Denise’s Rockstar Birth Story

Meet Denise. She and her husband, Ron, have always been super active- competitive mountain biking, CrossFit, endurance races, and probably more that I don’t even know about! The above pic was taken at a CrossFit competition early on in her pregnancy. Denise continued to mindfully workout throughout her pregnancy- always listening to her body and not overdoing it. I have had the joy of knowing her and following her through her pregnancy. Here is her story:

As a first time mom, I wasn’t sure of all of the exact signs and indicators of going into “labor” – as compared to all of the funny little aches and pains that seem to accrue and pop up in the final days anxiously awaiting our new addition.  I had always had really bad menstrual cramps, and I have heard that labor pain is similar.  About a week before my due date, I started having this crampy feeling plus backaches that came and went.  There was absolutely no rhyme or reason to the patterns of these pains, so I took these to be a major warm up for the pending labor.  My husband and I wanted a natural birth.  We didn’t want to open the door for any interventions.  We attended a local HypnoBirthing class with Kat Grosshaupt in the summer.  In the final months leading up to our due date, we practiced our visualizations, breathing, relaxation techniques, and movements for an active labor.  I figured I could use these “warm up” and practice contractions to practice my pain management techniques. I was due on October 9th – but, as a self-admitted Type-A personality (um, control freak?) with a history of “overachieving” – I had kind of figured I would have the baby EARLY.  On Tuesday – October 8th, the pains were getting pretty bad, and more consistent – with cramps along my inner thighs thrown into the mix.


I went to Prenatal Yoga that night, very much ready for a good session to continue to find my “strength through relaxation”.  I left the class that night feeling positively buoyant.  I drove home with all of my windows open, the radio turned off, the car silent, and basking in this feeling of pure serenity.  As I pulled into my driveway, my water broke.  It was hardly enough to really notice.  Those pesky crampy/backaches kept on through most of the evening – but were at a level that I could doze or sleep through.  Around 3 am, the contractions changed.  The tightening became more intense and I no longer felt like I could sleep through them.  Very soon after this shift, I felt a “pop” and a big gush – with my water breaking in earnest.  After two to three contraction post “gush-of-water-breaking”, I was brought to my knees with awful nausea and vomiting.  There was no question about it any longer – THIS was active labor.


We took our time getting ready to go to the hospital – opting to move around, take a long shower, assemble our huge pile of bags and “props” to take to the hospital.  Overnight bag?  Check!  Snacks and food for us to have on hand in our delivery room?  Check!  Books to reference for positions and visualizations to use during labor?  Check!  Birth ball. Text messages sent to mom and sister to meet at the hospital.  Dog fed.  Everything was buttoned up nice and neatly – no loose ends.  As a first time mom, and with labor “really” just starting that night, I had LOTS of time, right?


We arrived at the hospital around 5:30 am.  I was taken into triage to assess my condition, determine the progression of labor, and get a good reading on the baby’s activity.  They found me to be at 4-5 cm and fully effaced upon arrival.  Nausea and vomiting took over again, and I was now battling this in addition to labor pains.  I did not want any interventions for our labor and delivery, but I wasn’t prepared for the nausea.  I did accept the anti nausea meds, and hoped that I could get comfortable enough to work through the contractions with breathing, movement, and mental focus.


The baby’s heart rate stayed really consistent – but the labor and delivery nurses wanted to see more accelerations.  I was “stuck” on the monitors until they could get 20 minutes of good readings. Instead, I wanted to walk around, to shower, to move – but was encumbered by the monitors (they don’t stay put with a lot of movement).  I was lying on my side on the hospital bed, breathing through the contractions using the methods and techniques I learned in my HypnoBirthing sessions and in my yoga classes.  My husband rubbed my lower back, watching the monitors to talk me through the peaks of each contraction.  I absolutely didn’t want to be laying in the bed. I couldn’t hold down juice or even water, so the doctor ordered an IV.  I was starting to feel really confined to that hospital bed – not at all how I imagined my active birth.  All said and done, I was on the monitors for nearly 4 hours.  I finally got clearance to walk the halls around 9/9:30am.  It was slow going, but felt so good to be off my side, letting my pelvis adjust to the baby moving further down.  I think I only managed 2 “down and back” passes before I wanted to go back to the room.  So much for moving around ….


When we got back to our room, another bout of vomiting consumed me.  I was really second guessing the whole “natural childbirth” thing, and didn’t know if I could make it to the finish line.  The doctor came in and assessed my progress.  I had reached 9cm!  The doctor left the room to give me a chance to finish dilating and transition into the “pushing phase”.  The doctor barely made it out of the room before the most intense contractions kicked in.  My breathing changed more, with an audible “humphf” to indicate that my body wanted to push, and wanted to push NOW.


The doctor re-entered to room and I was ALMOST fully dilated – only one “lip” to work around.  A few more intense contractions, and a change in position on the bed – it was time to push.  I wanted to push hard – to get through this last phase and finally meet my baby.  I pushed for about 15 minutes, and then,with a long, hard push she was here!  She was placed on my chest and I finally got to see this glorious baby face to face.  She was perfect!  I couldn’t believe how quickly everything happened … I had only been in the hospital for a little more than 5 hours.  It took me a while to fully grasp the concept that Rowan was finally here!


I am still floating on the “high” of emotions, to be honest.  We are learning more and more about each other with each passing day (heck, every hour!).  I haven’t slept all too much – but, it isn’t due to a fussy, crying baby … She is actually quite lovely and easy to get along with.  I can’t sleep because I don’t want to miss a single moment with her: watching her, hearing the sounds and coos she makes, and staring into her beautiful, soulful eyes.  I am over the moon, and so deeply in love with this tiny little miracle.

-Kat G.





  • Jog 800m/Row 500m at conversational pace

CINDY: 20 min AMRAP:

  • 5 Pullups
  • 10 Pushups
  • 15 Air Squats


  • AMRAPs are the ideal pregnancy WOD bc you can rest as needed. This is NOT a time to PR or try to match your pre-pregnancy numbers.
  • Move through the workout mindfully, focusing on form, breathing, and keeping your body moving. Take a good solid rest between rounds to bring heart rate down.
  • For pullups, use a band if needed or do Ring Rows
  • For pushups, you can do them to a box, the wall, or parallettes




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