I could lay forward and rest between contractions, but gravity was still helping the baby out. I had a wonderful doctor who was really on board with me birthing in whatever way felt right and natural to me. In between checking on me, the nurse stepped away and let my husband and I work together without interruption. If they wanted to let me know how far along I was they whispered it to Levi.


I could push whenever I felt ready. After waiting a while, I started to feel like I wanted to kind of breath and push at the same time. I did that for a little while. The doctor double checked my cervix and had me push while he moved a lip out of the way of the babies head. I was so nervous because I didn’t want to be pushing for a whole hour, and I told the doctor.

He said, “I don’t want to rush you or get your hopes up, but when you pushed just now I felt the baby move a lot. I think you can push really effectively. ”

This helped me realize that I was in control. I was powerful and I can do this! I whispered to Levi, “I can do this!” He kept encouraging me and telling me how strong I was. He got a little choked up, and so did I. Birth was such a beautiful and unifying moment for us as a couple.

After that I pushed with each contraction, but I let myself rest as well. The contractions while I was pushing were the most painful, but I pushed past it. I thought of it as power and strength, bringing my baby into the world. We didn’t know the gender yet, but all through my birth I was thinking of my baby girl, how I was going to meet her. I was totally channeling my wonder woman and power-warrior yelling through the contractions.

The nurse called the doctor in and they were ready to catch the baby. I gave a giant push and felt something pop out and explode onto the bed. I jumped! I thought it was the baby! But it was just the rest of my water breaking.

Meeting our Baby

After a few more pushes, I felt the pressure of the baby between my legs and a huge amount of strength and urge to push. I didn’t realize that the head was out, but the doctor said, “Okay, give me a push!” And I pushed so hard that the baby fell out onto the bed. I’m not sure, but I don’t think he caught him because he wasn’t expecting it to come so fast.

Levi called out, “It’s a boy!” Which was a completely joyful surprise because during labor I had convinced myself that the baby was a girl. I turned around and layed down as fast as I could to hold my baby boy, He was perfect, and beautiful. We had to rub him to make him cry, but as soon as he got situated I put him up to my breast and he latched on and nursed easily right away. I cried with joy and relief. Birth is beautiful. Life is beautiful.

Love, Jess

Becoming a Mother: Baby #1 Birth Story

Lately here at Stitches and Sunflowers I’ve been sitting around waiting for false labor to turn into real labor. Since I have only baby on my brain, I thought it would be fun to share with you the birth story of my first baby. Birth is so personal, but as I was preparing for L’s birth I found it really helpful to read stories of other moms and get a healthy perspective about childbirth in our culture that fears and sensationalizes birth.

I woke up one morning feeling contractions that were small but fairly regular. For me they felt like a strong menstrual cramp that came and went in a wave. At this point they were strong enough to wake me, but not strong enough that I needed to get out of bed.

Laboring at Home

My goal was to labor at home for as long as I could.  I wanted to be able to work with my body in early labor in a place that was comfortable and familiar to me.

That evening I was still having regular contractions, but they weren’t yet five minutes apart and I was still feeling pretty normal. There was a church barbecue at the beach that night. I knew that it would be my last chance for a beach trip in a long while, so we went! It was a cloudy and slightly rainy day, so not many people were getting in the water, but I wanted to swim in the ocean before the baby was born so Levi and I got in and swam.

At the end of the party I started to notice my contractions were strong enough that I was having a hard time acting normal through them. A friend drove us home (we didn’t have a car, so we walked everywhere normally) and we started to pack for the hospital. We cleaned the house with some old seventies music playing (woo-hoo the Carpenters!) and every time I had a contraction I would stop what I was doing and sway to the music.

At around 9:00 pm we let our doula know that I was in labor, but when she came over to talk to us my contractions seemed to slow down a little, and still weren’t overwhelmingly strong. We decided to try and get some sleep. Levi did sleep a little, but I didn’t sleep much between contractions. Finally, I couldn’t handle laying down and pretending to sleep any longer, so I woke up Levi and we started the 45 minute drive to the hospital.

At the Hospital

We checked into triage at 4:00 am. The nurse asked, “How long has this been going on?” I honestly couldn’t think of a good answer as to when my labor started, so I said, “About nine months.” It’s still one of my finest moments when it comes to telling jokes.

When the nurse checked my cervix I was 6 cm. dilated and 90% effaced. The nurses were very surprised and started rushing to check me into a room.

Our hospital room had a view of the beautiful mountains of Oahu. Before getting in the tub the nurses had to check how baby was doing on the fetal monitor. When I had a contraction I would breath deeply and lean into Levi and sway. Leaning forward and letting him hug me helped me relax into the contractions.

Finally, I was finished being monitored and they let me get into the tub. The warm water helped me relax and made my contractions much more manageable. I focused on envisioning my cervix opening and relaxing my whole body into each contraction. Levi was the most amazing birth support. He supported me with gentle touch and words of encouragement. I clung to him during every contraction.


At 9:00 am I was ready to start pushing. My midwife came in and broke my water. At this point I was so exhausted. Everyone was cheering me on and telling me to push during my contractions. I tried using the birthing bar to squat on the hospital bed, but between every contraction I laid back on the bed and stared out the window at those beautiful mountains. I just wanted to be done! I started to say, “I can’t do this, it hurts,” and the contractions became very painful as I was pushing.

I pushed for an hour. Everyone kept saying, “You’re almost there, I see the head, you’re almost there.” I thought every push would bring the baby out. The baby’s heartrate started to drop. Everything started to become mixed up and crazy in my brain. I was worried about the baby, but it all felt kind of far away as I was overcome by my contractions and efforts to push.

My midwife called in the attending doctor. When he came in I think he introduced himself, and told me he needed to use the vacuum to get the baby out as soon as possible. One more push, and with the help of the vacuum L was born.

Natural Birth

When they placed L on my chest, I was amazed at how alert, alive, and tiny he was. I felt so much love for him already. His birth was such a challenging and incredible experience. It was a beautiful time of bonding for Levi and I. It was an example of how our bodies are powerful and perfectly designed.

I wouldn’t give up my natural birth experience for the world. I think everyone’s birth choices are their own, so I wouldn’t push the decision to have a natural birth on anyone. However, I also don’t feel that I am a remarkably unique woman for giving birth naturally. I don’t have a high pain tolerance and I’m not an athlete. Birth is a healthy, incredible process and our bodies already know what to do.

What was your birth experience like? Share in the comments.

Love, Jess

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