You can read my first labor and delivery story, here: Elijah: A Birth Story
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TIP: Scroll to the bottom of this post for tons of Pregnancy Resources!
My Pregnancy- Preparing for a Natural Birth
To start Avila’s birth story out, I feel like I have to start with some details about my pregnancy. Since I had a lot of digestive issues throughout my first pregnancy and had difficulty managing symptoms, I started to seek natural options for overall health once we found out we were expecting. One of those options I discovered through a friend, was a local holistic chiropractor. After doing my initial visit with him, we decided to give chiropractic care a try.
I do credit a lot of my natural labor to the over 6 months of care I received during my pregnancy. Also, I received a lot of relief from heartburn, sciatica and did not gain as much weight with this pregnancy as well.
Overall, I felt so much more healthy and changed a few other things in how I prepared for my labor and delivery. I also hired a doula this time around and absolutely loved having her. I will never do labor without a doula again! She truly was my natural birthing angel!
RELATED: How to Prepare for a Natural Birth
My Natural Birth Story Begins
(OR Watch Instead!)
Ok, now that I have prefaced a few differences from my first to second pregnancy and labor preparation, the birth story can begin.
After my induction, I dedicated time to lots of personal research about the best ways to avoid induction for my second baby. Due to my research and talking to my doula and health care provider, we decided to not induce me until 41 weeks 6 days. Although no one wants to be pregnant that long…I was NOT wanting induction again. Even more than a couple extra weeks of being pregnant (shocking, I know 😉 ).
I remember my doula sent a text to me when I turned 41 weeks. I asked her if I should do anything to encourage labor to come and she replied, “try to stay as relaxed as you can, trust the wisdom of your body, remember that you just turned 41 weeks and 41 weeks is absolutely normal!” She then reminded me to enjoy my last few days of pregnancy and that she was hopeful the baby would come before induction. That gave me hope and confidence so I continued to wait and do my birthing ball exercises each night.
Many people say you will have contractions and Braxton Hicks off and on during the third trimester and they will increase in frequency as you get closer to birth. This was another thing that made me nervous since I was having hardly ANY CONTRACTIONS AT ALL. With only six days before induction, I was trying to stay hopeful but still heard a voice in my head telling me that my body just didn’t know how to birth babies.
Twas the Night Before Labor
Thursday, October 18th, 2018
I was 41 weeks 2 days. My husband and I laid down our 18-month-old around 8:00 pm and then face-timed my sister-in-law and her husband. We ended up sitting on the couch, talking to them for about 2-3 hours and got to bed pretty late. No contractions, no cramps, no “feeling,” no nothing. One more day of nothing, come and gone. No signs of baby whatsoever. We said goodnight and a good night of sleep we had. Having our baby wasn’t even on our minds after countless nights of waiting.
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Friday, October 19th, 2018
6:45 AM- I slept the whole night (rather well, all things considered) and woke up at 6:45 am to a contraction in bed. My stomach felt like it would tighten, get really hard, and then release. It was definitely something I could easily feel but nothing painful. I laid in bed trying to go back to sleep but couldn’t because I kept feeling the contractions coming and going.
Not sure if it was labor and realizing I wasn’t going to be able to fall back asleep, I thought I would try a long hot shower to see if they would go away. As I was grabbing my clothes and towel, I began to realize the contractions seemed really evenly spaced and pretty close together. I decided to wake my husband, Jordan, before I got in so he could start to get ready in case this was the real thing.
7:45 AM- I got into the shower and the contractions kept coming. Since they had been going on for a while, I was really curious how far apart they were, so I asked Jordan to start timing them. They were 5 minutes apart at 8:00 am. I was now beginning to think these were the “real deal” we started getting ready so we would be ready to go when the time came.
Long ways to go?
9:00 AM- Since my first labor was 25 hours, I was thinking we would end up having Avila late that night so I was in no hurry to get to the hospital or get ready quickly. I shaved my legs, made my son some breakfast and proceded to get dressed when I realized how much stronger the contractions were than earlier in the morning. Having to start concentrating and breathing through the peaks, told me I was probably having a baby today. I ended up calling my mom to come over so she could stay with Eli around 9 am. The contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart at this point.
Jordan and I were all ready to go and I spent the time waiting for my mom to arrive on my birthing ball. It was supportive during the difficult parts of the contraction while still allowing gravity to keep baby moving!
WATCH: How to Use a Birthing Ball: Naturally Induce Labor
On our Way!
9:40 AM- My mom ended up arriving around 9:40 am and the contractions were really picking up, about 2-3 minutes apart by now (really glad our hospital bag was completely packed). We decided it was time to head to the hospital and call the doctor and doula. I had to pause and breathe through each contraction as we walked through the parking garage and hospital lobby, all the up to the baby floor.
Arriving at the Hospital
10:30 AM- We arrived at the hospital and I was in the check-in room around 10:40. The hospital doctor came in to do a quick assessment and check me to see if this was for sure the real deal. Sure enough, I was 4-5cm and 90% effaced. The nurse looked at me, smiled, and said, “Its baby day!” I was thrilled but also not surprised at this point. 😉 This is really happening- I am doing this.
The Dreaded Back Labor…
11:00 AM- I was moved to my official labor and delivery suite and got into the cute labor gown I had packed in our hospital bag. My doula arrived around now as well. I am so thankful she arrived when she did because contractions were in my back and I wasn’t sure what to do. It actually felt like my back was on fire.
RELATED: How to Use a Birthing Ball
I ended up getting on all fours and resting on a birthing ball while Jordan helped me through each contraction. That’s when my doula noticed a bump on my lower back. Avila was facing the wrong way entirely, causing my lovely (horrible) back labor! OUCH.
Jordan would squeeze my hips together as tight as he could to help me manage each contraction. My Doula gave me an ice pack right on the bump which helped tremendously as well as encouraged me to try new positions often. Even if the new position was a little more painful, it would encourage baby to turn so I tried my best to keep moving and trying new things. We tried side lying and propped me up on the head of the bed on all fours as well.
RELATED: What’s in my Hospital Bag
12:00 PM- I am going to be honest with ya’ll, around noon I started to really struggle to keep up with the contractions. They were getting really intense and close together. I remember asking my doula if I could get into the bath. I wasn’t sure if she was going to let me since I had only been in my hospital room for an hour! Figuring I had hours to go, I was unsure how I was going to make it! Little did I know how fast I was progressing.
Time to get into the Tub
She started to fill the bath up and the nurse came in to check me before I got in the water. I was 6cm which everyone was really happy about. I had dilated 2 cm in about an hour. When I got into the bath I definitely felt some relief in the warm water, though the contractions were still wicked intense. After about 20-30 minutes, I realized my back pain was completely gone and I was feeling Avila actually move down. It gave me anxiety since I had never felt it before but I was also amazed that I was actually feeling my baby’s delivery.
From Transition through Pushing- I was loud!
Quick side note, once I reached 6-7cm I was struggling to keep up with the contractions. I thought I was going to be a quiet birther but apparently not. Instinct kicked in and I was loud! It was natural- barely knew I was being so loud. Groaning and yelling through peak seemed to be the only way I could release that energy and get through each contraction.
I know after Ava was born, I became self-conscious about how loud I was. However, I came to realize how instinctual it was and that it got me through that last hour of labor and pushing. Also, it’s a lot more common than you may think- so if this is you too, don’t be self-conscious like I was. Own it, however you end up laboring. I delivered my baby naturally and released the tension in my body the way my body needed to. My doula was a huge reminder and confidence builder that I was delivering my baby like a pro.
12:30 PM I started to tell them she was coming out. The nurse quickly checked me. She said, “she’s a 10” and went running out of the room to grab my doctor while yelling for me to not push. I don’t know if you ladies have ever been a 10 and told not to push….but I pretty much ignored the nurse because there was no way I could stop myself! The doula could just catch her if she came out early 😉
My Unplanned Water Birth- Time to Push
I remember the doctor came in while the nurses were trying to get him covered in scrubs to not ruin his clothes. The nurse looked at me and asked for verbal consent for a water birth and I quickly said, “yes!!” After pushing for a few minutes, there was an audible “pop.” My water broke. A couple more pushes and I was able to get Ava’s head out but her shoulders weren’t coming. After a contraction and Ava not moving further, the nurse told me to stand up and push. I found a burst of energy, stood up, and pushed with all my might. At that moment, Avila’s shoulders shifted and out she came.
Happy Birthday, Avila!
12:44 PM- Avila had arrived! I had done it. After only an hour and forty-five minutes in my hospital suite and a total of 6 hours of labor- my baby was here. Ava’s oxygen was a little low for a while so they continued to monitor her closely after birth. We ended up spending a few hours after delivery in the nursery to make sure she was stable. Luckily, our baby girl just took a little extra time to adjust to the great outdoors, but she was a healthy little baby. 8lbs 14oz and 21″ long of pure perfection and beauty.
Thanks to my whole Birth Team
First, my husband is amazing and I love him so much. Could not have done a natural delivery without his support. He never left my side! This was our natural birth story. Also, to my amazing doctor, nurses, and doula who helped me to experience my baby’s birth in such an amazing, natural way! They helped me get out of the bath and into the hospital bed so they could check us both over and do some minor stitching. Jordan wrapped his arms around me, gave me a kiss, and praised me for doing so well. I held our new baby girl and it was such a precious moment. I’ve done it twice now and it is one of the most amazing moments of my life. I never forget it.
Natural Birth Story- Yours is Possible
Our bodies are amazing. We weren’t just made to make babies, our bodies were made to have them too. If I had been induced at 41 weeks like with my first, I would not have had my natural labor. My body just needed a little more time and I am so thankful for the care and patience I received. Recovery time with Avila has also been SO quick. We actually spent just one night in the hospital compared to Eli when we spent three nights. I have been able to walk and get back to normal so much quicker and easier. It has been absolutely amazing- the whole experience.
If I could encourage you to do just two things to dramatically increase your chances of a natural birth it would be to hire a doula and don’t schedule induction till at least 41 weeks 6 days.
What’s your Birth Story?
Resources for Your Pregnancy and Postpartum Recovery
Here are some resources for things I did with my second baby to achieve my natural labor! Hopefully, you will find these resources helpful so you can have the birth story you want and deserve.
10 Secrets to Preparing for a Natural Birth
How to use a Birthing Ball to Naturally Induce Labor
Preparing for your upcoming little one: Ultimate to-do list
What to Pack in your Hospital Bag
Pregnancy Stretching Routine: Encourage Baby to Descend & Help Relieve Pregnancy Symptoms
How to Prepare for Labor: Mentally and Physically
Are You Expecting?
Grab your FREE Guide for Mamas-To-Be!
Labor and Delivery
& Baby Prep Lists!
I also plan to have a natural birth in a hospital setting. I haven’t been able to connect with a doula yet. Could you please describe the bath tub in the hospital room? Did your doula bring one? Did you need to clear this with your OB to see if he/she is comfortable/familiar with this?
Hey Chelsea, that’s so great! I really can’t recommend having a doula enough. I also have a post about having a doula for labor if that might be helpful to you. My hospital was actually really great and had a tub in the bathroom in my room. It definitely matters if your OB is ok delivering in the bath. Mine was an unplanned water birth but luckily my OB was very supportive of my wants and having a natural birth. I would recommend asking your OB if they are “ok” with water births. I loved mine. Good luck and congrats!!
I so enjoyed reading this. 😊 In some ways your story reminds me so much of my baby girl Amiya’s birth.
I definitely want to try using a doula next time…my mom and husband did great but I think having someone more experienced with helping during labor would be amazing.
And I feel you on the yelling! I didn’t think I would yell, but there was no stopping it, and it definitely was my body’s way of releasing tension.
So glad to hear it! Having a doula really is amazing and I would highly recommend it. Her presence and experience in those moments are just priceless! Thanks for sharing 🙂
this sounds a lot like mine! i had my girl mabel in 2012 and my baby winter in october 2017 with a wonderful (also surprise) waterbirth. 🙂
Clare, that’s awesome! Waterbirths are amazing for sure.
This is great! Loved reading your NBIP (natural birth is possible) story! You never know how it’s gonna go down LOL. I had a similar “negative” experience with my first son’s 33hr, “no food, no sleep” birth that included way too many interventions too early, and was DETERMINED to have a better experience the 2nd time. And boy did I ever. For me it was the principles of Hypno-Birthing (not any formal teaching/training in it tho) that made the difference. Just anything I could “brainwash” myself into *believing* it was possible, and that even I was strong enough to do it. I just decided whatever it took, if I stayed calm enough, my body would meet the challenge. I even recorded audios of me talking to myself (sounds crazy but I was desperate to not have history repeat itself). But it worked! I waited and labored at home as long as I POSSIBLY could in back labor, then arrived at the hospital and my 2nd son arrived within 50min. And boom, I was literally bending over pain-free within 2hours, had less tearing, and his breastfeeding was so much more successful since I didn’t have Epidural Nipple. All in all I wish more Newly pregnant moms were taught about their own inner-strength – the power of their minds! Having my 2nd son naturally was the MOST empowering thing I’ve ever done in my life.
YES, to all of the above!! It’s such an amazing experience and I am so glad you were able to have that the second time around. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Connie.