My All Natural Hospital Birth

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My All Natural Hospital Birth | Real Food RN

So to say an “all-natural hospital birth” might sound like a contradiction, but it’s basically occupying a hospital bed for a night.

At the request of my husband, I decided to have my children in a hospital setting. He was, of course, afraid of complications that could be life-threatening, and being the loving wife that I am, I honored his request. Giving up my dreams of laboring in a tub in my living room and then crawling into my own bed for the night with my new bundle of joy. However, after my first experience in the hospital as a patient (not an employee),
I have to admit that it was kind of fun being on the other side of the fence! I liked being a real patient for a day. No worries, just hanging out with my babies and some really awesome medical staff. I always bring chocolate to my births so I have lots of people coming in to say hello. Write that one down — nurses LOVE treats!

But, enough blabbering.

I delivered all three of my babies in a hospital. I just did it MY way. No medications, minimal assistance. I basically told them to worry about the others, that we had this! I had a doula with us for the first two, and then my husband took over for the third. We make a great team in the delivery room! I had AWFUL back labor with all of my births and he applied counter-pressure to my lower back with his hands that cut the pain in half! Write that one down too!

In my experience, you are more present with each subsequent birth. By my third, I was actually able to remember it all! I am telling my story here…

My All Natural Hospital birth

I was one week overdue with my first, five days with my second, and three days with my third. So, naturally, with my third labor, I had been trying all of the tricks to get the show started. Luckily I have a craniosacral therapist friend who came to my house the night before I had my son. She did some cranio work on me and had me do some inversions….on our steps. That was a sight to see! I felt a little crampy after she left, but no “real” signs of labor, so I huffed and puffed and went to bed. Another day still pregnant.

Woke up the next day feeling totally normal. Bummer. I sent the kiddos to our nearby in-home daycare so I could work. Went for a 4 mile run on the trails because it was an amazingly beautiful fall day. After my run, I started getting a little bit of low back pain. Promising!

Here I am right after my run

I had a midwife appointment that day so I showered up and headed in. I told them that things might be starting. They checked me, 4cm dilated! Nothing going on though. Well, naturally I requested a membrane strip. Um yeah, that took care of things. The cramps really picked up. I downloaded the contraction timing app for my phone in the parking lot and started timing the contractions on my drive home. Not the best idea. Almost had to pull over once and breathe through them.

Why did I go home? Because I had some laundry to fold! Of course!

12: 30: I cleaned the kitchen, swept the floor, and went downstairs to get some work done. On my labor ball, I went between working on my computer, folding the last load of laundry, and timing contractions while breathing through them. I put my suitcase by the door so I was ready to rumble! If you want to know what I brought in my suitcase, check out this post that I did all about that!

1: 00: My husband arrived home and buzzed around me as I doused myself in essential oils.

1:30: I started getting very annoyed at the sheer number of socks that I was folding, so I knew it was getting close to time to head in (I get really cranky when labor is progressing). We jumped in the car and I started texting my team of people helping me to make this my own version of crunchy labor: my chiropractor, my craniosacral therapist (who also happened to be my birth photographer), my Mom, and my placental encapsulation expert. We were ready to go!

2:00: All checked in at the hospital and seriously breathing through contractions. The hubs put counter pressure on my back with each one. Lifesaver! Erin, my photographer arrived and started to capture my labor on film. I kept oiling myself up with all of the essential oils that I brought along.

My All Natural Hospital Birth | Real Food RN

3:00: Moved from triage into my labor room, complete with giant labor tub. I jumped right in. The water felt great, but I could not find a good place in the tub so that Luke could reach my lower back. So, out of the tub and onto that lumpy mechanical hospital bed. Soon the animal in me took over. Anyone who has had a natural birth will know exactly what I am talking about. During contractions, I was in outer space, but between contractions, I was calm and conversational (I would like to thank this Hypnobirthing book for that calm). Keeping your head in the game helps you to maintain control and with the techniques, I learned in my Hypnobirthing book I was able to maintain a level of calm that made my labor enjoyable. Of course, I also kept asking my husband to oil me up with all of my essential oils. What a great smelling labor room I had!

My All Natural Hospital Birth | Real Food RN

I moved around the room and worked my way through to my neck cervical check. PLEASE let me be a 10. PLEASE! I was 9.5. Good enough. Getting “pushy,” my midwife asked me? YES!

4:50: Let’s DO THIS! On all fours, like an animal in labor, I started to push. I remembered what my doula had told me with my previous two births: keep your voice low and moan those babies out. If you get too high, you can start to lose control. So, I moaned through those pushes like a cow. I seriously felt like I sounded like a cow! Slow and low…Oooooo!

My All Natural Hospital Birth | Real Food RN

5:01: HE arrived. We did not know if he was a boy or a girl. Came out crying. Ten fingers, ten toes. Perfection. Enter: endorphins and oxytocin! My favorite part about natural labor, you transcend into a state of nirvana. A natural chemical high brought on by your body’s response to the pain. Bliss. Baby in my arms and endorphin high.

My All Natural Hospital Birth | Real Food RN

5:30: My Mom and the kiddos arrive to meet their new baby brother. I get cleaned up and walk to the new room where I will spend the night.

7:00: Everyone heads home and I settle in with my baby in my hospital room. I was lucky enough to get the biggest room on the unit with wrap-around windows and a beautiful view. I put on my icepack witch hazel “diaper” and headed to bed right alongside my new little bundle of joy.

8:00: The endorphins are amazing! The natural high on life is so blissful and now I have a little baby to celebrate with!

I think pregnancy and birth are the times in our lives when we should strive to be as healthy as possible, so we produce the healthiest babies. For this reason, I put together a Motherhood Page on my blog with all of my best tips, tricks, and information that I found helpful through my three pregnancies and natural births! Please share this page with others, we need to get the word out and keep our mothers and babies as healthy as possible to ensure a healthy future! XOXO

If you would like to see more photos from my birth, you can check them out on my photographer’s page Barstad Photography

I would love to hear about your labor and delivery in the comments below. Please share your story! 

CLICK HERE to Pin this Post

My All Natural Hospital Birth |Real Food RN

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61 Replies to “My All Natural Hospital Birth”

  1. it was a beautiful, well told story. I've gotta say, don't know what stage of labor you were in when they took the photos, but you looked gorgeous, lol. Good for you, and congrats again on a lovely baby

  2. Kate you thank you for sharing that was wonderful! I have had 3 natural childbirths myself and they were my most magical spiritual moments because in those moments I trully surrendered and actualized my highest self. Your story reminded me of my 3 blissful experiences. THank you!!

  3. How did oh get the hospital to agree to a 100% natural birth? Like not even an iv? This is my goal but all of the hospitals in my area say that they require at least an iv to birth there. I am going through an on that supports natural birth, since my insurance doesn't cover midwifery.

    1. Courtney,
      I shopped around until I found the right hospital for me. I had an amazing midwife group where I chose to give birth and they were totally on board for a completely natural birth. No IV needed. Check your area for hospitals that have midwives

    2. Hi Courtney- my hospital is the same, you must have an IV in, BUT you can request they “lock” it, meaning it is closed up and you are not attached to anything. Good luck 🙂 It is hard but possible… I am getting ready to do baby number 3 as well- the last time I had a nurse that had been at the hospital for 35 years and she said I was only the 6th patient she had had all natural. Very sad!

  4. I find it interesting that you said "naturally I requested a membrane strip." Did you go in with a written birth plan? The hospitals in our area do not utilize midwives, unfortunately. I had 3 birth center births with a midwife and my last at home. It is interesting to see how different areas of the country handle birth in the hospital. I am an RN and pursuing my doula certification, and it seems in my area (Missouri) you have to be armed tooth and nail with knowledge, facts and statistics, to be able to get the hospital to allow you to birth naturally and respect your wishes.

    1. Amanda, I did fill out my birth plan per my midwife’s request. It was just a form that asked about vaccinations, cutting the cord, medications, and some other general stuff. They knew me well from my prenatal care visits so they had an idea of what I wanted, or didn’t want for my birth. A great bunch of women! I wish everyone had access to such a great team for their births!

  5. Hello!
    My name is Hester and I am from Holland. Nice to reed your story. I am pregnant of my third child right now, and had two “natural” births already. I write natural likes this, because in Holland almost all births are like this. So, iT is vers common here. You have to really persuade your hospital in order to get painkillers, let alone an epidural! However, my experience is also that the pain (because, yes it does hurt. A lot!) makes you experience the bliss even more when you finally hold your baby in your arms! That moment was the best moment i have ever experienced in my life!

    1. I agree Hester, when you first hold your baby there is no greater feeling in the world! I think we have it backwards here, we push medications and medical interventions too much. I like it natural as possible. Sounds like they do it right where you come from 🙂

  6. Hi Courtney!
    Thanks so much for sharing your story!
    Which essential oils do you use? Im just becoming a believer in essential oils and I’m looking for something that can help with my labor!
    Im 30 weeks pregnant with my first and have officially decided that i want to do this naturally so anything you’ve got will help!

    1. Remember, essential oils are not to be used without diluting them first. It sounds like she did not dilute them, but that is not how they should be used.

  7. Beautiful birth story! I just had my first last December, I was nervous but did it all natural too. No iv for me either. Nobody even brought it up or pushed any drugs on me. The natural high I had after when I was holding my little guy for the first time was the best feeling in the world. Thanks for the tip about the back labour! Will have to use that for the next time!

    1. Kristie,
      Yes, file that back labor tip away for the next round. Total game changer! Glad to hear that you had a beautiful natural birth too. That natural high is the greatest thing ever. Nothing like it. I want to have a whole ton of kids for that reason. 🙂

  8. Beautiful – sounds like my dream birth! Any chance you could elaborate on the witch hazel ice pack ‘diapers’?? Would love to stock up on some of those when my time comes!

    1. You just pour witch hazel on a sanitary pad and put it into the freezer. Once very cold, or frozen, then put it in your underwear. Sounds crazy, but it is SO SOOTHING!

  9. Hey Kate! I loved the read about your natural birth story! Especially in a hospital. I work at a hospital myself(I’m pursuing my RN degree/license) so I was wondering…. Did you give birth at the same hospital you work at? The company I work for has three hospitals I could choose from when I have a baby so I wouldn’t necessarily have to deliver at the same place where I know everyone! LOL. Any thoughts?

  10. Love your birth story! This is very encouraging to me as I hope to have a similar experience. Which oils did you use for labor and for what reasons ?
    Thanks !

  11. Wow, so good to have those tips. I had my first baby with no information about how to minimize the pain and it was a long agony. Of course it helped that no one believed me that I was in labor so by the time I got to the doctor the head was almost out hehehe.


    1. Ramdon, I had the same issue with my first birth too! I did not know about the counter pressure on my back for pain relief. Glad I did for my second two births!

  12. I hope to do this with our next lil one (all natural), but noticed your oil bag. Can you give a list of all the oils you used during your pregnancy and labor?

  13. Thanks for this. I am a holistic doula in BC, Canada. We have a great community of midwives here and we’re seeing more ‘natural’ hospital births as well as an increase in Home Births. I will be keeping this post as well as your other ones handy for those women who love to hear of a professional opinion (to back up my crunchy doula offerings).
    I had my daughter at home January 7th, 2015. I also wanted a water birth, but my daughter came so quickly that we didn’t even have a chance to fill up the already inflated pool. Maybe next time!! It was perfect the way it was.
    It is my mission for women to give birth where ever they will feel most comfortable and confident. In my experience, it can be so difficult to say “No Thank You” to casual pushers of painkillers, especially when things are getting intense. THIS post, I feel will give my clients the confidence to say their “No Thank You’s” without hesitation. I love to see nurses opting for natural childbirth. It makes my heart sing with hope for all mamas and babies! All the best.

    1. Thanks Jodi! You are doing great work too! I think there is a movement starting where women are going back to more traditional methods of having babies. I hope it continues to pick up speed! Every woman deserves to have the birth they want. I love love love hearing great natural birth stories! 🙂

  14. I loved this post! I am pregnant with my first, due in May. If everything is okay medically I would love to be able to copy your birth timeline to a T! I have some questions for you- what is the theory behind having your husband apply pressure to your lower back? Did you have a special-shaped bed that allowed you to be face down or were you planking it? I’ve been running a mile consistently throughout pregnancy (I’m 23 weeks) but the round ligament pains have been very unforgiving lately, what do you do to combat that? Lastly, are there any special tips/tricks to delivering on your hands and knees? If you even have time to answer one of these many questions that would be awesome 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Congrats Randi! The first birth is sooooo exciting! I hope you have the amazing birth that you desire! The pressure to the lower back is counter-pressure. It cuts the pain in half, maybe more. Kind of like when you had a loose tooth as a kid, it actually felt good to push on it! If you have back labor make SURE you do counter pressure if at all possible. I was in a regular labor and delivery hospital bed and was up on it on all fours. Your body knows how you want to push. With my first birth I sat on the toilet and pushed for the majority of the time. With both of my boys I pushed on all fours. I ran 4 miles 5 times a week right up until delivery. It was what helped me get through the day! The thing that made that possible was a support band under my belly, towards the end I added even more support. It made that ligament pain barely noticeable. I used this one first: and then added on this one: No tips or tricks to delivering on your hands and knees, just push hard 😉 Good luck! Stop back and let me know how it went 🙂

      1. Thank you so much! You have encouraged me to get that support band and keep running. I will definitely let you know how it goes! Thanks again 🙂

  15. I’m going to call bull crap on most of this post. You ran 4 miles full term and then went into labor, meanwhile cleaning your whole house? Give me a break!

    1. That is actually exactly what happened. Sorry you have such a negative perception of my story. It was a wonderful fall day and I thoroughly enjoyed that run. I also was happy to have the house clean for when we arrived home from the hospital. 🙂

      1. Um…I ran 3 miles the morning I gave birth to my third child. My second I ran 3 the day before and (briskly) walked 4 the morning of her birth. Not sure what that poster was objecting to, but kudos to you for staying so active during your pregnancies. I’m 25 weeks with #4 and hoping to keep up the trend of exercise and natural birth!

  16. I was wondering what oils you used I am 28 weeks and have EO’s and want to make sure I have the right ones for my birth and recovery.

  17. I’m preparing for baby #4 that will be born via c-section (due to 2 previous c-sections). I’ve been talking to my Dr. about making it the most “natural” experience possible (that almost sounds contradictory) under the circumstances. Do you have suggestions for nontraditional post op pain management?

  18. Hey Kate!
    I had commented with some questions back in January and just wanted to stop back in to let you know how it went! I had to be induced 6 days prior to my due date because of a late discovery of cholestasis. I was prettu disappointed that I wouldn’t get to experience the natural onset of labor, and I was super nervous that the induction process would be too long and painful to do without meds. So, I was in labor from 8 am until almost midnight. Contractions were tow min apart and super painful from about 6 pm onward. right before midnight I was finally fully dilated and our little girl was born at 12:21 am on May 7th. I had horrible back labor also and counter pressure didn’t seem to help. My husband was amazing at encouraging me and reminding me to breathe through contractions. Getting baby girl out and having her put right on my chest was the best feeling in the world! Thanks for sharing your birth story and for the resources you provide!

    1. Thanks so much for coming back and sharing your story Randi!!!! It sounds like you were still able to have a beautiful birth, the pain is inevitable and everyone has a different pain experience. Having them placed on your chest for the first time might just be the best feeling in the world, EVER! I hope you are doing well and that you are getting some sleep! Thank you for telling your birth story 🙂

  19. Hi Kate! LOVE your birth story! I’m currently pregnant with my 3rd baby! With my first two I was induced at 39 weeks, so I wasn’t able to experience the natural labor that I wanted. This time around I refused to be induced (unless medically necessary). I would like to know which essential oils you used during your labor and how they helped?


  20. I just want to say thank you for sharing your story about a natural hospital birth. I’m 14 weeks pregnant with our first baby and for a few years now I’ve had my heart set on a midwife and a natural birth. However, after getting pregnant my husband did not like the idea of using a midwife and expressed to me his concern. I havd to admit I was not happy that we were not on the same page. After reading your article I had a change of heart. It opened my mind and gave me reassurance that I can have a natural birth and a birth I desire even through the hospital which I was convinced couldn’t happen because of “evil” doctors and nurses pushing for a c section and pain medication. After going to our first doctors appointment and discussing with the doctor what I wanted from my birth I was very ecstatic to learn my doctor DID support me 100% and encouraged me. He gave me confidence in having a hospital birth. I am now super excited about my birth and researching all I can to better prepare myself for the months ahead and for the birth of our baby. Also, I’m actually a nurse for the hospital I’m going to be giving birth in and I’m not sure how I feel about being the patient and not the nurse. It will be on the first tin on the other side. Thank you again for sharing your story!

    1. I’m so glad you are excited and confident now! You can definitely have the birth you want. Good luck, I hope its amazing!

  21. I’ve read this post a few times this year. Mainly to remind myself at all that comes with a natural birth. I am due in about a month with our 5th babe. This will be my third natural birth. My first I planned a natural but did not learn techniques. My second, I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle and I had a horrible recovery mainly due to postpartum depression. My third….. Well, that was my perfect birth. I had waited so long and decided I needed to do my best for her. So I studied, found an amazing doula… And rocked that delivery in 1.5 hours. Start to finish. Yikes! It was traumatic to go through the that much in such a short amount of time and I had a lot to work though. No time during the delivery. But it was perfect. My forth, my doula and I weren’t a good fit and I had horrid back labor. I was unable to relax and focus. Three hours later, baby was born. That one marked me. I’ve spent most of this pregnancy trying to let go of the fear that came from that one. It was so intense and I felt so out of control. I wanted to thank you for your post. Because not many girls decide or know they can have a natural birth at the hospital. We tend to labor at home as much as possible before we go, which isn’t long considering my quick labors. So that helps. But I also have a mind set that this is my experience and make sure I have people with me who know my wishes. This time around I’ve been nervous about the loss of control and possibly having the baby on the way. I too would t mind staying home… But hubby is not on board. So, we have several plans for several out comes. Which helped me calm down a ton. Anyway. Here’s to a smooth delivery eek.

    1. Hi Julianne, so cool that you have read my post several times! That means a lot to me!!! You can totally have the perfect amazing birth that you want. Have you read the hypnobirthing book yet? That really helped me with mindset. It’s all about bringing your focus back to your breath and remaining calm as possible. A challenge, I know! But you have already done the process and you will rock this next one! You got this woman!!!!!! Let me know how it goes 🙂

  22. Just wondering…what is the “band” strapless bra you are wearing in the pics? It looks comfy and versatile for labor and delivery.

    1. Oh boy, I want to say that I bought it at Victoria Secret YEARS ago! It’s basically just a band, no support or anything. It is SUPER comfy, I wore it for all three of my births

  23. What a great, uplifting natural hospital birth story! I had a very positive experience with my first natural hospital birth. It was really a beautiful experience and I loved it. Like you, I had amazing nurses and a doula, and everything was just amazing.

    I recently had my second natural hospital birth (that story is here: It was a very different experience due to many factors, and I knew ahead of time that it would be very different. However, even though it was not the same blissful experience as my first, it was still positive and I am still so glad I went natural again.

    I now realize that natural birth can happen in different ways and still be a positive experience.

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