Joshua’s Birth Story

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Preface: Before you read this, you should know if you don’t that my two previous births were both kind of traumatic. Libbie’s was 36 hours of labor and I ended up having an epidural around 7 cm, then almost every intervention in the book. With David I was induced by breaking my water, then had a fast labor where I progressed too fast to have an epidural (which I wanted at the time even though I really did want a natural birth) and was pretty much thrown on the bed to deliver him. So please understand that my feelings about giving birth again – medicated or not – were pretty conflicted. 

I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write about Joshua’s birth, except that maybe I’m afraid I’ll be criticized for getting an epidural. I know that’s silly. Obviously I worry too much about what other people think about my decisions. Years of social anxiety, folks. I’m working on it.

Photo on 2013-02-22 at 09.41

This is apparently the last picture of me pregnant. It was February 22nd, at 36 weeks.

As I’m sure you all know, I really don’t love being pregnant. And that dislike multiplies by 8 zillion in the last few weeks. Add to that sciatica that arose about 36 weeks? I was SO READY to get Joshua out of my belly and into my arms.

I had contractions for more than a week before he was actually born. Several times they were close enough to time. But time and again, they would fade away. The Monday before his birth (on Saturday), I went to my midwife. I was 3 cm already!

My midwife asked and even urged me to schedule an induction. But I was only 38 1/2 weeks, and despite my misery I am not pro-induction for my own comfort. So I went on my way. My mom and my sister were both staying at my apartment, and my mom had canceled a trip to see my cousin and her baby to come in case I went into labor earlier than expected. So I felt guilty every day I didn’t go into labor. (Yes, Mom, I know. I just have issues. Not your fault.)

That Thursday I just knew I was going to have the baby, it was Pi Day (3/14). Not only is my husband a math teacher, so, you know, PI DAY, but it’s also my best friend’s birthday. I started having contractions in the afternoon and had them no more than 15 minutes apart all day, well into the evening. While my sister watched Project Runway that night, I was pacing the hallway of classrooms outside our apartment and doing lunges.

I went to bed that night convinced they would speed up during the night and I would go into true labor.


They stopped. Again. I was DEPRESSED at this point.

Friday I ended up going to L&D to be monitored because I wasn’t feeling the baby move. He was fine. I thought they might check me and see if I could just be induced. By then, I was just ready and thought maybe I was enough in labor that it wouldn’t be too bad. (With David, I was “enough in labor” that just breaking my water sent me into full-force labor mode quickly.) But they didn’t even check me before sending me home. Still depressed.

That night, Mr. V, my sister, and I played Settlers of Catan. I had zero contractions. Around 9 p.m., though, I decided it was very important that I clean my carpets. I made a homemade carpet cleaner with hot water, peroxide, and Dawn (works great) and went to work on the floor.

Around 1 a.m. I started waking up with contractions. I fell back asleep between them for an hour or so, but noticed that they were 10 minutes apart consistently. By 3, they were 8-9 minutes apart.

You have to understand that with David I went from 3 1/2 cm to having him completely out in about an hour. It was scary, PAINFULLY fast, and I was scared of waiting too long with this baby. So I went ahead and called my midwife, called a friend to come stay with the kids (God bless her!), and headed to the hospital with Mr. V and my mom. My sister came later, when my friend got there.


When they checked me I was 5 cm. And what progressed was definitely my easiest, most normal birth!

After the torturous process of getting an IV in (I have rolling veins, they suck), I got two bags of fluid and then I could have my epidural. Throughout the pregnancy when faced with the epi vs. no epi question, I had said I would just wait and see. Between the sciatica and the week of contractions, I was so tired I didn’t want to face the pain this time. I opted pretty immediately to have it and I have no complaints about it!

I watched some movies and tried to rest while nurses came in and out. My midwife arrived and I apologized for going into labor on a Saturday. Heh. My contractions were still not getting closer together. My midwife thought the baby’s position might be preventing full-on labor, and she gave me some Pitocin. That helped everything to progress.

The only bad part of the labor for me was when I started really hurting (although trust me, NOTHING like David’s birth, where I told them I was just going home). Neither the nurse nor my midwife was there. I paged the nurse, wondering if my epidural had slipped or needed a boost. What really happened was I was ready to push and no one was there! They boosted my epidural anyway, which I don’t love – I would generally have asked for it to be turned off while I was pushing.

Because of that, I was super numb while pushing. But a short while later, with my husband, mom, AND sister there (my sister’s first time seeing a birth), Joshua Thomas came into the world. They put him in my arms almost right away and I cried tears of joy and great relief. He was born on March 16, 2013, at 10:20 a.m. and weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces – my smallest baby!


Since this is more than 1000 words, I think I’ll save After the Birth for another day. I have a few more things I want to say, though!


3 thoughts on “Joshua’s Birth Story

  1. My first delivery was natural … not my choice … because in 1976 that was the only option in a military hospital. It was not a good experience, and I’ll leave it at that. So the second time around I insisted on a civilian doctor and drugs. The epidural was administered and less than 3 hours later we had our baby girl. That was a pain-free labor and a 99% pain-free delivery. I am definitely PRO epidurals!

    • With Libbie the epidural slowed everything down in my labor and caused a lot of unnecessary interventions, I believe. But it also helped me be able to give birth because I hadn’t slept in two nights. With Joshua, though, I confess it was just LOVELY. I felt pressure, almost no pain, everything progressed well, and I loved it!!

  2. Pingback: Don't Call My Surprise Baby an "Accident" - For Every Mom

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