• Audra

    Although I’ve had to be induced twice, I had minimal pain meds and was so happy that my labors were not nearly as bad as others. It’s all in your mind ladies! Go Dooce!! That’s an amazing story! I’m really hoping this last one (due any day now) comes on her own and I’ll actually KNOW what real child birth is!

  • http://www.AdventuresInBabywearing.com Adventures In Babywearing

    I love this post. I have had three great hospital birth experiences and one FABULOUS and AMAZING home birth last year. Business of Being Born was a great tool to help our family and friends understand our choices.

    Also, your new header is just joyful.


  • http://aimokulani21.blogspot.com Aljolynn

    Ummm…I seriously laughed so hard that it took 10 minutes…that’s right 10 MINUTES! to stop laughing. Note that I am at work reading this….good thing no one else is in the office today, otherwise I might have been fired.

    Thankfully Satan decided to spit you out of hell because the people here on Earth reallye enjoy reading your blog.

    Can’t wait to read part 2.


  • Audra

    Although I’ve had to be induced twice, I had minimal pain meds and was so happy that my labors were not nearly as bad as others. It’s all in your mind ladies! Go Dooce!! That’s an amazing story! I’m really hoping this last one (due any day now) comes on her own and I’ll actually KNOW what real child birth is!

  • http://www.ninotchkabeavers.com Ninotchka

    I’m thrilled for you and any other woman who has experienced this (myself included). I can get as deep as the next gal and as crunchy as the next one over but really what I want to say and convey to anyone even considering it is: WHAT A RUSH. Can’t wait to read more of your experience. Brava!

  • http://veganjoy.blogspot.com Joy

    I went through a similar shift, and ended up with a totally natural homebirth. It was safe, it was awesome, and I felt empowered to make a peaceful, responsible choice.

    It’s my hope that every woman has the opportunity to make that choice–whether it finds her in a remote cabin in the woods, or with every medical intervention she can get her hands on–and to feel totally comfortable with her birth decisions.

  • Faithstwin

    My ‘homepage’ is no longer available thanks to nosey coworkers and a pesky thing called ‘getting-released-from-contract’ because of their retardation. In any case! My sis-in-law had both my nephews (and subsequently her and my Brother’s children) in a blow up tub in their home.

    Me? I have a rare condition called wide-enough-hips-yet-too-narrow-pelvis so both my girls were born via c-section.

    It sucked BOTH times and I wish I had the chance to do natural. I would have ended up as one of those women you started your post about. =)

    I can’t wait to hear more about your experience with Marlo. Lifechanging is pretty impressive.

  • Tine

    Once you know the facts about birth in the U.S., there’s just no turning back. I’m *so* glad you’re sharing this story with your readers…you can make a difference with such a popular blog.

    As for mortality in the olden days… People repeat that crap constantly and have NO. IDEA. what they’re talking about. They have not looked at the stats from the 1910s-1930s, when the shift from home to hospital birth was happening. If they had, they’d see that infant/maternal mortality skyrocketed when birth moved to hospitals. It only dropped again once docs realized they needed to wash hands between patients (duh) and when antibiotics came along…which lowered mortality rates in all health areas, not just childbirth.

    Anyway. I digress.

    In a nutshell: I’m so happy for you! :)

  • Shylo

    I also changed my provider at 30 weeks after asking the same questions. I had midwives deliver my son at a hospital. It rocked and I highly recommend it to others.

  • Liz

    Heather, you just absolutely rock my world.

  • http://www.themahoganyway.blogspot.com Darcel

    Yay! I’m so happy to see this. I have never actually read the book or seen the video myself. I did have a homebirth with my second because my 1st was so horrible in the hospital.

    I’m glad it was a life changing experience for you!
    Looking forward to part 2

  • monique

    Interesting comments re: the bikini wax as prep for birth (#50).

    I forgot that waxing was a critical step to labour preparation. Since having a sparkly clean bikini line is going to make a big difference when you’re pushing so hard you’re shitting yourself.

    PEOPLE. WE HAVE PUBIC HAIR. Get over it!

  • http://www.birdnest.typepad.com kate

    yay! so so so thrilled that you experienced this. and so thrilled that you let this book change your life. please be a part of the motion that opens up non-medicalized/natural birth options to women who have been raised to be fearful of their own bodies doing exactly what they were built to do. you rock!

  • http://andreavanderkooij.com Andrea

    Oh, I can’t wait to hear how it comes out. No pun intended. And I’m so happy for you that you had a natural birth. And I’m so impressed that you are the kind of person who can do a complete 180 degree change in thinking. That takes guts. And smarts. I know that seeing “The Business of Being Born” was the thing that got my husband on board for our home birth. I was into it after a bit of research, and some stories from friends that had good experiences with it. Our baby was born in our little city apartment one year ago, and it was an amazing experience. Painful and wonderful all at the same time.
    Belated congrats on your new baby. Way to push ‘er out!

  • http://www.livinginagirlsworld.wordpress.com Kirsten

    I just did a little happy dance reading this. I had this epiphany when I pregnant the second time (the first ended in miscarriage, and I had a horrible experience with an OB). And it really is a personal epiphany. And I LOVE when other people have the same thing happen. Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story.

  • http://www.surprisinglysane.com Tamra

    From a homebirthing hippie… I am so glad you joined the dark side and did a natural birth.

  • http://www.origamimommy.org Christine

    What an amazing transformation you went through. I am so truly happy you got to experience birth naturally. I’ve had 3 (none in hospitals, last one at home) and am due with number four soon. First birth in a hospital due to complications, but I live in Japan now where birth is not as medicalized and natural birth is the norm.
    I can’t wait to read part two!

  • http://moville.blogspot.com Mo

    Rikki Lake? I had no idea.

    My first (only) childbirth was natural by default. It really IS everything they say it is and more.

  • http://www.ivyskitchen.com Ivy

    I have read your blog for years now but never commented. I have one child, a girl, and I had her at home. All 9 pounds of her. I love to tell people that I had a home birth because I often change their whole idea of who has a baby at home. I am not a hippie. I shave my legs, I wear makeup (sometimes a lot of makeup) and I never, ever smell like patchouli. Having a baby at home was the best decision I have EVER made. Becoming a mother changed my life for sure, but the actual birthing changed me almost as much. It gave me a confidence that nothing else ever could. Thank you for communicating this to the masses.

  • http://www.samuraistrong.wordpress.com Amanda Strong

    We rented The Business of Being Born last spring when I first went off the pill (waaay before TTC that fall) because I had heard a lot about the film and was interested to see what the fuss was about.

    Holy shit. I went from having ZERO opinions about labor and delivery to Googling the shit out of it all.

    Just from that movie I had an arsenal of questions that I fired at our first OBGYN and he FAILED. So we moved on and much to the horror of my mother, hooked up with a midwife (whom I adore – oh my god she’s fantastic) and am actually looking forward to D day.

    I am pregnant now and about a month ago a girlfriend of mine recommended Your Best Birth and I have to totally agree with you. It took TBoBB to a whole new level and I have highlighted the shit out of that book for questions to ask the midwife. I e-mail that woman so much I’m surprised she hasn’t blocked me yet.

    I’m excited to read part 2. I have been collecting birth stories as well just to get an idea of what to expect and to share with my husband so that he has a realistic idea of what to expect.

    Thank you for posting this here. I think that too often women don’t educate themselves when it comes to pregnancy, labor and delivery and end up in really sad or terrible situations come the big day and had they just taken the time to prepare, they could have avoided a whole crap load of complications or at least felt like they were making decisions that they had control over.

    (end marathon comment)

  • http://flickr.com/coyote Coyote

    All 4 of my births were natural. The first took place in a non-hospital birth center, and the other three were at home. The home births were much better, even with my 10-pound #2. I’ve always been of the mind that all women would prefer a natural birth, and only choose drugs and/or intervention if absolutely necessary. Apparently, it’s the other way around! Good on ya, Heather! I’m glad you had the balls to buck the trend :-)

  • http://theambershow.net amber of theambershow.net

    I’m glad you read that book and watched that show. It changed my life, too, and I’m lightyears away from giving birth for the first time.

    Thanks for the heads up on the book.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ashdoggie Ashley

    It’s so amazing to hear your thought process. My boyfriend things I’m crazy when I talk like you type… LOL!

  • http://www.violetlane.com/ Megan

    The only things that could have thrilled me more about this post would have been if 1)the rest was already written and 2)I had been your doula. And I mean that in the least-stalkerish way possible.

    As a hippy-crunchy-crazy-homebirthin-doula, I’ll say nothing makes me more excited than seeing women take back their births.

  • Anonymous

    As someone who is pro-homebirth/midwifery etc and who was outraged by your previous post on the subject, I’m sort of glad you got your comeuppance. I mean that in the nicest way possible, I SWEAR.

  • Anonymous

    Childbirth is in a very sad place in this country. Women and their babies are routinely robbed of a wonderful birth experience. We are taught to fear labor and birth. Birth is commonly made to be more painful, and more risky than it ever needs to be! I am so glad one more woman has been enlightened. I am so happy for you, Heather!

  • Heather

    My fiancee and I watched the Biz of Being Born a couple of years ago, and it completely blew us away. We are both from MO (a state in which until pretty recently midwives weren’t even allowed to practice except in conjunction with/under the care of an OBGYN). We recommend the movie to people all the time–it really opened our eyes to the powerful experience that childbirth can be. If/when we have kids, we are totally on board w/natural (and preferably) home birth. It is rad to see the dialogue about this opening up!

  • Tina

    I gave birth to my three children naturally, with a midwife who had delivery privileges at a hospital. It was not always easy during the labor, but I always felt fantastic immediately after. I would like to recommend the book I happened to pick up at a book store that solidified my decision to have natural childbirth. It is “Mind Over Labor” by Carl Jones. The book is small, but gives you all the confidence you need to believe that your body was meant to give birth on its own. And the visualizations in this book are what got me through all three births.

  • Christy

    I hate it when my milk does that. I waiting for my daughter to hurry and wake up to eat!

    Congrats on your birth experience! I, myself, am a twice-scheduled-C-section veteran and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. Educating yourself and deeply exploring all options is KEY to having a successful birth experience, no matter how you do it.

    I read your blog all the time, and I was going to skip the labor story because I thought it would be a tree-hugging, anti-drug story. But you are right; your life (and your opinions) can change by looking at the side you thought you disagreed with. thanks for taking the time away from your new little girl to share her birth story.

  • http://www.happinessontap.com Elizabeth_K

    Wow! Totally unexpected, and possibly … inspiring? I’m 26 weeks pregnant and I’m not SWEARING to anything, but it sounds … intriguing. Tell more!

  • Anita

    Awesome, Heather, seriously! I can’t wait to read the rest.

    My first birthing experience was so medicated and awful – all kinds of complications – most from the epidural it seems (crashing blood pressure – mine, heart rate dropping – baby, and many other issues that I won’t go in an effort to not hijack your blog comments too much).

    Anyway – baby two – didn’t read ricky lake, but I knew what I didn’t want again. So I brought a mid-wife on board and long story short, I was 7 cm when I got to the hospital, begged them to let me in the tub and assured them that yes, I would most certainly get out of the tub if I had to push (good Lord, just typing that made my eyes roll to the back of my head) well – stood up, water broke, got into the tub, CRAZY ASS CONTRACTIONS. Two to be exact and I forced that baby out of me and into the tub. This was after I told them to “FUCKING MAKE ME GET OUT OF THE TUB” sorry – but that’s how it went. So a team of 10 strange medical people rushed in the room because a baby was being born in the tub and this was just not how things are done there, damnit!! I had violated so many hospital rules or codes of conduct by refusing to get my ass out of the tub – but seriously they should have known that at 7 cm AND post water break that there is no way in hell I was getting my contracting ass out of that tub. Please.

    And my sweet water baby was perfect and beautiful and happy.

    I felt immediately better afterward -no drugs and poles and bags attached to me.

    They moved me to the bed and the nurse told me: “We’re going to start an IV now.”

    And I asked:

    And she said:

    “Just in case something happens we’ll have a line in.”

    And I said:

    “I just gave birth without any drugs or IV’s to a baby in the bathtub and we’re both fine – IF something happens you can start an IV then.”

    Amazing, though, how they often just tell you how it’s going to be – forgetting that it’s your body and your “treatment” and you alone can decide how it’s going to be done.

    Alright – sorry for the hijack – I just love hearing other non-medicated birth stories!! Good on you, lady!!!
    Looking forward to part two.

  • http://www.hiphomemaker.blogspot.com Amy

    I had my first baby just over a year ago and had a “mostly” natural birth. She was 9 days late when my water broke, but contractions didn’t start. Had to be induced. I have to say that the team you have makes all the difference. My husband was amazing, my birth coach was a rock, the nursing staff was super supportive. It was a hospital birth, but such a good experience. I wouldn’t have changed a thing!

  • Trish


    I didn’t do any planning at all. That is awesome that you had such a great plan! I knew I wanted to try going natural, but I was sure I woud chicken out.

    My second birth was a natural birth and it was the best experience. I wanted to kill people after the first time. I was in hell. The recovery SUCKED. But when I had my second naturally, oh man, I recovered so quick and I felt like Superwoman!

    Best experience ever and yes, I’m describing childbirth. WEIRD!

  • Kristi

    Heather! I’m so proud of you and happy for you! I know the joy you feel about your birth. I wish every woman could feel so empowered.

  • http://teetotaled.com teetotaled

    I gave birth 3 weeks ago… also sans epidural. Still trying to wrap my head around the crazy ride that was my labor. Look forward to hearing more of your story!

  • http://www.neverbeenbarbie.com neverbeenbarbie

    Yay Dooce! Heather, I am so happy that you had such a wonderful birth experience.

    I had both my boys at home — made the decision with my first after I read “Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth.” I approached the book with the same trepidation you describe in your post but by the end of it — after reading dozens of birth stories written by the mothers, midwives, and even the fathers which really served to demystify the whole birthing process for me — I realized that having a natural childbirth at home really would be the easier, less painful way to do it.

    … And it was. Sacred and spiritual, just like you said.

    I think we as a society would be much better served to remember that giving birth is not a medical emergency but something our bodies were created to do. We are as strong as we think we are, and anyone who thinks, “OMG there’s no way I’ll be able to stand the pain!!!” is going to have a much worse time than someone who thinks, “Bring it ON!”

    As to why birth survival rates are better now than 150 years ago? I remember reading somewhere that it’s actually tied to increased cleanliness in the hospitals, not so much the delivery methods practiced by doctors. (I mean, on your back in stirrups? SERIOUSLY? How about working WITH gravity instead of against it, people?)

    Thank goodness that someone with your reach is able to spread the message that birth doesn’t have to be a pain-filled nightmare we can only face when we’re numb to the eyeballs with drugs.

    I can’t wait to read part II!

  • http://marizee.blogspot.com/ Kayla Floyd

    OMG! My sister turned me onto your blog a few months ago, and I have loved it ever since. I, too, am an aspiring SAHM, except that I have no kids and only about 3 followers to my blog. You gotta start somewhere, right?

    Anyways, my sister and I were completely changed after watching The Business of Being Born, and I officially transformed from the child who used to have to bite a wooden spoon when my mom removed a splinter to the woman who boldly says I will one day squeeze life out of my vag sans Xanax, Vicodin, or alcohol…three of my favorite things.

    I can’t wait to read Part II and to hear about your friends and family’s reactions. My sis and I both wrote on our blogs about the documentary and got some pretty vehement reactions from current moms who pretty defensively thought their birth was the best ever. Which I don’t begrudge, by the way, but it was a little too knee-jerk for me.

    I am not even pregnant, nor trying, yet I have already been shopping the internet for my homebirth pool. I never, EVER thought I would have Ricki Lake to thank for such a purchase, but that’s what I love about life, its fabulous sense of humor.

    So, thanks for posting and for being an inspiration. My husband is already a SAHF, except without the kids or the pets. So I guess that makes him a SAHH…a stay at home husband…or shit ass ho happymotherfucker.

    Rock on!

    My blog about Business of Being Born: http://marizee.blogspot.com/2009/04/business-of-being-born.html

    My sister’s blog entry: http://lacylike.blogspot.com/2009/05/follow-up-on-birthing-babies.html

  • Anonymous

    True Story: We named our daughter after a server at Outback Steakhouse. I was sure our fetus was a boy but the ultrasound had other ideas. Our server seemed to like her name. Seven years later we do too.

  • http://www.teeteringbetween.blogspot.com Sinda

    I rarely comment here because OMG I don’t know how you get through all of those comments, but you’ve got me here –

    Good for you! I’m so happy to hear that you were able to allow yourself to change your mind, and I love how wholeheartedly you did it – and how we never heard about it here.

    My 2nd birth was a total reaction to all of the wrong things the hospital did during #1 – I decided to take ownership of it, while for the first one I’d figured it would all work out. Well, I got an amazing child out of it, but a horrible experience. For #2, I did the Bradley method, and it’s a treasured memory.

    Can’t wait to hear the rest. Also, while I’m here, I love Marlo – her name, and her little self – she’s perfection.

  • http://www.theflowernotebooks.com Keri

    I’m so happy to read Part I, and to read the comments from so many women who are realizing that they are made to do this, that in most cases they need no medical interventions, and that they need not be afraid of labour and birth. Both my daughters were born at home — an amazing, lovely experience both times. That’s not to say it wasn’t incredibly hard work, but sooo worth it. Thank you Heather for sharing your experience with us. Also, I could recommend Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth as another excellent reference, both for the birth stories, and for the explanation of the physiology of birth.

  • Anonymous

    #649 Kim, you are a fool if you think that any woman would choose a better birth over the safety of her baby.

    Most women choose a better birth knowing that a better birth is also better for her baby.

    I wish you could understand. I really do.

  • fiona

    Ahh this story is making me so excited. So happy that you have had this amazing experience.

    I have two kids. Had two natural births. Both in hospitals but it’s really supported here (Australia). I had easy recoveries. I was totally open to anything first time around, drugs if I needed them, didn’t care. But I am so glad I had an amazing midwife and I could stay “sober”. When pregnant the second time I was genuinely looking forward, yes you read that correctly, to experiencing birth again with my son.

    It’s terrible how afraid of pain women are made to feel. It’s GOOD pain not BAD pain. It’s your body, doing what it knows how to do. You just need to get the hell out of your head and listen to your body.

    DAMMIT I sound like a dirty hippy. Ick.

    Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story. Congratulations again.

  • http://web.me.com/elephant82/Site_2 Rachel

    I admire you Heather–I ended up having an emergency C-section and after sitting in the “discharge teaching” class and hearing about the proper care of vag tears, I was SO GLAD I only had a little cut across the tummy. I’ve been asked if I’m sad that I missed out on the “experience” of birth, to which I say–FUCK NO. My girlie parts are still nicely intact and not cut in any way. THANK GOD.

    Very impressed with you though–can’t wait to read part 2! Marlo is so adorable!

  • http://www.rachelsramblings.com Rachel

    After pushing a baby out of my vagina, I don’t know the meaning of the “impossible.”

    that’s my new life motto.

  • joy

    GOOD FOR YOU! I planned a natural birth for both–ended up with epidural with my first as it was a long labour. Managed without anything with the 2nd and it was amazing! Awful and painful but so empowering. Had both my babies in the UK and was allowed to make my own decisions about everything. We live in the US now and I’m so glad I’m finished having babies because having one here scares the heck out of me. So good to see a non-hippie advocating natural birth. Thank you.

  • http://www.babypushchairsreviewed.co.uk/ Baby Pushchairs

    What an intriguing part of the story- thanks for sharing your the details with us.. :) I’m looking forward to the next installment!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, #649. You are brave and it needed to be said.

  • Anonymous

    I took a Bradley Method class and was 110 percent into the natural childbirth method too. The only thing I don’t understand is how you did it w/o an epidural. PLEASE EXPLAIN.

    3 hours before my daughter was born, I gave in and asked for an epidural, because the pain was so horrendous, that I could not move. I was doubled over in pain, clammy, red, sweaty, trembling, could not control my breathing, could not concentrate.

    The last inning epidural was just what I needed to complete my natural childbirth. A friend of mine from my Bradley Method class did the same thing, and the epidural allowed her to get two hours sleep, wake up and push the baby right out.

    I do think most women get the epidural way to soon, and the medical interventions snowball.

    I am really looking forward to your part II. I want to know how you had control over yourself w/o an epidural. I tried the whole mind over matter, and it just did not work.

  • http://www.whoa-mumma.blogspot.com Alex

    Being 36 weeks pregnant with my fourth child and a glutton of punishment I have been scouring the web for labor stories. It’s amazing how quickly you forget the actual details of the birthing experience when you have that new baby in your arms (apart from that delicious feeling in your nether regions as though a watermelon really had passed out of you).

    I was 22 when I had my first baby and the experience was horrific. I’m not one of those people who arms themselves with a 2 page birth plan, candles and a textbook. I figured the people in the hospital do this everyday, they’ll do what they need to do. All I had was the preconceived notion that it would hurt like hell and epidurals are the way to go.

    Two epidurals later (I could still feel pain but couldn’t actually feel pressure) my charming midwife told me if I didn’t push that baby out soon the doctor was going to come in here to cut me open. Nice. It must have been her lunch break. After an eternity I pushed somewhere and my daughter was born. Later when I asked the doctor (?) how many stitches I was getting he smirked and said lots. My legs swelled to elephant man proportions but I blissfully got to pee in a bag for a few hours. The whole experience was traumatic, humiliating and just plain awful.

    Somehow, I got pregnant again and this time decided I was having no drugs and stayed at home for as long as possible. When I was in labour I just walked the corridors and with each contraction stopped, willed my body to relax and imagined the contraction pushing my baby down. It worked. My midwife was wonderful and just encouraged me to do whatever felt comfortable. My son was born and afterwards I felt great. I was still sore, but I could walk and I wasn’t traumatised.

    I followed the same route with my third baby.

    Women know what feels right for their body. I hate doctors who interfere with births because it is more convenient for them (scheduling around their holidays????). I will never be a hippy, at one with the universe woman, hell I still have the maturity of an 11 year old, but I think it’s awesome that women are standing up for themselves.

    A bit of pain never killed anyone. I remember being in the dentist muttering “I had a baby with no drugs, I can get a filling.” It worked. In Australia we have the expression ‘HARDEN UP!’

    Back to my reading of 18th century births…creepy.

  • http://twwly.com Twwly

    New reader here. Home birth rocks.

    My son was an attempt-at-home-birth hospital transfer, which turned into an F-ING medical snowball nightmare. Totally sucked into the system. BRUTAL.

    My daughter – come hell or high water I was not going to leave my house for her birth. It went smoothly and beautifully and she was born in our bed. I am so thankful for the experience, for her sake and mine. Completely changed how I felt about myself as a woman and mother and I still “get high” thinking about how incredibly uplifting and truly empowering natural birth was.

    Looking forward to reading your birth story.