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This is the story of a birth. And some more pregnant pictures.

Gray shirt: thrifted (Ann Taylor Loft); Lace undershirt: Downeast Basics; Cardigan/Cords/Shoes: Target; Bag: Zappos

Some people hate birth stories.  I happen to love them.  To those of you who can't stand hearing about the minute details of how someone else's baby was born (can't say I blame you), just focus on how awesome these teal cords are and wait for something more interesting tomorrow. :)

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Baby C was due on September 24th.  I had a feeling she might come a day or two early, but not really anything more than that.  The day before was a Sunday, and I went to church feeling perfectly fine and energetic and without one single thought that I would be having a baby the next day.

That night, it occurred to me that my friend, who was due a couple of weeks before me, had had her baby 5 days early.  I turned to Dan slightly anxiously and commented that 5 days early was only 3 days from then.  We could, theoretically, have a baby in 3 days!  He laughed and said he knew the baby could come early, but that it would be great whenever she came.  He noted that we'd gotten in all the really important things already.  He'd felt that we'd be okay to plan our camping trip and for them to go on the fathers and sons' campout a couple of days before, for which his dad and brother had come into town, but that he hadn't felt any guarantees after that.  Because he'd felt we were safe through the weekend, and because we'd wanted Dan to give Nat a blessing before Carina's birth, Dan thought Sunday night would be a good time for it.  It was sweet and meaningful and perfectly timed.

We hung out with Dan's parents that night, and went to bed a little late.  Dan usually goes into work pretty early, and woke at 6:15 the next morning.  As I saw him climb out of bed, I told him to lie back down for a bit since we'd gone to bed later than usual.  He tried to insist on getting ready then, but I joked that I know best and made him come back to bed.  Half an hour later, when he would've been on the Metro, I awoke from my doze and ran to the bathroom.  As I stood in the tub, I called to Dan, who asked, "your water broke?"

As Dan helped me back to a now-towel-clad bed, we both laughed at the timing.  With neither of my pregnancies have I felt a single Braxton-Hicks contraction, even, so we were completely surprised.  After lying down for a bit and calling our families, including Dan's parents who were scheduled to leave town later that day, we got back up and did some laundry (this seems to become something of a tradition after my water breaks...).  I was having some slight contractions, but nothing really painful or strong, and coming about 20 minutes apart.  We talked to my wonderful doctor, who said it was fine for me to labor at home for a little while, and to for sure come in by lunchtime or by the time my contractions were 5 minutes apart, whichever came first.

At around 9:40, my sister-in-law called and I happily chatted with her for a few minutes.  I got a contraction in the middle of our call and asked her to hold on for a minute, but was still sitting up just fine and easily resumed talking right after.  My contractions were still about 15-20 minutes apart at that point.  Starting at around 10, they started coming a little more quickly, maybe 8-12 minutes apart.  A little after this, I suddenly had a couple of really painful contractions.  They were so painful that I decided I did want an epidural and we figured we'd head over to the hospital, even though they still weren't that close together.  After another blessing, this time for me, we gathered up our bag and the last minute things we'd packed that morning and called Dan's mom, who'd come over to watch Nat that morning (she was supposed to leave on a bus up to New York later that day, but switched it to the next day).  We walked down to the car (I had one small contraction in the stairwell, which was bizarre), and said bye to Nat and Mom.  On the way, I had another super painful contraction and was a little miserable even after our sub-10-minute drive to the ER entrance.

After pulling up at just about 11, an orderly came out with a wheelchair, and said Dan could park in the clergy spot for a little bit while accompanying me over to the labor & delivery ward (which, conveniently, is on the exact opposite end of the hospital from the ER entrance, so after getting the wheelchair and checking in with the nurses downstairs and walking over, took a good 15 minutes to get to).  We checked in (well, Dan checked me in with the nurses while I huddled miserably in the wheelchair and managed to get out a few words to ask for an epidural as soon as possible) and they took me over to a triage room.  Mercifully, the room was roasting, so a nurse offered to get me a different room and took me over to a labor & delivery room.  We must've gotten in this room by about 11:20.

I immediately fell over on the bed in the midst of a painful contraction.  The nurses left us alone for a few minutes and Dan offered to go get the bag from the car which had my ID, which they'd said they needed.  Dan stepped out for a moment and asked another nurse, and she said it was fine and not to worry, and as he walked back in, I writhed in another contraction and asked to push my feet against Dan's legs...and felt the baby's head crowning.  I felt like I couldn't NOT push.  I yelled at him that the baby was coming, which everyone must've heard because at least 4 people immediately came rushing in.  A nurse quickly checked me (I could feel her make a huge circle so I must've been fully dilated) and rushed to put the thingies on my stomach to check the baby's heart rate and stick an IV in my arm (for which I had to hold still while in the midst of a contraction...yeah, that was fun).  At this point, Dan was clutching my hand and quietly asked the nurse if it was too late for an epidural.  She pursed her lips and nodded sympathetically, but not before I saw (although, bless them, they kept telling me until the end that they were trying to get me an epidural, so I had a glimmer of hope).  I had two long and painful contractions after that, during which I felt more pressure and, again, couldn't not start to push.

The nurses had tried to call my doctor a few minutes before, but he was in with a patient.  Another doctor happened to be there and she came in to assist.  She coached me through pushing through one contraction and told me it could all be over very quickly if I did it naturally, and that the baby could come out with a couple of good pushes.  To be honest, I didn't really believe her.  She didn't know that I pushed for 2.5 hours with Nat, and that I eventually needed an episiotomy because I just wasn't tearing on my own.  So I pushed, but not the very hardest I could.

Miraculously, halfway through that contraction, my doctor, who I adore, came racing through the door.  They'd managed to contact him and he'd left another patient in the middle of an appointment and come racing over.  His office is a 5-10 minute drive from the hospital, and the parking garage and hospital itself are a maze, so he must have literally FLOWN over (later, when asked where he parked, he said, "I don't even know" :)).  He took one look and told me the same thing the other doctor had, that with one good push, the baby would be out.  He was so supportive and wonderful and told me he couldn't even imagine how painful a natural birth was, but that it could be really really quick.  I looked up at him and asked if I needed an episiotomy and he said he definitely didn't think so.  So with that, on the next contraction, I pushed.  Really pushed.  And it was ridiculously painful and the most pressure I've ever felt.  But a minute later, I felt the biggest sense of relief of my life.  At 11:40am, 20 minutes after arriving in the labor & delivery room and less than 10 after I started pushing, I had a baby girl in my arms.  I wouldn't change a thing and would do it again in a heartbeat.



18 comments

  1. That picture of Nat + Carina is amazing. So glad she is here safe and sound. Love you lots!

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  2. love this! thanks for sharing...and i'm glad that i made it into the story : ) i was inspired to call you!

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  3. I'll be really interested to see how my delivery with this next baby goes, since with Ella, I was already fully dilated when I got to the hospital, but then, like you, pushed for HOURS (three total).

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  4. Love it! Good for you! I am a big believer in natural birth, I've done it twice, so painful but SO worth it! Congrats on your sweet little girl!

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  5. I love birth stories. :) And I think every woman should experience at least one natural birth as a way of "bonding with the women of the ages." :) It's quite the experience, isn't it?

    T came SO fast, that I'm almost scared for my next baby. It almost makes me want to plan a home birth so I don't wind up having a baby in the car!

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  6. I am soooooooooooooooooo not looking forward to those painful contractions. But I guess they come with the job. Gorgeous children you have. You must be so proud.
    Girlie Blog Seattle | Cheap Makeup Reviews

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  7. I love birth stories too, so I'm glad you shared!! She is beautiful and you are one strong woman!!

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  8. ALL RIGHT! That is awesome. I always love the girly details, so I was excited to read this.

    I can't believe how FAST that all came towards the end! Good grief. Glad it all went so smoothly though and that you got to the hospital just in the nick of time. Congrats on your new beautiful miracle!

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  9. Hooray! I love this story! And I hope for the same if I ever have another one...Natural childbirth is amazing, but the faster the better if you ask me. 12 hours is not the way to go...

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  10. BEAUTIFUL baby!!!

    <3 Cambria
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  11. I love birth stories, and yours is beautiful! How amazing that she came that quickly and how amazing how our bodies work. Congratulations again!

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  12. I love birth stories, especially when they're as amazing as yours. Congratulations again on your beautiful family!

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  13. Wow!! I am so hoping I have such a "quick" time of it in a couple months! Good for you and congratulations! She is just beautiful!

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  14. ...and then I started crying. You have such beautiful babies, and what an incredible story. Congrats again!

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  15. Awesome story! I had my first with an epidural. My 2nd also came quickly, so he was natural (not by choice!). But then, having done it naturally and seeing the quickness and the quick recovery? I went ahead and did the last two naturally by choice. It really was much faster and once I knew I could survive those minutes of transition, it was a total mental game with myself. Beautiful family!!

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  16. Came over from Camp Patton. Congratulations! Your daughter is gorgeous. I personally think every woman should experience birth without drugs at least once. I did with my second and third babies, and I'll never go back to an epidural. Doing it yourself is just incredible, and yes, very fast. And then you forget right away how much it hurt!

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  17. Oh man, you are superwoman! I always dreamed of having the kind of natural delivery that goes so well and so fast that there isn't time for an epidural and then it's just over. Lucky(?) girl!

    Congrats again!

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  18. I so enjoyed reading this Preethi! It's fascinating to hear how a little, sweet soul like Carina arrives in the world. I imagine myself as big o' pile of hot mess when I give birth but I imagine you handled it aplomb. Thank goodness for strong men like Dan and Tyler, huh? It's very generous of you to share something so personal (yet remarkable) with us. How glad you will be to have this recorded for posterity years from now!

    Also, great pic of your two loves!

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