The Story of Being Born: Owen

May 3, 2016

Insomnia has always been my reality, so I batted nary an eyelash (even though my mucus plug had come out about a week earlier and should have given me a clue) when I awoke round 1a wide eyed and bushy tailed. Weeble-wobble rolled myself out of bed, used the restroom for the millionth time and proceeded to continue binge watching Walking Dead. I felt "off" but assumed it was par for the thirty nine week and four day course. Wrong. By 7:05a I realized perhaps this was labor and began jotting down contractions. At some point Mark figured out I was in labor (or I told him?) and covertly alerted our family amidst bringing me ice water and an apple per our childbirth classes instructions to eat and stay hydrated in early labor. I had maybe 1/3 of apple before contractions got strong enough to hold my attention, wherein I decided to stop watching TWD because I'd rewound the same scene about five times.  It was happening, I was in labor!

Ever the type-A I calculated every possible due date: 3/20 based on my 24 day cycle, 3/23 given by my OB and 3/28 based on the Bradley Method.

Our plan was to labor at home for as long as I could (hopefully till deep in the throes of active labor) so around 10a we put the finishing touches on our hospital bags and I hopped in the shower. At this point I was uncomfortable (contraction 5-6 minutes apart) and doubled over with each one so Mark had to assist in getting me dressed. Once ready we said goodbye to the dogs and set off for the hospital. Ever the obedient childbirth class student, Mark placed a pillow inside a trash bag(!) on my seat as a comfort measure/please don't break your water in the car precaution and off we went, stopping first at Smoothie King in a last ditch attempt to get something on my stomach. We made our way to the Women's Evaluation Unit and I silently prayed this was the real deal and was dilated enough to mean business. After a few questions, stepping on the scale (cruelest of jokes?!) and vitals we got a triage room where a hospital staffer (who I'm sure was a lovely person) rapid fired insurance questions my way despite seeing me mid contraction after I'd all but thrown her a copy of our insurance card and nearly bit her head off with a lovely cocktail of bitchy resting face and side eye before she departed. After that exchange I excused myself to the restroom and much to the detriment of the other patients, all but set up residence there due to contractions that were by this point right on top of one another making it difficult to do anything but hang onto the side bar and listen to people as they attempted to enter, only to be greeted by a locked door and a nurse informing them I was, indeed, still inside. After gathering enough strength to exit I made my way back to the room, changed into a gown and got as comfortable as one can while we waited for a nurse to check me and decide our fate.  Up until this point I had no idea of any progress, opting not to be checked at my OB visit a few days earlier so I wouldn't spend the next week googling "how dilated is 1cm" or the like. Within seconds the nurse announced this indeed was not a drill and that I was just more than 5cm dilated, that my contraction timing was off -- They were 2-3 minutes apart (not 5-6 as I decided) and it was baby time. Hallelujah! Things moved really quickly from there. We were sent to labor and delivery immediately and I recall being put in a wheelchair and being whisked away, passing my mom and little sister along the way. 

The delivery room was exactly as I remembered from our tour of the hospital. Spacious and cozy without being intimidating which was a comfort. By this time contractions were unrelenting leaving me no time to catch my breath in between and I chatted with the nurses about my non epidural options -- after some thought I settled upon a shot of fentanol in my iv to take the edge off and help me rest a bit before the real work began. Best two hours of my life. Mark brought up our bags and we watched a bit of My Cousin Vinny as I dozed and the staff prepared our room. Once the fentanol wore off I started to feel immense pressure and couldn't get comfortable in any position other than sitting on the toilet so I made trips back and forth from my bed to the toilet seat as labor continued. The nurses were incredible, honoring our birth preferences (we had copies for our medical team) of a natural vaginal childbirth, offering non stop encouragement and advice on different ways to labor as the pressure grew and back labor set in. The pressure was just about unbearable so they gave me a bag of fluids to try to take the edge off and suggested breaking my water (the cause of the extreme pressure). I opted to let it break spontaneously and when the resident started to check me a few moments later (at 4:30p), my water broke all over her arm as I sat on the toilet with Mark and one of our nurses (Hey Tiffany!) flanking me. Lovely. 

As Mark and Tiffany helped me ambulate back to bed I began trying every birth aid they had available: peanut, squatting bar, hands and knees, as sitting directly on my rear (via bed or birthing ball) was out of the question.  Back labor is a fickle bitch y'all.  I settled upon a hybrid birthing position, alternating lying on my sides with my feet on the squatting bar (by this point my leg muscles were totally fatigued so standing was not an option) or resting on the nurses. 

Eighteen hours and four hours of pushing later, Mark announced the birth of our son, Owen Desmond at 8:46p, 8lbs 4oz 20.75in long, three days before his due date, wide eyed and alert.

As I lie here typing with Owen on my chest just as he had been laid for the first time a mere month ago I hold a profound love for our son (the cliche' of loving some you just met has never been a truer sentiment), deeper love and appreciation for my husband (and birth coach!) Mark and immeasurable gratitude for the talented and exceedingly supportive medical team at St. Mary's, our Bradley Method instructor Riannon Mendoza, and prenatal yoga teacher Stacy Broussard. 

What a divine blessing it is to be not only pregnant, but a mother. This is a gift I shall never take for granted. 

To my husband Mark: 

Thank you for feeding me ice chips to make sure I didn't dehydrate, for seeing our son come into this world (literally) and for crying when you saw how much pain child labor entailed. 

I'm really happy you cried because, childbirth. 


  1. Lovely.....tears rolled down my face just thanking God for a Glorious Moment and thinking about My Brother your Dad. Thank God for Owen Desmond Piper

  2. And I'm bawling.
    Isn't it the most magical thing in the world?!
    One minute you're housing a baby, the next minute he's lying on your chest. It's simply the greatest thing of all time.
    And, I'm pretty sure I need another now. So, thanks for the post. ;)


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