Really, honestly, truly -- what is it like to have a baby? If you're pregnant with your first child, then this is totally uncharted territory. In between the cravings, the heartburn, and the swollen ankles, you're probably thinking towards that moment in the future when you finally get to meet your newborn with a crazy mix of emotions. It seems like it's going to fast AND too slow, all at the same time. There are so many unknowns.
Too often childbirth is romanticized -- or, on the flip side, recounted in a way that makes it sound like the plot of a horror film. I wanted to get real.
I asked Indianapolis moms to share their stories of childbirth. Honestly, intimately, straight from their hearts. The good and the bad. From all different background -- natural, epidurals, csection, planned, unplanned, and rainbows.
So if your dying to get a better idea of what to expect from the experience of childbirth, grab some ice cream (and maybe some pickles) and read on!
"At 41 weeks, I was induced at St. Vincent Carmel with Dr. Mernitz. 13 hours later, after laboring all night, Katelyn Alexandra entered the world at 8:19 a.m. on October 26, 2011. 7 lbs 10 oz and 21 inches of love. My labor was intense. I was silent through most of it. More focused than I’ve ever been in my life. Stronger than I knew. I cried with relief and happiness when they laid her on my chest. Still attached to each other before the cord was even cut. She immediately began rooting around like a little bird in a nest anxious to eat. So, I called her KatieBird."
"Holding a new child is simply breath taking."
"Holding a new child is simply breath taking, it was the most amazing experience ever. The whole world seems to stop and they become your main focus. Easton came out with his cord wrapped around his neck and needed a couple minutes to really get going so I did not get to hold him right away but when I did the tears just streamed down my face of pure amazement. Beckham was placed on my chest and I just kissed him and was in awe of the new life in front of me. Norah was my first unmedicated birth so the experience was so different and just beautiful."
"I am so afraid of labor and delivery. The pregnancy part is fine but when it comes down to it, I am always fearful that I can't do it. Which sounds silly because obviously women can do it. I don't know what it is when I'm there but I get so frightened that I shake. Grant's labor was so long and I was so exhausted. I'd been in pre-labor for 24 hours before getting to the hospital and 14 hours once in the hospital. It was rough. They threatened me with a c-section at the end and that's when I did everything I could and pushed with all my might and he made it. The labor and delivery for my twins couldn't have been any more ideal. I had been told that if I planned to try and do a vaginal birth, that I still might have to have a c-section with the second baby. It was a risk I was willing to take. And I did it. Both of them. It was perfect. 20 minutes in between the birth of my girls. I was shaking and scared but felt so empowered ! afterward. I give birth to twins!
"I was measuring ahead of schedule and was to be induced May 21st, 2008. Alex had his own agenda. At 10pm the evening before my scheduled induction I went into labor. His father and I excitedly gathered our things and headed to the hospital to welcome Alex to the family. 22 hours later I was holding this tiny person in my arms. I was captivated with just how perfect he was."
"I chose natural deliveries for both of my children with no epidural. I felt a rush of many emotions when I first held them in my arms. I felt relief that they were born safely, pride that I had endured such a challenging experience, and overwhelming love and joy that God had given me such priceless gifts."
"My son was put on my chest and I said, 'he looks like Jackie Mason!' He looked exactly like him!! My mom didn't think it was very funny. And with my daughter I stayed home until the very last moment. I was at the hospital maybe 3 hours before she was born. I went all natural and after i delivered I felt more of the rush you hear women talk about. I was just so thrilled and excited to have her."
"This is tough."
"This is tough. Our birth was difficult, and we had a near-emergency C-section. I was very weak and I couldn’t hold him until nearly 3 hours after he was born. I was in and out of consciousness. I was so grateful my husband could hold him and care for him while I couldn’t. When I finally held my little guy, everyone was anxious to get him nursing right away and I was so blurry, so I don’t really have a memory of that first moment together. That’s a loss I’ve grieved, and it is real for many, many mamas and doesn’t get much attention."
"My water broke early on a Monday morning and I had some contractions, but I wasn't sure that was what they were. I stayed home from work that day and experienced some 'trickling' through out the morning and started timing contractions. They weren't unbearable, but definitely uncomfortable. My husband came home from work late morning and we ended up going to the hospital around 3pm. We got checked in and I remember finding out the doctor on call wasn't my doctor. I was so thankful for nurse Pam, she contacted my doctor who then checked on me from home through the night and came in when it was time to deliver. (you have to love those small town hospitals) I definitely had some pain and there were moments I thought I wouldn't make it through. When it was time to push, he quickly came. He was so perfect at 6lb 15oz, cutest baby ever!!!"
"It felt like such a great reward holding him after 10 months of pregnancy."
"It was surreal! Looking into his little, blinking eyes was so sweet. The doctors and nurses let me hold him for a little while before they weighed him, and then they quickly took care of that and we had skin to skin for over an hour and I fed him for the first time. That first hour of his life was awesome. And it was really special and sweet of my husband to let me have that before he even got to hold him. It felt like such a great reward holding him after 10 months of pregnancy and labor and delivery."
"Delivering Daisy was very difficult and LONG! I was 10 days overdue, I had to be induced and 30 hours later I started pushing. I broke my epidural, my cervix came out, and I had a third degree tear. After all of that the most beautiful 8pound 14oz blonde angel was put in my arms. She promptly pooped all over me and I loved every single second of it. Everyone tells you that you fall in love instantly, but nothing can prepare your heart for the fullness you experience. My mom was in the room and to feel all the feels with her there, it was one of the most important moments of my life."
"I was admitted a week early to be induced because I was preeclamptic. I was admitted on a Saturday night and couldn’t sleep all night thinking for sure that I would dilate and have Lena right then and there. Of course …that did not happen. When I woke up in the morning, I had only dilated maybe less than 1cm. I was so upset, I started to bawl (just in time for my Mom to walk in and panic). By noon I had received my epidural and slept through all of my contractions. When I woke up at about 4:30pm, the doctor told Glenn and I that I had dilated to 9cm! The nurse asked that I did some practice pushes, but quickly told me to stop because Lena was coming! The doctor quickly rushed in and the nurses were frantically trying to get the room prepared. At 5:09pm I had my little girl on the first contraction, 3rd push. She was ready to enter this world and take it by storm!"
"Archer was a week overdue and I was induced. I would call labor a comedy of errors. After he was born, it was all a blur. I don't even remember specifics, just that in that moment, I was a changed woman."
"I have had each of my babies without medication - so hard but the best decision for me that I've ever made. And each one of the labor & deliveries were SO different. I think holding my babies for the first time always made me realize just how God feels about me. It was the first time I felt like I really knew God's love in a tangible way. "
"I was 37 weeks With Kalvin I had a pretty long labor that ended up in an emergency C-section. Every part was very amazing. He was so little and cute like a curled up little ball. Heart overwelmed the first time I held him."
"My labor and delivery was an absolute dream experience and since Lucy is my one and only child, I feel so blessed. My water broke early on March 3rd, and I went into the hospital at 11pm on the 3rd. After determining it was my water (and I wasn't just peeing on myself all day hahaha), I got hooked to Pitocin. I walked around, labored on a birthing ball, and when I hit 7 cm dilated (around 11am on March 4th), I got my epidural and relaxed a bit. Lucille Jeanine entered this world at 2:41 pm on March 4th, 2013, after 45 minutes and 15 pushes. She was 5 lbs, 12 oz and 19" of perfection. I will never forget the moment I held her. It felt like all I did wrong in the world was completely erased by this bundle of perfection. And I was incredibly blessed to do it with my mom, best friend Andrea, and my husband by my side. I also had the experience I did because of my OB, Dr. Indy Lane, and the awesome nurses at Community North Hospital. My labor and delivery was everything and more I dreamed it would be."
"With Hanu, they induced me. I had never had a contraction. With inducing, oh boy it was intense. I had wonderful people around me. Hanu, she was my communal baby. I remember my mom on the phone encouraging me. She had a full set of hair. My lil Hanu had a big head, so it took some effort. She finally came 25 hours later. When my sister held her, Hanu smiled. I was in awe and so exhausted. At the end, I was tired of pushing then this surge and determination came and I pushed, pushed so hard I popped a blood vessel in my eye. There was this little being with crazy full black hair. Love at first sight.
"July is a busy month for births. Noah, I started to have pressure waves and got ready to go to the hospital. My husband, Charlie, has been filling up the tank except this one time. We got there and I had a hypnobaby and water birth. Loved how mellow it was, and my midwives were really letting me just do my thing. I remember shouting 'come Noah.' 13 hours later, Noah arrived. Charlie and I were smitten.
"I went to get a ultrasound to check on Lucy, my third. They told me my fluid was low and need to go to the hospital to have Lucy. So I went home and packed up. Charlie and I then returned to the hospital. I was induced. I had amazing nurses. The contractions were intense. I breathed through it and Charlie helped with the hypnobaby method. After 5 hours, I was tired and hungry and hardly dilated. I felt so defeated. I decided to get an epidural. I fell asleep and got some rest. The nurse said it was time to check and asked if I felt any pressure. I was all smiles and said happily that I didn't feel a thing. Of course Lucy's head was coming out. They were rushing to get the doctor. 7 hours later, my beautiful Lucille Rose arrived. Oh she was so small and we were in love. We were already wrapped around her finger.
"I love how each experience was different. So blessed."
Both deliveries were relatively easy. With Reese I started having contractions late at night and stayed home until about 7am when the contractions were getting more regular. When I got to the hospital the nurse said, 'Your family must be exited' and pointed to the waiting room where my mom, dad and sister where all waiting! I waited to get an epidural until I knew I could not go any further on my own. That was at noon when I was dilated to six or seven. I took a nap and at when I woke up the doctor said it was time to push, it was 3pm. All of a sudden it got real! I asked for a moment to talk to Rob alone, and I told him I had changed my mind! I wasn’t ready to be a mom! I was terrified thinking that in a few minutes I was going to be completely responsible for another human being! I think he thought I was kidding. I pushed three times and at 3:08 I met my beautiful baby girl for the first time! I looked up and yell! ed 'It’s a Girl!' She looked just like her dad to me! She was pale as a baby and the nurses nicknamed her Snow White. She was perfect. I just couldn’t believe she was really mine. All my fears melted away instantly and I couldn’t imagine life without her.
Samantha’s delivery was about as different from Reese’s as her pregnancy was! The whole time, we were hoping my husband's parents could come in town from Montana to witness her birth. They were flying in on my due date, the 14th, and I prayed so hard I could keep the baby in until then! They got into town and we went to dinner, where I began to feel irregular contractions. I went to bed and woke up around 2am and knew labor was beginning. The contractions quickly got stronger and more regular, and I finally got myself, my husband and my mother in law to the hospital a little after 5am. When I got there the nurse checked me and told me I was dilated to 9. I almost died! They gave me an epidural but I was too far along for it to work. I felt the ENTIRE thing. I had envisioned this calm, loving delivery courtesy of my epidural with my mom, mother in law, husband and sister. Instead I cried the whole time and experienced the worst pain of my life! Luckily, the delivery was fast and she was born less than an hour after arriving at the hospital. When I saw her for the first time, I was SHOCKED she was a she! I thought for sure she was going to be a boy, and I couldn’t get over how big she looked! Reese was 6lb 7oz and Sammy was 7lb 14oz and looked so chubby compared to newborn Reese! But besides the extra squishiness, she looked just like newborn Reese in the face! I was exhausted and thankful she was here, safe and sound, and I couldn’t wait to introduce her to her big sister!
"I will always remember how overcome with emotion I felt holding both of my baby girls for the first time. They were both so beautiful and I instantly loved them so much. I loved the special skin to skin time we would share, as they laid on my chest under my gown. There is no better feeling in the world!"
"I had to be induced because she was a week late. I really wanted to let her come on her own time, but my doctor didn't want to wait any longer. They broke my water at 9am, started pitocin at noon & by 4:30/5, I was at a 10cm & started pushing. I pushed for almost 2 hours. I started to get a fever, which means she could get a fever and have to go to the NICU, so I told them to 'Get her out!' She was stuck on my pelvic bone so they had to use an instrument to get her out. I cried the minute I heard her cry, Daddy got worried that something was wrong with me, but I was just so happy. Tatum was so alert, just looking right into my eyes. I still remember that moment like it was yesterday. The first thing I said was that she looked just like my husband. Michael gave me the strangest look. When I later asked him why, he said it was because he was still counting all her fingers & toes, and I’m already saying she looks like him (and she does!)"
"Labor and delivery, oh man! We scheduled our date to check into the hospital and get induced. We checked in at 4pm on Sunday the 2nd of March. I had several doses of Cervidil throughout the night. At 5:40 the next morning my amazing nurse checked me and said we would wait for the doctor to come in and talk about what our next action would be. 15 minutes after she left I sat up to get up and just stretch and I thought that I had peed everywhere. I was so embarrassed! I hit the nurse button and said I think I peed everywhere! They came in and confirmed that I had infact not peed that my water had broken! After that it all seemed to rush by. We got to the pushing part and I was determined to not be pushing for a long period of time. I pushed for 40 minutes and Luna was here! All of the pictures I look CRAZY in. I actually pushed so hard I busted some blood vessels in my face. The first time they put her in my arms I just burst into tears! I have never felt such a wave of EMOTION. She was perfect from the start! I couldn’t have asked for a better daughter."
"Jonah’s birth was surreal. We waited in the area outside the operating room while they took our smiling birthmom back for the c-section. We heard his first cries down the hall and just moments later our teeny tiny bundled boy was placed in our arms. 'Would you like to hold your son?' the nurse asked. Seems like such a small question. But it was one that meant so much more to me. As I gazed at his little face and tiny eyes peeking out of a little squint, I told him how much we’ve always loved him. He was the greatest gift we could ever ask for; the answer to so many prayers. And the most tangible love from God I have ever felt. Holding Jonah for the first time felt so right. He was my son and I was never going to let him go. He made us feel so relaxed. He was so calm and confident, when we first unbundled him, he stretched out and placed both hands back behind his head like he owned the world. And he did! He was everything! He immediately healed our aching hearts. He made me a Mommy. He gave me the best gift in the world.
Henry’s birth was also an exciting birth-story. Not be out-done by his big brother, Henry arrived during the biggest snow storm of the year in the most frigid sub-zero temperatures recorded in Indiana. Two days overdue, I was so sure (and hopeful) that he was just going to be tucked away for another week. Joe had suspicions that the time was soon though. And thank goodness, because the day before he was born he shoveled two tire tracks all the way down the street in case we needed an emergency trip to the hospital. Sure enough, his instincts were right! My water broke at 2am and soon we were taking the bumpy ride to the hospital in our neighbors’ Jeep. Safely at the hospital, Henry was delivered into our warm and cozy arms. Holding Henry for the first time felt surreal. I couldn’t believe how big he was! He had the cutest fuzzy hair and made eye contact right away. His skin was perfect and he loved to be cozy against my skin. I remember thinking how much I couldn’t wait to introduce him to his brother."
"My very first pregnancy was a miscarriage at 6 weeks, I was absolutely devastated. I just kept seeing all of these pregnant women and I kept asking myself why am I not good enough, why my baby? My second pregnancy was with twins, we were completely floored, their father and I did not anticipate that at all. I was in love as soon as I saw them on that screen in the Ultrasound room. At 23 weeks I gave birth to Baby A, Evelyn. The first words the doctor said to me were 'I can see her hair honey, she's coming and I don't think she will make it.' I couldn't move in that instant, it wasn't supposed to happen like that, especially to me. My beautiful girl was born March 3rd at 8AM 1.3lbs. She fought a hard fight but passed away that evening at 15 hours old. My grief consumed me. God Bless those NICU nurses because they truly mourned with us. I remember one of them looking at me and started sobbing as she told me 'honey I am so sorry but you cant cry too long, we have to protect Aidan.' I couldn't cry for my baby, my only daughter, my heart shattered and then I felt Aidan move and I knew I had to do the best I could to protect him so I told her I loved her and I wiped my eyes. It was hard and I wept the first two mornings after her death and the nurses would rush in and calm me down immediately. Five days later Aidan was born. Unlike his sister, who did not cry at birth, Aidan was screaming at the top of his 23 week old lungs announcing his presence in this world all 1.7lbs of him. It was hard, Aidan's NICU stay has forever changed all of us close to him. While I was pregnant with Avery I had to have a cerclage placed and was monitored weekly until I passed 25 weeks. While emotionally stressful his pregnancy was a lot smoother.
"My labors were pretty easy compared to some. The twins were born natural, both times I went into labor everything progressed too quickly to do anything but literally push. I was in labor with Avery from 8am to 5pm and ended up getting an epidural but I only pushed two times and he was here."
"With Kingslee it all happened to fast. At 22 weeks I go in for a monthly check up. Only to find out I was 4cm dilated and my bag was bulging. Immediately being rushed to labor and delivery, I was put on strict bedrest with my legs in the air. Everything seemed to be going smoothly and the doctors were doing all they could do to keep her in as long as possible. But at 23 weeks exactly Kingslee was ready to be born. I had her natural, only 3 pushes and she was out crying as loud as her little lungs would let her. Four doctors, 13 nurses and 2 surgical doctors on standby, my Kings had a lot of help when she entered this world at 11:55 pm on Aug. 29, 2013. Only weighing 1 lb 2 oz measuring 11 inches, she was rushed to the NICU. After 2 long hours of waiting to hear anything about her they finally came to take me to her. She was so beautiful, so small and so fragile. The first night she did great breathing almost on her on and responding well to all the meds they were giving her, but the next night she started struggling. She stop breathing on her own and her little body started to bruise and break down. The doctor came in and told me that there was nothing medically that she could do. I couldn't make the decision to take her off the machines because she was my baby, my sweet baby girl. So at 10:50 pm on Aug. 31, 2013 I held her as she passed into Glory.
A week after she was born we had her funeral. We celebrated the 2 days she had with us, even though it was to short. She then was cremated and placed in a little urn. That day was the first day I got to bring her home. The most horrible experience but bittersweet. She now sits on the night table beside my bed so I can talk and hold her.
With Blaze, I was high risk. During the first and second trimester I made weekly and biweekly visits to the doctors office, always checking on my cervix. I was diagnosed this an incompetent cervix, having a cerclage placed at 12 weeks and receiving p17 shots at week 17 to 36 weeks. Because of these and the doctors help and of course by God's help, My Blaze stayed in. When the doctor took out my cerclage at 36 weeks, she told me I was already dilated to 1 cm so more than likely he will be born within the next week, considering my past pregnancy. Wrong! He decided to stay in the complete pregnancy. Thank God. I was induced at 7:30am on Jan. 24, 2015, and with an epidural and about 30 minutes of pushing, he was here at 4:06 pm. Weighing 6 lbs 15 oz 20 inches long. Healthy, happy and blessed beyond measure. Two days later, he was home. That was the most amazing day ever! My miracle baby."
"I was admitted to the hospital on a Thursday evening to start the induction. They gave me a few pills throughout the night that night, and Friday morning at 8a my OB came to check on me. I had already progressed far enough on my own, they didn't need to give me Pitocin after all (THANK GOODNESS!) My OB broke my water and the contractions started right away. I remember hugging the side of the bed and telling everyone in the room to not talk to me or touch me until I got my epidural. Once the epidural took, I was quite comfortable. My husband, best friend, and sister-in-law were all in the room with me. It wasn't until right before I started pushing that i got put on Oxygen. I started pushing and 45 minutes later, Ellie Grace was born. They laid her on my chest and my husband and I both lost it and cried like babies. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life and one I'll never forget. It was like my heart exploded on my chest with this new little life. After my husband cut her cord, they did all the normal stuff of checking her over. (We had NICU in the delivery room with us since she was 1 month early.) They cleared her and said she wouldn't need to go to the NICU. Again - more tears of joy! But within a few hours, that changed. Her blood sugar dropped and she wouldn't eat, so they took her up to the NICU. We ended up staying in the NICU for 11 days between her jaundice and not eating."
"My firstborn decided to arrive on his due date, a few hours before I was scheduled to be induced. When they placed him in my arms I was surprised by his red hair. I remember feeling scared, overjoyed, and exhausted at the same time. The birth of our second son was a bit more chaotic with the epidural being late and the doctor being out of the room until minutes before Wyatt arrived. When they placed him in my arms I was surprised (yet again) to see we had another ginger. The moment our oldest met his baby brother and our family of four filled my heart with joy."
So there you have it -- so many beautiful stories about what it's really like to have a baby. This is going to be one of the most amazing moments in your entire life!
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