The Birth Story, Part 1

It’s been six months, which is way past the deadline to make any returns or exchanges, so I suppose it’s time to share Addison’s birth story. If things like lady parts and uterine contractions are not your bag, I’d recommend returning when regular programming resumes.


I wrote about Addison’s birth late one night (well, very early one morning) in the darkness of her nursery as she slept a few feet away. I tried to capture the soul-shaking beauty of those moments. But there is also the play-by-play, nitty gritty labor story that needs to be told, mostly because even now, nearly six weeks later, the memories are still tinged with anxiety. Hopefully the retelling will help me put the sharper corners of that day in their final resting place and Mama can move on.

Leading up to labor, Clayton and I were fairly middle ground when it came to our birth plan. For the medical staff, we labeled it our “wish list” to keep those feathers unruffled. I was not adamant about having or not having an epidural and planned to just see how things went. You know, because labor is known for being a very go with the flow sort of experience. Let me just say now: if you go into labor not knowing for sure if you want or don’t want an epidural, you will be getting an epidural.

Other important requests I made were to labor at home for as much as I could, to not be induced with pitocin unless it became necessary, to be able to move around as long as I had not received an epidural (trying to take a walk while my legs were numb would certainly make for a hilarious birth story but do little to actually help the process), and to be allowed to labor at my own pace without an unnecessary time clock being held over my head.

Looking back, I can now confirm what every labor and delivery nurse and obstetrician knows but doesn’t say: birth plans are a crock. You can practice that breathing, attend prenatal yoga religiously, avoid sushi and alcohol like the plague and Kegel your heart out, but after a certain point, your baby and your body are calling the shots. You’re just a passenger on the ride.

My ride began at 5:50 a.m. July 14. I woke up needing to pee and was lying in bed trying to muster up the motivation to get up. And then my water broke. One of the questions I asked my doctor was if I would know for sure if my water broke. I was able to answer my own question. I knew instantly what had happened and sat straight up, blinking in disbelief. I went to the bathroom to “confirm” what I already knew.

The jumble of thoughts and words and questions fumbling around my brain can best be described as one of those word puzzles that take the letters from each word and scramble them up so nothing makes sense or looks normal. I didn’t know what to do first. I stumbled out of the bathroom and woke Clayton up.

“Um. My water broke.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. I’m sure. What should I do?”
“Then we need to go to the hospital.”

Such the level headed husband, that one. I continued my internal massive freak out while I got a shower and packed the last few things in my havin’-a-baby bag. Clayton called my doctor’s office and started packing his bag (that I told him to have ready weeks before, cough cough).

So…laboring at home wasn’t happening. Strike one.

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