Baby Calvin’s birth story

Yes, we’re calling him by his middle name, Calvin.  Bonus points if you remember why.

Here is my best recollection of his birth:

We spent the weekend finishing up the biggest parts of our move.  Since the moving crunch was over and having a baby was the next thing on our list, I was finally allowed to work a little.  Nobody wanted me to overdo it, but I was given clearance by the entire family to go into labor anytime.  By Sunday we were ready for some good ole’ Sabbath rest.  We all wondered if that would be my cue to start labor.  I had labored slowly on a Sunday with Parker, and delivered him early Monday morning.  Maybe it would happen the same way this time.

It seemed like a promising theory, but Sunday morning came and went with no sign of labor.  We all went to church, stayed for the fellowship meal that followed, and headed home in the afternoon as usual.  For the first time, our drive home was less than 15 minutes.  I think we’re going to enjoy living in town!

The rest of the day was similarly uneventful, and I went to bed still wondering if I had 10 hours or 10 days to wait.

Around 6 AM on Monday morning, I woke to mild contractions.  There was nothing unusual about this.  They tend to hurt a little more when my bladder is full, and it’s always full by morning.  However, after a trip to the bathroom I found myself still lying awake with contractions every 15 minutes.  These seemed just a little stronger and more regular than the Braxton Hicks I had been experiencing for long.  They were just enough to make me casually glance at the clock each time I felt one.  I lay there awake for the next hour, using my phone to time contractions read email and browse facebook.

At 7, Perry woke and asked if I was timing anything.  (How did he know?!  I wasn’t even doing it self-consciously.)  I waffled, hopeful but not wanting to raise false hopes.  “No. Well, sort of.  Every 15 minutes, but nothing strong.  I’m sure nothing will happen with everyone home and awake.  Maybe tonight?”  He asked if I wanted him to take all the kids to work today, and I thought it was a wonderful idea.  I’m not always in a hurry for so much solitude, but today I relished the idea of a quiet, empty house.  Maybe labor would start if I had the house to myself.  It would feel like laboring at night, when all was quiet and nobody was watching or demanding constant updates.

While they all got ready to leave, I got up, showered and dressed.  The activity caused a change in my contractions: instead of light and regular, they were frequent, indistinct and slightly crampy.  There was no beginning and no end, just some vague discomfort that radiated to my back and entire torso.  I lay down again.  I didn’t want to slow things down, but this felt unproductive.  I just wanted to hit the reset button, and start again with nice regular contractions.

Before leaving, Perry prayed with me and said some encouraging things.  I smiled, thanked him, and told him I wasn’t scared now. I was ready to do this.

The reset worked, and I soon rose again to a quiet, empty house.  I wandered restlessly, doing light housework and posting an update on our blog.  Contractions were coming every 6-10 minutes, not painful, but intense enough to require my attention.  I called my midwife to let her know I was in early labor but progressing very slowly.  Her office was just minutes away, and after I hung up I realized I should have asked her to stop by before she left town, but I wasn’t worried about it.  I could call her later, or maybe she would call for an update when she finished the day’s appointments.

The entire morning passed this way, slow and uneventful, with contractions very gradually gaining strength but staying widely spaced.  Perry checked in on me via email and text, requesting updates and making sure I didn’t want or need anything.  By lunchtime, I was experimenting with my exercise ball and making low sounds at the peak of each contraction, but not out of necessity.  I was just practicing some self-conscious relaxation for when I needed to manage the pain later.  At this point, the peaks were strong but hardly what I would call painful.  I was hesitant to even call it active labor.  I thought of this as more pre-labor, as my body got ready for the real stuff later tonight.

Perry and the three oldest girls came home for a late lunch.  He had let the three youngest spend the afternoon with Deanna and Tyler, and the pastor’s wife took the three middle girls to play with her daughter.  I was afraid our sitters had been unknowingly volunteered to host slumber parties, but I wasn’t about to complain.  This had been such a peaceful labor so far, I didn’t want to derail it with chaos and ruin my own attitude.  Perry knew what he was doing.

I came downstairs and had lunch with them, chatting between contractions and leaning quietly against any handy furniture during peaks.  Before they left, they inflated the birth pool and hooked the hose to the water heater just in case I wanted to use it quickly and didn’t want to wait for Perry to make the 15 minute drive home from work.  At this point, I didn’t see that happening, but I appreciated the thoughtfulness.

After they left, contractions picked up a bit more in strength.  Now I was finding it very helpful to breathe and vocalize through the peaks.  On a scale of 1-10 I wanted to say the pain was peaking at a 4 or 5, until I remembered that the Labor scale was nothing like the I Stubbed My Toe scale.  Then I realized I’d better keep the numbers conservative so that I didn’t end up at 27 on a scale of 1-10.  I decided to call it a 3, or maybe just 2.5.  Or if I really wanted to scare myself, it could be a 2.  This hurt, but it wasn’t scary at all yet.

I posted another update to the blog at 3:40 and wondered how much progress I was making.  I felt a little shaky, but knew it was probably because I hadn’t eaten enough during the course of the day.  Lunch was late and light, and I had forgotten to snack throughout the morning.  I had a snack and knew I would feel better in a few minutes when it hit my bloodstream.  I resolved to do better when labor kicked in later tonight.  Right now, I was going to have a nap so I could save my strength for later.

When I lay down, contractions went back to every 10-12 minutes and seemed to lose a little strength.  They were 1 1/2 – 2 minutes long now and still strong enough to wake me, but I was easily able to sleep between them.  Just before 6, Perry and the girls got home from work.  I heard them moving about downstairs for a few minutes, and then footsteps headed up the steps. I was still in bed but awake when Perry looked in on me.  He was thinking of going to the store for some last-minute labor supplies.  Was I still doing alright?  Was this a good time to leave, or did I want him to stay home now?  I assured him that I was resting easily, labor was still light, and he should definitely go.

I felt another contraction start as he headed down the stairs.  5:51 PM. A minute later, my water broke.

I wasn’t just surprised.  I was shocked and suddenly lost.  In 11 previous deliveries, my water has NEVER broken before I am fully dilated and ready to push.  My biggest and best signal of where I stood in labor had just disappeared.  I fought my rising panic and called for Perry, desperately hoping he was still in the house.

cont’d here


  1. One of my babies STARTED labor with my water breaking; he was born about 12 hours later, after rushing to the hospital…Hey, the “countdown is on, KimC is 42 weeks 1 day pregnant” needs updating!

    • All my labors started with the water breaking. My last one, the water broke early in the morning but labor really didn’t get going until late afternoon. Then it was blissfully short. My OB said he had a woman go 5 days after her water broke before labor kicked in and the baby arrived. I think the “official” guidelines are 18 hours then they want to induce labor, though my OB is comfortable with careful monitoring and waiting for nature.
      With this last one, I had an appt with the OB already for that morning, which I kept and we decided I would just go back home and wait for things to get going.

  2. For those of us in your shoes of a week or so ago (mother of many, past “due”, and reading birth stories!), we would really love to get to the part where you finally get the baby in the end. This waiting and checking the blog every day is starting to feel like predominal labor. 🙂

  3. We are still waiting ( quite impatiently I might add 🙂 ) for pt 2!

  4. Question: You mentioned that with your 11 previous deliveries when your water broke you knew you were close. I thought THIS was your 11th. Am I missing one?

  5. Kimberley says:

    My most recent birth was exciting but in a different way. After contractions that never regulated and never got strong we went to the hospital to check and was told I wasn’t at all in labor (by my Doctor who had just delivered another baby). They told me I could rest until morning since it was the middle of the night. Then I had two contractions from the center of the earth!. I told my husband there was no way I could do this type of labor and asked the nurse for an epidural. (I only had one once and hated it so my husband knew this must be bad.) She told me I wasn’t even checked in but she would get the head nurse to contact the doctor “to get things going.” She left the room and I had two more. Suffice it to say that by the time the head nurse came in I was pushing, they called doctor and he barely made it to catch her. All told it was 34 minutes from 1cm to baby! I did not even break a sweat or mess up my hair. My favorite birth photos! 🙂
    I wanted to share this story for you to read in labor but then I wasn’t sure if it would sound scary….it wasn’t but it did have some harrowing moments!
    Don’t keep us hanging to long!

    • Kimberley,
      What a great birth story! Thanks for sharing! I had two that surprised us and came too quickly for the midwife to arrive, and I completely understand how it can sound scary but not feel that way at all. It’s like you’ve been given a free pass for the rest of labor!

  6. Sheila in Missouri says:

    More please.

  7. Seriously!?! You are a cruel woman! I am very much looking forward to hearing the rest of the story. Calvin is adorable.

  8. Meredith_in_Aus says:

    Arghh. Can hardly wait to hear the rest. My water broke early (even before contractions started) with my 4th. That sent my hubby into a spin ’cause he was used to ‘waters break, catch the baby’ but we were 45 mins from our hospital. He was madly throwing towels in the car just in case he had to deliver en route! 😀

    Look forward to next installment.

  9. No fair!! What an awful place to stop… or a wonderful cliffhanger. But seriously… not fair. I guess now I know what people feel like when I do two part birth stories…

  10. The named him Patrick Calvin because they wanted another PC name for a boy, but wanted to call him Calvin.

  11. Boy, you really know how to leave a gal hanging, don’t you???!!!

    I can’t WAIT to read the next installment!

    PS: We’ve voted for The Morning Center every single day for this whole month. I blogged about it. I’m hoping my three readers will pass it on too. I’m going to ask Husband to share it on his FB when he gets home. And, most importantly, I’m praying!!

    Okay, so get the rest of your birth story on here!!!

  12. Why didn’t you call this post Calvin’s birth story part one, at least we would been prepared for a cliffhanger. Don’t leave us dangling over the precipe too long. And congratulations 😉

  13. Ack! I can’t believe you stopped there! Please finish this cliff-hanger ASAP!! 🙂

  14. Oh wow! wow! You are making me fell better about not recognizing how far along my own labor was a couple of weeks ago. And then an unexpected water break! Yes, how familiar!! Can’t wait for part 2!! 🙂

  15. I had my little girl on Wednesday evening! Can’t wait to read the rest of Calvin’s story! 🙂

  16. This is cruel.

    When I tell of my parking lot birth with my third, I NEVER leave people hanging! 😀

  17. I had my little man on Sept 18th and I was laying awake in bed in the middle of the night when I felt that involuntary leaking down yonder…made a mad dash to the toilet as I tossed my surprised husband a “my water just broke” over my shoulder…the moment I got there I gushed…..oddly enough, even with 18 hours of contractions after that I never EVER dilated! My third pregnancy where I never, ever dilated. So, 3rd c/section and this time the Doctor explained to me the problem…the baby ends up absorbing all the stress of the contraction instead of the cervix absorbing it and opening up as it should…my poor little guy came out all bruised up! So, from now on a c/section…for some reason my body is unable to dilate, ever.

  18. Ahhhh, you’re making me crazy! hehe 🙂

  19. Ditto to all the above comments on keeping us in suspense!!! The best part is the second part of the story!!

  20. Oh I can’t staaaaaand it!!!!! I am on the edge of my seat waiting for part 2!! Love the story so far, and the beautiful little man you have in your arms – congratulations! 🙂

  21. I had mine on Sunday 🙂 24 hours of annoying, uncomfortable, ‘early labour’ that absolutely refused to settle into any pattern and completely stopped no less than 3 times, but managed to get me to 5cm, and then 2 hours to get from 5cm to holding a baby that was very nearly born in waters! Nobody quite knows when my waters actually broke, I think it was the second push, but I was pretty lost in labourland at that point.

    Looking forward to reading the conclusion!

  22. Good grief!! You can’t leave us hanging like that! Very anxious to hear the rest!

  23. Arrggghhhh! The cruelty! A cliff hanger!! You sure do know how to keep us on the edge of our computer chairs! And I happen to remember that baby Calvin was born right after 7 PM… so not much time to fill in here. Waiting and not patiently!!!! 🙂

  24. Ack! You just got to the good part. We have to wait until tomorrow? *Sigh* (pouts)

    • We might have to wait until Monday, Sharon. Kim doesn’t often post on Saturday. She’s really testing our maturity!

  25. You’re going to leave us hanging there?? Aargg.

  26. Regarding the use of his middle name: Is it because you have a brother named Patrick?

  27. well that was at 530 and he was born at 702 so you have 92 minutes to fill..LOL

  28. Mama Mirage says:

    You are horrible! Just horrible! How am I supposed to concentrate on anything now?!

  29. Kim, I think your really a suspense novelist who writes under a another name! LOL, I will keep checking back for more:D

  30. Yes, leave us all hanging!!!
    Based on the birth time you couldn’t have made it long after your water broke, but that moment of panic…
    guess we’ll just have to hang on…
    so glad he’s all here and safe and all’s well!!!

  31. Tiffany in Michigan says:

    Gah! How am I supposed to go on with supper preparations?! I shall be wondering and checking to see if part 2 has been posted. Please do not wait long! 😉

  32. Ahhh!!! Not “to be continued!” Nooooo!! Oh, well, looking forward to the rest. 🙂

  33. Boy, you sure do know how to orchestrate a cliff-hanger!!

  34. Ah! I can’t wait for the second installment! You sure know how to build suspense! 🙂

  35. Good heavens! You seriously stop at the WORST places!!!!! You’re as bad as my mother reading bedtime stories and stopping at the most exciting spot just to drive us crazy!


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