My Birth Story: The Water Birth I'd Hoped For

Photo by Kara Dudley

We're sharing birth stories! Here's one from CafeMom user Kara ...

Labor Begins

I was 41 weeks and 1 day pregnant when I went into labor.

On Friday, the 4th, I woke up at 4 a.m. with contractions, but was able to go back to sleep. 

At 11 a.m., I couldn't sleep through them anymore, so I got up and ended up taking a shower to try to ease the pain a little. I turned on some music and was just hanging out in between contractions. 

I tried to eat some yogurt, but that didn't work out so well! I took one bite and threw up. By 12:30 I told Phil to call my midwife, Vanessa, because we needed to go. At about 1:45 pm I ran down the three flights of stairs covered in snow because I didn't want to get stuck on the steps during a contraction.


The 15 minute car ride seemed to take much longer. I was really annoyed that my mom and Phil were laughing and talking, so I kept shushing them. It was kind of surreal sitting at red lights. It was weird to think that I was in labor, and all around me people were just going on about their lives. (What? The world doesn't revolve around me?!)

Getting into the Tub

When I got to the birthing center, I was 4 cm and at 0 station. Things got really intense, so Phil and I got into the tub, which helped a lot. It was nice to be in the warm water. I was able to move really easily and just float in between contractions. Phil was great, and I kind of draped myself over him during contractions. He told me how wonderful I was doing, and to breath slowly.  It felt like we were both in labor together.

A little later I felt like I wanted to get out and lay on the bed. I wrapped up in my robe, had someone turn on a fan and just lie there. I asked everyone to be very quiet and I fell asleep during the one or two minute contraction intervals. I was so tired, and the contractions hurt so bad that I thought I'd sleep for days when it was over.

My doula rubbed my feet and put a heating pad on my back. Phil held my hand and was telling me how awesome I was doing.

I'm Ready to Have This Baby

I finally got the energy to get up and start walking. I was ready to have this baby, so I wanted to get things moving. I started walking the halls of the birth center with my mom.  Everytime I had a contraction we hugged each other and I rocked from side-to-side. I started feeling like I had to push, even though I thought it must be way to early. I asked the Vanessa to check me again, and she said that they usually don't check a second time until 4 hours after the first check.  Getting checked was very uncomfortable, so I agreed to wait.

About 30 seconds later I said, "I have to get back in the tub! I'm not pushing, but my body is!" I got back into the tub with Phil and tried not to push. I was afraid my cervix wasn't dilated enough, but I couldn't stop pushing. Finally, I started consciously helping my body push.

What's Johnny Cash Got to Do With It?

My membranes still hadn't ruptured, and I could feel them coming out. Maddox's head started crowning. I put my hand down and applied pressure where I felt like I might tear. I turned to my mom and said, "I can't get Johnny Cash out of my head!" All I could think was "It burns burns burns! The ring of fire!"

Then the top of his head slid out, and back in five or six times before it came out all the way. I thought I'd have a second to rest, but the rest of him squirted out immediately. He was born in the caul (my water never broke) with his cord wrapped loosely around his neck. He was pink when I pulled him out of the water and immediately let us know how unhappy he was to have been so rudely removed from his warm, squishy home at exactly 5:28 p.m.

Perfect Birth, Perfect Baby

He scored a 10 (out of 10) on his APGAR. A couple minutes later I delivered the placenta.  Maddox was on my chest and I was still leaning back on Phil. He then got out and I handed the baby (still attached to his placenta) to him. My mom and Vanessa helped me out of the birthing tub and into bed. Then Phil, Maddox and I laid in bed to get to know one another.  Everyone left the room to give my new little family privacy.

Maddox had a head full of hair and was so alert, I couldn't believe it. He pushed himself up off my chest and looked at us and smiled at Phil. I had no idea babies smiled that early, but apparently they do! Then he opened up wide and dove face first into my nipple, where he nursed like a champ for a long time.

After 7:30 p.m. we clamped and cut his cord and did a newborn exam. The newborn exam was done on my chest and my midwife weighed him in a little hammock right over me. He was never taken away from me as is routine in hospitals. He was 7 pounds 12 ounces, 20 inches, and had a 13 3/4 inch head circumference.

My mom went back home, but Phil, Maddox and I spent the night. We didn't sleep much at all. We got up and went home the next day at 8 a.m.

Maddox's birth was everything I had hoped for. I did it without drugs, without IVs, without doctors, without machines. My midwife checked my cervix once when I first got there, and checked Maddox's heart tones with a hand held dopplar a few times, but other than that she was completely hands off. I was able to do what felt right and natural. I have a new appreciation for nature and my body.

Do you have a birth story you want to share? PM me or send a message to with the words "Birth Story" in the subject line and I may feature you next.

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