Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday, Cecilia! { a birth story }

Ah, my sweet Cecilia.  She is so fun.  And crazy.  And talkative.  And now....she's TWO.  Happy birthday, Ceci!
As I am wont to do on my children's birthdays, I'm posting her birth story for your (lengthy) enjoyment.  And while this is probably not the most graphic birth story you'll ever read, it's no funny restaurant review or what the kids are saying kind of post, either. Consider yourself warned.

On Friday morning, 3/26/10, I was 39 weeks 4 days pregnant and had my 39 week OB appointment. It was the first time I had an internal exam for this pregnancy and when she found that I was 3 cm and baby was very low, she asked if I wanted her to strip my membranes. Now, I’ve never had my membranes stripped before, but I had already enjoyed two weeks of prodromal labor with this little bundle and was ready to try anything “natural” to get labor moving in the right direction. So I snatched my one-way ticket on the membrane train with nary a second thought. There was no discomfort or pain whatsoever with the exam or the stripping so I was a little disappointed when I left, mumbling a little “that’s all it is?” under my breath. In retrospect, all I have to say is: HAH!

Flash forward a couple of hours, and I’m having a lot of cramping. Just menstrual style cramping, but still…seems promising. I decide to call my stand-by just to make sure she is still standing by to come and stay with my kids if we feel like it’s time to go to the hospital. “But don’t, like, get ready to come now or anything. She’s probably waiting until April 2nd to come anyway…”. HAH!

Now it’s 3:00 pm, time to get my bigger kids from school. Still cramping, but nothing else. I am so done with false symptoms and getting my hopes up that I don’t even think about it anymore, load up the 2 year old, and go pick up the bigger ones.

4:30 p.m. still nothing more than cramping. What the....????? This never ending prodromal stuff can bite me.

5:35 p.m. still….wait. Hold on a minute. Contraction. Contraction with back pain. Could it be?

6:00 p.m. Have only had 2 more of those “contractions” and hubby, who is supposed to be home, isn’t.

6:35 p.m. Hubby calls. Stuck in traffic. I decide not to say anything. He’s tired of the false alarms too, ya know.

6:45 p.m. Contractions every 15 minutes, but not increasing or getting closer together. Wah. I start losing hope. HAH!

Hubby gets home.  Dinner, kids to bed, lots of water, lots of exercise ball, posting on Baby Center, hoping, praying, waiting. Contractions still 10-15 minutes apart. Lame.

Then all of a sudden….10 minutes, 10 minutes, 10 minutes, 7 minutes, 6 minutes, 5 minutes, 4 minutes….

Wow, this is for real! I call my standby. It’s 12:22 a.m. when she arrives. 4 minutes. 4 minutes. 4 minutes. We decide I’d better go if we want to avoid another near-car delivery like my last one.

Hospital. Can’t find wheelchair. Check-in is taking too long. 4 minutes. 4 minutes.

I feel like we’re getting close to the end. Panicking a little. Breathe. They find a wheelchair and wheel me to L&D. Waiting. It’s almost 2 a.m. and finally I get checked. Only 4 cm?!?!? What?!?! How can I be feeling like this for this long and only be at 4?  This is not normal for me.

Hard to keep baby’s heart rate on the monitor. Why?

They get me to my room. 3 minutes. 3 minutes. 3 minutes. Nurse-who-thinks-I-can’t-possibly-be-serious-about-declining-the-epidural comes in and says something annoying and patronizing about it being the ‘last call’ for the anesthesiologist to my awesome nurse, who then pointedly tells her to scram. Hah!

3:40 a.m.- my back. My back is on fire. I’ve never felt back labor until now. Nurse checks me. Only a 6. I mention the back pain and she says “Oh no, she’s turned posterior. That’s also probably why this labor isn’t progressing as quickly as your previous ones. And also why we can’t keep her heart on the monitor. She’s fine. Just backwards.”

Well, that will just not do. I get on my hands and knees and sway and pray and just like a good little girl, she turns anterior and I know, I just know, things are going to go fast. It’s only been 3 minutes, but I start pounding on the call button. “You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I think she’s coming”.

Good nurse: “I don’t think you’re crazy. You’re the one who’s in labor”.

She checks me. “I’m going to call the doctor right now. Hang in there. Does your water usually break on its own?” Thank God it doesn’t…ever, so I know that if we have to, we can wait, but only just a little.

4:00 a.m. This is the roughest stage of labor. Transition is the biggest test of a natural childbirth, the moment when you simply must give up the idea that you are in control of this life and especially this process. God challenges you to realize that He is stronger than you can ever be, and that you must give over your pain to him. Trying to own it alone can only lead to feelings of uncertainty and despair. Allowing the Lord to manage it for you is the only way to keep yourself present for the new person who is about to enter your life.

The doctor arrives.

4:12 a.m. “Okay, Okay. She’s coming. It’s time” I hear someone say. That someone is me. Nurse checks. “She’s complete. Baby is right there.” Me: “Pushing! Pushing!” Dr.: “It’s okay, Dwija. You don’t have to wait. Do what you need to do. I’m going to go ahead and break your water now.”

Deep breath. Big push. Relief. Compared to the intensity of transition, pushing is like a breath of fresh air. Wait for the next contraction. The absolute absence of pain between the contractions allows me to fully relax. Eyes closed. Breathing. Alright, it’s time again.

4:19 a.m. Deep breath. Hold it. Big push. “She’s right there. She’s almost here!” Tommy’s magic words with every baby, the moment I wait for the entire time. His voice, that idea, gives me the strength to finish right then.

4:20 a.m. She’s here! Oh, she’s crying before she’s even fully born! Pink and angry and beautiful. They lay her on my chest right away and she latches on like a little eating champ.

Cecilia Jean Borobia, born at 4:20 a.m. on March 27, 2010. Natural childbirth with 10 hours to get to 6 cm while baby was posterior and only 40 minutes to get from 6 to 10 with baby anterior. She was a tiny thing, at just 7 lbs and 19.25 inches long, but strong and healthy and hungry.  Thank you God for this greatest gift!

Taken 5 hours before she arrived...

Right after birth, my little nugget has her first snack:

Aw, those precious little cheeks!

Snuggly like a burrito...

Meeting her big brother for the first time:


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  1. Dwija, you are my hero! There's nothing like reading an awesome birth story. I want to give you about a 100 high fives. I remember how much your support (just over twitter) was HUGE to me as I managed my first labour with epidural (I got the happy gas for about... 10 minutes? It did me little to no good). You are an awesome lady. It's no wonder God has blessed you with so many beautiful babies! Happy birtday Cecilia! You are a blessing and a joy young lady!

  2. Oh, thank you for posting this!!
    Your remarks on transition are so so beautiful. Birth is such an intensely spiritual experience. Even though it sure as heck doesn't always feel like it!

    My water doesn't break til seconds before the push, too. Which is really good for a healthy mother and baby and more bearable (hah!) labor. My friend recently had one of her twins born in the caul (sack). So cool. It sounds like you had a pretty good nurse and doctor there, what a blessing! And no pain in between pushes?? That is incredible! I totally wish I could come doula for you with this next one. Not that you invited me or anything. But I still wish it. This next birth for you is going to be so great.

  3. Birth stories are the best, definitely teared up. So amazing that she came SO fast after she turned. Way to exercise your parental authority right off the bat flipping her around! Have you done all your births naturally? I may have to come to you for coaching, I may be a wee bit traumatized...

  4. Happy 2nd Birthday Cecilia!!

    Dweej, beautiful birth story and you're amazing! I begged for an epidural 3.5 hours after contractions started. :)

  5. OK, so if this next baby is facing the right way, you better get to the hospital QUICK!! My 4th and 5th labors were very fast from the first contraction to baby being born was only 2 hours, and 3.5 hours. Hopefully your number five will be nice to you! I love reading birth stories (especially natural ones). Happy birthday to your beautiful little girl :)

    1. All of my labors have been super fast....Paul was almost born in the van!

      This time around we're going to be doing a homebirth so I won't have to worry about travel time or harassing nurses :)

  6. Great, great story! And what a truly wonderful nurse you had!

  7. Happy birthday, Cecelia! (I didn't realize our littles were so close in age - my Violet just turned 2 on March 5.)

    My water never breaks on its own, either. My last was nearly born in the caul!

  8. Happy happy day, and may your next birth be less dramatic.

    Side note, love your short hair and the girls' bangs. Were they as blonde as Cecilia is back when they were two? Were you?

  9. Happy Birthday to your Ceci! I LOVE birth stories... they make the world go round, ya know? Awesome! Reread this before the birth of this lil one, it will make you feel all empowered!

  10. happy birthday cecilia!!!! great birth story! i noticed your counter is down to double digits!!!! yay!!!

  11. Happy Birthday, Cecilia Jean and Happy Birth Day, Dwija!!! I just loved this story and I can't wait to hear #5's story!

  12. Never get tired of reading birth stories, and what a lovely name ~ Cecilia Jean!

  13. I can't believe it's been two years! Already! Happy birthday, little nugget!

  14. Love the story! Thanks for sharing. And happy birthday, Cecilia!

  15. Happy Birthday to your little one!
    How can you look so beautiful right after you pushed out a baby?

  16. My contractions were at a minute and a half apart and my husband had to convince me I was in labor.. haha I was in a little bit of denial.

  17. Happy Birthday Ceci!
    This is such a great story, I love the way you tell it. And it is so true about natural childbirth... my first 2 were inductions and 3 and 4 were natural. It hurts, but it is so doable when you let go of everything and let your body work! (And actually, the pain is way less than induced contractions)
    The pictures are Oh So Sweet! Can't wait to read your next birth story :)


  18. Love it!
    The Jude was posterior. The whole time. The closest I ever came to asking for an epidural was with him, because no one thought to tell me that what I was experiencing was back labor, and that, while painful, wasn't life-threatening.

    The Jude. Being difficult since September 7, 2008.

    Happy birthday, Cecilia!!!

  19. I just love reading birth stories..even if they do turn me into a blubbering mess. Happy birthday Cecilia! :)

  20. Happy Birthday Miss Cecilia!!! :) I don't understand most of what you just wrote... Cause I haven't had any kids yet! But thanks for sharing! :) Someday I will hopefully. haha.

  21. Happy birthday to your beautiful angel!

    And oh, my gosh. I can't wait. The idea of transition terrifies me because I am GOING TO GO NATURAL this time but your beautiful description and follow up helped- I was actually holding my breath-

    Thank you thank you for sharing.

    1. You can totally do it, Lisa! And I LOVE it when other preggy women say "I can't wait." Makes my heart swell!

  22. Loved reading this. Birth stories are so amazing.

  23. I love reading birth stories. The miracle and wonder of pregnancy and birth just never gets old. Happy birthday and many years to Cecilia!!

  24. That was beautiful - made me a little teary. Happy birthday sweet girl!

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  26. Lovely story! Happy birthday to your sweet little girl!

  27. Honest to goodness, birth stories are some of my favorites to read/hear. Thank you for sharing such a moment with all of us! I have to say, I am in complete aggreement on pushing being a breeze after transition. I never in a million years thought I would admit that...but oh..how the tides have changed after having two. Happy birthday to little Cecilia!

  28. Awesome. God is good! Seeing these pictures gets me fired up - Number 5 is due August 4th! Can't wait! All the best to Cecilia on her birthday!

  29. I could read birth stories all day long...

    1. Oh, and also? I had my membranes stripped and almost punched my midwife. It hurt so bad! I did give birth 12 hours later though, so it must have worked!

  30. Beautiful birth story, beautiful baby! I had my first in May, and her middle name is Cecilia. :) My husband is a church organist so naming her after St. Cecilia seemed like a good fit for our family.

    I had back labor and a posterior baby too... but however did you get her to turn so quickly? I was in active labor doing hands and knees and everything else we could think of for a day and two nights. It ended up taking an epi for me to rest, and then she finally turned!

  31. LOVED it! 39 weeks and all I wanna do is read birth stories!


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