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March 15, 2023

194 | Bébé Miller Birth Story Part 2

We ended part 1 as we arrived to the hospital in active labor, and my utter misconception of what that would look like. If you missed it please be sure to listen to 193 before tuning into this episode. If you don’t, I’ll just make clear again that this is MY STORY and no one elses. Please refrain from making it any more or less than it is.

With that, let’s continue!


In triage we discovered baby was posterior and his head was tilted. This was one of my greatest fears, if not my greatest fear. I knew that posterior babies often lead to back labor and that was something that I didn’t think I could handle in an unmedicated setting.

For context, my baby had been in perfect LOA position for five weeks leading up to labor. I had been feeling contractions in my sacrum and having pressure in my rectum. But I wasn’t having low back pain like people talked about. So I was grateful to keep progressing as is.

Once we knew his position, the objective was to get baby in a better position, and to drop lower because he was having a hard time entering the pelvis. We did a check when I got into the room and I was at 5 1/2 cm but the baby was still at a -3 or two meaning had barely entered the pelvis. And I was 90% effaced. Aka solid dilation and cervix nearly completely thinned but baby had not dropped.

The staff was AMAZING. We did inversions, side lying hip release (my right side was SO TIGHT my leg almost didn’t drop at ALL when I let my right leg relax – pulling babes head in that direction), forward leaning hip circles, hip and belly releases/vibrations, prone and supine positions. One of the nurses said she’d never seen such an active labor in all her years of nursing. The level of activity was also noted in my chart summary – which I had to read through to get this timeline straight in preparation for this podcast. Because in labor, time is a BLUR.

During contractions I’d tuck my hips underneath me, lifting the belly. This felt HORRIBLY uncomfortable. Not painful but so uncomfortable.

Contractions began to feel much more anterior vs sacral/back. WINNING.

I and the medical staff thought for sure we were going to meet bebe boy on 11/22/22 – we even talked about how cool of a birthday it would be…but he had other plans.

I labored HARD from 5pm – 10:00pm to gain 1.5cm (5 or 6 to 7-8cm).

When I hit 7cm, there was a shift in my demeanor and mindset needs. I put in my Christian hypnobirthing sound tracks and let labor take over. I went with my body. And it was one of the most intense spiritual experiences I imagine exists…for the next three to four hours.

During this time, I was in nearly every labor position you can think of. Rocking on all fours, diagonal lunges, deep squats, birthing ball and peanut ball both used, leaning forward on the back of the toilet.

Again, it was the most primal thing I’ve ever done. The sounds, the swaying, the breathing, the relying on wisdom of other women who have gone before me.

  • Another fear I found around labor in prepping for it was the fear of just how vulnerable I would be and feel if I went all in. And being okay with that. Being okay with whatever sounds, movements, thoughts, needs came up. That might sound silly but for someone as unemotional and analytical as I am, it was a big deal.

I waited to get into the tub until I absolutely needed it. And it was AMAZING. I even fell asleep between contractions at one point. If you’re planning to give birth unmedicated, USE A TUB. I would have been in it the whole time but it’s a small tub, not a birthing pool.

The pressure began to be in my rectum again, and I was feeling “pushy” + having a hard time not baring down.

Contractions were stacking on one another but not long enough for how far along I was.  There was little rest between (signs of transition and being further along in labor than I actually was). By all signs, I was positive I was in transition and close to pushing this baby out. So was the staff.

We did a cervical check and it showed a lot of swelling due to me bearing down, feeling “pushy” (essentially on the outside I was behaving, moaning and moving like I was nearing pushing, yet no progress had been made). I had lost nearly all amniotic fluid, but was still at a 7-8 and baby had barely dropped down, while also turning back to posterior with an asynclitic tilt. 

Internal contraction monitoring showed that my contractions were not strong enough to move baby down – I actually really enjoyed seeing this data on the screen. (In addition to the fact that baby just indeed, was not moving down).

1am I had been at 7-8cm for three to four hours with no progress and lots of laboring (it was magical and the hardest thing I’ve ever done). My sister was a freaking Godsend as my doula, I felt supported by all staff and family. It was like I said, fun. So intense. But enjoyable at the same time.

At this point, they needed the contractions to be stronger in order to move baby down. The contractions were stacking on one another, not allowing me to rest between, and they weren’t strong enough with that.

That’s when Pitocin, and then likely some level of pain management via an epidural entered the conversation.

They knew my birthing plan, and had been unbelievably supportive. They said that I could keep laboring, and simply shared that they were concerned about the swelling from bearing down too early and the lack of strength behind the contractions over the last 3 hours.

All totally understandable. I had not at all been rushed or felt rushed in my process.

I candidly said I can’t stop bearing down. It was just happening. The staff was not pushy at all, no pun intended. They were rooting for me, and just gave me the options. They’d seen how hard I had been working for the last 8 1/2 hours. THEY SAW THE OPTIONS I’D EXPLORED, and were there to provide alternatives.

I know the standards for labor stalls, because of the courses that I took, and I had already had two of them essentially which they let me labor through.

Fact was, I was at 7/8 and bebe was still at a zero, but I felt like he was at a +2 at least. This is going to be TMI, but I had said to the nurse when we were in the bathroom that I literally felt my vagina opening like the head was nearing the outlet of the pelvis. I felt like I had made so much progress in those three hours, but according to the numbers I hadn’t. Which is hard to really believe so who knows if some other progress was actually being made, but when I looked at the facts and the numbers they were undeniable.

My sister, Nathanael, myself, and the staff decided on the Pitocin and epidural at this point. I felt that I had tried all the things I wanted to try, and enjoy the natural experience that I was looking for. With the contractions piling on one another and them not being strong enough to move baby down, and me uncontrollably bearing down at the end of each surge, I felt we needed a different approach.

  • This is where, of course, questions come in – if I waited 1 more hour would he have just shot out? If I would have tried “x position again” would he have dropped? But we can’t play that game. What was most important to me was that I felt I had autonomy, freedom, and was calm in my decision making. And all of those things were true.


You guys, when I tell you, that epidurals are actually magic, I’m not over exaggerating. I wanted to feel all the sensations of birth, so an epidural didn’t make sense for me. I also wanted all of the benefits for Baby and myself of a natural birthing process but oh my goodness, if you do not want to feel pain and are not concerned with potential benefits of a natural birth, then, by all means, get yourself an epidural.

After the epidural, I got to 9cm within like 20 minutes of resting, and he’d dropped to a +2 from 7-8cm and -2 to 0. It was clear that I needed to relax more than I was.

  • I could see that the Pitocin was making my contractions stronger via the monitor. It was interesting to see in my opinion. And the staff let me know that the epidural would take based on gravity. So if I was laying on one side, it was only going to take on that side so they had me gently roll back-and-forth to be sure that it took evenly. I had heard horror stories of epidurals from many women. And I felt very informed, and well lead in my personal experience. It was fascinating.

I had HELLA amniotic fluid and had lost nearly all of it before getting the epidural. And It was FULL of meconium. Baby boys’ bowels had been doing work inside the womb (as did I inside my mom). This was another concern that they had just general risk of infection with the amount of meconium.

At 4am I was checked again, and was nearly at a 10, but had an anterior lip. With my swelling they didn’t want to manually push the lip back (or do anything for that matter). So we did some inversions, side lying peanut ball work, and shaking/vibration (I didn’t realize you could move this much with an epidural! I legitimately thought you were like paralyzed from the waist down. Such a cool experience as well).

  • This was one of my mistakes. I considered my birthing plan for an unmedicated, vaginal birth, pain management, outside of an epidural, and a path for C-section. But I did not consider an epidural vaginal birth. Which at this point is exactly where I was.

5:15am I hit 10cm and began pushing immediately.

Pushed for an hour with no progress in descent.

All the prep work I had done for pushing was based on an unmedicated birth. It was contingent on allowing the fetal ejection reflex to take place, and honestly relaxing my entire body while allowing the uterus to push the baby out. That doesn’t really work with an epidural because you can’t feel the fetal ejection reflex. Or that was my experience anyway. They did, however, allow me to attempt different, pushing positions that I wanted mainly from my side to due to the epidural, but I actually felt more comfortable on my back slightly elevated.

Babies heart rate was decelerating and the options were keep pushing, cause even more swelling, and likely need forceps or an episiotomy with a 3/4 tear. Or emergency C section.

As you all know, forceps, a vacuum, and an episiotomy were an absolute no for me. These were a situation I’d planned for in possible routes my labor could take. So when they mentioned the C-section, I was all in. I knew that’s what I wanted if bebe boy wasn’t coming out via me pushing vaginally.

  • I want to point out the downside of an epidural and why I originally didn’t want one – because you can’t feel, you can’t “go with your body” and you’re deeply disconnected from a massive physiological process that is taking place. So I do wish I would have done more research one pushing with an epidural and how to be the most successful with that.


6:15am We went with the c section to get our baby boy out of distress and to not risk further injury to me.

I puked on the operating table and had uncontrollable shakes – my traps and jaw were cramping. I also had the shakes with the epidural. It was a very strange sensation and one I was not prepared for.

Because I’d mapped out the possibility of a c section, I knew I wanted to request Nate be with me, that he could take photos, that I still had delayed cord clamping, and baby came to my chest immediately before pumping his lungs (which needed to happen due to so much meconium). And we got just that. It was invigorating, fascinating, miraculous and beautiful. Truly it was an amazing experience all around.

Every decision was made with autonomy, options and support.

Through my process I came to loathe the phrase “healthy mom, healthy baby” – because it’s so often used as a mask of decisions made for the convenience of providers vs what’s actually best for mom and baby.

But at the end of the day, that’s what I got and I am so grateful we were at the hospital. Three birth experiences in one.

LOL to his head being a cone from me pushing and then them having to shove him back through the birth canal.
Annie Miller birth story part 2 c section
Annie Miller birth story part 2
Birth of the placenta

At 6:43am on Nov 23, 2022, we met our first mini Miller – bebe boy.

You can call it what you want – a justification for actions taken. I think I’d be lying if I didn’t say that his size made me feel a bit better about the route our labor took. I was pleased to see that he was a freaking behemoth with a massive dome. It felt, to me, like a moment of “ah that makes sense.”

He’s freaking adorable, he came in his own time and we love him to pieces.

If you have babies, are with child, have a birth story you hate, are terrified of birth or on the fence, I hope my story brought you SOMETHING. 

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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