Three Birth Stories

Birth and Storytelling 

Childbirth is without a doubt a significant event in a birthing person’s life that marks the beginning of a massive transition into parenthood. The telling of birth stories is a common social practice across many cultures.

We love to recount our experiences of pregnancy, labour, and birth-but why? 

There is so much evidence to support the notion that storytelling is a practice that is innately human. A way for us to process our experiences, make meaning, educate, entertain, or a combination of all of the above.

Thus, what better content for a great story than a recount of creating life, nurturing it, and bringing it into the world? 

I love a good birth story, I find them fascinating. I want to hear it all – the good, the bad, the ugly. Passing on birth stories helps us find connections in shared experiences and learn from each other. Perhaps even more importantly, it can be incredibly cathartic create space that allows reflection, healing, and honouring of own birth experience. 

Three Birth Experiences

Each of my three pregnancies was very similar. But my labour and birth experiences were entirely different in terms of care, circumstances, setting, and interventions. 

Grayah: Planned Hospital Birth, OB-GYN

My birthing plan and expectations have continued to change and evolve with each pregnancy. My daughter, Grayah, is now six years old. She was my first. I read all the books, attended all the classes, and did all the things to prepare… 

I was absolutely clueless. Looking back, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for what was to come. I simply had nothing to compare it to.  

I am not in the business of freaking out first-time parents with a horror story of a birth experience, but I’m also not interested in sugar-coating the details either. 

My truth is that it was the most intense (and yes, painful) experience of my life. But, I did get through it. You just don’t know, until you know. Personally, I appreciate people’s candour, because labour is hard and we deserve to have that validated. 

Labouring with my daughter was certainly a ridiculously rompish adventure that would have been fit for the movies. I was so concerned about not being that- person who was turned away at the hospital due to false labour, that I was in complete denial that I was in labour at all! Not to mention that I thought my efforts in making a birth plan, unequivocally meant that my plans would be met. 

This could not have been further from what played out. 

Expectation vs. Reality

Expectation: My water breaks at home. It’s just me and my partner. We dim the lights, put on calming music, and ease into our comfort measure positions. We are calm and confident that our yogi-doula has prepared us for this profoundly beautiful event. 

Reality: My husband is working out-of-town. My family happens to come by for an afternoon visit, only to find me fully splayed-out on my staircase. Puking and writhing in pain, but entirely convinced that this is just that pesky Braxton-Hicks stuff that I have heard so much about. It’s my first baby and it’s 5 days before my due date – there is just no way this is happening right now…right? 

Expectation: My husband lovingly tucks me into the car to go to the hospital. He knows the fastest route from our house, reminds me to breathe, and holds my hand. I haven’t a worry because he knows exactly where to park in the busy downtown metropolis. He fills out my paperwork, and I focus on my breathing. I am a delightful person all around. 

Reality: My husband is at least an hour-and-a-half drive away, as a rainstorm unleashes over the city. My stepmom piles me into my dad’s massive pick-up truck, with no idea how to navigate the busy city streets to get to the hospital. The GPS is doing her no favours because she keeps turning in the wrong direction. I hang my head out the window like a dog in the downpour, screaming in agony at the west-end Toronto pedestrians. The drama is real. 

Expectation: My birth plan is typed and printed, ready in my hospital bag. It clearly outlines my wishes, and I know how to advocate for what I want. This does not include drugs or an epidural. I am an ‘all-natural childbearing goddess’. 

Reality: Security puts me in a wheelchair and takes me to the labour ward in a janky service elevator. My stepmom takes about 84 years to find a parking spot. I am alone at the triage station. I puke on the floor and scream that I am dying. Within the hour the anesthesiologist has tapped me for an epidural. I curse out the hospital staff.

Expectation: The birth of my daughter is the event of the season! Everyone is invited to the hospital. I want to be surrounded by friends, family, loved ones.

Reality: It seems like 100 people have arrived at the hospital to watch me labour. I can’t even open my eyes because I am in so much pain. I just death-grip the hospital bed bars in agony. My best friend decides it will help to serenade me by rapping Two Chains songs at my bedside, in between contractions. What the hell is happening?!

Maverick: Accidental Homebirth, Unattended 

I got pregnant again with my second baby when my daughter was just barely one-year-old. FML. My body and my brain did not feel ready to do this again!  

I knew right away that I wanted a completely different birthing experience this time.

I opted for midwives, looking for a bit more of an intimate experience. This was in large part because Grayah was ultimately delivered by a perfect stranger (the doctor who happened to be on shift at the time, not just some wandering passerby!). 

The entire labour and delivery with my son ended up clocking-in at about 45 minutes. TOTAL. It’s called precipitous, or rapid labour, and it is a wild ride!  

The morning Maverick was born, I woke up around 4:30am for my 99th pee of the night – the usual. Upon returning to bed I started to feel little twinges of cramping in my belly.  They quickly became more rhythmic and intense. 

I figured today could be ‘the day’, but obviously this was only the beginning. That was my experience talking, you see. I knew exactly what to expect this time… ha!

Turns out, I did not. I did not know what to expect one little bit. 

The Labour

My tiny twinges of tightness in my belly, very quickly became incredibly intense contractions that seemed to be relentlessly close together. I honestly couldn’t even wrap my head around what was happening, it was all too fast. I was scared. 

It was clear at this point that we needed to call paramedics. I wasn’t going to make it to the car.  Besides,  I was not having my baby on the side of the road in a Nissan Altima, that was for damn sure. 

By this time Morgan is on the phone with the emergency dispatcher. I have managed myself onto the toilet, convinced I am about to just full-on crap myself. I have never felt more beautiful. 

Meanwhile, the dispatcher instructs me to get off the toilet immediately. She clearly knew something I didn’t. The reality was, I didn’t actually need to take a poops. I was seconds away from having a ‘toilet baby. 

Morgan hoisted me off the toilet and onto the floor. That was about the extent of his assistance from there on. I like to say that he was there in body, but not in mind.

After that, the dispatcher asked him to reach between my legs and feel for what was happening. I will never forget his response, a very sincere “I don’t know, but something ain’t right”. 

Ahem-pardon me?! 

The Birth

In that moment, I knew that I was just going to have to handle this myself. 

Reaching down, I felt that the tiniest little head had already emerged. I just went primal, pulling that little human out and to my chest. 

My son was born.

Minutes later, my room was full of paramedics. I claim that there were about 15 men in my bedroom, though Morgan insists it was maybe 4 or 5. I was in shock, but became increasingly aware that I was completely ass-naked, in what looked like a crime scene on my bathroom floor. 

Harlow: Planned Home-Birth, Midwives 

We didn’t necessarily ‘plan’ for a third child, but it was always an idea that I had kept tucked in the back of my mind, so we received the news that we were expecting again with full hearts. 

With my daughter now being 5 years old, and my son turning 4 in a few months, I was feeling more mentally and emotionally prepared to welcome a new baby into our family than I ever had before. 

Of course, you know what they say about ‘best laid plans’… 

I found myself planning a third birth during a global pandemic. The province, in a declared state of emergency and me, ready to pop! As our due date inched closer, I felt less inclined to have anything to do with going to the hospital, and my husband began to warm to the idea of a home delivery

Choosing a Homebirth

After some very long and careful consideration, we made the decision to have a homebirth

If not for Maverick’s previous unexpected arrival, I may have never considered a planned home birth at all. But it ended up being the very best decision for us. I honestly can’t recommend it enough for a normal, low-risk pregnancy. 

Here’s why:

  • My lead attending midwife was with me every step of the way. I called her when I started contractions and she advised me and kept me calm through each phase until she arrived.
  • My team of midwives was incredibly skilled, attentive, and responsive in a way that I had not experienced in a hospital setting. 
  • Non-invasive medical interventions were necessary and I had no tearing for the first time. 
  • With my contractions coming on very strong and very fast, I did not have to worry about getting in a vehicle to travel. Instead, I could focus on movement and positions that were most comfortable around my bedroom.
  • My environment was familiar and felt safe. Lights were dim, my bed and my linens were cozy, and the house was quiet with very few people around. 
  • My husband and I were able to comfortably snuggle our newborn in our own bed and rest together as a family, without distractions. 
  • I was able to really enjoy my postpartum days without having to leave our home, travel with the baby, and move around before I was physically and mentally ready to.  

I am so grateful to have had the most incredible experience having Harlow at home, in our own bed. She came nearly as quickly as her brother (about an hour and 20 minutes, all-in), but not quite as easily! 

There were no complications, my contractions were just very fast and very intense. I finally learned what it felt like to push (without an epidural). The whole experience was exhausting, painful, and incredible.


After giving birth to three babies, here are my biggest takeaways: 

  1. Have a plan so that you or a partner knows how to advocate for your needs, but also recognize that very little ever goes how you expect it to and that is okay.
  2. There is no “easy way out” in having a baby. Birth with an epidural, without drugs, by c-section, on a bathroom floor, whatever…it’s all valid. Each comes with it’s own sets of challenges, fears, and wonders. You are bringing a baby into the world and you are a literal superhero no matter what transpires.
  3. Midwives are incredibly skilled and knowledgeable in pregnancy, labour, and birth. When it comes to continuity of care, there is absolutely no better choice whether you plan to deliver at-home or in the hospital. Finding an individual right-fit is important, but on the whole, I highly recommend midwifery care. 
  4. Home-birthing is not at all as scary or as far-fetched an idea as I used to think. If you are interested in the possibility of a homebirth, I recommend that you do some research and speak to your midwives to see if this would be a good fit for you.   

Additional Reading 

If you are considering a homebirth, I encourage you to check out THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PLANNING A HOME BIRTH. I stressed about the details so that you don’t have to!

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