The Mother Hood birth stories have been lovingly shared by mums.
In their own words, they have told the story and experience of their child's birth.
Please read and respond with respect and love.
Parents: Brandi Bridges and Levi Mines
Baby's name: Landon Stuart Mines
Baby's date of birth: 10/09/2016
Where do you live?
I live in Whangarei, NZ now, but lived in Charlotte, NC, USA at the time.
Where did you plan to give birth?
I planned on giving birth at Mission Hospital in Asheville, NC.
Where did you actually give birth?
Mission Hospital in Asheville, NC
Tell us about your pregnancy
I was very lucky and had a great first pregnancy. My only complaint was that I would get SIJ pain occasionally, but I was able to self-treat as I am a physical therapist. I had graduated from physical therapy school in May and decided to wait to get a job until after I gave birth. I did take my national exam when I was about 4 months pregnant and that was so stressful and exhausting! Otherwise, I was active and would go on long walks at least 4x/week. In the States, it was more difficult to find an OBGYN (as they don’t routinely use midwives) that felt comfortable with allowing as natural a birth as I felt able to do. I really liked the OBGYN that I eventually found, but even she kind of chuckled when I told her I wanted to try to go without medication if my labor allowed. She said, “Yeah, ok, we’ll see” with a wink.
What happened when you went into labour?
I was very confused! It was my first pregnancy and I was only 38 weeks along.
My husband was a consultant at the time and would travel during the week, so I was staying with my parents in Asheville, NC, especially since I went to the doctor the day before (Thursday) and was told that I was 5 cm dilated and 80% effaced (they check your progress starting at 36 weeks in the States). My husband decided to come up that Friday and work from home and I began feeling uncomfortable after we went on a hike up in the mountains. At 5:00, I began timing the contractions and at 6:00 they were only 4 minutes apart. I wasn’t having any pain, though, and when I called to see if I should head to the hospital, the first nurse I spoke to told me to wait until the pain was so bad I couldn’t talk. I waited 30 more minutes when the contractions were 3.5 minutes apart and called back to let them know that I was coming to the hospital now since it was a 30-minute drive and I was feeling pressure in my pelvis. We got to the hospital around 7:00 and they checked my progress and checked my contractions. I was 6 cm dilated and my contractions indicated I was truly in labor.
Tell us about your labour and how it progressed
I decided to stay at the hospital and relayed to the nurses that I was going for as natural a birth as I could. They also kind of rolled their eyes and the OBGYN that I knew from the practice (but was not the physician that I wanted to help birth my child) came in to tell me that they would feel more comfortable with more continuous monitoring than I was requesting.
I told her that I wanted to pace around the unit and move as much as possible until the pain became unbearable and that wasn’t possible with what she was suggesting. We compromised on a cannula in my hand that would act as an open port should they need it for emergencies. I thought that sounded ominous but tried not to focus on it. I was progressing pretty normally and was at 8 cm at 10 pm.
I hadn’t progressed further at midnight and the OBGYN that had been with me until that time said she was going off shift and the next ObGyn would come to introduce herself when she had time. The new OBGYN was someone who I didn’t know from a practice that I had never heard of, which made me very nervous. She read my chart and said, “I see you’re going for a natural birth. I’ve never done one of those, but it sounds pretty exciting! If you haven’t progressed by 2 a.m. I’m going to suggest we break your water.” I was kind of freaked out by that notion, but my mother and mother-in-law both assured me that it was pretty normal and not to be too worried. At this time I had my sister, mother, mother-in-law, best friend, and closest cousin as well as my partner in the room. I liked having all of the support, especially since I wasn’t really having any painful contractions; they kept my worrying from overwhelming me.
At 2 a.m. the physician came back and said that I hadn’t progressed and that they were ready to break my water to help me progress. We decided to go ahead with the procedure and my water was broken at 2:10. The pain that came after breaking my water was unbelievable! I couldn’t sit still. I would squat, walk, bounce, and bend at the waist every time a contraction hit me. I didn’t want anyone to touch me and nobody was allowed to speak to me. I labored for another 45 minutes before the contractions started coming with no breaks and I began telling everyone that I was ready for an epidural. The anesthesiologist came in and told me that I would have to sit still for 5 minutes in order for him to safely give me one. I laughed and told him he could go ahead and leave, there’s no way I was sitting for that long.
My mother-in-law told me I was going through transition and that it was normal, I was doing great and that I just needed to remember to breathe when I could. I suddenly felt like I was going to puke for about 2 minutes, then I felt the overwhelming urge to push. The physician was called back to the room and the nurses began to ready everything.
Share your birth experience.
Remember how I said the physician had never delivered a baby without the mother having an epidural? Yeah, it became super obvious at this point. I wanted to push on my knees while holding the top of the bed frame. The physician couldn’t check my dilation in this position and told me that I had to lay on my back for her to check me. I obliged and she was trying to check my dilation when I began to push.
She told me I would have to wait as I was only 9 and ¾ dilated. I barely registered what she said, I was so overcome with the need to push. I moved out of the position that she put me in back to the position that I felt better in and she made me wait to push for another 5 minutes (it felt like 5 years). When she said I was ready (she didn’t really check my dilation again as I flat refused to lay on my back again it was so excruciating!) I began pushing with earnest. Everything was going beautifully and my cheerleading squad was making me feel like a champion!
My son’s head was delivered with one push and my mother-in-law told me to breathe before the shoulders came out. I was taking a break when the OBGYN said, “the shoulders are stuck, and we’re going to have to flip her on her back.” I was exhausted and that sounded terrifying so, with the help of my mothers and partner, I flipped on my back. Moving created a 2nd-degree tear, but I was able to push my son out in 1 push with no issues at 3:17 a.m.!
My MIL reckons the ObGyn got nervous about my position and that my son’s shoulders probably weren’t stuck since I didn’t get the chance to try to push the shoulders out before she flipped me. We’ll never know, but I try not to dwell on it when looking back on the experience.
What things would you do the same?
I would try for a natural birth again!
Would you do anything differently?
I would try to find a midwife that my insurance would cover so that I knew the person who would help me deliver knew what they were doing.
What advice would you give to other mums?
Trust yourself and find people who you can depend on to support you on this journey.
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