Yes, I'm a Dork Who Likes To Outline Her Entries

Noah's Birth Story: The Director's Cut

Part One!

Part Two!

And now, the extra-special bonus edition, which came to be after Amy finally got up the nerve to watch all (ALLLLL) the footage Jason shot at the hospital and realized that she got some stuff wrong and/or out of order, so today we present the Definitive Edition With All-New Appendices and Nitpicky Details.

(At least up until the part where Amy started taping over things and we abruptly cut to dorky family members in dorky Christmas sweaters awkwardly waving at the camera. Basically: Amy decided she better recap whatever footage is left before she tapes over things AGAIN, perhaps with footage of her swinging an IKEA floor lamp around in order to show off her kickass lightsaber skills.)

We didn't start videotaping until after my epidural, mostly because I didn't have a room during the more tolerable, camera-friendly part of labor. And even when the video starts, I'm on my side, facing away from the camera and only manage a lame thumbs-up when Jason tells me he's recording, although I distinctly remember going to give him the finger and then changing my mind at the last minute, because of the posterity of the whole thing.

(Although given the horrifically graphic vagina shots and then the whole slicing-me-open thing that would come later, it's probably safe to say that no one else will ever view this video and I could have flipped the bird all I wanted.)

Jason fusses with the camera and the tripod for a few minutes while I casually reach behind me to make sure my ass is covered, or perhaps to scratch it. The footage is inconclusive.

Then: pushing time. I am not happy with Jason's camera placement, as at the time of the camcorder purchase I AM SURE I DICTATED THAT I WANTED TASTEFUL. As in, a discreet over-the-shoulder angle and not a hellooooo-birth-canal angle.

Guess which angle Jason set the tripod up for.

The clock on the camera says I started pushing at 8:43 am, which means it was really 9:43 am, because we lost the owner's manual and have no idea how to change the damn thing.

"Okay, we're going to wait for a contraction," the nurse tells me. "You just finished one so...oh! You're having one again! Let's go!"

I start pushing. The nurse keeps saying to push down like I am extremely constipated. Jason holds my leg back with one hand and strokes my hair with the other. The look on his face makes me fall deeply, deeply in love with him.

I push three times and then rest. We make some small talk about baby names and I timidly tell the nurse that the baby's name is Noah, even though I was still worried about jinxes and the Evil Eye and the possibility that he wouldn't "look" like a Noah or even an Elijah, our back-up name, but enough of that, it was time to push again.

"I don't think Noah is a little peewee," the nurse observes to my doctor, who has come in to check on my progress. "I think we've got a nice-sized baby."

My doctor tells us all about the 9 pound, 10 ounce baby he just delivered by c-section. We all laugh and gasp and the look on my face clearly says, "Um, freak? Who gestates a mutant baby like that? Not me, that's for fucking sure."

(I love the smell of hubris in the morning.)

My doctor tells us about the meconium in the fluid and the need for a pediatrician to be present for the birth and I nod and say (in the most IRRITATING, KNOW-IT-ALL voice I have ever heard), "Oh I know, I've seen it on TLC all the time."

My doctor leaves, probably to go roll his eyes out in the hallway.

I push again.

And while we didn't notice it at the time, it's terribly clear when watching the video that my pushing was causing a lot of distress for the baby. The rythmic thump thump thump of Noah's heartrate absolutely stops dead during my contractions. Alarms are going off, and I am oblivious to them.

The nurse leaves (probably to alert my doctor to the situation) and I glance at the camera and snap my legs together.

She comes backs in and there's more discussion about Noah's size and how high he still is, and how it's going to take a lot of pushing and different positions and motivation on my part to get him out.

I smile cheerfully, because seriously, how big could he be? Also, epidural! Love! AngelMusicBabyJoy!

She elevates my bed so I'm sitting upright and I push again. She tells me I'm doing great and that I am moving him, but my pelvic bones are in the way.

My doctor comes back in to watch me push and decides he wants an internal heartrate monitor on the baby. The nurse assures me they do this all the time, "Especially with a little meconium baby."

We all talk about the 9 pound, 10 ounce freak baby some more and I roll my eyes like, GOD, what did that woman EAT?

I push again and an alarm goes off. And it's clear from my nurse's reaction that my fantastic pushing progress has stalled.

She rolls me onto my side for the next round of pushing. The alarm goes off again. My ass, she is very white.

And I decide at this point to tell Jason to turn the camera off, because hours of this is going to be really boring, and why don't we save the battery and turn it on again when I'm closer to delivering?

The next shot is of my face on the operating table.

I look teary-eyed yet resigned, like I always knew it would end like this.

The clock says 9:26 am, so it was really 10:26 am, which means I pushed for less than 45 minutes before being rushed into surgery.

Jason gets a few shots of the actual surgery before being told to turn the camera off at 10:30 (we did have permission to tape but some random nurse thought we didn't), so we don't have Noah's actual birth at 10:32 am.

The surgery footage is just that: surgery. A big white belly being sliced into, blood, cutting, suction and more blood. I can watch it with a detached fascination -- like it's somebody else's body and bears no relevance to the long scar on my own abdomen.

The camera comes back on and Noah is there. Somewhere. He's wailing behind a wall of nurses as Jason keeps the camera steady, waiting to catch a glimpse. So mostly: footage of this one nurse's rather ginormous ass.

The APGARs are scored (8 on the first, 9 on the second) and my doctor says something about it being National Big Baby Day. Jason pans the camera to my face and I smile the most forced, pained-looking smile in the history of ever. I ask if he's going to cut the cord, and am saddened to hear that the doctors already cut it.

Then, in a hilarious little shot, a nurse looks over to the scale where Noah had been weighed and does a double take.

"Is this the baby's weight?" she asks incredulously.

My doctor looks over at the scale and says no, that can't be the baby's weight.

They weigh him again.

"Nine Fifteen," the nurse announces with a snort, and the whole room dissolves into shocked laughter.

Jason says, "There was no way you were delivering THAT."

I say, "Holy shit."

I think, "Oh my GOD, I have brought forth a MUTANT."

I mention SEVERAL TIMES that I'm shaking all over -- am clearly terrified that I'm going into shock or something and nobody is paying attention. Jason tells me its nerves, then adrenaline, then the epidural, because he really has no idea but decides that making shit up is probably more comforting.

And we wait.

And wait.

Noah's cries are loud and delicious, but he's still being fussed over by the pediatrician and nurses. I'm nervous that something is wrong. Jason tries to crack jokes about how our neighbors are going to love him, what with all that screaming, but when the nurse finally says that "Dad can come see the baby," he all but sprints over.

And then Noah fills the screen. He's bright red and fat and wide awake. He's swaddled and no longer crying. The nurse snaps a bracelet on Jason's wrist and tells him about the numbers that "match your daughter's bracelet."

"Um," says Jason.

The nurse laughs and corrects herself. And then gently tells Jason that he can take the baby over to me, but he really needs to put the camcorder down.

"Oh!" says Jason, and he fumbles a bit and manages to put the lens cap on without turning the camera off.

There's a few minutes of darkness, and then a shot of me being wheeled away, with Noah nestled snugly between my legs.

That's the final shot.

But it's okay, because that's exactly the moment when life with my amazing Noah -- real life, the stuff that matters, the stuff beyond pregnancy anxieties and fears, beyond natural vs. epidural, vaginal vs. c-section -- really started, and I will never, ever forget a single blessed minute of it.




Matt's Mom

Nice story!


Wow--Birth Story Bonus! Thanks so much for continuing to share your stories, despite the fickle/assvicey nature of your audience. Your stories mean something to us, and therefore, so do you. :)

The Muse

Am I first? Maybe? If someone else doesn't beat me to it?

Anyway... okay, 2nd time today tears have been brought to my eyes. The first is non-happy reasons, but, meh, not thinking about it right now, as the utter cuteness of Noah is overwhelming.

And have I told you how much I love your quasi-stream-of-consciousness-style-of-writing? Brilliant!


Very sweet!

I had an epidural several years ago for a foot surgery and didn't nothing but shake for a few hours after the surgery was over. I swore I'd never have one again. I've also never given birth, though.


my jake was born 9-2-97 and he was 9/15 1/2.

the head nurse at ny hospital was all like - that's a 10lb baby - put 10lbs on the birth certificate - she pushed him out - she gets to say he was 10lbs!

btw - it took me 2 hours to figure out how to get him the hell outta me. and half my body was numb from the epidural. i think i woulda preferred the c-section.

and, weird - he was also a meconium birth.

The Muse

See, I knew I'd lose out on the first-ness by the span of time it took me to actually form the comment. I'm a slow typer. Oh well.

Wacky Mommy

I said it before, and I'm saying it again, I am so glad you two were both okay. What a wild ride. Thanks for writing about it.


de-lurking to say how much i enjoyed the newly expanded and more detailed birth story, despite my token mid-20s-single-city-chick "of course i love kids but i don't want them now" status.

i'm glad to hear how much fun you guys are having with him. he really is an adorable baby (warm and fuzzies abound when you post pics of him) and let's not lie, there are totally some fugly kids out there. you think i'm mean but please, deep down you know it's totally true.

oh, and btw - i saw you guys at the grocery store once (i live in the cleveland park / cathedral area too) but felt bad bothering you all b/c you were with noah and he was a newborn and i figured you'd be tired, etc etc - and who really wants to be accosted in the produce aisle anyway?

good luck to you all... i've been a fan of your site (and your husband's) for a while now and am so glad to hear how happily your stories are progressing... keep up the great writing too.


Somehow, he looks bigger in the just born shot...


I'm due in August, and it really means a lot to me to read about your experience. My mom said the same thing -- there's so much focus on the pregnancy and delivery, but the most important thing is of course the baby. Thanks for sharing your story.


P.S. I only know what meconium is because I write for a drug-testing laboratory. How fun that there's an official word for "baby's first poop." :)


that was awesome. thanks for sharing.

Imaginary Grownup

Damn you for making me cry at work. And I don't even want a baby yet.


Beautiful story, and exceptionally well-written, as usual. The idea of the "hellooo birth-canal angle" is enough reason for me to chase my husband and my mother from the camcorder aisle of Best Buy for the next 5 months, however! ;)


Well, going to work all teary-eyed now. Thanks bunches :P

Nicole P

Ginormous baby, itty bitty yeah, C-Section for 1 please! Congrats on the newest anklebiter in your house.

Man, I wished I would have gotten that job in DC so that I could have been your babysitter for Mr. Noah!!


Apparently I have yet to learn my lesson to not read you because my ovaries are crying! The uterus is saying, "Y'all, shut UP, did you NOT just read what that woman went through? I DON'T THINK SO."

Although really, the boyfriend I guess, still gets the final word. Sigh.


Awesome story, Amy!


made me cry... wonderful story... I gotta' get a tissue.

Bozoette Mary He was huge! My son was 9 lbs 12 oz, and they had to use the salad tongs to get him out. And then my uterus turned inside out. Really.

Heather B.

I can't believe how much he's changed over the past 4 1/2 months. He's such a big kid now.


What a bonus for my day. I wasn't expecting another part to Noah's story. How exciting to read about it.

And man...he was a huge kid!! (but super duper cute!)


I agree - this was a very nice bonus! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. :)


Yes, yes, weepy and all that, blah blah blah.

What I cannot get over, FOR THE LIFE OF ME, is the fact that you have a videotape of your naked crotch. Ok, not so much that you HAVE the video - I know, miracle of birth and all that - but you watched it? You have a kind of interesting poise that I just do not possess. I am beyond impressed.


Great story! Glad you didn't tape over the, um, good stuff. I say um because I'm not sure, no matter how precious the outcome was, that I'd want my pale girly bits on camera.

Anyway, congratulations on actually making it through watching the video, and Noah? He's even cuter today than the day he was born.


I'm cryin.

I love a good birth story.

With Oldest I pushed for a couple of hours (8lbs. 10oz) and then they prepped me for the emergency c-section...
and then another pregnant lady was in a car accident and got to go first.

And I think reading:

real life, the stuff that matters, the stuff beyond pregnancy anxieties and fears, beyond natural vs. epidural, vaginal vs. c-section -- really started

has just, this moment, had me realize the truth of that.
Maybe I had forgotten, maybe I didn't realize. Definitely I am PMS-ing.


Lurker here- Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your site. I'm due with my second daughter May 1st. My hub. and I are hoping to someday have a little man-child half as cute as Noah.


Could Noah BE any more pleased with his big ol' feet? I don't think so.
Great story. Great family.


From one gestater-of-large-mutant-babies to another: you did good, Mom.


I love, love, LOVE how he has such a commanding presence in that hospital plastic bassinet thingie...he is almost too big for it! That and toes so long they could be fingers. My son was much like that as well, long toes. But he was 24 1/2" long and only 8lbs 4oz. He looked like a tree frog, all skinny legged and armed.

Cheers to big strapping baby boys! You sure know how to cook them!


And four months later?
STILL a double chin!!!

He's got some mighty big beefy paws there too!

That is one cute child.

I still don't want any of my own, but I don't mind living vicariously thru cute internet photos!!!


What a honker. A big, beautiful, perfect, angelic honker. And what a story. I continue to be completely amazed at your ability to commit your stories to the printed word.

Big Gay Sam

I can never get enough of those monkey toes. :P


holy moly - you are taking me back to 7 weeks ago when I had some similar situations. (What is up with the uncontrollable shaking and no one responding when you ask about it over and over again? And oh, that stressful heart rate monitor that dropped during every contraction.) Lucky for me, our little guy decided to come out vaginally at the very last moment. And I mean LAST MOMENT - as in on the operating table, strapped down, ready to be cut into. (Luckily we had a really cool doctor who decided to check things out one last time...)

But...Felix was only wow no comparison there.


Wow, he really does look like a big boy in that hospital bassinet! Really gives it some perspective...

I loved both Part 1 and 2 of the birth story and am so glad you gave us an opportunity for the extended edition! (Although I must say... completely terrified about childbirth now! Particularly the private bits being immortalized for all posterity. And the pain too.)


That is so very, very cool that you took the time to put the "birth story" together. I still haven't, but am re-thinking it. I should at least write something because it is so easy to forget all those little details.

I also made "small talk" and cracked jokes between pushes. I vaguely remembering telling everyone about this great place to get pastries nearby and that I hoped the kid would have a small nose because I wasn't pushing no big-nosed kid out. I think I also told the epidural guy I loved him (I do remember calling him Dr. Feel Good). My husband thought I was nuts, but everyone else was laughing at me.

Drugs. Mmmm.... Mmmm....GOOD


Aw man - you just made me want to have a baby. Actually - have your baby - GOD he's precious!


Thank you for sharing another birth story. I never tire of reading it. You have an amazing way of telling stories, definitely a gift.


I love a good birth story! Even an amended birth story of a birth story I already read! I cry every time.


Awwwww. Super. Gargantuan baby. Funny how they still seem so damn small though huh? Mine got progressively bigger but each one LOOKED tinier than the one before. (Oh, and before you panic? That doesn't mean the same will be said for your future bubkins).


isn't it amazing how much they CHANGE in ability to have their own little personalities show on their faces in such a short amount of time?

...i don't know if i could withstand a camera on my crotch. brave woman.


I loved both parts of the birth story...i had my kids' births taped for the same reason: not because I longed for crotch shots of myself (you don't have to give BIRTH for those), but b/c when you are busy screaming your head off it's a little hard to tell what's going on. I was in the "observation" room for my first baby too because there was no delivery suite, and all the other mums to be who came in saying "i'm not sure i'm in labour" took one look at my screaming, swearing, puking self and turned around and went
home. Thanks for the GREAT writing, and pics of yer little big man.


Amalah, do you realize that Noah's torso is NOW AS LONG AS HE WAS WHEN HE WAS JUST BORN!??

Just checking.


very lovely story. I also remember that moment when they shout out the baby's birth weight.
I did fine through a very traumatic labor and delivery....until the nurse announced his weight - " 10 pounds, 12 ounces!" Then I burst into tears.

Yes, I had an epidural, no I did NOT have a c-section, I pushed him out with the help of some very frightening tools.

And as frightening as that all was..I had two more babies after that - baby # 2 was another 10+ pounder, baby # 3 was a comparative pee-wee at 8 lbs.

Enjoy him!

Munckin's Mum

I have been following your site now for a bout 3 months and I have to ask "what DID you eat?" I mean that was one huge Baby (and sooo cute too) and a great effort considewring size. I can't beleive they actually let you push for that long!


My ass, she is very white...that phrase will live in my mind forever and make me laugh at really really inappropriate times (like when I'm trying to pretend to be a grown-up professional and stuff). My son (8 lbs 11 oz) also had the perfectly round head Noah was born with, my theory is his brain's just so stinking big he had to have a huge head (and huge heads don't like vaginas...but, well, hopefully, someday 20 years down the line he'll change his mind and start liking that doesn't sound right.) Noah is gorgeous, just don't blink or you'll open your eyes and he'll be walking and talking.


He is one of the most beautiful newborns I have seen. Truly.

And yeah....that shaking during and after the c-section is some crazy shit. I had all three babies via c-section and I never could feel comfortable with that shaking. Even thinking about makes my pinky finger start to tremor.

miss cavendish

Your story brings back fond/scary memories of my son's birth eight months ago. I didn't have an epidural and was convulsed with the need to push before I had fully dilated. After pushing (finally) for an hour, I had to have a c-section, which produced a 10.8 boy with--smile--clear pelvic bone indentations on his large head. Enjoy your dear baby.

Mama C-ta

Reading that brought me right back to my own labor almost 7 months ago! I can't help but be jealous b/c I ended up needing an emergency C-section too and I wanted it video taped but in the midst of chaos it never happened. I'd kill to have all that footage :( Cherish it as I'm sure you will!

Great photos at the end too, I love a just birthed baby!


With my last kiddo, we didn't have a camera at the birth, but there's some awesome footage of the conception!

Heh. Kidding!

Once again you've reduced me to cute little silent tears.

Funny how a kid can look like a football player at birth and then a basketball player at 4 months, huh?


That is pretty ironic that everyone was discussing this huge baby and then you go to have a bigger one. Did they end up testing him for GD anyways? Mine was 9lbs 13 oz and they took him away for 2 hours (I was pissed) to test him for GD and some other crap just because of his size.

Great story!

Nothing But Bonfires

Uh, that was SO MUCH BETTER than anything on TLC. Or Doctor 90210 on E! Or anything on the Discovery Channel.

Also, I love that your ass is a "she."


You are a brilliant writer, and thanks for sharing your story.

Your last paragraph about the last camera shot brought tears to my eyes, because indeed, that's when it all begins. And it only gets better and better.


You can never know what your story has meant to me at this point in my life. My daughter was born by c-section 10 plus years ago. She is so gorgeous, then and today. I had placenta previa and it was pretty scary - I was very lucky in the end. I would never have been generous enough to share our story with others - you are a very good person to do that. Your writing is wonderful and your emotions are so clear. Thanks so much. I am reliving Lucy's birth day even as I write this.


That is ONE big baby. I'm pretty sure I didn't need to tell you that though.

Is he bigger in his birth photo than the happy smiley new one??

Big or no - he's just one hell of a cute mutant baby.

Completely Different Laura

Semi-lurker here: Um, I'm sure its already been said, but, yet, his feet continue to be huge!

Um, also, I promise to get my own blog, but b/c y'all feel like family--just found out I'm pregnant! Wow!


My god he is a cute baby. I think you might actually be able to convince me to have one after reading all of this great stuff about Noah.


Note to self: Do not mention TLC's A Baby Story while in labor. Because I would totally do that, too. I've been watching the show religiously since I got pregnant.

Oh, and Amy? Your boy is THE CUTEST! Just look at how long his limbs have gotten. It's so amazing the way they grow.

Johnny Sapphire

I'm sure that it was really painful and scary, but I seriously could not stop laughing.

Like sitting-in-my-cube-hand-over-my-mouth-slightly-choking laughter.


love it, love it, love it.


When will I learn that I should not read your posts at work? My co-workers think I am insane when I sit hear and cry over people I don't even know. Beautiful.


I hardly ever comment, and here I am commenting twice. I felt compelled, though, to say thank you for the side bar. Colace is on my list of things I need to stock pile for when the bird flu hits and I can't go to the drugstore because that's where all of the sick people will be. But if I for some reason ran out? I would risk getting the bird flu to go an buy some.


jesus lady, you need to write a book. pissed my pants, and had to walk out of the office with sweater casually slung around hips.

i had almost exactly the same experience (big baby, miconium, etc) except they made me push that bugger *out* 9 hours, a power vacuum, 70 stitches later, and I had the beautiful vaginal birth I'd always hoped for.


Noah is delicious! What a cutie! BIG boy - yes. Sam was 8lbs, 4 1/2 oz. and that was enough for me.

Wonderful story!


i also want to tell all prospective first time mothers: BELIEVE NOT THY OB when he or she "predicts" the baby's weight. With my first I had a stupid, stupid OB who 1) thought that iron pills would help my low platelet count (doesn't), and 2) said, and I quote, "Oh, you won't have a big baby," while in the presence of my 5'8" self and my 6'2" husband...and the presence of my huge, looked-like-10-months-but-was-only-8-months along belly.

Idiot. That "not so big baby" was 9 pounds, 15 ounces and 2 feet long.


So everytime I think I am SURE that I don't want kids, I read a post from you and I change my mind all over again.

Damn you, Amalah!


*cries. sobs.*

I re-read your last two stories first, and I cried during them. Then I read this story and cried. You are soooooooo lucky to have such a beautiful family, and now I need a nap because I am tired from all the crying.


Beautiful birth story! And that is one handsome little man!

Dr. Johnny Fever

Cutest mutant I've ever seen.


I insisted on no camera during the birth. Definitely didn't want any bloody crotch shots for posterity. Must say, though, that now I do sort of wish I had video footage to help me sort out my jumbled memories (there's really no need for an epidural AND demerol). It's not like anybody paid any attention to me when I repeatedly asked not to be photographed in my hospital gown after the birth (have you EVER seen a mom not look like hell in those)? Not only am I in lots of pictures, but an incredible number of them feature my nipple.


Dude, what's COLACE? "Nobody tells you..."

I am your most confused fan.


It's funny what you remember and what actually happened--this happened to me with my first son--no epidural. Not because I didn't want one, but because the dr. from hell didn't allow it. Anyway, I don't remember holding my son after he was born (due to being overmedicated with demerol)...but there are pictures to prove I did. It breaks my heart that I don't remember those very important first moments.

Noah sure is a little pudge. ;) I love chunky babies.


They wouldn't let us have our camera anywere near the OR. Fuckers. Don't feel bad though; last year Hubby taped over my son's entire birthday party to tape boring relatives at Thanksgiving. It happens.

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