I realize the kid is almost four weeks old, so this post is no longer timely. But I’ve wanted to blog Sam’s birth story to have it here for myself. And if anyone else cares to read it, well here you go.

{{Warning: This post is going to contain a lot of ALL CAPS. A birth-with-no-drugs will do that to a blog post. Also, this post is a little more graphic than my usual musings. And I use the word “poop” a lot, so if that’s the kind of thing that bothers you, don’t bother reading this.}}

It all began Monday, April 5th, which just so happened to be the day after Easter. My parents were staying with us until Tuesday, so I took the opportunity that morning to run a few errands on my own. I brought the dog to the vet, and then swung by Babies R Us to check out their selection of baby books. As I walked through the BRU parking lot, I felt a very odd sort of something going on in my body (which looking back I now recognize as a real, live contraction) but at the time didn’t think much of. After the errands, I met my parents and Ryan at the park, where I teeter tottered and walked around and had a grand old time. That afternoon, all the moons and stars aligned so that Ry actually napped, and I was able to take a long nap as well. I awoke feeling refreshed and thinking I’d have a great afternoon because I was so well-rested. As the afternoon went on, though, I started having a few belly-contorting sensations (again, looking back I now know these were contractions), but didn’t think much of it. That afternoon I went off to the bank, picked up a baguette, and then enjoyed a delicious meal of lasagna prepared by my mom. I remember thinking to myself that I better eat TWO pieces of lasagna, just in case I went into labor that night and wouldn’t have a chance to eat anything for awhile. Apparently, I knew something was up. That evening we sat around in the living room with my parents watching the Twins game (I think), and I wrote this blog post. I had a few more of those stomach-contorting sensations, and the baby was moving around a ton. By the time I went to bed at 11:00, I was pretty sure that the more regular and slightly painful sensations I was feeling were contractions.

I only slept an hour between 11:00pm and about 2:45am, at which time I got up to use the bathroom and noticed some spotty blood. I woke FatJ up and told him what was going on, and he insisted I call the doctor immediately. I procrastinated a bit, not wanting to be that annoying person that calls at the first sign of anything. So, after a few minutes of hemming and hawing, I finally called, and the on-call doc called me back right away, and said that because I was going for a VBAC that I should probably come in and they’d check things out. So then we threw on some clothes, I finished packing my hospital bag, FatJ threw some stuff into a bag for himself, and off we went. {{Aside: The parents, who were asleep in our basement guest room- a room that amplifies any use of plumbing in the entire house, said the following: “The first toilet flush woke us up. When we heard a SECOND toilet flush we thought something was up. When we heard the phone ring we KNEW something was going on!!}}

We arrived at the hospital and parked at about 3:30. There is lots of construction going on at our hospital, and we weren’t able to get in through the door that I thought would be open. So, there we are, walking through the yard and around the buildings of the hospital trying to get to the ER entrance, as I’m clutching my belly and lugging my camera bag and other odds and ends and groaning in contraction pain.

By 3:45 I was lying comfortably in a labor and delivery “staging room”, hooked up to the fetal heart and contraction monitors. Basically, none of my contractions were showing up on the monitors, and I started thinking that maybe the nurses thought I was faking my labor, even though they assured me they didn’t think I was faking. I was 4 cm dilated. For the next two hours we hung out in this room, drowsily chatting away and kind of wishing we had waited to call and had just stayed home during this early part of the labor. FatJ had downloaded an iphone app for timing contractions, so that was keeping him nicely distracted.

As 5:30am approached, my contractions began feeling much stronger, more painful, and were much closer together. I started feeling very uncomfortable and began writhing around in the bed. By now the nurses informed me that they were “officially admitting” me to labor and delivery, and so we were moved into a delivery room. Then, things started getting REALLY painful. I was doing a lot of moaning and groaning and clutching of the bed rail and saying OW OW OW OW OW OW OW and trying to come up with some sort of breathing strategy. (Remember, I had canceled out on the VBAC class for reverse psychology purposes). I felt like I was going to vomit and the nurses were nowhere to be found, so I demanded that FatJ find SOMETHING for me to barf in. (Thankfully I never needed it). With every passing moment my contractions were getting worse and worse, and my moaning and complaining was getting louder and louder. The nurse finally noticed that things were getting considerably more uncomfortable for me, so she checked me again and said I was dilated to a 5-6ish. She seemed a bit surprised that after my slow start for the first two hours, things were now speeding up in my labor progress. The nurse and I had a conversation about pain relief options, as things were getting REALLY serious in the pain department by this point. I kept moaning for FatJ to HELP ME HELP ME IT HURTS IT HURTS IT HURTS!!! and I was clinging to the bed rail and crying a bit here and there. I didn’t really want to request any pain meds because I didn’t want them making me feel sick. FatJ was having a hard time dealing with seeing me in so much pain, so he strongly encouraged me to get the epidural. Finally, after some minutes of thinking about it and talking about it and dealing with SEETHING PAIN, I told the nurse I’d like the epidural.

This is when things got crazy. I was now in CONSTANT CONSTANT pain. INDESCRIBABLE pain. I was writhing and cringing and trying to breathe and squeezing FatJ’s hand and crying out and shouting and I think I threw out a few swear words here and there. And then I felt like I needed to take the biggest poop of my life, and I started shouting to the nurse that I HAVE TO POOP!! CAN I PLEASE GO TO THE BATHROOM I REALLY NEED TO POOP!! And she was like “um, well yeah, if you think you really DO need to go, I can help you to the bathroom.” And there I am moaning and groaning and it’s horrible and terrible and the nurse must have had some sort of revelation because then she says “wow, I better check your cervix if you are really feeling this need to poop.” So she checks me, gets this weird look on her face, takes a long pause, and then says YOU ARE FULLY DILATED! SO SORRY, BUT YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GET THE EPIDURAL. YOU’RE GOING TO START PUSHING NOW AND YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE THIS BABY! Yeah, I went from 5/6ish cm dilated to 10 cm dilated in a matter of about 20 minutes.

So then there are suddenly a bunch of new people in the room scurrying around, and the bed is being broken down and a nurse is telling me to get my body into pushing position and I’m like WTF?? And then I start screaming and saying PUSH??? I DON’T KNOW HOW!! I CAN’T DO IT WHAT DO I DO WHAT DO I DO?? So they coach me into some semblance of how to push out a baby, and the on-call doctor waltzes in in his street clothes carrying his laptop bag (because the shifts were just changing) and he says “oh hi, we’ve never met before, I better get on some scrubs.” So I’m pushing and there’s no doctor in there except for this “in-house” doctor chick who’s all like “okay, now push” in this light, whiny voice, and then a nurse breaks my water and it shoots out ten feet across the room (pretty sure the in-house chick got splashed) and FatJ made some dumb joke about staying high and dry and now I am SCREAMING. SCREAMING in pain. It was definitely an out-of-body kind of few moments there because apparently I was screaming things like HELP ME HELP ME HELP ME and GET IT OUT OF ME!!! The pain was unlike anything I could have imagined, and I swear I was in the middle of pooping out a basketball as opposed to birthing a baby. The doctor, who had now finally made his way in wearing scrubs (and commented on my lovely pedicure), offered to do an episiotomy as his way of “helping” me out, to which I shouted NO WAY. (The anesthesiologist also waltzed in at this point and announced “it appears I’m too late.” Why yes, just a bit.) The doctor and nurses and FatJ were doing a wonderful job at coaching me on and reporting on the progress. At one point though, a nurse basically told me to shut up and stop screaming and to focus my energy on the pushing (via holding my breath during a push instead of screaming). I think I pushed for about 30-40 minutes, and toward the end I did not care about anything except GET IT OUT OF ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally, after all the people in the room were cheering me on that the end was so, so near, I found the energy for a huge push and I could tell that the baby’s head had emerged and then swoosh, just like that out slipped the rest of the baby.

And in the exact same moment that FatJ said “it’s a boy” and the doctor said “it’s a boy”, I laid my eyes on those glorious boy parts and felt a huge wave of happiness and joy and RELIEF that it was all over and that it was another SON.

Samuel Robert, there he was in all his beautiful glory.

[[to be continued…]]