baby proof: birth story.

June 4, 2015

baby proof: birth story | reading my tea leaves Because last week Faye turned one, here’s her birth story. Or is it my birth story? I guess it’s the story of her birth and my birthing. Like most birth stories, there’s a little bit of nitty gritty. A little bit of oversharing. A little bit of naval gazing. I’ve tried and failed at not making it too long. If this isn’t your bag, understood entirely. (Can I interest you in a cocktail instead? How about a table to put it on?) In case it is your bag, here’s the story.

The day before Faye was born I stood in line at the bathroom at Brooklyn Bridge Park for thirty minutes. I was still two weeks away from Faye’s due date, though of course we didn’t know then that it was Faye. We were waiting on a baby, particulars unknown.
That day I had to shift on my swollen feet to stay comfortable. It was Memorial Day weekend—when I’d normally have high-tailed it to my mom and dad’s house on the Connecticut shoreline—but I’d thought that maybe it’d be wiser to stick closer to home, just in case. Standing in the sun that day I was that special brand of fidgety that only a woman carrying an extra fourth of her body weight around can be and I’d started to feel a low ache, from somewhere deep in my belly. It was almost imperceptible—something that I might not have even noticed if I’d been doing anything more exciting than watching the line for the women’s room inch along dusty gravel. 
In the early evening, James and I took another walk around the neighborhood—gawking at the roses that weren’t quite in bloom. We stopped along the promenade and James took a photo of me silhouetted against the wrought iron fence. I love looking at that picture. There was so much wrapped into that round belly that we couldn’t anticipate. Though truth be told, I was anticipating plenty. Earlier in the week, I’d met my mom and dad in the city for cupcakes. In a rare moment when I was the only child alone with both parents, I took advantage of their undivided attention and asked them to tell me about the day I was born. It wasn’t the first time that I’d heard the story, but I wanted to know more. My mom had delivered four babies naturally—including one sister who was breech, two who were premature twins, and a semi-reluctant-two-weeks-late-heavyweight; me—but that had been in the eighties. I was afraid that I wouldn’t have the same chance. And while I never doubted for a minute my decision to plan for a natural birth, I wondered if I’d made a mistake in not planning to give birth at home.
But as my mom and dad talked, I felt my confidence creep back in. They’d practiced the same Bradley Method technique that James and I had spent the last few months learning. I scarfed a chocolate cupcake and soaked in their stories.
baby proof: birth story | reading my tea leaves
I woke up with a start at 3:30 am on the morning of May 26. Cramping in my belly jolted me awake and made it impossible to stay in bed. I felt an urgent need to ease my body into water, so I drew a warm bath and muttered something about lavender oil as James got himself out of bed. And then I asked for Enya. I’m not sure what possessed me, but I decided that I wanted to hear her on repeat. Mildly mortifying and one hundred percent effective for getting myself into the zone. “Who can know where the road goes / Where the day flows / Only time.”

Feeling finished with the bath nearly as soon as I lowered myself into it, I toweled myself off and put on a pair of clean pajama pants and a t-shirt that couldn’t cover by half the full moon of my belly. And then I nested. I picked all of the pillows off our bed and brought them onto the couch. Our apartment slowly filled with light as my contractions got more and more intense. I clung on to James for support. Like we’d practiced in class, I hung from his shoulders and did my best to let my body relax during contractions. I smushed my cheeks into his chest and breathed into the pain. I circled the apartment while James timed my contractions (which were coming faster and faster) and made miso soup and lit candles and generally watched and waited for my signals that I was ready for help.
At around 5:00 am we called our midwives to let them know that we were confident that labor was underway. According to plan, they let us know to call back once contractions were closer together or if my water had broken. I wish I could report what happened next, but time passed in a blur punctuated by contractions that made me see double. And then my water broke, a modest gush smack on the middle of the apartment floor. I gasped. James giggled. I tried to breathe through the next contraction which came practically on top of the one before that. Even though it felt like hardly any time had elapsed since our last call, James called the midwives again. 
baby proof: birth story | reading my tea leaves
This next bit is a tip: do not ask a laboring woman to recall an Uber password. While James dutifully started a new account, I waited for a break in my contractions to bolt down the four flights to the street. We’d been given the go ahead to make our way to the birthing center and I was concerned only about not having a contraction on the stairs and not at all about the fact that my bare belly wasn’t covered. On the sidewalk, I had two contractions while waiting for the car. Neighbors walking their dogs did their best to pretend they didn’t notice.
Finally, a driver who was most certainly sent courtesy of divine intervention pulled up in front of our building and got us from Brooklyn Heights to midtown Manhattan in record time, offering water and blessings and cautiously running red lights along the way.
When we made it to the birthing center at around 7:30 am, I was 8 centimeters dilated. I huffed my way down the quiet hallway, flinging my flip flops off my feet as I marched. Because I’m boring myself, we’ll skip over the details of brief monitoring upon arrival and the too-sweet coconut water James handed me, and get right to the pushing that I did for the next two hours. I pushed until I thought my eyes might literally come out of my head, and then I pushed some more. I roared and shrieked and then worked on remembering to breath again, James coaching me all the while. In moments when I felt too exhausted to continue, I thought of my mom and those four babies, myself included. And then I thought of every other child who has ever been born. Every birth looks different, but they all take effort. And I repeated over and over and over again—outloud—that I could do it. 
There are more details of the labor (in my back), and the baby (turned sideways), and warm wash cloths (helpful) and an encouraging husband (crucial), and a cooing midwife (a Godsend) but at the end of two hours, there was a final change in my own position, 30-seconds or so of the most intense firey burning I’ve ever felt on this green earth, and finally, our sweet girl, caught by her papa as she wriggled herself into the world at 9:59 am.
James put her on my chest in all of her sticky wonder. I held her underneath my chin and tried my very best to keep my eyes open to see her, but my eyelids were swollen nearly shut from the effort of pushing. It was whole minutes before we checked to see if she was a tiny girl or boy. Mostly I soaked in how she felt: the tiny, incredible weight of her.
I kept Faye on my chest while the midwife stitched tears I’d had in labor. In those initial hours I felt exhilarated—a heady mix of endorphins and adreneline coursing through my veins. More than anything, I felt powerful. Dare I say, superpowerful. 
We called my parents who packed themselves into their car toting white irises for Faye and pajamas for me. My older sister and her two guys headed our way bearing bagels and cream cheese. We called family in further flung places. We decided to stay the night in the center, all three of us together in big bed. I was sore and swollen—much more than I’d expected—and the sheets were clean and the white irises comforting. The next day Faye got her first bath and we made our way home, Faye tucked into a borrowed carseat. My sister came over and my brother-in-law cooked for us while we got our bearings. 
For me, those first few days at home were incredibly tender—especially after all of those endorphins wore off. I had had those tears that needing stitching and then more swelling than I ever anticipated. I couldn’t sit—or even stand—comfortably for weeks after Faye was born. I’ve written before that I hadn’t even considered my own recovery. For me the weeks after giving birth were incredibly joyful and incredibly uncomfortable. I wanted so badly to be up and mobile, but I was recovering. Every mother’s recovery is different. And it’s understandable that this part sometimes gets left out of birth stories. The focus, understandably and rightfully, is on the tiny miracle. The quiet snorts. The curl of fingers and toes. The improbable bleats and sighs. There’s so much to celebrate in a baby, but there’s also so much to celebrate in a birth. So much to revere and to be gentle with. Because no matter the particulars of how a baby ends up making its way into the world, there’s a woman who’s done hard work to make it happen. It might be strange for me to say it—it might sound proud or self-congratulatory—but I’m not sure that it’s said enough. I think the most feminist thing any of us can do is to raise our glasses to the mamas. I’m considering this my little toast to mothers everywhere: to the miraculous mess of giving birth. 
baby proof: birth story | reading my tea leaves
A note about natural childbirth:
People will tell you that you can’t ever really prepare for childbirth. A lot of people told me to expect the unexpected. To plan for a natural childbirth but to get comfortable with the idea that that might not be possible. That’s a really good impulse. It’s probably a good idea to cultivate a healthy perspective on a whole range of possibilities. But I think it’s worth saying that in many cases, natural childbirth is possible in the first place because of the preparation. Taking a class isn’t, of course, a guarantee that you’ll have a natural childbirth. And this is absolutely not an indictment of medicated childbirth. I know intimately the range of turns that a birth might take and no one should be made to feel badly for not having the birth that they might have imagined, or for needing medical intervention, or for deciding that they just want medical intervention. But if a natural childbirth is something that you do want, I like to think of the preparation as stacking the odds in your favor. Yes: there’s so much in a birth that’s beyond your control. But also: we’re built for this.
For all that James and I didn’t know on the evening before Faye was born, there was a lot that we did. We’d done due diligence. We’d spent weeks crossing the East River to take a Bradley Method class to prepare for a natural childbirth. We’d watched and rewatched The Business of Being Born and pored over stories in Ina May Gaskin‘s books, and we’d been mentally psyching ourselves up for the hard work we knew lay somewhere between rightthisminute and three weeks from now.
The birth stories, I’m convinced, are what got me through a natural childbirth. Buoyed by the positive stories of natural childbirth that I’d done my best to fill my head with, I honestly felt like I could do anything. As I repeated over and over and over again to myself that my mom had done the same thing, I litereally didn’t have the chance to think about anything else.
baby proof: birth story | reading my tea leaves
In case you’re curious:
More about the Bradley Method.
We took Mary Esther Malloy‘s class in the East Village. (Which I highly recommend.)

The miraculous Coralie MacQueen delivered Faye at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Birthing Center.

James made this photo album of Faye’s first year using Artifact Uprising.

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  • Reply Lisa June 4, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    This is beautiful, Erin.

  • Reply Melissa June 4, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story with us! I really appreciate you being honest and vulnerable about the beautiful and painful parts of giving birth and opening up about about the weeks following birth that were "incredibly joyful and incredibly uncomfortable". So many times, we hear stories of the joyful moments that push aside or omit the painful parts. So honest, so true. Thanks too for encouraging women to make space for a range of birth choices and not give in to shaming when it comes to natural birth, medical intervention, and all the options in between. All the best to you and your family!

  • Reply Bridget Compagno June 4, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Reading this as my 5 month old naps with tears in my eyes…just beautiful.

  • Reply kristin | W [H] A T C H June 4, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    what a beautiful story and encouraging words. i raise my glass with you — cheers to the mamas.

  • Reply Jules Theis June 4, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Thanks so much for this! I am 5 months pregnant and am finding reading woman's natural birth stories are so encouraging. Your honesty is so refreshing to read.
    I can't wait to raise a glass to myself and all the other mothers in a few short months.
    All the best!
    Jules xo

  • Reply Brisaquita June 4, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Birth stories are not my normal cup of tea but I'm so glad I read yours, This is the most heartwarming and honest story. Congratulations on your family

  • Reply Amelia June 4, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    My brilliant nurse put on Enya as I was laboring. "Mildly mortifying and one hundred percent effective" sums it up beautifully.

  • Reply June 4, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    This was really touching. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Reply Alexa June 4, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    thank you for sharing, erin. cheers to the mamas indeed.

    i am wondering, what is the story of her name?

  • Reply kmandeng June 4, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    I have to echo the ladies above, beautiful and true words. Since having my own daughter this January I have gone out of my way to talk to my pregnant friends about the realities of the healing after birth, I too felt a little underprepared for them. Fist pump to you and all the other mamas out there!

  • Reply k.mandeng June 4, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I have to echo the ladies above, beautiful and true words. Since having my own daughter in January I have gone out of my way to talk to my pregnant friends about the realities of the healing process after, I too felt somewhat unprepared for those days. Fist pump to you and all the other mamas out there!

  • Reply Jay June 4, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    A very beautiful story –

    I cannot agree more. Preparation and mindset are what allowed me a natural childbirth (and certainly wonderful midwives.) There is power in knowledge and focusing on positive stories and blocking out the rest definitely helped put me in the right mindset.

    I'm happy we both got what we wanted. Thanks for sharing, Erin.

  • Reply Julia June 4, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    thank you for sharing this beautiful story. i wholeheartedly agree that preparation and confidence are key to having the birth you want (of any kind, but especially if it's natural, i think). my husband and i have talked many times about why it was that we had a relatively uncomplicated, completely natural and healthy birth, when so many of our loved ones ended up with unplanned medical interventions. we truly think that education, preparation, confidence, and support of each other, doulas, and midwives were the reason. and just for one more helpful video in addition to what you mentioned "birth story" which is the story of ina may gaskin's farm, was truly wonderful.

    since giving birth to my son almost two (!) years ago, i have realized that now when i hear of a baby being born to a friend, loved one, or anyone else, i now no longer only see the adorable tiny baby that has been born, but i think so much of the mother who did the hard work of birthing that baby. i look at moms in a whole new light of "you gave birth!" because it is indeed no simple task, however it happens. happy first year to all three of you.

  • Reply Ina Laguerta June 4, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Your story is silk! I'm so happy you narrated it and remember all of those details because we never want to forget them. I had my son in May last year as well! I look forward to all of the beautiful and inspiring motherhood journey stories that you will share. 🙂

  • Reply Nicole June 4, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    This was beautiful, thank you for sharing. I agree that the preparation is extremely important. I knew there was a possibility that things would be out of my control and I would need to have extra help for my baby's birth but I didn't and that preparation paid off. It was incredibly difficult at points but I am so glad I did it. Also, thank you for addressing the issue of recovery. Mine was hard, way harder than giving birth, if I could have gone through labor and delivery twice instead of recovery I would have on a heart beat. I wish I could have understood that it would be hard and I wish our society was better set up to offer support during that time. Entertaining well meaning baby visitors isn't helpful!

  • Reply Anonymous June 4, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    What a touching and beautiful story Erin – so carefully and lovingly crafted as all of your posts are!

    I tried very hard for natural birth – diligently prepping in all the same ways, armed with midwives and a doula. But, alas, it wasn't in the cards for me after 30+ hours of unmedicated, active labor only got me to 5 CM. For many weeks after, I felt the sting and shame of failure. In fact, it is only now, after a year that I am completely at peace and can look down at that odd, squiggly little scar on my belly and smile because of the healthy and happy little being who came out of it :).

    Thank you for sharing your story <3

  • Reply Shanna Mallon June 4, 2015 at 3:26 pm


  • Reply Amber June 4, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this. It is very similar to my son's birth story 7 months ago, although I prepared with Hypnobirthing, not Bradley. I also completely underestimated recovery time and discomfort! And afterwards felt a huge swell of awe at all the mamas everywhere. Cheers!

  • Reply Anonymous June 4, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    So beautiful Erin! It honestly reminds me of my second child's birth, which was a year ago as well. I did a home, water birth and labor was very much how you described. At a point, I looked at my midwife and said "I feel like my hips are ripping apart!" Her response…"well…yeah." I knew what to expect from the first time around (I ended up with an epidural that time) but man….it is intense! But so, so worth it. Once he was born I was elated! Oh and I did Hypnobirthing for that birth. I took Bradley classes the first time around and I really did enjoy and got into a good mindset from both methods.
    Thanks SO much for sharing!! 🙂

  • Reply Margaret June 4, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Aww this is so sweet. And so much like my first birth. Two hours is a killer, it was a few days before i could sit up without help. The good news for me was that the first recovery was a killer and the next two were a breeze despite two more hours pushing and then a precipitous labor (under an hour for my third! Let's just say thank goodness we planned a home birth because it would have been one anyway!). But every June I'm transported back to that first evening as a mama and the light coming in the hosoital room and how absolutely sweet it was. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Kristie Smith June 4, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I'm 27 weeks with baby number two, and this, like most birth stories these days, left me a bit weepy. Thanks for sharing! I, too, often tell people that with the right preparation and support, any woman (barring legit medical problems) can have a natural labor. My husband and I took the Bradley class down here in Birmingham, AL and hired an amazing doula. After 24 hours of labor, little man was here (here's to hoping little sis makes a quicker appearance!)

  • Reply Anonymous June 4, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    beautiful and moving. thank you for sharing, for your bravery, and transparency. so appreciated.

  • Reply liv June 4, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Thank you for this lovely story. My husband and I took Bradley classes as we prepared for our first and I still consider it one of the sweetest times in our life. The labor was long and intense but I had my best friend and partner with me throughout and a killer nurse who respected every wish we had for our natural birth.

  • Reply Sarah Featherstone June 4, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    This is lovely. I, too, never thought much about my own recovery, which is such an important–and often undiscussed–part of those first few weeks. I was very intent on having a natural childbirth, and I think you spoke a wonderful truth that preparation and reading other's positive stories about birth are necessary and helpful tools when thinking about trusting our bodies for this process. Thank you for sharing your story with us.


  • Reply Shivani June 4, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    I'm an aspiring midwife and somewhat addicted to birth stories — thank you so much for sharing yours.

  • Reply Nancy Cavillones June 4, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    I took Mary Esther's class, too. I love her! I ended up risking out of the birthing center for my first but made up for by having two drug-free VBACs later. I agree 100% that preparation is so important. I think the most valuable thing I learned in Mary Esther's class was coping with pain and discomfort. (Did she make you do the ice cube on the wrist thing?) I love reading birth stories and I'm one of those crazy people that loves being pregnant and loved being in labor. Thanks for sharing your story–those early days are so sweet and I feel a little sad I'll never have that again! Happy birthday to Faye and happy birth day to you!!

  • Reply Baltina Hong June 4, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing your/Faye's birthstory. As an expecting mother who will have my own/baby's birth story in late November who is also choosing natural birth at a birthing center, it is so nice to hear about your thoughts and processing that you did to get to labor. I have moments where I stop panic and think, "I couldn't possibly do this, and oh no!" So thank you for your honesty in telling your story and sharing your strength through the whole process. I am so excited to meet our babe, and with your story feel a bit more confident that yes I can, and yes we will do this. So thanks again, always so nice here in this space.

  • Reply Aya June 5, 2015 at 12:21 am

    This was wonderful. Thank you for sharing. I'm 34 weeks now and will add this to the powerful stories I will carry with me, to buoy me during difficult birthing times. Thank you, Erin.

  • Reply Noam cohen June 5, 2015 at 10:40 am

    beautiful. i am reading this as my 11 day old baby girl is sleeping on my lap. we had a beautiful natural birth at home and i strongly support all he mommas to be to trust that they CAN do it. we were designed to give birth, ur bodies know what to do… it is a magical crazy natural process!
    xxx Noam

  • Reply Noam cohen June 5, 2015 at 10:41 am

    beautiful. i am reading this as my 11 day old baby girl is sleeping on my lap. we had a beautiful natural birth at home and i strongly support all he mommas to be to trust that they CAN do it. we were designed to give birth, ur bodies know what to do… it is a magical crazy natural process!
    xxx Noam

  • Reply Lindsay Allen June 5, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    I also had a natural birth at the Brooklyn Birthing Center last year and I agree that reading and re-reading successful natural birth stories was so helpful!

  • Reply Weezie June 5, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    Cheers, Erin! This was beautiful; thanks for sharing. And happy first birthday to your Faye.

  • Reply Anonymous June 5, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Just lovely

  • Reply Jade June 5, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Erin, thanks for sharing. This is a lovely blog that I only picked up on after giving birth to my 11 month old son. It's fun to find bloggers literally going through the same great markers of life. I never really planned on not getting the epidural. I always said, I will wait a long as possible but I knew that was unlikely to be to the very end. I did have the epidural and I didn't feel guilty or unhappy. I had a c-section and was slightly depressed for weeks. When my little guy was late my doctor scheduled the induction, I desperately hoped labor would start before the induction, and was disappointed when it didn't because I knew the probability of c-section would increase. Turns out I was having contractions when I showed up for the induction (8 days after my due date), I thought great! Things should be fine, 12 hours later I was fully ready, but my little guy just wouldn't descend, turns out he was wedged, oh an 9lbs 7ounces (which no one ever mentioned he might be getting not to tiny). I hate surgery. I cried when, after the pushing was unsuccessful at getting him to descend, my doctor was going to give him another half hour and push again when 5 mins little guy's heart rate spiked and I was told I would be having an emergency c-section. I just wanted so badly to "give birth" and, if I am going to be honest, just not have instruments cutting me open. 10 mins later it, my not so little guy was born. I wish I could say that loving and caring for him swept away all of my birthing disappointment, but it didn't. The recovery was hard. I was so sore and week. I didn't feel better until I read Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck, and found out she too had a c-section and found it hard to accept. For some reason that helped answer the questions "did I do something wrong" ease. I am still not 100% comfortable with what happened and occasionally still wonder, should I have asked to push out the induction, did I eat too much and make my baby giant (I didn't think so, but I mean, in the end not counting the ice cream scoops was awesome), will I be pressured to schedule a c-section next time, would it be easier if I did (since part of the reason the recovery was hard was because I had labored all day, could I speed recovery if I just went in at 9am and had a baby at 9:30)? But, in the end, I've stopped worrying about these questions too much, just maybe when I read about successful natural birthing? Which is okay. I really appreciate you sharing your story. It's uplifting and real. All the best to you and your family.

  • Reply Rebekah June 6, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    It is so weird and wonderful to me the detail with which we mothers remember the births of our children — a year later, 8 years later, 38 years later. I often hear people speak about "the most important moment of my life" and, more often than not, the birth of a child wins out, but there is so much truth in the distinction you make between a child being born and a woman giving birth. They are two inseparable, but distinctly different experiences, each powerful and life-altering in their own way.

  • Reply Cait June 8, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    This was beautifully written, and I love birth stories. It made me teary, in the best way. All the stories I read during my pregnancies were the most important part of my preparation. We had two wonderful home births, although in different places and pretty different from each other. It's true that the recovery isn't talked about enough. My first recovery was long, long, and painful. Others have it so much worse, but even a 2nd degree tear and a few postpartum scares made it a 6 week blur of pretty much being in bed. The second was 4 1/2 hours with zero tearing – awesome 🙂 but the postpartum period still feels awkward and scary physically, to me, because I worry about anything that could be wrong (more with me than the baby!). But that moment, of seeing and feeling that wet, tiny being, is the most beautiful thing in all the world.

  • Reply Cait June 8, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Oh, and I had wanted to say, I don't know if I have commented before, but I found your blog through a pretty old post on Cup of Jo. I followed through and devoured the entire Life in a Tiny Apartment label, since we are moving to New York next month. I love it all!

    • Reply Erin June 8, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      Thanks so much for your notes, Cait! And (almost) welcome to New York!

    • Reply admin June 8, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      Thanks so much for your notes, Cait! And (almost) welcome to New York!

  • Reply thefolia June 10, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Cheers to you Mama! I found hypnobaby very useful for before during and after. Also, I can't stress enough the wonderful discovery of Back Labor No More by Janie McCoy King–she describes the "lift" and it worked both times for me. I knew of it with my first but didn't try it until my second and of course would not do it any other way with my third. Everyone is amazed with the results, doulas, staff, doctors—trust me try the" lift" only where you would envision having the baby because it works. Also, I encapsulated with my third and wish it was available with my other two!

  • Reply Anonymous June 11, 2015 at 10:50 am

    All I wanted to listen to was Enya as well! so random, yet so zen. Perfect for an hours trip in morning traffic to the hospital!

  • Reply madeleine June 18, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    "The birth stories, I'm convinced, are what got me through a natural childbirth. Buoyed by the positive stories of natural childbirth that I'd done my best to fill my head with, I honestly felt like I could do anything."

    As I look forward to giving birth in about 2 months, this is what I'm concentrating on! thanks for adding your story to the mix.

  • Reply Christie September 2, 2015 at 3:32 am

    Probably the best birth story I've ever read. Lord-willing I am weeks away from delivering our sixth. Thank you for such a positive, honest, beautiful and discreet story. So happy I found it!

  • Reply Raven January 2, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    You are so right: the birth stories are what do it! Your strong intention manifested in your beautiful birth as a mother. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Alexa July 8, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Hi Erin! I’m expecting my first baby this winter and am spending this morning combing through Baby Proof — a series I’ve long enjoyed, but now read with intention!

    We actually just chatted with Mary Esther about her doula services, but I see you took a class from her. Did you use a doula? I’m debating her doula service + class vs. picking just one.

    Thank you for any thoughts!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE July 8, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Hi Alexa!

      I loved Mary Esther’s class and would definitely recommend. For me, it was especially helpful because it was something I did with James and I felt like we’d both prepared together! I didn’t have a doula for either birth, but I’d honestly recommend one. My labors were both exceedingly fast, and James was terrific, but I still think having extra support there would have been a great added comfort! Hope that helps!

      • Reply Alexa July 8, 2017 at 8:57 pm

        Thanks so much for taking the time to respond, Erin! This is quite helpful.

  • Reply Samantha August 8, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Hi Erin,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’ve become such a fan of your blog I searched ‘birth story’ hoping you’d have one and sure enough I’m in luck! I’m currently expecting my third and having been induced with the previous two by an OB we’ve changed to a midwife and have a been reassured we would not be induced this time. We’ve interviewed some doulas, but the cost has been weighing on me. However, we just discovered our hospital provides one (included in our birth package that we’re already paying for). We won’t have the luxury of her helping us labor at home, but we would have extra hands at the hospital. All of this backstory just to ask, since you didn’t use doula, do you think it’s possible to get through it all naturally without hiring someone beforehand? Such a heavy decision to make and I need all the encouragement I can get from mama’s who’ve done it naturally. Thank you!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE August 8, 2018 at 3:55 pm

      You know, I didn’t have a doula for either of my births. Cost was also a factor for our family and my birth with Faye went smoothly enough that after some thought I decided to go without a doula for Silas’s birth as well. Done over, I do think I would have hired a doula for both. There is something that I think would be so beneficial about a neutral, calm, seasoned expert to offer extra support. I also think the class we took on unmedicated childbirth was really beneficial!


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