Hands and Knees Delivery With a Hospital Midwife: Baby #4

Hands and Knees Delivery With a Hospital Midwife - Baby #4

Today I’m going to share the details of Baby #4’s birth — a hands and knees delivery with a hospital midwife.  I’d been teaching natural childbirth classes for almost 3 years at this point.  We were living in Atlanta at the time, and I chose to birth with a group of midwives that delivered at a hospital downtown.

What you’re about to read is the birth story I wrote for Baby #4’s scrapbook, shortly after his birth.  Each of my other 3 births had been so different from each other that I had no idea what to expect.  (Read about my natural birth stories with babies #1, #2, and #3.)  I wanted to be prepared for anything!  So, I spent the final months of my pregnancy listening to birth affirmations and practicing skills like breathing and relaxation techniques.  It turns out that I really rocked the deep relaxation/guided imagery with this birth.  Read all about it 🙂

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

Hands and Knees Delivery With a Hospital Midwife: Before the Birth

“Your due date was on April 28th.  This was smack dab in the middle of a super busy time for Dad and I — and you were to be our crowning accomplishment that week!  I was pulling late nights and early mornings to put the finishing touches on an updated round of instructor course manuals before you joined us.  Dad was in the middle of finals week, with his graduation from the MBA program to follow a few days after.  I was banking on the fact that you wouldn’t come early, and even taught a group childbirth class the night before your due date.  It was a mock labor class — the perfect preparation to get ready for your birth!

hands and knees delivery with a hospital midwife - katie pregnant
Here we are hanging out at a park just a few days before Baby #4 made his appearance.

Hands and Knees Delivery With a Hospital Midwife:

Stripping Membranes

“I had scheduled an appointment with my midwife for Monday.  With my project for work finally finished and behind me, I decided to ask if they would strip my membranes to see if we could get labor moving.  Margaret, my midwife, assessed me and then stripped my membranes at around 11am.  I headed back to the house afterwards.

Hands and Knees Delivery With a Hospital Midwife:

Early Labor

“By around noon, I had started to become aware of early labor contractions.  I did my best to distract myself by playing with your brothers and sister in the yard.  Your dad suggested that we take everyone for a nature walk, but the idea of being any distance from the house made me nervous.  At this point, I was working hard to distract myself and would sway during every contraction.  We decided to stay home and lay low instead.

Hands and Knees Delivery With a Hospital Midwife:

Active Labor & Relaxation Techniques

“By 3:00pm, I couldn’t walk or talk through the contractions any more.  Sometime around 4pm, I headed to my room (“retreated to my nest,” as Dad likes to put it) to listen to my guided imagery scripts.  I propped myself up in the bed with pillows, leaning my back against the wall for support.

The relaxation scripts were super helpful.  I was able to get into such an amazing “zone” as I listened.  For a time, it was like nothing else existed but me and those scripts.  I remember listening to the wave imagery and having a contraction as I did so.  It’s really difficult, and even kind of strange, to describe…but somehow the sensation of the contraction was absorbed into the imagery of the wave.  I felt as if I were outside myself, watching myself be lifted up on the wave of a powerful contraction.  It was really soothing in its odd way!

According to notes that Dad took that day, he said our home started to really become a “birthing atmosphere” at around 5:30pm.

Hands and Knees Delivery With a Hospital Midwife:

Driving to the Hospital

“I eventually became aware that the contractions were long and coming close together.  Sometime around 7:30 pm, I called out to Dad and let him know that we needed to leave for the hospital.  Grandma packed up the kids to take them to Michelle’s house.  Dad and I made our way into the car and over to Atlanta Medical Center.

“The drive to the hospital was very memorable.  In your dad’s journal he wrote, ‘It was a rainy stormy thundery night, downpouring, and the stressful drive to the hospital was even more stressful because I could hardly see the lines on the road.  I broke a couple of laws, drove a little on the opposite side of the road, but we made it safe and sound.’  I was listening to my guided imagery and doing my best to stay as relaxed as possible.  We arrived at the hospital at around 8:00pm, and Grandma met us there at 8:15.

Hands and Knees Delivery With a Hospital Midwife:


“When the nurse checked my cervix, I was very relieved to be 8 cm dilated!  It’s hard to shake that ‘fear’ that you’re still going to be 2 cm dilated after all those hours of labor.  My hip flexors felt like they were getting charley horses during every contraction.  So, from here on out, Dad and Grandma were put to work massaging my upper legs with all of their might through every contraction.

“A lot of the couples I teach in my childbirth classes were doing water births at Atlanta Medical Center, and I was curious to give it a try myself.  They brought a tub in the room and filled it up for me.  But when the time came, I couldn’t imagine coping with the contractions without Seth right next to me.  That and I didn’t really want to get my hair wet 🙂  In the end, the tub and water birth went by the wayside.

“I couldn’t seem to get comfortable in my sitting position on the bed.  The contractions felt strong and OH. SO. LONG.  I knew I was in transition, and I was eager to finish labor!  Seth helped me move to a hands and knees position, and instantly the contractions felt more manageable.  I asked Anjili (the midwife) if she thought she should break my water.  She reminded me that breaking my water would be an intervention, and did I really want to do that?  It was hard to make decisions!  I only knew one thing.  “I just want to get this over with!,” a phrase that I repeated several times before you finally made your appearance :).  In the end, I opted not to have her break my water.  I stayed hands and knees on the bed until you were born.

hands and knees delivery with a hospital midwife - katie and seth during the birth
This isn’t the best photo quality, I know, but I figured I’d include it anyhow. In this photo, Seth is helping me relax during a contraction.

Hands and Knees Delivery With a Hospital Midwife:

Pushing & Birth

“Eventually, I felt the urge to push.  As I pushed, my water broke with a splash.  Exciting…and messy!!!  I was trying my best to focus, and was distracted by your Grandma questioning the midwife over and over if I should flip over to my back.  She was (very lovingly) concerned that you wouldn’t be able to come out if I stayed hands and knees 🙂  I heard the midwife reassure her that lots of babies are born in the hands and knees position, and you proved to be no exception!  You were born at 9:54pm, 7lbs 12 oz, 21.5 inches long, healthy and handsome.  The only challenge was turning around to hold you without tugging on the umbilical cord.  Given my other experiences, I’d say that you were a pretty darn “easy” birth, as labor goes.  Overall, hard work and well worth the effort!

“We’re now a family of six!!!  The day after I came back from the hospital, [your brother] said to me, “Mom, do you know that some people can’t have babies?  Isn’t that sad?”  I, of course, responded that it was very sad for those families.  Then he said, “And sometimes, you have to do a lot of praying for Heavenly Father to send you a baby, like us.”  Out of the mouth of babes…or 5-year olds 😉  There’s a 4 year gap between you and [your next oldest brother], with 2 miscarriages in between.  For awhile there, we weren’t sure if were were going to be able to have another baby.  We feel SO blessed and SO grateful to welcome you into our family!

hands and knees delivery with a hospital midwife - baby 4
Baby #4 is here!!!
hands and knees delivery with a hospital midwife - katie and baby after birth
Once again, I apologize for the poor photo quality. But I’m all about gritty, raw birth pictures and this fits the bill. Here’s the first picture of me and Baby #4 together, taken directly after the birth.
hands and knees delivery with a hospital midwife - all 4 kids
I know I’m biased, but I think I make some pretty cute little kids 🙂
hands and knees delivery with a hospital midwife - katie and baby atlanta skyline
Let’s talk about a room with a view! I can’t stand the Atlanta traffic, but it’s got a gorgeous skyline!
hands and knees delivery with a hospital midwife- family of 6
Here we are as a new family of 6 at Seth’s MBA graduation. There’s nothing like packing multiple major life events into just a few days!

Hands and Knees Delivery With a Hospital Midwife:

My Thoughts in Hindsight

Why did I choose a hospital midwife?

A hospital midwife tends to be a bit more hands-on during the birth and less likely to intervene with the overall birth process.  A low-intervention health care provider is likely to increase your chance of having a natural childbirth.  And in case a cesarean birth becomes necessary, you’re already in the hospital and the midwife works with a doctor that’s on call 24/7.  Hospital midwives can really be the best of both worlds.

Stripping Membranes

I have had very good experiences with getting my membranes stripped and then going into labor shortly thereafter.  Stripping membranes is a simple procedure and, in my opinion, a low-intervention option to get labor started if your cervix is ripe and your body is ready for labor.  If you’re past your due date and a labor induction is looming, consider talking to your doctor about the option of stripping your membranes.

Hypno-Style Relaxation

The goal of Hypnobirthing is to enter into a state of self-hypnosis to create your own natural anesthesia.  I feel like I really nailed self-hypnosis while I was listening to the guided imagery scripts at home in active labor with Baby #4!  And it DEFINITELY decreased my perception of the pain I was feeling during each contraction.  (Learn all about hypno-style deep relaxation in addition to many other labor coping tools in your Kopa Birth® online childbirth class.  $195, $245, or try first class for FREE).

Hands & Knees

This was my first time ever giving birth in a hands and knees position.  I’ve actually done it 2 more times since, so I suppose it’s become my new go-to position for birth :).  One benefit of a hands and knees delivery is that it can help relieve back pain.  The position may also help encourage a posterior baby to rotate.  However, it’s definitely more difficult to interact with your birth attendants and especially with the baby right after birth.

Kopa Birth’s online childbirth classes allow you to prepare for a natural childbirth from the comfort of your own home, 24/7. Enroll today in our free online childbirth class to learn more about preparing for a natural hospital birth.

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Meet Katie Griffin

I’m a registered nurse, Lamaze certified childbirth educator, and the mother of 7. I help women realize their dream of a natural, intimate, and empowering hospital birth.

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Today I’m going to share the details of Baby #4’s birth — a hands and knees delivery with a hospital midwife.  I’d been teaching natural childbirth classes for almost 3 years