Birth Story - PART 1. Pre-hospital

i'm glad i've waited to write my birth story - as the months have passed it's become sweeter and sweeter to remember.

it was a sunday evening, and i remember exactly what i was doing. i had just eaten dinner at ricky's family's house and was sprawled out on the couch. i kept having pain in my abdomen, and i dismissed it as i'd been having braxton hicks for a couple months before. the only difference with these were that the braxton hicks were always triggered by movement - getting out of the car, bending over, etc. these were just happening. they were enough discomfort to distract me, but i was trying to implement everything i had learned in my bradley classes: don't drag on the time by concentrating on early labor (if it was even that), try to ignore them and go about your activities, don't get to excited because it could be false labor, etc.

my pregnancy itself was all drama, i had convinced myself my labor would be the most normal of events - because that's what my drama pregnancy owed me. i had had terrible morning sickness, and i still to this day don't know how i made it to work. i would sit at my desk and eat small bits of bagel every 10 minutes to keep my blood sugar high enough so i wouldn't hurl in the trash can under my desk. i gagged on an hourly basis, and would come home and sleep the evenings away while ricky was at school. in those first 3 months i don't even think i entered my kitchen, and most definitely did no cooking or peering into the refridgerator. it all seems so distant now as it was ONE YEAR AGO - but it was rough.

my second trimester was a breeze. i enjoyed dressing up my bump, feeling the kicks, and finding out what i knew all along - i was having a baby boy. i thought nothing could compare to my morning sickness, but i didn't know what could come with my last trimester.

i had the usual discomforts by the last 2 months: bowling ball in the pelvis, the impossible task of sitting through a work day, and waking up a trillion times a night to pee. these things were small compared to my first trimester nausea, until the itching started. i began having sleepless nights with an itching abdomen that had become one inflamed rash, itching palms, and itching soles of my feet. All of this on a body carrying 30 pounds of extra weight. And when I say itching, i mean so absolutely torturous i would sit in the bathtub and cry for hours in the middle of the night. So itchy i sent ricky with $150 to buy any possible itch relieving product at whole foods. So itchy, if it wasn't for the minute amount of self control the Lord gave me, i would have scratched my skin to the point of bleeding. it's one of those things, like labor, you can't possibly convey through words. it was hell. it was worse than the nausea by leaps and bounds. it took me off work, and research says 95% of women in my condition beg the doctors to induce them 2, 3, 4 weeks early. and because of the torture, the doctors allow it! (sad, but true)

i had what was called PUPPS and a condition called CHOLESTASIS. Pupps was an innocent rash that spread from my belly to my legs and arms, and everywhere except my face. it is said to go away the moment you deliver, and it harmless to the baby. it was miraculously healed by a bar of "soap" found at whole foods: pine tar soap. it smells like dirt, but i would lather some on a loofa and scrub my skin raw - every hour i would take my big fat belly into the shower and sit on the ledge, and scrub my rashses to death. the next day the area covered in the rash would be rash free, but would have spread to a new area. i'd do the same ordeal that day, and it took about 2 weeks after discovering my method to be PUPPS free and leave my body no where else for the rash to spread.

this did nothing for the palms and the soles of my feet. this was from a condition called CHOLESTASIS. my liver had stopped working hard enough for both my baby and i and had stopped fully filtering my system. this caused an unbearable itching beneath the skin. i would wake up at night and lay frozen peas on my feet to try to numb them out of the itchiness.

this stopped 1 day before my due date, by the miracle of prayer alone. it also caused a slew of other problems. the doctor's kept pushing induction. i had to have amos monitored every other day. i'll write about this more on another post. so much UNNECESSARY drama. he'd be sleepy when they'd monitor and they'd try to convince me to induce. i was a day late and they'd try and convince me to induce. all the while, amos was inside of me healthy, happy, and waiting for the perfect time to come out.

now back to sunday evening. contractions had started, and once i had secretly timed them on my nifty labor app on my husband's iphone i knew they were pretty consistent. 10 minutes apart? i don't remember exactly, but i told Ricky we had to go and once we got in the car i said, "Babe, i think this is it." i was 9 days late, and we had spent the last week doing puzzles, staring at each other, and going over and over our dreams for our little son. it was the longest 9 days of our lives thus far.

the night was spent dozing in and out. i let Ricky sleep, as i figured the next day this guy was coming and he needed his rest. i kept timing them and around 2AM they got to a painful state. i say that from the perspective of then. if i had any idea the pain i would EVENTUALLY endure i would call those pen pricks. nothing. but at the time, they caused me to hold my breath and close my eyes.

if i could do it again: i would have SHOWERED. that would have been a perfect shower time. if i had known i would be in the hospital for 5 days, unable to shower for 3 of those, i would have showered and probably curled my hair. :)

Ricky would wake up here and there and ask how I was doing. i would tell him good, and show him how close my contractions were getting. at 6AM i was lying in bed and my water broke. it felt like a warm gush of water and went all in my bed and on my floor. disgusting, i know. disgusting and totally awesome because it meant this was for real.

we saw that the water was tinted green, which we knew meant there was meconium. that more or less means little amos had went to the bathroom inside the womb, which could or could not be a sign of fetal distress. if he inhaled the water at any point it could be toxic and very dangerous. it's very common in late babies, and not necessarily a sign of distress.

we knew this, but weren't sure what we should do. our goal was to labor at home as long as humanly possible. until our contractions were at least 3-5 minutes apart. our bradley instructor had suggested when you call the hospital to lie about what time your water broke. hospitals usually give you 24 hours to deliver after your water breaks because of increased chances of infection. Throw in meconium staining and things get serious.

if i could do it again: i would have labored at home longer, MUCH LONGER, not called the hospital, and if i did call not tell them my water broke or was stained. it would have bought me 5 more hours, maybe 12. maybe a whole day. who knows how the scenario would have played out.

at this point i totally underestimated my hospitals obnoxious obsession with intervention, and so we decided, because of the meconium, and because of my cholestasis and all the other drama, it was best to go in now. plus my contractions were about 5 minutes a part. my doula, who was also my bradley instructor, said she would meet us there. we called our hospital and they said to come right in. we grabbed our birth bag and climbed into our little prius in the middle of morning traffic.


  1. i feel like i'm reading a serial novel in a magazine and can't wait for the next installment. This is wonderful, especially since I'm so close to my due date. write again soon!

  2. Excited to hear your story, as I know it ends well. Having never given birth, had labor, or been pregnant, I cannot begin to presume I have valid arguments or opinion on the matter...but I'm glad that you went in when you did as I know of a couple with a near identical scenario who made the opposite decision and didn't leave the hospital with a baby. From a heart of half paranoia on the subject...I'm glad you went in when you did. ^_^

    Can't wait to read more!

  3. Tiff...i love your blog! you are an awesome writer :))

  4. i LOVE reading this. so precious! and i feel like you were sooo wise. i'm going to get your help when its my turn!!!

  5. THANK YOU for writing this... i want to labor as long as absolutely possible at home, too... i might be contacting you closer to little-man-arrival time in case this happens! :)

  6. Um...that anonymous post was from me. I don't think I intended on it being so secretive and I remember typing my name...so I don't know what happened. Haha.


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