Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Six Births and One Epidural Part 4

Shocked. Incredulous. Honestly, a little scared and angry. I looked at the pregnancy test and saw two faint pink lines. Two? Two. Two! I counted to nine over and over, but the result never changed: my husband’s graduation from med school was just overscheduled with the birth of our fourth baby. I was waiting for the first day of my cycle to switch from the mini to regular birth control pill. That day wasn’t going to arrive for 18 more months.

A little over seven months later I was eight and a half months pregnant. Two weeks earlier I’d flown half way across the country with three children and my mother (a story that deserves its own post) to attend Peter’s graduation in Missouri. Peter had met us there with the moving truck and then continued on to PA. We both flew back to Utah to await the baby’s birth.

My official due date was 2 weeks after Peter was due to begin residency across the country. A lot of math, frustration, and scenario brainstorming had led us to one conclusion: we had to have this baby early. Factoring in Peter’s start date, time to travel from Utah to PA, and recovery time for the baby and me, we had a “no later than” date 2.5 weeks before the due date. Somehow we convinced the doctor to schedule an inducement.

The day of the inducement, I woke up feeling odd. I had a tightening feeling that came and went. It wasn’t painful, regularly spaced, or consistent in duration or intensity. My mother began to worry after 3 hours and suggested I go to the hospital. Mostly to humor her, I went. The doctor met us there to check me out. I was ready to give my mom an “I told you so” after being sent home. I wasn’t, after all, in any sort of pain. Instead the doctor informed us I was dilated to 8.5 cm.

Not yet in a delivery room, the nurses offered a wheel chair as transportation. I declined in favor of walking. I remember the nurse proclaiming in awe to her colleagues that I was walking to my room while dilated to 8.5. Soon we were settled and the doctor broke my water. I had my first painful contraction and directly afterwards felt ready to push. It seemed only one large push before our baby was born. It was the easiest labor imaginable.

Some things I learned:

  • This was the only birth my mother-in-law was able to attend. Want to get bonus points as daughter-in-law? Have a relatively pain free labor where you can joke around through the whole thing and let her watch.
  • After four kids, delivering the head and then waiting to deliver the body is next to impossible. That baby comes out like a projectile.
  • If you can mildly walk down a hall, smiling and joking, while minutes from delivery, you increase your chances of getting the best delivery & recovery room in the hospital.
  • Nurses talk. I was visited at every shift change by all the new nurses asking if I was “the one who had that labor.”
  • After a labor like that you will be paranoid the next baby will fall out in the middle of washing dishes or something.
  • Travelling across the country with a 3 day old isn’t as bad as it seems- they are still sleeping a lot.
  • Always listen to your mother.


  1. Probably the least scary delivery story I've ever seen (I've never had a baby). You're a fortunate woman, I understand.

  2. My favorite part of this story is that you practically willed your body into labor. That mind over matter thing seems to be working in your case! Could you teach me that kind of will power for, say, cookie avoidance?

  3. Ditto to Claudia. That's incredible will power to be able to induce yourself unknowingly! Or maybe it's just being really committed to a schedule.

    I remember when you told me you were pregnant. You and Peter were dropping off your kids for our date-night/temple trade, and you made the comment, "Does this dress make me look pregnant?" I looked at your little bulge and politely answered, "Of course not!" because I knew there was no way you were four months pregnant. You replied, "Look at my belly! I look like I'm four months pregnant. But I'm only one month along!"

  4. I remember when I found out you were pregnant with Kirsti too, we were sitting at Mom's table telling pregnant stories (because of course I was pregnant too) when Elise came in and said "MOM! You said we weren't supposed to talk about that secret!"

    I just looked at you not believing that you would be having another kid the same time as me (little did I know we would do that one more time!)

  5. I remember it well too, along with that drive across country. The good old days, right? Can you believe how long ago that was? Oh and Peter looks so stinkin' young in that picture and you look way too nice for a "just gave birth" picture.

  6. My second baby slide right out. I pushed once, the nurses eyes got really big and she started shouting directions such as, go get the doctor, someone page a doctor that is on the floor just in case.. and so on.

  7. FelixandAva- totally a fantastic delivery. I know I'm lucky.

    Claudia- I have yet to master the mind over cookie (as my waistline can attest). I have however, gone into labor 3 times the night before or morning of a scheduled inducement.

    Mary- I do like my schedules. I still have a 4 month looking belly, but this time no pregnancy as an excuse. I miss switching for temple nights. It is a little more difficult here where it would be a 7-8 hour commitment + 6 kids instead of 3.

  8. Davis Family- we have to stop having kids like this. If you "force" me to have another surprise I will lose my mind. Although it is nice to have cousins the same age as my kids.

    Kim- You moving in with us when we first lived in PA is probably what saved what was left of my sanity. That labor was so easy I didn't even break a sweat to wash off the makeup.

    MomAtOurHouse- the doctor wasn't in the room when I started pushing (who knew I would jump to a 10 in one contraction?). He heard me a door down telling someone to get the doctor now, because I wasn't waiting.

    I felt bad when I heard the other lady he was there delivering still pushing 4 hours later while I was relaxing in the bed talking to my friends.

  9. I like your last comment. Listen to your mother. What a good lesson to learn. I also loved that delivery story. I think I have told it a hundred times. It was so cool but then all of your deliveries have been that way.

  10. I love these. I am fascinated by birth stories and always enjoy reading these. Thanks so much for sharing.

  11. I'm afraid if I had a labor and delivery like that I would just keep having them, and having them, and having them. Out of six you should deserve at least a couple of those, right?

  12. Aimee- It was definitely a jealous worthy labor!

    Tucker Mom- You always do know best...

    Bikmans- I love reading them, too. Birthing stories are just fascinating!!

    emma jo- I did try two more times, but no luck on the pain free delivery. She was also one of my easiest babies and toddler.

  13. Darn you for having such an easy labor! I'm so glad you have your little Kirsti! We love and miss her!