Birth Story Week: #6, in which it turns out I totally do NOT know what I’m doing

by | Nov 21, 2013 | Birth Stories, Pregnancy | 19 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.

Need to catch up? Here are birth story #1birth story #2birth story #3, birth story #4, and birth story #5

And, finally (for now), here’s birth story number six:

So, by the time baby number six was on the way, I thought I knew everything there was to know. But, of course, that was before I knew Frankie.

My pregnancy with Anita had been my hardest so far. I had made the jump with that one from mostly just nausea to actual throwing up, a couple of times a week, for a little past the first trimester. So I thought I knew what a “challenging” pregnancy was like. 
But I did not. 

During my pregnancy with Frankie I threw up at least once per day, nearly every day, for a little over six months. I know some of you have had it way worse than that, and God Bless ya, because, whew, what I had was certainly bad enough for me. I was able to get the kids through their school days, I prepared our meals, but I felt like I was underwater. I was functioning, but not really engaged with the world.
But the third trimester was okay, and as my due date approached my main concern became whether the husband would be able to make it home in time to get me to the hospital if I went into labor during the day. We’re in LA after all, famed for its traffic, and my husband drives all over town for work. My previous labor had lasted an hour and a half, and it could easily take him longer than that to get home during rush hour.

In keeping with my policy of not making a fuss, I would be much more likely to attempt to drive myself to the hospital or just make my nine year old deliver the baby than call an ambulance.

None of my previous labors had been quite textbook, but they had all progressed in a predictable way. So when I woke up in the middle of the night on the 24th of October, with that tightness that I had learned was what my contractions feel like in the first stage, I figured I was having a baby that day.
I got up and did some tidying and answered some emails and watched an episode of Downton Abbey. A half an hour passed, and an hour, and an hour and a half, and not only had I not had a baby yet, I hadn’t even had a contraction yet.
It felt like at the beach, when the ocean gathers up the water from the shore, gathers and gathers it until, boom, another wave crashes down. But all I had was the gathering, never the wave. So, eventually, I went back to bed.
In the morning things still hadn’t really started, so I sent the husband off to work. Usually he knows better than to listen to me, but really, I hadn’t even had a contraction, so off he went. And all day, nothing really happened. Or that night.

It was nuts. I had heard plenty of stories about women having super long labors, but wasn’t that always with the first baby? Who ever heard of being in labor for two days with your sixth?
But that’s what happened. I sent the husband off to work again the next morning and sat down to do school with the kids, resigned now to the fact that I was never EVER going to have this baby and all I would ever have were these weird almost contractions and I would just be pregnant forever.

I was so convinced of it that I didn’t even really notice through the day as the contractions did slowly start to be the real thing. I do remember sitting there at the school table helping Jack with his math . . . with my eyes closed. 

“Are you okay Mom?” 

“I’m fine, I’m fine. I just . . . Need. You. To. Finish. Your. School. Week.”

By the time the husband got home from work that evening I was totally in labor, but still somehow wasn’t consciously aware of it. I was making spaghetti for dinner. He thought maybe I should call my doctor and check in.

So I did. As I answered her questions on the phone, I realized that it did kinda seem like I was in labor. So I told her that I just needed to finish up making dinner, then we’d head in. She thought that was pretty hilarious.

She still brings it up sometimes, actually. Apparently it is atypical to finish up making dinner first. But that’s what I did.

And even when we got to the hospital, I didn’t want to go inside yet, because I wanted to be able to walk around without being hooked up to a lot of stuff. So I asked the husband to drop me off out front while he parked the car. But by time he got back to me from the parking lot walking around outside sounded like the worst idea I had ever heard and, frankly, I was surprised he could even suggest such a thing.

So in we went. But even though I knew the contractions were the real thing now, the whole labor was still a bit lackadaisical. We were in the delivery room, I was all hooked up to the stuff, I was having real contractions, but the husband and I were still able to joke around in between them.

We walked some laps around the hospital, where I got to enjoy this photograph over and over again:

“But wait!” you say. “Didn’t you say there was a black and white picture of a baby in some cabbages that bugged you at the hospital in Chicago?” Um, yes I did say that. But according to my husband (and his stupid iPhone photo evidence to prove it), that picture is not in Chicago, nor is it in black and white, and I don’t think those are actually cabbages. Which begs the question why I think I can write these birth stories at all if that’s the kind of accuracy you’re going to get out of me. But hey, it’s the last one (until it isn’t) so let’s just ignore this incident and keep on with it shall we?

My labor and delivery nurse was young and expecting her first baby. She kept coming in to say things like how “cool” she thought it was that we had so many kids. And how she couldn’t believe that we were talking and stuff during labor. She was so cute.

But eventually, after over 50 hours of the dumbest labor ever, Frankie was born. He was 7 lbs 5 oz, my littlest baby.

And he was born before bedtime, so my parents were able to bring all the kids over to meet him that very night.

About 30 seconds after they handed him to me, there was a huge commotion outside my room and everyone went running out there. Apparently the next gal hadn’t quite made it to the room and gave birth halfway in and halfway out of the elevator. While being held up under the arms by her husband. I could hear them shouting, just put her down, put her down!

Which just goes to show that I don’t really have any good birth stories after all. But hey, there’s always this next one.

Stay tuned . . . 


  1. Micaela Darr

    Kendra, I am a Birth Story Junkie. Your posts have been my fix for this week. Hilarious and true to life, each and very one (cabbages notwithstanding). Praying for a sweet and safe delivery for #7!

    • Micaela Darr

      Um, I have no idea why there is a GIGANTIC photo of me next to my comment. That is so… disconcerting.

  2. Colleen

    Loved reading them all…but since I went very fast with labors 4 and 5, you are making me nervous my #6 will be long. Ergh.

    Also, you never write about the pain, or losing it at the end, or anything like that. Are you just assuming we all know that part, or do you have some special tricks up your sleeve to make it more peaceful and manageable than I seem to be able to?

    • Kendra

      Hmmm. I think I handle the pain pretty well at the beginning, which I figure is probably the case for anyone who chooses to continue to go running once PE classes are no longer mandatory.

      But I totally do lose it towards the end. I hate the pushing part. I know some women hate the whole rest of it, but feel relief at the pushing stage, or even experience a natural numbness during the pushing. That doesn't happen for me. The pushing part scares me and I always feel like I'm going to just rip right in half (even though I've never required more than a couple of stitches).

      But by that point there's nothing to do but finish anyway, so I always do. My husband is the only person I will talk to/listen to at the very end. And somehow we always get through it.

      I remember with my first one, when I was starting to panic a bit, our doctor told Jim to put his finger on my forehead. It was the silliest thing, but it totally distracted me and worked.

      I think I'm just really fortunate to have married a Marine and a Catholic, two groups of people who can mostly handle and understand suffering. He gets me through it. I should probably write about that sometime.

    • Colleen

      Glad to know even veteran natural birthing moms lose it at the end 🙂 Since I've never seen anyone else give birth, I always feel like I have to apologize for freaking out. And yes, the pushing is the worst, I also feel like my body is breaking apart. For the last baby, I told the midwife I wasn't going to push, and she just said, okay, the baby will come out anyway 🙂

  3. Joy

    Have also enjoyed these all weeks, and hope you are safely and happily adding another soon.

  4. Brianna

    Thank you for sharing all of these! I look forward to #7. 🙂 Hopefully all goes well!

  5. Kris

    This has been the BEST series!! My labors are also very quick – and I hope you didn't just jinx yourself with the "baby in the elevator" story!! Can't wait for #7!!!

  6. Katharine B.

    God bless you! Thank you for sharing these stories, can't wait to read the next!

  7. Elizabeth

    My doc told me that later labors can be longer. Usually around baby #4 or 5, the uterus is a bit weaker and stretched, and this can prolong labor. So it's like a bell curve — longer, shorter, longer again. Sometimes :). You must be strong, though, because you didn't have any major differences until #6! Now I am curious to hear about little #7. I love going into labor — I pray your next one will progress well.

    • Christine

      A cousin of mine has had 9 babies now, and for the last few, she supposedly has developed something called "lazy uterus" (?!) that sounds similar to what you're describing, and has made those births more difficult and long. Yikes!

  8. Anna

    I had a very similar experience with this last birth, my fourth. I started feeling Braxton Hicks around 32 weeks and I have Never felt those with my previous labors. I also made it to my due date (all my others were at least a week before the due date). Then I wrote up on my due date with contractions that I needed to breath through but that never intensified and remained 15 minutes apart all day long. I finally went in to my doctors office at 5pm to ask her what was going on and she said I was in labor but that I probably should wait a bit before going in. So my husband and i went to dinner, walked a bit, went home to put the kids in bed and then things finally started to pick up. Baby was born at 2 the next morning. All very different from my previous births. I wonder a little if he was turned posterior, I had lower back pain during the this trimester and my doctor had me labor on all four during transition to help with positioning but she never actually said he was sunny side up. But maybe that's why it was different. Or maybe things just start to show down after you've had a few?

  9. Christine

    ha – people laughing about your desire to finish dinner reminds me of something that happened with me. While I was laboring with #2 and getting pretty close to the end, my dad – who was watching #1 for the day – called my husband to check in. I yelled out between contractions for my husband to make sure to remind my dad that our son *needed* to take a nap. The midwife and the nurses thought it was so funny that I could care about it at that moment. But hey, I'm still a mom to the already-born ones!

  10. Amanda

    On my way to the hospital with #2 (my preemie), I begged my husband to let us go through the library parking lot so I could return my books. He said no.

  11. Alyssa J.

    I realize this is an older post, but after having 2 deliveries that were nice and short and only had contractions when labor was really starting, only to have this 3rd pregnancy ending with 3+ weeks of off and on prodromal labor, 2 hospital visits for regular, close together contractions where they sent me home because I was still at a 1, and still no baby a week after the first visit… Well, let’s just say I needed some quality Catholic All Year birth stories to cheer me up. 😉 Now I’m just wondering about this baby’s temperment, given Frankie’s well known reputation. 😀

    • Kendra

      Hah! Well, hang in there Mama! Happy delivering!

      • Marlee

        I know old post but..

        Because I felt very alone in having baby #6 during 2020

        I did the Google thing and found this blog..

        I enjoyed reading and can finally agree after reading so many, that there is no pattern to birthing at all..

        but with each pregnancy I grew curious about other multi mums out there.

        Thanks for the comfort

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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