Amber’s Birth Story: Baby #1

This is the birth story of our first child.  Since this is a birth story, I decided to do a simpler version for my male readers and for any children who may read Raising Olives.

For men and children readers:

I went into labor and a very long time later our baby was born, a girl whom we named Amber.  Both mother and baby were fine.  Thanks for reading and come back tomorrow, bye now.

If you are a child, please get you mom’s permission to read the rest of this post.

For other moms:

Mark and I planned a home birth for our first child.


A week and a half before my due date, I wake to contractions around 6am.  The contractions come every 5 minutes for several hours and we finally decide to call our midwife.

Mid-morning Mark and I head out to splurge on a nice, big breakfast at Shoney’s.  We talk and laugh about having a new baby that day while we continue to time contractions and eat.

Around lunch time our midwife arrives at our home.  It is exciting to see all of her things set up in our house.  A scale to weigh the baby, tiny baby hats and all the accoutrement that surround a home birth.  Even though I’m only beginning labor we are in high spirits as we contemplate the arrival of this child who will make us parents.

Mark and I walk, play cards,  I try to rest, spend some time in the shower and we  just sit and talk.

Around 7pm our midwife wants to check again.  There has been no progress.  The baby is now higher than it had been earlier in the day.  I’m devastated.  No baby today?  She packs up her things and goes home telling us to get some rest.

I lay down to rest, but the contractions keep coming making it difficult to impossible to sleep and besides I don’t really want to rest, I want  to have a baby.

Mark and I spend much of the night walking around the block, talking, playing games and occasionally resting.


Fridaypasses in much the same manner as Thursday.   (I realize that those of you who’ve had a few children are probably shaking your head at my younger and much more naive self, trust me, I do the same thing.)   I’m tired and beginning to be convinced that the baby is NEVER going to be born.

Friday night Mark and I traipse around the neighborhood between 1 and 5am with no positive labor progress, but with plenty of opinions on our neighbor’s landscapes. These middle of the night walks are something that we always treasure when we remember Amber’s birth.


My contractions fizzle out.  After two days and two nights of regular, consistent contractions, they simply disappear and there is still no baby. Our midwife now decides to try to get this show on the road by encouraging labor with some natural induction methods.

We try castor oil, blue and black kohosh, etc.  The only real result of this is that I feel horrible.  I am more exhausted, more frustrated, more weepy and more convinced that we are never going to be parents.

Saturday evening the contractions resume and I spend a considerable amount of time begging God to allow this child to be born.

I start spotting.  That means I am making progress, right?


I want to go to church and have a normal Sunday.  Mark and the midwife both put their feet down.  We are not going to church.

Another long tedious day of contractions stretches out before me and I’m not sure that I’m up to the task.  But by afternoon things change.

As the afternoon wears on my contractions become stronger and we  realize that this birth is not going to be the uncomplicated, peaceful home birth that we imagined.

As my contractions increase in intensity (FINALLY!), I begin to bleed….. heavily.  I’m soaking through pads almost as quickly as I can change them.  The midwife checks our baby’s heart rate and everything still sounds fine.

I’m put on oxygen as a precaution and our midwife explains that this may be a partial placental abruption and that we will most likely have a c-section when we get to the hospital.

We arrive at the hospital around 4pm and the bleeding has subsided.  After checking both baby and me, Dr. G does not suggest a c-section.  He believes that we are  fine to continue and just wants to monitor me.  The great news is that I am 4cm dilated and 80% effaced.  Finally after 3 days and 3 nights, I am in ‘active’ labor.  This news boots my spirits.

Our back up hospital is a small hospital and the nurses were wonderfully accommodating.  As we settle in, they busy themselves with making our room as homey as they can.

My contractions continue to intensify and my labor finally seems like what we read about in all those books.  I stand, walk and remain active and although the contractions are intense I’m able to relax and enjoy the fact that I AM going to be a mom soon.

Around 8pm I’m 9cm and fully effaced.   I’m overjoyed and continue to work with the contractions.  I speak to my mom on the phone, “Guess what Mom?  I’m 9cm!”  I don’t think she believed me.

Dr. G.tells Mark, “This is not how someone who is 9 cm should be acting.” Honestly, I felt terrific.  As each contraction began I would relax and breath deeply and as it subsided I was simply excited that we were so close to meeting our baby.

After a while my progress stalls once again and Dr. G. suggests breaking my water.  After some discussion, Mark and I agree.

Dr. G breaks my water and rather than moving down further into the birth canal, the baby moves up.  We are now at risk for cord prolapse, where the cord moves down into the birth canal and then will  be compressed by the descent of the baby’s head. I need to be flat on my back or on my side to try and prevent this and I am closely monitored.

At this point, I begin to understand how most women experience labor.

The contractions come in waves, one on top of the other,  never completely subsiding.  I can’t catch my breath.  I can’t move to a more comfortable position for handling them. I can’t get on top of them.  I feel completely incapable of dealing with what I am experiencing. Dr. G nods at Mark and says, “Now that’s more like it.”

I beg Mark for a break.  I can’t keep going.  It’s too much.   I promise to come back and finish, but I just need a short break.

My poor husband  would do anything for me and he tells me later that he wanted to pick me up and run out of the hospital, but we didn’t have a choice.  We both had to just walk through it and keep going, there is no time-out in labor.

The nursery nurses enter and begin to set up the warmer.  Vaguely I realize that they are preparing for a baby.  We must be nearing the end.

An hour and a half  later and it’s time to push.

As the next contraction begins  a nurse urges me to push. I push through the contraction and then try to catch my breath.

But everyone begins to move quickly, more nurses pour into the room.  Dr. G says,  “Keep pushing.”  I think, “I’m not having a contraction.”  Mark leans close, “Don’t stop pushing, honey.  You have to keep going.”  The nurses are yelling to push. “I’m not having a contraction.”  It doesn’t matter.  Everyone is insistent that I push and push now.

Dr. G says, “The baby is in trouble, you need to push the baby out with this next contraction.”  I push and push.

I don’t know what’s going on, but everyone else in the room sees that the baby’s heart rate has plummeted.   It has dropped, down, down into the 40’s, 30’s and it continues to drop.

I push until I have no strength, no breath and Dr. G. acquires the forceps.  It is not the first time that he will apologize to me for having to use emergency procedures to save the life of one of our  children.   Dr. G. uses the forceps to pull the baby down the birth canal, then I am able to push the  head out.  Oh sweet relief, the body simply slides out and Dr. G is holding our daughter.  A girl!

I’m a mom, I’m giddy, I think that it’s all over and I’m still unaware of how serious things were, still are.  I say over and over, “It’s a baby.”

I’m in love an I’m  in awe of  the tiny blue and purple creature that the medical team is frantically working on.

I’m no longer in pain,  that is a miracle.  I am a mom,  that is a miracle.  I think at this point, I was the only one rejoicing.

My parents are waiting outside in the hall and they hear that the baby has been born, but they hear no cry, they hear no gasp or splutter.  Mark knows how low the heart rate had gone and for how long and of course the medical team knows.  I was rejoicing in a miracle that no one else had the confidence to rejoice in, yet.

Then I realize, I become aware.

“Is she OK?”

They always say, “yes”.  I wonder if they say that even when there is no hope.

I look to Mark and he wants to know as much as I do.

After several minutes we hear a slight squeak.

More time passes before they let me peek at my baby.  I get to hold her for a brief moment before she is whisked off for testing.  Testing to see what damage the lack of oxygen may have done, x-rays to confirm a broken collar bone and probably other tests that I still don’t know about.  I insist that Mark stay with our baby.  I don’t want her out of our sight.

Amber, 7lbs. 5 oz. was born at 11pm and is finally returned to me at 3am. She is worth everything, the days of frustration and nights of tears, each contraction and each push.  She is worth much more than I was asked to give, even though at the time I thought it was a lot.

Amber’s collar bone was broken, but all the other tests came back normal.  No permanent damage.

Dr. G. would go on to deliver our next 6 children and he told me later, that in his 30+ years of practicing obstetrics there were only 2 babies that he did not think would live.  Amber is one of those miracle babies!

God is good and His mercy endures forever!
Kaitlin’s birth Story: baby #2 – God’s sovereignty through a heart attack.
Matthew’s birth story: baby #3
Isabella’s birth story: baby #10


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32 Responses to Amber’s Birth Story: Baby #1
  1. Aimie
    May 26, 2010 | 9:43 am

    I love that story! God is wonderful!! Thank you for sharing that started my day off on such a lovely note!! :0)


  2. Tristan from the Crew
    May 26, 2010 | 10:50 am

    I love reading birth stories – please post the rest of yours before the new baby comes along!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    That was my initial plan, but I think that I’m going to run out of time. The next birth story will take two days to post and I have less than 6 weeks of pregnancy left. 🙂

    But, I am hoping to get at least one a week posted between now and having the new baby.

    How are you feeling??


    Tristan from the Crew Reply:

    I’m doing okay. I’m 14 weeks tomorrow and still enjoying pretty bad morning sickness. It’s worth it though. 🙂


  3. Sandpiper
    May 26, 2010 | 10:53 am

    I love birth stories! This one sounds a bit like our first as well. We had a girl & her heart rate dropped too & they had to use forceps. I didn’t really know how serious it was til after.
    The birth process is truly amazing!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Birth is amazing and despite the curse of pain in childbirth, it is still an amazing blessing to be able to witness and go through that process.


  4. Rachel
    May 26, 2010 | 2:02 pm

    That is beautiful! I am so glad that Amber was born safetly!


  5. Vidal Aponte
    May 26, 2010 | 2:06 pm

    Hi, I am a man, but I truly love birth stories. It reminds me of when my son and daughter was born, and I cried when they came into this world. Yes, true men do cry! I have to say that my children being born is the 2 greatest days of my life. I have been divorced since 2001, but thanks to the good lord I get to have my children a lot. I always try to tell men that if you and your significant other break up always remember both of you broke up, you don’t ever break up with your children.


  6. Kathi
    May 26, 2010 | 2:17 pm

    What a scary first labor. So happy everything turned out fine. All my labors were flawless until Baby Six. Benjamin, our 2 yr old is our Miracle Baby. Baby Seven was a little odd too…makes me wonder about Baby Eight…

    Do you really intend on writing all your birth stories before this Baby is born?!? Your due date must be a little farther off than I thought.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I have 6 more weeks of pregnancy.

    I don’t think that I’ll get through all of them. I already have the second one written, but these types of posts are torture for me to write, so I hope I can get out at least one a week until the new baby comes.


  7. Cascia@Healthy Moms
    May 26, 2010 | 3:11 pm

    What a beautiful story!


  8. chantelle
    May 26, 2010 | 3:35 pm

    God is good! Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.


  9. Rachel K
    May 26, 2010 | 4:18 pm

    What an experience for your first birth! PTL for her safety! Looking forward to reading more. Birth stories are my favorite kind of stories. 🙂


  10. Alice
    May 26, 2010 | 6:21 pm

    I loved reading your birth story!! I hope you’ll be able to post more before the new baby arrives!


  11. Jamie - Bungalow Bee
    May 26, 2010 | 8:30 pm

    I love, love, love birth stories. I’m so glad your sweet baby was okay!


  12. Alicia
    May 27, 2010 | 12:24 am

    I adore birth stories. I adore birth in general really. I’m even considering becoming a doula! It’s funny (and as a mom you’ll get this) how I compare every birth story to my own. When I saw long labor mentioned, well it always perks up my ears. After hearing three days it’s boring to me lol, why? I was in labor with my son for two weeks! Even my midwives couldn’t believe it! The end of your story was the best part though, the real part that made it different then most! Thanks for sharing!!!

    And if you ever meet someone who spent more then two weeks in labor, let me know, I’m sick of feeling like some weird guiness record! Lol


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Wow! Three days of labor was enough for me, I can’t imagine 2 weeks!!

    No, I’ve not heard of longer than that. 🙂


  13. Tina
    May 27, 2010 | 12:45 am

    I enjoyed reading that. How scary for a first birth. You went through more than I did for my 5, although a few of mine were a little complicated. Two of them had shoulder distocia (or however you spell it), one of them fracturing her collar bone, and my last was stunned at birth and had to be resusitated and stay in special care for 5 days. Did you end up having a home birth with your others? I didn’t have that option, and was a bit scared of the idea any way. I admire those who do, though. I had a water birth for my 2nd. That was great.
    Thanks for sharing.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Tina,

    Our 8th and 9th children were both born at home. I love water during birth and we had a pool with both of our home births. Shoulder dystocia can be very scary. I’m glad that your children were fine.


  14. Amy @ Raising Arrows
    May 27, 2010 | 12:58 am

    Lovely, Kimberly! The closer I get to giving birth, the more I just eat up birth stories! 🙂


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Writing these birth stories is when I wish that I had your gift for writing.

    Praying for you and your family.


  15. Candice
    May 27, 2010 | 7:10 am

    Loved your story! Praise God that he brought your little one (and subsequent babies) through.


  16. Young Wife
    May 27, 2010 | 11:47 am

    So thankful you and Amber were okay!


  17. Sarah S
    May 28, 2010 | 10:02 am

    This story made me cry (I blame my pregnancy hormones!). Thank you for sharing, and praise the Lord for the miracle of Amber’s life!


  18. Courtney
    May 28, 2010 | 4:35 pm

    Such a touching story! It gave me chills. I love when God pulls through like that!


  19. Birth Story #2 | Raising Olives
    June 1, 2010 | 8:31 am

    […] the complications we experienced with the birth of our first child, we planned a   hospital birth for our second.  We would use the same hospital and the same […]

  20. […] I get up and walk around the bed as best I can with the monitors still attached.  I’m seriously regretting the need for all of the lines and cords, this feels nothing like the birth of our first. […]

  21. […] at Raising Olives is sharing hers too – and boy, does she have some stories to tell!  Here's her first, and her second is split into part one and part two.  I can only assume the series will be ongoing […]

  22. Echo Vetter
    June 4, 2010 | 5:47 pm

    I have just discovered your blog through Meghan Tucker’s blog and oh my goodness this story sounds so much like my first born’s birth story! I was in labor for 54 hours, from Wed at 4am till Fri at 10am, unable to sleep or relax, walked all day and all night- it was the only way I could cope with the intensity, started at a birthing center, ended up at the hospital, she tore a lung taking her first breath, was whisked away to the NICU and I did not see her for many hours then spent the next 10 days in the hospital! Whew! An awesome reminder of the incredible miracle of birth!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Our stories do sound similar. So sorry your little one had to be in NICU. That must have been difficult.

    The most amazing part of our homebirths has been the closeness to the baby from the beginning. Even when one of our homebirth babies was having difficulty, he was still right beside me on the bed.

    I’m very thankful for the advancement in medicine, so that our little ones who would have died in earlier days are able to live and thrive, but I also appreciate the simplicity of being able to give birth at home.

    God has blessed our family in that for each birth we were exactly where we needed to !


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