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. Julie on January 13, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I read it in my classroom and kept crying! It’s wonderful to see how strong you were and it gives me hope for a natural birth in the future. Congratulations!

    • Emily @ The Swallow Flies on January 13, 2012 at 2:38 pm

      Me too! Bawling my eyes out – thank goodness the students are gone!

    • Jen on January 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      I second that! Amazing Gina!

      • Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama on January 16, 2012 at 2:09 am

        Crying over here too! It seems like yesterday when I was giving birth.. but that was already 3 years ago! It goes by so quickly. Congratulations MamaGina!!!

  2. Ali on January 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Amazing story, Gina, and beautifully written. It will be so wonderful to look back on this post and remember everything so vividly as Olivia grows up. You’re lucky to have an incredible support team in your life, and it’s clear that your beautiful daughter is SO loved. She’s gorgeous — enjoy every minute together. Congratulations again, you crazy strong woman!

    • Rita @ Healthy Mom, Sexy Wife on January 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      I agree, Ali. I was thinking about the birth of both of my sons and the only person with me was my husband. I wish we had that same support. Gina, you have such an amazing and supportive family and a beautiful baby girl!! Congratulations, again!

  3. Georgia on January 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing! It’s such a wonderful, powerful and scary experience all at once. You did it! And she’s gorgeous!!!

  4. Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy on January 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    This is so sweet :).

  5. kara on January 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Gina, you’re amazing! What a beautiful story 🙂

  6. Natasha Brown on January 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Gina – you are a ROCKSTAR! Olivia is so alert looking and that is due to your barvery in allowing for a drug free delivery….just like the Big Guy intended it to be….
    Amazeballs girl…amazeballs (as you would say 😉 )

    • Erica on January 14, 2012 at 12:15 am

      GINA! You rock girl! Congratulations to you and your husband! Olivia is gorgeous!

      Natasha…. epidural, pitocin, and c-section babies come out perfectly alert too 🙂

  7. Lara on January 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    *Tears* What a beautiful birth story. For all of most women’s hopes of a natural childbirth, I hear that once you are in there doing it, you REALLY just want to get the baby OUT, as safely as possible, no matter what it takes. It sounds like you had a similar experience and I love your line about how you could have birthed her through your nose and it wouldn’t have mattered. You’re a rockstar! Congratulations, pretty Mama!

  8. Julie on January 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Precious…just precious. What a wonderful birth story! I am so happy that you and the baby are well! CONGRATS to the beginning of your families new chapter in life! 🙂

  9. Pam on January 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Dearest Gina and Tom,

    I’m am not into babies…….yes, for sure baby goats, but I must say… have one
    adorable lil Olivia there!

    Bless you all!



  10. Amber L on January 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    You are my hero. The end.

    No, but seriously what an amazing birth story! You are such an inspiration to me! I hope I can deliver naturally as well. I was tearing up the whole time. Especially of the picture of your family in the waiting room cheering you on. So awesome. I can’t say it enough – congratulations!!! <3

  11. Casey @ OatsAndNanners on January 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    WOW – what an inspiring story. You found the perfect words to bring this story to life! Congratulations, again!!!!

  12. Tee @ She Writes, Bites, and Window Shops on January 13, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    A beautifully written and amazing part 2! I definitely had tears in my eyes after reading that one. 🙂 So glad you are all healthy and happy!

  13. Natasha on January 13, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    …and cue the tears…. wow! so very happy for you both on the arrival of your precious daughter. thank you so much for sharing your experience! I hope you are enjoying these very special moments with her 🙂

  14. Laura@mypurposefullife on January 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    This is such a beautiful post. I’m so happy for you and your healthy, happy family. Thank you for such an honest and open post.

  15. Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs on January 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Beautiful story! Congratulations on the newest addition to your lovely family!

  16. Destini on January 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I am sitting at my desk at work and crying, what an amazing story. I am so happy to hear that everything turned out okay. Congratulations!

  17. Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) on January 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Amazing. I’m so impressed with your natural birth and am thrilled you were able to have Olivia enter the world the way you hoped. She is simply gorgeous, as are you in that picture! Did you seriously just finish giving birth? Amazing! COngratulations again 🙂

  18. Candice on January 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    amazing story!! Good job!! I was in labor with the twins for 17 hrs before I caved to the pain and pressure and ended up having to have a c-section due to the position of baby b and heart rates! I had a quick recovery though so all was well. Now I have to ask.. Would you do it again or go for the epidural ?

    • Fitnessista on January 13, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      I would, but not anytime soon

  19. jane on January 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    she’s adorable!! how are you feeling? what’s baby’s name?

  20. April on January 13, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Ah love the story and so happy you were able to donut au natural. Didn’t you just feel awesome after? No drug hangovers:). I pushed for 3 hours as well do know EXACTLY how you felt. I bet everyone in the hospital was in awe of you too, it truly is beautiful to have a natural birth.
    I look forward to all the baby posts now, so much fun ahead of you to have!

    • April on January 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      Ignore the “donut” typo ha ha

  21. Jennifer on January 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Beautiful story, Gina with an even more beautiful ending. She’s precious. 🙂

    I had to smile at your family. That’s my family for any kind of hospital stay.

    How does Bella feel about her new sister?

  22. Ivette on January 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Your story is moving, i cried like a little baby! So glad you and little Olivia are healthy and happy. 🙂

  23. Rachel on January 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    Loved reading these posts. I’m so happy for you and your new family!

    PS — What is Olivia’s middle name!??! (Love the Olivia BTW).

  24. Kelly on January 13, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    You’re a rock star Gina!! Congratulations to you and Tom! 🙂

  25. Britta on January 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Such a beautiful story – I had tears in my eyes many times! Congrats to you and the Pilot on your little pilotista <3

  26. Katie @RunBakeFun on January 13, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    WOW! You are lucky in so many ways, thank you for sharing the very, very beginning! I have tears in my eyes; – wonderful!!

  27. jodie on January 13, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    So touching. Congrats again.

  28. Heather on January 13, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    aw congrats! I am so glad you got to have your natural birth but oh my gosh my pain tolerance is not that high! you go girl!

    • Fitnessista on January 13, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      mine isn’t either.. i have no idea how it happened

      • Amelia (Eating Made Easy) on January 13, 2012 at 11:30 pm

        It’s all about focusing on getting through one contraction at a time, right?! The pain is excruciating but you can deal with anything for 90 seconds if you know there’s an end!

  29. Meghan on January 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I don’t normally read or comment on birth stories, but I just have to say that you have one of the cutest babies I have ever seen! What an expressive, beautiful little face she has 🙂 Very well done! Congrats, and enjoy every second of your family.

  30. Sarah on January 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    She is BEAUTIFUL! Glad everyone is safe and happy. Congratulations and good luck in 2012 🙂 What a blessing!

  31. Jennifer on January 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    I love birth stories! <3 Yours is no exception! After having labor every story you hear you can totally relate with! So excited for you guys! She is precious! Enjoy every second! It goes by so fast!

  32. Electra @ on January 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Oh my goodness. There are tears in my eyes now! You’re absolutely amazing. Congratulations. I am so beyond happy for you and your new little family. You’re going to be an amazing mother!

  33. Brittany on January 13, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    I loved reading this story Gina – giving birth is such an amazing experience. I’m so happy that Olivia is here and healthy!

  34. Krystina (Organically Me) on January 13, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    This was such a beautiful story. I know women have been doing it since the beginning of time, but childbirth always amazes me. Our bodies are so wondrous and beautiful and strong.

  35. Sarah on January 13, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    lost it with “baby baby, you’re here” ! amazing story congratulations on your new family member 🙂

  36. Allie@LiveLaughEat on January 13, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    I waited until my walk to the bank to read this and tears came flooding out. I’m pretty sure the bank teller thought someone tried to mug me. Especially seeing so many family members there to cheer you on. Congrats again, Gina. That photo of Olivia smiling at you is priceless.

    • Fitnessista on January 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      thank you <3

  37. Amelia (Eating Made Easy) on January 13, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    What a wonderful story! Don’t you feel like you could do anything in the world now that you’ve had a baby naturally? That’s how I felt. (No offense to any other birthing method–since it’s not always our choice what happens anyway!) I had a lot of tearing b/c I had to get Lucy out fast too b/c her heart rate was dropping – but when they finally take a breath and stop looking so blue and you get to hold them…it’s seriously heaven!

    • Amelia (Eating Made Easy) on January 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm

      p.s. You look AMAZING. My face looked like a huge puffball after childbirth…not photos I’d want to share on my blog 😉

  38. Carly on January 13, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    I read all the time, but don’t think I’ve ever commented before..? Anywhoo, I came back for a third time to read your birth story, it is so, so beautiful, and I am so happy for you guys. There is nothing better than a beautiful baby born to loving parents! Congratulations, enjoy these first weeks!

  39. Aria on January 13, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Your birth story was amazing Gina! You are a rockstar! Soooo happy for you & your beautiful little family <3

  40. Shaina on January 14, 2012 at 1:27 am

    I sent this to my Pilot (who is currently on deployment) and he told me he got a little teary and is so excited to go through this with me in June. Thank you for sharing!!!

  41. Laura @ She Eats Well on January 14, 2012 at 1:35 am

    What an absolutely amazing story. It is so amazing what our bodies are capable of! Blows my mind. Congrats a million times.

  42. Kath on January 14, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Sheesh I teared up =)

  43. Amber on January 14, 2012 at 9:10 am

    As a looong time reader of your blog who never really comments, I just have to say…I didn’t expect to have such an emotional reaction when reading your birthing story when I got to the part about the cord being wrapped around the baby’s neck. I can’t even imagine how that felt for both you and Tom. But now your family has been blessed with a little baby girl! Congrats Gina and Tom!

  44. Heather (Heather's Dish) on January 14, 2012 at 10:08 am

    i have been in tears over how beautifully you wrote about birth Gina…i’m about 7 weeks out right now and can’t wait to just hold our little boy in my arms. i love that you said no matter how she got here you would have been fine, and i feel like i’ve just made it to that mode. i just want him to be here!

  45. Kristen on January 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Gina, what a beautiful story and what a beautiful writer you are!! As I read both Part 1 & 2, my heart was racing and I almost felt as if I was having the experience myself. I love your honesty and realness, you are truly talented:) Congratulations and best wishes as you start an incredible journey!

  46. Pure2raw twins on January 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    wow what a story Gina, you are amazing. how you did it all is truly a blessing and so happy you all are okay and healthy!!! and how cool you had your whole family there to help 😉

    loved reading this, and cannot wait for Lori to read it too. we both have been loving your family posts so much.

    love M

    • Fitnessista on January 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      thank you, friend! hope you get to meet olivia (and we can hang out!) sometime soon <3

  47. Nicole on January 15, 2012 at 12:10 am

    What a wonderful wonderful experience!! I’m so glad she’s finally here and that she was delivered by a skillful staff.
    I’m so happy for you!

  48. Jess on January 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Congratulations again. I’m so glad you had the natural birth you wanted.:-)

  49. glidingcalm on January 16, 2012 at 12:32 am

    <3 <3 <3 LOVE!!!
    thank you for sharing, Mama Gina!! 😀

  50. Laura on January 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Your story brought tears to my eyes. You look so gorgeous in the first pic of you holding Olivia – it’s impossible to tell you went through labor!!

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