Friday, October 21, 2011


How to Deliver a Baby Without Pain Meds If You're Not a Spiritual Person But Are Really Geeky

1. Hire a doula who doesn't set your teeth on edge.

2. Find a hospital that has tubs. Or, whatever, have the baby at home and listen to people bitch at you for the rest of your life.


4. Get in the motherfucking tub.

5. Pretend you are Muad'Dib, and if you take your hand out of the pain box, the Reverend Mother will stick a poisoned dagger in your neck.

6. Pretend you are a character in The Mists of Avalon, and your baby was conceived at the Beltane Fires.

7. Make those weird noises you saw in the birthing videos.

8. Give up, ask for drugs.

9. Let them check you first, find out you are nine centimeters dilated, decide to power through.

10. Sit on a toilet. Lose all inhibitions. Headbutt your husband repeatedly while naked, moaning and sitting on the toilet.

11. Transfer to the bed. Start pushing. Pushing feels good!

12. Pushing feels less good after three hours of pushing. Begin making quiet mewling noises. Imagine your baby is going to weigh twelve pounds.

13. Midwife suggests "just a drop, just a TINY DROP of pitocin."

14. Let them put pitocin in you. It doesn't hurt more with pushing contractions, it just makes them more efficient.

15. Be informed that you are SO CLOSE, they can see a dime-sized portion of baby's head.

16. Be super underwhelmed. Have seen babies' heads before. Much head left to go.

17. Baby's stuck under your pubic bone. Be told to think about pushing the baby UP and out.

18. You've already pooped. You've been pooping for hours. You're over it.

19. Poop more. No one cares!

20. Baby almost out. "Push through the burning! Push through it! It's the only way!"

21. Grab husband's arm, whisper dramatically "Death is my gift."

22. Midwives look alarmed, have not watched a lot of Buffy.


24. Baby weighs under seven pounds. This is impossible.

24. Three stitches. Whatever. BFD.

25. I mean, they give you lidocaine for the stitches. And then a turkey sandwich. It's a good sandwich.

26. Brag to everyone you see, say it was totally worth it, which it kind of was, do not commit to doing it a second time.

Bonus: Next day, your baby sleeps for twenty hours and refuses to wake up to eat. Pediatric resident says, sympathetically, "was she a c-section?" Throw nipple cream at pediatric resident.

231 Comments / Post A Comment


Mazel Tov! What a cutie. I can only imagine the crazy shit that would come out of my mouth during labor...


Even the astounding cuteness of your baby cannot undo the amount to which your description affirms my intention to NEVER have this happen to me. Congratulations, you are far braver than I and it really is a very cute small human you have there.


@rayray Yes this.


@rayray This, all over the place. Yurgh. Good job, though, Nicole!


@rayray Did you hear about the marathoner who ran a marathon and gave birth the same day? If you are in amazing shape with no complications, its not uncommon for the kid to pop right out. I'll just convince myself that is how it's going to go for me... la la la I can't hear you (and no I am not a marathon runner).


@DrFeelGood Yes, I did!!! I would much rather run a marathon than give birth though.


@DrFeelGood No joke, this happened to a (distance-runner) friend of mine. It was baby #2, and she went into the hospital, and fell asleep, and then woke up because she wanted to turn over. And as she did, out came the baby. I'm still wrapping my mind around how this is even possible.

RK Fire

@DrFeelGood: I have a somewhat similar story to share on this: I have a friend who is super fit/active and she gave birth to her first (and so far, only) baby in about 45 minutes. I met her because she is the head of the local gaelic football and camogie teams and I played the former for a season.

She returned to practice 5 weeks after giving birth. (She was only playing goalie, but still.) She started running again a week before that. I think she is both insane and awesome. Her baby is now over a year old, and is constantly wearing UnderArmour clothes all the time. (My friend is a sales rep for UA.)


@rayray Resounding THIS.

Congratulations Nicole!!


@rayray I am super fit (or was at the time of my first birth), and I did not have a easy, quick birth (though I did have a super fast recovery. I felt physically fine with in a couple of days). Each woman's body is unique, and I don't think there is anyway you can predict what kind of birth you will have. I know I thought I was super tough, so the pain wouldn't be a big issue if my wimpy friends could do natural child birth. Hahahahahaha! Not only is the way we deal with pain totally unique, but also how much pain we will feel is totally unique. You just can't compare yourself to anyone.


@Mila And I have a few friends who are NOT super fit, and had easy and quick births. One thing that I've heard is that the biggest indicator of how your birth will be is how your mother did when she gave birth -- I don't know what that means for me, because she apparently had a terrible labor with me and then my little sister slipped right out.


@thebestjasmine That's decided then! With both me and my brother, my mum went into labour on friday night and we were born on monday morning. And both my mother and I are relatively fit and have giant birthing hips.


@rayray Me too. I was super fit and just knew I'd be one of those stories you hear about someone who went to the hospital, sighed loudly and gave birth. Instead, I was one of those people who got put on bedrest for the last 4 weeks, both times, and had normal, fairly long, non-miraculous births both times. (Then had boobs so ginormous for 6 months that just thinking about running or step aerobics made them hurt.)

Nicole Cliffe

@DrFeelGood My husband said afterwards that birth looked like a marathon you're not able to train for, and that they won't let you quit (or walk) partway through.


@Nicole Cliffe Your husband must be some kind of genius or wizard or something! I have run marathons and given birth and birth is harder, hands down. It may be the ONLY thing harder, but it is definitely harder.

And many congrats to you! Well done. I can sympathize--I had to push for 3 hours, too, and face down my biggest fear (episiotomy! aaah!) but it turned out, as you say, to be NBD. Plus you get a little person out of the deal. Hooray!

:Cinnamon Girl:

@rayray I've actually heard how your sister's labor goes is the best measure for how your labor will be. Sucks if you a) don't have a sister or, b) are the first sister to give birth.

Roaring Girl

@lolobishop Maaaaaaaaaaan I hope not. I don't know if I want kids, but I know I don't want one continuous contraction for eight hours, and then they have to go in with the salad spoons. That is emphatically not in my birth plan.

Amanda McNeil@twitter

@rayray Oh christ, my mom almost died giving birth to me. Yet another checkmark in the "reasons never to give birth" column.


@rayray: It's not the width of your pelvic girdle, it's the width underneath that determines how easy it is for the baby to pop out. Somehow I got a good size former and a tiny size latter, and was pretty damn' psyched to have a c-section.


@rayray i just found out im pregnant, im fucking terrified


@rayray Yes, this. But she's adorable, and congratulations, Nicole! Much health and happiness to all of you!


@thebestjasmine I do not trust it! My mum is little little tiny, and had five babies with 6 hr labors (yes, start to finish!) for each, natural, at home. This is awesome for me. HOWEVER, my mum ALSO never had menstrual cramps. EVER. And I get them so badly they send me into shock and I have to go to the ER and mewl on a bed in the hallway for hours shivering through repeated heated blankets and begging for moar drugs.

Chesty LaRue

@pollykettle Congrats, lady. I'm sure you will have a normal, long, non-miraculous birth, but hope you try to turn over in your sleep and the baby falls out.

mc coolfriend

@pollykettle Congratulations. And maybe it feels good to hear that they give you the option to arrange weeks in advance for an epidural if you want it? I used to think stories of "you're too dilated, it's too late...." were deliberate ploys on behalf of nurses and doctors to force natural childbirth....but then age and experience taught me that there was more paranoia than truth to that particular fear. You don't have to feel a thing and they will totally condone it.


Congrats on adorable baby and awesome Dune references!!! Probably more congrats on baby, but I feel both are commendable.

17th Floor

@lil_bobbytables ZOMG! I cracked myself up in a dental chair high on laughing gas saying, "The Tooooooth! The Toooooth!" And then it was funny because I knew the laughing gas was making it funny. Meta Dune experience. I'm glad it can be applicable to child birthing as well. CUTE BABIEEE!


@17th Floor

i did that too!

Four Horsemeals of the Eggporkalypse

oh god this has done nothing to convince me that giving birth isn't the most horrifying thing ever.

Four Horsemeals of the Eggporkalypse

@Four Horsemeals of the Eggporkalypse that said, congratulations for doing what I am too much of a weenie to contemplate doing, and producing an adorrrrrrable baby besides :)


@Four Horsemeals of the Eggporkalypse I second that. It sounds SO SCARY.


Every single thing rayray just said x2


"Be super underwhelmed. Have seen babies' heads before. Much head left to go."
And I cannot contain my giggles.



@Maria Love this part! Bet Nicole won't ever look at a baby's head the same way again. I'm all for drugs - and since I had a c-section, that's all I'll get if I have another. I am jealous of the sandwich immediately after. With a C-section, I didnt get to eat for another day.


@Maria I held my sister's leg while she gave a drug-free, 27 hour birth to her first behbeh earlier this year, and when I saw his head crowning I just thought I STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW THE REST FITS OUT OF THERE. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN??!?!!


@madamvonsassypants Speaking from experience, the head is the ONLY hard part. Everything else is squishy except for that big skull. It was like, much, much pushing the get on the head, and then the rest just sort of spilled out after. It is sort of a pet peeve of mine that people equate baby weight with difficulty of birth. Fat is very squishy. It is all about head circumference.


i think that panic stage where you ask for drugs is hardwired. i had a unassisted homebirth with my second child (after a bad hosp expierience with #1) and even though i KNEW to expect it, right before the pushing stage i freaked out and demanded drugs from my husband and was actually getting ready to get in the car. i stayed home and made it through, but it was close.

i'm jealous of your three stitches! that's some good pushing and stretching!


Athene Numphe@twitter

@LeafySeaDragon I had my birth at a birthing center. I believe I said something about being insane to do this without drugs while I was in the middle of stuff. But it all worked out just fine.


@LeafySeaDragon There's some technical term for this that I can't remember. Apparently many/most women hit a panic stage where they say something like "I can't do this" or, in my friend's case "I'm not ready to be a mother!" Since this is usually a good sign of birth being imminent, it was a little too late at that point.


@LeafySeaDragon Is the word you're looking for transition?


congrats Nicole, amazing job.



Let's all talk about how we were born. Did anyone else get vacuumed out upside down?


@Esther I love these stories! My mom's OB insisted on seeing her in the office for me, before he would admit her to labor and delivery. She had stayed at home for awhile, and I was her second... so by the time she got into labor and delivery, the doctor literally caught me with one hand as I basically popped out like a grape.

Years later, his wife's body was found in the trunk of his car, good times!


@DrFeelGood twist ending! Is this M Night Shyamalan?


@beanie Hmm no but maybe I'll option it! :)


@Esther Nope, apparently after 36 hours of labor it was determined my head was much larger than the space between my mom's pelvic bones and c-section it was.
I really did have a ginormous head. Looking at baby pictures, I'd swear it hasn't grown an inch since. Just got more hair.


@Esther I have a scar on my face from forceps! Apparently, did not want to come out.


@Maria The vacuum gave me a cone head for the first week of my life.


@Ophelia I spent my first few weeks in the world with a huge black eye and have astigmatism in my left eye because I was stuck and facing the wrong way and the doctor tried to grab what he thought was the back of my head, nope, it was my EYE SOCKET.


@rayray Awww, honey!

Four Horsemeals of the Eggporkalypse

@Esther my brother: shoulders too broad to deliver vaginally, my mom refused the forceps and had emergency c-section instead. me: mom said, "eff that," scheduled a c-section and had uneventful surgery on appointed day.


@Ophelia I might add that I am fine now, except for needing glasses. I think it was more distressing for my mum! And my dad, down whose brand new shirt I pooped not 2 hours later.


@Esther I was an emergency home birth. It was my mom's second baby, and I don't know if she didn't think she was far enough along to go to the hospital or what, but by the time she wanted to leave it was too late. My dad said there was a splash and he was covered in goo "like Ghostbusters" and then he caught me. Thanks, Dad.


@Esther Love these stories! My mom is a super cool hippie type and she had me at home on the bedroom floor while the cats watched. All natural, super quick, and I was 9lbs6oz! I know because there are... a lot of pictures. >.<


@Esther: My mom had a little rash on the inside of her thigh which the doctor quickly decided was herpes. The doctor suggested she have a C-section to avoid the possibility of me rubbing against her leg then being smothered in the herp. So she did! She never did actually have herpes, but whatevs.


@Esther My Dad (who is a doctor) delivered me at 7:01 am while mom my cried and said "You said I would be done by seven, you lieeeeeed!" And my dad said "Honey, look, she's beautiful [False-- bruised, mashed up conehead that was hidden for the next few days by a santa hat.] I think I just fell in love."


@DrFeelGood HAHA what?! That is the greatest (and worst, obvs) ending to a story that involves the phrase "popped out like a grape" I've ever heard.


@Esther I was born in the car, so no vacuum for me.


@Esther My brother was born in the elevator at the hospital after 45 minutes of labor. I was born in the doorway of the delivery room after an hour of labor. My oldest brother took a whole three hours to be born, but that's because he was the first. My mom was apparently born to breed. (But stopped after three because we were wretched, horrible, messy children who looked and fought like Dickensian urchins until we were in our 20s.)


@Gnatalby it's terrible but 'a bruised, mashed up conehead' has just made me laugh myself to tears while naked cos i have just come out the shower


@Esther My brother in law's shoulders were too wide to deliver vaginally too, except my MIL's doctor had her go ahead and push him out anyway. He was born with a broken collarbone, poor little bug.


@Esther I was my mom's first and she went into the hospital to have me an impressive seven different times over the month of December only to be sent home disappointed and with a baby still inside of her again and again. Finally, when the due date had come and gone and I was still just chilling out in there, her doctor told her it was time to schedule a c-section, because, and it's possible he didn't use these words, but my mother employs them in the story regardless, "this bitch just ain't movin'." My favorite part of this story is that she got to choose between December 31st and January 2nd, and picked the 31st, giving me the way cooler birthday, and allowing me to always be the youngest person in my class, which I've thoroughly enjoyed. Of my two siblings who came after, only my brother was able to be delivered in a relatively quick, uneventful, vaginal birth. Baby sis and I both required several false alarm hospital trips and an eventual forcible, surgical removal, which my mom will rightly tell you was a sign of how much more difficult her girls would be than her shy, obedient, middle child.


@Esther I did! After being two weeks overdue, my mom was in labor for over 30 hrs, and they finally inserted a suction cup, clapped it on my head, and pulled me out.
I guess this is not the thing now...but if I ever give birth I'm definitely going to use pain drugs. And also drink at my bachelorette party. You know, w/o working out first.

Gnome Vagina

@Esther I have a dent in my head from where the doctor used forceps. The hilarious part is my mom is an OB/GYN, who frequently meets with all sorts of superstitions from patients that are utter nonsense, and apparently at the time all her friends warned her that the dent in my head from the forceps would be permanent, which she waved off with an arch "What nonsense."

And I still have it! It's actually kind of pretty, I think - it's on my right side, between my ear and my eye, about two inches long. It's shallow enough that if I don't point it out you don't notice it, but even once you do I think it looks kind of like an elegant dimple. Or like my head is off-key. But whatever - Superstitions: 1, My Mom: A million.


@Esther My mom was in labor for DAYS with me. I was 4 weeks late. She lost 5 GALLONS of blood. When the doctor finally cut her open and extracted me, she said I had 'shredded her uterus and organs,' like I was 'clawing to get out'. She was kept in the hospital for weeks after giving birth, as her organs healed from my clawing (or whatever). I did, in fact, ruin her insides, though, and she was never again able to carry a child.


@Katiesaurous: Women's bodies contain about 1.2 gallons of blood.


@laurel After Katie is done with them.


@laurel Although it is possible to lose more than your body contains if you are transfused.


@rayray: Yes, but would they give her 40 units of type-matched or 0- (that's about 4 complete volume transfusions, which are rare as I understand it) before resorting to c-section?

Extremely dangerous hemorrhage can of course occur during labor but it's not cause by the fetus clawing its way out.

Sorry to belabor (um) the point, but spreading misinformation about reproductive health is bad and wrong.


@laurel Yes, literally, my mother was transfused as she was in labor. Yes, literally, they went through five gallons of blood. Of course I didnt (literally) claw my way out. But when they eventually did do the c-section, the doctor did remark to my mother (or so she tells it), that her uterus was 'in shreds' and it looked like I 'tried to claw my way out'.

This was in a military hospital, 30 years ago.. There was only an OB resident on duty, and the actual OB on call had told the resident that he shouldnt call with any silly questions, so the resident tried to soldier (ha!) through. Eventually, though, the OB was called in, and a c-section was done.

In the end, I was a 10lb baby with a 16inch head. I was a monster. Not a clawing monster, but a monster all the same. I dont think that's 'spreading misinformation'. I would assume that most of us realize that fetuses dont claw their ways out of their mothers and that the word 'claw' was a bit of hyperbole


@rayray Whenever the local blood bank is doing their "We are desperate for AB+ please everyone come in and let us bleed you" campaigns, it's because of one guy whose surgery went wrong or who got in a car crash or a lady whose delivery hit the skids and they got all the blood and left 80% of it on the OR floor. I think the local record (of people who've agreed to go on record) is a lady who went through 2 gallons of transfused blood during an especially troubled birth.


@wharrgarbl I don't doubt it. I used to work in a hospital path lab, right next door to the transfusion department, so I know someone who has had an extremely bad accident or other medical issue can go through a lot of blood, and we're the ones who process the requests. 5 gallons does sound like an awwwful lot to me, but I'm no doctor. I thought I'd just point out that you can lose more than you have.

mc coolfriend

@Katiesaurous The addition of this story to your username actually DID convince me you are some sort of raptor. My understanding of reproductive health is stymied thank you very much. I'll be on Yahoo Answers sorting it all out all night now.


@J Keems@twitter My mother was also a hippie - but the rock-mass, no drugs kind. My birth was SUPPOSED to be a home birth, and there are lots and lots of photos with many people all sitting in a circle on bean bags. There was some drama and, depending on whose story you hear, the midwife panicked, or the doctor in charge high handedly called us into hospital because it was taking too long because my head was coming out wonky. Forceps: wonky conehead.

I wonder if that's why I hate being the centre of attention?

My sister was a fairly uneventful home birth. Well, I think. I mean, I was there, but I was watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Births are boring when you're seven.


@wharrgarbl A friend of mine was in a car accident and went through 81 pints of blood. Luckily she comes from an enormous family and they all came down to shock trauma and donated when the blood bank ran dry.

T A@twitter

@fannylemon Also, if you're born on the 31st, your parents can take the tax deduction for the entire previous year.

Elizabeth @twitter

I love this! Brings me right back to delivering my own two. After both of them, I vowed "never again" - I imagine it's like how you'd feel after running a marathon. Such a rush. Congrats!


@Elizabeth @twitter Having run four marathons myself, I can confirm that that is indeed EXACTLY what happens after running a marathon. Birthing a child sounds much, much harder though.


@cmcm Hahahaha, only a marathoner would say this. Having a baby seems so so much better than running a marathon.


Wait, there's pooping during childbirth?


@QuiteAimable http://jezebel.com/5833709/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-pooping-during-childbirth


@QuiteAimable Seriously, right? THIS is the shit they should tell you about in Health class.


@QuiteAimable Oh hon, that's not even the half of it. The other half being vomiting. Also, not giving a shit about who sees you stark naked, vomiting, crapping, shivering, muttering "fuckfuckfuckfuck." But then you have a tiny person, and hopeless love. And some stitches.


@Ophelia Oh this is totally not cool. I knew about the vomiting and about the "cutting" open of the vajay-jay, but the pooping is new to me. Reason number 15 bazillion I will not be giving birth.


@Ophelia My health class teacher DID tell us. I think it worked well for a teenage audience. "Oh my god! You poop?!?! No unprotected sex for me!"


@polina The pooping AND the cutting are reasons I am genuinely scared that I'll hit a certain age and get all 'I want a bayyybeeee' and forget that the sane thing to do would be to wear a full body condom and take 50 birth control pills every time I even *see* a penis.


@rayray Speaking to you from that age, it's rough.


@QuiteAimable Lots and lots of pooping. I mean, you are pushing, it is all the same muscle groups down there. In fact, I think if you intentionally try to poop, the pushing goes faster, because you really know how work your pooping muscles, and it just gets everything moving along. Birth is an exercise in being unself-conscious.


@rayray it's weird and creepy and horrifying because my first thought upon reading all of the above is "Hey... I think I could do that".



@QuiteAimable Either it's not weird and creepy, or we're both weird and creepy, because I had the same thought. As far as birthing stories go, this one is not too bad!


@franceschances I'm pretty sure I'm weird and creepy.

Nicole Cliffe

@bashe THE VOMITING. I had just *left* the hospital, because my labor was insufficiently active, started puking halfway home, turned around and went back in. Midwives love when you vomit, it makes you dilate! Thanks, vomit.


@QuiteAimable I've given birth and I didn't even know about the pooping.


@klaus They don't tell you about it while it's happening. I think they don't want to distract you with thinking about your runny poo all over the table.

On the other hand, I am the most vomity person in the world, and I did not throw up once during an 18-hour induced labor during which the epidural did not work.


@Nicole Cliffe Yeah vomit! Congrats on your beautiful little one!


@Mila That makes sense to me. Sometimes there's pooping in super intense g spot orgasms (um, TMI? I HAVE NO BOUNDARIES ANYMORE I CAN'T TELL) because it's basically all the same muscles, and you can't REALLY let all the way go without... letting all the way go. This is relevant because the Gspot muscles are also the pushing muscles. I maintain that that's why there's an analgesic effect from gspot orgasms. Am I the only one who can't feel anything from the armpits down after good sex?

Yes? Only one?

Ok, then.


ahahaha this is such a great birth story! Congratulations! I'm super psyched to power through my own someday childbirth via Dune references now.


I very much want to have a natural childbirth and I am so proud and impressed and amazed that you did it - you're giving me (and I'm sure a lot of others) so much motivation. AND I love Dune. Congratulations on your beautiful baby!


@bodinea YOU CAN DO IT!

Stacy Worst

But why though? Naive question maybe, but I'm curious... why no drugs?

Congratulations, your baby is beautiful. Happiness and health to your family.


@Sister Administrator not having had a baby, this is speculation, but...I'm kind of claustrophobic, and the idea of a drug that makes me not be able to get up and walk around, but still be totally conscious, makes me freak. the. hell. out. I'm still on the fence between pain and panic, but...


@Sister Administrator In short, medical interventions (drugs, etc.) can lead to complications, unnecessary c-sections, etc.* For the long version, watch The Business of Being Born, where you can a) learn more about what having a baby is all about and b) watch Ricki Lake give birth in a bathtub. For real. It's on Netflix Instant.

* - Note that I said "can." No hate and much love for the mommas who did what needed doing and had those drugs/c-sections/whatever got the job done.


@MmeLibrarian Watching Business of Being Born took me from "I'd like an epidural in month two of pregnancy" to BIRTHING CENTERS ONLY NEED APPLY. The Mr and I are talking about getting pregnant within a year and this is what I'm all up on: http://www.birthingwithhypnosis.com/


@Sister Administrator I have a fear of not being able to feel anything, and I would worry that I wouldn't be able to stop panicking about that. That would be one reason I wouldn't want the drugs. Might not be rational, but it's a weird fear of mine. But yeah, I'm down for people doing whatever they want birthing-wise. Drugs, no drugs, second thoughts of drugs, etc.


@Sister Administrator Google "cascade of intervention" - basically, once you get going down that path, it can lead to even more medical intervention, which lead to c-section, which can cause a ton of struggles post birth (nursing problems, difficult maternal recovery, some health problems for the baby). That said, I had an epidural with my first birth, (after 12 very intense hours) and LOVED it. Maybe loved it more than the baby itself in that moment. No regrets.

Stacy Worst

@Mila Ho boy. I did Google, and point taken. Gosh, it's all so terrifying.

Nicole Cliffe

@bodinea DO IT. Also, I decided to go drug-free after "Pushed" by Jennifer Block. I assumed "The Business Of Being Born" would be super lame, and then I cried hysterically when Ricki had her baby in the tub.

Roaring Girl

@Nicole Cliffe That makes me feel so much better. I was super happy I watched it alone, because I was not expecting to start crying and snotting everywhere.


@Nicole Cliffe RIGHT? The births in that film are beyond moving. I just love the idea of not treating birth like we treat the removal of tumors.


Somehow this managed to bring up everything that terrifies me about childbirth without terrifying me. I guess I was too busy laughing. #21 and 22!


@SarahP I scream-laughed at #21!

Petit Pois

Oh man! It makes it hard to pretend I'm working when I'm silently shaking (with laughter) at my desk...
That said, ARRRRRGH the cuteness! Congratulations!


This is eeriely like this week's episode of Up All Night. Minus the doctor being Dr. Mr. Joan Holloway-Harris.
You definitely deserve some kind of massive baked good for doing that without painkillers. I hope the husband provided one for you.

Nicole Cliffe

@Megan Patterson@facebook I was so cracked out and high on life afterwards that I thanked *him* for knocking me up. WTF?

:Cinnamon Girl:

@Nicole Cliffe You thanked him. Ha! I wish I could double-like this.




I love you for #21.


Best birth story every.

Congratulations, Nicole and Mr. Industrious!


Awesome birth story, and ohmigaaawd your baby is too cute. Congrats! :)

Dang, now I'm really re-evaluating whether or not I want ALL THE PAIN MEDICATION when I have my baby in around 12 weeks. (12 weeks!) I mean, that seems like a no-brainer at first, but then I saw The Business of Being Born and I read stuff like this, and jeez.


This article is making me realize that apparently I'm getting about ready to have a baby, because my overall reaction (other than CONGRATULATIONS!!!) was that it doesn't sound all that bad, really, as long as you get a baby at the end.
A few years ago my reaction would have been much more similar to the ohgodnonevers upthread.


@ormaisonogrande And frankly, this (exactly this!!) is what is freaking me out even more.


@ormaisonogrande I'm 12 weeks today and, while my brain used to work like some of those upthread, I find myself feeling weirdly resigned and calm about the whole thing right now. Hormones? Don't know. Don't care. It's working and I'm inclined to just accept it.


@MmeLibrarian Congratulations to you!


@MmeLibrarian that's a good thing! I am 22 weeks along with my second, and it's nice not to be so worried about the birthing part. I was super-freaked out out birth the first time around, but by the time it happened I was so ready to not be a fat, swollen punching bag anymore that pushing a watermelon-sized object out of my cooch seemed like a great idea.

Kay Wilds@twitter

Congratulations! My birth story was a little more weepy/welcome-to-earth/Vonneguty (but I had an emergency c-section). You're badass.


wait. stitches?? talk more about the stitches.


@alix_rae Google "episiotomy".

Nicole Cliffe

@Kivrin I just tore a bit, thank God. My midwife did take out a pair of scissors towards the end, but I think that was just a brilliant motivating tactic to GET BABY OUT NOW.


@Nicole Cliffe I dunno, "natural tearing" sounds worse to me than "precise, surgical incision"! Either one sounds painful, but I imagine that the pain of pushing a tiny person out of your vagina probably overwhelms the tearing/cutting part. In any event, I'm glad your experience wasn't *too* bad, and your baby is awfully cute.

Kay Wilds@twitter

@Kivrin not to be all whatever... but studies show many women tear far worse with episiotomies than they would naturally tear on their own. You know how much easier it is to rip a piece of fabric in half when there's already a snip in it? (again, I had a c-section...but just saying).

Kay Wilds@twitter

@Kay Wilds@twitter Also... I can't remember what studies... because I googled episiotomy like 20 billion times when I was pregnant... but there were studies...


@Kivrin The natural tears tend to heal faster and better and generally aren't as long or as deep as episiotomies are.

The research on episiotomies seems to go along the lines of the research on c-sections, where they're best practice for extreme situations (like if you're staring down the barrel of a fistula, an episiotomy is the way to go) but waaaaaay overdone when used as a general prophylactic measure. Like, maybe you don't need to swat the mosquito with the hammer? Maybe save it for the horse-fly?


@Kay Wilds@twitter That totally makes sense—I was approaching the issue from a visceral, "WTF MY PERINEUM JUST TORE" perspective. I never plan to experience either the natural or the surgical version, so my opinion on the matter obviously isn't worth much. :)

Kay Wilds@twitter

@Kivrin Dude... the thought of "perineum" and "tear" in the same hour of thought of like... are you kidding me?! Also, I thought I was going to be all mother-earth/natural-birth... don't fuck with me. But that never happened. Kudos to Nicole and her little one :)


@Kay Wilds@twitter oh god all this talk is making my vagina hurt. thank you, hairpin, for getting me to stop thinking about babies for at least a year! my boyf is all about the babies, so i need constant reminders to slow it down.


@rosielo Yes. I am clenching so hard and I think my uterus is trying to work its way higher up my body.

Banana dance

Oh! I just did this 2 weeks ago, and yes, there is that point right before pushing where you start asking for the drugs, but it's TOO LATE. But I got lucky and only had 20 minutes of pushing. I can't even imagine 3 hours of pushing... you are legit, and she is super cute!

And stitches suck. They gave me lidocane, but I felt all of them.
And yes, you poop. I kept asking if I had pooped yet :)


@gingerprego I remember a friend telling me, when you think you are about to die, that is when you are almost to the pushing. With my second birth, I arrived after the hospital, no idea how far a long I was, and asked for drugs. After some measuring and conferring they said I wouldn't be able to have the drugs. I burst into tears and said I didn't think I would be able to handle transition without the drugs, and this nurse looks at me and says "Oh, honey, you are IN transition." Oh, no wonder I felt like I couldn't take it anymore. And then they broke my water, and all hell broke loose. It was the first time in my life that I felt like it was more pain than I could bare. But then after five minutes they said it was time to push, and two minutes after that there was a baby.

Banana dance

@Mila yeah, i have to say, having my appendix give out on me was worse than labor. Like i was trying to close down the check stands at my grocery store while wheeling myself around in one of the motorized scooters while crying. But yeah, when they broke my water is when hell broke loose and i stopped being able to make sentences and all i said was,"fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck."

Lady Humungus

If you want a natural childbirth/midwife, do you have to use the tub? I'm grossed out by the tub because of the pooping and resultant poopy water. Does the tub help a lot or only a little?


@Jengraf_80 All the under 40 females in my family had midwives and there were no tubs involved.


@Jengraf_80 yes it is purely by choice!


@Jengraf_80 You can get out of the tub. But seriously, the hot water can be an amazing pain killer. I spent HOURS in the tub for my first birth. With no pooping in my tub. Though my midwife said she kept a fishnet on hand for just such situations.


@Jengraf_80 ugh, I tried to labor in a tub, but it made me feel super hot and sweaty and thus even more nauseated than before. The most comfortable (and I use that word generously) position I could find while in labor was crouched over the toilet while my child's dad rubbed my lower back. birthing! fun times!


@Jengraf_80 @Mila I was wondering exactly this! Thanks, guys!

Nicole Cliffe

@Jengraf_80 I didn't want to poop in the tub either, and my hospital prefers you be out of the tub for the pushing phase. But people say they're VERY quick with the fishnet.


Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I decided to go drug free with my second, and wound up waiting too long at home with my husband and my doula because I didn't want to have anyone try to talk me into anything I didn't want (like with my first). Sooo, dear son was born in the car on the highway on the way to the hospital. By the time I felt intense contractions it was time to push. So in the end, I did have the drug free experience I wanted, and then some. But nothing beats that meeting the baby part, after the pushing, the pain, the exhaustion...so happy for you Nicole!


@CrescentMelissa Wait, was the car pulled over, or did you manage to give birth in a moving vehicle while your husband drove?? Congrats, btw, this sounds hard core!


@formergr A friend of my mom's gave birth to all four of her babies in the car on the way to the hospital. (They only pulled over for the first one.) It was like her uterus literally treated the babies like ordinance, to be ejected with as much speed as possible.

Nicole Cliffe

@CrescentMelissa DAMN, GURL. That was totally my labouring-at-home fear. You are a rockstar.


@Nicole Cliffe Thank you! Everyone thought I was crazy, and a little bit mad at the doula, BUT I was so insistent on not going to that damn hospital one minute sooner. I did want a water birth, but got the car birth instead, as my midwife said. The car was not moving, my husband actually pulled over because I was just pulling my pants off and pushing. Luckily, Kelli (our amazingly calm doula) was following us in her car and pulled over to catch Sawyer. It was an incredible moment, it was cold, windy and my son came bursting into the world on a NJ highway. We would up going to the hospital after, but I don't even remember the ride to the hospital. It was like me and Sawyer were the only two people in the world. My poor husband though, to say the least, was a bit traumatized.

Carrie Hill Wilner

WTF pediatric resident, murdermurder, Sleeping for 20 hours and refusing to eat is like, the Aristotelian substance of baby. Also how soft is baby's snuggly tiny head HOW SOFT HOW SOFT HOW SOFT?

Nicole Cliffe

@Carrie Hill Wilner She was soooo snoozy. At one point, they had us rub her foot with an ice cube to try to rouse her. I got a disdainful baby-glance, then more sleep. That's my girl.

:Cinnamon Girl:

@Nicole Cliffe "I got a disdainful baby-glance, then more sleep. That's my girl." DYING OF LAUGHTER.


@Nicole Cliffe: My daughter was a champion sleeper in the hospital too, something for which her exhausted, incisioned, Vicodin-ed mom has always been grateful.


@Nicole Cliffe Snoozy snuggly soft baby head EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

*ahem* Congrats girl!!

(pay no attention to my ovaries exploding with glitter and unicorns)


Big congratulations to you. Also, I'd like to just say how awesome it is that you could have a midwife. My best friend recently had a baby and there are NO midwives here in my town anymore. It's really disappointing and sad. I don't know what happened, though I would guess it had something to do with our hospital. She had a great experience nonetheless, but she really wanted a midwife.


@polina I just don't get it. Why does everyone insist on having midwives? I know it's more hippie, but there are family doctors with OB rights or OB/GYNS themselves that are perfectly lovely people. The important thing about have a baby is having a team that you feel comfortable with!! and a benefit of getting a doctor who has a specific hospital is if things get dicey, they can perform the C-section and you still know you are in caring hands!

Nicole Cliffe

@whimsy Definitely a YMMV. I loved that my midwife was with me from 7pm when I got in the tub until 4am when she finished stitching me up. Even awesome OBs are really only there for the pushing.


@whimsy They're generally cheaper and more committed to minimally-invasive birthing practices. With c-section rates skyrocketing, insurance rates going up and covering less, and the economy still in the toilet, more women are looking at midwives as a Plan A. That doesn't mean they don't have a Plan B with a perfectly nice OB/GYN and hospital ready to go, though, or that they're everybody's cup of tea.


@whimsy I'm not sure, cause I've never been pregnant. Maybe other people can elaborate on that. The people I know who have had midwives felt it gave them some extra help, and they all had good situations where the doctors and midwives had good relationships. It wasn't a knock on all the other professionals there. The ladies in my life were already going to be at a hospital, in case things got complicated. As I said, my friend had a great experience without the benefit of midwives. But my point was that she wanted one and felt she should have the option.


@Nicole Cliffe Yeah, the same for the people I've known. The midwife was there with them for a significant chunk of time and the docs had a ton of other things to attend to. Which is just the reality these days in healthcare. It's not a knock on the OBs.


@whimsy I switched from OB/GYN to midwife when my doctor was dismissive about my desire for a natural childbirth. I got MUCH better prenatal care through my birth center, I worked with people who didn't treat birth like a medical emergency that only a doctor can handle and instead like a natural process that my body was designed to do. For financial reasons, I had a doctor for my second birth (because insurance wouldn't cover home births anymore, long story, very silly since it is a lot cheaper for the insurance company), and she was great, but there was just this difference in tone. Like she informed me of this long, long list of situations in which intervention would be required for malpractice liability reasons(not progressing fast enough being the main one I remember), that just left me feeling extremely disempowered. Also, you really only see your doctor for a tiny, tiny portion of the birth (like the end of the pushing), where as my midwife was holding my hand the whole way, through a whole long night.


@polina I had to travel to another town to find a midwife. It was lame. And to answer whimsy's question above, I wanted someone with me the whole time. And I was the only person in the birth center giving birth, which meant I got a HUGE room all to myself with a TV and a whirlpool and my own bathroom and a giant king size bed. I'm still trying to find a room that good in a nice hotel.


@Mila Wow, this is making me really appreciate my OB! She is awesome...basically doesn't give a shit as long as I know that she's going to intervene if the baby's in any danger, which is kind of what you want anyway. And she was at my first labor for about 5 hours. Guess I'll stick with her!

Margot Harrington@twitter

Also, disturbingly, midwives are actually ILLEGAL in many states especially the southern ones. So women there don't even have the choice which seems tremendously unfair.




Awesome, and congratulations! I was the laziest mom ever when it came to birthing -- my son was an emergency c-section, so I basically went to sleep, and when I woke up, I had a baby.

I'm a little in awe of pretty much anyone who's conscious for the whole thing.


@Lemonnier Instead, you just, oh, you know, recovered from major abdominal surgery. Stop with the "lazy mom" business! I cannot imagine trying to hold a newborn with a giant line of stitches across my gut.

Nicole Cliffe

@kayjay TOTALLY. My friend had twins three days later, and she had a bleeder from her incision the next night. THAT'S a hard-core experience.


@Nicole Cliffe I watched a friend sob from pain while nursing her newborn after a C-section. Would using the term "gut-wrenching" be a little too on-the-nose?


@kayjay: You get very good very fast at the football hold.

Setec Astrology

27. Write hilarious blog post way before you have any business having the necessary energy and/or clarity of thought.

(And to echo all above, congrats, and loving the Muad'Dib reference.)


"Baby's stuck under your pubic bone. Be told to think about pushing the baby UP and out."

Babies can do this? Babies actually do do this? What the hell, babies?


Yup this is pretty much exactly what it was like for me too!


@KJZ Saying "hells yes" because me too!


Oh golly. Fist-bump to you, lady. Congrats!


Also, speaking as a non-spiritual person...how do you achieve #1?


@Ophelia there's lots of non spiritual doulas out there, if that's what you mean. there are all kinds of doulas that support all kinds of women.

Nicole Cliffe

@droderick Mine was great, and so was her apprentice. I think they're good at reading your spiritual cues. And she always knew magically when I needed her to sink an elbow into my lower back.

femme cassidy

@Ophelia My partner, who is basically the least spiritual / hippie / woo-woo person ever, is apprenticing to be a midwife! And her awesome mentor-midwife is also super down to earth, and they both ride motorcycles. So. There are definitely awesome folks out there.


@droderick @Nicole Cliffe Totally good to know - I think they get a rep for being new-agey, but I'd be down for qualified extra hands.


@femme cassidy She sounds awesome! (We already know you're awesome, of course).


I want to give this to all my doula clients. And so many congratulations! Also, can't get over the Beltane Fires conception...antlers!


Congratulations! NOTE: Many midwives, ob-gyns, and ob nurses have not seen "Raising Arizona," and will thus calmly correct you when, upon being handed a baby girl, you go into full Holly Hunter "I-I LO-O-VE HIM SO MU-U-UCH!"

Miss Lacey

The Dune references kill me. Kill! That'd probably be the only way I could do it, just constantly chanting "I must not fear, fear is the mind killer..."


@Miss Lacey WTF IS DUNE?! it sounds amazing


@Miss Lacey hahaha more naked laughing

Miss Lacey

@hurts It's an AWESOME book.


This Story = Best. Birth. Control. Ever! :D


Congratulations! Join me in the "NO DRUGS" dance! And I also sat on the toilet. And I also pooped in a variety of interesting places. And also no one cared. Now let's commence to loving our ONLY CHILDREN BECAUSE WE WILL NEVER SUBJECT OURSELVES TO THIS EVER AGAIN.

femme cassidy

I love this story! My partner is studying to be a midwife and our house is full of Business of Being Born-type documentaries and Ina May Gaskin books, and I am kind of caught up in the excitement of it, and this made me really happy. (And also really convinced that I will never ever go through it myself. If we ever have babies, they're definitely coming out of my partner.)

Congratulations, Nicole!


That baby has a lotta nerve, lying there looking all innocent, after putting you through such torture. Stinkin' babies, man.


Congratulations to you three!


I loved this whole article, particularly:
21. Grab husband's arm, whisper dramatically "Death is my gift."
22. Midwives look alarmed, have not watched a lot of Buffy.

However, for the sake of fairness I have to point out that seasons 4-6 pale in comparison to seasons 1-3.


Which is why they might have missed the quote ...
im taking this remark way too seriously.

Gnome Vagina

@teaandcakeordeath I must respectfully disagree. Evil Willow & Spuffy > the Mayor, the Master, et. al. "Innocence", however, remains the ideal.

Chesty LaRue

@Gnome Vagina My favorite is the one with the gentlemen, Silence? Hush?


@chesty larue
I think I had repressed the gentlemen. But now they are definitely back in my subconscious. *shudder*

@gnome vagina
Buffy + Angel 4 ever


I've been debating the baby thing with hubby lately - you made me feel like I could do it - finally!! Why are so many birth stories all fear and evil and horrible. If more women quoted Buffy in heir delivery stories I might have been much more on board with the "reproductive arts" much sooner


Listen: is this an okay space to ask this? No one knows me here right? Sooo.....what exactly are the long-term effects of birthing a baby...vagina-wise??


@heyad oh shit shit shit I mean - My Friend Wants To Know.


@heyad It does not ruin your vagina. You need to kegal like crazy, of course, but then you'll be tighter than before you started to worry about it. PS- you will be sore for the first few days.


Ladiez ... may I remind you that if you do not want your uterus to be the pain box again after having this first baby, that you must use birth control? ---Bene Gesserit midwife


As someone who had 3 babies at home with the aid of awesome midwives, and who never made any more noise doing it than a quiet "Ouch," it is not that difficult. Gee wiz, yeah it hurts a bit, but suck it up. The reason to not scream is that the baby can hear you. My first midwife early on, told the group (class) that there is no need to dramatise your pain. Think of Native Americans. Suck it up and push until you think your eyes will pop out and bam, you're done. And nobody makes me feel apologetic about my choice. Yeah, you will always have ladies tell you "I would have died if I'd had a home birth," or my baby would have died. And they don't know what the hell they are talking about. Everything would have been different at home! Educate yourselves. Anyway, that's my rant.


@Trilby Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but this sounds a little insulting to people who had to get all screamy to deal with the pain. I mean, I'm speaking as someone who will never ever give birth ever tyvm, but still, sheesh. Not everyone's Bionic Woman, yaknow.

ETA: The baby can hear you? Umm... So? It's not going to remember a thing. It's like one second old.


@posturegirl Yeah...and um, birth IS a really difficult dangerous process. Native Americans? B/c they're all the same, right? Not very long ago, maternal mortality rates were sky high in N. America and Europe, and continue to be in places where women don't have access to adequate health care. Also, while having children can certainly give one insight, it certainly doesn't make one an expert about everyone else's body/birthing process.


@Trilby Dude, that baby would probably be moaning too, if its little lungs weren't full of amniotic fluid. Birthing is hard work for the little one, too.


Ahhhh, congratulations! I go fucking bananas over babies; a regular customer I really like just had her baby and my deceased friend's girlfriend (kind of weird, I know, I think I saw that movie) just had her baby, and oh my goodness I just want to hold their tiny bodies (the babies, not the women; although I want to give them hugs too)



Ahhh, congratulations, Nicole! She's so beautiful, and you are, not that this is new information, an absolute bad ass. I am very, very far away from even considering letting a tiny person grow inside of my body and then come out of it, with or without pain meds, but the fact that you were referencing Buffy in the midst of it all makes me think that maybe, just maybe, it's something I could consider one day.



How to have a natural childbirth, not at all by choice: Arrive at the hospital already in active labor, beg for an epidural, scream, when told that it was too late, "I'LL HOLD IT IN!", scream "FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK GET IT OUT GET IT OOOOOOUT," push that mess out.


@YoungMrGrace YOUR USERNAME. It made my LIFE. I'm sure you've all done very well!


Eee congratulations! Even though I was cringing in secondhand pain the entire time I was reading this! Holy shit you have balls of steel.


Yay yay! Congratulations. Wasn't it amazing? After my non-pain med birth I was all "THIS IS AWESOME I FEEL AWESOME LET'S GO PARTY IS THERE AN AFTER AFTER HOURS CLUB STILL OPEN?" This one was my 3rd. She came in 14 minutes.

Rock on!

Athene Numphe@twitter

I kept telling my baby this is an exercise from Ender's Game: Down is toward the enemy gate.


You are awesome! And inspiring. Congrats!!


I pushed for SEVEN AND A HALF HOURS.... AT HOME. No drugs. Yes, it was like going insane and coming back again to find you have a baby. And stitches. I barfed A LOT. I WOULD DO IT AGAIN.

My story is here, on a site that aims to show that pushing for an eternity might actually be normal: http://thedoulaguide.com/pushing


Lise Mctaggart@facebook

Twenty-five years ago; midwifery and doulas were not around. I had a lovely OB/GYN who saw me early in the day and said he would see me later that night; and he did! She arrived five weeks early (after three weeks of bedrest) back labour, pooping and a grateful shot of Demoral to allow some rest during really hard contractions; a total of six hours! You didn't have; (or do, epidurals)...I think they're for chicken shits, personally. I watched "The Business of Birthing" last year; I would never let that beast near me or any of my child birth-aged friends!! She has dropped women off at St. Vincent's (when it was open) when the going got tough. Just find what is right for you and please don't listen to your friends stories; causes more harm than good. Yes, it hurts, but the pain magically disappears when they put the lovely bundle into your awaiting arms. Good luck, enjoy the experience. And what an endearing article.

Elizabeth Bruce - Boomsliter@facebook

@pollykellte labor is a scary thing to think about when you come to it, everything people tell you almost never happen. i gave birth to a 7.6lb baby boy May 15, 2011 in little under 12hrs 2hrs pushing and i cant remeber the pain but its not like i can mentally remeber it like if i had dislocated my shoulder or hip..... or like when men talk about being kicked in the berries and feel the other guys pain.(if that gets the point across any ;)
just forget about all the stories told to you i know thats a hard thing to do but if you just keep trucking through you;ll have your beautiful baby at the end and you wont even notice anything after. ~hugs <3

Jennifer Shark@twitter

This may be the most hilarious and honest thing I've ever read about giving birth. Also, I now have an urge to rewatch Buffy.


AWWW MAAAAAN! Why'd I get to the convo so late!
Congrats, sounds like a relatively smooth birth! And a beauteous boy! The only time that my super-serious midwife laughed during my at-home birth was when I bellowed, "This $h!t hurts like a M@th3rFu*kin BIIIIITTTCCHHHHHH!!!!!" hahaha
I'm expecting my second in Feb & am nervous, but kind of excited to go into it better prepared this time around.
But seriously gals, it's totally doable (almost all the time)! And for anyone pregnant or contemplating, I recommend watching any interview with Ina May Gaskin you can on Youtube. She is the truth.
Congrats Nicole! Great job girrrrl

Karrie Porter@facebook

I just mumbled "poop poop poop" over and over during my second birth and my son came flying out in record time. I don't recall this mantra from my hypno-birthing cd but it really worked. My husband has since banished our children's gory births from his memory. Home births rule, btw!


Congrats! Babies are awesome! But not as awesome as Nicole. Obvs.


Congratulations Nicole! I'm so happy for you and your family.


The pooping. I fear the pooping.

PS - Nice baby!

Vacationland Mom

OMG love this post- was afraid it would be judgy (this is my 1st time on the hairpin) but it wasn't at all. In fact sounds a lot like my childbirth experience. I was allowed to get in the tub but I was super groggy and it didn't help the pain :( Anyhoo, thank you for the Buffy reference!!!! I was pleased as punch to see it and I actually LOL'd a few times.

Princess Gigglyfart

Dude i totally pretended that i was facing the gom jabbar and recited the litany against fear while i gave birth.

Richelle Fatheree@twitter

Hilarious, but probably only because it's been 18 years since I did that. 100% correct in every respect - you don't forget an experience like that, no matter what people tell you!

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