Birth Story Week: #3, in which I give birth to the same baby twice

by | Nov 18, 2013 | Birth Stories, Pregnancy | 9 comments

As baby number seven’s due date fast approaches, I figured I ought to do a Birth Story Week of all six births so far.

I know I’m driving some of you crazy with my quick and easy births. This one was still quick but at least it was extra interesting . . .

Need to catch up? Here’s birth story #1 and birth story #2

And now . . . Here’s birth story number three:

For baby number three, we had moved from Northern California to the South Side of Chicago. I had therefore had to leave my beloved general practice doctor who had delivered my first two. Well, delivered my first one and was almost there for my second! He was really calm and easy going about everything, which was a huge blessing for me and really colored the way I viewed pregnancy and childbirth in a lasting and positive way.

In a new city, I had to find a new doctor, and try as I might, I couldn’t find a general practice doctor who also delivered babies. So, I had my first OB. It was a totally different experience. He always seemed really worried about everything. He wanted lots of tests and exams that I hadn’t done with my previous two pregnancies. If he made a recommendation, I didn’t necessarily feel I could trust him and I always wanted to get another opinion. It was a much more stressful experience, because I really never felt that we were on the same page on things.

More backstory . . . it was Chicago and we were living a couple of blocks away from my in-laws. My mother-in-law is an excellent cook, which is perhaps why I gained half-again as much weight as I had in my previous two pregnancies. And, ugh, felt huge. Also, it was late November. And cold.

My due date with baby number three was November 28th. I had had each of my first two on their due dates. So, I woke up that morning, ate breakfast, did the dishes, and sat down on the couch to start having contractions. But they didn’t come. All day. They didn’t come the next day either.

Finally on the third day after my due date, my OB’s office called wondering why they hadn’t seen me that week. I hadn’t made an appointment, because I always had my babies on their due dates.

So, on the afternoon of the December 1st, I went in to the office. The doctor was really pushing for me to go in to the hospital but I had managed two babies without any interventions, and was really hesitant to start down that path that all the natural childbirth books tell you will surely end up with an unnecessary c-section. Step one is always going to the hospital too early (dum dum DUM!).

I went home to think about it. We lived across two sets of railroad tracks from the hospital, which in Chicago could mean a delay of ten, twenty, even forty minutes if you get stopped by trains at each track going each direction. Unlikely, but possible. Then, it started snowing. So we decided to go in.

We didn’t get stopped by any trains and arrived at the hospital about 8pm.

It was a very different experience than my first two arrivals at the hospital. I wasn’t going to have a baby at any moment like with my first two, so it was certainly a less intense experience getting checked in.

For the first time, they had time to hook me up to the machine that goes “bing.”

or watch it here
And, I was having contractions. What just felt like tightness to me, showed up as a contraction on their machine. As it turns out, I just don’t feel the first stage of labor. Which is why we kept arriving at the hospital as I was entering the pushing stage rather than transitioning from first to second stage as we had intended. So, good news that I actually was already in labor, and lesson learned I guess.
But that still meant I had longer to go in the hospital than I was used to. Things are different in the middle of the country than they are on the coasts and at that point in time, none of the nurses we encountered had heard of things like walking while you are in labor. They didn’t want to let me do anything. We kept having conversations like this:

    Me: I’d like to be unhooked and walk around.
    Nurse: Oh, we don’t usually do that.
    Me: 0.0
    Nurse: I’d have to call and get permission from your doctor.
    Me: 0.0
    Nurse: I’ll have to see what we can do.
    Me: (unhooking self and getting up) Great, let me know what you find out.

We were eventually able to secure permission to walk our little laps around the floor. Around and around and around. There were these giant goofy black and white photographs on the wall, total Anne Geddes rip offs. The one right by the elevators was a baby sitting in an actual cabbage patch. Not a tiny newborn artfully cradled in a cabbage leaf. Just a diapered eight-month-old inexplicably left to sit amongst some cabbages. It was driving me crazy.
After a couple of hours, I was starting to feel some contractions, but things were going slowly. And, contrary to my wishes, I let my OB talk me into getting my water broken. It really sped things up, but I would never, ever do it again. With the waters intact, my contractions still hurt, but there is a smoothness and cushioned-ness to them that makes them much easier to handle. Once he broke my water I felt like I was getting slammed hard by each one.
Pretty soon it was time for pushing. And that’s when things really got crazy. I pushed the baby’s head out, but his shoulder got stuck. In attempting to dislodge the shoulder, the doctor realized that the cord was wrapped around him. The baby’s head got pushed back in in all of the maneuvering with the shoulder situation. So I got to push him out again. But, just as he was out, the cord snapped.
From my end of the bed the whole thing looked like a Benny Hill sketch. The cord was spurting blood out all over the place, like a fire hose. The doctor was shouting for reinforcements, a nurse did a banana-peel-slip in the blood on the floor. I was watching with a foggy detachment that made it all seem kind of funny.

Apparently it’s very, very rare, but it does sometimes happen. And all they had to do was clamp the cord on both ends and all was well. But, whew, that was a more dramatic than usual birth.
Poor Bobby was pretty beat up looking, all purple — and huge. He was 9 lbs 1 oz, which looked much bigger than my other babies. And I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. He was born just after midnight, so the labor was really only about three hours, but I would much rather it had taken a little longer and not been so intense.
We went home the next afternoon, to find my dad out on the front porch grilling up some steaks in the snow. So that part was pretty awesome.


  1. Amelia@One Catholic Mama

    My 3rd birth was really tough with some dramatic moments after 2 relatively easy births. I think there is just something about 3rd births (at least I heard that before).

  2. Mandi

    They didn't want to let you WALK AROUND? How odd!

  3. Amy

    I've only given birth once so far (second time should be in January!), but I had the same not-feeling-early-contractions experience as you. I went in early (due to bright red blood that was apparently just the mucus plug?) and they hooked me up to the monitors and told me I was having contractions. It was a surprise to me! I made my husband tell me every time I was having a contraction, so I could figure out what they felt like. I did eventually feel them with appropriate force, though, especially after my water broke!
    I am loving your series so far and looking forward to the next ones!

  4. Colleen

    They pushed the head back in?!?!?! That sounds terrible!

  5. Danielle

    I grew up in a south suburb of Chicago…was still there when you lived there. Small world! And I cannot believe the head got pushed back in…ouch!

  6. Elizabeth

    I think you look gorgeous in these photos, so you didn't appear heavier in my opinion.

    My third was my easiest L&D thus far. I uncharacteristically agreed to an induction for my fourth, and that was surprisingly easy as well. The induction involved maximizing the potential for a third successful VBAC. I only had to push for 30 seconds. I still consider my third baby the easiest, though, despite the hour and a half of pushing.

  7. Amanda

    Ahh, they pushed the head back in!? As if it isn't enough work to push it out the first time, sheesh! lol! Glad the crazy cord incident was okay in the end though.

    And YES to the water breaking = insane contractions. I have labored both ways and will always hope for my water to break naturally as I'm pushing like it did with my 3rd. But eek, your 3 hour labor is not helping my fears of having a fourth quicker labor. Please tell me your 4th baby came in like 10 hours or something?

  8. Erin Pulles

    OHMYGOSH. I just started reading your blog, and was thinking… I really wish this chicky would write some birth stories about all her lovely babies.. and here they are! I CANNOT believe they pushed the head back in as that was something they told me they would have done with my second child whose shoulder got stuck also. We didn't end up with anything so dramatic as yours, just me forgetting to breath as I pushed out his head and expected it to all be over but it wasn't. How about induction with pitocin… plus natural birth. That's a doozie.

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