The birth story- part 2

Missed part 1? You can check it out here.

My heart sunk as I anticipated a suggestion that would take me off the path of my birth plan. Fortunately, our nurse was amazing and offered a progressive list of alternatives to a drug intervention. I was so thankful when the nurse handed me an oxygen mask with a warning that an IV would be the next step.

“Let’s see if baby needs some fresh air to get her heart rate up.”

I happily took the mask. In contractions beforehand, I had noticed that despite my best efforts to breathe deeply, they were too strong and hitting me too quickly without a break to keep some breaths from being shallow.

Thankfully, within moments of taking the oxygen, baby’s heart rate accelerated in sync with the contractions, just like they had been watching for. The nurse took the monitor away from my belly, and since my mind was no longer 100% worried about the baby, it focused back to the unbearable pain I was feeling. At this point, my entire body was still shaking and I started to sob as I asked how much longer it was going to last. The midwife was in the room –she was in and out during the labor process, and somehow knew when to help us, or just sit back and let us do our thing- and asked me if I wanted her to check and see how far along I was.

While I was laboring, I avoided being checked as much as possible since I didn’t really want to know, or get false hope. The number of centimeters dilated doesn’t necessarily mean anything since progress can change or stall at any moment, but when the midwife asked, I had to know. I had to know if everything I had gone through was going to leave me at 6cm dilated, or I’d be closer to the end.

“You’re 9cm and about 90% effaced. Your bag of waters is still intact, so if you’d like me to break it, it might help things move a little more quickly.”

That sounded good to me, so I asked her to go ahead and do it… and it felt heavenly, like so much pressure was released along with the warm water.

“Do you feel like pushing at all?”

I definitely had started to feel a pushing pressure, so I decided to try and see how it felt.

It felt wrong.

It kind of hurt in a strange way, like my body wasn’t ready for it, so I stopped trying to push and kept focusing on making it through one contraction at a time. The contractions became even more intense, which I didn’t think was possible, and were now 2 minutes apart and lasting at least 1 minute each.

This lasted for 3 hours.

During that time, Tom kept coaching me through every single contraction, encouraging me, and giving me sips of water while Tricia kept pressing the warm packs into my back. Tom left for a little while to update the family, and came back with photos and a video of them cheering me on.

smiling fam

cheering fam

It was the only time I really smiled during the whole ordeal, and gave me a little extra go power, because I was crumbling before then. All I could do was moan, breathe and let each contraction overtake my body. I was still draped over the back of the bed.

The midwife came back and offered to check me again, and discovered that my cervix was still slightly over the baby’s head, which was keeping me from being able to push effectively. She moved it out of the way, and then it was time to try push.

I laid on the bed and the nurse monitored each contraction, while the midwife rubbed warm oil and compresses down… yonder…to keep me from tearing.

My body was still shaking, and I can definitely see how pushing is an athletic event. I used all of the strength I had left to try and push the baby, and it felt amazing. It was such a relief to be able to use the contractions to my advantage, instead of just trying to make it through each one.

We held my legs back, I curled my spine, took a deep breath as each contraction began, and pushed for 45 minutes while we methodically worked her head out.

At first, it seemed like we had plenty of time to get the baby out and I could really focus on taking things slowly so I wouldn’t tear. I could feel the midwife rubbing oil inside my body in between pushing, and I was so thankful she was doing everything she could to prevent tearing. As soon as everyone could see the baby’s hair, things changed.

Her heart rate started to drop in between contractions; sometimes to half of what it was (which can be normal but caused some concern). We monitored her closely and urged me to take large, deep breaths to restore the heart rate each time. Up until this point, there was no clear answer for why I progressed so quickly initially then stalled so quickly when I was so near the end. As her head pushed out, we discovered the answer. The midwife told me that the cord was wrapped tightly around her neck. She wasn’t able to lift if over the baby’s head and instead of taking the time to cut it, the midwife gave me curt guidance that I couldn’t stop pushing. We needed to get the baby out, and I’d need to push as hard as I could to make it happen quickly. I didn’t even wait for the next contraction… I grabbed my legs, rounded my back, and pushed my heart out.

Her head was so out, so then it was quickly her shoulders, and then her entire body, along with a rush of fluid (so much for nice and easy).

They placed her on my chest and she felt warm, slimy and amazing.

I kept saying “Baby, baby, you’re here, you’re here.”

But as this was happening, they were quickly cutting the cord. Tom reminded the midwife we wanted to wait for it to stop pulsing, and she said we still needed to hurry because the baby needed oxygen. Tricia put the oxygen mask on the baby’s face and soon as the cord was cut, the nurses had to take the baby to a station near the bed to give her oxygen and check on her.

I was so worried….

I kept asking if she was ok while the placenta was delivered, and everyone assured me that she would be fine and to listen to her crying.

Before I knew it, she was back on my stomach, staring up at me

me and baby

I instantly fell in love.

I did need a couple of stitches from the quick delivery, but the fact that we were able to get her out safely was all that mattered.

We had a totally intervention-free childbirth, but the thing is, I could have had a C-section, Pitocin, epidural, or birthed her out of my nose and would still be just as happy.

Looking back, I still can’t believe that things happened the way they did, that I was strong enough to make it though it, and that instead of Zumba-ing in my belly with me, she’s finally here.

baby (3)

Things would have never happened the way the did without an amazing birth team by my side. The nurses at the hospital were incredible, and never took the baby from our side. She slept in the room with us, had all of her testing and first bath done there, and if they saw we were sleeping, they left us alone until we were awake. I’m beyond grateful to our midwife, who delivered Baby so safely and swiftly; Tricia, who stayed by our sides for 12 hours; and Tom, who never ceases to amaze me. After the birth, I have a hard time looking at him without getting tears in my eyes, because I’m so very lucky.

So there it is: the end, and the very, very beginning <3

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  1. Chinda on January 13, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Thank you for sharing your story! So beautiful! I’ll admit that I’m sobbing right now. My kids are 11 & 10 and reading your story brought back all those scary moments of labor but pure love and joy of their births. Thank you!

  2. Brittany on January 13, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I jumped when I read the part about the cord around her neck! But I knew she was ok. You are so brave Gina!

  3. stephanie on January 13, 2012 at 10:38 am

    So incredibly beautiful! You are a very strong woman. Congratulations!

  4. Courtney on January 13, 2012 at 10:41 am

    So beautiful! I cried from the moment I saw that picture of your family on. I wish I had pics like that from my deliveries. Congratulations!

  5. JBecca on January 13, 2012 at 10:46 am

    What a beautiful story–thank you for sharing it with us! And what a beautiful, sweet little Olivia! *baby swoon*

  6. theorist on January 13, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing this with us *wiping tears*. Congrats!!!

    p.s. Mr. Pilot (Tom) GREAT idea to get the support pics and video! You are SOOOOO awesome!

  7. Cynthia on January 13, 2012 at 10:53 am

    This is beautiful, thanks for sharing!!!

    Again – many blessings to your lil’ family and make sure to relish every minute of it!!!

  8. Anna Crouch on January 13, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Awww, what a great story. Congrats for making it all the way through, without any meds or anything! That’s incredible!

    Just curious, how come you keep calling her “the baby”? Are you going to call her by name on the blog??

  9. Adriana R. on January 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

    I also cried the moment I saw your family. It is very easy to see how much love is in your life. This was an amazing story.

  10. Colleen on January 13, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Wow, I am balling..that is an amazing story. So so very happy for you and your beautiful family. Congrats!

  11. Lauren @ Sassy Molassy on January 13, 2012 at 11:09 am

    SO exciting! What a story.

  12. Laury on January 13, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I am definitely choked up with tears reading this incredibly beautiful story! I am in awe of how you handled this! I know what it’s like to labor so close together with no breaks. I give you so much credit for sticking it through and for all you did to prepare yourself for this experience. You had an amazing birth team and I learned so much…who knew there were so many options, like the oxygen mask! I never heard that before.

    You are right, no matter how she got here, as long as she is healthy you would have been just as happy. However, it has to feel amazing to know how strong you were and how incredible you did. You have sincerely inspired me to [at least learn more about b/c it doesn’t always go as planned] all of the options available before intervention.

    Thank you so much for sharing this journey with all of us. It is truly a gift and I feel like I shared this experience with one of my closest friends. You are amazing <3

  13. Elise on January 13, 2012 at 11:12 am


  14. Maria@healthydiaries on January 13, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Your birth story brought tears to me eyes. I was so touched when Tom came back with pics and a video of your family cheering you on, so SOO sweet! But then again, Tom always is! I’m glad everything workout out the way you had hoped. Olivia is beautiful! I knew you and Tom would make a beautiful baby! Hope you a fast and smooth recovery! XOXO

  15. Lindsay@FuelMyFamily on January 13, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Birth stories never get old, they make me tear up every time! Congrats on having the intervention free birth you wanted!

  16. Emily on January 13, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Oh my gosh. I’ve never commented before, but I just had to say that your family is sooooo cute!!! Such a sweet story.

  17. Sara on January 13, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Due to minor complications right after my daughter was born in August our midwife also had to cut the cord right away without letting it stop pulsing and without letting my husband do it. It was the only disappointing thing about the whole delivery but ultimately all that mattered was that she was healthy and with us. Way to go being pain-med free! I caved after 8 hours, ha! My goal was to go med free but man that epidural was heaven! 🙂

  18. Chelsa on January 13, 2012 at 11:25 am

    This is a beautiful story and my favorite post of yours ever!

  19. Lyndi on January 13, 2012 at 11:36 am

    After reading your story I cheered out loud! Even my husband is beaming with joy for you. Hugs for great husbands! Go TOM! 😀 Congratulations again and THANK YOU for sharing your beautiful journey. Looking forward to hearing many more adventures with your little princess. 🙂

  20. Gurminder on January 13, 2012 at 11:37 am

    beautiful story and beautiful little girl! Definitely got tears while reading this….reading about the birthing process always makes me squeamish but this was like reading an intense novel and I just had to finish it!

  21. Amanda Lee on January 13, 2012 at 11:41 am


  22. Sam on January 13, 2012 at 11:43 am

    This is so amazing. I didn’t know I could be so emotionally invested in a family I don’t know…but I am overwhelmingly happy for you all. You are an inspiration and that pilot of yours…wow. The biggest of congratulations!!!

  23. Sarah Barron on January 13, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I would be interested in hearing this story from Tom’s perspective if he’s willing to write about it.

    • Kathy on January 13, 2012 at 11:59 am

      I agree – that would be fascinating! And I want Bella’s story too!! Is Olivia like a strange visitor to her or a new pack member to protect??

      Gina – your spirit is a beautiful as ever. You are a tough, brave, strong, impressive woman! Olivia, Tom and Bella are very lucky 🙂

  24. Lizzie on January 13, 2012 at 11:56 am

    It’s amazing that as much as you prepare for something in life, you never know how it will turn out. I’m so very, very happy that your family is doing well now. My one question for you – do you think you’ll still do a natural birth with the next baby? (If there is a next 🙂 )

    • Fitnessista on January 13, 2012 at 11:59 am

      I’d like to… As long as it isn’t anytime soon 😉

  25. Linda on January 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Congratulations!! What a wonderful story! For me, childbirth was the most painful thing I ever experienced in my life (I was also intervention-free b/c I didn’t want a massive needle in my spine), but it’s also the biggest thing a woman’s body will go through! It’s great that you had nurses that were so supportive and gave you options.

  26. La. on January 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I got tears in my eyes! I’m so glad that she is here and healthy! Every delivery is so very different! You are so strong and YOU DID IT! And she’s so pretty!

  27. Melissa on January 13, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    So beautiful, Gina. Definitely fighting back the tears over here!

    Congratulations to you, Tom and gorgeous Olivia! (and of course Bella)

    Here’s to the beginning of a whole new life!

  28. Taylor on January 13, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    Favorite post ever! Thanks for sharing!

    I am nowhere close to having a baby, but i really appreciate knowing all the options you had to avoid pain-med during delivery. I certainly will be exploring options like you did and hope to be as strong as you were.

  29. Yvette on January 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    And look at how happy she looks to see you. That’s an amazing photo. Congratulations!!

  30. Chelsea on January 13, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    This story is just amazing. I love birth stories and it brought tears to my eyes, as I remember mine so vividly! Congrats on the sweet baby girl and what a partner you have in Tom!

  31. Sonia the Mexigarian on January 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Aw my gawd, I actually have tears in my eyes reading this. So sweet of Tom to bring pictures and video of your family cheering you on, what a great support team. Amazingly strong and beautiful you are, delivering such an equally strong and beautiful baby girl. Much love to you and the familia!

  32. Michelle M on January 13, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    That was beautifully written and sooo intense! I wanted so badly to have a natural labor but I ended up being induced when I was two days past my due date and the contractions from the pitocin were a little too intense. Next time I have a baby I would like to try it though! I can’t believe how alert Olivia was,such a beauty. Isn’t motherhood the best thing ever? Everyone tells you that when you are pregnant, but you just don’t realize it until it happens to you! Enjoy your time with your beautiful daughter. My daughter is four months old and sometimes I just have to scoop her up and cuddle her.. I know she won’t be this little forever. Everyone tells me it goes by in the blink of an eye and so far it has! Its been worth every single minute, every tear of frustration all worth it and I can’t wait to do it again 🙂 I apologize for always being so long winded on here I just love talking to other women about birth and babies, the internet has provided an incredible forum for women to share and support one another and I am so grateful for it. Great Job again you should feel truly proud and blessed that you were able to give birth on your own terms that is an excellent accomplishment.

    ~Michelle M

  33. Heather on January 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Fantastic end to a great story! Though it reinforces my desire to get an epi next time- my first was heavenly. It never gets old, these birth stories.

  34. Amanda on January 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Oh thank you for sharing this, Gina! This made me so teary – especially the part where Tom brought back pictures and a video of your family cheering you on. That is so sweet!! You have a beautiful birth story, beautiful family and you are one strong woman 🙂

  35. Kathleen on January 13, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Hey Gina–

    My best friend and I love following your posts and especially your family posts. We are students at UNC Chapel Hill and we have been dying to read part 2 of your birth story (we check your blog all the time–even between classes!). It is so sweet and inspiring. You are great and good luck with you new sweet baby girl!

  36. Brigid on January 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Beautiful story, Gina!

  37. Lisa on January 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Beautiful story! Thanks for sharing. Great job mom, dad and team.:)

  38. Heather Eats Almond Butter on January 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    I loved the family photos cheering you on. What an amazing story Gina – I cried reading it. It’s funny b/c before having a baby myself, I just didn’t get it, but now I love reading birth stories. A woman’s body is truly amazing. Thanks again for sharing, and you’ll be so grateful you recorded this precious memory, and I know your little girl will love reading it someday. So happy for you guys!

  39. Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola on January 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    What an incredible story!! Having kids feels very far off to me now, but it does sound like a pretty incredible (and scary at times) journey!! I’m so, so glad that she is healthy and perfect! That picture where she is similing up at you is incredible!!

  40. Gina on January 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story with us. I loved reading about every moment and continue to be thrilled for your amazing little family! Olivia is absolutely gorgeous. xo

  41. Haley on January 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    SO happy all turned out well. I love the photos of your family…too stinkin’ cute! Congrats again

  42. Food for Todd on January 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Wow!!!! You are amazing! Thank you for sharing your story – so heartwarming and inspirational. It’s been amazing to “share” this journey with you. Will definitely look forward to re-reading your pregnancy posts when the time comes for us to make babies! 😉

  43. Amber from Girl with the Red Hair on January 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Beautiful story. I absolutely LOVE that photo of her smiling at you. She’s so cute. So happy for you guys!!

  44. Melissa on January 13, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    First I have to say I adore the pic of you and little Olivia. She looks like she is posing and your smile is contagious!

    Thank you for sharing this. I don’t have any babies (yet) and it’s nice that someone gives us the real story–the good, the bad and the not so fun parts. I’m in awe that you were able to continue with no pain meds—shows how strong you really are.

    Congrats again to you Mama and your new little family. Continued health and happiness!

  45. Christina on January 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Thank you for sharing your amazing, beautiful story. I’m not even a Momma, and I teared up throughout Part 1 and 2.
    Congratulations on giving birth to an adorable bundle of preciousness! And you rocked that post delivery photo. You looked gorge!

  46. Karen on January 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    What an amazing story…

    It makes me think back to 2005 when I had my son. I wish I could have blogged about it.

    Thanks for sharing.. I love what you typed in the end!! So true.. wish you the best!

  47. Jessy on January 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    So happy everything turned out okay! I don’t have any children yet (I’m in my early 20s), but I do love them. It’s fascinating how every birth story is so different! I wonder what contributes to how hard/easy the birth is … My sister-in-law was in labour for only about 2 hours and she said it was like going for a coffee, lol.

  48. Emily on January 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Oh my goodness… I have to be honest, I am just a reader, and I was scared for a minute. But I am so glad it worked out so well, I am so glad she is here and happy and healthy.

    And she is so beautiful. It makes me want one, and that scares me a little bit. 🙂

  49. Jessica on January 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    The support of your fam is overwhelming and so special. I am so happy for you all!

  50. Danielle on January 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    So beautiful, Gina! Take all the time you need with your baby girl… we’re not going anywhere!!

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