Carly’s Unmedicated Physiological Hospital Birth

Positive Unmedicated Hospital Birth – Carly Duvall

It’s story time! I just love a good empowering hospital birth story and I’m 100% here for this one! This mama knew exactly what she wanted and didn’t want in her hospital birth. She took ownership of her birth and got herself a team that respected her birth wishes. 

Carly says, 

“Reading other women’s stories and the encouragement from Karen’s info helped cement my belief in my body and know that labor doesn’t have to be unbearably painful. I’m sharing my story to let others know that a positive hospital birth is possible with the right provider, support people, and being prepared to ask questions about interventions and knowing how to decline when safe to do so.”

Carly’s Positive Unmedicated Hospital Birth Story:

After almost 3 weeks of prodromal labor filled with intense hip and sciatic pain, our baby finally arrived at 40+4. 

On 40+3, I saw my midwives for my routine appointment and decided on a membrane sweep. They scheduled a non-stress test for later that week and would start talking induction post 41 weeks. I was 2-3 cm dilated and 60% effaced when they did the check and sweep. They recommended coming back later that day for another sweep and by that point I was 3-4 cm dilated and 70% effaced. I did the second sweep and started having bloody show right away.

That evening I had more sporadic contractions, and at some point felt a gush so I was unsure if that was my bag of water or not. I fell asleep and contractions went away. Since I thought my water might have broken, I called my midwife the morning of 40+4. 

At 8:45am, I went in to see my midwife. My water bag was intact and baby’s head was low. I was still at 3-4cm and 70% effaced but was having consistent contractions again. I opted to not have another sweep to let my body and cervix rest. By about 2 or 3 pm they were consistently 5 min apart and starting to feel more intense to where I had to breathe through them.

We arrived at the hospital around 4:30pm. They started monitoring me and my dilation was the same as it was early. They mentioned that they might send me home but by  6:45pm, I was 5 cm dilated and 90% effaced and was admitted. 

As soon as I knew I was getting admitted, I must have really relaxed and my contractions immediately went to about 2 min apart, increased significantly in intensity and felt like a full body period-like wave.

My doula arrived at around 7:15pm, and I got into the tub to labor around 8pm. The warm water felt amazing and I was cruising through contractions. They were painful, but manageable and I was able to totally relax and zone out between them. The nurse seemed slightly annoyed I didn’t want Hep Lock and had to run through the reasoning to which I politely declined.

By 8:30pm, I was feeling a good bit of pressure and started to naturally bare down a little. I did this for almost an hour but didn’t feel like I was making any progress.

At 9:45pm, I got out of the tub with a bulging bag of waters at 8cm. I had my midwife rupture my membranes and I felt my baby immediately descend and engage. This was the only point in labor (and it was brief and fleeting) that I even entertained the thought of pain medication because it got very intense very quickly, but I knew I was so close.

After 3 or 4 big pushes in the side lying position using the rebozo, she was crowning. Another big push and she was out!  (From 10cm to delivery with “real” pushing was about 15 min) She had a double nuchal cord which caused no issues. She was perfect and healthy, and the placenta was delivered 8 minutes after.

This was our second unmedicated hospital birth and it was so empowering!

Ruby Charlotte, born at 10:02pm on 2/1/22 weighing 7lbs 13 oz and 20 3/4 in long.

What I love most about this story is that it breaks the mold of “shoulds” in birth culture. The thing about birth is that every decision should be completely up to YOU because sis, there is no right or wrong way to birth.


If you want to birth in the hospital? Great! 

If you want to birth in the woods? Awesome!

If you want a membrane sweep? More power to ya!

If you want to have your water broken? Go for it, Sis! 

No Hep Lock? Got it. 

If you don’t want anyone to touch you? Your choice. 


At the end of the day, I want you to feel safe, supported, confident to advocate for yourself, and most of all…I want you to know that you are brilliantly, exceptionally capable of birthing your baby- however you choose to!

If you missed my “5 Keys to a Physiological Hospital Birth” post, go back and check it out! 

For more tips and tricks on how to rock a physiological birth in a hospital, check out Module 8 – “Pain Free Birth in a Hospital” in my Pain Free Birth E-Course! You have rights in birth, use them! 

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3 Keys to a Pain-Free Birth

Karen gives away her top 3 secrets to a pain free birth, you will not believe it’s free! Come ready to take notes, and don’t forget the tissues. You do not want to miss this!