My unmedicated hospital birth story: How I found the right support for my natural birth


by Baylor Scott & White Health

Mar 15, 2024

Jenny Anchondo is the host of “Inside DFW with Jenny Anchondo” on CW33 TV. She lives in Dallas with her husband and their two daughters. She recently gave birth at Baylor University Medical Center. This is her story.

When my husband, Heath, and I decided to have a second baby, I knew I wanted to have another unmedicated birth. Like anything with motherhood, there’s no one way to do things. But I felt that this was the right choice for me.  

About 6.5 years ago, I’d planned and prepped for a natural birth and showed up at Baylor University Medical Center in labor with my first daughter, Brighton, already 9 centimeters dilated. So, an unmedicated birth wasn’t really a question with her. She was so alert afterward and nursed right away, and I wanted to repeat that wonderful experience again.

During my pregnancy, I researched positive birth stories and listened to podcasts of other women who had unmedicated births. I gained so much confidence from hearing their stories. If they could do it, I could too!

That’s why I’m sharing my own birth story with you—to inspire other moms to have the confidence and strength to make their birth desires a reality.

The journey of motherhood continues with IVF

At the time, I was oblivious to the fertility challenges that would come on our journey to our second daughter, Gemma. After two miscarriages, we sought the help of a reproductive endocrinologist and started the IVF process. We lost another pregnancy before finishing the first round of IVF and then completed two more rounds and months of other treatments before getting pregnant again. 

From infertility to planning for childbirth, I approached the entire process like I would any other important goal in my life. As a journalist, I did my research—so much research—and we looked at all avenues to get us to the goal we had set for our family.

During pregnancy, I did a program that walked through a series of meditations and mantras to use during labor. I also took a birth class again since it had been six years since Brighton was born.

Once my doctor cleared me to exercise, I did some kind of fitness five days a week, whether it was a nice walk, strength training or prenatal yoga. I also did chiropractic care, made sure to stay up to date on my prenatal care and listened to my doctor. 

Choosing Baylor University Medical Center for birth

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Before we got pregnant, we had considered a homebirth or a birth center. But we decided to go back to Baylor University Medical Center. We had leaned so heavily on the medical community over the past 3.5 years, and my OBGYN had walked with us through our miscarriages and infertility. I wanted her to be there and be in a familiar place in case extra care was needed.

At 40 weeks, I was admitted to the hospital to be induced. My doctor knew my goal—to avoid an epidural—and did everything in her power to make that happen. She checked in on us the whole morning, and we agreed together to break my water to get my labor to progress.

I was able to labor in the tub and have intermittent monitoring. When they did start continuous monitoring, they were able to make it waterproof, so I could stay in the tub to ease some of the pain of the contractions. 

The staff also gave me a menu of comfort measures—everything from a light machine to a diffuser! They truly went above and beyond to make it comfortable, and I never felt judged or rushed in my decisions. They were also welcoming to my doula and my support team, which included my mom and husband.

With so much planning and support, I was able to fulfill my goal of an unmedicated hospital birth. It was definitely the most intense experience of my life, but I was thankful to be able to feel every contraction and know when my daughter was ready to arrive!  

Feelings of gratitude as a new mother

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After trying for 3.5 years and all of the heartache of infertility, I could barely even believe she was here. Even now, Gemma is 2 months old and doing great, and I still feel this overwhelming sense of gratitude.

My advice for anyone wanting to have an epidural-free hospital birth is to prepare ahead of time. You are powerful, and this is a possibility. But I can’t imagine doing it without prepping for it or without the support of my team, my doula and my family.

Natural birth is such a beautiful option for people to consider. So do your research, listen to the positive stories, find a physician and hospital that are supportive, and get the care that works for you.

Your pregnancy and birth experiences are as unique as you are. Connect with a supportive OBGYN today.


Photo courtesy of Lori Sapio Photography.

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