Baby on the Run: Week 21

Baby on the Run, Week 21! That rhymes! How exciting!

It was during Week 21 that I decided I popped.

I also decided this during Week 20. And Week 18. And definitely Week 16. And I was positive I had popped — that my stomach was showing a visible baby bump — during Week 6.

Baby on the Run: Week 21
Week 11. Convinced I was “showing.” (Ellie, your posture is getting worse. U OK?)

On Wednesday night, my stomach was huge. The baby was kicking like crazy, and I was excited for Brian to feel, and instead he came at me WITH A STETHOSCOPE. He ordered an actual stethoscope off Amazon and was so proud of himself and kept putting it on my stomach while I tried to sleep. It’s so nice going to sleep in your own cozy bed, only to immediately feel like you’re at the doctor. (He swears he can hear the baby’s heartbeat with it. I don’t know. I didn’t try. I was trying to sleep.)

When I woke up Thursday, I was less bloated and gassy than I had felt the night before (#sexypregnancy), but my stomach was still out there. So I decided: POPPED. And while I was walking Ellie on Friday, a woman (I don’t know her!) looked at me and smiled and said congratulations. So I guess it’s obvious now, or at least in certain outfits?

Baby on the Run: Week 21
Definitely more obvious when clothed, I think.



carrot, or an endive. Because everyone knows how big an endive is, right? (I posted about this on Instagram Stories and a zillion people responded acting like I’m an idiot for not knowing how big an endive is. I’ve eaten endive before, but I stand by my declaration that I do not, off the top of my head, know how big an endive is, or how it should compare to my growing human child.)

Baby on the Run: Week 21
I have taken more selfies in the past 21 weeks…


I felt OK all week, with the exception of some more back pain. On Tuesday morning, it was so bad I could barely move, so I got a prenatal massage (still loving Hoboken Women’s Wellness!) and felt much better after. But I don’t want to keep doing stop-and-go treatment — I want to figure out what exactly this pain is, so I’m seeing a specialist tomorrow. Back pain is annoying!

Otherwise, feeling groovy. And maybe a little moody? It’s hard to tell if it’s hormone-based, or if people are just being stupid lately. But something about being pregnant has me speaking my mind without giving a damn. I love it. I don’t think other people do. YOLO.

Baby on the Run: Week 21


One of the most common questions I get when people find out I’m pregnant — after asking if it’s a boy or girl — is if I’ve had any crazy cravings. And I haven’t.

Or rather, hadn’t.

On Sunday, Brian, Ellie, and I had gone hiking, and it was so hot out and all I could think about was ice cream. I used to be obsessed with ice cream, but since mostly ditching dairy, I don’t really crave it because I know the aftermath is so brutal. (Yes, I know there are lots of yummy non-dairy options. I don’t crave those either.) But on Sunday, I couldn’t stop thinking about ice cream. I was so tired post-hike, and I tried to nap, but I couldn’t fall asleep. I just sat in bed, thinking about ice cream. So finally I marched over to Ben & Jerry’s, got myself a cone, and felt very satisfied.


Nothing too exciting. I took a few Orangetheory classes, and took it really easy during all of them. I wanted to go for a run in Central Park Saturday, but it didn’t happen. Instead, I went for a nice walk with my friend, and I LOVE WALKING. (I posted about it on Instagram after, and the editors at Shape saw it and were like, “Hey, tell us more.” So I did! Read the story here. You can get a bit of my rant-y vibe there at the end.)

Baby on the Run: Week 21
Get this tank HERE! Code ONTHERUN gets you 15% off!


I’m going to an engagement party this weekend, so I ordered a few maternity dresses. None of them are quite working for me. And I think I’m going to need to go up another size in my sports bras, because the ones I just ordered are already tight (and I’m busting out the sides, which is neither cute nor comfortable). My mom very adorably sent Brian a dad-to-be Father’s Day package (MOM, HE’S ALREADY A DAD, TO ELLIE, YOUR GRANDDOGTER), and she threw a super-waisted maxi skirt in there for me. It is so comfortable and so awesome and I’m so happy in it.

Baby on the Run: Week 21
RIP sports bra. You were good while you lasted. For two weeks.


I started reading On Becoming Baby Wise. I read one chapter and then decided to watch all 14 episodes of The Bold Type instead. (Anyone else watching? IT’S SO GOOD and I’m dying to talk about it, so please let me know if you’re watching and up to date and also if you think the Richard and Sutton relationship is kind of weird but also want them to work it out.)


OK-ish. Good enough, I guess. On Saturday night I had a dream that I gave birth! The delivery was a whirlwind, and at the end, I was like, “Brian, how long was I pushing for?” and he said, “Five minutes.” And I was like WOW AWESOME, I DIDN’T FEEL A THING. I asked him if I needed any drugs, and he said no. And then Missy Robbins, the head chef at Lilia (my fave) showed up with a giant bowl of mafaldini (also my fave) for me. If real life could be JUST LIKE THAT, that would be great.

Baby on the Run: Week 21
Here is someone who has NO PROBLEM sleeping.


So many things!

First, if crib bumpers are unsafe, why do so many places sell them? At first I was like, “OH THIS STRIPED BUMPER IS CUTE, LEMME REGISTER FOR IT!” Then I used this thing called and read all kinds of stuff saying under no conditions should you have a bumper in your baby’s crib! So… Why do they exist? Please advise. What am I missing?

Second! I can’t stop reading birth stories. I told myself I wasn’t going to read any, and at some point this past weekend, I started down the rabbit hole and I couldn’t be stopped. (It’s kind of like how, after finding out I was pregnant, I couldn’t stop watching YouTube videos of happy people telling their parents and loved ones their big news. I cried to the point of dehydration many times.) Anyway. I am trying not to think too much about the actual birth, because we have plenty of time until that happens, and also because I don’t want to get myself at all psyched out. My midwife mentioned “our wishes” (wishes! hopes, dreams, goals! but not a plan!) at our last appointment, and we discussed it briefly, but honestly, I don’t want too much information. When the time comes, I’m going to do what the midwife and doula and OB/GYN tell me to do. I will go in well-informed, but I don’t want to over-think it. My theory is, “Zillions of women do this every day. You can, too, Feller.”

Baby on the Run: Week 21
Can Ellie come to the hospital for the birth???

That being said, if you wrote about your birth story and it’s on the internet, OMG send me the link. Or just tell me about it here. It’s so fascinating to me right now.

Third! When people talk about the pain of childbirth, I know that includes lots of different things. But if you have done it, which did you find more aggressive: the pain of the contractions, or the pain of the actual pushing and getting the baby out part? Or was it the recovery? And is it true that it’s like a marathon and you forget about it afterward, once you can walk again?

More Baby on the Run:



39 Responses

  1. I have been loving badassmotherbirther and theempoweredbirthproject on Instagram while pregnant. They post a lot of beautiful birth photos, stories, and information. There is NO birth censoring (which I love but FYI if you don’t). I have learned a lot and they really show birth in a beautiful and positive way, rather than “it’s going to be the worst pain ever and it”/ disgusting down there.” Super refreshing and fascinating! Highly recommend.

  2. I have so many comments. I watch The Bold Type and would love to talk about it! Don’t have a crib bumper but our baby likes to roll over and let her legs fall through the crib slats so she’s just laying face down with her legs sticking out. Hilarious buttttt probably not the safest? I think bumpers may be okay for older babies, especially ones who do this, but I need to research. Also, I found the contractions to be painful but once I got an epidural I felt nothing and it was glorious. I always felt it would be weird to not be able to move my legs and it made me consider not getting an epidural…but I got one and COULD feel and move my legs…but couldn’t feel anything else, including while pushing. I was on cloud nine and it made my experience so much less stressful than I imagined! ALSO I loved watching videos of people telling their families too! Andddd I have a birth story on my blog (I think) but would always be happy to chat if you want 🙂

  3. Congrats on your pregnancy! I just gave birth to my first child and was totally in the same boat as you re not wanting to know much about labor and delivery. My advice is if you are going with a medicated birth (i.e. epidural) then, at least for me, it worked out very well not knowing much beforehand. Of course it’s a personal choice, but I had a rough pregnancy so I knew I was going to want to be medicated for labor. I had the epidural early and had no pain whatsoever (my husband worked harder than I did pre-pushing by helping move me around) and was able to really focus on the pushing part. If iI had done a lot of research beforehand, I would have freaked myself out for no reason. However, if you are going non-medicated or want to try for it then I think it is likely more important to be informed and have a plan on how to pain manage. The contractions i had pre-epidural were no joke and I imagine they would have gotten a lot more intense from there. Good luck!

  4. I have been a long time reader but haven’t commented before! I have a 17 month old daughter & am pregnant with #2 (keeping the sex a surprise both times! – it’s the BEST!) and I swear, I have always wondered about the crib bumper thing too. WHY do they sell them with no disclaimers? It’s kind of infuriating to me. Also in that category – the car seat covers (bundle me) that go underneath the baby. They aren’t safe at ALL because they interfere with how tight the straps are supposed to be. The “shower cap” style ones are fine.

  5. Several thoughts – tried babywise and thought it was ‘meh’. I don’t really think you can go wrong with any of the books just pick one. The nice thing is they give you some direction but at the end of the day, you’re still dealing with a tiny human who’s not a robot so no one does it all as the book says. Just use it as a guideline and give you and your baby some grace. Everyone figures out what works best for them eventually. Re epidural – I was all gung-ho to try without drugs (especially after having a root canal at 7 months w none of the good drugs – figured labor would be a breeze after that). Then I had to be induced w pitocin and as someone mentioned above was having contractions on top of contractions and labor going no where fast. That said I “caved” and got the epidural. It was bliss. My immediate thought was – why did I wait so long and why was this even debatable??? There are no medals given for going drugfree. If you can do it – great! But you are certainly not showing weskness by getting the drugs. Hang in there as long as you can OR get it right away. You’ll no what feels right when the time comes. Either way- you’re already a rockstar for getting to that point!!!

  6. Kinda long but here’s mine I shared with a Facebook group for pregnant moms:
    38+2 I woke up with back pain and nausea and overall feeling of crapiness. My husband, bless him, made me stay home from work. The back pain continued intermittently all morning and then I started to have painless uterine contractions which I assumed were more Braxton Hicks. Husband came home at lunch and brought soup which is all I felt like I could handle. About 10 minutes after he left I had my bloody show and the “painless” contractions got some pain behind them and organized to every 3-5 minutes. I had more than 5 in an hour and since those were hospital parameters for my doctor we decided to go in and get checked. Turns out I was 1-2/50/-3 so they monitored me for an hour. I was banging out contractions the whole time but only changed to 2-3/80/-3. Baby’s heartrate was reassuring so they sent us to walk at 4pm. She told me to do lots of lunges and other moves to open my pelvis since baby’s face was pointing up instead of towards my back which explained the back pain. I’ve now seen every single aisle of Target. The pain intensified during the walk to the point of where I couldn’t walk or talk during contractions so we headed back for a recheck around 7 pm. I was unchanged at that point so they sent me home with Ambien to attempt sleep and laboring at home. Yea, that was a joke. Contractions got more intense and lasted longer. I tried every surface in our house to rest and finally got my husband up at 1 am and said take me back.

    Thursday, 2 am, 38+3 they recheck me and I’m 4/80/-2. Originally the plan was to give me some morphine in triage so I could sleep and then recheck. Baby was still super happy on the monitor but still facing the wrong way. Ended up getting admitted and about 10 minutes after had the sweet sweet relief of an epidural. They rechecked at 5 am and I was still 4 cm so they broke my water to get the party started. Slept pretty well until my check at 9 am when I was 6 cm so they started pitocin. About an hour later I was anterior lip, baby facing the wrong way but tolerating labor ok. She was able to reduce the lip and we started pushing and that’s where it all went south. We tried to get baby to rotate through basically every birth position possible as well as the OBs hand all up in my uterus. His heart rate started to take some scary dips so the OB mentioned we should consider a c section after trying few more pushes. Although they said I was pushing well and making ok progress baby wasn’t having any of that and let us know with some huge drops in heartrate. The OB said let’s section and after a whirlwind consent, Foley replacement and getting dosed up in my epidural (oh and starting to cry because I felt like I failed) they ran me off to the OR. They couldn’t find the heartbeat once in the OR so they threw on some betadine and draped made sure I was numb and cut. They didn’t even precount the instruments (super standard presurgical practice) so I knew this was an emergency. It took about a minute from skin incision to baby and my nurse had to place a hand in my vagina and push him up. She said when she did she could hear the suction release from his head and my pelvis. My crying finally stopped when his started. He needed a little CPAP but his daddy saved the day doing skin to skin while they finished closing me up. I got an X-ray after since they didn’t count the instruments and was reunited with my son in recovery. They let him say hello briefly in the OR and were able to drop the drape and show him to me right after he was out of the uterus. The way he was positioned in utero that kid was never coming out vaginally but OB said that doesn’t mean I’m committed to sections for the rest of my babies. Thankfully my OB who I saw exclusively since 16 weeks was able to come up from his clinic and assist the on call OB in the section. I’ve never felt so alone in my entire life so it was comforting to have him on the other side of the drape. Right before they started he promised me he would take care of me and my baby and he did. My husband missed the actual delivery due to the emergent nature but came into the OR shortly after delivery.

  7. Love this, Ali. I’ve run 31 marathons and have given birth twice – vaginally, without medicine, and once as a water birth (both births in a hospital setting) – and would say that marathons and childbirth are two completely different processes. Incomparable. That doesn’t help you, but that’s how I feel 🙂 you’ll do great.

    And I was the same way with birth stories! I still love reading them 🙂 here’s mine for my second child’s:

    But yesssss you can absolutely do this. I used to tell myself that women do this every single day, and some even in caves!!! Lol. You have such a great attitude and outlook. Both will serve you well. Xo

  8. I also listened to the Birth Hour podcast a lot during my pregnancy. I was pretty selective about which episodes though, and focused on the ones that sounded similar to my preferences or topics I wanted to know more about. (Like hypnobirthing, which I think is interesting, but not something I wanted to attempt.) I had my baby 10 weeks ago, at 36+5, so it was a complete surprise when labor started. My water “broke” on a Monday night, but really it just started trickling, so I didn’t think it was what it was. I had an appointment with my midwife the next day, so just waited til then to mention it to her, so she checked me and said yes, it’s your water and we’re having a baby in the next 24 hours. She knew I wanted to do things as intervention-free as possible, so she gave me til the following (Wednesday) morning to start contractions on my own. She had me check into the hospital that night to be monitored, and scheduled me to start pitocin at 5 am if I wasn’t laboring by then. She said many women will start laboring at night, but I did not, so started pitocin at a super low level and then increased the amount every hour until about 11 am until my body finally kicked in and started contracting on its own. Between my water being broken and the pitocin, I had some intense contractions. It’s a little hazy, but I dilated to a 4, then a 6, then they had me lay with the peanut ball and in a matter of a few horrible contractions I was at a 10. The contractions with the peanut ball were the worst and hurt more than I expected (for some reason wasn’t expecting that level of pain), but I knew I didn’t want an epidural and was basically past the point of no return even if I did want one after all. Pushing was a relief and I don’t remember it as painful, just work. I pushed in a squat position and on all fours, and spent a lot of time pushing with my breath rather than holding my breath and pushing (which I did at the end to get him out finally). I think I pushed for almost an hour total, and just remember thinking I just want him out and why is this taking so long haha. He was born and while they were cleaning and measuring him the placenta was born (easily). My recovery was much quicker than I expected, but I made a point to be as relaxed and calm as possible. My biggest advice is to have no expectations about what those first days/weeks will be like and just focus on nourishing yourself and loving on that brand new baby. Nothing else matters beyond that for that little while. You’ll do great!

  9. I also read a lot of birth stories and actually thought they did a good job of preparing me for many different scenarios.

    I knew I wanted an epidural but didn’t have too many “wishes” beyond that for the actual birth part. I guess I’m glad I kept an open mind because Hurricane Matthew hit our beach town in FL literally on my son’s due date. Luckily we made the decision to evacuate two days before to my mother’s house in North Georgia with every expectation that we may have the baby there. We made it there after 9 hours in the car with our dog, cat and a few random / essential baby things we could squeeze in. As luck would have it, my sister’s father in law there is an OBGYN and I texted her on our drive to ask if he would deliver the baby should it come to that. She thought I was joking and typed something like LOL – I wasn’t! Twenty four hours after we arrived, I went into labor. It turned out to be a wonderful experience as he was an amazing doctor and we had so many of our family and friends close by to visit. The entire thing was a little surreal, but in the moment we just made the best decision we could and never really panicked that it wasn’t “the plan”. The fear of not being able to even make it to a hospital in the middle of a hurricane definitely put everything in perspective.

    My biggest surprise from labor and delivery was how long it can take. My first contraction to delivery took 31 hours and apparently that’s not unusual for a first baby (this information did nothing to make me feel better at the time!). With an epidural, not all of that time was painful by any means but just being awake that long is exhausting. That would be my best advice to manage expectations as I kept getting frustrated at the slow progress and worried my body wasn’t doing the right things.

  10. I have given birth 3 times. Two without an epidural and one with. The first two I was too scared of the epidural. With number three, my water broke, so I didn’t go into labor on my own. SOOO, I had plenty of time anticipating the contractions and was too scared knowing how bad it was going to get. HA! So, after a few good contractions, I cried and told them I couldn’t go through that again. Drama queen. ANYWAY, I think the contractions hurt worse then the pushing. The pushing was “hard” and it hurt but in a different hurt unlike contractions, but I just wanted the babies out so I didn’t care. Do you forget the pain? Well, IF I get a twinge/pain in my stomach area now I think OMG, labor. (Even though I’m not pregnant). ha! You do forget the pain but you also remember it hurting but not how much it hurt. I still remember my entire body being sore but I’ve experienced all over body soreness from other things, too. I think some people are able to bounce back quickly but I was definitely slow going for the first few days especially when it came to sitting.

  11. Yay! I loved Baby Wise! Our daughter is a pretty good sleeper 98% of the time and I really think it was the consistency and the pattern stated in the book. We did not follow it exactly, but use the methods to suit our family.

    For me, laboring was difficult, but I had a pretty long (27 hour) labor and when I finally got to the pushing part I was glad. I could actually DO something. It definitely helped being able to mentally push through, similar to running a marathon, but I do remember telling the Dr that everyone lied, this is nothing like running a marathon. HA! My recovery wasn’t pretty, but you get through the worst of it in a week or two and then it keeps getting better. I thought at the time I would be traumatized forever, but I’m definitely not now. My husband was the best throughout it all though and I can see from what you share about Brian, you’ll have a great teammate to go through this with.

  12. You should check out the Birth Hour Podcast. We are trying to get pregnant now and I discovered the podcast and love it. My husband thinks I am crazy but I like information (hence why I am a scientist). While some stories have scary or concerning moments in the vast majority everything works out great for mom and baby in the end. Which is a great reminder. 🙂

  13. New grandma here. On the crib bumper thing: I FINALLY figured it out. Tie the bumper below the mattress during the first few months. This is just for vanity. But as the baby gets older and you lower the mattress leave the bumper in position so that when they’re over 1 they won’t stick they’re flailing limbs through the crib railing!
    It took me until grandkids to figure this out.

  14. Oh my gosh contractions were the worst. My daughter was sunny side up so I had back labor. I had some hopes of a natural birth and about an hour into my contractions I said NOPE and got my epidural immediately upon being admitted to the hospital. Couldn’t feel a thing until it was time to push! Thank goodness I had that time to rest because since my daughter was sunny side up she was stuck and I ended up pushing for four. Freaking. Hours. I was probably about 30 seconds from a c section and a more pushy dr would have done one for sure. I don’t think the actual act of childbirth would deter me from having more children but I have always been on team #oneanddone.

  15. They sell bumpers because they’re safe for older babies, once they can roll over and move on their own. They’re not safe for little babies who can’t roll over yet because they could get stuck. Some people like to use them for older babies whose limbs get stuck between the rails while sleeping.

    Contractions on pitocin were probably the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever experienced. Thankfully soon-ish after they got so bad I got an epidural, which did not save me from any pain as many people describe, but did mitigate the pain substantially. I still felt extreme pressure.

    The next most uncomfortable part for me was recovery. In addition to the obvious, I had excruciating cramps (especially right after nursing) which is fairly normal – it’s when your uterus is shrinking back to its normal size. Also, I was terrified of pooping after hearing others’ horror stories. My advice there – take stool softeners for a week or two (unless of course your Crohn’s requires something else!).

  16. I had two really great births. And since when you’re pregnant people LOVE to tell you about ‘a friend of a friend’s college roommate’s cousin’ and how horrible their birth was, I like to share my positive stories (when asked haha)!

    1. 38 weeks 2 days, water breaks around 8pm while at home. No contractions. I go to the hospital because I’m GBS+ and need antibiotics. Finally see my OB around 10:30pm, she wants to induce with pitocin because I’m not in labour. I really didn’t want to start down the cascade of intervention so quickly, so asked if I could have a few hours to see if labour would start, I was having some cramping by this point. Doc didn’t like this, she was so rude, told me I had to leave labour and delivery (‘because this area is for labouring and delivering mothers, and you ARE NOT a labouring or delivering mother’). She then said she’d see me at 7am when she would induce me (’cause you’re NOT having this baby before then’). They took me over to recovery to wait for my induction, labour started a few minutes later at 11pm, my daughter was born 2.5 hours later at 1:30am. 🙂

    2. 41 weeks 0 days, water breaks 5am, contractions start 6am, hospital 6:30am, baby boy born at 6:56am. That one was actually a little too fast haha.

    I know you said you don’t want to know too much, but researching from evidence-based sources means you can advocate for yourself and what’s right ( is a wonderful source). I loved my OB up until delivery day and was shocked by how she treated me once delivery day came.

  17. hello! so I have a 6 week old and I have already forgot the pain associated with his birth. I ended up having back contractions…which now that I am talking about it I do remember it being extremely painful. I labored for 14 hours and my water broke naturally but I couldn’t get past 8 cm so had to have a c-section (I had a high temp and his heart-rate was worrisome). My advice (even though you didn’t ask for it and you have no idea who I am) is to not have a birth plan, have a preference (I wanted a vaginal birth) but know that it is really out of your hands so be open and okay with whatever happens. I definitely did not want a c-section but he was born a healthy baby which is all that matters! I do remember being extremely thirsty during the c-section and when my husband showed me our son…I think the first thing I said is “now can I have some water!”

  18. So I actually loved giving birth, because my son’s birth was so unusual. I was induced at 41 weeks for low fluid, and never really had contractions pick up, so I got an epidural so they could break my water (I was higher risk for a c-section due to my low fluid, so the epidural was recommended to me in case I needed an emergency C/S I wouldn’t have to get fully knocked out). I got the epidural, took a 3 hour nap, woke up having dilated from 4 cm to 10 cm, and was ready to push. My son’s head got stuck on the way out, so I had a small episiotomy (which I was terrified of, but am so happy I had because I had no other tearing, and it was really well done), and boom! baby! So i basically slept through active labor and transition, then had a baby. It was awesome.

  19. I have ran 2 marathons and 18 half marathons – one of the half’s 25 weeks pregnant. My water broke and they had to induce me and the contractions were the worst part because the pitocin made it worse – I made it about 5 cm before I said “Give me the drugs!” Drugs helped a lot, and pushing was not that bad given that I had marathon training to help (it’s all mental!) – I focused on (of all things) the paper towel dispenser in our room and delivered no problem! I went into the birth very open minded and I think that is the best thing you can do for yourself. People around you know whats going on and will guide you!

  20. We never used bumpers, but have run into my son’s room a time or two to free his trapped arm or leg! Lol. I base all of my mom decisions off what I’m comfortable with too — like mesh bumpers are apparently safer, but i run slightly anxious about all things so i would be worrying about my son’s safety enough that it would probably negate any good they’d do. He didn’t get his arm or leg trapped too often, and learned soon enough how to avoid it. There are SO many things that some people swear by, and others are strongly against. Embrace the IDGAF attitude that you’re feeling lately!

    The contractions were the worst part of labor for me! I had really bad back labor & at 2cm was contracting more similarly to someone who was 8cm. I was freaked out a little about getting an epidural… just like the actual process of getting it administered, but i swear to you i didn’t even feel it. My water broke at home, we lived 45 minutes from the hospital i delivered at (they had a birthing tub which you could use for labor, but not delivery and it was honestly amazing & midwife care which was important to me) and my son was born less than 12 hours from when my water broke. It was a whirlwind! Everyone’s story is so unique!! Your body will take over and it will be amazing! The actual pushing part wasn’t so bad, but that could be the epidural talking! Also, i was just reading my friend’s birth story of her daughter (her blog is julesinreallife) and she talked about delivering the placenta and i swear to you, i have no memory of delivering the placenta. I asked my husband and he doesn’t remember either!!!! Some people describe this as like a second delivery, and i can’t even remember it. But I’m confident i did! Lol

  21. I don’t have any birth stories of my own to share, but I read a lot of blogs. Check out dooce, both of hers are amazing!

  22. Birth experiences vary tremendously- some women’s babies basically fall out of their bodies, while other women labor for days. To some extent your fitness and level of preparation will matter – but mostly it’s a crapshoot. A couple things to remember:
    – Your birth will probably last at least a few hours, and you may not be allowed to or able to eat during that time. So try to be well-hydrated and nourished during the last few weeks of your pregnancy. Also bring snacks for your hospital stay after giving birth.
    – c sections are more common than you may think – around 35-40% of births. Of course many of those are multiples and other high risk cases, but many are normal pregnancies. Hopefully you won’t find yourself in the position of needing one – but surgery and recovery from surgery is a possibility worth being prepared for.
    – Everyone has birth wishes and hopes and ideas, and a lot of importance is placed on natural and optimal births, but at the end of the day this is just a few hours or days of your child’s life. A successful birth is one after which mother and baby leave the hospital healthy. Everything else is gravy.

  23. I’ve run one full marathon and given birth to one child. Both made me puke multiple times. Both made me say “I’m never doing that again” afterward. 7 years later, I have zero plans to run another marathon. But my son is now 3 and we’re planning for baby #2. So I guess running a marathon is worse than childbirth?

  24. I LOVE THE BOLD TYPE. I have no other advice for you because I am so far childless, but The Bold Type fucking rocks.

  25. being a marathon runner will help you tremendously during labor. it is ALL MENTAL as they say (not all really– but having had the experience of using your mind to push your physical endurance and to put complete trust in your body, is really helpful).
    i am so not a mantra person but also so glad i listened to my birth coach when she told me to come up with a mantra i could focus on. and focus on your breathing during contractions- like in yoga- send every breath to the tips of your toes. it will feel out of control but just trust the process- like you said millions of women do it!

    contractions are harder than the pushing. once you’re at the pushing, you know you are close to done!

  26. I highly recommend the Birth Hour podcast if you’re super into birth stories! I listened to that religiously until I started doing hypnosis to prepare for birth. (My hypnotist told me to avoid negative stories, and just to be safe, I avoided ALL stories.) The childbirth pain that I remember most vividly is when his head was coming out. “Ring of Fire” is not a strong enough term for that. I found contractions to be manageable when I was able to focus and breathe through them (so, not when I was in car or otherwise in a not-ideal position). Pushing was a lot more intense than I expected in terms of it being a real physical challenge — they make you take a big breath and hold it and push with all your might and I totally worried I was going to pop a blood vessel in my brain or something.

  27. It’s crazy how birth stories vary SO much. I was the same way and did not want too many stories (you’ll always get the most awful stories and less of the easy ones!) so I would not be scared going in to labor. My daughter came 9 days early, I checked in to the hospital with “period like cramps” that were 1 minute apart and I was at 7cm already! It started hurting like a mother once I got to 8cm, I didn’t barf (that’s a thing! And I hate barfing!), I had a very quick labor and pushed for 30 minutes. The hardest part for me was the further along you get, the less “breaks” you get between contractions. So it felt hard to breathe… and I used to be the one to make fun of Lamaze classes. Ohhhh if only they could have seen me in labor!
    Try to take each thing as it comes. The good thing is you have never experienced it.. so nothing to be scared of! Ha! You’ll do great!

  28. For me, the length of labor was the hardest part. The individual contractions were manageable, but after a couple of days I just was exhausted.

    Total labor time 63 hours. Lasted 55 hours and up to 8cm without epidural then was going backwards to 7cm. Got some pitocin and epidural and had baby 8 hours later. Baby was in distress when pushing, so had to push her out super fast to avoid emergency c section. Pushed her out, but got a 3rd degree tear. Recovery from labor and tear was brutal for a few weeks…more similar to a c section recovery. I would try to avoid an epidural with a second kid. I hated the feeling of numb legs for hours and hours. I would practice visualization, calming and breathing techniques if was preggo again too.

    Also, I never held my baby until I could go to the NICU. So really anything can happen and 1st births are the hardest.

    On the Babywise, I made it a point to only ask sleep training advice from people who had kids with good sleepers. My daughter slept through the night at 6 weeks old and never stopped using that rule.

  29. We used the mesh bumpers successfully once they were in cribs and their arms started getting stuck.

    Also, there are some people with strooooong feelings about Babywise. Generally, I think it is not recommended to start sleep training as early as Babywise recommends.

    And I had a c-section (triplets!) so no labor advice here.

    1. People have strooooooong feelings about everything pregnancy- and baby-related! (Precisely why I’m reading the book to form my own and decide what’ll be best for us.)

  30. So people use bumpers because little arms and legs and stick out of the crib at night or get stuck and babies don’t always like that. My girl loves to have an arm hanging out of her crib. She also sleeps with her head up against the rails of the crib and has never hurt herself. Personally I think the bumpers aren’t worth it.

    For my birth I had really hoped for a medication free birth. Instead I ended up being induced because I was getting close to 42 weeks. I had really bad back labor. My midwife was really pushing for pitocin and there was no way I was going to not have an epidural with even worst contractions. Plus my contractions were very close together so I only actually got 1 minute of rest between them and my contractions lasted 1-2 minutes. It was exhausting. So I got an epidural. OMG it’s amazing. I was really freaked out by the thought of the epidural but in that moment I just wanted relief. I never really felt my contractions in my stomach. To be honest they weren’t horrible. I could have gone longer if the pitocin thing wasn’t being brought up every hour. It was more a mental thing to me. Kind of like how running is more of a mental thing, at least for me it was. Anyhoo, don’t be too freaked out by labor. It truly is a very natural process and there are options to take a way the pain.

  31. I thought the contractions were way worse because they just went on and on and there was no definite end. By the time I was pushing, I felt like I was actually doing something and knew the end was near. Plus I was so excited to finally get to meet my baby. It’s totally like a marathon. During labor and right after I was like there is no way I am ever doing that again, but now i am starting to consider it.

  32. So I don’t have a birth story but one of my favorites is birth-story adjacent? My coworker was out on maternity leave and had some minor complications that kept her away from the office a little bit longer than planned. However, my boss was not respecting this boundary at all and finally in a fed-up moment of “nope,” my coworker responded to an email about her return with an in-depth description of the birth and the complications (all the details. every single gross and inappropriate one), which stopped the boundary crossing in its tracks. and got her some peace and quiet until she was well enough to return. I still giggle thinking about her horrified face reading it.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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