I have been meaning to write this story down for exactly two years tomorrow. It is the story of the day my beautiful daughter was born. I had an incredibly rough pregnancy and a few scares which made the day that much sweeter. Happy early birthday, sweet pea.
I stood up and immediately felt my stomach tighten.
"What?" Mike asked. He was still in bed.
"I just felt a crampy thing. I think it was a Braxton Hicks".
"A Braxton what?"
"Do you pay attention in the class AT ALL?"
Mike chose to ignore me and asked instead, "What are you gonna do with your first day off?"
It was Monday morning, two weeks before my due date and it was the first morning since I had taken off work.
"I'm going to the gym and then I'm meeting Lauren for lunch."
I ran four miles on the tread mill that day. (Which is totally laughable considering how much time I make for the gym now.)
At lunch, I sat across from my newly divorced friend as she regaled me with various online dating stories.
"Do you feel like you are ready to have the baby?"
"No, not at all."
"Not at ALL?"
"Well, this morning I felt a weird stomach tightening but— Oh! Like right now, I feel it again!"
"ARE YOU OKAY?!"
"Yes. It's not labor. It's Braxton Hicks."
"A Braxton what?"
After lunch, I went to Trader Joe's. It was a ten block walk to the store. Once there, I started feeling the tightening again so just for fun, I took out my iPhone and loaded the iContractions app. I thought this would be a good test run for the real thing.
As I walked around the store picking up frozen raspberries and bell peppers, I recorded my "tightenings" on the phone. I left with five full bags and proceeded to lug them back to my apartment. Each time I felt something, I stopped, put the bags down, inputed the time into iContractions and waited for the feeling to pass.
When I finally got home, I looked at my phone.
Huh. Each "tightening" was exactly four minutes apart.
I called Mike.
"I think I'm in labor."
"I thought you said it was the Braxton Hicks."
"It might be the Braxton Hicks. Do they occur in regular intervals?"
We both furiously googled "Braxton Hicks".
"Are you getting them right now?"
"No. It seems to have stopped."
"Well, then it's not regular and probably a false alarm."
We got off the phone. I felt another tightening.
I called my friend Pam.
"What does labor feel like?"
"If you have to ask, you're probably in labor."
"What? Shouldn't you be saying— if you have to ask, it's NOT labor?"
"I don't know. Do you feel like you're in labor?"
"That's what I'm asking you!"
"How would I know?"
I called Mike again.
"I think I'm in labor."
"You THINK you are in labor? Or you ARE in labor?"
"I'm in labor."
"Are you sure?"
I sat around my apartment playing with iContractions. The "tightenings" seemed to get more intense but less regular. And then more regular but less intense. But they definitely weren't going away.
I called Mike again. It was about 4pm.
"You should come home now."
About two hours later, Mike walks in the door with three huge bags from Duane Reade.
"What the hell is that?"
"We needed toilet paper and paper towels."
"Your very pregnant wife tells you to COME HOME NOW and you go to the drugstore to buy paper products?"
"How are you feeling?"
"I have no idea."
Mike and I sat side by side on the couch, each with our laptops googling the difference between "real labor" and "false labor".
Mike delivered his now expert opinion.
"I think you are in false labor."
"I do too."
An hour later, I decided it was real labor again. Mike made convincing arguments as to why it was not. The contractions are totally irregular, you don't seem like you are in that much pain, it's two weeks early, the doctor told us yesterday that you're not dilated at all, etc. etc.
"I don't know, I still think its real labor."
"If you think it's real labor, then call the doctor."
"Is that some sort of CHALLENGE?"
"Well, if you—"
"Fine! I will call the doctor!"
I called the doctor. The nurse's station answered. I described what was happening. She told me that she didn't think I should come in.
"Well, you are talking to me easily and don't seem to be in that much pain."
"Is it possible I just have a really high tolerance for pain?"
We sat around and watched TV.
Mike's friend called.
I called Pam again.
Me to Pam: "I think it's the real thing."
Mike to his friend: "Ilana's having false labor pains."
Me to Pam: "Mike is telling his friend I'm in false labor as if he knows ANYTHING."
Mike to me: "My friend says you should press a tennis ball into your back."
We sat around watching more TV. I pressed a tennis ball into my back and it was perhaps the best advice anybody has ever given me.
Mike proceeded to fall asleep on the couch. (Of course he did. It's not like anything exciting was happening or anything.) I debated waking him but decided to let him sleep. After all, it would be his last chance for uninterrupted sleep EVER.
Meanwhile, the contractions continued to get more intense, longer and more regular.
This was definitely the real thing.
I called the nurse's station again.
"You still don't sound like you are in a lot of pain."
"I assure you, I am in a lot of pain."
"I would suggest waiting."
I finished packing our hospital bag. I tried everything imaginable to make myself more comfortable. Leaning over the couch. Lying on the floor. Curled in the fetal position. My tennis ball playing a critical role in each position. Finally, the pain was intolerable. Plus, the repeat episode of Law & Order was over.
I woke Mike up. It was 2am.
"It's time to go to the hospital."
Mike is THE WORST when he is awoken from a deep sleep. He looked at me like I was a bear that had snuck into his tent in the middle of the night to kill him.
"Don't you remember that the teacher said to wait as long as possible before you go to the hospital because if you are not far enough along, they will just send you home?"
"Yes, I do. Why do you think I let you sleep for the past FIVE hours? LET'S GO."
We went downstairs. It was both raining and snowing out.
Mike: "I have to get a cup of coffee."
Mike: "Yes, seriously. I'll just go to the bodega across the street. Wait here."
The night doorman looked at me with total and complete terror. I grabbed my tennis ball, bent over the lobby couch and pressed.
Mike returned about fifteen minutes later.
"Sorry I took so long, I had to wait for them to brew a fresh pot."
"ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? YOU WAITED FOR THEM TO BREW A FRESH POT??! WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU THINK IS GOING ON HERE???"
The doorman gave me a sad smile. I think it was pity.
When we got to the hospital, the nurse told us they were filled to capacity.
"You'll have to wait in the waiting room."
I looked at the little grey room with the tiny television and the uncomfortably upright couches.
"You've got to be kidding me."
I spent the next three hours leaning against a wooden bench with my trusty tennis ball jammed in my side.
Yes, I said THREE HOURS. Before they even checked me in.
Me: "Does anyone ever give birth in the waiting room?"
Nurse: "No. It's never happened."
Me: "Never say never…"
When they finally admitted me, I was dilated to four. I think this was the first time Mike let it sink in that we were actually having a baby.
Up until that point, I had been taking the whole thing in stride— walking around, using my tennis ball, bending over the couch… but once I lied down, ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.
I started shivering, the contractions went from 0 to 60 and I looked at Mike in total panic. I truly was not sure I could do this.
Mike squeezed my hand, told me to breathe and said it would be fine.
Shortly after that, I was given an epidural. One of the scarier experiences of my life because you're trying desperately to stay still while your body wants to convulse like crazy. But once it was administered and the drugs kicked in, all was well.
It was about 6am. For the next 12 hours, we sat in the room, watching television, entertaining guests, and relaxing. It was like a BIRTHING BIZARRO WORLD.
At 6pm, they administered pitocin to get the contractions going again.
Two minutes later I was surrounded by doctors and nurses being told to push. I must say, it felt incredibly strange to be part of the same intense scene you have seen played out in the movies and on episodes of Grey's Anatomy a billion times. Like living your very own cliche.
After the first push, the doctor said, "Great job! You will have this baby in no time!"
I pushed again.
The pushing process turned out to be way easier than I expected (I know nobody says that) and I couldn't stop laughing at myself through most of it.
"Do you want a mirror to see what's happening?" asked the nurse.
"NOOOO!!!" Mike and I both shouted in unison.
Two more pushes and she was out. It was Tuesday at 6:22pm.
"Do you want to hold her?"
I was supposed to say 'yes', right?
The nurse handed me a tiny pink baby with a full head of jet black hair. Her eyes were puffy but open. I would be lying if I said it was anything but weird to hold the being that's been growing inside your uterus for the past nine months.
I studied her. She was pretty cute as far as newborns go.
Mike kissed the baby's forehead and then mine.
"She's ours," he said.
"Yes, she is."
"Should we tell everybody her name?"
I will never forget the pride in my husband's voice as he announced his daughter to the doctors and nurses.
"SAY HELLO TO MAZZY ROSE!"
And my heart swelled for both of them.
When my water broke, the hospital said on the phone that it could still be a while but head on in. My mom drove me and we stopped at McDonalds at 10:20, minutes before breakfast ends.
It was taking forever so she did what any excited future grandma would..
“Will you hurry up?? My daughter is in labor RIGHT now!!”
My labor lasted 22 hours. I blame the McDonald’s food.
Hope the coffee at the bodega was worth it 😉
I LOVE birth stories! Possibly my favorite thing in the world. I’m hoarding my friends’ and relatives’ birth stories on my blog.
Well told, funny, and I’m jealous it took you two minutes of pushing. It took me 3 hrs. But I had no meds, so it was a little intense. Happy birthing-Mazzy-day!
Aw, happy early Birthday Mazzy Rose!!!! Love the story.
I was 3 and a half weeks early with my first and I was in complete denial that it was real labor. I was telling everyone all day, I’m having some crazy contractions, but they must be Braxton Hicks, they’re 7, 9, 15, 9, 5, 7, 10, mins apart. From the time I woke up until about 2am when I also decided that maybe it was the real thing. Glad to know I’m not the only one who wasn’t sure. 🙂
Happy Birthday Mazzy!!
What an awesome birth story. Mine happened on a Monday nighr, 3 days before my due date, 8pm after a shower. I felt liquid gushing down and thought, ah this stress incontinence! Then realized that maybe my water had broken. I called the hospital who asked me a few questions and said that since I had no contractions, I can take my time. So I had a cup of tea and went on Facebook (what, isn’t that what people do?). We then calmly gathered our things and got to the hospital at 9.30. The midwife checked me and confirmed that my water had broken, THEN SHE SENT ME HOME. At 11, contractions started & in I went again. I had an epidural at 4am and labored for another 7 hours.
I love this!
My two birth stories are so boring, the first was 12 hours start to finish with 15 minutes pushing, the most exciting thing is when they sent me home in the middle of the night with a four HOUR old baby. Crazy Europeans. And like the stupid young fools we were, we didn’t have a car seat (apparently I thought I was going to bring the baby home on the bus!), so we had to convince the cab driver to let us bring the baby in the Baby Björn!
The second was a planned c-section, with the only highlight being that he was still jumping around like crazy even after they cut me open, and then he was so big that they couldn’t get him out!
Oh and happy birthday Mazzy!
I freaking love birth stories. Well, the ones that don’t give detailed descriptions of episiotomies and placenta color. I would say more, but I am blubbering like a moron from the last part. You wrote it so well. Happy early-birthday, Mazzy
I’m so glad you had such a great experience! I still can’t write about either of mine fully; it’s too upsetting. Let’s just say that the little vanity I ever had has vanished in a haze of latex gloves, condescending nurses, and blue plastic blankets.
Happy Birthday to Mazzy Rose!
Awesome story! I was early too but when I called the midwife was all “Um you’re in a lot of pain, you better come in”. I have never been so thankful for HOV lanes in my life…and epidurals are the shit. We laid around bored all day long (not that I’m complaining bc pre-ep things were AWFUL).
Happy start of birthing day Mazzy!
Happy Birthday Mazzy!
I also was concerned that I might just have a high tolerance for pain, and my husband also took his sweet time getting home.
And then I was that lady having her baby in the waiting room. Except I didn’t because – I kid you not – the Intern said “make sure you don’t push because I don’t know how to deliver a baby.”
With my first the pushing was nothing. Was WAY easier than I had expected and when I pushed the contractions didn’t hurt anymore. Easy peasy! Then with my second, OMG, I thought she was trying to tear me in two when I pushed. I have yet to forgive her for that 😉
I had a midwife because I wanted to have as natural a childbirth as possible. Turns out my midwife was NOT on call when I went in and I had the on call doc (I HATE HER) Anyway, they tried and tried to convience me to take the drugs! My labor porgressed VERY rapidly. Around 4-5 cm they asked me ONCE more “are you sure you don’t want the epi? They are bringing one for the lady in the next room” I replied, “well I guess it couldnt hurt to have him bring an extra one just in case.” Mind you, I am high on ambien because they did NOT expect my labor to progress. When I Went in that night I was only there for observation. My BP was a little high. They gave me meds and told me to have dinner and get some rest. I was due to be induced at 10 am. Hahaha My daughter was born at 7 am! Anyway, so the anisthesiologist got there….with the extra epi and I admit I did take it. (in my mind I was going to be doing this until 10 am when I was to be induced) they tell me “here is a button incase you feel like you need the meds” and they checked me again and I am NOW at 9 cm and ready to go!!! WHAT!? 5-9 cm in the time it took to get the anisthesiologist to get there. then they ask “do you want to push now or wait” I reply ” i think I’ll wait. Its not 10 am yet” (again still high and not really comprehending much) Contractions are rediculous so i asked “if i push will it stop hurting?” The nurse said, well yes once the baby is out. Me : “ok ya, then lets do that. I dont see a pint in waiting” About 30 min later I had a gorgeous baby girl head full of black hair and looking very……chinese????? WHAT”! lol The doctor commenced to stitchin’ from my VERY enthusiastic pushing and I scream!! “you felt that?” “YES!!!!!!!!!!” Doctor : “well have you been pushing your button?” My eyes got huge and I felt my face get hot….”WHAT DAMN BUTTON?” I had forgotten to push the button. Who gives a pregnant lady in full blown labor a button to push????
Happy Birthday to Mazzy! I loved this story, and it makes me think that it’s not too late to write Anna’s – she will be two at the end of the month. I hope you all have a wonderful day celebrating!
nothing better than a good story well told and this was both.
I love a good birth story and this is definitely a good one.
Aw, Happy Birthday Mazzy!!!!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE the part about googling on the internet to determine if you were in labor – totally something my husband and I would do. After all, nothing is true if you can’t confirm it on the internet!
Great. I am teared up at work.:)
this has to be one of the best birth stories i’ve ever read (and one that i actually finished reading!)
Aw, your Mazzy and my Nate share a bday! Happy birthday kiddos!
Beautiful. Happy birthday Mazzy!
such a sweet story. thanks for sharing! happy birthday mazzy! 🙂
Best birth story ever! So glad to hear about someone getting petocin and it working! It was a nightmare for me and resulted in an emergency C – so it’s good to know that the drug sometimes helps, too!
Happy Birthday Mazzy! I too love hearing birth stories. You should also sometime post your story about your rough pregnancy. Just for curiosity sake… love to hear about people’s life and expectations before children – before reality sets in!
I love this, Ilana.
I also love how reading birth stories compels (I mean REALLY compels) women to share their own.
A Bizarro Sisterhood for sure.
Congratulations to Mike for surviving what must have been a daunting day for him and to you and Mazzy, too.
Because you know. You were there also.
You know, my husband did some silly things while I was in labor too. Like texting our family while I was getting ready for my emergency C-section. Hello, a little support here?!? But I “let it go” as I had more important things to do like trying to stop shivering from the drugs and breathing while I felt as if my son was going to pop out any moment but knew he wouldn’t b/c that’s why I needed a C-section. Anyways, glad you have a sensor of humor about it all. Mazzy is gorgeous and I love the proud papa moment at the end. You did great! Only 3 pushes?! Happy early birthday, Mazzy. You are loved by so many people – both whom you know and don’t even know!
You know, I’m getting a little teary-eyed here. That’s quite enough.
(Happy Big #2, Mazzy!)
Very sweet story!
Mine wasn’t very much fun… water broke at 1AM over 3 weeks early, and then after 26 hours of labor, a few of which were spent pushing, I had an emergency c-section. Turns out she was facing the wrong way and I had back-labor which resulted in more pain, and more difficulty with the pushing. I was so drugged up and shaken I could barely open my eyes to look at her.
Was it a pleasant experience? Not so much. Was it worth it? Damn right it was 🙂
Happy birthday, Mazzy!!!!!
Love the story! I love the feeling of looking at that little wonder and realizing that there is nothing else in the world that you could love as much as that little person.
Loved you story! Gotta admit, I’m a sucker for a good birth story. It’s the one thing all moms have in common.
I was one of those first timers that most women want to punch; I had a very easy pregnancy, and my labor was only 6 hours total. We’re talking from the time I said “hmm, I think I’m in labor” to the end result = 6 hours. Don’t hate me. I was actually only at the hospital for the last 4, we waited two hours to make sure I was actually in labor. I took a hot shower, washed my hair, shaved (in between contractions, something I am MOST proud of) did my makeup, and by the time I got around to my hair I was almost doubled over in pain. I showed up at the hospital with wet hair and I was 6.5 cm dilated. We did have a brief scare when K grabbed her chord and her heart rate dropped off, but after I got into the oh so flattering position of my naked butt thrust into the air in a semi-down dog pose she let go and all was well. I had an epidural when I was 8.5 cm dilated, hated sitting still but oh sweet glory was it worth it! My labor topped off for about an hour, so I tried to take a nap and hubbie got us some food. I mistakenly asked for some jello, which when K started to crown I promptly vomited (but may I add, if you must puke during labor, make it orange jello puke). The hurling motion made her crown even faster though, so from there it was 1-2 “Here’s your baby!” The doctor almost didn’t even make it in time. My husband and I were looking at each like “Wait, that’s it?” It was very surreal to look down at her tiny face knowing this wailing infant was indeed the huge bump in my torso. D was so so proud, I thought his face was going to crack from all the smiling. Maybe it was because K looked EXACTLY like him, could have been his baby twin. She was 7lbs 3oz of cuteness, and now she’s 7 months and chubby as hell =) Gotta love motherhood.
Happy Birthday, Mazzy. Love your birth story. xo
So true. Bizarro Sisterhood. I’m resisting the urge to launch into my own birth stories right now. Won’t do it. [failed epidural! 24 hours of back labor! emergency c-section!]
Nope, this is Mazzy’s story. 🙂
Love it. Beautifully written. And by the way? My daughter’s middle name is also Rose. I’m still not revealing her first name though, so you’ll have to imagine. Someday I’m sure I’ll tell you her entire name and you’ll be tickled by the weird similarities as much as I am.
Happy birthday Mazzy.
Love the birth story. your ending is sweet, tender and beautiful. Love how proud he was to announce her name. And it’s hilarious that he waited for the coffee to be brewed! hahaha!
i have 2 – the first was short and sweet (please don’t hate me ladies.) water broke at 7:30pm, got to the hospital at 8:30pm, pushed her out at 1:55am. i thought that if that was fast, the 2nd would just come flying out. well guess what, it didn’t happen. water broke at 7am, got to the hospital a couple of hours later and waited for contractions, and waited and waited. finally at 9pm, they decide to give me pitocin, got the epi and hour later and he “flew out” just after midnight.
Happy birthday Mazzy Rose. btw – she looks so much like Daddy!
Happy birthday to all of you as I think parents should get just as much attention on their kids birthdays as the kids. Okay maybe not quite, but you know. Great story.
OMG, the shivering! What was up with that?!
I love your reaction to her birth – so simple, understated and not at all full of that saccharine sweetness you always hear in birth stories. “As soon as I laid eyes on her, I was in LOVE!” I think far more often it happens the way you describe it. That’s the way it was for me, too. “Oh, you’re here. Hi.”
Awesome birth story. I’ve also never posted mine and totally meant to in the week leading up to Vivian’s, but I didn’t have time. Stupid work deadlines. I really want to get it posted sometime this month, though.
Happy Birthday to Mazzy Rose tomorrow!
What a great story!!! Happy Birthday Mazzy Rose! And happy You’re a Parent Now Day to you and Mike.
Gah! I always cry at birth stories, and this one is so funny and sweet in all its I’m-in-labor-are-you-sure-no glory. What a debut.
Happy birthday Miss Mazzy!
I was riveted.
Rebecca looked Chinese when she was born too! She had a full head of hair too…
OMG – I am just crying now. Thanks a lot Ilana! Such a great story…I loved it. 🙂 Happy Birthday.
Dammit! Why the heck is it men will stop for anything and everything and BE SO LONG about it?!?!?!??!?!?!?! Holy crap do I know that.
happy birthday little star!
Happy birthday Mazzy!! Great post. The part about the bear in the room is laugh out loud comedy!
You ran FOUR miles 2 weeks before your due date?! Amazing. And wonderful story!
Beautiful story with plenty of never-let-me-down comedy. Happy birthday Mazzy!
Wait… Are you saying that Mike KNEW you were in need of paper towels and toilet paper? Forget about the labor! He’s a miracle husband! Mine doesn’t even notice an overflowing garbage can.
Happy birthday Mazzy!
Awww, reading this post with the Home Alone music in the background just brought a tear to my eye! What a sweet story!!! Hey, and Mike and my husband would get along well–when I was in labor I was nice and made it through a movie (while suffering) with friends. The movie was over and the friend was asking me, “Do you think you’re going to go to the hospital tonight?” Before I could get anything out, my husband confidently says, “Oh, no, I don’t think so….” And I so desperately belted out, “YES, WE ARE!!!!!” LOL He said it as if HE were in labor!! Ugh. Men. 😉 But at least we didn’t have to stop for coffee!
One of Mike’s best friends is Filipino. Everyone joked that Mazzy was his kid.
At the moment, my husband is against the retelling of the pregnancy. It was a really rough period and very emotional for both of us. But it did make me appreciate a healthy child at the end of it in ways that I fear I would have taken for granted otherwise.
That poor doorman…this had me cracking up.
Top notch birth story sister! And I’ve read a few. Happy birthday mom and Mazzy! She forever changed your title, your heart, and your vagina…..
When I was in labor with my first, my mother was on the phone, ON THE AIR, LIVE, with the host on QVC buying a singing, dancing Frosty the Snowman!
I’m so glad you put this in your top posts about your family from 2011. When I saw it I thought “how did I miss this post!” When I looked at the date in the post I saw that it was the day my son was born 🙂 thanks for sharing!
Awww, I loved reading Mazzy’s story! Please tell the story behind her name when you have a chance.
I love a good birth story
Great story. Next time, get a DOULA! She’ll have way more than just a tennis ball!
So sweet. Great name too. What’s with men and “needing” to stop for coffee on the way to having a baby? My husband insisted that we stop at Starbucks on our way to the hospital when I was in labour. I didn’t have a choice- he was driving. I still can’t understand why that coffee was so important. After all, he’d been sleeping and I’d been up all night having contractions…. Men.
The banter between you and Mike is priceless. One detail I found funny was the comment about the mirror. When my first was born, I wanted nothing to do with the mirror also. I was all, let’s get this done people! But with the birth of my second, I was quite game for the mirror and I credit it with helping make that a fast smooth birth esp under the influence of an epidural where I could feel nothing.
Oh! I read Harlow’s story so I had to then read Mazzy’s. So great. Both my kids were c-sections so my stories aren’t nearly as entertaining.
And I love she had a full head of hair! Adorbs!
Lol How cute. Congrats you have to really cute girls.
LOVED this! I laughed out loud (at work oops) for most of it. Then teared when she arrived!!
My husband looks at me the same way when I roll over in bed. Like I’m some kind of neanderthal jumping on his head. I absolutely love birthing stories. Happy Birthday Mazzy!
[…] get a cup of coffee from the bodega across the street. When they were out (it was 2am after all), HE WAITED FOR THEM TO BREW A FRESH POT. I was asking in honor of my pregnant sister (aka Dr. B) and planning on posting some watch-outs […]
My second child was an night baby. Offically three years ago, I was having a baby shower and my sister had made vanilla bean cake. I took one bite of my vanilla bean cake, and I started going into labor.
My friend drove me to the hospital, and my sister got into MY BED with my first one and started watching Curious George. My oldest was three at the time.
After an hour of waiting, I finally got into the labor room. My husband came rushing in from work and gave me a bag with a Tim Hortons double chocolate dount.
That did the trick.
Fourteen minutes later at 7:00 PM I was holding Apple Lee Miller. Her RED hair was covering her face, so she looked like an apple.
Happy Birthday Apple. Three years ago, you came into the world as A PAIN IN THE ASS! Literately!
[…] the street to get a cup of coffee and then waited for the corner bodega to brew a fresh pot while I was about to give birth in the lobby of our building at […]