Claire was born on Tuesday, but her birth story started on Sunday. I woke up with spotting, and some Googling revealed it was probably my bloody show (which I never had with Henry). I always thought a “bloody show” was a one-time, dramatic thing, but mine was slow and light and lasted until Monday afternoon (my due date!), when I had two hours of mild, short contractions. Those contractions went away the moment I got off the couch, so I knew that it wasn’t the real deal, although I suspected it was close.


When I crawled into bed on Monday night, I sent a silent prayer that my contractions wouldn’t pick up through the night. I really wanted a good night’s sleep!  Thankfully, I only had five or six contractions through the night, and although they woke me up each time, I slept peacefully in between.


On Tuesday morning, I slept in, coming downstairs around 8 AM. I helped the Husband and my mom with morning chores, fed Henry breakfast, and started to clean the kitchen. At 10 AM, my contractions came back. When the first few didn’t go away with activity, the Husband said I should start timing them. photo 2

The duration and frequency of the contractions confused me. They were far apart, but lasted a whole minute and felt really intense – and I’d only been experiencing them for 45 minutes.  It didn’t really match up with what Bradley Method or my midwives taught me, which was generally to wait to go to the hospital at 5-1-1, when contractions are 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long, and have been like that for at least an hour.


At 11 AM, I left the living room and went into my bedroom to labor in bed in the dark. One of my big goals for this labor was to completely utilize my Bradley Method teachings and totally relax my body through contractions. I breathed deeply and peacefully, relaxed my face, and zoned out through each wave; it really wasn’t so bad when I made an effort to release the rest of my body.  My mom hollered upstairs that she was going to take Henry to the park so we’d have the house to ourselves, and at 11:15, Henry came into my room to ask me, “Where’s my baby sister?” I kid you not!  We didn’t know the sex, but I swear that Henry did!


Mom and Henry left shortly after, and at 11:36, I had my last timed contraction – it was suddenly mind-numbingly intense and lasted 94 seconds. I immediately lost my peaceful cool and found myself in my bathroom, sobbing and moaning so loudly that the Husband SPRINTED upstairs (he was packing the car) to comfort me. I cried, “I NEED to go to the hospital RIGHT NOW. I think I’m in transition already!”  Transition is generally described as the hardest, most intense, most painful part of labor (although not everyone feels it the same way).


Bradley Method teaches women and their coaches that every stage of labor comes with ‘emotional signposts’ (here’s a good explanation of this theory). The emotional signposts for transition is fear, panic, and self-doubt. You’re overwhelmed.  Now, if you’ve read Henry’s birth story, you know that his transition was really hard for me.  So even though I had only been laboring for an hour and a half (it took me at least 7 hours of contractions to transition with Henry), I knew what was happening to me when I completely lost it in the bathroom. It was so instantaneous and intense that it HAD to be transition. The Husband leaped into action at my emotional signposts, helping me downstairs and into the car.


My contractions sped up in the car – they were 2 minutes apart. I gathered myself emotionally as we approached the hospital. When we arrived, we were whisked into triage. My midwife quickly did a cervical check and announced I was at 8 centimeter (you push at 10) – I was floored.  She said, “You better hustle into a delivery room!”


When I got to the room, the Husband immediately filled up the tub so I could labor in the water. I crawled in and experienced a grand total of ONE contraction in the water before I realized that I needed to get out and push (my hospital doesn’t let you push in the tub).  The urge was so overwhelming.


My second big goal of delivery was not to scream too much – I realize this sounds funny! I wasn’t gunning for some crazy silent birth or anything. But when I re-read all my Bradley Method books, I realized that I made WAY too much noise during Henry’s birth. I really think I wasted too much energy yelling, and that it was a huge factor in why I pushed for three hellish hours. So this time, when I started to push, I shut my damn trap and concentrated. I think I only yelled four or five times – I really made an effort to not expel energy through my mouth, and the Husband did an awesome job coaching me through that.


I ended up pushing for an hour, which certainly isn’t fast for a second-time mom. But still, I felt like I was a much more efficient and effective pusher – I asked the nurse and midwife to do a lot of coaching and really tried to follow all their directions every single time, like chin to chest, breathe and exhale, elbows out, knees back.  By the way – serious kudos to my awesome midwife and the amazing hospital nurses.  It took half an hour of pushing to naturally break my waters, which seemed to speed things up.  Towards the very end, I started to talk to the baby aloud – I said, “You will come out on the next contraction. This is it. You are going to be born RIGHT NOW.” It was probably a little funny to observe, but it worked – I felt that we were closer to the end.


Just four and a half hours after the first contraction in my kitchen, the baby’s head came out. Then I felt the shoulders release.  The midwife turned to the Husband and said, “Do you want to deliver the baby?” He gripped under the baby’s shoulders and lifted her out of me – it was amazing (and the nurse told me afterwards that the hospital hardly ever lets the men do that!). He gently pulled, placed her on my stomach, and choked out, “It’s a… GIRL!” My amazing and intuitive son was right!  It was a baby sister.  I felt my heart expand and explode into a million pieces – a sweet little girl for us all to love.


Claire was so alert, looking around with big, dark blue eyes. She stayed on my chest while they stitched me up (I tore along my previous episiotomy scar – boo!), nursed shortly after birth, and never left our room during our two-day hospital stay.  In comparison to how I felt physically after Henry’s grueling birth, I felt relatively great after Claire’s fast one.  If I hadn’t torn, I would’ve felt completely normal three days afterwards.  Such a difference!

photo 1

When Kristien and I first started dating a decade ago, we fantasized about our future family and decided that, if we ever had a girl, we’d name her Claire Joy.  I truly always felt like Claire ‘existed’ – and now she really does. We feel so blessed to have her in our family.


Related Content:

Henry’s Birth Story, Part I and Part II

Pre-Henry’s Birth Review of the Bradley Method

Post-Henry’s Birth Review of the Bradley Method

Round Two of Our Drug-Free Birth Plan: What We Changed and What We Kept

Things I’ve Learned About Having a Newborn



  • Lauren December 9, 2014, 9:34 am

    Wow, she is beautiful! Congrats on a wonderful experience and a truly amazing little one! So happy for you guys!

  • Ashley December 9, 2014, 9:39 am

    I am so incredibly happy for you and your family. She is an absolutely beautiful baby! I might be a bit biased, but girls rock!

  • Tricia December 9, 2014, 9:41 am

    My 30-week second time mom self cannot take this post. Totally tearing up here! Lol. Congratulations!!!!

  • Tammy Root December 9, 2014, 9:58 am

    You’re a rock star, Caitlin! Two natural births. You amaze me. 🙂 Claire is so adorable and sweet!! Congratulations!

  • Maryea {happy healthy mama} December 9, 2014, 9:58 am

    Congratulations! This is such a great birth story! It reminds me a lot of my second birth–it went so fast and I was transitioning in the car, which was awful. I was so happy that I was “complete” when I arrived at the hospital because I never would have made it through a drug-free birth otherwise. I was a wreck. Claire is beautiful and I’m so happy for you!

  • Erica { } December 9, 2014, 9:59 am

    She is so beautiful! I’m sorry you tore but otherwise it sounds like you had a wonderful birth experience!

  • Sara December 9, 2014, 10:02 am

    Congratulations! I felt like you would have a girl (based on pics from your pregnancy with Henry and your pregnancy with Claire). If I didn’t have the second baby itch before, I certainly do now! ha ha! Best of luck to you, Caitlin! I hope breastfeeding goes great this time too. (I was an exclusive pumper too most of the time).

  • Haley December 9, 2014, 10:02 am

    Such a sweet story. Kids are so incredibly intuitive!! Congrats to all of you…she’s precious

  • susanna December 9, 2014, 10:08 am

    such a beautiful story! My mascara is running

  • Katie A. December 9, 2014, 10:09 am

    What a sweet story!! Congratulations to you and your family on your BEAUTIFUL baby girl. I seriously got chills at the part where Henry asked about his baby sister…amazing!!

  • Jessica December 9, 2014, 10:10 am

    Amazing story. It feels very similar to the recent birth of my son. My first birth was also longer and my second lasted about 4 hours. I went through such an adrenaline rush after birth. Not something I experienced the first go around. Congrats on your beautiful daughter and enjoy those newborn days they really do fly by. 🙂

  • Kathleen Ojo @ My Ojos December 9, 2014, 10:12 am

    Awww, congratulations! I’m so glad the labor went smoothly and so quickly, so you feel better after. I also had irregular contraction with my first (and only) – it was super confusing because my water broke to start labor at around 4pm, but I’d go 10 minutes without having a contraction, then a few regular ones, then another 10 minutes that felt like a CONSTANT contraction! It took them about 3-4 hours to even out.

    You give me great hope for labor when I eventually have another child – my first labor was only 11 hours total, but 4 sounds much better! 🙂

  • kristin December 9, 2014, 10:13 am

    I just found out I am pregnant 6 days ago so this totally made me cry!!!! I am so happy for you!!! I have been following you for years! I hope my labor is just like this!

  • Nicole N. December 9, 2014, 10:13 am

    Congratulations! She is beautiful!

    Thanks for sharing your birth story, I just love reading them. I just had my first baby seven weeks ago and I am so impressed you realized you were in transition. I had a short labor too and I hit transition about 45 minutes after my first contraction but instead I thought that my labor was just going to get worse! Oddly enough it got easier from there but what an intense experience!

    I am so glad you had a great delivery and that things are going well for you!

  • Julie December 9, 2014, 10:14 am

    Oh I love this story! Congrats to you all! She is such a beautiful baby!

  • Cortney December 9, 2014, 10:16 am

    She is SO beautiful. Thank you for sharing her birth story! Congratulations to you and your family!!

  • Alexandra December 9, 2014, 10:20 am

    She is beautiful! Congratulations on a wonderful, natural birth. Wishing you and your family all the joy (hehe) and love!

  • clare @ fitting it all in December 9, 2014, 10:20 am

    Congratulations Caitlin!!! Such a beautiful story and a beautiful complete family <3

  • Lekki Wood December 9, 2014, 10:22 am

    Congratulations again 🙂 Great story!! I really love that you share how things were different between the two births and how you did things with Henry that you changed this time, or did things differently with the benefit of experience. I LOVE Bradley, but I did feel pressure to get everything ‘right’ after weeks of coaching (which I so didn’t – I actually managed to miss transition). It’s great to hear someone else have a similar experience and not beat themselves up about it. Have wonderful lives together 🙂

  • Morgan December 9, 2014, 10:22 am

    Congratulations! I don’t think the timing rules work for fast labors. My labors were 90 minutes the first time and 3 hours the second. I never had contractions in a consistent pattern, but I will say quick labors make for quick recoveries!

  • Lauren @ December 9, 2014, 10:26 am

    Congrats Caitlin and family!! Claire is beautiful. May your house be filled with lots of love 🙂

  • Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries December 9, 2014, 10:30 am

    What a beautiful story. 🙂 You did so great! Congratulations!

  • Laura December 9, 2014, 10:31 am

    This is amazing. I started tearing up when The Husband delivered. Awwwww 🙂

    Henry will be the best big brother and Claire Joy is a beautiful name.

  • Kirsten December 9, 2014, 10:35 am

    congrats on baby Claire! Great name! Did you have a boys name picked out too?

    • Caitlin December 9, 2014, 11:40 am

      Yup 🙂 he would’ve been Jude.

  • Aishah December 9, 2014, 10:51 am

    So is it normal that I’m sitting here at work, with coffee and a tissue, trying not to cry to the point that it’s obvious? lol Such a beautiful story, and such a beautiful family!!! My love to all of you… thank you for sharing so much of your life with us <3 Congratulations again mama xoxo

  • Another Claire December 9, 2014, 11:05 am

    Thank you for sharing your birth story!

  • Lisa December 9, 2014, 11:13 am

    Congratulations! She’s just beautiful!

  • Kendra S. December 9, 2014, 11:13 am

    I loved this so much! Such a wonderful journey with your sweet little Claire to get to this point and it’s only the beginning. 🙂 Her middle name is so fitting for this time of year! It all couldn’t have been more perfect. Congratulations!

  • kristin | W [H] A T C H December 9, 2014, 11:16 am

    congratulations! what a beautiful baby girl and claire is such a lovely name.

  • Shari December 9, 2014, 11:17 am

    Congratulations!! 🙂

  • Kate December 9, 2014, 11:44 am

    This is just like my second delivery. My labor was about 4 hours. I arrived at the hospital at a 10, ready to push. 30 minutes later, my baby was born. What an amazing experience! I was NOT expecting it to go that quickly.

    Congratulations to you. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures as a mom of 2!

  • Lisa WS December 9, 2014, 12:10 pm

    Congratulations and thank you for sharing your story! She is a gorgeous baby. So happy for you and your family!

  • alan December 9, 2014, 12:21 pm

    Hi Caitlin and family!! Congrats (Mazal Tov) on your new precious daughter. Thanks for sharing the birth with us, your virtual family out here. I wish Claire a lifetime of health and happiness and your whole family lots of health and love too!!

    As a college football fan, I have to ask: Did she get her first Miami one-sie yet?

    • Caitlin December 9, 2014, 12:23 pm

      I need one just for her!

  • Jamie December 9, 2014, 12:37 pm

    Congrats on your beautiful baby girl and another natural labor! 🙂

  • gina (fitnessista) December 9, 2014, 12:40 pm

    crying. you are a rockstar. so happy for your family, and claire is beautiful <3 xoxo

  • Reenie December 9, 2014, 12:42 pm

    Sitting here reading this…. with a smile on my face and happy tears. 🙂 She’s absolutely adorable. Congrats again to you all.

    “Where’s my baby sister?” I kid you not! We didn’t know the sex, but I swear that Henry did! ~ ~ WOW!!! Henry knew. 😮

  • Traci December 9, 2014, 12:56 pm

    The last bit you wrote, about her name coming into being, is so special! Congrats!

  • Tanya December 9, 2014, 1:22 pm

    I saw this post about an hour ago and saved it for when Eleanor was down for a nap and I could curl up on the couch and devour it. I am getting really close to our second delivery and I am really terrified of another natural birth. Rather than feel empowered from E’s birth, I think I’m still a little traumatized. So I’ve been waiting for your birth story and hoping that it will give me the courage and strength to do it again. Thank you for sharing!

  • Jackie December 9, 2014, 1:27 pm

    What a wonderful post. My pregnant self got all teary eyed reading about your husband finishing the delivery! This makes me so excited to have my baby arrive. Congratulations to your whole family!

  • Lindsay Owen December 9, 2014, 1:30 pm

    I knew it! I knew you’d have a great birth. All that talk about avoiding vaginal examinations often tends to end up being moot when you have lovely quick second birth. Sound like you did everything right lady! Well done for staying so calm and relaxed. Isn’t it amazing to feel your body do it’s thing and birth that baby? She is beautiful and I’m so happy for you and your family. Seems like yesterday we were all reading that you were pregnant with Henry. Rock on Mrs Boyle. You’re a warrior in all ways xxxx

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine December 9, 2014, 1:40 pm

    Beautiful beautiful beautiful! XOXOXO

  • Jessica December 9, 2014, 1:45 pm

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful birth story! I’m 2 weeks away from being due with my second so this was fun for me to read. I’m so hoping mine is shorter and easier this time around as well. You did a great job!!

  • Jamie December 9, 2014, 2:19 pm

    This post made me cry! She is so beautiful

  • Allison December 9, 2014, 2:29 pm

    I tore straight up my episiotomy scar. That must be common…


  • Sagan December 9, 2014, 2:31 pm

    Congratulations, Caitlin! So exciting!! Love the picture of you two 🙂

  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork December 9, 2014, 2:36 pm

    Wow! What a story! Thanks so much for sharing with us! Such a difference from Henry’s story.
    I can’t even imagine that moment of utter joy. Congratulations again on your beautiful family!

  • Amanda December 9, 2014, 3:10 pm

    Well done you! Beautiful birth story. I know what you mean about believing Claire was always there; it’s how I felt about my two. I still feel it about two more though so looks like we’re not done yet… has your quick labour tempted you to have more or does your family feel ‘complete’ with Henry and Claire?

    • Caitlin December 9, 2014, 4:48 pm

      No!! LOL I think when you are truly down, you are DONE. Haha.

  • Maria December 9, 2014, 3:20 pm

    This is beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Melanie December 9, 2014, 3:35 pm

    wow Caitlin you are soooo strong!!! Congrats to you!!

  • stacy December 9, 2014, 3:39 pm

    That is so beautiful. Congrats! I love following your sweet family…since BEFORE you were pregnant with Henry even! This made me a little teary!

  • kristen December 9, 2014, 3:52 pm

    what a beautiful story. congrats! she is darling.
    i love what you said about her name. i feel like my daughter ‘exists’ as well, and we aren’t even trying yet. hopefully one day i get to meet her.

  • Casey December 9, 2014, 3:58 pm

    I’m laughing at myself and how emotional I am after reading this post. I’m truly happy for your family and wish you nothing but Joy 😉 as your family grows. Happy Holidays & Congrats!

  • Ash Bear December 9, 2014, 4:26 pm

    Congratulations! What a wonderful story and an even more lovely photo. I’m glad you all are healthy!

  • Carly December 9, 2014, 5:42 pm

    Oh my goodness, what a tear jerker! Beautiful story 🙂 Congrats again to you and your family!

  • Ingunn December 9, 2014, 6:03 pm

    What a wonderful birth experience! Congratulations again on your perfect little baby.

    My husband was supposed to deliver the baby, but she suddenly just shot out all the way on the third push and the midwife just yelled “there’s no time!!” – at least he got to cut the cord. :^)

  • jaime December 9, 2014, 6:56 pm

    Wow, I’ve never pushed for more than 4 pushes w any of my kids!

    • Caitlin December 9, 2014, 10:05 pm


  • Paula December 9, 2014, 7:10 pm

    Amazing job and what a beautiful little girl!
    Henry & Claire… just like in ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ 🙂

    • Casey December 10, 2014, 7:09 am

      That’s what I thought of too!! Loved that book.

  • Melissa December 9, 2014, 7:31 pm

    Wow! Congratulations!

  • kathy December 9, 2014, 7:59 pm

    Crying with happy tears – that is all !!

  • Elaine December 9, 2014, 8:20 pm

    Love Love Love!! Congratulations!

  • Joy December 9, 2014, 8:54 pm

    Beautiful! I love your thoughtful approach to Claire’s birth. Congratulations!

  • Devon December 9, 2014, 9:09 pm

    Congratulations on your beautiful new family member! I remembered from Henry’s birth story that he would have been Claire Joy if he was a girl, and I was hoping you’d get to use the name you loved so much. 🙂 My new husband and I have a girl name picked out for our future child if we’re so lucky, and this makes me excited to potentially use it someday!

  • Megan December 9, 2014, 9:30 pm

    I’m overjoyed!!! Congratulations to you both!! Welcome to the world of having two little ones!! We just welcomed our second in August. It’s been such a wonderful experience. Challenging, but wonderful!

  • sally mae December 9, 2014, 10:34 pm

    such a great birth story! go mama!!! I am 26 weeks with my second baby, but am taking my first Bradley Method Class after reading about it on your blog! this is such an inspiring story!

  • Courtney December 9, 2014, 11:28 pm

    Congratulations and way to go with a second natural birth! Your daughter and her name are simply beautiful. Thank you so much for taking the time to write for all of us readers so we could relive the moments with you. I had a very quick natural birth with my daughter last year and have been nervous to do it again. I think you gave me a little confidence to try one more time!

  • Sofia December 10, 2014, 5:44 am

    I’ve been following your story since Henry was a new born. This is one of the best blogs on my feed! The day you published Claire’s birth announcement , like minutes after, I thought “baby’s born and its a girl!” and then I checked the feed and there was Claire 🙂 I am pregnant now and some years ago I had this beautiful dream of my baby, and it was like I had known him since forever! Amazing feeling 🙂 I guess that is what we feel when baby is out on our arms! Congrats!!

  • stephanie December 10, 2014, 7:32 am

    I didn’t intend to go natural (though I really wanted to), but baby #2 came so fast that I didn’t have a choice in the matter! I was 6cm in triage and progressed so fast that they had to wave off the anesthesiologist! in hindsight, i’m really glad. though it was the worst pain i’ve experienced to date, the recovery has been incredible! i walked out of the hospital 36 hours after giving birth and was able to carry the car seat! haha. anyway, baby boy is healthy and we were able to be home in time for Thanksgiving. So much to be thankful for this holiday season. CONGRATS to you and the family! 🙂

  • kath December 10, 2014, 1:11 pm

    Tears and chills! So glad everything went well!

  • Lori December 10, 2014, 1:22 pm

    That’s such a beautiful story. I’m crying now….

  • Aja December 10, 2014, 2:38 pm

    That is such a beautiful story. Congratulations!

  • Rebekah December 10, 2014, 3:13 pm

    I loved reading this. Thanks for sharing. And congrats to you and the fam!

  • Ashley M. [at] (never)homemaker December 10, 2014, 3:50 pm

    Sounds short and relatively sweet! And just my two cents — my birth with Ada was relatively silent . . . and I don’t think it helped give me energy with pushing nearly 3 hours. So, I don’t think there’s a rhyme or reason to any of it. 🙂 However, I am now terrified since my first labor was pretty short that whenever I’m lucky to have another child, it’ll be too fast for me to even get to the hospital! Eeekkkkk! But congrats again. She’s adorable.

  • CL December 10, 2014, 4:43 pm

    I’d never heard about the emotional goal posts of transtion before, I totally had that freak out moment at home with the birth of my first son and also arrived at the hospital at 8 cm. I too had an episiotomy at the birth of my first, which contributed one way or another to a 4th degree tear. Oh man, not fun at all! I’m so hopeful that for a 2nd baby the tearing won’t be as bad, but I fear it could tear along the wound or worse. Any encouragement that the tear wasn’t as bad as the first time, or is it just as bad?

    • Caitlin December 11, 2014, 6:59 am

      I think time will tell. I got scar tissue last time and that’s what really hurt long term!!

      • CL December 16, 2014, 12:13 pm

        Did you see at women’s health physical therapist? I didn’t even know this existed, but I got a referral after my son was born and it was really really helpful to have professional help with exercises and getting kegel;s right. They put electrodes down there to measure kegels and be sure I was restoring muscle tone – who knew this was something PT’s do! I feel like ALL women should go to PT postpartum.

        • Caitlin December 16, 2014, 1:17 pm

          No but I’ve read about how this is standard in France!

  • Jamie December 11, 2014, 3:56 am

    This mad me want to cry, such a sweet story. She’s beautiful 🙂

  • Cassie December 18, 2014, 10:18 am

    What a beautiful story! I am definitely going to look into the Bradley method when I’m pregnant!

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