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The unassisted waterbirth of our 5th baby: Full Birth Story

my unassisted birth waterbirth andrea olson
This blog post was previously published in Dec 4, 2018. It has been updated to include the audio and video versions.

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PLEASE NOTE: The below post contains graphic photographs and some nudity. You've been warned! :) As this was a natural birth, it is natural that I include some unedited documentation of what happened. Also, if you'd like to be the first to know when my next book, The Unassisted Birth Manual, is available in the next month or two, please visit this page and add your info. Enjoy our story! xo Andrea

Today I'd like to share my most recent birth story with you. Baby #5.

Twyla Bentley was born on November 20, 2018 at 5:51am in an unassisted birth, waterbirth, freebirth...many names for what happened, but, basically:

I birthed her in our bathtub with no outside assistance or interference, whatsoever.

No midwife. No OB. No doula. Just me, my husband, and our baby.

Let's take this in 3 a 3 Act Play.

Act 1: The Midwife Quit

Rewind to about two days before my due date. November 13, 2018.

My midwife and I had an appointment scheduled for 1:15pm. I didn't want to make this appointment, mind you, but she insisted.

You may be wondering...Why did you hire a midwife if you wanted an unassisted birth?

Well, good question.

You see, I've attempted an unassisted birth four times over 5 births. Each experience has been unique and has taught me a lot, and all of them have led up to my decision about this birth.

After all that I've experienced over the last 8 years of having babies, I decided that this time around I'd prefer to have someone else in the house in case I had a question - to which an answer could save me from illogically choosing to go to the hospital (I've done that twice).

I also wanted someone else to do my prenatal care.

(You may remember that my husband and I separated for a couple months earlier this year. It's been rough. So, wanting a little more support felt like a good decision back in the Summer when I most needed it.)

So, I was referred to "Jane" (we'll call her) because she is unlicensed and thus would absolutely, I was assured, provide an undisturbed birthing experience.

(Undisturbed would mean that she would not intervene unless asked. Because...even midwives can intervene and cause things to go awry, even with the best intentions.)

Things were not going exactly as planned.

Andrea unassisted birth midwife copy
My 5 yo daughter caught our true sentiment in this photo.

Let me briefly summarize the pathway to our ultimate falling-out:

  1. I told her I was taking the Spinning Babies online class and she immediately questioned the validity of the program, who taught it, etc....despite having handed me a printed handout FROM the website that SAME DAY. She grilled me about whether I should be taking the SB classes and who was the teacher and what was I doing. Not cool. (Perhaps she was turned off by my strong streak of self-sufficiency and resourcefulness...I have, after all, fully researched and written the almost-complete-draft of a book on Unassisted Birth.)
  2. I told her I didn't want to purchase gauze for my birth kit supplies. She insisted they were for her to wipe my butt in the middle of labor if needed, and for wiping the snot out of my new baby's nasal passages. I told her I didn't believe babies needed wiped because when they are born, they are face-down and the passages naturally drain. I also stated that gauze is a medical supply and that Whapio (my teacher) advised that we consider, deeply, which supplies we purchase for our birth, and how each item reflects our expectations of the type of birth we'd like to have. We'll talk more about Whapio in point 3.
  3. She was unprofessional about others in the birth space. So, yeah, Whapio. Probably one of my favorite people, ever. A dear friend. Taught my doula program (when I was prepping for baby #2, hoping for a UC that time around). Advised me on the Unassisted Birth Manual I've written and am preparing for publication. Whapio teaches midwives, doulas, and unassisted birth in her school, The Matrona. My midwife had MAJOR issues with Whapio, claiming that Whapio puts ideas into women's minds that mislead them to believe they'll have a certain type of idealized birth. She actually compared Whapio to the OBs at the hospital! And she said Whapio hates the medical model. We had a pretty big verbal brawl about this, back in October, and I never really did recover from the vast unprofessionalism this midwife showed - so disrespectful of Whapio. She even said "Whapio doesn't even attend births." To which I said, "Yes, she's attended like 800." The midwife said "No, she's only attended about 300 births. She hardly has any experience." Wow. 300 is a lot in my book, and the words Whapio speaks? They are full of 100% truth, positivity, science, and fact. Moving on....
  4. She pushed me to schedule an appointment with her when I told her I'd like to lay low and see if baby comes next week, and call her when I'm in labor (vs. having another appointment...because I was FINE). She said something to the effect that she needed to check in with how I was doing so she could be present with me at the birth. The problem was that her desires completely excluded what I wanted, as her client, and disregarded what I intuited the baby and I needed (privacy). I had hired her to be there, in the other room, as David and I had our baby in the other room, and to be there for the postpartum clean up and care for the following days and weeks. I did not hire her to dictate my care. This was totally alarming.
  5. She passive-aggressively cancelled our appointment two days before my due date...then quit completely via text. The midwife apparently had been trying to call and text me to confirm the appointment we'd set in our calendars for 1:15pm that day. I do not keep my phone on during the precious 3 hours of work I give myself each morning. It helps me stay focused. I finally saw her text at 12:18pm that said she wanted to reschedule since she hadn't heard from me. Mind you, she insisted on that appointment in the first place, against my will. Now I'd been expecting it and I prepared for it and moved my life around for it and she's...cancelling? I texted her and said I'd see her there, that we'd already set it in the calendar and confirmed. She wrote back to call her, that she felt very uncomfortable. I told her the family and I have shifted plans and I'd call her later that evening. She proceeded to blow up my phone by texting incessantly, repeating how uncomfortable she felt and hinting at quitting on me, and I simply replied we'd speak on the phone later on, no worries. But, ultimately - OVER TEXT - she said she could no longer work with me. Instead of being patient and doing a phone call later on (in which I can assure you I was going to fire her, anyway), she "broke up with me over text." Seriously. Two days before my date. I didn't tell a soul because I didn't want to worry anyone enough to send me scary birth vibes. I almost wrote my email list here at Go Diaper Free because I knew you all would understand...but I didn't. It took me several days to process the anger, resentment, and outright betrayal I felt from this woman.

So, that's all about the midwife and the terribly uncomfortable circumstances that caused us to part ways.

Yes, I still am a little upset about what happened. The archetypal betrayal of the feminine. You know.


It's all good.

At 12:32pm that day, after getting her first passive-aggressive texts about cancelling our appointment, I texted Whapio who immediately agreed to be "on call" for my birth for any questions I might have.

Whapio. On speed dial.

This was all turning around nicely.

Act 2: Kicking Everyone Out

On the day the midwife quit, I sent our au pair (who'd only been with us a month so far) to Charlotte two hours away to stay with my mother, so that we could have privacy in our home and I could make a nest for baby to arrive.

As I processed this freaking terrible situation with the midwife...I began to realize that what Twyla wanted was a truly 100% unassisted birth.

I began to read my entire book manuscript, beginning to end, and prepare myself mentally, physically, and emotionally for a true UC.

(Talk about being forced by the Universe to do what you were intended to do, all along!)

This new book? The Unassisted Birth Manual. I started writing it when I was pregnant with Isadora 5 years ago - because nowhere could I find a concise guide to the in's and out's of unassisted birth.

It needs some final editing, but it has been reviewed by a teaching midwife, informed heavily by Whapio, Grantly Dick-Read, and Michel Odent...and it's full of awesome preparatory info.

Through reading my own book manuscript over the next few days, I prepared to assist myself in having this baby.

Because the Universe had left me no other choice.

For the next few days I continued to go to prenatal yoga.

My back had been going out for several weeks (so bad that I could hardly walk when I stood up from sitting or laying down) and I knew that baby wouldn't come until it had been repaired.

Every day I came to yoga, and every day I felt embarrassed to be there.

My last 3 babies had come 2 weeks early. Why was Twyla taking so long?

I tried to schedule another Trigger Point Massage appointment in town. This had also been helping my back in a big way...and now I was ready for induction points to be pressed!

I couldn't schedule on our normal Thursday for some reason. So, I scheduled with her two days later, a Saturday...and early that morning she texted that she was sick and couldn't see me.

That morning, feeling disappointed about no induction points, and with no signs of imminent labor, I sent my 3 kiddos to Grandma's house in Charlotte, to stay there until baby comes.

Thanksgiving was in 5 days. Would Twyla come in time for me to get my kiddos back?

We were down to one 8 year old. Monday came around and we took him to school to go to his father's house for the week.

That night, David (my hubs) asked me what I wanted for breakfast the next morning, because we finally had no kids to take care of, and we can sleep in!


I told him that Twyla is going to come at 4am precisely for that reason.

Andrea unassisted birth final big belly photo
My final belly photo, the night before birth.

Act 3: The Most Amazing Thing...Catching My Own Baby

At 4am Tuesday, the very next morning, I began to have low belly menstrual-like cramps. I was laying down in bed, so I began the lap timer in my phone.

70 seconds long, 5 minutes in between.

Then upwards of 90 seconds long, 2 minutes in between.

Andrea unassisted birth timing contractions
Hubs botched my latest times, but I got 24 minutes of info on the lap timer.

Within 30 minutes labor had begun full-on, no doubt in my mind.

NOTE: There are no pictures in this section of my birth story. Undisturbed birth, in my definition, excludes cameras and video. :)

When I got up, the contractions continued (a sure-fire sign that labor has begun is when you change positions and the rhythm of the contractions does not change). The rhythms continued to increase in intensity and decrease as far as time-between-contractions goes.

With every contraction, I did as my birth book advised - I focused on relaxing my yoni and my mouth, breathing deeply, and diffusing my focus away from the contraction itself. I didn't hyperfocus on the contraction, but focused on other things, and definitely made sure to relax.

Focused relaxation. Diffuse awareness of the tightening.

I knew what was happening with each sensation...every tightening meant that my cervix was dilating, and I was in full support of that happening quickly.

I brought Twyla's new baby blanket to the laundry room and began a load so it would be cleaned and ready by the time she arrived. I doubled over in front of the washing machine mid-contraction, caught my breath, and continued preparing.

I walked around the house rapidly...quickly...calmly...and found sitting on my yoga bolster to feel really good.

But very soon, no sitting would suffice. To the toilet. Sitting during a contraction felt good only there.

"Run a bath." I said to hubs.

He complied while I had a major contraction on the rug on our bathroom floor.

The thought ran through my head:

So, this is my midwife.

And I almost started to laugh.

Now, I had overcome several blocks over the past week after my midwife quit. While reading up on unassisted birth inside my book draft, I realized that seeking comfort would not impede the progress of the labor. It would simply help me feel more comfort!

So, I popped into that warm bath not expecting it to retard my progress, but instead expecting to feel comfort and release while my body continued to do its work of pushing my baby out.

It felt great to have the water rushing over my shoulders as each contraction came more and more strongly.

For a moment, I fantasized about going to the hospital and how that was such an easy way out, always an option...but then quickly remembered what that would look like.

Let me walk you thru my 4 other births right quick:

My first birth was an over-managed midwife-driven homebirth. Long, painful, not wholly fulfilling.

My second birth? Well, I went to the hospital because I didn't know I was fully dilated, had no urge to push, and upon arrival I had her within 30 minutes after 30 minutes of annoying nurse-coaching-yells to get her out as if it were an emergency (they even pulled her head). I then had to demand we be released within 12 hours - like a jail, it was.

My third was an unassisted birth with a friend in the hallway to whom I could shout a question or two. Freaking amazing Wonder Woman birth.

My fourth was same situation as my second...but it was the bag of waters impeding full dilation. Again, with some patience and knowledge, I could have had him at home too. 30 minutes after arriving at the hospital, with a ton of worried-push-chants, and them pulling on his head, he was born. Like jail, very hard to get them to release us, but we left at 12 hours.

So, yeah...the fleeting thought of a hospital run?

That didn't last long.

The truth, Andrea: It will take way longer and it will hurt way more at the hospital...and why would you want the company of a bunch of strangers, nurses, doctors...when you could just stay here and trust your body and your baby?

That ridiculous thought left my brain just about as quickly as it had entered.

Besides, I'd told hubs that IF I SAID I wanted to go to the hospital during labor, to INSTEAD encourage me and tell me that I'm doing it, I'm doing fine, and to just plain ignore my request.

(We went over the 4 red flags of birth last week...he knew the drill...and the diff between what is a true emergency and what is just me acting on behalf of hormones.)

So I didn't say a word about the hospital thought.

I realized the contractions were getting incredibly uncomfortable and occurring much more often and much more intensely.

My thoughts? Very clearly I heard:

Do not be afraid. This is the way through. It is a great sign that they are harder and faster and more intense. That means my baby will be here soon! There is no way around this. Only through.

As I labored in the tub, warm water flowing over me, my husband got a cold rag and put it on my back. During every contraction I braced myself in the tub and relaxed my yoni and mouth, the rest of me fully stabilized and pushing with all my might.

It wasn't painful...but it was intense and other-worldly.

Then I was fast asleep with my head on the edge of the tub...being given the gift of my second wind...and I knew that I was fully dilated.

Hubs whispered "Grantly Dick-Read is with you. They're all with you. You're doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing."

I reached inside and felt the bag of waters. I confirmed my thought - it felt as thought I was fully dilated (yesterday I felt the bag, dilated a few centimeters only, and my cervix. cervix to be felt at all).

I questioned myself for a moment...maybe I'm not dilated yet?

Then I said with confidence from some unknown source, "No. I am absolutely fully dilated."

David went to YouTube to learn how to pop a bag of waters, just in case. With our last birth, you'll remember, this was our issue.

He came back in because I was yelling. Contractions were back on. I kept my voice low but I was really in it.

My fingers inside, I felt her head inside the bag! I was awwing, and cooing, and ahhing, saying "Hi baby, I can't wait to see you!" - and then a big contraction came and I pushed REALLY hard, causing the bag of waters to break into the tub of water.

I felt her head more clearly now. I focused on how it felt to bring her down the birth canal.

I wasn't afraid. I was lucid. Present. Excited. Focused. Intent.

I was talking to her, hubs said afterward, but I can't remember that part.

I was in a complete daze, yet focused somehow.

Hubs was holding me up when needed, I was bracing, relaxing, focused, yet completely in outer space at the same time.

One contraction...with the urge to push. If I didn't push, it hurt really bad. So I pushed...feeling her head moving down as I did so.

Two or three more of these, seemingly a few minutes apart each (I can't be sure, but I was floating in oblivion at those moments), and Twyla's head was right at the opening to her new world.

"Oh baby, oh baby, come on, come on sweetheart...." is what hubs heard me say.

I felt the biggest contraction of the whole morning and with it the urge to push - and also the intuition to not do it too quickly - and I bared down as I instinctively got up onto one knee inside the bath tub.

My hands on her head, stabilized by my position, I pushed with all my might, with restraint when called, with full abandon when called, and this push must have lasted about 5 minutes, I swear.

From all I've been told, the crowning didn't mean birth was imminent, so I threw that out the window as garbage advice. My body pushed her head out inside that one gigantic contraction.

The bulge in my bottom was really intense, but I couldn't call this head-birthing "painful." It was intense and a mixed bag of restraint and going for it, but not painful.

I then had Twyla's cute little head in my hands.

I felt a cute little ear on the right, and a sweet chubby little cheek on the left, and I whispered to hubs "I have her head in my hands." So quietly.

I began to panic a little. (This must be that last rush of adrenaline?)

Hubs calmed me by saying "You are doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing. You are fine."

I reached my finger in next to her neck for whatever reason (to check her shoulder? No idea.) and then felt the urge to push. I was afraid though (which I knew would create tension, which creates pain) - afraid that this would really hurt - but when I let off and didn't push with the contraction, it HURT!

So, I pushed, another marathon one with restraint and full-on abandon, a mixed bag, and her whole body came out into my hands, under the water.

The next moments are a bit blurred but David remembers that last push as an Opera-like yell, of reaching the top of the mountain and letting out a victory cry almost, and saw me pull her out of the water and lean back into the tub with Twyla on my belly.

I remember pausing, her body in the water, collecting myself, and then somehow laying back in the tub as if I were taking a leisurely soak after a long day of work.

Our baby.

I looked at hubs and said, "We did it!"

He was all smiles (usually is).

We adored her and watched her turn from amphibian into land-lubber and get her breath together.

I looked at him and declared "You have to take a picture of this!"

Andrea unassisted birth 1
The first photo.

He grabbed his phone and snapped a few photos and some video and we chatted as we encouraged our baby girl into her first gurgly breaths of life.

I asked David to grab the bulb syringe out of the laundry room because the midwife had left this sense of doubt in my head that babies can't clear passages on their own (I claim that the pause, and the instinctive positions, after birth take care of this by Nature's design)...and when he brought it back I couldn't bring myself to do it properly.

Andrea unassisted birth 2
Vernix and getting her breath about her.

Twyla found her breath within a minute or two, on her own, and began to pink up. Hubs brought a blanket and then asked me what he could do for us now.

This is my doula.

I chuckled to myself.

He got our bed ready with Chucks pads underneath towels and the heater and humidifier both cranking on.

I began to shiver, strongly.

It was the hormones, not the temp, but still. Crazy.

Andrea unassisted birth cord standing
Moving us to the bed. The umbilical!!!

We moved to the bed and she began to nurse.

I began to cramp.

After about 20 or 30 minutes we decided to cut the cord (it had completely stopped pulsing) and the placenta felt ready to come out, too.

David grabbed my book draft and found the picture of where to tie and cut the cord...he'd prepared the strings earlier during labor...and he did a fantastic job of it!

Andrea unassisted birth 6
Daddy cutting the cord.
Andrea unassisted birth daddy cutting cord
Proper tying and cutting of the cord.

Then I got up to pee and put the bowl in the toilet, placenta popped right out into it.

Andrea unassisted birth placenta
Unassisted birth placenta.

I noticed that my white bath mat was ruined. It looked like a war zone or a terrible murder scene, I have to say! The bath water, bloodied, and the rug, and the floor. Ah, well. It was beautiful all the same.

Placenta plopped out and we checked it for completeness.

And then we rested.

We told our birth stories to each other.

Andrea unassisted birth Twyla and daddy
Daddy/baby bonding. "Hi!" says Twyla.

We "missed" a meconium poop in the blanket.

Andrea unassisted birth first EC catch
But, hey. We caught the next one!

We figured time of birth was about 5:51am, given the time stamp on the photograph on David's phone.

The entire birth took about an hour.

We weighed little darlin in the sling. 9 pounds of love.

Andrea unassisted birth daddy doula
Daddy getting the baby-weighing sling ready.

(David turned out to be the best. doula. ever.)

He cleaned everything up and then we began sending photos to our moms and FaceTimed the kiddos so they could see their new sister.

I told my mom to bring them home right away...I wanted them there, now! :)

Then, our gate beeped. The cleaning lady arrived and cleaned our entire house (happy surprise!). The vacuum did wake me from my first little nap, but I appreciated their magical timing, no question!

And that was it.

We've been laying low since then.

3 of the kids came home in a few hours and met their new lil sis:

Andrea unassisted birth Twyla and Itsy
Twyla and Isadora
Andrea unassisted birth Twyla and Cooper
Twyla and Cooper
Andrea unassisted birth Twyla and Branson
Twyla and Branson

The Afterward: A Peaceful Postpartum

I called the pediatrician on day 1 and was surprised that the lead doctor advised us to go to the hospital first "because of how the birth home."

I was appalled. I let them have a piece of my mind. The quickly course-corrected.

Then, they got me a special appointment with Dr. Peggy (our usual doc) 4 days later...which satisfied me because she knows me very well by now.

I measured my uterus' involution (returning to the normal place) per my book...and felt healthy with perfect signs of a good recovery.

On day 2, we captured Twyla's footprints on my new Unassisted Birth Birth Certificate (which will come with my new book) with the little baby-safe inkpad I'd ordered previously.

Andrea unassisted birth certificate
The unassisted birth certificate I made :)

Caught pees and poos galore and by day 3 Twyla and I had established our EC rhythm.

Andrea unassisted birth first potty
Pottying our newborn on the first day.

At the pediatrician 4 days later, Twyla was given a bill of clean health. Although we already figured that...her breath and color and vitality and grip...all great signs of a very healthy baby.

Poop outgo and breastmilk input...all normal. All great signs.

But, I do like to go in and introduce them to the doc and this is the longest we'd waited yet...I am glad we took our time.

Andrea unassisted birth pediatrician checkup
Newborn checkup after our unassisted birth.

We ended up having an unassisted postpartum - which I studied up on in my new book as well - and which felt REALLY, REALLY GOOD.

And that's it, it.

Thank you for hearing my story!

It was the most satisfying birth and I am so grateful for everything that happened (every thing!! even the supposedly bad bits) to make it exactly what it was.

It could not have happened any other way.

Now, I'd love to hear from YOU.

Please leave your COMMENTS and thoughts below, including any birth story sharing of your own. This is a safe space. Please be positive and bring people up...or you will be booted. :o)

I look forward to hearing your thoughts! xx Andrea

PS - If you want to read my forthcoming Unassisted Birth Manual, please sign up for the waitlist here and I'll let you know when it's available (1-2 months from now) - the info in this book can also be applied to any birth, full of biological wisdom and mammalian common sense. <3

Resource Recommendations

Top hat potty: the best newborn potty, hands-down, complete with cozy and nonslip band

Go Diaper Free: my popular EC book that simplifies EC, beginning to end

Baby Meets Potty: my deep dive minicourse about starting Elimination Communication right at birth, up to 12 weeks old (an add-on to my book, above)

The Unassisted Birth Manual: my forthcoming book on how to have an unassisted pregnancy, birth, and/or postpartum (also useful info for anyone planning a natural birth)

Andrea Olson

About Andrea Olson

I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my 6 children (all under 12 yo) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)


  1. Avatar Hope on December 4, 2018 at 7:08 am

    Wow! Beautiful birth story. Like I commented when she was born, there are so many similarities between my birth 7 weeks ago and this. My daughter was born into daddy’s hands about 10 minutes before our midwife arrived. It was very intense (born 1hr17mins after I woke up) but so beautiful. I loved how aware I was during her birth, feeling her move down and out, reaching down and holding her head when it came out, and just really feeling everything. It was amazing! It was so special just having myself and hubby there while our toddler slept upstairs. Congratulations on getting the birth you wanted!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 4, 2018 at 11:21 am

      Hope! Your story is so amazing. The way you describe it…exactly how I felt…very lucid, yes? When there is no one else around, it makes it possible to truly experience the present moment. I was so afraid our kids would wake up, I had to send them to grandma’s…but I am envious that yours awoke to a little baby!! So sweet. xoxox

      • Avatar Hope on December 10, 2018 at 6:06 am

        Thanks Andrea! It really was amazing when our toddler woke up and came into our room. He just lit up when we told him that mommy had the baby. And then just being able to lay in my own bed with him, hubby and baby – just wonderful! Moments I will never forget, that’s for sure. And also, moments that I look forward to sharing with my daughter in the future! Keep on enjoying your new baby girl!!

        • Avatar Flavia on October 24, 2022 at 1:25 am

          Such a beautiful story. I’m so happy everything happened just as it needed to. You are such a strong intuitive mama. I’m in awe.

  2. Avatar Jody on December 4, 2018 at 7:26 am

    Wow. Bravo! Such a wonderful read. I loved the truthfulness in all of it. I birthed my baby overseas in a Japanese hospital. It didn’t go anything like I had pictured it. There was a lot of miscommunication issues (me not knowing Japanese naturally made it more difficult). It was my first time so I really underestimated what I needed for the whole process. It was a “natural” birth. By the time I started pushing I was overwhelmed by the midwives, doctor, and at times my husband. It was so hard. I was exhausted and the baby wasn’t even out yet. Your story definitely makes me contemplate that hospital births aren’t the only option. And they’re not any more superior to unassisted births. I don’t think I’ll be having another child anytime soon but I’m happy to know this kind of experience can be possible. Childbirth is hard but having the right environment and people can make it positively memorable. Ganbatte! (Japanese: Good luck!) Twyla is in loving hands.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 4, 2018 at 11:23 am

      Jody, thank you for sharing your experience! I can only imagine being in a country with a different language and customs would be an interesting birth experience! I’m so glad that you experienced a natural birth despite the chaos…and yes there are other ways should you choose to have another wee one…a whole spectrum of ways! Thank you again for sharing :) xoxox

    • Avatar JM on December 5, 2018 at 3:25 am

      Jody, you are so increadibly brave! I lived in Japan for 7 years, and had my baby in Denmark – still a foreigner, but less of a language barrier. I imagine birthing in Japan, the cultural difference would also be especially hard during such an intense experience. Hugs and best wishes! :)

  3. Avatar Ruth on December 4, 2018 at 7:31 am

    I cant wait for the unassisted birth book. My daughter was born in a hospital but with a midwife only an no intervention. They let me do as I wanted and got the birthchair ready when I was. So I cant say I disliked how they treated me, but I yearned for absolute privacy of my own home.
    Now we want another baby and the birth process is back on my mind. Since home birth midwifes are very hard to find in Germany nowadays, an unassisted birth could be what gets me the privacy I want. An Andres once again managed to get me excited about a natural process (EC was the start).

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 4, 2018 at 11:40 am

      Aw, Ruth, so thrilled to be with you regarding EC and next regarding birth! I totally see what you mean…you had a great experience but craved that privacy and comfort of your own home. You deserve that and I hope that my forthcoming book will support your decision in planning the best birth possible (to meet those very important goals of privacy and comfort!). xoxox

  4. Avatar Deanna on December 4, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Will your birth manual include any information for VBACs? I had my first child a year ago; I was hoping for a medication-free, natural birth at a home-like birthing center with midwives, but after 14 hours of unmedicated labor that was showing signs of stalling, my midwives encouraged a transfer to the hospital for a “therapeutic epidural” so I could rest. 3 hours with an epidural (and pitocin that I did not know was being given), and 1.5 hours of pushing, my midwife and the oncall OB both told my an emergency csection would be imminent within the hour because baby wasn’t coming down past my pelvic bone, and instead hitting my bone with each push, so it would be better to just do the csection now before it was an emergency. It felt like the right decision at the time; I was being told my baby was in danger and I was supposed to be able to trust these women, and I do not regret making the decision out of wanting to protect my child, having had an unplanned csection has been incredibly emotionally traumatic for me and I am determined my next child will be a vbac. I wasn’t as educated as I should have been for my first birth; that will be different for baby #2.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 4, 2018 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Deanna! I wasn’t planning on it HOWEVER, I will include some info about VBAC. I am sooooo sorry for what happened during your birth. It sounds like you’ve reached a place of acceptance that YES! of course you did what you felt was right in the moment, and you have a beautiful baby as a result of that decision…yet I totally hear that something isn’t settling well with the whole scenario. There are a few things I’m adding to the Manual since this birth (like the Spinning Babies class as a wonderful resource on the physiology of birth, and getting baby into optimum position (including getting baby to full engage and drop, like you would have benefited from)…and I think VBAC is a wonderful topic to add as well. I will consult with Whapio for her perspective and best resources for having a UC/VBAC…I’ve heard of SO many scenarios where women are choosing this and it was an amazing experience for them…totally possible and I am confident you will also experience a beautiful VBAC as well. You are strong and courageous and deserve a fulfilling next-time-around, for sure, Deanna. Thank you for asking for this to be included. And thank you for sharing part of your story with us. xxxxoooo Andrea

    • Avatar Jennie on December 18, 2018 at 9:26 am

      My birth was almost exactly as you describe yours with the unplanned csection as a result. I was overwhelmingly disappointed and hope for a VBAC for our next one too.
      Andrea…I LOVED your story…so inspiring and beautiful and peaceful. Inspiring!

      • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 4, 2019 at 12:10 am

        Thank you jennie! Here’s to that vbac!!!!!

  5. Avatar Elisa on December 4, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Thanks for the story, Andrea, and congratulations!! My daughter was also late (5 days after my due date) and she had her first meconium in the womb, before being born, which made the birth a little riskier. I also had to have stitches after she was born. How do you prepare for those things?

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 4, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      Hey Elisa! Thank you! In the book I have a list of “variations from normal” – non-emergency but things to note – for pregnancy, labor, and postpartum – and a list of “red flags” – emergencies fro transfer – for pregnancy, labor, and postpartum, as well. This is probably the most valuable part of the book – knowing what could happen, why it could happen/how to prevent it if possible, and what to do if it does happen. For example, meconium is a reason for transfer for some and if it’s only a little bit, not necessarily a reason. Regarding stitches, it is fairly uncommon to need stitches with a UC but in the book it says that you may need to go in to repair any tears – as a postpartum non-emergency that would need addressed by someone skilled in that area. Thank you for asking! The basic premise of UC is that we are knowledgable about the possibilities and then trained to ride the wave of labor and birth with this knowledge under our wings…but at the forefront is maintaining focused relaxation and calmness, no tension (which creates pain), and being able to translate sensations into what is actually happening inside, which normalizes things, reduces fear, and thus decreases pain and the risk of most things. This is an oversimplification but hope it helps!!! xx Andrea

  6. Avatar Inge on December 4, 2018 at 9:11 am

    Wow, congratulations and what a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing :)
    Living in the Netherlands, where homebirth is pretty common, it’s appalling to hear the discussions you need to have…

    I wonder why worry so much about full dilation? I’ve worked as an intern in a maternity ward for a year (assisted 118births) and I’ve learned that when the woman really can’t stop herself from pushing; it’s OK to push. Usually I’d check after 3 of those ‘unstoppable’ contractions only to confirm (protocol… ?). And I had that same experience myself 10weeks ago. The midwife let me push without checking (I was sitting on a birthing stool, so it would have been a hassle if she did) only to check when I wanted to change positions anyway after 30minutes or something.

    I think, when you make sure you stay in tune with your body and baby, you KNOW and feel what has to happen.

    Welcome Twyla !

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 4, 2018 at 12:24 pm

      “I think, when you make sure you stay in tune with your body and baby, you KNOW and feel what has to happen.” – agreed, Inge! Thank you for sharing your experience. I am glad you live in a part of the world where homebirth is so common – yay!!! xox Andrea

  7. Avatar Leslie Mejia on December 4, 2018 at 10:22 am

    Thank you for sharing your story! You are super woman!!! I’m glad you listened to your inner self and did it your way. :) I suffered from a bit of postpartum depression after my first baby, but was never diagnosed or took medication for it. I just started speaking and asking for what I needed. Did you ever go through any depression after your births?

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 4, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      Hey Leslie! Yes. I did. I had PPD, undiagnosed, with my first. I even saw a movement therapist (counselor) where she noticed my lack of movement represented “depression”…but not a single caregiver, midwife, or anyone really pointed out that *maybe* she has post-partum depression. I wish I would have known why I was not quite myself! 6 weeks after having Isadora, my 2nd, I was diagnosed with PPD. I put the baby on the bed, went outside in tears, called my clinic, and they assessed me that very day. Got on meds for about a year, which got me through some really tough times with my ex, and then self-weaned and had a perfect unassisted birth with baby #3, Cooper…after which I’ve not had PPD at all for three subsequent births. I think that some of the PPD we experience may stem from difficult birth situations. I feel my hormones are more balanced with this baby, and after Cooper, and with the hospital births, and the overmanaged midwife birth #1, I felt like I had a missing piece…some kind of trauma or need for a do-over. I hope that makes sense. But yes! PPD. It sucks and I hope that all of us learn how to detect it and find help…speaking up for what you need is KEY in that, for sure, and I am so happy that you found your way through that, Leslie!! <3 xx Andrea

  8. Avatar J V on December 4, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Congratulations! She is gorgeous and so are her brothers and sisters, adorable!
    It’s incredible how you really have to fight and have every health care provider treat you like you are crazy or irresponsible even!
    I am from Mexico and this kind of birth is unheard of except in indigenous communities. I had a cesarean because my daughter was in a breech position (I tried Spinning babies too! I also did hypnosis, acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments…she would not budge) and found no support for a natural birth. ) Still I insisted on letting her “choose” when she wanted to be born instead of having it scheduled for the doctor’s benefit. Even that was met with resistance and I really had to assert myself. You should hear the things doctors say to their patients around here.
    Hopefully there will continue to be a shift in the western world toward more natural undisturbed births. Thank you for sharing your experience…so powerful!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 4, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      Hey J V! Thank you for sharing part of your story with us all. It is heard, loud and clear…I am so glad to hear that you stood up for yourself and allowed your baby to come when she was ready to be born…good for you! So sad that we have to fight so hard. I hope for the same exact shift. xox Andrea

  9. Avatar Kate on December 4, 2018 at 11:05 am

    Thanks for sharing your birth story! So inspiring!

    I had my first with a midwife who was hands off and let my husband coach me through it. The catch could’ve been more graceful, but maybe next time. I liked yours, one smooth movement and then relaxing in the tub. Nice!

    I want to read your new book!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 4, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      Yep, sounds like a day at the spa after all that. LOL. Thank you for sharing part of your story, too!! I will let you know when the new book is out…hope you find something helpful in it! xox Andrea

  10. Avatar Jenn on December 4, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Wow! Amazing story. Must have been so empowering. I’m so happy that your husband was such a great support, and able to enable you to have such a powerful experience. Seeing the placenta is SO COOL!!

  11. Avatar Susan D on December 4, 2018 at 11:47 am

    awesome, Andrea!! Susan from Mamaworx here
    I was 16 days late and birthed baby Samuel on 11/19, at home in the water. I had a homebirth midwife and my sister here, my sister was to watch my 3 year old who was content to play with stuffed animals. My labor was intense and quick like yours, with lower abdominal/to my back cramp waves starting in the late evening. We blew up the birth pool but didn’t fill it and I had a snack of banana bread with butter that I had baked that evening.
    At 3:30am I woke to poop and my waves were coming every 10 min or so and I could breathe through them. But I was shivering (hormones) and diahrea between the next 5 contractions so I know it was true labor. Texted my sister that it was happening but that she didn’t need to come over just yet. I didn’t realize how quick it would build.
    By 4:45am I woke my husband and was freezing and wanted a hot shower. He started filling the tub and we called my midwife. I explained that I could still breathe and talk and I was just starting to vocalize thru the contractions. She said to call her back in half an hour or sooner. I got in shower and about 5 min later and 2 contractions I said to my husband “get the midwife here!”
    My sister arrived at 5:30am and my daughter woke so she spent time playing in her room. Amazingly my daughter didn’t request mommy. I guess she understood that mommy was working hard to bring the baby. I had prepared her with books, some videos, and she knew I was having squeezes.
    The contractions were coming quick maybe 3-4 minutes or less. I had to stand in the shower and brace my arms in the ledge and moan thru them. I had put the tub stopper in to fill it slightly so when my midwife arrived (5:40am) she did the Doppler in the water and was very quiet, very chill. I felt completely peaceful and ready for baby but oh boy it was more intense than with my daughter, whose labor was 10-12 hours of active labor but I mostly sat meditatively. This one was so active I had to stand, sway, hold on and yell. I needed cold washcloth on my neck.
    I had a couple on the toilet and my water broke in the toilet maybe 6:10ish?

    I got into the birth pool at 6:23am and had 2 contractions- the second of which I felt the urge to push at the end. I also felt my baby start to crown (the burning fire ring). I told my midwife who felt and later she said she didn’t feel the head.

    What happened next still amazes me. I asked my midwife for permission to push since i felt those feelings and she said very gently “do whatever you feel comes naturally.” I had the next wave start and yelled for my husband to massage my hand (I was on hands and knees with my arms and head on the edge of the birth pool and needed the distraction of my hand sensation). What started as toning yell escalated into, as you put it and opera yell, and a very very loud sustained shout as it transformed into a push. A very long push that felt like riding down a rollercoaster while a cannonball firing out of my insides. I had no control I was just writhing and yelling. My baby came right out!! One push!
    He was born at 6:29am. My midwife held him gently on the surface and I was able to turn around and lift my leg over the cord and saw he was a boy and then we had a beautiful morning of welcoming.
    My daughter came out and watched me hold him in the water. I moved to the couch (also shivering with cold and hormones) nd birthed the placenta on the couch. He nursed well for almost an hour. We finally cut the cord after 2 hours and weighed him. 9lb 11oz!!! And I didn’t tear or even have any soreness. Amazing. (I didn’t tear for my daughter either which was 40 min of pushing on hands and knees at a birth center)
    Two weeks in and we’re so in love. Thanks for giving me the space to share. I’m glad you shared your details too. With love and respect.
    And welcome Twyla!

    • Avatar Sylvie on December 4, 2018 at 11:55 am

      Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 5, 2018 at 10:41 am

      Susan! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us all. Wow. We had the same final push out from the sounds of it! Crazy, huh? I think it’s lovely that your daughter sensed the birth and was so respectful of the birth space. I have a feeling that the one I was worried about – my 20 month old – would have been fine. Someone told me the labor fairies come and put them to sleep sometimes…sounds like they had your daughter in their care. :) <3 Well done, mama, and thanks again for entrusting us all with your beautiful story. xo Andrea

  12. Avatar morgan on December 4, 2018 at 11:50 am

    Thought I was the only one abandoned by a midwife.

    The day before I was forced into induction I was informed my Midwife pushed her vacation up a week early.
    My son was delivered by a complete stranger and things that were planned quickly went right out the window.

    But in the end everything happens for a reason right ?!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 5, 2018 at 11:28 am

      It does. But it still sucks when that happens! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has been booted – as if it’s no big deal to us mothers. Thank you for sharing, Morgan <3

  13. Avatar Sylvie on December 4, 2018 at 11:52 am

    This is beautiful. Thanks for sharing. What do you mean with your unassisted postpartum ? Does this mean no visitors just family
    Time with the immediate family … thanks for clarifying. I am excited for your new book. I just got to do Kim Anami’s Sexy Mama course and it has inspired me to move beyond my homebirth from baby #1 and consider a unassisted home birth for the next for sure. Your story and your history of your previous babes was all really amazing to read.

    Enjoy the baby snuggles.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 5, 2018 at 11:31 am

      Thank you, Sylvie!! You’re so sweet. And I’m glad Kim’s course has been empowering for you. By unassisted postpartum I mean that it was completely undisturbed and baby and I were unattended by doctors, midwives, any helpers of that sort. No one was invited over, either. Total privacy and re-forging of our newly-expanded family :) <3 Of course, if I needed or need any type of assistance (per the red flags researched in my book) I will get help. Glad it's there for when we need medical help! xx Andrea

      • Avatar Sylvie on December 5, 2018 at 1:31 pm

        Awesome! I did a 10 day quiet period postpartum and wow what a difference. Thanks again for your inspiration. Your story and the resources Kim has brought forth and soon YOUR BOOK! I will be ready for my next home birth to be unassisted! Thanks again for all.

        • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 12, 2019 at 12:48 pm

          I’m so glad Sylvie! Can not wait to be of service once more!! Xox

  14. Avatar Ava D on December 4, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    I gave birth in a hospital with a midwife and doula. No meds, labored majority in a pool, but eventually, I had to get out as her heart rate was droping and so I pushed her out on the bed. I had a wonderful experience. The nurses never felt intrusive. We turned off the hospital lights and put on LED candles. my husband’s playlist was playing for me. I was in my pajamas. It felt very home-like. I am pregs with number 2 and def plan on going to a hospital again. I dont think I could handle the post-clean up blood, mess, etc. I like how the hospital (well at least this one in Portland, OR) felt like a fancy hotel. Come in, do your thing, leave the mess and not worry about it, and leave. And in some weird way, it felt like a sense of a community. the 2-3 days bumping into other moms, sharing birth stories, etc. I understand wanting to be alone with hubby to do it but depending on your personality (and the quality of care at the hospital), the hospital route can easily fulfill what you want as well. You just have to make sure they follow your lead – educate yourself and perhaps have an advocate.

    • Avatar Beth on December 4, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      Your birth sounds beautiful!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on December 5, 2018 at 11:37 am

      Beautiful, Ava!! Your experience sounds very positive…and although our hospital here in Asheville claims to “Mommy-friendly” – it is far from it. And a brainstorm question: when baby’s heart rate drops – is that a physiological fact of normal birth? – the birth canal compresses the cord – temporary but common – or is it a true emergency? It likely depends on the resources one consults, and the facts of the birth in question, surely. But it’s worth contemplating….and I’m not specifically speaking to your birth, just positing a question for Biology and Nature :)
      Again, sooooo glad you have an amazing hospital to birth at – it is rare! If only all hospitals were like yours, birth would be much safer in America. <3 xox Andrea

  15. Avatar Christine Barclay on December 4, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Loved your story! Congratulations on a beautiful free birth.
    I remember reading your other unassisted story a couple years ago. I had one hospital birth and it had been hard on me. I was terrified by the birth process though and never even considered birthing at home. I remember your picture of your placenta and you saying it was beautiful. I had never even seen one before! I remember thinking I was missing out on something, like I wanted to hold my own placenta and think it was beautiful.
    After we got pregnant with our second, I really started researching birth. Midwives were hard to find in our area and the only one available was very expensive. I cried when I realized I’d have to be in the hospital but my husband just sort of told me that of course I could do this at home!
    I did prenatal care with a hospital midwife but planned a UC.
    She was born safely and happily at home, with just my husband, mom and toddler.
    We are pregnant with our third and I’m going completely unassisted. I only saw a midwife once for proof of pregnancy and I was so glad to leave her office! I cried on the way home. She was so medicalized. She stressed out about twins, didn’t type my blood correctly and freaked out about it being negative. (It’s not.) She really killed my confidence for several weeks. I started doubting everything I knew, just because a person of “authority” had some temporary control over me. She even told me she didn’t agree with unassisted births because of how they can go wrong.
    Ugh. I ran home to my haven and worked on my peace again.
    Now I’m 30 weeks and so excited and comfortable about this birth too.
    So, I can understand how your midwife made you doubt and ruined your own peace of mind. I’m glad you found it again and had such a safe birth.
    Looking forward to your new book too! Hopefully it comes out in time to read before my birth. If not, I’m I’ll read it for next time.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 3, 2019 at 11:56 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story Christine! I actually read it about 3 times since you posted it last month :) Wishing you the best! Btw if you want to read the draft, I would be happy to share in email – shoot me a msg at xox

  16. Avatar Matilde Méndez on December 4, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Hi! Congratulations! I’m speechless beacuse I thing that nothing really is needed to say but just smile. I was waiting the story and I was really courious about it and when I read the part of “healing”, I was really open to the possibility bc that is what I need right now; to heal. One year ago I gave birth my first son by c-section and I still have postpartum stress and anxiety; that day comes to my head every moment and every day. It was unnecessary at all. At 2 hours of labor I went to the hospital (a very respected partum anyway, with little medical intervention until the c-section) bc my mom and the father of my son were really nervous and to please them we went to check that everything was ok (what I knew and intued). First mistake of many. Finally I stay there by 10 hours of active labor bc I didn’t want to see my mother or that she overwhelm me more. Obviously it was uncomfortable, I almost eat nothing, I threw up, etc. I kept everything as calm as I could, my parter helped me a lot, I changed positions but it was a very reduced space anyway. The room of “natural birth” then were available and I was moved there but I felt a lot of pain so I ask my midwife for anesthesia but her attitud was really weird bc I felt that she tried to discourage me to do that but then I said that in that case I preffered a c-section and she just say ok. That was the time when I needed support but nobody seems to know that. Even me. Then I had my c-section. My partner weren’t there because sadly his first daughter died after a negligent birth so he had a trauma and just went away in that moment. My mom came to make company but after the anesthesia she felt sick and also went away!!!!!!!! But then came back just in time my son was born. I spent 3 days at the hospital and also felt very confused and until this day I’m a little in shock. Fortunately my son was never taken off me, we did skin to skin and breast feed since he was born and everything else was and is great. I’m very empowered as a mom and try to parent as natural as I can. BUT it hurts and even when I learned a lot, I think that I didn’t deserve to be cuted and opened and felt such pain nor in my heart or my body. And it was a very weird year bc I moved to other city with no family or friends an things didn’t go well with the father of my son so I could not even try to heal or go pass through this properly bc nobody seems to care about the c-section grief if “the baby is healthy”. And I think maybe it’s weird to write all this here but thank you for open this space. (And sorry if something I said is difficult to understand but english is not my native language).

    • Avatar Natalie on December 5, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      Thanks for sharing your story! I definitely get where you’re coming from with grief and stress from the birth not going how you wanted. And having an extra hard time healing, physically and emotionally, because family isn’t close and not many people understand the grief since the baby is healthy. While I didn’t end up with a c-section, sometimes I wish I did. I was planning a home birth, but my baby flipped into breech while I was labor (despite being head down the whole pregnancy). By the time my midwife got to my house, I was already completely dialated and basically about to have my baby. But she felt more comfortable going to the hospital, so 911 was called, the ambulance came, and we made it to the hospital. I was about to have a c-section (later one of the nurses said they had the operating room ready for me) but there was one doctor there who knew how to deliver breech babies. I ended up delivering her on my back, the brightest lights plus a mirror pointing right at me, two doctors, nurses all around. The exact opposite of what I’d imagined the whole pregnancy. AND I ended up with a fourth degree espisiostomy I’ve been going to physical therapy for.

      It sucks. And I know it’s not my fault, but it just feels like I failed.

      But to end on a positive note, Andrea’s birth sounded beautiful and is a wonderful reminder of what birth can be. I read somewhere we should stop saying “healthy mom, healthy baby” but should say “no birth is a failure” instead :)

      • Avatar Matilde on December 6, 2018 at 9:40 am

        Thank you for your comment. It feels better when I know I’m not alone despite every story is different. The experience is as important as the result, I think, but also is important to heal and be able of feeling good again because we have the right to it! Hugs!

        • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 4, 2019 at 12:08 am

          Yes! We have to share our stories in order to heal those chasms that experience can create. Matilde, thank you so much for sharing your story with us all. I do see the pain and also the gratitude you still carry from the experience (skin to skin and BF…good!).

          Natalie thank you so much for also chiming in and sharing. I admire your resolve to say “no birth is a failure.” Absolutely!!! All are as they should be because that is how they turned out…and…we can hope for a shift in the future for other births to be more in line with our hopes and dreams. All of it.

          Xox Andrea

  17. Avatar Beth on December 4, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Congratulations, and thank you for this story! You wrote it so beautifully.

    I’m having my first baby in a birth center, due in April, and have been doing tons of research about birth. It’s very empowering to read how you researched everything (and wrote a whole freaking book!) and then actually trusted your instincts and knowledge! I have a lot of self-doubt about decisions in my pregnancy, even though my midwife is very encouraging about it. Trusting myself is hard, so I think thats the most beautiful part of your story (other than the arrival of your perfect baby)!

    I also love the positive experiences I’m reading in the comment section. So happy for you both and your beautiful daughter!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 4, 2019 at 12:09 am

      Thank you Beth! I wish you the best in your upcoming birth experience…and am also grateful for all the positive comments here. Such a beautiful community and I’m glad you’re feeling encouraged!!!

  18. Avatar Laura on December 4, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Congratulations, Mama! Wonder Woman! So inspiring! Thanks for sharing your story. All the best to you!

  19. Avatar Tiffany Clark on December 4, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks for sharing! This made me tear up several times! I had an at home birth with midwives present. They were so good about leaving us be until it was “go time.” My story is just a little crazy because I had my little girl butt first . . . at home. She was folded in half like a piece of paper when she came out. Granted, she had been head down the ENTIRE pregnancy. Even when the midwives first arrived she was still head down. Then I was asked to get in a particular position to get her to spin her a bit because she was trying to come out through the wrong part of her head. Well, I decided to take the position to the extreme (not realizing what I was doing) and when I was fully dilated and ready to push, they checked me again and she had somehow flipped! All they could feel was her butt! I was so exhausted already, but they very calmly told me I could go to the hospital, but I was so far along I would probably have her in the ambulance, or that they felt VERY comfortable helping me have her at home still, if that was still my wish. Bouncing around in a car sounded like the worst idea in the world, as did going to the hospital. I was so afraid of having a c-section. And after about an hour and half of pushing with all my might, I had my little girl! Butt first, then they eased her feet out (which were by her face) so they wouldn’t tear me if they popped out of their own accord, and lastly her head was left. I have a video of the midwife telling me with a teary, giggly, emotionally-struck voice, “she’s wearing you like a hat, momma!” And at last she was here. I was beyond exhausted. The midwife even had to put the baby’s mouth to my breast the first time, I had not the energy! After 30 minutes of rest, I was much better. But so, so glad I wasn’t at the hospital. They would have insisted on a c-section, and major surgery was the last thing I personally wanted to recover from while taking care of a newborn. Again, thanks so much for sharing your story! All by yourselves sounds so amazing and foreign in our society nowadays! So again, thanks for sharing so that we may know it is possible still!

    • Avatar Natalie on December 5, 2018 at 1:42 pm

      Omg the same thing happened to me!! Flipped breech during active labor…. I did end up going to the hospital, didn’t have a c-section but did get a huge tear. So happy to hear your story ended nice and peacefully :) More birth attendants need to know/be comfortable with how to deliver breech babies!

      • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 4, 2019 at 12:15 am

        Totally agree Natalie! Also have a great printable with tips for during-labor-flipping. Good to have on hand :)

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 4, 2019 at 12:14 am

      Tiffany! What an awesome story. I bet you wish no one had suggested any position at all ;) so interesting!! I’m glad it all ended up wonderful xox

  20. Avatar Melanie C. on December 4, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    This was a delight to read, It made me cry!! I am so happy for your beautiful experience!

    A little of my first birth story: I was prepared to have a midwife-assisted birth at home with my oldest, but she was footling breach when she broke my water 3 weeks early in the middle of the night and we transferred to the hospital where she was born 5 hours later by c-section. The wisdom of babies is unparalleled, though, because she had an undetected congenital condition called craniosynostosis, where some of the plates in her skull had prematurely fused. Attempting a vaginal birth at home could have been life-threatening for both of us, and we had NO idea, even though I had ultrasounds throughout my pregnancy. Despite my trying to turn her head down for weeks, she refused to be moved.

    In our birthing preparation classes we did exercises to attempt to release our fears around birth, and as a first time crunchy mama, my biggest fear was ending up in an overly managed medical birth, but as I discovered, nothing matters more than the safety and care of you and your baby.

    My c-section was fine, even if not ideal, and my recovery was much easier than I ever could’ve imagined. We were able to nurse within minutes of her birth, and she was never away from either her dad or me. The worst part was the nausea I felt from the morphine, and the fear and uncertainty about what would happen to my baby with a jellybean-shaped head. (She ended up having surgery to remove the fused seam, and wearing an orthotic helmet for 9 months.)

    Fear around labor and delivery dictates so much of what women do, but our instincts are EVERYTHING. I wanted so desperately to have a peaceful birth at home, but the moment she broke my water, my fear and all my personal desires around birth disappeared, and I knew immediately what she was asking me to do. Love, peace, and clarity to anyone who reads this, and just know that sometimes the best decisions are not always what we have planned beforehand.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 4, 2019 at 12:19 am

      I have chills all over from reading your story, Melanie! Yours is a story to remember. Our babies have an incredible way of communicating. Wow. All I can say is wow. And you are perfectly at peace with this because your baby created the intervention…not the doctors…which is perfect!!! Xox

  21. Avatar Marisa on December 4, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Such a beautiful story. <3

  22. Avatar Colleen on December 4, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    What an awesome birth story! My VBAC baby I had been in labor 2.5 days and getting no where by the time I finally decided to get in the tub at home, by myself. In an hour and a half my water broke and I was pushing. My biggest regret is going to the hospital once I started pushing because they made me hold him in until they could find a Dr and turn the triage room into a birthing room. I know if I had stayed at home in the tub that he would have made a peaceful entrance on his own much quicker. Your story is inspiring.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 4, 2019 at 12:21 am

      Thank you for sharing your story, Colleen…it is so beautiful that being alone helped you thru the stall…and next time! I wish the best for you!

  23. Avatar Sami VanEenwyk on December 4, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing your birth story! I had my firstborn at home almost a year ago with hubs, midwife, her assistant, and doula. It went well but longer than yours! Looking back it was very much what I would have predicted would have happened. I like to research and be informed and while some things happen how they were described, others didn’t. I never felt the urge to push until way into coached pushing, which I really wanted and needed. I never felt the other worldly experience, although I knew I had my eyes shut the whole time. It’s like the body can’t handle anything else or visual input. I also never felt the desire to go to the hospital, even when the midwife said it was one of our 3 options. I trusted her and my body to do what it needed to do. Baby boy was born healthy and nursed and it was so great to finally see him! I’m so glad I did a homebirth, so glad for the help, although I wouldn’t be opposed to less people the next time. I’m also considering a water birth. Now that I’ve been through the experience I feel more prepared heading into the next labor, whenever that will be. It is great having an understanding doctor, amazing the reactions of some, as if women haven’t been doing this very thing on their own (or with other women, not surgeons and medical “professionals”) for thousands of years! Like we cannot research and inform ourselves on what to look for and make sure our baby is ok ourselves. Or have more trust in the natural process that our Creator has established.

    Anyway, glad your husband was such a great doula. My hubs is always amazing me with how kind and caring he is to me and baby, especially when I’m at my worst. Congratulations on your previous baby, she is beautiful!

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 12, 2019 at 12:56 pm

      Hey sami! Just rereading your story – thank you so much for sharing it!!! So glad you had a satisfying birth…and yes we do learn and make little adjustments each time (or big ones!) xx Andrea

  24. Avatar Lucy on December 4, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    Speechless… wow, I’m so, so happy for you to have such a beautiful birth. For me as a young mum of two little ones, it was emotional to read your birthstory. It made me believe in the power of ourselves as women and in our children, as they do the other half of the work during birth. I so wanted to have a homebirth with my second, but wasn’t allowed, because of medical reasons and the placenta didn’t come on my first birth (I believe now, that then, I just wasn’t ready to let go, as she developed the head and body so quickly, that I simply was overwhelmed) and I lost a lot of blood. So to make sure that wouldn’t happen again, I had to go to the hospital (I couldn’t do birthhouse like the first time either).
    to read about your confidence and courage (yes, it takes courage to stand up for yourself and whats best for you and your child, opposing what the majority says) gives me hope that if I happen to have a third one, I would do a homebirthing. Assistance only by my hubs or a good friend of mine.
    Also, as a student midwive I’m absolutely astoundet at how your midwive behaved. That’s absolutely outragious! My goal is to get the permit to assist in homebirths (here in Switzerland we have somewhat strict regulations, which is good. However, I really try to lead the woman in believing in herself, that she can do it. That I am only there, if she needs me, even if it is that I have to stay in the other room. Thats fine. That’s the midwive I want to be for my women. So reading about your experience gives me the confirmation that a woman nows whats best for her, how its best and that she knows how to give birth instinctively.
    Thank you so much that you share with us your very special moment (I’m getting goosebumps)

    PS: please forgive my bumpy English, I’m still practicing my writing

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 12, 2019 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Lucy!! Finally circling back around to replying. Ah postpartum!! Thank you so much for sharing what you’ve written, and for your compassion as a midwife in training. I’m so glad our story has touched you <3 <3

  25. Avatar Sarah R on December 4, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Wow, this is SO inspiring. I even told my sister about your story as I’m expecting a nephew this week and my 2nd child the last week in May 2019 and with all the troubles i had with my first born (alot of stitches, pitocin reactions since I was 41weeks with no dilation i was on oxygen, my delivering doctor left the room after my first push, I felt like I was failing at birthing cause I was being yelled at by so many people, I was stabbed 11+ times for the epidural placement that took over 45mins, I had a spinal fluid leak that caused me extreme pain and a return to hospital for a spinal block because my brain was being pulled from my skull, my daughter was in the nicu for 8+hrs due to breathing/oxygen issues and since i was given an epidural I wasn’t allowed to visit or feed her until I could stand on my own, I was stuck in the hospital for 3+ days after birth, they used a vacuum on my daughter, + many more issues in my horror birth story, etc) I’m TERRIFIED to have another child and this gave me hope that maybe this go around my body won’t fail me ❤ congrats!! So beautiful. My eyes started to sweat a little reading your story.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on January 12, 2019 at 1:02 pm

      Sarah! I’m soooo sorry to hear about your birth challenges. And I just have to say: your body did NOT fail you….the doctors and nurses and medical establishment did. Have you seen The Business or Being Born? Your story is not unique in that well-meaning med “pros” will derail your whole intimate process by doing every single thing you listed, including and beginning wth induction at 41 weeks. Next time around you and your baby will ROCK IT no matter who is present. I hope you’ll read my new book if only for the encouraging stories and biological training it simplifies :) sending love and gratitude to you for sharing so transparently! Xx Andrea

  26. Avatar Jessica Hart on December 4, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    This is SoO amazing and awesome; I loved reading every word of it! Thank you for sharing with us ? I CANNOT wait to read the book! I loved my waterbirth but dream of an unnasissted birth. I loved your reminder of hope that we are capable and meant for this! CONGRATULATIONS!

    • Avatar Jessica Hart on December 4, 2018 at 3:41 pm

      Also, Im having trouble with the waitlist form, it tells me to keep waiting when I try to submit it. I will try again later because I MUST be on that lis lol!!!! Cant wait to read it!

  27. Avatar Sherry on December 4, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    Thank you for putting your story out in the open. Greatly appreciate your words, thoughts, and mentality through it all.

    Wish I could say I had the same style of birth. Originally the thought of a homebirth had crossed my mind, but being a first time mother and not fully educated on what I should and shouldn’t do… fear was always on my mind. I just wasn’t ready for a home birth, mentally and physically. If I am decide to have another child… I will try my best to learn more about the birthing process and definitely read your up and coming manual!

  28. Avatar Jessica S on December 4, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Andrea it is amazing the path you are creating for mothers. We all have the gift to access our inner intelligence and intuition . I love what you said about the universe forcing you to do what you were meant to do. I think we have all been there . I love the way you also mention awareness. that to me is something that seems to be crucial in order to optimize our experiences in life really. Big moments like having babies and even in the small moments too. I feel like the intimacy, vulnerability , confidence, and love it takes to create a life is the exact same way we can feel about birth. Babies know what they need and they can send it out into the universe. when things had to change last minute you mama bears were not afraid , you were listening and being aware and connected to baby. I could go on forever reading this made me cry and it’s so beautiful. And the support and love here is so nice for a mom like me surrounded by haterade drinkers. I love birth and babies and o can’t wait to experience it again.

  29. Avatar Ashley on December 4, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    Awesome! Good for you Andrea! So perfect.. I did hypnobirthing and had a beautiful fast and painless home birth that was (almost) unassisted. (Midwife got there about 15 minutes before Rose was born.) I think every woman should get to choose how/where she births. All the best to you, baby Twyla, and the rest of your family.

  30. Avatar RUTH GIBBS on December 4, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    I really admire you. I have had three awful births and then one which I felt in control of but was completely medicalised. I wish that I could have been brave enough to do the things you describe but I did not have the knowledge or the trust that something like that would be possible. I had a cesarian with my first and second and once you have one they put the fear of God into you that you might rupture so therefore put many limitations on your subsequent births. The other point I guess that you had managed to get your babies round the right way? My first three were all back to back which added more issues. You are a very brave person to be able to trust your knowledge and instincts and really know what you are doing.

  31. Avatar Cosimo on December 4, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    Congratulation! Very cute little girl. Most of all, I like the “high 5 Daddy” Picture. And great respect for ec-ing the cutie with 4 other Kids around. I’m totally busy with pottying my 2 and 20 months.

  32. Avatar Bec on December 4, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story Andrea :D I wish your book was ready now! I’ve got my first unassisted birth coming up in the next couple of weeks. Keep enjoying your postpartum x

  33. Avatar Jessica on December 4, 2018 at 6:16 pm

    This is so inspiring!! What a blessing to have such a birth! I am pregnant with my second after having the first in the hospital with a midwife and pitocin. I’m planning a home birth this time around. And although I don’t feel experienced or knowledgeable enough to endeavor this on my own, I am so encouraged to hear your positive story. Thank you for sharing.

  34. Avatar Lari on December 4, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I too wanted an assisted birth but was fought every step of the way by well meaning family and the nervousness of those around me. I’m in NYC and tried for a home birth with a licensed midwife nurse, but at the last moment was told it wasn’t safe because my blood pressure had risen higher for the last 3 weeks. Not hypertension, mind you, but the midwife did not feel she could safely recommend home birth. I was devastated and cried on the couch for 6 hours before I would go to the hospital. Every fiber of my being told me that is not what I needed. Turns out my blood pressure was higher because my baby was one ounce shy of 9 lbs. (I am a small person) and the weight was taking its toll. I ended up being induced, which was far too intense. All in all, the hospital was more like a birthing center, and they let me keep the lights off, play forest sounds and delay cord clamping. But still, the protocols. I seriously considered a free birth after I was told my midwife would not attend me at home. I look forward to your book so I can arm myself with more information and not be fear mongered into feeling I am endangering my child by not going to a hospital. Like you said, I had to fight to be discharged, like a jail. When they couldn’t keep me another night, they tried to guilt me with my baby, threatening to separate us! I SO admire your strength and am heartened by your story!

  35. Avatar Kelsey Hansen on December 4, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    I’m so exited for you, Andrea! Congratulations! I’m sorry about how it happened but glad you separated from the midwife! That energy didn’t need to be anywhere near your birth! It’s amazing and inspiring how you trusted your intuition so strongly throughout. I can’t wait to read your book! I’m planning an undisturbed VBAC for my second babe, expected in Spring and am a knowledge- and book-junkie. ? Were you scared when Twyla didn’t breathe (Earthside-style) for a couple minutes? It’s my biggest concern with a homebirth. Did the couple moments pass quickly and naturally without concern? Probably because you were taking pics! Congratulations, again! Thanks for sharing. ?

  36. Avatar Rachel Leigh on December 4, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    OH MY GOODNESS!!!! My baby girl was born on 11/20/2018 at exactly 5:51 am tooooo!!!! SO CRAZY!

    • Avatar Rachel Leigh on December 4, 2018 at 8:03 pm

      AND it was also a unassisted home water birth! Maybe our babies need to meet one day! I live near Asheville, NC, what about you?!

  37. Nechama Nechama on December 4, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Hi Andrea!
    I was so happy to read about your amazing unassisted birth, finally! I didn’t realize how grateful I have to be for my midwife- she says her job is to be there for me however I need it, and if that means sitting in the other room knitting, there she is. She’ll even wait in the car and only come in if asked! I’m so glad your true desires shone through…
    My most recent, beautiful birth story? A beautiful Friday evening. I walk with my toddler admiring the newly blossomed flowers while I breathe through early labor. We leave him at Grandma and walk home in the balmy spring air. We call the midwife. Husband fills up the birthing pool we borrowed. Contractions intensify, and so does my high pitch primitive howling. In the water I am at peace, and entirely overtaken by the intensity and my body’s incredible power. My midwife flies in, four minutes before my last push, joining us in our wonder and wait. Then he comes, our sweet little boy, and I thank him for coming so quickly, and there we sit, for an eternity, baby, mama, water, blood, daddy, midwife, and G-d. What a miracle…
    Andrea, your book and work have helped inspire me and empower me to birth undisturbed.

  38. Avatar Kate on December 4, 2018 at 10:12 pm

    Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your story.
    I’m looking forward to reading your upcoming book. My last 2 births (out of 3) were free births but very difficult, especially my most recent- 27 hours of labor! I was absolutely shocked because my fist labor was only 5 hours. Looking back I can see reasons it needed to be that way but it was so hard at the time.
    I think that because there’s still a lot of stigma or concern around freebirth, people don’t want to put out a lot of resources supporting it. I’m hoping your book will just be a warm companion during my next pregnancy, reassuring me that I’m on the right path and that I have everything taken care of. That I am enough and my body and (future) baby know what to do

  39. Avatar Kelly on December 4, 2018 at 11:24 pm

    Andrea, thank you so much for sharing your story. I have been eagerly waiting for your unassisted childbirth manual. The pictures of your children holding Twyla are beautiful!

    There are no home birth midwives in the rural area where I live. I have three children and have wanted a homebirth for the last two births. Ideally I’d like an unassisted, undisturbed birth. My husband is not supportive of this, even though he acts as a midwife for our cattle :) I have told him that if we have a fourth child, I am going to birth at home. I simply need to have the confidence that I can deal with any situation that arises.

  40. Avatar Erina on December 4, 2018 at 11:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing your birth story Andrea!! It’s very empowering and enlightening. I just had my first baby 12/2 and fortunately had a positive birth experience with a midwife in a birth center. There were however frustrating moments during my prenatal care because even though I felt and knew that I and the baby were doing well the midwives would doubt me which really annoyed me. I also understand that they go off of their experience, they have to make sure someone in their care doesn’t become a liability to their practice and that they want the mom and baby to be healthy. My delivery turned out to be a surprise breech, what we thought was the head coming out turned out to be the left butt cheek! The midwife didn’t panic and since my progress was going so well and vital signs for me and baby were good we went ahead with the delivery at the birth center. She did however offer me the choice to transfer if I wanted to but I knew the baby was coming out naturally and there was no way to stop. Can’t wait for the manuscript to your new book!

  41. Avatar Heather on December 4, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I had an unplanned unassisted home water birth 15 months ago. It was my 3rd and for much of the pregnancy I was convinced we wouldn’t make it to the midwife birthing center in time, despite it only being 10 minutes away. I read natural birth books but unassisted birth never was mentioned. I spent 6 hours there before they send me home saying it would be a while before baby 3’s arrival. They were wrong. As much as I still have resentful feelings toward the birthing center, I’m very thankful for my birth experience. I don’t plan on having more kids but if I did, I’d definitely get your new book.

  42. Avatar Sherry on December 5, 2018 at 1:03 am

    Congrats on your UC!

    I have had 2. I have 5 babies. 2 hospital, 1 birth center with midwife and 2 unassisted pregnancy/ unassisted birth.

    My first UC I knee my baby would be born that day, my due date. But it was on off contractions like every other day. Labor finally kicked in that evening, once contractions started being consistently strong, my baby was born in an hour. All 3 of my other kids and my husband were there, along with my friend/photographer. My husband caught our son. Our kiddos recorded video and took some photos. I even held my youngest while i was in labor.

    My second one I went post dates. I felt no rush and at peace with it. I was very comfortable this time around. My other pregnancies i was not. I always deal with preterm lavor that turns in to proximal labor. But at some point it stopped. Because i know the day before and that night I had not been having contractions, I remember thinking I would finally get a good night sleep because baby would not be coming, you need contractions for a baby right? Hahaha. Well…. I suddenly woke up from sharp pain. I though I kinked something in my back. I went back to sleep. It happened again. Went back to sleep. Happened again and then i needed to pee. So i went to the bathroom. While in the bathroom it happened again. I realized finally it was a contraction. So i timed it absentmindedly on my phone app because I had been doing that lately. Then i went to sleep. It woke me again, i timed it and went pee again. Happened again by the bed I beared down with them to ease them. So i decided to stop trying to sleep. I closed the door to my husbands room(i was sleeping in thw nursery) so i would not wake him with another night of contractions that goes no where. So i closed his door and went to my room and shut my door. Kept on timing them. Ended up going to the bathroom so much i stayed in there. Decided i needed to be in the shower. So I showered. Decided a bath would be better. Still thinking this was just crampy prodromal labor that would stop as this was just like 45minutes into me waking up…

    Anyway I was in the shower filling the tub. At some point I realize this was actual labor. This whole time contractions were happening every 2.5 minutes or so. Since i had woken. I have spine damage from my 2nd labor and like counter pressure kn my lower spine during contractions, so i tried yelling fo my husband for about 5-10 minutes. He never heard me. I gave up and switched into “you are all alone, you’ve got this” mode. I started telling myself positive affirmations. Telling myself baby would be born soon. Telling myself baby was moving down and out. All sorts of things to help relax me and help me through it. Shortly after it my body started pushing. I never pushed. All I know is my toddler heard me making noise and woke my husband up. My husband knocked on the door and asked if i was okay (Hahahahaha) and asked if he could come in. I quickly said yes.

    He came in right ask our baby girl shot out of me. Like that is the first thing he saw when he came in the room moments after waking up from a deeo sleep. He ended up sitting on the toilet talking to me for a second or 2. I cant remember. But next thing i know he is out on the floor. (We only recently found out he has a condition that causes him to faint… vasovagal syncope… Whenever he is subjected to trauma or shock.) He ended up being out for nearly 2 minutes. I was stuck in the tub full of water, with a placenta in in, holding a secdonds old baby, screaming for a 1.5 year old to slap his dad to wake him, with no phone in reach… What a mess. Luckily he woke up right away, I made him stay down for a bit before he moved. He did end up having a nasty black eye and bruising on his arms from them hitting on the ground.

    Once he was fully up and fine. I pushed the placenta out and got out of the tub. He dealt with the placenta. He is not squeamish. He has caught our babies. Chopped up my placentas. Has seen worse in war :( But this just caught him right out of sleep. And now we have a great story and baby girl gave her daddy a black eye when she was only a few seconds old.

  43. Avatar Annie Nygaard on December 5, 2018 at 5:25 am

    Thank you Andrea, for sharing your story and being such an inspiration! I would very much like an unassisted birth for my second child, but I dread the battles and fights and burdens I fear I must take to get what I want. Your sharing and your books and view of life, childrearing and birth is a great support and of huge importance to me. Thanks a lot for doing what you do!

  44. Avatar Luzia on December 5, 2018 at 5:39 am

    Great birth story! So intimate and serene.. much of it resonates with me.. The birth of my daughter was as ‘undisturbed’ as possible considering I was in a hospital… I wanted a home birth but it wasn’t recommended since it was a high risk pregnancy with 2 possible factors for hemorrhage. I still prepared for a very natural birth and like you followed the Spinning Babies class (and exercises) and did lots of walking, swimming and prenatal yoga. My daughter came almost 2 weeks past the due date and 2 days prior I walked 9km (I was so desperate for her to come!). When the time came, things moved really fast as I was having very strong and long contractions with very small time in-between from the beginning. I knew things were moving fast, but as I arrived at the hospital they measured me and immediately dismissed me as a first time mom, taking me to a small back room to wait. I kept laboring on my own (only my husband and doula present, though they weren’t doing much more than watch me moan sitting on a big Pilates ball under the shower :) ), until about 2h later when the contractions were so strong and so close together (lasting 2min and coming every 30s) that I started to doubt myself (thanks midwife!) so asked to be measured again.. finally they said they had to move me to the birthing room ASAP as baby was coming fast! They got the tub running and when I was finally able to come in I told I had to push. Again, midwife discouraged me saying I couldn’t possibly be fully dilated… well, I ignored her and continued to follow my body… luckily the midwife rotation ended and the next one was much more hands-off (as per my birth plan). So the next couple of hours I was allowed to be alone in the tub, pushing and following my instincts.. Doula, hubby and midwife were around but I wasn’t really noticing them. I could feel when she was crowning and decided now was the time, gave a huge push and her head came out, under the water.. she looked around moving her neck with eyes opened while I waited for the next contraction to push out her body… it was magical.. when her body started to come out, the midwife helped place my hands on her and take her to my chest myself.. such a beautiful and magical moment I’ll cherish forever… she never cried, just cooed looking around with her big curious eyes..
    However, that’s where the good experience ends, as when I got out of the tub I was hemorrhaging, my placenta was not coming out and I had a 3B tear so needed to be taken for emergency surgery right after birth… I missed having more time with my daughter skin-to-skin and figuring out breastfeeding together… Postpartum was also so difficult due to the tear, surgery and breastfeeding issues… I even had to postpone my EC goals of starting from birth.
    I really hope I’ll have the privilege of having another healthy pregnancy so I can try again to have a home birth and start EC immediately… I also hope to have a much more undisturbed experience next time and not doubt myself! Though I probably wouldn’t be as brave as you to have a completed unassisted experience, especially the postpartum part.
    Your story is such an inspiration! Well done!

  45. Avatar Jen on December 5, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Congratulations, Andrea! Best wishes to you, sweet baby Twyla, and the whole family! You are truly an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this story! I am so moved by your raw emotion and honesty. Your birth story is completely captivating, and you’ve always done such an amazing job of engaging us and including us on your journey – I feel like we’re real-life best friends sharing a cup of coffee! Your sincere honesty creates a space of acceptance and allows us to safely be vulnerable and open up. Thank you for sharing your story! Absolutely incredible. You are a BEAST! Thank you for positively impacting my life for the best!

    I cannot wait to read your new book. (Binge-reading? Yes, please!) Will there be a section on child-spacing? (Or can you share your thoughts on child-spacing for me?) I have three daughters around the ages of your 3 youngest (Aug 2015, Feb 2017, Oct 2018) and my midwife is concerned about my health because my child-spacing is not “ideal.” Is there concrete evidence on “ideal” child-spacing? I feel discouraged after being reprimanded for not waiting longer between children, but we’d like a large family and I’m already in my 30s so we’re trying to have children as they come! Are there strategies I can implement to preserve and optimize my health while continuing to have babies in a less than “ideal” timeframe?

    • Avatar Beth on December 6, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      I have to second this request, spacing and even dates are close to identical! May 2015, November 2016, and October 2018! So Jen’s spacing is a bit closer. Except I’m 27 and I figured I’d have more energy for kids in my twenties. Don’t know if that’s entirely true because most days are nuts. The criticism on spacing has been from my mother and not professionals. But probably because I avoid them.

  46. Avatar Stefanie on December 5, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Thank you so much, Andrea, for empowering women all over the world! There are so many horrible birth stories around that can really scare one off. As a little girl I was always afraid that “I would have to give birth one day”. Now, I’m a mother of 4, was never in a hospital for birth and with my last birth I even managed to have – not an orgasmic (I missed that goal) – but a mainly painless birth. :-)

    To come that far, it was very important for me to read reports and books by women like you who did their own thing and overcame their fears concerning birth.

    All 4 times I gave birth in the private house of a midwife who has a spacious bath tub and I had 4 water births, easy, without any complications. It was easy for me to relax.
    My midwife has always been very good at not interrupting etc., but I always thought of her as the expert, she was the “boss” and I did what she told me. That was not necessarily wrong as she was wise and kind but I never came to that state where I followed my intuition in the birth process. I never was my birth”. It was always her who told me when to push, who handed me over the baby. After birth I always had wobbly legs, was completely overwhelmed and in tears, needed her help to get out of the tub myself…

    Before my 4th birth I was fed up with that and decided to be the mastress of birth this time. During pregnancy I worked a lot with the hypno-birthing book at home (attended no course) and learned the different ways of how to breathe during labor. I felt well-prepared, which was very important for me. Again, I fantasized about having an unassisted birth but then I was a coward and went to my midwife again. Still, there was something different this time.

    When labor started, I waited as long as possible before my husband and me went to the midwife’s house and this time I brought my own music, which I had listened to during the whole pregnancy. This made me feel at home at her place and helped me to relax much more than I had thought. The birth process was fast and intense as always but this time I could “ride the waves” because I breathed right the whole time (like in the hypno birthing book). I felt comfortable and did not need the midwife at all. She let me do my thing (which she definitely would also have during the other 3 births, if I had not given her the feeling that I depended on her so much!!!). I got into the tub myself, I felt when if was right to push, I felt the little head coming out and touched the crown (I never dared before!!!). In that moment something happened. I think my body released extreme amounts of oxytocin. In a second all pain was gone and I experienced extreme clarity and calmness, it still gives me goose bumps when I think of it. My midwife yelled PUSH as always but I just said NO and did nothing. I breathed and imagined myself big and wide and our little boy slid out completely by himself, slowly, peacefully and in total silence. It was a magic moment. I was in ecstasy, but it was a kind of “ecstasy inside of me”. I have no words for it. No one in the room noticed it but for me it was the ultimate experience. I have never in my life been so so present, so focused, so calm after birth, so incredibly strong. I noticed even the smallest details of our baby’s body, the time on the clock, the others, everything. I took him out of the water, caressed him, held him – there were no wobbly legs, no tears, it was a total different experience, total bliss. I was not (!) overwhelmed. I stepped out of the tub myself and for the first time, my midwife was my assistence (and nothing more). It was great. She also felt the difference and congratulated me.

    I would LOVE to experience more births of this kind (this one has changed my life) but 4 kids are enough. ;-)

    If I can give you any advice for your births: prepare as if you were to give birth alone in the wild (you can not prepare too much!!), learn breathing techniques, Do everything to help yourself relax during labor (music, candles, warm water.. whatever, do not care what the midwife or anybody else thinks – sounds easy but still I did not manage for 3 births…). Realize that you are the mastress of your births because you are a woman and you can only experience blissful births if you listen to yourself.

    Andrea, please go on with telling everybody about unassisted births and EC. Thank you so much!

  47. Avatar JM on December 5, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Congratulations Andrea and family, and welcome, Twyla! Such a beautiful birth story, and thank you for the wonderful resources you share xox I had a midwife assisted unmedicated waterbirth in hospital. 36hr labour, but here in Denmark they tell you to stay home as long as possible. Went in at 2am, 2cm dialated. Was at 10 by 5:30am and strong urge to push by 6am. Beautiful midwife who was there if and when I needed her. Shift changed at 7am. New midwife was all over me. I felt like she had no trust in me or my baby. I was out of my body, into my head and everything just stopped. I felt if I’d waited it out there’d be a cascade of interventions. My daughter was born 8:35am. Had one golden hour just the three of us as per my birth preferences. That was followed by what felt like an eternity of a doctor stitching to me top to bottom while 4 students looked on. I was devastated. After avoiding all medication ended up sucking on the gas and crying my heart out. Can’t help feeling if I had been able to stay in my body, trust in the process and be allowed the time to stretch, my daughter’s birth and my recovery would have been a completely different experience. So looking forward to the new book when it comes out, both to make sense of my experience and to be better prepared if I’m ever blessed with a sibling for my girl.

  48. Avatar Samantha Maynard on December 5, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    Oh my gosh, what a beautiful birth story!! I teared up at several parts! She is just gorgeous, and the pictures are amazing! I had a lovely homebirth with my son (first birth) and luckily we had the journey that we did, finding our midwife just weeks before our guess date and creating a strong bond with her. Everything went well and I couldn’t be happier with each step to his birth, and thereafter, for the exception of all the pressing on my abdomen. Homebirth was something I yearned for and unfortunately had to fight a hard battle to get, jumping through hoops left and right leading up to actually being able to pay for our lovely midwife, but looking back, it all unraveled just as it should have! I’ve been toying with the idea of Ann unassisted birth or mostly unassisted with a Doula nearby just Incase for our second child, and this story really stretched my mind a little further into positivity in that idea! I definitely want that book of yours! Thank you so much for sharing mama! Enjoy that baby bubble!!

  49. Avatar Rachel Kriger on December 5, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    Beautiful placenta.
    And I always find it amazing how amazed people are when we give birth on our own. It has been not been 100 years or less since all women did it like that and still most of the world births naturally.
    Here’s a link to my mot recent birth story

  50. Avatar Amanda Bump on December 5, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful birth story! This is the first planned unassisted birth story I’ve read and it’s great reading about a woman advocating for herself and the birth experience she wants. I’ve got some deeply mixed emotions as I recall my birth experience 16 months ago. I have type 1 diabetes and am therefore considered “high risk.” At the start of my pregnancy, I went to an OB practice that specializes in high risk pregnancies and I had an induced, medicated hospital birth at 38 weeks. This was what I chose for myself, but I don’t feel now that I fully understood what I was choosing. As I contemplate future pregnancies and births, I feel stuck: I want the extra medical observation during the pregnancy but would like a more hands-off birth.

  51. Avatar Rachel Bertapelle on December 5, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    I really enjoyed reading about your unassisted homebirth. I had an assisted homebirth and it went great. In total, labor lasted 19 hours and I was thoroughly enjoying laborland and the trippy sensations and visualizations I experienced. I was soooo thankful I did not have to go to the hospital, as I am absolutely terrified of them anyways. I tore just a tiny bit, it would have only required 3 stitches I think, but I was so scared of getting stitches that I refused and it healed just fine. I felt dissociated from things in a way. I could not have my husband behind me and I was embarassed that the midwives could see everything, especially when I pooped lol. I did not want to touch the head as it was crowning and I did not even want to touch or look at anything down there. I looked at the placenta for a split second and thought I was going to throw up so they had to remove it from my sight pretty quickly. I experienced pretty bad PPD but it cleared up around 6 months after she was born. It took a few months for me to really bond to my daughter and breastfeeding was very hard but we are still going strong and things are great at 8 months PPD!

    It was strange, looking back. I was absolutely terrified of becoming pregnant my whole life due to horror stories from my mom. I swore up and down I would never have kids so as to completely avoid the whole process. Then I met the right person and I decided to face my fears. I had a picture perfect pregnancy and birth, but I was so scared the whole time. I mentally checked out as soon as I found out I was pregnant, and only through a ton of meditation and psychological therapy have I just now “woken up” from it 1.5 years later. A small part of me wants another baby someday, but I knew as soon as my first came out and was plopped on my stomach that I could only ever do this once. Despite such a positive experience, I am even more afraid of having a second because now I know what to expect. I think not knowing what was to come was what got me through my pregnancy in one piece, mentally speaking.

    Reading your story and knowing that you have gone through this a whopping 5 times really reminds me that maybe things will be okay if I decide to have another baby. I feel like reading your story has helped me experience the parts of birth that I could not handle at the time. Thank you for all that you do.

  52. Avatar Kat on December 5, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Congratulations Andrea. So lovely to hear your story. More people need to believe in their ability to birth their baby…things go so much smoother when you trust and let go. We were designed to birth and no matter where you have your baby… trust in yourself! My first I laboured at home and went to the hospital for the last half hour too…I provided abirth plan so the midwife there new no to interrupt my natural birthing desire and I had a lovely birth and as it was my first time felt good knowing I was at a hospital just in case I needed the support but it was as special and natural as I had hoped.

  53. Avatar Anna on December 5, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    What a beautiful story! I cried for most of it! Happy tears. My first child was born in the hospital and I did not like this experience at all. My second baby was born at home, with a wonderful Midwife and my husband. It was such an empowering experience! It changed a lot in my life. Just a couple of weeks ago I had an honor to meet Whapio at a workshop for doulas.!!! She is absolutely amazing. Hugs!

  54. Avatar Meera on December 5, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    Dear Andrea,

    Thank You for sharing with candor and honesty Twyla and your birth story. Wishing you a great flow to the “fourth trimester” together and being a family of 5. Thank You for the work you do and the no nonsense spirit you do it with.


  55. Avatar Kyla on December 6, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    That sounds so wonderful! i unfortunately had a very terrible birth with my first in October this year. my medical insurance made it so i had to have a hospital birth witch was fine since the hospital here is so lovely with birthing procedures. however I had to be induced because of extra amniotic fluid, excessive swelling, and high blood pressure. I went in on the 4th having been dilated a 1 and having contractions little did i know since i couldn’t feel them. I was waiting in the hospital for 12 hours with painless contractions being monitored before they gave me drugs to induce. Then an additional 12 hours of contractions that were not half bad. At that point it was the 5th and still only dilated 5 and still getting induction drugs which made my contractions 10 times worse than normal in addition to back labor. They decided at 6 cm dilated to break my water to get me moving along and 12 hours later i was at 8 cm. We spent the next 12 hours contracting and trying to dilate more though induction makes contractions more violent and annoyingly hard to ignore. I went through the first 29 hours with no pain medication and no sleep or food before i broke down and got the epidural which needed to be re-stuck and ultimately didn’t work. so after 36 hours of pain and still trying i was so done. However we were on the clock since my water was broke i ultimately got to 9.5 cm before my water had been broke too long my baby boy (alucard) had been face up but head down with one had up so he wasn’t applying enough pressure to dilate me quick. The doctor decided i needed a cesarean due to my water being broke for 24 hours and no progression in dilation and the fact that alucard didn’t wanna be in proper position even though we tried to move him. So i had to go to the OR to get him out but couldn’t be awake for it since the epidural didn’t work on me so i had to go under general anesthesia. They still let daddy cut the cord :) but i was waiting in recovery waking up so sadly didn’t get to see. Recovery after the Cesarean wasn’t terrible and was quick for me but we had to stay in hospital for a full week due to my blood pressure and got derailed from starting EC since I was working on walking again. All i wanted was an un-medicated vaginal birth. However Alucard was born the 6th of October weighing 8.8 lbs and perfectly healthy and i’m so glad to have him.

  56. Avatar Beth on December 6, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    Andrea, your birth story meshes me want to have at least one more! My most recent, in October, was my first home birth, all the while fantasizing about an unassisted birth. I’m so sorry your midwife experience was so terrible. I kind of chewed mine out via email once, probably from hormones, and she took it very graciously. The biggest annoyance was probably her encouraging me wait on EC! We started using a bowl on day 4, but I wish it had been sooner. She came out pooping, and again 10 minutes later. She gave me so much practice the first couple weeks, about 6 poops a day.

    Oh, and MY husband David – totally amazing doula, too! I couldn’t believe what all he did, and the encouragent. Totally freaked out in the hospital with the first 2, but told me with such peace during labor that he knew home birth was right for me. After being very worried. Total 180. I seriously wondered if I’d have to kick him out for the birth.

    REALLY looking forward to your book! Love your model of strong motherhood!

  57. Avatar Rebecca B on December 7, 2018 at 10:20 am

    I’m intrigued by what you have to say about mucuous in the nose and it cleaning itself in the birth canal.

    My little one just came prematurely on November 28th, 2018. The nurses went after her nose with the bulb and a baby snot of a lifetime came out. It was a t least 2 inches long! Apparently the nurses had never seen anything like it before!

    They then waited to see if that would help her oxygen levels stabilize. They didn’t. So off to the NICU she went.

    During her stay there, it was a real struggle to establish a good breastfeeding rhythm since she would get so congested at night. Finally, being 6 days old one of the nurses went at her nose with one of those sucker things they have at the hospital- again getting a paramount collection of snot.

    After that, her breathing has been better and eating at night hasn’t been as much of a struggle. Her clogged tear duct also cleared up on its own. :)

    I had planned to deliver at a birthing center with a midwife who sounds a lot more level headed than yours was. But of course, she was coming prematurely so it was an adventure delivering at the hospital when I had planned to do it in a much more relaxed environment.

  58. Avatar Amanda Miller on December 7, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing.
    Our baby went into distress (prolapsed cord) and we had an emergency cesarean (they got her out in 3 minutes). We had planned for an all natural birth so it was rather traumatizing. If I had been at home I think we would have lost our child. Only God knows. But I really admire your story. I am so scared of my body not being enough to carry another pregnancy/birth because I have had several health trials since (including a pretty serious staff infection in my incision and getting shingles THREE times–which can happen on very rare occassions I guess). My incision is so sensitive too. It seems that everything that only happens a rare percentage of the time happens to me.

  59. Avatar Amee on December 8, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Wow! I’m speechless! Congratulations to you and your family! I’m so interested in reading your new book when it’s done.

    I’m so sorry about your experience with your midwife (but am so glad you got to experience the strength and independence you did) we had a Home birth this year (first baby) and at about 36 weeks she threatened to quit. It was so nerve wrecking. I am happy with how the birth was but don’t appreciate her coldness at that time. It made me a bit uncomfortable around her during labor and so that’s why the only person I allowed in the room during labor was my doula.
    I also separated for a few months from my husband during pregnancy. We literally got back together two weeks before baby was born, and he caught baby. It’s so strange looking back, and I feel really sad for myself that I had to go through that in my first pregnancy after waiting years to have a baby. Postpartum was really hard too because of having to deal with leftover emotions from our separation… but i still look back to it with a feeling of fondness because of baby :)
    Best wishes to you to have a very stress free and healing postpartum time. If someones ruining it, don’t hesitate to get intervention to shut them up lol! I wish I did.

  60. Avatar Andrea Z on December 8, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    This is amazing! I wanted a home birth with my son, but something made me hesitate. I am a nurse, but in school I had a great OB instructor who taught that birth is natural and usually requires no medical interventions. We even had to read a book about an unlicensed midwife who did home births for many years. In the end I would have have been able to have a home birth anyway. My water broke at 35 weeks 3 days and I had severe preeclampsia (my BP was 198/118 at admission ?). I was very thankful for my nursing degree at this time because I knew this was one of the few times an induction was necessary. Long story short, I was induced, but of course my body wasn’t ready, baby tried to come out without his chin tucked and I couldn’t push him out after 4 hours. So I ended up with a c-section. We both stayed in the hospital for a few more days since he was early and needed some help, and they couldn’t get my BP down. Not at all the birth I wanted, but I would do it all again for him. Hoping for a VBAC with the next one, but being high risk I am definitely need to have my baby in the hospital.

    Congrats on your beautiful girl and your unassisted birth! You did amazing!

  61. Avatar Oksana Bales on December 8, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Andrea! I’m so happy for you! If/when I have another baby I plan to have an Unassisted Birth. I had my first in a Birth Center with wonderful, supportive midwives who let me take the lead in most everything. It was an amazing first birth experience. Since having her I’ve learned about Free Birth/Unassisted Birth and know that is what I will choose if there is a next time. I’m so glad you’re writing a book on it and hope to be able to get it when it comes out. Much love to your family and new baby Twyla! Congratulations! ❤❤❤❤❤

  62. Avatar Lacey @ KV Organics on December 8, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    So so happy for you guys, Andrea! Welcome Twyla! :)

  63. Avatar Angela on December 9, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing your birth story, It was meant to be that the midwife chose not to be there <3 Congratulations!

  64. Avatar Michelle on December 10, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    Congratulations Andrea and thank you for sharing your story. Whapio was one of my teachers as well, and I similarly share concerns about how your midwife behaved during your pregnancy. Despite that experience, I am also super excited for what you have achieved both with Twyla and your new book. I had a homebirth with my first born 8 weeks ago and was very grateful for the care I received from my midwives throughout. I did some of my own prenatal assessments during my pregnancy just for fun and my midwife always took care to consult me on what kind of care I was looking for. My birth felt largely undisturbed and even though I certainly could have it done it all myself, it was comforting to not feel the pressure to have to be “on” as my own midwife the whole time and could be free to enjoy the experience and fully be present. I am sorry to hear that you couldnt connect with a midwife that could meet your needs. Nobody should have to go into a birth alone unless they truly wanted it that way, but I am happy for the confidence that it has instilled in you. I am still struggling with the EC with my babe, but we’re working on it. Admire you in so many ways. Keep spreading your message and knowledge to the world. Youre doing great work :)

  65. Avatar Sarah on December 11, 2018 at 12:44 am

    THANK YOU for sharing your story! LOVED reading it!! Going back, now, to comment on particulars…
    Hiring a midwife when you really don’t actually want one… lol – that’s me! But it’s for my husband, and I’m pretty sure he understands that we might not even be calling her when I’m in labor. We’ve already done 3 UC’s, in a country where our choices were a hospital birth (did 2 of those, already – NO thank you!) or UC, but he experienced some slightly worrisome things (for him) and would like to have someone at the ready to ask. Plus, I’m way less outspoken than you, so haven’t had such intense run-ins with this lady, lol.
    LOOOOVE the big belly photo!!! I’m on baby number 9, having had twins first, and at 6 months preggo, I keep getting asked if I’m due any day now!
    Re: kicking everyone out – I had a beautiful labor and birth with my 3rd (first assisted homebirth, after 2 hospital births), except for the end of labor, when the midwife suggested checking me for dilation if I wasn’t feeling the urge to push – in actuality, I had done such a spectacular job of relaxing and breathing, my body was doing the work on it’s own and I was minutes away from having my baby – and I was in no place to be discussing things! I decided to just go ahead and push to avoid having her check me and he was born less than 5 minutes later. When we moved overseas, there was so much FREEDOM to let my body go at its own pace!
    Re: Act 3 <3 <3 <3 I have a lot of requirements for my current midwife because of exactly this… *I* want to be the one birthing my baby, catching my baby, rubbing my baby, checking him or her over and discovering the gender!! I am SO happy for you that you got to experience this!!!
    It makes me so sad that most moms do not get to experience birth in this empowering, amazing way, and that the reason is fear. Dr's are not feeling the sensations that a woman giving birth is – so they are MISSING OUT on vital information! And we are taught and indoctrinated and made to feel that we don't know what to do! Frustrating!! You instinctively got up on one knee, just as so many women instictively change positions during labor and birth, without needing a medical degree to do so. Let's regain an accurate view of birth! Women are made for this! This is a natural, normal, healthy process, the VAST majority of the time! Doctors are helpful when there is a problem, which is the minority of the time.

    • Avatar Stefanie on December 11, 2018 at 3:07 am

      Sarah, thank you for finding the perfect words!! I LOVE this sentence of yours:

      *I* want to be the one birthing my baby, catching my baby, rubbing my baby, checking him or her over and discovering the gender!!”

      YES, YOU ARE SO RIGHT!! and we are MADE to do it!! …and once you have experienced this you want to have another baby and another and… :-)

  66. Avatar Amy on December 12, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    I had a huge smile the whole time I read your story. Congratulations on the arrival of beautiful Twyla and your amazing achievement! Women are friggin powerful warrior goddesses. Your story inspires me to hope for one more pregnancy and one last chance to free birth. Lots of love to you and your family! (P.S. I am a midwife and free birth/undistrubed birth stories are the fuel that keeps me going. All the power to mothers, to be autonomous and in charge of the right-of-passage experience that is birth. It is our right.) <3

  67. Avatar Ranna on December 12, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    It’s nice to know that I am not the only person in the whole world that has had bad experiences with midwives/doula. I am 8 weeks postpartum now and am still trying to process the trauma of my birth and how badly I was treated. And to make matters worse, I am hesitant to say anything or give them honest reviews on Facebook because it feels like everyone loves their midwife and home birth experience. My midwives (there were two of them) were condescending, dismissive, and uncaring. They released me from care two weeks postpartum without and explanation. My husband and I are scarred and it seems as there is no recourse. I thought I was choosing the best team for myself and my family, but it turns out that I was duped. Anyway, I am so glad that you finally got to have the birth you wanted, your way. While I am way afraid to have an unassisted birth (maybe it’s too early to think about), I am so proud of you and I applaud your determination!

  68. Avatar Rose on December 16, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Yay! I’m so happy for you Andrea! And you too Twyla!
    Andrea, your podcast of your almost unassisted birth with your second baby seemed absolutely nuts to me. Bonkers!

    I found it when my first was about 6 months old and I had been listening to the rest of your go diaper free podcast (great resource if anyone else is reading this). All I could think was why? I had just had a great birth with midwife team at the hospital and couldn’t believe that others didn’t manage to do the same. Then, I heard another podcast about a planned unassisted birth after she got tired of having to decline many things offered at the hospital and not wanting to deal with it during her labor and birth. And again thought, this is nuts! Who does this?
    Well, this gal does! ?‍♀️
    The basic premise of setting your mind and your husband’s mind at ease by learning about all the complications so that there was no fear involved was really appealing to me. So I started my research. And as both you and this other lady said, most things you know hours if not days in advance if there are any issues. Realizing this, I told my husband that I would like to have the baby at home without somebody else pressuring me to conform to their protocols or timeline or, what was really the worst part of Labor, having to drive to the hospital.
    He was not on board. There was a whole bunch of but what if questions, but I was able to answer all of them and kind of ease his mind, but he was not on board and wanted a hands off midwife.
    Well, we ended up getting pregnant again right as my daughter turned 1. I continue to educating him and telling him that this was a thing and I was going to make it happen. Then at a little over 14 weeks, I started having contractions. To the point that I woke him up in the middle of the night and said take me to the ER right now. On the way there, I started hemmoraghing and likely would have died if we were not halfway to the hospital at the time. Our baby went to heaven that night, but gave us the gift of greater trust in ourselves. My husband no longer doubted that I could monitor my body and know if something was wrong or that I would not go for help if I needed it. I simply didn’t want help forced down my throat when I didn’t want or need it.

    We got pregnant again a few months later, and again planned to have baby at home by ourselves. Per my husband’s request, I did meet with a home birth midwife once early on, but when he realized that his “what if” scenario would run us $3,500 out of pocket he again agreed to an unassisted birth. I did continue seeing the hospital midwife team throughout my pregnancy, but more spaced out than normal and I declined everything except an anatomy scan and an ultrasound after a subchorionic hemmoraghe at 9W.
    I woke up on 12 July at 39.3W and noticed some contractions, but just thought they were some Braxton Hicks or prodromal labor because this time I was definitely going to go over my due date! And they really didn’t hurt. With my first birth contractions started 2 to 3 minutes apart lasting 90 seconds and was all back labor…for 22 hours ?. Wasn’t looking forward to it, but I knew it was unavoidable and at least I knew how things would go this time. So when contractions continued lasting only 40 seconds every 5-10 minutes I totally blew them off. Seriously. Continued on at work as normal.
    When they started feeling closer, I timed them a little and said oh, maybe baby will come tonight after work. And continued working. Texted my husband that I was having contractions, but didn’t think they meant much because they didn’t hurt. There was an awards presentation for a friend at 3 that day that I planned to attend and then go to the Chriropractor for my weekly adjustment. Well by 1:45 I was having to consciously breathe through each contraction (remember no one around me knew) and I was feeling very nauseous so asked my boss if I could change out of my uniform to cool off (long sleeves, long pants, and work boots in an office 80+ degrees was not helping) and went to the bathroom to do so. Trying to change was so hard! I couldn’t stay still end only felt some relief when I was hanging from the bathroom stall. This is when I finally pieced together that I was in labor.
    Started calling my husband. He sent me to voicemail 4 times over 15 minutes! I started thinking I cannot have a baby in the office across from my boss! and attempted not to panic. He finally called me back and drove over to pick me up. I managed to finish changing and gather my things and ask a co-worker to walk with me down the three flights of stairs since the elevator was out. I left work with 40 second contractions every 3 minutes.
    Home was a 35 minute car ride away. The hospital was 7 minutes from work. The thing that I least wanted to do while I was in labor, ride in a car, I was doing again. This was the hardest part of the birth to not tell my husband to just go to the hospital since we were so close and I wanted out of the car. But, now that he was with me I was doing pretty fine. I needed to breathe through each contraction and ask him not to talk, but for the two minutes in between I was laughing and joking and smiling still. We got home at 3 and he drew up a warm bath for me. My MIL (had only found out our birth plans the night before, but was in town to help with the 2 year old for the birth and for the postpartum) went to pick up the proud big sister from daycare so she could be there for the birth. Labored quietly in the warm tub in almost darkness holding hubby’s hand and talking with him between contractions still. Toddler came up to see us when she got home, but realized she had no interest in being quiet and went to go play. Hubby was doing great just sitting with me and helping me to stay centered and breathe easy.
    Transition was hard! So so hard. All 4 minutes of it. 3 long back to back contractions that I tensed up way too much through and ended with my water breaking. I remember repeating I don’t want to do this and hubby trying to be encouraging told me You can di this honey, you are doing this. I said, yes, I know, but I don’t want to.
    After my water broke i wanted to push. I was still laying in the tub and trying to stay as submerged as I could. Hubby asked if I wanted to be more upright and helped me move to a squatting position in the tub which felt nice on my back. I stayed there for a bit, but hubby said he would like me to move as he couldn’t see and I had said I didn’t want to birth in a squat to reduce risk of tearing so he helped me climb out of the tub and I assumed a hands and knees position next to it. After one contraction this way I told him to get our daughter because baby was coming and she would be mad if she missed it. He got her and his mom and came back. She was starting to crown. The ring of fire was real this time and I fought hard to not just keep pushing until baby was all the way out. It only lasted a moment though and then her head was out. Big sister was cheering her on saying come on baby sister I want to meet you. Probably the 6th contraction out of the tub baby was born. Daddy caught her saying it’s a girl! And passed her to me between my legs.
    Except she was floppy and blue and not breathing. I started talking to her and rubbing her and saw her grimacing, but no breathing, no cries. So i held her head down a bit to help drainage and kept rubbing and taking to her so my MIL didn’t realize what was happening and was about to suction her with my mouth when she finally started breathing. Whew!

    We climbed in bed and relaxed. The placenta came 15 minutes later with no issues. She was born 3 hours after I realized I was in labor, 2.5 from me leaving work, and 2 hours after I got home. Texted my boss to say and had the baby and he was shocked. We went to the hospital 3 hours after the birth to get myself and baby checked out. No tears for me, but some big numbers for baby girl. 8lbs 4 oz (over a lb larger than her sister) and a 97% head! Over 15 inches! They monitored us for 24 hours before we went home. We named her Katherine because of her reddish hair and she is doing great at 5M old and loves to poop in the sink.
    Thank you for introducing me to this crazy idea!

  69. Avatar on December 17, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    I’m wondering what to do with a doubting husband. I am called to homebirth unassisted. It is what I want 100% for my 2nd birth (due July). My first was in hospital but “natural”. My husband says he will support me but that he doesn’t like it. I fear that I will pick up on his doubt and fear etc and that that will mess up my headspace. He’s former medical professional so he has some old ideas ingrained. Any thoughts? When well your book be released?

  70. Avatar Ky on December 17, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    I’m wondering what to do with a doubting husband. I am called to homebirth unassisted. It is what I want 100% for my 2nd birth (due July). My first was in hospital but “natural”. My husband says he will support me but that he doesn’t like it. I fear that I will pick up on his doubt and fear etc and that that will mess up my headspace. He’s former medical professional so he has some old ideas ingrained. Any thoughts? When well your book be released?

  71. Avatar Candice Robertson on December 20, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    Thank you so Much for Sharing. I really wish i had trusted myself in my births. I never really got to share my 4th and last birth story with anyone. It did not go as i had hoped and i have alot of resentment and depression surrounding it. It was filled with a lot of loneliness and fear as i was literally dropped off at the hospital alone and spent most of my 17 hour labour without anyone around me as my midwife had 2 other mothers in for various reasons. No family, No doula (we couldn’t afford one), just me.. in a labour room trying desperately to bring this baby earthside as she and I were very confused and my labour kept stalling. That was 5 years ago. I still am working through my issues. I had some harsh PPD with my last baby and for a while was unable to care for my other 3 children as well as i should have. but we made it through. We decided after #4 that we did not want any more children and my husband obliged and got a vasectomy done. So now we are moving onward with the stages of life.. as my first born is about to graduated high school and start her own life journey.. its a bittersweet moment to realize that the majority of your job is done with one of your children.. and that you have to allow them to take flight now. Again Thank you for sharing, it was very healing to read.

  72. Avatar Catherine Pfenning on January 8, 2019 at 1:02 am

    Andrea, I have read your birth story about 3 times now and it is just as inspiring every time! I’m getting ready (I’m due middle of January!) for a home birth, I’m pregnant with my 4th, and even though I’ve been through this before, reading birth stories like yours helps refresh my memory for what to expect. My first baby was breech and I had an unplanned C-section after a long time in labor. Since then I’ve had two successful
    waterbirth VBAC’s, one born at home and then one born at a birth center (which was basically like a home birth but cleaner than my own house). I love reading about your unassisted birth… personally I have been blessed with knowing some amazing midwives and can’t imagine not having a midwife or two with me plus extra support from a doula and my husband. But I look forward to reading your book when it comes out because I think it would be great to understand my body a little better and all that goes on to bring these babies into the world! I’m having my 4th kid and I still feel like I know so little about it all. Honestly part of that’s my own fault because I’m squeamish. But birth is such a normal thing women experience.. why does it need to be just for doctors/midwives to understand?
    I hope you’re enjoying sweet time with your baby! Thanks for sharing!

  73. Ariane Blais-Lacombe Ariane Blais-Lacombe on January 9, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Hey Andrea, thanks for sharing your birth story! It’s so inspiring, I almost cried! I’m currently pregnant with my second and we plan a natural birth attended by midwife in a birth center separate from a hospital. I’d like a homebirth one day… maybe even an unassisted homebirth!

  74. Avatar Rebekah on January 22, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Wow this is such an amazing and inspiring birth story! Congratulations! Thank you for sharing!

  75. Avatar M on July 9, 2019 at 10:13 am

    I remember reading this birth story of yours a few days before giving birth myself 7 months ago today.
    I had a Wonderfull home birth. Active labour only lasted like an hour. After my inlaws picked up my older child, everything sped up – just as I settled in for the marathon, it became a sprint 😅 I experienced that fetal ejection reflex I had only read about. No pushing, just baby flying out into the water.
    When everything was done, the midwife Said “it truly is healing, right?”. And it was. I had a not so nice first birth four years earlier. And I was finally able to let that go after easily without any intervention giving birth to my daugther.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on July 14, 2019 at 9:04 pm

      Thank you for sharing! I am so glad you were able to have such a wonderful birth. It can be hard to get over a traumatic experience, I’m happy to hear this birth helped you so much. xx Andrea

  76. Avatar Tiffany Miller on October 20, 2019 at 1:19 am

    18 months after a very unexpected (hindsight IMO, unnecessary) c sec, I had a successful unmedicated VBAC. Maybe if there’s a baby 3 it’ll be at home. This was so good to read! Hugs.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 24, 2019 at 2:44 am

      Congratulations on your VBAC! C sections are necessary sometimes, I’m glad you came to terms with your first birth. It will help you moving forward. xx Andrea

  77. Avatar Crystal kellough on August 27, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Wow! I wish I would have known all this a year ago when I first got pregnant. I ended up having a c-section. But I wonder, had I of known then what I knew now (not just from you), if I would have done things a bit differently, maybe I could have had a natural birth at home. But it’s all in God’s plans. If we are blessed with another baby (this one was a miracle in the making for 5 years), if I can still do an at home birth after having a c-section. I definitely plan to look into it if I get pregnant again. I’ll definitely be buying your book as well, although, Although I don’t think I can be brave enough to be completely unassisted.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on August 29, 2020 at 4:52 pm

      Hi Crystal! It can be difficult not having the birth you had hoped for. It can depend on where you live, but some midwives will do a vbac. It’s definitely worth looking into. xx Andrea

  78. Avatar Amy Gustavsen on February 18, 2021 at 5:32 pm

    Man, this sounds so empowering! So glad you got the birth you desired! I was able to give birth in a pool in the baby’s room 6 months ago with my first, and it was a great experience. My midwives were awesome and definitely brought peace of mind for my husband as well as helped a lot with the clean up :) I do have one question that is a bit off topic and maybe too personal, but I thought I’d ask! You said you had 4 kids within 5 years and I know you breastfed them all, so what did that look like for the return of your fertility? I am itching for another baby sooner than later, but I also don’t want to compromise my breastfeeding relationship with my daughter.

    • Andrea Olson Andrea Olson on February 22, 2021 at 3:47 am

      Breastfeeding and when you can get pregnant again, really depends on each individual. I know people that have gotten pregnant only 1 or 2 months after childbirth. Typically, it is when your period returns that you can get pregnant again, but even in my own experience you can see that is also not 100% true. Generally, breastfeeding until your first postpartum period is suppose to prevent unwanted pregnancy, but since that is not always the case… I say take care of your body like you can get pregnant again at any time. Hope that helps 💕

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