Thank you for stopping by to read the next story in our Birth Story Series. My goal in creating the Birth Story Series is three things. First, to empower women, and to change how we feel about birth. For so long I felt such fear. I want other women to feel confident in their birthing abilities, especially since I know how it feels to not feel confident. Secondly, I want to let women know that they have options. When I gave birth I didn’t know what a midwife was. I had no clue what a doula was. I want that to be different for you. I want you to know that you have choices. And finally, I want you to know this: whatever your story was, or ends up being… it’s yours. I want to demonstrate through these women’s beautiful stories that each and every birth is unique. No two stories are alike.
Disclaimer: These stories are not meant to serve as medical advice. The only person that can decide what’s right for you and your birth is you, your partner, AND your health care professional. So please consult them appropriately. I do however, want you to enjoy these stories. I cry almost every time I read them, and I’m sure you will too.

Danielle’s Birth Story

Even before I got pregnant, I always thought about having a natural delivery, and the reason sort of being the opposite of what you may expect, which was that I was more terrified at the idea of having an epidural than a birth without pain medication. The thought of a huge needle going into my back and the possible side effects from the procedure was of more concern than the pain I would endure from a natural birth, even though all I could think about were the delivery horror stories I’d heard from friends and the oh-so accurate Hollywood portrayals of women giving birth! What really helped me get to a place where I was completely comfortable with my decision was educating myself as much as I could about natural births, inductions, epidurals and cesareans and as silly as it may sound, just repeating the word “natural” a millions times over. I was fortunate to have a very smooth and healthy pregnancy, which without a doubt contributed to how I mentally prepared myself for labor and delivery.

Advocating for myself:

We considered using a doula, I even met with a few, but in the end I knew that the special relationship I have with my husband and my parents was how I was really going to get through the process. So there we were, my team of my dad, a retired cardiologist, my mom, a retired nurse, and my husband, my high school sweetheart and best friend of 18 years, all watching Game of Thrones for twelve hours while I labored at home and waited for the “okay” from my doctor to head to the hospital. We drafted a birth plan, but when we arrived at the hospital we realized we had forgotten it at home which made me feel a bit overwhelmed because I had knew this was an important part of the process as far as letting the staff know your wishes for a natural delivery.
We immediately let them know that we wanted a natural birth to avoid being hooked up to an IV and monitor if it wasn’t necessary, but it was their policy to do so in the event they were needed at any point. So right from the start, the nurses seemed to want to rush into getting me set up in the bed, advised me to stay put. It really wasn’t until we asked to speak with the doctor about the ability to walk around the room while I labored, that they seemed just a little more open to the idea, as if they were still uneasy about it even with the doctor’s permission.
It seemed odd to me, that here we were in this large labor and delivery room with space to move about and a new beautiful tub in the bathroom, and the nurses acted as though no one had ever utilized them before. My husband and I looked at each other with the understanding that from that moment on, we were going to have to be more assertive and forward with questions and our wishes, and be our own advocates. Just then, my water broke and the contractions immediately became more intense.

Active Labor:

I was in active labor for roughly 7 hours, going from 4 cm to 9 cm relatively quickly. Ironically, I never used the beautiful tub nor did I do much walking around because it was too painful to get out of bed! I tried sitting/rolling/bouncing on an exercise ball, leaning over the bed with my butt in the air, and a few other positions I thought may ease the pain, however I found that sitting in the lotus position in the bed was the only way both baby and I were going to get through it.
Throughout the 7 hours, I would say that the communication between the nurses and my “team” was comfortable. Although we got off to a rocky start, by being forward with questions while being sensitive to the fact that they may feel we were questioning their knowledge and the ability to do their job, we established quite a rapport.  With the nurses, my husband, my mom and my dad taking turns holding my hands and helping me brace myself in awkward positions as I rocked and swayed in any direction to find comfort, suddenly I felt the urge to push.
This is when the communication with the nurses started to become a little unclear. They checked my cervix which was still only at 9 cm and let me know that it was dangerous to push until I was fully dilated. So we waited, and waited, and just when I thought I couldn’t take one more deep breath or I couldn’t stay in my happy place any longer, I asked that they check my cervix again, and they wouldn’t due to the risk of infection.

Meeting our baby:

Just then, the doctor came into the room and I was prepped for delivery. At this point, we asked if I was at 10 cm, the nurses literally ignored us, told me to push, and 45 minutes later, I heard the words “Its a girl!” For me, the moment was just as they said it would be. Suddenly all of the pain was gone and as I held my baby in my arms, I felt almost paralyzed by the overwhelming feelings of happiness and this new found love for this perfect little human I had just met. Weighing 7 pounds, 10 ounces, she was as healthy and beautiful as the come.
I never did find out if I was fully dilated, and I guess in the big scheme of things I could say it doesn’t really matter now, but there is something to be said for how nervous I suddenly felt when as the patient, someone who is unfamiliar with this environment, wasn’t being informed as to what was happening by those who you trust to have your best interest in mind. I was incredibly lucky to have people by my side who are familiar with the unique environment, who understand the terminology and were able to better communicate with the nurses and doctors on my behalf. I couldn’t imagine how scary it must be when something very serious goes wrong under those circumstances.
When it was all said and done, the nurses and doctor gave hugs all around, said congratulations, and even told us how impressed and proud they were of me, because they rarely had patients who delivered naturally. I guess this came as a bit of a shock to me, but in a way it sort of explained their attitudes and approach when we first arrived. They were used to doing this a certain way, and perhaps they felt we were going to be “difficult”, which is unfortunate, and may not be the case at all, but its the only thing that makes sense to me. By the end, I feel like we won them over, I would do it again in a heartbeat and wouldn’t change a thing.


1. What was your favorite memory from your pregnancy?
 While its hard to narrow it down to just one, I will always cherish a trip to visit my best friend in New Orleans during Mardi Gras when I was 7 1/2 months pregnant. I took advantage of the fact that I still wasn’t too uncomfortable or had any kind of pains that come with being that pregnant so we had the ultimate girls weekend by indulging in way too much fried, southern cooking and even walked in a 3 mile Mardi Gras parade, something I can now check off my bucket list! I think one reason this trip is so special to me is that I can still feel how proud I was of my baby, and even of myself for that matter. Though she wasn’t here on Earth yet, I knew we were a great team and I felt like the best version of myself when I carried her. She let me eat dozens of powdered-sugar beignets without causing any grief and for that alone, I am forever grateful!
2. Did you do anything specific to prepare for your birth?
 To mentally prepare for my birth, my husband and I took a childbirth class and I read as much as possible and asked tons of questions about what a natural birth, inductions, epidurals and c-sections entail. To physically prepare, I tried to stay as active as I could without pushing myself, tried to be conscious of what I was eating, and to get very detailed, I also massaged my perineum in hopes this would avoid tearing. Needless to say it didn’t work for me…
3. Who served as your support system?
 My fondest memory of giving birth was having my parents and my husband by my side the entire time, listening to a reggae playlist that me made which now will always remind me of my daughter!
4. What is your fondest memory of giving birth? (Other than the moment where you met your baby.)
My fondest memory of giving birth was having my parents and my husband by my side the entire time, listening to a reggae playlist that me made which now will always remind me of my daughter! 
5. What advice would you give to first time moms or moms who desire a natural birth?
Some advice would be to learn as much as you can about where you are giving birth and the order in which they do things for a natural birth. Also, to remember that while you may have certain wishes and a specific plan, its important to be flexible because birth is so unpredictable and no two are the same. Lastly, to remind yourself, as difficult as it will be during contractions, that the pain you’re experiencing is your body doing what its supposed to be doing, which is a natural, beautiful thing. 


Thank you, Danielle, for sharing your beautiful story and photos. If you enjoyed reading her story, consider sharing this article so other families can find it and enjoy it too!
Thank you so much for reading!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *