Natalie's Birth Story Part 1

The night before Natalie was born, Chris came home really in the mood for ribs. I didn't have anything prepare for dinner, so we went off to Tony Roma's. It's kind of rare for us to go out in the middle of the week but we realized that impromptu dinners like this would be hard to come by in the coming weeks. Side Note: The fact that the night before I went into labor we were off to a restaurant to satisfy my husband's food craving is not lost on me. ;)

Nevertheless, we enjoyed our dinner and the time spent together. We talked about a lot of things: how our lives would soon change; what we were excited for; what we were nervous about; etc. etc.
Who needs ribs? I was excited for dessert!!

That night we went home feeling extremely motivated to pack 100% for the hospital. We had packed for the hospital the previous week...but it was very haphazardly, and we still had toiletries and electronics to get together.

There were two things that I had been putting off doing all that week that HAD to be done before going to the hospital. One was reattaching the car-seat pad to the car-seat after washing it, and the other was finalizing my hospital bag. We accomplished both that day...of course, having no idea that I was going to go into labor that night. But it was like my mind and body knew that I was finally fully ready for the baby to arrive. I will do a separate post on what we packed for the hospital.
Hospital Bag items

By the end of packing I was really losing steam. I was exhausted and when I laid down to rest, I was seeing stars and felt dizzy. I also was feeling intense pressure in my abdomen and felt "weird". As we got into bed, Chris said "You're going to go into labor tonight" My response was "Honestly, the way I feel right now...I wouldn't be surprised."

I fell right to sleep, and woke up at 4am for my usual morning pee break. It started out normal, but the pressure I had felt before bed was still there and when I went back to bed I started to cramp really badly. I wasn't sure if this was contractions but they did seem to be coming and going every few minutes, and at 4:33am I finally started timing them out using the free Contraction Timer by ibirth (I am SO GLAD I downloaded this was really helpful in knowing exactly how far apart these contractions were, and how long they lasted. I didn't have to stop and do any math or figure anything out, it was all there for me. I highly recommend this app if you're about to go into labor!)
My first contraction lasted 1 minute and 31 seconds, the second one came 6 minutes and 52 seconds later. This was my first indication that not only was I in labor...I was within the parameters of "you should go to the hospital". They say to go when your contractions are 5-7 minutes apart. I had decided on my own that I wouldn't go to the hospital until my contractions were 4 minutes apart. Kristen from Mama and Mou had once given me advice "If you can sit comfortably in the're going too soon." My reasoning for wanting to wait was to insure that I wouldn't be put on a bed too soon or need petocin to induce labor.

Anyway, my second contraction came 5 minutes later, the one after that came 4 minutes and 42 seconds later. I couldn't believe how quickly they were coming!! From what I could sometimes take hours for contractions to go from 7 minutes to 4 minutes..this took minutes! At that point, I woke Chris up because if things kept progressing this quickly we wouldn't even make it to the hospital in time to deliver!

The timing was all over the place, but they seemed to mostly be under 5 minutes apart. I took a quick shower, enduring some more contractions. By the time I got out of the shower, my contractions were timing under 3 minutes apart!!!

We arrived to the hospital somewhere between 6:30 and 7:00am. I went to the admitting office at the hospital...and promptly threw up in the woman's trash can who was getting me set-up. It was horrible! The contraction pain was incredibly intense. I was sent up to triage, where they would decide how far along I was in labor.

Once they started hooking me up to iv's and a fetal heart-rate monitor I said "So I am in labor right?" and the woman said "Oh are a superstar. Most women dream of being this far along once they are admitted to the hospital." That made me feel good...but I also was shocked. I literally had woken up 3 hours ago and here I was...already 3 centimeters dilated, and my contractions very close together.

When we were in triage, I turned to Chris and said "I think I'm going to want an epidural" I felt bad about it, I felt guilty for caving so soon after deciding that I would "wait as long as I could" for an epidural. But after throwing up downstairs, and with my contractions getting more and more intense, I was pretty sure that I wanted the epidural.

I was then sent to the labor room where I was set up in a bed, all hooked up and the anesthesiologist arrived for my epidural. I was nervous for it...many people say the epidural is just as painful as contractions. But really, it wasn't bad at all! I felt instantly better and calmer. And for the next few hours, I was in blissful denial that my contractions were even happening.
I was so happy that I went into labor on a Friday because it meant my parents were able to take the day off of work and come to New York for the weekend and into the next week. I was always nervous that they would miss her whole delivery, and it was comforting to know they were right there, safe and sound.  

By the time I was 7 centimeters dilated, I started to feel the contractions a bit more. This was partly because the epidural had evened out (as opposed to the initial large dosage I was given), and also because the contractions were becoming more intense.

The rest of the labor is a bit of a blur, so I'm going to recap it in the form of an FAQ. These should answer many questions that I have been asked over and over again by friends since my delivery:

1. How long was your delivery? 
I woke up with pain at 4am and Natalie was delivered at 4:26pm. 12 hours and 26 minutes, though I think I was having contractions for a few hours in my sleep before that.

2. How long did you push? 
I pushed for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours before she was delivered. It felt much quicker than that though.

3. Was the pain worse than I imagined? 
Unfortunately, yes, which is why I was so quick to give in to the epidural. However, I will say that I felt more during the last 3 hours than I thought I would with an epidural, which I'm thankful for. I was nervous the epidural would make me so numb that I wouldn't feel what was going on, but I definitely did. Honestly, I can't imagine how much more intense it must have been without the epidural.

4. Did I tear? 
I had a small 1st degree tear, and was stitched up afterward. The stitches should dissolve in 4 weeks. I didn't know that I tore, everything hurt so I don't know exactly when it happened.

5. Did I poop on the table? 

6. Really? Was it embarrassing? 
No, it was my proudest moment to date. Just kidding.

It was incredibly embarrassing. I was holding back from pushing because I was afraid it would happen. If I kept holding back, I realized I would never deliver the baby, so I had to just let it happen. It was pretty much the elephant in the room. Everyone knew it was happening, but it was quickly cleaned up and no one acknowledged it.

7.  How was Chris during all of this? 
Chris was a great coach and a great partner during the labor. He has stated that he's "seen things he can never un-see" but he's really not squeamish over things like that, and handled it all fine.

8. Do you regret getting an epidural? 
No, I don't regret it. It kept me calm for most of the day and allowed me rest to build up my energy for my 2 1/2 hours of pushing.

Natalie was born at 4:26pm. I have more to share regarding the last part of labor, what happened afterward and a funny story on how we found out she was a girl!

Do you have any other questions regarding this part of the labor? Don't hesitate to ask me!


  1. Advice from your mother: Don't EVER feel guilty for getting an epidural or for doing this or that or not doing this or that. Pregnancy, labor, delivery, breast feeding-those things are incredible experiences and very personal. They are not a contest though women sometimes turn them into a contest. Pooping on the table is just part of the work day for the medical staff attending to you. That's the real reason they didn't acknowledge it. Ask anyone who works in labor and delivery about how many women poop, vomit, pee, tear, bleed, and anything else the human body can do under extreme stress. It really isn't a big deal to them. They called you a superstar because you are. And so are Chris and Natalie. I liked Chris's comment about seeing things he can never "unsee." That's just the perfect way to describe it. Congrats to all!

  2. Ahhh I hate the thought that people actually poop on the table! But good for you for admitting it. I think typically people say it happens but nobody says it happened to me!
    Thank you for sharing your story though. It's nice that you progressed so quickly!

  3. Girl, do not feel guilty for getting an epidural! You did amazing and got that girl out! I was induced bevsuse of preeclampsia so I was in the hospital for about 18 hours before I was truly in labor. It was a SLOW process and I only had about 4 hours of contractions and only 40 minutes of really bad ones before getting an epidural. I was on a super high dose of pitocin so there's no way I could have done it without an epidural! Pushing for that long really doesn't seem that long and it's a small blessing isn't it?

  4. I love birth stories! Thanks for sharing. Glad you trusted your instinct and went to the hospital. No use risking having her at home!

  5. Your mom leaves the best comments.

    And also, I was induced...and my first question when I got there was how fast I could get an epidural. I wasn't even having contractions yet...haha, go me! Don't feel bad about it, they invented those for a reason!

  6. I obviously have 0 personal experience with labor so I really appreciate reading the stories for when that day comes. Thanks so much for sharing, even the not-so-glamorous aspects! I'm already planning on doing an epidural, but I have a very low pain tolerance, so no shame! Glad it sounds like you had a quick and healthy delivery. Can't wait for the next part :)

  7. I have started reading birth stories and I'm so glad you posted yours. So many of my mommy friends were induced or had scheduled c-sections that I don't have much to go off of. I have been having so many pains, aches and pressure I always worry "Is this it????" It's nice have the oppurtunity to read stories that I will hopefully be able to relate to soon!!! Is it gross that my husband always talks about pooping on the table. I swear he is 5 years old.

  8. I started laughing at the poop part! Just because I know it's got to be incredibly embarrassing but there's literally nothing you can do. Oh not looking forward to that!!

    Also, Chris' line about seeing things he can't un-see made me laugh too! My fiance is adamant that when the time comes, he doesn't want to look at what's going on (though he will be there by my side of course.) Meanwhile, my lovable but nutty sister is all "Yeah! I wanna see!" lol

    Looking forward to the rest of the story!

  9. I'm so happy you didn't need to have a C-section. Sounds like a pretty smooth delivery! Do NOT feel guilty for having an epidural. Seriously, it's not like you wear a medal around saying I gave birth naturally everyday. I had an epidural and for me it was incredibly painful to get but that's just because my anesthesiologist sucked. Even the nurse said afterwards he didn't do a good job giving it to me. Awesome right? Mine also wore off for a while when I was around 7cm which confirmed for me that I would not have been good at going the natural route. Since I had a CS obviously I didn't poop on the table but Hunter pooped in me so when they broke my water it was green from the meconium and seeing that was traumatizing enough for my husband. haha.

  10. Thanks for sharing this, Laura! I love reading birth stories and knowing what I can expect someday when it's my turn. I don't know how women delivered babies before there were epidurals! I also had no idea that the pushing phase would take so long, as I never thought to specifically ask about that before. I'm guessing it can vary from person to person, just like other aspects of labor, right? Also, was it basically 2-3 hours of pretty much continuous pushing, or more like pushing, then waiting a few minutes, and pushing again? I guess it's good that it felt much quicker than it was.

  11. Hi Laura, I think you did an amazing job! I was the same..really sick so I took the epidural....I didn't want to and the first one was bad. Wow that was a long time pushing and a lot of work. I remember the nurses telling me that's normal for the first one and if you have another it is not so long. Also I found that there was nothing embarrassing once your in pain and about to deliver. All I know is after all said and done that even though birth is messy, hard work and painful it was worth every second :) I am so glad that your both doing great and Natalie is such a pretty baby.

  12. Sounds like things went really well!! I love how open and honest you are - and who cares, poop is part of life! It's really not a surprise that it happens especially when you're pushing!! And don't beat yourself up about wanting an epidural, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing what's right for you. Plus, I hate pain - so I'll be ALL about that when we have kids!!!

  13. This is great. I think we had pretty similar experiences and Jeff said the same exact thing afterwards. I was begging for an epidural at 3cm and surprised myself that I wanted it that quickly but that pain is fierce! My friends all asked the same questions, too. Everybody always wants the nitty gritty personal details! hah! What's up with that? Can't wait for part 2!

  14. <3 loved reading this. Thanks so much for sharing. xoxo Can't wait to meet little Natalie too! Don't feel guilty for the epidural, I would have said from the day I found out I was pregnant that I am getting at least 2 epidural's so you're way ahead of the game! LOL.

  15. You are a superstar!! Good for you. What a great story!! Loved reading. You should be proud!!

  16. This is such a fantastic, brave and hilarious post. Your face is amazing!! Good job, Mama!

  17. So happy to be reading your birth story, it gives me hope that things will go smoothly for me as well when baby girl decides to make her arrival.


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