We Met in a Bar

the birth

Monday morning, around 4:30 I started feeling… something. It didn’t feel like I thought contractions should feel like. I was expecting these ‘waves’ that would start at the top of my belly and roll down. These were more like period cramps, but were coming every 3-5 minutes so I figured I would start tracking them.

Bryan woke up around 7:00 and I told him that I thought today was the day, and showed him my contraction counter. I made myself some eggs and toast, knowing I would need protein to keep my energy up for the day ahead. One of my biggest fears was that I wouldn’t have the endurance to get through a long labor. I took a shower, did my hair and shaved my legs (what? I knew people would be all up in my stuff and wanted to make it as comfortable for everyone as possible!)

Around 9:30 I called our doula, Courtney, to let her know that things were happening. She didn’t answer so I left a message and just kept breathing through the contractions. They were still very manageable so I wasn’t too worried. Around 10:00 Courtney called back, she had just finished up at another birth and was on her way (such a rockstar!).

Once Courtney arrived we hung out a bit, breathing through contractions which were slowly getting stronger. We decided that I should get in the shower and the hot water, although it felt good, intensified the contractions by 10. About 5 minutes into it I really felt like things were happening and that it was now time to go to the hospital.

It was noon, and Bryan packed the car while I grabbed my iPod so that I could listen to my Hypnobabies early labor track. The car ride would be the only time I listened to the tracks throughout the birthing. (I will do a seperate post on my experience with Hypnobabies). I breathed through each contraction and in between laughed with Bryan about how surreal it all was. I was that pregnant woman being driven to the hospital. When we arrived a few staff members came out to greet me and I think everyone we passed asked if I wanted a wheelchair (I didn’t, sitting was not my idea of fun at the time).

After changing into a hospital gown and having 2 very uncomfortable belts put on for tracking the heartbeat and my contractions I was checked and was already at 6 centimeters (woohoo!). I was taken to my room, passed out our birth plan and put our hypnobabies sign on the door and was then left alone with Bryan and Courtney. My family came in for a minute but after watching a contraction hit they moved on to the waiting area down the hall.

The next 4 hours were the most intense and painful I have ever had. My contractions got closer together and intensified. I cried, I screamed, I made noises that I didn’t know I could make. I know I scared Bryan and I am pretty sure I was the reason the girl in the next room got an epidural. The pain, oh the pain. My family, down the hall, was in denial that it was their daughter, their sister making those noises. Yes, yes it was.

Before I knew it I was feeling the need to push. They checked me and I was only at 8 centimeters so pushing was not allowed. Yeah, try telling that to the baby. Luckily I quickly (or what seemed like quickly) progressed to 10 and it was go time. I got up on the bed, a light came down from the ceiling, stirrups appeared from no where and there was my doctor, up close and personal.

I pushed for about 45 minutes. It was the most… I don’t know how to explain it. I read that the pushing feels good. I would disagree. It feels… right. It feels like exactly what you are supposed to do. Although there was one point where I might have yelled out “This seems impossible!!” because it just feels like you are trying to take a really big poop (sorry) and then you think about the fact that you have to ‘poop’ out a baby… yeah, seems impossible. I will say that my doctor really was amazing though, she encouraged me the whole time and before I knew it I was being handed a grey crying baby boy. He was beautiful and perfect and big! He had pooped in the womb so the NICU nurses were brought in. I asked if it was okay if I held him for a while before getting checked out and the nurses were nice enough to do their check on him while he was on my chest. He hadn’t breathed any of the meconium in so we were good to go.

After birthing the placenta (weirdest feeling ever) and getting a few stitches the nurse took Declan to be weighed and for his vitamin K shot and eye goop stuff. He weighed in at a healthy 8 pounds 13 ounces and was 20 inches long. He was (and is) absolutely perfect.

I am so glad that I had him naturally, without the help of drugs. Although I can see why so many women choose the epidural (did I mention the pain??) I knew that my body was made to do this, and I proved to myself that it could.

Edit: we could not have done it without our Doula, Courtney. She was a calm voice in a room full of noise. She helped not only me, but Bryan as well. I encourage anyone wanting a natural birth to look into getting a Doula, you won’t regret it! If you live in orange county and are interested in more info about Courtney just let me know!



1 Jocelyn { 02.12.11 at 2:45 am }

nice. 🙂

2 Kristen M. { 02.12.11 at 4:53 am }

WHAT A RIDE! Thanks so much for sharing the details of your story. So thankful that, overall, things went smoothly. Thanks for being real about the pain and struggles of it. We are so glad that Declan is here!

3 mae lynne { 02.12.11 at 8:37 am }

What a great story and a happy one (besides the pain). Good job Heather I am so proud of you.
Love Auntie Mae

4 Kristy { 02.12.11 at 9:13 am }

Wow. Birth never ceases to amaze me. It’s crazy what our bodies can do! Thanks for sharing what it was like for you, and without sugarcoating it.

Hope the 3 of you are adjusting well to this new phase in your lives!

5 Davanie { 02.12.11 at 10:07 am }

What an awesome experience! Thanks for sharing. I don’t remember reading about a natural birth at a hospital before. It seems they’re usually at home or a birthing center. I’m glad yours went smoothly and that everyone is happy and healthy!!

6 Sara { 02.12.11 at 2:01 pm }

Thank you so much for sharing your birth story! So glad that you were able to keep to your plan of a natural delivery, and that your sweet little man came out as healthy as can be. You are a rockstar! and I definitely would love to hear what you thought about using Hypnobabies sometime!

7 Heather { 02.12.11 at 6:41 pm }

Congratulations! So wonderful to have been able to watch your progression through pregnancy to birth! Welcome to the world, little man 🙂

8 Aunt Michele { 02.13.11 at 8:05 am }

Thanks for sharing your experience Heather. I didn’t have an epidural either and oh my gosh, YES, the pain!! It’s crazy how we make sounds during labor and delivery that we didn’t know we could make and then after-the-fact, can’t recreate them again.
I am so very excited for you and Bryan. Your going to be great parents.

9 Sara { 02.13.11 at 8:31 pm }

i hung on every word. congratulations he is beautiful!! thank you for sharing your awesome experience with us… i havent heard of hypnobabies, it will be interesting to read your post about them. enjoy this precious time with your new little love.

10 Vicky { 02.14.11 at 4:01 pm }

Would love to know more information about Courtney!! Thanks!

11 Kimberly { 02.15.11 at 7:35 am }

Thank you so much for sharing! I love hearing birth stories!

12 Lois { 02.15.11 at 12:29 pm }

Kudos to you for going natural… what an accomplishment! Beautiful story – thanks for sharing!

13 Carlene { 02.15.11 at 2:36 pm }

What a beautiful story! So happy to read! 🙂

14 Erika { 02.16.11 at 7:17 pm }

I just had a baby girl 2/8/11. I’ve been following your blog since our pregnancies were timed so closely together. I bad an epidural, but it didn’t “take”, so it was basically a natural birth. Just had to let you know how I loved the accuracy of your birth description. Yep, the placenta felt really weird.

Congrats on beautiful baby Declan. I’m looking forward to reading your posts as a new mommy while I’m going through the same things. (She’s asleep in one arm as I type with the other…)

15 Jeremiah Klein { 03.04.11 at 1:12 pm }

Yahoo, love the story

16 Live Up Your Weekend | Catch Your Breath { 03.05.11 at 12:58 pm }

[…] to Heather and Bryan on their baby […]

17 Hypnobabies review — We Met in a Bar { 03.10.11 at 8:17 am }

[…] I mentioned in my birth story once we got to the hospital things really escalated. I forgot all about my happy place and […]

18 Kristina { 03.15.11 at 9:03 am }

Congrats heather! Isn’t it just the most amazing thing?

PS. allegedly 6 weeks can be when babies start to get extra fussy. We went through the same thing with Dashiell. Don’t despair! Things will settle down again. In the meantime, swaddle, sshhhh, get outside, etc etc.


19 ONE — We Met in a Bar { 01.30.12 at 9:08 pm }

[…] One year ago I did the hardest thing I had ever done. I felt pain that I had never felt before. I pushed myself to where I had only hoped I could go. And at 4:51 in the afternoon it was all made worth it when this little man came into the world. I would do it over and over again if it meant getting the joy of living with this little chunk of love each day. Happy birthday, Declan. It brings me more joy, love and peace to be called your mother than you will ever know. […]

20 Month 12 — We Met in a Bar { 02.08.12 at 10:12 pm }

[…] man. A year old. How did that happen? What a year it has been! I try to be real here, real about the pain, real about motherhood. The journey is different for everyone and for me it was difficult in the […]

21 The end of an era — We Met in a Bar { 04.25.12 at 7:57 pm }

[…] We hired a doula, who I knew would be there to help me if I had any questions or concerns about it after the birth. […]

22 Becoming a doula — We Met in a Bar { 06.13.12 at 8:45 pm }

[…] since my pregnancy and Declan’s birth, I have been slightly obsessed with all things birth. I loved being pregnant and I look forward to […]

23 Isla Erdene Harney — We Met in a Bar { 08.13.13 at 8:11 am }

[…] birth stories, they are just so powerful and moving! Her birth was completely different than her brothers. The only similarities were the hospital and my dream team of Bryan and my doula, […]

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