Generation Cedar


Well, I experienced a natural childbirth for the first time after 7 medicated ones.  I had a number of reasons for choosing to go natural.

One is mainly that I just wanted to experience it.  Another is that it just seemed appealing from the testimonies of other women who had done it.  Part of me wanted to embrace the spiritual experience I heard it could be.  And partly–though I had never had any trouble from medicated births–I believe the evidence that intervention can potentially cause problems.

So I firmly planted my mind and heart and went forward.  I did a lot of mental preparation, praying and relaxation practice during my pregnancy, feeling really confident going into labor.

I expected this birth to be very fast.  My labor woke me at 3 am Tuesday morning and was on and off all day.  I was so depressed, thinking I could could go for days or weeks on that mentally torturing roller coaster.  But around 7 pm, contractions got stronger and steadily closer together.

Based on the fear of being told it’s likely I’d deliver quickly, we made the hour drive, hoping to have enough time to get settled and relaxed before delivery.  I was calm, focused and excited that the time had finally come.

No chance of that fast birth we expected.  They didn’t even officially admit us for a couple of hours because I was only at 2 cm when we got there.  The nurse said, “I’m not sure you’re in labor”…to which I replied, “WHAT??!!”  I knew what labor was and I knew I was in it 😉  She finally realized it too and admitted us.

My contractions increased in intensity but took a long time in between.  I walked which helped, but eventually I was too tired to continue walking.  I had to rest a lot which seemed to stall my progress.  I was getting really discouraged around 2 or 3 am when I was only about 6 cm, but having harder and harder contractions.  At times, there would be no *apparent* progress after laboring hard for more than an hour.

Long story short, it was tempting, at the suggestion of the nurse, to take a little pitocin to speed things up.  Especially as I watched my family grow weary with me.  It was almost a pressure to perform–like *I* was holding up progress, and I just wanted it to be over so everyone could get some rest.  This is where my husband would say, “Stop worrying about everyone else…let your body take it’s time”…isn’t he brilliant?

I wondered if they were thinking, “Why is it so important you go natural?  Why can’t you just take the meds and be done with it?”  Though no one ever hinted at such a thought…well maybe my Dad 😉 from whom I inherited my impatience.

Other than the length of the labor, I was not surprised at the experience….yet.

Around 9 am Wednesday morning, my doctor came in to check my progress.  He didn’t ask or tell me, but he broke my water while checking, so I knew things were about to pick up.

About 30 minutes later, I had two contractions that were “over the top”.  I kept waiting for that “irresistible urge to push” which was approaching, but not quite here yet.  However, I decided right then I wasn’t going to have another contraction like the last one.  I announced, “I’m pushing”.

But the doctor wasn’t there so they wanted me to wait.  “Sorry”, I said, “I’m pushing”. They scrambled around to get me ready, called the doctor, and were still telling me to wait.

At this point, the whole experience took an unexpected turn.  I don’t know if natural childbirth advocates have signed a “pact of secrecy” or what, but I was not prepared for the end.

Everything I thought I had read/heard about natural child birth indicated that the most painful part was getting through the contractions.  That the actual delivery came as sheer relief with some “pressure and a burning sensation” being the worst.

I had worked so hard on focusing and being controlled through all the contractions.  I really believe the Lord had given me grace to accomplish just that and the nurses testified to the “surprise” that I was so calm during contractions.  I fully expected I could maintain that level of control to the end, since, after all, the worst part was over.

The worst part was not over.  I lost control, I lost focus, and all my senses left me.  It was a blur.  The pain of delivery didn’t even compare to my hardest contractions.  (Am I breaking the pact, here?) The nurses and Aaron were trying to talk to me above my own voice and it was rather a mingled confusion as all I could think of was ending the pain.

The doctor was there by now and once the head was delivered, the pain peaked and then they told me to stop pushing.  I didn’t know the cord was wrapped around her neck too tightly to just slip it off as they normally would.  So at this point, I could just yell “GET IT OUT!”  I didn’t realize he had to clamp off the cord in two places and cut it before the delivery could continue.

My mother got up and left the room at this point.  She left crying and said she simply couldn’t endure it. She joined my Dad in the hall.

What little coherence I had left conceived this terrifying thought:  “I knew it!…I’m giving birth to a 15 lb. baby and it’s stuck.  I’ve got to stay like this until they do an emergency C-section!”

So the sheer panic of that thought gave me a super-charged pushing stamina and I finally delivered her.

But it wasn’t over…I had heard about the euphoria, the relief and rush that comes as soon as the baby is delivered.  But my experience was different.  I was still in agonizing pain (is this normal?)  and could not stop sobbing.  I was barely even aware when they placed Ellia on my chest.  I just cried and cried while Aaron held me.

The doctor, in fact, ordered pain meds through my IV the minute she was born.

It was completely unexpected and I’m still trying to sort through the process.  I’m glad I experienced it.  But honestly, the thoughts of doing it that way again are terrifying.

I wanted to be able to report that indeed, it was empowering, and I wouldn’t consider anything else, and I was converted to natural childbirth forever.  I want to share in that group of women who feel elated after childbirth.

But my honesty won’t let me.  I’m so in awe of those of you who have done this more than once.  I joked later that I couldn’t believe the population of the world didn’t die out before pain meds.  Maybe I’ll feel differently in a few weeks?  Months?  Someone told me I’d forget.  I don’t think so.

It is taking me some time to process the whole thing.  I feel sad that I’m so scared of it now.  I feel somewhat disappointed…not really in the experience, but more in myself, I guess.  I cried today thinking of it.   I feel almost like I’ve let the natural birthing community down because I can’t bring myself to share in the praises and elation of this natural experience.  I’m not opposed to pain…really.  I actually have quite a high tolerance.  I told my daughter before the birth..“Oh honey, they only yell and scream in the movies.”…Oops.


Nevertheless…God is good.  He gave me a beautiful, healthy daughter, and strength to bring her into the world.  It can be done.  His grace was sufficient and I give Him all glory and honor for this new, immortal gift of life.

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188 Responses

  1. just wanted to let you know that my natural childbirth experience was very similar. I remember the shock and pain I felt with each push and then the trauma of trying to process after, thinking did i actually go through that? The shock wears off but you dont forget the pain – just being honest. In fact my first was natural and she is 19, my second is 8 and I had an epidural with him. I was really afraid to go through it again. Although hubby and I have been talking about maybe another. But who knows until the time comes. Anyway, just wanted to let you know you are not alone. Enjoy your new angel and congratulations.

  2. Hey Kelly,

    Okay, I’m sorry, but I’m still chuckling as I recall our conversation the other day! So I guess you haven’t forgotten yet?? I still think maybe the cord was fighting against the dropping/ birth.

    I commend you for trying and sticking to it – I’m not sure I could’ve done it for that long. Thanks be to the Lord for my quick delivery – He knew I’d buckle if I’d had the chance (maybe).

    So glad you’re home and hopefully you’ll be back to ‘normal’ again soon. Once we get settled in, we might swing by one day and visit.

    Congrats again!

  3. Kelly,
    You really are a nut I mean this in the best kind of way.I will NEVER try to have a baby natural after reading this.THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH for telling the truth.I say next time bring on the drugs.

    I am really proud of you for going through with it.You are VERY brave.

    I would bet that cord had a lot to do with the stalled labor.She is so PRETTY.

  4. Kelly–
    I’ve had two epidurals and 1 natural birth. It isn’t a contest to see who can be the bravest or strongest. Every birth and every woman is different. I honestly loved my natural birth, but he was also born 50 minutes after I got to the hospital with no complications like yours. Good for you for trying, but don’t beat yourself up over it not being what you expected. Congratulations on a beautiful baby that would be the same baby no matter what birth experience you had! As far as brave, having 8 children is pretty far up there in my opinion! 🙂

  5. Kelly, I have not commented in a while but I just wanted to say congratulations indeed on this new addition to your family.

    Also, this is an interesting (maybe) ending to your natural birth saga. I, like you have read the testamonies about natural birth, but I have never once felt even the smallest desire to go natural. I don’t really know what to say except that God made us all different. I personally don’t believe an epidural to be immoral.

  6. Thanks for posting this Kelly. I really don’t feel so weird now for being so scared. I have done this 5 times. I cried a few times waiting on the last baby just thinking about doing it all again.

    I am crying now as I read your post. I DO feel the elation afterward. Thankful for that. But I SOOOO remember all the burning of that last pushing session…(all my pushing sessions have been short BTW) and I am more terrified to do it every time.

    What can I say?

    I’m sure the cord had a lot to do with the length of your labor.

    I am so impressed with you though. I can’t believe u stuck with it through all of that. By the time u get to the pushing it’s too late though. LOL I am always wishing I had gotten drugs when I could have. Then, I am always glad I didn’t. I guess that’s why I don’t.

  7. I appreciate your honesty and transparency! So glad that being a Christian and a woman of God has NOTHING to do with whether you have a natural childbirth or a pitocin induced, epidural birth! God is so sovereign over ALL and I am so glad for modern medicines – although I do love natural childbirth, too! I also LOVE women who love pitocin and epidurals – and GOD DOES TOO!!!! You tried and now you know that it is NOT for you! I respect you and respect that and am so glad that God gave you a beautiful, healthy baby and am sorry for all of the suffering during labor. May you continue to rest in peace. I loved reading your labor story! Don’t let Satan make you feel guilty for not “loving” it.

  8. I did mostly natural with my first (the first 12 hours and the pushing). I had a similar experience and it terrified me. I too was “looking forward to” the pushing and when it came I literally said “I quit!”. The nurse made the mistake of telling me to stop making noise, that I was wasting my energy… still makes me mad thinking about it :0) I had an epidural with my son when I got to about 6 cm and it was a great experience. Once I got the epidural my womanly area was able to relax and I went to a 10 in about an hour. Every labor is different, this I understand but I can tell you that the one with “intervention” made me feel much less dread for the next labor :0) Sometimes I wonder if people (not all, but some) don’t get drugs just for bragging rights. I will always be open to going natural as long as I feel I can “stay on top of the pain” but I am not going to exhaust myself like the first time just to say “I did it!”. So glad your new little love is here. That’s what matters :0)

  9. everyone is saying the cord may have had something to do with the stalled labor… I’ve never heard that! I don’t see how it could have anything to do with how fast you are dilating…. hmmm.

    Was the baby posterior? Did you tear badly? Maybe thats why pushing/after she was born was still so painful.

    I pushed for 3 hours and felt nothing (well, obviously I felt the contractions) until her head was halfway out (w/shoulder dystocia)… I don’t know what my deal is. lol

  10. Oh Kelly, please don’t feel bad about your experience at all!!!! God said he would greatly increase woman’s pain in child bearing and you have found it to be true. 🙂 No suprise there!
    She is BEYOND GORGEOUS and just seeing that picture makes me want another one so badly. You did great. God brought you through.

    Now….enjoy! And wait for the amnesia. 🙂

  11. Kelly,
    I had all 4 of mine natural,and I can honestly say that I did “forget” if you want to call it that.I feel so bad your experience wasn’t better:( I honestly don’t know what makes the difference,because any other time besides child birth,I am the biggest baby you will ever meet about any other pain.Can’t explain it.
    But she is absolutely beautiful:)Glad both of you are doing well.

  12. I’m a lurker coming forward to say CONGRATS! and to comment on the natural birth thing. I had my first with an epidural and hated it. I felt disconnected from the experience. I’ve had my last 6 babies unmedicated, the last 4 at home. And frankly, I’m done with the drug-free birth thing. The first “natural” birth was great, but all the rest have been more and more painful and difficult…especially my 11 lb posterior son…so if the Lord chooses to bless us again, it’s a hospital and epidural for me.
    Your daughter is beautiful. Just darling. 🙂

  13. Kelly, I’m so happy that you have your beautiful, healthy daughter. What a blessing.

    But I have to say that I can totally relate on the natural birth. I’ve had 1 completely natural (although I did receive pitocin- no pain meds though), 2 with epidurals that did not work, and one with a shot of fentanyl right before I pushed him out. I have to say my natural birth was my longest and worst, the shot of fentanyl birth being my second worst, and the epidurals, even though they didn’t work all the way, being the least traumatizing. Natural birth has been a horrible experience. I literally go into shock after the birth, my husband took video last time and I was horrified with how out of it and traumatized I was right after. During transition and pushing I throw up and can’t help but scream and go into a panic. It’s terrifying. I have never come close to experiencing whatever “euphoria” women talk about, and the pushing part is always the hardest and most painful for me too. Just wanted to let you know you’re not alone. I’m anticipating another natural birth in another 4 months (my first homebirth, I can’t stand birthing in the hospital, but gladly would if the pain meds worked for me..I’m thinking being at home will hopefully help)

  14. Just wanted to let you know that I also screamed “get it out!!!” repeatedly with my first natural delivery and when my baby was placed on my chest I didn’t want to hold her because I was still in such shock with the whole event. I must have forgot because with the next birth I decided to have a homebirth and I tried to convince my midwife to pull the baby out so I didn’t have to push any more :)My mother also had to leave because she couldn’t watch me in such pain. Thank you for being honest with your story. Childbirth IS painful, but there’s nothing like feeling that new life come into the world.

  15. So glad to hear your little one arrived safe and sound, and am impressed that you were able to keep your natural childbirth commitment through a long labor like that! The Lord is good!
    I have 7 children myself, and the first four were natural births. Each experience was unique to itself, but none of them were “short”! LOL My first, I had contractions from about 10 AM on Saturday and did not have him until shortly after 6 pm Sunday night. I had several hours Sunday afternoon with him with “double” contractions that were 10 min. or so apart. They were two contractions back to back, and they were at the top of the chart for strength from start to finish. That was tough, but the Lord saw us through! By the way, the cord was around his neck, too, and I do think that affects labor length. The baby cannot descend as well to put the pressure on the cervix like is necessary.
    My second was shorter–I think less than 24 hours! 🙂 My third was very odd–that labor lasted 2 days . . . it kept progressing, but very slowly. I would go from contractions under 10 min. apart to contractions that were 20-30 min. apart, but they never stopped, so it was NOT false labor. One of the days of labor was Thanksgiving Day! LOL
    My 4th was 10 days late, and they were going to induce me if I didn’t go into labor by the end of the weekend. I did not want that, so I took castor oil to try to start labor. Yep, crazy! Anyway, that was my fastest (and most intense pain) labor of any, and was about 17 hours start to finish. I don’t know if you tore or not, but I really think that can make a difference, too. I had an episiotomy with my first and had pain from that after. With my second, I tore, and had pain from that. With my third and fourth, I did not tear, and felt great afterwards. I was tempted to have pain meds with the first birth, but was glad I did not, and was thankful to the Lord to make it through 4 births without.

    My next pregnancy was twins, and they both turned breech by 34 weeks. I had sooooo wanted another natural birth with them, too, but the Lord had other plans as the high risk doctor would not allow it. I had a scheduled C-section at 38 weeks–the LAST thing I wanted.

    That was the Lord preparing me for my number 7 . . . I was in labor with him for several hours, and was at the hospital laboring all day. I had finally gotten to the point that they would have broken my waters shortly (which for me, usually means baby in about 2 hours), but then the baby’s hearbeat went crazy. The nurses came in and had trouble finding the heartbeat. When they did, they thought it was about 60 bpm. It was fluctuating between 60-100 bpm for almost 15 min. while they were rushing around taking me to the operating room for an emergency C-section. I was thankful then that I at least had been through a C-section before, so that in the midst of the worry over baby’s condition, I at least knew what was coming in the operating room. I was able to stay calmer because I had been through it once before.

    Now that I have had two C-sections, supposedly I will only be allowed to have C-sections for future pregnancies. I REALLY want to have VBAC anyway, but don’t know if I will be allowed. I just pray that if the Lord blesses us with another pregnancy in the future, that they will make an exception to their policy, and let me try natural birth again. To me, there are so many less risks with natural birth than with C-section.

    As far as whether you forget the pain, I guess I would say, No. However, the memories do fade enough that the Lord gives me mental strength to feel ready to go at it again! My labors are not short, and never have been–it takes me a long time to dilate, so I know it will be a “long haul.” As far as you are concerned, you may decide that this one experience without pain meds was enough, and that is fine. I have never labored with pain meds, or maybe I would choose that option also! LOL The Lord gives us sufficient grace to go through what is put in front of us . . . for some, part of that grace may just be pain meds! 🙂

    Anyway, sorry for writing a book, and congrats again to you on the latest addition to your lovely family. She is beautiful, and well worth the wait and effort. I love her name also!

  16. I’ve had two natural births. I’ve never been in it for the spiritual side of it, or for the “gold star” or anything – I’ve only done it because I believe it’s the best thing for my babies.

    My first – I pushed for 3 hours and 20 minutes after about 14 hours of labor. I slept between contractions toward the end, but I seriously think, more than a few times, I didn’t sleep but passed out instead. While in labor, the phone kept ringing in our room (it wasn’t for us), and I got really frustrated… at one point yelling, “Will someone please turn off the ringer on that d*** phone!” which shocked my (pastor) husband and Christian doctor (and me, after the fact). When he was born and cried, I seriously thought it was some other machine beeping and was about to lose my mind… until my doctor said that was my son – on my chest – crying… and it was okay to touch him.

    My daughter’s birth was much faster – shorter labor and 3 pushes – but SO MUCH more painful! When my doctor went to break my water when I was complete, the nurse stopped her because my birth plan said not to. I said, “At this point, if it will speed things up, do it. GET IT OUT OF ME!!!!” I’m thankful that, with her birth, I did recover very quickly and experienced the euphoria – even asking to take a shower 30 minutes after she was born (they made me wait an hour).

    So, I’m sorry that no one told you honest stories. But your story is actually pretty much on par with the natural birth stories that I’ve heard (and experienced personally). I’m thankful that you and your beautiful daughter came through it well.

    (And, honestly, you do forget the pain after awhile. Otherwise, there would be a world full of only child families =) )

  17. Oh Kelly, I’m so sorry it was so hard. I’ve had my six at home and I agree with you; it is pain like no other pain! Every time I have a baby I kinda think there is no way I can ever go through that again! Before our first baby was born I read books and articles talking about how it really hardly even hurt if you had the right attitude. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. (Or maybe I have just never discovered the right attitude ;-))

    Having said that, with three of ours the memory of the pain did dull and when I remember how it went when they were born it seems possible to think of doing it again. With the other three the memory took a loooooong time to dull and even now if I really stop and think about it it makes me go weak in the knees.

    I did want to mention though that I think having a natural birth in a conventional hospital is a VERY difficult thing to do and can lead to a much more painful labor and delivery. In that environment you are bucking a system that is set up for medicated births with lots of intervention. Though I have had all home births, I would be scared stiff to attempt a natural delivery in a hospital.

    To have a natural birth at home or in a birthing center with an experienced midwife can be quite a different experience altogether. (I have learned a few things that I would do diffrently even at home, but sometimes it IS going to be extra painful no matter what, no matter where you are). There are still many real benefits to avoiding all the interventions.

    Anyhow, just wanted to let you know that while I have had my babies naturally and hope and pray for more, I have also struggled with the exact same feelings you are experiencing.

    My hat is off to you for perserving through it all… and what a BEAUTIFUL baby you have.:-)

    I’ll be praying for a swift recovery for you, bothy physically and emotionally.

  18. And a quick P.S. about the cord around the neck possibly slowing down your labor. I don’t have a clue if that could have caused it or not, but our 4 year old was my fastest,easiest delivery (6 hours from start to finish) and she had the cord wrapped pretty tightly around her neck three times. So just the opposite of what you experienced! Hard to know what causes what sometimes. 🙂

  19. PPS And another note to say I sure wish I looked as good as you did after having a baby! 🙂 One would never know what you had just been through!

  20. I’m sorry that you feel a little in shock and let down. You did a brave thing, and you have a beautiful, healthy baby, which is all that really matters.

    The fact is that some women have easier, less painful births than others. It’s very hard – no, impossible – to judge what things will be like in your birth based on the experiences of others. I have a friend that says she had only about five minutes of what she would call pain during her three natural births, and that was during the pushing out part. That’s it! I have done it naturally with all four of mine, because where I live in Japan there just isn’t any other choice. To be honest, each one was painful and slightly shocking. Every time I had that unable to focus, out of control, can’t hear what anyone is saying feeling near the very end. My second was a lot worse than the first because he was posterior, and when I was pregnant with the next two I dealt a lot with fear of labor.

    In spite of all that, I would love to have another! I lost our fifth baby last October 5th, and now I feel like the memories of the labors are nothing in comparison to the pain of losing that little one. I’d do it all over in a second! Just remember that you are not a failure in any way, and you still won’t be if you decide to do things differently with number nine ;o). Blessings to you and your precious baby!

  21. Birth stories are just the best! Each one is different, every one is special.

    I had six births, all natural–two were breech, one birth was with twins, my largest was 6 and a half pounds, the smallest was 2 pounds (he’s now taller than everyone in the family and he’s only 14 years old) and they were all very quick labors. If I’d had long hard labors I’d probably want to do something different, but I think it hardly matters how we give birth. It is God who creates and gives us life and that is the important part. Hurray!

  22. Oh, I’m sorry it was hard! Don’t feel guilty at ALL, Kelly. You were SO brave and your experience with natural childbirth was one more than I’ll ever have!

    You’re not alone; I may not know much about birthing, but one thing I DO know is that it’s different for everyone. My cousin opted for natural childbirth with her first baby and did fine. My good friend opted for natural birth too and tried it for almost an entire day before she was finally forced to give up, exhausted, and accept intervention. And Beth Moore did natural birthing with HER first baby, bravely carried it all the way through, and hated it so much that by the time her second pregnancy rolled around, she actually waltzed into the hospital with a T-shirt that said “Just say yes to drugs”! I hope these comments give you a smile 🙂

  23. Kelly,
    First of all… congratulations on a beautiful daughter…was it worth enduring? What a reward for everything you went through! I always remember my doctor telling me that from an anatomical perspective, the contractions of labour should not actually cause pain but they do… I understood immediately that this was a confirmation of the truth of God’s Word but as Brenda has already mentioned, God said He would greatly increase a woman’s pain in childbirth and it is only when we actually go through this, that we understand why God said ‘greatly’! I have endured a long, painful labour and eventually accepted the epidural. I’ve also experienced 3 natural births, 1 in hospital and 2 at home and no 4 was the most memorable, 2 hours start to finish, powerful but bearable contractions and 1 push to birth my son into the hands of my husband, as the midwife did not arrive in time! And then a planned c-section for my twins who were both breech. Following each of these experiences I experienced a peace…. a supernatural peace which was from God. I felt His presence in my own home and in the operating theatre. He had a reason for allowing each experience. I feel I can now empathize with women with different birth stories. I have to say though, I am still totally in favour of natural childbirth at home, if this is feasible. I love New Zealand’s system where you choose your lead maternity carer… I always chose the midwife option! And it was all free…. my own midwife visiting me at home, a continuum of care, she even did my blood tests, no trips to the clinic. Choosing where I would give birth, writing a birth plan and having a qualified midwife who would advise us, if intervention was necessary. This model of care gave me great confidence to proceed with my plan for a natural birth. I still have trouble in understanding why women would choose to have a c-section if there were no medical indications for doing so or requesting an epidural to avoid pain before the actual experience (during a long, painful, arduous labour I can understand)as until it happens, you do not know what course the labour will take. I have heard of a woman who had a c-section, so she could have beauty treatments the day before to look good for the first photos! And a woman who requested an epidural, so she wouldn’t miss watching the cricket match on television, which happened to be on the day her baby chose to arrive!

  24. Blessings to you and your family.
    Baby is beautiful.
    You haven’t let anyone down.
    You are alive and birthed a healthy baby.
    Think on the good things.
    Your hormones are still active and can cause tears.
    Allow yourself time to rest.
    God bless,

  25. Kelly,

    Just wanted you to know that you are not abnormal at all. And you haven’t let anyone down.

    Not everyone feels “relief” at finally being able to push and it appears you got to that phase when your body was already nearing exhaustion.

    My first birth was at hospital and was pretty traumatic. With the exception of the local anesthetic for the episiotomy, it was unmedicated. Baby was over 10 pounds and had wide shoulders which got stuck after I had been pushing for quite a while. One of the nurses tried to make small talk and asked what we were hoping for and I gritted my teeth through the contraction and growled “OUT!”

    When baby finally was born, I remember uncontrollably shaking and dissolving into tears. I honestly think it is a perfectly natural reaction and can result from having a ton of adrenaline surging through your body–especially if the labor is long and hard. Once baby is out, it takes a while for levels to return to normal so there can be an immediate “rush” of intense emotion.

    Pain upon delivery could certainly have been caused by tearing. Some midwives have their clients massage vitamin E oil into the perineum for about 6 weeks before birth to help the area become more able to easily stretch. My midwife uses hot ginger compresses to warm the area so the skin will more easily stretch and she also uses olive oil on the area during the delivery as it also helps ease baby out. Some women deliver in a tub of warm water which also helps relax the muscles and ease the birth. Were any of these options were available to you?
    Also, a baby that gets “stuck” will cause more stretching and pain than one that just slips out. Please don’t feel as though *you* somehow failed because you thought the experience was unpleasant.

    I’ve never done any screaming but I do groan LOUDLY and toward the end, I always get very impatient with people around me and don’t want to be touched or talked to. Then I feel bad afterward that I wasn’t nicer even though I have been told I am surprisingly easy to work with.

    There are a lot of variables that affect labor and delivery. Every woman and every labor is unique, and you shouldn’t feel as though you have somehow failed because your experience didn’t match anyone else’s.

    Congratulations on your beautiful little blessing!

  26. Your daughter is beautiful. Don’t feel badly.I was chuckling while reading your story, not at you but at the memory of my birthing experiences.My first happened so fast I had no time for the epidural I fully planned on having.I was totally not prepared and never knew I could know such pain. My second was with epidural and so seemed easy.Third had a c-section because she was breach.Our forth was natural and again I thought I was not going to survive the pain.It was excruciating.We have had 3 more babies naturally and even though they are not pain free they have all been very different and I find that reading a lot about natural birthing before the time seems to help me mentally somewhat.I take my worries about it the God often. I have learnt to work through the pain better I think and have found that satisfying and to see that sweet face at the end always brings me a big sigh of release saying “it is done”. I don’t think I will ever go back to using pain meds during labor and delivery, but I always feel a little anxious toward the end of my pregnancies remembering each delivery and wondering what the next one will be like.
    You did well and now you can love and enjoy your new precious bundle.

  27. Oh, and as far as forgetting goes–I’ve had four completely naturally, and I still remember my first delivery and expect each one to be as unpleasant. None have been nearly so intense, but fairly soon after discovering I am pregnant, I find my thoughts drifting ahead to labor, and trying to not worry about how I will make it through.

    God has been faithful to supply needed strength but I won’t hog up any more comment space with personal experience. I am thankful for each precious soul He has entrusted to our care.

  28. Hi Kelly,
    I just found your blog and it is a blessing to read about your birth. Last summer I had a natural childbirth and I will not choose to go through it again if the Lord blesses us with more children. The pushing and delivery were far worse than the contractions. After my baby was delivered the aftermath was even worse! I did have to have pain meds following delivery. My placenta was retained and I started bleeding excessively. The process of pulling the placenta out was excruciating beyond words!!!!! It would not have felt nearly this bad if I would have had an epidural. My midwife did say that women who have multiple natural births don’t have births as difficult as mine. I have a very high pain tolerance but the experience was far worse than anything I have ever experienced. God has always spoken to me in a symbolic/ prophetic way about each of my birth experiences. I pray He will continue to give You His revelation and Word about this birthing experience.

  29. Congratulations on your precious arrival!

    My Mom had natural births up to #5 and he was 10lb. 14oz. So the next 3 she induced and the last one was only 7lb. 14oz. Sometimes you just have to do the meds…


  30. I do wonder, Mrs Kelly, if it has to do with the environment. I might just be strange (lol) but I have never thought of a hospital birth as a “natural” birth with or without medication, which is why personally I’ve had home births. I don’t think it’s natural to be constantly bugged to take meds, to be told not to eat (I always eat in labour and it helps my strength to be renewed), to constantly be “checked” for dilation, to have an IV, etc. So I wonder if the environment in which you gave birth contributed to the negative experience.

    I don’t tell women that it doesn’t hurt…because it does…particularly my last one which I still haven’t forgotten…he was posterior and that HURT!!! But I do think it was worth it. I’m sorry you didn’t have a good experience, but let me tell you, the pain, for me, IS definitely part of it. I know of some women who honestly say they felt no real pain, and I guess I believe them, but that’s not been my experience either.

    The important thing is to not beat yourself up about the pain or anything else, as you now have a beautiful daughter. In my opinion, natural home birth is the only way to go unless there is an emergency, but, every woman has a choice and she has the right to make that choice how she sees fit. I actually feel sorry for the women whose husbands won’t let them have natural home births (like the husband is the one delivering the baby or something lol).


    Wow. I can’t believe some of you ladies are saying that those of us who do natural births “aren’t honest” just because someone else could not handle it. We are being honest. My last one hurt like the dickens and was posterior and broke my tailbone and he was still worth it and I’m still glad I wasn’t at some hospital being put under pressure to do things we didn’t want. You other women can have medicated births if you want to, but do NOT accuse those of us who don’t as being “dishonest” just because YOU don’t want to do it.

    Also, ladies, having a baby without an epidural does NOT make a woman “brave”! It is a natural and normal thing! God Himself said there would be pain in childbirth. I’ve had two unmedicated home births and planning another one, and I don’t think of myself as brave or special because of it.

  31. Wow…I am loving these stories! I have laughed (the Beth Moore thing–that’s just like her! LOL!), I have cried, and hearing from others is just what I needed to help me process my experience. Since Ellia’s birth, I have felt a strong need to talk over this thing with other women and get different perspectives. It’s weird that I haven’t felt the sense of “Well, it’s over…nuff said.” But rather I think about it constantly, hashing over my own perspectives and deeply needing to hear that of other women.

    So, THANK YOU for being willing to share and encourage as you have.

    One note about homebirth…while it is possible to get a midwife in my state, it is not actually legal and therefore, quite difficult. And honestly I think being at a hospital made me feel more relaxed as I did not have the extra worry of “what if” to think about. Our hospital was wonderful about a quiet environment (the nurses were so excellent about whispering and being quiet), keeping lights low, etc. And no more pressure of intervention once the shift changed to the natural birth instructor. So, I’m glad I was there.

    I’m just processing through the reality that I *know* the pain of birthing is natural and therefore not really comparable to the pain of sickness and disease that we try to avoid. I don’t hold those things equal anymore, though once I did. So, I’m asking the Lord, “since I know you gave this increase in pain, is it wrong to try to avert it, just because I don’t want to endure it?” And that’s where I am.

    Off to nurse my baby while the house is quiet with everyone at church.

    I love you all so much!

  32. P.S.

    For those of you “jealous” over my appearance after birth…I should really do you a favor and take a picture this morning. I woke up and scared myself in the mirror. I look like I aged 10 years overnight. I always “puff up” when my milk comes in. The lack of sleep has caused enormous bags under my eyes, my eyelids are swollen down onto my eyelashes, and my cheeks resemble a small droopy-faced bulldog. How’s that for post-delivery glamor 🙂 LOL! Oh and another weird thing while I’m being so transparent…I snore something awful after I come home–every baby. My husband can’t sleep with me. So I also can barely talk from being so hoarse. Yep, I look/sound like and old woman who is a heavy smoker.

    “I beseech you, therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice…”

    I hope the humor doesn’t discourage motherhood in any way…this is a light and temporary affliction, not worthy to be compared with the glorious blessing in my arms!

  33. Mrs Kelly, it is sad when states make home birthing illegal. Since you had an experience that was disappointing to you, I think it’s important to talk about it. Good for you!

    I just wanted to weigh in on my personal opinion of the question you asked above…if God designed the pain in childbirth, should we try to get away from it? My answer is no.

    We say we believe in wifely submission because of the very same verse that talks about pain in childbirth, so it is a mystery to me why we embrace one and try to get out of the other aspect of our curse.

  34. Bless your heart; your birth story sounds terrifying!

    I am so glad you made it through and have a BEAUTIFUL little healthy girl now. She is just perfect!

  35. I am so sorry that you did not have the experience that you wanted!

    One of the things that a lot of natural birthing ladies say is that the positive experience bonds you more deeply with your baby and since you’ve read a lot, I just wanted to let you know that my worst birth (C-Section) was without a doubt my closest bond! The problem with birthing stories/methods is that they are subject to opinion (and threshold for pain 😀 )

    A few other thoughts:

    I know that anxiety can lengthen a labor. I wonder if a fear of the unknown and worrying about what everyone else thought of your labor length discouraged you. Also finding out that you’re not as far along as you thought could have brought feelings of defeat right from the beginning.

    I wonder if natural stories clouded your expectations and when reality hit it seemed so much worse. I’m sorry, but for someone to claim a painless birth seems so contradictory to what the Bible says about childbirth. It is supposed to hurt! I’ve done natural childbirth 4 times and won’t sign a secret pact – the pushing hurts. My mental clarity is very cloudy at that time, so I feel irrational. Have you asked your husband if you were as vocal as you felt you were? I always feel like I screamed at the end and I’m always told that I didn’t 😀 Euphoria?-NO! Rush?- NO! Relief? Yes- I’m relieved that I won’t have to do that again for another couple of years.

    A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. John 16:21

    Your daughter is stunningly beautiful!

  36. Kelly, I had the exact same experience just 4 weeks ago, giving birth naturally to #6 biologically, our 7th child. I sent you an email.


  37. Mrs. W – it seems like you are always ready to give your opinion or prove your point – which is usually opposite to Kelly’s. That is fine, but there is a time and right now is NOT the time. I noticed you did not send a congratulations or anything to her, but were ready to “pounce” after you read her birth story and disagreed about natural childbirth. I beg you, for this short time, to leave her alone. Offer your congratulations and leave your opinion at the door. There is a time and a place to give your opinion, and after a woman has had a difficult experience that she is trying to work through, is definitely not the time. I ask you in love to please back off.

  38. Congratulations on the birth of your baby!

    My first labor (my water broke at home) was 22 hours, pitocin when nothing happened, white hot pain for nine hours, finally an epidural (I was too stubborn before that to get one), still nothing and finally a C section when his heart rate started to decelerate. I did not attempt a VBAC subsequently.

    I say what follows in an honest attempt to encourage you, so please hear it as that. I know that postpartum feeling of being vulnerable to criticism, and some of these comments are probably hard to hear. Babies come how they come. Women are so hard on themselves and each other about childbirth. I spent a lot of time beating myself up about how much I was scared of labor, and the very memory of it caused me to delay pregnancy for a long time again. Lots of people I knew at the time who were advocates of natural childbirth were so condescending. . . .After a lot of prayer, reading, talking to my husband an a lot of other people, I came to a sense of peace about my experience. I also have a great deal of gratitude for my midwife and the other nurses and doctors who cared for me during that time.

    Many of us may find the practices of the modern hospital delivery less than ideal, but the intention is, honestly, to make the experience safer and more humane. There are mean doctors and nurses out there, but that’s not the norm. Psychologically it is very easy and tempting to transfer our feelings of helplessness and fear into anger at the medical establishment, but in reality much of that is misplaced.

    Outside of modern obstetrics there is at least a ten percent mortality rate for mothers and babies, probably much more. Having a healthy baby in your arms is much more important than having “an experience”, and your body did an amazing thing.

  39. I appreciate your honesty and seriously someone needs to break the “pact”, if there is one. Women should be honest. I also think it is important to remember that just as every pregnancy is different, so is EVERY birth. Also, for some women it is more intense than for others. I have only had c-section deliveries, but we tried inducing with Pitocin with my first. I would have contractions that would peak off their little charts and last 6 minutes going non-stop and you could see my whole stomach contract and I never had pain. Six years later I went into labor with my 3rd child and the four hours of labor was enough to make me “get over” longing for a natural childbirth. I seriously think you could die from that pain! Really! I have a high pain tolerance, but OUCH! I believe God was serious in Genesis 3:16 when he said, “…I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thy shall bring forth children;…”. Sorrow is the term used!! Sorrow! Nowhere does it say “blissful joy” or “EMPOWERING”! Actually, if you read the rest of the verse it is the complete opposite of “empowering”. It says, “and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Doesn’t that imply that it should in a sense makes us weaker and meeker rather than feel empowered? Hmmm… I am thinking about this as I share it with you. Some of these things I have never pondered. Thanks for sharing and making me think. I hope that verse of scripture can speak to you the way it did to me just now.

  40. Kelly,
    I just wanted to encourage you. Birth hurts, it just does. I am three weeks away from my fifth delivery, and my first birth (and first natural childbirth) was just horrific. I, like you, was fine until I started pushing, and then I went into total freak out mode. Two hours and several stitches later, I told my husband, “I don’t know how we are going to have a big family because I will NEVER do that again!!!!!” And I meant it! But, here I am expecting number five in three weeks. I didn’t completely forget that terrible experience, but I would say that the raw edges have been softened. It took me several months to get to the point where I was willing to even consider another baby. It’s okay to be unsure about natural childbirth, and it is okay to say you don’t ever want to do it again. You are in a very vulnerable post partum time right now. Extend some grace to yourself my dear. God still loves you dearly and deeply, and so do we! You have so many women who cherish you and are praying for you. Don’t feel the need to come to the right answer right now. Once those raw edges are softened a bit, you’ll be able to look back at this time differently. I’m still praying for you!

  41. Kelly,

    I’ve given birth 9 times, some naturally in a hospital some with medication in a hospital and some naturally at home.

    You did an amazing job. Please don’t feel disappointed. This was God’s perfect plan for this birth and He will accomplish His work in you through this!

    I have also struggled with wanting to have the perfect birth, with being disappointed and with fear of ever having to give birth again. The fear does subside, you will forget. Eventually.

    My birth history is interesting, but rather than recount all nine births here let me just share with you that out of 9 births, 4 of our babies have ended up being injured in the process (3 had broken collar bones and 1 had a broken arm a severe nerve injury). Six of the births the babies got stuck and those injuries were the result. All that to say that my labors are long and slow because whatever keeps the babies from coming out easily also prevents them from dropping without a lot of long hard labor.

    I want to share with you a little bit about our last child. He was born at home and was the child who had the nerve injury.

    My prayer throughout the pregnancy was that 1) If we weren’t supposed to have another home birth that God would show us clearly and 2) that I would rejoice in the labor. That I would remember that God loved me and would only give me exactly what I needed for my good and for His glory. He wouldn’t give me a single extra contraction and each one that He sent would have a purpose.

    This last labor was my hardest, yet. I went into real labor around 9pm, by 3am the midwives were at our house and by 7am I was nearly 8cm. At 8am I was complete except for a lip, I had the urge to push, I was nearly complete, I was in the hardest of hard labor at 8 in the morning and yet, our precious boy was not born until 1:20pm. More than 6 hours of transition and 5 of those hours I was nearly complete with the urge to push. I’m not saying all this to scare anyone, this is the amazing part. This labor was one of the best birth experiences ever. I was able to feel God’s presence with each contraction. I prayed Ps. 128 over and over again. I knew that He was in control and I felt His love. I have had easier births, but I have never felt His presence closer.

    I suppose my point is that He will enable you to do whatever He has calls you to do. That may not ever involve natural child birth again, but He will use this experience to grow you and make you into the person that He wants you to be.

    Because of the injuries to our children and knowing what we do now, I don’t know if I will ever deliver vaginally again, but I do know that I serve an amazing God and that He is able and that He used that birth experience to grow my faith for what we needed to face after we found out about our child’s injuries.

    Enjoy your new baby, know that you did what God called you to do, and don’t worry about the birth experiences that God gives to others, He gave you what He knows is best for you!


  42. Kelly:
    I enjoy your writings so very much and just had to comment this time:)
    When in certain groups to mention anything for being pro-pain relief or medicinal can be cause for discommunication.

    My last lovely (number 5) came in 2 hours. 20 minutes after arriving in the hospital. My choice would have been pain free but…….
    If someone really wants to know about what I experienced, I tell them honestly. I liken the end to a feeling (pressure and burnig) of an exsplosive device going off:) When I told one of my acquantances,she smiled and said “Yes, but you don’t want to scare anyone.”
    I admire those who choose to do things in the most natural way and beleive home birht can be a wonderful experience. However, I am certianly glad to all options are available…unless there is a time frame:)

  43. Kelly,

    You are not alone! I remember feeling like everything was a blur as well. I was not prepared to go natural. I was not planning on it. It is definitely a different experience! 🙂

    So glad you and the baby are doing well! She is SO beautiful!

  44. Just to chime in on “where you are”… do YOU think it is wrong to try to avoid pain that God intended us to have? I do not have an answer for that, but I know that God created herbs and medicines and gave man Dominion over the earth and I believe that God wants us to think and use our brains and make choices for our good. I think that with any gift God gives us there are “levels”. God may give you a gift for singing, but you are only going to get a blessing from it if you use it. If you use it once a year you will get a blessing from it once a year. If you use it weekly, you will get a weekly blessing. If you use it every five minutes, you will be getting constantly blessed. Bear with me here… I hope this makes sense.. My 4 births were all C-sections, so I have never experienced that possibly extreme deep connection of reaching a place that I can only breathe if I in perfect commune with God; however, I do believe I have had to rely on God fully to bring me through even birthing in a way that is so unnatural. I have received many blessings with each birth. Maybe I would receive more blessings if I went through labor. Maybe God would give me more blessings if I went through that labor med free… maybe…. maybe not. Would I reach a place that I could only rely fully on God and commune with Him only and He get me through? I may never know. You have been to this place, so the question for you is Did you commune more closely would God in this time? Did you receive an extra blessing from it? (Do not answer me. I am just trying to help you sort through it. It is certainly not my business.) I think God can bless you in all birthing situations…. maybe there are different levels of blessings you get and ways you rely on God. I think God is pleased with you (even if you do meds the next time). He knows your desires are to please Him. God gives us choices!!! Isn’t that beautiful?! Choices not condemnation!! Yippee!!

  45. Kelly, I once told my sister that having a baby was like being tied between two cars and being ripped apart. Sounds like thats what you experienced. Ive had 4 in a hospital and 4 at home unassisted. The plain and simple fact is that for some people it just HURTS! I do agree with one of your commenters having a natural birth in a hospital setting is almost impossible and I’m proud of you for going through with it. In the hospital it was too easy for me to get the pain meds. I just wanted the pain to stop, so I always caved and got them. At home there was no choice and I had to face my pain head on. Birthing the head was the worst for me as well, and I think twice now I have yelled “get it out”!

    You did a wonderful job! Losing control is a normal (for most) part of labor and means you are in transition. I too had pictured myself being an in control, strong, calm birther. But the truth is its a primal, painful experience and you did what many woman have done through the sands of time, sceamed their baby out.

    Congratulations Kelly! You did it!

  46. “Also, ladies, having a baby without an epidural does NOT make a woman “brave”!”

    I think it is very brave, Mrs. W, especially depending on your threshold of pain.

  47. Kelly,
    Congratulations on your beautiful daughter. I am so thrilled for you and your family. I just love her name. It is so pretty and feminine.
    Thank you so much for being so honest about your experience. I have to admit, the idea of having children scares me, more because I just don’t believe everyone who says it’s no big deal, than because of the actual prospect of pain. Your honest story was enlightening. I’m still not sure if children are for me, but your honesty is certainly enlightening. Thanks so much for sharing. God Bless you and your family!

  48. First, congratulations on a beautiful girl!! God sure is good 🙂 Sorry to hear your natural birth was not what you had hoped it would be like. I have had 3 natural births…I try to convince myself it is because I want to give the best to my children, but I think it is more from fear of the epidural needle!!!*smile* Natural birth is certainly not easy and there was a moment for each baby that I ‘lost’ it and started crying before refocusing. Now you can forget about the pain and enjoy your beautiful family. Congratulations to you all and praise the Lord!

  49. Kelly,
    CONGRATULATIONS!! Your daughter is simply adorable. What a gift from God.
    THANK-YOU for your story. Believe it or not, I too gave birth Wednesday (my son was born at 1:15 pm weighing 8lbs 6 oz) and your story has actually begun my own healing process.
    My first was a c-section in a German hospital. My second was a VBAC (no pain meds but agumented with pitocin) in a small county hospital in southern AL. That was all 14+ years ago.
    Then came the internet and all those wonderful Christian Yahoo groups. Every woman seemed to have this beautiful birth story to tell, and I wanted one of my own. LOL When I finally got pregnant I already knew I was going to have a home birth, CPM, water birth etc. I read everything there was to read on natural. Why it was better for mom, baby, etc.
    Not to go into all the details but I ended up transfering to the hospital to have a c-section. Because the OB’s I did see were about 45 minutes away, I delivered in a hospital where no one knew me.
    I, like you, am trying to process the whole birth thing. My CPM feels certain that we did the right thing, my only regret is not being sent to the hospital sooner. While baby and I are doing good, the experience could have been a whole lot better.
    Now whenever I think about the “homebirth” I get upset. We spent a couple of thousand on having a homebirth, and ended up at the hospital anyway. We have great insurance through my husband’s work, so the hospital bill was $0.00.
    I just wish more women were open and honest about their birth experiences. I keep thinking, “Surely I am not the only woman out there who has not had a great experience”. This birth, except for the whole trying it at home thing, was really pretty good. The hospital was nice (after delivery), the nurses were compassionate, and the food was terrific. I am ready to have another one, but have decided that a scheduled csection will be what I will look into for the future.
    I just felt so much pressure from some Christian women that homebirth, unmedicated, etc. was the only way to go, and that by not going that route, somehow I was less of a Christian, not to mention mom for subjecting my child to that. I am now over that.
    I still feel like I could cry at moments thinking about everything but my wonderful husband has told me that my 14 daughter was able to experience first hand a homebirth and a hospital birth. She can now see that giving birth is not easy. She was so wonderful to me during labor encouraging me.
    Sorry to ramble on, but your post really helped me! THANK-YOU!!

  50. Glad you told the truth Kelly. After my first I cried (hard) any time I thought about the process – for a year. With my second I did forget the pain fairly fast – at least I didn’t physically feel that pain when I thought about it – is that what people mean? No, I felt like I was living out a scene from a “Saw” type movie when I was pushing – and I had the blood bath to match both times. And forget euphoria. I’m so utterly winded and depleted from the pushing It’s all I can do to catch my breath – snuggling that baby is entirely too much to handle physically. How does that encourage bonding (another popular catch word)? Natural childbirth is entirely overrated. Not that I won’t do it again. Because I thing O.B.s are overrated too. Yeah, I’m conflicted. 🙂

  51. Jessica, I suggest you do some actual research before accusing people of things they didn’t do. I have already congratulated Kelly in another post about the baby…the one announcing when the baby was born. But I guess it is much easier to throw accusations around then it is to actually spend the time to do some research before you say something, isn’t it?

    Also, I guess you missed where I said that Kelly had a beautiful baby and that she shouldn’t feel bad about the birth not being what she expected.


    Jennifer, if you think having a baby with no medication is brave, then great. But I certainly don’t go around thinking I am brave or telling people I am because I had natural home births. I even refuse to buy the cute little onesies that say “I’m special because I was born at home”. No, the baby ISN’T special because it was born at home, or born “naturally”, it’s special because it’s a BABY, a gift from God. God designed us to give birth without medication, so I don’t see it as brave, but just the norm.

  52. Mrs Kelly, it seems that we as moms often times go through a lot of unnecessary guilt over choices to do with babies. You did your best with the birth and God gave you a beautiful baby. I think it is ok to ask questions of yourself and others, but ultimately, the baby came into the world the way it did and God gave you that precious gift.

    I think it is good to seek opinions from others also. Every woman has a different story to share.

    I have often felt guilt about not being able to nurse, and have had other moms be very, very rude to me about it. Ultimately, we need to just do what is best for us.

    I hope you and baby are bonding well! Get some rest.

  53. Mrs W. – “God designed us to give birth without medication”

    Yeah, that was before the fall and the curse, remember?

  54. Lori, in Genesis 3:16 it says that we will have sorrow in childbirth. God MEANS for it to hurt as a consequence of sin. It’s a part of life. We aren’t supposed to try to stop the pain.

  55. God didn’t say we couldn’t try to stop the pain, any more than we aren’t to try to use special implements to ease our husband’s “sweat of (the) brow.” Be consistant. I believe in (progressive) dominion over all of life since Christ’s ascension, including pain and death (remember, having a baby isn’t nearly as lethal as it was a century ago).

  56. Kelly,
    I’m so sorry that you were frightened during delivery. I don’t think it’s that we natural birthers have a pact, I just think that what you experienced is so tied into your emotions that many of us had a different experience. Yes, there is a point of delivery that my midwife calls “the crazy part”–that point when your cervix is finally fully dilated and the baby starts to descend through it. If you’re not ready for it and don’t have support that can help you through it (either because they don’t know what it’s like or don’t know how to help you express it), it can be extremely frightening. You feel like your whole body is about to come apart. For a moment, you’re certain you won’t be able to get the baby out. That is all VERY true. We all experience that part, I believe. However, if you’re PREPARED for it, you are more able to let your body relax through some of that fear, and it doesn’t exhibit itself as being such an overwhelming experience as I think you had. I appreciate your honesty so, so much. I think I mentioned a tiny bit of this in my post on James’ birth, but I wish I had been more descriptive for your sake, so that you might have been more “ready” for that part of labor. I hope that you are able to process your birth experience–if nothing else, I’m sure you’ll be grateful to have truly felt all of your labor and delivery–now you KNOW it more fully, and perhaps the processing will grow you in marvelous ways that only God foresees. Your little girl is beautiful, and you were a champion. I pray that the aftermath of this birth WILL empower and grow you, even if that’s not what you came immediately away from the labor with. In any case, you have a gorgeous gift from God, and however she came into this world is miraculous.

  57. “I certainly don’t go around thinking I am brave or telling people I am because I had natural home births”

    No one said you did, Mrs. W. I was congratulating Kelly, the comment had no reference to you.

  58. Jennifer, do you read ALL the comments? Other women have been saying that women in general are “brave” to birth without meds. That’s what I was addressing.

    Lori, so I guess women don’t have to be submissive to their husbands then, either? Coz the curse is where that started.

    Bethany, I agree with your post! IT was very good.

  59. I had a similar experience with my homebirth, Kelly, where transition and pushing was the hardest and most painful part, and I was dazed and upset when the baby first came out. After the adrenaline calmed down and I was able to nurse her, however, I felt that extreme relief and soaring feeling. Yes, it hurt, and there were parts of both of my births that were traumatic (first was a hospital/epidural), but I would do it all again. 🙂

  60. p.s. In the few days after I had her, if you’d asked me if I’d do it again, the answer would have been “NO!” 😉 My answer has changed.

  61. Mrs. W –
    “Lori, so I guess women don’t have to be submissive to their husbands then, either”

    This is terrible. If you’d paid attention I’ve been quite the advocate of biblical wifely submission.

    Mrs. W “Coz the curse is where that started.”
    Uhhh, no.

    “thy desire *shall be subject* to thine husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Gen 3:16 Geneva

    The way this was taught to me, and I agree, is that the curse was that the wife would long for her husband’s authority. She was already *created* subject to her husband (before the fall), but she was not coveteous of that authority; it did not chafe her. Just like men were always created for work, it only became labor after the fall.

  62. Congratulations, Kelly. Thank God it worked out in the end and that you and the baby are ok. I applaud you for your honesty about this birth experience. I have a friend who had an experience like yours, and she never had another baby! She never forgot the pain.

    I had natural childbirth because that’s what almost everybody did in the 80’s. I had a very easy time, and experienced the euphoria, and did not even feel it when I tore. However, everybody is different, and while we can all enjoy reading everybody’s stories, nobody really knows what it will be like for them. All kinds of things come into play. I’m glad you told it like it was so that some women won’t be misled into thinking that natural childbirth is always a breeze for everybody. I think you WILL be brave if you decide to have natural childbirth next time, since other options are available for you. Anyway, well done!

  63. Lori, I know you are an advocate of wifely submission, which is why it bothers me that you take that half of the verse, but not the half about pain in childbirth being a necessary part that we should not tamper with. Isn’t that inconsistent?

  64. I just wanted to encourage you. It sounds like you had a very hard time, and I can relate. I have 6 children. My oldest is adopted and my 5 others I carried. I had all of them naturally with the last 3 at home. That being said. All my births were very different. I had that out of control feeling while pushing with my first one. It was very hard. But my third child was wonderful. I can honestly say that up to 9cm. it was pain free. my 4th one I was in labor for 2 1/2 days when normally I only labor 4-7 hours! Then my last one I was just mentally having the hardest time. But God was faithful. All births are different. You never know what the next one will hold. But whatever disicion you make, it will be okay!!

    Much love,

  65. About 60% of babies are born with the cord around their neck. It isn’t a rare event. I always have short cords and they have never slowed my labor down.

    I can’t imagine having to perform in such a way, with people constantly “checking” my progress, and I won’t even begin to dwell on what I would do to any doctor who broke my water without asking or telling me! That is certainly an intervention in and of itself.

    It’s always beautiful any time and any way a baby is born, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up for it! Dwelling on our birth expectations too much before hand really can set us up for disappointment, so maybe that is what you are dealing with. Just let it be what it is. Beautiful. You had a baby. You are blessed. =)

    But I would hate for anyone to read this and think that natural birth is awful or traumatic, because it isn’t that way for everyone. Just about everyone in my personal community home births. Medicated, hospital births are outside of my realm of “normal”, so it’s always shocking to read the details and try to imagine what that must have been like.

    I have had all of ours unmedicated and look forward to each birth, without fear or reservation.

    And I’m not aware of any “pact” of secrecy. 😉

    As someone who has contemplated the whole “curse” blah blah blah aspect… I do think that child birth CAN be an experience that causes us to draw closer to God, to realize our need for Him, our nothingness without Him, our utter depravity and helplessness and need for His mercy day by day. It’s one of my favorite parts. Everyone leaves me alone, and I usually go through transition in the room by myself thinking on these things. It’s one of the ways that I feel that I am “saved through childbearing.” Just a thought. I certainly don’t claim to have any of that all figured out. 😉

    Kelly had a baby and it was beautiful. Can we just leave it at that? =D

  66. This day has been wonderful! I had no idea that reading through these comments, intermittently having a “sob” here and there 😉 and spending the day in prayer and contemplation could be so healing (or that I even *needed* that healing!)

    THANK YOU!!! How funny and amazing the Internet can be to have access to such a huge circle of “friends” and be able to minister in this way!

    Forgive my hormones…I just want to squeeze all of you.

  67. “Other women have been saying that women in general are “brave” to birth without meds”

    Yes, and I agree with them.

  68. Congrats, Kelly! Darling baby…love Hebrew names–given my Jewish heritage, I am partial to them.

    As I’ve written you, privately, I have had ten kids–nine of them natural. Of course, my oldest is 32 (my youngest is 13), and that was the era when “natural” childbirth was in vogue. My third baby delivered himself–in the car on the way to the hospital.

    However, I don’t agree that you remember the pain. I remember that I had pain, but my senses don’t allow for actually “feeling” the pain once I had given birth. In other words, when I think of a sour apple, my mouth actually reacts. When I think of the pain of childbirth, I am aware that it was present, but I don’t “feel” it. BTW, the afterbirth pains are killers.

    Giving birth probably involves one of the most painful experiences through which a body can go, yet women who have given birth, go again, to give birth time after time. I would think that if you could actually “feel” the pain again, then NO ONE would give birth ever again.

    Kelly, as I wrote you, I hated being pregnant, but I loved giving birth. I didn’t like the pain, but the “high” afterward was very cool. HOWEVER, I wore a perpetual grimace during my pregnancy, and I only wish that I looked like your picture–the one that you posted when you were out to here (imagine my hand about eight inches in front of my stomach). You definitely had a glow about you, while I had a glower–words that are close in spelling, but two letters sure makes a big difference!


  69. Mrs W. – “it bothers me that you take that half of the verse, but not the half about pain in childbirth being a necessary part that we should not tamper with.”

    “should not tamper with?”

    I don’t have those in any of my Bible translations. So I don’t see any inconsistancy.

    Yes, sin, pain and death entered the world through the curse. But you’ve *added* to the verse. Thanks to all different kinds of assistance, both conventional and wholistic, pain can be alleviated and even removed.

    Men were also cursed with sweat of the brow, thorns and thistles attending their work. Is it therefore defiance for a man to use spray Round-up on the thorns and thistles in his garden? To use a tractor (which alleviates the sweating factor)? Or to even induldge in eating food that he didn’t sweat over on the land? Or to use a computer instead of paper and pen should his occupation be away from the land? Or to use power tools instead of manual tools? No. God had given us many gifts associated with technology. We don’t have to use them. But God didn’t tell us not to.

  70. Madge – “…birth injuries that result from long labors attended by lay midwives in the developing world.”

    I believe the article specifically refered to “untrained birth attendents.” Which is a far cry from what we would call a midwife here in the States. Or anywhere in the West. Perhaps that wasn’t your point, but I thought the distinction is an important one for those who didn’t read the article. 🙂

  71. I had a brutal, three day hospital birth for my first daughter, and a midwife delivery, at home, for my second. Both were grueling in their own way. I am so thankful you both are safe and healthy. I’m sorry that this birth wasn’t as “empowering” as you hoped it would be. I had many of the same ideas about home birth after my hospital birth. But birth is pretty difficult no matter when or how you do it.

    I really want to recommend a marvellous book called “I wish someone had told me” (but now I can’t find a link to it). It was a collection of birth stories from women about just how little they understood about giving birth before they had done it. I found it very astonishing and revealing.


  72. Dearest Kelly,

    Bless your heart!
    ((hug)) You have been that vessel that the LORD desired to bring that little babe into the world. YOU are the mother that the LORD chose for Ellia. I guarantee you, LORD willing, when you are there with her while she is giving birth to your grandbaby, you will not consider her anything but TERRIFIC even if she has to use medication or scream. When you share this with Ellia one day, she will be grateful that you loved her so much, no matter the course of delivery.
    Oh Kelly, do not judge yourself against other women and their experiences. You know, I can’t truly relate to the natural birth experience, but I know what it feels like to be disappointed. Both of my children were delivered by c-section. I felt as if I did something wrong or failed. I finally realized through the LORD’s tender mercies that this c-section was only one event of being a Mom in that child’s life. Just like when someone gets married with a HUGE wedding—-they still have to get down to living after the hoopla. Marriage is so much more and so is mothering. You have a lot to offer this wonderful little blessing…

    ((hug)) We will continue to pray.
    Rest well, dear e-friend.

  73. Yes, Lori, we make it a practice to NEVER spray Roundup in our garden. We do, though, use Ortho Weed b-gone.



  74. Dear, dear Kelly,

    I am sending you the hugest hug! I just had my fourth baby, at home, no medications or interventions of any sort. And while I wouldn’t change anything, it was not AT ALL what I was expecting. (I blogged about it here if you’re interested.) I was utterly in shock. I felt like a failure. After my first three unmedicated homebirths, I did feel the euphoria. I was totally excited and thrilled. But this time… I cried all through my labor, and I just wanted to curl up in the fetal position around my little baby and cry some more and then just go to sleep after she was born. We didn’t even take our usual “victory” pictures until the next day. Every birth is different. Even two births for the same mother can be RADICALLY different. We can learn all we can and try to mentally prepare, but in the end we never know how our next birth will be, ever.

    Don’t feel that you let the natural birth community “down,” or that you aren’t part of the “club.” It’s not about that. It’s about making the choices that we believe will be the best for our babies and ourselves. And it’s about clinging to the Lord in every difficult circumstance.

    Also, I just wanted to add a little note about the story of the doctor that Madge linked to above. It really is wonderful what he’s doing, and so badly needed, but it’s important to note that the “midwives” the article talks about who are botching up the births are “untrained.” This is very different from “lay midwives.” Lay midwives are often highly trained, but they do their learning as apprentices, rather than through a formal nursing program. I wouldn’t want anyone to look at that link and think that the lay midwives in this country are in the same category.

  75. It doesn’t matter how we have our children: with medication, without medication, with an epidural or spinal, at home, in the hospital, in the car, with midwives, with doctors, attended by family/friends/neighbors or all alone, by c-section, natural, adopted, foster, taken-in-to-live-with-you, caring-for-young-relatives, whatever — I think we are all very brave!

  76. Dear Kelly,
    I just wanted to congratulate you and your family on the birth of Ellia. She is so beautiful!
    I love telling each of my children their birth stories. Of course, each was completely different, but they love hearing their own special unique story… I would say that the Lord was completely beside me during each of them. Just as Aslan says to Lucy, “Things never happen the same way twice, dear one” I have to agree.
    My first born came out of my trembling, sweaty body after riding the terrifying waves of labor all night, with my kind husband holding my hand and pushing his hand into my lower back. I kept my eyes shut the entire time, completely focused on praying and breathing. I was at a hospital, my doctor was not on call, and the nurse was exactly the one I needed, an expert in natural childbirth. The Lord brought me through it and I held my first child close and cried tears of joy, and then asked for a big glass of orange juice.
    My second born son, I anticipated the “spiritual” experience of natural childbirth again, but aaahh…our plans are just not always His plans. I was already 3cm dilated (the hospitals were too full for someone in early labor), and at home when Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast. We live 3 hours from the gulf coast, but alas -no power, no water, no phones, almost all roads inaccesible, hospitals already full of other evacuees, everything a mess. Officials anticipated at least 3 weeks until we had water at home. I seriously thought- okay, this is going to be a home birth with no assistance and no water, but my husband and I prayed and (yes, this sounds crazy) decided to evacuate to a city 8 hours away, where my parents live. We emptied the freezer, the fridge, fixed fence around 45 acres to keep the animals safe, and then my dear man used a chainsaw to clear the rural roads to get me and our 14 month old out of there. I felt like Mary on her way to Bethlehem. Traveling and in labor. When we got there we immediately went to the hospital. Contractions every three minutes, but 3cm. They sent me home to my mom’s. I could not sleep the contractions were so frequent and so hard. This went on for several days. They kept sending me home. I was so sleep deprived, I felt like I was going to die. I knew I was in labor and I knew something was wrong. We insisted on admission. They monitored the baby’s heart and after about 7 hours..4cm..slow..natural childbirth. They broke my water and I immediatly said I need to push. Yep..10cm. But the baby’s heartrate was dropping so fast that the doctor said “one push to get this baby out or emergency C-section) She shoved a vaccuum in me, I about came off the bed backwards and one scary, painful push. THe Lord brought me through it, I cried tears of joy and exhaustion and thankfulness, and then asked for a big milkshake. The baby was fine, but I had nightmares about it.
    Our third birth, I was scared that if my water broke, the baby was immediately going to come out–whether I was at home, at church, wherever..My friends prayed for me. I went to my last Dr’s appt at 2:30 in the afternoon and told him I felt like I was in labor all day.He checked me and said, well, you are already 5 cm. I was so scared because of my 2nd birth that I got the epidural. She was born a couple hours later. The Lord brought me through it, I held my first baby girl close,cried tears of joy and wonder, and asked for a pizza.

    I hope you enjoy these very special days with your new little one!

  77. Oh Kelly. I am so sorry it wasn’t everything you had hoped. I have never had an all natural delivery as I have been too afraid to. I did have a traumatic delivery with our #4 who ended up flipping breech DURING labor and my doctor broke my water without permission. So baby was stuck and I was whisked into surgery for an emergency c-section. I was so upset with how I was treated and how flippant they were while cutting me open and discussing their weekend plans. No respect for the miracle. Anyway, I say all of this because the only “cure” for this trauma was to have another baby…lol. When we had our #5, I switched doctors and ended up with a midwife. I had a successful VBAC. Coincidentally, the hospital lost my records and the only one that knew I was a VBAC was my midwife…lol. God is so good, isn’t He? The hospital wasn’t against VBACs, but they don’t encourage them. I still refer to her as my “healing birth.”

    Congratulations on your beautiful little girl. I pray you find peace with the trauma of her delivery. I know how difficult that can be.

  78. Hey Kelly: I figured I would respond to your question “if I planned to go natural” here since everyone else shared on this comment section. As you know, this is our fifth phamily member. The first 2 were induced in the hospital. The 3rd one was born naturally in the hospital after I arrived 20 minutes later. It was great to have the “natural” experience, but the pain was JUST awful. The reason I chose to go natural the 3rd time was because with the 1st, I broke my tailbone during labor, pushed for an hour and a half and had 4th degreee tearing (that means ALL the way) and subsequently had many infections and could not sit for almost 9 months. The 2nd was much better, but I still had tailbone problems and pushed for what I considered to be way too long. And, she came out very blue and limp. So, I decided I would go natural with the 3rd. It was only because I am so dumb and didn’t really “believe” I had been in labor all day, that I made it to the hospital with no time to spare. He came out weighing 9.7 and boy did those shoulders hurt like crazy coming out. I too remember the incredible burning (the ring of fire) that I hadn’t experienced with my first two births. But, the kicker is that I didn’t have ANY tailbone problems or tearing and he was my biggest baby by over a pound. So, when I found out I was pregnant with number 4, I decided to go natural again simply because I felt the less intervention I had, the better off my pushing and tailbone would be. We didn’t have good insurance at the time and a hospital birth was going to cost like $3,000, but the insurance would cover a homebirth and it would cost me $400. So, I chose to have a homebirth, not because I wanted to be brave and fall into some superwoman category, but because it was economically MUCH cheaper and I had already had one natural delivery (that was SOOOO painful). So, baby #4 was born at home and I would be lying if I said it was nothing short of SPECTACULAR. Just being able to relax in my own home while my kids were sleeping, eating popsicles on the couch while the midwife joked around, the worship music, the candles, my OWN bed…it was just wonderful. I went into labor at 6:30 p.m., after I ran a 5k (yes, I am an avid runner), and had her a little after midnight. The midwife did break my water around 11:30ish when I was like 8 cm. or something. Anyway, it was just a perfect birth – definitely a gift from God. But God had told me in the beginning of the pregnancy to just trust Him because it would “be sweet.” I had no idea what “be sweet” would mean. The entire experience was NOTHING short of utterly sweet. So, you ask about this baby. I had planned to give birth naturally, here in Peru, in a local hospital. However, there c-section rate is over 70% there and the hospital is creepy. I had to go there when I was 19 weeks pregant and I decided because of 1., language barriers 2., being tied to a bed and being forced to do what THEY want and 3., not wanting a c-section, that I will have this baby at home, naturally, too! I am not sure if this experience can be as perfect as the last one, but hopefully so. But my first “natural” experience, like I said, was VERY painful and overwhelming. If I wasn’t about to push the baby out when I had arrived at the hospital, I probably would’ve definitely done something for the pain – it was THAT bad!!! For some reason, the 2nd natural was so much better.

    I hope this encourages you. We all have different reasons for why we do things. I don’t judge ANYONE who doesn’t want to go natural, but I do believe it increases your risk of having a c-section or other problems when we start intervening. I an so glad to have you had 7 awesome experiences. It sounds like you might want to go back to “what worked best for you” for the next blessing.

    Thanks for your sweet comments. I feel like a big ol’ fatty. I exercise ALL the time and am still gaining weight like crazy. Oh well. It’s worth it! I hope you sleep in peace and enjoy every minute of that precious baby girl.

    It was fun to write my story out and I enjoyed reading EVERY single birthing experience from ALL of these sweet ladies. Fun times!!!

    Jess in Peru

  79. Thank you so much for sharing your story! You are amazing, even if you opt to not do it “naturally” again. I was greatly humbled by my first birth, I thought that because I had decided natural was best and had done some research, I would be able to do it. I have never failed to do something I set my mind to. I “failed.” And it took me a long time to get over it. My babies have both been posterior, terrible back labor, with long labors and contractions that never seemed to end.

    With my first, the second I got to the hospital I asked for drugs (but no epi, I am scared to death of those! some drug through an Iv and a shot in my behind…) I ended up with pitocin to speed my labor up. When It came time to push I felt relieved and it felt good to push, but the babies head was so large I ended up with an episiotomy (4th degree laceration…*ouch*) And the baby was vacuumed out. After the birth I was so happy and bonded quickly with my son, I experianced the euphoria. It just took me a while to reconcile myself to the fact that It didn’t go the was I had planned or expected.

    With my second, I knew what to expect and was better able to cope with the pain (I also had a great nurse), The baby was again posterior. I too thought pushing would be relieving, because it had been true with my first.

    I was in so much pain, I screamed at the top of my lungs and arched my back. IT was TERRIBLE. I begged the doctor to use the vacuum, because I did not want to push anymore. I would have cried if I hadn’t been so exhausted. Every push I could feel the searing pain of my own flesh tearing. Finally after 20 minutes of the most agonizing pain I have ever experienced, he was born. It was done. I was shaking from the pain. I made it with only a second degree tear that time, and it hurt much worse than the fourth degree laceration.

    I hadn’t used any drugs. I had done it. I felt happy that I knew I could do it. But when they placed the baby on my stomach, I felt detached. I didn’t feel the same rush I had felt with my first. I was in complete shock. I thought that there was no way i would ever do that again! I didn’t feel that instant after birth bond that I had with my first. But that didn’t make sense to me, because you were supposed to bond better after non-medicated births. I was so disillusioned.

    The one thing I have taken away from both births, is humility. Neither were what they were “supposed” to be. They didn’t turn out how I expected, they turned out how God wanted them to. He used these births to help me understand that believing and trusting in myself and the promises of others, is pointless. I hopped onto the natural birth bandwagon, believing every word they claimed about natural birth. Now I know not every word is true, at least not for me.

    I am pregnant again. I become nervous when I think about the pain of childbirth. My last birth was only a year ago. I Remember, but it has faded, as all memories do. I am going to try for another natural birth, because I do worry about unnecessary medications and painkillers. However, my first son is as perfect as any human conceived from man can be. I will not beat myself up if I, in the throws of my pain at the birth center, beg for drugs, or scream and cry; because yes, it does in fact hurt.

    I am sorry this turned into a novel. your story just struck a chord with me. Birth is natural, but it is not how you do it, just so long as it ends in a healthy baby, and mother. I do advocate natural birth, but I am of the belief that it, like all things, can become an idol. It should not be our main focus or goal during labor. God should be. Worry about pleasing him first and let the baby and labor happen the way God planned it, not us.

    Congratulations again!

  80. I knew as soon as I went camping on Wednesday morning I would miss all the exciting news! Congratulations to you and your husband for making it through to number 8 – she is gorgeous!

    My natural birth experience was an accident. I had full intentions of using pain meds as I went into labour – even knowing at what point in dilation to ask for it so that it lasted through the majority of the hard stuff. God had other plans for me.

    When I asked for the shot – the doc took a look and I was already fully dilated, too late for drugs! My daughter was born 20 minutes later, 10lbs 9.5oz and 23″ long. Yes, it hurt. Yes, I remember that it hurt. Yes, I would do it all over again without worrying so much about the HOW I THINK it should go.

    Thanks for sharing your story with so much honesty. I look forward to your thoughts about working moms/great nurses ;o)

  81. You know, I don’t want to focus too much on the “curse” aspect of childbirth but in order to share my perspective, I’ll have to start there.

    For Reference:
    Gen 3:16 To the woman He said, I will greatly increase your sorrow and your conception. In pain you shall bear sons, and your desire shall be toward your husband, and he shall rule over you. MKJV

    Gen 3:16 And he said to the woman, “I will increase your trouble in pregnancy and your pain in giving birth. In spite of this, you will still have desire for your husband, yet you will be subject to him.” (Good News Bible)

    I think the second translation does a good job of relaying the idea concerning the pain of labor/delivery as it relates to the “desire” that the wife has for her husband.

    The wife is subject to the husband not because she is “inferior” in worth but because the marriage/family unit is what God chose to use as a picture of Christ’s relationship with His bride. The wife is to willingly be under the man’s headship and the husband is told to selflessly love his wife as Christ loved HIS bride. Jesus was simultaneously our Creator, King, Savior and Servant–and much more. That is a tough act for even the most godly of men to follow. We need to be constantly lifting up our husbands in prayer.

    Okay, labor and birth…Yes, it hurts and the pain is a result of the fall. There are many, many unpleasant things that are a result of the fall and I don’t have an opinion at the moment on whether it is sinful to try to alleviate the particular pain of childbirth. Will have to study that one out a bit before attacking that subject.

    However, I do believe that a woman who has experienced the beginning to end pain of the childbirth process may have a unique insight into some areas of Scripture that those who medicate (or who have never experienced labor at all) do not have.

    To illustrate, I’ll just link to something I posted several months ago. That way, I won’t be hogging any more space and only those who are interested need to subject themselves to it :o)

  82. Kelly, I had tears in my eyes reading the final paragraphs in your birth story. You poor love. I really felt for you. Your baby girl is soo beautiful! How I’d love a cuddle with her 🙂

  83. Mrs W, it was always God’s order in creation for women to be subject to their husbands. This was (and is) a beautiful thing. It is the curse that ruined it and caused women to want to rule their husbands, rebelling against God’s plan. Likewise, pain in childbirth was a result of the curse; obviously childbirth pre-fall would have been painless. Therefore, if we are to strive against the curse and be willingly subject to our husbands, I believe that it is consistently right that we can use ways to alleviate the pain in childbirth (if we so wish). Likewise, men are cursed to have toil in labour, but they too can use machinery etc to alleviate the burden. To be consistent in denying labouring women pain meds, we’d have to deny men their tractors, power tools etc – anything that makes their job easier.

  84. One thing about lay (ie non-nurse) midwifery in this country:

    In many places, the only training is apprenticeship. So, it can be great, it can be not so great. The only real certification (LPM) is not regulated in the way nurse midwivery is, and there is no way to really know if your non-nurse midwife is skilled in everything or not.

    Of course it is different here than in the developing world, but not as different as it should be. There are no really good stats on homebirth complications, since nearly everyone gets transferred to a hospital (typically without mention of the attempted homebirth since that would jeporadize the homebirth midwife’s situation) and whatever complication happens gets put down as a hospital complication.

    I only add this to say that some of us choose to deliver in a hospital because it is scary to have an entirely subjectively evaluated midwife–who may be excellent, and may not be, but who almost certainly practices with little or no oversight and with only word of mouth to go by in terms of reference–be the only assistance one has.

    In other parts of the world, Western Europe for example, there is accountablility in hombirth and they have great success with that. We need to change the system, surely, but the way to do it isn’t what is happening now from my experience.

  85. Sarah F. – “Therefore, if we are to strive against the curse and be willingly subject to our husbands, I believe that it is consistently right that we can use ways to alleviate the pain in childbirth (if we so wish). ”

    Right on, Sarah! Wish I had said it so succintly.

    Heather, no offense, I’m not going to read the link. Not a big fan of birth stories in general (made an exception here since I am a big fan of Kelly). Not sure why you felt the need to compare women who medicate their births with women who don’t (sorry, the logic is lost on me). But for the record, I have had a fully unmedicated birth – for a 10 lb, 11 oz baby. The only reason my first birth was medicated was so I wouldn’t have to have a c-section. These experiences haven’t changed my opinion of the scripture.

    My husband’s pretty good with Hebrew. He explained it much as I already posted. But you’re welcome to go with your Good News Bible. I’ll pass thank you anyway. 🙂

  86. There are 91 comments so far, so I don’t even know if you’ll get to this one…
    As many have said, no two labors are the same. I’ve had five: two natural, three not. Of the natural births, one was short (and painful) and the other was very long and painful. But I can relate to you in a different way. In May I ran my first marathon. I went in injured and was in a lot of pain for the last 10-11 miles. I persevered and finished in a decent time…never walking a step. BUT…I didn’t feel pride. I felt really angry. I still can’t quite explain it. I wasn’t disappointed in myself; I trained and was ready. I think maybe traumatized is just a bit too strong a word, but it’s close. So don’t let anyone talk you out of your feelings (thank you for being honest!)..just take the time to work through them. On a positive note, though, the 23 mile training run I had 5 weeks prior to the marathon was fabulous. I felt so good at mile 15 that I was actually picking up speed. The overall run was challenging, but do-able, and I felt so invigorated. (Point being, if you are blessed with another child and choose to go natural the experience will likely be different than this one.)
    Finally, your daughter is beautiful. Congratulations to you and your family.

  87. Oops, I made a typo (still in the spam folder) – that was supposed to read 10 lb, 13 oz. Yes, those 2 oz really made a big difference.

  88. Kelly,

    I’m new to your blog. First, congratulations on the birth of your new baby girl! Also, if you’re planning on having more children, you might like to read the story of my third birth (just 3 weeks ago!). It’s on my blog in three parts. They’re the latest three entries.

  89. (Disclaimer: I am a labor and delivery nurse in a hospital who had an unmedicated birth in an out of hospital birthing center with a nurse-midwife.)

    The reason a cord can prolong labor is because labor tends to progress better if the head is well applied to the cervix and nothing is “holding it back.”

    Depending on where in the length of the cord the wrap occurs, if the wrap is near the placenta end, it doesn’t allow as much slack to allow the baby to move down easily. Thus sometimes, it takes more contractions to exert the same force to dilate things.

    I have also seen moms push for a long time and not seem to make much progess because the cord was holding the baby back or did so as the baby moved down and the wrap tightened. This could in some cases led to a C/S for failure to descend. Or at least a VERY long pushing time.

    Kelly, thanks for your honesty.

    J in VA

  90. Wow, I have spent most of the morning looking over our post and the comments. I just love hearing and reading detailed birth stories. Especially ones that describe inner thoughs, feelings and perceptions instead of just a playbook. I am so happy for you and your sweet girl. Was this the first time you waited to be surprised by the gender as well?
    You’ve had me pondering this morning about “I joked later that I couldn’t believe the population of the world didn’t die out before pain meds.” I can only guess, but I’m sure it was vastly different before hospital births were the norm. Most women had probably witnessed or assisted in one or more births before going through their own and were aware of the intensity of it all. And with no alternatives, the pain and uncontrolled nature of it all would have been common knowlege. I’m quite aghast to think of the high mortality rate of mothers and babies prior to modern medicine and feel sure this caused each child to be treasured and every mother to be revered to have made it through such harrowing experiences alive and well.
    I have not had a natural birth yet, but I greatly desire one. My first as breech and deliverd via C/S, then I had my daughter VBAC and really tried for natural, but I weenied out right as the contractions started getting “over the top” as you put it. I spent alot of time feeling guilty, and percieved my daughter’s birth as a “failure.” In fact,I decided right away that I did want another baby so I could try natural again. However, when I was on the sonographer’s table and was informed that “there are two in there,” My first thought was a sinking one because I knew my doc would not allow me to VBAC with twins. She did understand my reluctance to have another surgical birth and did consider letting me try VBAC when we saw they were both head-down and I was dialating. But in the end she talkied me into a repeat CS because she scared me silly with stories of acute TTTS (my girls were MONO-DI). I was disappointed, again, and I felt my OB deliberately preyed on my fears when I was most vulnerable to convince me to have a CS, because, let’s face it, surgery is more convienient for docs. I’ve really had to get over this thinking, though. I am blessed to have my babies safe and healthy.

  91. Lori said: Heather, no offense, I’m not going to read the link. Not a big fan of birth stories in general (made an exception here since I am a big fan of Kelly). Not sure why you felt the need to compare women who medicate their births with women who don’t (sorry, the logic is lost on me).

    Lori, I’m not offended. I must respectfully say that I think the reason you fail to see my logic is because you didn’t read my post. You don’t *have* to read it but it would probably help you understand where I’m coming from.

    To clarify, *I* was not the one who started the medication/non-medication comparison discussion. That was well underway before I said anything about the subject.
    I said I DON’T at this time have an opinion about whether it is “right” to medicate.
    Also, I don’t condemn anyone who has made use of pain reducing drugs during labor.
    And I’m not at all suggesting that if a woman powers through her labor without accepting pain relief, that God rewards her with “special” insight into the Scriptures that no one else can possibly grasp.

    I believe that God, in His wisdom, gave us physical pictures that help us better grasp spiritual truth. He often uses the family (Christ/husband and Bride/wife etc) , but also we can read parables about Jesus as a shepherd, God as a gardener etc. If you know some things about the nature of sheep or the process of growing of a healthy, productive crop, you may well have a more in-depth understanding of what is really being said in those parables. Often times, people with practical experience can help enlighten those who are limited to the academic realm. Make sense?

    My linked post isn’t actually a “birth story” but rather is a perspective on Matthew 24. No gory details or play by play physical descriptions are involved.

    For the record, *my* Bible is NASB, but I also use several other versions for comparison purposes. And I am not opposed to using a Greek/Hebrew dictionary or listening to those who have studied those languages.

  92. Congratulations to you and your family Kelly!
    What a blessing! I’m due in 4 wks and have been watching your pregnancy progress and have appreciated all of the wonderful updates on the birth.
    I can’t speak for all mothers, but I don’t think there is a conspiracy among natural child birth advocates to keep others in the dark on the pain. I’ve had two drug free births in hospitals and this one will hopefully be at home unassisted.
    I think that once you’ve been through it (natural childbirth) and have networked with some others who have, you realize that everyone’s pain tolerance is different AND EVERY birth is different. I’ve seen several comments from others on this thread who have multiple children and have had multiple experiences- ALL of them different.
    I know how scared I was with my first child before delivery. I knew it was going to be the worst pain I’d ever experienced, but I knew that the pain wouldn’t kill me. I guess that’s what I always tell newbies.
    I think that it’s unfair to scare someone to death about pain, when their experience might be much less intense than what I’ve experienced. I, for one don’t mince words on what I went through, but I like to leave others with the possibility that their experience might be easier/less painful than mine was. There’s nothing worse than going into labor terrified!

    I think every woman should go into labor with the confidence that YES this is going to be work, YES it IS going to hurt. But it is natural, normal, and it is what we as women were built for.

  93. For all that people say, it really isn’t a contest. And there isn’t a secret pact or anything. My one birth with drugs was genuinely scary (the drugs made my loopy). My other two, pushing and delivery were genuinely a huge relief. The second birth was intense but not painful. The third one hurt like heck.

    Women experience birth differently, and there are so many factors that play into it.

    *I* think you are a brave lady. And I think you tried natural birth for the right reasons. 🙂 And praise God, you came through it and so did your baby. 🙂

  94. Kelly,
    I have not said my congratulations yet, but have thanked the Lord for your sweet baby and that mommy and baby are well. I have been keeping up with your blog for a long time and followed your pregnancy and labor. You were in my prayers.

    I thought I would add that I, too, can relate to your birth story. I have attempted three unmedicated births. The first one caught me off guard with the amount of pain, so I quickly chose the epidural at 5cm and hated it because I felt I had no control(shivers etc…)but the result was a beautiful baby boy and all was well.
    With the second, I got to 9 cm and stalled for a very long time. I had a c-section and was completely in shock and mentally numb for that birth. I had planned on no medication, no matter what, and there I was with a c-section. My precious baby weighed in at 11 lb 13 oz. I was furious that I had undiagnosed gestational diabetes. So much for modern medicine! I went to every prenatal check up and every time I had sugar and protein in my urine but the diabetes test was fine so the Dr. just went along with that. Both of our lives were at stake and everyone was so flippant and humored by this big baby. I am just glad we did not have any severe complications. All is well now but it is still hard not to get upset when we watch the video and she had to be whisked away to the NICU for fears that her blood sugar would drop. 3 days she stayed in there and I was stuck trying to recover from the effects of anesthesia and a c-section.
    So, my last birth I went for a vbac, new Dr., close supervision and blood sugars closely monitored. Everything went well up until the birth. I wanted unmedicated but the Dr. was concerned the baby would be too big to go into labor naturally, although every sono. said she was around 8 lbs. She wanted to induce. So, after waiting and feeling guilty that I could be doing harm to my baby, I conceded to induction. Of course, the contractions were horrible. I have had natural contractions and induced and induced are MUCH worse. I stood it for hours and hours but finely when I got to the point that I felt I was passing out from pain and getting very nauseated I had the epi. Which made me shiver and that makes me sick too.
    The cord had stalled my labor this time. They thought it was her shoulders but the more I pushed the tighter it got. At one point, the monitor had slipped off and when they put it back on –no heartbeat. So for a few terrifying moments(seemed like hours) I pushed and the Dr. reached in and grabbed her by the arm(which nicked my cervix, not good, but could have broken her arm, much worse). My baby was not breathing when she was born and I have never seen a man(dh) pray so hard. She began crying and we began the recovery process of bodies and hearts.
    Would I attempt another unmedicated birth? Maybe. I feel all the intervention and hurrying up of things only made things worse for me. I also feel she would have been fine on her own without induction, we just didn’t know. But, I guess birth and life itself are unknown. I feel when my water was broken that that could have been when the cord slipped around her neck or it could have been when she turned from breech at 36 weeks. Who knows. I just wanted to be left alone to labor.
    I have 3 precious, healthy children and if God so blesses us again then I will pray earnestly about my labor decision and go from there.

    I am so glad all is well with you and your baby. Have a peaceful, restful recovery and relish this new life in your arms.

  95. Oh, and Lori, I give you kudos for birthing a 10 lb 13 ozer! One of my sisters was about that size but my mom says it was the quickest, easiest birth of all of us. But I won’t supply the details out of respect for your stance :o)

    I actually agree with your understanding of the Genesis account. Woman was made to be man’s helpmeet and I do believe that because of sin, women in general desire to buck the authority structure. We can see strong evidence of this in the “feminist” movement. When I say that woman is not inferior, I specifically am referring to “worth”, not designated station.

    I certainly don’t demand that you agree with me on my perspective, but hope you are reasonably certain of what I am saying before you decide we disagree ;o)

  96. So, Kelly, out of curiosity: did your dr. intentionally break your water or did it happen as he was checking you?

    To echo many others: every labor is different (the pushing was worse with my fourth; I thought it was supposed to get easier with subsequent deliveries, so that discouraged me during the pushing stage). When it comes down to it, it was only the beginning of your little girl’s life. Once you’ve processed the experience, try to let it go.

  97. I’m sorry your birth experience wasn’t…what you expected. Mine was similarly as intense at the end, but I didn’t have dr’s and nurses pushing me to interfere (this is really not a judgment, just another line of thought on this issue – but there are lots of natural-birth advocates that still say that even without drugs, even the presence of dr’s and nurses isn’t natural and will screw with your birthing experience.)
    If a doc broke my water without telling me or asking me, I would have had a conniption and broken his neck right there – that was probably where your labor took that negative turn…and dumb nurses that tell you to WAIT and not push when you want to…good grief don’t even get me started on that.

    The hormones released after birth do mess with your head a bit – so your reaction afterwards doesn’t surprise me. My midwife gave me Milk Thistle to take afterwards for the wonky emotions – it helped so much, I can’t even tell you. I took it for a good couple months until I wasn’t so weepy.
    You will forget the pain eventually – you will. The scripture in John 16:21 really is true – and that’s what I held on to throughout my last birth – “Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.”

    – Blessings on you mama! Good for you for pushing through it and sticking to your guns.

  98. When I had my first daughter I had to have a emergency c-section. I cried for days because I felt I wasn’t a good mom because I couldn’t do it the natural way. When I had my second daughter I prayed that I could have a normal child birth…and I did. I didn’t have any depression with her and I think it was because I didn’t have a c-section.

    I will be praying for you….you are a Great mom no matter if you need medication or not. God’s gift is your new baby.

  99. Kelly,

    Thank you for sharing your story! Congratulations on a beautiful baby girl.

    I’m pregnant with my fifth (fourth, if you don’t count my still birth) and have considered going natural. All my other births were in a hospital with an epidural, and they were fabulous! I have thought that I would like to try natural, just to see if I can, I have heard others praise it as well and thought I should give it a go. Your story has made me think twice! Why mess with a good thing? I love my doctor, I love the staff at the hospital (they are NOT pushy), and have no reason to change what I have always done, except for the fact that others have made it sound so wonderful. I think you have given me a new perspective. It’s not always what others say it will be, sometimes our experiences are dramatically different.

    I still plan on trying natural, but I don’t think I will feel quilty if I don’t make it 🙂

  100. I can’t believe how huge Ellia was at birth. I had no trouble with natural delivery, but both my babies were half that size. I’m no bigger than you are and if I had to deliver a 10 lb. 13 oz. baby, I’m sure I would have had a harder time, especially if the cord was around their necks.

    Years ago, many women died in childbirth and the infant mortality rate was high. I never thought about how possibly many of those women went into shock at the trauma. Never even thought about that, but can easily see how that could happen! Yikes!

    Anyway, you did it and it is over now, and she certainly is a beautiful baby.

  101. No secret pact. Every labor is different, and so is every woman. I have a friend who finds the pushing stage to be the worse part (and dreads it at times). But, as soon as it gets to the pushing stage, I feel back in control of things again, and it’s all good. I did have one of my labors (#3) that the last few contractions before the pushing stage were the worst I’d ever had and I was digging my fingernails into my hands and rocking and just waiting for them to end. I told the midwife that they felt wild and crazy and out-of-control. In my case though, that was just a particularly strong transition stage, and baby came soon.

    But, my one time (first one) in the hospital I had nubain, though I had planned on natural, and I think I would find my births much harder in the hospital. At my homebirths, the midwife stays in the next room and just comes in periodically to check on me. I tense up more with lots of people around. Not being as free to move around. I spend most of late labor in the bathtub which helps a lot with pain. Etc.

    I admire you greatly for going natural in the hospital setting. I wanted to go drug-free with my first, but found it too difficult with not knowing what to expect and with drugs being easily available. Congrats again on your little one.

  102. Madge said: I only add this to say that some of us choose to deliver in a hospital because it is scary to have an entirely subjectively evaluated midwife–who may be excellent, and may not be, but who almost certainly practices with little or no oversight and with only word of mouth to go by in terms of reference–be the only assistance one has.


    I can sympathize with you on the scariness of home birth (or any birth, for that matter).

    Personally, I believe that hospitals are for sick and hurt people and that a normally progressing pregnancy/delivery should not be viewed in the same light as disease and injury. I do understand,though, that there can be complications which require medical intervention, and I would never suggest that it is inherently wrong to deliver a baby in hospital.

    I think part of the concern many home-birth/midwife advocates have is not about whether a woman may choose to birth in a hospital but rather that there is strong opposition by ACOG to a woman having the option to birth at home if she wants to. My local midwives have been working for several years to keep non-hospital birth legal in our state, so they send e-mails out to help keep their clients updated.
    For the past 30 years, they have provided a much appreciated service to our area because the hospital in our small town stopped offering obstetric care due to the cost of maintaining insurance. The nearest town is about 40 miles away. My last two births were so quick that by the time I knew for sure that I was in labor, it is not likely we would have had time to get checked into the hospital before the baby made an appearance. In fact, the babies basically delivered themselves (hubby had to catch) while the midwives were on their way. Sorry, Lori, I wont’ go into more detail :o)

    I find it interesting that we hear much carrying on in our country about the importance of a woman’s right to “choose” how to manage her own reproductive system (ie birth control/abortion) but the flag of freedom often gets shot down when it comes to actually birthing a child. Not talking about you, Madge, just noting an interesting inconsistency in our society as a whole.

    My point is that if someone wants/needs to use the hospital option, that should be available. If someone else is comfortable with a low-key out of hospital birth, that option should not be taken away either.

  103. Thanks, Kelly, for sharing. I am sure, once again, that your post is helpful to the many women you minister to. You are too hard on yourself. You did exceptional! I don’t know about forgetting the pain…I have to tell you. Ours is 9, and I still remember it was horrid. She was face up. The drs put an epidural drip in, but it fell out after a couple of hours. The Dr came in and said “The baby is sunny side up, we’ll have to cut the epi back.” Little did any of us know it had fallen out hours prior. I thought “this is so much pain with an epidural, I’ll die without one!” I offered to push harder and longer instead. After 2 1/2 hours of pushing, she was delivered. But that was after many beggings to “suck her out” with the vacuum. The highlight was when, assuming I had the epi, they cut me (not enough as it turned out). Imagine their shock when I asked “Are you cutting me, cause I can feel it!?!” All said, it was a 46 hour labor with very slow progression due to her position. I begged for a C-section, which I was firmly against, about 2 hours into pushing. I yelled at my mom one time to stop encouraging me, I was sick of it. Nice, huh? And I screamed so loudly when they pushed the placenta out that my weak kneed husband almost passed out–he got white and held on to something. This was after he was repeatedly assured that the pain was done and he could come in and see us. LOL—poor guy. After the whole thing, they gave me a sympathy epi without my knowledge to cut the excruciating pain I was left in. I couldn’t walk for 12 hours, but had lovely body trembling for the next serveral hours to make up for it. I always joke that this is why God only gave us one—He knew I’d lose it if I needed to go through it again 😉 I still marvel at how beautiful your daughter is!

  104. Mary,
    I know seeing 10 lb plus numbers can seem intimidating (especially to a small woman) but I have probably heard more complication stories about less than 8 pounders. There is a LOT more involved in the ease of birth than simply the size of the baby. Strength and efficiency of contraction, whether the baby’s head is engaged, the size of the head, width of shoulders, shape of mom’s pelvic opening etc, all come into play.

    Yes, a lot of women and babies used to die frequently. Poor sanitation and harsh living conditions often contributed to the mortality rate.

  105. Ok, I just reread your post and saw that your dr. broke your water intentionally. Not nice! My first ob had told me before my baby came that she didn’t really like to do episiotomies and rarely did them, and then she did one on me without asking (I don’t remember if she told me first or not) and I did not appreciate that at all. Especially when it took me painful months to recover.

  106. Congratulations, Kelly! I have to admit, I cried when I read your birth story. And she’s a big baby for a little gal like you. Mind you, I don’t think there’s any shame in using an epidural. I’m pretty sure that my mother had me in “twilight sleep” – and she didn’t nurse, as that was not what women did at the time – and we had a very strong bond. In other words, as Mary said, who cares how it happened? The result is the same (hopefully) – a healthy baby.

    By the way, your baby was born on MY birthday! How about that? 😉

  107. Kelly,

    I appreciate your taking the time to peek at my post and have been considering your question about medication in childbirth.

    As I mentioned in my post, I think the pain of childbirth wasn’t simply a pointless punishment.

    But I don’t think less of you for wanting to keep the medication option open.

    Your question concerning the “rightness” of medicated birth is interesting and I’ve been thinking on that this morning. If I ever get my thoughts together, I might e-mail you so I don’t completely take over your thread.

  108. Kelly,
    Congratulations! What a beautiful baby girl.
    My experience was similar. I was determined to have a natural birth. My first was, but it was so horrible it kind of affected my ability to bond with my daughter. Last three have been medicated and I actually enjoyed birth.
    You are a strong woman for enduring it! Again, congratulations!

  109. Heather – I appreciate you clarity, and the disclaimer about your posting. I’ve read it now. Furthermore,
    1) I agree with your interpretation of Gen 3:16 regarding the wife’s role.
    2) I agree “that God, in His wisdom, gave us physical pictures that help us better grasp spiritual truth.”
    3) I agree that a woman’s discomfort/pain in childbirth has less to do with baby’s size than a myriad of other factors, all working together (though I can’t say by experience, never had a normal sized baby).

    I think you made some interesting points in your post. But – wherever it began – I do NOT think that pain in childbirth is a God-mandated requirement. I fight even the suggestion of it! I think that interprets that verse entirely too narrowly. (I agree with Mary’s earlier comment to the effect that all mothering takes guts! Even for those who don’t birth their children) And it does not take into account God’s gifts, power, and technoligical mercies thanks to Christ’s dominion over all the earth.

    (ending note to Heather)

    And not to open another whole can of worms, but regarding those women who describe an intense spiritual experience during birth, well, I’ve heard the same thing over and over again but also to the tune of “intense spiritual one-ness with the universe” and being “intensely aware of my inner goddess.” Now, I’ve not had it, so I hate to knock it, but I’m beginning to be inclined that there’s a strong hormonal element to the feeling, like the post-delivery rush I’ve also never had.

    Of course, anytime someone is in a humbling, over-hard situation and cries out to God there will be a spiritual connection, for “where 2 or more are gathered in my name, there I will be.” But it’s the feeling where I am skeptical. After all, God is there with me whether or not I feel it. Just a thought.

  110. Medicated births, sinful? Wow. Now there’s a topic useless to argue over. Pain in child-birth a result of the fall — curse to Eve. Check. Sickness also a result of the fall — our bodies dying. Check. Do you take Tylenol? How about Insulin if you are a dependant diabetic? Would you support a mother who withheld pain medication for a child who suffered a broken-bone, ear-infection, or other illness? (If you answer yes, you have other issues than this). So……all that said, pain and illness are a part of the curse of the fall (sin), BUT, God did give the healing and pain-easing herbs/plants of the earth to heal and ease pain/illness. And now, in our generation, there are phamr. meds availble as well. While the potential complications of pain medicine in child-birth is up to each woman to evaluate, to suggest that it is sinful to accept medicine to ease pain is simply ludicrous. Other than the Genesis account, PROVE your point with the Scriptures (becuase the Genesis account of where pain in child-birth comes from does not justify the end argument).

    Kelly, praise God for your healthy, beautiful baby girl; a sound delivery; and a safe homecoming to be with your family. And don’t give a second thought to this rediculous thread regarding meds v sin. Enojoy the congratulations and birth stories and ignore the rest.

    And for the record, I don’t “defend” the med approach becuase I took it. But, really, that doesn’t matter, now does it.

  111. Kelly, I emailed you twice today! 🙂 Just wanted to add my love here in your comment section, too! It’s OK to go through a time of processing! It’s OK to experience a range of emotions from “Never again” to “well, maybe” to “Did I really do that?!” 🙂 Just take ’em as they come.

    AND REST!!!


  112. Lori,
    Thank you for being willing to “work with me ” :o)
    I don’t see a Biblical mandate for pain in childbirth, either. But since my reason for refusing medication has always been health-oriented (rather than for moral/spiritual reasons), I am not prepared at this time to discuss/defend my position. Therefor, I officially must state that I “have no opinion” until I have looked at it from that perspective. Make sense?

    Interesting point about the spiritual experience. I also have noted that a lot of midwives tend to be “New Age” in their religious beliefs and the whole “goddess worship” aspect seems to be very prevalent in that profession. My midwives never pushed their beliefs on me, but I know they lean that direction and after my first birth with them (they are very professional and good at what they do), I started to question whether it was wise to have such a close relationship with them. I really didn’t feel like we had any other options, though, because we are so far from any other obstetric care–so we continued to ask God for guidance and the following two pregnancies ended with baby arriving (without a hitch) before the midwives. I’ll spare you the details and just give God the credit by saying that we asked for His help and those last two deliveries were the quickest and easiest of the five!
    And now a Christian midwife has opened a practice in town, so I believe we have a definite answer as to what we should do if we end up pregnant again.

    I’ve also wondered if the intense emotional/physical experience of childbirth is confused with a spiritual one. Also, I expect that if a person is not a Christian, she can be easily influenced demonically as she participates in Eastern religion-styled “relaxation and concentration” techniques. The focus could then be skewed from being one that is centered on God to being worship of “femininity” or nature.

  113. Heather –
    4) I agree that there are some serious health concerns about o.b. related births,and some real benefits to intervention-free birthing. But I’m very middle-of-the-road on the subject. Your last two births sound ideal to me (and I thank you for sparing details). So glad you’ve got another midwifery option near you!

  114. Wait, someone please tell me: Not O.B., right? but Ob? And why do we say O.B. if it’s really Ob? Do any of y’all secretely feel the urge to say “O-B Wan?” 🙂

  115. Mary, don’t feel bad. I doubt the average person knows much about the size issue etc. I’m kind of weird about researching pregnancy related stuff when I am pregnant.

    Mary said:
    Kelly’s baby sure is beautiful! She looks like a porcelain doll!

    Now, THAT is something on which we can all agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

  116. Amy Jo,

    The big factor that makes your point a little less clear than it seems (I’ve always held to the same viewpoint–pain is the curse of sin and we have every right to alleviate it)…is that the pain from childbirth is not the same pain from sickness and disease. Given that, I just wanted to ask the question about whether the way we treat that pain changes…no black and white conclusions here, I’m just one who feels the need to base my decisions on well-thought out “theology”, I guess 😉

    In other words, is the pain of childbirth (a natural process) something very specific that the Lord designed for us to go *through* and not around in order that His purposes might be fulfilled in our lives? It may not be wrong, necessarily, but it is one of those “God’s best” things? These are good things to discuss, IMO.

  117. You did wonderfully, Kelly. Thank you for your honesty in sharing.

    No one said giving birth naturally means having the time of your life. Some of us happened to have easy natural births and pain-free pushing, but it doesn’t mean we are somehow “superior” to those who had it harder.

  118. Just thought I’d weigh in on the pain in childbirth debate. I tend to agree with Amy Jo. I can see what you are saying Kelly about it being a natural process therefor different from sickness. However, pain in childbirth is not how it was originally designed, just as sickness was not part of God’s original design. Both are a result of the fall. One we try to eliminate, the other we debate about. Hmmm….
    Here is my conclusion:
    Childbirth = part of God’s plan
    Life without sickness = part of God’s plan
    Pain in Childbirth = result of sin
    Sickness that destroys life = result of sin
    While we can try to eliminate (or diminish the effects) of sin in our life, those things that are part of God’s plan should not be avoided. Therefore childbirth is good and from God, don’t avoid it 🙂 Pain is a result of sin and we can therefore try and eliminate it.

  119. Hi Kelly,
    I love your blog and appreciate all of your posts they are always such an encouragement to me. I’ve never left a comment, but now I wish I had when you were asking for advice on natural child birth.

    I’m so sorry you didn’t have a good experience with natural child birth. How scary it must have been for you when you stared pushing and felt pain that you didn’t know a person could feel and actually survive. I can totally relate because that’s what happend to me with my first baby. I really thought I was going to die. If I had commented I would have told you that the pushing is the worst! That said, I’ve had all four of my babies naturally and have loved it despite the terrifying pain. 🙂 I, like you, am able to get through the contractions remaining completely focused on the Lord and with His help I’m able to maintain control. But when it comes time to push, the rememberance of the pain from previous births all comes flooding back and I tend to get scared. I still rely on the Lord, sometimes singing bible verses in my head in order not to loose it, but I scream my head off when pushing out my babies and when I have to stop after the head is delivered I say “TAKE IT OUT!” also. My last baby was delivered at home (for the first time) and it was my easiest labor and the pushing was not as bad (still very painful). I think in part because I was at home and in a much more relaxed atmosphere and I’ve come to the realization that it’s going to be pain to the extreme but God will get me through it. With our last, I even said to my dear husband as he gave me words of encouragement that it was “the best pain in the world because our baby was coming!”

    I praise God that He helped you to stick with it through a very long and hard labor and don’t feel bad that it wasn’t what you hoped it would be. If I was laboring that long and at a hospital I might have opted for the epidural. All but one of my friends love to have their babies with an epidural and most of them think I’m crazy for doing it naturally. 🙂 I guess I love the sweet reliance I have on the Lord at those times, there is truly nothing else like it for me. Giving birth is an amazing gift whether done naturally or with drugs, either way we are given a precious gift from God. What an awesome privilege it is to be a wife and mother!

    Ellia is beautiful and I’m so happy for you and your family! Reading your birth story and seeing the pictures of your sweet baby is getting me very excited for the birth of our next blessing (coming in March)!

    God Bless and Congrats,

  120. Allison,

    Congratulations! Believe it or not, after just a few short days, I’m seeing the miracle of how God transforms that painful memory into one that slowly melts into all the blessings of childbirth…I can see how one might do it again!

  121. I have given birth 8 times, no epidurals, the last four with no meds whatsoever. I can tell you your experience is within the range of normal. I had one like that (my sixth). My next was almost painless and only 4 1/2 hours labor. each one is very different. I won’t have meds with any future births if i can help it (i am now gestational diabetic which adds different elements to inductions and such). I wholeheartedly believe it is better for the baby to be un-drugged. That would even be worth going through the worst one again. (Though I do have to admit every time I realize I am pregnant I have dreams of those epi births I have heard of. If it wasn’t for the potintial bad effects on baby….)

  122. Kudos Kelly to wanting well-thought out decisions based on sound theology. I feel the same way, and know that you will have peace regarding this issue as God reveals to you and your family His plan in this for you. As you posted in the next post, you can see now how this experience revealed God’s hand, mercy and tenderness in so many ways that may not have been noticed had you not “had” this experience. I just believe that is God’s overwhelming grace to us in our sin-state: that He chooses to reveal Himself to us when we look for Him, too. While I agree that brokenness and suffering are two of God’s greatest tools to refine us and conform us to the image of His Son, I don’t believe that He ever intended for us to make ourselves martyrs to that cause. (Not saying that choosing natural child-birth is choosing martyrdom, but for some Believers they think that if it isn’t hard it cannot possibly be of God. This has no Scriptrual backing. Surley this walk is hard, but it will be that on its own. We don’t have to go in search of it).

    — I feel like I’m rambling here–

    So……if you, or anyone else, chooses NOT to have “natural” child-birth next time, God will not be any less revealed, tender mercies will still abound, if you look for Him to be. “You will find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” (Jer. 29:13)

    However, your seeking of God may reveal a different conviction for you and your family and that is between you and God and not open for debate among any of us.

    All that said, the point of my comment was to give you encouragement to drown out the “negative” or “less-than-desirable” comments and embrace the wonder of your baby and family. God has plenty of time to work this issue out in your heart. And personally, I think, the last thing you need are people arguing over your personal choices in an ugly manner. (Call it some sort of strange protection for this precious time you just need to cheerish and this time of healing and recovery that your body needs. REST:-)

  123. Hey Kelly,
    I understand where you are coming from. I have a one year old that I delivered naturally last summer, and it was awful. I had no complications, but was too far progressed to make pain meds worth while, and I tore terribly. He was hardly crowning and she said push, so I pushed and he aaalll came out head to toe in about one minute! I didn’t experience the euphoria either. I laid back in a pain induced fog for an hour. The doc came(I had a midwife) and stitched me up, as she wasn’t certified to stitch the extensive tear I had, and when he got ready to do so, he handle my tear like it was a flank steak…let’s just say I wasn’t too pleased…I can say I am thankful for my baby, and if I had to do it again, I would, but I am not sure I want to. And the contractions were INSANE! And I have a generally high pain tolerance also. You are not alone, Kelly!! And this experience being different than what you hoped it would be is a let down, but no less YOUR experience, and no one will think you weak or somehow less of a mother, a woman, a Christian or anything else because childbirth is always hard, it’s always painful, and most ladies are not so puffed up as to think that it couldn’t happen to them that way!!
    Keep you chin up.

  124. Madge – Lay midwifery in the US is illegal. Almost all states (where midwifery is legal), the midwives must graduate from an approved program or school. Some even require that students pass the CPM test before they are licensed. An LM is a licensed midwife that has graduated from and approved school/program and passed her exams. A CPM is an internationally recognized license that has taken a higher level exam. The VA/DOD and Dept. of Edu. recognize these schools and programs and will pay for schooling if the student is eligible. Some state scholarship programs will also pay for students to attend these schools.For more info & stats about midwives in the US go to

  125. I just wanted to express my appreciation for your post. Though you may have felt failure…I was moved to tears by your post. What a beautiful way we bring our babies into the world. Who else would you suffer for? Jesus suffered for us……unimaginable suffering….and we suffer for our children. My mother birthed four large babies at home in her own bed with a midwife and her husband… pain killers or medication at all. I myself had an epidural with my first born, but long to experience a natural labor next time around. That’s just what it is….labor….we are laboring and suffering to give our children life. It is so precious… least from a philosophical view point. 🙂 Thank you for sharing….It is only a reminder of how much a mommy loves her God given baby and is committed to that child’s well being. Women have been doing this since the dawn of time. It makes me proud to be part of the ranks of women….we are so strong!

  126. There is no set standard curriculum for non-nurse midwives. That’s exactly my concern with them. There is no standard criteria for what they are expected to know, and their practice is only legal in about half of the states anyway. Some come with a background in the sciences but many programs do not require a college degree at all.

    Of course women have been delivering babies for millenia without academic backgrounds, but in my experience more knowledge is better than less. If a homebirth mother needs to be transferred to a hospital for complications, at the very least the midwife needs to be literate in and cognizant of the medical facts at hand.

  127. Certified Nurse midwives are a good thing. I’m an advocate. I would not birth a baby with a midwife who was not a certified nurse midwife….6 years of college education….plus years of experience…..

  128. Kelly I just wanted to thank you for your honesty in this post. Too often I think we as women run from blog to blog salivating over the lives and decisions of other women who we think have made better life decisions than our own. I fear sometimes we can get so caught up in “listening” to the words of other women that we stop listening to the words our Savior has directly for us and our family.

    Our relationship with the Lord is and intimate and individual one. What he is calling one woman or one family too he may not be calling another to. It does not profit us to get all caught up in what we see as the “beauty” in another woman or families life and try to copy it in our own. This is just a setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment. Instead we should be humbly seeking what the Lord has for us, knowing that those whom He calls He equips. He has loviningly equipped each of us to do exactly what He created us to do. That can actually look different from family to family.

    I don’t think you have let anyone down. I think you have actually displayed the wonder of God. He created individuals who will react and respond to each given life situation differently. Did he create some to have amazing natural childbirths yes. Read their blogs and enjoy their stories but do not feel as if their way is the ONLY godly way. Pray seek what the Lord would have for your family and then follow His plan and only His plan for your individual family and do not look to the right or left to see what anyone else it doing. It matters not.

  129. Congratulations on the birth of your precious daughter! I have had two epidurals and one natural birth. Taking Bradley classes really helped in preparing me for the natural birth. We were constantly told that transition is the hardest phase and once you officially feel like you “cannot take it anymore”, you are almost done. Pushing was the most intense part of natural childbirth for me. I hope to birth naturally again, even though it definitely wasn’t an easy road.My natural birth was a definite time for me to cling to God alone. Nothing else could have carried me through that! May God bless you!

  130. Thank you for being honest about your experience. I want to applaud you for doing this, and please don’t be down on yourself. I tried to go natural with my last baby 3 months ago and near the end I gave in and needed medication (like two hours before he was born); I just could not do it. I felt like a failure for a while, but then I realized that I have a happy healthy baby boy and that’s all that really matters.

    While I admire and respect other mothers who advocate for natural childbirth, I think sometimes they make it seem better than it really is. Thank you thank you for your truth and awesome blog.

    Take care,
    ~ Zipporah

  131. Christine said: “We were constantly told that transition is the hardest phase and once you officially feel like you “cannot take it anymore”, you are almost done. Pushing was the most intense part of natural childbirth for me.”

    With the exception of my first (he got stuck, prolonged the pushing phase, received suction and I got an episiotomy) transition has been the toughest. But I hate that there is a tendency to lump every experience together and then average it all out into distinct phases with descriptions that often mislead pregnant women about what to expect.

    Another often overlooked difficulty is how agonizing it can be to begin breastfeeding. A lot of women I know of have been totally unprepared for cracking, bleeding, engorgement and the uterine cramping that can occur. And the cruel myth that “breastfeeding speeds weight loss (in some women but not others)” :oP

    I doubt anyone would argue with you about the need for midwives to be accountable. I think perhaps where a difference of opinion occurs is what qualifies a person to be able to safely deliver a baby.

    True, if a medical emergency occurs, a doctor that is trained in surgical procedures may be the only option for safe delivery. However, the argument for the necessity of a college degree rings a little hollow. There are plenty of apathetic, pushy or unethical OB/GYNs who have “credentials” and have done nothing illegal to require their licenses to be revoked.

    There is a very real tendency for some professionals who have received specialized training in an area to insist that there is no way a “lay person” could do an adequate job while armed with some basic, practical skills. Extreme instances are often thrown out as “the norm”–or at least the “worst case scenario” seed is planted in a way that prevents many from seeking options. We tend to believe them and not question those who we are told are the experts.

    Does the Bible indicate such a thing? It is interesting to me that man’s wisdom often keeps us captive by preying on our fear. Does our reliance on the claims of trained professionals interfere with our ability to trust God’s wisdom?

    I’m not accusing anyone here of not trusting God. It was just a thought that popped into my head. For the record, I believe the medical profession has an appropriate place. My mom was a registered nurse and one of our good family friends is a wonderful family practitioner (who had to downgrade from OB because of insurance costs).

    Interestingly, our friend’s daughter is in the Philippines, training to become a midwife and has had plenty of academic training to go through. I have also heard that she has had already more hands-on labor-delivery experience in the last 18 or so months than her dad had during his entire school experience.

    I’m not sure that lay-midwifery not being legally recognized is a good marker of whether it is an appropriate practice. It is a sad fact that the “legality” of something is becoming a less sure method of determining whether that thing is “right”.

    Often, a midwife will be adequately experienced and certified, but unable to get the state to recognize it if she does not operate under a medical doctor’s direct supervision (thus subjecting her decisions to the doctor’s authority). In some smaller and rather remote towns,it is not possible for that to happen.

    I’m not trying to prove a point. Just thinking that there are a lot of ways to view the subject. The issue is a complicated one and every person will have her own opinion based on experience and available information, I suppose.

  132. My experience is that there is complete subjectivity among non-nurse midwives. Some know a lot, some know very little. Some are kind, way more that one would think are as harsh and cold as the worse OBGYN. They have no accountability–no partners, no board to which they report–and any problems get shipped off to the hospital where they are counted among hospital complications.

    I do not think that consulting with trained, accountable medical professionals is at all equatable with not trusting God in any way. I think that this message is pushed in many Christian circles however. When the plumbing breaks, no one thinks twice about calling a qualified mechanic if the skills to fix it are lacking. Why would we trust our “stuff” to the experts and think that we can deliver babies wherever and however we want?

    I think this is off the topic of Kelly’s birth at this point, but I do think if non-nurse midwives want to be taken seriously by the vast majority of expectant parents they need to take themselves more seriously by getting the best education they can and by holding their peers to rigorous standards. Until they do this, better forms of birthing will only be available to the radical fringe, and only with a lot of risk to mothers and babies.

  133. ***************************
    “When the plumbing breaks, no one thinks twice about calling a qualified mechanic if the skills to fix it are lacking. Why would we trust our “stuff” to the experts and think that we can deliver babies wherever and however we want?”

    You might be surprised at how many non-experts do a fine job at repairing their own plumbing ;o)
    I’m not sure why OB/GYN’s must be considered “experts” while midwives cannot. And I’m not sure where you got the idea that midwives have *no* accountability. The ones in my area take very seriously the need to review each other, keep track of complications, insist that clients sign a release that allows the midwives to send them to the hospital if it looks like there might be problems, and they record statements from clients as to concerns and satisfaction with the care that is given. They fully understand how hostile ACOG can be toward “rogue” birthing attendants and they know that if they are sloppy or inept with handling births, they will eventually be run out of business.

    I never once suggested that it is wrong to visit a medical practitioner if one so chooses. If that is what God leads you to do, then you had better obey.

    My thought was simply that often we (as a group) tend to unquestioningly trust those who say they are “experts” and can forget to check other options and ask God before making a final decision. That is not the same as accusing people of sinning because they opt for a hospital birth.

    You’re right, this discussion is off-subject. I’m not sure where it started and I was simply responding to the turn of the conversation with my own thoughts.

    As I said before, a person’s opinion tends to be colored by her experience and the information available to her.

  134. I really wanted a homebirth–thankfully I did not go that route as it would have not worked out well for me or my babies–and after much discernment I very much felt that it would be an irresponsible, self-centered choice. I did hear the voice of God in that discernment, to choose the well being of my babies over an experience. This conversation has actually been very affirming for me because I still have lingering feelings of longing for that great, natural childbirth experience–selfish and ungrateful as that seems logically, since my kids are beautiful and healthy and I don’t have the physical trauma I would have certainly had with natural childbirth given my specific set of circumstances–but to hear so many of you accepting of the humane assistance available through modern medical care has been a big comfort to me.

  135. Madge,
    I can totally understand how it may appear that some “natural-birth” advocates appear to be condescending toward those who cannot/choose not to go that route. While it is true in some cases, I hope my statements were not misunderstood to be so.

    God has different lessons for each of His children and does not give each of us the exact same experiences. There is no commandment that specifically reads “Thou shalt not birth your child in hospital or accept pain medication during labor”. Since it is not specifically forbidden, I consider it to be a matter of conscience before the Lord.

    One important thing I have learned from interacting in the blogosphere is that I cannot see into the lives of other posters and *know* where they are coming from. It is incredibly easy to make a seemingly innocuous statement and slash into the soul of another reader before I even know what I’ve done.

    If I have hurt you during this discussion, I do want to ask for your forgiveness.

  136. Hello Kelly and congratulations on the birth of Ellia. My name is Jane and I live in the UK. I have four boys all born by c section and longed for a natural experience with them all. I was induced with my first baby for pre eclampsia and problems with the placenta. A long hard labour resulted in a c section and a poorly mum and baby. I was also too poorly to breastfeed and my baby was eight months old before I felt well again. The feelings of inadequacy and failure were huge. Second and third pregnancies followed a similar pattern although I did manage to breastfeed. With my fourth pregnancy I pleaded with God for a natural labour and delivery and really felt him say he would give me the desire of my heart. I went into labour at thirty seven weeks and really thought I was going to do it this time, but alas things did not work out that way. My baby was lying with his head on my hip and would not move into a better position, after eight hours of labour with his heart rate dropping I went for another c section. I felt cheated and I felt God had misled me. I pleaded with him for an answer, why had he allowed me to build my hopes up only to have them dashed again, why hadn’t I been able to birth him naturally? God spoke very softly to my heart, “You are too precious”. Those four words laid to rest many “ghosts” of childbirth past. I have been able to move on from the experience now and dont spend time agonising over it as I had done in the past. You are right to spend time reflecting on your experience and processing even the smallest of details, it all helps to come to terms with what happened and eventually lay it to rest. My boys are now 22,20,16 and 11 and not one of them gives a hoot about how they were born or whether they were breastfed or not!

  137. Oh heavens no, Heather–thanks for being so considerate but that ship has sailed for me 😉 I hope I caused you no offense as well and I apologize if I did so!

    I do worry that women are not given the full story by homebirth advocates, and it becomes a sort of Gnostic thing, a means of salvation or a sign that one is right with God (to have a “good” homebirth or natural birth). I’ve heard it articulated in almost those terms, and I’ve probably been guilty of it myself in terms of pushing breastfeeding (I’m more of a grown-up about it now, I hope and pray).

    Thanks to everyone for this conversation. . . .

  138. I am sorry that your birth was not what you expected. Thank you for sharing it. Since every birth is unique, I think we almost set ourselves up for failure with an idealized idea of what natural childbirth should be.

    Although my personal experience was still overwhelmingly positive, I was still shocked at the pain after reading so many stories of pain free or pleasurable childbirth.

    I don’t think there is any veil of secrecy in the natural childbirth movement, I just think that the odds of a good experience are stacked in favor of a gentle, homebirth vs a full medical, interventiony hospital birth.

  139. Wow, Kelly, I’m not sure that I’ve ever been so emotionally moved by someone else’s birth story before. I am sobbing and overjoyed at the same time. I want to hug you so much!! Congratulations on the arrival of your precious Ellia. She is absolutely beautiful! What an amazing and honest testimony of your experience. I have had 4 easy epidural deliveries for which I am thankful but I have also longed for a natural birth experience. I don’t really know why, just to know what it’s like for myself. Thanks for sifting through all of these thoughts and emotions with us. The Lord has used you to bless me. Thanks!!
    love, rixja in fl

  140. Thank you so much for posting this. I was prepared to birth my baby naturally in Feb. I had had one with an epidural and wanted to experience a natural birth like the ones I had read (and read and read) about. I prepared in all the ways I could and was so excited.

    Then my due date (which I was sure of) came and went. The baby was measuring very large and i am very petite. I resisted the suggestion to induce b/c I had read that doctor use the “large baby” excuse often.

    10 days past the due date, I had agreed to induce. However, I went into labor on my own.

    Long story short, I endured 12 hours of painful contraction that didn’t have much of a rest period between them… and I didn’t dilate past the 2 cm I had already been. I agreed to a pitocin drip and lasted for 4 hours or so on that, reaching 5 cm. The pain got to be too much and I was exhausted, so I got an epidural.

    Turns out the baby was 10 lbs and posterior. The epidural didn’t work right, so they upped the dose to the max and I had a very sacry panic attack.

    After 22 hours of labor, I ended up with a c-section.

    You have no idea how horrible I have felt. Like I failed. Like I wasn’t as strong as all the women who had raved about thier natural births.

    It is comforting to read someone elses story of natural birth. Someone who is willing to admit that it isn’t always euphoria.

    Oddly enough, I still wish I could have a natural birth, but I doubt that will happen. I won’t let anymore babies go past their due dates, and if I have to induce, I will take the epidural right away. My new goal, sadly, is to avoid c-section at all costs.

    My epidural birth with my daughter was wonderful. I was sane and happy and pain-free. My sons birth will always be overshadowed by the horror and trauma that it became.

    Anwway, thanks again for your honest post. God bless.

    PS- The baby is beautiful!

  141. Boy does that bring back memories.
    I only have 3…
    my first was delivered with the help of nubain to give me relief between contractions. My 2nd was completely natural…by accident! and my 3rd was with an epidural.
    I can honestly say that I felt the most accomplished with the 2nd birth, having done it naturally (however I was blessed with a 3 hour labor and only 3 pushes for that one, unlike your long labor!)
    but with the epidural I felt the most involved. Like I could call the shots and be an active participant rather than the “victim” being bossed around by everyone while just trying to survive the pain.
    And yes, I found that the pain of birthing the baby was way worse than the pain of the contraction!

    Congratulations on your new little one. She is gorgeous!

  142. Kelly,

    Thanks for that…I, like you, really felt more in control with the epidural…at least I was able to focus more on what was going on at the time of delivery, instead of still being out of my mind with pain. It’s an interesting thing to think through, for sure. I’m so glad I went natural; but I’m just not sure if it’s “the only way”.

  143. Kelly-
    I’m sorry for your experience. I am a natural birther who sang the praises of natural childbirth after my nearly painless birth of my 6 lb 12 oz pixie of a daughter. It was after that experience that I decided to homebirth my son.

    I had to chuckle a bit while reading your story, because the pain of pushing and the “just get it out!” aspects were exactly me. I thought I was going to die. He was 2 lbs heavier than his sister and 22 inches long. I am told I begged for drugs and even a csection while pushing him out. My daughter was one push, a little burning, and totally out. Jonah took his sweet time and I still cringe when I remember his emerging (he is nearly 5 months old).

    Unlike you, I did get the euphoric afterwards…until I lost so much blood that I almost passed out.

    Every woman, every pregnancy, every delivery is different. My natural birth with my daughter was awesome. With my son, I still cringe at the thought. While I still think I will have another homebirth when/if the time comes, you are definitely no wimp for heading back to the hospital and signing up for the epidural. Birth is hard!

  144. Kelly,

    I just discovered your blog today and know God has led me here. My husband and I have really been struggling with our feelings about birth control. We have been earnestly seeking out resources to help us really think about our family size. Thank you so much for the work you have done on your blog!

    As far as this post is concerned…I’ve had two babies naturally and I have to agree with several people here who have said the experience really does vary. My first labor was “perfect”…it was short and fairly easy with 15 min of pushing. I did realize, however, the actual birthing part really is WAY WAY worse than contractions (I wondered about the secret pact thing too…). With my second baby, the entire thing was just horrible. I refused to push in the end it was just so painful. Thankfully God did create our bodies to do that work because it really took over when I had mentally collapsed. She was born in one actual push. I also wondered if I would ever get over it…I kept reliving it.

    God has graciously allowed me to remember Evie’s birth as such a joyful experience when I look on it now. She is just an absolute delight to us!

    Anyway, thank you for all that you do and I look forward to reading much more!


  145. I posted on your birth video post and asked questions that, if I had just read more of your posts, I would have gotten the answer. I am SO enjoying reading your blog, I feel like I have found a good book! Anyway, I totally can relate to this post, I really feel the same way. Although, they did give me pitocin,which I wish I would have objected too more strongly. I was already 6 cm with contractions every 2 min when they started it in my IV at 5:00pm I went from 7-10 cm within 15 min and delivered my baby on the bed at 6:11pm with no nurse or doctor present. The pit made things go too fast. I felt as if my bottom exploded! He was only 7lbs 5 oz, but the force of delivery was enough to bruise his entire face. I am still feeling sore and it has been almost 3 weeks!
    Anyway, Thanks for your honesty!

  146. Kelly,

    I’m sorry for the late entry on this, but I just read it. I think you will always remember that you felt that way, but you will eventually forget the severity of the pain, but it takes a while. Maybe this is part of God’s family planning. “are you kidding! get the heck away from me today!” I had my first with an epidural I got when he was crowning and so I felt all the contractions. I went very quick and was only at the hospital for about 35 minutes before he was born. My second, I vowed to go natural. My water broke at 11 pm and we went to the hospital around 3 when I started getting really uncomfortable. Well, i was dilated 2 cm. and then 4 hours later I was 2.5 cm. WHAT! This is terrible. All this pain and no gain. I got the epidural and the pitocin. It was a very easy birth. I couldn’t push him out and they had to use vacuum and ultimately forceps. The MD said my bones were shaped funny and I would probably never be able to get out out on my own. Wow, how disappointing. Well, I didn’t tear with this one like the 1st one, which was a 5 degree, that means from one end to the other. But I was hurt down there so bad I felt like I know someone must feel after being raped repeatedly. it was horrible. I could barely walk. I didn’t feel this way with #1 and they used forceps and I tore. What the heck? Well, baby number three I am going to try to go natural again because each time I had an epidural my blood pressure will crash and babies hearts stop. Now they always seem to be able to take care of it quickly, but still, it makes me nervous. I tried a birthing plan, and my OB said my best bet was to just stay home as long as possible. So I did. the big day came and I got in the bathtub for about 2 hours. Then I said let’s go. We got the hospital when I was 6 cm. and I labored. I yelled during contractions and screamed even. WHen my water broke it became almost unbearable because his head hit my cervix and I couldn’t believe how much the pain increased. But, I made it. I said, I can’t do this anymore, (which is code for the baby is about to be born) apparently a lot of natural birth moms say that. I remember my mom telling me that pushing would make the pain stop, so I pushed…not hard, just a little to make the pain stop. IN a few minutes the doc was in and they laid me flat on my back. I had been on my hands and knees to relieve the pressure on my cervix. So I am laying there and they say push! So I do. They say push again. So I do. They say PUSH. and I said NO! If I push now I will tear. I know it. and then the Doc puts one finger on me down there and it is like a branding iron. Suddenly I realize why I hurt so bad with baby #2. The nurse was doing that thing the whole time where they use their thumb to help you stretch and not tear and on top of that they were probably telling me to push when my body was telling me to wait, but I didn’t know then because I was numb from the waist down. So anyway, I lay there looking up at the ceiling and no joke I felt like I could here the Jeopardy clock ticking. Everyone in the room is staring at my bottom and just waiting. I finally say OK, I’m ready and one more push and he was out. I have to say that after they took him off my stomach I wasn’t staring at him like with the others. I was soooo tired, It just didn’t even occur to me. I heard him cry, I knew he was OK, but my eyes weren’t glued to him like with the others. i was just soooo exhausted. But he nursed and then after about an hour of rest I felt soooo good. I was dressed walking the halls and I didn’t even need an ice pack. With #2 I had an icepack constantly for about 2 weeks.

    I don’t know what the point of my story is, other than women just like to share their birth stories and maybe that each birth is different. Also, looking back I do feel like after all is said and done I prefer the natural childbirth. I may not think so in the midst of it, but I do prefer it. not on moral grounds or anything, just on the grounds that I prefer they way I feel afterward and also a little bit the sense of power and independence, that I CAN do it.

    Your baby and whole family is beautiful and I really appreciate everything you do with this blog.

  147. Hello, I’m Angela from New Zealand where we are blessed to have access to midwife led maternity care and home births if we choose them. Kelly, I have been enjoying reading your blog over the past few weeks and have just come across this particular one on Ellia’s birth – a very belated congratulations to you. Hopefully now that it is a few months later you have been able to process the birth experience you had and heal, mentally, spiritually and physically from it.

    I would like to comment here as I think I have something to add which may be helpful (if anyone ever reads all the way to comment 165!) I have 6 children; our first was born in hospital with nitrous oxide gas as pain relief, the others all home births.

    Some thoughts that may be beneficial to focus and reflect on in the time leading up to the birth of a baby and during the labour and birth. If any of these resonate with you then I suggest you regularly think about them as part of preparing for a birth.

    Children are a blessing from God.

    God designed a woman’s body to give birth.
    (I am aware that it is not always possible for a woman to birth naturally, but many can. Medical help is a blessing & has saved many lives, but I believe it should not become the normal ‘default’ option. I am speaking here more about medical interventions not necessarily pain relief.)

    I have been through labour and given birth before, and with God’s help, I can do it again.

    The pain of labour is ‘good’ pain – the muscles of my uterus are doing their job of contracting and taking my body through the process of giving birth to this baby.
    (‘good’ pain being something along the lines of nothing is wrong or needs healing or ‘fixing’.)

    Each contraction is one less that I have to go through, one closer to the baby’s birth.

    This is only a short time (usually only 1 or 2 days) out of my whole life.

    At the end of this labour, we will have a new baby in our family.

    “Dear God, bring me closer to you through this birth.”

    Look at photos of yourself and previous children just after their births – focus on the joy you felt at having a precious new baby in your family.

    Even though home birth is my preferred choice, I am always open to changing the plan if the labour does not progress as expected. Be open to plans changing.

    Things that may help during labour & birth: movement eg walking, rocking, being upright rather than on your back (my most 2 recent daughters were born with me kneeling on the floor and upper body leaning on bed or couch); water – shower, bath, birthing pool (have used water to greatly help in labour with 4 children, 2 of whom were born in the water); having a quiet, calm atmosphere – whatever helps you relax eg music, darkened room, candles etc (probably not so easy in a hospital setting but see what you can do); heat packs; massage… There are many options that can help you through the process of giving birth without artificial drugs. I guess what I’m trying to say is that natural birth doesn’t have to be, “Grit your teeth and endure it, if you’re not going to have medical pain relief, you can’t have anything.” When our bodies relax (as much as this is possible during labour) they produce hormones which help in reducing pain.

    So, well done for giving natural birth a go. No condemnation if you choose not to if there is a next time. But remember that a next time may be totally different, and perhaps there are some options that you may not have considered before.


  148. Hi Kelly – just wanted to chime in – i’ve had seven “natural” births and with some of them there was that total relief that now i was pushing and here comes baby and with some that was the scary part (the two it was the easiest with were my two smallest babies, at 8 lb and 8 lb 11 – all the others ranged in weight from 8lb 15 to 10 lbs…)
    So if you ever had another natural birth, it might not be the same.
    I do remember the shock at the end, my first time, when i realized that i was in a hospital filled with doctors and nurses and nobody was going to HELP ME! They just stood around and smiled at me and said “Now push” (yikes!) –

    If you do ever have another baby, try waterbirth – it cuts the pain by at least 30% – my last three were waterbirths, and vastly different from each other (my smallest baby, my biggest baby, and my longest labour) – but all were so much more *in control* – the water helped soothe and melt away a lot of the dicomfort that goes nuclear toward the end…
    Congratulations on your beautiful little baby girl – she is darling! And you did GREAT!
    much love

  149. I think every birth is different. I have had 3 so far. I “tried” to go naturally with my first 2 but I did it at the hospital. unfortunately, hospitals are not the best place to try to deliver a baby naturally. There is unspoken pressure: you have to dilate at their pace, everyone is watching, you can’t pick the position to deliver your baby and so on and on. Then there is the spoken pressure: nurses checking on your dilation all the time, poking you, turning you, monitors, offers of pain meds, pitocin, etc etc. After 2 vaginal deliveries at the hospital that did not go as I had envisioned, we decided on a homebirth. My 3rd baby, the biggest of them all: a 10 pound girl at 42 weeks!!!! She was delivered at home without any intervention whatsoever. It was the easiest and most comfortable delivery of all 3. Easiest because I pushed when I felt I was ready in the position I chose. Comfortable because I was able to eat, move, poop, pee, lay down, walk, do anything I felt it was necessary. I prayed and we followed God’s leading and we had an awesome natural birth. It wasn’t long either. my contractions began at 6am and it wasn’t until noon that I really started doing some work (transitional time) At around 3pm, she was born. 🙂 I commend you on trying a natural birth but I would highly suggest that if you want to do it again to trust your body and let go of preconceived ideas of how things need to happen. Also I would suggest doing it at where you are most comfortable (that was at home for me). If you need a professional with you, try a midwife. I would also say pray…ask God what to do. He knows best! Let go of fear and hold on to what you know is true. Read what the Bible says about your body. But more important, congratulations on the baby and enjoy your blessings. 🙂 tereza

  150. 5 months ago I had my first natural childbirth. It was at home with a highly recomended midwife (many in my church have used her and have also had 8-10 kids). It was painful but wonderful experience. I am convinced it was because of the midwife’s knowledge and being in my own home. My midwife knew of certain kinds of walking and interesting exercises to get the labor progressing (when I sat down contractions would stop). She gave me soothing encouraging words during the labor, gentle massage, footrubs..whatever. She had me wear pads soaked in olive oil and some other oils to make me stretch better (and for aromatherapy). I was allowed to try different positions (ended up being on all fours and doing a rocking side to side motion). The midwife also knew when to tell me not to push (pushing too much too soon can make you tear more). My daughter tried being born with her arm out (hand was by the cheek preventing the proper seal on the cervix as someone mentioned). This was my best birth ever because I was clear-headed and happy immediately after the birth. I had NO tearing at all. No vomiting etc. I’ve had 3 hospital births with epidurals (first one they gave me so much of it that both legs were numb and I was hardly able to push at all) and one hospital birth where they refused the epidural because it was too close to delivery and they gave me ‘medication’ that drugs me out instead. That was my most horrible birth because I was out of my mind and slurring and begging etc. I think it was ‘state all’ they gave me. UGH. My home birth was nothing like that one. With all my hospital births I have torn badly. Had long recovery and vomited a lot. Catheters and all sorts of stuff. This one I didnt tear at all and was able to sit easily the next day (no stitches). I didnt vomit. The pregnancy was also nice because the midwife came to my home for appts and gave me herbs etc. It was so stress free. Oh, and the placenta came out gently. My midwife said that some force and pull the placenta out and that can make you hemmorige. At the hospitals I alwasy had a lot of bleeding. I didnt with the home birth. I’ll definately try it again. I’m sorry your experience was so bad. Birthing can be scary no matter how you go but I do believe that a home birth with a knowledgeable midwife would be much better than non-medicated in a hospital. I’m glad you and the baby were ok. Wow, you have such a beautiful family.

  151. I can relate to your experience. My first hospital birth was very difficult. Nothing like what I’d imagined. I’ve since realized that it’s not I who has failed. The hospital setting was just not the right place for me to have my baby. In my own home, with the love of my husband anchoring me to my task at hand, I’ve learned that I can work with my body to allow the birth of my baby to not overwhelm me.
    There are so many, since coming home to birth, have a new appreciate of how birth can be satisfying. Yes, satisfying. Empowering. And naturally pain-controlled.

  152. I delivered my second child without epidural or pain medications, and it was horrid!!! I have no words to describe the formidable pain. Terrifying.

  153. I thought I would go natural with my first child, after all, I’d seen my dogs and cats give birth and there wasn’t much to it. A little panting, sometimes a grunt when they pushed a baby out every 15 minutes or so, but overall (barring something getting stuck) no big deal.

    Ha. About 3 hours in, I was crying from pain and my husband said “get the epideral” and I submitted gratefully ;-). And I became convinced (as if I hadn’t been already) that the story of Adam and Eve was absolutely positively true. The pain we experience in childbirth is absolutely gratuitous (ask my dog) and makes sense in the punishment for Eve’s sin department.

    So does that mean we should “accept” the full meter of our punishment and eschew drugs or pain-reduction? NO. We must remember that Jesus suffered incredibly on the cross for our sins (even what we inherited from Eve) and I am pretty certain that continuing to say that we *must* pay for that sin is a slap in his face. Yes, we still suffer because we are human but we are not required to.

  154. I want to leave another comment because I read the other comments and didn’t really see much about how much difference the birthing position can make. The difference in the pelvic opening between lying down and being upright is almost 30%. I don’t know if doctors know that, but if they did, they wouldn’t advise it anyway because the delivery table is designed for a lying down position. Is the Bible sufficient for all of life? I’m sure everyone is familiar with this passage, but this verse, Exodus 1:16, “And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools,” tells us how the “lively” Hebrew women birthed. Technology right from the start, using a s(tool) to assist in birthing upright.

  155. Freida,

    Your comment makes perfect sense to me and yes, I’ve noticed that verse too. That is perhaps another downside to hospital birth; I’m sure they would have let me use any position (they were very accommodating), but it’s so uncommon, I probably just felt weird asking. Also, by the time I was ready to give birth, I was in so much pain I didn’t feel like I could stand anymore.

  156. I have found that a birthing pool is very helpful with upright positions. Most of the time, I labored leaning on the side of the pool, letting my body hang. The water supports your weight and makes being upright easier than being outside of water. Being in water also softens and protects the perineal tissues.

    While reading the comments, I am reminded of what a pastor preached concerning trials. He said when we pray for God to get us out of it or to make it easy, that may not give Him the glory or for us to be conformed to Christ through the trial. We should rather pray to see Christ IN the trial. Let our boost be in Christ as our deliverer and not the pain-relieving effects of the epidural. God ordained the effects of childbirth and yet, He says He’ll never leave us nor forsake us, He’s right there in the fire with us.

    Whenever I hear anyone say that God will never give more than one can bear. I think what? It’s when it’s too much for me that I turn to God. When I am utterly consumed I know it’s not my husband who can fix it. It’s not my mind that is sharp enough. It’s not my decisions that solved the matter. God wants the credit and He gets it when I surrender it all to Him and THEN His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

    I just listened to a prominent pastor talk about why he doesn’t preach on the sinfulness of homosexuality. His answer was that it’s not easy preaching to such a diverse “constituency” as He has. No wonder it’s not easy if he’s talking about his flock like a political following. Some young folks even get it and wrote a book to “Do Hard Things.”

    Labor is hard work. Even so, God is good and full of grace. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

    Most women’s main concern about childbirth is fear. Fear compounds the pain. It immobilizes us. Why should fear grip us so? Maybe because we know our task at hand is just too big for us. Shouldn’t that drive us to Him and thereby be released of all that fear?

    Sadly, my faith was not that strong when I stopped going to the hospital after my first birth. Some fear was still there, but my experience was so different from the epidural one that I had a little more faith and a little less fear. Over and over God proved Himself true and now with my 8th birth at the end of the year, I am not scared whatsoever. That’s not to say that it’s not going to hurt or that it won’t be tough. “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” Psalm 18:2

  157. Wow-what a birth story! All births are definatly different and some of mine have been MUCH harder than others! I know this sounds crazy, but don’t let it keep you from trying it again one day. (please don’t computer slap me! haha!) I kind of wonder if you maybe didn’t go through enough of the transition phase (that is definatly the hardest for me!) You might not have been completly dialated or effaced which could have made the baby pull or tear that area on the inside. This would cause extreme pain. It is really hard to take those last unbelieve able contractions and that is when I start to say “I can’t do this!!!!) =) And I WANT to push, but my midwife makes sure that my body is completly ready to go.
    If you try again one day, maybe wait to make sure the nurses/doctor checks you to see if anything is “in the way” down there! Although, that is a hard to wait IN THE MIDDLE of transition! =)
    Thank your for sharing and I’m so glad she is healthy and everything is well! That’s the most important part, isn’t it!?! =)

  158. Tarena,

    Of all the thoughts and speculations, I believe you hit the nail on the head…

    “I kind of wonder if you maybe didn’t go through enough of the transition phase (that is definatly the hardest for me!) You might not have been completly dialated or effaced which could have made the baby pull or tear that area on the inside.”

    Looking back, I absolutely know this must be why I endured such extreme pain. What coherent part there was about me at the end, I remember telling myself, “OK, I’m NOT having another contraction like this–I’ll push this baby out now!”

    I truly know that I pushed too soon. But without experience, I haven’t been sure that this aspect could cause such tremendous pain until you confirmed it 😉 Thank you!

  159. Kelly, I absolutely believe you when you say your probelem was that your body wasn’t ready to push, but for those others who might read this, it is entirely possible to have that explosive pain the entire pushing phase even when you are fully dialated and effaced. It is also possible to be complete and never have the urge to push, unfortunately.

    We’re talking about having a watermelon sized human in your vagina. Ouch.

  160. Oh Kelly,
    Thank you for this. I have felt so guilty about my first and only birth thus far. Being one of nine children and watching my mother and sisters give birth almost effortlessly, I thought it would be a piece of cake. I still asked for an epidural but because they gave it so early on, it stalled my labor horribly and I ended up pushing for 4 hours with a worn off epidural and no pain meds. I have an 8 month old now, and I still can’t believe a woman can go through that kind of pain an survive. I was so traumatized that it took me over a week to really connect with the baby. I have always felt guilty about that, and been so sad that my dream of having a large family might not come to be because I am so afraid of going through that again. To make matters worse, I watched my sister give birth only a month later, and she smiled and laughed through the whole thing, and with three easy pushes her daughter was out. I felt like a failure. And still do. Thank you for writing this because it gives me hope, and helps me to understand that I am not alone. Your children are beautiful! XOXO

  161. Congrats on your baby! Reading your story was really interesting since I just had a baby last week. I tried to have a natural childbirth. I did a ton of reading about its benefits and techniques to deal with pain (Bradley etc). I took classes. I prayed. I had a doula, a midwife, and a mother baby friendly hospital. I labored hard for 10 hours but at 7cm I called it quits when it got excruciating. I spent the next two hours chatting and relaxing my way to 10cm. I laughed as I pushed the baby out in less than 5 minutes. I didn’t break a sweat. As I nursed my baby I could hear the agonizing screams of the woman in the next room. I was so glad not to be her. I’m sure she was equally glad not to be me with my numb legs and iv.

    Each birth and woman is different. I know women who didn’t have much pain and had beautiful home births. Then there are women who have harrowing ncb’s. When I realized I would be the latter, I asked for an epidural. I’ve decided not to feel like a failure for it, but to allow myself to feel fondly about what I consider to be an amazing, joyful birth.

    Just to throw this out there: I believe that childbirth isn’t supposed to be outrageously painful punishment for women (the word translated as “sorrow” in Hebrew is translated in other places in the Bible as “toil.” Labor is hard work). I also believe that Christ redeemed us from the curse. However this world is not perfect and we still have to deal with (and hopefully overcome) sickness, pain, trouble etc. Even if you don’t agree that Christ redeemed us from the curse, I think that the argument from some of the commentators that just like using a tractor to lessen a man’s toil isn’t a sin, meds during labor would not be a sin either is an excellent point.

  162. I am so glad the Lord led me to this site! Heather I just want to say I 100% agree with you that we have been redeemed from the curse by Jesus Christ. I feel it is sometimes a ”religious” attitude that causes some to feel that God would want us to endure labor pains unmedicated. I am currently 25 weeks and 4 days pregnant with my first child. I have been considering a natural childbirth but at this point I think I am more so leaning towards having an epidural. I can’t predict what will happen during my labor experience but I will pray for the best. All I know is I am so thankful that God blessed me with a child after years of trying. I had no infertility treatments. Just one day when I least expected it, God said it’s time now. I commend those women who are able to do it all natural, if that’s what you feel is best for you. As for the women who do opt for pain meds, there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever. A baby is a blessing no matter how it is delivered. Pray about everything, worry about nothing. I am going to do what’s best for me and if that means pain meds, I won’t feel bad about it at all!!! Blessings to everyone! 🙂

  163. I’ve had one natural birth and two epidural births. I agree with you. Everyone told me the contractions were the worst part. WHATEVER! The worst part was the crowning. It was awful. I will admit that pushing did alleviate the pain of the contractions but the crowning was absolutely unbearable. I was screaming for an epidural at that point too. I also cussed out the midwife.

  164. Hi!
    I know this is now years and years later…and that you might not ever see this post, but… 🙂 Maybe somebody will read it and be blessed.
    I have had 5 children. An induction, pain meds, and epesiotomy with #1, and natural the rest. #2, #3, and #4 were all at the hoapital, and #5 was at my midwife’s house. Labor # 1 felt like a nightmare, until pushing. Each natural labor, #2-#5, has had it’s own challenges. Labor #2 was only 2 hours and so intense I thought I would die…the pain eased off a bit while pushing and euphoria ensued after birth. #3 was back labor which slowed things down a bit, similar in pushing to #2. #4 was 3 and a half hours of labor, and the pushong stage was similar..except hurried. The doctor broke my water without asking, and the little one started going into distress with each contraction. I was told I had 1 more push before they did am emergency c-section. I birthed her on the next contraction. Same feelings as in previous births. Amazing! Now for birth #5. I went into active labor around 11:20. By 1, I was deep in transition. By 1:30 I was feeling pushy, and had gotten the ok to push. But I sure didn’t want to because the transition contractions weren’t stopping. Right on top of each other and sooo painful I could no longer stay with my planned Bradley method of relaxation. The pushing stage which usually took less than half an hour took over an hour. And the pain never stopped. When she came out the cord was looped 2 times around her neck and over her shoulder, they were able to slide it off without me even realizing what was happening. One last (still incredibly painful) contraction and she was born….and there was no euphoria. No high. I was soo thankful it was over and she was safe! And she was beautiful! But mostly it was exhaustion. With all of the others I couldn’t sleep for hours after they were born, with her I was ready to anuggle her and fall asleep immediately. (Well as soon as they would let me anyway! I still had the placenta to deal with!)

    Anyway, as a mama who has experienced a few births now, I just wanted to say that…they will be different , they may or may not be painless,each subsequent birth will help you see birth as someone else experienced it…and might provide you qith more compassion if you’ll let it. Don’t give up on having a Natural Birth if that’s what you think is the right rhing for you to do. But be informed of defferent ways that labors progress. This last birth really had me shaken. It took a long time to recover (I’m usually in church by the next Sunday…It was closer to 3 weeks with this girlie). And lastly if aomething didn’t go as planned give yourself grace, the chance to mourn your dreams…and to face your fears…don’t lock them up.

    :), I can see by your writing that you are already doing that. So maybe this comment was intended more for someone else.

    Just as an aside. The midwide said my girlie’s cord was short, and that between that and it being around her neck, it was probably tugging on the placenta, which (she thinks) contributed to the pain. I don’t know for sure, but I am due with #6 in a few months, and I am sure hoping for a different (still natural with a midwife again) labor!
    God Bless,

  165. Kat,

    Thank you for sharing your story! I believe you are certainly right about every single birth being different. I have since had another natural birth, not by choice 😉 but because labor came so fast I barely made it to the hospital 🙂

    Thankfully, your comment came to my inbox; they don’t always do that, in which case, I miss them, especially on the older posts. God bless you!

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