newborn baby wrapped in hospital blanket being held by her mother after birth

My Redeeming Hospital Birth Story | Unmedicated Birth Story

In this unmedicated birth story, I talk about my redeeming hospital birth and welcoming our second child Lydia into the world!

Lydia was born over a year ago, but before my third child arrives, I wanted to share the birth stories of my first two children since I had them before I started this blog.

Fears Going into My Second Pregnancy

My first time giving birth was a standard hospital birth complete with a two-day induction, epidural, and episiotomy. The hospital experience with my son, Anders, was actually quite traumatic and brought a lot of fears into my next pregnancy.

Three months after having him, I found out I was pregnant again! Thankfully, my second pregnancy was similar to my pregnancy with Anders – mostly good!

My morning sickness was less severe. I never got the excruciating back contractions at the end. And I found out I was having a girl!

I wanted to do everything differently in this pregnancy to ensure I wouldn’t have the same birthing experience as I did with my son. My goals were to labor at home as long as possible, avoid the epidural, and avoid Pitocin.

Changes I Made to Prepare for an Unmedicated Birth

I made a few changes to prepare for an unmedicated birth with as few interventions as possible. One change I made was switching from a doctor to a midwife at the same hospital. I could tell that this midwife had a different approach to birth than my doctor. Her views were more closely aligned with mine, which gave me so much relief. I had most of the same desires during my first pregnancy, but my doctor didn’t care enough to support them. I felt confident that my midwife would help me achieve my desired birth experience.


As my due date approached, I hoped that I would go into labor naturally before my due date, as every pregnant mom hopes.

Unfortunately, I passed my due date. When I went to my final prenatal appointment at 40 weeks and two days, my midwife asked to give me a membrane sweep. I agreed. My midwife said that my cervix felt great, and she was hopeful that I would be in that night to give birth!

I felt so thrilled leaving that appointment.

But that night came and went with no active signs of labor, and I started to feel discouraged.

My Water Broke

It was two days after that appointment, four days past my due date, when I decided to take a nap in the afternoon. I had asked my husband to stay home from work that day because I kept thinking I was going into labor soon. Each night, I would have regular contractions, but they would fade away before morning.

I was having a difficult time relaxing this far along in my pregnancy, but this afternoon, I finally decided I was just never going to give birth and drifted away into a peaceful slumber.

When I woke up around 3:00 or 4:00 in the afternoon, I still felt no signs of labor.

However, as I sat up in bed, I felt soaked. I was shocked to discover that my water had broken!

I whipped out of bed, ran to the bathroom, and called for my husband to bring me the giant pads I had stocked up on for after birth. My sister arrived to watch my son, and we got ready to head to the hospital.

I wasn’t feeling any major contractions yet, even though I had lost a ton of water. I decided to take a quick shower, so I would feel fresh and ready to tackle this labor. After we were all ready to leave, I still wasn’t feeling contractions. We walked around outside for a few minutes before saying goodbye to my son and driving away. 

Side note: this was the day before my firstborn’s first birthday. I figured my daughter wouldn’t be born till the next day and that they would share a birthday. No visitors were allowed at this time because of Covid, so I had to come to terms with not getting to see my son on his first birthday. I was sad, but looked forward to introducing him to his sister when we came back home.

A Whole Different Hospital Experience

My husband and I arrived at the hospital around 5:30 PM. The nurses checked me, and I was around 5 or 6 centimeters if I remember correctly. Woo! Already, this labor was going so much better than my first.

I walked around the hospital room for a while, trying to get contractions to pick up. I figured I still had hours till the real action would begin, so I even pulled out some homework (I was in the middle of taking an online class at the time!).

A couple hours later, my contractions were still really mild. The nurse said they might start me on Pitocin if they don’t pick up soon, but I REALLY didn’t want that. I was traumatized from my last experience getting the epidural. I wanted as natural of a birth as possible, and I knew that Pitocin would make the contractions really bad.

Soon, my midwife arrived on the scene and checked on me. She said that my water had not broken all the way, so she would break it the rest of the way. I don’t remember exactly what time it was, but after she broke the water, the contractions immediately intensified. It took less than an hour after that for Lydia to be born.

Amazing Support

My midwife and nurse were there the whole time. They encouraged me that I was strong enough to do it without the epidural. They knew I wanted an unmedicated birth, but they probably also encouraged me because they knew I was dilating too fast to get it in time even if I wanted it.

I breathed deeply through each contraction. I felt like I could handle it. It wasn’t until the very end when I broke down and asked for the epidural. They say when you get to the point where you ask for the epidural, it means your body is getting ready to push. After asking for the epidural, my midwife and nurse immediately put me into position to push.

What an Unmedicated Birth Feels Like

I was nearly delirious at this point. It was truly an out-of-body experience. I remember screaming that I couldn’t do it and to get this baby out of me! I clung to the hospital bed and accidentally pressed the buttons so that the bed went completely upright and I almost fell out. 

My midwife said, “She’s going to fall out!” They tried to get me to let go of the buttons, but I was so out of it. I somehow mustered the mental strength to return the bed back into place because I had this crazy idea that if I fell out of the bed, I would die.

She’s Here!

After only four minutes of pushing with all of my might, Lydia was born shortly before 10:00 PM. She was laid on my chest, and I immediately fell in love.

I asked if she was still a girl and if I had pooped on the table (she was, and I didn’t!). My husband cut the umbilical cord, and I got to hold her while I was stitched up. Without the epidural, being stitched up was especially uncomfortable and painful, but my natural birth gave me such a high. I couldn’t sleep a wink that night because of the adrenal rush.

Our girl was perfect in every way. She immediately picked up breastfeeding. I was so thankful to have a positive birth and breastfeeding experience with my daughter. I think it really helped me heal from the disappointment of not being able to provide that same positive experience for my son.

mom holding newborn baby in hospital bed after giving birth

How I Prepared for an Unmedicated Birth

Preparing for an unmedicated birth is beneficial, but I didn’t have much of strategy for my unmedicated hospital birth. My plan was to not think much about it, take it one contraction at a time, and hopefully deny the epidural if it was offered.

I didn’t create a Spotify playlist, dim the lights, diffuse essential oils, or anything else you see other moms do. Everyone is different, but I didn’t need much to have a peaceful labor.

I learned that not thinking much about the labor itself really helps. So does controlled, deep breathing through contractions. I also had much more confidence in my decisions as a mother since this was my second birth.

The biggest thing that helped me have an unmedicated birth was knowing how hard getting the epidural was during my first birth.

*Update: I’ve now had three babies, and my third birth was even more peaceful. I will share that story soon and how I was able to birth without the epidural, still feel in control, and experience less pain.*

The Next Day

Because of Covid, we didn’t have to worry about visitors. Lydia also passed all of her newborn tests, so we got to leave within exactly 24 hours of giving birth.

The nurse asked us if we wanted to stay another night because she thought it was weird that we wanted to leave at 10:00 PM at night barely a day after giving birth. Not only did I feel traumatized from our incredibly long hospital stay with our last birth, but I also wanted to hold my son whose first birthday was that day. Anders was already asleep when we got home, but I was able to give him a hug as he lay sleeping.

My daughter was born the day before his first birthday, making my kids Irish twins! I felt bad about missing Anders’ first birthday. Even though everyone said he wouldn’t remember it, I think it was more about me as his mother celebrating having my baby the year before. I was actually relieved that we were not allowed visitors because I knew it would be stressful. However, one visitor I really wished I could have had was my son, so he could meet his sister at the hospital.

The Gift of Children

When my Irish twins did meet the next morning, Anders did not know how to act around a newborn. We learned that twelve month olds aren’t very gentle around newborns, so we mostly kept them apart for the first several months. Today, they get along wonderfully! I know they will be great friends and be very close growing up. 

My children will be about 1.5 and 2.5 years old when our next baby comes, and I’m so excited to see Anders and Lydia become older siblings to another one.

While Lydia’s redeeming hospital birth really helped me heal from my experience giving birth to Anders, I would not trade either of these experiences because the gift of a child is immeasurable. I love being a mother, and I would argue that giving birth is one of the best things a woman can experience on this earth.

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