The Birth Interview Project consists of 17 simple questions designed to help mothers process their birth story & share it with others. All mothers are invited to take part in this project. Born out of Joy’s desire to help women discover, process and express the feelings surrounding their birth experiences, The Birth Interview Project strives to offer a platform for mothers and readers alike to share and be heard, to search and to discover, to identify and to heal, and to exhort and remember. The views and opinions expressed here are unique to each woman who takes part in the Birth Interview Project and may not always reflect the values of the blog author.
Please give a brief description of yourself, and what number baby/birth you’re sharing with us.
Hi! I am Michelle, mother of Laurel who is currently my only child. Although we are expecting another one at the end of May! My birth experience empowered me so much that I became a doula and currently I am a birth assistant at a local birth center.
What was your due date, and what was your baby’s birth date?
Due date: July 4th. Birth Date: June 27th
What is your baby’s name, and what was their weight and length?
Laurel Katharine, 8lbs 9oz and 18.5 inches long.
Please give a brief synopsis of your birth.
I woke up on a hot Saturday morning experiencing some cramping but it wasn’t bad and I just ignored the pains and went about my day. I hung out and had lunch with friends. I went to the pool and by the time I got there, the pains were getting more noticeable, but I really didn’t think anything of it. I was determined to lounge in a pool, drinking my gallon of water in the Texas heat.
By the time I got home, I had to deal with them more and by 6pm, I called my mom. She said to take a walk. I took a walk, but didn’t make it 2 blocks before I had to head back home. I called my midwife and she said to rest. I finally called my doula around 9pm because we didn’t have time to time the contractions. She arrived at 9:30pm and informed me after watching me for 5 minutes that they were about a minute to 3 minutes apart and it was time to go. I had 5 contractions on the 10 min car ride and with each one I had to lift my bottom off the seat to avoid the pressure.
I got to the center and was informed I was a solid 8cm and the only reason I hadn’t delivered yet was because my water wasn’t broken yet. We cheered. The midwife ran to get the room ready. My water broke on the way to the room and I immediately dilated to 10 and felt the urge to push. She was born after about 30 min of pushing.
What did you do to prepare for your labor and birth? Did it help?
I attended a Bradley Method series class. I read some books. I read and heard as many positive birth stories as I could. I did prenatal yoga. I trusted myself.
What did you like about your birth experience, if anything?
All of it!
What did you not like about your birth experience, if anything?
The car ride. I was in transition.
What surprised you about your contractions/labor?
I didn’t expect them to feel like menstrual cramps in the beginning! I thought the contractions would be all over my uterus like Braxton Hicks. So I ignored the cramps I had for most of early labor. When they became more regular and harder, then I started to suspect I was in labor.
In reflection, would you do anything differently, either before the birth, during or after?
I would have called my doula sooner.
What do you remember the most about your birth?
Being in the hands and knees position for most of it and rocking my way through contractions. Also how calm I was for most of it.
How was your birth experience different from what you imagined it to be like?
It really wasn’t except for the contraction sensation as I described above.
What were your immediate emotions about yourself and or your birth experience after the birth?
Relief! Shock! Euphoria! Shock! Now I have a baby, what do I do?!
How would you describe your recovery?
Good. I did overdo it on the third day and I could tell. Next time though I will spend most of recovery snuggling skin to skin and nursing. I hosted way too many guests in my first two weeks of recovery.
How has your perspective of your birth experience with Laurel changed since the first week of having her?
Not much has changed. I still feel empowered and excited about my birth experience.
Did you learn anything about yourself through this experience?
I learned I could trust my body. And that I am STRONG!
Would you recommend having a natural childbirth or medicated childbirth to other women?
Yes! If you are having a normal pregnancy and labor, then try for un-medicated. If anything steps outside the normal ranges, then don’t set in stone a natural childbirth. Set your goals and focus on having an empowered birth experience no matter what happens. I believe modern medicine has its place. The body and its physiology is so beautiful, but thank goodness for when things go outside the normal range and we have a way to help.
Any further thoughts, comments or advice you would like to share?
Not at this time.
- The Birth Interview Project | Emily’s Medically Indicated Induction w/out Epidural (thejoyofthis.com)
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- The Birth Interview Project | Kelly’s (almost unassisted) Homebirth (thejoyofthis.com)