Monday, February 25, 2013

Kate: A Birth Story, Part I

In honor of Kate's birth anniversary, I decided to post her "birth story." I wrote it months ago but debated whether I wanted to post it since it's intensely personal and somewhat graphic, but I decided to go for it because I love reading others'.  If words like "placenta," "crowning," or "slimy" make you squeamish, I suggest you read this instead.

Since the finished product is ridiculously long, I've split it into five parts and will be posting them this week. 

Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V

{Holding sweet Kate for the first time}

At my first prenatal doctor appointment, my OB looked at my projected due date--February 26th--and said, "that's my 12th anniversary!"  A few months later, she informed me that she and her husband were going to NYC for five days. Being the control freak that I am, I told her I was uncomfortable with the thought of seeing an on-call doctor I'd never met and asked if I could have the practice's midwives cover my call if my doctor was unavailable.  Thankfully, the arrangements were made, and I was able to meet each of the four midwives and discuss my plans and concerns with them.  They were all incredibly supportive.  I think my doctor would have liked to induce me before she left town so she could deliver my baby, but I really wanted to go into labor on my own.  As time went on, though, I became convinced that I was going to go past my due date, and I made plans with my doctor to be induced the Thursday or Friday after my due date if the baby hadn't come already. 

Turns out I needn't have worried; Kate decided to make her debut on what was supposed to be my last day of work before maternity leave. 


I woke up at 2:30 AM fighting the urge to go to the bathroom.  That pretty much typified my last month or so of pregnancy: I'd wake up between two and five AM a few times and try to ignore my protesting bladder and go back to sleep (if I get up, it's hard for me to fall asleep again).  I usually gave in and got up at least once, but it didn't keep me from trying.  

This time, though, I felt...wet.  And as that registered, I became aware that I was still in the process of losing some fluid.  I didn't know what was going on, but I "knew" my water hadn't broken because they said in birthing class that only 10-20% of women experience spontaneous rupturing of the amniotic sac before they go to the hospital.  So I grumbled a bit but got up.  Once I was in the bathroom, I was suddenly overcome with extreme nausea and some intestinal distress.  I'd heard the body sometimes "cleanses" itself before labor begins, but I was still in denial, so I figured the nausea was secondary to anxiety--my brain thought I might be in labor, which freaked it out, hence nausea (sounds crazy, but stuff like that happens to me sometimes).  

{Kate sleeping in her little bassinet} 

After getting things mostly under control, I went back to bed.  My nausea finally went away after an hour or so, but my contractions were strong enough and I felt crappy enough that I couldn't sleep.  After about my fourth bathroom trip, Jay asked what was going on and I finally admitted (to him and to myself) that I might be in labor and that my water might have broken ("but probably  not--it was probably just something else--I don't think it really did--but it might have.").  

I've received advice from friends, doctors, and books that if labor begins in the middle of the night, you should try and go back to sleep because you have a long day ahead of you.  To them, all I can say is "Ha."  I lay in bed for about four more hours, but sleep eluded me.  The fact that the contractions had wrapped around my middle and made my back ache may have had something to do with that.  I finally climbed out of bed and took a shower and ate a couple pieces of toast.  Jay loaded the car with our hospital bag and gathered the things we hadn't been able to pack in advance.  

It was six o'clock in the morning, and my remaining nesting instincts kicked into gear.  Since this baby was coming earlier than I'd expected, my house was not as clean as I wanted, and I  started toward the kitchen.  Jay, on the other hand, was not in a cleaning mood--he wanted to play a game while we waited.  Somehow sensing, though, that it would look bad if he sat around while his laboring wife cleaned the house, he gamely started doing the dishes, insisted I stay on the couch, and we played a game (Stone Age) online while he scrubbed.

{Yes, I felt just as bloated and uncomfortable as I look.  And, yes, I did wear those very clothes to the doctor's office and hospital.  Nothing else fit.}

I called Amy, the on-call midwife, at around 7:30.  At first, she told me to go to the hospital, but after reminding her I was one of their patients, she said since it didn't sound like I was in a lot of pain, I could just come see her once the clinic opened and she'd check me.  Jay and I waited a couple hours (I trounced him at our game), and then headed to the doctor.  

As we waited in the exam room (for at least 45 minutes), Jay read his book and I breathed through my intensifying contractions while trying to sleep on his shoulder.  Amy came in, gloved up, and told me that based on what I'd told her, she didn't think my water had broken, but she'd check it out.  

"Looks like I was wrong," she said.  "Your water definitely broke, and you're dilated to a two.  I think we should go ahead and admit you to the hospital.  You're going to have this baby today."


  1. I didn't know a CNM attended Kate's birth! Aren't they great? I love the practice of CNMs I see here in Utah. Claudia, who delivered Jonny, was this fabulous grandmotherly lady who was so warm and nurturing. Obviously I haven't read all of your birth story, but I am really hoping your experience with Amy was as wonderful as my experience with Claudia.

    1. I loved the CNMs--loved how laid back they were. I'm going to have to do some looking around here in LV.

  2. Oh... was it Amy Bible? I didn't know you had a midwife delivery!! I am anxious to read the rest of this, and hoping baby #2 comes ANY time now :)

    1. Yes, it was. Pam's son was a client of mine, so I kind of had an "in" with the midwives. They were fantastic. Wish I could go through them again!

      I was so excited to see from your Christmas card that you're expecting again! I hope delivery goes more smoothly this time. Best to you and Mason!

  3. Oh I love birth stories! Thanks for sharing:)

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who likes to read them :)

  4. I love this. I am such a sucker for a good birth story. I'm glad you are writing it down. I also remember those cow pj bottoms :)

  5. AMY. I love that the same woman brought our beautiful babes into the world. I remember how excited I was the day we "couldn't" do lunch. And I was plenty pregnant and uncomfortable myself, but Kate's arrival filled me with such joy. What can I say, I'm a fan. Can't wait for the rest of the story.

    1. I forgot Amy delivered Charlie! And I forgot we were supposed to do lunch when I had Kate! Good times. I just wish I'd been there to come visit you after you had your baby--you were such a lifesaver for me!