Birth Story: A Singular, Clear Feeling

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Mama: Kirsten Ellenbogen Baby: Ezra, born October 29 at 1:35 a.m., weighing 8 pounds 10 ounces, and measuring 21½ inches Excerpted from Belly Button Bliss:  A Small Collection of Happy Birth Stories No one tells you that your body keeps producing amniotic fluid, so when my water broke with my second baby, I sat around much of the day as I had with my first: trying not to leak too much. After twelve hours of minor, irregular labor pains, my midwife asked me to come to the hospital. I was given a gentle once-over and sent home. We all agreed my contractions weren’t that impressive. … [Read more...]

Birth Story: A Whole New Person is in the World

Birth Story: A Whole New Person is in the World

Mama: Julie Moon Baby: Scarlett, born February 28 at 11:11am, 8 pounds 13 ounces, 21 3/4 inches Excerpted from Belly Button Bliss:  A Small Collection of Happy Birth Stories I awake around 3:45 a.m. on my due date with contractions about six minutes apart. A terrible storm rages outside. I call my mother and my best friend, Stephanie, to give them time enough to arrive for Scarlett’s birth. My husband, Joe, is awake too, fixing a snack. My son, Jackson, is cozy and safe at his grandparents’ house, where he’d gone to spend the night when I recognized the signs of early labor the … [Read more...]

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

In the early spring of 2003, just as my third trimester began, my husband, Ted—a journalist—flew to the Persian Gulf to cover the earliest days of the Iraq War. We were living in China at the time, and the SARS epidemic had begun raging. Doctors were worried about the risk to pregnant women and doubtful about trusting the official reports on the spread of SARS. My doctor in Beijing said he felt sure the government was lying about how fast the illness was spreading, but he could only guess how much was being covered up. That was all Ted and I needed to hear. I flew to Pittsburgh to spend the … [Read more...]

I Can’t Do This! I CAN Do This!

Early in my first pregnancy, I set my sights on a natural birth. But when I learned at my twenty-week sonogram that I was having twins, I knew my risk for having a Cesarean section increased to greater than 50 percent. Aside from devouring every book I could find about twin pregnancy, I assembled my dream team for birth: an OB who had given birth naturally to twins, an experienced doula, and, of course, my husband. My pregnancy went so well that at thirty-eight weeks, my cervix was still shut tight. As much as I had hoped to go into labor spontaneously, I knew a scheduled induction … [Read more...]