Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Landon's Birth Story: Part 1

There are things I want to remember about childbirth.  The beautiful feeling of being released from a contraction.  The way my world narrowed to exist only within the confines of my husband's arms.  The undeniability of my body's forward momentum.  The heaviness of the baby being laid on my chest for the first time; the wet, warm weight.

And it's already been one year.  Twelve months.  Fifty two weeks.  One hundred milestones.  Happy Birthday, baby boy.  Here goes the remembering.


The house was quiet.  The big sisters were taking naps while Justin cleaned out the garage.  It was a Sunday afternoon, three days past my due date, and I was good and irritated.  The baby won't come today, just like he didn't come yesterday.  Just like he didn't come last week.  Every day is one step closer to a mandatory c-section.

I'd been down this road before with Lauren, whose birth ended up being perfect in every way.  Magical, I'd even say.  Part of me feared the consequences of being allowed too much perfection.  Surely the other shoe would drop, and I feared it would land right on top of this baby's slow exit. 

I sat on the couch, distracting myself with minute counting.  There were contractions, as usual.  I'd been certain of labor at least  three times in the past two weeks.  I'd counted seconds and watched midnight clocks and smiled excited smiles, but they had all amounted to nothing.  Not nothing, I told myself.  They're doing good work.  False labor is just early labor.  My body knows...my body knows...

As always, nothing is ever happening until everything is happening.  I rocked back and forth, swaying with a low, irritating contraction, and my water broke.  Just like that.  Six years earlier, when my water broke with Mia, I swore that I had heard and felt it.  Hers was a faint flicking sensation, deep inside.  When Landon's labor began, there was nothing faint about it.  The snap ricocheted around my belly with an audible pop and snap. 

I froze.  I must have smiled a wondrous, geeky grin while I marked the moment.  It's now.  1:30 on Sunday afternoon.  October 9th will be his birthday.

I didn't expect the birth to take long; Mia's labor and birth lasted less than twelve hours.  Lauren's was under seven.  This boy was going to come quickly, and I wanted to savor it all.  I stayed on the couch for another minute or so, reveling in my relief.  Spontaneous labor means no cesarean; I was happier than I'd been in weeks.

In the garage, Justin had everything away from the walls, sweeping around and organizing our accumulated mess of storage.  Of course this was the moment my labor began: when Justin was completely occupied elsewhere.  I opened the door to tell him, still with the goofy grin on my face.  "My water broke," I said.  "It's time!"

Justin shook his head and laughed.  "Very funny."  He pushed his broom around another swipe, while giggles bubbled up from my chest.

"Babe.  BABE!  I'm serious.  My water broke." 

He stopped.  His eyes got big and round, and he spun a half-circle in the messy garage.  "Now?!  It can't be now, I'm a mess!"

"Well, come inside and get cleaned up!  The baby's coming!"  I started to go back inside to find a towel, but Justin began frantically pushing and shoving boxes and shelves back into their places on the walls.  I must have made an impatient noise in my throat.

"I have to put it all back so I can find the car seat -- it's in here somewhere..."

I shook my head and closed the door.  The contractions I'd been having were mostly just minor irritations.  Within ten minutes of my water breaking, though, they picked up in intensity.  While Justin finished putting the garage back together and taking a shower, I pattered around the house aimlessly.  I made phone calls to my mom and my aunt, who was going to watch the girls.  I called my friend Jill who was going to be my doula.  I pulled the hospital bag into the living room. 

As an hour passed, we slowly got ready to leave for the hospital.  Part of me wanted to labor comfortably at home for a long time, but I worried about the speed of the birth.  Plus, I was leaking amniotic fluid with every step, and I didn't want to worry about making messes at home.  We left home around 2:35.

All the while, the contractions were steady at about five minutes apart.  They were wonderfully predictable.

But as soon as we headed to the hospital, the predictability ended.  Labor kicked in wholeheartedly on the short drive.  A particularly intense contraction gripped me while we were speeding through a stop light; I blindly clutched at Justin's arm while begging him to take the turn more slowly.  Cars honked at us as we crawled through a clogged intersection, blocking traffic from all sides. 

And I absolutely did not care.  Let them honk, I remember thinking.  I've got a baby to deliver.

Stick around for part 2!  It will be up later today and you WON'T want to miss it. 


  1. Can't wait! Your introduction really spoke to me.

  2. Oh wow! I've heard of one other water breaking with a loud pop story. Mine always waited until the last minute.


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?