My Birth Story: The Arrival of My Daughter, Claire

Giving birth to my daughter was a lot different than I’d expected. I’d spent the months leading up to her due date reading all kinds of childbirth books and taking classes. I felt prepared and wasn’t scared of giving birth, especially after having gone through my kidney ordeal, which many people said is comparable (if not more painful) than labor.

But as much as I prepared, the entire process still took me by surprise. It started out with the passing of my due date, when my daughter still hadn’t come. Our practice allows mothers to go up to two weeks past the due date, given that all is still looking healthy with the baby, placenta, amniotic fluid, etc.

However, there was talk that if she didn’t come, I’d have to be induced. People started advising me about other natural methods to try to hasten her along, but I realized that all of that was stressing me out, making me panic. There was no peace for me in the idea of taking things into my own hands, and I felt like the Lord was asking me to trust him with this baby, with this birth. He had been the one who’d planted the desire for a natural birth in my heart (more on that later), so I needed to trust him to finish what he started. And that was when I felt peace about things.

It was Monday morning (one week and two days past my due date), when I woke up at 1am with cramps. Throughout my pregnancy, I had never really experienced the Braxton Hicks contractions that everyone talks about—where your whole stomach is supposed to feel tight. That’s what I assumed contractions would feel like, so these cramps caught me off guard and I wasn’t sure whether they were contractions or not. But when they continued through to the morning, we went into our doctor’s office to have them check and see, where we discovered that I was in fact in labor, and my midwife predicted that I’d have the baby by 1am the next morning—24 hours of labor.

So, with hopes high, we went home, packed our bags and made dinner. At this point, the contractions started getting stronger and I had to stop and focus on my breathing to get through each one. I sent a few text messages and emails to let people know what was going on, and typing those up took a great deal of effort, pausing through each contraction. They were intense enough to send us on our way to the hospital, where we arrived at 8pm and got settled in with our doula and a close friend who were helping with the birth.

This is where things start to get blurry for me, in my memory of what happened and how painful things were or how long things took. So this is the hazy, hormones-laced gist of how I recall the rest of childbirth:

At the hospital, I started experiencing back labor, which significantly slowed things down, to the point where 1am came and went with no apparent progress. At 6:30am, they broke my water and brought in the baby warmer and all the delivery tools because delivery was supposedly imminent. It wasn’t.

Again and again, predictions were made about how quickly my little girl would be born and again and again, they were proved wrong.

Honestly, I don’t think I would have realized how much time had passed had it not been for the oversized clock that hung on the wall, opposite the delivery bed. And it was that element that got to me: It wasn’t so much the physical element of labor that overwhelmed me but the mental, emotional aspect.

I never felt like the pain was enough to warrant an epidural, but as the time ticked by and it seemed that no progress was being made, I started getting really frustrated, discouraged, ready to throw in the towel because of how long it was taking and tell them to just get my baby out, whatever it took. I started to feel like I couldn’t do this.

Fortunately for me, I had an incredible team supporting me, praying for me, encouraging me, reminding me to press on and not give up. Together they held my hands, pressed my hips together (to alleviate the back-labor pains), helped me into the tub to try to move things along, encouraged me to recite Scripture and hymns, got me to try different positions to help things along—a medley of methods to make it through what is known as “labor.”

Almost thirty-six hours after my labor had first started, things still seemed at a stand-still: My pain wasn’t that great, I was able to remain calm between contractions, and I never got the urge to push. But since things were taking so long, my midwife decided to check and see how much progress had been made.

I was fully dilated and effaced, so in spite of my not feeling any urge to push, we decided to just go for it and see how things would go. Turns out, my body and baby were completely ready and my daughter was born less than an hour later. The pushing itself wasn’t as natural as I’d expected but it didn’t really hurt until Claire started to crown. It was at that point that my calm demeanor melted and I began yelling!

Before I knew it, my daughter’s head was born, at which point the pain reached its height and finally became overwhelming; one push later, her entire body slipped out and the relief that followed was one of the most incredible, almost-euphoric feelings I’ve experienced.

With that, at 2:22pm on Tuesday, March 5, my child—all 8 lbs. and 10 oz. of her sweet, flailing body—was thrust upon my chest and I began sobbing: tears of joy. I cuddled with her and cried over her and couldn’t stop saying, “My baby, my baby. We have a baby!”

And our lives have never been the same since!

Related Posts
Letters to My Baby
The Practical Preparations for Bringing Home A Baby


  1. I'm not sure how I found your blog (Pinterest maybe), but I have enjoyed reading it for quite some time. I was thrilled when you announced you were expecting and enjoyed reading the guest posts while you were adjusting to life with a newborn. After a year of trying and waiting the Lord blessed my husband and I with a wonderful pregnancy, due in November. I have been leaning towards a natural birth and your post was very timely and encouraging. Thank you!

  2. So beautiful Carmen! The end made me cry tears of joy for you! My husband and I are currently trying to conceive our first (prayers please!) and hearing your journey has increased my faith and helped me to rely more on the Lord in this. Thanks, I have been blessed by this!

  3. I loved reading your words and experience! Thank you for sharing!!

  4. Awww!! Congratulations, Carmen!! She is BEAUTIFUL. :)

  5. Yay!!! I'm so happy for you, Carmen - really, I felt so happy for you when I read the end. Congratulations again!

  6. That must have been quite an experience. Having a baby is perhaps one of the most dangerous, exciting and fulfilling experience any woman could undergo. The ability to bring another human being into this world and welcome him with open arms is just a miracle. So, how is the baby doing now?
    Susie Taylor


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