This is the story of a birth.


You know life is good when the days sort of blend one in to another in a blur of baby bliss–those toes & fingers & cheeks, the middle of the night feedings, that new baby smell.  And everything seems to be covered in a glow of newness.

{For those who’ve dealt with post-partum depression & you read this thinking–this lady must be on crack, you have to understand I don’t enjoy pregnancy much at all. In fact, you could say I get a sort of heaviness in spirit, especially towards the end. Depression maybe? But as soon as the baby comes out of me, the birds are a chirpin’, rainbows, puppies, & sunshine everywhere. I feel like a brand new woman.}

As I mentioned in this post, I had my reservations about going natural this time around. Particularly in light of the fact I was to be induced (because of my gestational diabetes). It weighed on my mind the week I knew I was to be induced. Knowing the pain, knowing it would be more acute because of an induction, & questioning my reasoning for going pain-med free. I’d done it four times after all, what’s the big deal.

I’ll tell you what’s the big deal. Each time it has been hard, & this time I knew it would be harder because of the induction.

Here’s how it went down.

We arrived at the hospital sometime mid-day. The labor & delivery unit of the hospital was packed to the brim.

“We haven’t had this many births in who knows when,” nurse after nurse told us.

I was hooked up to blood pressure monitor, baby monitor, possibly other monitors, I’m not sure. There was a lot of monitoring going on, questions being asked, doctors & nurses coming in & out.

Sometime around mid-afternoon a foley bulb was inserted. I came to the hospital at a 2 (dilation), so the foley bulb was going to get things going before they put me on pitocin. It’s like a tampon that is filled with water and expands, putting pressure on the cervix which causes contractions and softens the cervix. For the first hour or so, it was no big deal, but as time wore on, the contractions grew more uncomfortable.

Joseph went out to grab some food (for him, not me, much to my chagrin).

During the hour or so he was gone, the contractions grew more intense & the foley bulb was beginning to get on my nerves. I just really wanted them to get it out of me (think super sized tampon–not something you want inside of you for very long).

When Joseph came back he was surprised to find me, laying very still, eyes closed, not moving or talking. This is how I get towards end of labor when things get intense. Though, at this point I wasn’t at the end of labor, but rather, at the beginning. The nurse came in sometime around 5:00 & removed the foley bulb. I was now at a 4, but as soon as she removed it, the contractions pretty much stopped. The plan was to put me on pitocin & start up the contractions again.

But they weren’t ready to do that.

They were undermanned, overbooked & I wasn’t on the urgent/priority list. So we waited. We watched re-runs of Seinfield. 7 o’clock rolled around. Then 8 o’clock. Nurses kept coming in, reassuring us that they would get to me as soon as they could, but they never gave me anything concrete.

9 o’clock hit & that’s when I’d had enough of the run around. I hadn’t eaten since 11 that morning. Tired, hungry (hangry?), & feeling like I was being shuffled from nurse to nurse & not given any straight answers, I got up the nerve to be bold with the nurses and demand to know what was going on.

A few nurses & a doctor came in to explain that they had several emergency c-sections & they were doing the best they could. I just wanted to know what was going on, & what was going to happen to me. It was frustrating, not knowing.


An epidural seemed to be inevitable. I was tired, (really) hungry, & couldn’t fathom being in labor through the night, while on pitocin.

I spoke with several anesthesiologists. I asked a lot of questions. What are the risks? What are the benefits? How might it affect the baby? How does it work exactly? How much pain will I feel? How will it help my labor? How could it cause possible complications? After my questions were satisfied, I decided, what the heck, let’s go for it. (My biggest concern was that it was going to negatively affect the baby, but I was told by three different anesthesiologists that the pain med only numbs a portion of my spinal column & doesn’t enter my bloodstream, or the baby’s.)

I should mention this was at a military hospital. The largest in-patient military hospital in the U.S. One of the awesome things about being in the military is medical care is covered. 100%. Meaning, no co-pays, no deductibles. No bills. It’s awesome.

What’s not awesome however, is feeling like you’re a product on an assembly line being shuffled from nurse to nurse, doctor to doctor. There were many times during my stay where I just felt like shouting at the top of my lungs–“wait a second, who’s in charge here?!” Because it seemed that no one, and everyone was in charge, all at the same time, and it was confusing.

That aside, all but one medical professional, were absolutely helpful, competent, & understanding.

At 11 pm, a very nice & thorough anesthesiologist came in & prepped me for receiving the epidural. They wanted to give me the epidural before they broke my water & started me on pitocin.  I was surprised at how simple the process was–I never saw a needle & the injection felt like the faintest of bee stings on the middle of my back. Once they made the injection, they inserted a very thin tube (looked like fishing line), which delivered the pain meds to the specific area in my spine that is responsible for me feeling pain in the abdomen & pelvis.

The doctor had asked me how much pain I wanted to feel. I was like: “Are you kidding me? If I’m getting an epidural, I’d rather not feel anything. If I’m getting it, I’m going all the way, thank you.”  He followed orders, because once the epidural kicked in, I didn’t feel a thing. Nothing. It was a bit surreal.

At midnight, once they were sure my epidural was “working,” they broke my water. Usually when this happens (ie. in my 4 previous natural births), I move into an extremely painful portion of labor. Meaning transition, then pushing, is just around the corner. It was a bit odd because I was only at a 5 when they broke my water. Let me just say again–I didn’t feel anything. I felt like someone had given my legs a shot of Novocaine. I could move my feet & toes, but my legs felt very heavy.

I think prior to this, I would have been scared to not feel anything, but at this point, I was relishing the fact. I was able to drift in & out of sleep. Though I was scared to actually fall asleep. After all, how would I know when it was time to push if I was asleep and I didn’t feel any pain? The thought kept me a bit on edge. They put me on pitocin around 1:30. Sometime around 3 am, after falling in and out of sleep, my eyes shot open. I knew something was different. I didn’t know what exactly, but I called the nurse (who by the way, was such a lovely, helpful, & kind woman). She checked me.

“It’s time to push, lady. Get ready.”

Really? It was time to push? Now this was exciting. I couldn’t believe it.

Prior experience had taught me the only way I knew it was time to push was when I was on death’s door, all the pain and pressure in the world bearing down on my lower lady parts. But not this time around. I didn’t feel anything but excitement–I would soon meet the newest member of our family. It was just around the corner. And I was not in any pain. At all.

The doctor was called and within a few pushes Tyndale was born a little after 3 am, January 11. Alert, healthy, fully intact with all the appropriate appendages, finger, & toes.

He was handsome, beautiful. I know, most newborns come out all goopy, with scrawny limbs & a puffy face. More alien-like than child-like. But when it’s your child, your creation, he is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.

I nursed him right away, & the medical staff encouraged Joseph & I to spend lots of time holding him before they took him away to measure & clean him.

A few hours later I was able to get out of bed and use the bathroom. By mid-morning I had full feeling back in my legs. The after-birth uterine cramps weren’t as bad as previous times, I think partly because of the epidural & partly because I was given a good dose of Motrine.

Was the epidural worth it? Yes, oh yes. Did I have any negative side effects? Not that I know of. My recovery was quick (no tears, no soreness)–I was released the next day (Sunday). Would I have an epidural again? Yes, yes, YES.

I don’t know what more to add, only that this birth was a gift. I enjoyed myself, everything went smoothly (despite all the waiting), & in the end, we got our healthy baby boy.

Life is good.

So good.



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  2. Gena
    on February 15, 2014 at 7:28 am said:

    Belated, and delighted, and joyous congrats to you, my very good friend. <3

  3. Alanna
    on February 4, 2014 at 5:57 pm said:


    I love that you write this from the perspective of 4 prior unmedicated births. This issue can be so polarized. I wish I could have read this years ago after my first. I felt shame for a long time after complications in our planned-natural birth lead to an epidural.

    I love your account. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Valerie
    on February 1, 2014 at 8:57 pm said:

    Congratulations! He is so gorgeous! I wanted to do an all natural birth for my son, but ended up needing a C-section since he was breech. Just goes to show you– make plans and God laughs. I really liked reading your perspective on med vs. med-free. Thank you! 🙂

  5. Heather @ The Caterpillar Years
    on January 30, 2014 at 11:52 pm said:

    Your birth story is BEAUTIFUL!!! Oh my goodness, how refreshing to read about someone who is so at peace and confident and HAPPY in how her birth went!! Ugh, so many stories are full of regret and defensiveness… Your writing is beautiful and I LOVE your story! Thank you so much for sharing and congratulations on that beautiful baby!!!

    • Janae Wise
      on February 3, 2014 at 9:38 am said:

      Hi Heather! Thank you. I think any delivery that results in a healthy happy baby ought to be considered a great blessing & success, no matter the nitty gritty details. I suppose I feel this way because after 9 long months of pregnancy, having the baby is such an awesome “pay day” so to speak. Thank you so much for your kind words. ox

  6. Alisa
    on January 30, 2014 at 11:33 pm said:

    Super interesting. And congratulations! I am preparing for my 4th natural birth and this makes me want to consider an epidural. But so many questions run through my mind. What if it doesn’t work? What if I get a spinal headache? What if I feel like I’m missing out? What if my labor stalls and they have to do a C section? With natural, I already know what to expect. That being said, I labored for 24 hours with my third kid, and was exhausted when it was time to push (thankfully, she came out after only 6 minutes of pushing). If it looks like that will happen again, I might consider the epidural so I can get some rest. Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Janae Wise
      on February 3, 2014 at 9:45 am said:

      I would say, there’s always going to be a certain level of uncertainty, no matter what you do. I’d weigh the opportunity costs of both decisions & make my decision based on a combination of those considerations, your intuition, the circumstances in which you go into labor, & your health. If you have a good anesthesiologist, chances of it working are really great. In regards to the spinal headache, I don’t think that is a common side effect, though it could happen. Again, consider the opportunity costs…with an epidural you’re taking on a small risk you may get a spinal headache after, but you’re nearly guaranteed some awesome pain relief that will enable you to enjoy the birthing process & have the energy at the end. Just some things to think about. Either way, best of luck!

    • April
      on March 13, 2014 at 1:20 pm said:

      Alisa-I had my 3rd child in a hospital. My only hospital birth and she was induced. I was terrified of the pain and considered an epidural despite having 2 amazing non-medicated births. I prayed nearly non stop for 24 hrs before asking what to do-medicated or not? I asked for a clear answer. I decided I’d do an epidural As I held the sheet in my hand that I needed to sign, I saw the list of risks. It was so clear to me. I knew the risk of non medicated was unequivocally zero. Absolutely nothing would happen to my daughter if I had her naturally. Even if something went wrong, they could knock me out and have her out of me in 60-90 seconds flat. But the list of risks to have an epidural was a page long and some of those risks would be life long (like life long spinal headaches). It was so clear and obvious that trading a few hours of pain for a chance at lifelong pain and complications was not worth it. I had her naturally. 8 hrs of induction and exactly 4 minutes of pain. Amazing God was so good to direct me in the right path.

  7. Kathleen
    on January 30, 2014 at 4:01 pm said:

    Gosh those pictures are just gorgeous. The diaper and his tiny legs. I can’t get enough.
    Thanks for sharing your birth story. To be honest, I was very surprised at how it all turned out! I had an epidural after 38 hours of labor when I was told I had developed preeclampsia and needed pitocin to try and get my daughter out quickly. My husband and I had prepared for a natural birth but I told him that if pitocin entered the picture, all bets were off. At hour 43 my blood pressure was so high and my platelets were so low that my midwife made the call for a Csection. Ultimately, I’m so happy to have a healthy baby no matter how she arrived. I only wish I’d had the epidural sooner!
    I so relate to that after birth euphoria. I too had a tough time with pregnancy but those first few months after my daughter was born, I was on cloud nine. I never expected that!
    Hoping your recovery is going well!

  8. babette
    on January 30, 2014 at 9:39 am said:

    Thank you for sharing your story. What an adventure… yay for epidurals and healthy babies =)

  9. Etta
    on January 29, 2014 at 9:17 pm said:

    Congratulations! I loved reading about his birth and getting someone’s perspective who has now had natural and epidural births. Sadly all my babes get to come c-section style, no ifs, ands or buts about it..but I love hearing your opinion having both kinds of births. Thanks for sharing:)

  10. Gabby @ the veggie nook
    on January 29, 2014 at 3:29 pm said:

    Oh congrats my dear!!!!

  11. Emma
    on January 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm said:

    Sound like you did wonderfully Janae and I’m just happy that all is well with you and Tyndale. Of course it’s great not having to pay for healthcare but it certainly sounds frustrating having to “wait your turn” when it comes to something as important as giving birth!
    Hope your other kids are being patient and helpful, I’m sure they are 🙂

  12. Katy
    on January 29, 2014 at 2:43 pm said:

    Glass your epidural went well. With my pregnancy, the pitocin and epidural were horrible. After twelve hours on pitocin the pain was so unbearable I had to have the epidural. But even that didn’t kill the pain. Glad tyndale is here safely!

  13. Lfwfv
    on January 29, 2014 at 1:04 pm said:

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing!!

  14. Jenny
    on January 29, 2014 at 12:43 pm said:

    Congratulations. It sounds like things went quite well. My last birth was the same way, I felt like I was low pregger on the totem pole. I felt like the nurses thought since I wasn’t a “new” mother that I didn’t need them. Once everything got closer to showtime, they were very attentive and helpful of course. He is so precious. Beautiful pictures.

    • Janae Wise
      on January 29, 2014 at 2:32 pm said:

      “I felt like I was low pregger on the totem pole. I felt like the nurses thought since I wasn’t a “new” mother that I didn’t need them.”

      Yes! This was my experience. The nurses, I swear would have let me go home on Saturday if they could have. They were absolutely convinced that since it was my 5th birth I couldn’t possibly need any help & I was good to go (this was their attitude before AND after the birth). They also could not believe that I had never gotten an epidural before.

      Thanks for your kind words!


  15. Lisa C.
    on January 29, 2014 at 12:34 pm said:

    Yay! What a beautiful birth story.

    I’m a Lamaze instructor. I had 1 epidural birth and 3 natural births. If we were to have a 5th, I have contemplated an epidural. We’ll see if I ever need to even think about it (I’m 38) but it’s good to know I am not the only one with those thoughts. 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on January 29, 2014 at 2:29 pm said:

      “If we were to have a 5th, I have contemplated an epidural.”

      Absolutely no shame in getting an epidural! I think prior to this experience, I was of the mindset that if I got an epidural, I was somehow cheating or wimpy. Not that I thought that about other woman, just crazy high (& unfounded) expectations for myself, based on mostly nonsense.

      Either way, the health (physical, emotional) of mother & baby is the most important thing. After having had such a positive experience this time around, I really doubt I’m going to go pain-med free next time around.

  16. Jenny Ramsey
    on January 29, 2014 at 12:02 pm said:

    I am SO glad you had a good experience. You described pretty much exactly how I have felt with my good epidurals. It didn’t diminish anything, only enhanced it because I could focus on being excited instead of trying not to die. He’s so gorgeous. Good work mama. 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on January 29, 2014 at 2:37 pm said:

      “It didn’t diminish anything, only enhanced it because I could focus on being excited instead of trying not to die.”

      Ab-so-freakin-lutely. The doctor joked that I was now going to be what he dubed an “epidural junkie.” It’s like I stumbled upon this awesome thing that most women have known about for ages, & I finally experienced it for myself. (Kinda kicking myself it took me so long to take advantage of the epidural–though I am grateful to have had relatively “easy” & healthy natural births, despite some intense pain towards the end.)