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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Brown

Birth in the US - Mary's Story

Mary is a military Mum and so she has given birth in three different countries. Whilst she and her husband are from the US, I'm so grateful she is happy for me to share each of her experiences, which she posted on her blog ( and I'm so interested to read about the differences in the care she received in each of those countries. Keep an eye out for Mary's next two stories...coming soon!

Carsyn is my first and oldest child and her due date was a few days before Christmas. At the time we were living in Colorado Springs, as my husband was stationed at Fort Carson. As a teacher, I was excited that I had made it to winter break. My pregnancy was relatively uneventful and normal. I went in for my routine appointment two days before Carsyn’s due date. My intentions were to go to my appointment and then get a pedicure with my mother in law. However, plans changed quickly that day.

At my appointment my blood pressure was high. This wasn’t typical for me or my pregnancy. They sent me upstairs to be monitored by labor and delivery. My blood pressure continued to be high while they monitored me, so they decided to admit me and induce me as it was just two days before my due date and high blood pressure can be an indication of preeclampsia. So my mother in law and I got all checked in at labor and delivery. It’s important to note that I stayed in my private room on the labor and delivery ward through induction, labor, and delivery. After checking in, I called my husband to bring my pregnancy go-bag. My husband was so anxious and was unable to reach me or his mom via telephone, so he called a friend to help him ensure he had everything he needed when he arrived at the hospital later. Jake couldn’t get past the fact that I wasn’t going to get my toes done and that we were going to be parents sooner than expected. He was so anxious that he fell down the stairs while running down them. Once I was all settled into the Private labor and delivery room, I immediately asked for food. I told the nurses I was hungry and needed to eat before they induced me. I can get very hangry!!! They allowed me to order food since I hadn’t planned to be admitted into the hospital that day. Eventually, Jake arrived ready, nervous, and excited to start the process of meeting Carsyn and becoming parents. I was induced just after I ate dinner. They initially started me on a medication to thin my cervical lining and eventually put me on Pitocin. Soon after starting the Pitocin, I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. As I got up to walk to the bathroom, I suddenly felt this POP and there was a rush of liquid that dropped to the floor. I thought it was my water breaking. Jake freaked out and tried to run out of the room to find a nurse. Did I mention he was anxious about this process? Luckily his mom stopped him from running into the hallway and screaming for help. She calmed him down and pushed the call button for us. Turns out it was just my mucus plug, but since this was our first baby everything was new to us.

My plan all along was to give birth without an epidural. But the Pitocin made the contractions really strong and I did not last long. I ended up getting an epidural, and I was able to fall asleep for a while. Jake and I both slept for about four hours. I was obviously in the bed and Jake was in the reclining chair, that was made for a short person. In the morning, around 5 am or so, my contractions had become more intense but my water still had not broken. At this point they broke my water and before we knew it, it was go time! There were at least two nurses in the room, my husband, and my mother in law. My husband was holding one of my legs and one of the nurses was holding my other leg. The nurses were reading the monitors to see when I was contracting and telling me when to push. About an hour and fifteen minutes later our sweet baby girl, Carsyn, was born. Jake was able to cut the umbilical cord. She was placed on me immediately for skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding. I had torn during the birthing process and they addressed that while I was feeding Carsyn. After she was finished eating, they took her stats and focused on getting me ready to move to the maternity ward where Carsyn would join my husband and me in a room for the next couple days. Our room on the maternity ward was also a private room. Follow up was a fairly normal experience. Nurses routinely came into my private room to check my stats and would take Carsyn to the nursery to check her stats. They also had a breastfeeding consultant come into the room to make sure everything was going well with breastfeeding. During our stay, the nurses and doctors took great care of us. Upon our discharge we received a blanket with Jake’s unit name and symbol embroidered on it. Since we were at a military hospital, Jake’s unit gave us a blanket with the unit’s insignia on it for Carsyn.

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