Lola’s Birth Story- Prodromal Labor

Little lady is finally here! And she has an epic prodromal labor story I’d like to share with everyone- I still can’t believe it.

To understand her story, you need to know Malone’s birth story. I’ve got it written out but it is close to 2500 words long. So here is the cliff notes version.

Malone was born at 39 weeks and 1 day after 36 hours of labor. I spent the last few weeks before his birth on modified bed rest thanks to borderline preeclampsia and I was never dilated more than a fingertip before going into labor.  I gained close to 60 pounds and was so swollen with fluids that I felt like a water balloon that was going to burst.

When I got to the hospital I was around 4 cm and I labored to 6 cm before getting an epidural. Getting the epidural was hands down the most terrifying experience of my entire life. For real, the things my nightmares are made of. Once I had the epidural I was completely blissed out on happy juice, but my labor stalled and they had to use pitocin to get it going again. I was THIS CLOSE to needing a C-Section because of stalled labor and unstable heartbeats (both his and mine). I will FOREVER be grateful to my doctor who decided to give us some more time to see if we could get it stable before deciding to slice and dice my insides.

Malone was born a little after 8 in the morning after about an hour and a half of pushing. He latched on like a champ and the rest is history.

And now for the birth story of Miss Lola.

Have you ever heard of prodromal labor? Yeah, I hadn’t either until I went through it with my second pregnancy. In a nut shell? Regular mildly annoying (but stronger than braxton hicks) contractions start and get you really excited. And then they stop a few hours later. They are a big giant tease leading up to the big day, but do some work of getting your body ready to deliver.

I walked around for almost 2.5 weeks dilated at 3 cm experiencing prodromal labor. My contractions were regular enough to be timed and painful enough (at times) for me to be constantly wondering if the big show was starting. There were times when we were excited enough that we actually called my mother in law out from Cape Cod (3 hours away) because we were sure we’d be headed to the hospital in just a few hours. And one night we even headed in to the hospital- only to be hooked up to the monitors and sent back home.

A big tease I tell you.. big freaking prodromal labor tease.

On Tuesday 8/20, I woke up in the morning feeling a bit crampy. Enough so that I asked Mike to delay going into work for an hour. I figured by 9:00 am we’d know if my crampy feeling was more prodromal labor or if things were finally going to start getting exciting. My contractions stopped, so off to work he went and Malone and I got on with our day.

We spent most of the day poking around at home. I alternated between cleaning and playing. He alternated between playing and watching tv. Around 11:00 am he got the idea in his head that we should make pepperoni, cheese, broccoli, and black olive pizza for lunch. I didn’t have any of those ingredients but felt like indulging him so off to the super market we went. Later on in the afternoon we also went out for ice cream.

Because Mike went into work late, he stayed late to catch up. Malone and I took a trip to the park for a post dinner time romp at the playground. We came home, hung out with Mike (who was now home from work), read stories together and put Malone to bed.

It seemed like it was going to be just like any other night for our trio.

Around 9:00 pm my contractions started but were about six minutes a part. We called Mike’s mom, Martha, and placed her on stand by- we weren’t calling her out yet, but promised we would if something really started happening. By 9:45, I was sure that I was in labor so she started the three hour journey to our house.

Earlier in the summer, I had coordinated with our neighbor Mary Jo, about being our back up child care in case Martha couldn’t make it in time. I texted her to let her know that I was in labor, but Martha was on her way. I told her I didn’t didn’t think we’d need her.

Now that all of my childcare ducks were in a row, I headed to the shower to labor. It was my favorite spot with Malone and I though that I’d be in for a long night. I took my iPhone with me and put on Mumford and Sons. I had been listening to them a lot and decided since most of their songs are so breathy and moany it would the perfect music to labor to.

At first the contractions were coming one to a song. Singing a long and moaning when they moaned really helped. It wasn’t long before the contractions were coming two to a song. When they started coming three to a song, I decided I should probably get out. I was in the shower for about an hour or so.

While I was in the shower, Mike was trying to get some rest. I had promised him that if something was going to happen, I’d wake him up. I thought we’d be in for a long night and I wanted him to get as much rest as he could.

As soon as I got out of the shower, I knew it was time to get ourselves in gear to get ready to go to the hospital. Mike changed, I finished packing our hospital bag, and we called Mary Jo. I also called the doctor on call. This was our conversation.

“Are you in labor?”


“See you soon.”

She didn’t ask how far apart the contractions were, which I thought was weird. But whatever.

Mary Jo arrived at our house around 11:45 pm. My contractions were coming about every two minutes apart but I was still really calm through them. I was able to moan through them. I had a pretty big one when we got outside. The blue moon was out and beautiful. It was kind of fun to howl at it!

We live about 20 minutes away from the hospital but hit every red light along the way. My contractions were still about every two minutes apart. But once we were about half way there, something changed. I could no longer moan through them. All I could to was use my voice to crescendo through them. I would start off in a low moan and by the time the contraction “peaked” I was screaming bloody murder at the top of my lungs. When one would finish, I was able to take a deep breath and glance at my husband. Who by the way was very calm, cool, and collected considering the howling banshee who was riding shot gun with him.

When we went over the speed bump at Smith College, my water broke. The next several contractions were at full on screaming my brains out level.

We arrived at the hospital and had to go through the ER entrance- it is the only one open late at night. Mike jumped out and tried wrestling with a wheel chair to bring it over. I decided I couldn’t wait and walked in myself instead. He ran and parked the car while I wait for a nurse to come down from labor and delivery (which is kind of on the opposite end of the hospital).

She walked briskly through the halls as I continued to labor. And by continued to labor, I mean screamed loud enough to wake the dead. Seriously, I had no idea my voice to make those noises.

When we got into the elevator, she pushed the button and very sweetly said “If you can try not to push while we’re in the elevator, that’d be a good idea.” I wonder how many babies have been born in that elevator?

When we got to the delivery room, I stood up  out of the wheel chair and told everyone that I either needed an epidural immediately and I didn’t care what my birth plan said, or I needed to push.

The nurses and my doctor were ready and waiting for me in the delivery room. They, along with all of the patients and staff could hear me coming. And by ready, I mean as much as someone can be ready with three minutes notice.

The next contraction passed and I got into the bed. The nurses took my shorts off and the doctor checked to see where things were at. The time was 12:16 am.

Both Mike and I were completely surprised to hear her say “Hey, so uh that’s the head. You just go right ahead and push whenever you’re ready.”

We both thought for sure that she was going to say I was only at 6 or 7 cm.

Three pushes later, our family of three became a family of four. We welcomed Lola into the world on 8/21/13 at 12:26 am- 10 minutes after we arrived in our delivery room.

Because she came so quickly, the nurses had to scramble to get all of the delivery “gear’ into the room. I didn’t even have a gown/jonny on. And I’m pretty sure I owe my doctor a new outfit. I don’t think she was in scrubs.

Lola was placed immediately on my chest. We hung out in the delivery room until around 3:00 am. One thing I love about my hospital is that they don’t wisk the baby away right after birth. After they cut her cord, they gave us a few hours before taking her measurements, giving her a bath, and doing all of the other newborn stuff (vaccinations etc).

She weighed 8 pounds 3 ounces and was 22 inches long.

The natural birth experience I had been hoping and praying for came. It is funny, but I swear I had no idea it would happen so fast. I thought for sure I was going to labor all night and have her in the morning.

Lola Lips

Lola is a week old today and I feel amazing. Because she came so fast, I have a pretty gnarly tear. But otherwise, I feel really well which I think is in part because I didn’t have the epidural.

family of 4

We are ALL adjusting to life as a family of four. Malone is doing quite well at sharing the world that was once all his own. He’s had a few rough patches which is to be expected. I am getting used to functioning again on less sleep, although for the most part Lola has been giving me some decent stretches. Mike is back to work, but Martha has still been around. Next week will be my big test as I’ll have both of the kids on my own.


  1. 1

    Sarah Knepper says

    NJ!!! I love this story. I had natural childbirth with my second at the hospital and then a home birth with my third. So glad your dreams came true. And I hear you on sounding like a wild banshee, my doula was surprised the neighbors didn’t come knocking down our door in the middle of the night.
    Congrats my friend!!
    Sarah Knepper recently posted..The Ambassador in ChainsMy Profile

  2. 2

    Lisa says

    Love this and was in tears by the end. Some day I need to tell you about Cassies entrance…pretty typical similar…..shower and all.

  3. 3

    Nancy says

    A thrill a minute!!
    It was fun being preggo buddies with you! I would say let’s do it again sometime but… It ain’t gonna happen, right ?! LOL
    Nancy recently posted..Micah’s Birth StoryMy Profile

  4. 4

    Evie says

    Congrats! She is beautiful and I love her name. Your story gives me hope that maybe with the next one I can wait it out and start labor naturally. I went overdue with both the girls so they had to induce and it took fooooorrrrreeeevvvvveerrrrr. I don’t know about no epidural (I don’t think I’m THAT strong ;) ) But your story gives me hope! Thanks for sharing it!

  5. 5

    christie elkins says

    Wow. I LOVE this because you keep it REAL when it comes to having a baby. And she is so beautiful and looks so much like you! Your story is a LOT like my birth story with Titus. I usually don’t post links to my own stuff in comments but I think you’ll relate:
    christie elkins recently posted..the 50 state prayer project: be our “50 State Family”!My Profile

  6. 7

    future.flying.saucers says

    YEA!!! What an exciting story! Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!
    future.flying.saucers recently posted..Creation in 6 Days~ Genesis 1 (Object Lesson)My Profile

  7. 8

    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says

    Congratulations! AND you managed to write a post after all that :)
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted..Money Manners: Splitting the BillMy Profile

  8. 9

    ronnie says

    OMG!!! I’m so late but CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!

    She is beautiful! What a great story too. My favorite line, “If you can try not to push while we’re in the elevator, that’d be a good idea.”

    Too funny!!

    Good luck with everything and I can wait to read more about her :)
    ronnie recently posted..8 Tips for Dutch WonderlandMy Profile

  9. 10

    Chelsea from Directionless Mom says

    Congrats! That picture of her is too cute! I wanted an epidural with my son, but unfortunately it didn’t take. Not fun. lol

    I’m so glad you got to the hospital in time! And I hope mothering two kids is going well. It’s going well for us, although it has it’s days! ;)
    Chelsea from Directionless Mom recently posted..C-section is a four letter word.My Profile

    • 11

      NJ says

      Thank you Chelsea! We BARELY made it. I had an epidural with Malone and it was bliss but I think it hindered my recovery time a bit. With Lola, I was up and at them in the matter of hours!

  10. 12

    ~Karrilee~ says

    Aaah – I love birth stories like that! (Glad you made it to the hospital in time… just barely!) I was two weeks late and not dialated at ALL when I checked in, scheduled to be induced the next morning… the entire night I was in labor but the nurse said no… “No, that’s not labor… Labor will be tomorrow and it will be worse!” Yeah… she was a joy! I checked in at 6… ‘thought’ I started labor around 7 and finally – at the nurses shift change – found someone NEW to come check because my body was pushing involuntarily. Yeah – my nurse said the same thing (“Oh – well I see her head… so go ahead and push!”) and 20 minutes later we had our baby girl! I always joke that my labor was only 20 minutes long! ;)
    ~Karrilee~ recently posted..A Treasure to Behold – Day 17My Profile

    • 13

      NJ says

      My labor with Malone was 36 hours from start to finish. I’ve decided that I much prefer the quick ones! What a terrible nurse you had!

  11. 14

    Jennifer Peterson says

    OH love birth stories, so glad you got there in time, my last one was a lot like you. I was induced with all my girls so when I get there to have her, I was already 3cm, and hour later I was crying like a baby, I told the nurse I don’t remember it hurting this bad with the other two this quickly, after she checked me she said oh! You can push! I said oh good, I thought I was a pansy!! Haaaa who says that?? Three pushed later she was here!! Beautiful family you have. And so glad to have met you.

    • 15

      NJ says

      It really was the birth I had been hoping and praying for! Two months later, I still look back on it fondly (even though I still remember the pain)! Three pushes for you to! That is awesome!

  12. 16

    Amanda {A Royal Daughter} says

    WOW! What a story. We are a good hour from our hospital, so hopefully I don’t go quite so fast as you did!
    Amanda {A Royal Daughter} recently posted..Happy Birthday to My HusbandMy Profile


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