Friday, February 1, 2013

The Birth Story

I'm not much of an informational writer, or even an avid story-teller; I'm definitely more of a get-these-feelings-off-my-chest-before-I-explode-and-maybe-throw-in-some-humor-while-I'm-at-it type.  However, due to recent events (namely, the birth of our sixth child), I realize that some semblance of a birth story is in order.  So here is my attempt at informational story-telling in the best Lisa-form that I can manage:

You've all heard birth stories before.  First off, let me assure you that I have no intention of discussing things like mucus plugs, membranes, dilation, stitches or cervixes.  Come to think of it, I'm not even sure if cervixes is a word.  Only having one myself (and rarely speaking of it), I've never needed to use the plural form.

But I digress. 

In my mind, our birth story begins around January 17th...our baby's due date.  This is the date that had been engraved in my head since the beginning of the pregnancy.  The Golden Date.  The magical date by which I would no longer be pregnant, but would be holding my babe in my arms.

Alas, it was not to be. 

For the entire week before the due date, I thought he could be born at any time.
                        Our first baby came a week early, after all.

By the day before his due date, I was certain he would be born in a matter of hours.
                        Our third baby was born the day before his due date.

And as January 17th passed us by, I thought surely he would make his appearance within the next few days.
                        Our second baby was born four days after his due date. 
                   Surely this one wouldn't wait that long?

But those four days came and those four days went, and somehow my hormonal, emotional and impatient self came to a rather shocking conclusion.

I was going to be pregnant forever.

Looking back, I can see this was slightly irrational, but I think it's pretty safe to assume that few women who are more than nine months pregnant are rational.  And despite my doubts, we did actually have a baby.  He was born on January 23rd, 2013...six days past his due date.  Being as though I, too, frequently run late for important events, I thought it best not to begrudge the little guy his untimely arrival.  He obviously takes after his Mama.

Here are the details of his birth.

Going to bed on the night of the 22nd, I was still fairly convinced that the baby would never be born.  I felt no different than any other night, except for the fact that (due to nerve pain) I was having trouble using my right leg.  Each of the four-hundred-and-twelve times I got up to use the bathroom, I performed a macabre sort of peg-leg walk through our bedroom.  Hop, drag... hop, drag... hop, drag.  The normal thirty-five steps that it takes for a pregnant lady to waddle to the toilet (yes, OCD people count their steps...especially when there are frequent trips in the dark to the same place) became more like fifty little hop-drags.  Fun.

Anyway, on one such trip at about quarter after one in the morning, I returned to bed and had a really painful contraction.  I started paying attention for real at 1:22 am, when I realized that they were coming hard and fast...only two to three minutes apart, and lasting for a minute or more.  We immediately called my Dad, who was coming to stay with the kids, called the doctor, gathered our things, and prepared to leave.  At this point, the contractions were so bad that I was sincerely hoping that my husband wouldn't have to deliver our baby in the car on the side of a dark country road in the middle of winter.  The hospital was a good half hour or so away, but mercifully, the contractions slowed down to every four minutes as soon as I was sitting in the car.  We got to the hospital without incident.

Our three youngest.
The rest of the night and early morning is kind of a blur.  Emergency room.  The trip to the labor/delivery floor.  Triage.  Being wheeled to the delivery room.  And through it all...lots and lots and lots of super-painful contractions.

I have very little to say about labor itself.

1)  It hurts.

2)  I hate it.

3)  I love epidurals.

Once I had my epidural, I was home free.  Sure, it slowed down contractions and took a lot longer, but I, for one, would trade one hour of hellish pain for three hours of peaceful rest in a heartbeat.  Wonder Woman I am not.

And then, at nearly seven in the morning, he was all of a sudden ready to be born.  He was out in just a couple of pushes, and I watched (completely painlessly...bless you, epidural) first his head, and then his entire little self slip out of my body. 

It was breathtaking.

The most amazing thing about witnessing the birth of a baby (and I've now witnessed four of my own as well as the birth of a niece and a nephew), is that moment when the top of the baby's head is clearly visible.  You can see that little head moving from side to side, just waiting to be born, and you think (somewhat stupidly), "That's a real baby!" 

The whole process of pregnancy and labor and delivery is so crazy and incomprehensible, that I wonder if we as humans are just not quite able to grasp it. 

Even though I've known all along that this little person exists, have talked to and sung to and loved him for a solid nine months, have felt his kicks and heard his heart beating, it's like I can't fully grasp the miracle that's happening inside me until I've seen it.  And then, after all that waiting and all that pain, I see the top of that tiny head, and I am acutely aware of the presence of God.  In that moment, I'm in awe of the Creator like at no other time.

Darling Baby Boy
So I know I said that I hate labor, which is true...and not true...all at the same time.  Labor is awful, but it's also the most incredible thing I've ever experienced.  The worst pain I could fathom followed by the highest elation and the biggest sense of wonder imaginable.

I gave God my body and, in return, was given the privilege to participate in one of His greatest miracles...the creation of our new baby son.

Welcome to the world, little one.


A few observations and notes about our birth experience that didn't quite fit into my story:

Proud Daddy. 
I didn't get a picture of him with a Long John.
1) My wonderful hubby never leaves my side from the moment I have my first contraction until the moment we leave the hospital to come home, except for frequent trips to the cafe for food.  We love our time in the hospital together bonding with that new baby (and each other), and we've joked that we need to keep having babies because it's the only way we get a few days away.

2) During our stay, I sometimes wonder if my husband is more impressed by the hospital food than by our newborn child.  I certainly hear a lot about those hospital Long Johns and the sandwiches by the pound.

3) I can now safely say that no one has ever been pregnant forever.

4) We only make hairy babies.  This one, however, is the least hairy one we've had.

5) Our son's birth weight was 8 lbs, 0.6 oz.  This sparked a debate between nurses about whether it should be rounded down to 8 lbs even, or rounded up to 8 lbs, 1 oz.  It's documented both ways.  I, for one, am still confused.
6) If you aren't a personal friend, there is a good chance you will never know our baby's name.  For privacy, we don't use our kids' names on the blog, so he'll be known for now as Baby A.  I assure you, though, that it's a really cool, uncommon name that I love.  I apologize if you have OCD and can't sleep tonight until you've exhausted all names beginning with the letter A.  Do you also count your steps on the way to the bathroom?


  1. Talk about a cute, cute babe! Congrats.

  2. I just shared your post "So What is Attachment Disorder" on the FB page seekingjusticenow. I think it has very helpful info.
    Congrats on the hairy little treasure just added to your family.