Evangeline Lilly: I Wanted a Natural Birth

10/08/2011 at 05:00 PM ET
Jordan Strauss/WireImage

Evangeline Lilly knows how to hold her ground.

The actress opted for a home birth for the delivery of her son last May, and was determined to see it through — despite the unexpected timeline.

“I actually skipped the hospital … We decided to have the baby at home because we wanted it to be a natural birth, and it turns out that it was 30 hours of natural,” the Real Steel star, 32, explained during a Monday appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

“Eight hours of pushing, that’s the part that men don’t understand. Women go, ‘Oh, dear, oh, dear God, eight hours of pushing?’ And the men are like, ‘Okay, eight hours of pushing.'”

Fortunately for the former Lost star, her midwife eventually stepped in to save the day, much to Lilly’s relief.

“After about five hours of pushing, my midwife and my birthing assistant said, ‘You know, we have a few suggestions,'” she says. “And I was like, ‘Really? After five hours of pushing you have a few suggestions? You couldn’t have told me five minutes in?'”

Following the baby boy’s birth, Lilly planned to “abandon ship for a little while,” but the first-time mom — who hopes to have a “brood” of babies — admits that even the best laid plans often go awry.

“I was sitting with my newborn baby and Peter Jackson called and said, ‘Would you like to be an elf in The Hobbit?'” she shares. “And I said, ‘Yes, I really do! I really do want to do that.’ So I’m sort of strapped in, as it turns out, to four movies now.”

Luckily for Lilly, her son is brought to set each day to spend time with his mama — unbeknownst to him, however!

“He came to the trailer and I put him to my breast [to nurse] and he screamed his head off, staring up at this strange, pointy-eared, mess of a person that was not his mother,” she laughs.

“And then that night I was feeding him at home and he was perfectly fine and my partner [Norman Kali] said to me, ‘You know his internal dialogue right now is, “Mom, you won’t believe what happened to me today!”‘”

— Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Shannon on

β€œHe came to the trailer and I put him to my breast [to nurse] and he screamed his head off, starring up at this strange, pointy-eared, mess of a person that was not his mother,” she laughs.

LOL! Poor baby!

luella on

congrats on your birth! I love to read about more and more people in the spot light so to speak having home births. My daughter and I were both born at home, and I hope seeing more of it in the news helps normalize home birth in our country.

congrats again and enjoy your baby!

Janna on

Pushing for 8 hours? Is that normal? I had two natural childbirths, but only pushed about 10 minutes for each. 8 hours must have been unbearable.

kjc on

Eight hours of pushing seems extreme! I have never heard of that before, but obviously it happens. I am so interested to know her sons name, wish she would release it!

Holiday on

I have never heard of anyone pushing for 8 hours but I know I did push for 3 hours straight with my son and it was unbearable, no epi and him turned posterior.

Sara on

I am shocked they let her push that long! Maybe she started pushing too early? I can’t even imagine that she would have energy to eventually push him out after that long!

kimmie on

I agree, it sounds like her midwife misestimated the situation and had her push too early. It shoulnd’t take 8 hours.

Marky on

What women sometimes don’t realize is, babies will come out on their own without the intense pushing many women do for hours. It does hurry it up a bit, but believe me, the baby will usually come out anyway–that’s what contractions do, and why they become more intense as you transition and the baby comes all the way down. If women stay relaxed and calm, epidural or not, the baby will deliver, unless there is dystocia (baby doesn’t fit). And please don’t use the abbreviation “epi” for epidural; it’s already claimed by the Epi Pen or for Epinephrine in any form.

Why does it seem as if there is a contest lately about how long people were in labor, how long they pushed, and the insistence that if you don’t have the baby at home, push for hours until you near stroke level, scream like an attack victim, as well as having an out-of-body experience, well….you must not have done it right!!??

Carly on

Pushing for 8 hours can not be right. The longest a first time Mum is normally given to push is 2 hours.

annachestnut on

Imagine the caloric expenditure.

Margaux on

I agree with Marky regarding “laboring contest”…Sounds pretty medieval to be pushing for 8 hours at home.

Jackelynn on

I can see how she pushed for 8 hours. I pushed for just over 5 with my son when they finally decided to use a vacuum to get him out. He was face up instead of down and he was stuck.

Lisa G. on

She may have been in LABOR for 8 hours but not pushing for 8 hours because you would be dead and not have enough strength to get him out. I was in labor for 72 hours and pushed for 4 before they took him by c-section. Poor doctor got a little too close to me and I grabbed his tie and ran a string of expletives at him, including his immediate death. I was taken for a c-section, stat. With no epidural, this was not a fun experience. My doctor didn’t “believe” in them. I said ‘Listen asshole, when you push a watermelon through your penis, THEN we can talk about what you BELIEVE in. But I was stuck with an HMO which deemed the epidural “not medically necessary”. Some guy must have put that in there.

Kate on

Wouldn’t her cervix started to swell after that long? It’s just seem right to me.

Jaysmum on

I was in labor for 32 hours and pushed for 4 of those. I can’t imagine having to push a minute longer! I was begging for the vacuum at the end because I was so tired. My son was posterior and my epidural was turned off after 2 hours of pushing because I was so numb I wasn’t pushing correctly. Still can’t imagine pushing for EIGHT HOURS!!!

Stella Bella on

Why didn’t her midwife have her labor down for a few hours? I’m not sure how long I pushed, but it was a shorter period of time than most first time moms- partly because I labored down for hours and partly because my doc was itching to do a c-section and I had to push my daughter out much faster than my natural inclination to keep my sob doctor from going for an unneeded section.

No doctor in a hospital would let a woman push for 8 hours. She would have ended up with a c section if she hadn’t delivered at home.

Sara on

Like everyone else, I just can’t see 8 hours, usually it’s 2. And, I also agree with Marky about the ‘contest.’ Sometimes, it seems like celebritites are bragging when they talk about how long labor was.

kendrajoi on

I pushed for 4 hours before a c-sec. I thought THAT was crazy.

Ann Marie on

Birthing contests and labour horror stories are a badge of honour for today’s largely white, middle class women. Billions the world over, and through the millenia have been birthing children.

Women in many poorer regions sell everything to birth at a hospital, if for no other reason than to make sure modern medicine keeps both alive. But a white woman in the first world makes birth a special achievement, complete with the drama, battle scars, and badges of honour.

So that the next mother feels inferior for not suffering duly for her child. Believe me as someone who has travelled widely, it is a very limited cultural expression and experience.

Amanda on

I’m with Marky, I don’t understand why her midwife had her pushing so long. I’ve had midwife attended natural hospital births and even they knew to just let me labor down, I think the most I pushed was with my 1st baby and that was 20 minutes, because I didn’t start pushing the minute they found me to be 10cm. Labor is labor, all women have to go from closed to 10cm and push a baby out.

My smallest vs largest babies were 2lbs difference and I can tell you…size doesn’t matter, it’s still pushing a baby out of your vagina and it hurts, my biggest didn’t hurt any more than my smallest! Some women have longer labors and some have short, intense labors. At the end of the day it’s all pretty much the same except if you are talking csection vs vaginal which have obvious differences but I’d bet they still work out about the same.

Tee on

As a midwife, let me say that it is normal for some women to have to push for eight hours! Odds are she wasn’t doing “purple pushing” like most women that birth in the hospital are use to. Midwives don’t tend to have their Mommas push in that fashion. And I’m sorry, but it’s absolutely ridiculous for anyone to say that a woman will die from pushing for that length of time! Seriously uneducated statement there!

Thank you, Evangeline, for giving this interview! It’s nice to see homebirthing being spoken about in such a positive manner!

fuzibuni on

I really appreciated that Evangeline shared her birth story. It was very open of her. She’s just sharing what happened, yet many of the comments here suggest she is either lying or trying to make other women feel inferior. This is why most celebrities keep their mouths closed about personal things. Everyone tries to twist their words and make it all about their own issues.

It’s so easy to take a beautiful story and turn it into something ugly. Comments like Ann Marie’s are especially charming. For someone who claims to have “travelled widely” it doesn’t seem to have expanded her capacity for understanding and acceptance of people regardless of skin color. Trying to silence another woman based on race and social status is wrong no matter which way it goes.

Also, despite Ann Marie’s statement to the contrary, in my experience while working in other countries, I’ve listened to many women, from all different backgrounds talk about birth. This is a cultural experience that is certainly not limited only to “white, middle class women.”

Nikki Monique on

I don’t think she was bragging at all. She’s just proud of herself for making it through natural childbirth (Which she should be) and she wants to share. I tell everyone about my natural births. I’m proud of myself for doing it naturally but its not like I put other woman down who don’t do it naturally, nor was she.

Jurnee on

Am I the only one who thinks it’s sad she calls the baby’s daddy her “partner”? It seems detached to use that term. Even “boyfriend” or “significant other” sound like more loving terms.

Lisa on

I delivered twins via natural birth and didn’t push that long. They came out in less than an hour with only a few pushes each, I cant even imagine pushing like that for 8 hours… wow and ouch!

Calais on

All of my kids were born at home.

I was in labor for 37 hours with my first & pushed for 5, with my second I was in labor for 30 hours and pushed for 5 & with my third (a month ago) I was only on labor for 16 hours and only pushed for 2 hours. No drugs or anything & all my babies were 8.5 pounds, 8.7 pounds & 9.1 pounds and the crazy thing is I would do it all over again.

Congrats to Evangeline. It’s a hard task home birth.

CelebBabyBlogAddict on

Hey Jurnee – it is called being politically correct πŸ™‚

Kim on

Yeah 8 hours doesnt seem right! You’re only meant to push when you feel the need to go to the toilet iykwim? 8 hrs seems like a lot of unneeded stress on the baby and anyone in hospital would end up with a caesar no doubt. I’m sure with both my kids I only pushed maybe half hour if that. 8..eek! I dont think they even count pains as labour til you’re in a certain stage?

CCT0303 on

I agree with you Jurnee… I was in labor for 12 hrs and got an epidural at 2 centimeters, I couldn’t wait any longer.. pain was UNBEARABLE. I am 13 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child and an epidural is def. going to be an option AGAIN!!

Amy F on

I had homebirths with my oldest two kids and pushed for 6 hours with my first. I did initially jump the gun — I felt pushy but later realized I should have waited awhile. After 4 hrs of sort-of-pushing, I started more coached pushing and made more progress until he was finally born after 6 total hours. Pushing that long did make my cervix swell which eventually led to my having a catheter put in (not a permanent one, just one that drained the bladder and was removed) because it was too swollen for me to pee.

So, I believe that she did push for 8 hours if she had a homebirth but yeah, there were probably side effects of that.

I pushed for less than 15 minutes for my 2nd and 3rd kids, so I only had to endure that once. My oldest was positioned very poorly — we could see the spot on the side of his head that had been aiming down — and took a LOT of work to turn to a good position.

DF on

Did she ever say her kid’s name? I looked up “Thunder” in Hawaiian, it’s Hekili. Is that the name? Hmmmm,

Kresta on

Eight hours of pushing seems very excessive. My first baby was posterior and it took me around 90 minutes to push him out. My second baby was in the right position and it took me under 10 minutes to push him out. My third baby was posterior too and it took me nearly 30 minutes to push her out. I think I would have had a heart attack if I’d had to push for eight hours.

Ali on

I thought she was incredibly obnoxious on Jimmy Kimmell. I found her realllllllly annoying! I was surprised because I always assumed she would be much cooler in person. She just seemed so OFF. I don’t know. Weird. 😦

Either way, Congrats on the baby! Her partner is a hottie!

Marky on

All women want to tell their birthing stories to other women; it is part of being a woman to tell your story of how you came to be a mother. Adoptive parents do the same thing–in a way, it’s a bit like saying, “I got from Dallas to Cleveland by flying on American Airlines, and the trip was amazing!”. Someone else says,”OMG! I went from Dallas to Cleveland by car, and my trip was amazing to; maybe even more than your trip!” Some one else says, “Holy cow! You should have been there when I went to Cleveland! I went on the train, it took forever, and I couldn’t believe it! They lost my luggage! But I had a great trip once I got there!” Everyone has had their stories for as long as I can remember.

The first time I delivered a baby was in 1965–long time ago, and even then, women were arguing over what was the best way to do it. As long as I have been in the business of helping women deliver and learn to breast feed, I haven’t changed my mind; it is a normal part of life, there are many ways to do it, and all should be acceptable to other people. IT IS NOT A CONTEST AS TO WHO DOES IT RIGHT!

If you want to deliver at home, naturally, and bite a spike nail in half in the process, I think that’s fine. If you deliver in a hospital and end up with an epidural, that’s okay, if it’s okay with you. If you have to have a c-section, no one should be telling you that you didn’t “deliver” your baby. I’ve seen plenty of situations where mom or the doctor insisted on a vaginal delivery when the baby didn’t fit and the clavicle had to be broken, or after hours of pushing baby can’t deliver and mom had a c-section, but what is important is this: all women who go through the pregnancy and delivery of their child should be celebrated and congratulated. Your labor and delivery at home without meds, is not better than Susie’s c-section; it’s simply YOUR experience and HER experience.

It’s very sad when women make their friends, or even strangers, feel less than a real woman because she didn’t do it THEIR way.

Nella on

Jurnee I agree with you,regarding the term…Yes it’s politically correct, but the word partner to me should be used in a business deal and that’s it, doesn’t seem like a very personal or a romantic term, but that’s just my opinion.

Anyways, I like that she shared her birthing story, I think it’s great that she did natural childbirth, but I think any options that moms take that leads them ultimately to a healthy baby and a good outcome is awesome, whether that’s csection/epidural/all natural. Every woman is different and has their own preference and their own experience so it’s best not to judge.

Congrats to Evangeline and her boo ( yes I said boo and not partner haha)! Now I am wondering what she named her little munchkin!

Anonymous on

Jurnee I completely disagree! As a woman too old to have a ‘boyfriend’ I found calling my now husband my ‘partner’ a much nicer term than any other option. We weren’t teenagers and we weren’t married so describing him as my partner was perfect!

Angela on

Jeez people, we don’t know the whole story. She chose a home birth so that she could do a natural, drug free, intervention free delivery– that’s why the doctors didn’t “take the baby” via c-section. She had a midwife assisted home birth and she seems like she is happy with her decision.

While it may seem like 8 hours is a long time, we don’t know all the details- so stop the outrage and disbelief. Everyone’s birth journey is different. Good for her for choosing the home birth route and sharing a bit of her experience.

Sara on

@ Ann Marie, thank you for speaking the truth. Maybe this is the only time when over-privileged pampered princesses will ever get to “suffer” in this lifetime. It is appalling that they feel the need to brag about it, considering that at this moment in time there are plenty of impoverished women forced to deliver their babies under trees, behind dumpsters, alone in their bathrooms. Not safe in the knowledge they can call an ambulance at any moment. I’m sure they are grateful for their “natural birth experience”.


Halley on

It sounds to me like she was pushing way too early. If you’re at 10cm, and the baby is fully descended in the birth canal, it just doesnt take that long. Especially with a mid-wife where you’re able to move around, and not just be flat on your back. A few hours, maybe, in extreme cases, but not 8. Thats dangerous for everyone involved. Either she’s exaggerating, or her midwife didnt know what she was doing.

Liz RN on

Eight HOURS of pushing? I have been a Labor and Delivery RN for 10 years. There is no way anyone would let a mother push for 8 hrs. The beating the babies head would have taken, the swelling of the vagina (she would be unable to void afterwards), not to mention the fagiue. I hate listening to this stories. You can have a prefect NATURAL birth at HOME or in the HOSPITAL (well at least where I work)were you DO NOT push for 8 hrs.

Booo on

Congrats. I wanted a natural childbirth, too, but my son thought differently. I had to have a c-section – or else I would have buried him. Home deliveries are appealing but if something happened to my baby that could have been prevented were I in a hospital, I’d never forgive myself.

Nerdista on

I wish she would have talked about how incredibly dangerous home births are compared to birthing in a hospital. She could have at least had a doctor in her house or something. Natural is not always better just because it’s natural. Yes, women have been having babies for thousands of years, and a lot of them and their children die! I’m not sure why there is such negativity towards hospitals and yet, it’s the first place she would go if something were to go wrong. Silly to remove yourself from that go-to environment.

Jillian on

I was in labor for 36 hours. No pain meds and contractions were one min apart for at least an hour and 1/2 lasting 1-2 min…I only dialated to 3 after 36 hours and had a C done-kuddos to her!

Angie on

Didn’t even know that she was pregnant- or that she had a baby… Last I knew she was with Dominic Moynihan (?sp?).


I know alot of women who take long hours to have baby. But I am still one of the lucky ones. I had my first only after 61/2hours of labor and my2nd boy after 3 1/2 hrs of labor. But no matter how long or short your labor is, its always worth it. ALWAYS. Congrats on your new baby.

Dawn on

@Sarah and Ann Marie: You two are ridiculous. I am sure she did not call the magazine up and say, hey, let me tell you about my birth story. The magazine asked her and now that it has been shared and might I say, both of you READ it, you feel the need to make racial comments in the comments section? Giving birth is not exclusive to race or religion. It can be easy or difficult. The pain, joy and even sorrow is that can be experienced in childbirth is global. Yes, women who live in countries where birthing centers, hospitals, midwives etc are widely available do have a certain advantage, but regardless of where you give birth, it is the same process. White people, Black people, Asian people, it doesn’t make a difference.

jp on

“Natural childbirth.” So…just because a woman wants to reap the benefits of science and technology, and opts for an epidural, and a HOSPITAL, her childbirth experience is “unnatural?” I hate that attitude. The most important thing is that one’s baby has a safe delivery.

Lisa on

Actually, Nerdista, if you look at the clinical data on homebirths vs. hospital births, they are no more dangerous. Midwives will not accept women who are high risk in any way, which WOULD make a homebirth dangerous. I get so tired of people spouting off how “dangerous” homebirths are when the research is clear and available that this is not the case. It really just comes off as ignorant to claim otherwise. Facts are facts.

Janna on

Nobody is talking about the length of her labor, start to finish. But it’s insane that it would take “hours” to push a baby out, never mind 8 hours. By the time you feel the urge to push, the baby is so far down. Why would it take 8 hours to push him out? Sorry, that’s crazy.

kirsten on

It isn’t 8 hours of continuous pushing. Mom pushes, baby descends, baby goes back, mom pushes, mom rests. If the baby isn’t in the right position it can take awhile. And is it 8 hours according to her or the MW record?

I’m glad she went all natural at home, that rocks πŸ™‚

Emily on

No hospital would have made her push for eight hours. That’s completely insane. I wonder if she would want to go through eight hours of pushing during a home birth ever again…

Lily on

Why is everyone saying the “normal” is 2? I pushed for five and half hours IN A HOSPITAL until my three doctors decided that “they needed to do something.” Yes, I had an epidural, so when I got tired it made it a easy to fall asleep, so I got a c-section.

I’m not denying that 8 hours of pushing would be very hard and exhausting, but if you don’t have any pain relief, you aren’t going to be so exhausted that you stop.

Amy Hale on

I hate when women BRAG what a “mother of the year” they are because they unnecessarily went through TORTURE to give birth. I don’t admire her ONE bit for being an idiot.

susyqse on

wow…consider me lucky. my daughter was my first and my LABOR, from first decent contraction to birth was a little over 5 hours. My son born 13 months later was a little over 3 hours start to finish. Just had my first grandbaby and my daughter in law went to hospital (she had a high risk pregnancy) at 11:30p with contractions at about 5 minutes and my grandson was born at 1:10am. we are quick in our family. can’t imagine being in labor for that long.

Lisa on

Amy Hale – What an angry person you are. I chose an unmedicated birth because it was best for me personally. I never felt “tortured” in any way; in fact, I had the most wonderful experience I could have imagined and would do it again in a second. Running a marathon isn’t for me, but I don’t insult those who choose it as a personal goal. While an unmedicated birth certainly did not make me “mother of the year”, I was incredibly proud to achieve my goal, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Anonymous on

I don’t know, it seems like she would have an brain aneurysm before the baby came with 8 hours of pushing. 8 hours of labor maybe but not pushing.

Sara on

I call BS for sure…no way she pushed for 8 hrs… no real Dr. or midwife would allow that…the risk of infection alone is through the roof. I admire her for doing a natural birth…no need to exaggerate for greater affect. Get real!

Amanda on

when I had my first son I was induced and from the start to his birth it was 22 1/2 hours….was I pushing that long, umm no, but I did push for more than 20 minutes…all births are different and there is no “normal” birth…I was induced with my second son also and they used different meds and from start to finish it only took 5 hours…each birth is different… congrats to her and her family!!

Sandy on

The risk of infection isn’t “through the roof” if you keep fingers out of the birth canal. I can believe she pushed that long, and I doubt it was continuous. Her baby was probably in a funky position and she pushed and move around and got him into a better position.

Also, I had no idea she had a baby!

Jen on

Oh common people, why is there a right or wrong? “8h can’t be right” I had 32 labor w/ little more than 8h pushing midwife assisted natural birth then my body stalled and they put me on an epidural. NO am not a pro as it was the first but please don’t judge. There is just an easier or harder, congrats to all you women who delivered naturally with shorter pushing but some women have a thougher time. Through history women died giving birth, we are just lucky today we have better medical assistance.

Amy Hale on

More power to her, but I don’t get it. When I had my 3 children, I went into each birth with an open mind. If childbirth and labor turned me into an animal howling at the moon, I knew I would not suffer for nothing and I didn’t. For the first and last, I gave birth naturally because it was tolerable. For my middle child, it was not tolerable and not an option to go natural.

What I don’t get is women thinking it’s an ACCOMPLISHMENT to go natural. No it isn’t. NO women should suffer because she made an unrealistic goal. It’s not an accomplishment to suffer for nothing. No man in his right mind would do it. Why do some women suffering for nothing is an accomplishment?

Good for Evangeline Lilly, but’s she’s exaggerating. It couldn’t have been as bad as she described or she’d be begging for something.

Melissa on

I agree!! My natural birth was AWESOME!! SO much better than any other woman’s story at the hospital. Great! Loved it!!

Amanda on

I totally had no idea she was even pregnant, but congrats to Ms. Lily! I think that it is brave for any woman to have a home birth.. I do not have kids yet, but if I ever do, I think a home birth is a fantastic way to do it… Kudos to all of you who have! πŸ™‚

Wendy on

I had a scheduled C-section and never felt a contraction or bit of pain, and I’m just as great a mom as anyone else. Yay me!

Milly on

That’s the difference between midwives and doctors. A doctor would never let a woman have 8 hours of pushing- a c-section would have been done instead. Midwives let nature take it’s course while doctors rush to intervene with nature.

jaja on

it took me 4 hours to push my first, but i was on epidural and was completely numb, so not surprised…..but a natural 8 hours? she must have just started pushing waaaay too early…………my second was 15 mins to push

MRJ on

I pushed for maybe an hour and a half before they took her c-sect. It would’ve been longer if I had started pushing when the nurse wanted me too but I refused. She was getting so pissed…it was pretty funny! “YOU HAVE TO PUSH” “no I don’t you can’t make me” “PUSH!” “nope” Finally she went and got the doctor and he said “you can’t make the woman push, she’ll push when she’s ready”

Melanie on

8 hours of pushing? OW! And I thought my 2 hours of pushing via natural childbirth was bad. That is just brutal! Congrats Evangeline!

MJ McBelle on

I just saw Real Steel on Friday. Her upper lip looked weird, it looked like she had it injected. She’s gorgeous, I don’t think she needed that. She always remind me of Kate Beckinsale. Very pretty.

sarah on

First she dissed stardom and said she never wanted to act then when Lost was over she said she would never act again and now with Real Steel and 4 Hobbit movies..whatever..

Tara on

I can totally see her as an elf!!! Great casting πŸ™‚

FV on

People should shut up already about natural births. A mom’s goal should be to have a healthy baby. Who cares that you did it naturally and pushed for 8 hours? Only you I bet. Also, people should shut up about breast feeding. Everyone should opt for what works best for them and for their baby. Not everyone is the same.

Jen P on

Lisa, home births as well as hospital births can both be dangerous. I’ve always wanted a natural home birth, but I am SO very thankful that I chose to have my son natural but in the hospital, or he wouldn’t have survived. He had trouble breathing after he was born and he would have died if I had had him at home. So while facts may be facts when it comes to the actual delivery, what if your baby needs help afterwards that he or she just can’t get from home?

Amy on

Yes, it is possible to push that long. I pushed for 6 with my first in a hospital. She was posterior with her arm over her head. Everyone believes that if baby is stuck all you need to do is a c-section. Not the case, my baby was way to far down and stuck for this to happen, it was not an option. I had to push her out slow. No suction was used either.

I’m sorry I give these ladies alot of credit for staying home. It is 100% not for me and scares me. Yes, people did it 50 years ago – they also did not live. Please find someone who knows what they are doing, my fear is this is becoming a huge fad with healthcare issues and celebrities doing it all the time. Please stay safe whatever way you go!!

Mel on

Congrats to her but I will agree 8 hours of pushing seems excessive. Although a lot of factors can go into that. Did she push the whole time or did she take a break and breathe (or grunt) through contractions? Maybe she was pushing with her face and not like she was having the biggest bowel movement of her life :).

There is also a new approach to pushing called open glottis pushing. IMO it definitley takes longer than holding your breath and pushing, but they say it is safer. I know my labor patients rarely opt for that approach because they want that kid out now lol! I am a huge fan of laboring down, especially if mom can handle it, because once nature takes over pushing becomes a lot easier. Either way I am glad they are both healthy because at the end that is all that matters.

MiracleDC1983 on

I agree with most of the commenters, 8 hours of pushing is totally weird and sounds exaggerated. I pushed for two hours with my first and approximately one big push with my second.

That being said, I am a “natural birther” but not because I have this desperate need to feel superior to anyone else (I don’t because I don’t care what anyone else chooses, that is the joy of having a choice in how you want your birth to go down), but because I find the recovery time to be a lot quicker and easier.

It is just pure pragmatism. I am the type of person who has a really hard time sitting still and just laying in a bed recovering. With my kids, I am able to be up and moving around within an hour or so and typically leave the birth center within four hours. It just works better for ME. Not necessarily anyone else. πŸ™‚

Donna on

I had home births with both of my girls and I did push for 8 hours with my first child. I am white, but far from rich and privileged. That is a very sterotypical statement.

I chose home birth because I wanted a birth free of all the medical interventions. I had a very tight cervix and she was stuck. I am so glad that I wasn’t in the hospital because they definitely would have c-sectioned me. She had a bit of a conehead, but other than that she is almost 18 years old now and “perfect”… ok, as perfect as a 17 year old can be. πŸ™‚

Donna on

I totally believe that she pushed for 8 hours because I did push for 8 hours with my first child. I had home births with both my girls and I am proud that I was able to have the unmedicated birth that I wanted and planned for. It empowered me in a way that I could never explain. Everyone has the right to the kind of birth that they want and this is what I wanted. And she was stuck and came out with a bit of a conehead, but other than that, she was perfect. I’m thankful for my midwife because I know they would have c-sectioned me had I given birth in a hospital.

joe on

8 hours…. the story is not adding up. Either it didn’t really happen, or she had some SERIOUSLY negligent midwives who put not only her life, but her child’s life in serious jeopardy. Side-eye to this!

purplepooch on

I have yet to hear someone boasting about having a root canal or tooth extraction done ‘naturally’, the way nature intended it to be. What everyone seems to forget is that people used to die a whole lot more over a whole less back in the good ol’ days when the lack of medical knowledge allowed for everything to take its natural course.

I absolutely believe that it is great for women to choose how they want to approach childbirth, but I have yet to hear of the woman who would turn down what medicine has to offer if she or her baby were in real distress during labor. My point is, everyone, please get off your high horses. If you opt for a natural home birth, you do it knowing full-well tha there is a 21st century back-up plan. And for those of you dissing mothers who choose to forego the mainstream perks of hospital births, give them some credit for wanting to connect with the natural cycle of the world.

And to everyone, back to the top, just a thought: While childbirth can’t be equated to a trip to the dentist, who amongst you natural-birth preachers would have an intrusive dental procedure done “the natural way”?

guest on

it’s interesting that the majority of women in the third world would do anything for the option of having a baby born in a first world medical facility, with an epidural to relieve their labor. yet, so many white women in the first world see it as some sort of hippie badge of honor to “give birth naturally”. like the ultimate status symbol of willpower–akin to being very thin in a society where food is abundant.

my opinion? give birth naturally. give birth in a hospital. give birth however the hell you want to but please don’t brag about it. especially if you’re living in a mansion.

amsjll on

Thats nuts. I pushed 4 times with both of mine. First they let me sit at 10cm for over an hour, after 28 hours of labor, and letting my contractions do the work. The second time the baby had her own agenda and that was getting the bleep out of me, start to finish, lol. The first is still a hesitant child and the second is go-go-go and impatient. Go figure!

Liz on

“Marky”, unless you’re a woman with the name Marky, I have a feeling you’re a guy. And here you are talking about childbirth like you know something about doing it. Ever done it? I doubt it.

Jessica on

I use the term partner to describe my boyfriend of 7 years, and will continue to use it after we are married. Personally, I see it as the 21st century way of calling your significant other, but clearly that varies region to region. I live in a very liberal city, and that is a very common way to refer to your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/etc. It encompasses all genders too, which is also nice.

Mendikiki on

Women Have been giving birth to babies since the beginning of time. She had a natural birth, ok, so what so do lots of other women. Whop-de-do!

MRJ on

Don’t know if Marky is a girl or not but Markie Post is an actress….look her up.

Amy Hale on

What’s up with these WEIRD women thinking they deserve a PRIZE for doing what BILLIONS of women have been doing since the beginning of time? So WHAT if you had natural child birth! Your grandmother or great grandmother did the same thing only never BRAGGED about that. What a bunch of DIVAS with no other “accomplishments” to talk about!

Ginger on

I was asleep when I delivered my babies. Trust me, when it’s time to push, even heavily sedated you push. My babies and I bonded just fine when I woke. More power to all you who think yelling and screaming is the way to go.

Amy Hale on

purplepooch on October 10th, 2011

Excellent comment. I NEVER heard a woman BRAGGING that she declined anesthesia for a root canal. It’s ridiculous to look at natural childbirth as a “goal” and personal achievement. If you want to lie there in pain and howl at the moon like a raving lunatic – I’m sure your husband won’t be impressed with your “achievement.”

Lily on

I’m tired of hearing people say that “people died during childbirth.” First of all, they didn’t die BECAUSE of childbirth, they died several years later from infection, because no one washed their hands and they weren’t aware of germs, the baby didn’t kill them.

NLT on

I am having a natural birth. I am African American, and am not rich by any means. I ahve also had 2 natural births in a hospital. I want no uneccesary interventions and I love my midwives and the level of care that they provide.

Everyone’s labor is different. Also, my midwife carries equipment in case the baby has breathing problems. I just can’t stand the “my baby would have died!” comments.

Educate yourselves.

Bridget on

I pushed for 3 hours with my first child and boy was that rough! Cannot imagine 8 hours. My second child took about a half hour to push with. Both babies were face up too.

SaraB on

I was just wondering how many of the people who have commented that 8 hours of pushing is weird, or abnormal, or an act of negligence on behalf of the midwife, etc. actually have medical degrees, or are certified midwives?

Susan on

I think she is really beautiful. I just don’t get why a natural birth?

Alison on

No, I don’t think it’s weird that she referred to him as her partner. Can you imagine her saying, “My significant other said…” Clunky! To me “partner” indicates that you view each other as equals, make important life decisions together, and support each other. You are committed.

Anja on

I don’t agree with celebrities glorifying home births – they can be dangerous. A friend of mine was set on having a home birth and it’s a good thing she didn’t – she ended up with a rare problem called placenta acreta and almost died despite being right in a hospital. Like her doctor said, that is why babies should be born in hospitals and not at home. If she had gone through with her plan for an at-home birth, she’d be dead.

tia2 on

Giving birth is not a competition.I have been extremely fortunate to experience the miracle of birth on three ocassion.

Each of my deliveries were drug free and midwife assisted in a hospital.Thank god,because my last child came out with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.An emergency team was their within seconds to get her breathing.I shudder at the thought of what might have happened if she was born at home.I respect the right of everyone to choose how to give birth.

However I am a bit concerned at some of the extremes people are willing to go.More women and babies are dying at home than ever before.

Maria on

It doesn’t matter if it was a “natural” birth or not. I have two friends who had their hearts set on a “natural” birth, ended up with emergency c-sections, and had postpartum depression over their “failed” birth experience. What is important is a healthy baby in the end.

Aubrey on

8 hours is a long time but it’s not unheard of. Sadly in today’s hospital setting they don’t normally let you go for as long as you need to get the baby out.

If you are with a practice that truly supports natural birth that baby will usually come naturally in their own time. The practice I’m using for my second pregnancy has a 5% csection rate as compared to most of our local hospitals and practices at 35-45%. Most doctors are simply lazy and risk averse to just about anything other than a head first quick delivery.

MRJ on

I agree with the point of birth not being a competition. I wanted a baby and that was the bottom line. I wanted to get said baby out in the safest, least painful way. I ended up with a c-sect due to cord around ankle and she was traverse?? Anyway I was up and walking within hours of giving birth and took only 2 pain pills total.

I chose to bottle feed because it would fit in better with our lifestyle at the time. Women absolutely tried to make me feel guilty but I didn’t let them.

You have to do what’s right for your family and not let anyone let you feel bad about your choices. So plan all you want but remember what they say about the best laid plans and be ready for anything and just embrace your healthy baby after it’s all over.

Linda on

Cripes, 3 to 8 hours labor!!!! Poor babies, try that for over 20 hours then you MIGHT know what “labor” REALLY is!!

October on

Well my 2nd baby was born not breathing due to blood in the lungs and would have died by the time an ambulence got there if it had been at home so thank goodness I realize what century I live in and had her at the hospital. When I see home birth I see people are willing to put their lives and children’s lives at stake for what reason??? Remember, sure people have been doing it forever but with medical advances more babies live.

Also the term “natural birth” is silly. If you had a baby, it was natural. (period)

Anonymous on

Impossible lol. No one pushes for 8 hours. I had to push a long time (2.5 hours) and it was bad enough, especially after being in labor 26 hours. Yeah, that’s right, ladies lol. You just get so so tired. It’s crazy!

Jay on

Stupid of her, I’ve had a few friends that did a home birth and there were complications and the baby or mom almost died, this happens more than you know. Better to be safe than sorry, NEVER have an at home birth, you’re asking for trouble. It’s not that important to act all “hero like” that you had a home birth, like she is here, it’s stupid. Too many things can go wrong.

ecl on

Why are you all so defensive? If you are happy with your decision, you shouldn’t be so sensitive about those others. The equation with dental surgery is especially brilliant. Last I heard, numbing your mouth doesn’t significantly increase risk of other complications and interventions. And this is from someone who had an epidural.

LT on

I find home births very concerning. My husband saw so many home births gone wrong when he was in residency. By the time the baby reached the hospital, it was either too late to save it, or it had long term brain damage or other problems.

Sure, most of the time everything goes fine, but I could not live with myself if my child died as a result of my need to have it at home. Not all babies born in the hospital are fine, but I would rather have the medically trained experts there to help.

People seem to think that doctors just want to take the easy way out, but I think that is heinous…And don’t get me started on vaccines…That would be a whole other debate! Modern medicine has saved so many lives. I am so thankful that I can take full advantage of the advancements in medicine.

It seems like it would also be “natural” to never use a cell phone, car, watch a television, or partake of any sort of technology. Those things are equally “unnatural.”

ruby on

8 hours is totally bee-ess. There is no way. And by the way, you don’t even have to push – baby will come out on his/her own. Which is how women in comas have given birth. Let’s have a pissing contest about who pushed the longest!
Me: 17 minutes and 10 minutes. BAM. I win.

talie on

I don’t know why people think it’s so great that women deliver “naturally”? They created an Epidural for a reason. It’s like someone going into the dentist’s office and saying fill or pull my tooth without freezing? What do you have to prove? Would men do it? I don’t think so.

Now tell my how you sacrificed for the better of your child for 18 years (or more) to make sure they turn out to be a good and successful human being once they are born. That will impress me.

PS: I was in labour for 49hours followed by an emergency caesarian and it was tough enough.

ROC on

Crazy….she could have had natural birth in a hospital settings. Suppose something went wrong and she or the baby needed help? Unforeseen birthing problems happen all the time. It could result in death or a lifetime disability. Eight hours pushing? Two minutes oxygen deprivation and you can be a vegetable for the rest of your life.

Debbe on

I understand women wanting a natural home delivery but I do not recommend it because it is best to be in a hospital environment in case of emergencies. They do happen and you would not want to be at home if one comes up. It could mean the difference in a healthy baby or not.

Mira on

Good for her for sticking to her plan!

Melissa on

I just love Evangeline Lilly–good for her to be able to do it without any drugs or anything. I did natural with my daughter which she ended up being vacuumed out due to me not pushing enough so with my son I had an epidural–it was just more helpful for me. To each her own!!

SherriP on

I very much wanted a vaginal delivery, I was having twins and because of that I knew I would have an epidural- if something went wrong I didn’t want to have to be knocked out and miss the birth all together. I actually ended up with an emergeny-c and a spinal block, the spinal block kept me down for about 20 hrs. It came with a few other not fun procedures. My boys were early and if I hadn’t been monitored so closely my babies wouldn’t be here and neither would I, I had severe preeclampsia, and I hated that we were stuck at the hospital, but man I wouldn’t change what happened for the world, I have healthy boys, and if I had stroked out at home-we’d all be gone, I’m grateful for the hospital and the doctor that pushed me to do what was right, he knew better than me. I can’t stand it when people think they know so much better than people who have trained years to literally save your life. Yeah, you might get pushed for a c, but I bet you really don’t want to think about what might have happened if you didn’t have it. I know people who thought home birth was great and they have empty holes in their family pictures that they will never get over.

Kasse on

Amy Hale- Seriously what is with you and your bitchy comments about women having natural births. Its my body, my baby, and my choice. If no one is forcing you to have the same birthing plan as myself…why not respect another mother who feels having her baby naturally is best for her child.

It seems like you want a cookie for being in the hospital, hooked up to monitors and having in epi. Its funny that youre talking about natural birthing mamas being arrogant… when you come off so judgmental and stuck-up…. just craving a medal for what you did.

Respect our choices and I will respect yours.The Beauty of Medicine today. We Have Choices!

Cathy on

Sheesh! People can be so cruel! No wonder she kept the pregnancy a secret so long.

I somehow doubt the Evangeline feels the need to overdramatize her pushing experience. In fact, most homebirthers are very passionate about it and want to share the positive with others.

Several things could have explained the long pushing time. She may have felt the urge to push too soon and, since homebirth is pretty natural, it’s possible they told her to go with what she was feeling. This could have caused swelling in her cervix or in baby’s head. She may not have been pushing effectively. Baby may have been big. Baby’s heads tend to swell if they are in the birth canal for extended periods of time. It could be a typo, lol.

The point is, she was very, very brave to do something that few women do these days and I am proud of her and so happy that it was a successful birth! I wish her all the joys of parenting.

Catherine on

Oooh, there we go…someone played the “dead baby card” us OOH (out of hospital) birthers call it. What, do you think there was no monitoring happening and no plan in place – no education on the family’s part? Or the L&D nurse who really believes you can have natural, unintrusive labor and birth in a hospital, get real.

As a former L&D nurse (x19 years) in two large high risk inner-city hospitals, CNM (x7 yrs) who practiced in two private hospital-based practices before attending in a free-standing birth center, normal, spontaneous birth can and does happen as Evangeline shares. Of note: 90% of labor and births are uneventful, 7% need some assistance and 3% are crisis in nature and only low-risk families are able to receive care throughout the prenatal course as well as labor and birth.

Educate yourselves and determine what is best for you and your baby but really think about it; is it: hospital policy, protocol and procedure that are not evidenced based? OOH birthers are the most educated and resourceful families. Really, birth does matter – just ask Ina May and those in an evidenced based practice!

River on

I fully respect a woman’s right to have a child at home, if that is was she truly desires. However, I wish more woman would look at all the facts, and consider all the possibilities. It is true that midwives only accept healthy women with normal, low risk pregnancies, but it is very possible that problems can arise during labor. This is not uncommon at all. I think a hospital birth is best, you just need to find the right doctor and the right hospital who are willing to let you be as natural as possible. Everything must be discussed in detail with your OBGYN long before your due date, so everyone is on the same page and real plans can be made.

Even if the labor process seems to be progressing normally, things can take a turn for the worst at the very last minute. In case anything goes wrong, the doctors and nurses are right there to help you and your baby immediately. It can take more than 20 minutes (and in rural areas up to an hour!) for a paramedic to arrive to your place and to get you to the hospital. Sometimes the mother and baby simply can not afford to wait so long, as they are on the verge of death. It is simply more responsible to be in a hospital with doctors and all the equipment needed to save you and your baby around in case it is needed. The chances of needing emergency care are slim, but as the saying goes: “better safe than sorry!”.

Many hospitals nowadays have birthing pools for women who want water births. Many OBGYNs are also becoming more and more open minded, and they are letting women customize their birthing experiences.

Think about your baby first!

ck on

The perinatal death rate with homebirths is ridiculous, it’s not something we should have in modern times. I had an unmedicated birth since I’m horribly afraid of needles and for me, pain isn’t as much of an issue as pressure, and the meds don’t do anything about that, so medication wasn’t the right choice for me. BUT my birth happened in a hospital, and I loved it. I love that in a hospital, all caregivers have real educations, unlike many homebirth midwives.

I hate when stars glorify dangerous anti-science positions, like homebirth or refusing vaccinations. It’s just horrible.

Marky on

Well, Liz, I can’t imagine what I said that brought out your reaction and gave you the idea that 1) I am a man, and 2) I never had any children. LOL

I am most definitely a woman who has had 2 biological children (and 2 adopted, as well). The first was after 40 hours of labor at home, and 2 hours in the hospital, delivering a child who was posterior and doing so vaginally. The second was after 9 hours labor and once again, vaginally, after about 2 hours in the hospital. Neither time did I think I was dying or freak out, because delivery and teaching breast feeding was my field.

My point was never negative, never hateful, and never to do anything to make anyone feel “less than” because they chose a particular type of delivery for their child. I only said women should be supportive of each other, and for the life of me, I have difficulty understanding how that could possibly offend anyone.

I did not say everyone should deliver in hospital, I did not say everyone should deliver at home, but I did say that whatever decision you make, you should not act as if it is the only way to have a child and anyone who chooses otherwise is a lesser woman than you.

There is way too much of that these days, when it should be “Wow! What a great job you did, and what a beautiful baby! I’m really proud of you!”

I won’t even respond to the statistics regarding whether or not women actually died in childbirth at home back in the day. Of course they did, not only because of lack of cleanliness, but bleeding out, exhaustion from trying to deliver babies that could never deliver vaginally, but more than the mothers dying there was the loss of the babies. Very fortunate was the woman who didn’t lose several babies at birth or within the first few days. Let’s be honest with ourselves, no matter what choice you make.

Kat on

If she plans to have a “brood,” I would consider a different midwife. Eight hours is a BIT much! Also, she should have considered putting the blanket over the baby, so there was no confusion over some creature feeding going on. Yes, breast feeding should be a bonding experience, but it doesn’t have to be in full movie makeup.

Anonymous on

My first two I had epidurals…and pushed for a couple hours…threw up, etc…i regretted them and felt like they were pushed on me. With each of my last two I got to the hospital about 8cm dilated and an hour later they were coming out…on their own. Pretty “easy” when you let nature take its course. Your body just pushes the baby out on its own…So cool. Of course it hurts!!…lol

Emmy on

Ann Marie, I’m not sure what “middle class white women” have to do with this story. I know plenty of middle class black, asian, indian, etc etc etc women that have their babies in the hospital. You comment is totally ridiculous, prejudicial, and contributes to why there is continued hatred among people. Your ignorance is astounding.

w on

I pushed for 9 hours with my first. 18+hours of labor, as it began the day before at home. 18 in the hospital, AFTER my water broke. It can happen, and it is not pleasant.

NoAdditives on

I can’t imagine having a home birth.

I had two uncomplicated, totally normal pregnancies and had close calls with both of them that warranted being in a hospital. My daughter was hand breech, needed to be vacuumed out and I needed an episiotomy to help get her out. My son just wasn’t comfortable in any position that was comfortable for me, the monitors always showed him in some sort of distress, probably because he was lying on my major blood vessels or the umbilical cord.

There is no way I would ever, ever consider a home birth. There are just too many things that can go wrong during labor and delivery and there’s no sense in being away from a hospital if something does go wrong. How terrible would it be to need emergent medical services while waiting for an ambulance? Natural births are great but we have doctors and hospitals for a reason.

Plus, it’s really nice to be waited on by the nursing staff! I stayed an extra day in the hospital with my daughter just because it was so nice for my husband and I to relax with our baby while the nurses brought us our food, juice and my pain meds.

Holiday on

I also could never have even considered a home birth. I had severe pre eclampsia and HELLP which is life threatening and had to be induced a month early and be on mag sulfate for 48 hours to prevent seizures. My liver and kidneys were shutting down and I lost so much blood during the emergency c section I had to get a blood transfusion and was in the ICU for 5 days. Someone on here said they hate when people say they “almost died” well it is true that I most definitely could have and same with my daughter. If it were a home birth 100 percent we would have.

Brooklyn on

I want to know this little guys name! I guess she’s trying to keep that private though.

Jennifer on

Poor woman. I fortunately had my baby out in 1 &1/2 pushes and the half was a practice!! Not kidding.

aliceb on

Ok you can have a natural birth in a hospital and still have the saftey of the doctors or your midwife there to make sure everything goes as planned I’m tired of hearing mothers talk about thier home births and that it was such a natural experience ok the fact that your giving birth in the place you made the baby is GROSS!!! NObody wants to hear about your long labor and your horrible pain you choose that not us normal moms!

Alicia Cukjati on

OMG, I can’t believe how ignorant some people can be.

Did anyone mention that the article never finished telling the birth story? Home birth, hospital birth? Which was it?

CL on

Purple pooch and Amy hale

I actually do refuse anesthesia at the dentist. My fear of needles and hatred of metal in my mouth drives me to make this decision, just as my fear of needles and hatred of being told what to do inspired in me two unmedicated births. One in a hospital , one in a birthing center. Every mothers decisions are her own, and her reasons are private. Get over it.

Layla on

She probably didn’t push 8 hrs straight it was probably 8 hrs from the first push to the last with breaks inbetween she probably even rested a little. Why are so many of you hell bent on telling her she’s lying . Were you there?
And for people saying big wow she’s no hero doing it natural.
Well maybe to herself she is.
She feels Proud off herself for doing it and seeing it through .
Why not feel proud of that.
In her eyes it’s probably her biggest achievement to date
Every women all over the world shares their birth stories why is she any different!!
The journalist asked ,she told
I say big congratulations whilst natural home births are not for every one,every mother whether natural , epidural or c section deserve to be proud of their birth story.
Why take that away from her

Lucy_R on

Comparing birth to a root canal is just stupid. A root canal isn’t a natural process, birthing is. Women’s bodies are designed to have babies. Hence dilation, contractions, etc. It’s not like getting dental work is something your body is prepared for. At any rate, women who choose to have a natural birth do so because they don’t want a bunch of unecessary interventions, not because they want to brag about it. All of the drugs that are given during labor have side effects, many of which can be dangerous for baby or mom. Obviously if there was a magical drug out there that had zero side effects or risks, all women would use it. I chose to have natural births because I didn’t want to put myself or my baby at risk of any negative outcomes, not because I wanted to brag about my natural birth experiences.

goldblum on

His name is Kahekili. It means “the thunder.”