Mother’s Day is on May 8 this year, and the upcoming holiday has us all reminiscing about the various ways we became mothers. Here is one such birth story.

My colleagues used to tease me that I treated pregnancy like training for a marathon, and, to be honest, they were mostly correct. I followed a pretty strict high-protein diet. I walked for miles every day. I attended hours of birth classes with my husband. I read at least 10 pregnancy and childbirth books. And I practiced my squats every chance I could.

After considerable study and thought and consultation, my husband and I decided we would work very, very hard to have a low- to no-intervention birth. Thankfully, it worked out.

Right after my son was born, I hesitated to share my birth story, because I didn’t want anyone to feel ashamed by their birth that didn’t go as planned. But after a few months, I realized that hovering over other people’s feelings had made me feel ashamed of this incredible event I had been a part of. So now I try to share it every chance I get — I want all women to know that no matter how they birth (truly!), their stories are beautiful. All births result in us becoming mothers, and they are all transformative.

I woke up very early on the morning of November 20, 2013, after only a few hours of sleep, and I was immediately pretty sure I was in labor. I took a shower, and the contractions did not slow down. So I labored alone in our tiny apartment for a few hours, trying not to wake up my husband. My father texted around 6 a.m. asking how I was (father’s intuition?), and I excitedly told him I thought I was in labor. I told him we would update as things progressed, but, as it turns out, once labor really started I didn’t give a thought to anything else the rest of the day.

Around 6:30 a.m. I woke my husband, and he excitedly went to get provisions for the day (aka a bagel and a smoothie) while I continued to labor at home. We were still chatting and full of excited energy until around noon, when our doula came over and helped us get down to business by suggesting different positions to labor in and shaking down the baby with a rebozo sling around my stomach.

The afternoon is quite a blur to me. I do remember taking one final walk around the block solo with my husband and reflecting on this last moment alone together before our lives changed. I remember visualizing each contraction as different sizes and colors of rectangles going around my mind. I do NOT remember pulling our bathroom sink off the wall (requiring my husband to shut off our water) or taking off all of my clothes, but both of those things happened. I vaguely remember throwing up (for the first time my entire pregnancy) and being mildly annoyed that I was still in labor and no one was coming to tag me out.

Around 5 p.m., my husband decided we should go to the hospital, so he went to get a cab while my doula dressed me. We met a neighbor in the hallway of our building who was VERY concerned by all the noise I was making (apparently my husband could hear me down on the street). We took a short cab ride through rush hour traffic and showed up at the hospital, where I refused many offers of a wheelchair and then was briskly taken into a delivery room. Everyone on our birth team (my OB, our doula, and our childbirth educator) had advised me to show up as late as possible to avoid unnecessary interventions. Check! I showed up 10 centimeters dilated and pushing.

In the delivery room there were so many people and voices, so I decided to listen only to my OB and my husband. Thankfully, the nurse finally realized that and started conveying instructions to my husband to pass on to me. After about an hour of pushing, my water finally broke all over everyone and everything (my husband said it was pretty epically gross — ha!). Then, 30 minutes later, my OB suggested we use a vacuum to get the baby out and introduced me to the anesthesiologist who was there “just in case” I needed a C-section. The stakes suddenly seemed high, so I flipped myself over and my son came out with the next push.


Immediately, I was awake and totally aware of how bright the room was and just how many people were there (to be expected at a large teaching hospital). I greedily grabbed up my son and let him crawl up my stomach to latch on. Then I remembered that none of our family members knew we were at the hospital, let alone that our son was here, so we texted our families and FaceTimed my parents while chugging apple juice. I’m not sure anything has ever tasted so delicious or refreshing.

Later that night, we settled in together in bed and celebrated with grilled cheese, French fries, and cheesecake while our son nursed and slept. I’m so thankful for all the work we did to lead up to that day and that our circumstances allowed for the no-intervention birth we planned.