Roaring to Life: A Birth Story

June 28, 2010 at 5:00 am | Posted in Bun | 44 Comments
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3:30 in the morning. A sharp pain in my side. Nothing new.

I tried to go back to sleep. Forced my eyes to close. Shifted my feet back and forth along the slick comforter, in and out of the sheet, looking for a cool spot to rest them, looking for relief.

None to be had. I got up. Stood against the counter in the dark bathroom. More sharp pain. Nothing regular, nothing wavelike. You’re not in labor, I told my body. Just go to sleep. Please, please, just sleep.

No sleep. No relief.

At 4 a.m., I went downstairs and rocked back and forth on my birthing ball. The backaches started to come regularly, to ebb and flow, though I didn’t time them, didn’t measure the minutes between. It didn’t matter. I knew what was happening.

You’re in labor, my body told me.

I watched the darkness recede through the leaves of the oak tree in my backyard. I watched the purple sky turn orange. I watched the stars disappear. I rocked and rocked through the backaches.

My house woke up. My dad came downstairs first, asked if I was all right. Then my husband, my daughter. My mom, my son. The morning ritual moved ahead without me: the clatter of plates, the whoosh of poured milk, tiny fingers earnestly gripping drippy waffles and banana slices. I sat and watched and rocked and moaned. Present, but not present.

Somehow, I ate breakfast and showered. Somehow, my husband packed the car. Somehow, I kissed my children and told them their brother was coming. I only remember sitting and rocking and moaning.

We arrived at the hospital and filled out the forms. I answered the questions and got hooked up to the machines. The nurse said she’d call the anesthesiologist. I said no. This was my last labor, my last chance to do it by myself. I had to prove to myself I could. No drugs. Not this time.

I was 7 centimeters. I sat, stood, swayed, rocked, moaned. As my husband pressed on my back during every contraction to counter the pain, I barked at him. “Higher, lower, harder, push, dammit, push.”

At 9 centimeters, I asked the doctor to break my water. He did. The contractions were terrible, terrifying. I begged for an epidural, pleaded for it to stop, wanted to go home. I clutched at my husband’s shirt collar and ignored the nurse’s refrain to unclench my jaw. I roared blindly through each contraction, one on top of another, without end.

I never felt the urge to push. Instead, a singular, dominating, domineering thought began to reverberate through my head. Get the baby out. Get him out.

I roared and pushed. And pushed. And pushed. He crowned.

Then, he got stuck.

Get the baby out. Get him out.

I roared and pushed some more. The nurses pounded on my belly. They ordered me to lie flat on my back. They said I had to push, I had to push hard, I had to push now. I had to get the baby out.

I did. He was born. They hurried him away. My husband started to follow, and they told him to stay with me.

Because it was quiet. The baby was quiet.

I felt my body being stitched up. Still, the baby was quiet.

I heard my voice ask, “Is my baby okay? Is he okay? What’s wrong?” Still, the baby was quiet.

I stared at my fuzzy green socks and thought how cheerfully out of place they looked. Still, the baby was quiet.

Finally, I heard him. All 9 pounds, 13 ounces of his disgruntled, pissed-off, spectacular roar. It bounced off the walls and jump-started my heart.

It took 40 weeks and 2 days to grow him. It took 10 hours to birth him. It took 15 minutes to push him out and 3 more to hear him.

It took no time at all to love him.

What details do you remember from your labor? What can’t you remember? How did your labor go according to plan or off course? Have you posted a birth story on your blog? Be sure to include the link in your comment.


Good Things to Come
I’ve asked my husband to share Bun’s birth story with you as he experienced it. He’s a math and science guy who says writing is as tough as fathering. But he excels at both.

I’ll be publishing his post on Wednesday. I hope you’ll drop by and lend him your eyes.



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  1. Reading this brought it all back… you are such a beautiful writer.

    I haven’t done any of the birth stories yet. I’ve eluded to them, but I haven’t yet found the head space to get the down on ‘paper’. They were each so different (1 emerg CS, 1 VBAC, 1 planned CS).

    • Wow, those are three very different birth experiences. Mine were all variations on the same theme. I’d love to hear your stories, if you ever have the time and inclination to share them.

  2. Stacia, that must have been terrifying, the silence. And how wonderful, the love! I imagined my daughter looking completely different than she did when she was born, yet there she was and it, too, was instant love. My son, who was premature, was born silently, but we knew beforehand that he’d immediately be put on a ventilator. It would have been nice to have one of those noisy scenes, like in a movie, though!

    • How scary about Bar Mitzvahzilla! Maybe there was some peace of mind since you knew what would happen, but still … I know how your heart felt.

      And real childbirth never is like the movies! Why is that??

  3. Birth stories are the equivalent for women of war stories for men. You never forget.

    • What an apt comparison! And we all have our battle scars, don’t we?

  4. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I cannot imagine going through labor and delivery without an epideral. I applaud you for your bravery and success! Wishing your new little one a very joyous and long life!

  5. Stacia you made me cry. This is so intense, and beautiful. Really. No more words than that.

  6. Wow, I felt I was there with you every second! My birth stories happened so long ago I’m not sure anymore these are even my kids.
    Looking forward to your hubby’s take on how it happened. How great that you’ll both have it recorded for Bun!

  7. GREAT story! And congrats on the natural birth!

  8. New reader here! I didn’t have a birth plan – frankly, it took us so long to conceive him that by the time it looked like he was going to stick around, we weren’t very concerned about how he would join us. In the end, I had induced labor that lasted for 12 hours with an epidural. The more and more I reflect on it, the more I have decided that it was the best birth possible that we could have hoped for, tears and all. Here’s my story:

    • A St. Patrick’s Day baby! And I love your description of him as “a little alien.” They do indeed come out looking a little other-worldly. Thanks for stopping by, Mrs. X!

  9. Hi Stacia

    Oh my, that moment when your son was born and all was silent must have been achingly terrifying. You write so poignantly about so many things and yet the simple flow of words you chose to narrate Bun’s birth tell us exactly how you felt. A while ago as part of the Momalom Five for Ten I wrote about my journey to have my daughter, including her birth and the link to the post is below. I think every birth journey is unique and every one is a story worth telling, over and over again, because despite often being very fraught it is also a magical event and every new born is indeed a tiny miracle.

    • I remember reading yours during Five for Ten and loving your take on the “Yes” theme. Sweet little Mirabelle was as determined then as she is now! =>

  10. i love birth stories. they are so hard and messy and painful and amazingly beautiful. This is about as close as I have to one on the blog already. Sounds like a homework assignment to me πŸ™‚

    • I love your phrase “a love that hasn’t been earned, a love that just is.” That expresses it beautifully.

  11. Wow – 9 pounds, 13 ounces and NO epidural! You are my new hero. With my low threshold, I don’t think I could ever go down that route. But I admire those who do. Those three minutes of silence must have been one of the most intense in your life – I am glad it all worked out beautifully for all of you. And just in time for Mother’s Day too. A story of birth and the gift of life in one. Perfection.

    • Bun was 2+ pounds heavier than Lollipop and Giggles, so we had no idea he’d be so big. Had I known, I’d like to think I’d still have tried for a natural birth … but it would have been hard not to get caught up in the numbers game.

  12. Thanks for sharing your birth story, Stacia. I’m just glad that you both came through it okay!

  13. Oh what a wonderful birth story! I went natural with Teva, and I thought it was such an amazing empowering experience. It hurt like hell, but I am so glad I did it! (We took Bradley Method Classes). I was sleeping very little towards the end of my pregnancy, and had been up since five a.m. the night I went into labor (around midnight)…so I was very tired. Much of labor seems fuzzy to me. I would definitely need my husband’s help to write our birth story!

    Thanks for sharing Bun’s!!!

  14. That is a huge baby, wow. Congratulations on your resolve and success to bring him into the world naturally.
    Both of my children were born naturally and I loved the good, hard work of birthing them.
    I look forward to your husband’s take on things.

  15. What a powerful story! I have chills… you did it! Thank you so much for sharing. Such a beautiful thing to have written down. Can’t wait to hear your husbands side, Lucas and I have never really talked about how it was for him… but now I think I’m curious to know πŸ™‚ Thank you.

  16. I never get tired of birth stories. And you beat me because my Corinne was only 9 lb 5 oz. πŸ˜‰

    • Only 9 pounds, 5 ounces! Ha! Were your boys that big, too?

  17. I may have cried a little reading this.

    You are awesome. I keep telling myself that maybe the next one I will have naturally, but I just don’t know if I have the stamina.

    When my little guy was born, he also didn’t cry. I was worried but, like your little Bun, he was fine. He’s just a very laid back baby!

  18. I am so glad to hear about Bun’s birth. Reading your blog while you were pregnant and then, in labor (haiku), I was eager to hear how it all went. BIG BABY! Mine was 9 lbs., and I thought that was big, but 9 lbs. 13 oz! Wow! Good for you, Miss Thang.

  19. What a beautiful story. You told it perfectly. I was on the edge of my seat, eating up every word.

    9 pounds, 13 ounces with no drugs?! You are super-woman! πŸ™‚

    My daughter was 10 pounds, 5 ounces and in a breech position. Needless to say (in my opinion anyway), I had a c-section.

    Can’t wait to hear Daddy’s story!

  20. Both of my kids were c-section babies. But I wouldn’t have done either of them either way. I never felt like it was a horrific recovery (not that I have anything to compare it to). The memory of my son seems hazy. My daughter’s is still pretty crystal clear in my mind. The operating room was so stark white and quiet, compared to my son’s birth. I remember the walls were more a soothing yellow color and there was music. I couldn’t give you the song, but I remember it being much more ambient. With my son, my doctor showed him to me over the curtain. We were in a different state, ergo, a different hospital with my daughter, and the doctor was different. He handed her to the nurse and whisked her away. She screamed (and still screams the same way) and screamed and screamed until they swaddled her up. I remember how I just wanted to hold her, and they took their time checking her out and washing her off, and all of that. I just wanted to snuggle with her.

    But even still, I remember those early days of her sleeping on my chest. She still likes to sleep on top of me, but she’s a whopping 25lbs now. And long.

    Doesn’t matter, though, I’ll still take it.

  21. I’ve written my birth story, but I’ve never published it. More than anything, I remember the feelings of calm and total confidence. It was weird.

  22. Your writing is so realistic, I really did not want to go through labor again, but I just pushed again with your words, and my heart stopped while you waited for those three minutes to hear him cry, and I rejoiced when you heard that fabulous squeal. Big baby…mine were,too- but notthat big. This was the most beautiful birthing story I’ve ever read! Just fabulous.

  23. You are crazy ;). Epidural for me for sure. It was bad enough for me at 3 cm, I don’t know how you did it! I was looking forward to Andrew coming out easily, as the third child. Nope. Ended up getting a c-section , he had the chord around his neck 3 times–I actually missed the pushing and the final release. The C-section was definitely anti-climactic in a strange way.

  24. Who doesn’t love a birth story? But this one? This one is magical. And all because of you and the beautiful way you craft these words. Glorious, Stacia. Adore it!

  25. Can[t wait to hear the man’s side of it!!!!

  26. Oh, it’s such hard work, isn’t it? I had all three of my babies with no epidural, and all three were such different labors. Such different births. (And each baby was 1.5 pounds HEAVIER than the previous! But, that’s another story.) Congrats to you. These are such powerful stories, the stories of birth. Thank you for sharing yours.

  27. So beautifully written. Congrats on birthing that big baby without an epidural! I bet you felt like superwoman afterward!

  28. I remember the desperation at 9 centimeters to GET THIS BABY OUT. And I remember being handed a blue baby. And shaking. But he was ok. And so was I.

    Congrats on your unmedicated birth. And thank you for sharing.

  29. Congrats to you. When I read about the silence, I could sense your heartbreak. I knew this story had a happy ending and that’s what kept me pushing through the Bun’s silence. I love how you describe Bun’s cry, pissed-off roar. The best sound from a newborn baby.

  30. That had to be the longest three minutes of your life. What a beautiful birth story and, of course, beautifully told and crafted as always. You are such a talented writer.

    Please know that I’ve been reading all your posts. I just don’t always end up with the free hands to comment.

    Hope all is well with your party of five!

    • Thanks, MEP! I, too, am having a little trouble finding free hands to type comments these days. Hope your party of five is doing well, too. =>

  31. Green socks.

    All the measures of time. And no time.

    It’s the details you give me that feed me.

    There are other things being born at your home these days. Creativity and love. And words. And senses that notice.

    What a wonderful family to grow up in. Lucky kiddos.

    (And this I wonder…how was it for your parents?)

  32. I remember both, so clearly… and now I’m going to be there when my daughter delivers her first in September. She, too, is not planning for an epidural. I’ll admit I’m already getting frightened, but I want to be there with her and for her.

    I love your posts. Your writing is compelling. Thanks for sharing.

  33. I don’t know how I missed this! Joy was born silent too. Terrifying to have her whisked away, I didn’t see her the first 30 minutes of her life. Birth stories never get old, never lose their power, do they?

  34. Giggle just reading this…. wow I think I would have been out of my mind if I didn’t hear that scream immediately.

    Now don’t yell at me… but of my first two births have to say I don’t remember the pain of the labour. And they were all natural with out pain killers or epidurals.. I remember thinking for especially the first one that hey this isn’t that bad because I was walking to the delivery room LOL. ( I learnt that I have a wonderful defense mechanism that allows me to forget the pain and only remember the good)
    For my third and final birth.. the twins! I had a c-section and that pain I remember all too clearly 😦 the recovery and all. I also didn’t get to see twin b until the next day because she was breathing too fast. Scary
    I never blogged on any of my births… cant say why!

    My favourite memory of my son’s birth was of him opening one eye when he heard my voice πŸ™‚

  35. […] 2, Bun! Want to read his birth story? And my husband’s take on […]

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