Abigail's Birth Story

I love reading other people's birth stories, so I suppose it is only fair that I post our own.  If you are someone who is grossed out by the birth process, you may want to stop reading now :)  I promise it won't be too graphic.

I started having contractions on Sunday night, April 21st, at about 8:30 pm.  All throughout late pregnancy I had been having a lot of Braxton-Hicks contractions, and I had managed to convince myself that I was going into labor numerous times, so I wasn't wanting to get too excited.  The contractions varied a lot in intensity.  I wasn't sure which ones to "count".  Nick and I were both getting frustrated with trying to time contractions.  I kept saying, "OK, it's starting now.  No wait!  That wasn't a real one.  That was too short.  Don't count that..."  The biggest clue that this was the real thing was the fact that I was really cranky :)  Unlike our first labor where I was very serene throughout, I was getting really agitated and annoyed.  Thankfully I was aware of it enough that we were able to joke about it.  At one point I said to Nick, "I'm afraid I'm going to get really angry with you before this is over.  Maybe you should just go to bed".  So he did.  Turned out this was a smart move, as we would both be up for most of the night.

By midnight the serious contractions were consistently 10 minutes apart or less.  Around 1:30 am I had a really intense contraction that lasted about 3 minutes.  After that I thought I'd better check in with the midwife.  I explained that I had been having contractions 6-10 minutes apart for the past hour and a half and that I thought I should come in.  She asked me a bunch of questions about my first birth, and then said I shouldn't come in yet.  I should probably wait until the contractions were 8-10 minutes apart.  At this point I'm thinking "Lady!  Did you not hear what I just said?  I've been having contractions 8-10 minutes apart for the past hour and a half!!"  More evidence of my grumpiness :)  So I gently explained again that I had been having contractions 8-10 minutes apart or less for over an hour.  She said, "Are they getting consistently closer together?"  "Well, no..."  "OK, call me again when they are 8-10 minutes apart and getting consistently closer together".  I hung up having no idea when I was supposed to call back, but I figured I'd humor her and just wait a little longer.

Around 2:30 am my water broke, and the baby dropped like a ton of bricks.  The worse feeling of my entire life!  I seriously thought the baby was going to be born right there on the bedroom floor.  Nick was awakened by me screeching at the top of my lungs "Call the midwife!  Call the midwife RIGHT NOW!  Tell her we are coming in.  I don't care what she says.  We are coming in now!!!"  Nick jumped out of bed, took one look at me, and said "Are you in pain?" to which I responded "Call the midwife NOW!!!!" (That is my favorite part of the whole birth.  I thought 'What kind of question is that?  I am having a baby!!'  But I think that might have been the first time Nick ever saw me acting like I was in pain.  I guess it was kind of a shock.)  Nick called the answering service where the man on the line asked him, in my opinion, way too many questions.  The two of them were having a nice little chat.  Meanwhile I am perching on one foot on the edge of the bed because I can no longer sit down and I'm afraid if I stand up the baby is going to fall out on the floor.  In my head I am just repeating over and over "I will not have a home birth.  I will not have a home birth". 

Finally the midwife called back and Nick told her that we were coming.  She asked how long it would take us to get to the birth center, and he said "Thirty minutes".  Next time I think we should say "Fifteen minutes" because that was closer to the truth :)  By this point my mother had been awakened (Praise God she was with us to take care of Moses so we didn't have to worry about strapping him into the car seat and bringing him along!)  She came in, took one look at me, and basically commented that I looked awful and that my color was really bad.  To which I replied, "I called an hour ago and they told me to wait!!  I don't know how I am going to get down the stairs".  But I was very determined NOT to have a home birth so somehow I walked down the stairs and into the back seat of the car, where I continued to perch on one leg for the entire car ride.  Not a car ride I want to repeat :)  My mom had followed us down to the car, where she handed Nick a bulb syringe and said "Mouth first!  Then the nose!"  Apparently she didn't think we were going to make it to the hospital either!

Nick proceeded to drive VERY fast to the birth center.  He started out going backwards the wrong way down our one-way street and pulling out onto the main road right in front of a semi truck.  At which point I thought "I may die before we even get to the hospital!"  What followed was a very uncomfortable car ride during which my mantra switched from "I will not have a home birth" to "I will not have this baby in the car".  And sure enough we made it to the birth center only to find that the midwife was not there!  By this point I must confess I was really not having happy thoughts about the midwife, but about 5 minutes later she rolled into the parking lot, strolled over to the car, and started chatting it up with us, asking me questions like "So are your contractions getting closer together?"  By this point I couldn't talk at all and I was pretty annoyed, so I just got out of the car and started walking toward the door, hoping she would get there before me and unlock it so I could go inside.  She continued to chatter the whole way into the birth center, asking me which room I wanted to deliver in, etc.  Finally I said "I just need to lie down right now".  So she takes me in, and I flop down onto the bed.  She starts turning on the lights and messing with her equipment, asking me questions like "What color was the amniotic fluid?"  (I'm thinking, "You are not getting this! This baby is coming! When my water broke we did not stop to check what color the amniotic fluid was!!)  Finally she says, "OK, well I'm just waiting for the computer to boot up, and I need to go and find an ink pen, because we don't seem to have any ink pens in this room, so in just a few minutes I'll come back to check how far along you are..."  Fortunately her little speech was interrupted by me having a serious contraction, the kind where you start involuntarily writhing and making animal noises.  She took one look at me and said, "You feel like you need to push, don't you?"  I nodded.  Then she started moving very quickly, and this intense feeling of relief came over me.  For the first time since my water broke I thought, 'She gets it.  Everything is going to be OK.'  She called the back up midwife (actually she started out by calling the wrong back up midwife, and had to make a second call to get the right person).  Their conversation was pretty humorous:

     Midwife: "Aimee just arrived and she's ready to push"
     Back up midwife: "Well, is she fully dilated?"
     Midwife: "I don't know, but I believe her!"  ('It's about time!' I thought)

Then she finally checked me and announced, "I can see the head!  We don't have time to wait for the other midwife."  So she called the adjacent hospital and asked them to send some nurses over from labor and delivery.  The next thing I know, four very perky nurses come running in.  One of them was gushing that they all came because they were just so excited to see a baby be born.  So they all got themselves set up, and then the midwife finally gave me the go ahead to push.  I pushed through two contractions, and little Abigail emerged, writhing and flailing all around.  The youngest of the labor and delivery nurses exclaimed, "You should have LOTS of babies!  You didn't make a peep.  I think I may have heard one 'Ow!' out of you".  Not sure that means I should have a lot of babies, but it was kind of funny.  And that is how Abigail made her way into the world!


  1. I still have no idea why they told you to wait.Oh my. Can relate to your story so much! love ya guys!

  2. This post is awesome. I have heard this story, but it's even better the second time around. Also - I love Darlene Clark. I can just HEAR her saying, "Mouth first, then nose" and casually pushing you out the door. Hilarious :) Welcome, sweet Abigail! We love you!

  3. I so enjoyed reading your birth story. I also enjoy seeing your beautiful family! I hope everyone is doing well :)


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