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It’s All Worth It In The End

I had this vision of how Owen’s birth would go… Most woman who have gone through labor will tell you that birth plans are like dreams: It’s good to have them, but they don’t always work out.

I was looking forward to giving birth in Germany. I heard such great things about the birth experience there. However, no part of my labor went the way I thought it would. I was looking forward to having a midwife instead of a doctor, delayed cord clamping, and being able to labor while not laying down. I wanted to have an all natural water birth with a vaginal delivery, and I even had a birthing shirt I was going to wear. A shirt that 10 months later, still has the tags on it.

The doctor first entered my labor and delivery room only a couple hours after intense contractions (however, this was about 36 hours after contractions had started). Being in Germany, I knew that if a doctor was checking me out, it was because the midwife was concerned about something.

Tip: Think through your options before and during labor. You have a patient liaison that can help if you are not understanding what is happening. You could also look into a doula, which is what we are already planning on doing if we are lucky enough to get pregnant again.

Pain meds affect everyone differently. For me, I couldn’t keep anything down. So, 40 hours after my last meal, the midwife suggested I stand in different positions in order to flip Owen, who apparently was head-down, but in the wrong way. I tried, but I only lasted a couple of contractions standing up.

It was around this time that I started begging for an epidural. My midwife assured me I could get through this without it. Color me confused as to how she could know that. Apparently, my pain threshold is not as high as I was hoping.

By the second time the doctor came in, I knew exactly what their plan was for me. The dreaded C word… a c-section. There went my natural water birth, my delayed cord clamping, my whole birth plan—out the window.

As a last ditch effort to flip Owen, they gave me an epidural. There goes my no-meds plan.

The majority of my labor was spent in an ugly maternity shirt and sweatpants. There goes my Instagram-fueled expectations.

Tip: Know that every woman’s labor is different. And there is no telling beforehand what your experience will be like.

I was able to be in a tub to relax my body after 24 hours of contractions. However, as I was soaking, I could hear another woman in labor—not uber-relaxing.

After 39 hours of having contractions, they wheeled me into the surgery room. By then, I just wanted Owen out.

That being said, I loved having a midwife. She was good at talking me through contractions, especially when they gave me the epidural that I was afraid of. Knowing I was scared, she stayed right in my face. They forced Chris to sit down away from me for the epidural. Believe me, that was a fun one to watch.

Owen was born via c-section about 40 hours after my contractions started. Chris was so awesome! While in the surgery room, he took one peak over the curtain and the rest of the time his eyes were fully on me, reassuring me. Even when they brought Owen around for our first look, Chris’s eyes stayed on me knowing that I was scared.

Tip: After a c-section, once the doctors okay it, get up and walking around. The sooner you start walking, the sooner you will recover.

I loved that Chris got to have the first skin-to-skin contact with our son and that he got some alone time with him. I was busy getting stitched up and sure my arms would fall off from all the shivering. I hear that’s normal.

But want to know the best news? Owen was born happy and healthy. Nothing else mattered.


  • Annie Pearce

    Annie was born and raised outside of Pittsburgh, PA (Go Steelers and Penguins!). More than ten years ago, Annie met her husband Chris in Alexandria, VA, while he was assigned to The Old Guard, before being sent to Fort Bragg, NC. In March 2020, Annie and Chris moved with their 4-month-old son from Hohenfels, Germany, to Fort Drum, NY. They literally flew the day before the travel ban went into effect and got a house during the global pandemic—while NY realtors weren't allowed to show houses. Then two months later, Chris deployed. Any and all tips about surviving a deployment with a baby are more than welcome. Before moving to Drum, Annie owned her own event planning business—Attended. Her passion for events has led her to volunteer for non-profit organizations, including the AMA Triangle and Innovate Raleigh. Annie has served in multiple roles for large events including Event Director for Fail Fest Raleigh, Trade Show Manager for High Five Conference, and has managed multiple events for an economic development organization. Annie holds a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communication from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communication from Ithaca College.


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