Gabe Got Born Part 1

There is no longer any such thing as “bedtime” in my world. The days do not end, they just get dark and then get light again. Right now Kamel is talking to Gabe, who is having a bit of a meltdown over some possible gas. He is saying, “Are you the gas man? Are you the gas man Gabe?” Something about this, while I’m typing here in bed, with my sore nipples and weird loose back skin, makes me want to cry. And it’s not hormones. It’s just… sweetness. Pure sweetness. And I guess that’s what comes out of pregnancy… if you’re lucky, right? The sweetness.

So, last week I was due. On March 6th. And I spent the whole day pregnant. And this annoyed me because I had been pregnant for many moons and also because I hadn’t really ever believed my real due date was the 6th, I had always had a feeling it was more like March 1. So, when I waddled and hefted my bloated, sore, tired body into my check-up appointment on the SEVENTH I was annoyed. At this appointment the midwife told me I was 1.5 cm dilated and suggested she “sweep my membrane” … which is basically the most unsexy, fairly painful, lady handjob on the planet. But! the midwife told me that this special moment we shared most often prevents medical induction later on down the road… so I was down. After that, I had more of the period-like cramping I had been experiencing for a few days and some spotting – which was startling (yet promising!) because it had been a long time since I had seen anything like that.

The periodic cramping continued and I went to bed feeling a little womp and a little violated and truly expecting to go into full blown labor the following day at some point. At 4:00am the cramps woke me up enough that I thought we better keep track of them, just to see if this was IT. With a capital I-T.

(Aside: Kamel just said to Gabe… “You’re starting to smell like a hamster…” So I guess tomorrow we should maybe bath him a little. For whatever reason, this statement has sent me into a fit of giggles. Poor kid.)

So, Kamel got out his phone and started using his stop watch feature to time them. At first they were 5-7 minutes apart for an hour. At which point I called Labor/Delivery and told them what the haps was. At that point the contractions (which felt exactly exactly exactly like period cramps) were at a pain level of 7 out of 10. They told me to hang tight and labor as long as I could at home, take a shower, etc etc, and call them back when contractions were closer to 3-5 minutes apart. I said no problem! Will do! This is super easy! I got this down! I could hang out for many more hours! I took a shower, I blow-dried, I got dressed. At some point around the time when Kamel was wandering around without pants on and I was saying, “I really think you should put your pants on just in case we need to leave quickly…” the contractions shot up in intensity to an 8/9. At this point an hour had passed so I called the hospital and told them I wanted to come in. This is a photo of me, my bloated booty, and the hallway where L/D live. That is the door frame I so gratefully leaned against, not giving a single fuck who walked by, until I could move forward in slow, teeny baby steps, to my bed.


This was my labor/delivery room:

room photo

It really was not at all scary. I had my own private bathroom with an amazing shower, and the bed was comfortable, and there were big windows that looked out onto trees.

So… when I finally got into the room and they checked me, I was only a little over 2cm dilated. They thought about sending me back home, but told me to go walk around for 2 hours instead. So, after I had gowned up, and thrown my sweatpants on underneath, Kamel and I went to the waiting room and did little laps while watching the Today Show. By then it was just barely 7am. Well! About 20 minutes after that a big family came to use the waiting room for… waiting. And I was having terrible contractions so we decided to head back to the room. Not before I had a chance to scare the shit out of some poor woman by squatting down in the hallway, while a wave of insane pain washed over me, in my attempts to not puke or pass out though! I could not WAIT to get back to the bed where I could writhe in my tortured body without feeling like I was going to hit the floor. Although, at this point I kind of did feel like a failure for not being able to walk for 2 hours… it had been maybe 20 minutes. I also kind of felt weird about how painful my contractions were paired with the reactions of the nurses. They were kind of like, “First child? Only a little over 2 cm? Yeah this is going to take forever…” and even though I was going crazy with pain, they were not all that impressed by the contraction reports that were being printed whenever I was hooked up to the monitor (a strap around your belly, it is actually kind of cozy).

Well, joke was on them, because by 8-9am when they finally checked me again, I was already at 4.5 cm! My nurse was so excited! And so was I! because this meant I could get an epidural.

Now then… I went into this super open to lots of options, and I really did think that I was prepared for natural or not natural or whatever. But … for ME, this was the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. Every contraction was like absolute bone crushing torture. And I have had horrible periods… horrible cramps… but these? These made me cry and beg and … were horrible horribleness. HORRIBLE IN BIG CAPS. I am not trying to justify epidural use… I am cool with whatever, I was just incredibly SHOCKED by how much it hurt. So if you go natural… you are my freaking hero. I bow down to your pain tolerance, please never challenge me to a fight, I will run in the other direction.

The epidural… the hardest part about the epidural was that I had to sit up while it was hooked up to my back. No, it was not a giant needle like in the movies, it was some contraption that was taped all over my back that I do not fully understand (NOR DO I WANT TO) because it is gross and I have a thing with that. But here is the deal, when you are having the worst cramps of your life ohmygodkillme, sitting on the edge of a bed with your shoulders hunched is the worst place to be evereverever. And! On top of it! Having to be super super still because – you know – being paralyzed is an optional outcome. This was my only breakdown moment. Me, sitting, knowing that I was going to have a contraction every 5 min or so, and Mr. Fancy Drugs Man telling me this would take 10-15 minutes to complete. The nurse and Kamel were both in front of me and I was crying, asking them, “How?! How am I going to do this? I can’t! I can’t do this. I cannot sit here and have a contraction, I cannot.” And then I had one and it was horrible and dude hadn’t even started with the important parts yet! And I squirmed and Kamel held me and I cried. And when it was over I got super still and prayed Mr. Fancy Drugs Man would hurry the fuck up. And then I had another contraction… And this time I couldn’t move, but all I remember is Kamel whispering to me, “breath, just breath, you got this, you are doing such a good job, you got this you got this you got this.” And I did my best to clear my mind and think about all of you guys (truly) for cheering me on and being excited for us. And my breathing, and knowing it would end eventually. And then it was over and Mr. Fancy Drug Man gave me a small dose before hooking me up properly to the machine and I waited to not feel like I was being torn apart from the inside. (If you have questions about what it feels like to have an epidural, leave them in comments and I’ll fill you in.)

This is where today’s portion of the show is going to end, because – to be honest I wrote half of this super late last night and half of this this morning. But because BABY PICTURES, I will leave you with this reality:


This little man has been sitting in my lap while I type over him to get this post out to you before lunch time today. He is feeling a little thug life, a little fabulous, a little down and dirty. But I promise the best part of the story (except for the part where I finally stop writhing in pain, because… YES!) is in part 2. Where I shock the mother effing shit out of my nurses with my uterus of pure power and might. More later!

54 thoughts on “Gabe Got Born Part 1”

  1. Oh Lauren! This post totally made me cry (in the great way). Congratulations to you and you newly expanded family! So, so happy for you all.

  2. My obsessive refreshing has paid off!

    Also, the image of you writing with Gabe in your lap just kind of encapsulates you perfectly.

    See all three of you in three weeks!!!

  3. “Aside: Kamel just said to Gabe… “You’re starting to smell like a hamster…”

    Omg this cracked me up.

    So many congrats to you guys. Gabe is adorable (and I say that about VERY few newborns), you are a frickin superwoman, and Kamel clearly wins the “husband/dad of the week” award.

  4. oh my gracious!! congratulations to the max!! birthing a baby is some serious shit! and your son is aDORable! also, you are amazing to be bogging already! thanks for much for the update!!

  5. I was so jazzed to read this! You’re a badass and he’s beautiful and I imagine that the three of you will have some of the very best conversations over the years!!

  6. Ohh so so so happy. You made it girl. And you know… I also wish / hope I will be able to take natural, but I also am very much grateful for analgesics / anesthesia, so we will see how I feel when that happens.
    Kamel’s comments are the best ! Are you the gas man, you are starting to smell like hamster 😉 I was literally laughing, Mark had to come and check out what was up. That kid is gonna have a super fun life!
    Lauren, and you are back writing beautifully. So exciting. You lucky parents 🙂 Congratulations for the millionth time (and thanks to Kamel for almost live-posting photos on Saturday, I was in the UK for a class and it made my day to see your pics).

    1. hahahahaha thank you so much for your constant support Amanda!!! I can’t wait until I can hear about your own unique, amazing experience. 🙂

  7. YES Lauren – so many congratulations to you and Kamel and welcome to adorable baby Gabe, hamster smell and all! Delighted for all of you and hugely impressed that you are back to the blog already.

    Selfishly, from all of us hoping to be doing this terrifying giving birth malarkey one of these days, thank you so much for (a) all the detail and (b) making it not sound scary. Hard, yes. Uber-challenging, yes. But knowledge diffuses fear and that is what your sharing gives us.

    1. You are so so welcome! I think if the western culture was more open about babies and women’s health and issues, none of it would be scary… if the culture could just shift a little bit knowledge would be powerful instead of ahhhhhhhhhhh!

  8. Eeeeee HI GABE!! He is SO STINKING CUTE! I cant even imagine how much mind power it took to have to not move a muscle while enduring so much pain. Cant. even. imagine. I can not wait to hear about the rest (and your badass uterus!!) <3

  9. “Where I shock the mother effing shit out of my nurses with my uterus of pure power and might.”

    I love hearing the pride in your voice about this experience. You can do anything.

    Kamel’s comments are hilarious. “You smell like a hamster” should definitely go in the ol’ baby book.

  10. The fact that you gave birth on International Women’s day made this whole story even more magical. Excited to hear about the magical powers of your uterus!

    Congratulations guys, you had the cutest old man baby ever ever!

    1. That is seriously one of my favorite facts about the day. I can’t wait for time to write part 2 so that I can get to something relevant in that area. !!!

  11. My heart!!!

    Lauren I’m so incredibly proud of you. I’m so happy for you both and I can’t wait to hold my beautiful nephew in my arms.

    Love u all.

  12. Ahhhh I totally cried on the part where you said we helped pull you through! Seriously?! That makes me feel pretty awesome even though I technically didn’t really do a damn thing. Women are amazing – how are we able to do this with our bodies?! Blows. My. Mind. I can’t wait to hear part two!!!! Gabriel is such a cutie!!! Thug life. haha.

    1. You guys did!! Between contractions I would check my phone and everyone was so kind and twitter was so supportive and even though I couldn’t respond to everyone, I read every single thing everyone was saying and sometimes when I couldn’t do that Kamel would read things to me. And it was so incredibly helpful. So thank you! And thank you to everyone!!

  13. Is it wrong that I keep coming back to look at that photo of him all snuggled up with his arms crossed? So dang cute.

  14. Congrats lady…you made it to the other side. I can’t wait for part two. While I don’t think that children are in the cards for me (just not interested really), that doesn’t mean that I don’t love hearing/reading the real life stories from women my age. In case, you know, I ever decide to change my mind. You have an adorable baby, and sleep will come back eventually. Enjoy this time with your husband and your new baby, because, you’ve obviously earned it 🙂

  15. I’m not sure what an epidural feels like, though apparently I’ve had two of them. I sat for 45 minutes, labouring on the edge of a bed while someone who I’m sure was not a fully qualified anesthesiologist tried to administer one. In fact, she did it twice. And neither worked. Biggest disappointment of my life.

  16. TEARS. Oh Lauren, you are so blessed! Thank you for a) posting this so quickly (seriously!) and b) sharing so much during your pregnancy. And yes to the info about epidurals – all the details please, they terrify me! Little Gabe is so precious lying in your lap! Also thank you to Kamel for the updates 🙂

    1. So! Maybe there are several different ways that they can be administered? Because there was no big giant needle to the spine for me… but that is what I fully expected based on movies and other people’s stories I guess? I didn’t watch (obvi) but from what Kamel said (and what I could experience) they put a catheter into your spine (totally painless experience, minus the contractions and a little pinch at the beginning when the good doctor was numbing me and such.Then it released the medicine for the duration of my labor/delivery and I had an option to push a button to dose myself (but only to a certain extent every 15 minutes or so…. it doesn’t let you over do it.) And the medicine was more noticeable on my left side vs my right side. I could totally move my right leg, and I could totally move both feet but I couldn’t lift my left leg. And it mostly just feels like your legs are asleep. It is a little tingly but that’s it. And I could still feel when I had contractions, but I was no longer in insane pain. And I never felt trapped or like I suddenly couldn’t walk or anything like that (even though I couldn’t walk). It was totally benign. 🙂 🙂

        1. Haha. Really? because it still terrifies me!! I feel like I’d rather deal with the pain than the terror of an epidural. It’s a weird thing I have. But, I also completely understand your decision to get the epidural and have no doubts that I may end up finding the strength to overcome my fear based on the pain level.

  17. Woohoo! Awesome 🙂
    I’m also hoping for pain-killer free labour, but have also always wanted to have the baby in a place where I can get said pain-killers, hence my specific hospital choice (the other local one cant do epidurals or c-sections).
    Cant wait to hear more about your birth process. You sound like you’ve come out of it really well!

    1. Yes!! I think option is key because you just don’t know what you don’t know. Every labor is different, every baby is different, every lady is different. That is one major thing I have learned after reading and reading and reading and then going through it on my own… you just don’t know until you get there.

  18. Querida Lauren…. la historia comienza ahora!!!!
    Como me hiciste reir y llorar y reir y llorar, sólo imaginando a mi niño apoyándote, susurrandote y alentándote para ver a su hermoso hijo.
    Que Dios los bendiga, hoy y siempre y como dice Regina, me muero por que llegue el día de conocer a mi adorado sobrino. Gracias por hacerme TIA-ABUELA!
    Los amo y estoy muy orgullosa de ti y estoy segura que con la ayuda de Dios serás una excelente madre; besos, abrazos y bendiciones.

  19. Lauren, he’s GORGEOUS! Congratulations to you both and I’ll look forward to Part II when the pain stops…. go you! Amazing!

  20. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us! I can’t wait to hear the second half. The first half had me on the edge of my seat. Love how to started with a quiet moment of sweetness shared just between the three of you. So amazing.

  21. I’m just now reading your blog with my little one snuggled on my chest….and I think it’s like 1am. You know….
    Anyways, I was a little disappointed that I had to have a Csection, but reading this made me feel like escaped near death!!!!! Haha ;

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