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Birth Story | Natural Labor in a Hospital

Hi, my name is Shannon Ogilvie and this is the story of my birth-experience with our first child, Matthew, now 3 years old.   We made the decision to go for a natural approach, specifically the Bradley Method, after I had a couple conversations with a good friend of mine in California that had used that method with all three of her children and really was becoming a spokesperson for it. She kept emphasizing the involvement that the Bradley method gave her husband; a role all his own that really made him feel like he was just as much a part of bringing that baby into the world as the woman was delivering it. It focuses on partnership and having your husband be the coping method rather than the epidural.   After taking the classes myself, and having a natural delivery without the use of drugs or an epidural, I have to say that Phil, my husband, was able to be in that delivery room and offer me the support, encouragement, and accountability I needed to have a wonderful experience that really did feel equally shared by both of us.  You hear so many stories of a husband not really knowing “his role” for that day, and the Bradley method gives you answers to that question.

The day I went into labor was actually one day before my due date, but my parents had been staying with us from out of town so I had felt like a ticking time bomb all week and was READY.  I woke up that morning at 8:30am and noticed that there was the “bloody show” in the toilet. At that point, Bradley suggests you take some time to walk and eat and get ready around the house before it is time to head to the hospital, so I put our little dachshund on his leash and started my first loop around the Village apartments. After 2 miles I came home and contractions were noticeably there so I told my husband what was happening and informed him that I would be outside walking again. He, being the rationale one in our relationship, convinced me that I probably should not walk anymore. He ended up bringing me to my senses by asking if I would rather walk one more loop or take a shower and be all clean to go to the hospital.  I chose the shower.  We timed my contractions using the 511 method where they were 5 minutes apart, lasting each for one minute spanning over one hour. My husband used the stopwatch while I just concentrated on telling him the intensity I was feeling so he could tell our doctor. We finally headed to Baylor Medical University around 12pm, I was checked in at 12:10pm and Matthew was born that afternoon at 4:45pm.  My water broke shortly after I was admitted and pushing started not much longer after that. Phil’s favorite memory of me during that time was that I kept my eyes shut the ENTIRE time except when my doctor told me to open them so I could see the head crowning. My reaction was an “Oh my gosh, no thank you” and to quickly close my eyes again.  I was fine not seeing anything in my own little concentrated state. The nurses turned the volume up on the monitor which was recording the baby’s heartbeat (a suggestion made to me by my friend who recommended Bradley) and the constant rhythm of Matthew’s heart before, during and after each contraction was an amazing motivation to keep going.  When I finally held him it was perfect.

I have so many great memories of that day that Matthew was born, mostly of listening to a worship CD playing in the background, and to my husband chatting peacefully with the doctor as I tried different positions getting ready for the next contraction to come. There was pain, but I really do believe that God designed your body to be able to do this and the sense of accomplishment that came from delivering Matthew naturally is one that is still hard for me to fully describe to people. I really felt like I gave him the healthiest option in my opinion for coming into the world and that I was giving my own body a chance to heal faster and do what it was made to do. All that said, however, I realize that babies are born in a million different ways all over the world and the only way that is “best” is the one that you have specifically chosen for your own experience. No one can make that decision for you, or, in turn, judge that. Giving birth is a precious time regardless of how it comes about.

Now, being pregnant for the second time and due to deliver November 8th, my husband and I had no questions about using the Bradley method again and to hopefully deliver the baby without the use of any drugs or epidural.  We realize that only God knows how that day will play out and we are open to doing anything that is necessary to insure that his entrance into this world is a safe one, but feel so blessed to have had an opportunity to experience natural childbirth the first time around that it is our hope to repeat that for the second time.  Thank you for taking the time to read about my experience and if there is any part of you that is considering a natural approach for your own baby’s delivery, the Bradley website has a wealth of information about classes offered in your area as well as reasons to consider going through with a drug free pregnancy and delivery.


Shannon is a California native living in the Dallas area with her husband Phil. A perfect day for her would start with coffee, yoga, and quality time with her boys. She has a 3 year old little boy, Matthew and will soon be welcoming another little boy in October.

4 Responses to Birth Story | Natural Labor in a Hospital

  1. Lauren October 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Thanks for sharing Shannon! You made it sound easy…although I’m sure it was not!

  2. Karissa October 21, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    Your experience sounds like mine… I also had a natural delivery at BUMC and kept my eyes closed the ENTIRE time! That was the only way I could focus on my breathing and get through those really intense contractions! I had a doula for my first baby, but I think it might be nice to take a Bradley class next time now that my husband and I both have an idea of what to expect so that he could be more involved.

  3. Jamie October 22, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    Great story!! I wanted to do the Bradley Method, but waited too late in my pregnancy to get started. After delivering with an epidural the first time, I had a natural delivery with my second. My delivery without the epidural was so much better! He came MUCH faster, but I felt so much better this time around, after delivery.

  4. Casey October 24, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    Thanks for sharing, Shannon! I can’t wait to meet #2 in a few weeks!!

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