The Story of “P”

Posted by on June 17, 2006

I wrote this for posterity, in honor of my son’s birthday. I’ll warn you now that it’s long. I purposely didn’t whittle it down because I want to remember it as it really was, long or not. If you choose to read it, I hope you enjoy it.

11 months oldTomorrow (Saturday) my baby boy will be one year old. I can’t even believe it. This time last year, I was in labor & delivery waiting for him to be born. It was an experience I’d not had before because my first pregnancy came to fruition with a planned c-section; something I had sworn to never participate in again. Suffice it to say, my first delivery was a wholly unpleasant experience that I will probably never write about because other than the moment my newborn daughter was put before my eyes, there’s not much about it I want to remember.

But the birth of my second child was completely different and something I want to savor forever. Sadly, I waited a whole year to write this story and my memory is already failing. Thankfully my husband, who can’t remember some of the simplest day-to-day things, has a pretty good recollection of it. Between the two of us, I’m pretty sure I got all the high points. So without further ado, I give you one of my fondest memories ever…the story of my son, P.

When we decided we wanted to have another baby, I was a little afraid. I’d had an inexplicable estrogen deficiency since the birth of my first child five years prior and had worn a small patch for hormone replacement ever since. I feared that maybe I wouldn’t be able to conceive because something in my body had clearly gone awry.

As it happens, my fears were unfounded. After the first month of trying, I invested in an ovulation scope and conceived the following month.

Because of my previous unpleasant experiences with obstetric practices and because I wanted a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), I opted for an OB group that had a number of midwives on staff that was also one of the only practices in my city that would even allow a VBAC. The midwives were kind and caring and empathetic and best of all, they totally supported my wish to have a VBAC without an episiotomy. They totally GOT me. I was elated. I thought I’d died and gone to pregnancy heaven.

Being over 35, unaffectionately known as “advanced maternal age” I had to take all sorts of tests and screens and the results were very favorable so I declined having an amniocentesis. We found out we were having a boy and though I’d never imagined myself as the mother of a boy, we were very excited.

My 40 weeks of gestation flew by and other than leg aches and major carpal tunnel syndrome that impaired my already fractured sleep, I’d had an ideal pregnancy. As I neared my due date, I had to go every week to see my midwife and then, as my due date came and went, I saw them every few days. Every time, I was only dilated one freaking centimeter! I was getting nervous because if I were more than a week past my due date, the obstetricians would not allow a VBAC as the risks of a dangerous uterine rupture were increased.

On the morning of Wednesday, June 15, I woke up feeling crampy. It wasn’t all that unusual as I’d had cramps a few days before but today I felt different. And when I went pee, I noticed a very slight pink tinge when I wiped. Not wanting to be an alarmist, I decided to ignore it. I had a million things to do that day so I got dressed, got my daughter in gear and headed out.

I went to the grocery store, the post office and a few more places, still refusing to take the cramps seriously. As they became a little stronger, I started to wonder if this was labor. It didn’t feel like much more than a mild period cramp accompanied by a sort of heavy feeling in my lower abdomen so I decided not to call my midwives just yet.

By that night, the cramps were coming and going and I started to think maybe it was, in fact, labor. When I wiped after peeing and saw “bloody show” I knew for sure. At one point, between 10 and midnight they were coming every 40 minutes. Though I was getting excited, Hubz and I figured that nothing major would happen before morning so we went to bed around 1am.

At 2:30 am I woke up with what I believed were definitely contractions because they hurt. A lot.

I woke my husband up and he was really groggy and irritated. He didn’t understand why I didn’t just go back to sleep. I tried to calmly explain that the contractions hurt really bad, to no avail. His preference for sleep was really starting to piss me off. (To be fair, he claims he couldn’t get up because he was so tired).

I could feel myself becoming anxious and adrenalin was starting to kick in. I couldn’t sit still.

As the contractions got stronger, I became more agitated and couldn’t stop pacing around, talking and bugging my husband every 2 minutes.

I’m all “Hey! I’m gonna have a baby. Get your ASS UP!” and he was all “It’s not coming right now. Let me sleep”

I was so pissed. How could he even consider letting me hang out and have painful contractions ALONE???
We still bicker about that to this day.

Finally, he got up and accepted that I wasn’t going to leave him alone. We started to pack stuff up for the hospital and get my daughter’s things together so she could go stay with her grandparents.

At 5am, I called the hospital and told the midwife on call that my contractions were about 15 minutes apart and she was basically like “You’re a VBAC? Get here right away! You can’t wait!!!” Hah. Right. The baby would beg to differ.

So we dropped my daughter off at my in-laws house and arrived at the hospital around 6am. After the initial intake, I was taken to a small triage room where I changed into the gown that I would be wearing for the next 24 hours and proceeded to be poked, prodded, questioned and monitored while my contractions became stronger and closer together.

I was SO excited. I’ll never forget that feeling of anticipation; a feeling that something really special was about to take place. From my room, I could look out the window and see the sun rising over the water and reflecting off the buildings downtown. It was a fresh new day, so full of promise, and I was having a baby. Yay!

I finally wimped out and asked for my epidural because even though I was only 3 cm by about 7:30am, the pain was getting unbearable. Much to my irritation, I had to wait for an anesthesiologist to become available. If I’d known he would take so damn long, I would have asked a lot sooner, like five minutes after I arrived.

So while I was waiting, I got moved to my first labor & delivery room and some nurse came in and brusquely asked if I would mind having a military doctor training to be an OB observe.


I didn’t go to a practice full of nice, kind, mother-like midwives so some random guy I’ve never seen before could hang around and look up my dress.

So I said no and she got all snitty with me. “This IS a teaching hospital, you know” Uh no, actually I didn’t know.

And I replied, “Well, that’s the first I’ve heard of any of this and I really don’t want to do it”

Turns out they were hanging all their hopes on me because the other women in L & D at that moment didn’t speak English and couldn’t give permission. Oh, well.

I eventually got my epidural and was able to relax. Ahhhhh. Much better. An hour or so passed and ouch! I started feeling pain again. On ONE side. My epidural had become lopsided.

Another big long wait while I writhed in lopsided pain and finally, the anesthesiologist came back and tinkered with it and left. No change. I was BEGGING at that point for them to just do it again but they were really afraid to because of potential complications. I could have cared less. I pleaded and they said they would get another guy to re-do the epidural because the first anesthesiologist didn’t want to do it.

To chill me out while I waited, they gave me some Fentanyl. Why do people like that stuff so much? Seriously, it was awful. I itched from head to toe for thirty solid minutes.

After a while, I finally got a new anesthesiologist and another epidural. It worked and life was good again. Except that I was still 3cm dilated.

At about 1pm (I’ve now been there for 5 hours) the midwife broke my water with a thing that looked like a plastic knitting needle in hopes of moving things along.

The rest of the day was a blur of me looking at the monitor and watching the contractions of my uterus as well as the contractions of all the other women in Labor & Delivery and getting my cervix checked. Nurses went off shift and new ones came and I never got past 7cm. I stayed there all evening.

Finally, at about midnight (I’ve now been there for 18 hours) the midwife said they were going to give me a tiny bit of Pitocin because my labor had stalled and the baby had been without amniotic fluid for almost 12 hours. They typically don’t give Pitocin to VBAC candidates because it can be dangerous but because a C-section was starting to look like a real possibility and I was so vehemently against having one, she decided a small amount of Pitocin was warranted.

I fell asleep for the first time in 24 hours (remember, I had only slept about an hour the night before when the huz wouldn’t get out of bed) and when I woke up an hour or so later, I had the worst friggin’ back labor.

The feeling was indescribable and clearly something that the epidural wasn’t going to alleviate. The pressure was so intense, I almost felt like I couldn’t breathe. I asked for heat packs, which helped some, and realized that this baby would be here soon..but not as soon as I’d imagined.

More cervix checks and ice chips and monitor watching until about 4:15am (I’ve now been there for 22 hours). Then the midwife announced that I was finally 10cm and it was time to push!

I’d like to set the stage for you…

I was in my third room and second L&D suite at this point. This one had two beds, a TV and a shitload of medical equipment. But the whole time I’d been in this room, they’d never turned on the ugly, bright fluorescent lights. They used these soft, warm, cozy overhead lights above my bed and it was so nice, like being at someone’s kitchen table.

There were only four people in the room; Jan, the awesome midwife, a very awesome, young-ish OB nurse, Hubz and me. It was mostly quiet and not at all like the births I’d grown up watching on TV where the light is all bright and glaring and there are like 8 people in the room yelling at the woman to push. It was so mellow and low key.

The nurse and Hubz held my legs and every time a contraction started to come, I was to put my chin to my chest and push while Jan counted to 10 and then I rested until the next one. I stopped waiting for Jan to tell me when to push. I would feel the contractions, get in position and start pushing. This went on FOREVER!

They had put a mirror at the foot of the bed so I could see the baby’s head. He had a ton of dark hair and it was really cool to see but after an eternity of being told to push because “his head is RIGHT THERE. He’s almost out!! Just a little more” by the three of them , I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I was exhausted. I told them, implored them, to use the forceps or vacuum but Jan said it was too late, whatever that means. I told them they’d been saying his head is “right there” for so long. Why was he not coming out already?

I begged for them to just let me rest because I couldn’t do anymore and Jan said something along the lines of “Yes you can! You’re having this baby!”

I swear, the whole exchange was right out of a movie.

They let me rest for about about 30 seconds and then it was back to pushing for all eternity.

Tra la la…

And then suddenly things became urgent. I was being asked to push harder and harder; harder than I ever have. I would find out later that the baby was in serious distress and needed to come out right away.

Jan told me she needed to do an episiotomy and I was like “Nooooooooo!” but I felt the sting and she told me it was already done.

Again, I was told to push harder, harder, harder. “The baby has to come out RIGHT NOW!”

And then FLOOOOOP!

Like a big wet noodle, he was out!

I forgot all about the episiotomy and everything else and marveled at this gigantic baby I’d just delivered. The room was suddenly full of people and everyone was talking about how big he was. I heard someone say, “No wonder he wouldn’t come out.”

They weighed & measured him with more exclaiming from the nurses. He was 9lbs 6.5 oz. and 21.75 in. And his head was some number that apparently isn’t even on the chart, but most importantly, he was healthy. (And poopy. He’d pooped right after delivery. And in case you’re wondering, I pooped during the delivery. Yep.)

I looked over at him while they were doing 2 minutes oldwhatever it is that they do to new babies and was awestruck, as all mothers are, at this little creature I’d grown inside me for nearly a year. Though newborns are naturally kind of funny looking, I thought he was a work of art, the most beautiful thing I’d seen since my daughter was born. And considering that I pushed for 2.5 hours, his head wasn’t even all that pointy.

I was smitten then and I’m smitten now. P started out as a grumpy baby with a scream that could shatter glass, who had trouble pooping and wouldn’t sleep unless he was being moved rhythmically while tightly swaddled and grew into a mischievous, curious, playful, friendly little guy that I love more than words can say. I am truly head over heels in love with him. We are so tightly bonded that honestly, I really miss and crave him when he’s not with me.

And as a disclaimer, in case my daughter ever reads this, saying how much I love P in no way diminishes the love I have for her. She is my 6 months oldfirstborn and I love and adore her with an intensity that cannot be described.

While I may grouse about the dullness and lack of spontaneity and fun in my life, I would not change a thing. My kids mean everything to me.

In closing, I was technically in labor for 48 hours, from Wednesday morning when I awoke with mild contractions (that I called cramps…lol) until I gave birth almost exactly 2 days later after pushing non-stop for two and a half ass-kickingly hard hours. P was a week late and actually born on the day that I would have had a c-section if I hadn’t gone into labor. Holy crap!!!!

Happy first birthday, big guy!
Stay tuned for the postpartum installment of this story! Yeah. I know you’re excited. Thanks for sticking it out and reading the whole thing. YOU ROCK :)


  • Dawn Isaac says:

    What a beautiful post! I love reading personal stories like this one. Can’t wait for the next part!!

  • Dawn Isaac says:

    And P. is gorgeous!!

  • Happy birthday to that beautiful boy! Thanks for sharing this story. When I shared my son’s birth story I was equally worried no one would make it through to the end because of the length. But it was wonderful to read this.

  • OK. I’m teary-eyed. I, too, had an ER C-section with my first (a girl), then VBAC with my second (a boy). It’s dramatically incredible – both scary and mind-blowingly wonderful. Happy birthday to P.

  • Jenny says:

    I LOVE birthing stories and this one did not disappoint. 9 pounds 6 ounces. Holy crap. I had to have an episiotomy with my little 6 pound 8oz Hailey so I don’t think there was any way you were getting out of that one. So did you ever (during the worst of the labor) want to take it all back and demand another C-section?

  • petite mommy says:

    Your 2nd sounds like my 1st but I was only in labor about 26 hours. I love this personal post and your son is adorable. Happy birthday to him.
    My son turns 2 this month and we are having a bday party for him today.

  • Stephanie A. says:

    This is a beautiful story, Izzy. Your Mr. P is adorable and I can see why you’re so smitten!

    I’m also glad you were able to have your VBAC. I had a C-section after having told everyone in the city of St. Louis that I would not only never have a C-section, but I’d never use meds either. So, suffice it to say, I can relate to your disappointing birthing story and see the beauty of having the birth story that you wanted.

    Happy Birthday P!

  • Riveting story, Iz. I love it. And P looks EXACTLY like you! Only boyish, of course. Happy Birthday Dear P, hapy birthday to youuuuuu.

  • Lisa says:

    Awww, I love those stories. Happy Happy Birthday P. Nice to have this recorded for the future.


  • fidget says:

    Happy birthday little man!

    he had 0.5 on Mira she was 9lbs 6oz of pure pain

    you told teh story beautifully

    Oh and thank you! I finally poked around odeo long enough to figure out how to post from my phone :)

  • Happy 1st birthday to P! What a beautiful story, and what a beautiful baby! He’s so adorable…

  • Kristen says:

    Holy shit woman. You are amazing. It’s a wonderful, inspiring story. Congrats on making it through year #1. Even with an older one, I think every first year is an accomplishment. Enjoy your day!

  • Izzy, I loved your story. I don’t blame you a bit for not wanting someone else to observe. And I bow down to you for trying for the VBAC, let alone actually ACHIEVING it! You rock.

    And your little boy is so beautiful. Love that smile of his.

  • Redneckmommy says:

    Beautiful post Izzy. Only fitting since you have such a beautiful boy.

    I had to laugh about your man not wanting to get his ass out of bed. Perhaps he has met my hubs. I still bug him about it because it annoys the shit out of me. Apparently we woman are born with the ability to hold the babies in, until a convenient time, like say dawn.


    But I must go now, because the part about how tightly bonded you are with him has made me cry. And miss my Bug.

    Happy Birthday P.

  • tori says:

    Happy Birthday to your baby! Such a beautiful story! And good thinking adding that little note to/about your daughter. I’m sure she already knows how much you love her, but it never hurts to make sure everything seems “fair” just in case she someday reads this!

  • bubandpie says:

    Have I mentioned how much I love birth stories? This was such a beautiful one: such a hard labour and yet such a wonderful ending. Is this what you meant by being inspired?

  • kel says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday to a cutie! He looks like a little stinker.

    You’ve got quite the VBAC story there. I got exhausted just reading it!

  • I totally got teary-eyed when I read the last part when he came out. That was a beautiful birth story (well, except the 48 hours part of it–pheww!). I was gave birth to my son last year just a few days after you gave birth to yours! There really ARE a lot of june babies amongst the mommy bloggers.

    Happy birthday to your little guy, and thanks for sharing your birth experience.

  • That was just a beautiful story. Props to you for hanging in there with the VBAC. (I had the same problem with the epidural and the stalled labor and that shit is ROUGH.)

    Happiest of birthdays to your little man!

  • Java Junkie says:

    Happy Birthday P!

    Your experience sounds extremely similar to my first’s birth, except mine only lasted 36 1/2 hours and it wasn’t the baby that almost passed, it was me and unfortunately I couldn’t hold Lou for 8 hours because I was literally in shock and shaking so badly that I could not hold him. But they laid him on the bed beside me after I had him and I started singing House at Pooh Corner to him, which I had been playing a recording of me singing to him through a walkman for the last 3 months of my pregnancy and he immediately stopped crying. It was the most magical moment ever.

  • Karla says:

    That is really awesome. I love birth stories so much. That is a truly great one. Happy birthday to your baby!!

  • Mrs. Davis says:

    Happy Birthday to P! And what a beautiful story and a handsome little guy. You are a brave woman, going for VBAC and making it through such a long labor. I was laughing about how long you put off accepting that you were actually in labor. That, to me, was the biggest difference between the first and second – with the first I wanted to be in labor, and with the second I never felt ready and was in complete denail about my contractions.

  • Jerri Ann says:

    I love me a good birth story and that was awesome!!!!

  • Mrs. Chicky says:

    Happy birthday P!! Happy one year Izzy!

    I loved this story. It didn’t feel long to me at all. Maybe because you wrote it so well. And, btw, I also had a half epidural. It suucked.

  • stefanierj says:

    Oh, Izzy, this story and that photo of your boy are simply luminous. I love your energy, if that isn’t too much of a Hippie-Cosmica-Rama thing to say. Thanks for such an intimate look at your family–and for reminding me how special little boys are!

  • Dawn says:

    Happy Baby Boy Birthday – and Happy Not in Labor Mommy!

  • Chantal says:

    The top photo of him is breathtaking. He’s a gorgeous child!

    My midwife for my kids was also named Jan, so that made me smile.

  • chelle says:

    What a beautiful birth story!! You are so brave to go VBAC! You should be very proud!!! Happy Birthday little guy!!

  • YelloCello says:

    Happy Birthday to your beautiful son. What a sweetheart. And what a lovely story of his arrival.

  • Pendullum says:

    Wow what a great story… Midwives the way to go all the way!!!!
    You know my Dad was born weighing 10 lbs 6 oz… He was my grandmother’s first… The Dr perscribed cigarettes if she should ever decide to have another… I think a bottle of scotch as well!!!

  • lildb says:

    Congratulations to you, Izzy. A whole year – I hope the party was fun, not just an exhausting ordeal. What a wonderful boyo – and holy christ. NINE pounds SIX ounces? his head was off the charts big?

    owwwie. my legs are crossed and double-crossed.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Happy Birthday to your sweet boy. That second photo-what a beautiful smile! I loved your birth story, but wow were you in labor for a long freakin’ time! As for your turning down the request to have a trainee watch, I had FIVE student nurses watching my c-section. I thought it was interesting that they waited to ask me AFTER they had given me the pre-surgical sleepy shot.

  • Wow! I hope your son enjoyed his first birthday!

    I loved reading your labor story. After 22 hours of labor with my first baby, I had to have a C Section due to her position. Against my determination, I was warned that this made me a bad candidate for a VBAC. I’m glad that it worked out for you. Thanks for sharing this important life altering moment.

  • Kristi says:

    Well, you know (I think) that I love birthing stories. Thanks for sharing. You rock. 48 hrs of labor? Damn! Makes my story not so dramatic.

  • Meredith says:

    This was just what I needed to read. For real. I’m five days past my due date and hoping for a VBAC after a c-section with my first. I want it to unfold like this and without all the blurriness of the section. And that pain and none of the memories of first meeting my son. This time will be different and thank you for giving me an image of what could be tonight or tomorrow night or…

  • mamatulip says:

    I LOVE reading birth stories. Yours is fantastic — and what a BIG BOY! LOL! Thanks for sharing it with us, and for not paring it down. And Happy Birthday to your beautiful, beautiful boy. :)

  • mrsmogul says:

    I heart that story :) I had an episiomoty too and it was something I never want to go through (NEXT TIME I WANT A C-SECTION!)

    Happy Birthday to your son!

  • J\\\'s Mommy says:

    Before I even read the post I have to comment on the picture. It is gorgeous.

  • J\\\'s Mommy says:

    Before I even read the post I have to comment on the picture. It is gorgeous.

  • J\\\'s Mommy says:

    Before I even read the post I have to comment on the picture. It is gorgeous.

  • J\\\'s Mommy says:

    Before I even read the post I have to comment on the picture. It is gorgeous.

  • Nancy says:

    Happy Birthday to P!

    Loved the birth story. I never get tired of hearing how little ones come into the world.

    I had me a 9-6er too. I ended up with a c-section though. I admire you for getting through that delivery with as much strength and resolve as you did!

  • What a great story! I felt like I was right there in that L & D room with you Izzy. 9 lbs 5 oz?! Holy crap!! He’s so gorgeous! I’m so glad you were able to do it VBAC.

    And I can totally relate when the doc, nurses and hubbie kept on saying “oh, I see the hair, I see the hair!” But when I looked in the mirror, the hair that they saw was a size of a dime. UGH!!

    Can’t wait for the next part!

  • kittenpie says:

    I have to laugh because I had not-too-bad contractions about 8-9 minutes apart for about 8 hours by myself on the couch from 12:30 until Misterpie got up. I was just figuring it was all a long way off still and he might as well get some sleep so he could be of use to me later.

    And wow – he looks sturdy there – a big broad chest as well as the big head. Pumpkinpie had a big freaking (95th %) head too, which I figure is why she never moved and had to be an emergency c in the end.

  • Stefanie says:

    That was a really beautifully told story. I too had a C-sec and would love to have a VBAC for my next one but I don’t think anyone will do it because I’ve had quite a bit of surgery on my uterus. I’m so glad you got to experience it though and happy b-day to your little guy!

  • Kristin says:

    I love a good baby story… P is a gorgeous child and I am mighty impressed that you were able to push his giant baby self out! Happy 1st birthday!

  • Sue says:

    About hubs not getting out of bed…one of our favorite family stories is the time my mom was in labor (she had 6 babies) and dad decided to mop the kitchen floor before taking her to the hospital (about 40 miles away). He still has no good explanation for that one other than “It needed it.”

    That boy is a cutie! I can’t believe how big he was!

  • krista says:

    I remember waiting for that epidural with my first. Waiting waiting waiting. Oh how it sucked.

    I’m glad you didn’t whittle your story down to a paragraph or two- I read every word, and enjoyed it. I had never heard of Fentanyl. I had to look it up. I laughed about you telling them his head is right there forever, because I had the exact same experience. With my first I remember the midwives and my mom and Chris saying, “You’re so close” for what seemed like an ETERNITY.

  • Christina says:

    What a beautiful story! And even though I could practically feel the pain with you, your story only energized me to push even harder for a VBAC when we have our second.

  • Beautiful post; beautiful baby! I LOVE reading birth stories. I wrote out the stories the first week after I had both of my girls. I had a midwife for my second baby and it was amazing. It was the same as you said, low lights, etc. I actually delivered my baby myself. . . reached down and grabbed her under her arms. It was so cool! I love your story and something tells me your son will too, especially the poop part. ;-)

  • supa says:

    Awwww. Beautiful. Happy birthday to your little man.

  • mrsfortune says:

    He is so beautiful. Breathakingly beautiful. And I loved reading this story.

  • Mega Mom says:

    I still can’t believe how many of us had June babies. My first was born on June 16…6 yrs. ago! So much of that was, of course, familiar to me. Mostly the right now part, my youngest was 9, 9 and it was not pretty!

    Beautiful story. Enjoy them every day…I know you do!

  • tracey says:

    Izzy, that B/W picture is a heart-wrencher! I ADORE IT.

  • Maniacal says:

    Awww Happy Birthday P. He was pretty cute for a newborn! My daughter was a section and didn’t look that perfect!

  • Allysun says:

    Wow. Amazing. Beautiful boy… beautiful story… Thank you for sharing it.

  • Karen Rani says:

    Great story Izzy! Happy Birthday P!!!!!

  • Thank you for your story. I too have a one-year-old son about whom I am passionate. My first daughter had a nasty vacumn delivery, my second suprised us by arriving at home before we had time to get to hospital and my little fella was a planned home birth. Each of them a little separate miracle. I understand your need to document it – I must too, to ensure that I remember. Best wishes, Charlotte

  • carrie says:

    That was a beautiful story! A lot like my 2nd 9.8 VBAC boy!

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