Birth Stories

Complaining about our kids is a coping mechanism that allows us to smile through the tough times. Liquor can do the trick, too, but many frown upon drunk parenting. No matter how many times we roll our eyes at the Toddler’s refusal to empty his colon into the toilet or the Baby’s insistence that she climb ev.ery.thing, the day our little ones were born changed our very core. Because of my children, I love more, I laugh more, I sleep less, and I have become absolutely enamored with the fascinating process of pregnancy, labor and delivery. That’s why I’ve started this collection of birth stories. My hope in publishing these stories is that parents come together and celebrate the miracle of child-birth. Regardless of how our babies came into this world (calming natural birth, scary emergency c-section, adoption, etc.), we all have our own memories, experiences, and opinions. It’s those personal details that make each of our stories unique and remarkable. If you’re up for sharing yours, you can send it/them to: shareyourbirthstories@gmail.com. Enjoy!

I’ll get the ball rolling by sharing my experience with my first, Brady.

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Brady’s Birth

The morning of July 25, 2009, a day passed my estimated due date, I awoke very early to what I thought was just more back pain. The previous night, we had celebrated my brother’s birthday at the Hofbrauhaus and I was blaming Germans and their hard wooden benches for my discomfort. (Pregos are allowed to be irrational, don’t judge me). When Zach woke around 6 am, I told him that I didn’t think he would be playing in his golf tournament that day. He immediately started doing stuff to keep himself busy: he SCRUBBED the kitchen floors, he finished packing his hospital bag, and before he left to take the dogs for a run, he made me a contractions chart, insisting that I was tracked every twinge. I’m not joking:

After a few hours, we called the doctor and I was really bummed to learn the ONLY doctor I had not met was on call the entire weekend, but I tried telling myself it was no big deal. I labored at home, mostly in water, from about 4 am – noon. Finally, as I was sitting backward in a chair, trying to focus on my breathing while Zach put counter pressure on my lower back, the pain and  anticipation got the best of me. In retrospect, I think it was more the excitement and wanting to meet my surprise baby (we never found out if we were having a boy or girl!), and I wish I had stayed home longer. But because we are an hour from the hospital and we knew we were driving right into construction, we opted to leave around 12:30.

My brother came with us because my parents were already en route to a graduation party that they would soon leave to join us at the hospital. I parked my pregnant self in the back seat and positioned a softball between my tailbone and the seat, hoping it would give me some relief. It didn’t. Ouch.

I was 5 centimeters when I was admitted, and although I had dreams of a natural child birth, my back felt like it was splitting in two. I never had “normal” contractions; all of the pain was in my lower back and butt. At one point I remember thinking, “I’m going to vomit all over this nurse.” I accepted the invitation of the epidural shortly thereafter.

Hindsight is 20/20: I wish someone would have slapped some courage into me and suggested I wait a little longer before getting the pain meds. I couldn’t feel a THING. My nurse, who was very lovely and helpful at the time, kept telling me to hit the button. So I did. Huge mistake. My labor slowed, and I didn’t know if/when I was ready to push. At this point, it was nearing 9pm. I thought I felt pressure, so I asked if I should push. I was told to wait until the doctor checked me. I waited for an hour. The doctor finally came in, checked me (I was 9 centimeters), and then informed me that she had to perform a c-section on another patient. I was told to wait for her before pushing.

After another hour, around 11pm, I begged to begin pushing. My less-than-stellar doc came back, announced that she hadn’t even started the other patient’s c-section, and I told her I could not wait. She checked me again (“Just about 10 centimeters, but not quite”) and, to appease me, said I could “practice pushing.”  This made me angry: practice?! What if the baby was ready and the doctor wasn’t? My nurse assured me it was perfectly safe, so we practiced pushing. FOR THREE HOURS. Turns out premature pushing is not a good idea; in fact, it can swell the cervix and after 180 minutes of it, necessitate an emergency c-section…

When Doctor of the Year returned, it was 2 in the morning and she was YAWNING. The nurse told her I had been pushing and without another thought, doc emphatically stated, “We’re going to have to perform a cesarean.” My first instinct was to punch her; I felt like she had let me down and completely betrayed my birthing wishes which, of course, she knew nothing about because she didn’t know me from Eve. Instead, I cried. Our families came in to wish me luck, and I remember feeling like they were bidding me their final goodbyes instead. Totally freaked me out. My brother looked terrified, my dad had tears in his eyes, and then this walked into the room:

That’s my husband lookin’ all creepy in his scrubs. At least it gave me a good chuckle before being cut in half.

I was pumped so full of meds that I barely knew my own name. I was shaking so badly on the operating table that Zach later confessed he thought I was going to die. Apparently I was pretty pale and the nurses kept calling for help and asking for more medicine in my IVs. Poor guy. Fortunately, I did not die and this, our first family photo at 3:30 on July 26, 2009, was the end result:

Please excuse me, there was no time to powder my nose.

I had a son! This was mind-blowing because the entire 9 months I carried that child, I called HER Mia Rose because, obviously, I was having a beautiful girl with beautiful dark hair and beautiful olive skin and that was going to be her beautiful name. I had all the classic “girl” symptoms: I was ginormous, my face broke out, the ever-reliable Chinese gender predictors all pointed to GIRL. Those old wives tales got nothin’ on me. When the doctor announced it was a boy, I yelled (loudly and inappropriately), “LIARRRR!” I never did do well on meds…And here HE was: Brady blond hair, blue eyes, and porcelain white skin. Shut. Up. He was perfect. And he was mine.

I threw up for a bit after the surgery, partly because of the pain medication, partly because I kept replaying the doctor’s request to “please pass the uterus” in my head. Blah. Overall, it was not the experience I had hoped for, but if parenting has taught me one thing it’s to be flexible. I admit, though: I had a very difficult time coming to terms with the fact that I had to have a c-section. I felt as though I was less of a woman somehow. Everyone I shared my feelings with just kept telling me to be grateful that I had a healthy baby. I was grateful, but I was also dissatisfied and I refused to apologize for feeling that way.

The next day when the doctor visited my room, I asked her point-blank if I would be able to deliver my next baby. She told me no. I resisted the urge to yell “LIARRRR” again, and right then and there decided if I couldn’t call her one, I would prove her one: I would have a VBAC, oh yes.

A couple of months after having Brady and a not-so-easy or swift recovery, I tracked down this doctor at her office. I asked to review my post-op charts and upon reading through them together, I discovered, as I thought I might, that there was no physical reason I had to have the surgery. In fact, she told me, I would make a fantastic VBAC candidate. I simply didn’t “progress fast enough.” I immediately remembered her yawning when she came into my room. I told myself not to jump over the desk and strangle her. She then said she didn’t understand why I would want to put myself through the “unnecessary pain” of labor and delivery. I promptly switched practices.

I hope I don’t sound like a Debbie Downer recalling my son’s birth. Looking back on the whole experience, there were definitely some cool parts. For instance, my mother-in-law’s name is TERESA and her sister is JULI. Our nurses in the hospital were THERESA and JULIE. The letters that differentiate the spelling of their names: HE. What a hint! And, because I was tied down like a mental patient circa the 1800s, mine and Brady’s first kiss was of the”Eskimo” variety. And ya know what? To this day, we still “kiss” like that. AND my dad was in the room with me when my water broke. I thought I peed myself and just said, “Ooops! I think I just peed on myself, Dad!” When the water went gushing all over the floor and he realized what had happened, he ran for the door! I’ve never seen the man move so fast in my life! The coolest part was finally getting to see the little person who had been having a party in my belly for so many months. Brady’s eyes have remained the same crystal clear blue, despite both of his parents having hazel eyes, and we’re continually asked if he is adopted or if he and Ella have different fathers. For the record: no and no.

The same sideways glance his dad has in the scrubs picture above!

If there is a theme to my beautiful boy’s birth, it’s certainly that good things come to those who wait. I wish I had waited at home longer, I wish I had put off the epidural or gone without it completely. I wish I hadn’t basically insisted to push when my body wasn’t ready, and I wish I had waited before chugging that apple juice right after the c-section because it came back up real quick and my father-in-law witnessed the whole thing. Truth is, I wouldn’t change one thing about Brady’s birth. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and Brady was meant to enter the world exactly the way he did. And for as chaotic and emotionally charged as the entire birth was, the kid is incredibly chill and easy-going like his Dad. His sister is a different story, but we’ll get to that another day. 🙂  At any rate, after waiting for 9 months of pregnancy and 24-hours of labor, Zach and I became the proud parents of a perfect little guy and regardless of the overall experience, we were madly in love. And we still are.

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Presley’s Birth

Thank you to amazing Mama, Shauna, for sharing her experience! I love Shauna’s sense of humor and the fact that she let nothing stand in the way of getting what she wanted: a beautiful, healthy baby! Happy Friday, everyone 🙂


 

All of my life I dreamt of having a large family. I have been a “kid person” ever since I could remember. I got married at 23 and after about a year we really wanted to start a family. We tried for almost 4 years and nothing was happening. After changing my diet and all of the other crazy natural suggestions, my hot gyno (seriously, he was) whom I loved, diagnosed me with PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome). This was early July 2007. He put me on Metformin for fertility and told me he was positive I would be pregnant in 3 months. August came and we went on vacation to Ocean City, MD. We visited Ripleys Believe It or Not and believe it or not, they had a fertility statue with some legend that basically said if I rubbed it, I would become pregnant. I figured what the hell, I was also wearing my Kokopelli necklace, meaning the fertility deity. Yes at this point I was a believer in EVERYTHING!  So I rubbed the statue, wearing my Kokopelli, with Metformin running through my body.

September came and went, as did October with the only difference being October never brought me my monthly BFF. On November 1st 2007 I took the test and it was positive! Unbelievable! To this day I do not know what it was exactly that worked, but regardless, the hot doctor was right!

I didn’t have that horrible of a pregnancy, but I wasn’t exactly that glowing pregnant woman everyone talks about. I hated chicken, everything my husband ate made me nauseous and towards the end, I was plain miserable! I couldn’t sleep, I craved beer (badly) and June 19th couldn’t come fast enough. We knew we were having a girl, I had her name picked out for months, I had clothes bought and the room painted. I was ready to go, she was not! June 19th came and went, right along with June 20 and June 21. I called hot doctor and said I just cannot take this anymore, I pee every two seconds and my back is killing me with sharp pains every 7-10 minutes. He told me if my water didn’t break, [I should] be at the hospital at 7:00 am the following day and [he] would induce. (See why I loved this guy?) My husband and I had our asses at that hospital first thing [the next morning].

Now, we have amazing families. We love them to death but they are plain INSANE! They are involved in everything and worry about everything and of course they were all at the hospital by the time my hot doctor broke my water. They came into the labor room and set up camp while I lay in bed staring at my sister like I was sending her telepathic messages that would read something along the lines of, “What in the hell do these people think they are going to do in here? Eat some popcorn and enjoy the show?” Mind you, during this time the contractions were strong and of course I was going to die. What pain! All the while, select family members are going up to the computer monitor stating such facts as “Ooh, here comes a big one!” and “Ow I bet that hurts.” My wonderful, mind reader of a sister shot me one more look and voila, they all packed up their belongings and set up a new camp in the waiting room of Westmoreland Regional Hospital.

The only people I allowed in the room the entire day during both labor and delivery were my husband and my sister. I was never 100% decided on drugs or no drugs. My doctor came to check on me and gave me this huge vote of confidence, telling me I was handling the pain really well and although he was not trying to sway me in either direction, he thought I might just be able to handle natural birth. Of course I smiled a cocky smile and was all, “Take that!” By the time 1:00 pm arrived I would’ve run to the house of the doctor in charge of the epidural and dragged him out of bed to stick that damn needle in my back. They made me watch a video and sign a waiver or something about how epidurals work and what not. I didn’t care; I wanted that thing in my back pronto. They put it in, they then inserted my catheter and the happiness set in again. The three of us watched RV while the rest of the insane family sat in the waiting room. The only other people permitted in that room at any point were my Dad and stepmom. They drove all night from Georgia and I needed to give my dad a hug. Hours after that, I busted out laughing as I saw my Mom seriously trying to sneak into my room on her way to the “bathroom.” Apparently she did not see the one before she came through the secure doors.

Finally, at 7:00 that evening, after being checked for how many centimeters I was dilated, it was time to push. I immediately freaked out. Maybe she could stay in there just a little while longer. Things were going well for the last few hours and I was comfortable and for the first time in months didn’t have to run to the bathroom all day long. No turning back though; the baby I had dreamt of for years was finally ready to meet us. I asked hot doctor for a refill on the epidural because he told me it was getting low. I was in love with the stuff. I needed more. He made me promise that if he gave me a refill and I didn’t push the way he needed me to, then he would be able to turn it off. I agreed and away we went.

So the pushing…..not quite so easy, for me anyway. I had my husband pushing back one leg, my nurse pushing back the other and my sister in my ear cheering me on with words of encouragement while feeding me ice chips. It just wasn’t working. My doctor informed me that Presley was faced the wrong way and he would have to “turn her” while she was still inside me. I tried not to panic, but I was a woman in labor, gimmie a break. When he turned her, I wanted to scream. Even with the epidural, it hurt like hell. He was successful though and we went back to pushing for about 35 more minutes. It still was not going the way it should have. So they bring in this contraption as if I was supposed to do some gymnastics or something. It was this metal thing that went over top of my midsection. I then had to place one foot on each of the poles and grab onto this towel they wrapped around it. I had to pull myself forward at the same time I pushed. This went on for almost 5 minutes and at 8:13 pm, out she came. My beautiful 6 lb 14 ounce baby girl, Presley Savannah! I was immediately in love with her.

After the nurses took her to clean her up and what not, I all of a sudden remembered the placenta. Now blame it on the drugs or blame it on the exhaustion, but I never remembered reading about this part. How do I get this out? I felt pretty close with hot doctor, being as how I spent time with him constantly recently. I could ask him anything during my pregnancy, like “Can I eat shellfish? Just in case you say no, I ate some yesterday to get my last fix.” He would respond with a smile and a laugh and say, “Anything in moderation, but I wouldn’t suggest eating fish out of Lake Erie daily.” He also told my grandma once, when she was amazed at modern technology at one of my office visits, “It’s not like the old days when you had to chew off your baby’s umbilical cord and get back to the farm.” Again, see why I loved this guy? He made me laugh and he wasn’t crazy.

Back to the placenta, I figured I could ask him anything, so I looked at him and simply asked, “How does the placenta come out?” to which he responded with the smile and a laugh, “Out of the vagina, just like everything else!” I busted out laughing, said “No shit” and gave one last push and out it came.

I did feel the pressure of the delivery, but I was not in pain. It was a good balance with the epidural. The one good thing is that I had no recollection of having an episiotomy until I had to do those dumb sits baths for days because of my stitches.

We allowed our crazy families in the room to meet the newest member of our family after taking 30 minutes to just ourselves. She was perfect. Everything about her was and is a dream come true. She will be 4 in a little over a month and the time has flown by. I have never loved someone so much in my life. She has begun to ask for a sister – that she would like to name Jem – or a brother – named Diego – recently. Unfortunately if we decide to try again, I will have to commute to Ohio because that is where hot doctor moved to. I wonder if UPMC Advantage insurance would cover that…

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Camryn’s Birth

Thank you, Jess, for sharing all of the intimate (and hilarious!) details of Cam’s birth! We Moms can definitely relate to the “airplane pads!”

I have been replaying the day I went into labor with my first child over and over again and trying to find the perfect words and how to write it just right!  It was such a wonderful and amazing experience that sometimes the words to describe it aren’t even close to how I felt becoming a Mommy that day!

I went into labor at 39 weeks pregnant.  At 38 weeks my doctor stretched my membranes in hopes of baby coming that night because she kept saying that I was going to have a really big baby.  Actually, the day I went into labor, I was supposed to go back and have that done again.  My husband was at work, and I decided I was just going to let my contractions get stronger and closer even though I was so freaking excited.  He was due home in three hours, so I didn’t make him come home as soon as I realized I was in labor.  I didn’t want to rush the hospital and be sent home.  I paced the house, breathing, and keeping track of everything.  I decided to go ahead and call my OB/GYN….keep in mind it was probably like 3:30am ( AND SHE TOLD ME TO CALL HER BEFORE GOING TO HOSPITAL).  She answered; clearly, I woke her.  I told her how close my contractions were and that I believed I was in labor.  You want to know what she said to that……She said that if I can talk to her and am not doubled over in pain, that if I was in true labor, I wouldn’t be able to make a phone call. She said I WASN’T in labor!! WTF????  So, that’s why I delivered my baby not even twelve hours later, right Doctor???!!! I was so mad.

So, the husband gets home, I tell him and he took a shower and I gathered my bags. He was rather calm, I think he was in disbelief, it was too much for him to imagine that it was for real!  At this point contractions were about three minutes apart.  We got to the hospital rather quickly.  For some reason I think the whole registering or checking in part took the longest!  Once we got through triage and into my room, my parents and brothers were there.  All I wanted was food and gum, I knew my breath was stinking!

I remember my epidural; it didn’t hurt as much as my second time around.  I had a really good doctor and he was fast.  I remember being itchy from that!  My armpits and boobs were itchy.  I was starved too!  I so so freaking hungry, all I could think about was food. I was like, “let’s push out this kid, so I can eat!”

The nurse broke my water, but that did nothing.  Then I remember someone suggesting that I could push to get the baby’s head down.  All I heard was PUSH.  When you are pregnant and hear PUSH, damn it, you’re gonna want to PUSH.  DUMB IDEA.  I pushed for nearly two hours and it did nothing.  It made me tired.  I was disappointed and pissed.  I pushed and NO BABY, wtf?  LOL, I was clueless.  I should have just let my contractions work and naturally move baby down instead of pushing my body to its limit and exhausting myself.

About maybe an hour of waiting after I had done the pushing, I remember having the ever so famous “Need to Poop” feeling. Finally! I had been waiting for that lovely feeling for hours !  (I was a little nervous that I was actually going to poop, but I was told I didn’t…if I did, I think my husband wouldn’t have told me anyways because I was really paranoid about that!).  So, the “real” pushing began!!!!  I knew it was serious this time because the Doctor came in and looked ready for some action. It wasn’t my doctor, but that was ok, I was still holding a grudge to her anyways.

My husband and mother were in the room.  I had them hold my legs, I couldn’t even feel my legs to hold them back while pushing.  That was frustrating,   I clearly remember my husband starting cry once he saw our daughter’s head of hair crowning.  A few more “breathe!” and “push!” later, out came my gorgeous daughter!  My screaming, healthy, beautiful baby!  The nurses laid her on me and I remember doing this crying/laughing thing and when I did I could feel my belly jiggle.  I mean JIGGLE.  I remember looking down and seeing the placenta.  I remember I tore, so they had to stitch me, that hurt worse than them pulling her out!  Can you believe we still hadn’t had a name for that kid yet?  Her Daddy got his way; he chose her name, Camryn Elizabeth.  I mean really, at that point the nurse could have named her, I was just on cloud nine and didn’t have a care in the world.  That’s a lie… I was still freaking hungry!

Once everything was calmed down and my family came back to the room and everyone passed her around, a nurse was so kind to find me some food…I remember exactly….a delicious turkey sandwich, mmm.   Poor nurse, it was probably hers!

While I was in the hospital, there was a drill for the nurses.  The alarms sounded and they had to line up against the walls, I remember this because my daughter was in the nursery and I swore that when I heard those alarms that someone had stolen my baby.  It was not funny at the time!  But now, maybe a little.  We had gone on the hospital tour and they explained about the little anklets the newborns wear so that they can’t be taken from the hospital.  So, of all times for a stupid drill, my child is in the nursery and my mind was going wild.  Wonder how many other mothers thought the same thing!!!????

You know, when you are pregnant everyone tries to prepare you with their experiences? It does help you somewhat mentally prepare for the BIG day and at the same time scare the crap out of you.  The one thing nobody told me was about the bleeding and pads I would be wearing after having my daughter.  I knew I would bleed after labor and need to wear pads, so I stocked up on them.  Um….I didn’t know that the pads in the hospital were the size of airplanes!  When the nurse gave me the pads  and ice packs, I about died thinking you want me to wear that!!! Then to wear it inside some fishnet looking, non-sexy underwear shorts things.  HUH?! At least I had wonderful nurses.  They were so nice and acted like we had been friends for years!  But I was intimidated by the lactation nurse; I kind of just did my own thing that worked best for baby and me.  I actually enjoyed the “hospital” food.  Someone serving me my meals, IN BED!  SURE!!!!!

I remember how excited and human-like it felt to shower, even though my husband had to help.  I felt great, that is until I stepped out of the shower and freaking the blood went everywhere.  I mean, that bathroom floor looked like I had murdered someone!  I had no clue that bleeding was like that!  I also had hemorrhoids.  OUCH.  Seriously, ouch.  And for real, I just couldn’t get myself to do the sits bath.  I tried.  I had it all set up and my husband came in to keep me company, lol.  He couldn’t help but laugh at me, so then I laughed and it made me hurt even more!  No sits for me.

I look back and remember the day I became a Mother to one of the most important little people in my life!  I was blessed to have the doctors and nurses that I did.  I was blessed to share it with family.  And so very blessed to have this little girl in my arms finally!  She doesn’t fit in my arms like when she did as a newborn, but she does fit perfectly when giving me a big ol’ hug around my neck!!!!  And every time I get that big hug, I remember the day she was born and how fast the time is going by!  I hope I never forget any of that day!!!

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Ethan’s Birth

In honor of his birthday, I’m publishing Mr. Ethan’s birth story today. He doesn’t remember a thing about this day 4 years ago, but his Mom sure does! Thanks for sharing, Trish, and a happy, happy birthday to your big guy!

Friday was set to be my last day of school. I worked really hard all week getting my grades situated and my room in order for my sub. Thursday, I started having really bad Braxton Hicks contractions all day long. The doctor was not worried because they weren’t consistent and didn’t get more intense. Same thing with Friday. I had been telling the kids all week that as long as I made it through the day on Friday, I didn’t care when the baby came, even if it was 3:05 on Friday afternoon. I wasn’t too far off…

I got home, and AJ and I got into comfy clothes to watch tv and nap, as we usually do on Fridays. I laid on the couch for about 10 minutes when I felt a gush…yep, water broke! Since the baby was not head down, there was nothing to cork it so it just felt like it would never end! I panicked and cried b/c it was such a surprise, but AJ was so calm. We called the doctor, I rinsed off in the shower, AJ got our bags in the car, and off we went. Immediately, contractions started. Everyone kept telling me that I would know the difference between the braxton hicks and the real things, and they were right. I was not prepared for that level of pain! They were about 4 minutes apart at first. We had to get to West Penn from Cranberry (normally a 25 minute drive) during rush hour traffic. Needless to say, we were worried. AJ drove like a champ and got us there in about a half an hour. By that time, water was still coming out and the contractions were every 2 minutes. We got to the ER, and they were not moving fast enough for me. I got my stuff filled out, and they told me to wait and someone would come for me. Finally, I yelled “Listen, the baby is coming out and is breech. I don’t have time for this” … along with some other very sweet words… so the ER admittance guy grabbed a wheelchair and took me up.
Thought you would appreciate this, Trish… 😉
I got in there, having contractions every minute apart. They checked me and I was 6 cm dilated, so they really started to hurry. Of course, I didn’t feel they were moving fast enough and I started having a fit. I was just screaming through the contractions. You women who have had vaginal deliveries are nuts! AJ said it was only a matter of 20 minutes by the time I got taken to the OR, and that 20 minutes was way too long for me. The pain was unreal. I got taken to the OR by myself and got the spinal. It really helped calm me down. They strapped me in, put the curtain up, and I started to panic. I have never been in the hospital before, and laying there by myself just freaked me out. I was so scared b/c it happened so fast and I just wanted to get the baby out and see that he was ok.
Then, AJ came in and sat with me. He looked so cute in his scrubs! Of course, he was very calm and before I knew it, I could feel the pressure on my belly and knew they were getting the baby. Within minutes, the doctor said AJ should come have a look at his son! I was so jealous that I couldn’t see, but AJ stood up and said he was perfect but looked really gross and I wouldn’t want to see him yet anyway 🙂 Then, AJ went over and got him and brought him to me – talk about a ton of emotions all at once! We were in between a few names, and AJ took one look at him and said “He’s an Ethan.” He was right – Ethan Phillip came out so completely perfect looking – we were both just in awe! It is really a moment I will never forget. It is just amazing that this little person was in my belly!
He was 6 lbs 7 oz, 17.5 in and born at 6:28. He was completely healthy and very strong already!

We had a great stay in the hospital. Friday, we kept Ethan with us and he was great all night. I was still pretty numb from the surgery and was not allowed out of bed or to eat until morning. Saturday, AJ’s parents came back around 10, and we finally got moved to our real room. There were a ton of births there so a few of us had to wait in triage rooms until people checked out. Anyway, my first attempt at getting out of bed was rough. Crazy pain. But, it got easier and drugs help 🙂 My mom came a little while later and I managed a shower and put on my own clothes. AJ and I were very tired so we sent Ethan to the nursery that evening and got lots of sleep. When the doctor brought Ethan in on Sunday morning, I started crying – I missed him! And, the after pregnancy hormones didn’t help! But we had a wonderful morning with just the three of us. AJ and I just sat in the bed holding him and couldn’t take our eyes off of him!

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Emma & Lily’s Births

Big sis Emma turns 3 today, so it’s the perfect day to share how she came into the world! Her birth story is followed by her little sister, Lily’s. Lily really threw her mom (and a few police officers!) for a loop, but it’s one of my favorite birth stories EVER! And how cool is her birthday: 9/10/11! Thanks to Mama Melissa for sending her experiences!

I’ll feel a bit bad if I don’t write Emma’s birth story even though Lily’s story (below) is the crazy one.  My labor with Emma to be honest…was pretty much a textbook labor.   I started to not feel so good around 11:00 Sunday night so I went to bed.  I woke up at 1:30 in the morning with my first contraction.  It was all in my back…I had what I dreaded most from hearing about in those wondering birthing classes….back labor.  I had sworn up and down my whole pregnancy I was not getting an epidural.  Well when we arrived at the hospital around 5:30 that was the first thing I asked the woman secretary for when she was admitting me into triage.  She probably thought I was crazy. I was only about 3 cm when I was admitted.  AUGH.  They did give me the epidural when I got to the room since I was in so much pain.  After the epidural the rest was easy peasy.  I was relaxed and even slept as the labor progressed…didn’t feel a thing.  Around 2:15 or so the dr. said it was time to push.  I’ll be honest…..I didn’t feel that either.  I think the epidural was a little too high…oops.  I honestly only pushed a few times and little Emma Grace was born right on her due date – June 1, 2009 at 2:43 pm.  We did not know that we were going to have a girl and I was beyond excited.  She was perfect….7lbs 5 oz and 20 inches.  I have to say other than the back labor at the beginning everything was great.  Boy….did I pay for it the when I had Lily….

The anticipation of the birth of Lily was already high because the day I was due was also the day of my cousin’s wedding. Emma, who was 2 ½ yrs old at the time, was going to be the flower girl.  I honestly thought I was going to have the baby before the wedding but sure enough Friday night we brought Emma to the wedding rehearsal and I was still pregnant.  I felt huge and a lot of pressure but I had been feeling that way for the last month.  I was just at the Dr. the morning before and I was 2 cm.   I remember asking God at the rehearsal to please just give me one more day so I could go to the wedding and then I could have the baby.  Well that didn’t happen.  I started getting contractions around 4:45 Saturday morning.  I decided to get in the shower to try to relax.  At that point the contractions were coming about every ½ hr.  I got myself ready and called my Dr. around 7:00.  I remember the Dr. on call telling me to drink a cold glass of water and then lay down for 15 minutes on my left side.  She said that would help me determine if I was in true active labor.  She said contractions every ½ hr was still far apart but she did understand that we had an hour drive to the hospital so she was leaving the decision up to me.  Thanks Doc.  Right after I hung up the phone I just started feeling really weird and the contractions seemed to be constant.   I called my parents and told them they needed to come over immediately to watch Emma.  I greeted my parents on the street, got in the car, and off we went to the hospital.

I knew something crazy was going on and that I needed to get to the hospital ASAP.   We left for the hospital at 7:40.  I have to say despite all the pain I did pretty well….I hung my head out the window and tried to breathe and be as quiet as possible.  My husband (Rick) was doing great driving and I figured on a Saturday morning at 7:40 it would be smooth sailing to the hospital.  Wrong.  We hit the Freeport Bridge and there we were stopped as a big bulldozer blocked our lane.  We sat there for what seemed to be forever when I told Rick he needed to do something.  There was a motorcycle in front of us so I asked Rick to ask the motorcycle guy to drive up and tell the bulldozer guy we needed to move or he was going to be delivering my baby.  The nice man on the motorcycle did just that and the construction workers blocked the other lane of traffic on the bridge so we could pass.  Phew…  We continued our trek and Rick had on his blinkers and was going about 80.  We were almost at Harmarville when I saw a cop in the middle of the road.  Rick slowed a little and passed him.  Sure enough he pulled out behind us and drove up to the passenger window which was open so I could get some air.  He asked me what was going on and I told him I was in labor.  He immediately told us to get going and pulled behind us to help us get to the hospital a little faster.

The contractions at this point were really getting stronger and the pressure “down there” was crazy.  We finally got to the Shadyside/Oakland area and I knew we were close to Magee but we still had to dodge all the stoplights.  At one of the stoplights we came upon a Pittsburgh police officer.  The cop who was following us pulled up next to the Pittsburgh cop and must have told him the story.  The Pittsburgh cop immediately threw on his lights, asked me what hospital and motioned for us to follow him.  Thankfully he led us through the streets of Shadyside and Oakland and right to Magee Hospital.  Light and sirens were blaring as we pulled into the hospital at 8:30 and a few nurses from the hospital ran outside to see what was going on.  One nurse had a wheelchair and I immediately sat down.  I was wheeled in and this is where it gets a little blurry because I was honestly feeling like I was going to pass out.

We skipped the whole admitting process and they brought me right into the triage room where I was examined.  I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even get fully undressed. I heard the words “9.5” and “take her to the OR” and I immediately was awake.  I asked why we were going to the OR and they said all the birthing rooms were full.  I asked when I was going to get my epidural and they said “sorry…no time…you are 9.5 cm and ready to have the baby”.  Literally panic flew threw my body.  I remember starting to cry and holding Rick’s hand.  Just a month earlier my friend across the street made it to the hospital with an hour to spare and had the baby…no meds.  She said it hurt…a lot.  We get to the OR and my Dr. is there.  She was trying to set up the OR to be a birthing station but the stirrups would not work.  She told Rick that we didn’t have time to fool around so he was going to have to grab a leg and we would do it the old fashioned way.  Again I asked for medicine and again I was turned down.  My Dr. told me it would be like ripping off a Band-Aid and to push and it would be over.

Well I pushed….three times….and it was over.  Lily was born at 8:54…just 24 minutes after pulling into the hospital parking lot.  I really had come close to delivering that baby on the road.  Right now, as I sit writing this story (teary eyed), I don’t remember the pain…..and I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat because the result was one of the most beautiful things ever to happen to me.  I hear that it’s typical to forget.  But I know it hurt a lot (and I know I screamed a lot).  Lily came out in full force!  I guess she figured she had been inside long enough.  Again we didn’t know what we were having and I can remember hearing the doctor say “it’s another” and I burst into tears because I knew it was another girl….just like I had hoped for.  Lily Anne was also born on her due date – September 10, 2011….7 lbs 10 oz and 20 inches long.

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Andrew’s Birth
Rebecca’s story is inspiring on so many levels: she stayed calm when others would have panicked; she rolled with the punches when she had to deliver her first baby early; and she remained grateful and faithful through it all. Her little guy didn’t come into the world how or when she expected, but, as mothers do, she made Plan B work for her and her growing family.
Andrew James
August 20, 2007 (35 weeks 1 day)
7:47pm
5 pounds 10 ounces
18.75 inches long
Due Date: September 23, 2007
This was our first baby. I knew some about childbirth, but there was still a lot I didn’t know. I had no idea what Andrew’s birth would be like, wasn’t sure what to possibly expect and had no real hopes or wants for his birth, other than a healthy baby. The pregnancy had been smooth and easy, no problems, no issues, felt great!
It was Saturday morning on August 18 at 3am. Woke up and my underwear was wet. I thought maybe I had peed myself a little, so quietly got up, and changed (bed was still dry thankfully). Got up later and the same thing, so now I was really wondering what was going on. I kept dribbling a little every time I sat up or stood up – enough that I could feel it come out. After getting up for the day I put a pad on and went seeking the advice of some online friends. Several suggested calling the OB as it could be my water leaking. So I called and he had me come in to be checked out. I was barely, if at all, dilated. They monitored me for awhile, nothing ‘exciting’ at all, then did a pH test on me to see if it was the amniotic fluid or not – well the test came back as probably no, the stick didn’t turn the shade of blue it should have if it was fluid, but it wasn’t the shade it should have been if it was urine. So the doctor said it was probably my baby sitting on my bladder funny causing me to leak urine and sent me home. I tried to brush it off, but just didn’t sound right to me as I still peed a lot when my bladder was full. So I went about my normal weekend wearing the pad the whole time since the leaking never subsided.
Sunday morning I got up for church and my pad and my underwear were soaked. The pad was so wet it was dripping when I pulled it off. Put a new one on, went to church as normal. After lunch and after my friend who was visiting left, I talked to my husband and told him it was still happening. He didn’t know what to tell me to do since we just didn’t know what to think. I also noticed some slight cramping started that Sunday afternoon. I called a friend from church who knew more about baby stuff than I did, she said she would highly suggest calling the OB again. So I called and explained how I was still leaking and how wet the pad was when I got up that morning. So he had me come back in. This time he sent the midwife-in-training to the hospital to examine me. So they hooked me up to the monitor and noticed I was having some very mild contractions and at one point Andrew’s heartbeat went down during one, but went right back up. They did the pH test again, and still didn’t come back the ‘correct’ color, which confused the midwife. She decided to do a swab test and explained that when mixed with something, if it was amniotic fluid they would see it fern under the microscope. She came back a while later shaking her head – some ferned and some didn’t!
With the doctor’s permission they admitted me over night to be observed. Did an ultrasound to check my fluid levels which came back fine, Andrew was nicely head down, and they monitored him the whole night. Around 8am the OB came in the check on me and do another pH test, which she looked at and said “Yes your water has definitely ruptured! We will get you a room and start you on Pitocin to start to induce you. You will have a baby by dinnertime.” She explained that it was too late to give any steroids for lung development.
So the induction begin 48+ hours later when I first woke up wet. They checked me after they started the process and was maybe a fingertip dilated. The contractions started, but weren’t anything too bad or bothersome at that point. Around 5 (I think) our friend Cindy came to be with us as we had asked her to be there as support when I had Andrew. By that point I could feel the contractions, but I noticed they had started to ease off some, weren’t as strong (which strong for me still weren’t very strong at all) as they had been. At 6pm Monday evening the nurse came in to check me…her words made my heart sink – a fingertip dilated! I heard Cindy say “uh oh,” which I knew wasn’t a good sign! I wondered how much longer I was going to go through this until I finally would start to dilate. The nurse had gone and told the doctor, who a few minutes later came in with an little ultrasound machine, she wanted to check something with the baby – low and behold Andrew had, at some point during the day, turned around, he was now breech! The doctor suggested doing a c-section since they weren’t sure how much fluid was left in me since I had never stopped leaking (I would leave a trail on the floor every time I went to the bathroom) and with that in mind she didn’t feel comfortable trying to turn him back around in fear of his head rubbing the side of the uterus and causing him issues or damage. So we agreed to the c-section as we just wanted what was best for Andrew and his health.
They got me all prepped and Ken got in his scrubs. Cindy prayed with me, took a picture of the two of us, and went to the waiting room to wait for and with my parents. Everything went smoothly with the c-section, had no issues or problems at all during it or with the epidural. Ken got to watch the doctor pull Andrew out, which he said it looked like they were squeezing me to get him out like you would squeeze a tube of toothpaste 🙂 And out he popped, feet first at 7:47pm.
His first cries were there, but were definitely not strong and not quite as loud as we expected. Ken was able to go over and take pictures and see him and they explained that he wasn’t doing well breathing on his own, they were giving him oxygen to help him breath. As they finished stitching me up, the NICU team wheeled his little incubator over beside me so I could see him and rushed him off to the NICU. In recovery Ken showed me the pictures and then went to show my parents and Cindy the pictures and let them know how things went. At that point we didn’t know much else.
Later that night the NICU doctor came to talk to us and explained that Andrew’s lungs were more premature than he was. He was hooked up to a ventilator to help him breath since he couldn’t breath well on his own. Ken and my mom were able to go in to see him.
The next morning I was able to go and see him, with Ken. That was one of the hardest things I ever had to see – my baby boy laying there with all these tubes and wires hooked up to him. He was a week old before we finally got to hold him, and that was limited until he was finally taken off almost everything.
The hardest day was when I was discharged and I had to leave the hospital and leave Andrew. Ken and I would make daily trips to the hospital to visit him. I never did work up the courage to go and see him by myself, I always waited until Ken was home to go with me. He was eventually moved to a CPAP machine, then to oxygen, then to room air. The only challenge he had was passing his car seat test to be able to come home, which took him 3 tries.
On September 13, 2007, 3 week later, he was finally discharged from the NICU! That was the happiest day, to be able to finally bring our baby home! At home was still filled with challenges as he was on a heart/apnea monitor to monitor him in case he would stop breathing.
Thanks to modern medicine he is now a very healthy and very active boy now and would never know that he was a NICU baby!

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Logan’s Birth

Thank you to my friend Kristi, mother of THREE boys (bless her heart!), for sharing her first birth story. The other two are on their way!

Did you ever hear a woman say “he was two weeks late?” and feel bad for her?? Do you remember your last weeks of pregnancy; waiting with great anticipation of that due date because you couldn’t possible go passed it?  Yea that
was me, only I went waaaay passed my due date, much passed.  Two full weeks after my due date, I had to be induced.

Let me back up.  About a week before my due date, my doctors noted that my swelling was starting to get pretty bad and my blood pressures were rising.  I had to be hooked up to monitors twice a week to monitor baby Logan and make sure he was OK in there – yet they STILL let me go two weeks passed my due date. On February 4, 2004, I got a phone call from Magee’s Admitting department.  They were calling to schedule my induction if I didn’t go in to labor.  It was scheduled for February 18th, 2004 at midnight.  I would get a phone call when they had a bed open and I could go in.  Awesome.

The phone call came at 11:30.  I immediately freaked out and refused to go.  I was wide-awake and terrified.  I had always dreamt of going into labor spontaneously so there would be no build up of fear.  Oh my water broke, can’t go back now…well there was absolutely nothing telling me to go to hospital other than that mean nurse that called and told me I had to come in and start what is supposed to be the most intense pain of my life, ON PURPOSE!!


Eventually Dave convinced me we had to go or I would end up having the baby at home, not very rational.  For those of you that care, I was NOT at all a good induction candidate.  My cervix was not soft, nor dilating.  I was not effaced at all.  Dr.
Shaheen, who I love dearly and is definitely against unneeded cesarean sections, let me know that unfortunately she was not very hopeful for me, as my body was doing nothing.  She would still do everything she could to help and try to successfully have a natural birth but to be prepared.  I was scared out of my freaking mind.  I had never had surgery, I hate needles, I hate my spine, I am cursing Dave left and right for “making me this way.” It was just bad.
The rest is a time line:

1:48AM – Placement of IV, pitocin started.

5:00AM – Not much change – cervix is slightly soft.  So it’s something.

7:00AM – Still not much change – contractions are getting stronger, they have pitocin on the highest level they can.

8:45AM – Dr. S. Suggests I let her break my water and see if that will help my body along.  She warns me that once they break my water, it is likely that I have to have baby out in 24 hours or less.  She is willing to keep waiting it out, but lets me
know I am NOT going home without a baby.

9:02 – the biggest damned crochet hook I have ever seen and she’s going to shove it up me??? Holy crap, please no!!!

9:03AM – Dr. S. asks me one more time if I want my epi first, before she breaks the water as it can be “uncomfortable” (that woman needs to redefine that word…) I refuse.

9:04AM – Water is broken.  Yep, that freaking hurt.

9:05 – 11:15 – So much pain, controlled breathing, dilated to 7cm!!!! My body is doing it!!!

11:20 – I can’t handle the pain and decide a needle in my back would be better than this!

11:50 – Epi is in and I’m asleep.

12:30PM – evil nurse wakes me up to check me – I’m at 8cm.

1:00PM – I wake up and feel like I am going to poop out a basketball.

For the next hour my mom and Dave are trying to get the nurse to go get Dr. S.  They refused stating they just checked me, there was no way I was ready to push, they would call the epi guy and see what was wrong, blah blah blah.  The epidural I had was one shot of meds to numb me, not the one where I push the button every 5 minutes.  Anyway, he comes in and decides to give me another dose of medicine.  At this point I cannot feel a dang thing.  Dave would touch my leg and I would freak out because I could see him touching me but couldn’t feel it, worst feeling ever!!  Yet, through that, the basketball feeling was still there and I knew something was wrong.

Dr. S. came in on her own and asked how I was and at that point I was in tears begging her to check me.  She was ticked the nursed didn’t get her.  In any event, she checked and Logan’s head was almost out of me.  No shit.  She was screaming to
get peds and throwing on her cool gown and clear face mask begging me not to push at all.  Mind you, I couldn’t feel a damn thing AT ALL because of the 2nd dose of med.

So the whole team of peds (he had pooped in his water sac in me and had to have pediatric team there at birth) arrives just as I scream that I can’t hold him in any longer…one swift ittty bitty push and my first born joined the world.

That moment my life was FOREVER changed.  If you are a parent you know exactly what I mean.

Dr. S. let me know that my body simply doesn’t make the hormones to induce labor on its own and for future babies, I would not have to wait two extra weeks for induction if the same thing happened…thankfully because I went on to do this two more
times…

4 thoughts on “Birth Stories

  1. I love reading birth stories. I haven’t gotten through all of these, but I will. I have to say, though, that my heart just breaks when I read about the story of your son Brady’s birth…wanting a natural birth, being passed off because the doctor was busy, being given mis-information, and then needing a c-section. I understand healthy baby is the ultimate goal, but the birth experience matters so much. The fear of an unnecessary c-secion is what lead me to our midwife and a homebirth for each of our kids. You might enjoy the movie “The Business of Being Born”…a documentary done by Ricki Lake (it’s good…really….not whacko talk show stuff…).

  2. Thank you for reading! I, too, am a bit obsessed with birthing stories 🙂 After the not-so-great experience with Brady, I ended up fighting for and having a VBAC with my daughter, and that was VERY exciting! I actually did watch “The Business of Being Born” and loved it!!! I hope to post more stories and people continue to send them. 🙂

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