Monday, May 12, 2014

Clara's birth, part I.

This story has been stewing in my mind for nearly two weeks, since Clara was born. For a while, I wasn't sure how I felt about my third child's birth. I guess I'm still not sure. It didn't go exactly as I'd planned (when does it ever, really?) but then again, it was really close, right up until the very end.

But if I'm to do this story justice, I have to start at the beginning.

40 weeks -- Sunday, April 27

It all started on Monday, April 28 ... with castor oil.

I know, I know. You're thinking, YOU TOOK CASTOR OIL?! Yes, I did. Truth is, I knew I was in labor -- I had been contracting semi-regularly off and on for a few days. When I woke up on Monday, they were coming every five minutes or so and they felt ... different. I had an appointment with Dr. Guzman, the OB over at my midwives' practice that morning and he said I was 4 centimeters dilated and 70 percent effaced. I knew things were going somewhere; I wasn't just taking the castor oil because I was 40 weeks and sick of being pregnant. Plus, I was actually constipated, if you must know. And that's never any fun.

So, I took castor oil. Yes, it was nasty. Tasted like old lipstick, as a friend put it. That was at 2:00 in the afternoon.

A few hours and some slices of pizza later, the real contractions started right after dinner. I timed them for a half hour -- five minutes apart and hard. Not wanting to waste too much time, we decided to pack up the kids and head over to my parents' house to drop them off so we could go to the hospital. During the 20-minute drive over, I had three or four contractions and they were most definitely of the imminent-baby-time variety.

Of course, as soon as we said goodbye to the kids and hopped back in the car, the contractions started widening in frequency and getting wimpier. So, we stopped at the Gilbert Temple to walk around the grounds. The weather was so beautiful. It was the perfect temperature with a slight breeze and the sun was beginning to set, casting a beautiful orange glow all around us. I took a moment to capture that special moment in my mind, knowing the next day, my life would be forever changed.

The walking didn't really help move things along. But we had a goal in mind, so we went to the hospital anyway. At Mercy Gilbert (where I delivered), they don't have a separate entrance for the maternity ward -- you enter the emergency room like everyone else. As we approached the automatic glass doors, I saw all these sick people camped out in the ER and said, "No. I can't do it! I'm not ready!" I figured I'd go in, wait, go up to maternity triage, wait some more, be told I wasn't far enough along and get sent home. I didn't want that. But I also feared we'd jumped the gun and I was embarrassed. What to do, what to do ...

Dill suggested we head back to the car to have a prayer together. We had to park quite far away and I wasn't excited to make the journey back. But I was truly confused about what we should do and I needed some peace and guidance.

We got back in the car, and before we could even bow our heads in reverence, it hit me. Not a brain wave of brilliance, not a super-hard contraction, but -- you guessed it -- the incredible urge to poop.


I urgently ran back to the ER, knowing exactly where the bathroom was thanks to a previous visit back in February. I barely made it to the stall in time before I essentially exploded. It was all the evidence I needed -- the castor oil was indeed working.

At this point, I knew I could not be admitted in my current "condition," so we called my mom and told her we were coming back to hang out (read: deal with the inevitable onslaught of diarrhea). It was about 8:30 at night by this point. Dill watched an NBA playoff game while I alternated between drinking water and visiting the toilet. Needless to say, it was pretty awful. This went on for another two hours before we decided to just head home. The kids were asleep and Mom said she'd be happy to keep them overnight. Bless her. Dill and I jumped in the car and drove home, feeling a bit dejected.

We got ready for bed as we always do and the second my head hit the pillow, a REAL-real contraction hit. Like, it hurt badly. I took note of the time and when the next one hit a mere two minutes later, I told Dill it might be go-time. Maybe. Just get some clothes on because we might have to leave in a jiffy.

Two minutes later, another. It floored me. We had to go NOW. The hospital is a good 20 minutes from our house and there was no telling how far I'd progressed since that morning's appointment. I definitely didn't want to have the baby in the car. Thankfully, all our hospital stuff was still in the back of the car so we jumped in and went.

This was definitely REAL-real labor. I was about to have my baby.


  1. Girl! The suspense! I have always been terrified of castor oil. Are you glad you took it? Regret it?

  2. Castor oil...I have a love/hate relationship with that!

  3. Oh man! Excited to hear part two, especially because I'll be having my baby in either Chandler or Gilbert, I presume. We're moving to that area next month and I need doctor recommendations.

  4. I am literally sitting on the edge of my seat--not even metaphorically. LOL ugh but that castor oil sounds like some terrible stuff to deal with.

  5. That ER entrance...blast that ER entrance. But seriously, we must have the rest of the story asap. I'm dying over here. Birth stories are my favorite.


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