Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Well, my incredible birth teacher said many times that "it can take a woman up to a year to integrate her birth story." I like to tell Tyler that in a deep, whimsical voice. And then we laugh, but not too hard since my muscles are shot. But I imagine the gritty details getting typed out will at least help. Here it goes...

Wednesday, December 11 at 5:23am I rolled over to go pee again. I heard a loud pop and I thought it was my hip. My first thought was, "Oh my gosh, I just crushed my babies head," but when I stood up my bones did not shatter. And I had some pretty damp unda-briches. I went to the bathroom (my birth teacher also said that denial is the key to get through labor) I thought "Oh, I lost my mucous plug." But alas, as more and more fluid poured forth, I realized (but did not acknowledge aloud) that my water had broken. And then I pooped for thirty minutes straight.

If you didn't realize yet that I am going to give every detail I can remember... well, now you know. I'd think I was done pooping, get up to go back to bed, and have to sit right back down and poop more. By 6am, Tyler was home from the gym and I was done pooping. Contractions, little baby ones, had started. I knew this because I had much more intense ones in the prior weeks, some lasting all night. I said, "I think my water broke." Tyler said, "Don't you just know?" and I said, "No, it's just like that in the movies. Plus, I think I'm not sure if it broke or not because I'm just me." I told him to go to work, because I envisioned this taking days. I called my midwife at 6:30am though, to tell her this was legit. I told Tyler to stay home.

In the next four hours, I transitioned. I first threw up the tastiest smoothie Tyler has ever made for me and then a bunch of water. Tyler had a nice 5 gallon bucket for me lined with a trash bag. Part of this time I spent on my left side in bed - I'd contract and grip the bed, Tyler would hold my hand, I'd vocalize a bit, and then sleep between contractions. I had wild dreams. I dreamed I made baby wipes for friends and they hated them. Also motorcycles. Contractions were 1 minute long and started at 2.5 minutes apart... then moved to 2 minutes apart pretty quickly. My midwife arrived at 10:30am, but didn't check me until 11:00am when she told me "I think you're good to go." It took me about a half hour to realize she meant push, so of course I double checked with her how dilated I was and what exactly she meant by "push."

I started out slow. All together pushing for 2.5 hours, but didn't really start to push hard until more than an hour in. I asked my MW later why I took so long - she said she wanted me to figure it out. She kept saying "push all your energy down to your butt," and man, I know now what the groanings of childbirth sound like. Tyler kept saying "Shanny, you're a beast." I think I may have been a little scary.

About 45 minutes from Leon coming out, they told me to reach back and feel for his head. It was about an inch inside, but again, I made her double check that it was actually a head. It felt like a wrinkly brain. From that point on, every contraction I would reach back and feel my pushes moving him down, but man, his head was stuck there for a while. When he came out, I apologized to him for giving him an alien head. Turns out his little hand was up by his face, just like it is right now as he sleeps next to me. Once I pushed his head out (oh the burning) his whole body wriggled free. I had been on all fours, and I think I stood up onto my shins, they handed me Leon, and Tyler was behind me holding onto me. My legs were beyond exhausted at this point. I was delivering the placenta and holding onto Leon. Tricky business. I said, "I think I'm in shock," and then passed out for just a few seconds. Tyler caught me and the baby, when I came to I heard someone say "That was scary," or "You scared us." Something like that.

They laid me back on Tyler and propped my feet up. They put me on oxygen, gave me three white pills that do not chew/swallow easily. I took them down with some OJ. My friend Lisa who acted as my Doula fed me a bowl of oatmeal. They gave me a shot of pitosin in my leg, three more white pills, and then some stuff to hold under my tongue - all of these things to make my uterus contract and slow the bleeding down. We had learned in our birth class that eating a piece of your placenta can really help stop hemorrhaging/bleeding. So Tyler blurts out "WHAT IF SHE ATE HER PLACENTA?" At this point, there was (to me) a very slight sense of panic in the room, but we still joked, and I was being fed oatmeal like a child while I looked at my wet little baby. So we tried it. I said, "Can you at least rinse it off?" They did. It was like slurping down a little baby fish. Yerm.

After about two hours on the floor, they helped me scoot my body more onto the blanket I had delivered on and they drug me across my house to my bedroom. They were going to put me in bed, but I slowly got up and did it myself. Everyone present was my midwife, her partner, my doula, and Tyler.

I had to pee in the bed that night. It happened three times. So. Much. Pee. The third time, my body just did it without me even having a say. Poor Tyler changed the pee pads. He was amazing. He had to change all of the baby diapers. I wasn't supposed to walk for 24 hours... but I did. Oh, and I wore fashion panties, which is how my MW refers to adult diapers. So cute, she is.

I sang to Leon when he came out. I had forgotten about it until yesterday. I sang, "go to sleep, little baby. Go to sleep little baby, hm hm hm hm hm hm hm hm, don't need nobody but the baby." There are so many verses to that song. I get them all confused, but I've been singing it to him for the past few months. He came out crying, no cord wrap that I can remember.

Between contractions I'd sit back on my heels like Child's Pose legs and just hang my head. My neck and throat hurt so bad from vocalizing and head-hanging that I was sure I had Meningitis, but I didn't tell anyone. What a weirdo I am.

Here are some pictures that were a little too intense for Facebook (in my opinion). Enjoy?

Tyler was such a good coach. He would say, almost in shock, "You are so strong."
I think I would be a good pushing coach, maybe. Terrifying, but good. 
My sweet man watching our boy come out
A real live baby
Oh yeah, I forgot about the oxygen part. After an hour on the floor, I asked Tyler how he was doing. He said he was so uncomfortable. Ha. What a nice guy!

After they dragged/drug me to the bed :)
fresh baby. He looks just like Tyler here. 
exhaustion finally hit the next day. My MW got all the dried blood off of me, but forgot to take one of my socks off (I was freezing) so the next day, I was quite shocked to remove the sock and see my completely bloody foot. Childbirth is gross! and Cool. 
little drunk milk mouth
almost a week later, I could put him on my chest (almost) painlessly. No one told me how taxing engorgement could be - physically and emotionally. I looked like a blow up doll. 
one week birthday milk hangover. We party hard over here.

So, a few more things. Advice, things I learned: 1) be around encouraging people. 2) just make it to one week, and then look back and go "wow, I lived." I did that this morning. I'm alive. So is my baby. We're doing it. We did it. Praise Jesus.

Leon is so sweet, and a good baby so far :) We named him after every old man out there named Leon. They usually have good stories to tell. His middle name was Tyler's Pop's name. Granville - pronounced like "anvil." You can say it with a hick accent. It's fun. But you don't have to.

And I guess that's all I have for now. Thanks for caring about this story and wanting to hear it. 

Love, Shanny. 


  1. You are so amazing! Thank you for sharing. I love reading your blog, and I loved hearing this story.

  2. Yeah!!!!! You are awesome :) and welcome to the chosen few who know what the ring of fire is hahaha I thought I had died but really I just told spencer I want him out now!!! Thanks for posting your story for all your stammers ;)

  3. Stalkers seriously auto correct?!!

  4. wow. you are incredible. I officially want to have my possible next baby at home. did you encapsulate your placenta? if so, I would LOVE to hear if you think it's helped. congratulations on being a birthing goddess rock star and making a sweet sweet baby!

  5. This was so encouraging, Shannon! :) So happy everything went well. You're a beast, and Leon is adorable.

  6. The first pic of Tyler watching Leon come out made me explode with tears. Baby births catch me off guard. I'm so glad you shared all those details. What an incredible story. My heart swells. It's just the loveliest thing and you are super lovely. Love you!

  7. So many wonderful, happy tears. Love. Also, Leon looks so much like Tyler. I love when little boys look like miniature versions of their Daddy. It makes me happy.

  8. so wonderful! Love you guys : )