Thursday, November 17, 2011

The birth story of Baby C - 10/27/11

Baby C’s due date was November 5, 2011.  But as early as mid-October, I had a feeling that she wasn't going to wait until her due date to show up.  My pregnancy had been fairly easy but it was definitely different than Little G's.   I had very intense Braxton Hicks contractions with Baby C that centered well below my belly.  Little G's were mostly the kind that washed over my belly in comparison.  Probably the biggest difference in my second pregnancy was that I had some very severe pain in my groin which ended up being SPD, or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction.  Basically it means that your body is releasing hormones that are causing your pelvis to start to separate in preparation for having a baby.  While it was nice to know my body was ready to give birth, it was excruciatingly painful.   

The Braxton Hicks contractions were very intense the week prior to having Baby C and I was as positive as I could be that she was coming within the week…of course, I couldn’t really know…but I couldn’t imagine her NOT coming early.  On the Friday before she was born, I had an OB appointment and I wasn’t surprised to hear that I was already 2cm dilated.  My OB suggested I take it easy over the next few days since he was going out of town and wanted to make sure that I didn’t give birth while he was away!  Sadly, that wasn’t to be as the very next day we had our maternity picture session scheduled to shoot.

We gathered with our friends and the photographer at the Arboretum on Saturday morning to take pictures and then afterwards we all headed to the Franklin Park Zoo…so instead of sitting and resting I was on my feet from 9 until 2pm that day…oops.  Not much happened after the zoo, though, so who knows if it had anything to do with my labor starting early.

The next Thursday morning, October 27, I woke up around 3:30 in the morning and realized I had been having pretty steady contractions that were coming every ten minutes.  I started tracking them on my iPhone at 4:50am and texted my doula an hour later:

10/27/2011 5:47am

Hi there...pretty sure labor has started. Contractions every 10 min for past 90 min. Hubs will take G to daycare at 7 and then swing by work to pick up some stuff. Should be back by 9. Any ideas on when you should come over? Feel free to call. We're up.

The Doula:
How intense are things feeling? And how long are they lasting?  As long as they mild and manageable and spaced to 10 minutes we will call it on the early side. When they get closer, longer and a bit stronger I could make my way.

They're pretty intense and just short of a minute each (thanks to my handy iPhone tracker app). Haven't gotten out of bed though...cause I'm warm and comfy. Should I do that to see if they change? Also, may have potentially broken water but really not sure. Barely a trickle if that

The Doula:
No problem to stay in bed! They may be more managable if you are not lying down but if you are comfy let's go with it! Get up when you feel so inclined and we shall see how/if they change.

Hubs would like me to ask if you think this is the beginning of labor :)

The Doula:
Yes! I would say you are in early labor

The Doula:
Let's see what the next few hours bring and touch base again


My contractions kept consistently coming faster with a few random ones thrown in that were a bit longer in frequency.  By 8:00 in the morning, I was getting down to every 6-8 minutes and by 8:30 I had had several at a frequency of only every 4-6 minutes.  We had already called/emailed/texted the support team we had put in place for Little G logistics.  They figured out amongst themselves who would bring Little G home from daycare, who would meet him at the house, who would get him dinner and who would stay overnight with him based on their various work schedules.  So we started to gather our things to go to the hospital and I continued to track my contractions.  But over the next hour they spaced out again to every 6-8 minutes.  From 9:30 – 10:30 they were every 9-11 minutes.  By noon time, they were only every half hour.  I called our doula pretty much devastated because I was convinced I had broken my labor.  Since I didn’t go into labor naturally with Little G, I had no idea if what I had been experiencing was real or not and I was so disappointed and discouraged.  I also felt ashamed (and I admit that it was silly to feel this way) that I had posted on Facebook that we were going to have a baby that day and I had gotten our Little G-back-up-team all in a tizzy and it seemed like things were really slowing down.  Could I have been in false labor?  Did I have days, possibly weeks left to go?

Our doula assured me that it was very ‘normal’ for labor to slow down sometimes in the middle.  I hadn’t broken anything.  She explained that sometimes our bodies quiet things down in preparation for all of the work that we’re going to have to do later.  She suggested that we sit tight, watch a movie and relax a little bit.  She also suggested that if we wanted to see if we could move labor along, we could try nipple stimulation and/or try intercourse.  The most important thing she mentioned doing was trying to get my mind off of my stalled labor.  So I did what any crazy-pants-lady-in-stalled-labor would do…I made a pork belly roast!  To be fair, my labor was really stalled and I had taken out two pork bellies earlier in the week with the intent of braising them and they HAD to be made that day or we would lose them…so I figured I would start cooking them since we’d either get to enjoy them, or have to throw them out because they either went bad in the refrigerator or because I had to abort cooking them halfway through to go to the hospital and have a baby.

After throwing the roast in the oven, my husband and I sat down to watch a movie, “Horrible Bosses”…which was a pretty horrible movie.  Pretty soon it was time to pick up Little G from daycare.  I didn’t have anything else to do, so I went along for the ride, having called off the troops for the time being.  On our way to pick up Little G, my husband asked me what I wanted to do for dinner and I looked at him and said that I wanted to share the roast pork belly with our friends.  So my husband sent out an email to our support team letting them know we had a HUGE amount of braised pork belly ready to eat in our house and that I wanted nothing more than to be surrounded by good friends while my labor was stalled.

We got back from picking up Little G and pretty soon our neighbors showed up with their two little ones.  Little G's Godmother showed up next.  I finished off the pork belly by broiling it to get it extra crispy and added some chopped cabbage to round out the dish and eventually served it up to everyone.  From 6:00 – 7:00, while everyone was over having dinner, my contractions finally ramped up again and averaged every 8-11 minutes.  We said goodbye to our neighbors since it was bed time for their kids and Little G's Godmother stayed, insisting that she was going to stay overnight to be with Little G if we headed to the hospital.  We put Little G to sleep and over the next hour my contractions went down again to every 10-12 minutes. 

It was now 8:00pm and we called our doula again to let her know that things were ramping up again.  I decided that I wanted to try getting in our tub to labor but I quickly realized that was NOT a position for me.  I am sure it would work great if we had a super big tub and I was a smaller person…but as it was, I was wedged into a cold, iron tub and barely able to lay down even with my legs fully bent.  It was the opposite of comfortable even if I hadn’t been in labor.  I had one contraction while in the tub and decided that was enough of that so instead I had my husband unwedge me from my uncomfortable position and help me stand up so I could take a shower.  Now THAT felt good.  It was super hot and very comforting, but eventually, I started to prune so I decided it was time to get out.

It was now close to 9:00pm and my contractions had been every 5-7 minutes apart so we called our doula again and asked her to come over to our home.  In the meantime, my husband started getting things in the car and ready for when she arrived.  I settled down into a chair in our living room and sat there listening to the music on my iPod that I had made into a soothing playlist way back when Little G was born.  My contractions were getting VERY intense, but were still not consistently 5 minutes apart.  My husband asked my permission to go upstairs and take a quick shower before our doula got there and I told him to go, but go quickly.  While he was gone, I ended up having two major contractions that could only have been 5 minutes apart.  I know this because I exclaimed during the second one that my husband was taking the “World’ Most F*cking Long Shower”, but I was told afterwards by Little G's Godmother (who was quietly knitting on our couch through the whole process) that my husband was literally only gone for 5 minutes AND he had shaved…making it quite possibly the world’s shortest shower.

A few minutes after my husband came back downstairs, our doula arrived at our house.  I had a few contractions while she was at the house and it was so great to have her there to help me release the tension I was holding in my shoulders and remind me to breathe through the contractions.  We started discussing going to the hospital and I decided that I wanted to go sooner than later because I knew there were a lot of things that would need to get done before I could settle in and focus on having a baby.  I kept saying, “We’ll need to park the car, get out of the car, walk in, explain who we are, fill out the paper work, talk to the anesthesiologist even though I don’t want an epidural, get an IV, etc.”  My husband pointed out that the only thing I needed to do in all of that list of things was get-out-of-the-car and he would take care of the rest.  But still, we decided it was a good time to go.  As instructed by my OB, we called his answering service to let them know we were on the way to the hospital.  At that point it was around 10:00pm and things were now in the 4-5 minute range.  It was also snowing outside, so I thought we should take our Volvo because it is a safer car…but then I started to feel a bit nauseous, so I quickly suggested we take my husband’s rickety old VW Jetta instead.

We headed out the door and to the car.  I was wearing my pajamas, a huge sweatshirt-material robe and rubber boots (because it was snowing).  Our doula sat in the back and coached me through the contractions while we drove the 25 minutes to the hospital.  I have to give my husband major credit here because there was SO much fog on the windows from my heavy breathing that he could barely see and he managed to miss most of the potholes on the way to the hospital.  While in the car, I had two contractions that were double contractions; meaning that they ramped up and started to come down and then stalled and went up again before coming down.  In hindsight, we now know that I went through transition in the car in those two contractions.  We got to the hospital and headed to the ER because we didn’t realize that the maternity check-in area was open until midnight.  I had another awful contraction while getting out of the car and I remember crying to my husband and telling him that I didn’t want a baby anymore.  He reminded me that I just had to get through the contraction I was having and to just focus on that.  Our doula and I headed into the hospital and my husband went back outside to get all of our stuff out of the car before the Valet could take it away.  At that moment, I had another contraction and decided that since I was at the hospital I was no longer going to track them on my iPhone like I had been doing all day, so I slammed my iPhone on the counter in protest.

An orderly helped me get into a wheel chair and then rolled me all the way to Labor and Delivery.  It was a least a five minute walk and he was BOOKING it!  Our doula was practically running next to him as he raced through the hallways.  When we got to Labor and Delivery, it was very quiet and there were three nurses at the station and they all looked up at me and one said, “Who are you?”  Apparently the answering service had never called the hospital to let them know I was on the way!!  I looked at the nurses and very calmly said, “My name is --- ------.  My OB is Dr. ------.  I am in labor and I would like to take off my boots and I would like some warm slippers.  I would also like my husband.” 

The nurses were all pretty slow in my mind, but in hindsight, they had no idea how far along in my labor I was and I was acting pretty rational…not at all like a person who is about to actually give birth.  One nurse took me into a delivery room and handed me a gown and told me to change into it.  I went into the bathroom and changed into the gown but for some reason didn’t remove my underwear.  As I came out of the bathroom, my husband finally showed up.  The nurse wanted me to get on the bed so she could put the fetal monitor on me and I hesitated because I didn’t want to be tethered to the monitor for my whole labor.  Our doula and my husband pointed out that they needed to monitor the baby for just a little bit so they could know what my status was.

I sat down on the bed and the nurse asked me where my baby’s heartbeat usually was found and I pointed it out to her and she found it right away.  It was about 11:00ish and someone casually asked if I was going to have a baby today or tomorrow.  I said I had no idea.  I mention this because I feel like that moment right there was the only moment of relative calm in the entire time I was in Labor and Delivery!  Not long after that moment, I felt another contraction coming on and I sat up on the side of the bed.  Mid-contraction, I felt a pop, almost what seemed to be a baby kick but it was way lower than any kicking baby had ever kicked me before.  Immediately after that, my water broke and literally gushed all over the side of the bed.  A few moments later the Resident on call came into the room and checked my cervix while I was sitting at the side of the bed.  I was 8cm dilated, 100% effaced but at 0 station.  To have a baby, you have to be at 10 cm dilated and +3 station.  The latter of which is a measurement of where the baby is in relation to the birth canal and your pelvis.  To quote the doctor, “the baby’s still pretty high up there”.

The Doctor left and not long after that I had another contraction while sitting on the side of the bed.  Toward the end of the contraction I felt the most intense need to push and I said, “I have to push”.  But then the contraction ended.  Our doula looked at one of the nurses and said, “She’s talking about pushing, can you get the Doctor?”  Since the contraction was over, the nurses were trying to get me into a new gown but I only got it halfway on when I started to have another massive contraction.  This time, I HAD to push…I couldn’t stop.  The nurses were all saying, “DON’T PUSH” and in my head I was thinking I was only at 8cm, and you can’t have a baby until 10 cm, so clearly I was going to completely rupture my body in some way if I pushed…but I couldn’t stop it from happening.  I pushed and the baby’s head was crowning.  our doula called my husband over to where she was standing because you could see the baby  (he had been standing in front of me helping to hold me up).  I felt the ring of fire and knew that our baby was coming.  I tried to crouch down instinctively and someone said, “Don’t Sit!!  You’ll sit on her head!!” but I was just trying to crouch.  With one massive push, I pushed our baby girl out of my body just as the Doctor was running into the room to catch her before hitting the floor!  There was a massive gush of body fluids all over the place.  It was 11:12pm; only 35 minutes after arriving at the hospital and within 20 minutes of getting into my hospital gown. 

They helped me lay down on the bed so I could deliver the placenta at that point and they put my feet in the stirrups.  Because my body had delivered so quickly, it was still in transition and all of the hormones and adrenaline were still rushing through my body.  As I lay there, my body was convulsing out of control and it was one of the freakiest things I have ever seen.  I cannot express enough how glad I was to have our doula there with me to explain all of the things that were going on with my body.  While this was going on, my husband was with Baby C as she got cleaned up and got her Vitamin K drops.  They weighed and measured her at 10 pounds, 4.8oz (only .2 oz less than Little G) and 21.25 inches long (only .25 inches shorter than Little G).

Because I gave birth standing up, I had less of a tear than I had with Little G and generally was in better condition.  This time, I got a local while the Doctor stitched me up but it was difficult to focus on what she was doing anyway because my body was shaking uncontrollably.  Eventually, things calmed down and the doctor finished stitching me up.  We spent the next hour or so in the labor and delivery room answering all of the questions and filling out all of the forms that we should have filled out prior to having the baby including finally getting my hospital bracelet!

The birth of our daughter was the most intense and chaotic moment of my life.  When our son was born, I was enamored with him and the process.  We had worked together to birth him and I felt like we were a team together.  But with my daughter, there was no time to bond like that.  It was fast and furious and anything but deeply meaningful*.  But it was still a beautiful birth and I am so incredibly proud of my body for birthing our daughter in such a spectacular way.


If you haven't already read it and are interested in doing so... you can find the birth story of our son, Little G,  here:

Here are some recent pictures of Ladybug (her official blog moniker) at 8 months:


* When I first wrote this story, just a few weeks after the Ladybug was born, I definitely felt removed from her birth.  The experience had been incredibly chaotic and there was no time for deep meaning.  I can confirm that 8 months after her birth, I look back at the events of that day and it is incredibly meaningful to me.  More than ever, I feel like she and I were (and are) a team and her birth was her way of getting to me as quickly as possible.  I spoke with my doula not long after her birth and we talked about how removed I felt at the time from the experience.  It turns out that isn't too uncommon for fast births.  I wrote a bit more about that, as well as some other birth story thoughts in the following series:

Some Thoughts on My Birthing Experience

  • On Braxton Hicks vs. Real Contractions
  • On Symphosis Pubis Dysfunction or SPD

Some More Thoughts on my Birthing Experience

  • On Getting to the Hospital and Fearing the Nurses Didn't Believe I Was in Labor
  • On Taking More Time to Bond With My Daughter After a Fast Birth

Some Final Thoughts on my Birthing Experience

  • On Gratitude and Our Support Team
  • On My Contractions Timing App
  • On Working With a Doula for a Second Birth


If you haven't already read it and are interested in doing so... you can find the birth story of our son, Little G, (and the famed placenta picture) here: Birth Story of Our Son 07-08-09


  1. Wow, what an incredible birth! I'm amazed at how strong you were. Way to go, and your daughter is beautiful. 

  2. What an incredibly experience!!  Thanks for sharing - I think I cried my way through the entire thing :)

  3. Loved little G's story and love this one too! You are an awesome momma and you should be so damn proud of yourself for birthing TWO big beautiful babies.

  4. Kate @The Fetching LifeThu Nov 17, 07:58:00 PM

    what a wonderful story!! congrats to you again, and your beautiful family :)

  5. What an amazing story! Congrats again to you, your husband and Little G! 

  6. I'm really impressed you gave birth standing up! I wish hospitals routinely offered more positions.

  7. Aww, I cannot believe how quickly it all happened!  Thanks so much for sharing. I  love to hear about different birth stories. 

  8. I hope that (if I am lucky enough to have a 2nd child) that my labor would be just like this (that is quick and without drugs)!

  9. What an amazing story! I agree that you should be impressed with how your body handled birth this time around. I'm just stunned.

  10. So it is we were sitting there after giving birth filling out paperwork, the nurse commented that having a baby standing up is the best way to do it...yet, I don't think the hospital where I birthed encourages women to do that at seems so counter-intuitive to me to not offer up other positions.

    Turns out the best way to get what's on your birthplan is to show up with moments to spare so they CAN'T tell you to lie down :)

  11. Totally impressed!! I am hoping I can be as calm as you!!! I am in the final month waiting- and I really can't think about the whole thing too much or I freak a bit. 

  12. I love this for so many reasons. First because it really illustrates how birth can be both unpredictable but also so very normal. You watched a movie, figured out daycare, cooked a meal! And also I of course love that you didn't give in to what the "system" wanted for your birth. I hate hate HATE when I read stories where women are told not to push (sometimes for many, many minutes). Why would we work so hard to get to this point and then tell our bodies we changed our mind?

    Rant over. Beautiful story. One of my favorites (and I've read a LOT of birth stories :) )

  13. I know!  I think of the culture we have of yelling while counting numbers at women and telling them not to push and it totally makes me cringe.  I was more aware of the former than the latter which is why 'no yelling numbers' is in my birth plans!

    I had watched a few episodes of a Baby Story in the few weeks before I had Miss C and immediately after I had her I thought, oh...they would never show a birth like mine on their network...too scary.  And yet it was the most natural way to do it!@5ba20198eae5fcc22fa676739275e608(well...other than in a field somewhere ;)

    Thanks for your means so much coming from you :)

  14. Heather @ MommypotamusMon Jul 16, 12:08:00 PM

    Whoa! Not only am I craving pork belly and giggling over the " “My name is --- ------.  My OB is Dr. ------.  I am in labor and I would like to take off my
    boots and I would like some warm slippers. 
    I would also like my husband" comment, I am in utter awe of the amazing way your birth story unfolded. I'm not even disappointed that you didn't get a photo of your placenta this time :) Way to go!

    P.S. Your daughter is lovely <3