I was lying in bed watching TV at 11:40 p.m. on a Saturday. My bladder started leaking, and I realized that my water had broken. My plan was to labor at home for as long as possible and head to the hospital when my contractions were 5 minutes apart for an hour. I knew it could be minutes or hours before the contractions started, so I tried to get some sleep. I had my first at 1:20 a.m. I started keeping track of the contractions, and they were all over the place. Walking helped get my mind off them, and I also used a birth ball and did squats. Around 5:50 a.m., my contractions were 4 minutes apart. My husband and I sped to the hospital. At 7 a.m., I was told that I could push. But it seemed like I was taking three steps forward and two steps back: The baby was coming farther out, but between contractions he went back in some. Finally at 7:19 a.m., Payton was born. If we have another baby, I won’t change a thing, though I will leave more time to get to the hospital!
– Chelsea Hoff, Martinez, California
Since my first labor was quick, I knew my second would be even faster. I felt contractions coming every 10 to 15 minutes. I contacted my midwife, and she told me to eat, rest, and call her when the contractions were 7 minutes apart. When they were closer, we agreed to meet at the hospital. During the 30-minute drive there, the contractions came about every 1 to 2 minutes. When we arrived, I was grateful to be out of the car; I just wanted to move. It took 15 minutes to walk from the car to the hospital because my contractions were coming about every 100 feet. When I finally arrived, my midwife checked me and told me I was dilated 9.5 centimeters. She helped me onto my hands and knees, and I was able to push my daughter out. She was born 25 minutes after we were admitted to our room. I said, Oh, I feel so much better now, and the entire room erupted in laughter. The way I felt afterward was intensely euphoric: I had so much love for my daughter.
– Bonnie Suetsugu, Meridian, Idaho
After a long hot summer, the day of the birth finally arrived. By 11:15 a.m., I was in the full throes of labor: sweating, pacing, moaning and trying to get comfortable. We called our midwife, and I was perched atop my bed, leaning over my birth ball when she arrived. She had me go to the edge of the bed in preparation for pushing. I heard a pop: My water broke. In the next minute, the head was out, and Rob and I both guided out the rest of our baby, Maggie; then our midwife slid Maggie up my belly. She was beautiful and chubby and soft. This is how birth was intended to be so personal, so moving, so simple.
– Mary Nora Gibbons, Hastings, New York
My husband, Dave, and I were watching TV at around 10:15 p.m. Suddenly there was a pop and a large gush. My doula, Randi, came over, and I spent the next 2 hours on my knees bent forward into pillows, rocking on my bed, or sitting on my birth ball, swaying my hips. At 2 a.m., we headed to the hospital. After that, all I heard was Randi’s voice, and I felt her hands pushing on my lower back, helping me feel better with each contraction. I continued sitting on the birth ball and leaning over the hospital bed. After about an hour and a half of pushing, someone said, Reach down and feel your baby! I was in my own world and knew what I needed to do. I’ll never forget that day: It changed my life and my self-image. I felt like, if I could do that, I can do anything.
– Jeanette P. Mesite Frem, Boylston, Massachusetts