Sebastian's Birth Story (first installment)

03 November 2011

I'm kind of scared to even start typing this out as we all know I like to over-share ... and provide details and editorial comments about the details ... so this might be the world's first ten part birth story (I hate the term "birth story" but I fear "Sebastian's Earth Debut" or "The Day My Life Changed Forever" are just a little too trite) . Don't say you weren't warned and you have my permission and blessing to skim through the skimmable bits..which might be the entire enchilada. The intro to the intro is already too long. Stop Grace. 

Where to begin. I guess as far back as Friday night. The night the Cardinals won zee World Series. Simon was kind enough to watch Julia so that I might indulge in some Starbucks, a pedicure and a trip to the library drop box to return a sinfully late book. In return for his generosity, I selflessly watched Julia while he met up with some friends to watch the game at a local bar. And in return for my selflessness, he brought me a fat vat of frozen yogurt with lots of crushed chocolate candy toppings. He wins at marriage. Wait...lets back the post up. I had had an OB appointment earlier that day and the doctor had seemed very confident that she would see me at my appointment set for the following week (today!) as I was a paltry 1.5 cm dilated and even started talking about post due date induction dates. bleh. Aaaandd...back to that night when I noticed my Braxton Hicks were picking up speed and intensity but wouldn't let myself time them because that generally made them fizzle so I just rode them out, listened to the game on the old fashioned radio and browsed my favorite: the internet. 

I fell asleep easily that night, woke up to less intense (but still present) contractions and made grand plans with Simon and Julia to go on a loooooooong walk later that day to try and get the labor train rolling. In the mean time, we went on a little warm up walk around the neighborhood, put Julia down for a nap and I found a coffee table, end tables and sofa table set on Craigslist for a steal and sent Simon on his merry way to procure them for our little nest. . .all the while having painless but strongish contractions. When the time came to leave the house for our big walk/hike around three, I was starting to breathe through the semi-painful contractions and didn't think a walk sounded like much fun at all. So...I did my favorite thing to do when I'm pregnant: take a piping hot bath.  The bath didn't slow the contractions even when Julia crawled in, pulled up on the tub and openly ogled at her mom's monstrous body.  Simon called his mom to give her the 'orange alert' so that she could maybe start thinking about heading our way (the plan was for her to drive in from Wichita to watch Julia when I went into labor).

Simon and I tried to watch Parks and Rec to get my mind off the contractions but I just wasn't finding the episode as entertaining as I normally find Leslie Knope, Ron Swanson and the gang so I ate an apple slathered with half a jar of crunchy peanut butter and took another wonderful piping hot bath. I was very reluctant to talk about going to the hospital because I had been sent away with Julia initially and I especially didn't want to embarrass myself in front of Simon's co-workers. Still, the contractions kept coming every ~5 minutes and had started to wrap around my lower back and feel more and more like the real deal. Simon kindly packed a little bag for Julia and finished packing my hospital bag (my soothing birthing playlist, incense, candles, framed photos of loved ones, just kidding on all).  I saw him pack two of his undershirts (he had actually packed pajamas and a comforter for Julia's and prepared man) as he muttered that he was over packing...I don't know why this stands out in my mind and why I'm bothering to type this but I think this is when it kind of hit me that maybe the baby was actually coming. Things were getting serious...Simon was packing undershirts (plural). We were fortunate enough to have a fellow resident family willing to watch Julia until Simon's mom could come into town the following day. We headed to their house around 7 p.m. that evening but not before we snapped some framers of Julia's last hours as an only child
She was clearly overcome

On the way to their house I was still kind of scared that this wasn't 'it' and between contractions I almost convinced myself and Simon that we should just turn around and go back home. But...then a contraction would rear its ugly head and I would further convince myself that this actually could be it. Simon assured me that second babies tend to come faster than first borns and that I didn't want to risk waiting around toooo long before going to the hospital. I decided to heed his experienced advice and would valiantly accept the consequences of a false alarm: humility and mortification in spades. I was preparing to be a blubbering mess when dropping Julia off but a painful contraction on the way in  distracted me and when I saw how happy she was to be socializing with humans her own age and a dog with two eyes...I was blubberless and perfectly happy to leave her in their kind hands and paws.I was kind of embarrassed as the resident remarked that I looked fine and clearly 'hadn't contracted' since we had all been standing around chatting/giving Julia care instructions. So, when Simon and I walked out to the car I freaked and was more petrified that I wasn't in true labor...but then a contraction came right on time and my confidence rose ever so slightly.

On the way to the hospital Simon and I started to seriously discuss potential baby names. We pretty much settled on Sebastian Xavier and kind of settled on a ladybaby name...which obviously turned out to be a moot point anyway.  We parked, walked into the hospital and took the elevator to the labor and delivery floor. That sentence was unnecessary-sorry. I felt really dumb as I wasn't bent over in pain or laboring to breathe and couldn't report that my water had broken. My contractions were still coming steadily and a little bit closer together every ~4 minutes but were certainly tolerable. The nurses that we saw all recognized Simon and maybe it was my imagination but when the check-in lady went to ask which nurse 'wanted us' ... it seemed like they all looked at the floor or the ceiling or their cellular devices....silently signaling that they did not want to tend to my care. Perhaps just my paranoia or perhaps reality...we'll never know. We were assigned to a room where I was instructed to disrobe and put on the fancy and flattering gown. I obliged and crawled into the bed where they hooked me up to the machines and asked all the necessary questions. I had been insanely and unnecessarily anxious about dealing with any of Simon's classmates...especially those of the male variety and tried to politely explain so to the nurse. She was very understanding and said that only the chief resident (female -- hallelujah) would be involved in 'my care'. Cue nine month pent up exhale of relief.

The resident Julia was staying with had also warned against getting a bad nurse. Apparently labor and delivery nurses can really influence 'good and bad outcomes'. A nurse that refuses to give pitocin might be a little c-section happy and have a higher c-section rate. Our nurse seemed pleasant and nice and normal and Simon assured me she was a good apple. Anyway...she did the never not awkward cervical check and her eyebrows shot up midway through and she reported I was 4 cm dilated. She said I was quite stoic and was surprised and happy to say that, "you are staying!" Cue another exhale of relief. I know 4 cm isn't anything to be insanely proud of but I went to the hospital twice with Julia at a mere 2 cm dilated ... literally writhing in pain and absolutely swearing Julia would be our first and last baby if labor and delivery were the only pregnancy escape. So ... up to 4 cm from the previous day's 1.5 cm was no small victory.

Asleep and drooling?

I'll stop here so you can go splash cold water on your face, grab a snack and a chin prop for the next riveting installment.

See you then and there.

part II
part III


  1. Birth stories really are just about my most favorite thing.

    Bring it. You've got me all ready for a novella so you better deliver (ha!) on that.

    Also, you were tiny.

  2. love it!!! even the part about parking the car! I can't wait to hear more... I'm hooked.

  3. keep going keep going keep going!

  4. can't wait to hear the rest! glad to hear that i'm not the only one who stressed about who'd be delivering the babe (i got lucky with a female doc with all my kids) :)

  5. Ahhh! So much in common with me! I also went into labor the night after a doc check (37 wk), where the doc actually scheduled my induction "just in case" because I was closed up so tight. I also spent the night contracting, only to go into L&D in the morning to have the chief resident tell me "you're just in early labor, prepare for a few more weeks of this, if something crazy happens like your water breaks, but it won't, come back in." Went home, water broke an hour later, and was 4 cm by the time we got back to the hospital. Doc was stunned, especially since I was still quite coherent and not in tons of pain.

    Good call on keeping S's colleagues out--we did that too. Just too potentially awkward! Especially with the med students--don't want The Doc to have to teach someone who's spent a lot of intimate time with my intimates, if you know what I mean!

    Can't wait to hear the rest--your humor makes these lots of fun.

  6. I loved this post and you haven't even gotten to the best parts yet, I'm sure. I'll be checking back for the next installment. Keep writing!

  7. I love birth stories!! And yours is most definitely entertaining!

  8. I find birth stories riveting, particularly birth stories of people that I know. So go you!



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