A Birth Story from The Bradley Method®
Here is a little background on my family. My husband Ben and I have two other children,
Stella who is three and Jude who is two. They were born in hospitals with epidurals.
We both wanted this baby’s birth to be different. We wanted it to be born without
any effects of drugs, to enter this world as nature intended. To be instantly surrounded
by those who love it and for its pure body to not be poked and injected with chemicals
during the first hour of it being born. We wanted freedom to move around, switch
position, eat, and not be hooked up to any machines. We wanted to enjoy and share
in the miracle of birth in peace just the two of us. I was nervous about being able
to do this because I had already had two children not naturally. This is why we
decided to take Bradley™
classes. Luckily there was a class starting that Sunday
and it was only about 20 minutes away, I took this as a sign :). The Bradley™
were essential to us having the birth we wanted. We were so prepared and felt confident
that we could have our baby naturally. It was great meeting Brooke and her family
and all of the other couples in our class. It was wonderful being surrounded by
people that didn’t look at you funny when you told them you were having a natural
birth. One of my favorite things about the classes is how close Ben and I became
during them. We were doing something wonderful for our baby TOGETHER. He was as
much a part of the process as I was, even though I was carrying the baby. We did
relaxation exercises, massage, reading and homework as well as just the regular
has you do, together as a team. It was a very bonding experience
for us. And all of the preparation paid off, Sage Elizabeth was born on her due
date June 13, 2011 at 9:51 am in our home. She weighted 8 pounds 3 oz and was 21
inches long. She was born in peace and love. Here is her Birth Story.
Sunday June 12th I was feeling great. I walked multiple times and worked in the
garden all afternoon, weeding and planting flowers. My due date was the next day
(June 13th) but I wasn’t focusing on that date specifically knowing the baby would
come when it was ready. But, Ben and I were surprised that I wasn’t having any contractions
after all that walking and squatting. Well as soon as we went to bed and turned
out the lights at 10 pm I started having contractions. I laid in bed till around
midnight and was still having contractions so I decided to go downstairs and start
timing them. They were never very regular, there would be a couple every 4 minutes
then 8 minutes, 6 minutes, 5 minutes etc. I was lying on the couch for most of the
time and was very relaxed and calm. I wasn’t sure if this was real labor or false
labor so I got up and wandered around the house for a while and got something to
eat. I just worked on making sure my whole body was relaxed during contractions,
especially my face. I knew I needed to get some sleep while the contractions were
manageable so I slept in between them from about 1:45 am to 3:15am. For some reason
every contraction I would sing a kid song my daughter likes called “Little Bunny
Foo Foo” in my head and it really distracted me. About 4:30 I went back upstairs
and told Ben I had been up all night having contractions and we laid around for
a bit and timed a few. I needed him not to move or talk during contractions at this
point and there still wasn’t a pattern but they were closer together.
All of the emotional signposts were there and pretty obvious but I was so worried
that I was still going to have 10 hours of labor that I convinced myself I wasn’t
very far along. And Ben had just woke up and didn’t realize how far along I was
either. Around 7:30 we called our midwife, my mom (who was going to be at the birth)
and Ben’s mom (who was going to get Stella and Jude) and let them know I was in
labor and that we would keep them updated. It was crazy because his mom said she
was just going to come get the kids at 10:30 and we said no we would just call her
cause we might take them to the park. I was acting like I was in early first stage,
trying to watch a movie and fold laundry while he got the kids breakfast and got
the birth tub and some last minute things done. All of the sudden I just couldn’t
handle the contractions with out him near me any longer. I needed him to help me
focus and relax. He called his mom back and she came and got the kids a little after
8 am. Looking back we can recognize all the signposts, I was really having to focus,
no nonsense in between contraction etc. I told Ben I couldn’t do it and needed an
epidural and he said “You are doing it! You have been doing it for hours “ I felt
such relief when he said that cause I realized that I was doing everything right
and that the contractions were getting stronger because the baby was getting closer.
He was amazing, he really took charge and tried to get me to focus on each contraction
and not worry about the next one. He did not let me even think about giving up.
He tried a lot of different positions ideas and relaxation techniques. The thing
that helped was sitting in a warm bath, having Ben rub my hands during contractions,
and eating ice chips. The contractions were now a minute to three minutes apart,
my back started to hurt, and I could feel a lot of pressure. We knew the baby was
descending and figured we were a lot closer than we originally though so we called
the midwife and my mom to come over.
Luckily they both live very close because when they got there I was feeling like
I wanted to push. My mom was downstairs getting the birth tub filled and the last
minute things done. The midwife came and checked on me and listened to the baby’s
heartbeat and said it sounded great and that if I wanted to push I could. I had
told her that I didn’t want to be checked during labor that I just wanted to birth
totally based on feeling and instinct but I did have her check me then just to make
sure it was as far along as I felt . She said that the baby’s head was right there
and that I was going to be holding it soon. I tried to relax for a couple of more
contractions until the urge to push was overwhelming and then I started to push
with every one. The contractions felt so different than they did earlier. The urge
to push was so intense and there was so much pressure, I could feel that the baby
was right there. During one push my water broke and from there on out the contractions
were one right after another. The midwife was downstairs getting all of her things
ready and she said she could hear the change in my voice and knew the baby was coming
very soon. She looked at my mom and said "this baby is coming now" and ran upstairs.
I was making a low humming, groaning noise. She checked the baby's heart beat again
and told me if I wanted to move to the bigger birthing tub I had to do it now because
I was having that baby very soon. At this point I started to feel a little panicked
and was having a hard time keeping my breathing regular and was frazzled due to
the commotion and worrying about moving. I didn’t know if I should go downstairs,
stay up, or really what to do in general. I was without a doubt in transition. I
just remember looking at Ben and seeing that he was calm and feeling more at ease.
We decided to move downstairs. I had no modesty left, that's for sure, our front
door was wide open and I was walking downstairs with no cloths on and didn’t care
one little bit. The birth tub was wonderful; I could stretch out and move around.
The curtains were down and the windows were shut so it was quit, dimly lit and so
peaceful. As soon as I got in I got down to the business of having this baby. I
found a position I liked, which was on my knees leaning on the side of the tub and
just let instinct take over. Ben was right by my side pouring cool water over my
back and my mom was there assisting where ever needed, just having them near me
was a huge comfort. I could feel the baby coming down, the ring of fire and the
head crowning. Before I knew it the baby was born.
The midwife had me move my leg and seconds after the baby was born it was in my
arms, instantly nursing in the warm water with Ben right next to us. The baby was
so calm and didn't cry at all. Born into a warm, calm, quiet environment surrounded
by peace and loved ones. It was amazing!!! Ben and I were on such an instant baby
high, we were so proud that we had the baby naturally and at our home.
After a few minutes Ben really wanted to see if it was a boy or girl and I just
kept saying “I just had this baby, naturally in my living room” Finally he got me
to look and it was a girl. We were so excited that she had hair and it was dark
colored. Stella and Jude had been almost bald with blond hair. We just sat in the
tub for a while relaxing and nursing. Ben and I had our much deserved glass of orange
juice. Then my mom cut the umbilical cord and we got out and moved to the couch
to nurse. After about 30-40 minutes I delivered the placenta. I was feeling great;
I couldn’t believe that I had just delivered a baby. After the midwife cleaned up,
we did Sage’s newborn exam and she left us to bond with our new sweet little Sage.
The whole experience was so natural and beautiful! Everyone was calm, happy and
the positive energy that surrounding all of us was amazing. Everything was on my
time, nothing was rushed and we all just sat around the living room marveling at
the miracle that had just happened.
My advice to others is to trust the emotional signposts, they are extremely accurate.
Don’t worry about having hours of labor left if the signposts are telling you other
wise. Practice your relaxation exercises! Even though we only used the very basic
ones during actual labor the hours and hours we spent practicing together were key
to us working together as a team. Ben knew what I wanted even during the time I
was not able to actually vocalize and I know that was due to the time we invested
The key to my success was Ben's support before and during the birth. I could not
have done it without him by my side. He was so strong, confident, patient and composed.
It was the most life altering experience; I am forever a changed person. The process
of trusting your self, your body, and your baby and just letting go to such a natural
process was liberating. And for Ben and I to experience this together has created
a bond, a trust that is so strong. Sage and I thank you and love you Ben! You are
the best father and husband anyone could ask for.