Natural Birth Story-Baby Olivia Anne O’Brien


Baby: Baby Olivia Anne O’Brien

Born at Foothill Presbyterian Hospital in Glendora, Ca to:

Natural Mama: Lisa    ♥Proud Daddy: Michael

Thank you to Lisa for sharing your wonderful birth story with us! My husband went to high school with Lisa’s and her daughter was born on my birthday! How cool is that! Lisa is a hard working down to earth mama and I am thrilled to share her story. Lisa loves her daughter and hopes to inspire other mothers to birth naturally and share in the same experience she was able to have.


1. What made you want to have a natural child birth?
I wanted to have a natural childbirth because I felt that it was best for me and our child (we didn’t know what we were having until she was born). I think society these days is quick to administer medicine and skip over more natural methods that can be effective without as many side effects. And I knew I could do it because millions of women for many years before me had done it, my body was made to deliver babies, so I thought it best to let it take it’s natural course.

2. Did you take any birthing classes to help you prepare for a natural birth?
I did take a natural birthing class, Bradley method. My mother took it to deliver my brother and I. My interest in Bradley method was renewed when I was newly pregnant, visiting with Josefa and little Nico at a birthday party and heard their birth story. I thought, if someone could deliver a 9 pound baby without meds, I could too. Throughout the classes, I was pleasantly surprised at how thorough the class was and how all the pieces seem to fit into place when learning about the body and how it works before, during and after natural childbirth.

3. Best advice you can give to someone who wants a natural childbirth but is afraid?
My best advice to a mother who is thinking about it, but isn’t sure is to research. Research the philosophy behind methods such as Bradley, research the numbers of c sections, evidence supporting natural childbirth as opposed to medicated, research, research, research. Once you feel educated, make the right decision for you. For us, we wanted to make sure to give our daughter the best and healthiest start we could, that started with natural childbirth. When things get tough and pain gets intense, your convictions to being the best mother you can will carry you through. If things don’t pan out as you wanted them to, in case of emergency (breached birth, heart rate drop etc.) do what you need to do, which may mean medical intervention. But keep your mind open to natural childbirth, don’t default to an epidural because it’s what’s popular.

4. A quick tip you can share for first time moms or something you wish you had known before you became a mom?
Don’t be so afraid of delivery, the first few weeks or feel inadequate. Your body will do what it needs to do, savor that. Becoming a mother is a gift, not all women have that blessing, embrace it. Everyone felt overwhelmed at first, but you’ll get the hang of it and it’s not as bad as lots of people will try to tell you.



For a little background info, I had a very healthy and fairly easy pregnancy. I ate healthy, drank lots of water, walked daily, stayed very active and worked until the day before my due date. I never had severe nausea or any other sickness, just mild nausea here and there and annoying heartburn.

We attended Bradley method classes and found them to be very helpful, thorough and interesting. We took all the knowledge we learned from our classes and applied it as we felt was best for us. Most of our principles aligned with Bradley and we did utilize most of them.

Our due date was March 22, 2012 and the date was growing near with no signs of imminent delivery. My last doctor’s appointment was on Friday, when they said I wasn’t dilated at all. I was beginning to worry that we might have to fight the doctors to let her stay in until she was ready, but God had other plans. Thank goodness!

Beginning in my second trimester, I would wake up every night between 3:08-3:30am to use the restroom, get a little bit of water and go back to sleep every night, like clock work. The early morning hours of March 22nd were a little different. I went to bed as normal, but woke up at 1am, 3am and then again at 5am. At this point, I knew something was different and things were happening, even though I couldn’t feel anything yet. As our Bradley teacher suggested, I tried to go back to sleep at 5am, but found myself extremely restless and around 5:30, I gave up and got out of bed. My husband and I started preparing for the day we had thought about for almost a year. We gathered the last few things we needed and started preparing for the hospital. We called my mother who told me, “Get ready, I bet you’ll have that baby before 4:00”

I felt nothing until about 8am, at this point, there was a subtle squeezing in my stomach area. It didn’t hurt at all, but made me smile…thinking about the imminent arrival of our little one. I ate some applesauce, thinking that it was easy to digest and would provide some sugar, which I was sure to burn with the intense physical labor that I was about to perform. Contractions got progressively more intense, but were barely uncomfortable until around 10am. At this point, I was not smiling much anymore, but still talking and going about my housework. Around 10:30, things started progressing much quicker. I was having pain now, not talking when contractions were in progress, but still managing my pain. This is when I began utilizing different positions to help ease the pain. I preferred to lean on the walls, my husband and kneel as opposed to sitting still or lying down.

Around 11:15, the pain was becoming very intense and pretty painful, so as suggested by our Bradley teacher, I decided to take a bath. This made me feel much better, the warm water eased the pain and I rolled around in there for about 20 minutes.

My contractions weren’t developing in any pattern, the timing and space in between was very inconsistent. However, in speaking to my mother, she informed me that she never developed a pattern either and to be careful about how long I waited to go to the hospital. I was aware that she delivered me (her first child) within 30 minutes of arriving at the hospital.

Some of my contractions were lasting a minute and some of them had been about 1 minute apart, so we decided to leave for the hospital, around 11:45.

We arrived at the hospital and were in a delivery room by 12 noon. My doctor happened to be there that day, checked me and informed me that I was between 3-4cm’s dilated. At this point, the contractions were getting very painful and intense. I tried walking around, kneeling on the bed and various other positions, but nothing was helping. When I realized that moving wasn’t helping, they hooked me to a monitor. At this point, my husband, mom, mother in law, father in law and my husband’s grandparents were all in the labor room. We exchanged hello’s and almost instantly, my contractions began to rise to another level of intensity. During them I began to vomit, my applesauce had gone all over my beloved husband and his most comfortable pants. My husband and his side of the family decided they were going to get something to eat before the main event. Shortly after, my mother left the room to get some water and use the restroom. I had a really intense contraction that seemed like it lasted FOREVER! Indeed it was a long time, the nurse later told me that the monitor showed about a 5 1/2 minute contraction. Right after this, I was checked again and had dilated to 6cm. I don’t recall exactly what time this was, I would estimate about 2pm.

My husband and his family returned and the contractions were extremely painful. I began to feel like I may not be able to do this without medication anymore. However, my husband reminded me that I was almost there and as the Bradley teacher said, when you get to the point where you think you can’t do it, you’re almost there and probably within an hour of giving birth. She was right!

During the last hour of intense contractions, my husband, mother and mother in law all talked to me, held my hand, wiped cold cloths on my face and encouraged me. I also began to focus on the peaceful music playlist I had composed and the collage of pictures that we made for just this moment. Looking at the faces of my mother and grandmother who had both given birth naturally and survived deadly breast cancer gave me strength. I was also focusing on the ultrasound picture. These pillars of strength and the little one inside me gave me motivation to push through.

About 3pm, the doctor checked me again and determined I was at 10 cm and fully effaced. He asked the nurse if my water had broken, it hadn’t, so they broke it and asked if I was ready to push. I didn’t feel the overwhelming urge to push yet, as I had been told I would feel. However, I doubted myself and thought that I might not know what it felt like, so I agreed to push and we began.

About 15 minutes into pushing, I felt what everyone was talking about, the urge to push and push hard. Once I began pushing, I stopped feeling the pain of contractions. The pushing wasn’t painful, just intense work. The doctor was updating me on Olivia and my progress, then she started crowning. What happened next was every parent’s nightmare. The monitor started beeping and the doctor looked at me and calmly said, “You need to get this baby out on the next push.”

I knew something was wrong, but I refused to let that slow us down. My motherly instinct kicked in and with one push at 3:46 pm our little baby girl was born. The doctor pulled the rest of her out and rushed her to those waiting. He then explained to me that her heart rate was decreasing and it was because the cord was dangerously short. As she was coming through the birth canal, her cord was tightening and thus depriving her of vital resources. I got to see and hold her for a few seconds and off she went to get cleaned up, measured etc. Then they explained to us that she would be in the NICU for a little while getting some breathing treatments to get her heart rate healthy. Within an hour, she was breathing like nothing had happened and was back in our room, meeting our family.

Overall, our birth experience was as rewarding as I expected it to be and more. I fully believe in the philosophy of mind over matter. The pain was intense and the labor tough, but what task isn’t that has such a beautiful angelic reward at the end? I also couldn’t have had a natural birth without the help, encouragement and distraction from my family. Giving our daughter a medication free birth was absolutely worth it and I would love to have a slightly less dramatic, similar birth for our second.





Baby Olivia born  7 lbs 3 oz, 21 in long on March 22, 2012 at 3:46 pm


The happy family at Christmas enjoying their beautiful daughter. Congrats to the O’Brien family!


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