Positive Natural Birth Stories

There is nothing more inspiring that hearing of natural birth stories, especially when they are life changing. Thank you ladies for sharing your beautiful births!


Christine Glaser – St. Louis, Missouri (September 16th, 2015)

 Michael and I first learned about hypnobirthing in general after watching theScreen Shot 2016-04-03 at 2.25.43 PM.pngdocumentary series, More Business of Being Born. We knew that we did not want the typical hospital birth, and were very concerned about being just a number in a room and pumped full of unnecessary drugs to get us out the door as fast as possible. We wanted a natural birth and to have ownership over the process, but we were concerned about the safety of doing it at home. Based on what we had seen in media, we had two unappealing choices: A) To give birth with no assistance whatsoever in a cave by candlelight or B) under horrible fluorescent lighting in a loud hospital where I would proceed to scream my head off while everyone else yelled for me to PUUSSSHHHH!!! After watching the documentary series which introduced us to the concept of hypnobirthing and the countless benefits of natural childbirth in general, we felt empowered that we had more than two choices.

Thank God.

We purchased literature on hypnobirthing (The Mongan Method) and Michael and I were even more sold on the idea that childbirth didn’t have to be a scary, painful process – that by ‘rewiring’ our brains to think about pregnancy and birthing in a positive way (while also physically preparing my body for nine months with exercise and a high-protein diet), we could have a MUCH more peaceful birth than is portrayed by media in the U.S.
As luck would have it, we found out that Mercy Hospital in St. Louis offered a six-week HypnoBabies course – even better, Mike’s cousin had just taken the course a few months prior and had an absolutely lovely experience and provided us with all of the reassurance and background information that we needed (thank you, Bryanne!).

After a one hour interview process with the program leader, we were accepted into the program at about 20 weeks into our pregnancy. The course was a very large commitment, as each weekly session was four hours long with about an hour or two of additional daily homework (excuse me, homeplay!) Michael only has one day off of work a week with inconsistent hours – thus, our HypnoBabies classes became our ‘date night’ for the week. We looked forward to our HypnoBabies/Date Night which allowed us to catch up on each others lives, and also become closer together as a couple due to the partner questions and conversational prompts that Michael and I had to complete for the course.
The partner questions were my favorite part of the Hypnobabies process; they were important building blocks, as Michael would be my birth coach and discussing any fears or desires was necessary. However, many of the questions led to other discussions that we wouldn’t have had otherwise; our own childhood experiences, how we envisioned our parenting ‘roles’, how we would handle ‘x, y, and z’. Getting to know my husband on a different level was such a beautiful part of our Hypnobabies journey and it gave me confidence that we could remain solid despite his challenging work schedule.

We started the course much earlier than the other couples in the class (I think most of the women were about eight weeks further along than I was), and I would recommend going ‘early’ to anyone that is interested in the program. As much of the preparation has to do with diet and exercise, I was able to apply what we learned to about half of my pregnancy rather than learning specifics with only a couple of weeks remaining.

Though we played around with the idea of hiring a doula, we ended up asking our mothers to be our support in the delivery room. They understood our ‘vision’ completely and educated themselves on natural birthing, read all of the HypnoBabies literature, and even went to our last class with us; to say they were amazing and supportive would be the understatement of the year. We wouldn’t have had it any other way; they are both amazing caretakers, and I know Michael felt more solid having them by our sides and was reassured by strong family support on multiple occasions once our birthing time began.

On the evening of September 2nd, I began to feel pretty intense pressure in my lower back/tailbone when I was laying down on the couch; I had always thought that the pressure waves would come from my belly/uterus, so I wasn’t sure what was happening. After about a half an hour of this pressure starting and then stopping, I had Michael track the times of each wave. An hour into this process, I was 100% convinced that our birthing time had begun and that I was going to be a mommy by the end of the night. I went upstairs to check to make sure we had our bags all ready to go, I brushed my teeth, and was considering getting into the shower when the pressure stopped. Had we not been told over and over that staying at home for the majority of our birthing time would help to prevent the hospital staff from inducing labor (if we were taking ‘too long’), I guarantee you we would have gone to the hospital that night. Those Braxton Hicks are tricky tricky!…it was indeed a false alarm. These pressure sensations happened the next evening, again when I was laying down and disappeared once I got up and started moving around and going up and down the stairs.

Because of these two experiences, when I began to have the same lower back pressure in the late afternoon of September 15th, I didn’t think too much of it even though we were five days past our guess date. At about 4:30pm, I realized that there seemed to be the same amount of time between each pressure wave, so I began tracking…they were about 9-11 minutes apart. This continued for about three hours with no shortening of time between; when Michael asked if he should come home or stay at work for the evening shift, it seemed so silly for him to be with me while things weren’t really progressing and I still wasn’t 100% convinced it was ‘for real’.

At 8:30pm, my thoughts on that shifted a bit and I asked Michael to come home ASAP…we were DEFINITELY starting our birthing time . The waves had only gotten slightly closer together at this point (8-10 minutes apart), but I had gone from being able to text friends casually and check my email during waves to having to stand up, lean against something while rocking back and forth, and focus on counting down while I breathed peace in and exhaled any tension out. Thankfully, Michael was able to come home soon after I had called him, and then I hung on to him each time a wave peaked. We spent the next few hours focusing on activities to get us through the waves: we (okay, he) made cookies for the nurses at the hospital (note for future reference: there’s no real good substitute for oil in a recipe, sorry nurses!), took showers, and listened to the ‘Easy First Stage’ track on repeat. By 10pm, the waves had increased to every 6-7 minutes, though every time I tried to lay down on the couch they went back to 8-10 minutes…movement was key for my progression. Just as I was trying to convince Michael to lay down and take a nap so he would have energy for the hospital, WHAM, the contractions increased to 2-3 minutes apart (this was around 2:45am). In the span of about fifteen minutes, we had texted our parents, called the doctor, had the bags in the car, and were on our way to the hospital.
The half an hour drive seemed to take five minutes as I kept my eyes closed and listened to Easy First Stage (again) on my headphones. During each pressure wave, I breathed peace slowly in and breathed tension out even more slowly while counting down and visualizing anesthesia going to my tailbone. As we entered the hospital and walked to the correct department, I would stop each time I had a birthing wave and rocked back and forth, quietly holding onto Mike; I was determined to be the ‘Hypnobabies example’ that nurses commented on later: “Did you see that couple? They didn’t even look like they were in labor!”

After getting checked in at 3:45am, the nurse asked to give me a quick exam to see how dilated I was; she looked pretty convinced that we would be sent back home. She told us with some surprise after checking me that we were at 4 cm and were being transferred straight to Labor & Delivery. The journey was slow and steady as I walked, rocked, walked, rocked my way there between pressure waves. After we were shown our room, Michael and I quickly organized all of our birthing time tools; our wireless speaker was turned on and we began playing the Early First Stage Track almost instantly, the lights were dimmed down as low as they could reasonably go, we set up our diffuser and added our blend of essential oils, and we handed out copies of our birthing plans to our mothers so that they could review our preferences with the nurses as we got settled. While we had full intentions of taping our HypnoBabies signs to the outside of our door, Michael and I aren’t sure if this actually happened with all of the hustle and bustle. Luckily, our family was there to spread the word to anyone that entered.

We were set up in our room by 4:15am or so, and Savannah was born at 7:17am – just three hours later. It was an absolute blur…time didn’t exist and in hindsight feels like a total out-of-body experience. I had started out on all fours on the bed during my first pressure waves in the room, tried to get into using the birthing ball, but we quickly moved into the bathtub. This is where I thought we had spent the majority of our time; after reviewing pictures that my mother had taken of our birthing, it blew both Michael and I away that we were only in the tub for an hour. By this point, I was in the Transition Period and it was…intense… to say the least. I went from one pressure wave straight into the next without a pause or break in between…one big, long wave for about two and a half hours until Savannah was born. I could not help but begin pushing almost immediately once in the tub. During one large push, my water broke…rather, it POPPED like a water balloon with the pressure of my push. I had NO idea what the feeling and sound was and I thought something had gone terribly wrong. When my eyes flew open with surprise, I saw a that a team of about four other people were in the bathroom with us (I had thought it was just me and Michael with others just going in and out as they checked on us).

The nurses eventually had to remove me from the tub at 6:15am because the devices that they were trying to use to monitor my progress (only 20 minutes every hour) couldn’t read correctly with the way I had positioned myself. My doctor checked to see how far I was dilated before I got out, though I told her we didn’t want to know (since the doctor had complied and didn’t announce our progress out loud, I came to find out a few days ago from my mother that I had only progressed an additional cm…she prepared herself for a VERY long morning).

After I was moved back to the bed, I instantly went into the sidelying position with a pillow between my legs and stayed in this position until Savannah was born (while grasping onto the bed handrail the entire time and Michael positioned right in front of my face). I know our speakers were on throughout our birthing with the HypnoBabies tracks in the background, but I couldn’t tell you which ones were playing; it was a comfort to hear the familiar music in the background of the tracks, though I wasn’t able to concentrate on the words. Michael, however, went back and forth between saying “Peeeaacceee” to me while using our nonverbal relaxation cues and echoing my low, oh-so-attractive cow grunting noises. To say it was a ‘quiet’ birthing would be the farthest from the truth. I had envisioned myself breathing deeply and slowly through my waves and pushing quietly as I had done during the First Stage. From the moment I had laid down on the bed when we entered the delivery room, I was VERY vocal, grunty, and loud.

Okay. Time for confession. The fact that there were no breaks in between each wave was a lot for me to handle. I was experiencing back labor, and having taken no other courses or information in aside from what was discussed during HypnoBabies courses, was not prepared to know if this was normal or not. So….I did it…I asked for ‘something’ for the discomfort. About halfway into the ‘bathtub experience,’ I was asking Michael and the nurses for ‘help’. They stuck to the birth plan as discussed and were very positive, saying that I was almost done and could handle it. By the time I was back on the bed for the second time, my ‘requests’ were a lot more eager; however, it was too late for an epidural (thank goodness), but they could offer nitrous oxide. This was not something that was discussed during our HypnoBabies courses either, so I wasn’t quite sure what would happen to me or to Savannah if I agreed. In my situation and level of discomfort, I still said that I wanted any medicinal assistance I could get (hmm…it might not have come out of my mouth quite like that at the time). This was around 6:45am. The anesthesiologist came in and told us that I would need to sign a consent form and that no one else could be in the room as they administered the gas (aside from my husband); by the time they returned at 7am, nitrous oxide ready and consent forms in hand, I couldn’t even open my eyes while bearing down and grunting my way through the pressure waves. Signing a consent form was just not going to happen…I don’t know if my hands would have released themselves from the bed handle even if I tried.

At that moment, the delivery team announced that they could see the top of the baby’s head…such wonderful, wonderful timing! As Michael dismissed the anesthesiologist and her team, they were clearly unhappy that they had prepared for no reason. I, however, am so thankful for my supportive hubby, our delivery team, and mothers for helping me put their entry off for so long that they didn’t get the chance to follow through with my request. I pushed for about another ten to fifteen minutes, mothers and Michael by my head, one nurse holding my top leg up in the air, and another OB Resident providing perineal support with a blend of olive oil and essential oils that we had provided. After my last big push, Savannah slid right out and was laid directly onto my chest. My placenta followed not even five minutes later without any assistance at all. Our doctor inspected my ‘nether regions’ and I was overjoyed to hear that I had not one tear – no episiotomy had been given and I didn’t need a single stitch (of all things, this was my biggest area of concern before our birthing time and what I had focused on during the Fear Clearing track sessions).

Our birthing plan was followed exactly line by line: the team left Savannah attached to her umbilical cord until it stopped pulsating (about ten minutes and then Michael got to cut it), they left the vernix on her, and they didn’t announce the sex of the baby so that Michael was able to do so (though the sweet grandfathers and auntie that were anxiously waiting outside could hardly stand the suspense after they heard Savannah crying!). It was fast, oh so fast, but perfect.

Though the actual delivery of Savannah had not gone exactly the way I had envisioned during my 4 months of HypnoBabies courses and homework (I was definitely louder than I had expected and canNOT believe I asked for drugs after all of that training!), I truly believe our experience went as well as it did because of our preparations. Our birthing time, from first pressure wave until Savannah was laying on my chest was 14 hours and 45 minutes. We spent eleven of those hours at home, and were only in the delivery room for 3 hours.

I used the deep breathing and counting down techniques we had learned and focused on breathing anesthesia to where I needed it during the early birthing time. Michael used our cues to coach me through the experience and didn’t leave my side for a second. Having our mothers well-versed on our birthing plan and HypnoBabies in general was one of the best decisions we have ever made; while I still don’t remember the details of what they did in the background, I felt them there with us and know they helped to direct the nursing team as well as providing Michael with emotional support.

Our baby girl came to us without the use of any drugs and was completely alert from the second she came out; she ‘pinked right up’ within minutes and didn’t come out with the typical newborn ‘squish-face’ because the delivery was so fast. The birthing plan that we wrote during our HypnoBabies course was followed to a ‘T’ and the birthing team even used the HypnoBabies language and phrases that we had been using for our entire training.

As Savannah sits here happily in her swing next to me at two weeks postpartum, both of us healthy and physically 100% back to ‘normal’, I know the exercises and protein-heavy diet outlined by HypnoBabies are to thank for that. To top it all off, the techniques I learned during our courses are not going to stop now that Savannah is born; I will continue to use deep breathing, daily affirmations, and Bubble of Peace in my daily life to help me stay balanced.

The moment I’ll remember about my HypnoBaby birthing forever? The fact that not two hours after Savannah was born, she smiled. Not even kidding. When I saw the picture that was captured of that moment, I knew that all of the long hours of classes and homeplay, counting grams of protein, falling ‘asleep’ to hypnosis tracks and listening to pregnancy affirmations every day on the way to work for four months were worth it. Our baby was alert, I was alert, we were both healthy and had gotten through the experience relatively quickly. Yes, I’d say the program worked, and I look forward to being able to internalize it even more for our next pregnancy.


Jolene Millo – Yonkers, New York (October 2nd, 2015)

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 10.35.11 PM.png“Five days after conceiving, I knew I was pregnant. I had not yet missed a period, but I was sure. A week and a half later, I cried tears of joy as my husband triumphantly held up the positive pregnancy test.  I would once again cry tears of joy at my first sonogram, when we were told we were having twins.

I talked to my obstetrician about my plans for a vaginal delivery. She explained that there were many factors that would influence my ability to deliver vaginally. Her biggest concern was that there were two babies and it was my first pregnancy. I was told all the risks, and began to feel unsure of my choice after the conversation. I continued to hope for a vaginal delivery, but didn’t feel supported and therefor did not push the issue at my doctor’s office.

As happy as my first few weeks of pregnancy were, those blissful days were followed by fear and uncertainty for the remainder of the pregnancy.  I suffered multiple bleeds, weight fluctuations between the twins, a suspected kidney abnormality of one twin, and bi-weekly perinatologist visits.  At 28 weeks, I was placed on strict bed rest for a thinning cervix.  As the pregnancy progressed, and my cervix thinned more, I just prayed my babies would be born healthy. I abandoned my plans of a vaginal delivery, and justified that as long as they’re born healthy, I will be thankful. What happened to my joyful pregnancy? I felt so out of control.

On a Friday morning, 34 weeks and 2 days into my pregnancy, I woke up in labor. My water broke at 9am and I took my time getting ready to go to the hospital.  About 45 minutes later I was bent of the sink in the bathroom crying in pain and frustration. My husband helped me into the car for the half hour drive to the hospital. On the way we tried counting the time between contractions, but it felt like the pain just kept coming without a pause. We arrived at the hospital and I was immediately taken to the OR. The doctor on call checked me and said I was fully dilated. Everything was happening so fast, and I was overwhelmed. The anesthesiologist came in and asked if I wanted an epidural. I did.

As I lay there with 15+ people in the room- NICU nurses, NICU doctors, labor and delivery nurses and the delivering doctor- I made the decision to deliver with no medication. It was the first decision I had been able to make about my pregnancy and body in a long time. I decided that I needed to maintain control of my body the one way I could, which was to deliver my babies vaginally and to do it my own way. Once I accepted the pain and birth in its entirety, I began to feel empowered. My desperation was replaced my determination. I was acutely aware of every aspect of the delivery going forward- I felt every push as my daughters head moved down the canal and her beautiful face emerged. She came out screaming! After a brief moment in my arms she was whisked away to the NICU. I wish I could have held her just a little longer.

At this point the staff realized I meant to deliver both my babies vaginally, and I was taken into a regular delivery room to deliver my son. They asked me again if I wanted an epidural for his delivery but I declined it. I delivered my tiny son 2 hours later with no pain medication.

I still don’t know exactly how to answer when people ask me how I delivered twins naturally. I think the strength came from a part of me that wanted to feel the raw emotion of the delivery. My entire pregnancy I had so few choices.  I spent more time being scared than preparing for my babies. Delivering naturally with no medication was the only thing that was truly my choice. It was my moment, and I followed my instincts.  It was the hardest thing I have ever done, and the most rewarding.  When other women who are considering natural birth ask my opinion, I tell them to trust themselves. I tell them to listen to their bodies, and not allow others to discourage them.

My story is so different (and much less glamorous) from most of the birth stories of women who choose to deliver naturally. Yet, it needs to be shared just the same. Writing this story has been therapeutic and I hope I’ve inspired at least one woman to advocate for themselves during pregnancy.  Not every woman has the choice to deliver vaginally and with no pain interventions, and I feel privileged to have had the experience.  And maybe, just a little bit, like superwoman. All of us mothers are, after all.”

Gabriela Davila BengoaSan Juan, Puerto Rico (October 13th, 2014)

11185794_10206731456593488_1156663980_nAll throughout my pregnancy I knew I wanted to have an all natural birth. No medications what so ever. However, I personally felt more comfortable being in a hospital, just in case. I prepared myself with my breathing, researching, exercising, and a healthy diet. I was 39 weeks when signs of labor began. I felt contractions at 1:00 am and knew that this was it. Once in the hospital I waited patiently until 7 am, and then my contractions got closer together. By 11 am I had my baby! What worked for me during the birthing process was focusing on one single spot in the room. I didn’t speak much, and I asked (or screamed) for my parents and husband to be as quiet as possible. There was a point when I thought I couldn’t take the pain much longer, but that’s when you really have to believe in yourself and your ability to give birth the way nature intended.

My favorite moment was when I finished pulling my baby out myself and resting him on my chest. It was truly magical. Choosing a natural birth doesn’t only benefit you with a speedy recovery, but it allows you to experience the beauty of being a woman. I was very proud of myself and in love with my baby boy.

Shereen VisserAmsterdam, The Netherlands (April 30th, 2009)

IMG_1401 (1)It all started when I got boobs for the first time in my life, hated the smell of my own perfume and decided to quit smoking after all those years completely out of the blue… I didn’t know it yet but my body did — my life was changing. Then came that cross that popped up on my pregnancy test and instantly, I was filled with so much love and joy and just the certainty that everything was going to work out all on its own, my body knew how this worked even if I was clueless.

That might sound like hippie talk to a lot of people, the same way as my choice for a home birth is perceived as a new age hobo choice to most of my co-workers and some friends but it just isn’t, it’s just my experience.

I saw my sister being born at home, I was born in the Netherlands where home births are very common and all that probably influenced me more than I believe it did but it is not the reason for my ‘chosen’ path.

When I saw my sister being born at the age of 5 I did not have some kind of revelation where I thought “this is how I’ll do it”, no way! I was grossed out and ran to the attic until that whole ordeal was over and done with. Still, when my midwife asked me on that first meeting how I wanted to deliver my baby, I hadn’t even thought about it yet because it just didn’t feel like that was a choice I needed to make, I didn’t feel like there was any other way for me… This baby would be born in the comfort of our home, my family would be there and that’s that, unless foreseeable complications were to arise, I didn’t even want to hear the word hospital.   

Now I realize that I am lucky everything went well and that that just isn’t the case for everyone but I do feel that my attitude towards pregnancy and giving birth has a lot to do with why everything went so well.

When I think about my pregnancy I can barely recall a time I was happier. I had bad symptoms like everyone else, my ‘morning’ (LIES! It does NOT just happen in the morning) sickness was terrible, I threw up everything I ate for months which for a foodie is the ultimate punishment, I gained a LOT of weight, way more than all my beautiful now pregnant friends (hint hint Jo’) and I have way too many stretch marks to show for it.

Sure, if I were to focus on all those things, focus on the vomit, the back aches, the fatigue, the way my body changed, the fact that he was 13 days overdue and I was one day away from being induced… it would probably feel like a really bad experience but that just wasn’t what stuck. I felt amazing. I was in my bubble of love and happiness enjoying every second of it, I was creating life out of nothing and I truly felt like every moment was miraculous. I never complained about any of it because I knew this was the process and that was fine with me. I’ll sound corny to those who don’t know me and that’s fine. If my friends hadn’t been there to witness this they wouldn’t have believed me either because I’m French and we LOVE to complain. I am no exception. This was so different, though…

On the big day, I had contractions most of the day. They went from bearable cramps, similar to those of a heavy period, to a really intense pain that put me in and out of a sleep-like state, another way your body helps you to cope with the pain naturally.

It was all very painful, I’ve never lied about that, but to me it always made sense somehow that in order to get something as amazing as a BABY, it’s normal to have to work for it a little…

I dealt with the pain as well as I could, I tried to relax, listen to my surroundings, focused on my mother and partner’s voices, the music my mother put on for me and just my body … I did everything I could to just accept the pain, fighting it was only going to make the process longer and more painful and at this point all I wanted was for it to be quick so it felt natural to just let it happen.

I should probably mention I didn’t go to a single childbirth class… I figured that once I’d be in pain there would be little to no chance that I’d remember those classes. Also, they very actively involve your partner which is nice but I didn’t feel like we needed that, we were already very connected and together during this experience. I also felt like this was something I was going to have to do on my own, he would be there for me in his own way and I’d probably want to squeeze his hand once or twice but that’s it. I know myself and I knew the last thing I’d want once in that much pain was to have someone talking softly in my ear and sitting behind me caressing my belly! just like when you’ve had too much to drink and think you want someone holding your hair up… you don’t! At least I don’t, I’m too proud… and I was right.

He was there and was amazing, he did everything right to me, he knew when to step in but also when to give me my space, as for the breathing, my mother is a yoga teacher and guided him through it so he’d know how to help me… they were incredible.

Once I was allowed to start pushing it took 20 minutes …. After 20 minutes all that pain just stopped and felt like a distant memory and I was given the best reward ever… holding my baby, this amazing beautiful little baby who I finally found out was a boy (the gender was a surprise, we didn’t want to know).  He was strong, healthy, and he looked at me for a split second when they put him on my stomach… I didn’t even understand what it was that I was feeling because it was so surreal… MY SON.

I can’t tell you how good it felt to be home after all that, to just climb into my own shower and have my mom warm up a home cooked meal, to have my little sister there as well (she freaked out by the way which is funny since I did too when she was born). If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I was lucky enough to not have to work for a year which is about how long I breastfed him, another amazing experience that I will cherish forever and sometimes even really miss.

So that’s my birth story… Next week he will turn 6. He’s such an amazing kid, and I know that all parents say that about their children but he really really is and I’ve always felt like it had a little bit to do with how we started our relationship from the very beginning, he was loved from the very start and was given the best introduction to life I could’ve wished for him.

My advice for anyone struggling with the choice is: do what you feel comfortable with and TRUST YOURSELF. That’s what I did, I didn’t consider what people think is right, or what others told me, or scary stories I heard or read… I just went with my gut and decided to try my best at all of it, that’s also what I’ve been doing since the day he was born… my best. As mothers that’s all we can do. Also, learn to accept and let go if things when they don’t go your way because they never really will, a lot of things went differently than what I had planned that day, for example, my midwife had to leave midway and another midwife came for the final part… I hated it but just felt like I needed to let that go because I didn’t want to be feeling anything negative during such an important moment. That was one of my first real lessons with letting go and accepting that not everything was or needed to be in my control.

Being a mother starts before your child is born. Learning to put him before yourself starts straight away but  we’re only human, we make mistakes, we’re flawed, we can be weak… that’s all fine as long as we know we’ve done all we could. Trust yourself, all the way.

Becoming Loukas’ mother has changed me in the best way. I can barely remember what mattered before him. I may have given him life but he’s the one who made me come alive.

Karen Scaramuzzo SuHopewell Junction, New York (March 1st, 2007)

When I found out I was pregnant with Chloe I decided I was going to have a natural birth to avoid the complications I suffered from having an epidural during my first labor with Johnathan. I concentrated a lot on Lamaze during my pregnancy and I found it extremely helpful during labor. I also labored for a long time at home before I went to the hospital just because I wanted to relax as much as possible before labor got too intense. I was six cm dilated on arrival to the hospital and my water broke naturally about a half an hour later. I felt every sensation which was so different from my first labor.

My favorite part of having a natural birth was being able to feel the sensation of needing to push. I remember telling the nurse that I felt like I had to push and her response was that it wasn’t time yet since I was only six cm dilated and my water hadn’t broke yet. I nodded in agreement but I knew what I was feeling and I knew Chloe was coming. I felt the sensation again of needing to push and before I could even say anything my water broke and out came Chloe’s head along with it. I pushed about three times and felt everything, but it was amazing. After Chloe was born I felt so awake and alert. I just felt like my body did what it knew it could and I had no need to recover from anything.

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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

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