Tuesday, December 20

Sabrina's Hospital Water Birth:

It's that time again! Birth story time!

I will be showcasing several birth stories in the next few weeks. Every story is different and unique. Some stories are hospital births, some home births & some birth center births, but all are equally inspiring and empowering. I have many pregnant friends (& non-pregnant friends too....) who I know will be encouraged after reading these. Like I've said in the past, these stories need to be told to break the fear from the hearts of woman & give us confidence that we too can birth on our terms-fully informed & supported. 
Let me introduce you to Sabrina:
Matt and I had decided that when we got married, we wanted to try to have a baby right away. We were both anxious and excited to get our family started that it didn’t make sense to wait. After 9 months of trying to get pregnant, on August 8, 2010 we had a wonderful surprise…the pregnancy test said “yes”!
For the most part, the pregnancy was enjoyable. Morning sickness kicked in around 7 weeks and since we didn’t want to tell anyone, including our family, until the first trimester was over, I ended up having to hide the ginger gum I ate & the SeaBands I wore.  Thankfully the morning sickness (well, evening sickness in my case) disappeared right on schedule once the first trimester ended.

 The second trimester was by far the most wonderful time of the pregnancy. Sure, every book you read tells you that the second trimester is the “golden trimester” because the morning sickness is gone and you are still small enough to get around comfortably. But for me, the second trimester was all about confidence – I learned about Hypnobirthing, I decided to deliver my baby without an epidural, and I was completely confident in my ability to be a wonderful mother. I could not wait for our little man to join us!

 The majority of the third trimester was just as pleasant as the second. It wasn’t until about 36 weeks where I just started getting tired….all of the time! It was in these last few weeks of the pregnancy where I perfected my waddle, and people sure loved to comment about it. Even though I resisted it, I was put on bed rest and it turned out to be the best decision that was made. I started to get some more sleep and was better prepared to labor & delivery.
 On Wednesday night, April 6, 2011, I started getting “real” contractions. Not too strong at first (thankfully, I was able to practice my Hypnobirthing breathing techniques). The contractions were 8-10 minutes apart and lasted for about 4 hours then stopped! I was so bummed! I contacted my doula, Marcie, on Thursday to let her know that contractions had started and stopped, but I thought it was going to be soon. Contractions started up again Thursday night and lasted 8 hours this time, but then stopped again! Same thing happened on Friday night. This meant I did not get a lot of sleep these days. 

On Saturday, April 9th, I met with Marcie to go over my plan. I was getting so tired at this point, I wasn’t sure if I could last much longer. When contractions started up again on Saturday night, they felt a little different, a little more real. This time, the contractions didn’t stop! Marcie came over to our house Sunday morning to gauge where I was at. I quickly progressed from “early labor” to “active labor” Sunday morning, and it because clear we needed to go to the hospital. Even though my intention all along was to do a natural birth, I briefly thought about having an epidural. With no sleep for 4 days, I just wasn’t sure how I was supposed to push a baby out of my body! But Marcie and Matt were both very encouraging, and reminded me about my birth plan. If I could make it 4 days in labor then I definitely could make it a few more hours without any pain medication! They were right, and I am so happy I listened!

When we got to the hospital around 10am on Sunday, I was measuring at 5cm. My water broke as I was changing into a hospital gown, all over the floor in triage! Unfortunately, the charge nurse who was admitting me slipped on the amniotic fluid and fell on my bed right on me! On the upside, contractions were now 3 minutes apart and strong so I barely noticed! Right before moving me to my L&D room, the nurse checked me again (about 20 minutes after the first exam) and I was already at 8cm. They realized I quickly needed to get to the delivery room. Once in the delivery room, I was checked again and I was already at 9cm! My delivery nurse, Kris, was amazing. She quickly got me into my water birthing tub (which was being set up during all of this by Jollina). By the time I was in the tub, I was 10cm and the delivery was upon us.

Dr. Harter, (who is often referred to as "Mr. Midwife" because of his passion for birth, his respect in allowing woman to birth on their terms, his low cesarean rate & baby friendly care), was on-call that day so was constantly in and out of my room checking on me. Even though I was 10cm around noon on Sunday, I still had several hours of pushing ahead of me. Unbeknownst to me at the time, our baby boy was stuck under my pelvis bone. Every time a contraction came, I pushed and pushed (turning purple frequently, which really concerned Matt) but he moved very little. After about 2 hours of pushing, the nurse had me stand up and try and reposition the baby. Let me tell you, standing up out of a comfortable tub of water to meet the reality of gravity once again was not what I wanted this far into the delivery! Matt & the nurse had to physically lift me up and out, and Matt had to help me walk around. The nurse told me to go to the bathroom because my bladder was full and was also blocking the baby from coming out, but I was so afraid that once I sat on the toilet the baby would just fall out. Oh how naive I was as a first time mom! I wasn’t able to empty my bladder (although I tried!) but the movement was enough to change the baby’s position. I got back in the tub and started pushing once again.

  hAt this point, I was so worn out from lack of sleep and I was dehydrated even though I was constantly asking to drink water. Marcie was giving me sips of water to help keep me hydrated. don’t remember much of the pushing, but one thing is still very clear in my mind. The moment the baby’s head crowned was the most intense pain I have ever felt, and I had no idea that it was coming. In fact, once I started feeling the pain, I remember asking the nurse, “What the hell is that??”. She informed me it was the “ring of fire” and wouldn’t last long. I held my tongue, I didn’t want to use profanities, but I could hear Matt in my ear whisper, “Just say it!!” so out came several sentences laced with foul language! And yes, that made me feel better. Just as the nurse had assured, the ring of fire didn’t last long and the baby’s head was now out of my body (still in the water). One more push and the rest of his body came out!
 Lucas was born on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at 3:39pm, a week prior to his due date. 
 He was born in a birthing tub, without pain medication. 
He weighed  8 pounds, 8 ounces & was 20 ¾ inches long. He was born a very healthy, happy baby!

***If you would like to share your story in an effort to encourage other woman, 
please email me at crobbins223@gmail.com


  1. THANK you for posting these! As labor is approaching, its getting challenging to think VBAC AND natural birth--I'm getting nervous about the pain. But this helps!

  2. Sabrina, when I read your story, what sticks out the most to me is how proactive you were in assembling your birth team. I love that you had a doula there as your advocate, you got to birth your baby into water & you labored at home before going to the hospital. It's not often that I meet people who put in this much thought into their first birth.... I sure didn't with my first. *It's almost like we as woman put more thought into educating ourselves on buying a camera or whatever. But when it came time for me to learn how to have a baby, I was clueless.

    Since not having the "option" for pain medication during my labor at home, I never really got to the point where I thought I couldn't go on and wanted the epidural because it wasn't really an option, BUT i TOTALLY know what you mean when you say that the pain of crowning was the most intense pain you've ever felt. I can totally relate to that. I think back to having Marcie (your doula & mine also!) at my birth and how she was so HUGE in helping encourage me that I was doing great and that I could keep going. Doula's are a MUST during birth! AN ABSOLUTE MUST! I remember climbing in marcie's lap inbetween contractions hugging her and thanking her for caring for me. *I also think that had i not been able to have water/honey/yogurt during labor, I wouldn't have had the energy to push for over an hour. It's cool that Dr. Harter let you. I think of labor much like I think of running a marathon. After every mile is a pitstop with a team shouting encouraging words to you, giving you a little cup of water to get you through the next mile. (How do woman birth without that?)

    for someone having your first baby, you really seeed to know what you wanted for your birth. What interested you in having a water birth? DId you know someone who had previously had one? AND do you think you'll do anything differently next time around?

    Thank you for sharing.
    Lucas is such a sweet pea! Congratulations on your baby boy!

  3. ps, also, it's great that you were able to get up and move around to get the baby to switch positions. I wonder sometimes if the cesarean rate would be lower if woman (maybe opted out of drugs) so that they were free to get out of bed and move, and possibly help the baby make the rotations it needs to make........ laboring in a bed, on your back sometimes seems so counter productive to get the baby to do what it needs to do to come out. Just a thought.

  4. Thanks for posting my story! Rereading it today brought tears to my eyes. I am so thankful I had a positive hospital experience, I know so many women who have a hard time there.

    I was completely clueless about birthing when I got pregnant. A friend of mine had done Hypnobirthing for her second child a few years prior and recommended I give it a chance. I was still skeptical, until I watched The Business of Being Born. After that, I became so focused on my birth and what I needed to do to prepare. I took Hypnobirthing classes from Marcie, which is where I decided I wanted a doula (and she was just awesome!) and that I wanted a water birth. I have the Hypnobirthing class, specifically Marcie, to thank for being so prepared for birthing.

    And while I did have a positive hospital experience, I am 95% sure the next one will be a home birth. Now that I know what to expect, it just makes sense to go through L&D in the comfort of my own home.