My Birth Story: The Birth of Fern Winter

Before I blog Fern’s birth story, I wanted to include a disclaimer:I had an all-natural birth and I thought it was awesome.  BUT…I know that a lot of people (for one reason or another) do not choose the route that I took and I want to say that I completely respect that and I don’t judge.  Just because I think natural-birth is great, doesn’t mean that it’s for everyone.  End disclaimer and on with the story.It all started in the early hours of Sunday, January 15th…The day before, my husband Craig and I had gone to our birthing class (just in the nick of time!) and afterward I wanted to go on a date.  Craig was tired and wanted to go home and I got super emotional, saying that it might be “the last date we get to go on before Fern is born”, so we compromised and he took me out for a milkshake later that evening.  When we got home we watched some TV and went to bed.Around 2:00 a.m. my contractions started.  I’d been feeling a little bit “crampy” the day before, but didn’t really think anything of it, since it wasn’t painful.  I had wondered before how I’d know if I was actually having contractions, but when they actually started I just knew.  I laid in bed for about an hour timing my contractions on the iPhone app I’d downloaded for the occasion.  The contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, lasting for one minute, which is when my midwife had told me was the time to head down to the birthing center.  Could this be the real thing?  I had fully prepared myself to be laboring for a long while – days even, since everyone says that first babies tend to take awhile (20 hours on average), but this seemed so fast!  I sent a text to my midwife to let her know what was going on and she texted me back saying that I should go back to sleep and call her in the morning to see how things were progressing.  Was she serious??  I tried to sleep for another half an hour, but by that time the contractions has intensified, so Craig got up with me and we started watching a basketball game he’d DVR’d.  After about a half hour of that, I decided that this must be the real thing and called my midwife.  She heard me have a contraction while we were on the phone and decided that I probably was in active labor and to wait an hour so they could get my room set up and then head down to the birthing center.

During this time we ran around the house collecting all of the things we’d need to take with us.  The ironic thing is that I actually ended up forgetting the diaper bag with all of Fern’s clothes/diapers/blankets, but did remember to put in pearl earrings.  Craig laughed at me for this, since I did it right in the middle of a contraction, but hey – a girl wants to feel pretty while she’s giving birth!

I was starting to get a little bit frantic during my contractions and had a hard time staying calm, but once we got to the birthing center I felt much more relaxed.  It was like a breath of fresh air, a realization that I was ok now because this is where you have a baby….not on your couch while watching a Blazer game.  We arrived at the birthing center around 6:00 a.m. and I labored in various positions for the next six hours – in the birthing tub, on the birthing stool, standing up while leaning on Craig and even on the toilet (I know it sounds weird, but it was actually kind of perfect).  I tried getting in the bed once, but that was short lived.  It was pretty much the most uncomfortable thing ever and I said that there was no way I was ever getting back in that bed again…and I didn’t.  Whatever position I was in though, I quickly learned that I liked to labor in complete silence (so much for that birth mix I agonized over)…eyes closed with focused breathing.  I didn’t want anyone talking, but I did want Craig to be right there by my side, which he was very diligent about.

Around noon, I started feeling a little defeated.  My contractions didn’t seem to be getting any closer together – they were still 3-5 minutes apart.  (*Side note – and this is something I didn’t realize before:  the time in between contractions is amazing.  I had read before that I would get “rests” in between contractions, but I figured that it would be kind of like when you stub your toe…after a bit, the immediate pain goes away, but there’s still the slight throbbing of where the pain occurred, but no.  The resting time in between contractions is AMAZING.  In between contractions I felt totally fine…like…as in…the “I can’t possibly be in labor, I’m falling asleep right now” kind of fine).  At the birthing center they don’t do cervical checks unless you specifically ask for them, because the way they see it – it doesn’t really matter how far dilated you are – you’ll have a baby at some point regardless.  But at this point I felt like I needed to have at least a ballpark guess of how much progress I was making, so I asked my midwife to check me, but told her not to tell me a number, just let me know whether I was making progress.  A quick check confirmed that I was almost completely dilated!

Yay!  Now, comes the easy part right?  Everyone always talks about how great the pushing part of labor is, so this should be awesome!  Ummmm…not so much.  The pushing was by far the hardest part for me.  I pushed for about three long, hard hours.  After the first hour, since I wasn’t making much progress, my midwife suggested a bit of directed pushing, which while uncomfortable was incredibly helpful.  Sometime around hour #2 of pushing I started to feel a bit defeated and started questioning my ability to have this baby naturally.  This came out in my laboring.  Before this there was some low (but definitely loud) moaning happening, but by this point there were most assuredly some tears and yelling…screaming even.  I kept saying “I don’t think I can do this!”, to which my midwife replied, “Yes.  You can.  You’re doing it right now.”  Touche.  At one point the tears were flowing and she looked at me and sternly said, “You need to look at me.  Stop crying and focus all of this energy on pushing your baby out.  Crying isn’t going to help you have a baby.”  True story.

So I kept pushing.  Pretty soon, I was close and my midwife said she could see the baby’s head.  She asked if I wanted to see it in the mirror.  “NO!!!” I shouted emphatically.  At this point (around 3:00 pm) my water broke.  I was so thankful it didn’t happen earlier since it can help to make labor more comfortable.  Thank you wonderful cushion of amniotic sac!  I was laboring on the birthing stool at this point and they told me that that baby was coming soon and I couldn’t give birth on the stool, so I needed to get into the tub.  At this point I was sort of freaking out and I kept saying I couldn’t make it to the tub (ummm…hello…I have a baby coming out of my vagina and you want me to lift my leg over the side of a giant tub?). They said it was either the tub or hands and knees on the floor.  Craig had to give me a pep talk and then he and my midwives helped me into the tub.  One of my midwives was telling Craig he had time to go change and get into the tub with me, but he declined and it was a good thing too, because literally moments later (at 3:32 p.m.), during my next contraction, Fern was born.  Craig said she “shot out like a torpedo”, which is probably pretty accurate.

As soon as Fern shot out I got that awesome flood of endorphins that I’d read about.  Craig said he’s never seen anyone’s face change so suddenly or dramatically.  He said I looked like I was being tortured one minute and the next minute I looked like I was going to Disneyland – all smiles and bright eyes.  I picked Fern up out of the tub and looked her over and the first thing I said was:

“Wow!  I did that!  That’s bad ass!”

Not the most sentimental first statement after having a baby, but oh-so-true.  I have never in my life felt more empowered than I did at that moment.  I had just birthed a human and I did it without so much as an asprin.  If that’s not bad ass, I don’t know what is.

Fern Winter Hartmann
Born January 15, 2012 @ 3:32 PM
in Portland, OR

…During the first snowfall of the year (*Craig and I got married four years ago during the first snowfall of that year…kind of romantic, no?)…we thought this made her middle name kind of perfect.

After my first reactions, my midwives informed me that the reason I was having such a difficult time with pushing was because Fern came out brow first.  Her head was down, but instead of having her chin tucked down toward her chest and coming out with the back part of her head first (i.e. the smaller part with more malleable plates) she came out with her chin lifted up and her forehead first (i.e. the bigger part with less malleable plates).  I just googled “brow presentation” and this is what I found:

“Most babies who are presenting brow first will need to be born by Caesarean. This is because the diameter (or width) of the baby’s head in this position is much larger than the baby’s crown (i.e. about 13.5 cm compared to 9.5cm). On rare occasions, if the baby is small, and the mother has a ‘roomy’ pelvis with strong contractions, it is possible for the baby to be born vaginally.”

My baby was NOT small (8 lbs 7 oz) and I still did it.  Thank goodness I didn’t know!  The plus side is that my midwives said that the next time I have a baby it should go really quickly and be much easier.  Phew!

Was it hard work?  Yes.  But, was it worth it?  Absolutely.  I would without hesitation do it exactly the same way the next time around.

Also…the birthing center was awesome.  It was like being at a bed & breakfast.  We got to order takeout from a big book of local restaurants, I got a massage, they drew me candlelit baths, did our laundry, cleaned up after us….the list goes on and on.  It was amazing.

This was my post-labor meal of choice:  a giant piece of chocolate cake.

I also loved that it was an environment that set me up for success.  Everyone present believed in birth and in my ability to have a successful birth.  There were no drugs to be offered.  It was a calm and comfortable space and my midwives were amazing.  Everything was kind of perfect.
I know that natural birth is not for everyone, but if I am fully convinced that if I can do it anyone can.  I do not have a high pain tolerance.  I’ve never broken a bone or really had anything notably painful happen to me, so I don’t have a whole lot to compare it to, but I will say that it is totally doable and if you are committed to having a natural birth (of course barring any complications) you CAN do it.
My one suggestion for having a natural birth?
The power of positive thinking.
When you’re pregnant everyone wants to tell you their birthing horror stories.  I quickly learned to cut people off and let them know that I had no illusions that birth wouldn’t be hard work, but that I was up for the challenge and that I believed that I was capable and that I could do it.  I remained positive throughout (even if my words weren’t always in line with my inner worries) because I really do believe that our words are powerful and that the power of suggestion is incredibly strong.  Believe you’ll have a good birth and it’s more likely that you will.  At least, I feel like that’s what helped me.
Oh…and suggestion #2:
Get yourself an awesome birthing partner.  Craig was beyond amazing throughout my entire 12 hour labor.  He massaged my back when I needed it, got in the tub with me during part of it, and literally let me lean on him during contractions.  He was there to offer me sips of water during the resting moments and let’s not even talk about all the things he did for me after I gave birth.  I love that man so incredibly.  There were definitely a lot of less than pretty/humbling moments that went along with giving birth…I even cried at one point about how embarrassing it was that he had to help me with some of these things, but he just looked me in the eye and said, “You have never been sexier than you are right now – and I mean that.  You just gave birth to our baby.”  I couldn’t possibly ask for a more amazing man.
If you have any questions about my birthing experience, I’d love to answer them, so feel free to e-mail me and thanks for reading.
P.S. If you want to listen to my birth story, check out my interview over at The Birth Hour podcast series!


  1. Congratulations! Little Fern is just perfect and it’s so great to hear you’re both healthy and well x

  2. Amazing! You go girl! This story is really inspirational – and your baby girl is beautiful 🙂


  3. Lauren,

    I think this is the best birth story I’ve ever read (…and I’ve read a lot of them, despite the fact that I am – most likely – many years from being in that position myself.) Every ounce of your sparkling womanhood shines through. It’s like you’re an ambassador for natural birth. I have never once considered that a possibility for me (I’m a total wuss) but after reading that – and experiencing maybe like .05% of the emotions you did – I think “hey maybe I can do that!”. I’m so happy for you and Craig, and Baby Fern for being welcome to the world this way!

    Women, Humans, You (!) are so amazing.

    • Sam, I, like you, love reading birth stories, even though I’m not married yet. You’ve got to read an excellent book I just finished called Childbirth Without Fear by Grantly Dick-Read. It will make you even more excited about the possibility of a wonderful natural birth!! Isn’t it awesome that every human being goes through this to come into the world? God is amazing.

  4. this is such an amazing story, Lauren! wow!!! I don’t know how you did it, but you totally rocked it! I love your first words after Fern arrived. Priceless! But really, birthing a little human is pretty bad ass!!

  5. Thanks for sharing, the thought of a natural birth has always scared the hell out of me but the older I get the more the idea appeals.

  6. This is an amazing story. Thank you for sharing!

  7. What a beautiful story! Than you so much for sharing. Love that pic of the chocolate cake at the end! 🙂

  8. I love your disclaimer 😉 Congrats on your little baby fern <3

    • The disclaimer is bull. What’s good for one woman and baby is generally good for any woman and baby. Defaulting to a hospital is ignorant and lazy. Hard to hear, but true.

  9. You’re one “bad ass” woman! Go you! I find natural births completely amazing! And the fact that you acknowledge that you don’t have a high pain tolerance when most say they do and then try the natural way – gives a total new perspective on it.

    I don’t have a midwife and we don’t have a nearby birthing center – only hospitals. Where meds will be pushed from the time I walk in no doubt. I’ve always thought I couldn’t do it without an epidural because my pain tolerance is pathetic but after your story, I think I’m more open to trying to push through as long as possible. I’ve had a super easy pregnancy and some of me thinks that pregnancy just “agrees” with me. Maybe labor will too?

  10. Congratulations on the safe arrival of your beautiful daughter. What a powerful story. I can’t believe you pushed for three hours! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  11. You go girl! I wussed out and got the epidural. Congrats again!!

  12. Thanks for sharing, Lauren.
    I’m so happy you could enjoy the experience 🙂

  13. what a sweet story.
    i did not have any of my children naturally but am so fascinated by those that do.
    maybe in my next life .
    your little blessing was born on my youngest birthday!
    enjoy every little moment!

  14. what a beautiful birth story! so proud of you!! and three hours of pushing? you are a rockstar.

  15. Oh my gosh, Lauren, I’m so proud of you! (Oh jeez, I’m getting emotional over here.) This is seriously an amazing birth story. My mom did natural births for both me and my brother, and I’m so glad she did, it seems like such an expression of love. Also, excellent choice of post-birth meal, that cake looks delicious!

  16. This is such an amazing story! Congratulations on baby Fern!

  17. Congratulations! What an awesome story – totally bad ass, absolutely. I wish a birthing center like that was the standard and norm nationwide and that your experience was the universal U.S. birthing experience.

  18. congratulations on a successful birth! i’m sure it was an amazing experience you’ll forever hold dear to your heart.

    i’d also say that the 15th is a perfect day to have a baby. i had my first baby (also girl) on that day 4 years ago. 🙂

  19. awesome lauren! i’m no where near having kids but i think your story convinced me i can try a natural birth. i’m going to come back and read this if i ever doubt.

  20. Such a great story!! That looks like Claim Jumper cake- yum!! Congrats again!! 🙂

  21. Two of my three kids {both of my boys!} were delivered naturally “sunny-side up”! 🙂 Congrats on your new little blessing!

  22. Congrats to you and little Ms. Fern :] It’s so nice to read a story like yours. I think it would be extremely unrealistic to assume birth is going to be anything but a challenge, but it’s a great challenge and obviously attainable and done every hour of every day. But, like you say, it’s all in how you approach it, your mental state (in my opinion..and yours?) is a HUGE part of it.. I have made the decision to do a natural birth at a birthing center when the time comes mostly for my mental being. I don’t think a sterile, bright, bossy hospital is going to ease me at all. So happy to read your story!!! :]

  23. Congratulations! What a beautiful birth story!! I never would have considered natural birth until I read your story so thanks for sharing!! Now the wheels in my head are turning..! 🙂

  24. YOU are fucking amazing. I totally teared up. I feel completely the same way about my birth although it would have been nice to be at a birth center in those final moments and not in the car! Next time!

    Love you.

  25. A lovely story. Congrats to your family on the special new addition!

  26. I’m years away from even wanting a baby, but you’ve definitely made me want to consider the natural birth route when I do!

  27. Thanks so much for sharing! I am due in 2 days with my first and am planning to birth naturally at home. I totally agree with the idea of positive thinking. My midwife and I did an exercise where we created a birth invitation, choosing “who” to attend the birth: strength, peace, courage, etc, and I think this will help the things I want to be present be there with me.

  28. Thank you so sharing your story! I’ve been looking more and more into natural births and loved hearing your firsthand perspective. You gave me confidence in deciding this is the way I’d like to go for my future pregnancies!

  29. Congrats!! Baby Fern is beautiful and I loved your story of natural birth. I admire your strength! I too am expecting a baby girl in about eight weeks, and am planning on delivering naturally at a birth center. I love reading positive birth stories and I feel reassured that I can do it after reading yours. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Of course you know that I LOVE this, Lauren:-) You did amazing! And seriously, when that baby pops out, it’s the best feeling ever. I felt all warm and light and floaty. Like a dream?! You are such a B.A mama! haha! xoxo

  31. What a wonderful birth story. Your story is incredibly inspiring and motivating. We are not having children quite yet, but I have been thinking that when the time came I want to go au natural. It was nice to hear how pleasant your experience was and your tips about staying positive.

    Congratulations to you, Craig and little Miss Fern!…and thank you for sharing your story. 🙂

  32. Yay Lauren! I actually started writing Pearl’s birth story yesterday. Nothing like waiting almost four months.

  33. yay! i loved reading this! these stories are amazing. congrats again!

  34. Wow… This has to be the most amazing, authentic birth story I have ever read or seen. Congratulations Lauren, you are officially bad-ass, and you have my utmost admiration and respect. I have been petrified at the thought of giving birth for as long as I can remember, but you actually gave me confidence that I could not only do it, but I could do it without drugs. I also never considered a birthing center — I didn’t think I’d feel “safe” outside of a hospital — but you just may have changed my mind on that too. The massage, candle-lit baths and room service have me sold!

  35. A very interesting read! Thank you for sharing your story! I laughed at your comment about getting into the tub whilst Fern was on her way! I think I would have thought the same, although I agree, it would have been a bit more difficult to give birth on a stool! 🙂 I wish to have children myself someday although I’m a little worried about the birthing part as I’m quite a petite build, but, I’m going to take on board what you said; ‘if you believe you will have a good birth its more likely you will’. Congratulations to you all! Glad to hear you are all healthy and well xo

  36. Oh my.. WOMAN!! hats off you all the way! I loved your story! Lord knows when the time comes I would like to have your courage!!

  37. Aww…such a sweet story! Congratulations to your and your little family! 🙂

  38. i am so glad that you shared this! i am so happy for you and craig. little fern is adorable. i love her whole name! i am so proud of you for doing this all natural! i honestly don’t know if i will be able to do it, but reading your story definitely makes me want to look into it for the future! you are bad ass lauren! i love it! i love you!!!

  39. What a wonderful experience you had, Lauren, congratulations! You rock! The birthing center sounds amazing and wonderful! Oh and I love your weekend update photos, she is such a cutie!!

  40. Lauren,

    This is a BEAUTIFUL account of your birth story. I literally was teary by the end. I LOVED hearing about how determined and positive you were throughout the entire experience, how Craig was right there by your side offering his support, and that your midwife was an incredible encouragement right up to the end.

    John and I are SO happy for you and Craig and little Fern. I’m always checking in on your photos of her and we cannot WAIT to meet her in person, hopefully in the near future.

    What a beautiful journey you three are beginning on. I pray that God would help you to slow down and enjoy every little moment you have together because it will go fast. And that you would lean on God and grow in your faith in and awe of Him because of it.

    Love you friend!

    p.s. I love that your first words after birth were, “that was bad ass.” That’s so awesome, and oh-so Lauren : )

  41. That’s so awesome! (I’m such a sap and was tearing up by the end). It’s so neat to have people like you who are so open about your emotions (the fears, defeated-ness, etc.) and still support natural birth! 🙂 (It’s my hope that this is will be our path in the future too!)

  42. Go Lauren Go!! So awesome and congratulations again! What an incredible miracle birth is 🙂

  43. Truly amazing!!! You inspired and inspire me Lauren. I can’t wait till I can call you for advice and Marc can call Craig. We love you guys and can’t wait to meet Fern. This was such a special post and I am honored that you shared it. LOVE YOU!

  44. Great story Lauren ~ I basically had a natural childbirth with 4 of the kids…but with the last two opted for the epedural…mainly because they were so BIG…..Sam, the last, was 10.5 lbs…….everyone’s birth story is different…and every child’s birth is different…that is what makes them so exciting!

  45. Lauren, your story is beautiful and definitely made me tear up. I’m not ready to have a baby yet, but when I do, natural is the only way I want to do it and a birthing center sounds ideal. Knowing that you don’t have a high pain tolerance is reassuring because I’m in the same boat. You story definitely gives me confidence! I do have some questions, but maybe I’ll email them to you 🙂 Congrats again!

  46. Yeah Lauren!!!! You are one BAD ASS ROCKSTAR! Love you tons and your little Fern.

  47. Carol-marie says:

    That is awesome Lauren. I think natural birth is amazing. It takes a lot of strength and will power. Thinking back to 15 years or so ago when we were goofy girls and besties and now here we are both mature grown mommies, Its pretty incredible. Congrats to you and Craig and your beautiful little girl.

  48. Your story is wonderful and exactly what I need to hear. I’m planning on having a natural birth at a birthing center and love that our midwives sound similar to yours. I’ve been trying to maintain a really positive idea that I can (and will) have a natural birth so it’s wonderful to hear that that helped you.
    One question, though, why weren’t you allowed to deliver on the birthing stool? I was under the impression that I could deliver on the one at our birthing center.
    Anyway, you are a wonderful woman & mom for making the decision to have a natural birth for you & Fern. And you & Craig made a seriously cute baby!

  49. Wow, I loved reading your story!! I am a day past my due date and am hoping for a natural birth and reading your story is so encouraging and exciting. Congratulations on your beautiful little girl and the awesome story you have to share with her one day.

  50. Aw Lauren, I’m so, so happy for you!! I literally squealed when I saw that Fern was born and Radley was like, “Wait, who had a baby?” … Sort of awkward to be that emotional over a “blog friend” giving birth, but hey, the Sam connection makes it semi real-life, right? 🙂

    Congrats to you and Craig, so happy for you both!!

  51. Wonderful birth story, and very similar to my first born. I love hearing about other peoples labour stories, especially ones focusing on natural, drug free, midwife birth’s. Soooooo wonderful and more people need to see that this is NORMAL! Good job you bad ass Momma! I had two home births after my hospital, drug free, midwife assisted birth. And I would have it no other way.
    Love her name, she is beautiful and big Congrat’s!

  52. You totally are bad ass Momma!
    I love reading this and love you sharing this and letting people know this is NORMAL and exactly how birth should be!!!!
    My first birth was very similar to this and I had to home births after I would not have done it any other way. Being in Canada it is a wonderful option that we can choose to have a midwife and have it covered my medical. Midwives ROCK!
    Love her name and she is just perfect, congrat’s to you and Craig.

  53. thank you so much for sharing your story! truly amazing. I never would have considered natural birth until I read this. and now you’ve got me thinking. that when it happens for us, it could be an option to consider. congrats to you and your hubby. what a beautiful baby and beautiful story.

  54. Oh, my, what a wonderful, inspiring story! I was a big sissy when my children were born, but as you said, natural birth is not for everyone. But, I sure do admire those that can and do. What a story for Fern to read one day.

    Enjoy this precious time and take care of yourself!

  55. Oh, my, what a wonderful, inspiring story! I was a big sissy when my children were born, but as you said, natural birth is not for everyone. But, I sure do admire those that can and do. What a story for Fern to read one day.

    Enjoy this precious time and take care of yourself!

  56. I loved reading your birthing story!!! What a beautiful and honest description. I love that you did it naturally, way to go mama!

  57. I get so excited/happy reading natural birth stories! yours was so sweet and encouraging. congrats on being so bad ass!

  58. What a beautiful story! I became emotional and cried as I was scrolling down. I am so proud of you. You are the lucky girl who has a very supportive man! I definitely want to check out the type of the birth center you used. It sounds very comforting and peaceful. Thank you very much for sharing this wonderful story.

  59. How wonderful. And SO SO SO AMAZING! I love hearing empowering stories of other women pursuing birth naturally. You and your husband should be VERY proud.

    May you all ENJOY this remarkable and magical time; there is really nothing like the first months spent adoring, nurturing, and welcoming a new child.

    – Kate

  60. I haven’t been able to comment for some reason on the other posts but first and foremost: CONGRATULATIONS on the birth and on such an incredible feat. You ARE a badass and a wonderful example of the beauty and wonder of a natural labor. I so appreciate you taking the time to share the birthing story and your experience with water births. If hub and I decide to have biological children, I’ve thought about doing a water birth as well. Congrats again and enjoy every second with your lil miss!

  61. Lauren, my beautiful and amazing daughter I am so proud of you! Thanks for sharing your story. I love you so much. Thanks for all the hard work and determination that went into bringing us beautiful Fern. Also, Craig is pretty amazing too. I just praise God that He had His hands protecting you and our wonderful little granddaughter. I love you all so much . You truly inspire me and I know with God’s help you are going to be an amazing mama and Craig is going to be an amazing daddy.

  62. You’re a rock star! Thank you so much for your honesty! It’s so refreshing and inspiring. You make childbirth sound like a real experience and not some horrible, scary thing. Fern has one fantastic momma!

  63. Congratulations! I started reading your blog posts over at Babble and look forward to following you over here now too. I’m 28 weeks along and will soon deliver at a birth center myself. I’m so thankful for your words of encouragement and empowerment for women like myself who are about to go through this. Just sent your story to my husband and said… “ok, let’s do this” 🙂 Enjoy your time with the new bebe. She’s beautiful.

  64. Beautiful, beautiful birth story! I hope I can have one similar in about 4 months! I loved that you were truthful and honest, but so inspiring at the same time! Thank you for the motivation that every woman can have a natural childbirth in the right environment and with the right support.

  65. Yay…so amazing Lauren! I was tear free until I read the last part about Craig saying you were sexy…he’s a winner! 🙂 Your experience seems like it really couldn’t have been any better and good thing you didn’t go back to bed and wait to call your midwife in the morning! Mamas truly do know best. I’m super jealous that your next labor will most likely be quick and easy…that’s got to be super comforting! Do you feel like the first pictures of you holding Fern look like a “kid holding a kid”? That’s what I feel like when I look at the first pictures of me holding B. So weird/funny. Also , I want some of that chocolate cake right now!

  66. I also had a beautiful daughter naturally six months ago. The rush you get immediately after the birth is the most incredible thing I have ever experienced. Your comment about how fast your face changed is SO accurate! I was very surprised at how I had no contractions after she was born; it was like my body flipped a switch! Congratulations to you and your family on the birth of Fern! I love the name 🙂

  67. I LOVE birth stories– thanks for sharing!! Loved it.

    Here is a link to mine in case you’re a junkie too : )

  68. Beautiful story. I’ve always wanted to have a natural birth and I’ve read a few horror stories so I am very happy to hear about your great success. I’m not planning on having a baby anytime soon but its nice to read that a regular pain tolerance person like yourself had little trouble.
    The environment that you had your baby in looks amazing. I would choose that over a hospital any day.

    best of luck with your new little girl, shes adorable and you will always have a special bond with her.

  69. That’s one amazing birth story, chica. You are amazing and bad-ass. I don’t think I could ever give birth naturally, but maybe we’ll see. You make it sound like a breeze 🙂

  70. What a beautiful story! And natural birth is amazing. I’ve had two all-natural births, one in the hospital and one at home, and it is seriously the most empowering feeling to have done so. Thank you for sharing such a positive natural birth story!

  71. Boom! Awesome testimony Lauren (and Craig)! Really fascinating and inspiring story. In nursing school we don’t really talk about natural births at all. From now on I will only give birth naturally!

  72. Congratulations!!! This story was truly inspiring, as a mom-to-be who is planning a natural birth, you have given me so much courage and so much faith that I too can do this “bad ass” thing! PS you look beautiful, and I especially love the pearls! 🙂

  73. Congratulations on this tremendous accomplishment and also on the birth of your beautiful daughter! As a mom-to-be who is planning on a natural birth (I’m due in May), I found your birth story truly inspiring! You have given me courage that I too can do this! You really are bad ass! 🙂 And you look absolutely beautiful – especially love the pearl earrings 🙂

  74. Lauren….first, you are amazing! Working in a hospital, labor and delivery setting, I don’t get to be a part of natural childbirth that often. Obviously, whatever way a baby comes into the world is a miraculous blessing, but there is nothing like helping a mamma labor on the floor, in the tub or on the toilet! =)

    Which is by the way where I spent the majority of my labor with my 1st son….on the toilet with complete silence! I even kicked my sister and best friend out of the room for whispering!

    And…as soon as I saw that pic of you and Fern in the tub, I knew she was a brow presentation! Next one will surely shoot out like a torpedo! Hahaha!!!

  75. i have a weak stomach, i have not yet given birth, and i have absolutely ZERO tolerance for pain, so i wasn’t sure i could read through this. but i am glad i did- and i even teared up at the end. congrats, lauren. you are definitely a bad-ass. craig is awesome too.
    i can’t help but wonder what would have happened if there had been complications since you said she was born brow-first. if things were dangerous, would the midwives have taken you to a hospital? or were there doctors around in case? i am SO glad that everything turned out well for you. my sister had seriously (eventually fatal) complications, which i think is why i am so cautious. thank you for sharing your story.

  76. So amazing to read! Congratulations so much. I hope you guys are enjoying that first month or so together 🙂

    thanks (as always) for sharing!

  77. Love this amazing story Lauren. You are bad ass, no doubt 😉 She is absolutely beautiful!

    Love to you all!


  78. What a beautiful birth story. And so inspirational for me. I just found out that I am pregnant a month or so ago and I would love to have my baby naturally. I hope I can find a birthing center as awesome as the one you were at! I’m sure that it will be a wonderful experience either way though. And congratulations on your BEAUTIFUL daughter!

  79. Thank you so much for sharing this- I’m almost 6 month pregnant with my first one and (as probably almost every woman) a bit scared about this whole birth thing. Reading your story was very encouraging!
    And congratulations by the way for this beautiful baby girl – I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and was so excited when Fern finally arrived 🙂

  80. I am always so scared to read birth stories because I fear it will freak me out and not want to have a baby. I believe you once felt this way.

    Your story was interesting to me because all my friends gave birth in a hospital and most had drugs to help them out.

    Props to you for doing it naturally especially since you say you have a low threshold for pain.

  81. Wow lady! Thank you so much for sharing your birth story. I spent the majority of my nursing career in high-risk labor situations and rarely got the opportunity to witness natural uncomplicated births as beautiful as yours. Your story made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and reminded me why I’m passionate about working with families and new babies. You should be so proud of the amazing effort you and your hubby put forth to bring dear sweet Fern into the world. Your story is truly inspiring! Congrats mama!

  82. good for you, that is incredible!! i love how your hubby described your change in emotion once fern was born.. gave me chills!

  83. This story is so beautiful! You really make me want to have my baby in a birthing center some day. I’m so glad that you had a good experience and that they didn’t push you for things you didn’t want, that’s exactly the kind of experience i want…some day.

  84. Anonymous says:

    AMAZING! Thank you for sharing. Congratulations on your baby and your wonderful experience.

    I really agree with you about the power of positive thinking, so, reading about your childbirth has been encouraging for me .

    Danelia, 28 weeks pregnant

  85. I am still trying to figure out HOW I missed Fern’s birth story!!!!

    This was absolutely incredible!!! I honestly cannot wait to have another munchkin just so I can have an experience just like yours!

    I had our little munchkin at a hospital and it was “bad” but it definitely was not the experience I came to realize that I really wanted!

    Thank you so much for your inspiration!!!

  86. This is so, so wonderful. I just read it, and I had to pull myself together to keep from crying. There’s so much love and strength in your new little family 🙂

  87. This is the most beautiful birth story I have ever read.

  88. I had a drug-free midwife-assisted birth (although it was in a hospital, and not in water) about 6 weeks after you. My daughter weighed 8 lb 8 oz…I just find it awesome how similar our stories are.

    It was NOT easy at all but I do think I’ll do it again.

  89. Thanks so much for sharing your birth story! I am due with my first baby in March, and I plan to go all natural at a birth center, as well. So far, a lot of the stories I’ve read have had some element that wasn’t planned and end up freaking me out! But I am determined not to give birth in a hospital! Hearing your story was super encouraging!! Thanks again!

    P.S. Fern is the cutest! I follow you on Instagram, and all of your pictures of her are so adorable!

  90. Thank you for sharing your story! My boyfriend and I have always talked about a natural birth and your story is inspirational, I don’t plan on having a baby anytime in the near future, but I might have to ask you a few questions when it comes time;]!


  91. go, you!! that’s awesome. you pushed that big girl out the hard way. so so cool.

    pop over and check out my birth story if you get a chance — we had a home birth. hard work but worth every every ounce and i can’t wait to do it again.

  92. Thank you for sharing this. I am due any day now and determined to have a natural birth. This goes against the grain for just about EVERYONE I know. It is hard to find support or even talk about it at times (yes, even with family). Sad, but true. Anyway, people like you keep me going. So grateful I came across your blog. 🙂 Thank you again.

  93. I loved reading this. Thanks for sharing.

  94. Ah, I love this! I just found your blog which is why I’m now just commenting on this post:) I just had my 9lb11oz baby at home 4 weeks ago! I love that we can tell our stories and encourage others to think about having a natural birth of their own with their own amazing story.

    • Congrats Jessica! Birth truly is beautiful and I’m so glad you were able to have the beautiful birth you wanted!

  95. Amazing!! This story is more beautiful.Thanks Lauren .

  96. Beautiful birth story. I just happened to stumble across your blog while on Pinterest and I’m glad I did. I’m expecting my first baby (girl) any day now and have a natural birth planned as well. I am super excited for the journey and can’t wait to share my story with other women who are choosing this amazing path. Just a sort of funny side note, my husbands name is also Craig. And I’m Lauren. I instantly found this tid bit of info amusing!

  97. I am currently 6 months pregnant and preparing or the birth of my baby girl. I have to tell you that reading your story made me feel so incredibly empowered that I am actually looking forward to giving birth now. Not that I think it will be easy, but the fact that you acknowledged all of your emotions including feeling defeated and you were still able to push through has helped some of my fears. Thanks for sharing!

  98. Thank you so much for a very good write up!
    I’ll keep on reminding myself that to be positive at all times, but sometimes other people stories and experiences make me think too much, unnecessarily. Anyway, after reading your story I am now eager to embrace the experience.

    Thanks, again!

  99. Thank you for sharing your birth story. It’s so nice to read a positive natural birth story. Such a beautiful read! Brought tears to my eyes.

  100. (Just discovering your blog and I’m a sucker for a good birth story…)

    Amen to all of this! I had a drug-free VBAC with my second daughter and the first thing I said when she came out was “I did it!” With my third, my son, I also had him in a birthing center and I had to deliver him on my hands and knees because I was laboring on the toilet and I felt his head come out!! LOL.

  101. Thank You!!! <3

  102. Very nice pictures and nice story!!


  1. […] My birth story is the most highly trafficked post on this blog. It’s how many readers have found me – likely while they were searching for encouraging birth stories themselves. As such, I’ve wanted to start a birth stories series on this blog for awhile and now that I’m pregnant and will be looking for posts of birth encouragement again myself, I thought it would be the perfect time to start this up. […]

  2. […] ended up having the all-natural birth I had hoped for and a wonderful experience. And this time around we’ve decided to take it a […]

  3. […] a natural birth was one of the proudest accomplishments of my life. I’ve never been what most would consider […]

  4. […] giving birth to my daughter Fern…naturally without so much as an asprin (you can read her birth story here if you’re […]

  5. […] giving birth to my daughter Fern… naturally without so much as an aspirin. (You can read her birth story here if you’re […]

  6. […] so blogging has been a challenge, but aside from that I was still just processing it all. After Fern’s birth I felt strong and empowered and this time I just felt relieved that it was over. It took me awhile […]

  7. […] tiny body and feeling so many emotions all at once. I remember feeling like a total bad ass for just giving birth to you sans drugs, and feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of caring for your tiny human self. I remember worrying […]

  8. […] My Birth Story: The Birth Of Fern Winter – I had fully prepared myself to be laboring for a long while – days even, since everyone says that first babies tend to take awhile (20 hours on average), but this seemed so fast!  I sent a text to my midwife to let her know what was going on and she texted me back saying that I should go back to sleep and call her in the morning to see how things were progressing. […]

  9. […] A Story of Natural Birth – The Little Things We Do, written by Lauren Hartmann […]

  10. […] My Birth Story: The Birth of Fern Winter by Lauren Hartmann of The Little Things We Do […]

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