the birth story

For those of you who enjoy this kind of thing, here are the [not so] gory details of Karis' big day:

I was scheduled to be induced for Monday, April 27th. I've always been a fan of going more natural when it comes to stuff like this, but my belly was already measuring at 44 weeks at my 40 week appointment. I knew I was gonna have a big baby, and it became a question of trying to induce to avoid a c-section, or waiting it out to avoid pitocin. My doctor persuaded me to schedule the induction, but to be honest, I was really second guessing it on Saturday, after I heard all the rules involved in an induction. An induction basically meant violating every single request on the birth plan we had come up with months prior. *But it also meant getting this baby out*. Hence, me conflicted, and desperate to get labor started on my own.

On Saturday afternoon I went to a massage clinic that does accupressure to induce labor, figuring I would try anything. On Saturday night, I felt great, but nothing really seemed to be happening. I slept soundly that night, and woke up the next morning with a few contractions around 8am. I had been having contractions throughout my last trimester, but never in the morning. I started getting hopeful.

I spent the morning trying to get the house as clean as possible, and finishing a few things on my to-do list. The contractions kept coming, but I kept thinking it might be false labor. I didn't want to show up to the hospital and be sent home. So I kept working, and then stopped in between to breath through the contractions. I was trying to be really quiet about it, so I wouldn't freak the kids out. So I would be swiffering, and then just stand and lean against the wall when a contraction came. Or I would be writing an email, and then just sit back and breath for a minute or two until it passed. This went on for about two hours, with me starting to wonder if maybe this was it. I wasn't timing the contractions, so it didn't feel like a big deal. I also had 18+ hours of labor with India, so I figured I had plenty of time. I wanted to spend most of my labor at home. Mark kept telling me we should head to the hospital, but I kept saying I wasn't ready.

At about 11:30, the contractions got to the point where I was really having to monitor my breathing to get through them, and the kids were taking notice. I had Mark call his mom to come get them, and I figured maybe I should start timing them. There is this awesome website that lets you just push a button at the beginning and end of a contraction, and then does all the calculations for you. I started timing them and within 3-4 contractions realized they were coming less than 5 minutes apart. My doctor wanted me at the hospital when they were 10 minutes apart. Um, GO TIME.

We loaded up the car, and by then I was hurting. We got to the hospital a little before 1pm. I had to spend nearly an hour in a room they call "triage", which is basically a room full of beds seperated by curtains, where they check you to make sure you are really in labor before they admit you. Triage was jumping that day, so I sat in a corner bed for a long time, waiting to be seen. It was pretty miserable, and I was alone for most of that time because they wouldn't allow Mark back until someone came around with a clipboard and asked if I was being abused in any way. WHY YES. I'M BEING ABUSED BE BEING FORCED TO SIT ALONE IN A TRIAGE BED DURING ACTIVE LABOR. Mark was determined to be no threat and allowed back When they finally checked me, I was 7 cm dilated. The nurse apologized, saying "you were so quiet back there, I thought for sure you weren't very far along".

NOTE TO SELF: When in labor, now is the time to use that background in dramatics to let the nurses know you mean business. Quiet yoga breathing just means you will be passed up by the loud lady behind curtain #3 who is barely dilated and should still be at home, or the hysterical woman behind curtain #2 who isn't even in labor, but just has a bladder infection.

NOTE TO HOSPITAL STAFF: We can hear everything you say in triage. So much for patient confidentiality.

After I was checked, they moved me pretty quickly to a room and called my doctor right away. Things moved so fast after this point that everything is still a blur. I thought my labor would drag on and on, so I had in my mind that we would unpack the room, watch some Arrested Development on DVD, take a bath and labor in the tub, call all our friends, and then wait some more. Mark went down to move the car out of temporary parking, and while he was gone they checked me again. I was at 10 cm! Suddenly they were setting up the room for delivery. Mark came back, and the nurse asked me to do a "practice push". I guess that was pretty effective because she immediately told me to stop and lay on my side until the doctor came. The doctor showed up a few minutes later, and had me start. The whole time, I kept asking if she was sure, and telling her I didn't really feel ready yet. I was in shock that things were moving so fast. My mother-in-law showed up about now, but my sister-in-law still wasn't there, because we had just called her.

My water broke, and it was determined there was meconium - which meant a team from the NICU was called in. This happened with India, and I had really been hoping it wouldn't happen again. It makes for a stressful birth. The doctor had me start pushing. Sarah walked through the door right at that moment. So did about 14 med students. Karis knows how to draw a crowd. After about 4 sets of pushes, she was crowning! Because of the meconium, the doctor wanted to partially deliver her, and then sunction her mouth and nose before she came all the way out. This made for one of the most painful few moments of my life. Then, Karis' shoulders got stuck, and the doctor and a nurse played a little game of tug-of-war to get her out. Ouch. Finally, she was out. They whisked her away to the warming table for examination, and after what seemed like an eternity we finally heard her crying. Which sent the rest of us to crying. What a relief.

They took FOREVER doing all the examinations, and Mark was taking pictures of her with our digital camera and then running it over to me so I could see what she looked like. Finally I was able to hold her, and overcome with emotion. She was so perfect, and so worth the wait.


  1. Congrats!! She's beautiful.

  2. Oh, thanks for posting the birth story. I love birth stories. :-) I'm so happy for you that you avoided the pitocin. Nasty pitocin.

  3. congratulations, blessings, and a restful recovery.

  4. Beautiful little one. Congrats!! I just LOVE birth stories!

  5. I take a perverse pleasure in looking at (or having) big ol' healthy chunky babies who look like they're ready to climb into a truck cab and drive off. How wonderful Karis looks (and you too). Blessings and congratulations.

  6. Anonymous12:02 AM

    you are making me cry!! i am so happy for you and can't WAIT to meet her!!!

    love you guys!


  7. crying in my coffee here!
    congratulations again :)

  8. YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!! Great job, Kristen! Birthing a baby is no easy task and YOU DID IT! Way to go! Huge bonus that she's beautiful!

  9. Crying. Birth stories always make me cry. This one especially. So happy for you!

  10. Awww, she's a beautiful baby and you're such a great mom and your family is wonderful! Congratulations!

  11. She is beautiful! She didn't want you to wait much longer so she hurried it along!!! Congrats again!

    PS The triage...I know what you mean about privacy :)

  12. congrats to you all! she's lovely - like the rest of your kids

  13. Congrats! She's perfect. Praise for this precious new life!

  14. I've been following your blog for over a year but just reading some of your older posts now...what a wonderful story! Your labour was a lot like mine! Thanks for sharing!


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