rory james' birth story

On Friday November 8th I was just over 39 weeks and we had a doctor's appointment. Doctor Z was out of town so we were meeting with a different guy, who shall be henceforth known as Doctor P. His picture made him look like he might be in his forties but after he left we guessed that he was probably no more than like 27. So young! We got along SO great which was the luckiest thing because -spoiler alert- he was the doctor who ended up delivering my baby. Random coinkidink that we just happened to have an appointment with this awesome young hip doctor who we just happened to get along with even better than Dr. Z? Probably not. Seriously, the stars were aligned for this entire experience. We had talked earlier with Dr. Z about how we needed to decide whether to induce or do a c-section because of baby's giant size (thanks gestational diabetes), but we came in still clueless as to what we wanted to do. I wanted a vaginal delivery, but the fear of bringing any harm to my baby was terrifying. Andy was leaning towards a c-section because it seemed like the safer option with less unknowns. We had a long talk with Dr. P, who told us very convincingly that there was no best option. The only way we'll know what the best option would have been would be after the fact when the damage (or no damage) was done. There were obviously risks both ways, but he asked me sincerely what type of birth experience I would prefer to have. I told him I'd much rather have a induction and he told us that he was very supportive of that idea. So we scheduled it for Sunday night, 2 days away, despite the odds of a successful induction being completely against us, i.e. my cervix was at 1cm at best, this was my first baby, first induction, and the chances of me ending up with a c-section were well over 30%. I honestly felt that as long as the doctors would just humor me for a couple of hours while we tried to kick start my labor, I would be satisfied with that 'birth experience' and would more easily hand myself over to the c-section surgeons.

Sunday evening Andy and his mom made us a big steak and sweet potato dinner as a last hurrah. I was so nervous. So ridiculously nervous. The butterflies were attacking my innards. I just kept imagining all these worst case scenarios that I was worried were inevitable. Andy and his dad gave me a blessing right before we left, and though it was mighty comforting, I was still so scared. 

We checked in at the hospital at 8:00 and the moment I entered the room they had me strip and put on a lovely hospital tent. We got a corner room which was HUGE. At first we were so excited to have all that space, but then we realized that the only couch was on the complete other side of the room and Andy had no where else to sit except for the rolling doctor chairs which were incredibly uncomfortable. It turned out to be a big nuisance for him to be so far away from me. Anyway, they put in an IV (after 2 tries they got it. I was expecting it to be a lot worse than it was... everyone always complains about how scary and painful IV's are! I guess I'm just so used to getting my blood drawn that it was hardly a big deal) and immediately started throwing all these monitors on my belly. One of them senses contractions and apparently upon entering the hospital I was contracting every 2 minutes but couldn't feel them! Can you imagine my excitement? My body was already doing something productive! Also, the hospital gave me an awesome waterbottle filled to the brim with pebbled ice. It's as though they knew me already. 

(***Just warning you all that I'll be mentioning a few lady issues that might make some squeamish. I won't go into too much detail, but don't hate me for explaining the process of childbirth a wee bit. This is a birth story after all.)

The first thing they tried was a drug called cytocin. Basically it's a pill that they place next to your cervix to get it to ripen up a bit ( btw isn't the word 'ripen' such an awful word to use for a cervix? I keep picturing an over ripened peach or something gross and mushy. blegh).

So they put in the first pill and we just had to wait and see if it worked. The contractions starting to get a little stronger. My stomach would just harden up and I'd feel a bit of pressure, and then after about 30 seconds it would let up again. Nothing terrible. Nothing that I hadn't felt before. Just more consistent. We were told to get some sleep but I got maybe an hour at most. The stupid baby heart monitor kept falling off and beeping and waking me up every 15 minutes, and I was so uncomfortable with my butt hanging out of my hospital gown I just finally took it off and put on a sports bra and boxer shorts. Andy conked out for a good while. 4 hours after putting in the pill they came and checked me. No progress yet, but the contractions were continuously getting stronger. They were happening pretty regularly and I was definitely starting to hurt. I was bummed out that I hadn't made any progress though. To me that was just foreshadowing the fact that we were going to end up in a c-section later on that day and that was hard to accept. I continued to flip through channels, trying to lull myself to sleep. (Why is Law and Order SVU ALWAYS on? 3 am and I'm trying to figure out what season it is based on Olivia's haircut. Are there really so many of us weirdos that sincerely love that show?)

At around 10 am they came and checked me again and I had actually progressed a bit! 1.5 cm dilated. Since my contractions were happening so regularly - I think it was every 2 minutes still, but they were getting really intense - they started me on pitocen. Seriously, about 5 minutes after they hooked the pitocen to my IV my water broke. By itself! No poking or prodding necessary. My friends, I was ecstatic. This meant my body was responding to the contractions and was actually willing to get this baby out of me. And it was a gush! People keep saying to expect a trickle, but no no this hot liquid poured out and all over basically everything. My cute boxer shorts I was wearing were soaked and useless from then on. 

About an hour after getting pitocen the contractions were getting HARD. I think the combination of my water breaking and the pitocen just sped up labor so fast and I wasn't prepared for it. I couldn't hold still during the contractions, and I had to get up and move around. My movement was definitely limited though because I was hooked up to all these monitors and IV's, so basically I just stood and hugged Andy through the contractions and swayed from side to side. UGH it was endless. If I could describe it? It felt like a horse was kicking me in my pelvis - but it was constant pain and constant pressure. Until it let up - then I felt completely normal. I could talk normally and laugh at the stupid people on America's Next Top Model with Andy and his mom, who came just around then to support. 

The pain was so startling. All I could do was hold onto Andy, sway, moan, and breeeeeaaathe. I just kept taking big deep breaths and moaning. The contractions were 2 minutes apart at most, which worried the doctors a bit. They didn't expect the contractions to be so close together and they blamed they cytocin. This lasted for hours. It got to the point where I didn't a chance to relax between those contractions. I was just exhausted. And in SO MUCH PAIN. We kept the America's Next Top Model marathon going on the entire time. I didn't want the room to be quiet, and that show was the perfect distraction. I could watch it when I wanted and could tune out during a contraction and no one would be the wiser and I would hardly miss a thing. Jeez I love reality shows. 

The nurse came in around 2 pm to check my cervix. She said I was at a "stretchy 3" and could get an epidural if I wanted. I said YES!!! Giving into an epidural at 3cm felt a bit like I was a wuss but OMG I didn't care. The intensity of the contractions was unreal. Like nothing I had ever expected. Seriously I think it was the combination of the pitocen and my water breaking that got them so intense so fast. I got an epidural, though it was the most painful experience of my life. They make you sit on the bed hunched over for a good 20 minutes while they insert the tube that gives you the medicine into your back. You have to sit incredibly still. The contractions were monstrous at this point, happening every minute or so, and I was sobbing while they inserted the giant needle in my back. UGH it was the worst thing in the entire world. BUT - 15 minutes later? I couldn't even feel aaaannyyytttthhhiiingg. It was MAGICAL. 

It was at this point that mom arrived. She had cut my dad's birthday weekend in NYC to fly across the country just for us. She saw me in bed RIGHT after I got my epidural and wow was such a great moment. Seeing my mom, finally being able to relax and breathe... I just cried when I saw her. 

SO. Since everything had become absolute bliss and I was laying in bed with 0 pain I decided to take a nap. And I slept for like 2 hours. Mom went and ate in the cafeteria with Andy's parents and when they came back I was totally out. 

Pretty soon the nurses came and checked me again, and suddenly I was at 5cm! Zoom zoom zoom!  I started to shiver, which apparently is a side effect of the epidural medicine. It didn't bother me much, but it drove Andy nuts. He was constantly worried that I was freezing cold, and it probably didn't help that I couldn't give him a definite answer if I was or wasn't... Dude I'm numb! Feel my feet and tell me if they're cold or not. Sorrrrry babe. Since my legs were completely numb I had to stay in the bed, and when you're pregnant you're not supposed to lay on your back because your heavy uterus squishes a really important blood vessel, so they kind of situated me on my side.  Every hour they'd come in to "rotisseree me" by flipping me over onto my other side and then they'd check my cervix. The next hour I was at a 7, and then an hour after that I was at a 9!!!! Things were suddenly moving SO SO FAST. Ho. Ly. Crap. I was nervous, scared that something bad could still happen, but SO HAPPY that things were actually moving along! The freaking induction worked! After they checked that I was at a 9 I made sure that my epidural wasn't too high so I could start feeling contractions. Since I'd been laying on my right side for a while, somehow gravity had worked its magic and I could sort of feel the contractions on my left side again, though my right side was completely dead. 

Once I started feeling the contractions a bit on my left side I had to be quiet and concentrate on my breathing again. Before long I felt the need to push. With every contraction I would bear down like I was trying to poop out the biggest turd of my life. The nurses came to check me again and they could feel his head. He was so close! For the next hour or so I just pushed and pushed and pushed. My legs were super numb- especially my right one. I could hold up my left one for some reason but my right one was just this dead weight. Mom held up my right leg and Andy held my left and I just puuuushed (Andy's mom was in the room too, and apparently my dad was on speakerphone. Yikes.) At one point the nurses told me to put my hand down and feel his head and I did and I just sobbed. I could feel his squishy little head and it was right there!!! Dr. P was on call that night because it was Dr. Z's daughter's birthday (oops, didn't tell me that!) and once he came in and suddenly there was a whirlwind of nurses and doctors and lights and medicine. I was so focused on just pushing as hard as I could I hardly noticed. The support from Dr. P was amazing. He told me when to push, when to relax, and they brought in a big mirror so I could see they baby coming out. Afterwords, Andy kept talking about how freaking patient Dr. P was. He wasn't trying to rush anything, he used a TON of warm oil and just let things happen at their own pace. I have him to thank for the absolute minimal tearing I had. 

I think it was about a half hour of pushing and then suddenly his head, then shoulders, then whole body poured out and he was suddenly here. He was immediately placed on my chest and he was covered in cheesy vernix and he was crying and was HUGE and so healthy. Everything happened perfectly. I just cried and cried. It was the biggest relief to have him out, healthy, perfect, happy and nothing bad happened. I kept asking Andy, "is everything okay? Is anyone hurt?" and the answer was always "everything is perfect. You're done, everything is perfect". Even me. There are 4 degrees of tearing, 4th being the very worst kind of tear that takes weeks to heal up. I only had a 1st degree tear and it was super shallow. With such a big baby, that is INCREDIBLE! All hail Dr. P. for that one! Eventually they took Rory off me and Andy cut his cord and they wiped him down and weighed him and then handed him back to me while they stitched me up a bit. I couldn't stop looking at him. I seriously haven't stopped looking at him since. I miss him so badly right now and he's barely 10 feet away napping in his crib.

I was so focused on Rory that I didn't even notice Andy cutting the cord and I didn't even see the placenta. The doctors kept working on me for like 10 or 15 minutes after he was born and I was mostly unaware of anything besides him, though, I had absolutely no idea that it would be so painful getting that afterbirth out. The doctors kept pushing on my belly, trying to get it out and that was seriously uncomfortable. They even kept my pitocen going until everything was clear. Yum. 

Rory is a dream baby. He will sleep and sleep and wake up and look up at me with the biggest eyes and he coos and hiccups and is just the most perfect baby in the whole world. We've definitely run into some bumps with breastfeeding but we're getting it down and I'm slowly conquering the anxieties I've been having (I'll talk more about that later...) Mostly I am just beyond grateful for the experience we had. As cliché as it may sound, it was better than anything I could ever have hoped for. AND it gave us Rory James. So there's that :)

I'm currently holding Rory boy in my arms, typing with one hand, laughing at the poop faces mixed with gummy smiles that he makes before a giant fart. Andy and I are watching old SNL episodes on Netflix after eating a fantastic brinner with his family. These are the small moments that I was craving for the endless weeks that I felt over-pregnant. Though there is an underlying terror of the responsibility I now have, that's mostly buried beneath the love and satisfaction I feel every day being Rory's mama. I love this.

Kudos to my mom for these great pictures. I literally handed her my camera moments before pushing Rory out with only quick instructions on how the dials worked. She did wonderful work! And that last picture? Taken with an iphone. I know. I want to mount it on my wall.

Thanks for patiently making your way through this post. I know it was the longest thing you've ever read. It's honestly every single detail I can possibly remember about Rory being born. But you know what, totally worth writing down.


  1. congratulations! I'm so glad to hear everything went so smoothly! I am seriously so happy for you! There is absolutely nothing that can even describe what it's like to be a mom. So many feelings all at once and so much love that just grows and grows and grows! He is absolutely precious!

  2. Beautiful!!!! I'm SO beyond happy for you. I'm so glad everything went smoothly and that you and your perfect baby boy are healthy! Yippee. Also, I'm a firm believer that iphones take the very best and memorable pictures ;) CONGRATS.

  3. This made tears come out my face!!!! I'm so, SO glad everything went well and all of you are safe and healthy and happy. Man I wish I could hold my baby. LOOK AT YOU GO, MAMA!!!

  4. Congrats, your little boy Rory looks lovely and adorable. Loved reading your childbirth story!!! I am so glad both you and the baby are healthy and safe!!!!


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