Be careful what you wish for, aka: the birth story
Friday Reads & Recommends: The Lanolin Edition

How I felt about it all (WHICH IS STUPID)

SO YEAH. That happened. And for the record, I am REALLY GLAD I didn't know how many of you had 1 and 2 and 3 hour labors. EGAD.

I'm not sure what else to say about it, but I do have this NEED to "decide" how I feel about it. I would like to be all: DUDE. AM MADE OF AWESOME. but I'm not really leaning that way. It feels more like something that happened to me, that I just happened to get through because it was the only option. Which is TRUE. I mean, no one gets to choose their labor, right? 

I'd always thought that if I could maybe give birth without drugs if my labor was fast. (I never thought THIS fast, but, you know, fast-ISH.) And it turns out that was the case, but I feel like I could have done it BETTER. I could have done better than just SURVIVED. And yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds and I know what I would say to a friend if she were saying that to me, and yes I ALSO know that success and achievement and doing things well is sort of my hang up and I need to get over it already. ALL THAT SAID, there's something about Emma's arrival that leaves me solidly unimpressed with myself. 

After I had Jack I was the highest of high. I figured out why people shoot for natural childbirth. THE HIGHS, man! Holy cow. That was awesome. And it lasted for days. DAYS! I always wondered what a TRUE natural childbirth high would feel like, since mine was really only a half-high (I'd had the drugs, I just didn't have them the entire time.) I mean, I didn't wonder enough to actually want to try it, but I imagined it must be pretty great. 

So Emma's out, the nurses are fussing over my breathing yet super bruised and super purple baby, and everyone's waiting for the doctor to show up. I'm just laying there wondering what in the world just happened to me. The contractions have completely disappeared, as they do (this is still an amazing fact to me. The pain! Gone! Like that!) but I'm still hurting. I feel destroyed. And then the nurse keeps pressing on my abdomen to try to deliver the placenta and it feels AWFUL and then the doctor eventually shows up and does her thing and THAT feels awful. Pretty much everything feels awful, which makes me angry because after all that I feel like I deserve to not feel awful ever again. I'm just laying there, utterly exhausted, only half aware that my new baby is potentially not doing well, not focusing or listening and I am waiting for my high. Where is it? 

I'M STILL WAITING. Ho hum. And then I remember the screaming and the crying and the refusal to get on the bed and my inability to recognize how fast things were going... Oh wow, this is SO ME to berate myself for not doing NATURAL CHILDBIRTH CORRECTLY. Seriously. I DO hear myself. I DO read what I'm writing. AND YET! I continue to feel this way! 

So I've also thought about what it might have been like if I HAD tried to prepare for natural childbirth. Honestly, I'm not so sure how that would have gone... and it's actually part of why I never seriously gave it consideration. All the coping techniques I know about involve relaxation or meditation or focusing on breathing - ALL things I totally failed at during my Figure Out How To Manage Anxiety days. I was never good at listening to tapes or visualizing or breathing or any of that stuff. And now that I've DONE it, I'm not sure any of that would have helped me anyway. WAS PAINFUL. 

I don't know. I do realize how pointless this is. I DO.

A few days later I'm feeling a little less physically and psychologically wrecked, which is nice. I'm not as warped about everything as I was the first day or two. I've stopped running the entire timeline through my brain. I've asked Phillip what he remembers and what his experience was, and that made me feel better. In the hospital my nurse kept saying how great I did, how awesome I was, what a great story this would be, what a rock star my husband was, how honored she felt to be there, blah blah blah. At the time I totally blew her off, but now... maybe she wasn't just being nice? 

Anyway. Emma slept awesome last night and then kept sleeping all day and is still sleeping now and either she's just going to keep it up because she's the best baby EVER, or she (and I) will be up all night. I should probably sign out and then not check the comments because I'm pretty sure this is the dumbest thing I've ever written. 




That's an awfully big thing to happen to you - go to bed 37 weeks pregnant, then suddenly have the baby bust out by 4 am. I could totally see feeling like "what the HELL just happened to me."


It's not dumb. You feel how you feel. Something WAY unexpected happened that you hadn't totally planned for. I get it.


I don't want to make this about me, but I think it might end up that way. For context, I planned natural childbirths for all of my kiddos, and the last two were born at home. I'm not saying that to brag, but I do think preparation helps. It doesn't take the pain away (not at all), but I think it gives you a different mindset going in, i.e. It's going to hurt and I'll deal.

Second, my three hour labour was by far the worst. My second was 6 hours, and I liked that one the best. With my last, she whooshed out, and like Emma, was blueish. They whisked her away to give her oxygen, and I felt like I could relax. Then they made me get out of the birth tub (water birth), so they could put her on my chest to warm up, and I remember thinking I didn't want to move. I'd already done enough (I did move). I think when things happen that fast neither your body nor your brain have time to adjust. I would take a longer (but not too long) birth over a short one any day.

The short version of this comment is I can definitely sympathize, and it is not stupid. (you can tell I feel strongly since I typed this all on my phone, which is annoying and why I never comment).


Um, Maggie? I am still feeling a little shell shocked from YOUR labor. So I am thinking that you ought to be feeling that way, times a thousand, and for a much longer time. Also, I truly feel like you are made of the awesome and if you want, I'll make you a medal to wear around that says that. :)


I just wanted to say that every time I ever look back on how I did something hard, I am thoroughly unimpressed with myself, too. I want to imagine I can do something hard serenely, or at least be stoic. Turns out I typically stomp my foot through the whole thing.

So even though I have never given birth this way (though one of my three did completely surprise me, and I hyperventilated in L&D, and told the nurse, "I can't have a baby today! I didn't pack my toothbrush!" to which she replied, "Honey, you aren't going to need a toothbrush for what you're about to do"), I can completely relate to the feeling of doing something significant and hard, and looking back and wishing I had handled it better.


I've given birth twice. My first labor was awful and I swear left me with PTSD for a bit. The second was better but I take no credit for that. Both times I said "I'm going to die" during labor and serously started bequeathing stuff. (I'm clearly not good at pain). And I have to say, I really don't understand why we women have this thing about labor - how we have to be all heroic and amazing and freaking Amazonian. For heaven's sake, woman, you pushed a CHILD out of your BODY in like 2 hours and 40 minutes?!!! That is A.MAZ.ING. I don't care how you did it or what sound you made. YOU. ROCK.

But also, I'd totally be doing what you are doing. Back to that "I don't know why we women do this..." I swear, men never would. But please, go easy on yourself. You literally just experienced Shock and Awe. (ha ha, I crack myself up. Shock - Labor. Awwww - it's a baby!) And now you have lots of hormones going crazy in your body and oh yeah, no sleep. Give yourself grace. You took part in a miracle. And you did GOOD.


Maggie, I felt like I was on a high all day after S was born, and then when I went home a day or two later, I felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck. Just totally wrecked. And I stayed like that for about a week I think. So give yourself a break. :) It's OK to feel that way.

Also, I second the person who commented you went to bed and then BAM four hours later new baby! It's shocking and not what you planned. We had decided to induce in a week, so I had gone home from the doctor, informed my office that I would be working two more days to wrap projects up, and then would start my maternity leave a few days before the induction (it was Labor Day weekend ironically). I set a meeting for 9 a.m. the next morning to close a project. S was born at 8:48 a.m. THE NEXT MORNING. I had to call and leave a voicemail at 1:40 a.m. on the way to the hospital between contractions to inform them I wasn't going to make it! Someone called me at 9:15 to see why I wasn't there (not the person I called), J had to inform them our baby had just arrived LOL. Babies do not care what you plan.

You are awesome and however your labor went down it doesn't matter. You did what it took to get you through and Emma is healthy and you are recovering. Hang in there! Hope Emma continues to be a good sleeper!

Life of a Doctor's Wife

It's not a dumb way to feel at all - it's real. I am hoping you still get your high, but I know nothing about childbirth.

But I WILL say, from an outsider's perspective, it sounds pretty amazing. Like you were doing exactly what you needed to do and you did it well.


I still think you did an amazing job. :) And I agree with HereWeGoAJen- I'm still feeling exhausted and confused by your early/fast/intense birth story, so I can't imagine how overwhelming it must be for you! Just remember, hormones make you crazy and don't worry too much about the fact that you're feeling guilty or confused or whatever. It's the evil hormones and they will diminish soon.


You aren't dumb for feeling that way! But know that you did what your body and your baby needed you to do (and that it was TOUGH!) but you did it well and you are strong and the end. I had a fast labor with Maya and had SOOOO many of the same feelings. Like my brain couldn't catch up with reality-- it was basically one big "WHAT THE &*#@ is going on?!" I'm pretty sure that I a) Cried, and b) was more worried about the Mooing sounds that I was making than about staying relaxed.

You are awesome! I hope she gives your boobs a break and continues to be a chilled out third baby.


I'm new here but I just have to comment. Though I planned to have an epidural for each of my three kids, I ended up delivering all of them with no pain medication (and the third one was induced - yikes!). There was no time, they all came too fast. I can SO relate to your first few paragraphs about how it feels like something happened to you and you just survived it. That's exactly how I feel. Everyone thinks I'm some kind of superwoman but I don't feel that way AT ALL. I've never really been able to put how I feel into words before, so thank you.


Not dumb Maggie. I remember reading your love language post and thinking oh it was just posted and then like the next morning there was a baby, according to the internet and even I was like WTH???? Also, I love, love, love so much of the writing that postpartum women write because it's just so SOMETHING that I can't really describe. I think the word might be honest, but it's more than that because you always right honestly it seems. Maybe brave is the word I am looking for because people are being honest about crazy times. I don't know....good stuff though as always. Hope you guys are faring well and I don't know if I said it yet but beautiful name and baby girl! Jack, Molly and Emma. Such a good trio of names and I bet a pretty good trio of kids too.


Trust me, you did do fabulously! And, I thought my 5 hour labor was fast...I asked my nurses if the rooms were sound proof because I too felt guilty about all the noise I was making, but they insisted it was all good. At least you didn't physically shove a nurse away from you. And, you have a beautiful baby to show for it along with a really fun (in retrospect) birth story.


Well I enjoyed it. I love birth stories, and Emma's ranks up there- I love your candor, I felt terrible about how I shared one of my birth stories because I seemed to complained a lot about how sick and hard it was. But it was my experience. Birthing is hardly all sunshine and roses, I think those women who gloss over that miss a serious opportunity for real personal understanding. Thank you for sharing- a million times over.


I understand the way you're feeling all the way around. My first labor was very, very long. My second was so short that when I called home to tell my mom that baby was here, she didn't believe me. And I never got the high the second time, which I felt guilty about somehow. It seems weird, but I think my long labor somehow prepared me for the idea that the baby was coming NOW. The really short one left me feeling like I wasn't prepared mentally. Silly, because you know they're coming for nine months, but maybe you understand. I had to think about my labors and talk about them for days and days, with everyone. It is an incredibly intense and life changing experience, and for it to be so short you have to give yourself time to process what happened. Be as kind to yourself as you would be if it was your daughter telling you her story. Sometimes that helps me. Take care.


Mags, I never got a high with either one. 1st was a loooooong birth with an epidural at the very end, but I still felt the pushing. 2nd was natural, kinda average in length (about 9 hrs). Both left me feeling shell-shocked. I have a high pain tolerance & I'm really good at relaxation techniques. DID NOT MATTER by the end, because that part hurt SO MUCH MORE than I ever expected. After she was born, they asked me if I felt awesome & strong...I was like, "Um, NO. I feel traumatized." I never really did change my tune.

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