My Birth Story: Labor Denial Didn't Stop the Inevitable

Amy Boshnack

Pregnant woman
Me, 10 p.m., on July 10, 2006

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In June 2006 I moved into a new home with my husband and our 2-year-old daughter. We had boxes everywhere, but my due date wasn't for five weeks, so I had time (or so I thought).

Two weeks after the move, I woke up to get ready for work and noticed some spotting, called my OB-GYN, and went to his office to see an associate of his. The doctor said I wasn't dilated at all and there were no signs of labor. Conclusion: It was hot day in July and I was probably just dehydrated. Nevermind the gallon of water I drink daily, I happily bought his explanation and went to work.

Over the next four hours, I did whatever needed doing ... ran a meeting, answered lots of emails, and tracked down employees who were about to miss their deadlines. Through it all, I only needed to ask one coworker to stop talking mid-sentence to wait for my belly to stop hurting. "Yes, it's a very mild contraction," I told her. "But no, I'm not having my baby today. I'm not due for three weeks! I will definitely see you tomorrow." And besides, it was July 10 and my birthday is July 11; labor on my birthday wasn't part of the plan.

Around 3 p.m. I called it a day and met my husband for a ride home. He asked me if he should skip his softball game; did I think I was going to have the baby tonight? To which I answered, "There is no way I'm having this baby tonight ... go play" — but I did ask that he come home right after the game just in case I needed help with our daughter. I got home at 4 p.m. and was met at the door by our nanny, who told me I looked like I was going to have a baby ... soon. I told her she was crazy. I went upstairs and tried to nap in between sharp pangs of pain. At about 6 p.m. I slowly walked downstairs — the pain was getting worse. I called my mom and asked her when she was coming over, and she told me she was down the block looking for a "take-home" outfit for the baby. I told her to stop what she was doing and come over right away. I needed her with me.

By 7 p.m. we were eating takeout (well, I was picking more than eating), and I had started to keep track of my contractions. Mind you, I was still thinking I wasn't going to give birth anytime soon. You seriously would think I never gave birth before! Anyhow, I called my husband to check on where he was and he said he stopped off with the guys for a burger. I don't remember exactly what I said to him — but he got home pretty quickly. It was now 8:30 p.m. and I'd just struggled putting our daughter to bed. My mom read every other page of the book my little girl had picked out because I needed the break from speaking to hide the pain I was feeling from my contractions.

After my husband showered, he took a look at my little paper with scribbled contraction times on it. His eyes completely bugged out of his head. He looked at my parents. "Have you guys looked at this?" he asked. "Her contractions are less than five minutes apart!" It was now 9 p.m. Oops ... so, I had noticed that they were getting closer and closer but was still in denial. At around 9:30 p.m. my husband called Kim, a friend of mine since the first grade, who also happened to be my labor delivery nurse. A good labor delivery nurse is key to a smooth delivery, and Kim was amazing. She asked my husband if we'd called Dr. James, my OB-GYN. Nope, we hadn't. So she hung up with us and called him. Within five minutes Dr. James called my cell, but I couldn't answer because I was in the bathroom, paralyzed with another contraction. My husband picked up and told Dr. James that as soon as he could get me walking again, we were heading to the hospital. A plan was in place. We would meet him there at 11 p.m.

Kim met me downstairs at the hospital entrance and walked me up while my husband parked the car. When we got to the labor and delivery floor, she looked at the nurses' station and told them I was in active labor and needed a room. How did she know I was in active labor? Couldn't this just be false labor? I know ... the denials border on the ridiculous at this point!

Once I was hooked up to monitors and in that ugly hospital gown, my doctor came in, took one look at me, and told me he wasn't examining me until I had my epidural. He was certain that as soon as he examined me, the baby would deliver, and he knew I wanted my epidural (I love him for this!). At 11:30 p.m. on July 10 I got my epidural, then Dr. James examined me and said I was 8 centimeters dilated. All I thought was, Holy shit. Really?

At 11:45 p.m. I finally, for the first time all day, felt some sense of pain relief. At midnight my parents, husband, best friend (and nurse), and doctor all sang happy birthday to me. At around 12:10 a.m. I looked at Kim (as everyone else was chatting away and not paying any attention to me) and told her I needed to push. She promptly got my parents out and transformed a regular-looking hospital room into a delivery room. Lights came out of the ceiling, half the bed I was lying on came off, stirrups were put in place, and I think something may have come out of the floor — though that could easily have been my imagination.

At 12:19 a.m. on July 11, 2006, the doctor said, "It's a boy!" and had daddy cut the umbilical cord. And, without a doubt, I got the best birthday present anyone could ever ask for.

Amy Boshnack Post Delivery
Our delivery team and baby boy — 26 minutes after birth

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