My Natural Birth Story

woman in tub

A popping sensation woke me up, and as soon as I stood up, there was no denying that my water had broken. Once I cleaned up the mess, I reached for my natural childbirth course notes. My husband and I took a twelve-week class to get ready for childbirth, and the course helped prepare us for what would come -- emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Even though I was a first-time new mom, I felt a deep sense of calm. I felt like I had the knowledge and tools to succeed at my goal of a natural childbirth. I peacefully labored at home for a few hours. I even did the dishes before we left! But the contractions -- and pain -- got worse on the drive to the hospital. Taking slow, deep breaths and repeating a positive mantra helped a lot.

My hospital room had a big tub. Although I was initially hesitant to get into the water, it helped relieve the pain of the natural birth experience so much. My husband also firmly rubbed my lower back, which helped alleviate the tightening sensations. In between contractions, I thought about my body’s progress; I visualized my cervix opening and the baby moving down. I was in the tub for a few hours, and by 3:00 p.m., my midwife wanted me to get out so she could check my progress.

It’s really true -- you will suddenly feel an undeniable urge to push when you’re ready. I pushed for three hours, which isn’t a long time, but it’s certainly getting up there! My energy was waning, and my midwife decided an episiotomy (a surgical incision on the outside of the vagina) would help the baby get out. I’m so glad we took childbirth classes because it helped us make an educated decision. I got the episiotomy, and my baby -- who I discovered was a boy! -- was born two pushes later.

Henry was born a little after 7:30 p.m. He was alert, and his breathing and color were great. Although I was exhausted by the grueling physical process of labor, I was able to really live in the moment. It was incredible, and I will never forget those first few minutes of Henry’s life.

Having a natural birth was a very empowering experience. A woman’s body is truly amazing. It’s undeniable that natural childbirth hurts…but I wouldn’t change a thing, and I plan to do it again for our next baby!

Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

by Caitlin Boyle