Birth Story

I have tried to shorten this post for the last 24 hours, but am having a hard time cutting anything out…so I apologize for the length of this post AND the number of pictures!!

Tuesday morning I began having light cramps and didn’t feel right.  I spent most of the remainder of the afternoon lying on the floor in our playroom while my son played.  After a few hours of menstrual-like cramps, I realized it could be the start of labor – so I started tracking them.

For the next 12 hours, I had fairly regular, albeit light contractions that got down to 6-8 min apart. My family and midwife were all on standby. I forced myself to get into bed around 11pm Tuesday night and managed a few hours of broken sleep.  Sometime around 3am (during one of my bathroom visits), I was sure that my water had broken (it was more of a slow leak). 

I woke for the day around 5am (still having contractions) and finished packing the rest of my hospital bag and my sons favorite toys and books (he was going to spend time at his Grandma’s!).  And then at 630am, the contractions just stopped.  Literally. Stopped.  I was embarrassed and bummed. Did I just spend the last 12 hours having false labor?

My midwife wanted to see me ASAP because she wanted to check if my water had broken (I would have to deliver the baby by 9pm if it had – which was ~18 hours from the time I thought it had broken).  So my husband, son, and I packed up the car with our hospital and overnight bags and headed to my mom’s – she lives 4 blocks from the hospital and midwife and my husband and son would be staying there when it was time to deliver.

My midwife confirmed that my water was leaking AND that I was 3-4 cm dilated!  Since she wanted me to deliver by early evening, she did a few things to try to jump start contractions again.

On the walk back to my mom’s house, I started having contractions.  They were 5-6 min apart and MUCH stronger.  Whatever she did to jumpstart them, definitely worked!

So I headed back to my mom’s to labor at home for a bit. My husband, son, parents, sisters, and niece were all at my mom’s – so it was easy to keep my mind off the contractions and enjoy the company!!

One last belly shot before I head to the hospitalI have the same picture before my first son was born!

With the most important ladies in my life!! I have the same picture before my first son was born!

With my mom and dad

The best distractions in the world!

For the next three hours, I stayed on my feet as much as possible at my mom’s.  With my first pregnancy, I found that the contractions were much more frequent and regular and I felt that I could handle the pain better when I was standing.  My husband and I even went for a walk back to my the midwife’s office during that time (she wanted an update, it was gorgeous out, and I wanted to keep moving).

Having a contraction (glad my sister didn't get a picture of what my face looked like!)

By 2:45pm, the contractions were 2-3 min apart and extremely intense – my cue to make my way to the hospital.  My husband and I said goodbye to our son and family and walked to the hospital.  Ever see a woman have a contraction as she is crossing the street?  It’s pretty comical – take it from me =)

Ready to go!

Last picture as a family of three!

By 3:45pm, I was checked in, examined, and brought into my L&D room.  The resident OB-GYN informed me that I was only 4cm.  Only 4cm??  Although my plan was to not use an epidural again, I really thought I would need one at this point.  I couldn’t understand how I had spent the last four hours in labor and hadn’t progressed at all.   More than anything, it had messed with my mind and my determination.

After a talk with my husband,  I decided to wait until after I was checked by my midwife (who was on her way to the hospital).  She arrived at 4:45pm and immediately checked my progress – I was already 7cm!  I felt energized and optimistic once again about not using an epidural.

One of the best parts about using a midwife was the flexibility in the labor and delivery room.  I wasn’t hooked up to any machines or IV bags and was free to walk around the room during labor.  My husband and I would walk from one side to the other in between contractions.  When one started, I would face him, hold his hands and rock back and forth in his arms.  It was extremely comforting and calming.

My family visited me briefly in the room but didn’t stay long because I was already at 9cm by 530pm.  But, of course, there was time for some pictures in between contractions!

All the girls!

Got a pic of me during a contraction...

It was time to push by 6-6:15pm.  My older sister was going to be in the room with us – just as she had done with my son.  I loved having her with me during my first pregnancy – she had already been through childbirth and focused more on what was happening down there and giving me updates/pep talks.  This allowed my husband to stay next to me, hold my hand, fan me (I was dripping with sweat). AND, the most priceless was that my sister acted as our photographer to capture my children’s first breaths of air.

The best surprise was that my mom decided to stay at the last moment.  I had spent the last few weeks trying to convince her to stay to witness one of her daughters giving birth (she had said she wanted to experience it in her life).  She had been concerned that she wouldn’t be able to see me in so much pain (which I totally understand now that I have children of my own).  My mom delivered her four daughters naturally and drug-free so this was all familiar territory for her.  Just as she were leaving the room with my other two sisters, she stopped and asked me if she should stay!!  YES!!!

The 45 min or so that it took me to push were amazing.  Having a room full of women (my mom, sister, midwife, two nurses, and resident doctor) – all who had children – supporting and encouraging me – was truly inspirational.  One of the nurses is a family friend who was also present at my first son’s birth.  Despite having just come off a long shift, she came back to be there for me!

And my husband was perfect.  He was my rock.  He gave me just enough support and words of encouragement without it feeling like it was overbearing or coddling.  And he walked away with some pretty bad scratch marks on his hands. =)

Despite everything going on and the pain I was experiencing, I felt calm.  I was surrounded by some of the most important people in my life.  They gave me the strength I needed – whether it was verbal or by looking them in the eyes during each push.  It’s something I will never, ever forget.

Ryan Thomas was born at 6:53pm.  He entered this world being greeted by his mom, dad, grandmother, and aunt (who is his godmother)…It could not have been more special.  And my other two sisters and dad were waiting just outside the L&D wing – watching my oldest son and waiting to hear the news!!

He was seconds old in this picture!

Holding my finger for the first time

My support team

Getting the news that it's a BOY!

Meeting his little brother

Enjoying some quiet time the next morning

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    40 thoughts on “Birth Story

    1. My story is the account of an entrepreneur victimized by the
      Stemberg-Romney strategy that used any means possible including bribery and infiltrating my organization in order to destroy a major competitor.
      It certainly is for Tom Stemberg, now a billionaire and Mitt Romney who cashed his way to becoming the Massachusetts Governor and, now, presidential candidate.
      It is a vicious circle that can only truly be stopped once we manage to break our dependence on fossil fuels, despite all the lobbying, the major
      auto companies and the oil producing nations – namely OPEC nations
      – who rely on oil as their main revenue, all of whom are opposed to
      reducing our dependence on oil. recently posted..matematikolimpiyati.comMy Profile

    2. Thank you for posting your inspirational birth story! I’ve shared it (as a link) in a collection of birth stories on my blog as a resource for expecting parents.

    3. Beautiful story, Michele, and I must say, you are a VISION post-labor!!! Must be all that running. 😉 You are! You look phenomenal!

      I remember the one thing I was so worried about just before we had Maddie was, is it even possible to love a second child as much as the first? Would I be leaving Maddie out? Come to find out…there’s an amazing amount of room for love in a momma’s heart. <3 (PS: I totally have baby fever…I think it's time for #3. Hee hee.)
      Melissa @ Live, Love, & Run recently posted..#weeklychase: October’s ass & some thank you’s.My Profile

    4. My Gosh, what a beautiful post! I LOVE that you took so many pictures before and during and you shared your story with us! That was so beautiful and inspiring to read!! I LOVE that you had a family of women, mom included, cheering you on. You are incredible and BEAUTIFUL!! Seriously, you are glowing, and look like you didn’t just give birth two seconds ago 😉 just sayin! Congrats again!!
      jobo recently posted..On unexpected realizations.My Profile

    5. Ohhhh I just LOVE how you were surrounded by such strong, beautiful and supportive women AND your rockstar of a husband who was there for you in just the way you needed him to be. How beautiful is this birth story?? And um, how beautiful are YOU just seconds after giving birth NATURALLY?? You are my hero. End of story. xo!
      Jess recently posted..#everytimeMy Profile

    6. Love love love the story of your birth. How great is it to deliver with midwives and a supportive family? This made me cry (I’m a little emotional right now, ha) because it reminded me of my first and hopefully will be like my second labor. My mom was with me the first time too and it was amazing to know if she could do it I could do it too!
      Congratulations again on your new son, he’s beautiful!
      Jackie@ MuscleUpMom recently posted..Blogger on the RunMy Profile

    7. oh my goodness, this made me cry in the best kind of way! congratulations a million times over! he is beautiful. you are beautiful. your FAMILY is BEAUTIFUL!!! my mom was with me for the birth of my first baby (the other two times she was babysitting!) and my sister jodi was right there with me and robert for all three. so many blessings abound! i could not be happier for you and your sweet family!! sending you lots of love!!!xxoo
      jessica (pace of me) recently posted..Winner Winner – Sparkly Winner!My Profile

    8. LOVE this birth story Michelle. I’ve been thinking about you. What an amazing family you have. I’m so glad you didn’t leave any of those pictures out. :) They are all AWESOME!!!!!! How in the heck do you look so great throughout everything? He he.
      Hugs. Hope you’re getting some rest. He is perfect. Can’t wait to see you and meet Ryan in a month.
      STUFT Mama recently posted..Give Me 10My Profile

    9. congrats! what a darling mom you are..
      love your blog and am now following you– come follow back if you’d like!

    10. Loved the story! What a beautiful labor, delivery and story! Boys are so much fun!! You look amazing too! Congrats and thanks for sharing!

    11. beautiful story, thank you so much for sharing it with us! I love all the pictures and how close you are to your family! :) and congrats on your new little boy!!

    12. What a beautiful story, Michele! I love that your family is all nearby and could be present and so supportive. And I remember how your emotions can be all over the place based on how far dilated you are… so glad things went so smoothly! You caught some awesome before and after pictures. The one of the girls hearing the news that it’s a boy is awesome! And of course, big brother checking out little brother is precious. Congrats, again!
      Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal + WiawMy Profile

    13. Love hearing your story although it reminds me that I’ve never written down the birth story of either of my boys! It is a beautiful post and I love all the pictures. You should like you were so calm and collected. I was a total mess and, as my husband like to recount, cursing like a sailor :-) Congrats again. He is beautiful. Your family is beautiful.
      Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..What I learned at FitBloggin’My Profile

    14. Thank you for posting, Michele — I actually felt as though I was right there with you too — what a precious time, sweetheart! And we are so proud of ALL of you!

      Mama G

    15. What an amazing story Michele!!! It must have been amazing to be surrounded by so many supportive people!! I do have to say it is just not fair how amazing you look in all the pictures!! I hope you are enjoying your little man more and more each day!
      Fancy Nancy recently posted.."Almost" Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

    16. Congrats again! what a wonderful experience–I am so happy for you and your family (all of you are so gorgeous!! ) and my god–pics while in the labor room and you are still radiant! I am so happy you were able to stick with your plan and all was a success! :)

    17. I love that you walked to the hospital. At Roosevelt where I delivered, the parking garage is a few blocks from the hospital. (the lot is 58th and 9th, the hosp is 58th and 10th) I didn’t want my hubs to drop me off without him, so I walked with him, in full labor with my son. I had to stop 3 times to have a contraction. CLA-SSY! And also? hilarious.
      Cat @ Breakfast to Bed recently posted..Kim Kardashian V. The VaticanMy Profile

    18. Thanks for sharing your story! You’re lucky to have all that support and love around you :) Such a beautiful baby!

    19. What a great story! You really capture the experience and I love how your family was there for you! I agree that walking during labor is the best way to get things moving! I walked up until I was fully dilated…around and around the hospital wing about a billion times! Congratulations on your new running partner!
      Alison @ racingtales recently posted..#AthletaEmbrace and InstagramMy Profile