Birth Story: “Was I going to know how to push?”

Nancy is a stay-at-home mom of four under four, local business owner and married to Felipe. When she was 28, she gave birth to her first. Below is their story. 

For my first delivery, I did not know what to expect. I worried about not knowing what to do or when I would actually go into labor. I was really nervous. In the end, everything ended up being fine – but it was still very eventful! 

Our due date was June 3, but when that day came I didn’t go into labor. I had a routine appointment scheduled with Dr. Boyle, my OB-GYN, that day and I remember thinking: Is this it? Am I going to have this baby? I went to the appointment with the car seat ready and my diaper bag packed just in case Dr. Boyle told me: You can stay here and have the baby now. But, baby had other plans.

Mom’s plans, baby’s plans
At that appointment, Dr. Boyle ended up stripping my membranes. It was actually something that I had heard nightmares about, but she was really gentle. Not long after we started, she said, “Okay, we’re good!” and I couldn’t believe that she had already finished the procedure. Then we decided that if baby didn’t come a week later, I would go in on June 10 to be induced at 6 am. I was so relieved that we had a plan. After that, I went home to wait. 

On June 10 I woke up at 4 am to go to the bathroom and as soon as I stood up my water broke. I woke up Felipe and he suggested we wait a little bit just to make sure it was the real thing. Once another gush of water came out I said, “Yep! It’s real!”

We called St. Luke’s Birthing Center and they were really helpful. They asked how I was feeling and told me we could start getting our things together. They also told me that we should grab a quick bite to eat because once I came in, I wouldn’t be having any solid foods until after delivery. We got dressed, grabbed what we needed, and then we were off to St. Luke’s.

Sunny-side up and back labor
After we had been at the Birthing Center for a while, I still wasn’t dilating. I wasn’t having any contractions, either. So, they got me going on Pitocin to help move things along. A few hours later I did start feeling contractions, but they were especially painful in my back. I found out that I was having back labor because baby was sunny-side up.

Around 4 pm my contractions started to be incredibly painful. As far as my birth plan went, I did not want to have an epidural, but I did keep it in mind as a backup plan just in case! At that time, I was only dilated 3 centimeters (cm) and they wanted me to be around 5 cm if I chose to get an epidural. So, we decided we’d wait until 7 pm and then make a decision.

Seven came around, I had dilated to 5 cm and I decided that I was ready for an epidural! I got one around 7:15 pm, and it was just instant relief. After that, I was even able to take a nap!

Will I know how to push?
At around 11:45 pm, baby had finally flipped over into the right position. I started to feel a lot of pressure and baby felt really low. They asked me if I was ready to push, and I didn’t know. The epidural was doing an amazing job and I felt great! Then, a few minutes later I knew it was time. My nurse checked me and said, “I can feel the head!” Baby was right there! She got the doctor and things went really quickly after that. They came in with the little crib with a heater on top and I thought: Oh my gosh! This is real. I’m having a baby!

I put my knees up and let my nurse know that it was really important that we wait until the umbilical cord stopped having a beat before we cut it. They were wonderful about that, very understanding. Then they told me I was going to push with the next contraction. By this time, my legs felt so heavy because of the epidural, and I wondered if I was going to be able to feel enough to do a good job. Was I going to know how to push?

newborn babyWelcome to the World, Kenzie
Our first baby girl, Kenzie, was finally born weighing seven pounds, three ounces, at 12:03 am on June 11. The second I heard her cry, everyone just faded into the background. They brought her to me, put her right on my chest and everything just seemed to pause. Even when my husband cut the cord and I delivered my placenta, she never left my side. I really, really appreciated getting to hold right her right away like that. She came out crying, but once they put her on my skin she went silent. It was such an instant connection. 

I knew I wanted to breastfeed Kenzie, but being a first time mom, I was so worried about not knowing what to do. I ended up needing a lot of support from the lactation consultants, and they were great. Learning how to nurse almost comes with a bit of embarrassment – you’re allowing another person to be so close to you in a really intimate way. But they made me feel so comfortable and not shamed for not knowing what to do. I felt really supported. It was the best thing. 

Overall, we just felt so loved and cared for at St. Luke’s by these nurses that I had never met before in my life. To see them take such great care of us and go out of their way to make us feel comfortable was just great. It was something I’ll never forget!


This is how Nancy remembers the day Kenzie was born. To hear what Kenzie remembers, watch her story. Then visit StLukesBaby.com for more stories.

St. Luke’s Birthing Center is located in Duluth, MN, with St. Luke’s clinics in the surrounding region, including Superior, WI. To schedule a tour of St. Luke’s Birthing Center, call 218.249.5605.

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