Community Birth Story: Leila Rene

Community Birth Story: Leila Rene


As told by Kellie:

Tuesday – 8.15.2017
40 week appointment
Cervix is closed, soft and favorable. Baby is head down, and she looks great on the ultrasound. I went ahead and scheduled my induction for the following Monday at 8pm. I left the appointment somewhat discouraged.
Dan (hubby) and I decided to go take a walk even though it was super humid. Our walk ended up in stopping to get some ice cream and that night we decided to get something spicy to eat. We ordered spicy wings from BonChon and they were so spicy that I felt that my mouth was on fire. I had to have ice cubes in my mouth after every wing. I then bounced on my exercise ball for a while until we decided to go to bed.


Wednesday – 8.16.2017
My husband got up to go to work for 12 hours at 5am. I woke up with a slight stomach ache around 9am. Despite feeling slightly uncomfortable I decided to eat the 6 leftover spicy wings for breakfast. I was committed at this point to get the baby out because I was more than ready to meet her. I bounced on the exercise ball, walked on the treadmill and cleaned the house all day long. I talked to my mom and was reduced to tears thinking about having to be induced if she didn’t come on her own.
I decided to text Dan just to let him know that I wasn’t really feeling the best. My stomach was hurting (still thought it was from the spicy wings) and my back was also sore. I made dinner and Dan got home around 740pm. I ended up not eating and decided to take a shower since I was so uncomfortable. I felt slightly better after my shower and Dan and I just hung out listening to music and watching the baby move around like crazy. Around 1030pm I decided that I was hungry, so my husband made me some toast and eggs. After that we went to bed.


Thursday – 8.17.2017 (Leila’s birthday)
1:00am- I woke up to a crampy stomach and felt like I needed to go poop. I got up and tended to what I needed to in the bathroom and as I was headed back to bed I felt another cramp that lasted about 40 seconds and then went away. I decided to get on my contraction app and start timing them just in case it was actual labor. After about 15 minutes and getting two of these pains that each lasted about a minute and we’re about 8 minutes apart, I decided to wake my husband up. Poor guy had worked a 12 hour shift and here I am waking him up out of a deep sleep at 130am.
From 1:30am until 3:45am I was getting contractions every 4 to 8 minutes and they were about a minute long. Dan helped out by applying pressure on my back while I leaned over a desk in our room for stability during each contraction. He also loaded up the car and tidied up a few things around the house between my contractions. Around 2:20am we started discussing when we should of leave for the hospital since we lived about 40 minutes away. I feel like my contractions weren’t staying 5 minutes or under consistently enough to go yet, so we waited. At this point the contractions were getting pretty painful, but I was still able to breath through them and talk through them. Around 3:30am I decided to get my makeup out to do between contractions so I could get my mind off of labor and get ready for the hospital.

3:48am- Another contraction began and about 5 seconds into it, my water broke. It shocked me and as it was happening I said, “Water, water, water, my water is breaking!” I obviously couldn’t do anything other than stand there and wait for the gushing to stop. As I looked down most of it was absorbed into my pajama pants and underwear, but there was a small puddle that I thought looked like a funny color. As I walked to the bathroom Dan started cleaning up the floor and I asked him if it looked like a weird color. He said that it looked a little weird and as I dropped my pants to sit on the toilet I saw that my water was a green color. I immediately knew that we had to head to the hospital. Dan calmed me down after I had a small freak out moment about the fact that she had pooped already. I cleaned myself up, got a towel, put a puppy pad down on the passenger seat and we were on our way to the hospital within 5 minutes of my water breaking. I called the doctor, my mom, and Dan’s mom on the way.

4:45am – We arrived at the hospital and had to go through the emergency entrance since it was so early in the morning. At this point my contractions had pretty much stopped and we had to fill out some paperwork to get admitted. As we were waiting for a room, a lady came in that was 8cm dilated and they gave a room to her first. We ended up going to triage where I changed into a hospital gown and a pad since my water was still leaking. Luckily we didn’t have to wait in triage and we walked to our delivery room soon after.

5:00am- They started setting up the monitors and my IV and then they checked me and I was 4cm dilated. They decided to start me on pitocin since my contractions weren’t close enough together anymore and we waited.

7:00am- My doctor came in and when she checked me I was 5 to 6cm dilated. At this point my contractions were getting pretty painful, but I decided to wait on the epidural since I was still able to get through them. I believe my pitocin was at about a 6 at this point.

8:00am- I finally asked for an epidural since I was having most of the pain in my back during my contractions. They checked me again before I got my epidural and said that I was 7 to 8cm dilated. The anesthesiologist got to my room really quickly and set up the epidural before 8:30am.

9:00am- The epidural was in and I was feeling some relief, but I was still wincing from contractions in my lower pelvic area. The anesthesiologist came back in to give me a booster, and then I was fine. They checked me again at some point and said I was 8 to 9cm dilated. Baby girl wasn’t responding well to the higher levels of pitocin, so they kept trying to change my position.

10:30am- My doctor came in to check my progression. He determined that I was only at 7cm and my cervix was still very thick. Apparently after a discussion with the nurse he found out that she had stopped my pitocin entirely. They had been giving me pitocin at a 10 and then stopped it cold turkey. My doctor did not seem impressed since it stalled my labor. He had them turn it back on at half the dose to see how baby responded.

11:30am- Baby was doing ok with the pitocin, but not super well. We continued to keep an eye on her and when my doctor checked me I was 9cm dilated. He optimistically said that we might have a baby by 2pm.

11:45pm-1:15pm- Dan and I took a nap. I started feeling contractions again in my lower pelvic region. I tried to fight through them knowing that it would be better for when it came time to push. However, I couldn’t push through the pain, so I pushed the button for more epidural around 1pm.

1:30pm- I was dilated to 10cm and they decided to have me start practice pushing. After a few practice runs, they determined that I was too numb and that baby was still too high. They decided that I needed to labor down otherwise I would get too exhausted.

2pm- They decided to shut off my epidural in order to get me ready for pushing.

3pm- I was really starting to feel my contractions in my lower back and I was feeling quite a bit of pain. Our nurse ended up needing to be in another delivery room and we got our back up nurse. I don’t think I would have had a vaginal delivery had it not been for her. The other nurse that I had didn’t impress me very much anyway so I was glad to see her go. My new nurse decided to have me try out the peanut ball to get baby girl to move down. It was super uncomfortable since I was also gaining feeling back and feeling every contraction. My husband says the tone in the room felt like everyone was thinking her birth was going to be finished via c section, but this nurse was determined to get me the vaginal birth I had hoped to have.

3:55pm- They started prepping me for pushing once again. At one point my nurse was prepping things and my body needed to push, but she wasn’t there to hold my leg, and I told her I couldn’t help it and that my body was just pushing on its own. My husband was the most supportive person and I truly believe that I wouldn’t have made it through this process without him. He helped calm me down and reassured me that all my pushing was getting me closer to meeting our little girl.

4pm- My doctor came in and acted surprised that I had made as much progress as I had. He said, “Ok, let’s try and do this” and he got ready to deliver our baby girl. My contractions were pretty intense in my back, but my husband just continued to tell me that I was doing a great job. I pushed for about 15 minutes and…

4:18pm- Leila René Ganoung was born. She was 7 lbs. 7 oz., 20 ¾ inches long, and perfect in every way. It was the moment I became a mother and my husband became a father and it was the best feeling in the world. I will never forget this life changing moment and I am so grateful for my husband, the nurses, and my doctor for making it all possible.






Click HERE to learn more about the Community Birth Stories Project or to submit your own birth story

Community Birth Story: Leonid Ardent

Community Birth Story: Leonid Ardent

Leodin’s Birth on New Years’ Day

imageAs told by Julia:

I lived in a rural location with no homebirth midwives and no birth center. I hired the closest doula and she lived two hours away. I was not pleased with the OB practice, and one of the rotating doctors told me that my natural birth plan was not going to happen. I was ecstatic when, at 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant, the only certified nurse midwife in the area got hospital privileges and joined my birth team. With a doula and CNM, I was sure I could get the natural hospital birth I wanted for my baby.

The same day I found out that I would have a midwife, I woke up to bloody show. When I had a check up, I requested a membrane sweep. I regret asking for it and had no reason not to just be patient for labor to pick up on its own. Contractions started about an hour later. I ignored them and was able to sleep through them until about 4:00 a.m. when they really required my attention and I was too excited. For most of the day, contractions were 3-5 minutes apart lasting 1.5- 2 minutes.

Over the phone, my doula suggested I take a shower which felt good and contractions sped to 1-2 minutes apart. However, they slowed back down after the shower. My doula decided to come down and arrived at 7:00 pm. She suggested some positions since I was having a little back pain and I did lots of hip circles and pelvic tilts. As it got later, my doula gave me some homeopathic tinctures. We went on walks. I was in a lot of pain and making noise, not wanting to talk between contractions, but I could walk through contractions. I think this alerted the doula that I was still in early, decidedly prodromal, labor. She decided it would be best for her to go home and sleep and us to do the same. I was devastated because it was the end of the second day of labor and I felt I was in serious painful contractions. I cried but accepted it and went to sleep right away. We slept or at least were in bed for 12 hours. I had contractions in my sleep and they were strong when I got up to pee but my body did some rest.

The next morning, I got a lot of physical contact from my husband and repeated the word “open.” I visualized flowers opening with my husband’s guidance. I tried to hold off for a while in calling my doula to avoid another false alarm but she called and decided to come back. We continued doing lots of walks around the apartment complex. I did need to stop for every contraction now. My favorite during those times was to put my arms around hubby’s shoulders and lean down a little, putting weight on him and swaying. When he or someone else was not in reach at the time, I would put my arms up on the wall, head down, and lean. The worst was when I had a contraction while peeing or just after peeing and had to run to a wall or person. I spent a ton of time sitting on the birth ball or floor. Some hip squeezes which felt good and counterpressure on my sacrum for slight back pain. My doula had me use cleansing deep breath at the end of contractions. We all wanted to speed up labor since water kept slowing it so I pumped with a hand pump sitting on my birth ball by my bed. It made contractions much more painful so I stopped after a few minutes.

She said that my contractions were definitely longer than the norm, staying around 1.5- 2 minutes in duration. I was starting to be in a lot of pain, moaning and crying at the peak of contractions. She said it sounded like time to head to the hospital and that sounded good to me. Contractions in the car sucked because I could not move.

It was 10:30 or 11:00 pm so we had to go through the emergency room, which was empty. They were going to send for a wheelchair but I asked them not to. A nurse walked us up to labor and delivery. The lights were dim. I put on a hospital gown. did some contractions on a birth ball. My midwife arrived as well as an L&D nurse for 20 min electronic fetal monitoring which we had discussed at an appointment and I was fine with. I asked if I needed to lie on the bed and she said no, I could be in any position so they set blankets on the floor and I got on my knees leaning on the birth ball. It was officially midnight, New Years’ Day 2012, but I had no sense of time at all, a very inward focus and oblivious to all around me. We used intermittent monitoring; baby heart tones checked with doppler every 1/2 hour and my blood pressure checked every hour. I declined routine IV.


I had not had a cervical check but I had some typical signs of transition. I was burping a lot and then threw up a few times. Lots of crying. The nurses brought in the delivery cart because everyone thought I might be ready to pop! After sometime, that proved not to be the case yet. My doula suggested we try to whirlpool which was next door. It felt wonderful but contractions slowed down and I spent the next few hours getting them back to where they had been before the tub. My doula reminded me to take it one contraction at a time, but I kept thinking ahead to how much longer and worse they would get and feeling that I did not have recovery time in between. I went back to my room and did a squat to try to move baby down. When I sat up I felt very wet and told my midwife. She did a pH test that showed my water had broken.


I was feeling desperate and needed encouragement. I knew that a cervical check would be risky as I could have a low measurement, but I requested one. I asked that if I am in transition, to tell me the number, and if I am not, to just say ” not in transition.” I heard “not in transition.” I was disappointed but just kept doing what I was doing. I did not attempt any visualization or other coping techniques because I was just too exhausted and could not think beyond the pain. I cried through every contraction and was saying “I can’t do this” “I need this to stop.” I got in the shower and sat on the bench and cried. There was no room for my husband so he sat outside the shower curtain which made me sad. My doula gave me an herbal drink approved by my midwife which had cohosh. I walked through the hallways with my parents and my birth team started taking turns sleeping. I was encouraged to eat and drink but I was not interested. I was likely dehydrated, hadn’t eaten in a long time.

After hours more of labor, I made a plan which I didn’t share with anyone. I would get another cervical check and if I was not in transition, I would ask about drugs. What I really wanted was a break from labor so I could sleep, fearing that my exhaustion would necessitate a c-section. I could deal with the pain but I was just so indescribably tired. I asked the midwife to tell me everything this time. She said that at the last check, I was 4 cm and 100% effaced which was a staggering announcement. That means it had taken me over three days of labor to get from 1 cm to 4 cm. At this check, I was 5-6 cm. With that news, I immediately asked about my pain relief options. My options besides water were an opiate called staydol or an epidural. She went over the details of each as well as the risks. My doula reminded me that epidural could slow labor and might not relieve me very well or in the right places. I decided to get each, though I had planned for no pain medication.

I was absolutely exhausted after days of contractions and little sleep and my body was involuntarily collapsing between contractions. I thought that the drugs would allow me to sleep while my body worked so I could wake up with the energy to push. I chose to get the staydol to take the edge off during the two hours before I could get an epidural. The midwife said that I would need to get electronic fetal monitoring but I was fine with that because all I wanted at that point was to be in the bed.

I got in the bed and was fitted with contraction strap, baby heartrate strap, blood pressure cuff, IV in my wrist with a saline/electrolyte solution and later the staydol. The drugs started setting in and allowed me to sleep between contractions. The contractions were slightly numbed and I made hmmming sounds through them which helped. My husband was very sad during this time as he felt he had failed as my birth partner (he told me this later when I pressed him, at the time I was high on staydol and not much aware of how he was doing.) The anesthesiologist came in and everyone had to leave but my husband. I was terrified to move for fear of paralysis or spinal fluid leak, which was so hard during contractions. Then, I went to sleep immediately. The room was dark and my whole birth team slept which was much needed.

We slept for about 4 hours and when I woke up, my midwife was there. I was 10 cm dilated! I opted for an in-and-out catheter. She had me labor down for an hour which just meant letting my body bear down and move the baby without pushing. I got another vaginal exam and the baby was at +2 station. Time to push! There was a discussion between my midwife, doula, and myself about whether to leave the epidural as is or turn it down for pushing. The anesthesiologist agreed to let it be turned down half way and I was glad to get some sensation back to work with. I was still tired but had some energy from sleeping. At first, I could not feel the contractions so I had to be told when they were going on but I could push at my own pace and will. I started on my left side with legs bent and apart. Birth team helped to hold my legs. My first two pushes were ineffective. I tried exhaling while bearing down. I ended up peeing with both first pushes!. Finally, I got a real push and knew what they were supposed to feel like. The epidural was wearing off.

On the first push, everyone saw baby’s head with hair! I was asked if I wanted a mirror and I said I didn’t want to see myself tear and everyone said I should have it. I was expecting something small but it was a full length mirror. It did help to see which pushes were bringing the baby forward. After a while, I flipped and pushed on my right side. It was taking a long time to get baby’s head to clear my pubic bone because my pelvic floor muscles were too strong. My doula and midwife agreed it would work better on my back semi/reclined position. My knees were up and I would grab my legs and lift my chin to my chest. I still slept between contractions which I was feeling somewhat now. The OB who had to oversee my midwife since she was new was called in because they thought I would be delivering in any second. Delivery took longer than expected and the midwife actually apologized to the OB who left for a time. That was discouraging. Four pushes per contraction that were each eight seconds long seemed to be best. The most effective part was at the end of each contraction so they kept trying to make me sustain it.

The room was all natural light and Eva Cassidy music. I puked on a nurse. Finally, baby cleared the pubic bone and did not pull back into the vagina each time. It took many more pushes for him to crown. The contractions got closer together and stronger. I pooped a little bit. Finally, I felt a ring of fire which was the best motivation to keep pushing. The worse pain was in the upper part of the vulva around the clitoris. They said the cord was around baby’s neck so I stopped pushing and panted though I felt my body continuing to bear down a bit. He was out with two hours pushing total. I reached down and helped move him to my belly in the position advocated by Birth Without Violence with belly down and knees bent. It had only felt like seconds when my husband cut the cord, but my midwife said that it stopped pulsating after only two minutes at which time she clamped it.

Baby was grunting and nurses tried to stimulate and suction him while he was on my chest. Lots of mucous was in his lungs. I agreed for him to be brought to the warmer for suction and oxygen. At first, I declined pitocin for the placenta so the nurses got to worse massaging my uterus. I had excessive hemorrhaging so they needed to give me pitocin to control the bleeding. My midwife said that I had “countless” first degree tearing everywhere, including one in the labia which needed suturing because it exposed a blood vessel, and a second degree perenial tear. Because of the extent of the tears, the OB stitched me up. It hurt like hell and she did not give me a local analgesic. When I asked her about it, she said that I shouldn’t be able to feel it and the only thing she could do was turn my epidural up. Nope.image

After about 15 minutes, baby Leo was back on my chest and we attempted breastfeeding. Ian had his hand on Leo’s back ala Birth Without Violence. I learned that I had elevated blood pressure for the last few hours of delivery and postpartum so I needed to be on the watch for preeclampsia but I did not get it. From my first contractions, labor was four days long and my doula counts it as 25 hours active labor.

I am conflicted about my choice to get an epidural. I was exhausted and it allowed me to sleep and possibly gave me the energy I needed to push. I am grateful for a vaginal birth with no augmentation or assistance. Recovery was horrible. Tearing hurt. My back hurt where the epidural was inserted. My arms and torso were in extreme pain from the effort of pushing. My face was swollen from pushing. Leodin had feeding issues which I think were at least partly caused by the epidural. He was so sleepy, he would not eat anything from any source. He went 18 hours without peeing and longer without eating. I pumped endlessly and had to force feed Leo, tracking every cc he was able to keep down. All of these issues were temporary and we did come out of it healthy!


Find the birth story of Leo’s little sister Ary here.


Click HERE to learn more about the Community Birth Stories Project or to submit your own birth story.

Community Birth Story: Calianne Renee

Community Birth Story: Calianne Renee

As told by Amber:

I’ll start by saying we weren’t sure if we ever wanted another child. We were happy with our smart and healthy son. I suffered with bad PPD/PPA after dealing with a c-section birth and awful recovery last time. However, I didn’t feel that my family was complete. I longed for a daughter, even though I couldn’t pick the sex, I still wanted to have another baby. This time, I armed myself with tons of information on VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), hired a doula, switched care providers/hospitals. I also made the tough decision to stay on my medication during pregnancy. I knew I needed to be mentally healthy to take care of myself and son. I was scared and stressed, but I kept up with my therapy and doctor appointments. They were all confident in me, and that helped a lot!

I found out I was pregnant on July 20, 2014, and was so happy!! Stressed too, but happy! I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy. No big issues, thankfully. On November 4 we found out we were having a healthy baby girl! I cried tears of joy! I started buying all stuff pink!! :-)


My pregnancy progressed and progressed, and my due date came and went. Goodbye March 27, 2015! I was starting to get worried because I knew I’d start getting some pressure from my doctors office.  However, I knew my body better than them. I was charting and knew my cycle and knew my conception date. I was right, they were wrong, and I knew it. I wasn’t going to “just listen,” this time. Doctors don’t always know best!


They scheduled me, anyway, for a repeat c-section at 41 weeks (April 3). I was hurt, stressed and uncomfortable. However, I told them I wasn’t coming for the section. A non-stress test was performed, baby girl was perfect and so was I. I was not going to just walk in and lay down on an OR table to be cut open again, unless it was a true emergency and it wasn’t.  The doctors weren’t happy, but I was in charge, I hired them so they had to listen to me this time.

On April 3 at 11:15pm my water broke, on its own, right after going to bed. This was it!!!! She was ready! My husband called my doula and she was there by midnight. I decided to labor at home and get some rest. We left for the hospital around 6:00am on April 4. Once there my birth plan was read and respected entirely. I walked the halls, bounced on a birth ball, rested, ate, hydrated myself (no IV this time…yay!) and got in the labor tub.  I didn’t let them check me, so I wasn’t really sure of my progress that often. I knew it was progressing though because of my contractions. I also decided I didn’t want an epidural either. I didn’t want to be drugged up, like last time, and didn’t want anything in my baby.  I also didn’t want a cascade of interventions that could up my c-section risk. So I continued to labor naturally.


Towards the end, I was in so much pain and was begging for pain relief. I wanted that epidural, but I was 8cm and my doula and nurses continued to talk me out of it.  The anesthesiologist even came in and talked me out of it! At that time I was 9 and a 1/2cm dilated, with a cervical lip. I was told not to push because it could swell the cervix. That was the hardest thing ever!!! My body was pushing, but I had to not allow it. My doula helped me breathe properly to get through it. The nurse checked me again and pushed the excess cervix away, and it was finally time to push!  After almost 5 years and 18 hours, I really was going to get my natural VBAC!!!!

I pushed for maybe 10 minutes, and she was out!! I did it! I wasn’t broken, and pushed a baby out of my vagina without any medications at all. Calianne (Cali) Renee Ashton was born at 6:57pm and weighed 7.75 ounces. I was on such a birth high!!!! It was such a healing birth experience. She was beautiful and healthy and picked her own birthday. I got to experience baby being put on my chest right away and holding her immediately.  We delayed all newborn procedures and just snuggled and tried nursing. She was so alert and happy. She pretty much latched on right away too!  I thought I was dreaming!


She’s now 4 months old, and such a happy and healthy baby.  I’m so thankful for my two different birth experiences and healthy children. I feel I can help a lot of women since I’ve experienced both and have learned so much. She’s still nursing great and so far, no PPD/PPA this time!  Carter loves and adores his baby sister as well.

(Read Calianne’s big brother’s birth story here)


Click HERE to learn more about the Community Birth Stories Project or to submit your own birth story.