Amazing is really the only word that comes to mind. Her delivery was everything I could have hoped for and then some. This is the birth story of my little girl Yianna written just days after her birth by my wife, Angie.

“On Tuesday night around 9pm I started feeling some cramping, but these didn’t feel like the braxton hicks – they were a little lower and I could feel them in my back as well. A bubble bath sounded nice, so I got in the tub and just hung out there with Nick for about an hour and a half. We were just talking and spending time together like it was any other day, but I would tell Nick when I was feeling some tightening and pressure so that we could keep track of when they were coming. The bath was great because it just helped me relax and I was excited knowing that this was what my body was supposed to be doing to get ready for this little girl. Because the contractions really were not that bad at all; I thought it was just practice labor (but I was excited nevertheless).

I finally got out of the tub and they were still coming every 5 minutes or so … they still weren’t painful, but I didn’t think that I could sleep through them. Nick checked me and I was dilated to about 3cm. He felt that baby’s head was starting to turn a little (being married to an OB definitely has its upside!). So, rather than lying on my side I got into the child’s pose position – I think also called polar bear- but that wasn’t very comfortable for me so I went and got our big blue exercise ball. We finally watched the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy on DVR and I just hung out on the exercise ball and bounced and rocked around. It was awesome.

Because the contractions were still not “painful” I really didn’t believe I was in true labor. Nick checked me again after Grey’s and I was about 4 cm. So, then we watched the season finale of American Idol. For me, watching shows I like was great because it was distracting and fun to not necessarily be focusing on what was going on. Every now and then I would just get crazy goosebumps and the hair on my arms would completely stand up with the contractions. But it honestly still was not painful. (I’m not one to sugar coat things and I’d absolutely have no problem saying that it was hurt if that was the case). Nick noticed that I was sweating a little with the contractions and that they were coming closer to every four minutes.

We finished watching American Idol around 2am and Nick checked me again and I was 6cm. He said that we had better go to the hospital, but I just thought he was being overprotective and still didn’t believe that this baby was coming that night! The car ride was about 25 min and I was not uncomfortable at all – although the seat heaters definitely felt great on my back!

We got to the hospital around 2:30 am and parked. We checked in and signed the final few forms. I remember thinking that if I was really in labor and had to stand there for 10 min filling out forms that I’d be less than happy- especially since we had filled out the packet and done everything ahead of time that we could have. I went back into a postpartum room (they were getting a delivery room ready for me) around 2:45 and felt like I had to pee. I sat on the toilet but couldn’t get a drop out; however, when the contractions came my body shook and the muscles pushed a little on their own. It was kind of a strange feeling.

Anyway, they hooked up the monitors to see baby’s heart rate and see the contractions. We were in that room for about 10 min until they had one of the delivery rooms ready. I got up and walked into the delivery room and again felt like I had to pee. I tried again, and same thing. But this time when I got up my water broke and I felt a little nauseous. I did throw up a little. Apparently Nick knew this meant I was close. I still didn’t think so and thought it might be hours until she came or even that I may have been in practice labor (I really like that term). 🙂

As I was walking to the bed, one of the nurses asked me if I was going to do this naturally. I said that I wasn’t so sure about that and just wanted to see how it goes. If this was just the beginning of labor and things were going to get a lot worse, I wanted to have option. So, I got into the bed and they strapped on the monitors. We put on our favorite CD of Greek dance music and were just singing and dancing. It was great. By this time it was probably about 3:30 am.

The nurse asked me what my pain level was when the contractions were coming and I told her they were about a four. Nick saw the baby’s heart rate dip and knew I was close. (Again, I’m completely oblivious). He kept asking the nurse to check me (he did such a good job of playing dad and not doctor). After a minute or two, she checked me and was pretty surprised to find that I was complete plus 1. Haha, no one was more surprised than me. Nick said almost laughing that it looks like you’re going all natural. We both just started cracking up.

They dimmed the lights and we were still singing and smiling. They said, “let’s have a baby.” It still felt like a dream and I couldn’t believe that she was really coming. I pushed three or four times and out she came! I could feel some stretching, but I remember being happy thinking, this is what it’s supposed to feel like – she’s coming. We were talking between pushing and Nick said my heart rate never went over 100. We went nice and slowly so that I wouldn’t tear and it was so incredible to feel her moving through me. Then all of a sudden I saw this little head. She was born at 3:47 am.

She was so alert and happy. She just had her eyes wide open and was checking out her new world. They put her right on my chest and it was such an unbelievable feeling.

I was never set on going naturally and have always believed (and still do) that there’s nothing wrong with an epidural if you need one. But it was such an amazing experience and I was up and walking around after. I felt great… honestly great and was so happy that I didn’t get an epidural. I wasn’t confined to a bed, I didn’t have a catheter and I was just so present for the whole delivery.

It was such a blessing. I still am amazed that we have a daughter. The bath and birthing ball were great tools to have … as well as the positive reinforcement that this is what my body was supposed to be doing and to just relax and work with it.

I didn’t realize how other physicians dealt with birth until Nick and I talked about it more. It makes me sad to think that the experience I had was not the norm. There were no harsh lights, no surgical gowns, I wasn’t strapped down to a table, and I got to hold my little girl as soon as she made her way into this world. They bathed her and did everything in the room with us – the nurse practically had to kick me out of bed to even take a shower because I just didn’t want to put her down or not be able to see her for 5 minutes. (and the shower was in our room too!).

If posting this story can help more moms have the same experience, I’m all for it. It was truly amazing and something that I’ll never forget.”