Adelaide’s Birth Story

the baloney bug the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

the baloney bug

I have been debating whether or not I wanted to share Adelaide’s birth story.  It’s private and intimate.  It’s a love story.  It’s a story between a husband, a wife and their perfect daughter.  It’s ours.

Ultimately I decided to share because I hope it serves as encouragement.  I get so sad when other women tell me that their doctors forced interventions on them for this reason or for that.  I hope my story proves that our bodies know exactly what they’re doing, that they made these incredible and perfect lives and that they should be given the chance to birth them.

I should also add that going into labor it was my intention to have a natural and drug free birth.  Jon and I had taken eight weeks of classes to prepare, and they were with every single cent.

Friday, March 8th:

It was my last day of work before maternity leave.  I had finished training my replacement and completed some last minute projects before heading home at 6pm.  I had been having light contractions all week, and they were getting more intense as Friday went on.  I started getting my hopes up that maybe labor would be starting soon.

Jon and I went out to dinner and then came home to get ready for bed.  My water broke at 11:30pm.  Contractions picked up to about 10 minutes apart.  I slept on the couch so that I could easily get up and walk through each contraction.

Saturday, March 9th:

I called our doula to let her know my water had broken.  She told me I needed to call my doctor and let her know.  Honestly, I had been avoiding calling my doctor because I knew the earlier she had me come in the less chance I would have of a natural delivery.

My doctor said I needed to be at the hospital within 12 hours of my water breaking, so I should get there no later than noon.

Jon and I decided to take a walk to pick up some bagels, with the hopes that walking would help my contractions pick up.  After we ate we finished packing our bags and called a car to take us to the hospital.

Once we got to the hospital they hooked me up to monitors and my labor had all but stopped.  In the 40 minutes that I was hooked up I had only two very light contractions.  My doctor came in to explain that she wanted to start me on pitocin to get labor to pick up.

I immediately broke down in sobs.  Pitocin was the intervention I wanted to avoid the most.  I knew my body could have this baby if we just gave it a shot.  And the very first thing the doctor wants to do was start pitocin?  I felt like I wasn’t even being given a chance.

I should mention that up until this point no one had done any checks to see if my water had in fact broken.  They sent in an intern to confirm, and once she began the exam she had the biggest look of confusion on her face.  Not exactly the expression you want to see from your medical provider…

She confirmed that my water had in fact broken and I was already dilated to 5cm.  Needless to say, we were all in shock.  My doctor came back in and agreed to give me 6 hours before talking to me again about starting pitocin.

At this point I felt like I had a shot at a natural birth.  I could do this.

We were encouraged to walk the halls to get my contractions to pick up.  They started coming about every ten minutes, so Jon and I just kept walking up and back, up and back.  We looked out the windows, we chatted through my light contractions.

By 5pm my contractions were about 5-6 minutes apart and getting intense.  The nurse came in to remind me that at 7pm the doctor would be back in to talk to me about starting pitocin.

Jon and I continued practicing relaxation techniques that we had learned in class.  An incredibly strong and painful contraction started and I yelled to Jon that I couldn’t keep it up.  I needed the epidural.

He boldly stated that he thought I was in transition.

(For anyone unfamiliar, transition is the phase just before pushing where contractions are the strongest.  Contractions are generally only 1 minute apart during this phase.  Mind you, mine were still 5-6 minutes apart.)

I told him he was wrong, my contractions were too far apart.  I said I could also think clearly.  I remembered from class that every story we’d heard the women couldn’t form conscious thoughts during transition, and I could still concentrate on what was happening around me.  I asked him to call our doula, who up until this point I had told to hold off.  I didn’t want her to come while my contractions were still so far apart.

Next thing I know the most intense contraction yet started.  I started yelling, “I’m pushing!  I can’t stop!  I don’t know why I’m pushing!”

I knew that my contractions were way too far apart for me to be ready to push, but luckily Jon rang the nurse who came running in.

I told her, “I was pushing.  I don’t know why.  I know it’s too soon.”  I was almost embarrassed that I had pushed, clearly my contractions were far too far apart.

She ran out of the room and came back with the doctor.

Let’s just say I got another look of total shock during my exam, when the doctor announced that I was in fact dilated to 10cm and we were having this baby.

The nurse started shuffling around me, breaking down the bed, grabbing instruments.

My contractions were still 4-5 minutes apart, so I ended up pushing with every contraction.  I would literally lay back and pass out between each push since the contractions were so spaced out.  When a contraction would start I would wake up, push push push and then pass back out.

Our doula arrived with about 10 minutes left to go.  I pushed for about half an hour before Adelaide was born.

It really is everything they say it is.  It’s the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced.  It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever done.  It helped me to appreciate my husband and his incredible support.

It made me a mother.

There’s no way I could have had the birth I wanted without the preparation we put into it.  And furthermore, there’s no way I could have had the birth I wanted without the support from Jon.  He was my strength when I didn’t think I could do it.  He had faith in me and he relied on his instincts when I couldn’t rely on my own.

We are the two most blessed people.

We’re Adelaide’s parents.


  1. Debbie Ball says:

    Beautiful story, Joan! Had me in tears!! Thank you for our granddaughter!! Love & hugs!

  2. Thanks for sharing you beautiful story. You guys are amazing and truly blessed!
    Much love! XO

  3. Stefanie Bier says:

    Beautiful birth story. You had me in tears at work. I had a similar story where I wanted a natural birth but my water broke first. 24 hours later with no changes and I had to start pitocin. I thought it was all down hill from there. It was easy to get through a 38 hour labor after I accepted an epidural and had the support of my doctor, doula and husband. You have inspired me to try a natural birth next time around.

  4. Two beautiful people, one beautiful addition and beautifully written.

    So happy for you both.

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I’m now crying it at work. Which, isn’t a surprise to anyone. Love you!!

  6. Your story brought tears to my eyes and hope of a natural birth to my heart. Thank you for sharing. Congrats again!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing that beautiful story. I am so inspired by your strength and determination. Your daughter is absolutely beautiful and you and Jon are indeed so incredibly blessed! Congratulations!

    I have been following your blog for forever and was so excited to find out that you were expecting. Just a few short weeks after you made your annoucement, I found out I was also expecting. I have just 5 weeks to go and I am so excited to have felt a part of your experience.

    Thank you!

  8. Definitely cried… I’ve been thinking about you tons and wanting to know everything but I know you must have so many people wondering the same thing and I didn’t want to bother you. Thanks so much for sharing! I’m so happy for you and love you! Can’t wait to meet her!! 🙂

  9. An amazing birth story! I’m so inspired by you, and very happy for you and Jon! Welcome Adelaide! Mazel Tov!!

  10. I didn’t think I could be so happy for a complete stranger but I am! Congrats to you and your family. I’ve been following you since the good ole’ Knot days. Pretty sure we share the same wedding date. (September 27th!) I’ve always enjoyed your blog. We too, also lived in NYC but after the birth of our daugher moved back to Maryland. I feel blessed to be close to my family but I drool every time you post pics of city living. Looking forward to future posts with Adelaide! I know everyone says it, but enjoy it because it truly, truly goes way too fast.

  11. Jillian P says:

    This is amazing and so wonderfully beautiful! I am so happy for the three of you!!!! Adelaide, you are perfect. Lots of love!

  12. Aw, Joan. Your last two lines gave me the chills. Adelaide is a lucky little girl to have you as a mother!

  13. Congratulations! I’ve been following your blog for a while and have been checking in periodically to see if you’d had your baby. I was so excited to see this tonight! Very happy for you and yay for doing it your way! She’s beautiful.

  14. Congratulations to you and your husband. Adelaide is beautiful!

  15. Complete stranger that follows your blog totally tearing up right now while at work. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I’m due in August and also planning for a natural labor and delivery. You are so strong for sticking to your guns and not allowing unnecessary medical intervention to take place. WAY TO GO on trusting yourself and your body and WAY TO GO to Jon for being the support system you needed. Adelaide is just beautiful! Congratulation to you and your husband! Good luck and enjoy the journey.

  16. What a treasure to share in your joy, your ultimate devotion, and YOUR story! It reveals the true love you share for each other and for your new daughter. Adelaide is blessed to have a natural start and to begin her life in such a loving manner. We are thrilled for you as parents and for the chance to be part of our new granddaughters life! Love hugs and kisses!

  17. beautiful story joan, tears filled my eyes

  18. Merridith says:

    You are incredible. So proud of you both 🙂

  19. Carolyn says:

    What an amazing and incredible birth! Go mama! Congrats! Beautiful all around- her, you! I love this! Congrats congrats!

  20. Yes! You go girl. I am 39 wks and I Love this story

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