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.
Read Michelle’s 1st Birth Interview by clicking here.
Please give a brief description of yourself, and what number baby/birth you’re sharing with us.
My name is Michelle; wife to Chris, mother to Laurel and Matilda, Midwife Assistant, Doula, Breastfeeding Educator, and former wannabe winemaker.
What was your due date, and what was your baby’s birth date?
My due date was May 28th, 2012. She came on June 2nd, 2012.
What was your baby’s name, weight and length?
Matilda Frances; 6 pounds 15oz and 19.5 inches long.
Please give a brief synopsis of your birth.
It was fast. For a week building up to the big day, I would have on/off contractions, mainly at night. So the night before she was born, I had some and then I figured when I woke up, they would go away. They did for a couple of hours, but I did have this weird pain in the crease where my leg meets my groin. I called my midwife because at times the pain was so sharp, I had to stop walking and I had never experienced pain like this. It was a sharp, twanging sensation.
As soon I got off the phone with her, my contractions started. They came consistently at 7 minutes or so, but they were short and not very hard. Just annoying. We were driving to my parent’s town to drop off my daughter so I dealt with most of those contractions in the car, in a grocery store, and at a playground. Those places offered good distractions to the annoying contractions.
Around noon, we were heading back into Austin and the contractions got a little stronger. I did this weird tapping thing with my fingers when they reached their peak. I called my midwife, she said to wait for some really strong ones and then call her back.
We made it home and I labored on my hands and knees, doing pelvic rocks during the contraction for a couple of hours. Oddly enough, whenever I started to do the pelvic rock, the contraction would go away. Then I had a couple of big ones on the toilet and I called my midwife at 2:15 pm. We agreed to meet at the center at 3 pm but at 2:25 pm, we decided to go ahead and go in. I texted her saying we were on our way and would let ourselves in if we got there early (I work there, so I have a key).
We arrived at 2:45ish and that’s when things got real. My body, deciding since we were at the center anyways, kicked it into overdrive and I started feeling tons of pressure. I ended up in the slow-dance position with my husband during most of the contractions and refused to enter one of the rooms; determined to keep watch on the door for the midwife. Apparently, she didn’t get my text and arrived at 3:00 pm. When she walked in the door, I started to cry.
We went into the room, she ran the bath water and checked me: She laughed and said I wasn’t messing around, I was a 9! Chris and I laughed because my family had missed my first birth and would miss this one as well. I got in the tub for a bit and it was relief from the pressure. I tried pushing, but like my first labor, I just couldn’t properly push in the water. I got out and took a deep breath. My midwife helped me focus and realize I was about to have a baby; I needed to slow down and catch my breath. That moment was nice.
Anyways, I got on the bed in the side-lying position (right side). The second contraction I had in that position was a huge one, I could feel it building like one feels a huge thunderstorm approaching. My water broke and I started bearing down instinctively. I could feel my daughter pass through my pelvis, I could feel her presence in every part of me. It was intense. With the next push she started to crown and crowned at the next one after that.
My midwife was very vocal and I could hear her telling me to pant, so I did and following her instructions, I grunted the rest of my daughter’s head out. There was a cord, so the MW tried to unwrap it but before she could get it, I pushed the rest of my daughter out. She was bright pink and shiny and looked right at me after a tiny, forceful cry. It was amazing.
What did you do to prepare for your labor and birth? Did it help?
I kept up with a very good diet and stayed hydrated. I really believed those things helped me to have a smaller baby, more energy, and a healthier pregnancy.
What did you like about your birth experience, if anything?
I loved pushing! I was more aware, less in a fog and the sensations were intense but not painful.
What did you not like about your birth experience, if anything?
I wish I had gotten to the center sooner so I could have been in the tub during the dilation process. I also would not have ridden a total of 2 hours in the car.
What surprised you about your contractions/labor?
The on/off again for the week beforehand really surprised me and that she was late. Also, even though the contractions were short, they were apparently doing something.
In reflection, would you do anything differently, either before the birth, during or after?
I would have insisted on going into the center on the drive from my parent’s house to my house. Then we might have stayed at the center.
What do you remember the most about your birth?
I remember all of it. I wasn’t in a fog as much this go-around. I especially remember the pushing.
How was your birth experience different from what you imagined it to be?
I knew it would be fast but I thought I would know exactly when to call and arrive at the center.
What were your immediate emotions about yourself and or your birth experience after the birth?
Triumph, joy, amazement, relief
How would you describe your recovery?
Great! I have been laying in bed, snuggling and feeding her as much as possible. My husband has been AMAZING and basically waiting on me and taking care of our oldest.
How has your perspective of your birth experience changed in the last two weeks since the first week of having Matilda?
It hasn’t. (It’s only been 2 weeks!)
Did you learn anything about yourself through this experience?
I learned that I can have a great amount of self-control and focus. And that I look to my husband for strength so much.
If you could recommend a certain type of childbirth experience, based on your own experiences, what would you recommend to other women and why?
I always recommend natural for low-risk women who show they are interested in natural childbirth and interested in informing and empowering themselves. There are some women who have no interest in doing it my way and that’s ok and they shouldn’t feel shamed for wanting that. But I do hope to inspire women to think outside the box.
Any further thoughts, comments or advice you would like to share?
Not at the moment.
- The Birth Interview Project | Michelle’s First Birth Center Birth (thejoyofthis.com)
- The Birth Interview Project | Kelly’s (almost unassisted) Homebirth (thejoyofthis.com)
- The Birth Interview Project | Emily’s Medically Indicated Induction w/out Epidural (thejoyofthis.com)