Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Max: The Birth Story

NOTE: This post is long, long, long. You may want to skip it. Or you may want to read it (I promise some humor), but grab a snack first. Maybe Funyuns.


Due Date: July 8th

Scheduled Induction: July 2nd

Birth Date: June 27th

Max arrived 12 days earlier than due and 6 days earlier than planned. Here’s a look at what my life looks like when I have a baby WAY. EARLIER. THAN. EXPECTED:

Fridge=empty. House=dirty. Bags=unpacked. Care for Anderson=loosely arranged (but only for the induction, not for a middle of the night emergency). To Do List=1/2 conquered. Mom=not here yet. Sisters=in Utah for the funeral. And most unsightly: Toes=unpainted and Hair=bad roots. Even as the ultimate planner, I was reminded: you just can’t plan these things.

Here’s how it all went down.

SATURDAY (The day before) We dig out, wash and assemble the car seat, bassinette, swing and activity mat. I clean and organize bottles while Harley and Anderson watch the World Cup. We run errands. We enjoy the fountains in downtown Silver Spring, then dine at Macaroni Grill. With Friday’s induction in mind, we talk and talk about how this is our last weekend as a family of 3. How tomorrow will be our last time in church as a family of 3. Little did we know it was our last meal as a family of 3.

We get home late. We put Anderson to bed. I organize home videos on our external hard drive, a project I wanted to finish pre-Max. (Didn’t happen.) I go to bed around midnight. Harley, who’d taken a long afternoon nap, is full of energy and stays up until 2:00AM. He got about 30 minutes of sleep that night.

2:30 AM SUNDAY MORNING My water breaks. I wake up. My water broke with Anderson (in the bathroom… convenient, right?), but it still takes me a bit to process what has happened. I consult The Book, then wake up Harley.

3:00 AM I call my doctor. Fortunately the doctor I love, Dr. Glass, is on-call. Unfortunately, by the time we get to the hospital, the doctor I don’t love is on-duty. Dr. Glass tells me to go to the hospital.

3:45 AM First contraction. We’re still at home. I’m taking my sweet time showering and getting ready. I was in labor 22 hours with Anderson, so I figure I have plenty of time. Plus, we are NOT ready. My bag isn’t packed. Harley’s bag isn’t packed. Baby’s bag isn’t packed. Anderson’s bag isn’t packed. Oh yeah, and what are we going to DO with Anderson?

4:40 AM Harley calls a couple in our ward (which, of course, wakes them up) and asks them to come over, crash in our bed until Anderson wakes up, then take him to their home. They, Chris & Becky Renberg, were the perfect solution! They have a 3-year-old who’s visiting grandparents, so they have all the kid stuff (car seat, bed, toys, etc.) and no kid using it.

5:10 AM Renbergs arrive. They couldn’t be nicer or more accommodating. They both (we expected only one of them) are at our apartment within 30 minutes. I give them a few Anderson tips, which apparently work because Becky later reports Anderson was not scared to see them when he woke up (5 minutes after we left… I think he heard us getting ready. Whoops!) and was “very easy” the rest of the day. (Phew!) They take him to their home, put him back to sleep, take him to church and keep him until he is passed to the McQueens (our sitters planned for the induction) for two days. Thanks Renbergs and McQueens!

5:20 AM We leave for Holy Cross Hospital. My contractions are coming about every five minutes. They aren’t bad.

5:35 AM We arrive at the hospital and check in. We kill time taking pictures.



What do you wear when it’s 95 degrees the day you give birth? A stretchy skirt & flip flops.

6:01 AM We’re admitted to triage. Little did we know we would spend a miserable FOUR HOURS there. The nurses say they were suddenly swamped with laboring women due to the full moon. I say Holy Cross Hospital just sucks.


We wait. And wait. And wait. And contract. And wait.

8:15 AM A nurse FINALLY checks me. I’m dilated to a 3. I am THRILLED! Last time it took hours and loads of drugs to get me to dilate. My body dilated on it’s own! In less than five hours! I am amazing!


My contractions continue every four minutes, lasting about a minute each. I’m happy with my progress, and I want a room. The nurse alternates between ignoring me and making excuses. I ask for my epidural. The nurse says I can’t have it until I get a room. I ask for a room. She says something about the full moon and disappears.

8:29 AM A new nurse appears to draw my blood and give me my IV. I HATE THE IV!!! And apparently the IV hates me. The nurse tries and fails, but not before leaving a big bruise, on my left hand. She succeeds, but not before stabbing and missing three times, on my right hand.

8:50 AM Enter Dr. Doom & Gloom. Okay, his real name is Dr. Askin, but we call him Dr. Doom & Gloom because that’s what he is. I recognize him from my first appointment 9 months ago. I wasn’t impressed with him then so I never scheduled with him again. Lucky me, he is the doctor de jour. He asks if I’ve had any complications with the pregnancy. I say the only concern is over the baby’s size. He immediately starts talking C-section. He strips me of all my confidence and optimism for a successful birth the old-fashioned way and slams me right back in the face of those dreaded words: TRAUMATIC VAGINAL DELIVERY. He freaks me out further suggesting if we don’t do a C-section the baby could be at risk. I remind him I’ve pushed out a big baby before. He tells me he doesn’t want anyone to try to “be a hero.” He doesn’t want to “be a hero” by using forceps or a vacuum, and I shouldn’t “be a hero” by making things more difficult. He then lectures, “You got pregnant. 1 in 4 births are C-sections. You knew this was a possibility and… well, you got pregnant.” Seriously? SERIOUSLY?! I’m 9 months pregnant, contracting in a hospital bed, sitting in… well… and you’re informing ME that I GOT PREGNANT?!!!

Thanks. Cause that wasn’t clear.

I mean, can I at least be officially admitted and get a room before we make this huge decision?

Harley calmly asks him: “When is your shift up?”

I plead with him to give me a room, let me try and we’ll see how it goes.

He grumbles, agrees and leaves.

Harley assures me no one is getting near me with a knife that easily.

9:00 AM Contractions are now 3 minutes apart They hurt. Really, really hurt. I’m hating triage. In this hospital triage means a tiny room with a curtain. We're not allowed to bring in our bags. We're not even officially staying yet. I hear women all around me moaning in pain. I begin to wonder if getting a room is simply a screaming contest. I start to loudly give my feelings a voice. Partly because I want to get someone’s attention, but mostly because I can’t help myself. I don’t really remember this part, but Harley tells me I yell things like, “EPIDURAAAAAL!!!!” and “WHYYYYYY do people do this without DRUUUUUGGGGSSS???!!”

**I believe it was about now when Harley starts complaining about his canker sore. I don’t really remember exactly when all that whining took place, but I do remember it was highly obnoxious. He distracts his poor self by making phone calls to excuse us from our various church responsibilities: 2 lessons, 2 meetings and sacrament coordination. (Thanks again ward friends for subbing and ALL your help the first week!) I call my mom to distract my poor self, but I quickly realize I can’t talk through the contractions.


Who looks more in pain? Oh and in case you’re wondering, this is lovely me, swollen and make-up free. I thought I’d have time to do make-up in my room. Not so much.

9:40 AM A nurse FINALLY moves me to Room #15, which happens to be next to the room where I delivered Anderson. I pretty much want to die to escape the pain at this point, so I swallow my pride and yell to everyone in earshot as I wheel by: “EPIDRAUL STAT!” I don’t mean to say it that way, but that’s what comes out. I want there to be NO misunderstanding WHAT I want and WHEN I want it.

Lucky for me, one of the doctors we pass is the anesthesiologist, who is now known as My New Best Friend. He is in my room within fifteen minutes. Before that we are pretty much alone, and I pass the time shouting, “Helllooo! Is anyone there? Epi PLEEEEEEEASE!!!”

10:01 AM Dr. Shimm gives me the epidural. I tell him I’m nervous because it didn’t take on both sides last time. He confidently tells me, “not MY epidurals!” Thank goodness he is right. His works. On both sides. At first I feel it on my left side only, which has me panicked, but within an hour my legs are equally, happily numb. I announce to the entire room that there will, in fact, be more children.

I have a testimony of epidurals.


11:10 AM I party-line with my family. Me, Cheryl, Ali, Lisa, my Mom and Dad all on the same call. Most of us are in different locations. I love this chat! I fill them in. They are all shocked I am in labor so early. My mom asks me to call regularly with “The Dilation Situation.” We are both sad she isn’t with us this time around.

11:35 AM Harley and I talk about taking a nap. I feel that great. A nap during labor… what a concept! I also consider applying my make-up. Neither happens.

11:41 AM Dr. Doom & Gloom comes in, seems bugged that I’ve progressed enough to earn a room, but decides to check me. I’m dilated to a 7! Four centimeters in 3 1/2 hours. No wonder I was in pain. I was SO proud my body was doing this on it’s own. I was SO proud to be proving Dr. Doom & Gloom wrong.

11:50 AM I’m back on the phone with my mom. I start feeling pressure. Painful pressure. I worry the epidural is wearing off. Harley goes to find Dr. Doom & Gloom.

12:05 PM Dr. Doom & Gloom is back. He’s clearly annoyed with us. He asks me when the pressure started and I tell him a few minutes after he last checked me. He takes this personally and says, “Oh, so it’s my fault.” (Maybe he was making a joke, but we certainly weren’t getting it.) He checks me again and BAM, I’m a 10! The final 3 centimeters in less than 30 minutes. It's go time! Dr. Doom & Gloom shrugs and says, “I guess we’ll try this vaginally.” Ha! You bet we will! (Dear Doc: If you hate vaginal births, why did you pick this specialty? Sincerely, The Woman Who is Rocking It.) I hit the epidural button to alleviate some of the new pain. It works! The nurse preps me to push. She says the baby's head is "right there" and tells me this will be really easy. I love her. Dr. Doom & Gloom mysteriously disappears for 15 minutes.

12:20 PM He’s back. About five pushes and four minutes later…


Big. Healthy. Puffy. TONS of dark hair. We are pretty shocked by his appearance. Harley may or may not have joked about needing a paternity test.



DSC_0042 9 lb. 6 oz., 21 in. I’m so glad he didn’t cook 12 more days!



DSC_0235Looooong toes



What followed in the next few minutes, hours and even days is kind of a blur, but I clearly remember the following:

*Announcing to everyone, within seconds after the birth, that I am SO HAPPY to not be pregnant anymore.

*Hating Dr. Doom & Gloom even more as he stampeded all over my first moment holding Max. I’m trying to bond. He WOULD. NOT. SHUT. UP. about cord blood buying options.

DSC_0047Harley, Max, Me & Dr. Doom & Gloom. Don’t you just want to punch his face?

*Calling Max, “Buddy,” which felt so wrong, for a day because we weren’t ready to commit to a name. (Note: I never want to go into a delivery undecided on a name again.)


*Profusely thanking every nurse, doctor, tech, etc. in the room. I was so happy with the way things went (with the exception of Dr. Doom & Gloom’s attitude problem and the 4-hours-too-long-in-triage-sans-drugs bit). It was in every way different from Anderson’s delivery, which means it was, in every way, awesome! (Everyone was right: 2nd deliveries are so much easier!) I even gushed praise over Dr. Doom & Gloom. I was that thankful. Plus I didn’t want him hating me. He was the one who would circumcise our child the next day, so I didn’t want any grudges or him deciding “not to be a hero” with that procedure too. Pretty pathetic I felt the need to kiss up to my doctor moments after giving birth.

*Thinking I’ve never been so impressed with and grateful for my body. I was expecting a long, hard, potentially complicated, Pitocin-laden delivery. Instead it was short, smooth, uncomplicated and without one drop of Pitocin. I did it on my own! With the blessed epidural, of course. And it was NOT TRAUMATIC! I'm SO glad I didn't immediately fold to Dr. Doom & Gloom's C-section!

*Holding Max in my arms and realizing I was, in fact, completely in love. All over again.



How great is technology? It was so fun to blog and Facebook while in the hospital, take a nap, then wake up to feed Max and read comments. Apologies for not being quicker with our good news. The hospital’s internet connection struggled and we were tired and still name debating. As for not texting our news… well, maybe by our last child we’ll be proficient texters. :)




DSC_0191 DSC_0304





Claudia said...

Thanks for sharing. It's a great birth story, mostly because it ended so incredibly well. I'd write more, but I have this canker sore that hurts so bad - only kidding.

Ryan and Cheryl Harris said...

That was long...but good. It's good to document these things in detail and I'm sure you'll appreciate looking back on it in years to come. Dr. Doom and Gloom sucks. I did want to punch his picture :)

Brittany said...

Um I have a testimony of epidurals as well. They seriously make a difference. My aunt claims she'd take out a loan if she had to, inorder to have one. Besides it's not like you win a million bucks for going through all of that pain, so I say bring on the drugs! After my 2nd delivery I realized every single pregnancy and delivery would be different, and I was right. They were all different every single one. Max is beautiful! Still can't get over his hair! I LOVE it! Thanks for sharing! :)

Kara said...

Love that you wrote this all down. Little Max will be grateful you did one day. Great first pictures. Can I just say that Dr. Doom and Gloom did not look the part? Just goes to show you, can't judge a book...

Suzette Selden said...

Congrats Wendy. Max is such a cutie!

Ming said...

Impressive post. LOVE all the details. Love all the pics...seriously so much hair! Dr. D&G is lame. You rock!

Sarah S said...

I'm so glad you avoided the c-section!!! Good job. And hopefully it wasn't a traumatic vaginal delivery. And HOORAY for the epidural working this time!! Your post made me grateful for the hospital I've delivered at - there's no triage, you just go straight to a room and get checked right away. That is RIDICULOUS you had to wait so long to get in. And Dr. Doom and Gloom does not sound great. I'm glad you stuck to your guns.

I love Max's dark hair!! He's so cute.

Rachel said...

I'm in love with Harley for saying "when is your shift up?" !!! Can't wait to meet Max!

Marie Davies Howick said...

Congrats again! He is so precious!

Lauren F. said...

Your gorgeous even without makeup! Ah the triage room! I too spent far too many hours in there (I can't remember if it was a full moon or not. . . according to google-- not.) But they did give me the epidural in the triage room. Maybe I yelled too loud or they were just being nice. I'm glad everything turned out wonderful, and how could it not with such a beautiful baby boy!

Mom said...

Great post, love the pictures of Max, I miss him!

Ali Snow said...

Very fun. How great that you have all the details recorded for future reference. I can't wait to meet him!

Lisa said...

I'm so glad everything worked out for you! We are so happy for you! I can't believe your doctor...I think I would have to submit a formal complaint!! Max is adorable...I love all the chubs!

jenn said...

I love this story! I love your details and the way you write! I was organizing tonight and found not one but 2 birthday cards I have saved from you for years. What great lady you are and what a CUTE family! :)

Emily said...

I loved reading all the details of Max coming into the world. He is very handsome! It makes me want another. Love, Emily

jeanette said...

So I have to hindsight, how did you feel about having un-pedicured feet during the labor and delivery process? Love the fact that you mentioned that, and the little things we plan to do and want to have that just are not done. I am impressed that you managed to blog in the hospital...if you blog, you needn't worry about not texting.

anna banana said...

So glad it went so much better even though it didnt go according to plan.

I knew you were a birthing machine. Just like me :)

Harley King said...

Good post, but what did you expect? You're the one who got pregnant.