Our Birth Story! (Alternately Entitled: How My Cervix Finally Betrayed Me)

Disclaimer: This post is all about how Baby J came into the world. In order to do the story justice, I will be using words like “uterus.” I realize this might make some of you uncomfortable, so if this is not the particular tree you’d like to bark up, please feel free to move on to other trees that aren’t talking about uteruses. (Uteri?)

Just as Julius Caesar must have sensed a brewing tension between himself and his friend Marcus Brutus, I have always suspected that my cervix would end up causing a lot of trouble. Every OB/GYN I’ve seen has commented on its “posteriority” or said something to the effect of, “My goodness, where is that thing?”

There’s also the evidence provided by my last delivery with Baby Girl M, in which it took three nurses a total of four hours to locate my cervix and determine whether or not I was actually in labor.

Red flags, people. Red flags.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up to the afternoon of Friday, January 11–a mere four days before Baby J’s due date.

5:00 pm

I was contracting kind of a lot, and–as is my modus operandi–took to Twitter with my comments on the matter.

So as you can see, things were a little up in the air. Was I in labor? Was I not?

I called the hospital to talk to the on-call doctor, who was, sadly, not the warmest person ever. Our conversation went something like this.

Doctor: Hi, what seems to be the problem?

Me: I’m 39 weeks and three days pregnant, and I’m having painful contractions about every ten minutes. Do you think I’m in labor?

Doctor: Well, you certainly don’t sound like you’re in labor.

Me: What?

Doctor: You sound very upbeat and cheerful. If you were in labor, you wouldn’t be able to talk and laugh.

(What she doesn’t know is that I could probably talk and laugh while having my hair set on fire, but whatever.)

Me: Okay…so you don’t think I should come in?

Doctor: You can come in anytime you want to, but I can say with absolute certainty you’re not in labor. If your contractions get to be three minutes apart, then you should head to the hospital, but until then you should just stay home. You don’t want to waste a trip to labor and delivery.

Me: But I really don’t want to miss out on the drugs.

Doctor: Come in whenever you want, but you’re not in labor.

YES. THOSE ARE REALLY THE WORDS THAT WERE SAID. Had I actually taken her advice, I would have had this baby one of three places: A) in my house, B) in my car, or C) in the hospital parking lot.

ANYWAY.

Fast forward a few hours and my contractions are getting more painful. They’re also seven minutes apart now. Deciding that the best course of action would be to ignore the doctor, we call my mom, who comes to stay with Baby Girl M while we go to the hospital.

10:00 pm

Once we arrive at labor and delivery, we’re admitted to a triage room. There is another couple in the curtained-off section next to us who is having their first baby. (This will be important later.)

A nurse comes in to check my cervix.

Me: Just to warn you, my cervix likes to hide.

Nurse: ………………?

Me: Seriously. The last doctor to check me described it as being in the “left corner pocket.”

Nurse: Oooookay. Well, let’s see what we’ve got.

(I can tell she is not taking my cervical warnings as seriously as she should. First of all, she’s still smiling, as if this is going to be a routine cervix check.)

(It won’t be.)

Nurse: [after several minutes of reaching, reeeeeeeaching, SEARCHING] Hmm.

Me: Did you find it?

Nurse: I’m…not sure. Let me go get someone else to check you.

(Fast forward three hours, in which five nurses have taken turns attempting to locate the Elusive Cervix, none of them with any luck at all. The only one who “thought she felt it” said that it must be closed because she couldn’t find an edge.)

(OH CERVIX, HOW I DESPISE YOU.)

1:00 am

Nurse #2: [after complaining that her finger was cramping from the Cervix Search] Well honey, you’re contracting regularly, so we’re not going to send you home. Let’s keep you here and watch you, and when the doctor comes in for the morning shift, we’ll have her check you.

Me: What time will she come in?

Nurse #2: I’m not sure. But we’ll have her see what’s going on.

Me: Okay.

What I’m thinking: So I just have to lie here and contract without being admitted OR having an epidural because none of you can locate my cervix? I want to burn down the building.

Nurse #2: We’ll give you some Nubain. Should take the edge off for a few hours.

1:30 am

I am given a dose of Nubain in my bum region. They’re right–it makes my contractions less frequent and it takes the edge off the pain.

I’m starting to think I might be okay.

3:45 am

ALL HELL IS BREAKING LOOSE INSIDE MY UTERUS.

I wake up with a massively horrible contraction and–wait for it–feel like I need to take the biggest poo of my life. Now, I’ve seen enough episodes of I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant to know that this means THINGS ARE HAPPENING NOW! RIGHT NOW!, so when I go to the bathroom, I am verrrrry careful about which muscles I use and how hard I, um, strain.

Nothing comes out, but the urge, IT IS UNSTOPPABLE.

I hobble back to our little area and tell Rob to call the nurse. “Tell them I’m contracting like crazy and I feel like I have to take a massive poo,” I say while bracing myself on the edge of the bed as another contraction rips its way through my body.

The nurse comes in to see what’s going on, but before she can check me, I have to go to the bathroom again. In fact, the urge is so insistent that I sort of fall down on the floor. She and Rob pick me up and run me to the bathroom, where I am allowed exactly five seconds on the toilet before the nurse opens the door and says, “Anything coming out?”

I shake my head.

She looks mildly concerned, but closes the door.

After a few more seconds on the toilet, I realize the urge to poo is gone. But when I stand up, it comes back WITH A VENGEANCE.

So I do the only thing I can think of: I hover. And I give a little push.

And then…

EXPLOSION. AMNIOTIC FLUID EVERYWHERE.

And, naturally, I scream.

So that poor couple next to us who is quietly working through contractions with their first baby hears a sudden gush of water and a scream coming from the bathroom. Can you imagine being in labor for the first time EVER and hearing what sounds like a water balloon hit the bathroom floor, followed by a woman’s terrified shriek?

I’m nothing but a comforting, graceful presence to those around me.

Anyway, after my water breaks, I open the door and tell my alarmed husband that my water has, in fact, just broken and that he should probably go get that nurse again, WHO HAS LEFT THE ROOM.

So she comes running back in, and at this point I can’t walk. I don’t feel like I have to poop anymore, but I do feel…something else.

DUN DUN DUUNNNNNNNN.

Nurse #3: Hurry, get on the bed, I have to check you!

Me: [crossing my legs and whimpering] I don’t think I can–

Nurse #3: You have GOT to get on that bed. Come on now!

Me: [heaves self onto bed]

The nurse checks me. Her expression kind of twists up. There is something lurking there, just behind her eyes…PANIC. SHE IS PANICKING. WHY IS SHE PANICKING.

Me: Did you find my cervix?

Nurse #3: Um, no. I found the baby’s head.

4:00 am

Approximately eight hundred nurses come out of the woodwork. People are shouting for the doctor, my bed is being rolled out of the room, and I’m being told that I should NOT MOVE, NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, AND DON’T PUSH.

What I’m thinking: Well, this is…not what I thought would happen. Oh well, I’m sure there will still be time for an epidural. After all, what kind of barbarians would make a woman give birth without drugs?

Me: There will be time for an epidural, right?

Nurse #?: [sympathetic head shake] Sorry, girl. No time.

I am wheeled VERY QUICKLY down the hallway. The nurses find a delivery room that is ready, and they rush me into it. I’m starting to really, really want to push. Once we reach the delivery room, I have to transfer myself from my bed to the delivery bed, which is basically the worst thing ever.

UNTIL THEY TELL ME TO CONTINUE NOT PUSHING.

The doctor is coming, but she’s not quite here, so I have to hold the baby in. I have to NOT. PUSH.

Me: But I’m not pushing! My uterus is pushing for me and I don’t think I can stop it!

Nurse #??: DON’T PUSH, GIRL. BLOW OUT THAT CANDLE. BREATHE. BREEEEEATHE.

Three contractions. Baby’s head is seriously anxious to come out, and I have to hold her in through THREE CONTRACTIONS. Do you know how hard that is? The best comparison I can come up with is trying to hold in explosive diarrhea. Think about that for a second. Or, if you actually have explosive diarrhea right now, give it a shot. Try to hold it in.

How’d it go?

My guess is NOT WELL.

The doctor finally runs in, cleans up, pulls on some gloves, and says to me, “This is what you were trying to avoid, isn’t it?”

At which point I realize THIS IS THE DOCTOR WHO TOLD ME I WASN’T IN LABOR. And I would love to make fun of her for being wrong and make some sort of snarky comment about how maybe she should take people more seriously, but there is a baby trying to tunnel her way out of my body and then I get another contraction and she says, PUSH!

What I’m thinking: Well, I really WANT to push, so maybe this won’t be that bad.

I push. And at first, it just feels like a huge relief.

BUT THEN.

Ring of Fire

I fell into a burning ring of fire…

Ring of fire

I went down, down, down, and the flames went higher…

Ring of Fire Face-Off

And it BURNS, BURNS, BURNS, AND NOW I’M SCREAMING AND I HATE EVERYTHING.

It was torture. But she was out in three pushes, and then it was over (except for the stitching and the cleaning and whatnot), and lo, I survived.

And then they put her on me…

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And they got her all cleaned up and swaddled and made her as happy as a newborn baby can possibly be, and I got all cleaned up and eventually stopped shaking…

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And, well, she was here. And that made it all worth it. Except that I’m afraid my relationship with my cervix has been permanently damaged. How can we go on after this?

Sorry, cervix, but we are never, ever, ever getting back together. Like ever.

The end.

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29 thoughts on “Our Birth Story! (Alternately Entitled: How My Cervix Finally Betrayed Me)

  1. Anna Duffey says:

    Like ever… I think my children think I’m crazy I’m laughing so hard right now.

    God. Bless. You. Woman. I almost didn’t get that epidural with JoJo. Seriously, I think I pushed him out mere moments after it was done. Talk about terrifying…

    Congratulations again!!! So glad she’s here and oh man is she cute!!!

  2. Wendy C. says:

    I’m sorry, but I laughed until I cried while reading your birth story/the betrayal of your cervix. Loved it! So funny!

  3. Connie Keller says:

    Well, I’m so happy to hear that everything went well–even with all the craziness. And your baby is gorgeous!!

    My third child was born 45 minutes after we got to the hospital. And I got the “don’t push, don’t push, we have to find a doctor” thing too. Of course, this was after I told the nurse it was time to push and she said, “No, it’s not.” (She said this with authority, even though she wouldn’t bother to check my trickie cervix just to be sure.) So I told her, “I’m pushing. You better get someone to catch this baby.” When the head began to crown, the nurse changed her mind.

  4. katie futrell says:

    Oh Anne. You have always made me laugh….but I don’t recall anytime in our 25 years of knowing one another to laugh so hard that I leak from my eyes and elsewhere. I haven’t had an ab workout like that since Coach Castille’s track coaching in hi school. So thanks. And now I need to go change my underwear.

  5. Heather McCorkle says:

    Even while in horrible pain, you crack me up. And we’ve learned a valuable lesson here, don’t listen to your doctor, listen to your body. 😉 Congratulations on that beautiful baby! Now I have Ring Of Fire stuck in my head…

  6. Lindsay says:

    Not only did you get a beautiful baby girl, but an AWESOME war story! You birthed a baby without drugs. You should get a tattoo or something. Haha. I can’t imagine, but I’m so glad God gave you the strength to get through it! You rock!
    P.S. Did you ever get to say anything to that Dr.?

    • Anne Riley says:

      Thanks girl! And no, I didn’t. She did a great job with the actual delivery, and after J got here safely, I just didn’t really care about anything else.

  7. Sara B. Larson says:

    Oh my word! What a story. I’m laughing so hard, but I know at the time it was anything but funny. If you have another baby, I recommend you get a doctor who will medically induce you 1 week early to prevent this from happening. Nothing more irritating (or dangerous) than doctors/nurses who don’t listen. But all’s well that ends well, right? And what a beautiful baby!! Congrats! (P.S. did the dumb doctor give you a discount for being wrong? 😉 haha, I wish, right?)

    • Anne Riley says:

      You know, MY doctor did ask if I wanted to be induced at 39 weeks because J was plenty big! But I said I’d like to get to my due date before we did an induction. But then I didn’t, so…

  8. Margaret says:

    The ring of fire? True story (more like fire storm of doom, actually). Did it twice (with complicated births requiring assistive devices and inserted doctor hands) before I got smart enough to get an epidural with baby number three.

    Despite the humor and medical staff stupidity, so glad to hear you’ve got a wonderful healthy little girl! Congrats!

  9. Christine (Friend of Laura) says:

    You described giving birth so insanely perfectly! (…aside from the Elusive Cervix, I got everything.) I am so happy you’re done with all that and will be able to move on. I’m sure you and your cervix will eventually make amends. Happy snuggling with your precious baby!

  10. Ali says:

    FUNNIEST BIRTH STORY EVER! I can’t imagine having a baby without the epidural. You rock Anne! Congrats on the new addition!

  11. Jen Stayrook says:

    Oh, Anne. Honey. Darling. Pumpkin. This is by far the BEST birthing story I’ve ever read in my life. (And prior to the tot’s birth, I READ A LOT OF THEM.) I’m not laughing at you; I’m laughing with you. Promise.

    (I laughed so hard a little pee came out.)

    See? They always say, “You’ll know. You’ll know.” NO I WILL NOT. THERE WAS NO WARNING LIGHT.

    You are beautiful. Hugs and love to you and whole Riley family. Especially the Wee Baby Riley. Adorable. <3

  12. Liana Brooks says:

    See, now I feel somewhat guilty because I’m pretty sure that this is what we were talking about on Twitter a few days before Baby J arrived. I’ve had two with very similar arrivals, and one where I woke up in the middle of the night just like that.

    I’m proud of you. You did good. 🙂

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