Gilbert’s Grand Entrance!

Alternative titles for this post:

The Second Time is SO MUCH Easier

A Horse! My Kingdom for a Horse!

The Time We Left the Hospital Against Medical Advice…Twice

It’s a Birth Story, and the Stork Didn’t Bring Him–TMI Possible

By now you’ve probably heard that Gilbert Quinn C is here, healthy and blustery. He weighed 7 lbs 10 oz, which is 2 oz short of Seamus, and was 19.5 inches. You can shorten to Gil but not Bert.

So everybody, except Amanda, thought the baby would come early. We’re kind of glad he didn’t because even though our wonderful friends had offered to help us with Seamus, the circumstances leading up to the birth made the fact that my parents were here really convenient.

Last time around, I wanted to go into labor, use no drugs, and just have the baby. It didn’t happen that way, and it was a huge challenge for me to get over it (probably I’m not entirely over it yet, but the second time has made it a lot easier to move on). I wasn’t super committed to the no drugs but I thought I was the kind of person who should be. This time around, I was more serious with my plan, but also more aware that I might not get much choice. So the things that were/are really important to me were to not be induced and to have breastfeeding work, even if it took a long time and a lot of effort (again).

My parents arrived at 10:00 on Thursday. Seamus and I picked them up, we went to the co-op and had some bananas, then we went to Scalo for lunch. I dropped Seamus and my parents off at my house while I went to my routine prenatal, 40-week appointment. My blood pressure was unexpectedly high, but because I didn’t have any other immediate signs of pre-eclampsia, my midwife let me go home to get things in order before heading over to the hospital for blood tests, pressure check, and fetal monitoring. I was feeling anxious and worried, because this was not part of the plan to not be induced. I tried to relax, ate some ice-cream (My Dad: “Now there’s a way to bring down blood pressure, eat lots of fat and sugar.”), and waited for Patrick to get home.

We got in the car to go to the hospital after packing a bag, just in case. Patrick rolled down all the windows in the Jetta, and then, bam, the battery was dead. We couldn’t jump it, so we all got in the other car and went to the hospital. My blood pressure was still high, so they made us wait while they got a room ready to do more monitoring. I saw a woman coming in wearing orange scrubs, sitting in a wheelchair. Then I noticed that the woman behind her was talking on a radio to her “Shift commander.” Oh. I turned to Patrick, “We can’t have the baby today.” Him: “Why not?” Me: “They might get switched.” Our nervousness made us giggle, and I think this is what saved me. Every time they took my blood pressure after this moment, I thought about our laughter and it somehow brought the bp down. I also thought about Rogue Mocha Porter, but that’s a beer for another day.

My bp came down, we thought the baby was looking good, and I was starting to have weak contractions about every 7-8 minutes. We were excited and ready to go home, thinking we had dodged a bullet of spending the night in the hospital. But once you’re there, they want you to stay…

The nurse came in and said something about the baby’s heartbeat not bouncing back fast enough from contractions. What? The midwife came in and told us she was going to consult with the doctor, and all of a sudden, it wasn’t about the pre-eclampsia any more, but about the baby. We told them that we did not want to be induced, so they decided to monitor the baby for another hour. Meanwhile, his heartbeat came down to a baseline off what it was, I more or less stopped having contractions, and we were ready to go home.

Shift change: A new midwife came in and she ended up being very very lucky for us. The doctor came in and explained the risks of the situation we were in, with the baby in distress, but we said we did not want to induce. Especially with Pitocin. Patrick started asking the midwife questions, and she was very forthcoming with a discussion of high-risk, low-risk, experience, teaching hospitals, etc. She offered to strip my membranes, and I said yes. This wasn’t particularly uncomfortable, even though I had read it might be. Finally the doctor measured the amniotic fluid around the baby, found it to be low, but not dangerously so, and again recommended induction. We asked the midwife if there was a room on labor and delivery, since we were still in triage, and we asked about induction with a Foley catheter as opposed to Pitocin.  She returned with this news: There were no more Foley catheters, the last one having just been used, and there was only one room left on L&D, and we weren’t admitted to it yet–with the idea that we might not get that room. Well, I was definitely not having a baby in the triage area, so we said, we are going home. The doctor brought in a release form, and it looked to be the very first time she had filled one out.

We were free, even though we had agreed to return in the morning. The midwife had suggested castor oil, so I went to Walgreens on the way home and picked some up. The wind was fierce, gusting 50-60 mph. We got home and Patrick mixed me up some Heed, calories and protein in liquid form. I wanted more ice cream, but reasoned that if I actually was going to take castor oil, it wouldn’t be the wisest choice. One of the reasons we left the hospital was that we reasoned that the baby would be fine for another 10 hours until we went back and we would sleep so much better in our own bed. I decided to wait on the castor oil until 5:00 am.

At 11:00 when we were falling asleep, I started having semi-painful contractions. After about 4 of them, I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep through them and I told Patrick I was going to the living room to time them. For an hour and a half, they were 6-7 minutes apart, and I just rocked in the recliner to get through them. I dozed in between. At 1:30 am they started to get more painful and be 5 minutes apart. I put on Friends, Season 9 and watched three episodes as the contractions approached 4 minutes apart. I  started needing to breath through them. At 3:00 I got in the shower for some relief. At 3:30, I woke Patrick up to tell him that they were 3 minutes apart. We called OB Triage, and the nurse (who turned out to be the nurse who had been with me overnight last time) advised us to wait until they were two minutes apart. I told Patrick that I’d wait until 4:15.

We left the house at 4:35. I turned the seat warmer on in the car because the contractions, in the car, were not pleasant.  (Funny fact, we didn’t turn the seat warmer off, so my mom had a seat warmer on for the whole time they were here in high 80s weather!) At OB Triage, we got in fairly quickly, and soon the midwife was back to check me. She was a little surprised to see us! I was a five, and we moved over to some of the newly vacated L&D rooms. The next couple of hours are kind of a blur, but I remember the IV and it being more painful than the contraction I was having at the time (and actually more pointless, because the antibiotics that they were trying to give me ended up not being enough and so on, more on that later). At 7:00 she checked again and I was at 9. I remember the contractions changing to the point where it wasn’t so much trying to breathe through them as to figure out whether now is the time to push. I labored on hands and knees through most of the last bit, as the baby’s weight could suspend and not hurt my back.

The midwife suggested the squat bar for actual delivery and I thought, that sounds cool. So we got it out and I hung from my armpits (which were the only part of my body not completely tired) and pushed. 19 minutes later, Gilbert Quinn C arrived in a slithery mess. They put him on my belly and and the euphoria set in. Wow. I was so much more with it this time. He was more with it. He nursed almost immediately and started looking around at me and Patrick.

I’ll tell the rest of the story later. All of this was the best part, so maybe I will use some of those alternate titles in the next few days. Here’s a picture of our new family member:



  1. He’s gorgeous, Leigh! I’m so glad everything (up until this point in the story) went off without a hitch. And I will always think of Anne of Green Gables when I think of your son and be confident that he will grow up to be a wonderful gentleman!

  2. Wow. I think that was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen you write! Your diss aint got nothin on Baby Gilbert’s birth story! Congrats! So happy for you!

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