I love having moms write birth stories from their perspectives because it gives us such insight into what the experience was like for them. It can also be encouraging to other moms who have similar birth plans. These are Ally's words, alongside the photos from her birth, that she so graciously agreed to share with us. Her birth story is beautiful and one I'm so proud to let you guys in on. Enjoy!

From Ally:

I had a fairly abnormal pregnancy. I was SUPER sick my entire first trimester and had the “honeymoon” second trimester. But by 30 weeks, I was having painful contractions that were more than just Braxton hicks. I was doing all of the homeopathic remedies under the sun to keep them under control. At 35 weeks and 4 days, I had called the midwife to let her know that I was having a lot of discomfort and wasn’t really sure what the pains was. They asked for me to come in to check what was going on and sure enough… I was dilated to a 3 was in early labor. We checked in at Children’s and in an hour, I had dilated to a 4. This really put a damper on my day because my partner and I had really wanted an out of hospital experience and a natural birth, but my baby’s health was more important that our birth plan. After 24 hours of monitoring, labor had stalled and I was sent home to rest. This was a massive signifier that my son was going to be a pain in rear! (Lol)

I had made it to 39 weeks and was MISERABLE. Pregnancy isn’t easy in general, but for my first baby, this was so much on my mental health and physical body. I was feeling OVER it. I went in for my weekly appointment with the midwives on October 25th and we had actually planned to start doing things to naturally induce labor the next week. I was already eating the dates, drinking the teas, and doing the things that put this baby in me so that he would come OUT. We went to bed that night thinking we had another week of pregnancy and we were in for the best shock of our lives. 

At 3:41am on October 26th, I woke up and realized that my water had broke. I thought I pee'd the bed! I was excited and feeling all of the emotions. I was going to meet my baby. I had called the midwives to let them know and they had asked me the color of the fluid. When I explained that it was brown, I was informed that there was meconium in the water and that we were going back to children’s instead of to the birthing center. All of my anxiety and fear rushed over me. I continuously started asking the universe to protect my baby. I spoke positive affirmations aloud the entire drive to the hospital. “You are strong. Your lungs are strong. You are healthy. You will be perfect. This delivery will go smoothly."

At 4:30, they checked us in and set us up on monitors. His heart was so loud, I felt nothing but relief. At 5:30, we were being moved into our delivery room. I stood up to move and felt a pretty intense contraction. I walked to our room and sat on the edge of the bed. They were coming one on top of another but I was able to breathe through them with a little concentration. My amazing nurses helped me get a wireless monitor. I wanted a water birth so desperately, but I was not able to do that at this hospital. They DID make sure that I was in a room with a shower so that I was able to use the water to help with pain management. Around 7:15, I was 6cm dilated and sitting on the birthing ball in the shower. Caitlin, my midwife, was coaching me through breathing through the pain. I still wasn’t getting a break in contractions, so I was feeling overwhelmed but continued to remind myself that with each breath, I was closer to meeting my baby. 

Around 9:45, I was dilated to a 7. I was feeling defeated because I thought that I was laboring slowly. but everyone was telling me that my body was doing amazing and my mind was doing even better. At this point, I wasn’t sure if I could labor naturally anymore. I wasn’t getting a break in contractions, I was exhausted, and I was feeling like my body wasn’t doing enough. My partner got on my level and said “there is nothing wrong with getting an epidural. But you can do this. You’re strong enough to do this.” Our midwife came in and applied counter pressure while coaching me through the breathing and reminding me how strong I truly am. 10:30 rolls around and I’m moving between the birthing ball and the “dilation station”. Sitting backwards on a toilet was painful but it sure moved things along! I felt the most intense urge to push. Luckily, the nurses had come in and wanted to check dilation. As I stood up, I felt so much pressure that I let out an involuntary yell. I felt my baby drop lower and I knew it was almost time to meet our boy. They helped me move to the bed and told me to do whatever my body was telling me to do. 

They encouraged me to push in any position but to push with intention. I felt everything. I felt my baby get lower with every push. I had a room FULL of the most amazing and encouraging women, and a man that reminded me that he was so proud of what I was doing to bring our son earthside. I felt all of the pressure in my back and there were times that I wasn’t sure if I could keep pushing, (not that there was any other option at this point.) Christopher was in my ear with the most love and encouragement that I’ve ever known. At 11:34am, with one final push, Elston Logan Ward was on my chest. He cried the most beautiful cry I have ever heard. It was a sigh of relief from everyone in the room, especially the NICU staff. He was healthy and breathing on his own. I was overcome with adrenaline and pure joy. I did it, I brought my son into the world naturally and on my terms. I was so proud of my mind and body, but SO proud of my baby for making it through a terrifying complication. My birth experience is easily the most empowering moment in my entire life and the BEST “welcome” to motherhood that I could’ve had.

Thank you so much, Ally, for trusting me to document your powerful birth story. It was such an honor to be by your side and bear witness to your strength, determination, and surrender. You're such an inspiration!