A Birth Story: Zoelie Joy



{As I write this, I am currently 37.6 weeks pregnant with baby 3. I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about what this upcoming birth will be like, and reminiscing upon my past two births. I thought I would share them both with you in my next couple of posts, as we wait for baby 3’s story to become part of our lives. }

I had a mostly uneventful pregnancy, with an estimated due date of November 4th, 2007. I went to the hospital for some surprise bleeding two times in the second trimester, but it ended up being nothing significant. I had an OB that I liked alright; most importantly she was female, which was my main concern at that point. I told her several times during my prenatal visits that I wanted a drug free birth, and I wanted to avoid a cesarean at all costs. She would nod with an mmm-hmm. I never really felt like she was listening.


Sunday, October 28th, I got up to go to church with my parents, but I was running super late and decided to just meet them there. The only seats left in the sanctuary were in the front row, so I waddled my hugely pregnant body down the aisle in front of everyone. A few minutes after I sat down, I had my first contraction. My mom was next to me (and was an L&D nurse for many years) and she noticed and began timing them for the rest of the service. They were stronger than regular Braxton-Hicks, and so after church she and I decided to go grab some food at Panera Bread and then take a few laps around the mall to see if we could get them to become closer together.

We had a plan to stay the night at my friend Erica’s house because it was literally across the street from the hospital. I don’t like hospitals. I am terrified of needles. I totally have a major fear of being naked in front of people. I wanted to wait until the very last possible second (to procrastinate on above said fears) before heading in to L&D, so being at Erica’s was the best option for me.  Sunday night we went to sleep at Erica’s, and although I was still contracting, each surge was irregular and they were not consistently getting closer together. Some were close, some were far. But they just kept on coming.

Monday morning we decided to go once again to grab some food and walk around the mall. I was still contracting, sometimes 3 minutes apart, sometimes 15 minutes apart. My mom wanted me to head into L&D but I told her I was fine and didn’t want to go. We hung out at Erica’s that night for a while, and around 11pm, I was finally convinced to head in to the hospital. I was drained and couldn’t sleep, and although the contractions felt stronger, they were still irregular. They hooked me up to the monitors and gave me a urine test. The test came back positive for “a rockin’ UTI”. The UTI was causing my uterus to be irritable, and so they gave me a giant antibiotic pill to take care of it and sent me home around 2am.

We decided it would be a while and went home to sleep in our own beds.  At 7am on Tuesday I woke up with a contraction so strong I could hardly breathe.  It was real this time and so I woke up my mom and told her it was time to go in. Instead of praying that they would send me home, I was telling my mom in-between contractions how much I hoped that they would admit me.


We got in around 8 am and I was hooked up to the monitors. I was put into an uncomfortable and embarrassing butt-open hospital gown, and an IV placed into my hand. (I still have a scar. That was so awful!) I had tested positive for GBS and so not too long afterwards they put penicillin in my IV to take care of it. I remember how bad it burned going through my arm. Then they pumped me full of saline and didn’t let me eat or drink anything. All I could think about was pizza.

I was doing alright coping with the contractions. After a while, the nurse came in and asked me if I wanted an epidural. I said no way. I want a drug free birth. A little while later they offered IV drugs to “take the edge off”, and again I said no. After a while, my OB came to visit and told me that if I didn’t want to get the epidural now, I couldn’t have one at all and I would definitely regret it. I still said no. She sent the anesthesiologist up anyway.

He was SO FINE (which made me feel even more awkward in my stupid butt-open gown). He came up and told me it was my only chance to get an epidural because he would be in surgery later. My OB, the nurses, the anesthesiologist… everyone made me feel like no way would I ever be able to give birth drug free. I finally consented, and I felt so defeated. My choice was stripped away from me. I felt like I had failed and I hadn’t even gotten to a point where it was so painful that I actually wanted relief from the contractions.

After I was set up with the epidural, the nurse was going to give me a catheter. I said NO WAY. Thankfully she let me try to pee in a bedpan, and I did it successfully. They started up Pitocin in my IV. After that, I passed the time with logic puzzles. It was about 3 in the afternoon, and I just hung out for a while. Feeling returned in my left side, and so they gave me another dose of medicine.  Sometime around 6 the nurse came to check me and coached me to give a little push. Then she made me stop and she called the OB to come over.

She walked in the room and suited up in her baby catching gear, while I was amazed at what seemed to be twenty other nurses bringing cart after cart of supplies into the room. Here I am spread eagle, legs in stirrups, not focusing on pain, and bright lights making it hard to see. I never felt so humiliated in my life. I was coached to push some more, and I remember giggling and laughing (my way of coping with feeling embarrassed and out of control) and asking if I was even pushing- I felt NOTHING. Not even a teeny tiny ounce of pressure. I only pushed maybe 4-5 times before I had a screaming newborn placed onto my tummy.


Her cord was gigantic and pulsating and bright blue and purple. My mom cut it and the baby was whisked away to the warming table for Apgar and foot prints.  Zoelie Joy was born October 30th at 7:02pm. She weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19” long. She had a 9 on her Apgar score, and a ton of dark hair. The first thing I remember was how big her little hands were compared to her squishy little face. She was so adorable.


We successfully started breastfeeding, and after I ate (pizza, of course) I was moved to a post-partum recovery room. I stared at little Zoelie all night. I felt insecure that I was officially a mom. I was scared that I would not be good at it. I loved her, so much though. I am so grateful that Zoelie’s birth was uneventful. I am so grateful that she was healthy and perfect and beautiful. She is now the smartest and most creative and sweet daughter I could ever have hoped for. She is pure joy!

Here is one of my favorite photos from a few years ago of Zo. She is amazing.






  1. Joy -  March 26, 2013 - 12:17 pm

    Thank you for shareing, so open and honest.

  2. Sarah Taylor -  March 26, 2013 - 12:37 pm

    Once again Laney, I realize we have a lot in common!! I felt so many of the same emotions with my first birth. Our little girls are only 6 days apart, and I love the last picture!!!

  3. Shelley Payton -  March 26, 2013 - 1:00 pm

    I didn’t realize how much connection and bonding I’d missed out on with my first two until I had my 3rd much more naturally. I think its good we have these experiences though so we can pass our knowledge on to others. So excited for your home birth! 🙂

  4. Sequoia -  March 27, 2013 - 2:42 am

    Thanks for the honesty in your story Laney… as far as the epidural it didn’t effect my bond with my son. I just hated that I was put to sleep for stitches and missed the first 2hrs of his life

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