Posted by: thatjen | April 20, 2006

Birth Story Part 1: Is it labor?

Things really can change quickly. Thursday afternoon we had our last regularly scheduled midwife appointment, and spent most of the time discussing ways we might get things started, since Harpo didn’t seem to have a lot of interest in emerging. At that point, the baby’s head was “dipping” (-2 station, or about halfway to engaged) but there were not really any other encouraging signs. She said we should add whopping doses of Evening Primrose Oil (six capsules by mouth!!) to our efforts of spicy food, long walks and impassioned entreaties to the occupant of the uterus to just COME OUT. She assured us that all babies come eventually and there was a very good chance that the baby would arrive before Cait’s mom got in town. But when we left, no one was expecting we’d meet our child in less than 36 hours.

We headed home, listening to Briar’s excellent CD, and went out to the community Seder. I ate LOTS of horseradish (I usually try to get away with the smallest ceremonial bit) and we really emphasized the message of liberation to Harpo! I waddled home after the seder and got uncomfortably into bed.

The third or fourth time I returned to bed that night after using the bathroom, I felt a trickle of liquid between my legs. “Hmm. That’s interesting,” I thought, but tried to get a bit more sleep. When I next got up, I inspected the leakage and decided it seemed like it had the potential to be amniotic fluid, so I went to find Cait and get her opinion. As she already mentioned, she was having a freakout on the couch, but her mood was much improved by my report. We called the midwives, telling the answering service, “I’m in labor,” as the midwives instructed (“If you have any suspicion that you are in labor, even the faintest idea, say ‘I’M IN LABOR,’ so that the answering service calls us right away.”) It was exciting and unbelievable to say the words.

Of course, our midwife wasn’t quite sure she agreed with our assessment, but was supportive and excited on our behalf. She suggested we have breakfast and go for a walk before calling her back with an update. As we began to walk to a nearby diner for breakfast, I began to get some occasional menstrual cramp type sensations, but they were mild and infrequent – and I had no idea what contractions felt like anyway! I began to get suspicious that things might really be happening, though, when I had a really hard time ordering breakfast. I just wasn’t that interested in food, and that’s not like me! When breakfast came, it took a disciplined effort to make myself eat it, but I knew if I was starting labor, I’d want the calories for energy later. That may have been the best decision I made all day.


  1. And then…………

  2. i am completely interested in the main story OF COURSE – but can you tell me what the ‘community seder’ is please?

    Looking forward to reading about natalie’s next adventure

  3. PS – love the change to your title

  4. Cliffhanger! Hey, whatja have for breakfast, anyway?

  5. The suspense is killing me!

    Ok, ok, so I know the “ultimate” ending, but it’s still informative and a good read.

    Clare – A seder is the meal that Jews eat on the first night of the Passover holiday.

  6. Am looking forward to reading the rest… you know, as you have time to share with us 🙂

  7. Woooo…. the tension is building. How exciting! Can’t wait to read part two.

  8. so what happened?????

  9. Clare: we live in cohousing (an intentional community) and the community has a seder each Passover. Though Cait and I aren’t Jewish, we love to attend each year. The rituals and shared experience are great. Oh, and the food is yummy! 🙂

    JB: we shared a waffle and an omelet

    Calliope: I had a baby, duh. 😛 (heh heh)

    Folks, I’m working on it, I’m working on it. It will be up ASAP. There’s just this baby, you know? 🙂

  10. Thanks very helpful! I think I have made the Australian leap in my mind…

    Your story is lovely and strong. Aren’t we all amazing really. I was very calm during my labor (and I am not what you would call a calm person) too, and I completely recall that feeling of shock when (in my case) he arrived – I had to be told he was here as that last push really felt no different to the others.

    Best love to you all

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