Wednesday, June 22, 2016

All Hail the Birth Story (the Birth of Fred Bernard)

Alternate titles include:
- The Tale of the Lazy Uterus
- The Little Uterus That Could
- The Early Dilation Station and
- That Time I said "Screw it, we're going to the hospital"

It was hard to choose, but life is hard sometimes.

I had gotten to the point in the pregnancy, which is always around 36 weeks, where I was clicking on every single link to every single birth story I saw on the web. I was navigating to various favorite blogs searching through their archives to read birth stories. I do it every pregnancy, it's weird but it is some how cathartic for me and I think I thought it might just bring on labor. It did not.

I was also at the point in pregnancy, where-- after my 36 week OB visit when they declared me "3 to 3.5 cm dilated already"-- I was mentally mapping out what my birth story would be like for each life situation every single day. At the check out line in Walmart, at Sunday Mass, out at the park with the kids, while getting my traditional late pregnancy pedicure-- every single thing I did I thought "what if my water broke now, that would be a cool birth story". In the end the story really isn't that cool at all, but a baby came out of it so it must be told!

A standard disclosure: before you continue reading, as with all birth stories, this story will include various terminologies that may make some readers uncomfortable, the high usage of the word "uterus" already should give you clue.  There's more where that come from. Onward.

So yes, 36 weeks, 3 centimeters dilated, some early labor contractions but nothing too crazy. I was doing nothing whatsoever this entire pregnancy that would bring on early labor, I literally napped every single day and when I wasn't napping I was sitting on a couch as much as I could. Fifth pregnancy fatigue is no joke. So hearing that my body still decided to get ready for labor so early was a little frustrating. Because here's a little tidbit you might not know about the baby being that low that early: it feels like the baby is going to fall out. It's super weird and uncomfortable and it only got more intense as the baby grows.

By my 37 week visit I was at 4 centimeters and having loads more timeable hard contractions, which is a little frustrating while taking care of 4 kids all day every day. Every load of laundry I did I hoped it would be my last load of laundry while pregnant, same with grocery trips, toilets cleaned, meals cooked. I was just getting tired of doing all these things while having so much early labor.

Ista-proof of my misery

By 38 weeks I was feeling really fed up. We were thisclose to heading to hospital on the evening that I turned 38 weeks (birthday language? I don't know). I had gagged down some caster oil that morning to see if it would stir things up, but then I just threw most of it up and it only made contractions pick up a little.

Cue 38 weeks, 2 days pregnant and the day of my 38 week OB visit. I had big plans to go walking before hand and then beg her to check me to see if all these contractions were doing anything. I thought I might even ask her about stripping my membranes (grossest sounding thing ever!!) but I figured she wouldn't before 39 weeks. We were also going to go ahead and set up a 39 week induction  as a worst case scenario because we are moving in 2.5 weeks and I really needed to be on the other side of labor and recovering before starting to pack and move boxes and what not. Plus I was already so dilated and having so much early labor that waiting any longer 39 weeks was simply not going to happen.

So I did some pre-OB visit walking and contractions were about 4-6 minutes apart for the hour leading up to the visit. The doctor came in to see me and check to see if I was still progressing. The verdict?

5 cm and a "laboring cervix", whatever that means. But! All contractions had stopped as they always did and was a tad discouraged at the fact that I still might have to wait a week for an induction while sitting at 5 cm because my stupid little uterus was too lazy to just keep on contracting. It was like it hadn't gotten the memo from my cervix that there was a party and it was invited.

So I asked her about the "Stripping of the Membranes", and almost without a pause she said "sure". Let's just say it was as uncomfortable as it makes you feel when you say it and leave it at that. I called my mom on the way home to tell her the state of things, and being the on-the-ball-lady that she is, she swung home on her lunch break and packed her car to be able to leave after work. She is a true gem.

After that the contractions were twice as strong as before, but, wait for it... still not regular! By 1 o'clock that afternoon they had completely stopped and I was back to my standard afternoon-pool-of-tears self declaring to Mike that this was just not ever going to happen. I laid Joe down and cued up a Disney movie for the girls and laid down to nap, per the daily usual. I might have even dozed off but then a hard contraction woke me up and it hit me: if I go to the hospital, they are not going to send me home. Screw it, we're going.

I went and told Mike, called our sweet sitter and my mom and we got last minute stuff ready to head out to the hospital. At this point I think my uterus had finally gotten the invitation to the labor party and I was having pretty consistent contractions while trying to get out the door, but any other day of the week that would have just meant that they would stop the second we were sitting in the car. But not this time!

On the way to the hospital I had at least one contraction that I had to breathe through and where I did NOT think Mike's mid-contraction jokes were funny. That was a good sign and a few more of those before we got to triage brought me some hope that maybe, just maybe, this was the real deal. And it turns out, it was. Around 4:30 and after some monitor time with consistent hard contractions they punched my ticket and got me into a room and ready for my sweet, sweet epidural.
Smiling because I know the meds are on their way
While Mike updates the masses on our situation

By 6 p.m. the epidural was in and kicking and the staff let me know that my doctor had a c-section at 7:30 and that she would be coming in after that to break my water. So I sat and labored peacefully until 8:45 when she came in to check and see where things were at and...
still at 5 cm.

Mike and I started to worry a little at this point since 4 hours of very active labor hadn't moved me from 5 cm but my doctor seemed unconcerned. She broke my water and did some fancy shmancy labor position called a Texas roll, first on my right for 30 minutes and then over to my left for 30 minutes. By the end of the second 30 minute stretch I felt like it was pushing time so she checked me again and...
Whoa! There's a head!

The doctor didn't even have me move from my side-- she suited up, got ready and we waited for one more contraction and that is all it took.

One contraction, 3 pushes and out came baby Fred, with an umbilical chord wrapped around his little neck twice very tightly. After some working with him and some mild motherly panicking he finally pinked up and started crying and once they got him up on my chest he showed himself to be the most over zealous freshly birthed nurser I've had yet.


This morning was the morning I was scheduled to be induced but I think I got the better end of the deal: 5 days out and recovering better than last time for sure, with a sweet newborn to hold while typing a fairly uneventful birth story.

Hospital Highlights:

 First and most glorious hospital meal // Dinner (or lunch) for two care of the cafeteria // She takes awkward selfies in peace and quiet // A delicate blend of milk chocolate and baby

Now go read Sheena's if you haven't already!!


  1. Wooo!! I love it! You're making me so excited:)

  2. I love me a good birth story. There's something about being a mom, especially of several kiddos, that makes talking about dilation, placentas, and cervixes so interesting. Thank you for sharing! Congratulations! Fred is beautiful!

    PS-- Please, please write a parody book called "The Little Uterus That Could."

  3. Baby: stateside. All that counts. Congrats!!

  4. Stripping membranes is as uncomfortable as it makes you feel when you say it.

    Not only is this true (Moses' birth) but also: I love you.

  5. Congrats! He is so super cute!!!

  6. Birth stories are just so addictive when you're waiting to actually give birth yourself. Congratulations!!!

  7. 1) I had a low-hanging baby too and it literally feels like they're going to fall out at any time!!
    2) Thank God he came out so smoothly with that cord sitch, because that's scary!
    3) I just want these cozy, easy peasy epidural labors you have. For real.

    and 4) Congratulations he's just adorable and you look so great!

  8. Haha, don't worry I do the exact same thing. Obsessively find all. the. birth. stories. And that second habit of constantly imagining my future birth story gets SO annoying, especially since my two babies were both born at exactly 41 weeks.

    Anyway, congratulations mama!

  9. Congratulations Ana! He is ridiculously adorable!

  10. Ohhhhhh...such a good birth story!! He is just too cute. Praying for you all as you prep for your move!

  11. Ohhhhhh...such a good birth story!! He is just too cute. Praying for you all as you prep for your move!

  12. Totally know what you mean about literally feeling like your uterus is about to fall out...for weeks....ugh. Anyway, congratulations and welcome to the world, little Fred!!