Devin’s First Birth: Natural Water Birth at IMC Hospital in Murray

June 21, 2013

This story is a great source of inspiration for couples who are planning a natural hospital birth. I absolutely love this birth journey for several reasons: 

  1. Mom sleeps during early labor and stays relaxed at home for as long as she is comfortable being there.
  2. This couple chooses patience over pitocin. They decline the midwife’s frequent offers of Artificial Rupture of Membranes and stick to their birth preferences.
  3. Dad is a fantastic birth partner! HypnoBirthing dads, take note. This is a wonderful example of a dad supporting and advocating for his wife and baby.
  4. Mom pushes only when her body tells her to. Her endorphins kick in strongly and she enjoys a comfortable second stage of labor, just as it was meant to be.
  5. Mom receives her own baby and then enjoys 2 full hours of uninterrupted bonding time with Dad and baby girl.

Good job Denson and Devin! 


I awoke shortly after 3:00 am on Sunday, May 26th to what felt like gas pains. I went to the bathroom but it didn’t help. The gas pains got progressively worse and I began noticing that they were coming and going. I watched the clock and realized that they were coming every ten minutes and it hit me that I may be going into labor! I dozed off between surges for awhile but they soon became strong enough to keep me awake constantly. I woke up my husband, Denson, and told him what was happening. The surges were coming every 6-10 minutes and lasting just under a minute. He began talking me through them and helping me to relax. By 9:00 am I was already exhausted and still unable to sleep. As the day went on my surges became stronger but no closer together than 3 or 4 minutes. Denson was awesome! He brought me high protein snacks every couple of hours, kept me hydrated, helped me stay relaxed and timed surges so I wasn’t distracted by it.

By 10:00 pm I was convinced that this was really happening! These weren’t just practice surges. I called my midwife group and the midwife on call said they don’t typically encourage you to come to the hospital until surges are 1 – 2 minutes apart, especially since I was planning a “drug free delivery.”  I was currently still sitting about 3 – 5 minutes apart. Over the next few hours, surges became far more intense and the time I spent in my bathtub wasn’t cutting it. I stayed home until I was convinced baby Chloe was coming and I REALLY wanted to be in the birthing tub as surges grew stronger. At 2:00 am surges were even stronger but no closer together. I told Denson,”Okay, let’s go. I want to be in that tub!” My membranes hadn’t yet released so he put some towels on the seat of the car, grabbed my yoga ball (which I’d been laboring on throughout the day), bag and purse and we were off. Between home and the hospital I had 3 surges, one in the parking lot of the hospital. Denson set the yoga ball on the ground part way to the building and I sat and breathed through the surge in the parking lot.

We checked into labor and delivery and they sent us directly to a birthing room. (No triage, thank goodness, as I hadn’t been able to stand through a surge  for hours and was quite obviously in labor.) The nurse put the strap on my belly for the 20 minute baseline monitor and I labored on my ball about an hour til the tub was ready. Getting into the tub felt wonderful! I’d been experiencing back labor for nearly 24 hours and this definitely helped to ease it! It didn’t go away and the discomfort was still immense but it felt more manageable in the water. It’s a good thing I didn’t wait for my surges to become 1 – 2 minutes apart before heading to the hospital. They weren’t until the last couple hours of labor! I’d have never made it to the tub!

I got an exam when I arrived and was told I was at 6+ cm. That was approximately 2:30 am. At 7:30 am my surges were feeling almost unbearable and I was starting to feel the urge to bear down so the midwife suggested another exam. I wish I’d have said no. She told me I was at a 6 still and that the baby was turned sideways. As she started talking about me “making no progress” I immediately started to cry and feel discouraged and, surprise surprise… labor completely stopped. She talked to me about how I could use nipple stimulation to decrease time between surges but that she had no reason to suspect I’d make any more progress in the next 5 hours than I had in the last 5 and that I may want to consider Pitocin or rupturing my membranes. But I was already in labor! Thanks to my HypnoBirthing education, I wasn’t dumb enough to believe Pitocin or rupturing my membranes was going to help. But I was more drained and discouraged (and now scared, thanks to my midwife) than I’d ever been before. I just wanted the pain to go away. Denson and I asked for some time alone to discuss our options.

Denson asked what I was thinking and I was honest. I wanted something for the pain. I wasn’t going to let them give me Pitocin or rupture my membranes but that I couldn’t do the pain anymore. He said, “Everything that midwife said, I’ve heard before. (His ex-wife had 2 unnecessary c-sections with their children.) This almost never ends well. You let them give you drugs and they’ll put an IV in you, you’ll be stuck in that bed and they’ll have to put a continuous fetal monitor on our baby. None of those things will help the baby turn. You could end up with a c-section so fast you wouldn’t know what happened to you. I think you need to use nipple stimulation and rock your hips back and forth during each surge and see if you can get the baby to turn. Ultimately it’s your decision and I’m not going to be upset with you no matter what you choose. I’m going to go get breakfast and let you decide what to do.” I was angry with him for telling me what I didn’t want to hear… but I knew he was right. When the midwife and nurses returned, he left to get breakfast. I began nipple stimulation and immediately my contractions got closer together than they’d been so far. I prayed really hard, took a deep breath and began using nipple stimulation. Rocking my hips back and forth during surges was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But, in the next hour, I finally felt Chloe’s head begin to descend. Denson came back from breakfast and neither he, nor my midwife made a comment about my choice for action. Denson reminded me to keep my vocalization low in pitch and counted for me through the surges.

I felt my membranes rupture in the water and said so but nobody responded. After 11:30 (the designated “5 more hours” mark) the midwife said she wanted to check to be sure I was dilated enough to bear down, as I had already started. She also said she needed to rupture my membranes or I’d have to get out of the tub (for the sake of the water birth study). Apparently, she didn’t believe me when I said I felt them release already. She found that I was at a 9, my membranes had released when I said they had and… the baby had turned! I was good to go.

The pride on my husband’s face and his big smile and encouragement was enough to keep me going. I began to feel the pressure of Chloe’s head and, despite the midwife telling me it was still too soon, I began bearing down. I was tired of listening to her so I listened to my husband and my body instead. After a few more contractions I reached down and felt the top of my little girl’s head! I don’t think I felt much pain or discomfort after that. The rush of feeling her there and knowing she was so close to being in my arms helped me re-focus on getting her here.

I used horse lips and the correct breathing to relax my body and her head came the rest of the way out. In another contraction, her little body came as well. At 12:09 pm,I looked down in the water and saw my sweet little girl! I immediately reached down and scooped her up and brought her to my chest. The cord was loosely around her neck and her color was slightly bluish but she was alert and her heart rate hadn’t dropped once the entire labor! Denson took the cord from around her neck. In less than 10 seconds, she let out a hefty cry and it was the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard! Within 5 minutes she was nursing and resting peacefully on my chest. Her big eyes were wide open and she was looking around and already tracking Denson’s fingers. She lifted her head off my chest and looked straight into my eyes and I fell in love with my sweet, strong little girl. I got almost a full 2 hours of skin to skin with her and then Denson took her weight and measurements. She was 6 pounds 9 ounces and 18 ½ inches long. And though every one of our wishes was not perfectly honored, for a hospital birth we were generally pleased and are glad we have our healthy little Chloe Luna!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Cynthia Schmitz June 21, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Devin!! I am so proud of you for sticking with you own decisions. When I had my daughter, they tried to convince me to do otherwise, but I kicked the nurse out when she wouldnt listen. I had great nurses after that and they heard what I wanted. That is such an amazing way to have a child. Very natural! I am so excited that you have a beautiful daughter and that Denson was there with you every step of the way. What a truly amazing experience. Congratulations again!!

Jen July 25, 2013 at 1:38 pm

I’m curious, if you would overall recommend your experience with the nurse midwives at IMC and the waterbirth? I’m sad to hear that you had to fight them. I’m working with them, due in December and a natural drug free waterbirth is so important to me. It makes me scared to hear that they even suggested pitocin to you, knowing where that usually leads…

Devin March 28, 2014 at 10:49 am

Jen, I’m so sorry I’m not seeing your question until now. I hope you had a positive experience. Yes, I’d recommend the midwives. This particular one I ended up Birthing with was the ONLY ONE I never liked of the group. It was a bummer that I ended up with her but I knew what I wanted and stuck to it. They can’t make you do anything you don’t want or consent to. I just would have been happier with any one of the others! Darn it!

Camette Smith March 24, 2016 at 11:40 am

Hi Devin,
Thank you for the information. Which midwife did you have during your labor? I am looking into having my baby at IMC with their midwives.
Thanks! -Camette

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