First-Time-Mommy.Com Featured Birth Story: Owen (All Natural Water Birth)


Birth Story Owen

Babies Name: Owen 
Babies Sex: Male   

Due Date: 7/11/2011

Babies Birth Date: 6/27/2011
# of weeks pregnant: 38   
Type of Birth: All Natural Water Birth
Babies Stats: 6 lb.10 oz, 19 in. long   
Parents: Shannon and Andy   



  “I gave birth to Owen exactly two weeks early on Monday June 27th. The day before Andy and I took maternity photos and my work threw me a surprise baby shower. Talk about good timing!


My first contraction came at 5:45 Monday morning. I woke up feeling what I thought was a slightly more intense braxton hicks contraction. I had to focus on breathing and relaxing through it which made me wonder if was actually a real contraction. I immediately felt a huge desire to get out of bed, so I got up and just kind of walked around my bathroom for about 30 min. I had this urge to get stuff done and I couldn’t get myself to fall back to sleep. I also really wanted to wake up Andy, but decided not to so he could get some sleep before going into work. I had a few less painful contractions and then at 6:30 I had another intense one. I fell back to sleep, and at 7:30 I had another intense contraction that woke me up. I woke up Andy and told him I thought I was going into labor. At that point we both thought it might be early labor or false labor, and he decided to go into work and told me to call if anything changed. I got out of bed and started keeping track of my contractions. They were not very painful, but were coming about 5 minutes apart. I had a ton of nervous energy and I spent the day cleaning my house; vacuuming, doing dishes and laundry, packing my hospital bag etc. Every time I had a contraction I would just pace around the house and practice deep breathing. The contractions really weren’t that painful, and it surprised me that I could move through them so easily.

At about 10:00am I woke up my parents. I told my mom I thought I was in labor. She thought that maybe I was in the early stages of labor, and might have the baby in a few days or something. However, I had a feeling it was real and called my midwife. I live two hours away from the birth center so she told me I could come in and get checked if I wanted to just to be on the safe side. She also didn’t think I was in active labor since I wasn’t in that much pain and could walk and talk through my contractions. So, we got things packed up and my parents drove my down to the birth center at about 2:00pm. During the drive my contractions got progressively worse. An hour into the drive I was starting to feel a lot of pain. I got out of my seat belt and knelt against the back seat and swayed through the contractions. My mom also had me focus on her eyes and breath with her during the contractions. She was so great and really helped a lot! By this time I was starting to get panicky. I called my Andy and told him to head down to the birth center ASAP. Unfortunately everyone he worked with was at lunch so he had to wait about 30 minutes before he could even leave.


Shannon in active labor


By the time I got to the birth center I was already dilated to 7 cm. I was totally shocked! I thought that I would maybe be at 4 cm tops. The midwife warned me that I was getting into the hardest part of labor, and she was not kidding! It got really intense from there on out. I got into my birthing suite and began working through the contractions by leaning over a birth ball  while the nurse (who was also named Shannon and had red hair) showed my mom how to put pressure on my hips because my hips and back were killing me!


About 30 min later the birth tub was filled and I was able to get in. By the time I was in the tub my contractions were so intense I could barely breath through them and I was feeling exhausted, emotional and scared. I spent most of my time on my knees leaning over the side of the tub while my mom massaged my back and the nurse and midwife talked me through the contractions. I was totally shocked at how painful and intense they were. It was like nothing I would have ever expected. The feeling reminded me of vomiting, where your body just spasms so intensely with out any control, but times that by 100! At that point I was totally in my own little world. It was a very strange feeling, being so spacey and out of it. I was just overwhelmed with pain. I couldn’t even put together sentences, let alone remember any of my coping strategies or breathing exercises. Lucking I had a great team to coach me though.


About an hour after being in the birth tub I started to feel like I needed to push and the midwife checked me. I was dilated to a 9 1/2 with just a little lip of the cervix in the way. I was so happy I was so close to the end because I was beginning to feel like I couldn’t go on any longer. I was told I could start to bare down if I felt the urge. On the next contraction I had an intense urge to push and pushed a couple of short pushes through the contraction. I was shocked at how it felt to push. I thought it would make the contractions less painful but it didn’t! It was really uncomfortable to push and it reminded me of being really sick and dry heaving vomit in the toilet! I felt like there was no way that the baby was going to come out and the pressure I felt was so overwhelming and painful! With each contraction I pushed, and pushed! I was screaming while pushing and the midwife told me to put my energy from screaming into the pushing. Once I did that my pushes were super effective.


After about four contractions or so my midwife told me to reach down and feel the baby’s head! Just a little sliver of his head was poking out and it felt so weird to feel it! At that point I got extremely scared because I could see no way that that was going to fit out of my body! But, I just kept pushing and about four contractions later the head was out! The midwife assured me I was okay even though I was certain I had been split in half (it wasn’t that bad, it just felt like it!) One more contraction and his little body came sliding out! They put him on my chest and all I could do was say over and over again, OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH! He was screaming like crazy which was so reassuring!


Owen & FamilyAbout a minute later Andy finally made it to the birthing suite and came running in! I couldn’t believe he missed the birth by only a minute, but at least he was there for the first few moments of our babies life! He cut the umbilical cord a few minutes later. I got out of the tub to deliver the placenta while the nurse and Andy cleaned off baby Owen and did the APGAR score test (he scored a 9 both times).


All in all I pushed the baby out in less than 15 minutes and my labor was a total of 12 hours long from start to finish. I couldn’t believe it was so short. If I had waited a little longer to leave my house I might have had Owen on the side of the road on the way to the birth center.


We spent about six hours recovering at the birth center. I got stitched up ( I needed four stitches I think) and nursed my little son for the first time. He was such a good nurser right off the bat! He weighed 6lbs and 10oz, and was 19 inches long. He is the most beautiful little thing I have ever seen! We spent the next two nights at a nice hotel down the street from the birth center so we could be close by just in case anything happened. The next day the nurse visited us at the hotel to check on Owen and I. I was really sore and exhausted because I couldn’t sleep due to my anxiety, and breastfeeding was really painful; but Owen was doing really good.


When we finally got home I was so excited to get in my own bed and was finally able to sleep for the first time in two days. I had no idea that I would be so exhausted after giving birth and I had really bad baby blues for the first five days. It was overwhelming to be a mom at first because I had no idea what I was doing and my hormones were all over the place. On top of that, nursing was really painful for the first few days which caused me a lot of anxiety. My family was awesome and helped with the baby so much and their support was amazing. Owen and I went on to have an beautiful breastfeeding relationship for 18 months and all the of the pain from breastfeeding subsided after a week or so.


Baby OwenAll in all, despite the pain of having a natural birth, I would absolutely do it over again! I am still in amazement that my body was able to make it through and push out a human being! It will always be one of the most emotional and intense memories of my life and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything. It’s moments like those that shape us and make us who we are!” 




A big Thank-you to Shannon for sharing her story with us!


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