Friday, July 16, 2021

Scotty’s Birth Novella

Let me introduce you to Michael Scott Hahn Jr., affectionately called “Scotty”, who we welcomed on July 8th. His birth was a speedy whirlwind but I have figured out how to make it my longest written birth story yet- so here you go!

Let's start on the day of my 38 week check up. According to the doctor's due date I was 38 weeks 2 days, but according to mine I was 38 weeks 4 days. This is significant because I birthed 4 of my 6 kids at 38 weeks 4 days and I was silently hoping that maybe, just maybe, this would be the day. The night before saw me up for hours with prodromal labor (contractions too strong to sleep through but not consistent enough to go to the hospital) and I was feeling even more done the day of my appointment than other days. So I went. The doctor checked me and let me know I was at 4 cm and did a little membrane sweeping while he was at it, which got my hopes up even more that this would be the day. 

But it wasn't (sad face emojis all around).

That evening I sent Mike out for some ultra spicy Thai food for me, which was successful in starting my labor with Naomi (foreshadowing!!)/ I got the highest level of spice, whoofed it down and was covered in sweat by the end. I slept pretty well that night (as well as any massive gestating whale can sleep) and woke up the next morning determined to keep working at getting actual labor going but also resigned to the fact that I would likely be at 4 cm until my 39 week check, at which point I would ask for the membrane sweep again. 

The Thai food seemed to be only successful at causing gastrointestinal discomfort the next morning, so I called that loss and I took the kids over to a little walking trail that morning and we walked around as many times as we could until it started to rain, during which contractions were coming fairly regularly, but nothing I couldn't walk through, and of course when we stopped walking, the contractions stopped too. We came home and I noticed some spotting and other, ahem, things that signal the eventual onset of labor, but even with those things it can still be days before anything happens. I laid down to nap that afternoon and nary a contraction to speak of, so I got up and decided to walk to all the places. I walked to dollar general, the post office, library and back home (we live in a wee little town). Again, constant contractions, but when I stopped walking, the contractions stopped too. 

I got home and found a bog of iris bulbs my neighbor gave me and grabbed a shovel to start digging and planting. While I was shoveling Mike came outside and let me know that he was mentally preparing for a hospital trip that evening. I scoffed and told him I was sure I would be making it to my next OB appointment (foreshadowing again!!).

I finished my planting, went inside and gave Annie a bath (I give so many baths leading up to giving birth because I never want to go into labor with super dirty kids at home. Very rational, I know). 

After bath time I commenced dinner prep, which was supposed to include a bunch of fresh chopped produce. I got out the produce-contraction- laid it on the counter-contraction- started chopping chicken-contraction… You get it- dinner prep time is when things got going, but! I even took a break from prep to sit and see if I could time contractions and I couldn’t! They would just fizzle. So back to dinner prep.

I was standing at the stove chopping that chicken when I felt a slight trickle. My water has broken twice before so I know what that feels like and this was not that, but still, a trickle. I went and sat down and immediately had a harder contraction and called to Mike to let him know my water might have broken a little bit but probably not and I was going back to dinner prep. He said I should call the doctor but naturally rational Ana insisted on not doing that but instead moved on to chopping potatoes (I did however find a shred of rationality in myself and put all the fresh veggies away and opted for frozen instead- a very providential move.)

Once I threw the dinner in the oven Joe came in and asked me to play a game of sorry with him. I had plans to attend a friends surprise birthday party that evening and needed to shower so I told him I’d play as soon as I showered and ran off to do just that. I showered and got dressed and went downstairs for my planned game of sorry with Joe. Then Fred insisted on joining the game which Joe would not hear of, so Joe stomped off and I opted for a very abbreviated game with Fred (also providential).

We wrapped up the game in less than 5 minutes and I was about to go get Joe to offer to play a separate game with him when- POP, GUSH- water was everywhere. THAT’S what it feels like when your water breaks, it was like Old Faithful. I yelled to Mike that my water broke and then pandemonium promptly broke out. Naomi yelled “IT’S TIME!!” And started going around telling all the kids that Scotty was coming and then they all started running around the house in utter excitement and celebration. It was all going on in the background of me trying to get ahold of the doctor and friends to ask if they could come help but thinking back on their excitement brings me so much joy, it was really priceless. 

So we popped a movie on for the kids, and many amazing friends took over from there tending to my painstakingly chopped dinner and feeding it to my kids for me while Mike and I rushed to the hospital- and we really did rush.

My water broke around 5:15, we were out the door for the hospital around 5:30 and at the hospital by 6. Everything moved fast as far as Mike and I were concerned but as soon as we got to the hospital everyone seemed to move entirely too slow for what my body needed if I wanted and epidural. AND I WANTED AN EPIDURAL!!!

They put me in a wheelchair and told us to wait for a labor and delivery nurse to come get us. So we waited and waited and waited. My contractions were getting harder and harder as they typically do when my water breaks. Eventually someone came and slowly wheeled us to our room. Major emphasis on slowly.

They eventually got me into a room and then casually let me know that their anesthesiologist was in a c-section and that if I wanted an epidural I could get one in an hour. I said “ok” and thought for sure I wouldn’t be that progressed in an hour and would still be able to get one. I asked if they could get the IV in and get the fluids started so we’d be all set for then epidural when the doctor was ready, and while the nurse said “yes” to this she did not actually get moving on it. I waited and waited and waited and the contractions got worse and worse and worse and still no IV!!! 

This is where things got a little bleak for me.

The nurse finally came in to do the IV and at this point I probably looked like someone having an exorcism performed on them on the hospital bed. Contractions were one on top of the other and SO so painful. Seriously I’ve seen people post some pretty beautiful pictures of themselves while having a natural birth but if I had any pictures taken of that time I think they would resemble the birth scene in Robin Hood Prince if Thieves. 

So the slow poke nurse finally came in to do the IV accompanied by another nurse who decided that now- while I’m in the throes of insanely intense labor- would be a good time to ask me their 101 triage questions. 

It went something like this:

The slow nurse tries to place my IV between contractions. Blows out my vein.

Insanely intense contraction begins. Annoying nurse decides now- in the middle of the contraction- is the time to ask her question. 

Slow nurse tries to place IV again in my other arm between contractions. Blows out another vein.

Contraction starts and annoying nurse decides again that now- in the middle of the contraction- is the time to ask another question.

After the second failed IV attempt they went out to find a nurse who is good at IVs and who also happened to be my savior because she walked in, saw me contracting, saw the annoying nurse asking me question after question and promptly sent the annoying nurse away telling her she could finish the questions later. Then she placed an IV in a minute flat with no problems. She was really my savior. While she was placing the IV I heard Mike ask her if there would even be enough time for the epidural, but I was in serious denial about the possibility of not getting it before I pushed the baby out and so I tried to ignore that question. I was writhing in pain during every contraction but I still kept trying to visualize how I would make myself sit still once the anesthesiologist got there. Ha! So rational, Ana. 

Soon after the IV was placed I saw the doctor come in and start getting all sorts of things out and looked ready for me to push and still was in denial about not getting an epidural before pushing. 

But then Scotty’s heart rate got really low. They kept trying to figure out if it was mine or his but as soon as they confirmed it was in fact his my head shot up and I asked if there was something wrong. The doctor looked at me and let me know that no, nothing was wrong, but that my baby was having a major decel because he was ready to come out and that we needed to get him out now. 

This was enough for me accept that I would be pushing this baby out sans my beloved epidural right then and there. They threw my legs in those stirrups and demanded that I “pull my legs back” and push. I remember wanting to scream so badly but opting for a very low growl during pushing which I’m sure did much to heighten the exorcism-ish effect. So natural. So beautiful. 

I did not push long at all before his head was out and then another push for the shoulders and then I had my baby on my chest. 

At 7:17, 1 hour and 17 minutes after our arrival  at the hospital and 2 hours flat after my water broke. I had completely sweat through my hospital gown and if I had to say what I felt like after it was that a truck had just run me over and then the driver handed me a baby. 

I was in utter shock that he was here, that labor just happened and was done. I was so thankful for the time in the hospital to just stare and soak him up and process all that had happened and in the end I was so thankful that it went so fast and was over! It was done! We are so so grateful that he is here. 


  1. Congratulations, Ana!!
    Also, there's a line in the movie "Notting Hill" where Hugh Grant says, "Don't even think about it. Go away immediately."- my feelings exactly towards the person doing intake questions while you are in labor!

  2. Congratulations! He is adorable! I was so happy to pull up your blog and see an update.

    Precipitous labor is crazy. When I had my third (in 3 hours total) the nurse insisted on putting in an IV even though I was planning to go natural and showed up at the hospital at 7 cm. And asked all the questions. Such bedside manner. Like you said, at least it was over quickly.

  3. Oh man, fast and natural laborers are the worst but also the best. Congrats on your cute Scotty!

  4. He looks so much like your other boys! So cute. I think its amazing you were able to do natural when you expected an epidural. Thats some hard work, but being so quick probably helped alot. Right before i had my third, i decided to patch a hole in the bathroom drywall. The unfinished patch is still there 2 years later, a mark of the special kind of crazy that comes over us before labor.

  5. Congratulations!! He is beautiful!! I had a nurse ask intake questions while I was 10 cm and getting ready to push. She included the compulsory, "In the event of a C section, do you want your tubes tied?" I mean, seriously lady?

  6. Congratulations! And what a great birth story, totally gave me precipitous birth flashbacks. Great job, Ana, and God bless you, Scotty!