Kramer Rae Knierim | 3/3/21

I truly couldn’t wait to write this story. Mostly, because I want to remember every little detail of the magical journeys that bring my kiddos into the world but also because so many of you have shared how much you love hearing a good birth story too! I hope you enjoy. As always, I am an open book on my experiences and always happy to share what worked for me / what didn’t work for me. I am very passionate about birth education and knowing that you are in control – no one else – even in medical situations. We didn’t want a home birth but we wanted a birth where we felt empowered – and we got exactly that! HUGE thank you to my midwife (Lori Maybrier) and the entire staff at WCH for such a great (quick) experience. We truly loved every minute!!! Before the story, here's some photos of my sweet little gir - Kramer Rae Knierim

To begin, I would like to note that while my pregnancies have been fairly “easy” and my deliveries in line with my birth plans, it does not mean that they are any “better” than any other birth or entry into the world. Each pregnancy and birth is truly incredible and the only important detail is a safe experience for mom and baby. I would also note that I work really hard for my body to have pregnancies and deliveries that are unmedicated and have spent a great deal of time researching and preparing each time around. Again, always happy to share the tips and tricks that worked for me or any resources I used! If you’re on the fence about an unmedicated delivery, know that you CAN totally do it with the right amount of preparation and education!

If you’ve read Knox’s birth story, you know that he came early at 36w4d with a very swift first-time delivery. I wanted a vaginal, unmedicated birth with as few interventions as possible and we were fortunate to experience just that. Everyone joked the entire time I was pregnant with Kramer that I would need to be super careful because each labor typically goes faster than the previous. After we passed the 36w4d mark, I started to get antsy. I wanted her here and to be done being pregnant…but also knew she really needed more time and would come when she was ready. She measured really small in the end so we were doing weekly stress tests and biophysical profiles to be sure she was progressing and developing normally (and she was – just super tiny)! I made it to 38w3d before going into labor with her and delivering the most perfect 5lb 6.7oz baby girl – healthy as can be!

So… the story….. Each pregnancy I try to focus on staying healthy and in control of my body – and in the end, this means… regular prenatal massage. I scheduled a massage with a doula that involved acupressure points known to help with natural labor induction. I waited until 38 weeks (Saturday, February 27) knowing that it could take several days to work (or might not at all if she wasn’t ready to arrive). It’s always amazing how relaxed your body feels leaving a massage but nothing quite like a post-prenatal-massage-at-38-weeks-pregnant. Relaxation before and during labor has been so crucial for my body in my labor and delivery experiences. Saturday and Sunday were mostly spent nesting and playing with Knox and enjoying our time with just him. On Monday, I worked at the store and definitely felt different – but nothing too crazy. That night, I had a few intermittent contractions and was up with an upset stomach (often an early sign of labor). I had been having contractions off and on for several days at this point but nothing intense or regular. Tuesday morning I woke up (super tired from little sleep the night before) and definitely felt like it could be the day. But….after several weeks of thinking it “could be the day,” I went ahead and headed into work. My back was aching a bit more than normal and I had already told myself I would only work until I physically felt “off.” I headed out to run a couple errands and head home. I had picked up stuff for the midwives brew but didn’t really know if I wanted to mess with it or not since I knew eventually I would go on my own and really felt great for how pregnant I was. When I got home, I decided I would try it with half the recommended amount of the castor oil since I didn’t want an upset stomach. I text my sister, Madison, an hour later that I didn’t feel anything and we could plan to get our nails done at 10am the next morning (LOL). For some reason, I decided it would be a great time (around 8pm) to pack and repack our bags AND tackle some more baby clothes organization. I sent out a snap to my friends joking that I would start a project like this and my contractions would pick up. Tyler was watching a TV show (last one of the season I might add – go me!) and I was working away folding tiny little clothes when I realized….. I couldn’t remember the last time I didn’t feel a contraction. Realizing that they were a) consistent and b) pretty intense… I called my sister (now 9:41pm) to confirm she was ready to come over and stay with Knox in case anything picked up in the night. She assured me her phone was on loud and she would. Since she lives at home, I went ahead and called my mom to confirm she would also be ready if needed (9:45pm). I had started a contraction count on an app on my phone and 15 minutes later it alerted me that I should definitely head to a hospital (oops). Called my mom back (9:58pm) and asked her to send Madison on up just in case we headed in (wondering if maybe the contractions would stop and I could sleep a bit). Tyler and I waited for Madi to arrive (about 10:15) and began loading up our stuff, cleaning around the house, etc.

Madison to me (10:05pm): About leave and head up there now

Me to Madison (10:05pm): You’re good, don’t rush. I am fine but I am for sure in labor.

Madison to me: Yeah ok lol casual!!

Madison arrived and started following me around timing my contractions for me so I could continue just…..hanging around the house staying busy to keep my mind off the intense contractions. I wanted to be at home as long as possible but also knew my body and eventually her and Tyler suggested it was finally time to head up (around 10:45pm). (Note: I really didn’t want to go up and it be a false alarm so I was making sure they were consistent for long enough before we made any moves). According to Tyler’s badge, we were checked in to the front lobby at 11:19pm. We headed up, got in a triage room and hooked up to monitors (definitely having contractions – this was NOT a drill), and checked (5.5cm dilated). We walked to the low-intervention room and got setup there at about 11:50pm. I got my IV put in, hooked up to monitors, etc and my midwife came in the room. We chatted casually about what I was wanting for my delivery. Since I was in the low-intervention room, I had planned to get in the hot tub (can’t deliver into water but can labor there). They also had a birthing stool but… I just didn’t see myself using that. I had always envisioned giving birth to Knox standing up (and absolutely NOT in a bed) but because of his labor situation, was “forced” to deliver in the bed. I had delivered him so easily there that I had made up my mind that that was what I wanted to do again. My midwife was so calm and reminded me that, “my body will know when it’s time and will make the decision for me on where I would want to deliver.” LOL. WELL….

At this point it is after midnight, I knew I was in active labor, but my contractions had changed. I was feeling them consistently for about a minute but they had almost (don’t kill me) slowed down? I really thought it meant labor was stalling since the time during triage and getting into the actual delivery room were mostly spent hooked up to monitors in bed (and not moving like I like to do). I got on a ball and started bouncing when one of my nurse friends came in to chat and see how I was doing. I had two pretty long, strong contractions but then a five minute break (if not more) between them. She could see it on the screen and we kinda laughed about it but I continued bouncing and eating my granola bar (I hadn’t eaten in a LONG time at this point). She headed out (around 12:45am at this point) and Tyler and I worked through two more pretty long contractions. Truly, he is the BEST labor & delivery partner out there!!! I told him I needed to pee pretty bad so he wheeled my IV over (I was getting fluids only because of her heart rate dipping periodically) to the restroom for me. When I got there, I thought I might have to go #2 so I told him to go back to our main part of the room and I would yell when I needed him. Do you know where this is going?? I’ve had a child before….and I knew what it felt like immediately before I needed to push with him. I sit down and suddenly it feels just like that. Wait, what??? I was just fine? I just walked here and was FINE. NOTHING had made me feel like I shouldn’t walk to the bathroom at that point. There’s no way. So, I do what any sane person would do and… I reach down. HOLY. MOLY. Yep, that is a head there.

I yelled for Tyler to call for our nurse as she walked in (noticing I had been off my monitors for a while). She asked if I was okay and I really calmly said, “no, I think I need to push right now.” I’m pretty sure we were equally caught off guard considering she had just been in the room and I was sitting up and talking on the ball laughing. She called for all hands and a SWAT team of (amazing) nurses swooped in. My midwife arrived just in time….for Kramer Rae to simply join the world. No pushing. No pain. Just the most beautiful thing I ever could imagine…..entering the world while her mom sat on the toilet (1:09am).

What. A. Story.

I still can’t believe it even as I type it up. Tyler knew that the nurses were coming so he cleared our room (fully expecting me to get to a bed to deliver her). He stayed back and out of their way but one of them grabbed him in time for him to enter the bathroom as I pulled the sweetest little bundle to my chest. She and I made it back to our bed (will spare the details of that walk) and we soaked in a post-birth high like no other. The magical moment of meeting your child for the first time is like no other – but meeting your child for the first time on a toilet….now that is something special!