post filed in:


My Motherhood Journey: Season 2

You have 9 months to prepare for this huge event…one of the biggest in your life! That time frame can feel like eternity but also like not enough time to prepare. My view on childbirth is different than most so if you’re not into natural living and just wants drugs that’s totally fine. Skip down to the hospital packing list for all of my favorites and call it a day!

My childbirth philosophy is definitely from being raised by a (super) mom who birthed 7 children completely natural. I was able to witness the births of my last two siblings and it was incredible. The exact opposite of every birth you see on TV! Mom labored at home, went to the hospital, quietly breathed through contractions, pushed a few times when she was ready and boom! Baby enters the world and she’s walking around like a normal human a little while later. The whole process seemed peaceful and this was the experience I wanted for myself.

Why try natural? Tons of people ask this question and it’s completely valid. This is just what worked for me…but everyone is different and ultimately you need to be confident and comfortable with the birth that’s right for YOU! For me, personally, this is a quick summary of why natural is the way I chose to labor — keeping in mind this would only happen if complications didn’t arise!

  1. I HATE needles. The thought of getting stuck with more needles for an epidural is honestly the scariest thing for me. I hate needles and would do whatever possible to prevent getting stuck with one! I still consider my IV one of the worst parts of the whole birth, lol!
  2. Being a newborn photographer for years means hearing TONS of very raw birth stories. I have heard so many horror stories of epidurals not working, making you sick, having to get multiple and still feeling every single pain that honestly…it wasn’t worth the risk to me. They work GREAT for some people, which is awesome…but I didn’t want to chance being the unlucky person that it doesn’t work for. I’d rather be in control of my body and be able to work through the contractions myself, than paralyzed and helplessly trapped in the pain. Again, just what made me feel comfortable!
  3. I’m terrified…TERRIFIED of tearing. The horror stories of stitches, ice packs and pain are the thing I most wanted to prevent. Natural births have a lot lower statistics for tearing because, of course, you’re letting your body do what it needs to do and just rushing anything!
  4. Quick recovery. This was at the top of my priority list! After 9 months of pain I was so ready to feel normal again. Any decision that could speed up the healing process…I definitely wanted to make. An hour after giving birth with Emma I walked to the bathroom and took a shower. It felt like the most amazing thing in the world. I was sore after birth but I didn’t need stitches, ice packs, special sitting pillows…it was a great recovery.

The Bradley Method

I truly believe that having knowledge brings so much power. Your monthly OBGYN pregnancy appointments don’t inform you very well about every detail and choice you have. There simply isn’t time during those quick appointments. It’s up to you to research and learn about the birth you want to have.

I feel so much more secure when I’m informed about what’s happening. Some people would prefer not knowing, but for me it’s comforting to understand! This is why Steven and I took a class on the Bradley Method. It’s a complete guide to childbirth and no matter what birth you want I highly recommend it! The class focuses on helping your “coach” know how to help you bring this baby into the world.

Steven went from having almost zero knowledge of childbirth to asking more questions than me. He was an amazing coach and without him I definitely would’ve given up. I’m so thankful for the classes we took and the knowledge we gained—even though Emma’s birth didn’t go exactly as we planned! I’ve included the website of our Bradley teacher below if anyone is interested in learning more!

Our Bradley Teacher was amazing and I highly recommend the class! She is even going to be our doula this time for Eli’s birth! HERE is more info about her!

Emma’s Birth Story

Emma was due on February 16…and as the days passed my hopes of not being induced grew dimmer! I bounced on the birthing ball, I walked, I used essential oils…ANYTHING to trigger labor! Nothing. Nada. When we went in for a checkup on the 19th, my doctor was concerned about my water being very low. She was passionate about getting me to the hospital asap.

We went home, packed up (reluctantly on my part, lol), took showers and went eat one last big fajitas dinner! I figured it might be a long time before I ate again…and boy was I right!

We arrived at the hospital around 7:30 pm and they started induction around 10 pm. My doctor knew I was passionate about having a natural birth. So, instead of a Pitocin drip, she started me on just one pill called Cytotec. I only had one dose of this pill the entire 25 hours of labor that was ahead of me! Before being induced I wasn’t even sure what a contraction was, lol! After giving me the dose, the nurse left–encouraging us to rest. Easier said, than done! I tried to rest…and we closed our eyes for about an hour I suppose. But then I started to notice the contractions on the monitor and excitement set in! We were wide awake at that point and I really believed labor was progressing fast because my contractions were 2 minutes apart.

I was dead wrong. These were just tiny contractions caused by the drug to trigger labor…nothing exciting was happening and this was going to continue the entire 25 hours. I WISH that we had tried to rest more…because the lack of sleep really exhausted me later in the day.

Steven did tons of massaging (I list what we used in our packing list) and things were pretty mild and bearable for the duration of the night/morning. As morning turned into afternoon the contractions got harder and my sciatic nerve started to go crazy. I had issues with my sciatic on both sides during my whole pregnancy so it wasn’t a shock. The worst pain throughout the entire labor was my sciatic nerve pain. The contractions by themselves paled in comparison.

The Bradley Method teaches you tons of tricks to help alleviate pain during contractions. Steven’s massages, sitting on the ball, relaxing and many other tips were a huge help for me! Controlling the sciatic pain was the worst thing–this time around I plan to use a lot of “Icy Hot” patches and cream to try and numb that pain, if it happens again!

I was finally ready to push around 9:30 pm -ish! Time was really a blur for me. I would say the biggest things that stuck out to me (other than the sciatic pain) was how tired I was! Steven and I both would literally fall asleep in between contractions! The other aspects of labor were very manageable.

Pushing is what I remember being the “best” part, as it finally felt like this exhausting process was almost over! Emma wasn’t born until 11:20 pm, but my contractions were pretty far apart for those 2 hours, which helped me take breaks! Pushing felt like good progress and like I was almost free! We finally met our sweet Emma Rose and the accomplished feeling of being FINISHED is one of the best memories that I have of that day!

Having a baby is no easy thing…all mommas are heroes in my opinion! I was super thankful that I was able to birth naturally. Even though being induced wasn’t part of my plan, I was still able to have the birth/recovery that I hoped for! Hopefully, my experience can be encouraging if going natural is something you’d love to do. On the next post in this series, I’ll be talking all about postpartum care + the newborn stage!

Hospital Packing List:

Packing a hospital bag–like everything else about labor/delivery, felt super overwhelming to me! There are so many things to bring + so many unknowns! Here is a list of what I brought for our last birth and I added a few things I’ll be bringing with us this time!

I actually packed 2 bags…one for the labor/delivery portion of our stay and the other bag for once the baby was born! I didn’t want everything to get mixed up in the frenzy of labor…plus it’s a lot of stuff!!! No reason why the diapers and massaging balls had to be in the same bag, lol! We just left the after birth bag in the car and Steven grabbed it after Emma was born.

Labor/Delivery Bag:

  1. Birthing ball – Our hospital didn’t have these available during labor, but I know some hospitals keep them for you!
  2. Birthing Gown – I didn’t want to wear a regular hospital gown being I was going to be walking around and laboring naturally. Loved this one that I ordered HERE.
  3. Water & orange juice in ice chest — having orange juice on hand for right after labor was so awesome! The hospital will bring you this, but I wanted to have mine right away.
  4. Speaker – I listened to praise and worship during labor and it really helped me focus! One of my favorite things I did to relax.
  5. Ear buds – same reason as the speaker…I didn’t actually use these!
  6. Camera – I had my camera with me so the moms could take pictures of the baby after birth!
  7. Tennis balls – Steven used these to massage me during labor. 25 hours of massaging can get difficult for your coach!
  8. Beach towel for car – in the event that my water would break in the car! Obviously, this wasn’t a concern for us, but here’s hoping for next time!!!
  9. Massager – THIS massager from amazon saved our lives for my sciatic nerve pain. I also had a handheld one from Walmart that just vibrated. Amazing relief when I needed it most!
  10. Wash clothes – to keep handy in case I got nauseated and needed on my chest/throat!
  11. Robe – I got hot/cold often and would use as needed!
  12. Slippers
  13. Quarters – for the vending machines if Steven needed something!
  14. Snacks – protein bars and crackers for me because the hospital won’t give you anything. But I was too nauseous to eat!
  15. Honey – taking a spoonful of honey was recommended for me during labor for an energy boost! Didn’t personally use this but thought it was a good idea and will bring again in case I need it.
  16. Charger for devices

After Birth Bag:

  1. Nursing bras – I will always share these because they are amazing…and are in perfect condition after an entire year of nursing!! I ordered more products because this company is so awesome. You can find them HERE.
  2. Big pads for mom
  3. Bed Pads
  4. Tylenol
  5. Changes of Clothes
  6. Pjs (Nursing friendly)
  7. Toiletries
  8. Depends – I know this sounds crazy but a friend recommended wearing depends right after birth instead of the large pads. They are easier to deal with, don’t move around and don’t leak! Sorry if this is too much info. It worked amazingly well and I was thankful for the tip!
  9. Perineal spray – another TMI, I’m sure! THIS spray has amazing reviews and worked really well for me! Will be packing again!
  10. Tucks Healing Pads – these also provided relief and worked well!

For Baby:
1. Diapers
2. Wipes
3. Outfits (3-4)
4. Blankets
5. Pacifier

For Steven:
1. Changes of Clothes
2. Toiletries
3. Swim trunks — in case during birth I decide to labor in the shower. Someone may need to get in with me!
4. Pillows / blanket for Steven to sleep

I know this list is huge…I’m an over packer for sure! I’d rather have it than need it later! Not listed: friends and family to feed you yummy food after all of that hard work! You deserve it!

Good luck, mama!!! You’ve got this!!! ❤️❤️❤️

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

wedding guide

Love pretty details? Need help planning the perfect wedding? Grab our FREE guide to help make sure your carefully chosen details are ready for the spotlight!


portrait guide

Planning a family portrait session and overwhelmed with outfit choices? Grab our free guide for “Perfectly Curated Portrait Outfits”.