Sebastian's Birth Story (second installment)

05 November 2011

(first installment here)

V-v-vhere were we? 4 cm dilated, not terribly uncomfortable, allowed to stay at the hospital, dressed in my gown finery and pleased with my nurse (we'll call her - Mary). Mary said that the doctor on call for my doctor said to proceed with the epidural if and when I wanted, break my water and see how I progressed. Simple dimple. I was pleased with this plan of attack as I had gone over every possible scenario with Simon in the days preceding my labor and en route to the hospital. "Ok sooo what if I'm only a three? Will they make me walk the halls for an hour and if I don't progress send me home? Will I be weighed? please, please no. Should I keep my socks on or no? Do bare feet gross them out? I can wear my glasses the whole time right? How long do they make you wait before getting the epidural? Should I fake some writhing if they seem skeptical of my pain level?" ... and didn't like not knowing what would happen so the simplicity of the plan was pleasing to my control freak self.  I definitely could've gone without an epidural for a spell (yes, a spell) longer but I saw no reason to deny myself the blessed alleviation of my minimal to medium discomfort. I think pushing a baby out of a small private area is heroic enough; bring on the big bad medicated birth.  I thought suffering through the placement of the knitting needle IV earned me my mother warrior cheek streaks for the day. A young and super nice nurse immediately came in to put in my IV.  I think you should know that my hierarchy of fears goes a little something like this: needles, needles, needles, needles, dry hands, needles, driving with a screaming Julia, needles, needles and a coffeeless morning. I've been told my veins have scar tissue built up (vom) from the multiple blood draws I've had and sometimes I can be a 'tough stick' ... shudder. Fortunately, the super nice needle nurse seemed pleased and confident with a fat vein she found in my left forearm and seemed to get the IV in with little scar tissue resistance. She kindly waited until post stick to talk about what large needles they have to use on labor and delivery...double shudder. Almost immediately the nurse anesthetist who also happened to be the nicest lady in alllll of the land bustled into the room with her pretty epidural cart. She reminded of a cross between a grandma and Mary Poppins: perky, sweet, efficient and easy to talk to.  I didn't think I could like my nurse anesthetist more than I did in Wichita with Julia's labor but this little lady was an angel sent straight from above. She was generous with the Lidocaine (citing, "what's a few cc's between friends?!") and I didn't even feel the epidural needle being placed. Miracle! I definitely felt it with Julia and abruptly straightened my back out of the required "C curved" position but this lady was a little magician. I almost didn't believe her when she said, "all done!". She set up a brilliant little button that I could push at my leisure to give extra doses of medicine. She said I couldn't overdose myself and after Roxy told me a little horror story of not pushing the button enough and enduring an hour of full blown contractions, I won't say I wasn't a little trigger happy and I definitely caught Simon giving me some extra pushes throughout the next few hours...especially right before it was time to push (I had an unhealthy fear of being able to feel any stitching/repairing and had voiced this concern about 93 times).

Angel anesthetist had explained that they were working on the dosages of their epidurals and were trying to make them on the lighter side (why? I know not). She claimed it was better to feel some pressure from the contractions for more effective pushing. I didn't like the sound of light anything when it came to pain relief but I was actually very pleased with how I felt. I could still easily move my legs and didn't feel totally helpless when I had to flip over from side to side as I could pretty much do so by myself whereas with Julia I could barely lift my ice chips to my mouth I was so incredibly numb. Ah...speaking of ice chips. The nurse let me drink Lemon-Lime Shasta with delicious crushed ice. During Julia's labor I was scolded for sneaking sips of apple juice so the Shasta was a delightful little surprise.

The full service labor bar continued on as the chief resident walked in to break my water. Other than you know...the awkward factor that a stranger poking a sharp plastic device up inside your person was pretty unremarkable. No meconium spillage to speak of and she said I was now dilated to a 5. Holler. She felt my stomach and guessed that the baby would weigh seven pounds and four ounces. I guessed nine or ten pounds and wasn't concerned with any ounce guessing.
 bebe mama and bebe daddy documented
I think at this point it was probably around 10:00 p.m. - in case you were wanting a time stamp for your records. Simon and I watched the Halloween episode of The Office (not that funny...why is Andy dating someone else? I don't like it one bit) and chatted about nothing memorable as I can't remember what we chatted about. The nurse checked my progress around 11 and I was dilated to a 7. This was so different from labor with Julia as I had very literally been stuck at 4 cm dilated for four hours before they had to start Pitocin. I was almost positive I would need Pitocin again but that didn't seem to be the case thus far. She said she would come back to check my progress around midnight. We watched some bits of Saturday Night Live but were unimpressed and continued to chat about things I don't remember. Around 12:10 the nurse hadn't shown up but Simon noticed the contraction monitor was showing variables in the baby's heartbeat and said he thought I was probably complete. I thought there was absolutely no way but just as soon as he said so he got a text from one of the upper level residents on call who had noticed the variables on the monitor at the nurses' station that said, "baby time!" ... so I guess variables equal baby. Who knew? not I. An equation to remember I suppose.

Nurse Mary came in and confirmed the complete suspicions and said she would call my doctor who had said she would come in for the delivery and then we would do some 'practice pushes'. I had grilled Simon about labor and delivery stories enough to know that these practice pushes generally determine when the doctor will come in. If you are clearly a first time mom or an ineffective pusher...the doctor will hold off on coming in but if your pushing procures a little peek of the baby's head..then the doctor will generally come right in. I pushed twice with Simon and the nurse totally not embarrassingly holding my legs up and the nurse said to S-T-O-P as the baby was definitely ready to slide on out. Of course my contractions slowed so the time between pushes was a-w-k-w-a-r-d and quiet and I felt a lot of pressure (figuratively) to 'know' when the contraction pressure (literally) kicked in.  I managed to feel the correct pressure to push and the baby's head was clearly about to come out .... but no pain. Perfect. My doctor had wanted to come in but was at another hospital way across town in suburbia and wouldn't be able to make it so Mary told me that the doctor that was on call for her was going to come in. I don't know about you but I wasn't thrilled with the idea of a perfect stranger waltzing into the room, getting an intimate introduction to Grace rightaway, delivering our offspring and possibly repairing said intimate area of Grace but...we didn't really have a choice...obviously. Fortunately, I was very pleasantly surprised when a 30 something bubbly Barbie look alike came walking into the delivery room. She couldn't have been any nicer or more gracious and any weirdness that I had built up in my mind immediately dissipated as we got down to business. She guessed the baby would be a boy and would weigh in the lower seven pound range after looking at my stomach. I pushed two more times and out Sebastian's head popped (should I put an exclamation point here? - sure)!! Simon immediately said, "it looks like a boy!" (??? realllllly...what do boy faces look like?) and then the doctor grabbed a pair of very scary sharp scissors and started snipping away while narrating, "there nowww there is room" .... !!!!!!!!!!!!! I think my eyes completely emerged from their sockets as I looked at Simon and wanted confirmation or denial that she had just cut an episiotomy. He just said, "its ok...its ok" .... um ... no not ok not ok not ok not ok. I have been asking you what the odds of a getting an episiotomy would be and you said virtually NONE. Anyway ... the rest of the little boy slid out and confirmed that yes...indeed his parts were not girly and we had a little son on our hands. Nurse Mary immediately asked what his name was and Simon tentatively said, "Sebastian" (another exclamation...why not)!! I couldn't help it ... tears definitely welled as they put him up to my chest and let me hold him. I was really surprised that a) there actually had been a real live baby in there and b) that the baby was a maternal instincts have failed me. Despite being covered in goop galore I could tell that he looked nothing like Julia and was a lot less angry than little J when she was first born. Let the sibling comparisons begin. Back to the supposed dreaded episiotomy. Apparently the cord was wrapped really tightly around Sebastian's neck and instead of just unwrapping it (which is normally what they would do)...she had to snip it off because of the tight factor. Thank goooodness.

In Wichita, I had been encouraged to nurse right away but things were a done a leeedle bit differently here in St. Louis. They took him to the warmer to clean off the slime, swaddle, get his footprint and weigh him.
So I sat and watched the doctor sew...which wasn't as terribly awkward as it probably should've been. She claimed she only needed to put 'one little stitch in' but when Nurse Mary asked what degree the tear was she said 'second degree' ... which of course ... according to my Simon grills I knew that second degree was not a mere stitch. Pants on fire...liar Doctor Pretty. Ah well...all worth it. She was pretty quick and I was soon distracted by the dramatic weighing of little S before they brought him back to me so that I could try my ladies at nursing. He latched on somewhat easily and suckled away until a new nurse came in to whisk him off to the nursery for the bathing etc etc etc etc. I was hesitant to stop the nursing and felt like a mother Grizzly not letting her take him right away and she seemed to understand and left us alone for a little while.
holy tamale....this is definitely the longest birth story to ever be typed.
I think I'll actually leave the last bit of excitement for installment the third.

See you then.
See you there.


  1. Okay so, I don't think I'm actually gutsy enough to post my own story but I always love reading birth stories!
    Did the nurse (talking about lower epidural dosages) mention that epidurals lead to more c-sections, particularly with first time mothers? That's a big part of the reason I want to stay away, no more c-sections for me!
    I'm totally with you about the needle fear. I was way more afraid of the needle for my spinal than I was for surgery itself. *shudder*
    Somehow, this story just makes me more excited to give birth. Weird? Maybe. But good, because otherwise, I'm basically just terrified.

  2. Love me a good birthing story and this one is at the top of my list. Wish I would've done one for H but I'm afraid I'm 2 years too late. Maybe I'll make up for it with Baby Bean. If it's not too horrifying. Awaiting anxiously for part tres.

  3. On needles... I actually made the nurse take a picture of the 'epidural getting' with the second baby. I even smiled for it because apparently I was crazy.

    Love love love your story! Part 3 is coming?? yea!

  4. Ok- laughing AND crying here. You should write sitcoms.

  5. Ah, this is incredible! I'm so glad Sebastian's birth went well. What a healthy infant he looks! Thanks for your bravery in posting your story!

  6. not so secretly (as I am sure I have told you before) hate you for having ANOTHER awesome/easy/only moderately painful labor and delivery. That Sebastian sure is handsome... you guys need to have at least 14 more (esp since you seem to be so awesome at giving birth!)

  7.'s a question that came to me last night, after it kicked in that Simon is an OB/GYN resident. Is there a reason why he didn't check you for progress before y'all headed into the hospital? How about the whole delivery bit (they let The Doc "catch" and he's just a urologist!)? Not being pushy, I swear, I just wondered.

    I love how you captured the wait...go...wait...go...wait...GO...NO WAIT..okay, now go! that is labor. So funny.

  8. Gracious, this is awesome. You have quite the ability to engage the reader into the moment and maintain appropriate lightness and enthusiasm. I love your way of writing! And i love every word of your birth story(s). You are lucky to have had such a smooth labor; mine was the polar opposite. But maybe this time will be the charm. You continue to be motivation!

  9. I'm loving this birth story.

    "I think pushing a baby out of a small private area is heroic enough; bring on the big bad medicated birth"

    HILARIOUS. And Amen.

  10. Just started reading you blog but wanted to say that I am enjoying it immensely, you and your fam are gorgeous. I'm a crazy catholic too, the New Zealand variety though :)

  11. LOVE it!! Not too long at all. I like all the grisly details :) But not the part where she cut and said "Now there is room!" Good night! I would have passed out! Yuck.

  12. It sounds like you almost had your ideal labour (if such a thing exists..)Amazing! and JEALOUS!

  13. Hooray for a part 3! I loved reading all of this. :)
    Sebastian is so adorable! And you look amazing!
    It's good you asked for the epidural earlier on. I learned from my mistake with Boston. I waited until I was raheeeeeely uncomfortable in pain before I asked for the epidural, but then the anesthesiologist was in an emergency surgery and I didn't see his pretty face for nearly 5 more agonizing hours. Awesome. Needless to say, when I had Tagg I got an epidural right away, ha ha.
    I'm sorry you had an episiotomy. Ouchie! I hope it heals quickly and well for you! I had one with Boston and I swear it was the most painful part of the whole danged thing.
    It's funny that Dr. Barbie guesses pretty accurately, maybe she's just lucky?
    And it is AWESOME that your mom's can help out!!! Yay!
    Thoughts and prayers headed your way.
    Can't wait for part 3. :D

  14. just read this. i agree with the rest, you had me hooked from start to finito. can't wait for part three, i have a sneaking suspicion you are about to get crazay and throw us a curveball ending.

  15. Bring on part 3!! (Yes, I'm on vacation. Maui. And still following, ridiculously addicted.)

  16. Glad that it went well! Bummer with the episitomy though. I had a 2nd degree one with my 1st boy and with my 2nd I tore the old scar :( It's a tough recovery. I found warm baths and showers helped ease the pain.

    Really hope you do a post talking about what it's like with a boy this time around :)

  17. on pins and needles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. I've been enjoying your blog for about a month. You're so funny. Thanks for sharing your birth story! I'm a birth story and blog junkie.

    Mine is not as entertaining but if you like reading them too, here is my version:

  19. Good for you for being a "grizzly mom" and doing what you felt was best for you and your baby. Nurses have a tendency to intervene to much!

    P.s I STRONGLY urge you to watch the documentary "the business of being born" ... May be interesting for Simon too :)

  20. I love all the questions you ask Simon. Definitely makes me feel a tad more normal for the super dumb things that get wrapped around my brain when it comes to situations that I can't control or that I've never been in.

    Great story!!



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