A Positive Birth Story – IUGR, Induction and Vaginal Delivery



I have wanted to write Indie’s birth story since before she was born, but a funny thing happens when you have your first baby. You don’t have time to give yourself a proper shower, so you damn well don’t have the time to sit down and write 4,000 words about what a whirlwind you just went through. If you’re looking for positive birth stories heading into your labor, I’ve finally found time to tell you about our beautiful miracle, Indie, and her birth story and grand entrance into the world.

I broke Indie’s birth story into 3 parts to paint the full picture. Part 1 is for context, the back story of how Zach and I decided to try for baby #1. In part 2, I’ll talk about my pregnancy and all of the fun and joyful (puke) moments that provided. And finally, labor and delivery, welcoming our sweet, screaming, vernix-covered little alien (who we love very much) into our arms. 

Heading into my labor and delivery I found positive birth stories helpful to read and listen to. Positive birth stories helped me mentally prepare for what was to come and vision my perfect birth story. I hope you find positive birth stories helpful as well heading into your birth and that my positive birth story brings you joy, peace and happiness for what’s ahead.

The Backstory 

Life before pregnancy and baby

Do you remember in 2020 a pandemic swept the globe? Who could forget…. At the time COVID-19 put a dark cloud over the world, Zach and I had been traveling full time for about 15 months. We had lived in 3 separate vehicles over that time, a Volkswagen Eurovan, a Jeep Commander, and a Toyota Hiace.

Side note: van life sounds so much less glamorous when you say you lived in your vehicle…

An IUGR birth story
We lived and traveled the USA and Canada in this VW Eurovan, named Winnie, for 12 months

We had been road tripping around New Zealand living in our van when COVID led to the closing of borders and hastened our return back to the United States.

At that point, we were thinking the Pandemic would blow over in a few months and we’d be able to resume living our van life dreams. Obviously, we were mistaken, we’re 18 months in and I am writing this from Minnesota…

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One of our favorite places in New Zealand! Mount Cook

When 1 month turned into 2, and 2 turned into 3 with no end in sight, Zach brought up the idea of trying for a baby. We had had a conversation in New Zealand about how we ideally wanted to be pregnant when I was 31 (I was 30 at the time). Everything was meticulously planned out of course, then life got in the way, as it always does.

Indie has COVID to thank for her early entry into the world.

Deciding to start trying

Zach was ready to start trying for a baby, but I was still hesitant and hopeful we could travel again soon (keep dreaming). I was also worried about having a baby when we were jobless, homeless (we were staying at Zach’s family cabin in northern Wisconsin) and without health insurance!

We decided we would take the decision out of our hands. We would stop preventing a pregnancy, but we wouldn’t actively try to manage the process. If it happened, it happened, and we’d figure it out as we went.

Taking the pregnancy test

5 weeks later I was late. I was in denial, telling Zach (and myself) that my period was right around the corner. It wasn’t. My boobs hurt, I was emotional, my skin was breaking out, and I was cramping. Five days later, Zach was heading to the local Dollar General and asked me if I needed anything on his way out the door. I tried to downplay my reply as much as possible.

“Uhmmm maybe pick up a pregnancy test?” I said with a shaky voice.

Zach smiled wide, “Seriously?!”

He came back with two $1 pregnancy tests, I took 1 right away. Zach was right there in the bathroom with me and excitedly read the instructions on using the pee-droplet-testing-contraption and did the whole thing himself (other than the peeing, of course).

The pregnancy test results

While I was reading the back of the box out loud that it will take 5-7 minutes, Zach had already noticed the 2 pink lines and started filming for my reaction.

I immediately started crying, mostly happy tears but definitely some fearful tears as well.

Two minutes later, I was on my soapbox lecturing myself and Zach.

“We have no money and no insurance. Is the baby okay? Do you know how much having a baby costs? Where are we going to have this baby? Where is this baby going to sleep?”

So many questions… so few answers. So much responsibility… so little time.

Zach immediately started talking me off the ledge.

“Julie, we have 9 months to figure everything out. We will take it one day at a time, one problem at a time. Everything will work out.” He promised me.

I believed him.

The second test results

Five minutes later his parents showed up, somewhat expectedly. We had known they were coming, but I didn’t expect it would be five minutes after we found out our life-changing news.

Zach was ready to burst our news from his lips the second they walked through the door, but I asked him to wait until we got an ultrasound.

I took a second pregnancy test the next morning while Zach and his parents were sipping their coffee in the living room. Of course those two pink lines were there, clear as day. I was knocked up.

The baby train had left the station and we, after 15 months tramping around the world like kids ourselves, were on it.

My Pregnancy

We decided early on we wanted baby’s sex to be a surprise in our birth story. There are very few true surprises you get in life, and I really wanted this to be one of them. Of course, there are reasons to find out (clothes, preparation, medical reasons) but we wanted to have the baby the way we had been living, whatever happens happens.

First trimester

At 7 weeks pregnant, we got an ultrasound at a free women’s health clinic in Minneapolis. There, for the first time, we saw our little baby and heard the sweetest little heartbeat. 

A few days later, we bought health insurance and I spent 6 hours researching OB’s and midwives. I finally decided on who I wanted to deliver our baby, booking an appointment at Haugen OBGYN with Dr. E., and making my first appointment at 9 weeks.

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Our 9 week ultrasound photos

My first trimester was fortunately very easy. No morning sickness, thank God. I had my normal energy levels and basically felt like I did pre-pregnancy, except for the fact that my boobs were being stretched like overfilled water balloons.

At 12 weeks we shared the news with our families.

My parents were surprised, but extremely excited. We surprised them with a onesie that said ‘Poeschl Delivery’ (Poeschl – rhymes with ‘special’ – is my maiden name) and my mom initially thought it was a pair of socks, until she unraveled it.

Zach’s parents were equally clueless when we gave them a refrigerator magnet that said ‘Grandchildren Spoiled Here’. Who could blame them for not expecting a pregnancy announcement? We had been living in a van for 15 months…

Around that time I started having terrible sacroiliac (SI) joint pain on my right side. Basically, my butt bone felt like it was somewhere it shouldn’t be. I could barely walk without tears, and I had thought the 20 mile day hikes we had done in New Zealand would be the most pain I experienced while walking in 2020.

I was terrified I’d have this much pain for the rest of my pregnancy. My OB referred me to a chiropractor and physical therapist, which helped temporarily.

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Our pregnancy announcement

Second trimester

People say the second trimester is the easiest, and I have to say I disagree. My second trimester was full of SI joint pain and anxiety. The chiropractor, PT, ice, and certain exercises were helping the pain, but not eliminating it. And I wasn’t able to be as active as I had been up until this point in my life. It felt a bit like my life wasn’t mine anymore…

On top of that, we had to figure out our working and living situation. Where were we going to bring baby home to? How would we have money to afford the million things you are told your baby will need? How could I possibly have a positive birth story in these circumstances? 

20 week anatomy scan

Due to COVID restrictions, Zach wasn’t able to come to any OB appointments with me. I was super thankful when my OB’s clinic made the decision to allow 1 support person to attend the 20 week anatomy scan the EXACT week my appointment was scheduled!! Finally, Zach got to see the baby for the first time since the 7 week ultrasound at the women’s clinic! 

At the 20 week ultrasound, 2 potential issues arose: 

  1. I had a relatively large fibroid (common in many women) and my placenta was sitting on top of it. This wasn’t a huge deal. My OB would monitor baby’s growth and blood flow closely. For the rest of my pregnancy, I would have multiple growth scans and begin nonstress (NST) tests at 34 weeks gestation
  2. More seriously, my OB saw fluid in the baby’s throat. This could be due to any number of things, but of course my mind went to the worst possible outcome. I started beating myself up, believing I was a failing Mom. And I hadn’t even given birth yet.
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hiking Cathedral Rock in Sedona. 26 weeks pregnant

We ended up having a follow up appointment with a specialist in downtown Minneapolis for a second ultrasound. Thankfully, the esophagus and stomach were working perfectly, the issue turned out to be nothing. Baby was healthy. Small, but healthy.

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Hiking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Our last trip before baby’s arrival

Around 24 weeks I developed Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction (PSD), pain in the pelvic region caused by uneven hips. For me, it meant pain every time I would roll over in bed, get dressed, or move my hips really in any way.

I continued to see a physical therapist and chiropractor, which seemed to help a bit, but unfortunately the rest of my pregnancy basically felt like my crotch and hips were being stabbed by tiny knives every step I took.

Third trimester

I entered my third trimester with a growth scan at 28 weeks, where the baby was measuring at the 19th percentile. Besides being a bit small, everything else looked perfect.

At 32 weeks I had another growth scan, baby was now tipping the scales at the 20th percentile for size! I was hopeful I’d have my positive birth story with this news.

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Our 4D ultrasound

36 weeks came with another growth scan. Baby was measuring in the 6th percentile, and was now classified as having Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR).

This was also when I had my first nonstress test (NST), which checks the baby’s heart rate with movement. The NST showed perfect results, but baby had barely grown in the last 4 weeks according to the ultrasound.

I was fearful that baby wasn’t growing, and that it was my fault for having a fibroid that could be restricting growth. Of course, looking back I know that it wasn’t my fault, and that no mom should think something uncontrollable is her fault, but it is difficult to not blame yourself in the moment.

At 36 weeks, Dr. E. brought up the idea of an induction due to the IUGR at 37 weeks. 

For me, an induction was not ideal, as I had read that inductions raised the likelihood of a Cesarean delivery (C-section) and I had wanted my birth story to be a vaginal delivery.

During my third trimester we took a Lamaze birthing class with BirthED in Minneapolis to prepare for the actual birth. I absolutely LOVED this class, it made me feel so much more prepared (and much less terrified) for my birth. It also gave Zach the confidence and tools to be the ultimate support person for me throughout the process. 

The final stretch

I asked Dr. E. what my options were (moms, you always have options), and we agreed to put off an induction if I came in at 38 weeks for another NST test and a biophysical profile (BPP) ultrasound, which measures the baby’s heart rate, muscle tone, movement, breathing and amniotic fluid.

At my 38 week appointment baby passed! Baby scored an 8 out of 8 on the ultrasound and the NST looked perfect. We agreed on one more week as long as I continued to pay very close attention to the baby’s daily movement with kick counts. 

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Doing a NST at 38 weeks

At 39 weeks, the baby passed the NST, but I did not. My blood pressure was slightly elevated, which can put stress on baby, so my OB wanted me to go for an induction that afternoon.

Due to IUGR, it made sense to get the baby out as soon as possible anyways, so I agreed to go in for an induction that day. Baby was on its way!

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Last bump photo 

As soon as I left the clinic, I called Zach terrified and crying. My ideal labor and birth story was natural.

For my birth story I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible before going to the hospital. I didn’t want to spend hours in labor at the hospital, and I knew from my panic-induced-Googling-of-worst-case-scenarios how long inductions could take.

I had an irrational fear that non-natural labor meant non-natural birth, which in my mind meant all sorts of problems for baby and me.

Nevertheless, we were going into the hospital. After an oil-change on the way home (I didn’t want to have to get the oil changed after we had the baby) we grabbed our pre-packed bags and drove off to have a baby.

My Labor and Delivery

To give you an idea of my ideal labor and delivery, here is a photo of our birth plan. This would be my perfect birth story!

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Our ideal birth plan

Our Doula

We had hired a doula for baby’s birth, a sweet lady we adored named Mary. We had met with her twice at our home to help prepare for labor and birth.

Unfortunately, in late January she came in contact with COVID at a birth and she had to quarantine for 14 days. I was induced 12 days after her exposure. Therefore, she couldn’t be there at the hospital with us. Not a great start to our birth story. Thankfully she was on-call and was prepared to FaceTime us if we needed her night or day.

Hospital Check In

We got to the hospital and checked in around 2:00 pm on February 9th. My OB had an induction plan for me, which we had discussed at my appointment that morning, however she was not going to be at the hospital to deliver my baby. Due to COVID restrictions, the hospital was not doing on-call deliveries. Instead, the OB scheduled to work that day delivered all the babies.

Dr. Frisch was the OB working that day, whom I had never met. Again, not an ideal start to my birth story.

No doula and an OB I’d never met, things were really going just as I had planned…

Start of induction

Once we were all checked in and moved in to our room we began the induction process. Slow and steady… our birth story begins!

Dilapan and Cytotec

Starting at a fingertip dilated and 60% effaced, Dr. Frisch inserted 3 Dilapan rods into my cervix and I received my first dose of Cytotec at 3:00 pm. The Dilapan rods were intended to help me dilate and the Cytotec is to help with cervix softening. I received a dose of Cytotec every 2 hours from 3:00 pm until 11:00 pm, and the Dilapan rods stayed in place for 8 hours. 

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All smiles at the start of my induction

(Side note: dilapan was not an induction method I was familiar with before my labor. Dr. E educated me on it and insisted she has great success with this type of induction process. After doing my own research I agreed! This sounded like a great method. Now after using this method I can attest that dilapan was pain free and comfortable).

At 11:00 pm the Dilapan rods were removed and I was 2 cm dilated. At this point I was having contractions but they weren’t painful, and were not in any particular pattern.

Dr. Frisch offered to break my water at this point, but we decided to wait at least a bit longer. Since I was only 2 cm dilated, I figured we had quite a long journey ahead of us still and I knew from my research that the longer baby was inside without the protective water sac the greater the risk for infection and complications. 

At this point I took some Benadryl and tried to rest, tomorrow would be a big (and exhausting) day. I tried to get some sleep, but failed due to increasing pain and frequency of contractions.

Labor and delivery, pregnancy, hospital delivery, labor induction, birth story, vaginal delivery
Playing games to pass the time


I started on Pitocin, a drug to make your uterus begin contractions, at 1:00 am and upped my dosage every 30 minutes.

Of course a dosage increase meant that a nurse came into the room every 30 minutes, another reason sleep was difficult. Somewhere around 1:30 or 2:00 am the contractions started getting more painful, and were in a weird pattern (4 back-to-back in a row followed by a 4-6 minute break). 

At 4am, when contractions were getting stronger and more regular, I threw a pillow at Zach to wake him up for more support. Shortly after, Dr. Frisch came into the room and insisted on breaking my water. We agreed. Afterwards, she checked my cervix again – still a freaking 2! 12 hours in and my cervix had made almost zero progress. I was in for a LONG labor.


Zach and the nurse convinced me to get up and move around, something that was in my birth plan and ideal birth story but was not high on my list of things I wanted to do in the moment.

I labored on a birthing ball for a while, which helped move the baby down the birth canal and put more pressure on my cervix. After 45 minutes, Zach constantly replacing cold washcloths and pressing them to my forehead (my number 1 tip for comfort during labor), I waddled over to a warm bath. I crawled into the tub and labored there for another 45 minutes. 

Now, I wasn’t trying to be a hero during my birth story, I was totally at peace with getting an epidural. However, I wanted to wait as long as possible to get it because I wanted to be mobile. Additionally, I’d read that early epidurals are correlated with increased C-sections.

For those reasons, I pushed to labor as long as possible without the epidural. In my head I just kept telling myself, “Julie you are only a 2! Keep going a little longer!”

Nitrous Oxide

After the tub I waddled back to the bed, where I needed pain relief. I insisted on trying nitrous oxide. The nurses set everything up for me and gave me specific instructions. Breathe into the mask at the start of the contraction and let my arm fall on its own, pulling the mask away from my mouth.

I proceeded to do the opposite, taking breaths of nitrous immediately after the contraction. I simply felt too suffocated by the mask to use it during the contraction. The nurses and Zach politely tried to explain that I was doing it backwards, which I knew of course, but it didn’t help. After 3 contractions ‘using’ the gas, I called for the epidural. 

Epidural time

The anesthesiologist came in like a gift from God, and placed my epidural at 6:30 am. I never saw the two doctors, as my eyes were closed and my back was exposed to them, but I love them deeply. The epidural almost immediately vacated the intense labor pain I was experiencing! Seriously, immediately. It was incredible!!

After the epidural was working for 10 minutes or so, I felt like I was going to poop myself. I literally thought that I was about to drop a huge log right onto the hospital bed in front of Zach and all these people.

Pooping during labor is normal of course, but it was a huge fear of mine and something I self-consciously wanted to avoid.

I kept asking the nurse repeatedly (it is amazing she didn’t act more annoyed) if I could get up and use the bathroom, which of course I could not. My legs were numb and my baby was coming!

I knew the ‘I have to poop’ feeling could be a good sign that baby was coming, but I was still telling myself I was only a 2 or 3. If that was the case, then I felt like I had to poop because a large chocolate sundae was about to make its way from my body all over the hospital room.

At 6:50 am, a nurse checked my cervix again, her wide-eyed and hurried reaction led Zach and I to think something was either very right or very wrong.

“You’re at 9.5!”

Time to push

Dr. Frisch came in and checked 5 minutes later, and I was complete! It was time to push. I began pushing at 7:30 am, and 28 minutes (8 contractions later with about 4-5 long pushes per contraction) later our baby was born at 7:58am on February 10, 2021.

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Seconds after Indie Rose was placed on my chest.

Pushing was the easy part. It felt like a relief as I knew the end was near.


Zach was in position on the front lines and Dr. Frisch let him deliver and place the baby on my chest. At that moment, relief flowed over me as our baby screamed a beautiful, high-pitched cry. Zach and I were so in love and full of tears that we did not even think to check if baby was a boy or girl.

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So in love!

Finally a nurse reminded us. “What do you have there?” Zach lifted one leg to take a peak and exclaimed “IT’S A GIRL!!!” Just like that, Indie Rose Ruhl came into the world and our birth story was complete.

I could not believe it! I have never had such a rush of happiness and joy run through my body. My heart burst with love, both Zach and I were crying tears of happiness cuddled up on the tiny hospital bed while little Indie Rose cried on my chest. 

That birth moment is truly indescribable. The only way to understand it is to live through it. 

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Dad and baby

The nurses patted Indie dry and covered her in a blanket while she snuggled onto my chest. Zach cut her cord after two minutes.

Golden hour

The golden hour, the hour immediately after birth, was perfect. We had a playlist of soft music playing in the background, the lights were dim, and it was just the 3 of us for the very first time.

The nurses and doctors quietly did their job in the background, we didn’t even notice they were there. Dr. Frisch delivered my placenta and stitched me up, I had a first degree tear.

I spent the next hour and a half skin to skin with Indie, completely mesmerized by her beauty, falling more in love by the second. I was planning to breastfeed as long as my body and baby allowed it, and I wanted Indie to latch on her own if she could. 

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Admiring our baby girl

Did you know that newborn babies can even do that? They can use their nose and slowly inch towards the mother’s breast by following the scent, latching and sucking all on their own.

After a short snooze she started slowly squirming her little body over mine. Sure enough, after about 30 minutes she latched on her own. What a strong young lady! 


After 1.5 hours the baby nurse took little Indie to get her measurements. She came in at 6 lbs 8 oz, 18.75 inches, which was average for her gestational age; she did not end up having IUGR after all. Indie was big enough and strong enough to leave the hospital the very next day! We took her home to our little apartment we’d rented and nested in.

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Welcoming our baby girl home

Never in my life have I experienced a feeling so powerful as giving birth. Bringing life into the world, no matter your birth story, is truly a miracle!

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Welcome Indie Rose to the world

Other positive birth stories

Thank you SO much for reading our baby Indie’s birth story! She is our miracle.

If you are looking for other positive birth stories to prep for your own person birth story here are some other sources I found helpful:

The Birth Hour

BirthED MN


birth story, induction labor and delivery, vaginal delivery, hospital delivery, IUGR baby, first time mom, pregnancy,

birth story, induction labor and delivery, vaginal delivery, hospital delivery, IUGR baby, first time mom, pregnancy,

birth story, induction labor and delivery, vaginal delivery, hospital delivery, IUGR baby, first time mom, pregnancy,


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