Thursday, June 21, 2012

Genevieve's Birth Story, 4 Years Later

When I was pregnant with Genevieve I was obsessed with reading birth stories online.  They would usually make me cry because they were beautiful and full of emotion and because they scared the living hell out of me.  I've never put Genevieve's birth story in writing, so here goes.

I went to bed that night 6 days overdue and feeling not a single symptom of labor, but with my hopes up that the full moon that night would somehow kick start my deep need to get an extra human out of my body.  I woke up at 3 a.m. to a long hard contraction and knew it was game on.  I got up to look out the window and saw the strawberry harvest moon that I had just read about in the Farmer's Almanac.

I decided not to wake up Drew and went downstairs to take a shower.  It was when I was alone that I realized birth was not something I wanted to experience alone.  I was terrified, contractions hurt and I wanted to have Drew right next to me.  By the time I got myself back upstairs to wake him up he was by my side for the next 29 hours of birthing insanity. 

For a full day we timed contractions, walked to the river twice, and got yelled at by a neighbor for trespassing on his property to get to the dike.  On our way back from the trespassing incident I had a hard contraction that left me leaning on the side of a cow barn, moaning and breathing through it.  As my contraction backed off I became aware of a kind eyed man peering through a crack in the barn wall, asking me if I was okay.  I was equal parts embarrassed and grateful.

By dinner time we decided it was time to go to the hospital.  I called my parents from the car between contractions to let them know I was in labor, trying my hardest to sound brave.  I could hear in my mom's voice that she was trying to sound brave too.  This would all be okay.

I labored in a tub for hours that night, saying hello and goodbye to three shifts of nurses.  At some point I slipped into some wacked out hallucination where I believed that my soul had been posessed by two hobos sitting in their shack, the deep moans escaping my body not my voice but theirs.  I never read about the hobo soul switching part of birth stories.  What a surprise.  I wasn't even on any drugs.

I pushed for 5 hours (this number is real, not rounded up or anything).  Drew lost his composure and had to be helped to a chair by two nurses.  After eating a sandwich labeled "Monday" (it was Friday) and slamming some sprite and apple juice he rallied.

The doctor told me I had 30 more minutes to push my baby out or I would need a c-section.  This is the part of the story where the finisher comes in.  The charge nurse named Nat came in my room, got on my bed, held my face in her hands and yelled, "open your eyes, look at me, listen to me, and do what I tell you to do.  There are two ways to get a baby out and we've got 30 minutes to get this done your way."

She was bossy and intense, and I did everything she told me to do.  She kicked the hobos out of my soul and I was present with her.  34 minutes later Genevieve was born.  I asked Nat, "Is she okay?  Am I okay?" and held my tiny baby to my chest and cried with Drew at the magnitude of that moment when we became a family. 


  1. This brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful story and a happy ending! I had long intense labors too, both with happy endings.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Awesome. Awesome story. You are a great writer.