A Day They’ll Never Forget: Four Moms Recount their Birth

When you’re pregnant, it’s only natural to immerse yourself in details and stories about birth. Since there’s no way to know exactly how your own birth will unfold, there’s a sense of peace that comes from reading other stories to see how others responded and managed. The following short summaries provide a quick taste of very positive experiences for four different people. As you read them, consider how these positive accounts of birth challenge the negative/scary/intense stories you’ve read and heard about birth. As you prepare for your own birth, make sure you balance your research and reading about birth with positive and less-than-positive stories, both of which are possible and realistic. 


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

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