Birth Stories

Below are birth stories from local women that have been shared with us at Birth Journeys. Please let us know if you would like to share your story.

I so enjoyed reading others birth stories, thanks everyone for sharing theirs!

I went into labor at 6:30 pm on Wednesday December 4th the day after my expected due date of the 3rd. I had a full day that day of going to the gym and swimming early in the morning, going to work, Christmas shopping and then going home to prepare dinner. I had just barely finished eating when I began to feel intense abdominal pains. I was unsure if it was gas or contractions, but I sat on my yoga ball and after about half hour 45 minutes decided to call Matri. Dr. Wade said it sounded like pre-labor and recommended I wait it out at home and to call her if my water broke. I decided to lay down and try to get some rest and about 10 minutes later I felt a trickle of water. I called her back and she advised us to come in as I had to start an intravenous of antibiotics since I tested positive for strep b.

We finally made it to the hospital around 10 (it took us a while to get everything together......). My contractions were slow and erratic and the doctor advised pitocin. I was very much against it as I feared it would make natural childbirth too difficult so I insisted on waiting and later asked to try a breast pump to get the contractions going naturally. We tried that twice and both times it did indeed speed up the pace only to slow down again when we stopped.

Finally around 8 the next morning the doctor insisted I start the pitocin or risk harm to myself or the baby since it had been over 12 hours since my water had started to leak. Finally I acquiesced feeling defeated and upset. It had been a long night and it was decided I should eat some breakfast before being induced. I was given pitocin at about 9:30 and I started hard and painful labor within the next hour. I labored using the yoga ball mostly and the hypnotherapy techniques trying to change positions though preferring the yoga ball. Around 12:30 I asked to get in the tub and labored there in a complete hypnotic zone for about an hour. I was in such intense pain I finally told Jon I could not cope any longer and asked for an epidural. The nurse and Kristen Werner who was at that point on call tried to talk me out of it saying I had come so far. I don't think they realized how much pain I was in as I had been so quiet. I insisted and they said I would have to get out of the tub so they could check my dilation first. It seems as if they dragged me out as I barely felt I had any strength and found I was somewhere between 8 to 10 cm dilated. They urged me to wait just a bit longer and almost immediately I feel the sudden urge to push! I pushed for 25 minutes waiting to do so only when I got the intense urges and Kai Ashten Orton was born at 2:47 pm. I had only 3 small tears and was so happy I ended up doing it naturally!

Kai had jaundice but is healthy and breastfeeding very well. He was born with a thick head full of hair! One funny anecdote from the experience was that I looked out the window of the hospital while laboring to see hundreds of UVM students running around and riding their bikes around naked around 1 am, apparently its a yearly tradition before finals.
I hope to see everyone's continued progress on Facebook and participate in a playgroup when I am stronger and feeling better.

All the best to everyone and happy new year!!
Angele, Jon & Kai

Paige Tilton was born November 2nd 2013 after 4.5 hours of pushing at 41 weeks pregnant! She was 6lbs 14ounces and 19 inches long.

Paige was brought into the world by Kristen of Maitri at FAHC with Dad by Moms side.

Due to measuring small on several ultrasounds mom was induced starting at 4pm on Friday November 1st. Contractions started around 9pm, by 3am mom was 6cm dilated and her water had broke on its own and by 6am mom was pushing. The entire staff at FAHC guided mom throughout the way, assisting her in different pushing positions as well as assuring her that she could do it! Daddy used techniques learned in childbirth class to help relieve mommys pain.

When she was born, she was placed on moms chest immediately and decided to reach other and hold dads finger... A moment that brought dad to tears. After about 20 to 30 minutes of skin to skin with delayed cord clamping she was measured and it was discovered that she was indeed the perfect little girl that mom and dad had wish for!

Thanks Genie for a great class! We learned so much that we weren't afraid of the unknown and were able to give birth in a relaxed supportive environment!

Mariann and Tyler Tilton

Caleb decided to show up early :) Caleb Nelson Gale 6 lbs 13 1/2 oz 20 inches long was welcomed into this world with loving arms Saturday Nov. 9th at 1032 am!
Scott was reading/talking to my belly as usual friday night. He told our son it was time to come out because his mommy was getting uncomfortable (I had been having edema in my ankles and headaches). A few minutes later we heard a pop (1045pm) We thought it was just him moving around but once I got up we realized it was my water breaking! It wasn't like the movies where you see a big puddle... it was small leaks every few minutes. We decided to call maitri at 1118pm. We arrived at FAHC at 1240am and I had just barely started to feel cramping aka contractions. I was thinking it would be a long night since I wasn't really having contractions yet. I was def wrong! things progressed really FAST! I used the tub, the yoga ball, soothing music, massage toy for my back and the counter pressure we learned in class =) I got to 6cm which was the first time I was even checked and was thinking i couldn't do it without medication. Scott was pretty amazing as were the rest of the staff there with me and with encouragement I pushed through and had Caleb in less than 12 hours without pain meds. Big thanks to all at Birth Journeys for helping on our journey! Made us feel empowered during our experience!


We had our little girl Simone on Sunday afternoon- 7/7/13 at 2:07 pm weighing in at 7 lbs 5 oz and 21 inches long.
I know... lucky number 7! 
Anyway, things progressed quickly for me after loss of mucus plug early Sunday morning and then it was consistent active labor until it was push time at about 12:30.
(I did get epidural at some point in there too, which was helpful For me).

Some helpful things for me that i used from class were: laboring on toilet with my head on a ball, lots of water and a supportive birth partner ;)
Anyway, enjoy those babies and maybe we'll see you at the birth journeys picnic!

Thanks ms Jenna for a helpful class!

Leah, Jon and Simone

We had out baby last night at 756 pm.  We were 6 days over due.  I ended up having to have pitocin to kick my labor into gear after 4 solid days of contractions at 5-10 mins apart.  I too got an epidural at 5 cm it was a great choice for me.  I pushed for one hour and he was born.  We are all doing well.  Can't wait to see everyone again. After the babies arrive!

I have been meaning to email you about the birth of my amazing little girl last sunday...what an awesome experience!  We welcomed a sweet little girl, Elena Marie Powers, last sunday morning.  She weighed 7 lbs 8 oz, 21 inches long and is gorgeous!  I was 5 days postdates, going along same old same old when my water broke just as I was getting ready for bed on saturday night, just before midnight.  Contractions started soon after, and came fast and furious.  We went in to FAHC and had an outstanding nurse named Amelia.  I started out at 1 cm, 80% effaced when we got there just after 1 am...labored until around 6 am when the contractions were strong and very very close...I asked for an epidural at this point and then they rechcked my cervix which was at 8cm!  I rested for an hour or so, before pushing for about an hour.  Elena was born right around 8:30 am.  It wall went so well.  Nate and I are so glad we took your childbirth class...we felt prepared and in control.  We used many of the labor positions we learned, and I spent time in the tub (though the big tub room was occupied).  Nate really felt like he understood what was going on, and was a fantastic support.  Thank you so much for helping to make our birth experience as close to perfect as one could get!

Hi everyone, 
Guess what! We had our baby girl on Thursday night. She was born safely at home and is beautiful and perfect. I was in early labor from about 2 am to 2 pm, not sure if it was going to last days or what, then things got intense from about 2-4 ish, my water broke at 3:41, and after about an hour of pushing she was born at 5:22 pm, 6 lbs 13 oz. Her name is Charlotte Margaret. 
We are so in love and are looking forward to playgroups in the near future. 
Wishing you all the best on your birth journeys ahead!

Owain (pronounced Owen) Griffith Smith was born at 10:38 am on Friday, February 1st, 2013, weighing 7 lbs 11 oz.

I started having mild cramps on Wednesday around noon, five days after my due date of January 25th. I was at a Burack Lecture at UVM with the girl I was training to cover for my position during maternity leave. We were sitting against the wall in a crowded room. I thought it would be funny if my water broke now, especially since the lecture was recorded so the whole thing would be on film.

The cramps continued all day. I left work around 3 pm and told my boss Gary that I probably wouldn’t be back the next day. We hugged and I started saying bye to people in the office.

By the time Aaron got home I was resting in bed. I told him what was happening and he started taking apart and repacking the hospital bag. Drea came over and I helped her write a bio to be a Wanderlust Wayfarer, so life was carrying on somewhat as usual. I was able to sleep pretty well that night.

Aaron took the next day off from work. We went to Penny Cluse to have a big breakfast, not knowing when our last meal for a while might be. We ran into Anastasia, the midwife from our Birth Journeys classes, and told her I might be in early labor. Just like a midwife, she wasn’t alarmed. She smiled and said “I’m so happy for you. Enjoy your breakfast.”

That afternoon we had an appointment with Jenny at Maitri. She said the cramping was a good sign and it was very unlikely I would go 42 weeks and need to be induced. She checked me out and immediately said “great exam, things are looking ready.” I was 2.5 cm dilated and 50% effaced with soft tissue. Apparently our nightly Evening Primrose Oil sessions had helped!

Before we left we did a non-stress test to see how Owain was doing. He was a perfectly mellow and happy little baby. He had been so calm throughout my pregnancy so I wasn’t surprised. We could see the contractions happening on the monitor and Owain’s reactions.

That night Aaron and I went out to dinner at the Farm House. The contractions continued and I told Aaron each time they were happening so we could revel in the fact that I might be in early labor in a crowded restaurant. It was lovely to have an evening together in total bliss, excitement and nervousness, knowing what was about to happen.

We went to bed around 10 pm that night and the contractions started to wake me up often. I kept feeling like I had to go to the bathroom so I was up a lot. Poor Drea was staying at our place that night and was confused about what was going on.  By midnight I knew I had to wake up Aaron and start timing contractions. Of course Aaron found a great iPhone app to track them so we were able to see that they were all over the place but getting stronger.  Around 1 am we called Maitri and got Kristen, the gentle-natured midwife. Aaron gave her the stats and to my surprise she said to head on in to the hospital. I had imagined that we would labor at home for a while but I guess it was time. I had a few contractions leaning over the bed while Aaron rushed around to get last minute things packed up. Eventually I vomited during one of the contractions and Aaron came rushing over with a towel. It must have been powerful because he then threw up in the towel he was using to clean up MY throw up! By now Drea was aware of what was happening and we told her we were heading to the hospital. It all felt unreal, like we had prepared so much for this moment and I couldn’t believe it was actually underway. I heard Aaron call my mom, which made it even more real. I brushed my teeth, got dressed and mostly focused on breathing through the contractions.

As we were heading out the door Drea asked us each to pull a tarot card. I was impressed that she thought of it in all the commotion. She fanned the cards out faced down and I pulled Lakshmi, goddess of Prosperity. Drea pulled Archangel Michael, the top of the card read “You can do it!” We all laughed and she said, “You should take this one with you.”

We got in the car and Aaron called his mom at 1:26 am, saying “Are you ready to be a grandmother? Then get yourself up here.” Then he called his dad at 1:50 am and Lacey at 1:51 am.  We pulled into the Emergency Room entrance and walked into the quiet hospital. Aaron calmly told the man at the desk that I was in labor. He looked at me and looked confused, probably because with my puffy coat on it was hard to tell I was pregnant. A nurse came down with a wheelchair but I told her I wanted to walk. She escorted us up to the Labor & Delivery floor.

We checked in at the desk and I signed insurance paperwork, which made me laugh on the inside because I had no idea what I was signing. Aaron made a joke that we just signed a promise to name the baby after whatever delivery nurse we got assigned. I was so happy when our nurse Amelia walked us down to the big corner room we had seen during our hospital tour, room number 5. It was a corner room with windows on two sides that over looked UVM’s campus, Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. It also had a large tub in the bathroom and I decided I wanted to be in that tub for a good portion of my labor.

Aaron set up our LED candles and the iPad with our hypnobirth tracks. Amelia filled the tub and the bathroom looked like a mini spa.

I had envisioned doing support poses with Aaron and looking into his eyes and being very alert and connected, but I found myself becoming very internal and less aware of what was happening around me. I got into the tub, the warmth felt so good on my abdomen and lower back. It helped immensely. Every time a contraction came I felt like I needed to push up out of the tub and put my hands on the edge and lean forward. I thought about experimenting with other positions but instinctively went back to this one every time.

The contractions were getting stronger and I felt like I was on some crazy drug. I had to dig so deep every time and each contraction was different. One time focusing so intently on my breath and being as still as possible would help. The next time I would need to incorporate some movement, like rocking belly dance motions.  Aaron stroked my back and when a contraction would come he would remind me to breath, to relax my jaw, to not let my low moans turn into high-pitched cries. He would repeat “ooooo-pennnnn” in a calming voice and I would try to say it with him. I couldn’t look at him or interact with him but his presence was incredibly comforting.

As things got more intense I thought about the women in the Orgasmic Birth DVD, particularly one that looked like she was in pure bliss during labor. Her body was so loose and relaxed and she moved like she was making love. I held that visual and started to move fluidly and let my head and neck flow and my hips and back sway. While it was still intense I felt like I was working with the sensation rather then trying to prevent it by tightening up. I was getting so tired that I didn’t always have the strength or focus to let go but it was amazing to experience the difference just for a moment. I understand how labor would be a different experience with that kind of surrender.

Aaron sent occasional text updates to our family members in the waiting room – Phil, Linda, Donna, Lacey, Mike, Jeanine, Drea and Bethany.

3:08 am everything is looking great, 100% effaced, 4-5cm
6:14 am All is well, she’s working hard

At some point Kathy took over for Amelia. Dr. Jenny Lowell replaced Kristin, along with a resident doctor. The sun came up and we could see the Lake in the distance and the students heading to class across campus. I found myself looking at them thinking they had no idea what was happening up here. Something about the sun was discouraging, I realized we had been at this all night. I heard Jenny saying, “It would be great if labor had a pause button, just a 20-minute break to regroup.” So true.

I had started the evening in my carefully selected labor outfit, but by this time modesty was out the window. I was naked and oblivious. Later I put on my white bathrobe, which weirdly didn’t come off until after I delivered. I’m happy to report it is somehow stain-free.

Jenny checked me and confirmed I was 5-6 cm dilated. It didn’t seem like much of a change from last time and I started to wonder how much longer I could carry on. Discussions began about breaking my water. Being in the bath had slowed down contractions so that some were 10-15 minutes apart. My team suggested walking around but every time I stood up a powerful contraction came and I would lean over something or drop to my knees over the bed. Kathy would rush over and put towels under me and remind me to rest on my elbows instead of my wrists so that I wouldn’t be sore. She also kept a monitor on my belly to keep an eye on the baby. He was doing very well.

Jenny explained that breaking my water would make contractions more intense but it would move things along and it would all be over sooner. I couldn’t imagine making the choice to make things harder.  Fortunately during that conversation my water broke on it’s own. I was standing up in the bathroom and I felt a little trickle, than a gush like I was peeing on the floor. Yay!

Aaron texted the family.

8:49 am Water broke, 7 cm things are moving now, she’s amazing

I moved to the bed. Kathy piled up a ton of pillows for me to lean over. The contractions came faster and stronger. During many of the contractions the thought crossed my mind “As soon as this one is over and I can speak I’m going to tell them that I can’t go on any longer.” I whimpered my declaration and Kathy and Aaron gently explained that I was so close and I was doing great. I didn’t have the strength to argue with them.

Suddenly during one of the contractions I got this urge to bare down, like I was trying to shove my insides out of my body. The sensation brought enormous relief. I became very vocal. Kathy knew what was happening and left to get Jenny. I pushed during the next contraction. It was just me and Aaron in the room so this made him nervous. He said “Hun, Jenny is on her way, can you wait until she gets here?” I couldn’t.

At about 9:45am Jenny and the resident came in and checked me. I don’t recall the stats but they started wheeling over tables and tools so I knew it must be time. Oh. My. God. Such relief. I knew they weren’t doing this to humor me, it was time. A few folks from Pediatrics entered the room because there had been meconium present when my water broke.

The team coached me on pushing. I held the back of my thighs and Aaron, Kathy and another young resident held my feet. It felt amazing to push, like I was taking the reigns. I would wait for the sensation, then push with all my might. I let out a dramatic grunt/scream every time, just like the movies.

Jenny and the resident used packets of olive oil, ironically the same as the City Market buffet, to massage and stretch my tissue and encourage it to stretch. I heard the term “crowning” and my heart lifted. He was coming down! Jenny told me to feel his head. I couldn’t tell what was head and what was tissue, it was all so soft and squishy. Afterwards Aaron called it “hair pudding”. Ew. I became more motivated and determined to push. Each time his head came out a little more. Now I could really see it. I would push so hard because I didn’t want him to slip back in. I started to feel like the next push could be it. Later Aaron told me my face turned purple when I pushed. I can only imagine what all this was like from his perspective.

The team cheered me on and I continued to push and vocalize until suddenly everyone started cheering all at once like a big finale and I knew he was almost out. I pushed until I couldn’t breathe and his little head slipped out, then his shoulder, then the rest of his magnificent little body. WOW!!!! He didn’t cry immediately, which was the sign for Pediatrics to step in. But Jenny held up her hand and motioned for them to wait. And we all just stared at him for what felt like forever, prayed for him to cry on his own so he wouldn’t have to be taken by the Pediatric doctors for suction (because of the meconium).  He was resting on the bed between my thighs when I heard a little shriek and then a full on baby cry. Jenny looked satisfied and waved off Pediatrics. They wiped him down and placed him in my arms.  He was blue and slimy and BEAUTIFUL. And he was ours. Aaron looked at me so proud and so exhausted. We did it. I couldn’t believe I wasn’t crying. I think I was too exhausted. They clamped down the umbilical cord and asked Aaron if he wanted to cut it. He did.

At 10:51 am Aaron texted a photo of me and Owain to the family.

Happy birthday

Owain Griffith Smith was born at 10:38 am on Friday, February 1, 2013. He weighed 7 lbs 11 oz and measured 20 inches of perfection.

After note: While Owain was resting on my chest, the placenta came out and the doctors took the time to show Aaron all the details. Most likely, more than he wanted to know. It was silvery, blue and purple. Apparently he thought it was “very cool”. They then asked us if we wanted to keep it and we both looked at each other like it would be interesting if we said yes but we declined. Maybe next time. 


Here's a not-so-short synopsis of Macy's birth :) 

I was arriving at my Zumba studio to teach my regular Wednesday evening class on 5/29 when my water broke as I got out of my car.  We were pretty surprised since it was so early!  After calling Maitri, Adam and I got our bags and went to L&D so they could confirm it was amniotic fluid, which it was.  Our birth plan basically stated that we wanted the most natural birth possible with no augmentation if we could avoid it.  

Jennie Lowell was on call for Maitri (we had not yet met her - though we had just been at the office that very day for our 36 week appointment) and she called our room to discuss the next steps.  She said because it was late pre-term labor that could have been caused by an infection (my group B strep culture had just been taken that afternoon so we didn't have results yet) they wanted to make sure my labor progressed to get the baby out of the environment sooner rather than later.  We were a little discouraged because it seemed like all the things we wanted to avoid (continuous EFM, Pitocin) were happening and I was already having contractions 1.5-3 minutes apart on my own, but our main goal was healthy baby and healthy mother.  

Jennie said had we been full term we could have certainly gone home to labor but being just shy of 36 weeks, we needed to keep things moving.  

They administered 1 milliunit of Pitocin beginning at about 10pm and we were moved to the nice birthing room with the big tub.  My mom, who had driven over from Malone, NY, had arrived and we were all trying to rest a little bit, but by 1:30am I was not able rest or sleep through my contractions.  I labored in bed for a bit and as the contractions required more focus, I moved to the birthing ball and rocked back and forth, leaning on pillows on the bed while Adam applied counter pressure to my lower back.  A nurse even complimented Adam on being a great labor coach - he really was :) 

A bit before 4am, Jennie came in and checked me - 3cm, fully effaced, and the baby was at +2 station, which explained the serious pressure I was feeling.  Contractions continued to intensify and around 5am I got into the tub.  That provided some relief and I spent a while in there - a few hours, I think - with Adam or my mom applying cold washcloths to my forehead and neck.  

Jennie checked me again around 7am and I was 5cm.  My contractions had been coming on really strong and with no breaks in between so I was sure I was further dilated, but it turns out the Pitocin had been turned up to 3 milliunits and Jennie recognized I would get tired out progressing this way so she turned it off.  I spent a bit more time in the tub until things picked up and I vomited.  I got out of the tub, used the bathroom, got into bed and the Pitocin was turned back on to 1 milliunit.  

I labored in bed for a bit and sometime around 9am or 9:30am, I went into transition.  My contractions were incredibly strong, close together, very few breaks, and double peaking.  Adam talked me through all of them and thank goodness for him - it would have been easy to ask for pain medication if he hadn't been such a great coach.  We had done a fair amount of labor rehearsal in our Bradley class and it certainly helped.  

At around 10:30am I felt the undeniable urge to push so Amy T., who had come on call that morning, came in and confirmed that yes, I was 10cm with a little cervical lip, but she was okay trying to hold it back so I could push.  I began pushing in the classic position on the bed, and then changed to having Adam sit behind me on the bed.  Once I had made a little progress, I decided to squat in hopes of really getting things moving, and that helped a lot.  Amy and her team were getting things ready for delivery and I told her I did not want an episiotomy and she said she doesn't do them.  

I continued pushing with each contraction and once Macy was crowning, I lay back to push from that position again.  After applying olive oil and doing perineal massage, Amy said I needed to deliver with the next push because Macy's heart rate was dropping when I pushed, otherwise she would have to do an episiotomy.  Amy said my perineum probably needed to tear but it was so strong (I practiced squatting a lot during my pregnancy!) that it wasn't happening.  I wasn't able to deliver Macy the next push, so Amy gave me an episiotomy and I delivered Macy with the next set of contractions and the cord was wrapped around her neck.  

They whisked her off to the group from peds to check her out.  After what seemed like an eternity, they finally brought her to me for skin to skin.  What an incredible experience!  I can't say enough great things about the nursing staff in the birthing center.  They were absolutely amazing.

After about 30 minutes and some pushing, Amy informed me that my placenta was retained and starting to detach from the cord.  She gave it another 45 minutes but was concerned about hemorrhage.  It wasn't expelling with pushing and she really wanted to avoid surgery, so Amy said she was going to go in and get it.  She and the nurses warned me it would be painful but I wanted to try without pain medication first.  That procedure was more painful than any part of labor or birth, so they gave me some Fentanyl (which didn't even really touch the pain) while Amy extracted the placenta and then went in again to make sure she got it all.  Macy did kangaroo care with Adam while this was happening.

Macy was taken to the NICU for 4 hours to get an IV for antibiotics and to be monitored.  She was treated with antibiotics since they didn't have the results of my Group B Strep culture yet and then subsequently was treated for 6 more days in the hospital because her c-reactive protein, which can indicate infection, was higher than the pediatrician wanted.  We stayed with her the whole time and came home on Wednesday, 6/5. 

Thanks for reading my story! Rachel

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