Winston's birth story

It has taken me eight weeks to feel ready to talk about the week that Winston was born. It was not the naturally easy and quick hospital birth that I had dreamt of; me birthing him while standing, totally free of drugs and only full of euphoria. But, the morning of July 28th was the most incredible morning I've ever had.
Let me back up, just a bit. First, you have to know that Dan and I took Hypnobirthing classes to prepare us for the birth. It is a hippie, natural birth, know your rights and options class. The basic premise is to get through contractions by breathing, focusing, and letting your husband talk you through any pain. I highly recommend the classes - although the book tells you pretty much all you need to know.
Second, in Ohio, we had hired a wonderful Doula named Angela, who was a Cross between an angel and a british Mary Poppins grandmother. I instantly loved her, and knew she could perfectly coach me through my birth. And, I adored my OB, Catherine Coats, who handled me with care and put up with my crazy/paranoid/weirdness. I saw her almost once a week my entire pregnancy. BUT, we moved to North Carolina when i was 36 weeks pregnant (Dan got a non-teaching Science job at Duke and I begged him to take it because I never loved Ohio). So, I showed up in Durham with no Doula. (the Chapel Hill natural Birth Center had too many August births, so i couldn't be seen there and ended up at CH OB)
Once in NC, I was incredibly swollen - from my knees down, and miserable from the humidity and heat. By week 37, I sat inside in my underwear and begged my OBs to induce my labor. I had major contractions and false labor 5 or so times, and went to the hospital at week 38 convinced I was in full blown labor. I wasn't. Nor was I even close to being a hair dilated. However, My blood pressure was through the roof and therefore I was induced the night of Monday July 25 *week 39. Dr. Powell placed Cervadil in my cervix (to dilate it). My friend Fernanda visited and brought me a HUGE cheeseburger and a milkshake. I temporarily forgot I like to think of myself as vegetarian. By morning, NOTHING. So, they did it again and started pitocin to jump start my contractions. 12 hours later, NOTHING.
Tuesday night, I received Citotec and more pitocin. The contractions kicked in and I hypno-breathed through them. My iPod and I danced mentally, to keep my mind off my uterus. The baby and I were doing great but once the pain got to me, I asked for help and was given the most magnificent drug on the planet: Stadol. It made me feel high and a bit drunk and evidently gave me diarrhea-stand-up-comedy-mouth, because this is the point where I told all the nurses who would listen what a slut I was in college - and that I was imagining dirty dancing with Justin Timberlake ("in the club, with my leg over his shoulder" - Dan wants me to add).
I was only 3 centimeters dilated Wednesday morning when my water broke. Which was pretty weird and terribly wet. I politely asked (cried and was a little bitchy) for an epidural. My swelling had grown up to my hips and made my legs hurt, but the doctors were only slightly concerned about my it although I complained enough to make Dan nuts. My pain was eased quickly thanks to the epidural, and I called my mom, Dan's mom, Corey (my best friend and the photographer) to say the baby was ALMOST HERE. Late Wednesday night, Corey and her three cameras arrived and Dan and I hurried to pick a name. We wrote options on the whiteboard and the nurses voted (Winston Monroe was the winner, by far). At 3 am THURSDAY, I was 6 centimeters and thinking that by morning I would squeeze out my son.
BUT. the bad part: At 7 am, Dr.Powell examined me and it was determined that my cervix was swollen shut (maybe from my general swelling, maybe from my inadvertent pushing) and it was time for a c-section. I asked if I could go home.
I literally asked if I could return when my cervix dilated on its own, because clearly the hospital didn't do a good job and that perhaps nature should take its course. But, the doctors mentioned possible infection due to my broken water and that freaked me and Dan out and so, a whirlwind of paperwork, more anesthesiologists and operating room people later and I was flat on my back and numb. AND, here is where hypno-birthing worked best for me. I was about to have a panic attack because this was WORST CASE scenario for me - I was afraid. I asked Dan to tell me a story, so that I could focus on him, and not the pulling I might feel (i felt nothing bad). He looked at me and told me about his dog Samson going down to the garden and finding the most magnificent ripe tomato to eat. And walking around with it in his mouth, before finding just the perfect resting spot to eat it.
While nervously laughing, and watching Dan and Corey in their space alien suits, I heard the most amazing happy (there is a god) sound - my little boy, squeaking out a cry, as if to say, well HELLO, here I am! And the doctors said he was perfect. Our boy scored perfectly on the Agpar scale and he was quickly given to Dan. Look at this proud dad!!! I cried and laughed and felt the euphoria I had dreamed about. My 9 months of worry-turned- into relief. He was born. My baby Winston was finally looking at me. And he looked Asian. Seriously. He weighed 8 lbs and 5 oz (5 oz was hair) and had the longest toes and fingers. And I loved him instantly.
8.5 pounds Then, I was knocked out with some Valium and the doctors stitched me up and I awoke hungry and groggy. I do not remember anything from the rest of Thursday, but I hear that Winston latched on quickly, ate for a LONG time, and that Dan changed the very first diaper of his life. Which was FULL of meconium and grotesque. He also learned to cover the poop area when changing a diaper, because baby Winston let one go while the diaper was off and it got on the floor. Which dan didn't know until He stepped in it. I video'd the whole ordeal, and you can hear me laughing my ass off during the most of it.
So there you go. Baby Winston Oaks Johnson (yes Oaks is for the tree, and No, Winston is not for the cigarette, but rather half for Winston-Salem the NC city and half for Winston Churchill (who was an awesome leader AND was funny) is born. It took a week total. Him and his perfect ten toes were worth every second. I love love love his little feet. So cute.
birth photos courtesy of