Friday, February 18, 2011

Seventeen Years Ago ...

... I wasn't really in labor--I just wanted to get out of the house. We'd had an ice storm that week that knocked out the power for a lot of North Alabama. We had power, thankfully, but friends didn't and so they were staying with us all week as the South doesn't recover from ice easily. I was crowded, bored and nine months pregnant when the pains started. When the contractions held at every five minutes for an hour, I announced that I might be having a child that day.

Even then it wasn't a for sure thing. Our first bouncing baby boy, a 10 pounder, arrived after 32 excruciating hours of labor. (I use that fact as motivation every time I need to guilt him into something.) Our little ray of feminine sunshine rolled her 9 pound 12 ounce self into the world after 12 hours of labor. And ten days past her due date. If there was one thing I knew for sure, Boyd babies weren't in a hurry.

Our houseguests had no concept of the leisurely labor process. At five feet one inch, S was as big as my pinkie when she was nine months pregnant. Her babies came quickly because they literally had nowhere else to go, and she bounced them out with the speed and agility of Kobe Bryant on the baskbetball court. They lived the ninth month of her pregnancies in a restricted distance near the hospital and measured all activities by how long it would take to get to labor and delivery from the time the first pains hit.

"Feel like eating at Cracker Barrel?"

"They're on the south side of the street, and we'd have to cross traffic."


"Too many feet from the emergency entrance of the hospital. We'd better stick with Bob Evans instead."

So when I announced the impending arrival of our third child, and then Terry and I went on calmly eating our breakfast, it sent our company into a frenzy. Terry left soon after to do a painting job at a nearby apartment, leaving me to endure intermittent contractions--and two sets of eyes that watched my every move.

 By that afternoon the waning pains and claustrophobia had taken their toll, and I decided to go find my husband. As I waddled out the front door, our friends reached for their coats and flexed their fingers in preparation for dialing 911. Apparently they were sure that, despite all evidence to the contrary, at any moment I would drop to the ground in the full throes of labor and give birth in the middle of the street. Silly friends. Even if I were to go instantly into full blown labor, pushing alone could take 2-3 hours. Plenty of time to get a load or two of wash done and still have the ambulance deposit me at the hospital before our dawdling child decided to make an appearance.

By now I was more than sure that I wasn't actually in labor. Stupid Braxton-Hicks contractions. But I was also equally sure that I wasn't going back into that apartment until I had a baby in my arms. I knew walking could sometimes bring labor on, so my plan was simple:  find my husband and have him take me to Walmart. We'd walk around the store until I went into labor or until our friends got the electricity back on at their own home, however many days it took.

Terry was more or less agreeable to my plan, meaning he took me to Walmart for a while and then, because I was still occasionally having contractions, he insisted I go to the hospital to get checked out. I was not in the mood for a fake hospital visit, but he convinced me it was for the best. After all, he argued, we couldn't disappear for hours on end and then show up back at home without at least having stopped at the hospital.

So my pride forced me to end up spending the evening in a hospital bed, strapped to a fetal monitor and hooked up to an IV. After several hours they confirmed what I already knew:  I was not in labor. I had exchanged two watchful people for an entire shift of them, and I felt more guilty when my doctor showed up to check on me.

I perked up a little when he told me he'd been thinking about my case and my history (gestational diabetes and big babies) and had decided that my pregnancy shouldn't go any longer anyway. Show back up at the hospital first thing Monday morning, he instructed. He'd induce and we'd get this pregnancy over with.

With the promise of the end being in sight, I was finally ready to go back home. One more day and then finally I would have this baby. What a relief!

I thought.

Can you say Pitocin?


  1. Love your story. More, please.

  2. Yeah, when my water broke with my youngest, they gave me Pitocin. My contractions went from about a 3 on the pain scale to a 100+ within the first few drip of the I.V. Pitocin is not your friend. Had me screaming for my epidural NOW.

    Oh, and Happy Birthday to Luke.

  3. I had pitocin with my first. Not pleasant. But Happy Birthday to #3...they are special! Guess what # I am in my family? : )

  4. Isn't pitocin wonderful? With my second when they said, "Pitocin." I had one reply: "EPIDURAL!"

  5. Ah, a woman after my own heart. When I went 27 hours with the first one, I thought, "Okay, they say 2nd babies are half the labor of the first, so I actually might get it down to 12 or 13 hours" (most people's normal 1st labors). Wrong. Baby #2 was 26 hours. Baby #2 was also Baby #Last.

    Can't wait to hear the next episode!

  6. Oh, and this was after throwing up for 20 weeks with #1 and 24 weeks with #2. Pregnancy is not my forte. Which was a huge disappointment to me because I had looked forward to it all my life. Women that sashay through pregnancy and then have a baby between breakfast and lunch are from a whole 'nother planet than I am!

  7. Happy Birthday to your son! I love birth stories. Makes me glad I am not birthing! :)

  8. I can't believe you had such long labors! You're a strong woman. Can't wait to hear the rest of your story. I was induced a couple of weeks early for my first one...had pre-enclampsia. The pitocin stunk...took 3 days before I actually gave birth. I'm convinced that drug is of the devil. ;-) a side note, I wasn't actually in labor for 3 days. Took that long to finally work.


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